A Simple Guide to Data Management for Small Companies

Planning out the next big data effort for your small company is a complicated process. If you’re stuck with too much data, this guide contains some helpful tips and has sections covering the most basic resources to more advanced tactics that can help you manage your data in an organized manner!

Keep It Simple

There is no doubt that data management is an important part of running a small business. When you have limited resources, it’s important to be able to keep track of what’s happening with your finances, your customers, and your products. 

Use a system that is easy to use. If you can’t easily find the information you need, you’re probably not going to be using the system very much. Consider looking for a system that has a user-friendly interface and easy-to-navigate menus.

Data Storage

As a small business, you know that data storage is essential. But how do you manage your data effectively?

First and foremost you need to make sure that all of your data storage processes are in line with government GDPR regulations for the storage of personal information. You should also look to take an intelligent approach to data storage, which means just collecting the data that you need and nothing more. Also destroying data responsibly when it is no longer needed.

For most companies these days data will be stored in a cloud storage service. You can use online data storage as a service, which will protect your data in the case of a problem with your company computer system or even a natural disaster. However, all of your sensitive data should also be protected by a range of protocols which might include restricted password protection and two-step authentication. If you have particularly sensitive data which will only be accessed by a very limited number of people you may want to keep it offline in an external hard drive. 

The right solution for your small business will depend on the size of your company, the amount of data you’re dealing with, and the type of environment in which it’s stored. Make sure to figure out what a fair SAN storage price would be and compare that to the cost of a cloud storage service. This will give you a good idea of which is the best solution for your business’s data storage needs.

Develop A Cybersecurity Plan

Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting computers and networks from cyberattacks, which are defined as any attempt to compromise computer security or seize control of information or resources by malicious actors. 

Cybersecurity includes protection against unauthorized access to data, systems, networks, and user accounts, detection and response to attacks, proper handling of confidential information, and training for employees who use technology.

There are three main approaches to cybersecurity: proactive, which is detecting threats before they happen, reactive, which is responding after an attack has occurred, and hybrid, which is combining both. Which approach you take will depend on your company’s risk tolerance, resources, and sensitivity to potential damage from cyberattacks.

You need a cybersecurity plan if you’re a small business. A solid cybersecurity plan follows these basic components: 

Identification of risks: Critical systems and data must be identified and ranked according to their importance. Once the risks are identified, the organization can prioritize its security efforts accordingly. 

Risk assessment: The scope and severity of each cyber threat must be determined. Cybersecurity exercises are performed to assess addressing each threat’s potential impact. A thorough evaluation of the company’s risk environment should be completed when determining which threats require immediate attention. 

Testing: A controlled test that simulates a real-world breach is used at this stage to better understand and manage data security risks, establish controls to mitigate vulnerabilities, develop an inventory of systems, and determine how best to secure assets. 

Outline or flowchart: To detail the approach used to address major risks, organizations can create an outline with all identified threats, along with specific actions taken to mitigate each threat exposure without compromising other important operations or capabilities. Often called a flowchart or a program

Avoid Big Data

With your small business, the temptation to go all in with big data is strong. After all, doesn’t more data mean more insights and faster decision-making? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. 

In fact, many small businesses end up suffering from “big data syndrome” because they lack the proper tools and processes to manage their data. Here are a few simple steps to avoid big data syndrome:

  1. Create sensible goals for your data. Don’t just think about how you can use it to boost your business’s bottom line. Make sure you have clear targets in mind, too. For example, you may want to track how consumers are reacting to your new marketing campaign or find new ways to segment your customer base.
  1. Plan your data usage wisely. Before you start streaming videos of your customers’ bankruptcies, make sure you have a plan for storing and managing that information. And be aware of the costs associated with both storage and processing requirements: if storage is becoming too expensive or hard to find, maybe it’s time to rethink your big data strategy altogether.
  2. Establish appropriate governance and management processes for your data. This means setting up systems for tracking who has access to what data and agreements with people who are deemed critical to your operations. 

Data management is one of the most important tasks that a small company can undertake, and it’s something that you need to start planning for from the very beginning. 

By implementing a few simple data management practices early on, you will set yourself up for success in years to come. Hopefully, you are now better equipped to tackle data challenges head-on and make sure your business continues to thrive decades into the future.