TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 17, 2013) - Small and medium-sized businesses, which make up 99.8 per cent(1) of all Canadian companies, are constantly facing operational challenges that impact the bottom line. Small Business Week is a good opportunity for business owners to plan for growth by anticipating challenges and mitigating threats. Inevitably, they will identify day-to-day issues such as cash flow, employee retention and regulation compliance. However, they put themselves at risk when not prioritizing a more hidden obstacle: information security. While the threat of an information security breach isn't always evident, or even seem urgent when compared with other risks, owners leave themselves vulnerable without a forward thinking data protection plan.
"It is essential that companies recognize the role of proper information security policies and procedures in safeguarding corporate and brand reputation," said Bruce Andrew, VP at Shred-it. "We encourage businesses to use Small Business Week as a time to audit their own business practices and processes to identify information security gaps so they can develop a strategy to protect sensitive data."
Destroying paper and digital confidential information makes strong business sense, especially considering the increasing costs of a security breach. Organizations affected by a breach could experience a revenue loss, reputation loss, reduced business opportunities and most importantly, loss of trust from their employees, customers and stakeholders.
The 2013 Shred-it Information Security Tracker survey revealed that 59 per cent of small businesses believe that if data from their company was lost or stolen, it would not seriously impact their business, while 40 per cent of small businesses indicate they do not have a protocol for storing and disposing of confidential data. With growing security threats increasing across Canada, small and medium-sized businesses need a strategy to protect their confidential information to help them avoid becoming the latest victim of a data breach.
Businesses should consider the following tips to help mitigate the risk of fraud:
Schedule a security consultation. Conduct an information security assessment to determine the level of data security risk within an organization;
Think prevention, not reaction. Instead of just dealing with breaches as they happen, develop preventative approaches that are strategic, integrated and long-term, such as eliminating security risks at the source and permanently securing the entire document lifecycle in every part of your organization;
Shred before recycling. Don't let confidential documents sit unattended in recycling bins;
Be security savvy. Implement a "shred-all policy" and mandate that all unneeded documents be destroyed on a frequent basis;
Secure shredding. Provide employees with a locked console where they can deposit their unneeded documents prior to disposal;
Protect electronic data. Ensure that obsolete electronic records are protected as well. Simply erasing or degaussing a hard drive or photocopier memory does not remove information completely-physically crushing the device is the only way to ensure that data cannot be retrieved;
Create a culture of security. Train all employees in information security best practices to reduce human error. Explain why it's important, and conduct regular security audits of your office to assess security performance.
For more information on fraud prevention, please visit the Resource Centre on www.shredit.com.
Shred-it is a world-leading information security company providing document destruction services that ensure the security and integrity of our clients' private information. The company operates 140 service locations in 16 countries worldwide, servicing more than 150,000 global, national and local businesses, including the world's top intelligence and security agencies, more than 500 police forces, 1,500 hospitals, 8,500 bank branches and 1,200 universities and colleges. For more information, please visit www.shredit.com.
About the 2013 Security Tracker:
Ipsos Reid conducted a quantitative online survey of two distinct sample groups: 1003 small business owners in Canada (all of which have fewer than 100 employees), and 100 C-suite executives working for businesses in Canada with a minimum of 100 employees. Data are unweighted as the sample universe is unknown. This survey is considered accurate to within 3.5 percentage points had all small business owners been surveyed and to within 11.2 percentage points had all C-suites been surveyed. The fieldwork was conducted between April 16 and 23, 2013.
(1) Small Business Statistics, July 2013, Industry Canada, http://www.bdc.ca/Documents/sbw2013/docs/SMEsAtAGlance_summer_2013_EN.pdf
On behalf of Shred-it