As a small business owner, you no doubt are well aware of the need to protect and secure the data on your computer and various mobile devices. It is more important than ever for even small business owners to keep their data secure, arguably as important as face to face soft skills to sell in the first place, as more and more thieves are specifically targeting small businesses as a means of easily stealing data and personal information. Often it is not until a later date that small operations even realize they have been compromised.
No less important is the protection of all the tangible assets your business owns. Even though technology keeps threatening to eventually make good on its promise of a paperless office, that reality still lies in the future. Until then, business owners cannot afford to ignore the security of their paper documentation. But that is only one piece of a business’s responsibility when it comes to protecting its tangible assets. Below are some areas of concern that should be included in any effort to protect a company’s data.
KEEP TRACK OF YOUR MOBILE DEVICES
If your business has been around for a while, it probably resembles nothing close to what it did 10 years ago in terms of the mobile technology available. Much of today’s business doesn’t even require an office to conduct it in. This freedom can leave your business severely exposed.
Take account of the various mobile devices you have important data on. Besides your phone, you probably have at least a laptop or tablet. You may have more than you realize if you consider information stored on CDs, thumb drives, and removable hard drives. Do you know where they are? What is your policy should you or an employee loses one of these devices? If one of these devices were to fall into the wrong hands, your business could be brought to its knees in a relatively short time.
PROTECT YOUR PAPER TRAIL
As mentioned earlier, the paperless office is still a thing of the future. How secure is all of your paper documentation? It’s important to keep your documentation stored in a safe and secure place. Do you have electronic backups to fall back on in the event of a fire or natural disaster? How safe is your stored paperwork from thieves and disaster? You should periodically inventory all paper documentation and dispose of paperwork that you no longer need. This will also give you the opportunity to make electronic backups of important information.
COUNTING YOUR CHECKS
Nearly every business still utilizes checks. They are an integral part of your business. But how much attention do you pay to keeping track of your checkbook? Ideally you should treat checks like you would cash money. Don’t leave them lying around or stored in your vehicle’s glove box. All it takes is a few seconds for a thief to steal a single check and proceed to wreak havoc on your finances.
THROWING OUT THE TRASH
How careful are you about tossing out your trash? Here is another opportunity for a fraudster to take advantage of your oversight and get valuable information the old fashioned way, by rummaging through your trash. Make sure to shred all paperwork with any kind of personal information on it. When you replace a computer or copy machine, make sure to erase the hard drive before you donate it or put it to the curb.