Small business owners face a constant threat of employee theft and fraud, and it doesn’t start and end with the bookkeeper, either. In today’s digital age, many employees have access to the network, which could pose a security or data loss risk if that employee is ever fired or laid off.
Not only should you monitor your social media channels (especially LinkedIn) if you fire a tech savvy employee, but you also want to preserve the integrity of your network. It wouldn’t be hard for an employee to go in and wipe a remote server, delete your cloud backups or plant a virus that will wreak havoc on your network.
Ideally, your IT staff can block access to the servers, change passwords, and protect your company from damage that could be done by former employees. But if you’re a small firm, these security measures are even more important and you may be tasked with the responsibility yourself. Here are three ways to help prevent data loss caused by former employees.
1. Keep control of your data backups.
Like your business checkbook, access to data backups should be limited to yourself and maybe – maybe –one other person. In some small businesses, only the owner has authority to write checks. Treat your data backups with the same care, because if something goes wrong, your backups are all you’ve got! (Well, and, of course, 24 Hour Data’s fast recovery process… )
2. Change passwords every time someone leaves.
You wouldn’t keep a former employee’s American Express account open, would you? Or give them your ATM card pin number? Change server passwords and cloud-based software passwords to guard against hacking. Your server should already be protected with leveled access, so you’ll have to make fewer changes if you’re replacing a middle manager, for example, than for a head of IT.
On a similar note, although not related to data loss, change your social media passwords, too. If you have a social media presence, your Twitter password could be just as valuable to protect your company’s reputation.
3. Make those passwords good ones.
Avoid passwords like pass1, password, or even your pet’s name. Random strings of numbers, letters and characters, with a mix of lower case and capital letters, work best. Many programs rate your password from weak to very strong. Always aim for very strong.
4. Make sure all company computers and phones are returned.
It’s all too easy, if you’re a small business, to lose track of a laptop, tablet or an iPhone. Keep careful records, including serial numbers, and make sure all devices are returned when an employee moves on.
5. Monitor remote access to your servers.
Protect your mission critical data from theft, loss or corruption by using an app that tracks remote logins. Not only will this help protect your data from former employees, but from random hackers, too.