Having a suitable and robust data protection policy in place is critical for any business. A single data breach resulting in the theft of confidential customer data could cost your business dearly in terms of money, security and reputation, not to mention the possibility of criminal charges if the theft was aided by someone inside. That’s why you should know a few basic do’s and don’ts of data protection to help you make the right decisions for your business.
Know The Risks For You
It’s important to understand that not every business is the same, so the way you approach data protection might be very different to another business. Ensure you take the time to understand how data protection laws affect you and make sure you put the appropriate policies in place to keep you and your business compliant.
Educate your Employees
All employees on all levels of the business should have a basic understanding of data protection rules and their role in keeping business data confidential. As an employer you are responsible for fully educating your staff about the importance of data protection, how they can be compliant and diligent it and the consequences of data breach to both themselves and the business.
Staying on top of data protection is more than just creating the policies, you need to make sure they are being enforced as well. Appoint a capable and trusted individual within your team to take responsibility for all things concerning confidential data. This person should be in charge of ensuring confidential data is protected and handled correctly at every stage in its life, from creation to destruction.
Encrypt Your Files
Digital security is a top priority for data protection now. To keep your digital files safe they should be encrypted and stored on secure servers. Without encryption anyone who intercepts the data would be able to read a d duplicate it, compromising client, staff and business security.
Shred Your Documents
Once a document has reached the end of its usefulness or served its purpose within your business, it is important that it’s destroyed properly. Employ a professional shredding service that will destroy your documents in a safe way for you and provide a certificate of destruction as legal proof that you have upheld your data protection obligations.
Leave Sensitive Information Unattended
Never leave a file containing sensitive information sitting on your desk unattended, even if you’re just popping to the toilet or making a cup of coffee. Similarly, make sure all workplace terminals are password protected and logged out when unattended, so no one can use them while you’re gone. All paperwork, emails and printouts should be filed and locked away or shredded after use.
Use Information For Anything But It’s Intended Purpose
This isn’t just a security thing, there are potentially ethical and legal consequences as well. The Data Protection Act states that you cannot use information for anything other than the purpose it was given for. Using confidential information for any other purposes could put the data at risk and leave you on the wrong side of the law.
Ignore Security Updates
Security updates and patches for software are more than just annoying little popup boxes. They fix holes or breaches within the software that have been discovered and help protect your systems against new viruses and malware being developed. Not implementing security updates can leave you with serious security holes that data thieves can exploit to reach your confidential data.
Underestimate Out Of Office Security
Remote working is becoming an increasingly popular option for workforces everywhere. While it may have its benefits, it can also present a few problems for security and data protection. For one you cannot guarantee that your employees are using secure internet connections or using the most secure technologies and software out there to protect your data. You can’t be certain where that stray bit of paper will be left. There is no way to eradicate this doubt, but you can educate everyone in your business about the importance of data security when working from remote locations.
For more information on setting up your own data protection policy or to find out how a shredding service can help you, get in touch with us today for your free security consultation.