Secure Systems That’ll Boost Your Business

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So with the way the economic climate is going at the minute, you’ll no doubt want to do everything that you can to have secure systems that will boost your business. Now is not the time to have sub par businesses, because the world is literally chewing them up and spitting them back out again. There seems to be more of a prevalence of failing businesses, and we think we know a few reasons why. So if you are a new start up, or perhaps you’re in the first few months of running your own business, then this article is going to be perfect for you. We’ve got some secure systems that we think you should be implementing into your business, that will show you a different way of running your business. The systems that you have in place at the minute should be carrying your business, not allowing you to feel the struggle. So keep on reading, and see if you can implement any of these into your business.

Secure IT Systems

So IT is the first thing that we want you to think about, because as a small business, it’s most likely not something that you’ve given much thought to. Once your website has been set up and you’ve got some software downloaded, that’s all a small business tends to focus on. But what you really need to be focusing on, is protecting those systems, and making sure that they’re managed effectively so that data is stored securely, and so that your website is running perfectly. The best way to do that, is to use Stress-Free IT services that will help you to better understand your IT systems, as well as give you server management that’s invaluable. As your business grows, you will most definitely move to a managed server, just because you’ll have your website and your database running off of it, and having that outsourced is going to be far more effective.

Secure Production Systems

Production is another one that you really need to get on top of, before your business starts to grow too large. Production will vary from company to company, and even if you’re not making anything, you’re delivering a service, you’ll still have a production line. So the best way to secure a production system, is to rely on software to help you to track the process of what you do. Whether it be delivering a service, or making a product, to prevent delays and to keep the company on track, you definitely need to have software in place. You could either see if there is already software out there that would suit your business, or you could work with a web developer to get a system produced for your that does personalized tracking. It might seem like a big investment now, but we promise you this is something that will pay off in the long run.

So hopefully you’ll be able to take one of these ideas away with you, because the more you focus on streamlining your business in the beginning, the easier it’s going to manage as it grows.

4 Pieces Of Security Software That All Business Need To Use

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, you already know that cyber-attacks are a big concern for all businesses. In the wrong hands, all of the data that you hold about your company and your customers can be used to commit fraud or hold you to ransom for large amounts of money. Cyber-criminals are always finding new ways to exploit weaknesses and steal information from companies so you really need to be on the ball when it comes to data security.

A breach is bad news for your business for a number of reasons. First off, you might be subject to fraud and have money stolen from the business. In some cases, you might be able to recover it and hopefully, you’re covered by insurance, but these criminals are experts at moving money around and hiding it so, more often than not, you’ll take a big financial hit. If you lose customer data, that’s bad news as well because they are trusting you to look after that personal information that you hold about them and if you can’t do that, you’re going to lose a lot of customers.

When it comes to protecting sensitive data, it’s important that you have strict policies in place and your employees are trained in good data handling practices. You should limit access to data to people that need it and make sure that there are clear policies in place when it comes to sharing that information. However, the best way to protect your business and its data is to implement the right technology. These are the most important pieces of security technology that all businesses should be using.

Firewalls And Virus Protection

If you don’t already have firewalls and virus protection in place, you’re way behind and you’re opening yourself up to so many risks. It’s not likely that you aren’t using any kind of security at all because we’re all so used to using it on our home computers already, but it may be the case that you’re not updating it regularly enough or you’re not using the right software. When you’re trying to protect your home computer, you can probably get away with the free firewalls that come built into the computer as long as you’re only using it for basic things like emails, reading the news, or browsing social media. But when it comes to business computers, that isn’t going to cut it.

You need to be using a paid service that is designed for businesses to protect yourself online, otherwise, you’re likely to be the victim of an attack. Cyber-criminals are always looking for businesses that are vulnerable and anybody that is using inadequate firewalls and virus protection is likely to be hit. There are plenty of great firewalls for business out there which offer the protection that you need. Updating them regularly is so important as well because cyber-criminals quickly find ways around them so it’s a constant battle to stop them from becoming obsolete. If you don’t update your firewalls, they’re next to useless. You need a good IT team on hand to deal with updating firewalls as and when they need it and responding quickly to any breaches. If you can’t afford to hire an in-house IT team, it’s best to outsource to a third party so you still have access to the expertise that you need.

