3 Ways You’re Jeopardizing Your Business’s Security

As a business owner, you entrust your employees with sensitive and valuable data numerous times and in various ways each day. Your customers, likewise, entrust you with their data and personal details.

While you might think that the entire system is set up to work flawlessly, the reality is that data security in your business may not be quite as effective and perfect as you might think. In fact, you may face numerous risks and issues with data security on a daily basis that you may not be aware of and that may even put your customer’s vital data at risk.

When you understand more about these potential risks, you can take action to improve data security in your company.

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Photo Credit: Pexels.com

1. Employees Lack Education and Training

According to a 2015 survey performed by Insider Risk Report, as many as 93-percent of valued employees surveyed, who had access to a company’s vital or sensitive data, stated that they used a high-risk activity that put that data at risk. This could have included something as simple as using a weak password or not changing a password frequently enough or sharing a password with someone who they shouldn’t have shared it with. While these may have been unintentional or seemingly harmless risks, they were nonetheless risks to the company.

As an employer, you must observe and understand what your employers are doing wrong in the area of data security. In addition to observing risk factors in this area, you must take the additional step to correct the behavior and to adequately train them in the proper data security methods.

You should be aware that most of your employees are not maliciously trying to circumvent safety and security protocols, and most of your team usually wants to take the proper steps to keep data secure. However, they may not be aware of what the right steps are. It is up to you to properly train them and to provide them with the tools to keep data secure in the most time-efficient ways possible.

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2. Outdated Technology

At times, new technology is introduced rapidly, and it can be challenging to keep up with all of the changes and innovations as they occur. More than that, some business owners have a false conception that security hinders business growth. This type of thinking actually carries a certain risk because it does not promote the use of new and more advanced security features that may currently be available and that may be most effective for the business owner to use.

As a business owner, it is important that you stay updated as much as possible with the latest innovations available in the marketplace. You should always ensure that your hardware and software products are properly supported and compatible with the security features that you are using. Spend ample time learning as much as you can about authorized access to data, taking screenshots, analytics, forwarding data files and more before implementing the use of new technology and security features. This will help you to make full and ample use of security features without concern of negative impacts associated with its use.

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Photo Credit: Pexels.com

  1. Keeping Sensitive Data

The unfortunate reality is that all businesses have sensitive data that malicious sources may want to target. Regardless of the size of your business or the type of business that you run, there is a possibility that your business may be targeted through a ransomware attack.

For example, a public institution, such as a hospital, police office, school or government office, may have access to a huge number of public records. This could include public records that contain profiles on the general public and that could be breached for malicious purposes. Another example involves e-commerce businesses, such as luxurious brands. A ransomware attack could target the high-end customers of a luxury brand so that the customers’ personal information and, with that, material possessions are at stake.

Any time a customer’s vital and sensitive data is jeopardized, the person stands to lose a considerable amount of money, and fraud is always a concern as well. Your primary goal should be to protect the privacy of your customers. Therefore, you should avoid collecting data that you do not need, and you should not store data that you do not need for too long.

More than that, you should encrypt all data that you have possession of in the most secure fashion possible. Generally, this involves the use of SSL certificates or other highly secure formats. Remember that a data breach can impact your business’s reputation as well. Customers may no longer trust your business if you cannot safeguard their vital and sensitive data. This could have a long-term and negative effect on your business.

To Recap…

Business security is of vital importance regardless of the niche or industry that you work in. You need to focus on all aspects of business security, and you must take steps to safeguard data at all levels. While you need to train your employees about data security and how to properly safeguard and encrypt data at all levels, you also need to take steps to prevent ransomware attacks and use SSL certificates with vital customer data. Now is the ideal time to take a closer look at your data security efforts and to make upgrades and enhancements. If you notice any areas that need to be improved and enhanced, now is the time to do so.

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. She was rummaging through her grandma’s clothes before it was cool and she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, but delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88.

 

Are You #CEO Material?

