Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Business Disaster: What Threatens Small Businesses the Most?

 Business Disaster: What Threatens Small Businesses the Most?
There are many threats to the integrity of a small business, and not all of them are as dramatic as a cyberattack or a hurricane. Every small business needs to do a risk assessment to determine all the threats that exist that could bring harm. External threats are the ones that get the the most attention. These can be big snowstorms or hurricanes that bring down power lines and network connections. They can also be man-made. A power outage due to a grid failure, or an act of terror. Also in this category are phishing scams, cyber attacks and data theft from external sources.
All of these are the ones that make the evening network news, and every business needs to plan how to handle them. However, there are some internal threats that can be just as serious, but are far less attention getting.
For example, human error. Stolen data can occur because someone forgot about changing their passcode, or they left a smartphone containing critical data on the bus. These aren't nefarious acts, but they can still have serious consequences. Have you looked at how you might wipe clean a lost phone? What about the person who forgot to do a backup the day before a server failed?
Another area where human error can occur is a technical oversight. Perhaps an overworked tech who did not recognize the existence of a single point of failure in your IT infrastructure.To learn how outsourcing some tasks such as proactive management and security audits can solve these problems, see "Outsourcing Isn't a Dirty Word: Meet Managed Services, Your IT Team's New Best Friend - Managed Services"

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Data Protection and Bring Your Own Device to Work

Data Protection and Bring Your Own Device to Work
BYOD refers to a firm's policy of allowing employees to use their own personal phones, tablets and laptops for all their work applications.This is a pretty common policy, and it has many benefits, but it brings along risks. How are you addressing these risks?
Here are some of the issues raised by BYOD
  1. A lost device - If you issue company phones, you have the ability to remotely wipe the unit clean if it is lost or stolen. With employee's personal devices, do you still have that ability. If not, your data is at risk.
  2. Software updates - Is the employee responsible for updating all the software and virus protection programs on their own devices? If that responsibility transfers to them, you are at the mercy of their willingness to keep track of such tedious tasks. If you accept responsibility for it, do you have the in-house staff to handle all the extra work?
  3. Back ups - with data being entered on many different devices, something must be done to ensure back up procedures are routinely followed.
In short, BYOD is probably an unavoidable approach to device management. It is unrealistic to expect people to carry around 2 different phones or tablets 24/7. But BYOD means extra work for the in-house staff of a small business. To learn more about these risks and a more affordable, comprehensive approach to BYOD Management, see our e-guide "Now you see it, There IT...Stays"

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Everyday Human Error Can Affect Data Protection

Everyday Human Error Can Affect Data Protection
Are you under the impression that data loss is all about putting up firewalls to protect against evil cyber attacks? Some of the biggest sources of data loss include sloppiness, human error, and just plain forgetfulness.
What are some of the unglamorous things that we do every day that leave us vulnerable?
Passwords
Old or easy passwords are a good first example. Employees set up simple passwords that are easy to crack. More importantly, employees may share passwords, and many often fail to create new ones on a frequent basis. Both of these represent critical breakdowns of good data protection practices.
Emails
Another significant problem caused by bad judgement is the tendency of people to open phishing scams. Most everyone now knows about the Nigerian who wants to send money to your bank account, but many new scams come along everyday and people fall for them. This is such a serious source of virus infection that some companies now deliberately send out their own phishing email to teach workers not to open anything from an unknown source. (The employee who opens one of these gets a pop up screen that tells them they've been tricked and then offers guidelines for identifying bad emails.)
Browsing the Web
Bad websites. Yes, everyone has policies about internet use at work, but that doesn't mean people pay attention and don't visit places they shouldn't. Most significantly, a lot of those "sites they shouldn't visit" are far more likely to be infected than CNN, Ebay or Amazon!
Losing Your Belongings
And finally there is just old-fashioned forgetfulness. Phones left on a barstool.Or the bus. Sigh. There isn't much more to be said about this one.
To learn more about the risks that your employees pose to your business's data integrity, see our e-guide "Now you see it, There IT...Stays".

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Why Small Businesses Shouldn't Avoid Making Disaster Recovery Plans.

Why Small Businesses Shouldn't Avoid Making Disaster Recovery Plans.
Entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially ones that are fairly new, often don't think about making plans to recover in case of a disaster. However, it is the smallest business that most likely has the fewest resources to fall back on in case of disaster.
Why does this happen?
  1. It isn't on an entrepreneur's radar - The challenge and hurdles of starting out are what drive small business owners. The excitement that comes with getting a new client or releasing a new product are what motivates them. To be honest, things like disaster recovery plans are a little dull and aren't part of the exciting day-to-day hustle of running a company. As a result, these issues get put on the back burner.
  2. Planning tools can seem too complex - Ideas like "risk assessment" and "business impact analysis" can be intimidating. Many SMBs may just feel the whole area is overwhelming and leave it to another day.
  3. It is perceived to be unaffordable - Many owners may believe that putting disaster recovery plans into place involves a lot of additional spending on consultants, backup hardware and more software. That isn't true. With cloud technology and the use of a managed service provider, disaster recovery doesn't need to be an intimidating or expensive proposition.