Security

3 Common Small Business Technology Problems & How to Fix Them

Modern business is powered by modern technology—but modern technology does have its hang ups. Businesses need to master common technological issues to grow their business, stay ahead of the competition, and protect their data from cybersecurity threats.

Massive equipment failure, digital communication systems going down, or a data security breach can cause business operations to grind to a halt. Technology is absolutely essential to your business—but glitches happen. How can you ensure issues with your business tech won’t leave your business in the dark? Here are three of the most common business technology problems, and how to address them:
1. Lack of Proactiveness
The best way to fix a problem is to stop it before it starts. Because digital systems require routine maintenance to run securely and efficiently, wise business owners will institute proactive processes and procedures to predict, plan for, and prevent issues before they become time-consuming and money-consuming emergencies.

For example, protect against accidental file deletion by developing a reliable data backup and disaster recovery plan, or institute regular maintenance checklists for your company IT personnel. No matter what type of business technology you have, the old Benjamin Franklin adage most certainly applies: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

In addition to backing up files and performing routine maintenance, adequate power protection is an essential component of any tech protection plan. Beyond anticipating a lack of power, business tech leaders should protect against sudden spikes or surges …

Importance of Network Segmentation for Cybersecurity in Small Businesses

Owners and managers of small businesses may think they are immune to attacks from cybercriminals because they believe larger enterprises would seem to be a much more appealing target.

But security through obscurity is not a viable defense against computer hackers who have all the time in the world and plenty of software tools to gain access to systems lacking defenses or whose defense is minimal and outdated. To make a computer system safer, information technology professionals now rely on network segmentation.
What Network Segmentation Is
Essentially, network segmentation is the process of dividing a network into different segments, according to how much protection they warrant. It protects information and also helps you visualize it better. When you connect multiple devices to the same network, they can have insight into the network traffic of all the devices in your setup. Properly segmenting your networks is crucial for increasing the security of your data.

You isolate different parts of your computer network from one another in network segmentation. The idea is that if a criminal hacker penetrates one lower-level network, he or she won’t be able to leverage that access to gain entry into a more valuable network, such as a database holding customers’ payment details.

When you segment your networks, it’s easier to protect them all by applying appropriate levels of security to them.
Why Network Segmentation is Important for Small Businesses
You must adhere to network segmentation best practices because the safety and security of …

3 Cybersecurity Strategies Your Small Business Needs

When faced with unknown dangers, it pays to formulate a strategy to protect your small business.

A case in point: Your business has a computer network that you rely on to keep everything humming along smoothly. If your system crashed or if criminals broke in to steal data or delete files, how long would it take for you to restore the network? Not only will employees be idled until you sort out the problem, your customers also will be left in the dark, waiting for you to restore service.

Cybersecurity attacks happen pretty constantly, and you don’t want your small business to be the next victim. A cybersecurity attack will cost you more than money—you’ll also be paying in the form of your reputation as a business and lost customers.

The minimum requirements for good cybersecurity for businesses are endpoint security, firewall and intrusion detection, and vulnerability scanning. With that in mind, here are three cybersecurity strategies that your small business needs to implement sooner rather than later.
1. Endpoint Security
The endpoints in your company are the devices used by the end-users. This includes smartphones, laptops, and desktop computers. They are the main point of contact to your company’s computer network and as such need protection.

If your organization allows workers to carry their own smartphones and laptops to do company business under a Bring Your Own Device program, your IT department will need to establish a policy to keep them secure.

This will include …

12 Common Myths about Cyber Security

With all the focus on cyber security for businesses in the past few years, there’s a lot of good information about how to protect yourself and your company from the risk of a security breach. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of bad information circulating, and it can sometimes drown out the facts. Here are 12 common myths to avoid:

The right software will solve your problems. A good suite of software is an essential part of your cyber security strategy, but that’s all it is – a part. Cyber security is not a set it and forget it process. You need experts to be able to monitor, analyze, react, and adapt to threats in your system, and while machine learning is getting better all the time, software alone can’t cover every aspect of your needs.
Cyber security is IT’s job. Speaking of needing experts, there’s more: even if you managed to hire cyber security specialists (people in this field are in short supply,) a solid IT team is not enough to protect your organization against a security breach. Today, proactive defense is much more effective than reactive, as malware takes moments to do serious damage rather than hours or days. That means educating end users and consistently enforcing a security policy in all aspects of your business’s operations.
Attackers don’t go after SMBs. Data breaches in giant organizations like Yahoo! and Deloitte make the headlines; a local boutique shop or a regional manufacturing company don’t. But …

How to Get Started with Data Security

You probably know that your company should be doing more with data security, but where do you start? Getting your business to the security systems it should have can be a long process, but even small steps will help you mitigate the risk of a data breach for the long term. Here are some quick actions you can take as well as some planning steps to get you started with data security.
Quick-Start Steps

Encrypt your emails. One of the easiest ways for people to gain unauthorized access to company data is intercepting emails and email attachments. Secure your email communications by encrypting messages and setting timers for message expiration – once the intended party has received the information, do they really need it forever?

Protect your network. All company networks should be password protected and, ideally, hidden from discovery by non-employees. By ensuring that only company employees have access to the office internet and file sharing servers, you decrease the chance of data breach by unauthorized users.

Enforce a strong password policy. Even though the technology used to attack and secure data has evolved dramatically since the initial spread of internet usage, your best first-line defender is still a strong password. Most websites and applications suggest a password that is a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. And contrary to popular belief, mandating frequent password changes may be doing more harm than good, as employees can get frustrated and use weaker, easier to …

3 Business Cyber Security Solutions for 2018

Every year has seen changes and evolutions in cyber crime and security, and 2018 is no exception. As trends change, businesses need to be constantly educating themselves on cyber security solutions to mitigate risk and protect against cyber attacks. Here are three types of platforms that every company should include in their security operations, as well as the 2018 trends that are driving innovation and change.
System Security
It’s always a good bet to start with the basics, which means that many businesses already have at least some semblance of a general security system in place. However, if you don’t, or if you haven’t reviewed your system security solution in a while, it’s worth taking a second look at the building blocks of your business’s cyber security this year.

