How To Keep Customer And Client Data Secure

Small business owners will have to collect a lot of client and customer data. If you don’t keep that information secure, there is a chance your company could get into trouble. There is also a chance you might develop an adverse reputation if your brand appears in the newspapers alongside a story about hackers who stole money from consumers bank accounts. So, use the advice from this post.

Use cloud storage services

If you take a moment to check out the infographic at the bottom of this page; you should learn more about data and how you will need to use it in the coming years. Whatever information you collect, make sure you choose the most secure storage solution. That is usually the cloud.

Encrypt all private details

Companies that collect customer names, addresses and bank account details will need to make sure they encrypt all that data the moment they receive it. Failure to do that could mean a hacker breaks into your system and steals everything. That is not something you want to happen.

Hire an IT support specialist

IT support experts know how to test your system for vulnerabilities and then provide some advice designed to counteract the issues. Make sure you hire a professional and use their services if you want to guarantee you’re not missing anything vital.

Use the info from this page to make sure you never fall victim to a hacking attack that will ruin the reputation of your brand. Also, take a look at the infographic to learn more about some of the challenges your business will face in the future.


Graphic by USC Online

The Security Checklist for Online Businesses

Cybersecurity is not just a technology problem. The system is only as strong as its weakest link. To have an effective cybersecurity system, you need a comprehensive security policy for all employees that covers both online and offline behaviour, as well as leaders to instill a security-conscious culture.

One of the most recent scams is the “VP imposter scam,” which is a smaller version of CEO fraud. An employee receives an email from a VP. VP is in a customer meeting offsite, but he needs gift cards purchased immediately. The employee was told to immediately go buy the gift cards and send the VP the photos of the backs of gift cards before the meeting ends. Sounds urgent, so the employee complies. Unfortunately, the VP was an imposter, using a spoofed address from a “look-alike” domain. Once the card back photos were sent, their values are drained, and the imposter cuts contact. The victim employee eventually realized he was scammed when VP didn’t reimburse, triggering an IT investigation.

Technology will not solve this issue, because this is not something a spam or other email filter will catch. This is a targeted phishing message. But a security policy can stop this, and your company needs both to function properly.

What Makes a Good Security Policy?

There are several things that make a good security policy:

  • Make everyone understand the stakes – anyone can be compromised, from CEO on down to the lowliest grunt, including the vendors. A reported booking.com hack was actually phishing messages that compromised partner’s own backend.
  • Define the chain of command clearly – a VP should not be able to order a random employee around, but only his/her direct staff. Attempt to bypass such must be verified.
  • Define clear areas of control for each department – this can range from “regular users should not be able to install new programs, only IT” to “only CFO can edit transactions.”
  • Define risk in each job, and how to manage that risk – different jobs have different risk levels, and that determines how much training and how much technology is needed to manage that risk.
  • Plan for worst-case before it happens – If you are penetrated by a scammer, how do you proceed? This had to be planned properly ahead of time.

For any organization or individual, it is extremely important to keep your data secure from all kinds of different threats, ranging from hackers stealing your passwords to various different forms of viruses that are used to steal copies of your financial information or forcibly display a wide variety of different popups or advertisements or to open specific programs or web pages independently of any form of user input.

One of the most obvious threats that are most neglected is that some people use the most basic and rudimentary forms of security software that only do the most basic things. The more concerning part of this is the fact that many people do not even bother to update their security software to modern standards and just let the software do its job in the background. However, the problem with them doing this lies in the fact that they are neglecting to update their security software in favour of just using the default version without updates which can lead them to be unable to defend against more modern threats as their security software becomes more and more outdated. Let cyber security managed for you by professionals.

In addition to the use of outdated security software, some people have been known to use a form of data transmission that did an extremely poor job of correctly encrypting their data which left the data in question open to be discovered and stolen by almost any hacker who could gain access to that data stream.

This access control, or authorization, limits certain visitors access to certain areas of the website through security checks. Sometimes, however, access control can be broken, granting access to users who do not have clearance to areas of your website containing sensitive information. If this has ever happened with your website, you know the stress and headache it can cause and have wondered how you can better protect yourself. Lucky for you, we’re here to help.

Why Does Broken Access Control Happen?

