Many small and midsized businesses rely on a hodge-podge of technology solutions. Many of them don’t work together, require a lot of effort to keep up with, or get filled with data errors. You can’t trust your data but you can’t survive without it. Everything from backing up your data to preventing hackers from getting to it are risks that you are important, but you just can’t get around to dealing with those threats. Many small businesses have failed because they lost their data. I’ve personally seen it happen.
Geoff owned a jewelry store and ran it on his own. He’s got a small operation, but he’s been in business for nearly two decades. Geoff had a DVD burner to backup his data to, so he never really worried about that. But he made the mistake of backing up over the same rewritable DVD disc every day when he ran backups. One day his computer crashed and after he got that repaired, all data was gone. That included all of his certificates, appraisals, and customer contact information. It was simply impossible for him to recover these documents and impossible to reach out to customers.
While he didn’t actually go out of business, his business took a critical hit. All from a simple mistake. The problem is that there are thousands of these types of simple mistakes that you can make and you need to evaluate your technology and your processes to see where you may be exposed.
Every step in your process and either element of technology need to be evaluated for this type of weakness. If the app quits working, what is the worst that can happen? If the data file becomes corrupt, what’s the worst that can happen? If a disgruntled employee decides to wreak havoc on your business, how much damage could any one person do? If the building burns down and all your computers are in it, what’s recoverable and what is lost forever?
Some of these problems are solved by using tighter password security, multiple levels of security, and other cyber-security protocols. Others may be solved with backups, redundant data strategies, and cloud data solutions. Physical security such as door locks, access cards, fire suppression, and alarms are all part of the plan.
Evaluating these risks can be a big chore the first time through. But as you get procedures and technology in place and you have a plan in place, you can simply reevaluate when things change or when adding something new to your process. It will become second nature.