How to Improve Small Business Security

In today’s post, I would like to share with you some easy tips you can use to improve your business security. Running a small business is not an easy task. On any given day, you can run into dozens of tasks that need to be addressed. Improving your online security doesn’t normally feature very high on your to-do list. IT SHOULD.

Small businesses have become targets for hackers simply because they know that security isn’t a high priority for many of them. Unfortunately, if your business were to be targeted the damage would be so severe that you could find it difficult to recover. Not only would you have data loss but it could also damage your reputation with clients.

Please take a look at the following easy tips to improve security for your business.

  1. Create a cybersecurity policy

Speak with your employees about the importance of keeping personal login information out of sight. (Don’t have your passwords written on sticky notes on your desk)

Don’t share sensitive information via email.

Don’t allow employees to use the company computer for personal business.

Shut your computers off at night.

Hold your employees accountable if these procedures are not followed.


  1. Backup Plan

You should always be careful about where your sensitive data is located. Especially highly important information that belongs to your clients.

You will need to have a strict data backup plan and a data backup service in place.

These need to be off site so that even if your office has damage done to it (fire, flood, theft) you will still have access to full copies.

Check these periodically and restore from your backups to ensure they are up to date.


  1. Use a Host-Based Security Solution

Your office needs to have some form of security software in every one of your internet connected devices.

These should be set up to scan daily for malware, spyware and viruses.

It can be hard for smaller businesses to implement a more complex network security. This is where a host-based security solution comes into place.

All hosts should be set up to update regularly to ensure protection from the latest threats.

Most anti-virus solutions have automated updates built in.


  1. Secure you Wi-Fi network

Wi-Fi is one of the common ways hackers can access sensitive information from your business.

Often Wi-Fi networks have weak encryption methods or they are not protected at all.

Always ensure you are using the highest encryption possible for your Wi-Fi network.

Chose longer, more difficult passwords for authentication to also reduce the possibility of intrusion.

In addition, you can stop broadcasting the network name, known as the SSID (Service Set Identifier).


  1. Protect Your Partners

Frequently small businesses work with bigger organizations or companies and this can likewise furnish hackers with a direct route into the bigger element.

In these instances, it is essential that you protect your key suppliers/partners by securing your own perimeter.

This could include guaranteeing that there is appropriate authorization and authentication set up, securing your framework with a firewall and having anti-virus protection set up on each device.


  1. Train Your Employees

Hackers will often attempt to gather information by utilizing social hacking techniques which include deceiving one of the employees inside a business to surrender delicate information. Training your employees about these possible social assault situations implies that they will know about them and will be less likely to surrender to this sort of hazard.

It’s frequently said that individuals are the weakest connection in the chain. As a proprietor of the small business, the best thing you can do is give your employees informed security training with the goal that they can shield themselves from online assaults as well as ensure the company’s assets.


  1. Encrypt Sensitive Data

Make sure you are safeguarding all sensitive data (client data or data shared by a third party) by encrypting the data where feasible.

You can implement full disk encryption (converting data on a hard drive into a form that cannot be understood by anyone who doesn’t have the key to “undo” the conversion).

This way even if your network is compromised your sensitive data will not fall into the wrong hands.

To prevent data from being accessed between the browser and the web server, be sure and switch your business website to a secure HTTPS.


  1. Password Policy

Password hijacking has become one of the easiest and most common attacks that businesses today face.

Employees should not be allowed to use weak passwords and should also be required to periodically change their passwords.

This risk can be minimized by simply implementing a frequent password changing policy.

(Like every four months)

You can also require that their passwords include numbers, letters and one special character (@, $, %, <, &, *).


  1. Network Firewall

If your office has an internal network then the first line of defense should be a Firewall before the gateway of the internal network. A Firewall can be software or hardware based.

Even if the firewall is software based it will help mitigate some of the attacks that will be filtered out before getting into the network.

The firewall should be placed to protect the most sensitive services like web servers, mail servers, DNS servers and FTP servers etc…


  1. Use of Anti-Theft

Using anti-theft software in every desktop and laptop can prove useful if any business devices are stolen. The anti-theft software works by wiping out any data on the hard drive thus preventing it getting into the wrong hands.

