Your business data is one of your most important assets. The information you store includes your customer database, marketing materials, financial records - including, probably, your customers' banking details - staff details and more. How would your business cope if you lost all this information?
Data security is the process of keeping safe your important data. It is key to the success of your company.
This briefing covers:
The amount of time and money you spend safeguarding your data will depend on how vital it is to your business and how likely you are to suffer data loss. To assess the risks, you need to know what data you store and use in your company.
Make sure you record where data is stored.
For instance, your website is probably held on a server owned by a third-party hosting company, and you may use an external server.
If lost, it can seriously damage your business. You will want to give most protection to this data. This could include, for instance, your accounts.
For example, losing your email archive could be inconvenient, but should not seriously threaten the health of your business.
For instance, your customer database.
Is it sent by email, streamed online or simply moved on sticks?
There are many threats to your business data.
For example, a fire or flood in your business premises.
This is a serious risk, particularly for companies that hold sensitive data.
These usually infect company systems through the internet, via a downloaded file or email.
The way you store your data is key to keeping it safe.
For instance, the risk of data being stolen is reduced because it is not stored on employee laptops.
If your server breaks, your data could be inaccessible.
Your IT supplier can help with this. Always keep backups (see 5).
A single laptop theft or virus infection could be disastrous.
Ask your IT supplier or web host to set this up for you.
You can disable the USB ports on your computers to make this impossible.
This scrambles the stored data, and is much more secure than simple password protection. MS Windows has encryption built in.
Keep your servers in a secure room and use locks to keep laptops secure.
Data stored on the hard drive of a printer has to be erased before the device leaves the office for disposal and recycling.
Consider providing a virtual private network (VPN) so employees can securely connect to your company systems from outside the business.
Most personal information your business holds is subject to the Data Protection Act 1998.
It is important you comply with the Data Protection Act.
You can get more information about the Data Protection Act.
You can use them to restore data if your working copy is lost.
Encrypt data, and store disks or tapes somewhere safe.
For instance, if your run daily backups, you might keep seven disks containing backups for the previous seven days. This allows you to roll back to a particular point in time.
This uses less storage space, and is quicker.
Your data is stored on a server in another location.
This allows you to continue working in the event of disk failure, but you need to store offsite backups too.
Just copy your files onto a CD, DVD or portable hard drive.
This is adequate for basic backups.
Your IT supplier should be able to help.