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A Guide to Data Security for Small Businesses

In today’s digital marketplace, securing documents is a crucial component of safely running a small business. The mainstream press frequently reports that hackers attempt to breach the online security systems of large corporations, retailers, or financial institutions. A recent study indicates, however, that this same security risk affects small business owners, too. In fact, 70% of digital document security attacks are against small businesses. Thankfully, though, there are a number of steps small business owners can take to improve their online security systems and safely protect their confidential business documents. Passwords and UpdatesPasswords are the primary line of defense between a small business’s documents and potential security threat. To bolster the strength of passwords, small business owners should create passwords out of long words or phrases that are interspersed with symbols, numbers, or capital letters.Computers, software, and document software programs often come with preset passwords. Under no circumstance should small business owners use these passwords. The reason for this is because hackers are aware of these installed passwords, and will often use them first when attempting to steal a company’s information.In a similar fashion, signing up for software programs automatic updates is a great way to augment document security. Software manufacturers are constantly refining and improving the security measures of their programs. Staying up-to-date with these changes and improvements is an effective way to ward off a hacker’s most cutting-edge strategies. Limiting AccessOn a more specific software level, there are several new programs available to small business owners that allow them to monitor, as well as limit, the access to documents and business communication. The crux of this data security software is to limit access of important documents to only those employees who need to see them.These programs monitor outbound communication to ensure that confidential documents are not leaking out of the network. These software options also add an extra layer of security for remote employees of small businesses. That is, these applications will install a second password or security question that changes regularly behind the system’s conventional security measures. Protect Your DocumentsLarge companies and corporations will secure an employee’s personal devices. This is an expensive process, though, and small business owners usually do not have the budget to afford this luxury. A much cheaper and equally safe way for a business to secure their documents is an information-centric data security system. These systems identify a business’s most pertinent documents and information, and secure them individually, instead of security for an entire document storage system.Electronic archival and retrieval systems are another method small businesses are implementing to protect their documents. Instead of saving documents haphazardly on a work network, electronic archival and retrieval systems capture or scan all of the files and documents in a company’s storage system. The perk is that these systems allow a business owner to quickly call up or retrieve a document in an organized, efficient, and secure manner. Backup Important DocumentsIf possible, small business owners should backup their important data once every week. Doing so will allow the small business to maintain access to important business documents – like accounting spreadsheets, employee payroll databases, and processing files – should they be corrupted or altered during an attempted security breach.