Data security is as important to a small business as physical security is online today where virtually all computers and electronic devices are connected to both each other and the internet making us and our information fairly accessible at all times.
Because of this, the bottom line for any business with company or client data to protect is that it must be able to maintain a security policy and procedures that are as airtight as possible. Failing to do so can mean anything from competitor theft of your ideas to major and expensive security breaches that can lead to client lawsuits.
Not to worry however – there are some key policies your small business can implement to completely protect their valuable information without breaking the bank in the process.
Limit Device and Account Access
The single most basic security policy of all is limit access to all storage, computing and online cloud based media like email servers and storage databases. You can do this by keeping physical devices carefully supervised and within easy reach of only trusted employees or business partners.
Furthermore, the passwords that guard access to remote accounts like cloud servers, the business emails of clients and other online databases should only be shared with a select number of individuals and not given out to anyone else.
Enforce these policies carefully, make sure they’re understood by all employees and be sure to discipline any transgressions against access limitation rules by your workers.
Use Strong Passwords
Make sure that every computer, mobile device, data application, and company smartphone is protected by password protection through a login prompt or other login security feature. These passwords must be strong, at least 10 to 20 characters long and as full of random words as possible (if you’re using passphrases) or random characters (for more classical passwords).
In the case of passphrases, the words should be truly random and amount to a phrase that makes no logical sense and isn’t found in any book you know of, while in the case of passwords, the random characters you use should be diverse and consist of capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols all mixed together. Make sure your employees memorize these words and phrases instead of writing them down and leaving that information out for everyone to see.
Back Up Your Data
Your online, offline and server based data and client information should all be backed up to at least two different locations and regularly synched so that it stays updated. Ideally, you should use both physical media backup procedures through which you back information to external hard drives and regularly synchronize it on a weekly or monthly basis; between synchronizations, store the hard drives themselves in a safe location away from your business offices. A good example of software you can use to help perform backup and regular syncing automatically for free is the site SynchbackFree which also offers a Pro system to pay to use.
Additionally, you should use cloud storage servers to automatically back up all computer files and sync them with each other on a regular basis. With the cloud option, opt for a company that offers fully encrypted storage servers that use 128 to 256 bit encryption and, doesn’t have access to your information because you and your trusted employees are the only password holders. SpiderOak.com offers double blind encryption, which prevents both third party intruders and the company itself from seeing what’s on your rented cloud storage servers due to encryption.
Use Anti Intrusion Software
As a final security policy, make sure that your computers themselves are protected by protective software. Your servers need to be protected by network based intrusion detection applications and your company’s website or sites protected by strong, highly secure hosting and your own Server security software package. Companies like AVG, Kaspersky and Norton all offer their own products for each of these digital data storage components.
About the author: Carl Petoskey’s knowledge of the technology world spans beyond his work within his own small business. As a writer, he has covered everything from security to internet reliability. When he’s not writing, you can find him reviewing small business services including Comcast’s business class internet services.