To obtain approval and funding for security improvements, bank technologists often have to make their case by pointing to losses from recent security breaches. But calculating those losses can be tricky.

The effects can be far reaching, from the hit to companies' and individuals' reputations and careers (take, for instance, Target's firing of CEO Gregg Steinhafel), morale and stock value, to the heavy toll on the customer service, operations and technology teams working around the clock to fix the problem. These intangibles come on top of the obvious costs, such as chargeoffs due to fraud, the expense of reissuing cards, and the loss of customers freaked out by the breach.

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