In today’s day and age, having the proper cyber security is essential for any small businesses. It is important to understand how cyber security protects small businesses and what you should be aware of when assessing your small business’s cyber security. These include protecting your company against viruses, spyware and other malicious code; securing your business’s networks; establishing proper security practices, policies and procedures to protect sensitive information; educate your employees on how to protect your businesses information; require the use of strong passwords, using a proper cadence in updating those passwords; utilize all best practices when processing payment cards; Make sure to create proper backups and copies of your vital business data and information such as word documents, spreadsheets, etc.; control all access to computers and network components to prevent access by unauthorized users; create a proper plan for all mobile devices; and protect all of the pages on your website to help prevent fraud and stolen information. These tips can help you when it comes to ensuring that you are protected. Below you can see more on each of these points.
1. Protect against viruses, spyware and other malicious code This is one of the most common and well known pieces of cyber security. Ensuring that all the devices that you are using have the proper anti-virus software and anti-spyware software is extremely important. You should also make sure that this software is properly updated, ideally setting up automatic updates to help prevent any issues due to human error.
2. Secure your business’s networks Using a firewall is extremely important to help safeguard your internet connection. You should also look at making sure that you’re encrypting information that is passing through your network. It’s also important that if you have a wifi network, to make sure it’s hidden and not broadcassing your SSID, and ensure that your wifi is password protected. This is essentail for proper cyber security.
3. Establish proper security practices Getting the proper security practices in place to help protect personal information, as well as handling that information is extremely important. This sensitive information should be protected and understanding how to properly handle this information as well as the consequences that come with violating these policies is extremely important.
4. Educate your employees about cyber threats It is also important to educate your employees about how they can help protect your company’s data. This includes educating them on proper and safe use of social networking sites. Depending on what your business is, it is possible that your employees could be introducing outside competitors to sensitive information about your business. Teaching them how to post without revealing any trade secrets to the public is very important, as is holding them accountable.
5. Use strong passwords and change them often Ensuring that passwords are updated often helps reduce the chances of an unintentional breach. Utilizing multi factor authentication can also be extremely beneficial when protecting passwords and systems.
6. Utilize best practices when processing payment cards It is important to work with the proper tools and anti-fraud services when processing payment cards. This not only protects your customers, but protects your business from potential, fraudulent activity.
7. Backup, backup, backup! It is essential to regularly backup your business’s information. Having a backup for critical data is for any documents is crucial and ideally you will have both an on site and off site backup of all the information.
8. Prevent unauthorized access It is important to control access to all computers and networks pieces. This includes physical access to these items. Restricting these items are important to help protect your company’s information. It is also important that employees use separate accounts and have strong passwords in order to protect individual computers. Only individuals such as trusted IT staff and key personnel should be given administrative privileges.
9. Create a mobile device security plan Mobile devices have changed the way cyber security works. Networks and email are easily accessible through these devices and these devices are easily lost or stolen. Be sure to require all mobile users to protect their devices with passwords, take precautions to encrypt data and install security apps that will prevent information from being stolen by criminals. Also have a process for reporting lost or stolen devices.
10. Protect your public facing website This is essential, especially for businesses that have employee or customer portals. Ensuring that you are working with a secure site, on all pages, and utilize verification methods to protect this information.
Many businesses and individuals wonder what cloud services are used for. Cloud services and cloud computing are used for many things, but below are the most common uses for cloud computing.
Platform as a Service or Infrastructure as a Service – Utilizing Infrastructure as a Service or Platform as a Service is a very cost effective choice for a company to save on the price for developing an IT infrastructure, or even managing or maintaining it. Many organizations will also utilize these services due to the ability to increase the speed of development by using these ready to use platforms.
Hybrid or Private Cloud Services – Private cloud services are cloud services that are dedicated to one single company or organization. This allows for a company or organization to assess applications that they may intend to deploy through the use of a cloud without having to share any resources with any additional companies or users. Hybrid cloud services are a hybrid, hence the name, between public and private cloud services. It uses a mixture of on premise, private cloud and public cloud services. This can be handy for companies that want to utilize services to not only test applications, but workloads as well and can increase efficiency in these processes.
Dev Environments – Many companies and organizations are utilizing cloud services and infrastructure for testing and development. Instead of having to spend time, money and man power building your environments, you are able to utilize cloud environments that are readily available and tailored to your company’s needs. This helps reduce the amount of time that it takes in order to setup and complete your tests, saving the company money.
Analytics and Big Data – One of the most alluring aspects to cloud services and cloud computing is the ability to access vast amounts of information. Many companies, including retail stores and suppliers, use cloud services to gather and extract user information to analyze buying patterns and more effectively target their marketing campaigns. Social Networks, such as Facebook and Instagram, are a huge source for analytics on users that help companies and organization recognize behavioral patterns to derive actionable and meaningful information.
File Storage – Perhaps one of the most well known uses of cloud services is for file storage. The cloud allows you to store and access your files from any web enabled interface. Almost instantaneously you have a secure storage infrastructure that allows you to pay only for the storage that you are actually consuming. This greatly reduces costs for this type of infrastructure for companies while providing a tailored solution to meet their needs.
Disaster Recovery – This is just another benefit that is provided from using cloud based services. It is a cost effective solution for disaster recovery that also allows for a much faster recover due to the mesh of different physical locations utilized. This form of disaster recovery is far more effective than the traditional disaster recovery with fixed assets that work at a much higher price.
Backup – Data backups have traditionally been a very time consuming and difficult. You have to gather drives, maintain the drives, ensure that they are put in the proper backup facilities and so on. While cloud backups aren’t perfect, it has come a long way in its development. You have the ability to immediately access information and send it to any location across the web. It allows far more flexibility for companies and at a much lower cost as well.
Cloud based services are services or resources that are made available on demand through the internet from the cloud service provider’s servers. This allows for access to these services through a browser or other web based means as opposed to the services or software being installed on the device that you are using.
In it’s simplest form, cloud computing and services can be most clearly defined as the virtualization and central management of data and resources. Generally the services are offered on a subscription basis under some sort of monthly billing process. This helps support the server and network infrastructure, without requiring large licensing fees up front. For many companies and managers, utilizing these cloud based services allows their companies and organizations access their services without the trouble of maintaining or upgrading those services. Many of these cloud services have become synonymous with offerings such as software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).
Cloud services for business enables companies and small businesses to deploy the different types of cloud services. Many IT consulting firms will offer these services to help their clients integrate cloud based technology to improve their company and streamline processes. Within a business, cloud services for business could include application rationalization, deployment, private and public cloud integration, ongoing management and many others.
IT services, or Information Technology services, are an extremely important piece to any business. It has both tangible and intangible benefits that will increase productivity and profits for your company. The technological infrastructure that you build out for your company has an effect on client relationships, your company’s efficiency and culture. It’s also important to note that proper technological infrastructure protects your company and clients information.
Cyber security in it’s purest form is being protected from criminal or unapproved access to your electronic data and the unauthorized use.
Now this may seem like a rather simple definition, but the steps required to truly protect your electronic data is far from simple. There are many different techniques that are utilized in order to protect your networks, software and data from being attacked, damaged or accessed. To properly ensure that your data is protected, you will need to utilize coordinated efforts throughout your entire informational system such as application security, information security, disaster recovery, network security, end user education and operational security. On top of this, it is crucial that you stay up to date and focus on proactive solutions, as the world of cyber security is quickly and constantly evolving, exposing new security risks. If you’re in need of cyber security for your small business, call TekMyBiz now at (719)838-6000 or contact us today.
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