Now that you are doing something you love, running your own small business is an adrenaline rush! On the practical side, there are a number of things you must do and securing your data is top of the list.
Quotations, documents, CAD designs, email correspondence, e-commerce transactions, accounting invoices and more exist in today’s cyber world, where hackers can easily get their hands on it.
Here are some tips that you, as a small business owner can implement, to secure your data and give you one less thing to worry about.
1. Start with the old fashioned paper work
This may sound like common sense, but in a busy day simple things get overlooked. Sensitive documents should not be left lying on a desk. You never know who may step into your office. Filing cabinets should be suitably locked or stored in a strong room and only trusted people should have keys. If a document reaches end of life, put it through the shredder, do not toss it into a waste bin.
2. Screen and background-check your employees
As a small business owner, you may not be able to afford the services of a professional recruiting agency. You will have to ensure that you get references on the prospective employee’s resume and call the previous employers. Check their criminal records and credit history. An employee with a devious past could become a security liability in your company.
3. Focus on electronic data
With a large number of computers and laptops being used, sensitive data tends to land up all over the place. Allocate specific computers only for sensitive information and ensure that they are password protected. With today’s software, layers of password protection can adequately protect data from being accessed by the wrong people. Use an encryption tool to scramble data, so that it cannot be understood if it falls into the wrong hands.
4. Make secure backups
Leaving data on a hard drive without backups is probably one of the most reckless things you can do. If the drives crashes or the computer is stolen or damaged, everything will be lost. If you are backing up data locally on site, ensure that this is done regularly onto a removable drive. Label each drive and store away in a locked safe. From time to time, make sure that the data can be properly restored, you don’t want to discover after a disaster that is unreadable.
5. Put your electronic data into the Cloud
For extra peace of mind, storing your data with a professional cloud hosting company is the ideal solution. This will cost money but it will be well spent. These companies offer secure data servers with state-of-the-art encryption, regular backups and fail-safe procedures. You will have access codes to log in and you need not worry about computers crashing. No matter where you are, your data is accessible and safe.
6. Limit employee access to the Internet
You don’t want to be a slave-driver, but allowing employees free reign to play games, download apps and surf the Net opens you up to attacks from viruses, malware, spyware and other electronic programs that can destroy your data. Make sure that you have firewalls and anti-virus software that is always up to date and that you limit employee access to work-related or trusted websites.
7. Install a VPN
When you have many computers in an organization it becomes necessary to network them, allowing employees access to data on one another’s machines. This brings with it new security issues and concerns. Using a wireless network like WPA2 offers extra security. Moreover, installing a VPN or Virtual Private Network, is a professional option that is handled by an outside specialist company like Secure Thoughts. These networks offer the highest levels of data encryption and cutting-edge security against hackers.
Losing critical electronic data will have a severe impact on your day-to-day business. Take the necessary steps to protect it!