Ask any upstanding Australian company if protecting their customers’ credit card details is of paramount importance to them and we’d bet big money, pardon the pun, that they are all sure to say a resounding yes.
However, some organisations find out too late, and much to their chagrin, that their IT environments and credit card stores are not as secure as they first thought, with recent global figures pointing to data hacking incidents rising significantly, up nearly 20 per cent in the UK and Ireland in recent months.
The Ponemeon Institute’s Cost of Data Breach Study identified Australia as the second major target for cybercriminals after the United States, as such it is clear that credit card security incidents are rising dramatically in Australia and overseas.
A survey of security experts across more than 100 consumer-facing UK businesses found that they all had credit card details unwittingly stored on IT equipment and servers. As any company who has had to deal with data breaches involving credit card data knows, it does not come cheap, and it can be a public relations nightmare as consumer confidence is damaged. In fact, a 2015 data breach involving department store Target in the US was estimated to have cost as much as $18 billion, including the departure of the company’s CIO and CEO, according to Forbes.
Here, the figures are also on the rise with data breaches involving Australian companies estimated to cost more than $4.3 million, according to a 2014 report which studied data from over thirty Australian companies which were the victims of cybercrime. Last year, David Jones fell prey to hackers with customers’ personal details scooped up. This was just after Kmart had been targeted.
But despite knowing that these incidents are increasingly commonplace and will become more so, local companies have been found to still not invest enough to prevent these credit card security incidents from occurring by having the right solutions and services in place. Indeed, it seems many Australian organisations are still more inclined to mop up after the event rather than spending less beforehand on prevention and financial loss reducing measures.
Some argue mandatory data breach notification laws need to be put in place, while this will assist with IT security funding it is clear that many companies are not aware of better business practices, in particular they are not leveraging advanced information-protecting methods before data breaches take place.
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