If you run a small business, you know the importance of protecting your business data. Your business data can include customer information, confidential information about your business, and your company’s intellectual property.
It’s, therefore, crucial to have your business data protected at all times. Unfortunately, data breaches are more common than we may think.
So how do we protect our business data from these data breaches? We’ve prepared this guide to show you how.
The Guide to Protecting Business Data
The first thing we are going to suggest is that you invest in network security. If you invest in network security, you can be assured that your data server will be less impenetrable by hackers.
Once this is done, you are ready to move onto the next steps:
1. Write A Backup Strategy
You should write a backup strategy that should be distributed amongst your staff. This will outline the procedures that they should take to back up their files on a regular basis.
For example, you can advise them to back up their files every Friday to a cloud storage server. You can also give each staff member an external hard drive. They can be required to regularly back up their files on this hard drive.
You can also create a spreadsheet or document that lists all of the files that your company has. You can include which staff member is responsible for which files and include a timestamp of when the files were last backed up.
2. Malware and Viruses
The next step is to protect all of the computers from malware and viruses. If either malware or a virus infects your computer, it can immediately access all of your data.
Make sure to install the best firewalls to fight against these infections. You can also look for security software that can monitor your computer activity. These can warn against downloading suspicious files from the internet.
You also want to make sure that your staff always clears their inbox of spam email. Often, spam email can contain malware and viruses that can easily spread throughout a computer.
The first step is to install a password manager for all of your company’s computers. These password managers can save your passwords onto an encrypted application. This makes it more effective than writing down passwords – which should never be done.
You also want to make sure that your staff changes their passwords on a regular basis. You can recommend that they do this every month. They should provide written confirmation to a supervisor that they have done so.
It’s also imperative that the passwords are difficult to access. You want your staff to create complex passwords that a hacker will not be able to easily learn. You should ensure that a password is as long as possible. Ideally, it should never be less than eight characters.
Your passwords should contain a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters. It should contain numbers and special characters. You want to make sure it doesn’t contain any common words or phrases. You can also use your password manager to autogenerate a difficult password.
4. Wi-Fi and VPN’s
You want to make sure that your Wi-Fi is secure. Only choose a Wi-Fi connection that is from a reliable internet service provider. Make sure you also password-protect your Wi-Fi connection. Your password for your internet connection should also be complex and only accessible to your staff. If possible, change your password as regularly as possible.
You should also have a VPN installed on all of your company’s computers. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to access the internet while hiding your browsing activity from potential hackers.
5. Precautions For Working Remotely
You may want to consider letting your employees work remotely if possible. This can increase productivity and efficiency. But if you do, you must also take precautions so that your business data is secure on your employee’s personal computers. We recommend looking through resources for preparing for remote work.
You should have files stored on a cloud storage service. This way, files are not saved on a personal computer. You can use applications such as Zoom and Skype for having virtual conferences. Make sure that you password-protect these conferences so that they are secure and less prone to hacking.
You can also recommend your staff members to install a service on their office computers and their personal computers that can track the location and monitor of these devices. An example is the Prey Project which can track the location, remotely backup files, and also delete files if the device is stolen. This application can also work on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
6. Always Use the Latest Software
You should encourage your employees to always use the latest software. Usually, a software update brings added security and has fixed any bugs or glitches that may exist in an application.
If you put off a software update, you may make your application and your computer more prone to attacks. Make sure that your employees are always using the latest version of an application.
You may also want to shop around for different applications. If there are multiple applications that serve the same purpose, make sure that you consider the security features of the application. Always choose the application that has the best security features.
7. Use Cloud Storage
You should always have at least two different cloud storage solutions for your data. Cloud storage is a great avenue for creating and storing files. These files can be accessed remotely.
If your computer and external hard drives crash, you can always recover files from cloud storage services. Make sure that all of your files are password-protected. As with your other back up methods, make sure that your company backs up files on the cloud on a regular basis.
Each employee should have their own folder on both (or more) cloud storage services that can be accessed only by them and administrators.
Protect Your Data
Now that you know how to protect your business data, you can make better decisions to ensure that your company’s information is always safe. Follow this guide and share it with your staff.