In the first six months of 2019, data breaches exposed 4.1 billion private records – and that’s only accounting for the 3,800 breaches that were publicly disclosed. It wasn’t just big corporations who reported the losses, either. Small businesses, including charitable organizations, experience 43% of all cyberattacks.
Information is valuable; in the wrong hands, it can do a world of damage. It’s for this reason that good information security is absolutely essential for every business, for both digital and physical documents. Private internal security policies are your first line of defense against information theft, but contracting with a trusted and verified document destruction service can provide an additional level of foolproof security.
The Basics: What is Information Security?
In the world of business, information security refers to the practices and regulations that protect a company’s confidential records. It helps minimize the risk of exposure and makes it much harder for anyone to gain unauthorized access to your data.
The first step of implementing information security practices in your own company is to take stock of what you currently have in place. Do you have a private network connection? Are your office doors open to the public or restricted to employee access only? Are documents password-protected on work computers, or is only one initial log-on required to view them?
Once you know what the present operating procedure is, you can begin to identify areas where information could be better protected. If you’re unsure of where to begin, start by separating your information into two distinctive categories (digital records and physical paper records) and assess each separately.
It’s rare to find a company that doesn’t use computers during their daily operations. If you conduct any business online or use computers for digital information storage, it is absolutely essential to make sure your devices are sufficiently protected. In the United States, a data breach can cause an average monetary loss of $8.19 million.
- Make sure all the computers in your company are protected by a firewall and anti-malware software.
- Provide a detailed record of your cybersecurity policies for your employees, and make sure all of them are well-trained on what you expect with regard to their enforcement of these policies.
- Make sure employees are trained on and actively enforce good password practices. This refers to choices like making passwords long and complex and changing them once every 3-4 months.
- Back up all digital data on a regular basis to prevent lost information.
- Your internet connection should be secure and password-protected. Never use an open network, as this can provide hackers with the opportunity to skim any information sent across the connection.
A watertight digital security system is a great start, but without physical security for your information, there is still a risk of theft or accidental loss. A casual visitor inside your company can glance at confidential data left on a desk or walk away with a paper covertly plucked out of a recycling bin. It’s therefore crucial to not only protect your computer information but to also make sure that no one has any kind of physical access to your offices or records without explicit permission.
- Restrict access to your offices to only registered employees and officially approved guests.
- Lock file cabinets or drawers that contain sensitive or private information. The idea is to make sure that employees who require the documents for work can access them, but intruders or unauthorized personnel will be kept out.
- Make sure any documents or customer records you throw away are processed by certified paper shredding services. If the service comes in the form of a mobile shredding truck, you will be able to personally verify that your documents have been destroyed before they leave the premises, and you’ll receive a Certificate of Destruction for your company records.
- Make sure that all doors and locks in the office work properly, and that only trusted and pre-approved individuals are given the keys or passcodes to open them.
How Professional Services Can Help
Utilizing the services of a professional contractor is standard procedure when you’re installing a window or rewiring a home, and the same holds true for information security. You can find certified companies to provide insight on better security practices, set up a digital defense system, or cross-cut your confidential documents quickly and easily. A mobile shredding service, for example, can be scheduled to come on a regular basis and remove confidential documents that accumulate through a normal workweek. This allows the office to function unimpeded by piles of papers and provides both you and your clients with peace of mind and confidence in your business practices.
For more information on HES’s mobile shredding services and scheduled shredding for businesses, give us a call at (305) 436-0422 or contact us online for a personalized quote.