Very few businesses are immune from the possibility of a serious data breach.

From recent headlines, everyone has seen or felt the impact of 70 million people potentially affected by the recent data breach at Target Stores, one of the world’s largest retailers. In 2008, Heartland, a large payments processor, found itself the victim of the largest credit card scam in history, resulting in more than $110 million in settlement claims with interchanges like MasterCard and Visa.

The list goes on and on.  From the US Military seeing the private data of our nation’s veterans compromised, to hacking scandals at universities, telecommunications companies, e-commerce firms, and physician groups, data breaches have become far too common over the last few years.  It’s no surprise that one of the top concerns facing corporate counsel for 2014 is data privacy.

The public is also concerned about data security, and we see this concern heightened with each passing incident.  People have concerns over HIPAA compliance and safety requirements around users’ protected health information.  They have concerns about the National Security Agency and government snooping and usage of private data.  Even more concerning for many is the fact that companies are off-shoring data storage to sites outside of American jurisdiction.

The times we live in are fraught with challenges for businesses charged with protecting large volumes of data, their own and that of their customers alike.  The fines and penalties imposed by courts for spoliation, the intentional and unintentional loss of electronically-stored information, are rising, and in some cases, exceeding even the amounts in controversy in civil cases.

Companies have much to gain from customer data.  The analytics provide multiple avenues for executives to optimize their businesses and help their customers in better ways year after year.  But as the cases and stories above prove, companies also have everything to lose from customer data, as keeping this data safe and secure—an absolute must—is getting more challenging with each passing year.

The attorneys of the Forrest Firm are equipped to analyze corporate retention policies, Internet usage policies, and contracts with third-party cloud services, assess the risk associated with these areas, and suggest cost-effective alternatives, develop best practices and protocols for the retention of electronically-stored information and litigation preparedness, and help position your company for the challenges of 2014.