Netherlands-based digital security firm Gemalto released a report this month, announcing that data breaches increased by 49 percent in 2014. 

The report went on to say that nearly 1 billion data records were compromised in 1,500 attacks over the course of the year, representing a 78 percent increase in the number of data records lost or stolen in 2013. Identity theft was the most common type of attack, with 54 percent of the breaches involving the theft of sensitive personal information. This data included names, email addresses, passwords, banking information, health details and Social Security numbers.

According to Gemalto, less than 4 percent of the data that was stolen was encrypted. This means that encrypted data is much more secure from the advances of hackers, and it also means that the majority of companies, organizations and retailers are not yet encrypting their information. 

The retail industry was seen to suffer the most breaches of any sector, increasing from 55 percent of total breaches last year from 29 percent in 2013. 

"We're clearly seeing a shift in the tactics of cybercriminals, with long-term identity theft becoming more of a goal than the immediacy of stealing a credit card number," Jason Hart, vice president of cloud services, identity and data protection at Gemalto, commented to The Wall Street Journal.

If you're concerned that your company's data isn't as secure as it could be, try upgrading your credit card payment software so that you can rest assured you're engaging the most sophisticated and cutting-edge technology to protect your customer's personal information and your company's reputation. Cybercriminals will never stop trying to hack into retail systems, which is why it's crucial to keep your point of sale system updated.