Data breaches are now more common than ever. As a business owner, safeguarding your business data is as important as securing your personal information. During data breaches, both your proprietary information and your customer data are at risk.
Data theft has many faces, and it doesn’t just involve hacking your computer or network. It can also occur when employees leak data or when your system crashes or shuts down. While data security may seem like a daunting task, there are some easy steps that you can take to secure your data from prying eyes.
Backup Your Data
No matter how secure or trusted your system is, there are still chances of data loss. In some cases, malware or viruses can delete your data and make them unrecoverable. As a business owner, losing your data is a nightmare and can actually cause you to lose your business.
More than having a backup saved in an encrypted external hard drive, you should also consider the following industry standards:
- Use off-site backup for better security.
- Schedule regular data backup depending on how frequent your data changes.
- Consider how long you want to keep a particular backup. Some data needs getting rid of as you won’t have infinite storage space.
- Regularly test your backups by restoring them and checking to see if the backup works as you intend it to.
Never take your business data for granted. Most systems businesses use likely have a backup option. If this feature isn’t present in your current system, better make some changes now or ask your developer about it.
Be Careful About Giving Access
Sharing data with third-party partners can sometimes be inevitable for businesses. However, you must always protect the data you’ve collected as your customers willingly provided you with these. Never give data access to other people unless it is needed because it’s risky and you don’t know how they’ll utilize the information.
When sharing data with other parties, be sure to put restrictions on how they can access it. For example, employees who aren’t at work can’t access your database from untrusted devices such as non-company-issued mobile phones. Another example of a restriction is limiting the number of individuals who can make modifications on your database to maintain data integrity.
You’ve probably heard about this security protocol, but do you really know what it means? Encrypting data means that no one outside your business will be able to make use of or make sense of the data without the correct decryption password. Hence, your business data is unusable in the wrong hands. Encryption is essential for businesses who handle PII, or personally identifiable information.
Make sure you encrypt the following devices for all-around security:
- Hard drives
- Company mobile phones
- File transfers
- Selected business files
- Office messaging applications
- Portable devices, such as flash drive and external hard drives
Always be sure that you maintain an inventory of your decryption keys and you know which ones are being used.
Do Proper Background Checks
Business owners often overlook this strategy. They invest their time and money on the most expensive antivirus software and firewall, only to find out that the data breach was an inside job. According to research, 70% of data theft in small businesses are employee orchestrated.
There are services you can get which can perform the necessary checks for you. However, if you’re a small business owner with only a handful of employees, you may opt to do this manually. While manual background check can be tedious, it is essential for business security. Here are some ways you can do a manual background check:
- Browse their social media accounts – Check to see their posts and what their behavior is on the Internet. More than anything else, it’s their personality that can help you decide if they fit the role.
- Search public databases – A good example would be the National Sex Offender Registry database, which shows individuals convicted of any sex crimes.
- Check driving history – If there will be driving involved, you can visit your local DMV and ask for a record.
- Verify the information on their resume – This information could be their educational background, certificates, and previous job history.
Doing background checks can also have some legal repercussions, so be sure you’re acting within the boundaries of the law. If you need a more thorough check, it’s best to consult security experts as they are better equipped in handling legal matters.
Data security is vital for any business. A breach in your data could mean losing the trust of your customers. Additionally, the cost of cleaning up and restoring your data can be crippling especially for small businesses. Follow these easy steps to keep your data safe – it’s better to be safe than sorry.