Data breaches are becoming increasingly common and more dangerous. As an organization, you need to do everything in your power to protect your business data. Not only could someone use it against you, but you may also suffer legal consequences.
Your employees and clients have the right to keep their sensitive information confidential, and if you leak it, even accidentally, you will lose their trust too. Moreover, you need to protect your business from negligent data loss, especially when it comes to the documents you keep offline.
Here’s how to keep your business data safe, both online and offline.
Protecting your online data
Nowadays, most information is kept in a digital format, and organizations are working on digitizing most of their hefty folders for practical reasons. This format can be difficult to keep safe if you don’t know much about digital security. Here’s how to keep your online business data safe.
Use cloud storage
You may think that keeping data on your own servers is safer, but in reality, it’s far from that. If anything happens to your hardware, you’ll lose everything. On the other hand, cloud storage allows you to keep your data online and access it from anywhere with the correct authentication steps.
Of course, before you perform a cloud migration, you need to make sure you’ve found the right provider. Ask them about their security policies and procedures and look up user reviews online. Cloud providers usually employ layers of security measures to keep data centers safe, so you will never have to worry about anything happening to it.
Have strong passwords
Wherever passwords are required, make sure they are strong. You need to make sure each employee understands the importance of a good password because a weak one can lead to their accounts or profiles being compromised by malicious hackers (or anyone, really).
What’s more, people have a tendency to keep their passwords on a sticky note right on their desk. Strongly discourage this habit, and instead, introduce password managing platforms, such as LastPass, where they can keep all their passwords securely in one place.
If you want an extra layer of security, even with strong passwords, you should always use two-factor authentication. In essence, this is an extra piece of information (or even more pieces, if you use multi-factor authentication) employees are required to provide before they can access the data.
This second piece of info can be a code sent directly to the employee’s phone via text. They then have to enter it along with the password to gain access.
This way, even if a hacker gets their hands on the username and password, their attempt at a data breach will fall through because they won’t be able to complete the authentication process.
Make sure your network is secure
However, all of the above will mean little if your network is not secure. If you don’t have an in-house IT person or team, you should consider hiring an expert to discover any potential vulnerabilities and threats to your network.
Aside from performing regular network audits, you should at least set up a firewall and have the latest anti-malware software installed on all the devices.
If your employees use their own devices or take the business ones home, make sure they know they shouldn’t use other networks when accessing sensitive business data.
Keeping your offline data safe
As you can see, keeping your online data safe is not that difficult, but as we’ve mentioned, keeping sole copies of your digital information on your own hardware is not recommended. When it comes to physical copies of documents, there are also steps you can take to protect them.
Have a security system in place
You absolutely need to invest in a solid security system for your offices. It’s best to go for a wireless system that can alert you of any intrusions in real-time and no matter where you are.
These systems come with a variety of features, and you can choose them based on your needs. The most common features include door alarms, motion sensors, and smart locks.
You should also install cameras in critical places so that if a breach occurs, you can rewind the footage and see exactly what happened.
Destroy documents you no longer need
Under no circumstances should you crumple old documents containing sensitive information and toss them into the trash. This kind of negligence is a godsend for the so-called dumpster divers, who may find a crucial piece of info about your company and abuse it.
Instead, you should shred all the documents you no longer need and ideally, take the shreds to a recycling facility immediately. You may buy an office shredder, or you can use shredding services. The latter option is the best since these professionals have powerful machines and make sure everything is properly destroyed.
Beware of any fire hazards
Are all your installations safe? Is there anything that’s a serious fire hazard in the office? Did you know that sunlight reflected off of shiny surfaces can start a fire? There are so many things that can go wrong and start an office fire that will eat through your documents in no time.
That’s why you need to keep your important files somewhere safe. If you have many such papers, it would be wise to invest in a fireproof safe. That way, even if there is a fire despite your best efforts to prevent it, your data will be safe.
Limit access to confidential documents
If only a select few employees should have access to some data you store online, that’s easy to arrange by providing them with the unique authentication info we’ve talked about earlier. However, with paper documents, this may be more difficult to accomplish.
You can limit access to the physical copies of any documents by keeping them under lock. Whether you have a dedicated room, cabinet, or drawer for confidential papers, keep them under lock and provide only the select few with the key. You can also reinforce the security of these spaces with cameras.
About the author: Michael Deane has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.