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5 Key Data Protection Tips for SMB-Owners

Keeping your own and your clients’ data safe is one of the key prerequisites of successful business management.

Large companies that have been in the business game for a longer time usually have well-developed and properly complied data protection rules.

Small businesses, on the other hand, might need some help in establishing their own policies that are in line with the relevant laws.

If your business belongs to the second of these two groups, stay with us and find out more about the key data protection rules for such businesses.

1)     Limited data collection and storage

Depending on the industry you’re in, your business will store a certain amount of data and information about your clients and their businesses.

For instance, as you’re populating your email list, you’re going to keep their email addresses. Storing these data will be beneficial for both you and them. They will be able to receive important information from your venture, while you’ll be able to target your audiences more precisely.

SMBs dealing with eCommerce services and other business activities that include payments will use information about their clients’ credit cards. In that case, it’s vital that you meet the PCI compliance requirements and protect both your business and your clients from a legal point of view.

It’s important to know what credit card data you’re allowed to store, as well. Given that you’ve ensured proper encryption for storing these data, you may store the primary account number, the cardholder’s name, and the expiration date. On the other hand, you’re not allowed to store the CVV-number (the three- or four-digit card security number).

A rule of thumb is that you should never keep more than necessary for handling regular business operations.

2)     Bringing a strict privacy policy

When you bring your own privacy policy, you’ll ensure that all the interested parties understand their rights and obligations.

For starters, you should list what information you’re going to store so that your clients are aware of them.

It’s necessary to define what cookies your site wants you to accept. Cookies are the information that, once stored on the client’s side, help them navigate and use your website more easily.

The privacy policy needs to contain the basic data about your website security, as well as the rules for revealing clients’ data to third parties (this usually refers to the law authorities and other public bodies).

Furthermore, your privacy policy should contain rules regarding your employees’ obligations. A lot of privacy breaches occur due to poor in-house privacy regulations. Features like the password policy, identity and access management, and maintenance of office computers should also be included in the privacy policy.

3)     Keeping software tools up do date

SMB-owners should know every venture operating online is a potential aim of scams and fraud.

No matter how big or small your business is, it might come on the radar of hackers and other malicious online perpetrators.

Because of that, it’s vital to keep all the software tools you use updated. From the antivirus and firewall tools you use on your office computers to the solutions used on your website, set all these programs and apps to automated updating. As proposed by the web development experts from a Houston digital agency, all the features on business websites need to be properly maintained and updated. This will ensure enhanced security and better usability of such websites for their end-users.

In addition to that, make sure that all other tools you use for work are regularly updated, as well, and always scan every email you receive with an antivirus program.

4)     Deploying multi-layered security

Online communication can be easily interrupted and intercepted by hackers if you don’t use proper two-factor authentication. When someone wants to steal data from your business, they might target the moment at which you’re transferring data from your business computer to the cloud. Also, they might break the password you use for various online accounts and get inside your system.

This is where two-factor authentication is more than helpful. If you use your mobile phone or another email address to verify your identity or access rights, you’ll significantly increase the level of security. Even if a hacker breaks your passwords, getting in the possession of your mobile phone or your second email address is much more complicated.

5)     Double-checking business partners

Aside from technological features, personal relationships are an important factor in data protection.

In other words, if you collaborate with suspicious business owners, you’ll potentially expose your business to a higher number of risks.

So, before you decide to develop a business relationship with a certain venture or client, check them on LinkedIn and do some research on the Web. For more serious business deals, check all the publicly available information in the local register of companies and business entities, such as their income, revenues, debt, etc. If you reveal anything suspicious, you might want to skip on that business collaboration.

Keeping your clients’ data safe is one of the key prerequisites of proper business management. If you lose such data or they get stolen, your business reputation will be damaged and you’ll face potential lawsuits. All these can result in your bankruptcy.

Because of that, store only the essential data belonging to your clients and delete all the information that you don’t need on a daily basis. Always keep all your software tools updated and bring a firm privacy policy. Finally, be careful who you’re doing business with to protect your venture and your clients from online scams and data thefts.