A typical day of every office worker starts and begins with a computer. You are saving, exchanging and working on incredible amounts of information. Have you ever thought how vulnerable electronic files and emails are? Without proper protection and security, a company is constantly at risk of leaking sensitive information about its activities and client data.
According to TechWorld, over 707 million files have been lost or stolen in 2015 – that included photos, credit card information, contracts, phone numbers and more. Just imagine how it can affect business and your clients. In order to prevent hack attacks, below are proven and easy ways you can ensure the protection of all company’s data.
1. Plan how documents will be stored
First and foremost, you have to agree on the way to manage, store and retrieve your electronic documents. Take a note of all personal information you have on your laptops. Check with sales, HR, operation departments to get the full picture of what kind of information is received and stored. Focus on these questions:
- What kind of information do you collect? Is it customer’s personal records, credit card details, legal proposals or invoices?
- Where do you keep this information? Do you keep it in one centralised network or individual laptops? Do you keep it in folders or external file cabinets?
- Who can access the information? Can anyone access the information? Who has a permission to access the files?
Once you have the idea of the above, it will become easier to start structuring the process of securing sensitive information. That’s why it’s so important to establish the hierarchical structure of folders. It may take time to create and get used to, but the benefits will be long-term.
2. Regular backups
How often should you backup your documents? Once you started backing up your data, you should do it regularly – daily, if possible. To ensure the ultimate protection of your data, consider using onsite and offsite backups. Onsite backups mean storing the information to an external drive – that’s the easier and fastest method for data protection. However, external drive alone is not an option so don’t rely on it too much. Offsite backup is literally a backup stored “off-site” (e.g. Dropbox).
3. Control the access
If you decide to store all documents in folders, make sure you have the full access control of it as it eliminates the risk of document deletion. Access control will allow you to monitor the number of users who can enter, edit and delete a particular document. What we do not recommend doing is to use a password protected folder or documents. Although many document editing applications allow to set a password to protect your documents, there’s a 50/50 chance it can be cracked.
4. Tidy up your files
Be honest – how many times you’ve kept client’s information because you thought you’ll need it at a later date? Only save the information that is definitely needed, and if not – don’t collect it. To make sure your desktop is always tidy, clean information from it before logging off or assigning it to another user. Make sure to check every document before deleting it as it may contain valuable information. Create an office environment where your employees understand the importance of good file housekeeping. Decide who will be responsible for regular file tidying and how it will be managed, research the best software that can help to identify duplicate or redundant content.
5. Use encryption
To protect individual files from being leaked, it’s highly recommended to encrypt them. Encrypt all the information stored on your laptop or computer network. Don’t forget to encrypt all sensitive information you are transmitting via email to third parties. In fact, 63% of companies are using email to exchange the files, and if not encrypted properly, these emails can be easily tracked and stolen.
Tools like Virtual Private Network, or VPN, encrypts your internet traffic but if you need the protection of your local files, find an encryption software. There are many to choose from and they are well-loaded with features like virtual file shredding, self-decrypting files or tokenization.
6. Mobile security
Your employees’ mobile phones store all kinds of information, from call recording, text messages, files, documents to photos. If your employees have access to sensitive files through their mobile devices, tablets or iPads, it’s a MUST to ensure the highest level of protection. Always make sure to disable automatic logins and use security lock codes. Don’t store important information to your phone’s internal memory – use external memory cards for this purpose. Regularly erase phone calls and text messages – if possible, consider deleting them daily. Be especially careful when connecting your work phone to Wi-Fi access points that don’t require passwords and disable Bluetooth when making phone calls. As mentioned previously, regularly back up the information to your computer as this will allow to restore the data if you lose the phone.
Even though electronic files get lost and stolen everyday, the good news is that it’s possible to prevent it by taking proper actions and have a strategy in advance. Choosing the right software can make a big difference in your data protection. To make your office life a little easier, we’ve created DocuCollab – a secure document management software that ensures proper protection of your shared files. With access controls, you’ll be able to monitor and grant access only to those users who are working on a particular project; you can also share bits of information with a client that you want them to see, leaving out any vulnerable information. If you want to take a good care of how you handle company documents, DocuCollab can be something that your company may benefit from. Try out our free demo or get in touch with us directly, we are always happy to help.