THIS ISSUE'S HEADLINES

Medical Second Opinions in the Digital Age: When a Tumor Isn’t a Tumor

Business Succession Planning is Not “One Size Fits All”


Industry Spotlight: Construction Industry


Artificial Intelligence – What the Developing Landscape Means to Your Business

Podcast Series Launched on Cybersecurity – How to Protect Your Business from Cyber Crimes


MEDICAL SECOND OPINIONS IN THE DIGITAL AGE: WHEN A TUMOR ISN’T A TUMOR

Cybersecurity researchers have recently created a computer virus that was able to trick three radiologists into thinking their patients had cancer. The researchers were also able to fool automated screening systems by altering images and scans to place fake “tumors” on them, or by removing real tumors from actual scans which showed advanced disease. These images and scans were vulnerable because they were not digitally signed or encrypted. The researchers also found that while hospitals have done a good job in preventing the spread of confidential patient information outside their facilities, they have not done as well in handling data internally with care. This has left hospitals and other medical facilities vulnerable to intrusions by malware and other viruses that could wreak havoc on patients’ sensitive medical data.

Although it’s too early to tell what impact these vulnerabilities will have on patient care, it should be alarming to all of us on several levels. First, interpreting radiological scans requires a high level of skill and judgment in what is already a complex and nuanced process. If a patient or radiologist cannot trust the integrity of the data underlying a particular scan or image, then certainly any conclusions reached on it will be viewed with some level of skepticism. Second, as more people learn that malware and viruses can make it look like a patient has a tumor or cancer when he or she is perfectly healthy, we should expect a sharp increase in the number of patients seeking a second opinion or additional scans or tests because they do not trust the initial scan or interpretation, perhaps out of an understandable sense of grief or denial. This will cause increasing burdens and costs on an already over-burdened and expensive health care system.

Finally, we should expect to see more and more hospitals threatened by ransomware and cybercriminals who demand payment in exchange for not corrupting the hospital’s radiological system. Given the stakes in play – life, death, and potentially unnecessary treatment – hospitals and other medical providers would be well-advised to plan to prevent and address these new cyberthreats in the medical landscape. For further information, contact PLDO Partner Brian J. Lamoureux who focuses on commercial litigation, employment law, and social/media and cybersecurity law. He can be reached at bjl@pldolaw.com or 401-824-5155.

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BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING IS NOT “ONE SIZE FITS ALL”

Succession planning has different meanings depending upon whether one is referring to a change in ownership of a business, transfer of an estate or developing a management team to take over for an owner desirous of retiring. In the business context, succession planning is not limited to the preparation of wills and trusts in an estate plan or providing equity compensation to key employees.

Each circumstance is unique and requires independent evaluation on multiple levels. For example, a succession plan for a closely held business should be designed to identify a leadership team capable of implementing an orderly transition of ownership and manage the business effectively subsequent to the transfer. When selling the business to an outside third party, there are essentially two buyer groups to consider: economic buyers and strategic buyers. Each of these types of buyers come with different factors to consider, as does planning for a transfer to key employee(s).

There is no "one size fits all" technique available for the transfer of ownership of an enterprise. The process requires careful planning and proper documentation in order to implement the plan successfully. In his latest advisory, PLDO Managing Principal Gary R. Pannone provides practical insight into the types of ownership transfers that exist and examines the features associated with each. To access the advisory, click on Business Succession Planning is Not One Size Fits All. To contact Attorney Pannone with questions about succession planning or other business matters, please call 401-824-5100 or email gpannone@pldolaw.com.

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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Construction in all areas is a growing industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With barriers to enter the industry relatively low, the likelihood of a crowded marketplace is created. Although the main concern of an owner of a construction company is to secure the next job and have a comfortable backlog, in today’s marketplace, owners are confronted with multiple issues that require proactive attention if they are to succeed. As is typically the case in businesses of all types, the more competition that exists, the more difficult it becomes to sustain strong margins that can often result in less available resources to reinvest.

