6 Steps to Complete Data Protection for Your Small Business

6 Steps to Complete Data Protection for Your Small BusinessDoes your small business need a data protection solution, but you’re not sure where to begin? Here are six steps to get you started in the right direction:

1. Know What to Protect

Before you can protect your data, you have to know when it’s collected, how it’s created, where it resides, and how it moves. This includes identifying hardcopy information as well as electronic data. Make sure you can account for every document and digital file that contains the following information:

  • Employee and client records
  • Trade secrets and proprietary information
  • Financial records
  • Marketing information

All information, no matter the format, is susceptible to disaster—and easy pickings for individuals with malicious intent.

2. Identify Risks and Your Tolerance Level

Data protection begins with identifying the risks to your information as well as your tolerance to them. Your business has a unique risk profile based on the services it provides, the information it uses, and the privacy breach threats common to your industry. The Federal Trade Commission and Small Business Administration offer excellent tools for assessing your company’s unique data breach risk profile.

3. Take Physical Security Measures

After identifying the risks to your information, you can take the right physical security and protection measures. First, use a commercial records center to store your confidential paper documents and files. The right facility will keep your information secure with features including:

  • Perimeter fencing with barbed wire and monitored access gates
  • Internal and external surveillance cameras with recording
  • Security guards
  • Magnetic release locks to restrict movement until identity is verified manually
  • Security badges for staff, contractors and visitors
  • Records center access restricted to background-checked records management professionals
  • Comprehensive fire suppression system with in-rack sprinklers

When it comes to protecting your business and customer information, only the best will do.

4. Post a Privacy Policy

Every company needs a privacy policy to let its customers know how their data is protected. Key provisions of your plan should include the type of data collected, how it’s used, and the steps taken to ensure collected information is not compromised. Your attorney can help you create a policy that meets legal and regulatory requirements.

5. Establish Backup and Recovery Processes

Solid backup and recovery processes allow for data to be quickly reproduced if stolen or destroyed. Backup and recovery strategies vary from business to business based on budget and resources. Cloud backup offers the perfect data protection solution for organizations with limited information technology resources. With cloud backup, your digital information is automatically backed up and uploaded to a secure data center for digital storage. Data encryption ensures secure transmission.

If backing up your information offline, be sure to invest in a media vaulting and rotation service to make sure your digital storage media is properly protected and preserved.

6. Train Your Employees

You already have the best form of data protection: your employees. They are your first line of defense. Keep them informed and prepared, and your information will be safe. Data protection training should include:

  • Phishing attack awareness
  • Creating strong passwords and changing them frequently
  • A Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy
  • Procedures for securely accessing confidential data

If you’re serious about protecting your information, the eight steps we’ve mentioned here will help implement an effective data protection plan for your small business.

Richards & Richards provides data protection solutions for Nashville businesses. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.

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