Don’t you think your small business is in danger? Think again. Whether you know it or not, your company has valuable information and assets that cannot currently be protected. Your company may have sensitive customer information, business knowledge, or simply inside knowledge that you don’t want to disclose to criminals or competitors.
Losing this information can harm your business. Although company insurance is an important part of your protection, it cannot protect customers from identity theft or protect your company from unscrupulous employees or competitors.
No matter how big or small your business needs,
There should be a security and recovery plan that will identify your risks, help you protect yourself from them, and create a plan to deal with the types of losses that cause the most losses. You tend to be patient. Your plan should take into account the “physical” and “virtual” aspects of your business. First, think about the types of risks your business might face.
What if information about your company is lost or stolen?
Do you have customer files or records, tax receipts, bank statements, business plans, and customer service products?
Next, consider the physical aspects of your business that may be vulnerable. Do you have unique office equipment, inventory, computers, or do you trade certain tools?
Finally, look at how you do business. Do you rely on technology, the internet, or people with unique skills?
Does your business model depend on iterative processes that are unique to your company?
Now think about what would happen to your company if these parts of your company were lost, destroyed, or stolen. Can you keep working if you lose client files?
Can customers get you sued if their personal information is disclosed? Can you be the object of negative publicity?
Can your competitors benefit from access to the information? What if you lose access to your email in one day?
What if a key employee suddenly leaves another job?
What if your office catches fire or floods?
Your security and recovery plan should include precautions, guidelines, and procedures to prevent some of these and potential risks from affecting your business. Physical access to the building is relatively easy to control, although most small businesses only have keys on their front doors. Should you consider locking your file drawer?
Has the inventory been checked?
Does every employee have access to things that are not part of their job?
Can a disgruntled or dismissed employee return to the work area after hours with an additional copy of the key?
Your plan should consider how to protect the “virtual” part of your business. Do you have backups of important files?
Do you have strong passwords, account numbers, and other “keys”?
Your computer has virus protection and a firewall. Is that relevant?
Do you have rules for using the internet and email to protect your employees from allegations of harassment?
What about remote workers or workers who “take jobs at home”?
In today’s highly mobile environment, critical business information can now be easily accessed outside of your physical control.
Do your employees know how to protect laptops, cell phones, flash drives, or even print business information after they leave your work area?
What if a laptop is stolen from a worker’s car, home, or hotel room? Do you have data backup on your laptop?
What if your cafe staff could access your information via WiFi?
How can you find out if your customers and company are protected?
Prepare for risks
Lastly, your security and recovery plan should consider how you will deal with the losses that are most likely to occur. For example, if the computer that stores all of your sales information crashes, you may need a plan to recover that information from a backup immediately.
Where are the backup tapes or disks stored?
Who has access to it and, most importantly, who knows how to restore a backup?
How fast can you move when your office is flooded?
Can some employees work temporarily from home or other remote locations?
If customer information is stolen, do you have a way to contact them? Most small business owners have likely taken the first steps, such as getting insurance and locking their front door.
Unfortunately, few of them take the time to understand the real potential risks of their business. At least taking the time to develop an informal plan can be of great help in case of a real disaster or other loss. Of course, even the best planning won’t protect you from all disasters, but it can reduce the impact on your business once it occurs.