5 Things Small Businesses Should be Doing to Protect Their Information

small business securityFor small business owners, taking precautions to protect information serves many valuable purposes. In addition to being necessary in complying with local and federal laws, securing private and personal data can also help to prevent theft or misuse of that information and keep private data or company secrets from falling into the hands of the competition. The following are the top 5 steps small businesses can take to ensure their data is protected.

Keep an Up-To-Date and Strictly Enforced Privacy Policy

As businesses grow and begin taking advantage of technology to store private information, it is vital to keep a strictly enforced privacy policy that is strictly enforced. In general, it is wise to keep one written privacy policy for staff and a second one on the company website for clients and users to access with ease. This way, there are no questions about what is to be expected by the staff or what clients can expect from the company itself.

Maintain Strict Password Policies

By far, one of the easiest ways to ramp up security throughout a small business is to maintain a strict policy requiring strong and secure passwords for all online accounts. This should include email, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or other social networking services that the company is using.

Updated, Secure Anti-Virus Software

It isn’t uncommon for small business owners to have somewhat of a casual approach to IT security, frequently thinking that their business is too small to become a target for a computer virus. In contrast, small businesses are just as likely to become victims as larger businesses and once the damage is done, it can be both costly and time-consuming to repair. Keeping an up-to-date anti-virus software can help to protect against vulnerabilities in security.

Hire a Hacker

That old saying, “fight fire with fire” holds some truth in the business world. One of the most effective ways to fight and protect against hackers is to hire one. Contrary to belief, not all hackers have intentions of stealing private information. Having a knowledgeable hacker on the staff can be significantly helpful in ensuring there are no security vulnerabilities in computer systems that others might be able to take advantage of.

Keep an Updated List of Devices

In addition to computers inside the business, wireless printers, smartphones, pc tablets and laptops are all vulnerabilities because they store information that can be hacked and stolen without the proper protection. Keep a list of devices that is updated regularly and be sure that users are signed out of private accounts when they are not in use. Because some of these devices are portable, it is critical to encrypt information and backup everything onto a flash drive information and data can be salvaged in the event that the device were stolen.

With all of these steps in place and carried out in action, small business owners can maintain greater security over private and personal data. Finally, by keeping the staff informed and educated on the proper procedures to follow in the event that information is compromised, a company is much better able to ensure that information is protected and retrievable at all times.

About the Guest Author

Bruce Smith is an IT consultant who specializes in working with small businesses.  He contributes frequently to tech blogs like The Best Small Business Web Hosting.

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