Business owners should know the value of confidential information. Not only does leaked data harm company reputation, but it can also damage finances if customers decide to take their money to a more secure firm. Here are 5 ways you could be risking your data security on a daily basis.
Throwing documents in the bin
Gone are the days when you could tear a piece of confidential paper in two and chuck it in the waste bin, happy that it will never be looked at again. Now, the Data Protection Act 1998 states that a business must take appropriate measures against the unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data, and this means destroying certain documentation. Anything that holds personal information like addresses and contact details need to be destroyed securely, as do other documents like bank details or employee application forms. Failure to do this could put your company at risk of a hefty fine as well as prosecution.
Not backing up
We all know that it is important to back up your documents, but how many of us actually do on a regular basis? It has been said that no piece of information is safe until it is stored in three places, with a master copy, a back-up copy and a second back-up copy all necessary to prevent loss of data. Paper documents in particular should always be scanned into a computer, and copied to an external hard drive or a secure server. By taking these steps to protect your files, you will ensure that the loss of any important information is not irreversible.
No anti-virus software
Anti-virus software is a necessary part of keeping your information secure, because it prevents your computer from being hacked. This is particularly important if you have a large number of employees who will be visiting a variety of websites on a regular basis and downloading files.
Keeping your files onsite
All businesses, large and small, can collect unmanageable amounts of documentation and files over the years. Whilst some of these will be redundant and never used again, many need to be kept just in case they are required at some point in the future. However, keeping on top of these records is a mammoth task, and often takes up valuable time that would be better spent elsewhere. And if old files are not looked after properly, it can be easy for security to be breached. Many companies use offsite document storage to solve this problem. Document storage companies will archive your old files for you in secured premises, and can return them to you within hours of a request.
Not putting a password on your documents
Passwords are a crucial part of keeping your data secure, particularly when using a computer. They are an easy way of making sure than only authorised personnel have access to certain confidential documents. By not putting a password on your data, you run the risk of someone getting hold of crucial company information and leaking it to competitors. And whatever you do, make sure you use a different password when necessary, that is not easy to guess. Random password generators are a good way of providing difficult codes that will not be cracked by your average person. Finally, store your list of passwords somewhere safe, not on a piece of paper on your desk!
Chloe enjoys writing, and currently works as a writer. One day, Chloe would like to have her own novel published which she is working on in her free time.
Photo Credit: Gordon Joly