When you were a child, adults warned you about keeping your money and confidential information safe. Do not tell anyone your last name online. Do not keep your lunch money in your sock because it might fall out, and do not keep it in an outer compartment of your backpack because someone might steal it while you are carrying your backpack on your back. These days, you find yourself warning your parents about situations that can lead to identity theft. Do not respond to emails from people you have never heard of but who seem to want to be your friend. Never type your password in an email; if you ever need to change your password for an account, the place to do it is on the login page.
The consequences can be bad enough when someone finds out your financial information or personal details that enable them to access this financial information, and this is when the victim is only one person. It is much worse when an entire computer network’s worth of sensitive information gets stolen in a workplace data breach. The San Francisco data breach lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you if you become a victim of identity theft when hackers breach your employer’s computer network.
Data Theft is Even Worse When it Happens at a Place of Business
Someone who illegally gets access to someone else’s Social Security number, password to an important online account, bank account number, or credit card number can do a lot of damage. Most Internet users today are careful about not sharing this information except when they have to. Meanwhile, many businesses operate on an automatic payment system, meaning that millions of consumers have their debit card numbers, credit card numbers, or bank account numbers on file with multiple businesses.
Likewise, you must share your Social Security number with your employer for tax purposes before the employer starts issuing your paychecks. When a data breach affects a place of business, it can lead to hundreds of people, or even more, becoming victims of identity theft. All it takes is one employee falling for a phishing email and sharing their password with a hacker, and data thieves can steal the Social Security numbers of all the employees on the company’s payroll. The credit card and bank account numbers of customers signed up for auto pay could also fall victim to the data breach. The worst part of all of this is that data breaches of workplace computer networks are preventable. It only takes one person to open the gates to the data thieves, but it takes an entire organization to keep them out.
Legal Issues Surrounding Workplace Data Breaches in San Francisco
The principle that a party responsible for an item of property is legally responsible for ensuring that their property does not cause other people to suffer financial losses or physical injuries underlies many types of legal actions. It is why your neighbor can sue you if your dog bites him, even though you did not command your dog to bite. It is also why a customer injured after slipping on a wet floor at a supermarket can sue the supermarket for damages. Likewise, workplace data breaches are often a matter of negligence on the part of the company from which the data got stolen.
In other words, a company’s computer network is the company’s responsibility. Businesses have a legal duty to protect the privacy of the data they store on their devices or online systems, regardless of whether that data belongs to employees or customers. HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP has filed several class action lawsuits in which employees whose data was stolen in workplace data breaches were able to recover compensation for their financial losses related to the theft of their data.
Preventing Data Breaches at Your Place of Employment in San Francisco
Most workplace data breaches are preventable. Providing your workplace with maximum protection against data theft is an ongoing process; you must always stay a step ahead of would-be thieves as they try to find new ways to steal your data. These are some actions that businesses can take to prevent data breaches:
- Switch to cloud-based storage since it offers much more protection against data theft. If hackers can access one device, they can access all the devices on the network, stealing large volumes of data. It is much harder to steal data that is stored safely on a cloud.
- Require two-factor authentication when employees access the company’s devices. This way, if a hacker manages to guess an employee’s password, the hacker will still not be able to access the device because the system will contact the employee directly and ask them to verify the login.
- Require employees to change their passwords several times per year and to use strong passwords that use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters and do not contain words that appear in English dictionaries.
- Assess your company’s cybersecurity vulnerability periodically. If you do not have the resources to hire a cybersecurity staff full-time, then engage the services of a cybersecurity consulting firm at least once per year. They can keep track of the latest patches that software providers have released to protect against new computer viruses and emerging cybersecurity threats. Keeping your cybersecurity strategy up to date can prevent many data breaches. In a highly publicized lawsuit, a company faced a class action lawsuit after a data breach in 2017. Microsoft had released a patch that was effective against the virus that caused the data breach, but the company had not implemented the patch.
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Data Breaches in San Francisco
The San Francisco employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you recover damages if your employer was not cautious enough about cybersecurity and your company suffered a data breach as a result. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in San Francisco, California, to set up a consultation.