I had an experience the other week where I picked my daughter up at the airport and when we got home we discovered that she had taken the wrong laptop out of the overhead bin when getting off the plane. The one we had belonged to a commercial salesman, and was full of files – client lists, wholesale price lists for product, invoicing information, credit info – all of it was on there for anyone to access. How lucky we were honest people – we tracked him down and got the laptop back to him.

This illustrates the point I have to make in this post. Whether or not you have a website, a company intranet, or just a bunch of client files on your laptop, you’ll want to keep that data secure.

Many people think that it must be very expensive to secure your business’s data. While it is possible to spend plenty on a fully secured and encrypted data center, if your budget does not stretch to this, there are things you can do to reduce the risks. In this series of three posts I’ll talk about how most of the threats to your data can be eliminated without a huge outlay of cash. Using a bit of common sense and by following these 10 tips, you should be able to:

1. Secure your wireless network

Wireless networking is a wonderful tool for any small business. Let’s face it, nobody likes cables. But if you haven’t secured your wireless network, anyone in close proximity may have access to all of your data. And having people from the whole neighbourhood using your network to get online can boost your bandwidth charges sky-high. If you notice usage beyond what is normal, it is probably time you got that network secured.

2. Make sure your firewall is activated

Most of your internet routers will have a firewall built-in. If you are not sure if you have a firewall, check the router’s user guide or give us a call and we can help you out. A firewall is an efficient tool for blocking intruders from coming into your network.

3. Encrypt the data on your laptop

As you can see from the example I gave earlier, losing a laptop with important information on it can be a nightmare. Encrypting the data on your laptop can be extremely helpful in both keeping your data safe as well as giving you a peace of mind. And while you’re at it – regular backups to an external hard disk will ensure that even should you lose your laptop, you’ll have copies of important information. I’ll be devoting an upcoming post to instructions on how to encrypt data on your computer.