There are a lot of factors in your business that require regular maintenance and protection. Since we save much of our work online, in clouds, and many transactions we make are virtual, too – it pays to know all of the ways that you can keep your business safe.
Many businesses, at one point or other hire or contract new people. Some are short term, like freelancers and consultants. Others, however, are long term and have a vital role in the business.
When other parties are handling your business information, it presents a vulnerability.
Having a contract or agreement in place is essential to protect your company from potential intellectual or actual asset theft.
Employment agreements can include a range of protections to forbid the team from revealing any formulas, ideas, products or records.
If anything were to happen with a contract in place, you could take action against that person.
It is also good to have roles firmly defined so everyone knows what they are doing. Mixing functions can cause conflicts in processes.
Almost all businesses have sensitive information travelling between the team and clients. This sensitive information is at risk of being stolen.
While you might think your business is too small to be a target, small business cyber crimes are on the rise.
A VPN is simple to use and will provide a layer of protection for your information. It allows things to travel to the correct location without being seen or intercepted.
Linked to the last point, all of your devices provide an entryway to your company’s financial information and private records.
But that isn’t all. When it comes to your IT, even updating software can go wrong. Managed IT companies like www.netstar.co.uk offer a complete service.
Managed IT gives you cyber security protection, IT support (usually 24/7), a tailored IT system and more.
One of the most incredible options for most businesses is the backup and recovery option.
If you are the type of person that didn’t take life or house insurance – you might be tempted to do the same as a business.
If you are providing services to customers, and something should go wrong – not every customer is happy with a price reduction or free goods.
Sometimes it can be more serious and lawyers will need to be involved. In most cases, you will be required to take out workers’ insurance, but extra insurance is useful.
Business interruption insurance, liability and other insurances that are essential to your industry are all worth consideration.
There are several ways to keep your business backed up. Keeping a physical backup, by printing out anything you need isn’t usually required for most businesses.
However, it can be useful as a means of proof or backup.
Using a hard disk drive to store important information is a further set of backups. HDDs from time to time do corrupt, but for the most part, they are safe and easy to store.
A copy of valuable documents will likely be saved to your computer and saved in whichever cloud services you choose.
Working with a managed IT company will usually take care of the cloud for you, but if you aren’t ready for that step, then here are some cloud options for you:
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Google Drive
Some have a pricing structure; others are free to use until a certain amount of storage has been reached. You’ll need to find what works with your storage needs and budget.
Not backing up your work can be disastrous if, for example, the client loses their copy or access, or if your technology fails you and you need to access your work from somewhere else.
Your health is one of the most important things to keep your business running well. The saying goes that if you don’t make time for your health, you need to make time for your illness.
While working hard and for long hours can be gratifying, it is vital to take regular breaks to look after yourself too.
This also goes for your staff; they need to have regular breaks and take care of their mental and physical health.
If you didn’t include an NDA in your initial agreement with your staff, implementing an NDA is a good idea.
It means that your team doesn’t have the right to discuss anything within the business or perhaps the work you are undertaking.
You can issue NDAs per project or a general one that covers the entire time they work with you.
There are some bonuses to being incorporated. As a sole trader or a sole proprietor, you and your business are considered as one entity.
This means that your home, car and other cash are all considered fair game when it comes to paying off business debt.
Incorporation provides a separation between your personal assets and your business assets.
You’ll need to complete the paperwork, and be sure to file your tax returns (use an accountant), but it will mean if you are sued, your personal assets are safe.
Another bonus is that you may be able to benefit from small business tax reductions, grants and other financial things.
It is best to discuss this with a small business lawyer and an accountant to see if it is the right move for you.
As a small business, it might be tempting to go all out (read: spend too much too soon) to be a success. Yet, it is more important to be around for the long term, and to do that, running lean is your best option.
Take a look at everything your business is paying for, and begin to clear up anywhere you could trim the spend.
Often this comes down to – do you need it, or is it just nice to have? If it falls into the latter, then it is an expense you can cut.
Offering multiple services and products is a great idea, but there should be one or two core items that are the backbone of the business.
The products or services that people purchase time and again and are well refined. Your core product or service will be how you future-proof your business.
And that’s it! Protecting your business takes a little bit of time to set up in terms of structure, but once it is done, no matter what happens, your company is safe.
Published on Holr Magazine