If you run a small business, then you know you face a lot of challenges that larger organizations have moved past. You’re definitely not alone in the struggle: businesses are considered “small” or “medium” until they’ve moved past 500 employees.
One of the toughest challenges for small businesses in the digital world is data security. While large companies can prioritize their network security, and even hire a team to keep the security up to date, most small businesses don’t have that luxury. That doesn’t mean small businesses aren’t a target, however. Data breaches happen at companies of every size. Even if you don’t collect a lot of customer information, all companies have something data thieves want—including banking information.
Here Are 5 Common Data Security Threats SMB’s Face
If you started your business from the ground up, then you probably just had all of your information on your own computer. Once you’ve grown out of this stage, however, it’s easy to lose track of where and how your data is stored. Make sure you and your managers know where your most important data is stored (on computers themselves, cloud etc) and document the information.
2. Lack of Basic Security Measures
You may only be a small business, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid having official policies—and data security is an important issue, almost like locking your doors at night. Start a security policy that will grow and change with your company. Make sure you have at least the basics in place, like firewalls, anti-malware, keeping computers up to date, and encryption for customer payment information. If you need help with setup and maintenance, hiring outside help for a day or two can pay off for your data security in the long run. Hackers know that small businesses are often lax about data security. Prove them wrong!
3. Uninformed Employees
Hiring the best staff is a priority for all small businesses, but it’s unrealistic to expect your employees to know how important data security is—and how easily data can be compromised. Train your employees on the basics of security, and remind them to be wary of emails that look out of the ordinary in any way. Even web browsing can be dangerous if employees open the wrong sites, so make sure everyone is on the same page about the company’s sensitive data.
4. Natural Disasters
It happens—floods, fires, and other disasters can destroy all the information you’ve worked so hard for in a matter of minutes. To avoid the possibility of devastating data loss, back up your data in a secure location, such as a cloud or in an area away from the business.
5. Old Computers
Technology moves fast, making computers obsolete quickly. But what do you do with your old broken, damaged, or outdated computers? It’s difficult to completely wipe the data yourself, so it’s best to trust your old equipment to a certified IT recycler. Certification programs like R2 or eStewards require that recyclers follow best practices for data destruction, which can give you the peace of mind that your data cannot be recovered from old equipment.
Responsible IT recycling isn’t free, but it is a worthwhile expense for businesses who want to keep data safe from theft and fraud.
Want to learn more about recycling and data security at ICT? Click here to learn more, and let us know how you’re working to keep data safe in the comments!
Author Bio: Ronnie is the Marketing Manager for ICT Asset Recovery. He loves swing dancing, wine, responsible recycling and adventuring around the world. A recent transplant from Texas, he’s been soaking in the Boston scene and diligently working with ICT to promote the message of responsible e-waste recycling.