• Nick Allo Nick AlloPublished on March 19,2020

What You Need to Know About the Florida Data Breach Notification Law and How to Protect Your Customers

Learn about key provisions of the Florida data breach notification law and how businesses and government offices can protect consumers’ personal information.  

It’s becoming alarmingly common to see news headlines warning consumers that, yet again, cybercriminals managed to hack a company’s computer system, gaining access to sensitive data on thousands of individuals. Too often, those affected are left with little recourse, and businesses that fail to implement comprehensive security measures aren’t held fully accountable. Florida has recently passed legislation to change that. Here’s what you need to know about the Florida data breach notification law, and what you can do to protect your customers’ personal information.

Florida Data Breach Notification Law

Florida Data Breach Notification Law

The Florida data breach notification law aims to ensure that customers are informed promptly when unauthorized parties gain access to their data. As the manager of a business or state government entity, you must:

  • Alert the Florida Attorney General’s office when a data breach affects 500 individuals or more.
  • Notify customers within 30 days that a breach has occurred. (If you can demonstrate good cause, you may be granted an additional 15-day extension).
  • Take reasonable measures to protect sensitive data.

Besides spelling out what information needs to be listed in a data breach notice, the statute expands the definition of personal data to include medical data, health insurance, and financial information. Also, in the arena of personal data is any information associated with online accounts, such as passwords, email addresses, and security questions and answers.

Violators of the law will be subject to penalties under the state’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

What You Can Do To Protect Consumer Data

The Florida data breach notification law creates an incentive for businesses and government departments to strengthen their cybersecurity. Here are some steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of a data breach in the first place.

Train Your Employees

Educate your employees about how to recognize illicit emails and report suspicious online activity. (Ninety-one percent of cyberattacks begin with a phishing email). Similarly, train your staff on how to protect sensitive information. After all, not only is customer data at risk, employee data may be vulnerable, too. Security policies should be documented, as this instills trust and puts everyone on the same page about what’s expected.

Employees should also understand the importance of keeping personal and company-issued mobile devices safe. Impress upon your team how crucial it is to secure these items and what to do if laptops, tablets, and smartphones are lost or stolen.

Take Extra Security Measures

When it comes to protecting yourself and your customers, an extra layer of security is in order. Only collect data that is necessary, and consider implementing a two-step authentication process when customers, employees, and vendors login. If your company has multiple departments, treat them as separate entities with their firewalls, so that if a breach occurs in one area, hackers won’t have automatic access to your entire enterprise. Make sure your email is equipped with spam filters, as businesses are prime targets of phishing scams and malware.

Keep Your Technology Current

Forty-three percent of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. If your company isn’t large enough to have an IT department, keeping your system current may be easily overlooked. But it’s imperative that you install the latest Web browsers, operating systems, and security software on all your devices. If possible, subscribe to automatic updates to ensure optimal protection.

Take Extra Precautions with Third-Parties

Use extra caution if you share customers’ data with other businesses. After all, you can’t take for granted that they’re prioritizing data security. Encrypt sensitive information that is kept on removable media, servers, and the cloud.

Protecting your customers’ data should be just as crucial as obtaining that data. Knowing how to comply with the Florida data breach notification law will help you avoid data vulnerabilities. It also lets your customers know that you value their privacy as much as they do.

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