If you own and operate a small home business, it is possible you believe implementing security measures aren’t necessary. Unfortunately this is not the case as document security must be in place for your protection. In fact, self-employed entrepreneurs that run businesses in their homes have essentially the same legal responsibilities in regards to document security and maintaining confidentiality.
Hackers tend to target small businesses because they know that security measures are often ignored, making them an easy victim. The 2016 State of SMB Cybersecurity by Ponemo, revealed in one report that 50% of small and medium-sized companies experienced a data breach in the preceding year. The most prevalent attacks were those that took place on the web as well as phishing/social engineering attacks.
Noting these alarming statistics, close to 40% of small business owners are still failing to practice the necessary information security procedures, failing to follow a secure policy for the disposal of sensitive documents.
Let’s take a look at how you can improve your home based business’ security:
Evaluate and Assess Potential Risks
- Review what confidential information is handled, what your responsibility is to protect that information in relation to data protection regulations, and what the security risks might be
- Never be afraid to inquire about or confirm security procedures of those organizations you are linked to/partnered with. These may include vendors or suppliers
- Educate yourself on possible cyber threats, and stay current on ways in which you can stay safe from hackers
Take Advantage of Secure Document Storage
- You should have a document management process implemented that includes retention periods and secure retrieval
- If able, convert paper records into electronic format through professional scanning solutions. Save information to the cloud or an external hard drive
- Always make backups of any electronic records and store them in a secure facility
- Store sensitive records in lockable filing cabinets or drawers, always.
Purge Confidential Documents
- Always make sure sensitive information is managed in association with specific compliance requirements
- Forget thinking that you need to “Save” all of your old files; familiarize yourself with those records that require secure storage like contracts, invoices, accounting and tax papers, receipts, billing, expense forms, and client information, and have the rest professionally shred.
- Arrange a one-time purge service for those old documents that need professional shredding. Ideally this should be carried out on a month to month basis to reduce the amount of documents laying around at home.
Always Dispose of Documents Securely
- Securely shred all documents that you have no reason to hang on to; this needs to be done prior to recycling them for your security. Outsource secure shredding to an experienced and quality document shredding provider who will promise the protection of your documents through industry best practices.
- A shred-all policy may be exactly what you would benefit from to reduce chance of human error or poor judgement about what files should be professional destroyed.
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