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.

 

 

Don’t Fall Into These Traps With Your Online Business!

There’s no denying that the world we live in today is almost entirely dominated by the internet. Whether you’re shopping, socialising, gaming, watching TV, or doing just about anything else, the internet is almost certainly going to be involved. Because of that, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the business world has had to change and evolve. Online businesses are springing up every single day, and more and more people are able to create startups from virtually nothing thanks to the internet. And yet, despite this, there are a lot of businesses that end up falling at the very first hurdle because they end up falling into some incredibly common traps that come with running an online business. To help you avoid that fate, here are some of the most common pitfalls for new online startups.

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Terrible web design

There’s an assumption that far too many people seem to have that as long as you have a website, you don’t really have to think about it that much. This is one of the most common reasons that online startups end up falling apart. If your web design is lacking, then customers aren’t going to be interested in your business. If it looks amateurish, then they’re going to assume that the rest of your business is the same and look elsewhere. That might sound shallow, but it’s a fundamental part of how many customers engage with businesses.

A misunderstanding of social media

Speaking of customer engagement, if you’re not using social media properly, then you’re missing out on an incredibly important aspect of your marketing. Far too many businesses end up using their social media pages for little more than copied and pasted advertising. If you do that, customers simply aren’t going to care and will unfollow your pages in an instant. You need to use social media to engage with customers on a personal level. This means creating entertaining and interesting content that they will want to share and enjoy.

Poor SEO

The other fundamental part of online marketing that is ignored all too often is that of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation. One of the big changes in the internet age is that customers can now come to you rather than you advertising to them. But to do this, you need to make yourself visible to those customers. That’s where SEO comes in. SEO is the way in which you ensure that your business is the first result when a customer searches for specific keywords on search engines like Google. If your SEO isn’t up to scratch, your business is going to end up getting buried.

One of the most important things to remember is that these things don’t just impact businesses that are exclusively online. Every business needs an online presence, and if you don’t consider these things, then you’re just going to end up wasting it. Even if your business has always been based in brick and mortar, you need the internet to succeed in the modern era, just make sure that you’re using it properly.

If Your PC is Your Livelihood, Here Are Some Things You Should Know

For many people these days, it’s impossible to work and earn a living with your own personal computer. If your PC is your livelihood, you’re probably a little concerned about anything potentially happening to your computer. Many people would be completely lost without there, but burying your head in the sand and telling yourself it’s reliable and won’t break is not wise. Instead, you should be taking active steps to ensure that your computer doesn’t experience problems later on.

Backups Could Save You 

Backing up is one of those things that everyone knows they should do, but not many people actually do it. That’s a habit that you definitely need to break as soon as possible because those backups could save you if something does go wrong. If you’re going to lose your PC, it’s best that everything on it can be salvaged and made use of going forward, right?

You Must Understand Which Files Are Threats and Which Aren’t

If you spot a file on your PC that you’d don’t recognise, you might start to worry that it’s something that probably shouldn’t be there. Websites, such as the one you can find by following this link, will tell you which files are bad and must be removed ASAP and which files are harmless. Get in the habit of checking for these files in case your security software has missed them. 

You Should Take Steps to Make Successful Burglaries Less Likely 

It’s really important for you to take care of the physical security of your PC, as well as any other tech items you have. And the most important way of doing that is by making sure that your home is protected against the potentiality of a burglary occurring. No one likes to think about this, but if your home is a soft target, you will be more likely to have someone try to break in.

Keeping the Firewall Turned On is Essential

So many people turn the firewall off on their computer for all sorts of reasons. But there is no good reason to turn off the firewall. It’s there to protect you and it can stop your computer being invaded by something that could do real damage to your PC and stop you from earning your living.

Update Antivirus Software

Finally, you need to make sure that your antivirus software is up to date and in a fit state to protect your PC whenever it should be called upon to do so. You pay for that software, so makes sense that you should want to get the most out of it at all times. If it’s going to fail you because you kept skipping on those updates, you’ll definitely regret it later.

PC’s can be volatile at times, and there are so many problems that can arise out of the blue. Being aware of these issues and how you can fix them or avoid them is really important. Don’t leave things to chance if the entirety of your income relies on you being able to use your computer.

How To Protect Your Site From Hackers In 5 Steps

As an online business owner, you need to make safety one of your top priorities. Hackers are more likely to target small online businesses since these businesses cannot afford extensive cybersecurity solutions.

There are steps you can take to make your website safer, protect your customers’ data, and educate your visitors about online safety. This is especially important for customers who aren’t tech-savvy, such as senior citizens.

Set Up Best Practices And Stick To Them

You need to have a clearly defined safety policy that includes a set of best practices. These are some of the practices you should think about adopting:

  • Determine who needs to access sensitive data and where this data will be stored.
  • Enforce strong password policies for employees and visitors. Make sure passwords are changed regularly.
  • Think about using two-factor authentication.
  • Reset all passwords if you suspect that a security breach occurred.
  • Don’t use form auto-fill if you sell products online.

Updates

Updates typically become available when a flaw is found with a platform, a script, or an app. Some updates will be installed automatically, but you should regularly check for updates and install them.

