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How to protect your business data

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Protecting your data is essential; regular backups and online fraud prevention are just two steps all businesses should take
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Protecting your business data is absolutely essential; with most information now stored digitally the loss of all or part of your data can destroy a business. Online threats are also considerable, making an integrated security plan essential.

Make regular backups

Backups are essential; data failure is a common occurrence and can completely wreck your business. Backups should be scheduled regularly and should be made to both on-site and off-site locations. Floods and fires can destroy on-site backups; create as much redundancy as possible to ensure data survival in even the worst circumstances. Online backup solutions make it far cheaper to backup your data. Often it can be scheduled direct from your server. A crude form of off-site backup is to backup on-site and remove the back-up when the site is unoccupied.

Encrypt laptop data

The portable nature of laptops means they pose a high security risk for companies, and can be easily left in a coffee shop or in the back of a taxi. Software can encrypt your hard drive which can then only be accessed with a password, otherwise the data remains scrambled. This helps protect your data from snooping in the event of theft or loss but it won’t help you recover your data. Regular backups are still essential.


Secure computers physically

Computer theft is surprisingly common; ensure all computer equipment is anchored to desks or permanent structures to dissuade burglars. Use specialist equipment, which generally consists of chains and a type of lock. Some computers, particularly laptops, have specialist anchor points that allow you to secure them more easily. Don’t forget to secure other equipment, such as uninterrupted power supplies (UPS) and backup devices.

Control user access

Data is often compromised by poor access controls, for example letting unauthorised users access admin options or ineffectively using firewalls to prevent hacking attempts. Ensure a qualified network administrator sets up user permissions that reflect seniority and also sets up online security measures, particularly if your staff spend considerable time utilising the internet for work. One virus can potentially cause problems across an entire network.

Watch for online fraud

Online scams cost individuals and businesses millions of pounds every year and can potentially compromise data and credit card details. Ensure internal guidelines are set on how to verify legitimate opportunities, such as looking for landline telephone numbers and postal addresses. Use credit cards where possible to offer some financial protection should you accidentally stumble upon a scam. Ensure anti-virus solutions are up to date because many scams are presented in the form of fake viruses that can destroy data.

Train staff

The weakest links in every security system are often human. It’s essential to train staff regularly to ensure they show constant vigilance with regard to data security. Since companies often operate computer networks, one compromised computer can potentially infect the entire network making it of paramount important that staff know how to update their anti-virus software and maintain strong alphanumerical passwords. Encourage regular password changes to keep security high.