Data breaches and leaks are a relatively new danger to small businesses. There’s rarely a good outcome when something is leaked. If it’s product information, it can result in the competition setting up a counter-punch and diluting your possible sale. Customer information can destroy all goodwill you’ve managed to develop, which can put a hard stop on your growth. It’s in your best interests to use best practices when it comes to protecting information. Here’s how you can do that:
Make a List of Important Documents and Know Who Can Access Them
There’s a lot of information you need to keep track of and secure, such as bank information and product development. Miss out on one and you could find yourself on the fast-track to trouble. Making a list makes sure that you don’t forget anything.
Don’t stop there. Make sure to know who can access that information at will. Not only will this double-check whether or not everyone who needs to know is actually in the know, but it can also make culprits of leaks easier to catch.
Verify Employee Practices
Small businesses are built on trust. If you don’t trust your employees, why put your future in their hands? However, just because you trust them doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes or understand fully the necessity of certain practices. When you’re a small business, you can afford to check out bins and look over their shoulder every now and then personally, but eventually, you’ll have to use a more scalable system. Proper training and occasional testing can serve that purpose.
Never Transfer Important Files Casually
It doesn’t matter what your small businesses uses. Whether it’s on a flash drive, the cloud, or in a bunch of boxes, moving data should be done carefully. Every time something is moved, there’s potential for theft or loss.
When sharing something to the cloud, for example, make sure to use a highly vetted program to assure secrecy and encryption. Only move files when absolutely necessary, whether digital or physical. Have a trusted employee oversee any physical moves to make sure everything gets to the destination safely.
Do Monthly Cleanups
Give an office a month and it’ll pile up with clutter. There will be hundreds, if not thousands, of files that will require sorting and possible removal. It’s not only great for security, but it can also save you tons of hard drive space. Naturally, this can’t be done without some important guidelines.
Which each item sorted, your employees must choose whether to keep it, digitize or archive it, or to destroy it. Lay down some guidelines to help people decide on what to do. If they’re not sure, have them ask you just to be sure.
Make It a Company-Wide Effort
Much like many things in a small business, you can’t do everything alone. The best way to secure your data from leaks and breaches is to make it part of your company culture. Best security practices must be part of their training and onboarding experience. Make it clear to them what’s at stake and why their diligence is of utmost importance.
Don’t leave security training during onboarding. Whenever your security practices are updated, make sure everyone gets retrained to minimize mistakes. Make sure they always know what items are to be kept private.
The unfortunate truth is that nothing will truly ensure your small business’s safety. All these precautions are to minimize instances of data leaks, not eliminate them entirely. Thus, it’s best to have a contingency in place to handle leaks, covering not just how you’ll do it internally but how you’ll face your customers the day after. As the frequency and cost of a Data Breach continues to increase, now more than ever, it’ s important to make sure your business is covered with Cyber Liability Insurance.