Moreover, the construction industry will always be challenged in managing profitability, productivity, project performance and finding skilled labor, all of which are essential to remaining viable. To be competitive, owners’ adoption of best practices is important, while investing in technology is critical to maintaining high levels of productivity, eliminating waste and mitigating the adverse impact of on-site surprises. Successful construction companies manage challenges rather than react to them. Ultimately, this approach delivers successful projects and increased profits.

As part of PLDO’s “industry spotlight” series and to assist construction company owners or those entrepreneurs considering entering the industry, PLDO Managing Principal Gary R. Pannone provides two construction industry focus papers highlighting considerations, challenges and solutions construction company owners should be aware of. To access the focus papers, please click on Owning a Construction Company and Challenges in the Construction Industry. For more information about the construction industry and related business and legal issues, please contact PLDO Managing Principal Gary R. Pannone at 401-855-2601 or email gpannone@pldolaw.com.

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – WHAT THE DEVELOPING LANDSCAPE MEANS TO YOUR BUSINESS

The Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry is rapidly emerging as one of the most interesting new advancements likely to impact a broad array of industries. AI is well beyond the nascent stages of development, and is quickly taking center stage as a gateway profit maximizer for forward-thinking business leaders. In short, AI has arrived.

While the roots of the current wave of technologies stem as far back as the 1950’s, current related advancements have provided both the critical rationale and the technical underpinnings for today’s advancements. Industry observers will recall that as recently as three to five years ago, the buzzword in the technology space was “Big Data,” springing out of advancements in the Internet and media fields. As defined, Big Data describes the gathering and storage of previously unimaginable amounts of data across virtually every consumer platform. The subsequent issue was not a lack of data, but rather, a need for new and faster tools to effectively manipulate and use that data, without which Big Data collection and storage was meaningless. The new computing architectures that have been developed to solve this problem define the essence of today’s Artificial Intelligence.

PLDO Partner and business attorney Kas R. DeCarvalho explores the adoption of AI to solve business challenges, identifies the array of active uses of Artificial Intelligence and provides insight into navigating legal and regulatory issues associated with AI in his advisory, What the Developing Artificial Intelligence Landscape Means for Your Business. For more information about Artificial Intelligence or other business matters, call Attorney DeCarvalho at 401-855-2601 or email kd@pldolaw.com.

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PODCAST SERIES LAUNCHED ON CYBERSECURITY – HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BUSINESS FROM CYBER CRIMES

Cyberattacks are on the rise, with industries and organizations reporting rampant increases in phishing or business email compromise and a majority of Americans having personally experienced a major data breach. According to The Ponemon Institute’s CRI survey of IT business leaders, 80 percent of respondents anticipate a critical breach or successful cyberattack in 2019.

To address the heavy risk and cost of a breach in a company’s operations, PLDO and Citrin Cooperman have teamed up to produce a series of original podcasts dubbed “Cyber Crooks and Crime,” featuring PLDO Partner Brian J. Lamoureux, a leading voice and frequent commentator on social media and digital law and cybersecurity legal issues, and Kevin Ricci, CISA, CRISC, MCSE, QSA, a leader in the cybersecurity practice at Citrin Cooperman.

The podcasts take a deep dive into the cybersecurity landscape, how hackers behave and how best to make informed decisions to safeguard and protect an organization’s customers, employees and brand. Listeners will learn how to avoid falling prey to phishing emails, what factors to consider when conducting cybersecurity training, the real cost of a cyber incident to a company’s bottom line, the components of a cybersecurity plan and its importance to reducing the risk of litigation following a breach, legal issues regarding privacy rights and data protection, best practices when considering outsourcing cybersecurity and why cyber crooks are growing in numbers and how social media has given rise to the acceleration of cybercrime. Each month a new podcast will be released along with collateral material and other updates. To access the podcasts and other informational resources, visit Cyber Crooks and Crime. If you have questions about your organization’s cybersecurity strategies or legal issues, call Attorney Lamoureux at 401-824-5100 or email bjl@pldolaw.com.

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Corporate & Business Overview

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