How SMEs Can Master Data Retention and Strengthen Brand Reputation

In today’s fast-paced digital world, data is a goldmine that can be used to leverage growth and innovation. On the flip side, it can also be exploited and could cause severe damages, if found in the wrong hands.

Douglas Rushkoff, columnist and theorist, pointed out that, ‘’everything we do in the digital realm – from surfing the web, to sending an email, to conducting a credit card transaction to, yes, making a phone call – creates a data trail. And if that trail exists, chances are someone is using it – or will be, soon enough.’’ This statement rightly affirms the importance of record keeping and proper data retention, especially as it could relate to reputational damages and the disruption of business operations.

While SMEs may not have all of the vast resources the big wolves have, their agility, ability and readiness to adapt to ever-changing data retention practices could quickly make them formidable players in the business world. 

So, how can businesses better protect, retain and dispose of their data? 

  1. Get familiar with universal or industry-wide laws: As the digital ecosystem continues to expand, institutions and bodies worldwide are enacting strict data protection regulations to safeguard individuals’ privacy. 

    Laws such as GDPR, HIPAA, or industry-specific regulations outline specific requirements for data retention and protection. Non-compliance can result in severe penalties and legal consequences, making it crucial for SMEs to have a robust data retention strategy in place.
  2. Regularly review and update policies: Data retention policies are ever changing. To keep up and better protect your business, you always have to be on your guard. Read news articles online. You could even join the newsletter communities of these bodies to stay atop of new policies and key trends. For businesses in Nigeria, we carry out Nigeria Data Protection Audit (NDPA) to keep you and your business on track. Reach out to us via mail to get started.
  1. Regularly organise and classify your data: Determine how long each category of data should be retained. This could vary based on legal requirements, business needs, and the type of information. This is important because holding onto data longer than necessary could lead to data clutter, thereby slowing down systems and making it difficult to locate essential information when needed.
  1. Employee training: Conduct company-wide training, educating your employees on the importance of data retention and the specific policies in place. A well-informed team is crucial in maintaining compliance and minimizing potential risks, as well as breaches. Our team at Hacktales can handle this for you. We provide security awareness trainings for organisations looking to build a robust defense system. To get started, send an email to
  1. Invest in secure storage solutions: Choose reliable and secure storage solutions that align with your data retention policies. For instance, Cloud-based storage options often provide scalability, accessibility, and built-in security features.
  1. Prioritize data security: Implement robust security measures to protect your data from unauthorised access or potential data breaches. One way to do this is to apply the law of least privilege – which places an embargo on what to share, to whom and for what purpose. So instead of giving the whole piece of the cake, you restrict access to a portion of the cake, which leaves the rest protected. That way, in the event of a breach, all of your data is not compromised.

Implementing effective data retention practices fosters a well-organized and agile business environment. Over time, it fortifies your overall security stance and instills trust. Therefore, cultivating a strong data retention strategy is not only essential, but also a strategic step towards a more secure and efficient future for SMEs.

Ready to take charge of data protection and retention? Contact us at

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