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22 February 20244 minute read

Ten best practices for your digital transformation journey

Digital transformation is critical for businesses to stay competitive and meet the ever-evolving needs of today's digital age. However, digital transformation brings with it a wide range of legal risks.

Here we offer ten high-level best practices to help guide you on your digital transformation journey.

  1. Keep ahead of the online regulatory curve. Avoid legal repercussions by staying abreast of industry-specific laws, regulations, and standards that apply to your digital initiatives, such as the Electronic Signatures and National Commerce Act (ESIGN), Uniform Electronic Transaction Act (UETA), Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), CAN-SPAM Act, Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), or Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), among others.

  2. Comply with data privacy laws. An essential aspect of regulatory awareness is to ensure you are complying with relevant data protection laws, such as financial services laws like the Gramm Leach Bliley Act (GLBA), health data laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and privacy laws like Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), among others. Implement robust privacy policies, obtain necessary consents, and establish processes for handling customers’ personal data in a secure and transparent manner.

  3. Protect your intellectual property. Safeguard your IP rights by implementing appropriate safeguards. This includes securing trademarks, copyrights, and patents for your digital assets and putting in place confidentiality agreements with employees and third-party vendors that will shield your trade secrets.

  4. Appropriately license digital content. If your digital transformation involves using or distributing digital content, ensure that you have appropriate licenses and permissions. Images, videos, music, and software are typical areas of concern. Avoid overreliance on fair use and seek legal advice if necessary.

  5. Consider your customers. If your digital transformation involves e-commerce, familiarize yourself with consumer protection laws and regulations effective in and otherwise applicable to the jurisdictions in which you operate. Avoid engaging in unfair and deceptive acts and practices, and address issues like online delivery of product disclosures, product liability, online sales taxes, pricing transparency, and refund policies.

  6. Labor relations matter, too. Your digital transformation will have an array of impacts on your employment and labor practices. Ensure your company is complying with labor laws regarding remote work, employee data protection, employee classification (eg, independent contractor versus employee), and any local regulations governing the use of digital tools and monitoring.

  7. And so does accessibility. Digital assets – websites and applications, for instance – also need to be inclusive for those with disabilities and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are among resources that can help you mitigate the risks of discrimination in this area.

  8. Check your contracts. Review and update your contracts with suppliers, partners, and customers to account for digital transformation initiatives – on your side and on theirs – such as for the use of electronic signatures and records online or with a mobile device to ensure enforceability in accordance with global eSignature laws. Also include provisions that address issues like ownership of digital assets, data usage, liability, and dispute resolution in the digital context.

  9. Make a cybersecurity plan. Develop comprehensive cybersecurity policies and incident response plans to mitigate the risks associated with cyber threats. This includes regularly assessing vulnerabilities, implementing appropriate security measures, and setting out a clear, responsive plan in the event of a data breach.

  10. Call your lawyer. It may be valuable to consult with legal professionals who concentrate on technology and digital transformation to ensure compliance with the specific legal landscape in your industry and jurisdiction.

For guidance on your digital transformation journey, please reach out to any of the authors.