Posts Tagged: ‘internet security’

Are You Protecting Your Data from Cybercriminals?

Posting Date: 12/16/2014  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Tips  |   No Comments
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cybercrime

Do you remember when JP Morgan Chase was hacked earlier this year? Maybe you remember it vividly because you were one of the 76 million customers affected by this enormous data breach? The theft of digital information has actually exceeded physical theft.

Big retailers and financial institutions are continuously fortifying their networks against cyber attackers. As a result, smaller businesses are increasingly becoming the targets of cybercriminals and hackers. Why? Because smaller businesses are typically less prepared in the fight against cybercrime.

If you are the owner of a small business or are self-employed, Geeks On Call recommends that you safeguard your data with following tips:

 

  • Cybersecurity Awareness: When it comes to protecting yourself or your business, education and training is your first line of defense. Get informed and establish a plan. Follow appropriate internet safety guidelines while on the job or at home.

 

  • Clean Machines: Upgrade to the newest operating system, web browser and security software to guard against malware and viruses. Use a firewall software that prevents outsiders from accessing your network

 

  • Passwords and Authentication: Use unique passwords and change your passwords every three months. For greater security, use multi-factor authentication because it requires additional information to gain entry. If you work with vendors that are handling your business data, ask if they use multi-factor authentication. If not, you might want to find a vendor that does.

 

  • Secure Your Wi-Fi Network: A major misconception is that by simply having a router on your network this will provide the protection you need.  Without a password on the router, it is like putting a door on your office but not locking it.

 

  • Financial Transactions: Use encryption software to protect your business’ financial accounts, personnel files, product information and other highly sensitive data. Also, don’t surf the internet from the computer you use to process payments.

 

  • Mobile Devices: Require employees or other users to password protect their mobile devices, encrypt their data and install security apps to prevent cyber criminals from stealing information while the device is on a public network.

 

Geeks On Call can help you defend your business and home computers against cybercrime by strengthening your network and using security solutions. Give your local Geeks On Call office a call and one of their technology professionals will be happy to help you.

Conquer Your Customers’ Online Security Concerns With These Measures

Posting Date: 07/15/2014  |   Filed Under: Internet, Security, Technology  |   No Comments
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We live in an era where online privacy is dwindling. But it’s also an era of consumer empowerment, where average people are taking control of their online behaviors and protecting themselves against unnecessary outside intrusion. Consumers are concerned in light of the recent news of the National Security Agency’s snooping, the Heartbleed bug and other cyber security issues.

The 2014 Internet Security Threat Report suggested targeted attacks increased 91 percent in 2013 and 552 million identities were exposed to breaches. E-commerce businesses have started feeling the pressure to provide more secure sites to protect customers’ data. Companies that have access to their customer’s credit card numbers and other personal information online should take extra care, given the recent data breaches, to make sure customers are safe.

Block Hackers

E-commerce sites are easy targets for hackers. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable, as oftentimes, the budget for a highly sophisticated data security system simply isn’t there.

CIO.com says that an e-commerce platform should use a “sophisticated object-orientated programming language” Open-source platforms can be made inaccessible to hackers based on the strength of that language. CIO.com has two other key suggestions: 1. Use a secure connection at checkout, and 2. Avoid storing sensitive data. Online purchases should be protected by Secure Sockets Layer, more commonly known as SSL, which authenticates transactions and encrypts the data; this is most commonly where hackers breach the system, so storing credit card numbers and similar information could be catastrophic in the event of a breach.

Server Message Block technology, or SMB, is also a popular tool for e-commerce businesses that applies “more modern and nimble applications that allow them to move quickly” when securing data, according to Heather Clancy of Small Business Matters.

Even WordPress has similar solutions for small businesses. The Krux SMB plugin, for example, is designed to authenticate and secure data sent through your site via social media channels.

Promote Online Safety

Any of these security measures could easily be explained via your company’s website to increase consumer confidence; it’s actually pretty common for wary shoppers to verify your platform’s security before entering any personal information. By providing resources to your customers on staying safe and secure online, you’re also advocating that they take control of their personal data and prepare for the unexpected. For example, Aol has partnered with identity theft company Lifelock to offer a complimentary protection advantage plan benefit for Aol members. Lifelock also caters to businesses of all sizes to protect internal data.

Like the security features noted above, some companies are listing their protection measures for customers to learn how they can fully secure their online information. As an online merchant or e-commerce business, it’s important to engage conversation with customers about how your company is protecting their data. Be transparent about the security measures you’ve taken and encourage customers to seek additional assistance from outside companies. In the end, concerned customers will see your company as open, honest and allied in the fight against online thieves.

