If it seems like every time you get on the Internet there's a new story about a hack, a data breach, or how your personal information is compromised, that's because it's true.
Unfortunately, 2014 is the year of the hacker, and retail companies are slowly realizing that their data breach contingency plans are woefully inadequate. That's why 43% of companies have had data breaches in the last nine months alone, according to a report by the Ponemon Institute, which does independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy.
In fact, Home Depot, the new leader in consumer data theft, previously employed as their head of security a man who is currently serving four years in prison. You can learn more about the Home Depot hack here.
Other companies, if they have a data breach plan of action, haven't updated them in two years or more. And that's assuming that they have a data breach contingency plan.
According to the report, nearly 30% of companies don't have either a security response plan or a team in place.
Want to know how many companies have reviewed their data breach plan since it was first implemented? Nearly 40%, which is just under half of the retail companies surveyed.
Did you know that the United States is leading the world in data theft? Last year, the cost of consumer data theft was $38 billion.
To put that in perspective, a stack of $100 bills totaling $38 billion would be over 25 miles tall. That would be 51 of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, stacked on top of itself. And the pile would extend all the way into space.
That's a lot of money.
But it's not all bad news. I have some good news that you need to hear.