When you set about changing the structure of your business, new issues can arise with regard to digital practices and security. Particularly if the changes you’re implementing involve new technologies, as is the case with so many businesses today, you’ll need to give careful consideration to these digital issues. Whether you’re implementing cloud computing, transitioning to remote work via online communication and sharing programs, or even relying more on private computers and mobile devices, you’ll need to give some extra consideration to things like security, liability, and even employee education.
To dive into these ideas a little bit further, we’re going to cover each of those issues below.
Cybersecurity is the main digital issue you need to keep in mind as you adjust your business’s structure, presuming there is technology involved in your adjustments. This is a concept a lot of people vaguely understand or blindly expect, but the true urgency of cybersecurity can sometimes go overlooked. As one article on the importance of cybersecurity in business points out, digital vulnerabilities can not only “threaten personal privacy and information,” but can also threaten financial accounts and lead to a loss of customers. Consider all of those factors together and it’s not unreasonable to suggest that digital security vulnerabilities can cripple a business.
Unfortunately, the threats are becoming greater too. As you may have read in our look at cybersecurity awareness in October (a month dedicated to this awareness), there are some fairly alarming cybersecurity statistics these days. For instance, it’s estimated that $17,700 is lost every minute on fishing attacks, and that 63% of companies report that they experienced compromised data at some point in the past 12 months. Simply put, the more digital our businesses become, the more we need to concern ourselves with cybersecurity. Thus, any change to business structure or operations that involves technology needs to bring about more focus on this issue.
Liability is not in and of itself another digital issue to be concerned with. However, increasingly digital business practices can expose you to greater and broader liabilities — such as those associated with cybersecurity issues or data breaches. Step one, as we just covered, is to address cybersecurity and decrease the likelihood of such breaches. But as you set about changing your business, you should also give thought to any liability protections that may become necessary.
The simplest way to establish some kind of protection from business practices for yourself is to formally set up a Limited Liability Company, or LLC. This is one of the most common types of company structures out there, and its primary purpose is to enable business owners to separate their own assets from those of the business — so as to not be personally liable for business issues. Aside from this overarching step though, you can also explore specified liability insurance that exists to protect business owners from cyber threats and their potential fallout. With these kinds of protections you can ensure that if your business does see more cybersecurity issues as a result of changing structure and expanded digital practice, you won’t be personally responsible.
The final factor we’ll discuss is education, which is absolutely critical when you’re making any changes to a business that is of a digital nature. The basic principle of employee engagement as part of change management is simple: You should avoid treating your employees as children, or even subjects, when significant changes are being made. Instead, you should include them in the process, educate them on the intentions and benefits, and generally keep them in the loop.
This is particularly important where digital changes are concerned. For one thing, adjustments of a technological nature can be particularly difficult for employees to grasp quickly. For another, the potential consequences of a rocky transition include some of those same cybersecurity issues discussed above. To avoid these problems, then, it’s essential to make sure that employee education is part of your effort to make changes.
Keep these issues in mind, and your structural change should be as smooth, safe, and productive as possible.
Written by Aliya Kristin Knott
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