Down with Data Breaches

shutterstock_121238500Protect your business and customer data from cyber thieves

Data breach. You’ve probably heard the frightening phrase thousands of times, but if you think it could never happen to your pest management company, think again. As cyber attacks continue to grow more common and increasingly sophisticated, every single business is at risk.

In a data breach, critical business information or customer data is lost because of an accidental release or stolen through a criminal act, such as theft or hacking. The Identity Theft Resource Center reports that there were 783 recorded data breaches in 2014 alone. Of course, the most publicized incident that year was the massive Target data breach. Hackers stole 40 million consumer debit and credit card numbers from the major retailer during the holiday shopping season.

Not only do these incidents cause irreparable damage to a company’s reputation, but cyber attacks are also incredibly costly. According to estimates by the British insurance company Lloyd’s, cyber attacks cost businesses as much as $400 billion a year. This steep price tag includes direct damage plus post-attack disruption to the normal course of business. Because most cybercrime incidents go unreported, some researchers say this figure is actually closer to $500 billion or more.

This is why cyber security should be a top priority for every business, including pest management companies. “Our client base is our company,” emphasizes Court Parker, COO of Bug Busters USA. “Whether your client information is in the cloud or in a computer, you’ve got to protect it. Because if you don’t have your client base, you’re out of business.”

So what’s your best defense against a data breach? It all comes down to education, preparation and careful planning. “Every company, large and small, that collects consumers’ personal information is at risk of a data breach,” points out Megan Delaney, principal with Dentons US LLP, the world’s largest law firm. “The best thing a company can do to protect itself is to face this new reality and prepare.”

By Amy Bell

Click here to read more.