Liabilities & Security Safeguards

In today’s world, many of us have electronic data stored on multiple devices and in various locations.  Whether that’s banking information, medical information, or in the case of farmers, agricultural data, this data is entrusted to a service provider or managed internally to the farm business.  A common concern expressed is the event of security breaches.  In recent years, security breaches over data have occurred at large name companies causing consumers to be on edge even more when it comes to protecting their personal information.  The final and 13th farm data principle outlined in the American Farm Bureau “Privacy and Security Principles for Farm Data” highlights Liabilities and Security Safeguards.  This principle states thatThe ATP should clearly define terms of liability. Farm data should be protected with reasonable security safeguards against risks such as loss or unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification or disclosure. Polices for notification and response in the event of a breach should be established.”

All parties involved in a contract are subject to various terms and conditions, and when one of the parties fails to perform in accordance with those terms, this is known as a breach of contract.  Often, these breaches are in the form of an inability to securely protect data and information.  ATPs should be clear and concise when outlining these data protections, in addition to what events to notify you about in case of a breach, plus the protocol to rectify the situation.  Some factors to consider when storing data in the cloud or off-site location are:

  1. Prompt notification by the service provider or data management company when a breach occurs.
  2. Details should be provided regarding the situation and the steps you will need to take.
  3. Changing your password / log-in information may be necessary.
  4. Information should be provided about whether your data was compromised.
  5. Look for a company phone number, website or expert you can contact to discuss the details.
  6. Verify that data has been back-up and can be fully retrieved.

As with any contract, liabilities are assumed but should be clearly outline and understood.  Data today is collected by many companies in agriculture and is only growing as digital agriculture evolves within the industry.  With the storage and aggregation of farm business data in the cloud or other off-site locations, this only increases the chances of others wanting access to it, possibly in an illegal manner.  No set of security measures is completely infallible to a breach.  However, the considerations outline in this article are a great way to help ensure that your data is secure and available when you need it.

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About the C.O.R.N. Newsletter

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.