The first thing we will want to look at when it comes to resolving broken access control is to determine what causes it in the first place. The first place where developers may fail is in an underestimation in what it takes to implement access control that is reliable. To brake access control, all that a hacker needs to do is simply figure out the access control scheme in order to find a way around it. This is often done by a simple request for access to areas of the website that are not permitted. The hacker will then find a flaw in the access control scheme in order to break it. Once they are in, the attacker is able to do a lot of damage such as deleting content or even taking control of your website. As you can see, the effects of broken access control can be detrimental, and it cannot be over-stressing the importance of knowing the best way to resolve broken access control.

How Can I be Sure I am Protected?

So how can you be sure you are protected? First and foremost, you will want to evaluate the access control requirements for your application and make sure that it is well documented in your policy. This policy should contain details such as who has access and what they should be able to see on your website. You will then want to perform numerous tests from multiple accounts to be sure it cannot be bypassed.

Conclusion

Finally, it is always wise to keep an eye out for social engineering techniques being used to threaten your security. These threats are a little less obvious than most, but they are another thing to keep an eye on. These methods are far less technical and more personal as it mostly involves manipulating people into sharing their personal data rather than hacking your systems.

5 Ways Your Security Team Can Help Keep Your Company Safe

Business owners have a lot of responsibilities. This includes responsibilities to customers, employees, business partners, suppliers and the government. One of the most important responsibilities a business owner has is managing security operations. If you ignore security, it can put the well-being of the entire company at risk. Below are five things you should make sure your security team has covered to ensure that your business remains protected.

Secure Your Network

In today’s interconnected world, the biggest threats to businesses aren’t necessarily criminals that show up in person. Today, some of the biggest threats to businesses are hackers, cyber criminals, malware, viruses, Trojans and other cyber security threats. It has been estimated the annual cost of cyber-crime will rise to $2 trillion by 2019. Make cyber security a cornerstone of your security operations for your business.

Screen Your Employees

Your human resources department is actually directly related to security. If you don’t properly screen your employees with criminal background checks during the hiring process, you could hire criminals that are likely reoffend while under your employment. This could mean losing money to theft. It could even mean being sued when customers or other employees are put at risk.

Provide Radio Communications to Security Staff

In regards to securing your physical buildings and grounds, you will need to have security personnel on hand to deal with intruders and other security threats. However, your security personnel will not be able to accomplish much without the ability to efficiently communicate. Companies like Altech Electronics provide radio communications solutions specifically designed for security purposes.

Install Security Cameras

Something else you will need is electronic surveillance of your grounds. Without surveillance camera footage to examine after the fact, it can be very hard to solve or prove crimes. Make sure all significant areas of your grounds and buildings where theft or crime could occur are under video camera surveillance at all times.

Train Employees on Security Procedures

Even employees that are not part of your security staff should be trained on important security procedures. If employees do not know what to do when they come across evidence of a crime taking place, significant mistakes can be made. Employees must also be trained on how to maintain cyber security when dealing with company computer systems.

Overall, maintaining security is one of the most important responsibilities of a business owner. If you ignore security threats, the ramifications can be severe. It can even lead to the end of your business. Make security a priority and make the proper investments to protect your company.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Don’t Dilly Dally About Data

Do I need a cloud server or should I use a hard drive? Is it worth hiring a data management expert? What type of security do I need? What penalties are there for not remaining compliant? These are just some of the questions that are probably swirling around your head when thinking about data issues in your company. You probably think that you have time to ponder these and make the right decisions, but you don’t.

You may not know that nearly one-third of all companies on the market will be exposed to a cybersecurity issue at some point this year. That means if you haven’t already made the right decisions your data could already be vulnerable. You don’t want that, so let’s look at the ways that you can prevent it. You need to make snap decisions here as soon as your business is on the market or even before.

DO Use A Cloud A Server

You have probably been toying with the idea of either hiring or buying a cloud server for your company data. It’s time to stop thinking about it and start doing it. While some people like to point out the security holes in cloud servers, they are nothing compared to hard drives. Someone can hack into your hard drive from their home in minutes if it’s connected to a network. Or, they could just walk into your property and walk out with all your customer data. With a cloud server, it’s far more complicated because then the data is kept off-site.

When you are thinking about cloud servers, do make sure that you research different companies rather than opting for the first one you find online. Quality of service can vary dramatically here.

DON’T Think Your Industry Is Special

It isn’t, and this is a big mistake that business owners are making right now. It is true to say that some companies need to worry more about data than others. For instance, if you work in the medical sector, you need to make sure that you are remaining HIPAA compliant and you can learn more about that on sites like www.nahs.co. But, all companies are held be similar data guidelines and regulations. In Europe, for instance, The GDPR recently came into full force. This impacts every business with ties to Europe, and that brings us to our next point.

