Simple Data Security Tips for Small Businesses 

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Data security should be a top priority for every company. Customer lists, payment information, payroll data, sales history, and many other things are all valuable targets that those with malicious intent will aim for. The protection of this data is one of the core responsibilities of each business. This article will look at simple, yet effective, methods for keeping data safe. These methods are simple enough that all small businesses can employ them. Read on to learn more.


Know What Data is Sensitive and Where It is Kept

Identifying sensitive data is the first step to keeping it safe. Any sort of data that provides sales insights, financial information and customer information should be of the highest priority to keep safe. If customers learn that their personal data was mishandled, they will often terminate their contracts with small businesses. Additional information such as trade secrets and upcoming products and events are also a high priority to keep in a secure state.


Isolate Sensitive Data

Once the sensitive data has been identified, ensure that it does not flow freely throughout the office network unnecessarily. If the computer storing the sensitive data is also the same machine that is being used to answer emails, then one should strongly consider separating the data into two different locations. Also, be mindful of which employees have access to what information. The mishandling/theft of data by employees is becoming a growing problem in today’s digital world.


Utilize the Most Up to Date Security Software

Keeping your anti-virus and anti-malware applications up to date is a tedious task, but it is absolutely essential for keeping data safe from outside intruders that may be looking to access your network. Encryption software should also be used to encrypt all types of sensitive data.


Use Strong Passwords and Update Them Regularly

It is best to use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols in a password. A longer password is also more secure than a shorter one. Avoid using phrases and words in passwords that are directly related to your employees or your business. Passwords should be updated at minimum of once a year. Password managers can be a very effective way to keep passwords secure and up to date.


Physically Protect Data Behind Lock and Key

The physical side of data security is often overlooked, since most malicious attacks come virtually. However, the physical protection of data is just as essential. An unknown thief breaking into your business and attempting to steal data in the form of computers or hard drives is unlikely, but employees have been known to take advantage of sensitive data if it is in plain site. Remove the opportunity for data to be stolen - keep computers and filing cabinets behind locked doors, and only give the necessary employees access.

Another important step to remember is to physically protect any sort of mobile device that leaves the safety of your business. Laptops and phones can easily be stolen if not attended. Try to keep them on you at all times, or at the very least, lock them to the location they are being used by purchasing a laptop lock.


Research Third Parties Before Outsourcing to Them

Just because a third party has been in operation for years does not mean they have a security and privacy policy that is acceptable to your business. Research the policies of any third party before trusting them with storing your data. Remember that you are ultimately liable for any customer data that is leaked, and as such the small business has the most to lose when it comes to the loss and theft of data.


Closing

Data security is not a complicated process, but it does require diligence and effort. If the tips above are followed, your data will become much safer, and extremely hard to steal or hack. Attackers are looking for an easy score, and any business that utilizes proper data security will quickly send attackers looking elsewhere.

 

 

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