This type of tool also exists for smartphones if you need to secure these too and can be setup to track and monitor stolen devices.

Finally, a physical hardware lock for less mobile equipment (workstations, servers, printers, switches, etc.) can also act as an effective deterrent.


There isn’t any single way to fully secure your small business. You can,  however, implement a few common-sense policies and back them up with appropriate hardware and software that can drastically reduce the risks posed by data loss.

We hope you have found this post useful on how to secure your business. Please visit our website or contact us if you have any questions or would like help securing your own business.


Wi-Fi Woes? Time to Upgrade Your Wireless Router

Every time I have to reboot my wireless router, I cross my fingers and hope nothing will go wrong. Superstitious, sure, but anything to avoid the personal technology hell that is tinkering with that mysterious box at the core of my home’s Wi-Fi network.

Plugging and unplugging cords, going cross-eyed reading manuals with more acronyms than the military—it’s no wonder I haven’t upgraded my router in four years.

But trying to avoid that little blinking machine turns out to have been my gravest tech mistake in years. I’ve been missing out on faster speeds, better security protection, new networking features—even some awesome-looking new router hardware designs.

Yes, I just used “awesome-looking” and “router” in the same sentence. D-Link’s Corvette-red $310 AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi is a cross between an alien spaceship and an upside-down crab. Netgear’s $300 Nighthawk X6 AC3200 looks like it could speed out of the Bat Cave. Both promise the fastest Wi-Fi speed available.

But why should you mess with a box that still works—or was handed to you by your cable provider? Well, are there rooms in your house where Wi-Fi can’t be accessed? Can only one person stream Netflix at a time? Ever wonder who else is using your network? If you answered “yes” to any of those, it’s time to upgrade.

And while you may not need a fancy $300 model, in an age when everything from our TVs to our toaster ovens are connecting to the Internet, it’s best not to cheap out on that all-important hub.

For the past week, I’ve been living a networking nightmare, testing 10 routers in both a one-bedroom city apartment and a big suburban house. Now that I’ve done the hard work, it’s time for you to learn (the easy way) the best approach to upgrading your home Wi-Fi network.

© Provided by The Wall Street Journal.

If you remember anything from this article, it should be this: Buy an “802.11ac” router.

Those who haven’t upgraded a router lately probably have an 802.11n or 802.11g router. AC is the newest and fastest wireless standard available. (Even a kindergartner would be insulted by the nonsensical alphabetic ordering on these things.)

Many of the latest phones, tablets, laptops, TV set-top boxes and other connected devices in your home now have faster, more finely tuned AC radios and antennas inside, but they’re only better when connected to an AC wireless network. (If you have an older desktop or laptop, AC wireless USB adapters sell for under $50.)

Bear in mind, you won’t get faster Internet speeds from a new AC router—that depends entirely on your Internet service plan.

What you will get, provided you have AC-equipped devices, is less degraded speeds at longer distances, and better performance when transferring data from one device to another. When I tossed out my ancient N router this week for an AC router, surfing the Web on the latest-generation MacBook Air from two rooms away was twice as fast.

Deciding what type of AC router to get can make your brain hurt. Router makers still confuse shoppers with speed claims we’ll never get and terms we don’t understand. And service providers try to rent you combo modem-routers that lack flexibility and—in many cases—power, while quietly adding up in cost, month after month.

To help make sense of it all, I enlisted Tim Higgins, managing editor of SmallNetBuilder, a router reviews site. You should consider AC routers that range in classification from AC1200 at the lower end to AC3200 at the high end, he said. In larger homes, the pricier models should deliver faster speeds at greater distances.

As you might expect, in my New York City apartment, I saw no performance difference between three AC routers: a $100 model, a $180 model and that “Ultra” $310 model. The space simply wasn’t big enough.

But in my parents’ larger home, the top-of-the-line D-Link AC3200 and Netgear’s Nighthawk AC1900 routers provided better speeds—and smoother, higher-quality Netflix streaming—than the competition at various points around the house, especially when I got farther away from the boxes.