Customer Verification Systems  

It’s not just cyber-attacks that you need to worry about either. Fraudsters will often contact your company posing as a customer and try to get you to share sensitive information with them. That’s why it’s so important that you have a good customer verification system in place. In most industries, you have to abide by Know Your Customer guidelines to ensure that you’re taking the right steps to confirm somebody’s identity before you speak with them. Most companies will use security questions when speaking with a customer to try to clarify that they are who they say they are. This is a good way of keeping things secure but if a fraudster already has some information on a customer, there is still a chance that they can pass these security questions so it isn’t the most secure way of handling customer verification. It’s worth investing in some KYC check software that offers safer ways of verifying your customers. For example, you can use facial recognition software which is far harder to cheat than some basic security questions. It’s also quicker for your customers than going through the same questions every time they want to contact your business for any reason.

Scheduling Software

You might be wondering what scheduling software has to do with data security, but it’s important to remember that in some cases, a data breach may come from within the company. It might be that you have a disgruntled employee that shares information maliciously or perhaps somebody that is being offered money to hand over information that is stored in the office. It’s a rare scenario but it does happen and if it does, it’s important that you find out who the culprit is immediately so you can limit the damage and deal with it so it doesn’t happen again. If you’re using good scheduling software, you can quickly see exactly who was in the building at what time using a punch in system and you can keep a clear eye on when information is going missing and who is working at those times. This will help you narrow it down and hopefully find out who is stealing that sensitive information.

VPNs

A lot of people are already using a VPN (virtual private network) at home to protect themselves and your business should be using one as well. Instead of sending information via an open connection where it is vulnerable to attack, a VPN creates a separate private network which is encrypted. You can still access the internet through the VPN and operate as you normally would but you have an added layer of protection.

If you implement these tech solutions in your business, you’ll find it a lot easier to protect your sensitive data and avoid a catastrophic data loss.

Millennial Entrepreneurs Beware: How to Keep Your Company’s Data Secure

Study Finds Millennials Most at Risk For Online Scams– Here’s What You Can Do About It

If you had to guess which demographics were most vulnerable to online tech-support scams, who would it be? A recent survey by tech giant Microsoft yielded some surprising results. According to security expert Juan Hardoy, Millennials and Gen Z-ers are among the most likely to fall for online scams. Researchers suggest that Millennials’ overall tech savviness may lead them to feel overly secure online, leading them to engage in riskier online behaviors than older generations.

As a millennial entrepreneur, keeping your (and your company’s) data secure is absolutely essential. What can you do to make sure your data stays secure?

  • Call in the IT experts to make sure your company is protected
  • Follow basic online best practices

Millennial entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates– managed IT services can help make sure data security doesn’t fall through the cracks.

Managed IT Services are the Easiest Way to Keep Your Information Secure

As an entrepreneur, you have to budget for products and services carefully, which typically means anything you can do yourself doesn’t make the cut. When it comes to your data security, it’s best not to take any chances.

Hiring an IT company that provides managed IT services takes the issue of security off your plate. Rather than trying your best to get it right in the limited time you have to spend on data security (because let’s face it– an entrepreneur’s schedule is jam packed), you’ll have IT experts on hand to identify potential risks before they slow you down as well as deal with any issues that may occur.

It saves time and gives you greater peace of mind– what more could you ask for?

The cybersecurity basics are the basics for a reason– these simple strategies go a long way towards keeping your data secure.

Get Back to the Cybersecurity Basics

You’ve been hearing the basics of cyber security since you were a kid learning about technology in “computer class.” There’s a reason for that– taking a few basic data security precautions can go a long way towards keeping your information secure.

In addition to bringing in IT experts, make sure you’re following these best practices:

  • Actually change your password. Unless they’re forced to, most people don’t change their passwords as often as they should. Make sure each of your passwords is strong (contains a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols) and is totally unique. That means no repeats! I know, I know… it’s a pain. But it’s worth it.
  • Back it up. Make sure all of your data is backed up regularly so that, if something were to happen to your information, you could minimize the damage done to your productivity.

Keep an eye on your devices. Your entire professional life can be accessed from your work desktop, your laptop, and even the tiny supercomputer in your pocket. Make sure all of your devices are password protected, and never leave them unattended while you’re logged in.

Don’t let online scams get in the way of your company’s growth. Follow these tips and keep your company’s data secure.

Just because Millennials and Gen-Zers are more likely to fall prey to online scams doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to unsecured data. Millennial entrepreneurs can easily protect their data by hiring an IT company and following a few simple best practices for data security.

What do you do to keep your company’s data secure? Leave a comment and let us know!

Why And How To Protect Your Business With Technology

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Technology is paramount in one degree or another for all businesses to improve productivity, reliability, and professionalism and above all safety. Those stuck in the era relying on paper trails need to get with the times, technology can solve a lot of mundane time and cash consuming business processes you use to try and protect your data, you just need to figure out what can and will work for your specific businesses industry and size. It’s natural to feel as though the world of technology is quite daunting, and where to begin to enhance your business’s safety, so here are two areas to think about to get you started.

