What Small Business Owners Can Learn from the Data Breach at Target

Lately, there have been data breaches of customer security. Companies like Target and Nieman Marcus have recently had breaches of their data where customer information was compromised. As developments in the Target customer data breach continue to unfold, Trend Micro, a leading developer of data security solutions, and its security experts are turning to what is next on the horizon for cyber attacks on other retailers, especially smaller businesses.

Rescue a CEO had the opportunity to speak with Christopher Budd, Trend Micro's Threat Communications Manager about things small business owners can do and future trends in data security.

What can small businesses do to protect themselves? – Small businesses should be careful to not let the Target and other retail attacks distract them. These are likely the result of sophisticated, well-planned attacks specifically targeting these retailers. It’s a type of attack that small business most likely won’t face. Small business face greater threats from broad, mainstream, untargeted attacks. The best things they can do is make sure all computers and devices are running modern security packages and that the operating systems, applications and apps are fully up-to-date.

What do you feel are some future trends in the industry?  – The Target and other retail incidents shows how hard it is to secure proprietary point of sale systems. Target has said they will move to adopt so-called “smart card” technology (sometimes referred to as “chip and pin”). We can expect to see more retailers adopt that. But I think we can also expect retailers to increasingly forgo point of sale systems in favor of systems that use the purchaser’s mobile device, much like we see at Starbucks.

 What advice would you give business owners and entrepreneurs? – Don’t let the headlines distract you from doing the right things to protect your business: running modern security software and keeping up-to-date on your systems. And don’t let the headlines scare you: these businesses face a different set of threats than you do. Good security practices can help keep you safe from the realistic threats you face.

How do you feel cyber breaches like Target have affected business? – These breaches are only adding to the woes that large brick-and-mortar retails are already facing. There was a time when people said they wouldn’t shop online because they felt it wasn’t safe. For these big retails, some people are now saying they won’t shop in their stores because it’s not safe. This can represent an opportunity for smaller retail stores to competitively differentiate themselves though by making customers security and privacy a priority and helping customers to understand how they do so.

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