Tips for Protecting Your Company's Data

Every single computer or laptop in the world has the potential to fall victim to a cyber attack. While large corporations have huge budgets to protect their systems and data from cyber criminals, smaller companies don’t, and are more vulnerable.

One thing that can’t be stressed enough is the importance of keeping regular backups of your company data. A virus can easily corrupt your precious files, rendering all of your documents, videos, photos and emails nothing more than garbled data. A ransomware virus could encrypt your hard drive’s data, holding it until a ransom is paid. Cyber criminals specifically target businesses, so don’t think it won’t happen to you.

When you dispose of old hardware, whether it’s a hard disk drive (HDD) or solid state drive (SSD), you should always make sure you securely erase all data from it first. This means more than simply performing a quick format on the media, though. Until the system writes new data onto the portion of the drive that’s been erased, a data recovery company, or even someone with free software like EaseUS, can potentially recover your data. Instead, you need to sanitise your hard drive, which involves writing dummy data onto the drive. DBAN is a good hard drive sanitation tool, and is free to download and use. To be extra safe, though, you should also physically destroy your old drive with a hammer and screwdriver, just to be certain. It really isn't difficult to use hard drive data recovery techniques to retrieve left over data from a hard drive. 

It can be a little daunting at first, but you might want to consider using a cloud computing service. Cloud storage is a service where data is stored and maintained remotely, and allows users to store files online and access them anywhere. Cloud storage can be used as an effective emergency backup for all of your business’s data, providing an important second copy of files, stored in a remote location. If your business suffers a hardware failure, or is the victim of a virus attack or natural disaster, all your important data is stored elsewhere.

Two of the most important pieces of advice, though, are to install an antivirus, and train your employees in data protection. While computers are more advanced than they were 20 years ago, so are viruses. For this reason, it is more important than ever for your business to use an antivirus. But even if you have taken every step to minimise the chance of a data loss incident, one wrong move by an employee could jeopardise everything. All it takes is for an employee to accidentally delete a file or folder, or open an infected link or attachment in an email by mistake.

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