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4/27/2005
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Three Ways To Prepare For The IT Impact Of New Privacy Laws

In the wake of numerous high-profile customer-data breaches, companies that haven't previously been subject to information security and privacy regulation should expect new regulations to mirror elements from existing laws. For businesses that want to start planning now, there's no need to wait for implementation instructions on how to secure consumer data.

As new privacy legislation looms, IT leaders may be better equipped than they realize to meet the challenge. How about the rest of the company?

Many U.S. companies almost certainly face new regulation in the wake of recent privacy breaches--ChoicePoint, Polo Ralph Lauren, and LexisNexis, among others. Pending federal and state legislative proposals demand that companies tighten security around consumers' personal data and notify consumers of privacy breach incidents.

Already, companies must notify California residents of privacy breaches, and federally regulated financial institutions are required to implement customer notification programs "as soon as possible."

Meeting these compliance challenges requires new levels of coordination and accountability across the enterprise. Companies with substantial consumer-data assets that haven't yet implemented privacy-incident response-and-notification programs should start now.

How can a company plan for laws that don't yet exist? Here are three steps a company can take to prepare for what lies ahead.

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