It's been almost a year since Target's Black Friday data breach, which resulted in the theft of names, credit card numbers, email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of 70 million of its customers.

This means that the affected customers' free year of credit monitoring is coming to a close, but security experts recommend that consumers remain vigilant, since thieves sometimes retain data for years after the initial theft. 

Last year, Target's holiday sales were negatively affected by the breach, so the company is taking extra precautions to keep its systems secure this time around.

For example, Target is bringing a new executive onboard in an effort to solidify security and cyber-defenses. Jacqueline Hourigan Rice will start acting as Target's senior vice-president, chief risk and compliance officer on December 1. Rice was recruited from General Motors, and will be responsible for handling corporate security and compliance. Additionally, Target is expected to be one of the first major companies to transition to chip-and-pin systems next year. 

The massive security breach proved to be costly for the company, with customers questioning whether executives neglected certain security precautions that might have prevented the attack. 

If your a retailer entering the holiday season, it's important that you maintain your system defenses. This is a crucial time of year for sales and customer loyalty and trust, so install the latest credit card processing software to ensure safe transactions. A data breach, no matter the scale, can take years to resolve. It's much easier and more efficient for companies to upgrade their systems before any such attack occurs. 

Make it a productive and safe holiday season for your company and your customers by remembering to update the security on your point of sale systems.