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As a business owner, should you change your registered agent?

As you probably know, every corporation is required to have a registered agent. This person (or entity, in some cases) is the one who accepts important legal documents (such as lawsuits) on the business' behalf. But after designating a particular person, company, or even yourself as your business' registered agent, you may face a need to change that designation.

Here are a few common scenarios when that might be necessary:

In the wake of the large-scale hack of Sony Pictures late last year, businesses have begun implementing security measures to prevent being victimized by a similar attack.

As Bloomberg reports, unlike previous data breaches, which were primarily focused on financial data and trade secrets, the Sony hack included the release of a large amount of personal information on Sony employees. This information included details on employee pay, medical records, and confidential correspondence between Sony employees.

What can businesses to prevent similar data breaches from occurring in the future? Here are three ways some businesses are improving their data security:

When it comes to business contracts, there are generally three different types: express, implied, and quasi-contracts.

A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties. In many cases, a contract is an actual written document, signed by both parties. But this is not always necessarily the case.

What are the differences between express, implied and quasi-contracts?

Think your work emails are completely private? Think again. They may not be so confidential when your company gets dragged into court.

Uber's Chief Executive Travis Kalanick found this out the hard way when a federal judge ruled that the rideshare company had to disclose Kalanick's emails in a California lawsuit accusing the company of deceiving customers. Fortune reports that last week's ruling upheld an earlier ruling by a magistrate judge allowing executive emails to be reviewed for evidence of Uber's tipping practices.

Does this mean all your business' emails are fair game in a lawsuit?

Thanksgiving has been a battleground for retailers over the last decade, with consumerism encroaching ever-closer to many Americans' holiday traditions. But maybe we should be paying closer attention to our smartphones than to Black Friday ads.

According to studies by IBM, mobile devices accounted for "over half of all online traffic on [Thanksgiving]" on retail sites, The New York Times reports. Jay Henderson, director of IBM Smarter Commerce, called mobile use "a new Thanksgiving tradition."

Does this mean that mobile shopping is Americans' newest holiday tradition?

In addition to the obligatory personal New Year's resolutions, it's a good idea for small business owners to set some fresh goals for their companies in the New Year as well.

After all, businesses, like people, need to grow over time. And any mistakes, missteps, and missed opportunities made in 2014 should serve as motivation for business owners to improve going forward in 2015.

To that end, here are five New Year's resolutions for small business owners:

One of the goals of Free Enterprise is to inform employers about how to legally deal with employees, both in company policy and on an individual level.

Being an effective small business owner sometimes means firing employees, accommodating disabilities, and improving morale -- all while complying with state and federal labor laws. This may seem like an impossible juggling act, but in the past year, Free Enterprise covered most of the basics.

For 2014, here are our 10 most popular blog posts about handling employees:

Should you allow your employees to take a nip (or three) of egg nog during work hours this year?

The boozehounds over at The Huffington Post seem to think so, declaring that a little bit of drinking at work could go a long way. As Hemingway might have said, getting a little buzzed at the office might actually help your staff get their creative mojos working.

But legally speaking, is it a smart idea to allow drinking at work?

You have locks on your doors, and probably an alarm on your building. But do you have the same kind of protections on your business' data?

The debilitating hack of Sony Pictures earlier this month provides the most recent evidence that shoring up cybersecurity safeguards should be a priority for businesses of any size. And with the growing amount of data being stored in the cloud, the ability of hackers to access sensitive customer or financial data may be increased if proper security procedures are not followed.

So what can you do to keep your business' data safe? Here are five tips:

The NLRB has filed 13 complaints against McDonald's, accusing the fast food giant of allowing employees to be fired for participating in protests or union activity.

McDonald's is being drawn in to court as a "joint employer," meaning that the NLRB wishes to hold the company liable for the alleged labor violations of its franchisees. Reuters reports that the complaints made by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will be heard by administrative law judges in March.

What is McDonald's being accused of?