5 data management best practices for small businesses

Data is the greatest asset for modern organizations of any size, and data management is key in running organizations smoothly. Business data can also be one of the greatest risks when left unprotected or inadequately managed. As the volume of data within businesses grows, so do the challenges of protecting and managing it.

“Knowing where your data is, how to manage it, who owns it, who has privileges to see and use it and what resources to feed it with … has become even tougher,” writes Forbes’ Adrian Bridgwater.

For small organizations, establishing effective governance practices is especially critical. Threat actors are more likely to target smaller organizations. Small firms are also less likely to recover from the disastrous financial consequences of a cybersecurity incident. Sixty percent of small businesses fail within 6 months of a cyber attack.

Effective data management for small organizations isn’t limited to information security. You must practice data lifecycle management, employee education and other efforts.

Comprehensive data management best practices reduce business risks, create new business models, and streamline employee workflows. Read on to discover a framework and use cases for a smarter take on data.

Practice comprehensive data governance

You can’t protect your data if you can’t access it, and you can’t mine business intelligence from inaccurate data. Data governance aligns people, processes, policy and technology to discover data assets.

A recent industry survey by ObservePoint found that organizations glean many benefits from data governance. Thirty-four percent of organizations report that governance results in improved decision-making. Other benefits of formal data management include:

  • Data quality
  • Compliance with privacy regulations
  • Operational efficiency
  • Company revenue

Adopt cloud solutions

As your business’ most valuable asset, your data must be accessible, defensible and recoverable. Migrating to the cloud offers flexibility, scalability and end-to-end business visibility through cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Adopting a flexible, cloud-based core for enterprise resources planning allows for global access, unlimited scalability, automated updates and business continuity planning.

Develop a cybersecurity strategy

Small businesses at an elevated risk of cybercrime, but the relative costs of a data breach are also rising.

Firms that experience an incident can lose revenue, brand value and customer trust. They also pay legal fees and heightened insurance premiums. Protecting your employee and customer data requires a comprehensive and proactive cybersecurity stance against quickly evolving security threats.

Safeguard against insider threats

Your employees are your second greatest asset—and liability—after your data. Data leaks or losses from insider risks can be as costly as external threats. And insider risks can go undetected longer.

Teaching your employees cybersecurity best practices is critical for good data management. Providing employees with the least access possible can minimize the risk of errors.

Streamline operations

Effective data management for small business can reduce risks and improve quality. Moving to the cloud can also introduce access to an amazing suite of lightweight, integrated cloud apps for business process optimization. Time is money, and organizations can use business rules and data visibility to save time.

Several examples of how cloud apps can enhance productivity include but aren’t limited to:

Conclusion: Data management is a business opportunity

If you think you don’t need to focus on data management, you’re probably wrong. Every organization needs to put effective data governance at the forefront of its business strategy. Companies that effectively manage data have a competitive advantage.

As inside BigData writes, “organizations that have been able to adapt quickly to the demands of modern-day data management have created great opportunities to increase business value.”

Good data management involves knowing where your data is stored and who can access it. Moving to the cloud and adopting cloud-based ERP can pave the way for mobile apps and streamlined operations.