Gone are the rather primitive ways of keeping records and making tallies with the use of the trusty pen and paper. In the dawn of modern technology, when a plethora of software and applications are being developed almost every day with the aim of aiding with tasks from menial to complicated, the need for such a time-consuming activity such as jotting down notes is slowly being forgone.
But by what, exactly?
Currently on the rise is the digitalization of files. From novels, photos, academic requirements, and even important business documents, are now being stored in the seemingly boundless space that is cyberspace.
Admittedly, doing so is more efficient than merely writing down highly essential business numbers on papers which can be easily misplaced or destroyed in unpredicted disasters. It also takes less time—just a few clicks on a desktop, and the encoding and organization of necessary business files is a go!
However, all the advantages of such a sufficient and simultaneously convenient technology come at a price. Just like in storing files manually, storing files digitally has its drawbacks. These drawbacks come in the form of files getting unexpectedly deleted either by clumsy hands or by malware, or worse, these same files getting hacked and stolen by nefarious entities. Yikes!
But, of course, if there exists these disruptions in a supposedly smooth-sailing system, there also exists measures to counter them. During the more tiresome manual era, one way of preventing data loss is the organization of similar data and putting them in manila folders, then subsequently storing them in labeled drawers. For books, there’s the tried-and-true Dewey Decimal System. The breaches in a digital system are scary, but if an entrepreneur lets the fear of these breaches terrify him, then he may not be able to put up the business he has been dreaming of. If you’d like to make sure you and your team has enough knowledge and training when it comes to security awareness, click here.
Compiled here is a series of tips and tricks in getting the hang of data security, in order to give aspiring entrepreneurs and their intended system maintenance teams a heads up on the know-hows of keeping a data secure workplace. Offered also are short insights and elaborations regarding each tip, so they will be understood better.
There are numerous ways of doing so, but these are the basics:
- Learn to identify the sensitive data. Although the percentage of these data is lower than that of other business data, it does not mean that they are not of utmost importance. They are called sensitive data for a reason, after all. Breach of these data can result to a massive damage and loss to the company, and may even be an indirect catalyst towards bankruptcy, which is a total nightmare for any businessman. GlobalSign advises businesses to “be aware of where their most important data and sensitive business information lies.”
- Make regular backups of files. Important files on print are reproduced in case of sudden disasters such as fires or whatnot, and this must be the same practice for digital files as well. Make numerous copies of a single file, so that even if the original one gets corrupted or accidentally deleted without any other means of recovery, another one safely sits around somewhere.
- Utilize anti-virus software. Many companies offer very reliable anti-virus software, and these can be life-savers when it comes to securing files, as nasty viruses tend to wipe disk drives clean and empty. Update them regularly, too, as newer and stronger viruses get developed, so additional security is a must.
- Come up with complicated and different passwords. Especially if you are handling, or will be handling, a business with many branches or departments. The same logic in coming up with passwords for your personal online accounts applies on this one. You don’t want random people easily getting into your space because your password is the most obvious thing in the world, so think of something which will keep them guessing for days at most. Or weeks.
- Talk to your staff. They will be the primary handlers of your vital information, after all. Inform them of the importance of the data they are dealing with, and engage them in training programs if possible. ComputerWeekly says that “most common and destructive mistakes are due to human error,” and while human error is inevitable and is bound to happen, measures to mitigate the damage must be taken into action.
- Limit who can see which data. In accordance with the previous item, a businessman must set a limited number of staff who can easily access the most sensitive data. Remember the saying, “One is enough, two is too much, and three is a crowd.” This applies into the situation well; the greater the number of people who can access your most vital information, the greater the risk of a breach.
- Encrypt. According to Spam Laws, encryption is a “security mechanism [which] uses mathematical schemes and algorithms to scramble data into unreadable text.” Utilize the various techniques of this mechanism, and make it seem to a random hacker that your data is not worth his time to decipher and breach.
- Perform assessments. Regularly meet with your staff and lay out all potential problems and weak points within your system. Brainstorm and come up with solutions on how to fix these problems early on, and make sure to also form immediate remedy plans if ever these dangers unexpectedly arise in the future.
- Keep track of hard drives being plugged into the system. Even the most nondescript looking 2GB hard drive can carry a virus capable of tearing down your whole complicated system, so beware. Allow only authorized hard drives to be plugged into the system if necessary.
- Trust your staff, and yourself. After all, you won’t be having a complicated online data system at hand if it wasn’t for your faith in yourself and your staff, so keep it.
Problems will arise no matter what, no matter how complicated your system is, or how professional your staff is. Like humans, machines are also fallible and prone to mistakes, it not only more seldom. And setting up a business is always a gamble, but if ever you find yourself falling into the trap of a data security breach, make sure to pick yourself up again, and execute the security measures again—double their strength, if you will.
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