Small businesses have access to various types of big data these days and they are using it in all sorts of ways to connect better with their consumer base. Big data has changed the way business owners work with their consumer bases, making it easier than ever to offer them exactly what they want and need. But when you have such a wealth of knowledge through these various forms of data, how do you store and protect it to keep your customers safe?
If you process any data about your clients, employees or vendors you are actually legally obligated to protect that information under the Data Protection Act. The Data Protection Act specifies that you must only collect information that you need, you must keep that information secure and ensure it is relevant and up to date as well as only hold the data you need for as long as you need it and allow the subject of the information to see it on request.
Always Back Up
You should always back up your information just in case your computer or software crashes. Backing up makes sure that you always have access to the information you have gathered. Having a cloud system or using a company like Box or DropBox to keep data in the cloud is an easy way to keep constant access to all of your files. Backing up is smart in case of theft or disaster.
All of your data should be protected by passwords that change quarterly. All computer systems that have access to any of the data your small business holds should have password granted access. Be sure to make your passwords hard, by adding a capital letter, a number and a symbol and also be sure to never share any of your passwords with anyone. Every employee should have their own password, this helps you verify who is accessing your data.
Never give anyone whole access to all your data, doing so gives them the power to completely rob you blind! Keep detailed records about who uses your data and how they use it to create a trail in case any files end up lost or stolen.
If you are keeping data onsite you must encrypt it. There are a lot of applications and databases you can use to create data encryption for your systems. Encryption safeguards against hackers and also prevents stolen data from being compromised.
Don’t Leave A Paper Trail
Although paper files cannot easily be lost or stolen, it is not smart to keep print outs of all your data. Physical proof of data can get thrown out, or be copied and easily stolen. If you are going to keep data on print be sure to use secure shredding services when you get rid of any information.
Protecting your data doesn’t just mean protecting your files from malware and viruses. It also means making sure that any data you receive, analyze and use should never leave or disappear from your servers. Be wary of theft, internal copies, hackers and leaking information. As a small business you need to protect all of your valuable data and all the valuable data you are able to get from your consumers as well to guarantee safety for both parties involved in the consumer relationship.