While the volume of data breaches declined in 2009, data breaches at businesses—as opposed to the government or non-profit sector—are on the rise. Better Business Bureau recommends that small business owners take steps to protect their data and also develop a plan of action in order to react quickly and reduce the damage if a data breach does occur.
There were more than 498 reported data breaches in 2009, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. While this is an improvement from the 657 breaches in 2008, unfortunately, the share of data breaches occurring in the business sector, specifically, increased to 41 percent.
“Even when a company takes all necessary precautions, a data breach can occur as the result of a malicious attack or employee error,” said Alison Southwick, BBB spokesperson. “The key to limiting the damage—and retaining customer trust—is to develop an action plan in case a data breach does strike your business.”
Resolving a data breach can be costly to a business, not only because of the time and energy spent resolving the issue, but also due to the number of customers whose trust in the business was lost in the wake of the breach. According to U.S. Cost of a Data Breach Study released by PGP Corporation and the Ponemon Institute, data breach incidents cost U.S. companies $204 per compromised customer record.
BBB recommends that small business owners take the following steps to prepare the business and reduce the damage in the event of a data breach:
BBB and partners Symantec Corporation, Visa Inc., Kroll’s Fraud Solutions and NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association created Data Security–Made Simpler, an online resource to help small businesses implement key data security policies and practices.
Data Security—Made Simpler was created by BBB in collaboration with two nationally-recognized data security experts, Dana Rosenfeld and David Zetoony.
Small business owners can get additional free advice and tips on improving data security from BBB at www.bbb.org/data-security/.