How Companies Protect Your Data

Maybe you’re good at protecting your identity. But what about everyone else?

Have you ever left your home, turned the corner and suddenly wondered whether you left the garage door open or the back door unlocked? It’s triggered by a natural desire to keep your home secure.

But when it comes to your identity, you trust your security more than you think—with the stores at the mall, hotels, airlines, restaurants and a lot of other places that process, store or transmit your personal information. How sure are you they’re as committed to your protection as you are? Listen to this:

A 2011 Data Breach Investigations Report from Verizon and the U.S. Secret Service Agency found that 89% of companies who had personal information data breaches in 2010 were not compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.1

Hacking accounted for half of all data breaches in 20101, so this level of security leaves the door wide open to the theft and misuse of your sensitive data.

But they’re getting better, right?

With increasingly sophisticated technology, you would think these organizations are making a more concerted effort to protect your valuable information, but the results are pretty bleak. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard lists 12 requirements for breach security. For companies experiencing breaches, the level of compliance actually declined in eight of those requirements.1

What can you do?

It’s difficult for consumers to pressure organizations to be compliant, but there are steps you can take to minimize the impact of a potential breach.

  • Frequently monitor online and monthly account statements to confirm transactions are accurate
  • Regularly check your credit to confirm that no suspicious account applications or forms of credit have been applied for

Until more organizations enact effective proactive data protection against breaches, you’ll have to do what you can to make sure you are protected.

1 2011 Verizon RISK Team Data Breach Investigations Report

Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.

Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.