Although it may seem like something that only big corporations need to be concerned with, data management is crucial to successfully running a small business. Knowing which data is important and where the information is coming from, how to handle the data you collect, and what security measures need to be in place for sensitive items like customers’ personal information are just some of the areas that need careful consideration. Looking for data management support from an outside company could prove to be beneficial for your small business in many ways.
It is imperative that you have a solid data strategy. Being able to answer the questions of where the data is coming from and what needs to be kept will drive how the data is handled. As Entrepreneur Magazine notes, “since data collection can happen in various formats — print, digital and in-person — the means in which data is shared and collected is a serious concern.” Having the correct information allows you to integrate your findings into successful marketing campaigns and identify product sales and trends.
Just like with paper documents, you’re going to need somewhere to store the data that you collect. This can be done by dedicating a computer drive solely for the purpose of data storage, partitioned with folders and categories accurately labeled for easy access. You could also perform backup with a flash drive that is routinely updated with the most recent information and stored separately, or, for smaller text-based sites, through your website hosting platform. But it can be difficult to know what will best suit your current needs or predict what needs you might have in the future. Reaching out to an outside company specializing in IT and data management can help you make sure that you have adequate storage and can easily access the data that you need.
Data needs to be secured to prevent access from unauthorized parties. An outside vendor can provide sophisticated encryption of sensitive data like credit card numbers, as well as consistent monitoring of who is accessing your stored information. Working together, you can create a security plan for your data, complete with detailed lists of which individuals both within and outside your company have access to which specific data collections.
Partnering with an company dedicated to data management will not only help your small business run more smoothly, it can also save you money by eliminating the need to hire a full-time IT person. With the right partner, you’ll still have access to “any time support, as well as ongoing maintenance, IT strategy, implementation and more.”