Data privacy is a concern for all businesses, with small businesses feeling like they are disproportionately impacted by data protection issues. According to Shred-it’s 2022 Data Protection Report (DPR), small business leaders (SBLs) believe the following three factors are the greatest data security challenges: remote work, employee turnover, and supply chain vulnerabilities.
Companies face increased pressures to maintain reliable digital and physical data security in a hybrid work environment because employees may be bringing documents between the office and home or using personal devices and insecure internet connections to conduct business. The DPR found that 69% of SBLs surveyed worry about remote work in the context of information security.
With many people switching employers during the COVID-19 pandemic, more people may have access to private company information. The majority (63%) of SBLs surveyed are concerned about the consequences of high employee turnover.
Supply Chain Vulnerabilities
SBLs need to know who has access to their data and ways to help ensure it stays out of the wrong hands. Of those surveyed, 60% of SBLs worry that weaknesses in the supply chain are leaving their confidential information more susceptible to a breach.
Though these findings apply to small businesses, implementing information protection strategies is important no matter the company size. Below are some helpful tips to help overcome these data security challenges.
- Implement policies and procedures: Outline clear instructions for employees to follow. For example, a clean desk policy helps ensure physical documents are shredded or contained and that all technological devices are password protected each time an employee leaves a workspace.
In addition, implementing and enforcing record retention and destruction policies in office and remote work settings can help improve physical data security protocols.
Prepare an incident response plan, which is a documented, written plan for IT (Information Technology) professionals and staff. This type of preparation can help mitigate the negative effects of a data security issue by saving time and helping reduce staff stress if a data breach occurs.
- Develop a new employee onboarding data security checklist: According to the Verizon 2022 Data Breach Investigation Report, 82% of data breaches involved a human element. Hackers can use social engineering to obtain private data. To help employees recognize and respond to data breach threats, businesses should provide regular and mandatory data security training for all employees. New hires should undergo in-depth security training as part of the onboarding process to help them identify physical and digital data security risk factors.
- Consult a trusted third-party data protection partner: Trusted data security partners can help businesses understand where the risks lie in their organization and provide guidance on how to protect their data. For example, Shred-it®, a Stericycle® solution, offers a free online risk assessment tool. A Shred-it® representative can then work with a business to find a data destruction solution that best meets their company’s needs.
Learn more about the importance of data protection for small businesses by downloading the infographic and the Shred-it® 2022 Data Protection Report.