Developing a career that takes you all the way to top is a priority for many of us. If you’re creative and driven, chances are you want your career to take you to the very top. Running a business and having the final say on key decisions isn’t for the faint hearted. Many people have got there though, and not all of them came from an entrepreneurial background.

Developing your career means you need to develop yourself. Education and experience are essential ingredients for the successful CEO. It’s not a role you can walk into. In fact, most companies are organized with a board of people that will vote to determine your effectiveness in that role. That means your background must be impressive, just to be considered.

Start by addressing any shortfalls in your education. If you don’t have an MBA, consider acquiring one. This is a standard qualification for any senior management position. MBA online accredited programs can be ideal if you’re keen to continue working full time as you study. It’s more practical too, as you can apply your project work directly to real life business scenarios. The MBA program will offer you insights into the strategic management of marketing, economics, and statistics. Any CEO needs these essential skills in order to make informed business decisions.

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CEOs need to have confidence and tenacity in their role. These are skills that can be learned, but they must be practiced too. Spend time in challenging situations. Work with people that can push your limits and develop methods to manage even outside of your comfort zones. Drive and determination can sometimes mean sacrifices in your personal or home life. Long hours come with the role. Are you ready to set yourself apart

Networking is, of course, essential if you want to be headhunted for roles in business management. Use online networking as much as possible. Services like LinkedIn can offer you the chance to meet people in your industry. Join in with groups and forums and take opportunities to get involved or offer opinion and advice. This helps you to make a name for yourself. Encourage those you work with to leave recommendations and positive comments whenever possible.

Networking at conferences, events, and seminars is also essential. Develop an easy-to-approach style and make an effort to remember names and details. Follow up with emails or calls when you meet someone new. Offer to help when you can. If you show an interest in others, they might be more willing to help you in the future. That could result in a job interview. Now all you need to do is check your resume proves you really are CEO material.

Statistics and figures read very well on resumes. How much money did you save your department? By what percentage did sales increase that year? What projects did you head up to great success? Simple one-liners with bottom-line figures work best. If you don’t have these amazing figures just yet, then what are you waiting for? Get out there and become the CEO you want to be.

Educate Yourself on the Top Career Choices

Whether you are looking for that first real job out of college or you are thinking about changing careers after all these years, what role will your education play in all of this?

For many people looking to improve their career situations, education plays a major role when all is said and done.

That said how do you know what type of education is best for your career aspirations?

Although it may seem like a simple choice to choose this or that line of degrees, keep in mind that educations and careers are almost always influx. As a result, what you get today in terms of an education may not suit you even a few years down the road.

Meantime, while some careers (medical, accounting etc.) will always be there to fill jobs due to the needs of the public, others have come and gone over the years.

So, how can you educate yourself on the top career choices for the next few years, not to mention secure your educational needs?

Researching Your Options is Critical

In order to best serve both your education and career requirements, keep a couple of pointers in mind:

  • Jobs – First and foremost, it is all but impossible to survive in today’s economic climate without a good job. Yes, many people do get by one way or the other, but it can prove quite difficult. There is a good chance you know (maybe even yourself) a number of people working not only a full-time job, but holding down a part-time job or two on the side. In most cases, those individuals are doing it not out of choice, but instead out of necessity. Whether it is increasing rents or mortgages, increasing health insurance costs, the ever-increasing expenses for gas and utilities etc. the list could go on and on. While you may love the career you are currently in, does it calmly pay all your bills at the end of the day? If not, the time for a better job (notably in terms of salary) may be a necessity come 2017. Do your research to see which careers offer the most, that is in terms of money, healthcare benefits etc. In doing so, you will be better educated as to where you career aspirations may be headed;
  • Schooling – If the need for more schooling is necessary either right out of high school or down the road for a career change or career growth, where do you start? While it may seem rather easy to choose from a list of schools, many people will tell just the opposite. The preferred approach to take in selecting the best school for your career is typically lots of research. Whether you go on to work in the educational field itself with young students or hundreds of other professions, researching your options is critical. Unlike several decades ago prior to the Internet, most of that research was done via magazines and brochures, radio and television advertisements, and even word-of-mouth. In today’s digital age, most students out of high school or those looking to advance their educational requirements are using the worldwide web. By doing so, they can visit countless educational institutions, learning much of what there is to know about them. From the curriculum to the average student-teacher ratio, you can learn lots of valuable information by visiting respective college and university websites etc. 

