When it comes to data breaches business owners have false sense of security

A recent national survey of more than 1,500 business leaders conducted by Zogby International on behalf of Identity Theft 911 found that business decision makers possess an alarming “air of invincibility” when it comes to their companies’ potential exposure to a data breach. Suffering a breach ranked last among the biggest business fears behind government fines, lawsuits, bankruptcy and natural disasters.

Forty-five percent admit they are more concerned about data breaches than in the past, however that figure pales in comparison to the fact that 30% are more concerned that they could personally become a victim of identity theft (76% vs. 45%).

While respondents don’t appear particularly worried about being hit by a breach or the damage control it will require, they do consider protection essential to customer service. 86% think safeguarding customer data is a high priority and 83% believe that a breach would definitely have an impact on business reputation.

For all of the stated concern, it appears very little customer/employee protection is being implemented, as nearly two fifths do not have an incident response plan or outside vendor management procedures in place. The survey also found another third does not encrypt customer/employee data that contains personally identifiable information.

Findings include:

  • 34% of the businesses have no tools/procedures in place to detect identity fraud
  • 44% report that a security breach would have minimal to no financial impact on their business with another 22% reporting that they don’t know what the financial impact would be
  • 4% reported that their business had a data compromise and the greatest cause was the fault of an outside vendor followed by loss/theft of hard copy files and hacker infiltration
  • Some of the words that the respondents used to describe the emotional effects of a data breach include “devastating,” “disastrous,” “loss of reputation,” “loss of customer confidence & trust” and “embarrassing.”
  • Some phrases used to describe the financial effects include: “bankruptcy,” “business termination,” and “lawsuits.”

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