In any business, information security and data management processes need to be implemented not only to reduce the risk of information being lost or handled incorrectly, but also to gain trust from your customers. Companies such as Microsoft have suffered a blow to their reputation when customer information has been hacked into, and this reputation can be difficult to build up again especially for small businesses.
When you’re starting out in business, it is far easier to implement these procedures for information security now, allowing your company to expand around a strong core, rather than struggling on without them and trying to change processes later down the line. The latter would not only be more stressful, but more costly to your organisation as well.
Think about the data that your company needs to handle on a day to day basis. This is more than just client information but staff details, bank account passwords and supplier data too. All of this information needs to be stored somewhere that it can be easily found, and somewhere where it is not at risk of being leaked, lost or changed accidentally.
In a small business, you need to think about the information you have to store currently and the information you will need later down the line to. By preparing for this information to be stored now, you are preparing your company well for future growth.
It is a good idea to invest in a good CRM system for your company. While a spreadsheet might do for now, later down the line, a high-quality database will help to make your company more secure. It is also much easier to add data as you go, rather than needing to do a bulk upload from your spreadsheet. There is a variety of CRM software available on the market, some industry specific. For example, if you are setting up a recruitment company, there are databases available that have space to store CVs and adding current jobs. Your data is far more secure in a database with password restrictions rather than a spreadsheet saved on your computer.
Additionally, there are set information security management standards such as ISO 27001 which certify that your company has implemented the correct requirements for managing information in a certain way. ISO 27001 is internationally recognised, meaning that the certificate carries as much weight throughout the world as it does in the UK. Many businesses of all sizes find that becoming certified helps them to gain more clients because they can appreciate the value it carries, plus it helps you start out with the correct processes in place.
Even if you only handle small amounts of information on a regular basis, you still need to think about where it may not be securely stored. The legal ramifications of losing a clients’ data or it being mishandled are long and complicated, but by having a policy in place, you are covering your back should the worst occur.