The saying “prevention is better than cure” holds especially true in the wide, complex world of data. Data is a primary asset of any business, regardless of size, and thus we can only imagine everyone’s worst nightmare occurring on different scales: losing business data, seeing vital databases corrupted, and seeing finances and privacy be compromised because of breaches in security.

Sadly, these things happen, and moreover could happen to anyone, at any given time. Any business can fall victim to cases such as human error, software error, power outage, natural disasters, or ill intent to compromise. Trust us on this one: preparation and proper safeguarding of your business data come out quicker, easier, and less painful than full data recovery, which can take a long time and deepen the costs per compromised record.

So, what is to be done? The best way to pre-empt these problems is to invest in means to safeguard your business data—meaning, taking a proactive (rather than reactive) approach to potential attacks, threats of compromise, or disaster. Hands down, safeguarding your business data will minimize business disruption and great loss of profit.

These are our five straightforward and actionable tips.

Employ automated backups

Our first tip is to look into methods of backing up your data, such as a cloud solution or a backup server.. It’s true that data backup solutions can leave quite a dent in the pocket, and feel even costlier when the worst-case hasn’t played out yet. But you shouldn’t sleep on finding a provider, and searching the many options out there for one that will fit the size, budget, and needs of your business.

Consider creating provisions for a high-availability network. If this is the first time you’ve heard of such a mechanism, it pertains to the concept of maintaining a network’s operational performance by creating standby environments. A high-availability software for downtime prevention is a tool that will enable your business to easily replicate its data into backup databases, while a standby system can still remain operational to receive real-time queries and reports, as well as address any data-related differences.

Install proper firewalls and practice network segmentation

Firewall mechanisms still prove to be effective deterrents to potential thieves, skimmers, and phishers. Look to install hardware firewalls, and other safeguarding tools such as anti-virus protection and content filters, to properly blockade your business data. Another best practice is to perform network segmentation to protect your data from threats coming from within the network. Segmentation can prevent cybercriminals from further moving within the network in the event that they breach your primary perimeter.

Implement a disaster recovery plan

In this regard, be ready to expect the unexpected, such as if the disaster in the form of a massive server failure, an accident (like fire), or a natural disaster. A helpful tip toward this is to educate your business’s employees about the possible risks, training them about the best measures to take if disaster does strike, and providing them with the necessary tools to ensure that their individual data is safe no matter what.

Encrypt your business data

Another thing you might want to subject your data to is encryption, or converting it into ciphertext to keep it out of access to unauthorized users. This proves especially important for very sensitive data such as clients’ private information or data about a top-secret product that your company is yet to launch.,

Practice vigilance with hardware and mobile devices

This can’t be highlighted enough: there should be a culture of vigilance and carefulness in the handling of all mobile devices and hardware such as personal computers and laptops that are on-site. Warn employees never to leave themselves logged in to their accounts when they cannot monitor the devices, or logged into hot spots. This mindfulness is still one of the best ways to combat petty or massive-scale cybercrime.

We emphasize the value of choosing the right providers for your data management and backup solutions, and taking on a cautious, but practical approach in determining which ones can best help your company over a realistic period of time. It may seem of little comfort to be paranoid, but trust us on another adage that applies: better safe than sorry.