As massive data breaches continue to make headlines and businesses around the globe scramble to improve their security strategies, it’s more important than ever to take data protection seriously.

But where should small businesses start making changes in the vast field of data security? Get your small business up to speed with these five steps to protect data.

Educate Staff about Data Breaches

Just because you pore over news stories about data breaches doesn’t mean your entire team understands the risks. Rather than assuming your employees know how to identify and prevent data breaches, take steps to educate your team.

Explain that your staff members represent your company’s first level of defense against hackers. Offer examples illustrating how hackers often coerce employees into providing access or revealing passwords.

Develop a Corporate Security Protocol

Next, conduct a security audit and use what you learn to develop a security protocol for your business. Work with an information technology security specialist to identify the biggest problem areas in your data security setup, and take the time to review the companies and products you depend on to keep your information secure.

Then work with your IT security team to put those protocols into writing. You’ll want to make note of the security standards you require for in-house servers and cloud storage and clarify steps that team members should take if they suspect a security breach has occurred.

Choose an Effective IaaS Platform

When your company deals with data, you can’t do business without an effective Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform. Even if you have physical servers, an IaaS platform gives you access to cloud storage and extra computing power when and where you need it.

However, not every IaaS provider is created equal. To choose the best IaaS platform, look for strong security features for storage accounts, SQL servers, networking, and virtual machines. Since this isn’t an area where you can afford to compromise, strive for an IaaS platform that embraces best practices for security.

Create a Data Backup Plan

Improving your company’s security protocol can go a long way toward protecting your data. If you haven’t encrypted and backed up your data, however, you haven’t done enough.

Talk with your team’s IT experts to develop a strategy for regular data backups. Determine how often your business needs to back up data and understand whether you need to store it on in-house servers, in the cloud, or in both places.

Test the Limits of Your Security Systems

Once you’ve updated your security practices and informed employees about key changes, don’t merely sit back and relax. You should never set and forget about data security, as best practices are evolving constantly.

To make sure your company’s data is as secure as possible, test your systems regularly to make sure they can still withstand attempts at data breaches. Keep your team in the loop, too. Provide employees with security updates, inform them of key data breaches, and tell them about any changes to your company’s security protocol.

Don’t wait to take your security protocols to the next level. Follow these five steps to start making critical changes today.

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Ryan Tyson
Ryan Tyson is a freelance writer from Tampa, FL. In addition to writing, she enjoys travelling and spending time with her family.

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