Steps to improved data security for your business!

Data breaches are never fun and if you have never experienced one with your company, count your blessings.  In today’s society with all the data that is flying over the internet, one might say, ” well I can’t stop it all”?  Think of all the data that is generated daily from just your IPhone.  Thousands of people have one and play on them daily.  This data can be used for companies to recognize what you like and send you in places you want to go, but it can also lead to places you don’t want to be!  The game industry is one of them.  Data breaches in games are prevalent.  Several companies in 2011 alone were all attacked and you can bet your information could very likely be in one of those breaches.  What about all those boxes of documents in the corner office?  Is everyone able to access those documents?

Costs of a data breach are not insignificant.  They are calculated by the number of “records” affected. When you look at the statistics, millions of records were involved in data breaches just in the past year and the cost varies from a few dollars per record to several hundred dollars per record.  So what can businesses do to help themselves keep the “wolves from the door”?  Let’s look at some suggestions:

  1. Write it down!!  Every company or organization should have a written information security program and a data breach response plan.  Some states do require them if you are audited especially if you collect personal data.  It is just good practice by any means of the equation and it should be reviewed and updated on a routine yearly basis.
  2. Take inventory! You can’t protect something if you don’t know you have it!  Customer data should be collected in one area where you know you can shield it from breaches.  Do you have one or two people in your firm that is responsible for privacy and security?  That person or persons should know where all your data is stored and how it is protected.
  3. Store it safely!  Find a company that specializes in encryption and make it happen.  This makes it harder for hackers to find the data that is protected.  Update often!
  4. Clean out often!  Find out the retention of the hard copy data and shred it when needed.  Your local CPA can help with that.  If you have alot of customer data such as credit card numbers on some particular files on the hard drive, consider how old it is and reduce it by deletion as soon as you can.
  5. Electronic Document Management System – this is a wonderful investment to help maintain a tight control of your documents as it tracks everything everyone does.  In turn, and EDMS will help in the tracking process needed when there is a breach.  An EDMS is an asset for any business; helps you go paperless and is a great investment.

No one likes to be in the newspaper except when it is good news!  So try some of these suggestions for your company – and then if you do have a breach, you will be able to respond quicker and that does bring respect from your community when you communicate quickly and clearly!!

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My staff and I had the pleasure of participating in an ADS Consulting Shredding & Storage Workshop in April 2011.As a new business, it was critical for us to get off to a good start. The workshop provided us with useful information and practical applications that helped us do that. The ‘hands on’ training experience we received in a successful, working document destruction and storage business environment was invaluable.Renee and her staff were very personable and helpful and continue to be valuable business partners to this day.I highly recommend the ADS Workshop to both new and existing businesses

Rob Giannini, C.O.O.Commonwealth ...