IT Security Charleston

The FTC Can Now Go After Businesses with Poor Security Practices

When it comes to online security, a lot of small- and mid-size business owners feel that it’s an issue for large corporations only. While this might have been true years ago, this is no longer the case today. No matter what type of business you have and no matter how small or big it is, the Federal Trade Commission can file a lawsuit against you.

FTC and LabMD: The Fight for Data Security

This might seem surprising and a bit unreasonable, but the fact is that the FTC now has the power to persecute businesses that don’t take proactive steps to protect their customers’ sensitive data. This is evidenced by the case against medical testing laboratory LabMD, Inc., which had collected information from more than 750,000 patients between 2001 and 2014.

According to the FTC, LabMD did not track the traffic that was passing through its firewalls. It also did not use a system that would monitor file integrity and detect any intrusions, nor did it conduct training that would help its employees learn more about data security. It did not even delete any of the consumer data that it had collected, even those that were old and no longer needed.  As a result, a file-sharing program was successfully installed, and it facilitated the unauthorized disclosure of the patient’s medical information as well as other sensitive data.

This is not the first time that the FTC has come after a company for putting its customers’ sensitive information at risk. In 2015, the government agency filed a lawsuit against Wyndham Worldwide, a hotel chain that had incredulously weak security systems and was unsurprisingly hacked three times. The worst part was that Wyndham assured customers that their personally identifiable data was protected “using industry standard practices”, leading many people to think their information was safe and sound. This meant that the company was not only putting its customers at risk but also conducting deceptive practices.

What Does This Mean for You?

The FTC lawsuits against LabMD and Wyndham show that businesses must proactively take steps to protect their clients from online security threats. Even if you become a victim of data breaching, it still won’t let you off the hook if you can’t prove that you’ve invested in technology and services that would have safeguarded sensitive customer information.

So, to avoid getting into legal trouble, the best thing to do is to improve your online security efforts as soon as possible. Investing in a managed-data backup system is a great move since it ensures that you’ll always have a copy of your important information. Hiring a professional IT security company like Branch Technologies is a must; with the help of this firm, you can come up with a strong and reliable security system that best fits your business’s needs. Of course, you’ll need to regularly update your IT system, check your entire network for threats, and record all the scans, improvements, and maintenance you do to ensure you can present a documentation that will prove your dedication to data security.

Facing a lawsuit from the FTC is a daunting experience. Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening by making data security a priority and taking steps to protect your customers’ info. If you need help, call us here at Branch Technologies and let us provide you with the right IT security tools and services that best fit your data protection needs.