As the calendar turned into the 21st century, technology began to become more advanced and widespread. From cell phones to e-commerce, the average consumer is engaging in online transactions at a great pace. However, as the consumer increasingly looks towards the internet in conducting business, the threat of the customer’s information becoming public is greater than it has ever been.
In this modern age, it is important for businesses to secure their customer’s data. No one is immune to the threat of a data breach. The first thing that may pop into the minds of business owners is, it can’t happen to me. After all, when data breaches become public, the average consumer thinks of the data breaches that occurred at the NSA, Target and Ashley Madison. However, cyber attacks and data breaches are more common than most business owners think. Over fifty percent of small businesses have either experienced a data breach or a cyber attack during 2016. As a result of this new threat, the importance of protecting customer data has never been more important for business owners.
Business owners can do two important things to protect the data of their customers. The first thing to do is to have the technology in place to protect their customer’s data. Contrary to popular belief, businesses are more likely to bear the costs of the liability that results from a data breach. Therefore, it is important that business owners have the proper software in place to protect their customer’s data. However, business owners should be reading the fine print of the licensing agreements of their data protection software. Software companies have been settling cases that arise as a result of their software being ineffective. As a result of these settlements, the law has not yet adapted to where the business owner would be off the hook if their data was breached.
The second thing business owners can do to protect themselves from data breaches is to obtain insurance policies to protect themselves in the event or a data breach or cyber attack. The average American doesn’t drive a car without having an insurance policy in place. In this age of advanced technology, engaging in e-commerce without any protection if you turn out to be the next victim of a data breach or cyber attack is no different than driving a car without any insurance. With the right insurance policy in place, business owners are covered for the notification costs, the costs of any forensic investigations, regulatory and legal responses and actions, ransom payments, and any lost revenue that results from the loss of business due to the vulnerability of such an attack. With the right protection, business owners are more likely to not expose their business to the liability associated with data breaches and cyber attacks.
Data breaches can happen to anyone, whether it be consumer, the government, or business owners. Business owners can mitigate the risk of cyber attacks by having the appropriate software in place to protect data and have the proper insurance in order to cover any expenses in case the software fails. By protecting customer data, business owners will be able to adapt to the changes in technology and rise to the challenge of doing business in the 21st century.