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More than half of Canadian small businesses have never sought information about how to properly store electronic data, and 41% believe "data thieves and hackers" are unlikely to target them because of their smaller size, according to a survey Visa Canada released today. Visa Canada conducted the survey to underscore the risk of fraud associated with data storage as part of a series of fraud-prevention workshops it is offering this month to business owners in Canada. In the online survey, conducted this month among 885 Canadian small-business owners with one to 250 employees, some 52% of respondents said they have never investigated proper data-storage methods and 24% said they do not know where to obtain information about how to improve data security. Sixty percent of small business owners surveyed said they maintain electronic files containing customer information, and 39% said they ensure that information is password-protected. Another 39% ensure that data are both password-protected and encrypted and 8% ensure that data are encrypted, according to the survey. "Regardless of the size of the enterprise, it's important for business owners to appreciate the importance of data security and what steps they should take to protect their customers and business," Gord Jamieson, head of payment system risk at Visa Canada, said in a statement. Ipsos Reid conducted the survey for Visa Canada between Feb. 2 and 9.

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