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Data Security: 7 Things to Keep in Mind

November 20, 2015

Data security is one of the No. 1 things keeping business owners up at night, and for good reason. Data breaches can result in steep financial penalties. According to the most recent studies, a mobile computing “mishap” costs businesses, on average, $429,000 apiece.

A breach can have long-lasting and very costly effects on your brand, as well. Customers may mistrust you, and competitors may know more than they should about you. Data security is vital, and it requires constant monitoring, as we were all reminded by the Heartbleed security gaffe. Here are 7 things to keep in mind when it comes to data security:

1. If you have shared copiers, printers, scanners and fax machines throughout an office, consider consolidating to a multifunction printer. This limits the points of access to documents. Plus, you can set up personal identification numbers (PINs) on your MFP, so you can restrict and control who uses it.

2. A word about passwords: Every person in your office should have his or her own username and password, and he or she should be required to use it when accessing, sharing, printing or saving important documents to external media like DVDs or USBs.

3. Invest in a firewall and antivirus protection. You need to protect your network, both what flows in and what flows out. A firewall is the first line of defense, and the antivirus is in place in case the firewall fails.

4. Secure the mobile fleet. Be diligent about protecting laptops, phones and other portable devices. They are far more likely to be stolen than an office computer, and they hold just as much sensitive information. Make sure mobile devices are password-protected, have data encryption software and can be erased remotely.

5. Employ regular auditing and real-time monitoring. As stated above, data security requires constant attention. It's not enough to install a firewall. You have to monitor your firewall, router and server 24/7. IF you don't have a dedicated IT department, you can outsource managed IT services that provide monitoring and reporting.

6. Get a backup plan. You can't afford to lose your data even for one day. POA offers 24/7 backup monitoring and secure offsite data vaulting for disaster recovery.

7. Educate your employees. An often overlooked security measure is employee buy-in. Talk to them about how to create strong passwords, and remind them to change those passwords once a quarter. Teach them how to protect mobile devices and laptops. Bring in outside IT experts to talk about recognizing email spam and other signs of a data breach. Employees can be a valuable asset in data security.

Data security is a business issue you can't afford to ignore, no matter your industry or size. At Pacific Office Automation, we offer MFPs to secure your office workflow, as well as a full suite of managed IT services to help keep your data safe. Get in touch with us today to find out how our office solutions can help.

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