Keeping Your Small Business Safe From Data Breaches – Dayna Thomas, Esq.

Dayna Thomas sits down with Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss data breaches and data security. Dayna is an attorney, business coach, and the author of Entrepreneur’s Guide To Building A Solid Legal FoundationShe tells our viewers how vulnerable businesses can become to data breaches, how detrimental they can be, and how to improve your security in order to ensure your data is safe.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: 

JIM: Dayna Thomas, an attorney that specializes in entrepreneurship and helping small businesses grow with a legal foundation, right?

DAYNA: Absolutely.

JIM: In fact, she wrote the book an Entrepreneur’s Guide to Building a Solid Legal Foundation.

DAYNA: Yeah.

JIM: You’ve seen her before here on our network. Thank you so much for joining us again, Dayna.

DAYNA: You’re welcome. I’m so glad to be here.

JIM: Great. So we hear a lot in the media about these data breaches, right, and companies just freak out.

DAYNA: Right.

JIM: What are we going to do? How are we going to protect our data? Every company, large or small, has some data that needs to be protected.

DAYNA: Absolutely.

JIM: On behalf of their clients and behalf of their employees and such. So talk to us a little bit about us, and what companies need to really focus on when it comes to data protection.

DAYNA: Sure, actually now that we’re moving into the age of the internet, a lot of businesses are online. We have website, social media, all types of aspects that we used to sell, market and reach our customers online. That creates greater exposure for customers and clients and consumers. So there are actually several laws in place to protect consumers, and so sometimes we think that this whole cybersecurity situation only applies to big corporations that are doing or spending all this money on-

JIM: That’s right.

DAYNA: Those type of things.

JIM: That’s right.

DAYNA: But actually it applies to every, it can apply to every entrepreneur, so if you have a website and you collect any type of information, so that can be a name, an email address, phone number, you take payments online, you have to adhere to those laws.

DAYNA: A lot of times we even have something as simple as an email list. You have a pop-up on your website that says subscribe to my email list. You are required to have a privacy policy on your website, so if you collect any type of information or take payments online, you have to have a privacy policy, and that’s something that can be a link in the footer of your website, and that states what type of information you’re collecting, what you’re doing with that information, and your promise to keep it private or secure.

JIM: Right.

DAYNA: And so there are several laws, a collection of laws, federal and state, that states that you have to do that.

JIM: Yeah, and then you’ve got train your staff on what that means to keep that private.

DAYNA: Right, absolutely. There are sometimes on our servers we have cookies and different things like that that automatically collect information from anyone that visits our website. So the safe thing to do is to have that privacy policy on your site because the government does enforce it.

JIM: Right, right. And then you’ve got to enforce it among your staff to make sure that everybody is compliant, and everybody’s reading off the same sheet of music as to how to protect that, right?

DAYNA: Yeah, and you know, that can be a big job.

JIM: Of course.

DAYNA: It’s my belief that as an entrepreneur you should focus on what’s making you money and try to work with other people that are experts in certain fields. So if it’s a lot for you to do the research to figure out like how do I adhere to these cyberlaws and security laws, then work with a professional that can assist you so that you can make sure that you are secure.

JIM: Yeah, for sure. We had one small business person on the show that said that they were working, they opened up a business and they were four years in business and they had a staff of five people. Among the five people, all five people, all five staff members could get into any part of their data or their site, or what have you. They trusted everybody.

DAYNA: Right.

JIM: They had been with them for the whole five years and such. Well, one of the individuals wanted to go out on their own, so with the click of a mouse, what did they do? They took the entire customer base.

DAYNA: Wow!

JIM: Phone numbers, email addresses, everything, and said okay, I’m sending it over to my personal email account now and I’m in business. I’ve got all of their, you know, so they can offer lower pricing-

DAYNA: Wow!

JIM: Or whatever the case might be.

DAYNA: Yeah, that leads into something else too, even with employment. Make sure you have those agreements. You can have those privacy policies and an employment agreement for anyone that’s working with you, any independent contractors, those types of things, to make sure that they’re not going to take the information that you have and use it for their personal use or for a new business.

JIM: That’s a great point. If in the event I’ve got a company that’s designing my website or maintaining my data, it’s important that I’ve got that agreement in place with them-

DAYNA: Absolutely.

JIM: In case they go ahead and do that.

DAYNA: Right, and that’s what your privacy policy will also state on your website, because sometimes we have links to other sites on our website.

JIM: Right.

DAYNA: And so we don’t want to be responsible for that website is doing.

JIM: Yeah.

DAYNA: What if they’re not being legally compliant?

JIM: That’s true.

DAYNA: So your privacy policy will state, you know, I’m not or my company is not liable if you follow a link and go to a third party site. We’re not liable for anything that may occur.

JIM: Right, right. And these are real concerns of small business owners, one of these claims from a court or one of these awards from a court could wipe a small business out, right?

DAYNA: Oh yeah, we want to make sure to protect against. We’d rather make sure everything is solid up front so that we don’t have to deal with those situations later on.

JIM: Yeah, yeah. Again, Dayna, thank you so much for joining us on the Atlanta Small Business Show. You’re always providing such great insight to our viewers and our small business owners and such. So we’re going to have you back again and throw some more questions at you in the future here.

DAYNA: Absolutely, I’m ready. Let’s go.

JIM: Great, thanks for joining us.

DAYNA: No problem.

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