Home » Quick Guide to Selecting Suitable Data Protection Methods
The range of data protection methods your business will require depends on the nature of your business (i.e. industry, region, size of workforce etc.). This guide has been formulated for SME enterprises.
Here we provide a list of the data protection defences available at little cost for SME’s so that you can easily decide which methods will suit the needs of your specific small business.
First things first, if you are not up to date with your responsibilities under The Data Protection Act 1988, find out how it affects you. Fellow Hub author Louise has written extensively on this topic. So get up to speed with her Summary of the Data Protection Act.
Now, onto the nitty gritty.
It isn’t just the internet that contains data, your physical office has a hoard of confidential materials too. You need to have measures in place to make sure this information remains confidential. It is your legal duty to prevent data falling into the hands of people who would abuse or share it.
- Lock rooms containing confidential information when not in use.
- Ensure employees never write passwords down.
- Use swipe cards or keypads to access the office.
- Use CCTV cameras to monitor your office space.
- Shield keyboards when inputting passwords.
- Shred confidential waste.
- Use forensic property marking equipment and spray systems to mark assets such as those from SmartWater.
- Consider using anti-climb paint on exterior walls and drains.
- Use an alarm system.
- Place bars on ground floor windows.
- Hide valuable equipment from view when not in the office.
- Assign a limited amount of trustworthy employees as key safe holders.
It gets a little more technical from here on out as we move to online measures. It’s vital you think carefully about the online measures you have in place. It’s crucial to implement adequate protections. As, not only is it your duty to protect the data of your employees and customers, but a data leak irreversibly damages your brand’s credibility and thus your customers’ trust.
- In the same way that you would shred confidential data rather than dumping it straight in the bin, you should use a cyber shredder as part of your online security. A cyber shredder, otherwise known as data wiping software, keeps your information secure by overwriting it with nonsensical binary code. Much like defacing a book until it’s illegible. When you send files to your computer’s recycling bin they can still be recovered. Which means, that if your equipment is lost or stolen, your data can be stolen too. Data wiping software however, makes your data irretrievable.
- Encrypting your data. Data encryption turns your sensitive and confidential information into an unreadable form to safeguard against data leaks if your devices are stolen. It is turned into ‘ciphertext’ so that only authorised users can access the original text.
- Use firewalls to protect your computer systems from malware. A firewall is a cyber barrier. It prevents your computer from external and network-based threats. Malware is an umbrella term that describes any malicious software. Computer viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, and worms come under this term.
- Use IP security to protect your data from hackers as it travels between networks. IP security ensures private and secure internet communications making sure that no one can view the data you send and receive.
- Limiting user privileges on your corporate computers prevents users from downloading potentially harmful software.
Continue learning about data protection for small business on the Hub’s data protection category.
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Hannah is The Hub’s specialist on social issues and HR. She has a master’s degree in Contemporary Literatures and writes about safeguarding issues and business. When she’s not writing, she practises yoga and peruses bookshops.