Keeping your data safe as a startup

Latest posts by Lioyd Williams (see all)

Keeping your data safe as a startup

Data security is increasingly in the media spotlight, with reports of high profile breaches of information security coming to light almost daily. While big, established businesses might acutely aware of the need to act responsibly and legally when it comes to their own data (and their customers’), the same can’t always be said for startups. All too often, security gets overlooked in the early stages of setting up a company and it isn’t taken seriously until it’s too late.

With the possible financial penalties for failing to comply with data protection laws now running into six figures, the question is; can your business afford not to take its data security seriously?

Take the small things seriously

Start by taking the same steps with your business that you would with your personal security, such as keeping ID and financial documents in a safe, private place. Only give out your private company details to organisations or individuals you initiated contact with, who you’re sure won’t share them without your permission or misuse them.

The same goes for password security; make every business password hard to guess by using a complex combination of numbers, symbols and upper and lower case letters.

Don’t just bin it

Even in the early days of a startup it’s important not to confuse confidential waste with everyday rubbish. Under current data protection laws, any failure to separate the two and deal with confidential data accordingly could prove costly, whatever your business.

It’s not just paper that needs to be shredded, everything deemed confidential must be dealt with and shredded professionally – from CCTV tapes to SIM cards, hard drives, IT equipment and even uniforms.

How tidy is your desk?

Growing a startup can be stressful and fast-paced, often meaning that the little things, like effective data storage, get left behind. The result; duplication of documents, misplaced files, lack of storage space, no back ups, untidy desks; take your pick.

If this sounds like you, try to address this habit quickly – your business could depend on it. Try using an electronic archive to store and access your files, and tidy your desk.

Check your on-site security

Whether you’re a backroom business, high street shop or newly opened office, your physical security is just as important as your online protection.   Ensure your confidential documents are cross cut shred by a professional company who adhere to all correct compliance.

Simply throwing away documents can lead to identity theft and with new Data Protection Laws now in place, failure to comply can lead to significant penalties – up to £500,000 (700K+ – USD) for the most serious breaches.

Don’t wait for it to happen to you

There are many ways to protect your private information from fraud. Some tasks take a bit more effort than others, but cleaning up the mess identity thieves leave behind is usually far more difficult. Think about confidentially shredding any information you need destroying.

If you need to keep documents but haven’t the room in your home, office or business, look into document storage or document digitising – it’s an effective way to protect confidential papers offsite with a records management system in place.

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