Security

Thinking about the safety of your files is so essential when you consider the outcome of a hacker gaining access to them. Especially when you take into account Statista’s report of $1.33 billion being lost in monetary value due to cybercrime. Whether it’s access to your business account details and statements, identity, address, your work or customer credentials, you most likely have something valuable worth protecting, that could cost you a lot of money, and a large portion of your existing reputation should anyone gain access to it. Security technology is the step where most businesses should begin to guard vital information.

Begin searching for services that are appropriate for your business such as computer security software. Or you could choose to outsource this task to an IT service that can professionally guard this information for you.

Back-Up

To enhance your previous decision to allocate cyber fighting software to protect your business information, you also need to back the info up in the unfortunate event your business intel is stolen or destroyed. This isn’t limited to cybercrime, there are an array of disasters that might occur which could ruin your data. Such as a fire, flood or hurricane to name a few. Getting your business back up on its feet following a catastrophic event is costly, especially if you’ve lost all of your enterprise’s intel in the disaster. This is why it’s important not to delay this step and to back-up everything as soon as possible.

The scale of back-up you need depends on the type and size of your business. For instance, for a freelance website designer working independently, they could back up their work on a Cloud Computing service and store any finished products or client details on an external hard drive and keep this in a separate building from where they work. For larger businesses such as a document filing agency, they may require in-built servers within different locations with employee and management access from anywhere in the world. This is to store, protect and gain access to vital business information to keep the company running in the event of a disaster.

Research, source, download and purchase the technology that’s right for your business by scouring opportunities, assessing the reputation and usage of the software and always update your knowledge to keep ahead of any technological advancements that could protect and save your business from a document storage disaster that is both time-consuming and costly to fix.

Avoiding Document Storage Disaster

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The importance of effective document archiving cannot be overlooked at any business. You need to ensure that your files are stored in an organized manner so that you have easy access to them, while security is also important to ensure that confidential documents are protected. With that being said, continue reading to discover some mistakes you need to avoid to ensure document storage disaster does not occur.

  • Failing to keep up to date with the latest legislation – There are new regulations all of the time regarding data storage and data breaches. It is important to keep up to date with this; otherwise you could find that you are on the wrong side of the law without even realizing it. If you do not keep up to date with recent regulations, you may fail to achieve compliance, and this can result in huge fines.
  • Keeping records on-site – When it comes to document security, storing all of your vital records on-site can be a risky approach. The vast majority of businesses are not built with the adequate level of security in place to protect their sensitive documents. Moreover, if someone is going to target your business, the first place they are going to start is your business location. If you keep your records in an off-site facility, you will benefit from a greater level of protection, as these facilities are designed to be secure.
  • Not having a document retention schedule – When it comes to archiving documents, dealing with excess records is just as important as storing your documents effectively. You can end up with an abundance of information that should have been destroyed if you do not have a document retention schedule in place. Not only will these documents take up unnecessary storage space, but you can also have other issues. These files could prove to be a large liability. What if someone gets their hands on them? You could end up with a competitor or a hacker having your confidential company information, which could have severe consequences for your business. All of this could have been avoided if your documents were destroyed to begin with.
  • Taking a casual approach to security measures – This is undoubtedly one of the biggest mistakes that company owners make. A lot of business owners just view document archiving as a means of being organized. However, security is imperative. You need to have an effective security plan in place. One of the biggest mistakes is granting employees access to documents that do not need it. Or, using generic or vendor supplied passwords for those who do need access. You need to use the likes of federated authentication and other security measures, as well as restricting physical access to files on-site too.
  • Failing to test back-ups – Last but not least, you need to ensure you test your back-ups. You do not want to experience the nightmare scenario where you go to attempt to recover your data after experiencing a loss, only to find that the tapes are blank and/or corrupted. This can happen if you do not test your back-ups on a regular basis to ensure that everything is working properly.

 

5 Cybersecurity Slip-Ups To Avoid In Business

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Most of us understand the basics when it comes to cybersecurity, but these basics often aren’t enough. Cybercriminals are getting smarter and a simple password and security software isn’t always enough. Here are some of the most common mistakes that businesses make when fighting cybercrime and how you can strengthen your security to fend off these online thieves.

Failing to back up files

Ideally, you don’t want cybercriminals getting to your files in the first place. But in case they manage to slip through your defenses, it’s always worth backing up files as a secondary precautionary measure.

