This week’s speculation (and at this point it truly is only speculation) that Home Depot might be the target of a massive data breach is rocking the retail-confidence boat a bit.

When I heard the news, I chewed on the topic of whether data breaches influence consumer buying habits. Studies claim to say yes. And I think common sense backs that up. It all falls under the banner of brand integrity, and big black eyes like data hacks lead to bad publicity and brand injury.  It can be crippling for SMBs that already toe the line of profitability.

Retail and hospitality firms are the popular targets due to their sheer amount of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). But banks are right there too, as are insurance companies, healthcare providers and payers – the list goes on.

Any company should ask itself a simple question: What is the cost of brand injury versus the cost of server hardening and best-practice security compliance? If a company does $30 million yearly in sales, brand injury through a major data breach might easily impact sales by 2% or more in the first year. On the other hand, TxMQ can a company get started with scoping, scanning and even systems auditing for a fraction of that cost.

For a confidential and free consultation, contact company president Miles Roty: 716-636-0070 x228, miles@txmq.com.

Jon Storm began his media career in 1996 with Game Informer Magazine and never looked back. He went on to serve as lead and chief editor for several other national magazine titles and is now a senior content consultant at TxMQ. He makes his home in Fredonia, NY.

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