Developing a Privacy Program
Why does Your Virginia or Washington, D.C., Business Need a Privacy Program?
2020 brought privacy and data protection into acute focus, as employees around the world worked remotely and sensitive health information became a primary point of interest. This change in practices means that data security is no longer a secondary concern; rather, it is now a primary strength and vulnerability for any business, with increased costs–both due to data breaches as well as regulatory penalties. Check out the latest on emerging privacy regulation here.
With the emerging focus on data protection and privacy–and in light of the numerous regulatory frameworks that could apply to a Virginia and Washington, D.C., based businesses should act now to create a compliant framework.
And if the legal requirements are not enough, your Virginia or Washington, D.C., business needs a Privacy Program to protect your clients, your employees, and your company’s interests from reputational and operational damage. A proactive program, rather than a reactive solution, is the key to navigating these challenges. Need to learn more about the risks and benefits?–here is a great video on the cybersecurity risks and trends relevant to small and medium-sized businesses (produced by the cybersecurity firm Envescent).
What Steps Should Your Business Take to Create a Privacy Program?
Plan: A privacy program necessarily starts with planning. Planning includes assessing the nature of your business operations, the records you maintain, the systems you use, the jurisdictions you interact with, and the legal requirements that may apply.
It is not just about using a template handbook or a lofty privacy statement; rather, it is about creating a privacy culture in your organization. Through that culture and the privacy team, professionals including our office, and partner-IT companies, your business will have a solid guide for the implementation that follows.
In support of this plan and the implementation below, Cyber Risk Insurance should be evaluated and planned for. Neither insurance nor planning is sufficient on its own; rather, they act in concert to protect your company.
Implementation: This involves training your team, reviewing and revising your technologies, and ensuring that your stated Privacy Plan is put into effect. Having a plan is not enough, you have to actually follow the plan to ensure regulatory compliance and customer protection.
Implementation takes time and commitment, but many businesses find that their broader business practices are improved in the process. In short, it is worth it.
Review and Refine: After you implement your Privacy Plan, you need to evaluate whether it is working and what needs to be improved. As your business grows, you may need specialized trainings, certifications, or professionals to support your operations. Additionally, the changing nature of data protection and privacy regulation means that your company should audit its practices routinely to ensure continued compliance and best practices.
Get started: While this may sound daunting–both from a perspective of time and cost–the current nature of business risks and regulatory requirements mean that your Virginia business can no longer avoid the need for an effective Privacy Program.
Consult with a Privacy Professional
Our office provides professional and committed counsel and representation through every stage, while keeping in mind business realities and client needs. We seek to work with you rather than dictate solutions. Contact us today to set up a business consultation regarding your Virginia business’s privacy and data protection needs.