When a small business expands, its responsibility for data protection expands with it. A new study from the Kaspersky Lab found that data protection is the no. 1 challenge SMBs and very small businesses (VSBs) face today.

Some 66% of the 3,000-plus IT staff surveyed for the report noted that they face challenges in managing their company’s IT infrastructure as well.

SEE: Big data policy (Tech Pro Research)

As technology advances and becomes more complex, some SMBs find themselves embracing new tools and services to make their work more efficient and flexible, according to a press release. However, these changing technologies also present security risks if not properly managed by IT.

IT security should be managed by professionals to reduce the risk of interference with the company’s sensitive data, the release noted. Similarly, the report found that only 32% of VSBs and 14% of SMBs trust non-IT specialist staff members to manage IT security.

To combat this, Kaspersky Lab published a blog post that offered tips to SMBs on how to improve the protection of customer data. The post noted that to begin the trust process, SMB owners should know what data they have, which employees have access to it, how it’s processed, and how it’s disposed of.

Here are the seven tips from Kaspersky Lab to help you get started.

  1. Create a list of assets your employees use.
  2. Make a list of the online services your organization uses, and analyze which of them is critical for your business process.
  3. Audit critical services and their settings.
  4. Set clear guidelines for which data can be moved to the cloud and which must stay internal.
  5. Set guidelines for which data can be accessed by which employees.
  6. Arrange security awareness training to teach staff how to handle critical data safely.
  7. Use a reliable security solution.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Data protection is the no. 1 concern for SMBs and VSBs. — Kaspersky Lab, 2018
  • 66% of IT personnel from SMBs and VSBs noted that they face problems in managing IT infrastructure. Kaspersky Lab, 2018