DO Hire An Industry Expert

If companies should learn one thing from the new GDPR it’s that data laws can change fast. You can learn more about the GDPR on www.cio.com. While companies were given two years warning here, it still wasn’t long enough for some businesses to get in shape before the strict penalties were imposed. That’s why you should hire a data compliance expert. They can help make sure that you do remain completely compliant and that your business is up to date with changes to the law.

We hope you find this information useful and start making quick decisions on how to protect your business from data issues right now.

 

 

How Well Do Your Know Your Computers?

Computers are fantastic inventions that have enabled us to be incredibly productive at work and at home. However, computers are still a mystery to many people and it’s understandable considering how complicated they are and how many parts they involve. However, we believe that it’s important to understand how your computer works, what it’s capable of and how you can make the most of them.

So whether you’re moving into a new office and equipping it with new computers, or if you just want to learn more about the technology that you use in your business, we’ve prepared a thorough article that will teach you everything you need to know.

A rough understanding helps you cut future costs when purchasing hardware

As with many other industries, it’s important to have a rough understanding of something before you make investments in it. If you understand how computers work and the value of the parts, then you can easily cut future costs by purchasing second-hand or refurbished hardware instead of brand-new from manufacturers. With this rough understanding of computers (a simple course) you’ll be able to make some huge savings. 

Equipping your employees with the right tools will help their productivity

How much do you know about your computers and their costs? Do you know how satisfied your employees are with them? If you want to equip your employees with the right hardware and tools, then it pays to have a deeper understanding of the tools they use, the software they require and so on.

Computer slowdowns and errors are a common cause of low productivity

You may have experienced crashes and slowdowns in the past with your computer systems, but had no idea how to deal with them. By learning about computers and their errors, you could easily fix common problems without having to call out an engineer or tech specialist. If your business suffers from computer slowdowns and errors then you’ll likely experience staff lazing around and nothing productive. With just a bit of experience, you can easily fix any common errors before they have a chance to become annoying and ultimately slow down your business.

Software can do more than you might initially think 

If you have a large number of computers in your workplace then you might be considering managed IT support to help you look after your computers. This is to help you keep your software updated, to ensure that your programs are installed properly and to also inform you on how you can use different types of software to help you grow your business.

Conclusion 

Computers are an integral part of any business, but it’s also important to understand how they’re used, how they work and also what they’re capable of.

What To “Tech Away”? To Build Or Buy Your Computer Infrastructure?

When pushing forward as a dynamic entrepreneur, there are so many different aspects to keep a handle on. For most of us, technology is quite an alien concept, and, because there is such an importance on having the right server package, as well as an inappropriate IT infrastructure in place, it can seem like quite a big expense. So, either the topic of outsourcing comes to mind, or, whether you can harness the appropriate balance in house and build your own IT infrastructure. This is something that lots of people now do to build your own, or is it better, and cheaper, to buy?

To build…

Building your own IT infrastructure, whether it’s a server or a vast system, requires a lot more prior knowledge, of course. But in building your own server, there are many different things you have control over. In terms of how you are building the system, you will have the final say over every aspect of the system. From the circuit board design, all the way up to the data capacity, which is great in terms of wanting to save money. Building every little aspect of the system does require the best people on board. If you have limited assistance at your disposal, you will have to put more money into finding the best people for the job. This can be an expense upfront, but it can be worth it further down the line. In addition to this, by having the appropriate staff members on board that have this finite knowledge, you can utilize their unique skills when you want to expand the business. This does sound quite complex as a startup opportunity, but this is why so many of them outsource to external companies…

To buy…

To buy the server, or even to outsource to an external company, means that you have, to an extent, relinquished control over your IT infrastructure. While so many IT support companies make their living supporting startup companies, this means that you are in capable hands. Lots of these companies provide servers that are scalable depending on the success of your business. They can also provide 24-hour help, which might not be possible if you decide to build a server in-house. And while you are paying for this service, lots of these providers can charge through the nose, but some are cheap, depending on what you want out of your IT infrastructure. This begs the question, what do you want from your server? You have to crunch the numbers, especially if you are after considerable results from your tech.

