What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

This is the first in a series of four brief summaries about what small business owners need to know about data breach risk and liability.

Many small merchants are surprised to learn that they can be held liable for tens of thousands of dollars in fines and other expenses when a data breach occurs. What you don’t know can hurt you.

The owner of two small Chicago-area magazine shops received an email from his credit card processor, telling him that MasterCard had identified a compromise within his electronic POS system. Following an investigation, the processor claimed the breach was the result of the lack of basic security on the merchant’s part. A year later, he was still paying off more than $22,000 in expenses his business incurred as a result of the breach.

Could something like this happen to you? Absolutely. Small businesses experience compromises every day. Even though the volume of electronic payment data that passes through small merchants’ POS systems is relatively small, it’s low-hanging fruit to a cyber-thief who doesn’t have to work to obtain that poorly protected data.

Your business is at risk of a data breach if your measures to protect this data are inadequate.

You can read more in Payment Card Data Breaches: What You Need to Know About Your Risk and Liability.