We all trust our staff 100%, right? We’re not in any way worried that they might run off with our data, or email it to their personal email address the week they leave.
Unfortunately most companies can’t be so trusting. Data theft is a huge concern for many business owners. If someone steals your data and passes it to a competitor then you could be left with a major problem.
How to stop data theft
A few years ago data leakage prevention (DLP) technologies were considered only suitable for larger companies that could afford to spend thousands on sophisticated software and hardware to prevent their data being stolen.
But today things are changing. You may already have data leakage prevention technology at your disposal.
The data leakage risks
There are three key areas where your business is vulnerable:
- Email. Many smaller businesses keep customer data in spreadsheets. Perhaps you just save all invoices to a shared folder somewhere. In that case, it’s the easiest thing in the world for an employee to grab the data, attach it to an email and send it to themselves or someone else.
Really cheeky employees just use their work email address to share sensitive company data with outsiders!
You can stop this by doing two simple things. First of all, you can create rules so that all email sent out of the business to certain addresses needs to be approved by a manager. If someone sends a mail to [email protected] it can be sent for approval first. Or if someone tries to send an Excel spreadsheet to this type of address, you can send it for approval. There are lots of options here.
- Social media. Twitter and Facebook can be fantastic tools for your business, but they can also be risks. What if someone says the wrong thing, or posts something you’d rather your customers didn’t read? Well, it’s easy enough to prevent access to social media sites for those people that don’t need access to them.
- USB sticks and portable media. You can fit a huge amount of data on to a USB memory stick these days. It’s quite possible for someone to copy all of your company’s key data onto one in minutes. So consider disabling these copying functions altogether.
There are, of course, other data risks in your business. But those are three key areas to start when protecting your business from data loss.
- It’s time to loosen up your business IT
- Five mistakes you may be making with your IT security
- Action list: secure your IT system
Lee Wrall is founder and MD of Everything Tech, an IT support and service provider based in Manchester.