Whether you own a small startup that is merely starting out, or you have an established enterprise-level company, it is certainly an exciting journey that is riddled with challenges. Encountering legal issues that can exacerbate the growth of your business is always an option.
This is why being prepared for these types of obstacles is always a good idea.
In order to reach adequate levels of preparedness for potential legal issues, a company should have a well-thought-out disaster plan capable of preventing and resolving them in a timely manner.
In this article, we tackle 3 basic ways organizations can deploy in order to up their security game and easily handle potential legal challenges that potentially lay ahead.
Get a Firm Grasp of the Legal Structure of Your Company
Though this is perhaps the most basic step toward having a strong disaster plan for dealing with potential legal issues, an alarming number of businesses tend to overlook this step due to negligence.
Bear in mind that you first need to define the legal structure of your organization as this will have huge and long-reaching benefits on various core areas of your business. These include:
- Easier taxation-related tasks
- Automated compliance
- Streamlined and timely disaster response
- Quicker reaction to legal liability scenarios, etc
To clearly understand, define and reap all the advantages of a proper legal-based disaster plan, you need to first determine what type of business entity your company belongs to. There are 3 basic types:
Extremely common and widespread in the modern business landscape, solopreneurship provides you with full control over your business processes, operations and overall decision-making. The tricky aspect of this ecosystem is that your personal resources and business assets – as well as legal liabilities – can become interlaced. This basically means that you will be personally responsible and liable for all types of business debts and potential legal issues.
When you run a business together with your partner, it is critical to determine if you would have limited liability, in which case you can opt for the option of your assets being protected from potentially risky actions coming from your partner’s side. This scenario would probably also be coupled with limited control and decision-making business-wise.
Corporations typically offer liability protection in terms of your personal assets. However, this is a rather complex business structure that usually requires a legal team that will deal with complex rules and regulations your organization must follow.
Limited liability company (LLC)
LLC perhaps provides the best of both worlds between a partnership and a corporation – liability protection with double taxation removed.
We strongly suggest that you take into account all aspects of your business and all specific circumstances that envelope your company before you define the legal structure of your company.
Protect Your Intellectual Property
Your business secrets, intellectual property and sensitive data are your most valuable assets and you should treat them that way. Legally protecting a patent, trademark, and other similar assets is always a good idea. Businesses that fail to do so while in the early stages of their development can end up losing money on legal proceedings or even go under.
We suggest conducting a thorough market analysis and filing for registration. Otherwise, you might end up being sued for infringement. It is not a rare scenario that a business or individual sues another company for logo or tagline similarities, product theft, etc – without any grounds for it and still comes out the victor because the latter organization didn’t take all the necessary measures to prevent this type of fraud.
Protect & Properly Archive Your Sensitive Data, Communication Channels, Business Emails
Data protection and infrastructure security are critical when it comes to preventing cyber attacks and similar potentially disastrous breaches. Be sure to take all the necessary steps toward a tight security plan for your data and communication networks.
Modern businesses have hefty data flows even on a daily basis and use numerous channels to share information that includes sensitive data. These networks must be adequately secured and regularly backed up and archived.
Aside from making sure your infrastructure is secure – regardless of whether you’re using on-premise architecture or a cloud-based environment – you also need to have a sound Information Governance strategy and the right tools to perform those crucial processes.
Be sure to properly classify your data (take into consideration both structured and unstructured data), archive your data pieces in a cost-effective way (for this we recommend using email archiving solutions), pay attention to the data retrieval processes, consider using eDiscovery, take care of all regulatory compliance tasks to prevent subsequent issues, etc.
Granted, we have only scratched the surface with these tips, but it is highly recommended that your company – if it hasn’t yet done so – considers performing most of these procedures. Bear in mind that, something that can seem like a tedious and unnecessary task now, can have major repercussions later on.
In order to prevent this type of scenario, it is critical to have a top-tier IG strategy and a recovery plan in place. Otherwise, all your work and effort may crumble due to a single but far-reaching legal issue that you weren’t prepared for.