Protecting data day to day

21 December 2015

Data security is often in the news at the moment, but not all businesses have taken the steps they need to protect themselves.

Hardly a week goes by without reports of businesses being hacked by criminals or negligence leading to data breaches. It’s easy to think that your own company won’t be affected, but the truth is that we’re all potentially vulnerable – particularly with the huge changes in technology we’ve seen in recent years.

More and more devices are now connected to the web, for instance. This allows us incredible flexibility in the way that we work, but also creates a large number of potential risks. And as data gets stored in the cloud, we need to be ever-more conscious of how we protect information we consider to be confidential.

Often businesses fall at the first hurdle by leaving data lying around or failing to take simple steps, such as password and encryption protection. It’s essential to have proper policies and protocols in place and communicate them effectively to members of staff. Remember, many hacking attempts are now highly sophisticated, so if even the fundamental building blocks of security aren’t in place, you’re very much at risk.

Although there may well be cost implications to more sophisticated forms of protection, you need to weigh these up against the potential legal and reputational costs if your data were to be lost or stolen.

The Government has launched a new accreditation scheme called Cyber Essentials (https://www.cyberstreetwise.com/cyberessentials/), which is designed to help your business secure its systems by implementing appropriate frameworks. Of course, your accountant may also be able to offer suggestions as part of their regular audit process, or you could ask their in-house IT expert. The important thing is to recognise the issues, address them and educate staff before it becomes an unwanted problem.

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