An Overview of Data Protection for the Small Business
Did you know? 71% of security breaches target small businesses. In light of this, for this blog post we will focus on the following aspects of data protection for small businesses:
- Software Updates
- Data Management
- Data Sharing
- Data Storage
A strong password is the first line of defense for protecting company information. Passwords, when combined with usernames, are also used to identify users within a network or customers to your online company store for example. Passwords play such an important role in the security of our businesses that a lost or compromised password can really cause headaches for everyone concerned.
Here are a few tips you should consider for password protection:
- Use strong unique passwords for each system, website, and service that you use. Encourage your staff to do the same thing.
- Use a password management tool like LastPass to manage your password lists. (LastPass can also be used to generate random strong passwords.)
- Change your passwords every 30 to 90 days.
- Keep your passwords to yourself. Don’t write them down in obvious places or share them with others. If you are having trouble remembering your passwords, try picking the first letter of each word in your favorite song. For instance: IGBWALHFMF is “I get by with a little help from my friends”
- Protect your networks and other devices (laptops, smartphones and other data endpoints) with strong passwords too.
You may be asking yourself: Why are software updates so important? Updates are really important for several reasons such as solving problems with software (aka bugs), solving security issues (aka backdoors), or keeping your system current on its antivirus software (specifically virus definitions).
Here are a few tips to consider to keep your business software up to date:
- Automate the update process whenever possible.
- Stay current on software releases and be sure to register the software your company uses.
- Use a cloud-based backup provider to keep multiple versions of files backed up in case you need to roll back to a specific point in time.
It is important to know what data you have and where it is kept. Here are a few tips with organization in mind:
- Devote some time towards understanding and organizing the data you have.
- Organize company information with security in mind.
- Make sure to coach your staff to use folder or file naming conventions and abbreviations consistently.
Data sharing has become ubiquitous in the modern business environment thanks to services like Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox. It is vital that business owners and managers know what data is being shared, where, and with whom. Also, the most important thing to remember about data sharing is that it is not equivalent to data backup. Shared files can be overwritten by collaborators and therefore, cannot be relied upon in the event you need to recover data following a service interruption or natural disaster.
Endpoint devices and hardware used to store business data can fail or be stolen. However, with the rising popularity of cloud-based backup and storage, companies have more options than ever before for storing data. These options are typically more cost effective and efficient than traditional methods. No matter what method of data storage you use, be sure to employ the strongest end-to-end encryption possible.
Backups are vital for business continuity. Should disaster strike, how quickly your company is able to resume operations may ultimately determine the lifespan of your business. When reviewing the backup needs of your business, make sure your backup solution service provider can address the following issues:
- The ability to leverage existing infrastructure — for example, a cloud backup and recovery solution doesn’t require buying or installing expensive equipment as it takes advantage of your existing network.
- Set it and forget it — once you select a backup schedule, company data is saved automatically, providing a transparent solution.
- Tape backup shortcomings — tape backups are often expensive, vulnerable to obsolescence and can be lost or stolen when being transported off-site.
- Improved recovery time objectives — by using a managed backup service, the speed and reliability of your recovery and restore will be governed through your Service Level Agreement.
- Smarter use of IT resources — a cloud backup and recovery solution, as an example, will allow your business to redirect IT resources to more pressing challenges within your organization.
- Backup Lifecycle Management — this is a key feature of cloud backup and recovery solutions as it aligns the value of your data with the cost of protecting it. As the value of your data declines over time the cost of protecting it also declines providing you with additional cost savings.
All companies, regardless of size, would be wise to consider data protection a top business concern. Cloud-based backup and recovery solutions help to level the playing field for the small business as costs are scaled as your business grows. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.