Most businesses are now technology dependent. This means security concerns aren’t just worrisome to large corporate enterprises anymore, but also the neighborhood sandwich shop, the main street tax advisor, and the local non-profit. Regardless of size or type, practically any organization has valuable digital assets and data that should not be breached under any circumstances.
This makes it the responsibility of every business, especially those collecting and storing customer/client information, to implement a multipronged approach to safeguard such information.
Yes, we’re looking at you, Mr. Pizza Shop Owner who has our names, addresses, phone numbers, and credit card information stored to make future ordering easier and hassle free.
Today’s SMB Needs a Robust Security Plan
Everyone in the office loves Eric. Sporting a different ironic t-shirt everyday, Eric is the one we call when technology spits in our face. Whether it’s a slow system, a bug that needs to be squashed, a website issue, or a crash that results in unexpected downtime and data loss, Eric is right there. Not only does he get to the bottom of any issue but he also rights the ship like he’s some sort of miracle-working captain who just happens to have a pretty wickedly funny Peter Griffin from Family Guy impersonation.
But business is growing and Eric is overworked. Eric has certain skills that you’d love to use to develop innovative applications and revenue-generating projects-- but he’s too busy running around fixing things that break. Or he’s performing the most mundane and routine tasks day-in-and-day-out just to keep things secure and running smoothly.
There has been a lot of hype about cloud computing transforming the way small-to-medium sized businesses do business. Proponents of the cloud say that cloud computing has leveled the playing field, allowing SMBs to finally compete with bigger companies despite their limited financial resources and staffing.
Still, many are apprehensive to make the jump. They’re hesitant to give up control and they fear the cloud will expose them to greater security risks. Moving to the cloud definitely requires a leap of faith, but a recent ComScore study, completed on behalf of Microsoft, suggests that those who are froggy enough to take the leap (sorry) have no regrets once they do.
In fact, more than half of those surveyed wish they had adopted it earlier and feel that the benefits far outweigh their initial worries.
What are those benefits?
Small-to-medium sized businesses and large enterprises may seem worlds apart, but they face many of the same cyber-security threats. In fact, in recent years, cyber-criminals have increasingly targeted SMBs. This is because it’s widely known that SMBs have a smaller budget, and less in-house expertise, to devote to protection. Thankfully, there are several things SMBs can do today to get more from even the most limited security budget. And, no, we aren’t talking about cutting corners. Far too often, SMBs cut the wrong corners and it ends up costing them more money in the long run. It’s a matter of taking a smarter approach to security. Here are five smart approaches to take.
Today, not only can SMBs shift much of the burden of IT to the cloud, but they can also outsource much of their security by taking advantage of the remote monitoring, maintenance, and security tools provided by Managed Service Providers (MSPs).
Don’t Aim for Perfection – There is no such thing as perfect security. Striving for perfection is expensive and can prove to be more costly in the end. Improving protection and response would be a more ideal allocation of funds. It can take a hacker several months to figure out your systems and do real damage. Having the ability to quickly detect their presence, and mitigate any potential damage they may cause, is a more realistic and less expensive approach than thinking you can completely remove any probability whatsoever of a hacker breaching your system.
Whenever we as humans use the computer, or go to a website, we expect it to just work. We expect the computer is going to turn on and boot flawlessly, that the webpage is going to open without problems. We expect our files to always be right where we left them at all times. We believe that to be a dangerous comfort zone, just like anything else in this world, everything decays, everything ages. It’s not an ‘If this will happen’, it’s a when.
World Backup Day is a day for people to learn about the increasing role of data in our lives and the importance of regular backups.
Questions were raised last year about whether FBI agents were actively recruiting technicians at Best Buy’s Geek Squad to search for illegal content on customer devices. According to newly released documents, however, prior reports only scratched the surface: Best Buy’s ties with the FBI appear more complex than once surmised.
The existence of the Geek Squad informants was first revealed via the prosecution of a California doctor named Mark Rettenmaier. After Rettenmaier sent his computer to Geek Squad for repair in 2011, technicians working out of a massive Kentucky repair shop discovered thousands of images depicting child abuse on Rettenmaier’s device. Court filings later revealed that there were “eight FBI informants at Geek Squad City,” and a number had received $500 to $1,000 payments in exchange for acting as confidential sources.
It was unclear at the time how much Best Buy knew about the arrangement. However, documents recently acquired by the Electronic Frontier Foundation—which last year sued the Justice Department under the Freedom of Information Act after the FBI denied the group access to records—show that Best Buy has, at least at certain times, maintained a relationship with the feds, at one point hosting a meeting with the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Working Group at its Kentucky repair facility.
Outsourcing your IT services can lower your expenses and give you access to today’s most advanced technology. These are common reasons why businesses large and small choose outsourced IT providers. However, there are pros and cons of outsourcing. For instance, while you can definitely lower your costs, you also lose control of one area of business that can significantly affect your daily operations.
A recent study conducted by the Everest Group revealed that 48 percent of all business owners are unhappy with their current IT service provider.
In spite of the drawbacks, many of today’s small business owners see the value in outsourcing their IT infrastructure. However, the most discriminating business owners do quite a bit of research before selecting an IT service provider. This practice is highly recommended. It helps you avoid companies that don’t provide value-added services and are only in it for the money. Business owners need to know some very important things about their IT provider before ever signing a contract.
In spite of extensive research, business owners and managers still find themselves in relationships with IT service providers who simply aren’t doing their jobs. This can be a troubling area that fuels a great deal of frustration among business members.
Why Stay in a Bad Relationship?
Given that choosing a new provider is such a big deal, small business owners have been known to drag their feet when it comes to searching for a better IT provider. We all do that. We tend to think that a business relationship will improve if we just give it time. But eventually, that gnawing feeling in your stomach gets the best of you and you begin to ask your colleagues how they like their IT service provider.
After they spend ten minutes raving about their optimized infrastructure, you have to finally admit that it may be time to break up with your current IT service provider and look for greener pastures. It happens to all business owners and often it results in your company getting much stronger managed IT services for about the same money. Instead of dreading the process, why not dive in? What have you got to lose? Just be sure it’s time to take that leap.
Below, we go over seven effective ways you can tell whether you need to hire a new IT service provider:
One: Are They Proactive?