The growing threat posed by data thieves and a couple of high profile security breaches at some major retailers have made data security top of mind for consumers, businesses, financial institutions and policymakers. According to Visa, small merchants represent 99 percent of their total merchant population, and data security breaches involving payment card information occur at small businesses more frequently than all other merchant levels combined. A recent survey commissioned by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) found that: * 57 percent of small businesses do not see securing customer data as something that requires formal planning, and * 39 percent say they rely on common sense to keep data safe. In addition, * 61 percent of small businesses have never sought out information about how to properly handle and store customer information, which has resulted in the storage of customer and employee data that could be used to perpetrate fraud if it got into the wrong hands. The payment card industry and small business advocates like the NFIB are taking these issues very seriously and working together to apply stringent data security standards for small businesses. Of highest priority is verifying that small businesses are not retaining prohibited cardholder data (including magnetic stripe data, CVV2 and PIN data) after transaction authorization. According to Rosetta Jones, this is precisely the kind of data most sought by hackers because of their use in counterfeiting payment cards, and merchants who store this sensitive data are placing a big target for criminals on their businesses. Mike Diegel, National Director of NFIB and Rosetta Jones, Vice President for Visa USA provide data security advice to the small business owner and the consumer. They also provide information on the number of small businesses in your state. More about Mike Diegel and Rosetta Jones: Mike Diegel is the National Director of the NFIB, an organization whose role is to provide small businesses a voice in governmental decision-making. Rosetta Jones is Vice President of Corporate Relations at Visa USA, and an expert in the areas of security, privacy and consumer protection.
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