System security covers a number of categories, including network, data, application, mobile data, and web security, with a focus on protecting end users from dangerous activity and web content. Anti-malware, email encryption tools, and firewalls all fall into system security, and each area should be covered by one or more security solutions.

2018 Trend: IoT Security

A vast network of connected devices, called the Internet of Things or IoT, has changed how society thinks about connectivity. Prior to the widespread adoption of connected devices, connectivity meant screen time: how much time consumers spent on their phones, tablets, or computers. Now, virtual assistants, smart TVs, networked security cameras, vehicle fleets, and even business telephone systems are connected, and just …

Is Your Business’s Data Secure?

Data security is a priority for IT professionals in the business world. For others? Not so much. A study by the Ponemon Institute reported that only about 38 percent of non-IT employees with access to company devices viewed data security as a high priority. But after 2017 showed us that data breaches can do a lot of damage to a company, can you afford to let it slide?
What is a data breach?
Simply put, a data security breach is a confirmed incident in which private, sensitive, confidential, or other protected data is accessed or released in an unauthorized way. For example, you’ll probably recall a number of high-profile security breaches that occurred in 2017, such as Equifax and Yahoo.

Despite widely-held perceptions, largely due to pop culture, many data breaches are not a result of hacking — at least, not by the stereotypical cyber criminal tapping furiously at his keyboard. In fact, some of the most notorious data breaches happened because an authorized user took an unauthorized action. Target’s 2014 breach, for instance, occurred because of a successful phishing attempt on a third-party vendor, giving the attackers the login information to Target’s systems. Because at least one employee opened a fraudulent email, the payment and contact information of over 70 million Target customers was compromised.

If it sounds scary, that’s because it is. IBM’s 2017 Cost of Data Breach Study reported that in 2017, the average cost of a data breach for a company was $3.62 million, and 1 out of …

Is BYOD Right for Your Business?

We’re calling it: flexibility is going to be the business buzzword of 2018. With more companies allowing their employees to work remotely, office workspaces are becoming less critical to operations. BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, policies have caught on in the push for flexibility, but should you implement them for your company? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.
Pros

Employee Satisfaction: For many people, their personal devices have pretty much become a part of their being. With a BYOD policy, employees get to use the devices that they’re most comfortable with rather than working on a company platform. By using systems that they are already used to, they can jump right into work without any training or points of confusion that could come from using a work-provided device. And while distraction may be a concern, that street runs two ways: employees who receive work-related emails, calls, and messages to their personal device will likely spend more of their own time being productive.

Reduced Costs: There are several areas in which a BYOD policy can help reduce company spending. First, and perhaps most obvious, having employees work from their personal devices means less spending on company-provided hardware like computers and phones. Rather than providing a whole new workspace for a new employee, all you need to provide is any necessary software licenses or ancillary tech they need for their position. Another area for savings with a BYOD policy is IT costs. Part of being more comfortable with …

5 Ways Better Internet Service can Boost Your Bottom Line

We’ve all felt the frustration of a poor internet connection: web pages not loading, important files refusing to upload, emails and messages not sending. For businesses, these problems are more than frustrating; they cost time and money. While you may think that putting up with internet service that slows you down helps to save money, a better network and faster connection not only improves productivity, but can actually open the door to money-making solutions.
1. Leverage the Cloud for your Business
In their annual State of the Cloud survey, RightScale found in 2017 that over 95% of their respondents were already using the cloud for their business processes. And while the cloud offers businesses benefits such as reduced hardware maintenance, reduced IT spending, and more agile applications and processes, effective use of the cloud requires a reliable and fast internet connection. Migrating to the cloud has become easier and cheaper in the past year, and with its potential for increased savings and security, it makes more sense than ever to incorporate a cloud strategy into your business.
2. Go Further with VoIP
Making communication easier, faster, and cheaper is a surefire way to boost productivity and revenue. Switching your phone system to VoIP does all that and more: with lower trunking and long-distance costs and better scalability, VoIP systems cost less than traditional landline phones. In addition, VoIP systems offer a whole host of features that improve workers’ quality of life, such as mobility, conferencing, and integration with other communication tools as well …

How Big Data Solutions are Driving Business

Big Data: it’s useful, it’s interesting, it’s a little unnerving, and it’s here to stay. Companies large and small are leveraging Big Data in many different aspects of their business practices, and to great effect. But like with all new technologies and tools, data solutions require knowledge and a careful touch before employing them. Here are a few ways that Big Data is being used for business success:
Reduced Expenses
Big Data, or the information gathered from people about their demographics, habits, relationships, and more, can give great insight into how businesses can streamline their practices to best suit their employees and customers. With the ability to analyze what outfits people are sharing on social media and blogging platforms, clothing companies can predict demand for specific trends and accessories, and therefore can produce and ship the optimal amount for sales to their stores. The doors have been blown off of the accuracy and application of predictive analytics, and now it’s up to companies to utilize data solutions in new and creative ways.
Improved Innovation
These same predictive analytics allow companies to innovate like never before. Both producers of goods and service providers can brainstorm new offerings with unprecedented information about what their consumers want, need, and buy. Big Data applications can include risk analysis, market research, budgeting and planning, and beyond, allowing business decisions to be guided by information from the very people they want to target.
Customer Relationships
Of course, when business goals are informed by …