Safeguarding online business data

Successful businesses rely on being one step ahead of the competition. Think of the time, research and money you would lose if your data was lost or stolen from your computer network. Take steps to keep your data safe.

A new product is not made overnight. Countless hours are spent on research and development, testing, quality control, and finally manufacturing and distribution. Businesses need to safeguard their products to ensure the integrity of the data.

Most people in the world do business on the internet. The sophistication of the internet changes constantly. Data housed by a business on the internet may be subject to leaks or hacking or other means of stealing data.

What Data?

Company name, address, phone number, and website are all examples of company data that does not need to be kept safe. But, what data does need to be secured online?

Product Specifications

Your research and development department might have spent years creating the most high-tech, state-of-the-art gadget ever made, but stolen specs could signal the end of the business. Your specs in the hands of a competitor could mean that your competitor releases the high-tech gadget before your business does. This product could be the cornerstone of your business or one in a long line of products, but whatever the value, data theft is bad for business.

Mailing Lists

A list of customers culled from product purchases is a valuable asset. Customer lists can be tracked through online purchases or through those who sign up for a company enewsletter. Customer information needs to be kept secure.

Servers

Likely, your business lives and breathes online. From employees emailing each other to databases of product information, your company’s servers needs to be secure online and offline. A business would never leave a unlocked safe out in the open. Think of your server, whether it’s on site or in the cloud, as your virtual safe. The server is hardware used to manage internal computer systems, email, websites, and databases for a business.

How To Keep Data Secure?

Backup

Back up files always and often. The backup of data needs to be a regular event. Data is lost in the most mundane ways, for instance, through accidental deletions, power surges, loss of internet connection, etc. By setting a time each day to do regular backups, the business will be secured in the event of a catastrophic loss or theft of data.

Determining what data to back up and when to back up will depend on the nature of the business. Look at the company’s data to assess the amount of data that would have to be recreated if destroyed. In general, financial information, customer lists, and product specs should be backed up as often as possible.

Prevent Leaks

The first point of any leak may be from person to person rather than from online theft. Have all employees sign nondisclosure agreements to guard against release of sensitive and proprietary company data.

The second way to prevent leaks involves creating a secure online system. Security may involve encryption for whole disk and email services. Encryption in its most basic terms is the scrambling of the original human readable information. The resulting encrypted text is not readable unless user have a key that allows them to unscramble information. Encryption is useful when dealing with highly sensitive intellectual property data.

Passwords

Computer systems, databases, servers, and even emails all require a password for access. A strong password is necessary to prevent hacking. No computer system is 100 percent hack proof, but with multiple, strong passwords the system can be secured.

Firewall

Speaking of protection, a firewall puts additional protection between the business and the online community. Counsel employees not to disable firewalls to get work done faster.

Security Audits

The old saying “Never let the grass grow under your feet” could be applied to a business’ stance on data protection. Instead of saying that the safety measures are in place, conduct an audit of the computer security system. Pretend to hack it to find the weak areas and correct them.

Education

From the janitor to the CEO, employees are the custodians of the business. Educate your workers about data security. Encourage shredding of documents. Counsel staff to not discuss new product specifications with competitors. Establish a strong security policy for all staff to follow.

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