Today, as we all operate in increasingly digitally-driven worlds, a raft of information zips around the globe every second. Much of this is sensitive consumer data that, as business owners, we do what we must to protect from hackers and other prying eyes.
However, entrepreneurs and managers often neglect to spend as much time and effort protecting internal company details as they should because there’s such a focus on consumer data. If your venture relies on fantastic product ideas, marketing campaigns, technological fixes, and other inspirations and solutions, you must protect these valuable resources. You never know when cybercriminals or other thieves might be lurking and steal creative assets from you.
To keep the details of your organization’s concepts and developments safe, follow a few strategic steps to ramp up security. This is doable even for those with a tight budget.
Identify Risks and Develop Procedures for Staff to Follow
The first way to protect your business is to identify the key risks for how ideas might get seen by those you don’t want to get involved. For example, hackers could break into systems, or employees could share information they shouldn’t, whether accidentally or on purpose. Think about all the ways that data flows in, out, and around your organization and where the risks pop up as a result. From there, you know the areas to focus on protecting.
It also pays to set up strict policies and procedures for all your staff to follow concerning sensitive business information. If you create clear rules around how details get used, tracked, shared, and managed, it’s less likely ideas will be seen by uninvited people outside your business.
Use Comprehensive Security Software and Firewalls
No matter what type of business you run, you undoubtedly store much of your venture’s information online via external storage systems, emails, and directly on computer hard drives. One of the best ways to protect valuable ideas is to use comprehensive security software across devices.
Buy quality products that protect against a myriad of threats, including ransomware, spyware, spam, viruses, and malware. Choose software that alerts you to real-time break-ins and protects the privacy of computer users when browsing and buying online.
Also, take advantage of the firewalls that likely already sit on your company’s computers. Most laptop and desktop products come with manufacturer firewalls already preinstalled on them. You may have to activate the firewalls in the “Settings” area of the tech tools, though. If you want extra protection, you might also invest in third-party firewalls.
Backup Data Securely to the Cloud
Another top way to keep ideas safer is to backup data securely to the cloud. That way, if you ever get stung by a ransomware attack where you get locked out of your systems, you’ll have pertinent business info held safely elsewhere. Similarly, if ideas and other details get accidentally or deliberately deleted, you’ll have a backup.
However, only store copies of documents and the like on secure cloud-based platforms using a smart, well-architected framework that helps keep hackers at bay. It pays to focus on trusted, brand-name cloud storage networks that take as many steps as possible to keep customer data safe, too.
Stick with Solid Passwords
Hard-to-guess passwords are vital for your business security. You and your team must use proper codes made up of at least eight characters and a mixture of numbers, upper-case and lower-case letters, and symbols so they’re harder for hackers to crack. Don’t base these passwords on any information that’s publicly shared, such as nicknames, pet or child names, email or physical addresses, brand or product names, etc.
Plus, be sure to have your whole team use decent passwords on the computers, tablets, and smartphones they use, the online accounts they log in to, and other devices such as modems, printers, and hard-drive storage units.
Secure Hard-Copy Documents On-Site
Don’t forget about securing hard-copy documents that you generate and store on-site at your business premises. Take steps to limit the chances that your offices, warehouses, vehicles, and the like get broken into. Utilize top-quality locks plus security systems on doors and windows for security.
Also, any hard copies of sensitive work that you don’t want others to view should be stored carefully in locked drawers or safes, etc., where prying eyes can’t steal or tamper with ideas. Consider shredding documents rather than just putting them in the recycling or trash cans, and don’t leave paperwork out in the open for any contractors or other outsiders to see if they’re on-site.
To protect your valuable information, limit who has access to it and ensure your workforce communicates via secure methods, such as encrypted messages. Taking every one of these steps will help to block cybercriminals and other thieves at every step.