Data privacy is important for SMEs for a variety of reasons, ranging from legal compliance and protecting customer trust, to avoiding reputational damage, and safeguarding sensitive information. Unfortunately, threats are many varied and are also constantly evolving, so getting a handle on information security is an imperative. Here’s what we recommend:

Implement strong access controls

Limit access to sensitive data to only those who need it to perform their jobs. Determining who has access to sensitive information should be part of your information security policy to avoid confusion or conflict. Also ensure that you use strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and other security measures so that only authorised individuals can access the data.

Encrypt sensitive data

Encryption is the process of converting sensitive data into a code that can only be deciphered with a key or password. Encrypting sensitive data makes it much more difficult for hackers to steal it and harder to access files if machines or devices are lost or stolen.

Regular training

We talk about this often, but with good reason. Not only are your employees the first line of defence against data breaches, it is also one of the easiest steps you can take. Training should be compulsory for every team member and should cover basics like how to handle sensitive data, recognising phishing emails and what to do in the event of a data breach.

Regularly backup your data

Backing up your data is information security 101 – if you’re not doing it then you’ve either been living under a rock for the last 10 years or you’re working on typewriters. Joking aside, it’s among the most important things you can do to protect your company against the ramifications of a security breach or data loss. In the event your data is lost or stolen, a backup will give your organisation a fighting chance of recovering and being operational in days and weeks after.

Conduct regular audits

Audits should form part of your overall IT strategy. They help to find weaknesses and identify how and where your IT can be improved to support the business as it grows. As a matter of priority an audit will address your security flaws and keep your information watertight. Generally speaking, an audit informs your IT roadmap which will make incremental improvements to your IT environment, and ensure your security and data management are optimised.

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