3 Simple Ways to Secure Your Business Documents

 In Security

In Australia, depending on your industry or annual turnover, securing important documents is regulated and mandated by law. Even if your business is not one of those subject to the Privacy Act, your staff and clients – like all of us – are becoming increasingly protective of their personally identifying information.

So much so that it has it’s own handy acronym: PII.

Information such as payroll, mail lists, client files and contact databases make rich pickings for cyber criminals. Add to that the range of internal documents and financial records your business generates and you’ve got quite a list of files that need to be protected from loss, leak and theft.

So, what can you do to mitigate your risks?

1. Password protect important files

If you store sensitive documents in a shared location, or if you send them via email; you are at risk of unauthorised access. Password protecting your documents adds an extra level of security. Use the password protection feature in Microsoft Word and Excel to restrict an unauthorized user from opening or making changes. In Adobe Acrobat, you can protect PDF files to prevent opening, printing, editing and copying files. Protecting any document from edits should become standard when sending out contracts, be they in Word or PDF.

2. Make digital copies

You need more than a locked filing cabinet to protect important documents. Paper documents, or hard copies, are great for easy access, but having a digital backup is essential. Scan all important documents, and save them to a cloud-based storage service like SharePoint or Dropbox. Not only will your documents be accessible from anywhere, but you won’t have to worry about them in the event of flood or fire, a break-in, or if your hard drive crashes. Pro-level cloud storage services also allow you to track who has accessed or shared your files.

3. Create better internal policies

Implement policies that will become best practices for your business. Share your internal policies with your staff to make sure that everyone is well aware of the expectations.

  • Don’t leave sensitive data on the printer for anyone to pick up. If you print to a shared printer, immediately retrieve your document.
  • If you email sensitive documents, talk to your IT professional to ensure data is encrypted.
  • Use your best judgement on what files you need to retain, and create policies for how long you should keep them.
  • Shred hard copy documents before you bin them. If you need to retain a copy, for some reason, save the document in a password protected file in your cloud-based storage.
  • If an employee leaves, revoke their access to your network immediately to prevent the download of sensitive business documents.

These are some simple strategies that you can put in place straight away; but any risk management professional will tell you that the gold standard is to eliminate risk entirely.

For that you may need further advice. Proactive IT Solutions is always here to help, and we can tailor a complete data security solution to your business. Get in touch of you’d like a free assessment and specific advice on securing your business IT network.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

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