What Are Businesses Doing to Keep Your Information Safe?

It seems you can’t go a week without hearing about a security breach at a major retailer or restaurant chain. With giants like Target, Home Depot, Chipotle and others all succumbing to the attack of hackers, you start to wonder if anyone out there really cares and if they are doing anything about it. On the other hand, complacency and overexposure to these news stories lead us to assume nothing on the internet is truly safe, but we’re sure there’s nothing we can do about it.

So why is this a big deal, what is the business community doing to protect you, and how can you help?

The Cost of a Data Breach

While you may think that the only cost a business incurs due to a data breach is the costs associated with rebuilding its network, those are just the tip of the iceberg. According to IBM, a mega-breach (one where there are more than a million records compromised) will cost a company from $40 to $350 million. These costs include lost revenue, the lost time needed to clean the data and recover the information, loss of reputation and the cost of legal investigations.

Of these costs, the loss of reputation may be the hardest one to calculate and the most costly. Good business is based on the trust of the people. Once that trust is lost, it takes time to rebuild. The cost of Data breach is huge no matter what type of business, big or small businesses, once the trust is lost it will cost much and hard to earn again.

What’s Being Done

Many industries put regulations in place to protect consumers, and retail sales are no exception. In order to help retail businesses prepare and prevent cyber attacks, the PCI Security Council was created. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry, and they have set forth guidelines for security and testing of merchant systems.  

One such program requires merchants to have their systems scanned, from the outside, to check for potential vulnerabilities. These scans are performed by an Approved Scanning Vendor. These security companies must pass rigorous testing and audits before the PCI will approve them. These scans can help businesses identify areas in their systems and protocols that might need shoring up to prevent an attack.

What You Can Do

While companies are trying their best to prevent these cyber attacks, as a consumer, you need to remain vigilant as well.

  • Always know who you’re talking to and NEVER give out your personal information to someone who calls you out of the blue.
  • Change your passwords frequently and make sure they aren’t easy to figure out.
  • If you buy online, consider using a special debit card that isn’t linked directly to your bank account.
  • Always use an antivirus software and keep it up to date, especially when shopping online.

In today’s age of internet security breaches and hackers from all around the world trying to steal your information, there are no perfect systems. With the help of organizations like PCI and a little vigilance from consumers, we can help put an end to data breaches and lost revenue.