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Data Protection for Small BusinessesFor small businesses, data protection can be a tough task. Resources in a smaller business are often limited, and there are threats everywhere.

Establishing comprehensive data protection for small businesses can be difficult. However, there are ways that small to midsize businesses can enable data protection measures.

Some of these methods can even allow small businesses to simplify their IT management while leveraging enterprise-grade technologies.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a data protection strategy for a business:

1: Disgruntled Employees

Disgruntled employees are the #1 item on CIO.com’s list of the biggest business security risks. The issue here is that employees, especially those in an IT role, will be very familiar with a business’ systems. Armed with this knowledge, such disgruntled employees can cause massive damage.

Others with access to your network, such as vendors, can also be a danger to the data security.

2: Compromised User Accounts/Accidental Leaks

It is important to know that not all “attacks” that originate from within your trusted network architecture will be the result of malicious action by an employee or vendor. Two examples of other reasons for an internal attack include:

  • Compromised User Accounts. Hackers spend countless hours organizing attack strategies to steal user access credentials to bypass perimeter security measures. Here, the “internal” attack is really coming from an external source using a compromised account.
  • Accidental Data Transmissions. People make mistakes. Sometimes, an employee might send the wrong data file to an outside party, accidentally creating a data breach.

3: System Vulnerabilities and Exposures

There are countless system errors and issues that hackers can take advantage of to breach a company’s data security. However, it’s typically the oldest bugs that get exploited the most frequently.

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Some of the worst data breaches in recent memory have been caused by businesses failing to patch their IT systems. For example, according to reuters.com, the JPMorgan Chase & Co. breach of 2014 that resulted in 83 million compromised accounts “could have been avoided if the bank had installed a simple security fix to an overlooked server in its network.”

Missing one simple update on a solitary server opened up the banking giant to opportunistic data thieves.

4: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Policies

In a small business, it may be tempting to let employees bring their own devices to work. It saves some money while letting employees use technologies they’re already familiar with.

However, it’s very important to craft a comprehensive policy for using employee-owned devices with the business network. BYOD policies should include:

  • Rules for importing data to personal devices
  • Lists of approved/disallowed/required apps
  • Security guidelines for handling devices carrying sensitive data
  • Clearing data from employee devices at end of employment

Being careful when enabling a BYOD policy can help avoid the data risks that come with using such a policy. Alternatively, adding mobile device security applications to employee devices can help significantly reduce these risks as well.

5: Cloud-Based Data Storage

Using cloud-based data storage can help solve numerous data challenges for small businesses. Not only does the cloud offer high availability, scalability, and ease of management, it can help improve the security of information for small businesses—provided that the business uses the right cloud service partner.

When checking service providers to be potential partners, businesses should look for a provider that offers strong, multi-layered security, 24/7 support, and powerful data security compliance tools.

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