Why Small Businesses Need Technology

Technology has become an integral part of most small businesses.  Email has replaced the fax machine.  An onslaught of mobile devices have replaced cash registers, binders and note pads.  Pencil and paper no longer keep up with the velocity of business today.  In order to attract new customers and deliver products and services at competitive prices, small business technology is the cornerstone to automation and profitability. Cloud computing, mobility and consumerization of IT make it affordable for small businesses to deploy systems that were once reserved for large scale enterprise.  With ready access to small businesses technology, there is also more reliance on these core systems.  Small businesses are also targets of cyber attack because they may be perceived as more vulnerable and less vigilant.  Also, small businesses may be less resilient to business disruption related to systems failure.  Accordingly, Small Businesses should take every precaution to protect applications and their data.  They should also properly assess their risks and exposure to ensure they get the most from their small business IT Budgets. What can small businesses do to make sure these systems support the ongoing operations with minimal interruption? Small Business Technology Inventory A good place to start is to take inventory of your systems and data.  It is good policy to document all of your IT assets including hardware, networking devices, application software and data so you can have a complete view of your IT Systems.  Make sure you include mobile devices, cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS) systems, as well as, custom applications and legacy systems. Small Business Technology Risk Assessment Once you have...

Cyber Security Awareness

Did you know October is Cyber Security Awareness month?  This tradition was established ten years ago in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center.  This is a great opportunity for the public and private sectors to establish  secure and vigilant infrastructure and to protect IT Assets from Cyber Security Threats. This initiative places emphasis on the following areas of Cyber Security throughout the month: Mobile Security The importance of cyber security in a mobile setting is highly important, no matter where you are or what device you are using.  Business owners should take time to evaluate Mobile Security Policies including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Acceptable Use Policies for access to corporate systems and their data from a mobile device.  Mobile data protection including Antivirus, Anti Malware and Mobile Device Management to track, monitor, protect and enforce IT security policy on a Mobile Device. Cyber Security Workforce Cyber Security in the workforce highlights the importance of fostering the next generation of workers through education and training.  Cyber attack can come from anywhere in the world, at any time.  As a result, the Cybersecurity workforce is on the defense against elusive Cyber Criminals.  Having a well staffed, well trained Cybersecurity workforce is critical to the fight against Cyber Crime. Cyber Crime Cyber Crime prevention focuses on national and local efforts to prevent traditional crimes like theft, fraud, and abuse that can also take place online.  Many of these attacks go unnoticed and unreported.  Malicious software or Malware may be downloaded and undetected.  Phishing schemes...

Apple Enhances Mobile Security with iPhone 5s

Earlier this week Apple announced their new line up of iPhones.  The iPhone 5c is a new model catering to smartphone users on a budget, while the iPhone 5s is their newest flagship product.  The iPhone 5s features a new fingerprint sensor known as “Touch ID”  designed to provide access to your new iPhone 5s with the touch of a finger versus a four digit passcode. Mobile Security  Concerns According to research by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) mobile device theft or loss is a top concern among IT professionals and small business owners.  CompTIA research also indicates that requiring a pass code to unlock a mobile device passcode is the most utilized defense according to 76% of those surveyed.  But is a four digit passcode enough? Apple “Touch ID” improves  Mobile Security Biometrics are far from perfect however, Apple Touch ID is expected to increase mobile security over a four digit pass code.  Apple’s four digit passcode is limited to 10,000 combinations and can be cracked by an expert in under six minutes.  Because some are concerned that Apple Touch ID stores fingerprints on its’ new A7 processor Apple will continue to provide the four digit pass code option for those who choose not use use Apple Touch ID. Other Mobile Security Concerns Through cloud sharing applications, Social Media, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) adoption and other mobility trends, mobile devices can create a hole in your company’s IT security architecture.  Access to corporate applications and their data, privacy information and commingling of personal and company assets add to the mobile security challenge.  Mobile devices are the...

Are You Ready for Mobility?

Mobility in the workforce is increasing productivity and driving savings for small to medium sized companies. Recent research from the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) uncovers 73% of small businesses surveyed cite they have a mobile device strategy driven by moderate to heavy focus for Mobility to make employees in the field more productive. Moreover, 58% of respondents have productivity gains for travelling employees as a moderate to heavy focus to include smart phones, tablet PCs and laptop computers in their businesses. Connecting employees with customers was cited as a moderate to heavy focus for driving Mobility strategies by 55% of those surveyed, while 48% cited eCommerce as a moderate to heavy focus in their Mobility strategies. To take full advantage of smart phones, tablet PCs and laptop computers in your company, there are a few precautions to consider when rolling out a mobile solution. Here are a few tips to consider to get the most from your Mobility solution: Check your Mobile Security Policy Some mobile devices may be vulnerable to trojans, malware and phishing schemes. Ensure that your Mobile Solution includes security measures to keep devices connected to your network, corporate applications and data are up to date with mobile anti-virus and mobile-anti malware protection. Passwords aren’t enough to protect your devices, therefore, companies must also encrypt corporate data on mobile devices and be prepared to remotely locate and wipe lost or stolen mobile devices. Check your Network Bandwidth for your Mobility Solution Some mobile applications can put a strain on your companies wireless network. To receive maximum productivity from your employees using mobile devices in the...

New iPad at work? Make sure it is secure.

New iPad at work?  Make sure it is secure. With the holiday season behind us,  as expected, many employees are coming to work with shiny new tablet computers including Android Tablets, Microsoft Windows RT Tablets and the new Apple iPad Mini.   Your company may have a “Bring Your Own Device” mobile device management policy that allows employees to use these devices at work and, in some cases, for work.  Maybe you made that year-end corporate purchase to outfit your staff with the new iPad.  Either way, you need to make sure your corporate network, applications and data stay secure as these mobile devices enter the workplace. Here are a few tips to make sure your mobile device policies are in place, so your employees can use those new iPads securely.   Review your Mobile Device Policy Does your company have a written mobile device policy?  If not, you should put that in place.  The top issues with mobile devices, such as a new iPad, are related to loss or theft.  Because these devices may have access to your corporate applications and data, including email, customer and inventory data, make sure your employees know what is acceptable use for these mobile  devices.  Is it ok to store corporate data on personal devices within your company?  Conversely, can employees store personal data on a corporate owned mobile device?  Either way, have a stated mobile device policy so you can measure compliance with your mobile device policies and procedures.   Proactively Manage Your New iPad You can secure your iPad in case of loss or theft by keeping an audit of the...
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