Credit card data breach incidents caused mostly by small businesses

A vast majority of data breach incidents that can result in fraudulent credit card debt for consumers were recently found to be caused by small businesses.

Data breaches which expose consumers’ credit card information are caused by independently owned companies about 90 percent of the time, according to a new study by the data security firm Trustwave. The report also noted that this high number can also be partly attributed to the fact that the majority of companies in the U.S. are small businesses.

However, many of these breaches are caused by companies that do not meet Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, which have been conclusively proven to greatly reduce the risk of these incidents, the report said.

“This report clearly demonstrates that merchants do not understand that the risk of a compromise is not equated to the size of their business,” said Robert J. McCullen, chairman, CEO and president of Trustwave.

Often, small companies cannot afford to have a dedicated data security expert on staff, which is one of the best ways to prevent a data breach from occurring.