Data management tips for every small business owner

by November 23, 2021 0 comments

If you’re a small business owner and think you don’t need to manage your data, think again. Regardless of industry and organization size, data management is crucial for all companies. Even as an owner of a small enterprise, collecting and managing company data is just as important as any other aspect. Not only it enables efficient communication and planning, but also in preventing errors and staying compliant with regulations. There are so many other benefits of managing data, but how do you go about doing it?

While it seems an overwhelming task at first, but it will be much simpler once you have a process in place. Below are some tips to help you get started!

1. Backing up on cloud storage for redundancy and risk-free storage

Cloud storage is a safe place to store and manage your data to protect it from physical damage and cyber threats. Using the cloud allows you to access your files remotely, eliminating the need for expensive servers or software.

According to Boston Computing Network, 31% of PC users have lost all their data due to uncontrollable events. The best part about backing up your data on the cloud is that it’s risk-free. With password-protected documents, the fear of getting hacked or other people using your storage space becomes minimal, which is an absolute necessity for any business. Why? Because small enterprises are increasingly becoming targets for cyberattacks and are less likely to recover from them.

2. Segregate by function

Anurag Vijayvergia, Co-Founder & CPO, Lio

Anurag Vijayvergia, Co-Founder & CPO, Lio

No matter what type of company you have, the key is knowing the different data types processed and stored. Segregating your data will allow for more effective management, tracking, and easier access to your needed files.

There are three types of data – Reference Data (the basic information about something like customer addresses), Document Data (the files you are using to produce your product), and Transaction Data (the transactions that are being processed). All appropriate data management plans should include all of them. Some ways to segregate these data types include storing Reference Data in a relational database, Document Data on the company’s intranet server, and Transaction Data on an internet server.

3. Decide sharing hierarchy for data basis needs

It’s essential to have a data access policy to know who can see what and when. Transparency with employees will help them focus on their work and prevent issues such as giving out sensitive client information or making mistakes later on. For instance, your staff members may need access to certain records while working on them but not when they aren’t.

Moreover, you can ensure that managers have access to the same records as their subordinates but each role in the hierarchy can have a level of data access. While some teams/levels can edit, others may only need to view the data. Having a centralized system that lets you set permissions can help prevent unauthorized people from viewing, sharing, and editing important files. There is a need for a consolidated system as expecting employees/managers to manually set permissions and not make a mistake ever is unrealistic.

4. Password management

To store, share, and protect your data efficiently, you will need a system in place. Password management is one of the most effective ways to manage all passwords accompanying different accounts and information. Having different ones and remembering them can be a tedious job, and here’s where password managers step in.

In 2019, around 2.2 billion unique emails and passwords were exposed in the ‘Collection1-5’ data breach. With a good password manager, you don’t have to remember the unique passwords for your website/account. Besides this, it will also help generate strong passwords and save them in an encrypted vault. It’s an extra step, but it is worth your peace of mind in the long run.

5. Data retention schedule

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to storing your company’s files and information. You may find that certain items don’t need to be stored for that long or that some of your documents require a longer shelf life because of legal reasons based on industry standards.

Have a clear data retention policy where everyone can see what needs to be kept for how long. Make sure you get all the employees involved when it comes to selecting the one that will work the best, along with having everyone on board once it has been implemented.

6. Device management in the office

It’s essential to have a company-wide policy when it comes to using devices for work purposes. Employees need to know what they can and cannot do when it comes to device usage, including downloading unauthorized software or visiting any websites that are unrelated to their job. Ensure that all devices are encrypted and passcode-protected. If they are lost or stolen, you will need to wipe the data from them remotely.

Bring your own device (BYOD) policy is also becoming a norm for several companies. It is an IT policy that allows and encourages employees to use their personal devices (laptops/mobiles)to access the official data and systems. This policy cuts the enterprise’s costs and improves employee productivity as they are more comfortable and proficient on their own devices. BYOD can also boost employee satisfaction as they are working from the devices they prefer. However, the users can unknowingly expose sensitive data to security threats. Besides, it is added work for the IT department, as they have to manage the devices they cannot officially control.

7. Mobile-friendly data policies

Efficient data management is now more critical than ever as competition continues to escalate. Small businesses need to review different policies that affect mobile users and data usage to stay afloat. The data should be accessible on all devices and easy-to-use if a user has a device that isn’t compatible. Doing so is likely to prevent security risks or loss in productivity.

The Bottom Line

Data management policies need to be efficient and straightforward so that most employees can easily use them with little direction. It will ensure that everyone is on the same page when using secure data storage throughout the company. It’s essential to keep your eye out for new trends that could start affecting you in terms of efficiency and security, such as cloud storage becoming more readily available than before. Companies need to stay abreast of these types of changes to continue successfully growing their business.

Author: Anurag Vijayvergia, Co-Founder & CPO, Lio

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