How to Protect Your Customers and Your Business From Data and Document Security Breaches

A week rarely passes with no mention of yet another data theft or security breach affecting thousands of businesses and millions—even billions—of consumers around the world. As you probably know, Superior Business Solutions has been helping companies run their businesses more effectively for nearly 100 years now, through managed print services, sales enablement tools, promotional products and more. But we also help customers protect their data and documents. We understand a data breach could lose your customers, garner bad PR and cause considerable harm to your business.

Poor data and document security can threaten the livelihood of any sized business. I’ve seen plenty of other examples of small, even “mom and pop” shops that have suffered the consequences of ignoring the problem. And it affects every industry. Victims have included the U.S. Air Force, cities in Oklahoma and Arizona, and Chili’s Restaurants. Even Lifelock—the biggest name in identity theft protection—left its customers vulnerable to exactly that.

That’s why, starting today, I’d like to spend the next few posts bringing you up to speed on data and document security. We’ll look at the biggest or most dramatic breaches that have happened so far this year. I will also provide some suggestions on steps you can take to insulate your business against a similar breach and help shield your customers from this type of major inconvenience and worse.

Data in Danger in 2018

For data and document security, you need to know the facts. Cyber attacks cause many of them; hackers seek to steal personal data or terrorize a business. But at other times, employee errors or poor company practices can create a difficult situation.

According to leading information protection sources, 2017 was the worst year yet for data breaches. But the figures for 2018 have already surpassed last year’s total. So obviously it’s critical to stay up to date on protection policies. Let’s look at some of the “biggest” breaches so far this year. Here are my picks, in no particular order. They are based not only on the number of personal records involved in each case but also on the familiarity and ‘household name’ status of the businesses named. I find it eye-opening.

A Top Ten List No Business Wants to Be On

  1. Facebook

You obviously heard about this one, with its Cambridge Analytica component. This social media platform ultimately told some 87 million members that their data and engagements on the platform had been shared without their consent.

  1. Aadhaar

This one wins internationally for sheer size. Exposed by reporters, this service in India made it possible to access personal information on every one of the country’s 1.1 billion citizens. It even offered software to print an ID card for any stolen identity.

  1. Jason’s Deli

With 275 locations in 28 states in the US, this family-owned deli found out the hard way that protecting credit card data for customers is a must. In January of this year, they experienced a breach impacting 164 locations and as many as 2 million customer’s credit cards may have been compromised.

  1. MyHeritage

A popular online genealogy site found that 92 million records had been breached, copied to a private server outside the company’s network.

  1. Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor

The parent company (Hudson’s Bay Company) currently faces a lawsuit charging compromised security. A hacker offered five million stolen credit and debit cards numbers for sale, and they were tracked back to transactions with these companies.

  1. Ticketfly

This Eventbrite subsidiary ignored a hacker’s warning of a site vulnerability. In response, the hacker vandalized the website and caused 27 million records to be breached.

  1. Panera

Because of a weakness in the company’s website, as many as 37 million customer records were stored in an easily stolen form. The company claims a far smaller number of records were involved, but information security experts believe the larger number to be accurate.

  1. The Sacramento Bee

Hackers seized two databases owned by the newspaper. One contained contact information of subscribers, and the other held California voter registration data obtained from the Secretary of State. Consequently, 19.5 million records were breached.

  1. Exactis

Perhaps you’ve never heard of this company, but they probably know about you. This Florida data-aggregation and marketing firm exposed nearly 340 million consumer records, including personal and, in some cases, extremely sensitive information, on a public server.

  1. ComplyRight

Many mall and mid-sized businesses depend on this cloud-based firm for tax preparation. It suffered a data breach that exposed records of 662,000 people and businesses. Exposed material contained social security numbers as well as other personal information.

Make Data and Document Security a Priority

In my next few posts, I will outline some things you can do protect your business and your customers. You have enough to worry about; get data security off your plate. Make sure you come back next week to learn more.

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