Privacy Breach & Network Liability
Regardless if your business is an educational institute, a healthcare provider or a typical main street business operation, we all are inundated with technology and the advances it promises to make our lives easier. However, with these advances come even more responsibilities to our employees and to our customers. The data records we store on these computer networks, laptops, mobile devices and even paper become assets that are jeopardized by the digital formats we’ve created. Much of this data involves dates of birth, social security numbers, drivers license numbers, financial account numbers, personal addresses or emails and even medical records of our employees and customers, which are now classified by many state and federal laws as privacy sensitive data. It is the loss of this personal data that can sink a company.
Over the last few years, individual states and even federal authorities such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have enacted new laws in 46 states as of May 2011 that are known as Consumer privacy or Security Breach laws. These state laws require that residents of those states be notified of breaches that occur with regards to their personal data. Many of these laws open the door for those victims to file a civil action against your business and could very likely impose substantial fines and penalties. Especially with the state budgets needing more monies, it is strongly believed that state attorney generals will aggressively enforce these laws against those who violate the notification laws.
Doesn’t the insurance program you currently have protect you from this new liability? Unfortunately, many times it does not. The typical Property, General Liability, Crime and even Errors and Omissions coverage, more commonly known as Professional Liability, fall short of providing coverage for these risks. With the movement to a digital age, these policies have failed to keep up with this exposure.
How can I protect myself and the business that I have worked hard to build? The solution does not solely rely on an insurance product. It has to be multi-pronged. It requires a new approach that involves a plan before a breach occurs, an insurance product that helps pay for the cost of the notifications and the potential suits from victims, and a response after the breach so that your customers and employees know your concern for their sensitive data. Your reputation as a successful business owner demands this.
We at Carolina Insurance Solutions (CIS) have partnered with prominent organizations in this field to provide you a possible solution. Whether it be an encryption of your email system and/or website, the development of a data breach incident response plan along with pre-negotiated fees for services like notifications and credit monitoring, or an insurance product that can respond both to the first party expenses as well as third party liabilities created by this breach, we can assist you in this role to protect your reputation and most importantly, your business.
Although you may not be the size of a Sony Corporation with its PS3 game systems or Citibank , the exposure is real with the possibilities of it wiping out your monetary assets. There is hope that we can educate ourselves as to our vulnerabilities and protect the very people who helped build our businesses.
Don’t learn this the hard way, be proactive!