Unless you’ve been sitting under a rock the last couple of months, you’ll have noticed that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has been getting a lot of press time recently – and not in a good way.
Swapping his usual dress-down attire for a suit, he’s been in court for improperly sharing up to 87 million people’s data on Facebook with political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica. An uncomfortable reminder that the internet is constantly collecting data on each and every one of us – and doing who knows what with it. With this in mind, we wanted to focus this month’s Bigger Picture on business data, and how to keep it safe. Check out our top tips below…
1. Understand what data you have and what needs protecting
It might sound simple, but you need to know what data your business is holding to know what to protect. This data could be anything from customer details to financial information, and is undoubtedly stored in multiple different locations. So, start by making a list of all the places your data may be stored, and work through it one by one, recording what data is where, how sensitive it is, and how secure it is. Pay particular attention to anything highly confidential or sensitive, such as customer records, as your business is legally obligated to keep this information secure.
2. Make sure you have proper protection in place
Now you’ve worked out what data needs protecting, it’s time to make sure you have adequate protection in place. Firstly, centralise all of your data, saving important documents and information in one password-protected location. Then, invest in a powerful firewall and tip-top security software to protect your network from malware, hackers, suspicious websites and identity thieves. For your most confidential data, consider also using encryption to ensure, even if hackers do get to your data, they won’t be able to make sense of it. And, finally, for any documents that are out-of-date or unused, but still valuable (E.g. HR and payroll information), set up an efficient office shredding system.
3. Control access to data
To go one step further in protecting your business’ data, limit access just to those who need to use it. This will help prevent things being unintentionally deleted or changed, and means you know exactly who’s able to see the data and who isn’t. To control access, make sure employees are required to input secure passwords to get to the data, and passwords are given out dependent upon an employee’s role within the company. In addition, create different access levels for different employees, keeping access to uber-sensitive data limited to directors and the like. All of this should help prevent internal leaks, security breaches and public access.
4. Create a data-safe culture
By implementing all of the above, your business’ data should be well protected. However, with human error found to be the cause of many data breaches, it’s crucial you also create a data-safe culture within your company. To do so, teach all employees about the implications of data leaks, and best practices to avoid this, train them to keep an eye out for suspicious-looking emails, and show them how to create strong passwords for themselves. Provide regular training, and remind them of the small things that can make a difference – turning screens off when out of the room, making sure documents aren’t left out, and utilising the office’s shredding facilities. Data protection should be everyone’s responsibility, so make sure this is a part of your work’s culture.
And, if, after reading this article, you’re looking to implement a shredding system into your workplace, we can help. Check out our confidential shredding services here: https://www.printwaste.co.uk/shredding.php and give us a shout on 01242 588600 or email@example.com.