Even with six multi-directional antennas, however, the D-Link’s range wasn’t greater than lower-grade AC models (though AC range was, across the board, noticeably better than older routers). Think of it this way: With AC3200 routers, the data highway gets wider but not longer. In my mom’s office, a known dead zone 75 feet from the router, there was still no Wi-Fi signal.

One way to avoid dead zones like that is to find a better home for the router. “Router placement is going to buy you the best performance improvement,” Mr. Higgins told me. Place your router in the middle of the house, he says, in an area where it isn’t obstructed by, say, a cabinet or closet.

For spots that still don’t get signal, you need a network extender—a second wireless router or a pair of plug-in-the-wall “powerline” networking boxes such as the $65 Linksys PLSK400 powerline adapter set.

Beyond speed, the other big benefit of the priciest AC3200 routers is that they were designed with lots of connected devices in mind. Behind the scenes, they operate three separate networks, while cheaper (and older) routers only have two. This means your devices don’t have to compete. That bandwidth-hogging Xbox could live on one network, the new smart TV on a second, and various laptops, tablets and phones on a third.

Those faster speeds and smarter connections won’t do you any good if you can’t set the darn thing up. The second thing you should remember from this article: Pick a router that’s easy to set up and manage.

That’s why I don’t recommend TPLink. The Chinese company has great deals on AC routers, making it one of the most popular buys on Amazon. But its setup tool looks like it was designed in the early ’90s, and you have to have networking experience even to change the network password.

Netgear and Linksys, on the other hand, were the easiest to set up and manage on a Windows PC, while Apple’s AirPort Extreme was dead simple on a Mac—or even an iPad or iPhone, using the Airport Utility app.

The torturous psychodrama of setting up a router is no more. It’s as simple as connecting your computer, tablet or phone to the router’s network, then following guided steps in any Web browser. You don’t have to download any additional software, though some apps can be helpful.

My favorite routers from Linksys, Netgear, D-Link and Apple all let you easily set up security, manage guests and see what devices are on your network. The Linksys Android and iPhone apps even let you check in on your home network while you’re away. Netgear has also begun rolling out the feature.

Let’s stop right here a second: Do you have a password protecting your Wi-Fi network? If not, then don’t complain when you get hacked.

Fortunately, all the new routers come password protected out of the box. In fact, Netgear, Linksys and D-Link told me that every router comes with a unique name and password. While this is relatively safe, security experts do recommend picking your own name and strong password during setup.

When you’re in the security settings, always make sure that AES/WPA2 encryption is selected. Also, stay on top of updating your router’s firmware. This may mean logging into your router every month or two. Netgear’s Genie app alerts you when a new security update is available, and Linksys gives you the option to install updates automatically at night.

So, which router did I upgrade to? For my apartment, I decided to go with Netgear’s $180 Nighthawk AC1900. It’s more than enough for my wireless needs. If you have a larger house with lots of connected devices, clear a landing pad for D-Link’s AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi router. Sure, it looks ferocious, but I promise, there is no reason to be scared of the blinking box in the corner anymore.

Written by: Joanna Stern

10 Tips and Tricks for Google Docs

Google Docs doesn’t have the cluttered ribbon full of features you’ll find in Microsoft Office, but it does have quite a few useful tricks up its sleeve. You may never find these features unless you go looking for them.

Google’s web-based office suite has matured over the years and now offers everything from offline access to third-party add-on support. It’s still an easy-to-use office suite that works everywhere with excellent real-time collaboration features.

Enable Offline Access

Microsoft recently launched Office 2013 as well as Office 365, a subscription service. Office 365 will cost you $9.99 per… [Read Article]

Google Docs can work offline. This allows you to create new documents, continue working on current documents, and even just view your documents while you don’t have an Internet connection. When you connect to the Internet again, your changes will be synchronized online.

This feature requires Google Chrome, so it works on Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Chromebooks. To set this up, open the Google Drive website, click the gear button at the top-right corner of the site, and click Settings. On the General pane, ensure the “Sync your work to this computer so that you can edit offline” option is enabled, and click Done. To use Google Docs while offline, just return to the Google Drive website in Chrome when you don’t have an Internet connection.


