Between your home and office computers, how many sensitive documents is your business responsible for at this very moment? Between invoices, access keys, customer contact sheets and the like, the amount of potentially vulnerable information under your control is likely a constant source of stress. You know that your customers and employees deserve peace of mind knowing that their information is safe, and you know that you deserve a stress-free IT strategy.
How secure is your computer network? How can you beef up your information security protocols? This guide will provide answers suited to a conscientious business owner operating on a startup budget information security is for everybody.
Taking Stock of Your Current Security Situation
First, go through your constant stream of incoming and outgoing and inter-network documents and determine which forms of communication are at risk and highly confidential and which are not, so that you can effectively manage security through every step of the process.
Connect with a few IT pro colleagues to gauge the information security threats that affect your industry. Begin to identify vulnerabilities that affect your current network. This might include outdated software, unsecured login accounts, unmonitored access to customer management or financial information / cloud services, physical loss of data stored on CDs or thumb drives, lack of routine computer care, outdated server security, unencrypted storage, etc.
Employing Network-Wide Solutions
The most proactive step you could take, right now, is to figure out where all of your sensitive information is located. Then, work to centralize that information. Even if your business does not yet have a server, you could invest some money into high-security cloud hosting, rent space from a server that caters to high-security business needs, or hire an IT consultant for a day to see about setting up your own small in-office server.
Do not let sensitive databases stagnate in long-forgotten folders on general use workstations.
Ensure that employees who are granted access to any sort of confidential customer information know that they share accountability in terms of security, in compliance with any newly established security protocols you create.
Most common exploit tools are directed at personal consumers and carry out their work automatically the programmer may not even know they accessed a wealth of your customer’s sensitive information until reviewing the results months later. A simple piece of spam mail spyware meant to gather social networking passwords could just as easily land your company in a lawsuit over leaked customer information when access keys to a company CMS is picked up.
Those first few steps are always the hardest. Identifying and addressing threats are responsibilities that all business owners must consider, no matter how small the business. In fact, the smallest businesses are those that stand to gain the most from establishing an effective IT security strategy right from the beginning.
Contact your favorite IT consultant today to begin exploring options that fit your business and your budget. No business is too small to avoid the day to day security realities of the digital world if even a single piece of sensitive information exists, you owe yourself the peace of mind knowing where it is and who can see it at all times.