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Data breaches are a threat to every business. They erode customer confidence and expose sensitive information that leaves businesses vulnerable. In addition to credit card and banking information, hackers can also go after intellectual property and business-to-business data.
The Cost of Data Breaches
Recovering from a data breach can be a public relations nightmare and cost-prohibitive. According to the 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study, businesses that suffer a breach spend an average of $154 per lost or stolen record.
So far this year, the Identity Theft Resource Center has detected 551 data breaches, which exposed more than 150 million records. Those breaches affected all kinds of organizations, from financial institutions to medical facilities. However, out of those there were 218 businesses, making them the predominate target of these types of breaches.
In addition to the financial costs, companies are also forced to deal with loss of trust and a damaged reputation. To remain viable, businesses must reassure customers that their data will be taken care of and protected. In a competitive world, customers who don’t feel valued and safe will take their business elsewhere.
How to Protect Your Business
Given the frequency of data breaches and the high cost of stolen data, all businesses need to protect themselves and their customers. Even though no data security plan is 100 percent foolproof, businesses that make security a priority and remain diligent about their safety plan have a reduced chance of falling victim to a cyber-attack.
Here are some essential steps every business should take to lower their risk of experiencing a data breach.
Proper data security requires both a financial investment, as well as time, but the costs of protecting data are far less than the price businesses pay if they experience a breach. Make it easy for customers to put their faith in your business by doing everything you can to keep sensitive data out of the hands of hackers.