Do I Need a Terms of Use and Privacy Policy?

Do I Need a Terms of Use and Privacy Policy?

Protecting Your Customers and Business

Small businesses aren’t small business in Indiana. Did you know there are over 500,000 small businesses in our state? And nearly half of all Hoosier employees work in the small business sector, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration last year. At BB&C, we are passionate about helping these companies thrive. We consider it part of our job to protect and guide Indiana business owners. That’s why today we want to talk to you about two hot topics for anyone running a business: online terms of use agreements and privacy policies.   

With nearly all companies having an online presence these days, business owners need to be aware of the ever-changing landscape around privacy and data. Current regulations, guidelines, and legal precedents arise frequently and it can feel hard to keep up. Creating online legal agreements for your business to address these issues is a smart move.

Terms of Use

Sometimes also known as a service agreement, terms of service, terms and conditions, or user agreement, this legal declaration sets forth any necessary rules or guidelines surrounding the use of your business’s website or app. This might include info like:

  • Licensing rights
  • Important disclaimers
  • Copyright protections
  • Billing and subscription info
  • User account info
  • Rules or regulations

Clearly addressing this information in writing for users not only helps inform their experience with you, but can also protect you legally in case of customer abuse or misuse.

Privacy Policy

These days, the FTC doesn’t hesitate to go after businesses of all sizes who violate customer privacy, even if it’s unintentional. If you collect or use any personal information from the users of your website and/or desktop/mobile apps, you must have a privacy policy in place. Personal information includes data like customer names, email addresses, birthdays, mailing addresses, and phone numbers. Here’s what a privacy policy often covers:

  • What specific info you are collecting
  • How you are gathering the info
  • Whether you share the collected data (and if so, how and with whom)
  • How you are using the info you collect
  • What security measures are in place to protect the data
  • How a user can review and change their info
  • Storage locations and how long the info is kept

While it might be tempting to lump both of these agreements together for simplicity’s sake, it’s best to keep them separate. And both should be visible on your business website (preferable the homepage) and any mobile or desktop apps. These agreements should also be regularly reviewed and updated as needed. There are templates and online form generators available, but having an experienced attorney draft language specific to your business makes the most sense.

With a little guidance, you can have your business and financial future better protected in no time. Reach out to Cecelia Neihouser Harper at 765-637-9175 to get started or learn more.

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