Keep Your Backend Safe

There are a few things you can do to protect your backend from attacks:

  • Hackers often target admin directories. Make these directories hard to find and change the default passwords.
  • You can make your server safer with a Web application firewall.
  • There are other free or affordable security applications that you can install on your server.
  • Add a Content Security Policy to the headers of your pages. This element will tell browsers not to execute scripts from other domain names. Hackers might try to add malicious code to your pages to execute harmful scripts, but a CSP will tell browsers not to execute these scripts.

Use An SSL Certificate

You can easily obtain an SSL certificate and install it on your server. This certificate will encrypt all the data requested by visitors as well as the data shared with your server.

Once your SSL certificate is installed, visitors will see a padlock icon next to your URL. Depending on the certificate you install, there might also be a green section next to your site name.

An SSL certificate is an important feature since it prevents hackers from intercepting sensitive data when visitors fill out forms or make an online purchase. It also protects their privacy.

The padlock icon, HTTPS in the URL and the green section in your URLs are signs that Internet users know they should look for.

Transparency Is Important

Internet users care about security and particularly seniors need reassuring that they’re safe online. In fact, 85 percent of US Internet users said they wouldn’t visit a website if their browser told them it wasn’t secure. Some users will know they should look for a padlock icon, but others such as senior users won’t know what to look for. This is why you need to talk to your customers about the steps you are taking to protect their data.

If a breach occurs, you need to talk about what happened and the measures you took to prevent more incidents.

Security should be a priority if you own an online business. Take security in your own hands and remember that transparency is key to earning the trust of your customers.

 

Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and aging, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Tech This Out: 10 Steps To Migrating Your Business Into The Digital Age

Whether your business is a new venture, or one that has been putting off the inevitable for some years, now is the time to take it into the digital arena. This opens up the door to quicker growth, increased profits, and greater stability. Frankly, that’s everything that any entrepreneur could shoot for.

If you’re going to make this transition, though, the migration needs to be smooth. It can be a daunting process, especially when you’re not a tech wizard. As long as you focus on each of the elements below, you should be just fine.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s turn your outdated venture into a modern business that’s set for years of success.

#1. Reaching Digital Audiences

The main incentive for transforming the business comes from the potential to sell products to a far larger customer base. With over 1.3 billion live websites on the internet, grabbing your fair share of the audience isn’t down to luck. You must know how to work for it.

Search engines are your greatest asset by far as most consumers will turn to Google when searching for a product. Meanwhile, a strong social media marketing strategy should stop the threat of customers scrolling on. Just remember that different demographics respond to varying ideas. Therefore, you must know your place in the market.

It’s also worth noting that the methods used for local marketing should vary from those aimed at reaching universal audiences. Show that you understand the needs of an online audience, and the migration will be far smoother.

#2. Handling Online Payments

Gaining interest from the online audiences is one thing, but converting it into a sale is another altogether. Due to the nature of digital business, obtaining their trust needs to be one of the top items on the agenda.

There are many contributing factors to consider. But ensuring that the clients are able to complete their purchases in a convenient manner is one that must be perfected instantly. The choice of ecommerce system is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Accepting as many payment types as possible is key.

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If the business plans to accept credit repayment plans, it must also run the necessary credit history checks. Letting money slip through the net due to bad debts is the last thing any entrepreneur needs. And if you do allow this to happen, you’ll only have yourself to blame.

#3. Using Modern Staffing Management

Moving into the modern business arena isn’t just about the way you interact with clients. The entire operational process can benefit from the introduction of advanced ideas. This is particularly evident when considering the recruitment and management of your team.

Every entrepreneur needs to be supported by productive employees. In today’s climate, it’s important to consider the benefits of outsourcing tasks to companies and freelancers. Or you can look to incorporate smarter recruitment methods when finding permanent on-site staff. The combination of those two ideas should work wonders.

Perhaps most importantly, communication and morale need to be maintained. Automated tracking and staff rewards should have a positive impact.

#4. Going Paperless

Turning your business into a digital operation allows you to bypass many problems. The ability to remove paperwork and physical filing systems is one of the most rewarding elements. This one step can save time, money, and space around the commercial properties.

First and foremost, you must look to improve the organization of anything related to the company’s finances. Investing in a new Accounts Payable system puts you in far better control of the firm’s accounts. However, you must learn to appreciate the importance of change management as well as the project management. After all, the human input is still central to the overall output.

Making the office spaces paperless isn’t just about the invoices and contract agreements. Your company handles many document types. Going digital enables quick access, even when you’re not in the office.

#5. Providing Digital Customer Care

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When thinking about the clients, your initial concerns revolve around the ability to gain their custom. In reality, as is the case with offline ventures, the key to sustained success comes from gaining their loyalty.

The lack of human interaction can encourage digital businesses to forget that consumers are still human. If anything, online interactions have an even greater need to be supported by great customer care. This can range from adding Live Chat to your website to providing telephone care and online FAQs. Either way, showing clients that your commitment doesn’t end with the sale is key.

It’s equally imperative to ensure that the company has established a fair returns policy. Removing any doubts can remove customer apprehensions. Crucially, it protects the company too.

