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CLIENT ALERT: Ohio Incentivizes Cybersecurity Measures

On November 2, 2018, Ohio’s Data Protection Act (“DPA”) went into effect.  The DPA incentivizes Ohio businesses to proactively address cybersecurity and data protection by providing an affirmative defense/safe harbor for claims related to data breach. However, the safe harbor is only applicable if the organization can prove “reasonable compliance” to the DPA.

Brennan Manna Diamond (“BMD”) can assist your business by creating written policies that demonstrate compliance with Ohio law in the spirit of the DPA.  Additionally, BMD can educate your organization as to implementing and adhering to those policies.

The DPA is the culmination of Ohio’s efforts to foster a legal, technical, and collaborative cybersecurity environment to help businesses thrive. The only way to reap this benefit is to meet its requirements.

How to Comply

Any organization maintaining personal information of Ohio residents can be subject to Ohio’s breach notification laws and potential civil liability for data breach compromising such information.  The DPA rewards proactivity vs. reactivity by incentivizing businesses to implement policies and procedures to protect the security and confidentiality of personal/restricted information, protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of the personal/restricted information and protect against unauthorized access of information that is likely to result in a material risk of identity theft or other fraud. Businesses should take the following steps:

  • Businesses must determine “reasonable” security measures. Such analysis must consider:
    •  The size of the business;
    • The nature, sensitivity and use of information;
    • The resources available to the business; and
    • The cost to implement and maintain the reasonable security measures to protect against a breach of security relative to the business’ resources.
  • Businesses must implement a cybersecurity framework and the DPA recognizes certain existing frameworks of which businesses can utilize in order to qualify for safe harbor. These include:
    • Industry recognized cybersecurity frameworks, (i.e., those recommended by administrative bodies, like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST);
    • Regulatory frameworks required by federal or state law (i.e., HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley); or
    • A framework that combines the payment card industry (PCI) data security standard with a current version of an applicable industry recognized cybersecurity framework.
  • Businesses must create and maintain written cybersecurity policies and procedures. Such policies and procedures must contain administrative, technical, and physical safeguards for the protection of personal/restricted information.
  • Businesses must periodically review changes in regulations and framework updates and must likewise update its cybersecurity program.

BMD's Solution

In addition to implementing industry standard cybersecurity frameworks, prudent businesses will create and maintain written policies as it relates to cybersecurity and data protection. BMD can assist in crafting the policies and identifying proper security frameworks so that your business qualifies for the safe harbor. The Ohio legislature was mindful not to be hyper-technical with the regulations so that businesses can still qualify for the safe harbor by demonstrating reasonable efforts to comply. BMD can help navigate these regulations.

In today’s ever-changing cybersecurity landscape, data breaches are at times, inevitable. BMD can also provide post-breach solutions including meeting applicable reporting requirements and litigation defense. As now enacted by Ohio, perhaps the best defense involves proactively investing in front end compliance.

For more information, please contact Brandon T. Pauley. 

DOL Proposes New Rule Regarding Independent Contractor Status - But How Will the Election Affect Its Future?

On September 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new proposed rule regarding employee and independent contractor status under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The full text of the proposed rule is available here. The rule's drafters intend to reduce uncertainty and enhance the precision and predictability of the long-standing "economic reality" test, which currently relies on a multifactor balancing test.

Major Change to Franklin County, Ohio Eviction Process: Landlord Testimony Required

Although there is currently a nationwide temporary halt on all residential evictions through December 31, 2020 in place, the eviction process in Franklin County – which processes the highest number of evictions in the State of Ohio at approximately 18,000 a year – recently changed significantly.

UPDATE: Governor Dewine Signs HB 606 Granting Short Window of Immunity from COVID-19 Personal Injury Lawsuits

The Ohio General Assembly, in Am. Sub. H.B. No. 606, is in the final stages of passing a law that will prohibit lawsuits seeking damages from COVID-19. This includes injury, death, or loss to person or property if the lawsuits are based, in whole or in part, on the exposure to, or the transmission or contraction of the coronavirus, unless the defendant in the lawsuit acted intentionally or recklessly. In circumstances where this immunity does not apply, H.B. 606 prohibits such claims being aggregated and brought as a class action.

Revised Department of Labor FFCRA Guidance, Effective September 16, 2020

In response to attacks on the legality of the Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Final Rule regarding the Families First Coronavirus Act (“FFCRA” or the “Act”), which took effect in April 2020, the Department of Labor issued new guidance on Friday, September 11th to formally address ongoing questions and concerns related to the COVID-19 legislation.

FCC Adds $198 Million to Strengthen Telehealth for Rural Healthcare Providers

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has added an additional $198 million in funding to its Rural Health Care Program. These funds will be used to increase broadband services and telecommunications to bolster telehealth/telemedicine services for rural healthcare providers. Funding for rural healthcare providers was initially capped at $605 million in 2020, but the added funds will now allow the FCC to provide over $800 million to eligible providers.