A growing number of cybercriminals are now using ransomware to hold files hostage – this could involve locking files and threatening to delete them unless a ransom is paid. By having all these files backed up, you can afford to give in to cybercriminal threats without having to pay out any ransom – they may delete your files, but what does it matter if you’ve got them all backed up.

It’s important to choose a secure backup option. Storing files on the cloud is a popular option – there are business cloud servers available that are guarded by the most advanced security, making them a safe option. Another option could be to put your files on an external hard drive. Make sure that this hard drive isn’t left plugged into your computer, otherwise cybercriminals will be able to access it during a hack.

Using out-of-date security software

Security software that hasn’t been regularly updated will likely be ineffective against modern cyberthreats. Many security programs automatically update themselves, although this may require restarting your computer – if your computers are completely left on standby, this software may never have a chance to update.

Keep an eye on your security software for updates so that you’re always running the most secure version of the software possible. It’s worth updating other general software too as some of these updates may be security related.

Using the same password for everything

A lot of people are guilty of using the same password for everything because it’s easier to remember. The problem is that if a hacker does find out your password, they’ll then have access to everything.

You’re best having a few passwords in circulation as a result. You should change these every so often to keep them fresh (this can also prevent bitter ex-employees leaking passwords).

On the topic of passwords, it’s worth ensuring that you’re using strong combinations – a mix of lower-case letters, upper-case letters and numbers will made your passwords harder to crack. Try to stay random and not use dates of birth or the name of your company or anything else that’s easy to guess. You can even throw hackers off by using incorrect security question answers.

Falling to filter emails

Many cybercriminals will try to break into your system via emails. A common way of doing this is to provide links in emails leading to websites filled with viruses. It’s worth having an email filter in place that can check each email for dangerous links and warn you against opening certain emails.

Whilst it’s sometimes easy to notice a suspicious email, cybercriminals are getting craftier by using email addresses and templates that make them look like official organizations – by having a filter in place, you may be able see through the lies more easily.

As well as not clicking on links, you should make sure that you don’t ever reply to these fishy emails – especially if they’re asking you to provide personal details, which never be given out via email.

Not training your staff in security protocol

It’s no use having security protocol in place if your staff aren’t trained in how to implement it. It’s possible to get your staff professionally trained up by looking into cyber security certification training – this could be useful if your job requires handling a lot of sensitive data. Alternatively, you may be able to take a course yourself and then relay information to your team.

Make sure that every new customer is filled in on your company’s security protocol. You may want to provide a handbook as an easy reference, but it’s worth investing some time into in-person training just in case they do skim over this documentation.

Getting to Grips With Data and Data Storage

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As a small business owner, you’re going to deal with a whole lot of data. It’s an inevitable part of running a company! But you really do need to remember the importance of storing data correctly. Hopefully, the following information will help you to get to grips with everything you need to know on the subject!

Understanding Data

So, what actually is data? Well, it’s essentially “information”. Data can be a word, a number, a fact, a figure, a measurement, or an observation that can be noted down. When you run a small business, the type of data that you will generally deal with includes customer names and addresses for shipping purposes, payment details, email addresses for mailing lists, and occasionally phone numbers. If you are an employee and have members of staff working for you, you are also likely to hold a lot of their data too! From a copy of their passport (to prove their right to work) to bank details for payment, and their phone number or email address to contact them.

Storing Data

In the past, small businesses stored their data in paper files. But nowadays, small business owners tend to store their data on a tech device such as computer, a laptop, a tablet, or maybe even a smartphone. Now, it is extremely important that you store any data that your business takes securely and in accordance with data protection law. Data protection law is mainly concerned with protecting your customers’ data and personal information. If you were to leak this data or the wrong person were to get their hands on this data, your customers could find themselves victims of theft and identity theft. Perhaps the most effective and safest way to store your data properly is to hire someone to take care of it on your behalf. Just take a look into Data Storage recruitment to find the right person for the job. They will know the ins and outs of data storage and data protection law and can lift the weight of responsibility from your shoulders.

Disposing of Data

If you have any printed data, make sure that you dispose of it by placing it through a shredder. This will prevent people from picking anything out of the trash, as they would have to reassemble multiple pieces to find anything legible.

Keeping Up to Date

Data protection law is constantly being updated and improved upon. So, make sure to keep up with any changes that are made to ensure that you are following the right rules! Generally speaking, these new rules are made very clear and well publicized, so this shouldn’t be an issue!

While there are other ins and outs to data and data storage, these basics should help you to manage yours as effectively as possible! Incorporate all of this information into your business as soon as possible!

