All too often, we don’t think about where the data that we create goes, or how to protect it. Consider the recent breaches we’ve been hearing about like Target, Home Depot and Apple. Data security is a critical issue and it should be part of your business plan. If you’re not protecting your critical data, you could be at risk.

Not having a plan is not only dangerous it’s irresponsible. Your customers provide sensitive information whenever they make a purchase. The idea that “someone else” will take care of your data security leads many business owners to believe that they’re protected when in fact they’re not. The responsibility falls on you as the business owner when a lawsuit is filed after a breach. Take responsibility for your data security. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Have A Plan! The time to plan is before there’s a problem. Inventory the data you collect and make a list of where it’s stored. Include printer drives, the cloud, and internal hard drives. Then put plan in place to protect each source. Create a backup system and protect yourself against breaches by using encryption and offsite storage.
  • Hire an Expert. Hire specialized IT personnel that are fluent in data management and protection. It’s a specialized field. The temptation is to promote in house, but unless you have a security expert on staff, look outside and hire a specialist.
  • Have a Backup Plan. Systems fail all the time. Whether it’s from a natural disaster like a fire or flood, or a cup of coffee accidentally spilled on a hard drive, systems fail. Have a regularly scheduled backup system in place for protection. Consider keeping hard copies (prints) of critical data in case of catastrophic loss.
  • Consider the Cloud. The cloud offers automated backup, storage of data in multiple geographic locations and several layers of security. Through the cloud you can move data from your phone or tablet to a centralized location. You can also access data from wherever you may be on the planet. Cloud systems also offer redundancy and encryption for data protection.

Data protection is critical component for every business. Taking simple precautions now, before there’s a problem is a smart business decision. Simple steps taken today can prevent an accident from turning into a catastrophe.