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...

Solving Infrastructure Challenges for the Mobile Workforce

If you have a mobile workforce who use mobile devices within your business you want them to be productive, connected and have secure access to your companies applications and data. According to a recent research report by the Computing Technology Industry Association, mobile workers complain about poor connection speeds 49% of the time. In addition, mobile workers have difficulty transferring data and also are challenged by applications that are not optimized for the mobile environment. Make Sure Your Network is Ready for the Mobile Workforce Your Mobile workforce need ssecure and ready access to your network via WiFi communications while in your office. If you WiFi is insufficient your workers will suffer unnecessary downtime or slow connections and you will lose productivity and have decrease worker satisfaction. Secure your Mobile Workforce You also need to make sure those devices connecting to your corporate network are authorized and secure with the latest anti malware updates and O/S Patches for their specific mobile device. Mobile devices are the target of malware, phising schemes and virus threats. These exploits could expose your company and your data to data leaks or losses resulting in privacy and data breach. Undetected, your company could face fines, loss of reputation and other business interruption issues. Make Sure Your Data and Voice Plans Have Policy Control No one likes big surprises at the end of the month, so managing expenses for your mobile workforce should take into consideration travel and various roaming and out of network charges. Make sure your policies are clear who is responsible for voice and data usage and what is or is not...

What is Malware and Why Should I Care?

Malicious Software or Malware is a serious concern to IT Security experts and business owners alike.  Malware is a category of Cyber Security threats that includes Viruses, Worms,Trojans and Botnets.  It is no surprise that the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) tenth annual IT Security Information Trends report placed Malware at the top of the list of security threats.  CompTIA cited that eighty-five percent of Business Owners and IT Professionals have a moderate to serious concern about Malware.  Why should you care? Many times Malware intrusions will go undetected. Some malware may cause your computer to run slowly.  Some malware may be programmed to silently harvest privacy data from your hard drive, while other malware is programmed to destroy data on your hardware.  Other malware can turn your PC into a Cyber Hacker by exploiting security holes and using your PC to attack other PCs. Costs associated with data breaches is estimated to be as high as a billion dollars each year.  Moreover, the number of Malware threats are exploding.  Symantec estimates there will be over 250,000 new threats (not attacks) identified on Android devices in 2012 alone.  What can you do to avoid Malware? IT Security Risk Assessment The reality is you can not afford to eradicate one hundred percent of all cyber threats, so you need to have a pragmatic plan for defending yourself.  Start by understanding your security risks by reviewing your core applications and data, policies and procedures, as well as, your network infrastructure.  You are as vulnerable as your weakest link. IT Security Compliance To protect your applications and their data, as well as...

Happy Data Privacy Day!

Data Privacy Day may not be a holiday for your IT Support Professional, however, it is an international holiday dedicated to education about Data Privacy. On this day many private, government and academic Data Privacy and IT Security Professionals get together and discuss key issues about Data Privacy. What is Privacy Data and What Does This Mean to Your Business? Privacy Data can include a combination of Name, Address, Birthday and Taxpayer information. It can also include other information you may have related to employee health records, personnel records, customer data, supplier data and more. Keeping this data protected and secure from data leaks and hackers is important. You may face fines, suffer damages, loss of reputation and even loss of revenue if Privacy Data is leaked from your company. What Can You Do on Data Privacy Day to Protect Your Business? It is important to educate your employees about Privacy Data and the Risk of Loss. In today’s world where social networking is acceptable in many workplaces, employees may not realize the risks of sharing Privacy Information. The more your employees are aware of Privacy Data and the Risk of Loss the better. How Can I Protect Privacy Data on My Company Network on Data Privacy Day? It is important to keep you systems in compliance with O/S Patches, as well as, up to date with the latest Anti-virus and Anti-malware definitions. It is also a good idea to monitor your network for unauthorized access. You should also maintain a current backup of all of your privacy data. If you have a data leak you may be required...
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