Small Business Computer Security Tips

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Data safety is a primary concern for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses in particular, may not have the funds or technological savvy to protect information at the highest levels, but that does not mean you cannot take powerful steps to protect it to the max. And, truth be told, no matter how much of a fortress exists around information, there is no way to guarantee 100 percent that is will not be compromised. Here are just a few ways to improve the security of your data.

Take an Inventory of Your Sensitive Data and Current Technologies

Getting all your data ducks in a row before proceeding with a protection plan. Survey all the current technologies you have in place. Do you have all the recommended tools in place on allthe computers, such as firewalls, and intrusion protection software? This first step can help you identify any gaps you may have in your data protection strategy. Next, take an inventory of all the sensitive data you are storing, such as customer’s credit card numbers. What do you use this data for and where is it being stored?

Segregate and Isolate Sensitive Data

One of the keys to protecting sensitive data is limiting the number of copies as much as possible. Do not keep it on more computers and servers than necessary. If feasible, separate this information from the rest of your data and network.

Carefully Evaluate Third-Party Security

If you are outsourcing any functions to a third-party company that will have access to your company’s data, such as a cloud provider, do your homework on their security measures. Do not assume it will be safe or that it is not your concern how they protect the information.

Secure Wireless Connection

A secure wireless connection is imperative for preventing your data from being compromised. Surveys of wireless connections in small businesses have found that a large number are not securing the connection properly. A WPA2 connection is the preferred encryption.

Secure and Manage Employee Passwords

Password protection is another key ingredient in a solid data security plan, and many businesses are dropping the ball on this measure. Common problems  include failure on the part of employees to protect their passwords and choosing passwords that are easy to hack. There are many programs available that allow your business to exert more control over password management and security by creating a password server– managed by a designated person or persons—which  requires employees to create complex passwords that you can manage without ever opening them. For example, anyone with admin rights can delete the password after an employee is no longer with the company. While this type of product was aimed at larger companies, many offer affordable packages for smaller businesses that may only run a few hundred dollars a year.

Vet New Employees

For some businesses, the biggest threats to their data were the very people they hired to work for their company. Good hiring practices can take you a long way in protecting your company’s sensitive information. Before extending a job offer, do a thorough background check and get at least two references, and actually get in touch with them. There are many sources online that can offer guidance in how to go about doing an effective background check.

About the Author:Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has blogged about various issues related to business and technology. She recommends you visit this site for more information on IT security products.

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