But, in conclusion, this is why so many businesses decide to outsource in the first place. It’s simply, a solution that they don’t have to deal with in house. But, this does mean relinquishing your control to an extent. If you are an entrepreneur that has the overall vision of everything under one roof, this can be a fly in the ointment. So, you need to ask yourself if you can make sacrifices now to make room for this  infrastructure that is purpose built, or if you need to get the business up to a certain level and so, outsourcing becomes the only option. Budget is always the big takeaway from these issues, and you need to check the figures first.

How to Choose the Right Work Laptops for Your Business

Most modern-day businesses require owners to get a laptop for each of their team members. If this is the case with you, putting some extra effort into finding the right work laptops is a good idea. However, with so many laptops and deals offered by tech stores, choosing work laptops for your business can be overwhelming. However, with some help, you should be able to make the right decision and provide our employees with the machines they need for their work. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at our guide for choosing the right work laptops for your business.

Figure out your budget

There’s no need to say that your budget plays a significant role in choosing the right work laptops. Fails to figure out your budget before you start shopping for laptops and chances are you’ll end up overspending. On the other, you don’t want to go for the cheapest laptops out there since they’ll probably cause your team members a lot of problems. The key here is to figure out how much you can spend and stick to it when choosing your laptops.

Depending on how much money you’re working with, there are different laptops you can consider buying. For example, if you realize that you simply can’t afford to buy top-notch laptops for your employees, you might want to stick to cheaper machines. Just bear in mind that this means your employees will have limited storage and slow performance. We recommend buying such laptops only if your employees will use them for nothing but browsing the web. But if you’re able to spend more on your work laptops, you’ll be able to get more powerful models that’ll suit all of your employees’ computer needs.

Compare the important specs

Of course, you’ll need to take a closer look at the specs of every laptop model you seem to like. It’s critical that you go for the laptops that fit all of your employees’ needs.

laptop2

First of all, there’s CPU. The quality of your laptops’ processor has a huge impact on how usable they are. This means you’ll probably want to go for midrange or high-end CPUs, which means Intel Core i5 and i7 processors are something you just can’t go wrong with.

Opting for a laptop with enough memory and storage is extremely important. Still, this is also where you’ll first want to think about what your employees are going to need. For example, if Microsoft Word is the only thing they’ll need to use, 2B RAM laptops might be enough. However, it’s always a good idea to go for laptops with 4GB RAM or more.

Another thing to have in mind when choosing your work laptops for your business is battery life. No matter what kind of work you do, you’ll probably want laptops with long battery life that can be used on the road. This means that opting for laptops such as Lenovo X1 laptop with 11-hour battery life is a smart move.

Choose the right operating system

Another important decision you’ll have to make is which operating system you’ll want your employees to use. It’s recommended that you stick with the same operating system for each of your new laptops since you’ll want every employee to be able to use each of our new work laptops. Therefore, when buying you’ll want to choose between laptops that are run on two most popular operating systems out there – Apple OS X and Windows OS.

Apple OS X is something many business owners decide to go for. This is the case because there are plenty of die-hard Apple fans who’re willing to pay more to get a beautiful interface. While Apple OS X-run laptops are a great option, bear in mind that they usually carry hefty price tags.

Windows OS is the standard option for small businesses. Not only that going for Windows means there are more laptops to choose from, but it also guarantees you all of your employees will know how to use them. On top of this, Windows machines are available in every configuration possible which means you’ll be able to find laptops that fit into your budget easily.

Go for the right design

When choosing work laptops, you’ll also want to go for the right design. This is especially the case if it’s in the nature of your business for your employees to spend multiple hours in front of the screen. Therefore, going for laptops with a comfortable keyboard is your safest bet. Larger keyboards are your safest bet since typing on a miniature keyboard can be very tiresome.

laptop3

Portability is another aspect of your work laptops that you’ll want to have in mind when choosing your work laptops. If your employees spend a lot of time traveling, going for smaller and more portable laptops is recommended. So, make sure you check the dimensions and weight of every laptop model you like before you make any final decisions.

New hybrid laptops are constantly gaining more popularity. Basically, these machines can work as a laptop and as a tablet, depending on what your employees need at that point in time. Again, we recommend thinking about how your employees are going to use the laptop and determine whether they might need a hybrid laptop or not.

Purchase your work laptops

Once you’ve narrowed down your choice, it’s finally time to make your final decision on which work laptops you should go for. If you’re still unsure which laptops you should go for, you can always take some extra time to read reviews online and put more time into comparing specs.

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.