New technologies have given small businesses valuable tools to help them survive and thrive. The ability to access email remotely, download files and log on to company networks through secure connections - not to mention laptops and mobile devices - have all increased efficiency and productivity. In short, technology is now a crucial element of every business. But with these advances come pitfalls. Having more devices accessing networks can lead to an increase in security threats and data loss.
Costly and complex?
Small companies need to consider extra security measures to safeguard their networks and data. However, some business owners - particularly those with few resources at their disposal - regard added layers of security as a time-consuming, complex and costly prospect. In reality, this need not be the case.
Consider extra security measures
For any business concerned about data storage and network security, there are some important issues to consider:
- Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. New security patches are released regularly. In addition, make sure any new computers have anti-virus software installed from the start.
- Remove any infected computers from your network immediately. You can pull out the network cable, or turn off the wireless connection. This will restrict the spread of viruses, lessening the chance of data loss.
- Update your web browsers where possible. These are often vulnerable to attacks, and can spread viruses across your network.
- Be mindful of physical security. Don’t leave computers or phones unattended. Don't leave passwords or critical information written down where they can be seen, and shred waste documents that contain sensitive information.
- Restrict who and what can access your network. Only grant remote access to staff members who really need it. This will limit security threats and the potential for data loss through human error.
- Beware of loss or theft. Employees’ laptops, mobiles and electronic storage devices may go missing. It's easy to steal a laptop - what if it contains sensitive data about your business? Ensure missing equipment is reported immediately so that data breach procedures can be put into place.
- Backup your data. Hardware failure, human error or security breaches can bring down an IT system. Keeping a safe copy of your files is important, as losing important information could affect your company's future. For example, accidentally deleting customer data kept on just one server would mean the loss of your entire customer base, in one swoop.
- Use a respected backup service for an extra level of security. If you don't feel comfortable setting up backups yourself, talk to professionals, like a good IT supplier. Quality backup services can restore lost data, providing peace of mind that your critical information is protected.
These are simple and often low cost ways to protect your business data. Some may seem obvious, but many small businesses still fail because of data disaster. To avoid this, stick to your security plan and procedures.