Do You Have an Effective BYOD Policy?

According to new IDC data, vendors shipped 327.6 million smartphones in the third quarter, an increase of 25.2%, when compared to the same quarter last year. This means that global smartphone shipments have topped 300 million shipments for the second quarter in a row. Although there have been rumors of a slowing market, the data clearly states otherwise. As technology pushes small to medium sized businesses towards smartphones and other mobile devices in the workplace, it is more important than ever to establish an effective BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. 1.     Decide What Mobile Devices Are Allowed  If your company allows your employees to bring their own devices to work, it can be a nightmare for IT to have to support multiple platforms. Therefore, it is important to decide what devices are allowed to be used for work. Decide whether it is more cost-effective to purchase your own company devices to hand out to employees. 2.     Establish BYOD Security Policies It is important for your company to establish an “acceptable use policy” for their mobile devices. This will curb employee distractions and reduce risks for harmful viruses and malware. Your company should also develop a monitoring system and disciplinary action for employees who disobey the policy. Although this may seem harsh, it may avoid a security breach down the road. 3.     Employee Exit Policy In addition to creating an acceptable use policy, it is equally important to come up with an exit policy for when employees leave the company. Document in your employee exit checklist to ensure you remove the employee from access to information on the network,...

Costs of Data Breaches Up 23% from Last Year

A new report from the Ponemon Institute, an organization that publishes the annual “Global Report on the Cost of Cyber Crime,” recently announced that the cost of a data breach has jumped 23% from last year. Here’s what your small to medium sized business needs to know about being prepared in case of a data breach. The Data Breach by the Numbers The report revealed that a data breach will cost a large company about $640,000. This price tag includes hefty costs, such as business disruption, information loss, and detection. The report also revealed that it takes a company an average of 31 days to recover, yet experts advise that the time to remediate from a breach should only be less than one week. Interestingly, small organizations have a higher per-capita cost than large organizations. So, what can your business do to be more prepared? Have a Data Breach Incident Response Plan An Incident Response is an organized approach to responding to and managing the aftermath of a security breach or attack. The goal of such a plan is to limit damage and reduce recovery time and costs. An Incident Recovery plan should include a clear-cut definition of what your company constitutes as an incident and a subsequent step-by-step process that should be followed carefully after an incident occurs. Consider Hiring an Information Security Firm If you contact an Information Security firm after a data breach occurs, your organization will have to pay more money and wait longer to recover. You may not be prepared to remediate and respond in time. Knowing who to call helps your organization avoid...

Steps to Follow When Migrating to the Cloud

Many small to medium sized businesses are migrating to the Cloud – backups, better security, regulations, security, and the Cloud ensures that your company is always up to date without having to continually invest more time and money. So, how can your business make the leap? Here are 3 steps to get you started with your migration to the Cloud: Start With Hosted Email An easy first step is to move your company email to a hosted email solution. Cloud email solutions may include a number of additional services for spam protection, antivirus protection, email archive and more.  When you move your email, first consider how many mailboxes are in use? Can you consolidate or eliminate email inboxes? This is a good time to consider how you can reduce costs and improve security and performance. When moving email to the Cloud, consider starting with just the last six months worth of emails, then move older data over time. Move Data and Files to Cloud Storage Moving your files is a logical next step to getting your business to the Cloud. Consider what data you need to migrate to the Cloud. Now is the perfect time to clean up customer data and archive historical information, such as office documents, financial history and email archives. Planning out your migration carefully will save you time and cloud storage costs in the long run. Move Servers that Support Legacy Applications Consider how you will move servers that support line of business and other legacy applications. Unfortunately, not all legacy applications can live in the Cloud. But, many legacy applications can leverage at least...

Are You Prepared for the End of Windows Server 2003?

If your business depends on Windows Server 2003, you and your colleagues have less than a year until Microsoft will discontinue Server 2003 R2. Server 2003 currently accounts for about 20% of total Windows Server installations, but on July 14, 2015, all Windows Server 2003 extended support will end. Although Windows Server 2003 comes in a number of editions to serve different sizes and types of businesses, all variants serve to provide email services, share files and printers, act as an application server, and many more tasks essential to everyday business. If companies transition from Windows 2003, there may be compatibility issues with older software, especially when it comes to moving your applications. Server migrations require a lot of planning and ample forethought, so make sure to do your research. Here are three important steps in planning your migration from Windows Server 2003: Take an Asset Inventory Take an inventory of which applications and workloads are still running on Windows Server 2003 and check with publishers to ensure all of your software is upgradable to the latest version of the Windows operating system. Plan your Windows 2003 Migration Choose a migration date and decide where each application and workload will go. Will they be stored onsite, on premise, or is it time to move to the Cloud? Consider moving non-mission critical systems and file data first. Moving applications is complex, and if you do not do it carefully, you could be putting your company at risk. Consider integration with legacy applications, broadband internet requirements, and security needs over a wide area network. Migrating from Windows 2003 When migrating your...

It’s Time to Take Cloud Security Seriously

While cloud security concerns are top of mind with many business owners, the benefits of the cloud far outweigh the risks. Nevertheless, as companies deploy cloud computing, taking cloud security seriously will ensure a smooth transition to the cloud. Top Cloud Security Concerns If you are moving your business to the cloud it is important to understand and address your security needs. For many companies, the top concerns of cloud security are cloud service provider’s encryption policies, business continuity and disaster recovery capability, data protection and data integrity. There are a number of other critical concerns, such as the physical security, identity and access management, and regulatory compliance. How to Protect your Data in the Cloud Create Strong Passwords An important step you can take to protect your data in the cloud is to create a policy for passwords within your organization. By requiring a string of text combining numbers, letters (both uppercase and lowercase), and special characters your employees will avoid common passwords that are easily hacked. Also, ensure that your company policy requires changes to passwords regularly and asks employees to use unique passwords when accessing the cloud from their desktops. Network Compliance In addition to creating strong passwords, it’s important for your company to keep your network in compliance. Your network is secure as its/ weakest point of access.  Ensure desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones are maintained with the latest operating system patches and are protected by up to date antivirus and antimalware definition updates. End User Training on Security Employees with a clear understanding of security policy and related risks will help keep your data...

Mobile Device Management

Managing A Mobile Workforce The transition to the pervasive use of mobile devices in and outside of the workplace has been both an advantage and disadvantage for small to medium sized businesses. On the one hand, when employees use their own mobile devices for work, businesses cut drastically on month-to-month device and carrier plan costs. Yet, personal mobile devices pose as a potential security threat to your business. Therefore, it is imperative that your organization devises a mobile device management solution before a security attack. Keep in mind that security attacks are not limited to external hackers – several studies have shown that data breaches more commonly come from internal sources. Your own employees, whether knowingly or inadvertently, can be a source of a data breach to your organization. Here are three important tips on mobile security: 1. Make a Company-Wide Policy and Educate Your Employees It is important that you educate your employees using mobile devices for work on the threats and risks of mobile computing. Encourage your employees to keep devices up to date with O/S security updates, anti-virus, and anti-malware. Even better, automate the process so you don’t have to count on busy employees remembering to update software. Write an official company policy that explains what they shall and shall not do on their mobile devices. Employees should store personal data in a separate area from company data on their mobile devices. And, when an employee leaves the company, do not forget to wipe company data from personal mobile devices before they leave.  2. Use a Mobile Device Management Solution Choose a mobile device management system...
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