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Number of retailers citing data breaches as risk factor up to 91%: Survey


The percentage of retailers who are concerned about data breaches has almost doubled since 2009, with 91% of retailers now citing it as a risk factor, says a survey whose findings were released Friday.

The 91% compares with the 85% who cited it in last year's survey — and is more than double the 46% who cited privacy concerns related to security breaches in 2009 as a risk factor, according to the eighth annual survey by Chicago-based accounting firm BDO USA L.L.P. of risk factors listed in the most recent 10-K filings of the 100-largest public U.S. retailers.

BDO will publish the full survey in about a week, according to a spokeswoman.

Among risk factors related to information technology, privacy concerns were listed as the eighth-biggest concern of retailers, according to the statement issued by BDO. Listed as No. 7 was implementation and maintenance of IT systems, cited by 92% of retailers.

The top risk factor, cited by 100% of the retailers, was general economic conditions, followed by federal, state and/or local regulations, cited by 99%, and competition and consolidation in the retail sector, which was cited by 98%. U.S. and foreign supplier/vendor concerns were cited by 96%, as the fourth-largest concern. No. 5 was labor, including health coverage. union concerns and staffing, cited by 94%, while the No. 6 spot was dependency on consumer trends, cited by 93%.

Earlier this week, the Arlington, Virginia-based Retail Industry Leaders Association announced the launch of an independent organization, the Retail Cyber Intelligence Sharing Center, in cooperation with several retail brands, to strengthen defenses against cyber attacks and protect customers.