While we've recently discussed the importance of protecting sensitive data, today we're going to specifically consider how crucial this is for small businesses. Often the assumption that most of us make about hackers and those seeking to breach sensitive data is that they target large corporations. Unfortunately, this is not the case: small businesses are at high risks of falling prey to these sorts of schemers as well. The following five suggestions outline practices that can help you protect your small business's sensitive data:
Keep information about clients and employees safe. Whether you store this data in hard copy files, or whether you have it stored in some type of electronic database (the more likely scenario) be sure that it is not easily accessible to outsiders. Use locks and passwords to protect such files. You may think it unnecessary, but you would be surprised at who might be looking where for such sensitive information. The last thing you want is to be held accountable for a breach in somebody else's confidentiality.
Don't make your confidential data accessible to all of your employees. The idea behind this is not to regard your employees with suspicion and distrust, but rather, to minimize the avenues through which sensitive data might be leaked. You don't need to presuppose bad intentions on your employees' parts to see the logic in this: often such leaks are accidental. Limiting the number of people who have access to that kind of information reduces the chances of this happening.
Watch how you throw. Never dispose of confidential information as-is in the garbage or recycling bins. Addresses, account numbers, and financial information can be easily collected from such sources. Ensure that such documents are shredded before you discard them.
Password protect all your computers. In addition to having passwords for particularly sensitive files, be sure that the computers you use, as well as your networks, are password protected. This simply adds one more layer of security, and the more layers you have, the better.