One of the biggest concerns of many companies is data security. And if it’s not, it should be. Small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) are especially vulnerable with 58% admittedly being unprepared for a data loss. How that data loss occurs varies. Malicious cyberattacks, for example, target smaller businesses for the very reason that they’re usually ill-prepared to protect themselves, with many lacking sufficient IT expertise. Hardware failure also is a cause, with 140,000 hard drives failing each week in the U.S. alone.
Of greatest concern is that if a data loss does occur, 60% of those affected businesses will shut their doors within six months. Fortunately, there are measures your company can take to help secure its data and avoid such catastrophic financial implications. Start by implementing these best practices.
1. Identify Critical Data
Your data is the backbone of your company, and in today’s connected world, any data stored digitally should be considered at risk. Some information, however, is more critical than others. When planning your backup strategy, make sure you provide security for the following:
- Financial records
- Customer records
- Tax forms
- Sales records
- Personnel and payroll
- Marketing files
- General business files
- Proprietary software
- And more
It’s essential to protect any data that, if lost, could result in downtime or other disruptions in business and negatively impact your customers.
2. Determine Who Should Back Up Data
In short, if someone has access to a computer, they need to make sure their data is secure. Everyone — from the intern to the CEO — should be part of a company-wide backup plan. With networks connecting multiple devices and systems being highly integrated, even the most seemingly small player on a team can have a negative impact on a company’s security.
Some industries, such as the medical and financial sector, have legal requirements for performing regular backups to ensure their data is stored in a secure manner. Typically, those organizations will also need to encrypt their data for a period of time to comply with local, state or federal regulations.
3. Decide When Backups Should Occur
At a minimum, backups should occur daily. That way, if a loss occurs, you’re able to recover data that’s no more than a day old. Increasingly, however, organizations are relying on more frequent backups throughout the day, even hourly or ongoing. Software is available to monitor systems and perform continuous backups as data is modified. Many find this solution ideal when considering that the cost of an entire day’s payroll and productivity could be lost if backups run only once a day. The potential loss usually pales in comparison to the cost of more robust backup solutions.
4. Implement a Data Recovery Plan
Many SMBs lack the resources to hire a full-time IT professional to oversee data security, let alone its recovery should a loss occur. When a worst-case scenario strikes, it’s important to ensure your company has a plan in place and the expertise to execute it. If your company doesn’t have dedicated IT personnel to establish a plan and prioritize in detail the steps for recovering critical data, you should strongly consider working with a company that offers secure offsite and Cloud storage solutions to ensure your data is available when you need it. A Managed IT provider also can provide security measure guidelines and training for your employees to further protect your systems.
Seek out a Managed IT solution that doesn’t just provide a product, but a partnership — one that offers 24/7/365 customer support, works with you to identify your needs, and treats your data as if it were their own.
Here at the Gordon Flesch Company, we’re passionate about protecting your livelihood and can provide peace of mind when it comes to securing your data. Reach out to us today for a no-obligation consultation and see how affordable a real solution can be.