5 Data Security Tips to Protect Your Small Business

27th October 2014

The trend of everything moving online has many advantages and benefits for small businesses. When you run a small business, it can often feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. It can be a real relief to go digital, eliminating the need for printing and handling hard copies of documents. However, this trend also carries with it an increased risk so you need to take steps to protect your business online. As this can be a tricky concept to understand and deal with, below are five tips to help you sort out your data security.

1. Trust the Professionals

Unless your small business is specifically an IT-related business, chances are you don’t have all the knowledge and tools at your disposal to efficiently and effectively manage your online security. This is why it is strongly advised to engage with a managed IT support service such as Keyspace to assist you with this or even take care of it all for you. Just like you’d go to a doctor to get an injury looked after, you should go to someone with experience and training in this field to look after your business’s data security.

2. Recognise What Needs Protecting

An important aspect of protecting your business online is to identify what things actually need protecting. If you don’t do this, you might end up wasting time and money protecting things that don’t require it or leaving sensitive information vulnerable. Items that generally warrant secure protection include anything related to your business’s finances, customer or client databases, login details for your website, and important records pertaining to your business’s activities.

3. Don’t Be Blind to the Inside

Frighteningly, a lot of hacking or information theft incidents aren’t perpetrated by random people beyond your business; sometimes someone on the inside, such as a current or former staff member, is responsible. This can occur intentionally or accidentally. It’s important to restrict the access that your team have to certain business files – a general rule of thumb is to only grant someone access to the files that they absolutely need for their role in the business. Treating your staff well is an obvious way to prevent them from wishing ill upon your company too. A staff member can unintentionally jeopardise your data by accessing it from their unsecured home computer or mobile phone, so appropriate training on internet security is a must-have for your employees.

4. Don’t Pass on Password Updates

We all know that passwords should be of a decent length, contain a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols, and not be something that would be easy to guess. However, it is equally important to frequently update the passwords that you use.

5. Encrypt and Back Up

Encrypting your company’s data means that, even if someone does manage to break through your online defences, they won’t be able to read your files. Backing up your files remotely or on the cloud is essential. This way, if the worst happens and all your files get erased or corrupted, those files can be retrieved from where they were backed up.

There’s no question that the benefits of moving online far outweigh the risks of doing so. And the great news is that, by taking some precautionary steps, you can drastically reduce these risks in any case.

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.