File protection has become a top priority for small companies. While most newsworthy stories centre on data breaches at big companies like Adobe, eBay, and LinkedIn, smaller organizations are definitely not immune to the activities of cyber criminals.
In fact, hackers often target small and medium-sized businesses. They represent easy targets that often have low levels of cybersecurity and lax safety mechanisms in place. Confidential client data-sets stored by SMBs can be valuable assets that command high prices on the black market.
3 Tips for Small Business to Protect Files
By overlooking your file protection practices, you’re needlessly putting sensitive information about your company and your clients at risk. In this post, we’re going to look at three ways you can ensure that hackers don’t gain access to your data.
Use a Secure Cloud Storage Provider
Secure cloud storage provides a basis for corporate data safety. A dedicated solution adds additional layers of protection to your documents and data compared to more mainstream alternatives.
The file security company pCloud, for example, which is one of the leading names in this space, offers a feature package which includes file encryption, secure transfer, staff permissions, multiple-step login, activity tracking for auditing purposes, email protection, and more.
When selecting a provider, it’s important to pay close attention to the price. There can be significant disparities between costs, and it’s easy to tie yourself into a plan that is much more expensive than similar or better alternatives. Many providers charge hefty monthly fees so it’s worth looking around. Well-known brand Egnyte, for example, works on a competitively-priced monthly employee subscription. pCloud, which was mentioned above, offers competitive lifetime packages and the option to use servers based in either the US or Europe.
Many small businesses worry about the practical task of managing files using a system that is more difficult to access and requires time-intensive management. But this approach is usually unnecessary. It’s best to adopt a two-pronged system that leverages both “normal” and secure storage solutions. In this way, you can keep sensitive files protected while allowing for fast and efficient access to files that don’t contain sensitive data.
Opting for a good solution will also often mean that you are able to meet most, if not all, data-storage legal requirements in one fell swoop.
Fees for cloud storage can quickly add up. So make sure you do your research and don’t pay more than necessary. And always take advantage of any free trials that are on offer before taking the plunge.
Create an Employee Training Program
Having a robust tech stack is pointless if your employees don’t know how to use it correctly. A number of large data breaches have resulted from the actions of absent-minded employees, and numerous studies show that members of staff pose the biggest cybersecurity risk to both large and small companies.
Regular training programs will ensure that staff are familiar with all internal safety-related processes and know how to use software, particularly your company’s cloud storage, in a way that minimizes risk. It’s worth considering appointing a security officer or, for smaller businesses, outsourcing the task to a specialist training company. Many software providers also offer their own training packages for new users.
Most security-related apps also come with auditing tools, and thus allow you to monitor employee interactions with sensitive data. Performing regular audits will mean that you are more likely to notice and remedy risky behaviors before they cause a serious problem.
Protect Data With Backups, Antivirus Software, and a Secure Password Manager
While most small companies use some form of antivirus software, most aren’t taking full advantage of all the features on offer. It’s essential, for instance, to run scans consistently, perform system “cleans”, and ensure company-wide use of browser protection tools. You should also ensure that antivirus software is updated regularly to protection against new threats.
Regularly backing up your data will also guarantee that important client information can’t be permanently lost due to malware, natural accidents, or employee errors. Many cloud storage providers will perform backups of your data, so this is something to consider when picking a provider.
It’s also good practice to use a password generator and manager. All members of staff should use unique, secure passwords to access company apps to prevent the possibility of a data breach. And under no circumstances should employees use personal or “multi-use” passwords.
Business versions of password management apps like LastPass and Keeper are inexpensive and can be used by your team to generate and store complex passwords that carry virtually no risk of being breached.
While building secure processes and tech infrastructure in your company may require a little up-front investment, in the long-term it represents by far one of the best possible uses of resources. The ramifications of a data breach, in terms of costs, legal issues, and public relations to restore customer faith, are barely worth thinking about.
Spend some time implementing the tips in this article. When you see headlines proclaiming the next big data breach plastered all over the front pages, you’ll be glad you did.