ONE cyber-attack…one slipup from even a smart, tenured employee clicking on the wrong e-mail…can open the door to ABSOLUTE FINANCIAL DEVASTATION, and undo everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Take the story of Michael Daugherty, former CEO of LabMD. His $4 million Atlanta-based company tested blood, urine and tissue samples for urologists – a business that was required to comply with federal rules on data privacy as outlined in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. 


     He HAD an IT team in place that he believed was protecting them from a data breach – yet the manager of his billing department was able to download a file-sharing program to the company’s network to listen to music, and unknowingly left her documents folder (which contained over 9,000 patient files) open for sharing with other users of the peer-to-peer network. This allowed an unscrupulous IT services company to hack in and gain access to the folder and use it against them for extortion. When Daugherty refused to pay them for their “services,” the company reported him to the Federal Trade Commission, who then came knocking. After filing some 5,000 pages of documentation with Washington, he was told the information he had shared on the situation was “inadequate,” and the FTC requested in-person testimony from the staff regarding the breach, and more details on what training manuals he had provided to his employees regarding cybersecurity, documentation on firewalls and penetration testing. (QUESTION: ARE YOU ACTUALLY DOING ANY OF THIS NOW?)


     Long story short, his employees blamed HIM and left. Sales steeply declined as clients took their business elsewhere. His insurance providers refused to renew their policies. The emotional strain on him – not to mention the financial burden of having to pay attorneys – took its toll, and eventually he closed the doors to his business, jamming medical equipment into his garage where it remains today (image below).