Data Security Tips to Protect Your Small Business

Protecting your business from a breach in your security system is about much more than the software or security company you use. It is also about hiring trustworthy people, have policy in place regarding your security protocols, make sure employees know the protocols, and above all using common sense when it comes to your business. You can your small business or company by following these simple tips:

  1. Identify the kind of information your company is in possession of, what it may be used for, and where it is located. Figure out what information is sensitive material to you or your customers, including credit card information and any documentation on your servers, computers, or laptops. Make sure that information stays within the protection of company servers and is never viewed on personal computers from other locations.
  2.  Furthermore, do your best to keep all sensitive material and information on a small amount of computers, and separated on those computers from company wide employee access. Only give viewing rights to those employees who need the knowledge of that information and make sure they are trustworthy enough to be able to have access to such classified information. If you have hard copies, follow “the fewer the better” rule. The less copies, the easier it is to protect them.
  3.  When you have gathered your data, the next step is to encrypt any data you deem necessary to protect. This could be your most crucial step if your data is mobile. There are a myriad of software options that will help you with this encryption process and you can even hire companies to implement it as well. These companies offer services like encryption, security software, IT services and board portal software. But make sure if you hire a company to do the proper research and call other services who have used them.  Encrypting data allows you the security that if for some reason your security is breached, your data will still be safe due to the encryption process and will most likely not be compromised. Encrypting data makes it more secure.
  4. If you are in a business where you take credit card information or any other sensitive material over the phone or online, make sure you are using a SSL. A secure socket layer encrypts the data and your connection for an added layer of protection while you are online. When taking information over the phone make sure that your employees but the information directly into the system and to never write it down. Even after it is throw away, it is at risk of being used without the customer’s consent.
  5. A major part of keeping your company’s data secure is interviewing and hiring trustworthy employees. You can have all the security software and protocols necessary but if your employees do not follow them or take advantage of your trust, then your system has failed. When interviewing candidates, make sure that you run background checks and get at least three references for all new employees. Ask for at least two references from previous employers and take the time to call and learn about the prospective employees past performance, any disciplinary problems, and verify their responsibility in their previous job. We also recommend doing a criminal record check on any employee. If there are red flags, either give the employee a chance to explain or move onto the next candidate.