data security

What do you know about data protection? Even if you’re just a newbie, that’s okay. Today, we’re going to cover a few common questions small business owners often ask.

Here they are in random order:

1. What makes data security so important for your business?

You know the obvious one – to protect the confidential data of your business and the clients it serves. Beyond that, however, is the law. Now, it depends on what industry you’re in, but data protection law can be very strict in the healthcare and financial field, for example.

2. How do you prioritize data protection needs at your business?

It’s not simple, and it can even be fairly complicated if you have a small 2-5 employee business. Basically, you’ll want to take an inventory of all the types of data you have, all the physical sites you store data at, the potential data security risks, and the costs and benefits of different security measures. If this sounds like a complex time-consuming process your business can’t squeeze in, you can always hire an outsourced IT vendor to help you.

3. What Should You Be Doing for Data Security at a Minimum?

When it comes to the data itself, follow the rule of “less is more.” If you don’t need the data, don’t collect it or get rid of it. Give access to sensitive data only to those who absolutely need it. Make sure you have a strong password policy – avoid dictionary words, make users have numbers, letters, and symbols in their passwords.  Force every user to have a unique password, and make sure all users change their passwords every 1-2 months. Use at least some antivirus and spyware protection as well.

4. How Should You Destroy Electronic Documents?

You should purchase a data wiping tool because it permanently removes the old information. It writes new, completely useless information over the top of the old information. Magnetic degaussing uses very strong magnets to remove the magnetic coding that stores data in hard drives. It’s also affordable to use as well.

5. What Do Your Clients/Customers Need to Know about Your Data Security Policies?

A couple things for sure:

    • If you are encrypting information anywhere, let them know you are doing it.
    • Get third-party verification (an official seal) that shows your website has the necessary security precautions in place.
    • Above all, make sure you do what you say you are doing.

If you do those 5 things, you’re off to a good start. But remember, cyber criminals are working hard every day to stay ahead of your data backup, security, and protection measures. Implement your policy, test, and refine it regularly to make sure your private data stays safe.

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Learn more about the author Bob Martin