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Buckle Up Your Data — It’s the Law

In August 2018, then-governor John Kasich signed into law the Ohio Data Protection Act, the first of its kind in this country. The Act’s goal is to protect the security and confidentiality of digital information, protect against anticipated threats and hazards to the security and integrity of digital information, and protect against unauthorized access of digital information that is stored on business’s computer servers and devices.

The Act requires that businesses develop written procedures and safeguards for the protection of personal information that is stored on a business’s computer server or system. Whether a business adequately complies with the Act is dependent on a variety of factors, including the size of the business and the type of information that the business stores, as well as the resources available to the business.

Interestingly, the Act has voluntary participation. Businesses do not have any new requirements that they have to follow to comply with this law.

Since the Act is completely voluntary, what is the benefit to a small business owner to comply with the Act? If your business complies with the Act, your business is entitled to an affirmative defense in any tort-based lawsuit brought against you that alleges you failed to implement proper digital information security controls.

In other words, if you’re “hacked” and all your business’s sensitive customer data is exposed to others, you may have access to a defense if the harmed parties claim you failed to implement safeguards. In short, the Act attempts to gives businesses a clear path to protect themselves against lawsuits surrounding digital data, while protecting the data itself.

Does your business store sensitive information about your clients on your company’s servers or computers? If so, you may want to call into Lardiere McNair, LLC to consult about how the Ohio Data Protection Act can help protect your business from lawsuits related to sensitive data.

Jordan Kennedy is an Associate at Lardiere McNair, LLC. To read more about our firm, please visit www.lmcounsel.com.
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