Most small businesses don’t employ full-time I.T. staff, choosing instead to outsource technical support to outside firms and Cloud providers. This makes it even more crucial that business owners recognize and watch for leaks that could compromise customer financial information and private health data. Failing to do so could cost you the very business you’ve worked so hard to build.
Unitrends, a leader in backup solutions, recently revealed five common shortcuts I.T. departments take that can create customer data loss. As Unitrends points out, 94 percent of companies who suffer catastrophic data loss close their doors within two years. Forty-three percent never open their doors again. For those small businesses without full-time I.T. staff, it’s imperative that small business owners learn how to protect themselves from business and customer data loss.
“Data protection is one area where you absolutely cannot cut corners,” Unitrends says. “Losing data – the lifeblood of an organization – can mean the death of a business.”
To safeguard customer data, Unitrends recognizes these common pitfalls and provides advice on how to avoid them.
- Don’t ignore hardware failures. No backup method is foolproof. Unitrends points out that tapes or a NAS or SAN storage device have high failure rates. Make sure your systems are being backed up to a separate, secondary storage device. Unitrends recommends Disk-to-Disk (D2D) backup both because of its reliability and its location on a secondary storage set.
- Don’t trust your workers to follow policies. All too often, security breaches are caused by employee carelessness, either through disregarding policies or simply making mistakes. Putting policies in place is only the first half of the battle. Unitrends tells businesses to use automation and retention to protect themselves against human error. Automation puts procedures in place to ensure policies are followed through, while retention makes sure data can be retrieved if data loss occurs.
- Don’t underestimate cybercriminals. Firewalls and antivirus software are only a first step toward preventing surprise attacks. Chances are, everything you have in place, criminals have learned to hack. Unitrends advises using advanced security solutions, such as web monitoring software to ensure your employees are browsing safely, endpoint protection for employee-owned devices on the network, and a sandbox to fight targeted attacks.
- Don’t play the odds on disasters. Surprisingly, even many large businesses still fail to keep an updated disaster recovery plan in place. Unitrends emphasizes the importance of a DR plan that is customized to your business, taking into account the people, systems, and infrastructure of your organization. A business should take even the most impossible disasters into consideration, as well as those that are more likely to happen.
- Do test DR plans. Implementing and regularly updating your DR plan is only part of the work. Your small business should regularly test your DR plan to ensure it remains relevant as your business grows. The more frequently a business’s data changes, the more frequently that business’s DR plan should be tested.
As your small business continues to shift operations to the Cloud, it’s important to remember the business is ultimately responsible. By asking the right questions and carefully researching third party providers’ offerings, a small business can protect itself without having an I.T. expert on site.