Take Your Business to the Next Level with an Outsourced IT Support Model

Is an IT professional currently handling the technology needs of your business, or are you contemplating transitioning to an outsourced IT services model like many other small businesses?  According to a survey completed by CompTIA 62% of the organizations surveyed planned to make greater investments in Outsourced IT Services (managed services) over the next two years.

If you are thinking about moving in this direction let us help you understand what your IT Service Professional should be doing to support and improve your business technology:

Trusted IT Expert & Advisor: Any IT Service Provider that you choose to work with must be an expert in consulting and providing IT service to small businesses.  The small business is unique in its needs and growth potential.  Additionally, they often come with a diverse and skilled workforce, which is difficult for small businesses to hire on their own.  And finally, they should have a comprehension about your business in order to make technology suggestions that will improve technology and increase profit potential.

Proactive Management: Proactive management of your technology equipment provides information on how your infrastructure is currently running, and allows for advance planning and knowledge regarding equipment upgrades and replacement to avoid disruptions in employee productivity.

Secure & Backed Up Infrastructure: When you move to an outsourced IT support model you no longer have to worry about the possibility of malicious online attacks to your equipment or network should your employees click on an unsafe link or open an infected email attachment.  They will also provide managed backups of all your company information and data so if something is deleted or a natural disaster occurs and everything is lost, they can quickly recover it and get you back to work.

Increased Efficiency & Productivity: They will work to identify slow running equipment and network issues, and schedule maintenance to fix these issues decreasing the amount of downtime your employee’s experience.  Technology upgrades provided by the IT support provider will result in a streamlined workflow that increases business efficiency and employee productivity.

Controlled Costs: An extreme benefit when moving to an outsourced IT support model for a small business is the ability to control and predict expenses.  When you moved to an outsourced IT support model you are given back control of your technology costs through one monthly bill that covers all of your technology needs.

Scalability: Since your IT service provider understands the long term goals of your business, they are able to take them into consideration as they are implementing new technology now and ensuring future growth potential will not be impacted.

Small Business Owners have to Face Technology Issues Head On!

Posting Date: 01/10/2014  |   Filed Under: Technology, Tips  |   No Comments
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Small business owners have to deal with frequent issues that arise within their business each and every day.  Many of these issues stem from technology that is not working correctly or as expected.

Below are some of the most common business technology issues that small business owners face and potential solutions:

Insufficient Backup Solutions: Everyone knows they need for a backup system in place.  And, may even have system in place that they believe is working appropriately and being tested regularly. But is it?  As a business owner you need to be certain your back up system is working properly, because if you are impacted by a data loss it can be detrimental to your business.

Solution: Implement a backup system that fits the needs of your business; additionally creating a testing strategy of your backup system that occurs at least one a month to guarantee you are able to recover from a data loss.  We suggest a managed backup system that also has the ability to expand with your business.

Lost, Stolen, & Unsecure Mobile Devices: Employees are accessing and saving your business data on their mobile device, whether it be a personal device or a device issued by the company.   What happens to your business data if the mobile device is stolen or lost?

Solution: All mobile devices need to be integrated into your IT infrastructure and required to have the same level of protection as your servers, network, and computers.  Integrating solutions for encryption and remote wipes, should a mobile devices be lost or stolen will help protect your company information.

Lost Productivity: Have you ever attempted to measure the time your employees spend online or on their individual cell phones?

Solution: Many small businesses are cracking down on the use of personal devices and online usage by putting Internet and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies in place.  These policies state what workers can and can’t access on company equipment and on their personal mobile devices while they are in the workplace.  Some businesses are taking it one step further and placing access blocks up within the office that disable mobile device features and restrict website access from within the office.

Unsecure Networks: Are they also placing your business network in harm’s way by accessing suspicious websites or opening unsafe email attachments?

Solution: As a business owner it is your obligation to ensure your confidential business information, as well as your client’s information is protected. Each desktop, cell phone and server needs to have sufficient and current security measures installed.  There are noxious bugs and infections developing day by day, and with a single click your whole office might be put at danger.

Increased Efficiencies with Technology: Do your employees continue to manage accounting, payroll, and client information the same way they always have?  If the answer is yes, then your business is not allowing technology to streamline the daily functions of your employees.

Result: Implementing updated technology through cloud based solutions gives businesses the ability to adapt to new technology that can streamline and automate daily tasks.  Taking advantage of cloud based technology also gives your employees access to information from anywhere providing them flexibility in their job and clients a better experience.

The best solution to many common technology questions is for small business owner is to build an relationship with an IT service provider that has experience providing business technology solutions.  Allowing them to manage your technology, while you remain focused on growing your business!