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Can a Data Breach Really Affect My Tampa Business?

With the evolution of technology, small businesses can now enjoy instant communication and transactions with their customers. However, the adoption of these solutions has also led to an increase in cybercrime. 

As the post-COVID-19 world continues to interact remotely, even local Tampa, FL, businesses are potentially exposed to data breaches. 

What Is Considered a Data Breach?

The general definition of a data breach is the unauthorized access of confidential or protected information. 

While internal company information might be considered confidential, client or employee information is typically even more sensitive. While the broadness of the definition of protected information varies by jurisdiction, one generally shared feature is the personal nature of client and employee information.

Florida Information Protection Act (FIPA)

Tampa businesses, in particular, are governed by the Florida Information Protection Act of 2014, known as FIPA. 

FIPA defines personal information as an individual’s name along with at least one of the following:

  • Social Security number
  • Government identifier, such as a driver’s license number
  • Credit card number
  • Email address or internet username with password information

This law is construed broadly and applies to virtually any business entity, regardless of form. These include anything from sole proprietorships to large corporations. Any company that does business in Florida is obligated to protect personal information under FIPA.

Impact of a Data Breach

Under FIPA, businesses must notify the Florida Department of Legal Affairs of a data breach within 30 days. With good cause, the Department of Legal Affairs is authorized to provide an additional 15-day extension.

If a breach involves more than 500 individuals, the business is required to provide notice to those affected as soon as practical and without reasonable delay, under most cases. The details of how notice is being provided must be given to the Department of Legal Affairs.

Negative publicity from the media due to these required notices can have chilling effects on businesses. Some potential impacts include:

  • Reputational damage on SEO marketing searches 
  • Lower customer sales in the immediate aftermath
  • Difficulty hiring concerned future employees

FIPA authorizes the Department of Legal Affairs to bring an enforcement action under businesses that fail to comply. Penalties can be steep, starting at $1,000 per day and rising after 30 days, with a maximum fine of $500,000.

Contact ShredQuick to Minimize Your Risk of a Data Breach

Physical safeguards, including mobile on-site secure paper shredding and destruction services, can minimize your company’s need for more expensive measures later. Contact ShredQuick today for a free shredding and data destruction quote in five minutes or less.

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