For most businesses, the data that they store is incredibly important to their operations. Without it, even small tasks can become impossible. In most places, there are also legal reasons to look after business data; especially if it’s customer or staff information. But, looking after data can be a challenge. It’s hard to know exactly what to do, especially when it comes to payments. So, to help you out, this post will go through some of the best practices to use when storing data.
As a business, you shouldn’t be storing any of your data on individual computers. This makes it hard to move data between users and can present a great risk when it comes to losing your data. Instead, most companies choose to store their data on the Internet. This is usually referred to as the Cloud.
In the past, a cloud was simple an invisible part of a network. So, your business would have considered anything outside of your own network to be a cloud. Nowadays, though, the cloud represents something else entirely. Cloud servers use an array of hard drives or SSDs, all working together as one drive. This enables higher speeds because data can be split between drives but still made accessible as if it were on one. It also improves security, because cloud companies have the money to invest in the best security around. And, finally, it almost eliminates the risk of data loss. Most services offering cloud storage will create backups of the data that they’re storing. So, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, a carbon copy of your data will still exist.
Services like Office 365 for Business and Google’s Business Services can provide a small business with everything it needs to get their data on the cloud. Using services like these will ensure that your staff can always access their data as if it were stored on their PC. They also offer assurance that data will be protected and secured to the highest standards possible.
If you have an online store or shop, handling your customer’s sensitive data is a stressful challenge. Of course, as a business, you have the legal responsibility to look after this data. If you lose it, you could find yourself in legal battles that are enough to sink a growing business.
The best way to get around this risk is by storing as little of the data as possible and having someone else deal with it for you. For this, you need a payment gateway. With a gateway, when a customer enters their payment details on your site, you save it as a simple encrypted string, that only makes sense to the gateway. You pass this string to the gateway, who will charge the customer and deal with their bank. Your website will then receive a new string, detailed whether or not the payment has gone through.
With a system like this, you can usually advertise the fact that you’re using it. So, it’s a good idea to go for a popular option like Sagepay or Braintree. When customers see these logos on your site, it will give them confidence that their data will be handled correctly. It will also make it much easier for you to create a professional and easy to use payment system.
EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)
Some businesses require data to be transferred between themselves and other companies. For this, an Electronic Data Interchange will be used. An EDI is a network of different communications systems, all used to transfer data electronically. A host of different devices can be part of an EDI, including mobile phones, fax machines, computers, and much more. Most of the time, information like orders and invoices are sent via an EDI. So, you will always need access to it.
The biggest issue with these systems is that they can run using one of many different standards for the transfer. This means that if a standard that you haven’t used before comes up, you won’t be able to deal with it. So, it’s best to use an EDI solutions company, to handle the data for you. For one, this will boost your security. But, it will also make it much easier for you to cover all of the available standards.
When it comes to data, the law is different in most countries. So, it’s worth doing some research to find out what you have to do. Thankfully, most professional services will be designed to be compliant in as many places as possible. This means that it’s just a matter of finding what suits you the best.