Do you have a data privacy policy for your business?

Heartland Payment Systems. Target Stores. Sony Online Entertainment Services. Epsilon. Anthem. The Home Depot. What do these companies have in common? All of them are on the most recent list of victims of the 10 worst data breaches in history.

These are mega-enterprises that had, through the years, collected billions of digital records worth of personal and financial information on untold millions of people. They were huge targets for the world’s cybercriminals and nefarious governments.

The breaches beg this question: If large businesses, with all of their digital security experts and computer firewalls, are vulnerable to hackers, how safe are the digital customer files stored by small and medium businesses like yours? The customer who has his or her personal information (such as a credit card or Social Security number) swiped in a data breach involving a small business is no less happy than any of the 80 million health insurance customers whose private data potentially fell to cybercriminals in the Anthem hack.

Do you have a data privacy policy for your business and for your customers? How safe is the personal information you have on file about the people you serve? If you engage in digital commerce, what kind of safeguards do you have to secure web-based transactions? Or, in a more common scenario, how easy would it be for someone to walk away from your shop with a critical computer hard drive?

The Better Business Bureau is right when it advises that having quality digital security and privacy policies can build consumer trust. On its website, the BBB has a variety of small business toolkits that include one for data security and another for data privacy. You can find them at



BIO: Baxter Troutman is founder and chief executive officer of Labor Solutions, a staffing company with offices in Bartow, Winter Haven, Lake Wales, and Arcadia. A citrus grower who served in the Florida House of Representatives, Troutman understands the challenges and concerns of today’s farmer.

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