#6. Protecting Your Assets

Avoiding the possibility of unnecessary returns is just the start of protecting assets on the digital platform. As part of the bid to provide a safe transaction, you should have invested in strong data protection. After all, one breach of data could bring long-lasting problems.

Once you become a digital business, intellectual theft becomes a far greater problem. The fact that you’ve reached a bigger audience means that your content could be seen by people that try to steal your ideas. Protecting your brand trademarks and innovative ideas is essential. Running a successful business is tough enough at the best of times. Allowing others to profit from your work is not an option.

There’s still a need to take care of physical assets, including your stock, particularly when you still run an offline store. Once again, though, digital tech and CCTV facilities are your greatest asset.

#7. Joining The Community

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The online community is simply massive, and your business needs to become a part of the conversation. Many entrepreneurs that are new to the digital arena assume that it’s them versus the world. While some companies are your direct competition, not everyone is an enemy.

It’s possible for two companies to share a similar audience without being in direct competition with each other. When this is the case, joint marketing ventures can pay dividends. Alternatively, sharing market insights can help both parties stay ahead of the crowd in their respective crowds. As a digital business, you must grab hold of every opportunity that comes your way. This is one of them.

On a separate note, you can embrace the community vibe by encouraging existing clients to spread the word. Testimonials, customer reviews, and referral schemes can all help the audience grow at a rapid rate. In most cases, this will be far more efficient than your marketing schemes too.

#8. Incorporating Time Savers

Time is the most valuable asset in any business venture. Embracing the digital arena to its full capabilities gives you the best chance of maximized efficiency. Investing in video conferencing systems can be a great starting point, as it removes the need for unnecessary travel.

It’s often worth choosing computerized systems to handle key business activities. From automated stock management to email marketing workflows, the time saved allows you to focus on other areas. If nothing else, reducing the threat of human error should provide a better customer experience.

Forms can also be used to save time during recruitment processes as well as customer interactions. Apart from saving time, it should make life a lot less stressful. In turn, this should promote greater clarity when making other crucial decisions.

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#9. Tailoring Your Operation

Every digital business is unique and should embrace its strengths to find the best route to success. However, it’s equally crucial to remember that those characteristics may need to be altered in some geographic locations. This is because cultural variances impact customer trends.

All customers need to feel comfortable. This is why you must understand the importance of presenting information in their natural language. Even if they can read English, many clients will prefer to use a website that’s easier to navigate. Besides, this step shows that you’ve actively thought about their needs.

With this in mind, many digital businesses find that hiring external help is the best way to branch out. Turn the company into a franchise, and the small profits in each new location will increase the overall takings without any extra work.

#10. Maintaining Offline Endeavors

Transforming your offline company into a digital one can take everything to the next level. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon the existing company model. If you’ve been making money from those traditional ideas, there’s nothing wrong with continuing them alongside the new ones.

In truth, the digital presence is likely to increase the company’s local presence. Still, printed marketing materials and promotional events can still play a positive role. If you make the transition to the digital playground without appreciating your old clients, they may feel alienated.

Besides, a company that achieves success on both platforms is sure to reach its goals far sooner. Given that this is the whole point of taking the venture online, this should all the incentive that you’ll ever need.

Is Your Home Business Well Protected?

When you’re running a business from home, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of not taking it especially seriously. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t put in a huge amount of care and attention to the work that you do or that you don’t rely on the income for your business in order to make a living. Rather, it means that you see your business as somehow not quite as legitimate as a business that might be run from a professional office space. However, there’s one area of your business that you should always treat exactly as seriously as you would if you were running your business out of an office: security. If your business isn’t properly protected, then it could leave you in an incredibly dangerous position, and this is even more true for home business owners than any others. With that in mind, here are three ways to make sure that your home business is properly protected.

Cybersecurity

The assumption that most people make when they think about security and protection for a business is padlocks and security cameras. And sure, those are incredibly important, but in the modern age, there’s another kind of security that has become even more important: cybersecurity. Most business is conducted online these days, and without fully up to date anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall software in place, your entire system is going to be pretty vulnerable. Make sure that you keep all of these as up to date as possible since that’s really the only thing keeping a lot of dedicated cyber criminals at bay.

Legal Support

When you start running any kind of business, no matter how small, you are going to find yourself dealing with issues of legality that you never had to understand before. This can be pretty overwhelming, but the last thing you want is to end up falling victim to or even accidentally engaging in, any kind of illegal activity. Because of this, it’s crucial that you get in touch with someone like The Law Office of Jaimee C. McDowell. That way you’ve always got someone who can protect you and your business and support you in the event of any illegal activity.

Home security

Of course, as important as cybersecurity is, you should also think about the premises for your business, aka, your home. A lot of intruders will assume that a home business is an easy target because it won’t have as many security features in place as an office. It’s important that you don’t prove them right and have an alarm system in place. After all, not only is this your place of business but it’s also where you live and break in can be incredibly traumatic for you and your family.

Of course, when it comes to some of these things, it’s a good idea to have these in place in your personal life anyway. Far too often we allow ourselves to fall into this false sense of security when we really could use a much greater level of protection than we have.