Protecting Your Business in Today’s World

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Business owners go to a lot of effort and expense in terms of their business, yet, it’s so easy for things to become undone in a matter of days should you not protect yourself from significant risks.

Today’s landscape, in the modern world of business, has changed dramatically in terms of security, with much focus on digital security and data protection rather than the physical security of locks and bolts, or security guards, that was once associated with commercial security.

Whilst such measures are still required, after all, you don’t want to leave the doors open to your office or a shop floor unattended – there is a need to think about security slightly more holistically, incorporating the digital aspects, and in this vein this article offers a number of aspects to consider as a business owner in today’s security conscious world.

  1. PROTECT YOUR DATA

In addition to cybercrime, the most common issue when it comes to data loss is through physical theft (e.g. your laptop gets stolen at an airport) or, more likely, corrupt data as a result of accidental damage.

For this reason, you want to make sure you back everything up to the cloud, rather than relying on your laptop’s hard drive (even if you like to believe it’s indestructible), external hard drives which often malfunction over time, or USB’s which are flimsy and easy to snap – meaning the data on them would have to be forensically recovered which is an expensive process.

  1. EMPLOYMENT

If you’re employing staff then employment lawyers are absolutely essential to protecting yourself, and your staff – as this area of law is particularly intricate with new case law informing modern practices on an almost weekly basis.  This area of law evolves so rapidly that even if you think you can get away with using something you used previously, it’s wise to get it checked out first by the professionals.

  1. INCIDENT PREVENTION

Business owner’s are vicariously liable for the negligent actions of its employees – meaning, if for instance, you had a restaurant and a waiter slipped whilst holding a knife, which subsequently landed in the leg of a dinner, you would be held liable for your employees negligence.  

It’s therefore imperative, from a legal perspective, to ensure the adequate training of your staff, as this will mitigate your liability as if you can show you took all reasonable steps as an employer to prevent the incident taking place – the courts are likely to look much more favorably on your position in terms of damages.

  1.  PHYSICAL SECURITY

We often forget the importance of physical security, in a business context, yet as with recent incidents such as people walking into corporate offices and attacking office workers, whether randomly due to mental health issues, or planned as a reaction to their disdain for corporate policies… employees are feeling more and more vulnerable, therefore, it’s good to have measures in place to protect your staff, and your customers.

It’s sad that so many public facing services, such as transport operators, now have to put up signs stating “we will not tolerate abuse or physical violence”, but this is the landscape we live in today, and it’s good to have a plan in place… along with practical measures, to ensure you protect yourself and your staff.

Never Let Your Business’s Security Fall By The Wayside

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As a business owner, there are a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders. You need to be sure that you’re taking care of your employees, that your products are as high quality as possible, that you’re marketing your business effectively, as well as dozens of other things. However, there’s one thing that is incredibly important, and yet it still tends to get ignored by far too many businesses. That thing is security. Of course, in a perfect world, security wouldn’t be something that you needed to think about all that often but that’s simply not the world that we live in. With that in mind, here are some ways to make sure that your business is just a little bit more secure.

Physical security

The office is usually the central hub of any business, and because of that, it’s crucial that you take as many security precautions as possible. Fortunately, advances in technology have made it so that it’s far easier to make your office impenetrable than ever before. From high quality, affordable alarms to motion activated security cameras the methods by which you can deter intruders from your premises are more advanced than ever before. Of course, sometimes there really is nothing better than a big heavy lock on the front door!

Digital security

Despite how important the office is to any business, there’s no denying that most business is conducted online these days. This means that many of the attacks that are made against businesses are made online. You need to be sure that the firewall and anti-malware systems on your business’s computers are all as up to date as possible. Cybercriminals work hard every day to break through those kinds of defenses so if they’re not fully up to date, that leaves an open door for them to climb through and do some real damage to your business.

A security culture

Of course, it won’t matter how many systems, both physical and digital, if they’re not being put into practice. You need to be sure that you’re creating a culture of security in your business and that all of your employees are as aware of the way that they should be behaving as possible. This means everything from setting secure passwords to locking their computers when they’re left unattended to not discussing any sensitive information outside of work. Of course, creating this kind of culture in the workplace isn’t easy, but the best way to do it is to focus on leading by example. Security is everyone’s responsibility, even yours.

One of the most common reasons why this is something that people forget about a lot is that it’s not something that you’ll need all that often unless you’re incredibly unfortunate. Because of that, it’s easy to fall into a habit of feeling as though your security measures aren’t really necessary. Of course, the moment that you fall into that way of thinking is the moment that your business becomes truly vulnerable.