Whether you own a small or big business, one of the most important factors to bear in mind when trying to establish trust between your clients and yourself is ensuring the security of their data. Individuals, small firms and global corporations alike are all very sensitive to the possibility of confidential information being leaked nowadays and if they should have any reason to suspect that you are responsible for any such leaks, it will very likely be the last time they do business with you.
For those of you who are just starting your own business or who are new to the concept of data security, I have prepared a short guide, which I hope will prove to be of some use.
- Transfer data stored on mobile devices to a secure server as soon as possible. If you are sent confidential emails that you open on a laptop computer or smartphone, be sure to back them up to a server in your office as soon as you can and delete them from the device in question. As mobile devices are often used to connect to wireless connections over which the user has no control, it is good practice to minimise the amount of sensitive data that is stored on them at any given time. There are various measures that you can take to secure your own wireless network but most of these will not be available to you when using public networks away from your home or office.
- Never reveal confidential information to your employees unless it is strictly necessary. Operating on a need to know basis may sound like you are running a spy ring rather than a commercial venture but you would be surprised at the amount of corporate data leaks that occur due to indiscreet workers rather than digital theft. You can minimise the chances of this occurring in your company by only sharing information that your employees genuinely need to carry out their duties.
- Destroy any paperwork that is no longer needed. If you are not required by law to keep a certain document that contains confidential information relating to one of your clients, destroy it at the earliest possible opportunity. There are many companies that can carry out shredding in Manchester and other large cities to standards that comply with current government legislation so you should find it relatively easy to dispose of paperwork that is no longer needed. Choose one with current ISO certification to ensure you can rely on their discretion.
- Hold face-to-face meetings when discussing particularly sensitive topics, such as proprietary manufacturing processes, with your clients. No matter how secure your digital communication networks are and no matter how many precautions you take to protect the data that is received over them, there is always the chance that they could be compromised. By exchanging very sensitive information face to face, you will be able to reassure your clients that you could not possibly be responsible for any leaks that occur due to digital security breaches.
- Pay for extensive background checks on all prospective employees. You may hit it off with a candidate that you are interviewing for a job vacancy and decide on impulse that they can be trusted. Your instincts may well be proved to be correct over time. However, you cannot possibly know this for sure when you are offering the person in question a position at your company so it is essential to have them checked by a security expert before any such offer is made. There is no need to be secretive about the process; you can tell each candidate that you interview about your security procedures and any that should object will have the opportunity to withdraw their application immediately.
Some of you who have taken the time to read this article may have decided that I am a very paranoid individual or have too much money to spend on company security policies. I know that the fact anew business can be started very cheaply these days is one of the major attractions to many prospective entrepreneurs but I still believe that any money spent on the above suggestions will not be wasted.
About the author : Amber Dougharty is a writer for Paper Escape, a company catering to those looking for a solution to digitise files for easy access on computers. They also address the needs of those searching for services in shredding in Manchester.