We continue to warn our merchants that data breaches occur every single day. Most are never reported by the media because they happen to small merchants with weak protection, the absence of firewalls, and protocols meant to protect from a breach.
Large companies like Marriott Hotels have experienced IT departments with high-level security measures in place. Yet in September 2018 they found they had been hacked. While the specific incident was limited to their Starwood brand of hotels, a subsidiary, it shows that every merchant is vulnerable and susceptible. If a breach occurs, the merchant is responsible for the damage. This can include issuing new credit cards to every customer whose card was compromised. It will include fraudulent charges on credit cards that were compromised and successfully used in fraudulent transactions. There will also be fines levied against the merchant. In this specific incident, the system was hacked into in 2014 and went undetected until September of 2018. The loss of data is vast, with some 327 million credit cards compromised.
Marriott has agreed to pay for credit monitoring subscriptions for all customers affected by the breach. Can you imagine what the cost on that alone is? Are you prepared to do the same? They have also opened a 24/7 call center staffed by people fluent in multiple languages to assist their customers with any questions they might have about the breach. On November 30 Marriott began the laborious process of notifying every single guest whose card was compromised: another large expense.
We urge you to consider purchasing a Data Breach Plan. The premiums are lower than what you spent for lunch yesterday. The protection could save your business from ruin.
To learn more about the effects of a data breach and just how affordable a Data Breach Policy is, click HERE.