#CyberFLASH: Ten tips to keep your workplace data secure

smallbizadv-secure00sr1Small businesses spend a lot of time working on growth, but Bianca Lopes says it’s just as important to know how to avoid shrinkage because of lax security.

“Businesses really need to have a basic knowledge of where their data is held,” says Ms. Lopes, director of strategy for BioConnect, a Toronto-based company that develops identification software for banks and other corporate clients.

For any business, security can mean more than simply protecting data. It can be everything from making sure people don’t shoplift chocolate bars and gum from the counters to being sure that employees and suppliers aren’t secretly putting the cash flow into online poker.

Today, though, cybersecurity is the biggest imperative. A 2014 global survey by the U.S.-based Ponemon Institute, which conducts independent research on privacy, data protection and information security, found that 55 per cent of small businesses and professionals said they had suffered at least one data breach in the previous year and 53 per cent reported multiple breaches.

Ponemon’s 2016 research in Canada looked at 24 companies and found that the average per capita cost of a data breach is $278, up from $250 the previous year, and the average total cost to businesses (large as well as small) was more than $6 million, up 13 per cent from 2015.

While Ms. Lopes’ company is busy in Canada and overseas outfitting companies with biometric ID software, she says all businesses can start with basic security steps. Here are a few from her and others:

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