From squirrels to burglars and all the way to human or software error, many things have the power to put your valuable business data at risk. If you haven't taken any measures to secure your data, your business's continuity isn't the only thing on the line. You may also lose your clients to your competitors, and that too after paying an average of $246 per compromised record. Since recovering from a security breach or a long downtime is never easy, you need to effectively secure your business data.

Before we move to tips, let's look at the importance of data. It's understandable why ecommerce businesses use it. However, in today's world even other businesses like schools, marts, and hospitals are collecting and using data to cater to their customers in a better manner.

All kind of data, from house prices in a state to number of newborn babies in a territory, is important and has to be secured. While the former helps judge the investment potential of a market, the latter helps calculate growth rate. Without solid numbers it would be next to impossible for businesses to plan for the future. Imagine, how difficult it would be for real estate investors to invest if they don't know the ROI, which is measured using such data. Even government uses this data to make long-term plans.

The importance of data is clear, but collecting data can be a pain for most organizations. However, if you use the right tools (web builders, analytics, data forms, and automation software etc.) you will not face any difficulties.

Now that the importance of collecting data is clear, here are five effective methods to help you around this task.

#1) Implement a Multiple-Security Solution

There are many threats that can affect your data's integrity and safety. In addition to worms, viruses and Trojans, you have sophisticated hackers waiting to get their hands on your most valuable assets. Therefore, you need to provide multiple layers of security technology to all devices to avoid these threats, block their attacks, and alert you to take appropriate action

#2) Encrypt the Sensitive Data You Back Up

eCommerce businesses aren't only encrypting customers' data while they shop; they've also begun to incorporate encryption while backing up data to prevent its theft while in-transit. This preventative method can actually limit or completely eliminate security breaches, protecting businesses from lack of credibility and profit loss. This is especially important if you use cloud-based backup solutions as these are more vulnerable to attacks in comparison to other backup options.

#3) Hire the Right People to Secure Your Data and Systems

One of the easiest ways to ensure the safety of both your data and systems is entrusting this task to a reliable service provider. The best disaster recovery providers have various options you can pick from, including integrated solutions, on premise backup, and cloud recovery options. In addition to thoroughly researching their offerings, find out whether they have worked with other companies in your niche. If they did, they may effectively recommend the best services for you and even help you create and test a foolproof disaster recovery plan.

#4) Secure Your Hardware to Further Protect Your Data

Most businesses draft data recovery plans that protect their data centers. However, senior manager for Product Marketing at CommVault Peter Eicher points out that businesses need to expand their security to encompass laptops and similar devices as well. "While that is certainly critical, according to Gartner, almost two-thirds of corporate data lives outside the data center. Laptops, [for example,] are far less resilient than data center servers and disk arrays, and laptops are also subject to loss and theft," he says.

The same applies to your mobile-using workforce. In addition to devising a plan to secure these devices, you'll need to secure their communications, especially since they aren't using your secure network. Hiring a reliable data recovery service provider can help as the company may have a few solutions for the BYOD environment.

#5) Educate Your Staff on How to Keep Your Business Data Safe

In addition to the security measures you embrace, you need to train your employees and communicate the risks and vulnerabilities they put your data in. Employers will need to brief them on the sacredness of information at the company before enrolling them in training sessions and educating them on annual updates on security policies and alerts about digital traps.

Even with these measures in place, your business will need ample protection to prevent serious data breaches. Therefore, do not take this matter lightly and effectively plan how you can protect your devices, data centers, and employees.