Running a small business comes with its own risks, but compromising your business and customer data should never be a risk you’re willing to take.

Fortunately, keeping your data safe and secure is easier than you might think.

Here are a number of ways your business can protect its most sensitive data:

Importance of Data Security

Protecting your small business from security breaches, cyber-attacks, and data theft is of the utmost importance. This is especially the case if your business stores sensitive customer data on its servers.

According to a recent report by Verizon, of the 600+ data breaches reported each year, more than 150 breaches take place in businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Likewise, Symantec, one of the nation’s largest cyber security firms reports that small businesses are the target of 31 percent of cyber-attacks each year in the United States.

If you want to avoid becoming another statistic, then your business needs to keep in mind the following data security tips….

Control All Access

As the following article looks at, controlling the access of your employees is a key step in protecting online information. Are you overlooking this critical aspect of data security? If so, then you need to implement access controls into your system.

For starters, you should never give employees an all access pass to your network, even if it’s an IT administrator.

When a greater number of employees have a greater amount of access, it leads to more opportunities for cyber criminals to sneak their way into your system.

Your small business needs to identify all of its sensitive data and then decide exactly who gets access to it.

Segmenting data into personal, financial, and business-related makes it easier to control who has access to what.

Encrypt Business Data

Protecting your small business data by using firewalls and anti-viral software is only part of the security equation. If you truly want to protect your data, even in the worst-case scenarios, then you need to consider encryption.

A growing number of applications, software programs, databases, and data storage service providers offer automatic data encryption.

Encrypting your data makes your information close to impossible to fully compromise – even if your data is stolen.

Store Backup Data Offsite

Sometimes hackers and cyber criminals aren’t in it for the data.

In fact, a growing number of security breaches are simply malicious in nature and cause widespread data loss.

As a result, your small business should consider storing all backed up data to an offsite location using the cloud. This allows for full data recovery during security breaches or any other data disaster.

Update Data Protection Policies Regularly

Data threats evolve all the time and new breaches take place every day, which is why it’s so important to update your data protection policy on a regular basis.

Updating your disaster recovery plan, upgrading security software, and encouraging your employees and customers to strengthen their passwords is all part of the small business security process.

When you’re ready to protect your small business from online attacks, consider the data security tips above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including online security and data protection.