Being an Educated Employee

As important as your education certainly is, it is also critical that you are educated in terms of your career options, especially as they pertain to 2017.

Once again, the Internet can prove to be a great resource tool for any and all such information.

Seeing which careers seem primed for now and down the road will help you in your decisions, both on education and jobs.

When you are an educated individual, both with degree in-hand and with what’s going on around you, your ability to grow and support yourself will reach new heights.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and education topics on the web.

Are You Hiring the Best Talent Possible?

Running your business takes plenty of time and effort; two things you know can get the best of you. That said another important trait one has to have in overseeing a company is making the best hires possible.

Part of doing that revolves around analyzing each and every person coming through your doors for an interview.

You have to look at myriad of factors, including:

  • What does this person potentially bring to my company?
  • Will their personality mesh with the employees already here?
  • Is this an individual that has shown leadership skills at other jobs they have had over the years?
  • Do I see this individual being a major cog in my business five or even two years down the road?

Just answering those four questions can be challenging enough, especially since you do not know the individual other than the few minutes you have met with them.

So, how do you really know when all is said and done if you are hiring the best talent possible?

Education Can Never Be Taken for Granted

cont_edOne of the keys in hiring and retaining sound employees is making sure they not only have a strong educational background, but the willingness to want to further their educational skills.

As many companies are demonstrating these days, the ability to further one’s education is as important as ever.

From learning the latest in technology skills to improving one’s understanding of financial or human resource talents, there is a never-ending list of job traits that employers want their workers to have and grow upon.

In demonstrating leadership with a masters degree, you want employees that can offer your business a number of important managerial skills. Some of these include:

  • Problem solver – No matter how much time and effort you deploy into making your business run as smoothly as possible, problems are going to arise from time to time. Instead of employees turning to others on how to lead your business through these challenges, you want people who will take the bull by the horns and lead. While some personalities are just not cut out to be leaders, you want to try and identify those individuals ahead of time, not putting someone in charge of a department or a major task with your business that simply doesn’t have the skillset to lead. Those employees willing to roll up their sleeves and solve problems are the ones you want in charge;
  • Understanding personalities – Face it; no workplace is ever going to be 100 percent perfect. Some personalities simply are not meant to be together, though that does not have to cause chaos in your workplace. Leaders know how to bring out the best in other employees, even if some of those workers don’t see eye-to-eye on everything. At the end of the day, everyone under your employ should be dedicated to doing what is best for the business, albeit personalities aside. Hiring leaders to get that very job done is another priority you need to focus on as a business owner;
  • New ideas – With running a business, there will always be a need to come up with new ideas in order to stay one step ahead of competitors. Having leaders on your team who understand this concept is critical. It can be very easy for employees to just show up for work on a daily basis, go through the motions for eight hours, and then head home for the day. Leaders come to work each day with the notion that you must always be willing to push the envelope. Sure, some ideas (whether they never make it to the table or are implemented and yet fail) will not prove to be the answer to your needs. The important fact, however, is that you have leaders who are willing to try and improve your brand, not be satisfied with just the status quo.

As you can see, these are but three of the numerous skills that your leaders must exhibit.

The next time you or someone in your company sits down for an interview with a prospective employee; get a feel for whether or not that individual could be a leader one day within your organization.

If they could be, he or she will be one of the best hires you will ever make.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

Engagement Inside and Outside the Virtual Classroom Critical to Success in Online Ed

As the non-traditional student demographic continues to grow, the demand for greater programmatic flexibility grows with them. Increasing numbers of colleges and universities have launched online programs, but what does it take for a program to truly be considered high quality?

In this interview, Nancy Rubin shares her thoughts on what it takes to deliver a truly engaging experience for online students, both inside and outside the immediate learning environment.

Read my post on Evolllution