The direct costs of a data breach are just the start; the ensuing loss of reputation and loss of customer trust can be damaging as well.
In a Ponemon Institute study on measuring the loss of brand and business reputation after a data breach, 76% of the executives whose companies had experienced a customer data breach said the event had a significant or moderate impact on the business’ reputation. What’s more, it can take a year or longer to restore reputation and brand image after a breach. Can your business sustain a year of business drop-off due to a bad public image? Many small merchants in this situation could not survive.
Consumers absolutely do expect you to protect their financial data. In a recent poll of American shoppers, 88% of the 1,060 people surveyed place the burden of protecting the data on retailers who are collecting it. Consumers who use their payment cards at your establishment place a high level of trust in your business, and that trust can be broken with just one breach event.
If you experience a breach, credit and debit card companies such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and others can refuse to do further business with you. Are you prepared to have a cash-only business? How many of your customers would reduce the value of their ticket or take their business elsewhere if they can’t use their payment cards?
There are numerous reasons why you should care about payment security. Probably the top reason is to preserve the integrity and viability of your business. A data breach has the potential to do costly or even irreparable harm to a small merchant.
Electronic payment systems can be complex but securing them doesn’t have to be. Today there are so many resources and innovative solutions to help you bolster your payment card security. The first step is recognizing that your business can be vulnerable to a breach, even if you have passed a PCI compliance assessment or audit. The next step is to discuss your business specifics with your merchant acquirer.
Find out more in Why You Should Care about Payment Security.