Local expert gives advice on how businesses can prevent data breaches

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Data breaches are happening across the country. 

9 On Your Side wanted to find out how businesses can keep themselves from becoming victims. 

A data breach is when protected information has been accessed by someone who is not authorized to have that access. 

Delta, Sears, Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord and Taylor are just the most recent companies hit by data breaches. 

“Definitely become more commonplace the last few years because we are all so connected and all the data these days is on the networks and in the cloud, so it is a lot more accessible to hackers.” 

Those hackers are after everything from your identity, credit card information, logins and more. 

“Anything that can be of value to use or sell against them.” 

However, it is not just large corporations that are affected. 

Joseph Martin of Carolina IT Group in Greenville said people are getting attacked now more than ever. 

“In the past we may have gotten a few calls a year and now we get a couple calls or more a month at least and it is increasing,” he said. 

Martin said small businesses are the most at risk. 

“They don’t have the budgets typically to put the protections in place and they are easier to access,” he said. “A lot of companies we have seen and heard of have actually gone out of business either because they couldn’t recover from the data loss or the trust factor of it. Customers stopped trusting them.” 

To prevent losing data and customers, he said it is important to seek professional assistance. 

Partner with an IT firm to establish firewalls and good data protections, as hackers are more sophisticated now, and it takes more than just antivirus software to protect you. 

“It used to be just the underground hackers trying to steal some credit cards, now, it is high level gang organizations from all over the world,” he said. 

Martin said the most important thing is to act proactively instead of reactively. 

“If you don’t have the active protections in place to monitor what is going on, u wont know it until it is too late,” he said. 

Martin said it is the responsibility of the business to keep from getting their customers’ data compromised, but consumers can do their part by actively monitoring their credit. 

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