A Guide To Back-Ups and Security
Protecting your business data and that of your clients is a critical but often forgotten aspect of running a photo booth rental business. It is all too easy to get caught up with the things which make you money. However, in terms of risk, a data loss or security breach could potentially cost you your reputation and even your business. Luckily, LAPP has thought a lot about this and want you to know how to protect yourself with our guide on Photo Booth Data Management.
First, let’s take a look at the difference between data loss and a data breach:
Data Loss vs Data Breach
A data loss is any instance where digital information is destroyed by failures or neglect in storage, transmission or processing.
There are many ways this could happen but a boothing specific example would be a photo booth that saves digital photos locally e.g. to a USB. The USB gets knocked during travel, corrupting the files and rendering them inaccessible and leaving the photo booth owner to advise their client that their pictures are gone. An occurrence like this can cost a photo booth business not only money in refunds but also negatively affects their reputation and therefore their ability to make future bookings with bad client reviews.
A data breach is the intentional (e.g Cyber Terrorism) or unintentional access and release of secure or private/confidential information to an untrusted environment.
Cyber terrorism may sound like the stuff of Hollywood and big business but increasingly this is affecting small to medium businesses. Criminals are always on the look-out for an easy target and no photo booth business is immune from data breaches. Imagine if sensitive data about your photo booth business — or worse, about one of your clients — got out and was traced back to you. Not a nice thought is it?
Having protocols in place to protect your photo booth business against Data Losses and Data Breaches is imperative.
The 5 main areas of Photo Booth Data Management are:
- Local Backups
- Cloud Storage
- The Backup Rule of Three
- Password Protection
1. Local Backups
Backing up data held on any digital device is your best insurance policy against data loss. Data loss can happen for a multitude of reasons (e.g. computer virus, human error, and physical damage) and odds are you will experience it at some point. If you have a backup, however, what could be a disaster can be turned into merely a nuisance.
When it comes to backing up, the best advice is to back up every digital aspect of your photo booth business. A great way to do this locally is to an external hard drive. You can buy a terabyte or two of external storage for under one hundred dollars which is way cheaper than waiting until after the fact and trying a data recovery service which can cost thousands and is not even guaranteed to work.
The nature of all hard drives is that they are all prone to failure. Consider backing up your back up to be extra safe.
2. Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is a service that allows data to be stored on remote servers that are accessed via the internet. There are a number of advantages to using cloud storage:
- Data can be accessed from anywhere
- Data is not only stored but also backed up by the cloud service provider
- Low cost
- Scalable – you only pay for your storage needs and can increase incrementally as you require
- Secure (if encrypted)
- Data Synching means any changes you make to files are auto-saved in the cloud too
There is quite a bit of choice when it comes to selecting a Cloud Storage service provider with many integrated with other digital services like email or file sharing e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. Just keep in mind that with cloud storage some minor drawbacks are you need internet access for it to work and initially it may take some time to upload.
Whichever data storage option you decide to go with, setting up automation is going to save you a lot of time and ensure that you always have a recent back-up should you need it. Through your computer’s operating system (e.g. Windows 10 or Mac ) you can schedule automated backing up to your external hard drive.
For cloud storage, automated backing up is normally included and done for you but check with your provider to be sure.
Websites are potentially vulnerable to data loss, corruption and hacking so you should also have an automated back-up solution for your photo booth business website too. If you use a digital agency talk to them about solutions they can offer. If you self manage your website then you just need to find an appropriate plugin to take care of it.
4. The Backup Rule Of Three
Earlier we mentioned backing up your backups and no doubt you thought surely one backup is enough! However, as disturbing as it might be to imagine for a minute your office or home burns down. Would you still have access to a copy of all your important data?
The Backup Rule of Three states that you should have at least:
- 3 copies of anything you care about
- 2 different formats e.g. cloud+hard drive or CD + memory stick
- 1 offsite backup
5. Password Protection
We all know that we should be using strong passwords, such as twelve or more characters mixed with upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, for every login. With so many different logins to access programs, devices, software and websites it’s easy to drop the ball when it comes to password protocol. Using the same password for multiple logins or saving passwords in an unprotected file negates the effectiveness of having a strong password. Add to that all the data breaches happening to the very businesses who hold our password information and your photo booth business is still at risk of a data breach as this sensitive information potentially hits the black market.
Luckily there is a solution! The password manager:
A password manager is a software application that securely stores passwords and allows you to easily access them from various devices using a master password.
Depending on whether you’re using the free or paid version, most password managers also have a bunch of other helpful features like automated password updating, notification of data breaches to any of the services you use, password generators, multiple users and automated logging in from multiple devices. Some good ones to check out include Dashlane, Lastpass, and 1password.
Another level of security to consider implementing is Two-Factor Authentication. Just as it sounds, this security measure requires the user to prove twice that they are authorized before being granted access. The first factor is usually the password followed by an ever-changing authentication code sent by SMS, email or via an Authenticator App e.g. Google Authenticator.
Putting the right protocols in place to protect your business against data loss and data breaches will come at a small cost. However, that cost pales in comparison to the money those protocols will save you should something happen. Think of it as just another form of insurance to ensure your photo booth business is protected leaving you to worry about the fun stuff: boothing!