Collaborate In Real Time

Google Docs has better collaboration features than the desktop version of Microsoft Office. You can collaborate in real time, and everyone with access to the document will be able to edit it at once. You’ll see other people’s cursors in the document and can watch them type in real-time.

Click File > Share to start sharing the document. You can invite individual people by their email addresses or allow anyone with a special link to the document to edit it.

Sharing isn’t just about editing — the Share feature can allow you to share a document with a one or more people so they can view it. They’ll always have the most recent copy, so this may be more convenient than emailing a file. You can also give people the ability to leave comments on a document so you can get their input without allowing them to modify your document.


Publish a Document

Google Docs allows you to quickly publish a document online. Just click File > Publish to the web and click the Start publishing button . You’ll receive a public link to the document in published form, so you can share it with other people and they can view it. You don’t have to host the document on your own servers somewhere.

This feature is separate from the sharing feature. When a document is published, anyone with the link can view it. When it’s shared, it can be shared only with a handful of people. When people access a shared document, they’ll see the Google Docs editor. When they access a published document, they’ll see the document as a typical web page.


Go to Next Typo / Previous Typo

For quick correction of mistakes, use the Ctrl + ‘ keyboard shortcut to go to the next typo in the current document and Ctrl + ; to go to the previous typo. This allows you to quickly correct typos without scrolling through the current document and looking for those red underlines.

Google Docs also recently gained a Spell Check feature that allows you to quickly skim through the problems in a current document, a feature it lacked for a long time — just click Tools > Spell Check to use it.


Search For and Insert Links

Google Docs incorporates the power of Google search to help you easily insert links into your current document. Rather than opening a new browser tab and searching for a page you want to link, you can search right from the link dialog. To do this, click the Insert > Link option. Type a search into the dialog and Google will display pages that match your search — click one to create a link to the selected address.


Configure Your Text Styles

Rather than manually formatting every bit of text in your document, you should format your text using styles instead. This means that, rather than setting all your headlines to a certain font size and bold text, you should just click the style box and set them to “Heading 1.”

You can also easily edit the font settings used for different styles. First, format some text to use the type of formatting you want to use for a style. Select that text, click the style box at the top of the screen, and click the arrow to the right of the style you want to modify. Click the “Update ‘Style Name’ to Match” option and that style will now use the type of formatting you selected.

To save these customized styles and use them in other documents, click the Options menu at the bottom of the list here and select “Save as my default styles.”


Manage Your Personal Dictionary

If Google Docs thinks a word is a typo but you know it’s correct, you can right-click the underlines word and select Add to personal dictionary. You can then click Tools > Personal Dictionary and edit the list of words in your personal dictionary. If you accidentally add an misspelled word to this list, you’ll have to remove it from here before Google warns you about it again.

This option is a fairly recent feature — previously, Google Docs wouldn’t allow you to remove words you added to this list. You may want to give the list a look and ensure you didn’t accidentally add incorrect words to the list in the past.


Copy and Paste With the Web Clipboard

Google Docs has a web clipboard feature it shares across Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This clipboard is associated with your Google account, so it will follow you across all the computers you use. Unlike your standard operating system clipboard, the web clipboard can contain multiple items. The clipboard supports, text, images, drawings, and other bits of data from Google documents.

To use this feature, select some text, click Edit, use the Web Clipboard menu. This is the best way to copy some types of data, such as drawings, between different types of Google documents. Items you save to your web clipboard will be cleared after 30 days if you don’t interact with them.


Use the Research Tool

Google Docs contains a sidebar designed for researching — open it by clicking Tools > Research. This sidebar allows you to search for images, quotations, and web results so you can easily insert them into a document. It also makes it easy to search for academic studies and quickly insert the appropriate footnotes or citations for MLA, APA, or Chicago citation formats. You can quickly insert citations to web results, too — it can be an easy way to build a bibliography for a school paper.


Install Add-ons

Add-ons are a fairly new feature. These are third-party bits of software made with Google Apps Script. You can install them by clicking Tools > Manage Add-ons. They can then be used from the Add-ons menu.

For example, you can install a Thesaurus add-on that allows you to select any word and click Add-ons > Thesaurus > Find Synonyms for Selected Word to view synonyms while writing a document. Other add-ons include an easy bibliography creator, diagraming tool, and table of contents generator.


