Data management and cybersecurity are essentially two sides of the same coin. Data management looks at what data you collect and how you use it. This feeds into cybersecurity which is largely about protecting data from unauthorized access. Freelancers and SMBs can and must manage data effectively. With that in mind, here are four tips to help.
Focus on what you really need
This is the golden rule of modern data management. In the context of personal data, it’s often a legal requirement to minimize what you collect. With non-personal data, it’s generally optional. It is, however, generally best to avoid any temptation to collect data “just in case”. This is how you end up paying to store piles of useless data. Work out what you need and stick with that.
Invest in sector-leading IT solutions
Mainstream platforms are often best suited to enterprises rather than freelancers and SMBs. Enterprises often have the expertise and budget to customize these solutions to their needs. They can also supplement them with in-house solutions as required. Freelancers and SMBs typically don’t have this luxury.
Fortunately, there is a way to square this circle. That’s to look for sector-leading IT solutions. For example, if you’re in the auto industry, then look for dealer solutions rather than generic solutions. These give you the same kind of benefits as customized software but at a much lower cost.
Keep your data clean
Another benefit of investing in sector-leading IT solutions is that they tend to be user-friendly. This is important because it helps to minimize errors when inputting data. There are two reasons why this matters. Firstly, you need clean data to make good decisions. Secondly, inputting data incorrectly can actually give offense.
Failing to keep your data clean also has the potential to hurt your bottom line. For example, say you want to target a particular segment of your customer database. You can only do this accurately if your data is clean. If it’s not then you will miss customers you should have targeted and/or target the wrong customers.
These losses won’t necessarily just be in the form of missed opportunities (although those are certainly important). They may carry upfront costs too. For example, if you send out bulk mail you may well be charged depending on the number of customers who open it. If your mails get clicked by the wrong audience, you will literally be paying for your mistake.
Remember data goes out of date
With personal data, there may well be legal limits on how long you can store personal data. These limits may depend on the nature of your interaction with the customer. For example, you may be obliged to delete any personal data you hold after you have gone a certain length of time without hearing from them.
Again, taking this approach to non-personal data is usually optional but it’s often highly beneficial. This is particularly true if you’re in the cloud as you’ll be paying for literally every item of data you store. What’s more, you’ll probably be paying multiple times as you’ll have the data backed up as well as in production.