Until recently, "Data Protection" meant keeping a backup or investing in a fireproof safe. Gone are the days when losing your computers to a burglar, only cost the bottom line to replace them. Since the Data Protection Act came into force in 1998, the loss of data has accounted for almost 1 in 5 business 'own goals'.
These scandals have been big news and at a very high cost; the Inland Revenue's 'Lost Laptop', the £1M Nationwide fines and the TK Max lost credit card scandal have put a heavy price on the flippant regard to customer data. So exactly how can you protect against these pitfalls and still get your new venture off the ground?
There are just 5 Key Steps to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of data loss.
1. Assess Your Risk
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who wants your data and see how easy it might be to get it.
2. Communicate Your Standards
It might sound simple but make sure your staff are aware of your rules about handling customer information and make sure that someone, possibly you, are in charge of enforcing it. Update your Employee Handbook with a policy and get them to sign it.
3. Be Prepared
Make sure you are prepared if something goes wrong. Try my Business Builder that contains a Business Continuity Plan for you to start with.
4. Be Protected
Very simple tips such as switching on the firewall on your computer or changing your passwords regularly will make it harder for you to be compromised. Check out PC Adviser's tips on making your system secure.
5. Be Lean and Mean
Only keep what you need. Most of the information you have in your business can be erased, and usually the data over 3 years old will not help your business tomorrow. Keep what you must and make sure you destroy the rest permanently.
- Small businesses and start-ups often struggle to meet the very strict criteria that industry and legislation now demands. The recent Payment Card Industry standards have cost UK businesses' thousands of pounds, and months of crippling re-structuring in order to avoid the maximum £100k penalties.
- According to the PC Industry 3 out of 4 of consumers are affected in some way by identity fraud
- This article is supported by the Business Builder