How a lawyer can help if your customer database is hacked

How a lawyer can help if your customer database is hacked

Carrie Pallardy
Carrie Pallardy
 | 
High-profile data breaches regularly make the headlines. Companies like Equifax, LinkedIn and Adobe have suffered major cybersecurity incidents leading to the breach of data from millions of customers. 

While those big breaches draw media attention, the reality is a business of any size can be a target for hackers. In fact, nearly half of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses.

What happens if your customer database is hacked? A lawyer can help you to answer that question and guide your company forward. 

Notification and Compliance 
When customer data is compromised, there are legal requirements companies need to consider in terms of who needs to be notified and when. Compliance surrounding a data breach will depend on the nature of data compromised, as well as federal and state laws.

All 50 states require businesses to inform individuals if a breach compromises personally identifiable information (PII). PII commonly included in customer data can be information such as names, addresses and social security numbers.

A lawyer can help a business understand the federal and state laws that apply to the situation and help it to maintain compliance as it works through the aftermath of the breach.

Public Relations
Reputation damage is a common consequence of customer data breaches. Even if a business is not at fault for the exposure of customer data, it is possible that customers will lose their trust in that business.

The company’s public relations department or an outside PR firm can help craft the post-breach messaging, but a lawyer can also play an integral role in guiding how the company communicates with the public.

Litigation
It is possible that businesses will face lawsuits following a data breach. Even if a company complies with all laws that apply to data breach notification, the affected customers may seek damages.
If a business is facing a lawsuit, a lawyer who specializes in data security and data breaches will be able to help the company prepare its case.

Preparing for the Future
Preventing a future data breach is an important step for all businesses. Prevention can come in the form of hiring more in-house cybersecurity talent and/or engaging a third-party vendor to reinforce your business’s safeguards.

But, the possibility of another breach still remains. A lawyer can be an important part of helping businesses to craft an incident response plan. This plan will outline exactly what steps to take to minimize the damage in case of a data breach. In many cases, your business’s legal counsel is the first point of contact after a cybersecurity incident.

Cybersecurity is a major industry that has attracted specialized talent in both the IT and legal fields. Working with a lawyer in this area can help a business respond to a data breach and prepare for the evolving threats of the future.


This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
 
Carrie Pallardy

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