In recent years, all types of businesses, ranging from fortune 500 companies to your local CPA, have experienced data breaches that put their operations, customers, and vendors in harm.
Considering all of the information you have on file regarding your employees, such as their birth date and social security number, along with your customer’s addresses and credit card information, your business is a ripe candidate for being targeted by criminals. With simply the information you have on file, criminals can easily steal identities and make fraudulent purchases.
Business data privacy is a growing issue that needs to be kept at the forefront, no matter how small or large a business is. Use the following data privacy tips to protect your business, your personal assets, and your employees:
Keep Pertinent Information Under Lock and Key
Data privacy protection begins with physical security measures, which means restricting information access to authorized users. There is more than one way to secure pertinent information in the workplace. Filing cabinets containing important files should be locked at the end of each business day to protect from a security breach. Computers should be protected with passwords, which should be changed at least two times each year for added security. A good data privacy protection plan will feature a variety of physical security measures that make it harder for prying eyes to look for private information.
Keep Only the Essentials
One of the first rules of business data privacy is that you should not keep information on hand that you don’t need. Keep only the essentials that you need to operate your business and dispose of any hard copies or sensitive computer files appropriately. Minimize the amount of personal information about employees and business owners. Documents containing unnecessary account numbers and financial data should be disposed of promptly whenever possible.
Plan for the Worst
All businesses need to develop a viable plan for implementation in the event that a security breach occurs. The contingency plan should include names and contact information for pertinent staff. When it comes to data privacy, business owners should also be prepared to notify any customers, vendors or employees that may be impacted by the security breach. Developing a contingency plan is a serious matter, and it will help business owners respond appropriately in times of adversity.
If you still have questions regarding laws relating to data privacy and tips on what your small business can do to protect information, there are many resources available to you free of charge. The Federal Trade Commission and Small Business Association have valuable resources outlining important security measures regarding data privacy protection.
Protect pertinent business information just as you would your own social security number, bank account numbers and credit record. Revise and revisit your contingency plan for data privacy on a regular basis and make sure that your policies and procedures are compliant with Federal and state laws. Business data privacy is not a matter to be taken lightly. It is an important issue that business owners must take into account, along with the other essential functions in the workplace.