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Cyber Security

After A Mega Data Breach, Monumental Leadership

The severity and volume of data breaches increase with each new year. In the first half of 2018 alone, conservative estimates are that 4.5 billion data records were compromised. Public and private enterprises from Sony’s PlayStation Network to the San Francisco subway system have suffered monumental and well-publicized breaches.


It remains one of the biggest data security breaches in American history. The victim was Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation’s largest processors of credit and debit card payments. Their approach, nearly a decade later, remains the gold standard in breach response and leadership.


Working in close collaboration with LEVICK, Heartland contacted all 155,000 of its customers within the first four days of the breach. It accelerated the development of encryption technology to prevent future incidents and shared critical security technology information with competitors to provide industry-wide solutions.


Industry analysts and the media were unstinted in their public praise of how the breach was handled, while the share price nearly tripled from its low point during the crisis. The company’s response stands as an enduring leadership model to this day.