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10 Data Security Practices for Your Small Business
Your customers and clients rely on you to keep their data secure. If you don't, their identities, credit cards and other information could be stolen, and you could be sued. Achieve data security in your small business when you take 10 steps.
Perform a Security Audit
The type and amount of data you store and the equipment that data is stored on affects the security system you implement. Evaluate your needs before you implement a security system.
Know Your Industry's Regulations
All data needs to be protected, but different industries have different regulations. Research the guidelines so you can follow the law.
Store Only Essential Data
When possible, err on the side of keeping less data. It's better to delete information and have to ask for it later than to store it and risk a breach.
Store Customer Data Separately
Keep your customer data and business information stored on separate networks. For safety, restrict access to the sensitive customer information.
Improve Your Security
Strong passwords, two-step authentication when accessing systems, pass codes on your firewalls and encryption are four ways to improve your security.
Clean Your Computers
Update and run antivirus and anti-malware software regularly, properly patch software, turn on system logs and archive them monthly, immediately deactivate former employees’ access, allow remote access only through secure VPN and don't use Wi-Fi. You should also follow a written policy that outlines how and when to clean or destroy hard drives, USB memory sticks, CDs and DVDs as you keep your computers clean.
Use a Shredder
Instead of tossing sensitive documents in the trash, shred them. Use a cross cut shredder for best results.
Turn Off Machines
You probably log out of your computers at night, but remember to turn off copiers and printers, too. If they're connected to the internet, the sensitive data stored on their internal hard drives could be compromised.
All of your employees should know how to guard data and how to protect their equipment, including mobile phones and portable storage devices. They should never store credit card information, open suspicious emails or store important anywhere except the company's cloud-based storage system.
Create and Enforce a Data Protection Policy
Educate your entire staff on proper procedure. An official policy gives them something to reference and is easy to update as your security improves.
The Jordan Group
Using Outsourced Workers
HR That Works has an extensive report and checklist about what's known as the "contingent workforce." This includes temporary employees, leased employees, and more. Here are some questions to consider in these relationships:
Who is responsible for what?
-- As with any arrangement, it's important to study the contract. For example, if an employee isn't working out, who should be responsible for firing them? Consider every aspect of managing personnel from hiring through performance management and retention to termination.
How much are you paying to outsource various HR functions?
-- Whether you're outsourcing because you don't have the time, expertise, or desire to do the job in house, you'll have to pay for someone else to do it for you. What's the competitive rate? What about the provider's experience and results? Do your homework and interview at least a couple of providers and their clients before you choose one.
What is the provider's hiring process?
-- They should be able to show it to you in writing. If they can't, pick someone else. Make sure that the provider does proper skill testing, character assessments, background checks, extensive interviews, immigration checks and pre-hire physicals.
What references can the provider offer?
-- Don't just ask for references, get the names of companies who have used the vendor during the past year. See if the vendor is willing to share this information and allow you to interview those companies. Ask "What will these companies tell us?" Then do Google research to see what comments you can find online.
What's the knowledge on board at the vendor?
-- How long has the person who does the hiring and staffing been doing their job? What are their credentials? Is there expertise on board to help you with any compliance concerns?
Does the agent carry the right insurance?
-- Depending on whose payroll is involved, the law requires employers to provide Workers Compensation benefits, as well as withholding unemployment and Social Security taxes, and more. If the temp or leasing agency treats their workers as independent contractors you could end up being in a heap of trouble.
Does the agency provide employees benefits?
-- Remember, if a worker walks and talks like your employee, they're probably going to be considered your employee, whether they're a sole employee or in a joint employer relationship. If an employee receives no benefits from the provider, you can easily face a hefty benefits claim down the road.
What about union activities?
-- To what extent has the agency been faced with unionization efforts? Your temporary workforce might be considered part of an existing bargaining unit and thus covered by your union contract.
The Jordan Group
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