No matter how big or small your small business may be, there are critical documents that all business owners need to secure. Internal documents, financial records, or any documents with personally identifiable information should be secured.
It amazes me how many small business owners keep important documents on their laptops, potentially exposing sensitive business data if lost or stolen. You can password protect your documents as an extra level of security. Use the password protection feature in Microsoft Word and Excel to restrict an unauthorized user from opening or making changes. In Adobe Acrobat, you can protect PDF files to prevent opening, printing, editing and copying files. Protecting a PDF document from edits should become standard when sending out contracts.
You need more than a locked filing cabinet to protect important documents. Paper documents, or hard copies, are great for easy access, but having a digital backup is essential. Invest in a good scanner, and scan your important documents to digital files. Scan all important documents, and save them to a cloud-based storage service like Dropbox, JustCloud and SugarSync. Cloud-based storage enables files to be saved on remote servers accessible from the internet. You don’t have to worry about the files in the event of a natural disaster, fire, break-in, or if your computer’s hard drive crashes. Most cloud-based business storage services also allow you to track how data who accessed files and if the information was shared.
Remember when you needed to get a signature from a client and you’d have to scan, print, and email a document then they’d have to print, sign, and email? This process allowed sensitive data to be sent via email which is a security risk. Those days are gone thanks to electronic Signatures, eSignatures, that allow documents to be legally signed digitally. With tools like DocuSign and AdobeSign, your small business can have documents signed immediately without all the printing.
Get rid of the clutter of keeping paper receipts. Use your smartphone to take pictures of your business-related purchases. Services like Shoeboxed or Expensify can help make tracking expenses easier. When shopping at stores like Staples or Office Depot, get your receipts emailed to your business account. You should get an alert on your smartphone confirming that you’ve received your receipt.
Implement policies that will become best practices for your small business. Share your internal policies with your staff to make sure that everyone is well aware of the expectations.