Chances are, most of the time you don’t give a lot of thought to your company’s data, but it’s absolutely fundamental to your success. Without the information you collect and transfer on a routine basis, your business can’t survive. Here’s how to ensure that foundation is solid, as well as how data handling can further influence your bottom line.

But I’m small potatoes

You might think only big businesses are vulnerable to major data issues, but small businesses have much to fear. There are many ways companies lose data. Power outages, clicking the wrong key, or a hard drive crash can mean watching hard-earned information disappear. Don’t discount cybercrime, either. As recent statistics show, 43 percent of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, and the number of threats is growing. While small companies might not have the lucrative spoils of a larger target, the lighter defenses most smaller businesses have means easier pickings.

Protect those valuables

In the event of a breach, acting quickly can help minimize damage. If your company lacks in-house tech support, it’s necessary to formulate a plan for how you will respond in the event a data loss occurs. Explore outside tech expertise, such as data-recovery specialists. Professionals like Secure Data Recovery can not only mitigate damage, they can diagnose where a breach occurred, how to avoid it in the future, and they might even be able to help you recover your data so you can get back on track with minimal hiccup. These professionals are particularly crucial in the event of a cyberattack, helping to stop the spread of destruction such criminals can cause.

Recognizing threats

Cyberattacks are not just growing in volume, they are also becoming increasingly sophisticated. They often come as wolves in sheeps’ clothing, disguised as familiar or trustworthy sources, and use encryption to cover their tracks. When it comes to keeping data safe, learning about threats such as hackers, ransomware, and phishing scams is a good place to start. Train your staff on common weapons attackers use, such as emails that request sensitive information, like passwords or account numbers. Another common tactic is an email that redirects you to another website and then requests sensitive information. Consider having a training course so your employees can experience firsthand how deceptive these threats are, and how to avoid them.

Protecting your reputation

Some surveys show the vast majority of Americans are worried about how well-protected their information is. Customers are the number one asset of all businesses, and your data is how you connect the dots between your company and your customers. If your company needs to explain a loss, it can be a hard hit on more than your productivity, it can mean a permanently damaged reputation. CSO Online suggests the way you respond can be the key to restoring your company image quickly and suffering the least impact. A swift and proper response can help keep your reputation afloat and maintain customers’ trust. Should an issue occur, be transparent, explain how you are handling it, and tell your customers how you will make amends.

Add cloud cover

If your company is saving data in-house, embracing the cloud can be a boon to security. Not only does it protect your data from issues such as electrical outages, fires, or flooding, Capterra points out using the cloud boosts efficiency, cuts overhead, and can improve your work environment. It’s a chance for your employees to work remotely, which in turn often equates to better job satisfaction and better productivity. You’ll spend less as well, since paying someone to manage security updates will no longer be a concern.

Data losses can have far-reaching consequences for small businesses. Ensure your data is protected, and should you experience a loss, have a plan established for how you will respond. Quick and effective action can make all the difference in ensuring your company’s long-term survival.