by Stephanie Watson
Published on 6 June 2012
Depending upon what kind of business you have and the kinds of data you keep about your employees and clients will depend on how far you go toward protecting that data.
If you have credit card, social security information, drivers license numbers, or other private information about your employees and clients it's not only a moral imperative that you keep this data safe, it is a legal one too.
There are a lot of misconceptions about storing data in the cloud. People who don't know much about technology assume the data is not safe. But, in most cases it's more safe than physical information. It's just as safe as online banking. Do your due diligence and work with a reputable company. An added security measure that can help is to have all your employees turn off their computers when they leave the office so that anyone breaking into the space won't have easy access to the files.
Enforce creation of very strong passwords that are not words, include numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters of at least 8 figures. In addition, force password changing every 60 to 90 days to avoid problems. Also, do not allow employees to post passwords on a sticky note, or in a file on their desktop. Passwords can be memorized if you employees use a naming convention that is easy to remember, but not easy to hack.
Don't just leave important files on your desk. Ensure that they are locked back into their file cabinets. And yes, any files that contain the personal information mentioned above; social security numbers, drivers license numbers, birth-dates and other sensitive information needs to be locked away. Remember to put away paperwork inside copiers, and off all surfaces before you leave the office.
All old files should always be shredded before disposal. If a piece of information is no longer needed it should be shredded. If you make it a habit to shred all "trash" then there won't be any issues with data losses due to someone going through the trash.
If a breach happens, it is your job to inform your employees and clients about the breach as well as the appropriate law enforcement. This is true whether it was a physical break-in or a computer hacking incident. Additionally, call your insurance carrier, the three major credit bureaus and any other interested or affected entity or person.
By working to improve your data security you'll be able to ensure employees and clients of your professionalism and the security of their information. A bonus tip is to always back up data in case another type of disaster happens such as a weather disaster or a server burning up. By covering all your bases you can keep your data, both in the cloud and physical data, secure.
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