Small Business Data for Your Eyes Only
Even if youve protected your network from intrusion, it is still possible for unauthorized people -- either outside or inside your company -- to access files they shouldnt. Laptops get lost or stolen, and customer data gets stored on the file server for all to see. Consider protecting it with an encryption program, which uses algorithms to encrypt data before it is stored to disk. Encrypted files cannot be opened without the associated password or other authentication, keeping their contents safe even if the hard drive falls into the wrong hands.
For data stored on desktop and laptop PCs, Large Software offers DocLock, an affordable ($49.95 per PC, or $29.95 during the promotional period) program that lets you password-protect files and entire folders easily. With DocLock, you select the files and folders -- documents, photos, videos, Zip files, PDFs and so on -- you wish to lock.
|Large Software's DocLock|
You can drag-and-drop files to DocLock to quickly lock/unlock them, or simply right-click on a file or folder icon and select Lock or Unlock as appropriate. You can send locked files via email or removable media (such as a USB drive) without worry that an unauthorized person will inadvertently open the file; since the recipient needs the password you created in order to open it. For advanced users, DocLock lets you choose from among eight different encryption algorithms.
On the server side, Microsofts excellent Windows Small Business Server (SBS) added encryption features starting with version 2008 and continuing in SBS 2011 (as well as in the Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate Editions of Windows 7). With SBS, you can have the built-in Encrypting File System (EFS) automatically encrypt files and folders stored on the file server.
Conveniently, EFS is an integral part of the operating systems file system and is transparent to your users and applications. You dont need to install any special software to work with encrypted files: Files encrypt when you close them, and then automatically ready to use when you open them. If you change your mind about encrypting a file, simply uncheck the box in the files properties.
Dont Turn your Back on Data Backup
No discussion of data security would be complete without addressing data backup. After all, the biggest threat to your business data isnt viruses or hackers, its the loss of data through inadvertent deletion or an equipment loss or failure. You can mitigate the impact of these misadventures by simply backing up your PCs and servers.
If you use the aforementioned Microsoft Windows Small Business Server as your network operating system, you can use its built-in features to back up both files on the server and those on networked PCs. Of course, then you are in charge of setting backup schedules and parameters, maintaining and securing the external hard drive or other media youre backing up to, and making sure laptops are connected to the network to be backed up. Or you can sign up for one of the many online backup services available and let your PCs back up to the cloud automatically.