8 essential data management tips and best practices for small business owners

24 January 2019 by Mark Williams

Data is ubiquitous in the modern world. No matter the industry, companies, big and small, are finding ways to use data to enhance their business processes.

However, without learning data management best practices, your data analysis could be flawed. Or worse yet, be risking the safety of sensitive customer information.

To make sure you’re getting the most from your data, we’ve put together nine data management best practice tips.

1. Get compliant

Step one of effective data management is to ensure you’re aware of data rules and regulations.

Make sure you’re up to date with the GDPR and any other specific compliance requirements in your industry. Check out our GDPR checklist to see if your business is up to scratch.

2. Visualise your data

Make your data reports engaging and interactive with a data visualisation tool, like Power BI.

With Power BI you can analyse your data, gain insights and create stunning visuals from the results.

3. Prioritise data security

Data must be secured, both virtually and physically. It should also be encrypted, in case you are ever hacked.

Make sure you are investing in multi-layered security, such as: firewalls, multi-factor authentication, anti-virus software and of course regular security training.

4. Back up everything

Safeguard against data loss by being diligent with your backups. Consider:

  • Backing data up in the cloud
  • Saving on an external hard drive
  • Putting it on a USB flash drive
  • Saving on a network attached storage (NAS)

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5. Have a data recovery plan in place

Even the best data security policies are at risk of attack. Be prepared for the worst with a data recovery plan. Your plan should include details of:

  • Who is responsible for recovering the data?
  • A strategy for data recovery
  • A timeline for recovery
  • If you will be turning to an IT partner for help.

 

Check out our disaster recovery templates to create your own disaster recovery plan.

6. Standardise your data entry policies

Even small errors can be catastrophic in data management. That’s why it's essential to develop a standardised data entry procedure in your company.

Ensure everyone who goes near your data is properly trained and isn’t risking your results. Remember, the devil's in the details.

7. Set a regular maintenance schedule

Regular maintenance is the best way to ensure your data is error free and not at risk of a breach.

Business databases decay at a rate of 40 percent a year, so make sure you put in the time to ‘clean’ your data and ensure everything is accurate and secure.

8. Make your data accessible

Don’t let your data be neglected by making it inaccessible. While we don’t suggest you give access to your entire company, for the select few you must provide ease of access. After all, data is useless if it is not used and understood.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

When it comes to data, many businesses are attempting to run before they can walk. With so many gurus talking about the holy grail of big data and analysis, who could blame them for wanting to jump on the bandwagon?

While we understand the rush, we know that without a set of airtight data management policies in place, your analysis will be flawed and your information will be insecure.

Our advice? Put security and compliance at the forefront of your plan, then build from here.

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