Hardware Retailing

SEP 2016

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | September 2016 68 Small Businesses and the Threat of Data Theft Y ou've read the stories about data breaches, but are the numbers too big to hit home? In September 2014, Home Depot confirmed that hackers used malware, or software designed to steal digitally stored information, to access payment card information from more than 40 million customers. The discovery of the breach began a rapid reaction from the retailer's IT team, and launched a project costing hundreds of millions of dollars to find the breach, increase security and recover from the damage. "The Company's IT security team has been working around the clock with leading IT security firms, its banking partners and the Secret Service to rapidly gather facts, resolve the problem and provide information to customers," Home Depot reported two weeks after discovering the data breach. This breach hit a massive retailer and garnered extensive media coverage, but data theft is a threat to every retailer. And when small companies are the targets, the damage can quickly put them out of business because they don't have access to around-the-clock teams to help them recover. The following numbers should be more revealing of your retail operation's data security risks. In 2015, 30 percent of data breaches occurred in the retail sector, and 43 percent of those attacks were against businesses with 250 employees or fewer, according to research from Symantec, a data security company. The danger to small businesses is growing as massive companies, such as Home Depot, invest millions of dollars to beef up their data security. Small businesses like yours, then, remain more accessible, and become more appealing targets, to cybercriminals. BREACHED

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