Google Docs has more tricks up its sleeve, too. The File > Download as menu is particularly useful, allowing you to download your document in many different formats. You can download it as a PDF or a Microsoft Office document if you need to submit or email the document in a specific file format.


30 iPhone and iPad tips and tricks to make you faster and more efficient

There’s little doubt that the king and queen of the post-PC era are the iPad and the iPhone, and while these devices both started out life as content consumption devices, they’ve grown over several hardware and software iterations into formidable content creation devices.

But as with any device, there are tips and tricks and shortcuts that can help you get more from your iDevice investment. Here, in no particular order, I’m going to rattle through a list of tip and tricks that will help you be more productive when using your iPad and iPhone, whether you use it for work or play.

1.When ending a sentence, instead of typing a period and then a space, just tap the space bar twice, which does the same thing and is faster.

2.Find yourself typing a lot of text and numbers? Do you find switching back and forth to the numeric keypad time consuming? Press and hold the “123” button and slide up to the character you want to input then, when you let go, the standard keyboard will return.

3.Want to TYPE WITH CAPS LOCK ON? Just double-tap the on-screen shift key. Tap again to return to lower-case.

4.In Safari (and Chrome), press and hold down the period key to bring up a listing of top-level domains such as .com, .net and so on (what you get is region specific so will vary).

5.Spend a lot of time looking at your iOS device in low-light? Invert the screen colors for more comfortable viewing. To do this click Settings > General > Accessibility and turn on Invert Colors.

6.There are a whole bunch of things you can do  if you have earphones that have the remote control, from controlling the camera to rejecting calls.

7.iPad only: You can add as many as six icons to the bottom dock (the default is four) and you can also add folders. Just press and hold any icon until they jiggle and start rearranging. Press the Home button when you are done.

8.Don’t want to be hassled by calls or notifications? Click Settings >Do Not Disturb and turn on Manual.

9.Make text larger (in supported apps) by tapping on Settings > General > Text Size and adjusting it using the slider.

10.Want to still be able to receive some calls while in Do Not Disturb mode? Use the Allow Calls From setting to control which of your contacts can get in touch.

11.What about those urgent calls from people not in your contacts? You can use the Repeated Call feature to allow a call through if it is the second one made within three minutes.

12.You can quickly get to the Camera app from the lock screen by swiping up the camera icon in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

13.You can quickly scroll to the top in most apps by tapping the status bar at the top of the screen.

14.Spotlight search has been revamped. Instead of swiping to the left in iOS6 and earlier, you now swipe down from any home screen for quick access.

15.You can now block a caller. To block someone, go to Contacts then select a contact and hit Block this Caller. Users on the blocked list will not be able to call, text or FaceTime you.

16.Got a lot of typing to do? Pair any Bluetooth keyboard to your iPhone or iPad to make the job faster.

17.iPad only: Put the keyboard into ‘thumb mode” by pressing and holding the press the “dock and merge” button in the bottom right-hand corner and dragging up. Drag down to return the keyboard to its normal state.

18.Want to fast-charge a device? Pop it into Airplane Mode (tap Settings turn on Airplane Mode). It will charge much faster.

19.Want to cache maps for offline use in the Google Maps app? Zoom in to the area you want and type OK maps into the search bar and hit Search and the map tile will be saved.

20.Did you accidentally archive an email? Shake your phone to bring up the Undo Archive dialogue.

21.Remove digits you’ve typed into the Calc app by swiping left to right across the digits to remove them one by one.

22.Starting with iOS 7 there’s no longer a limit on the number of apps you can put into a folder, so there’s no more need for duplicate folders.

23.Swamped by emails? If you tap Edit when in the Mail app you can select from a range of filters including VIP, Flagged, Unread, and so on.

24.Worried about young ones racking up huge in-app purchase bills? Tap Settings > General > Restrictions and scroll down to disable In-App Purchases.

25.AirDrop is a great way to share files with other iPhone and iPad (not all devices are compatible) users using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (both need to be enabled for it to work). Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up Control Center and tap on AirDrop. Here you can choose to make your device discoverable for Contacts Only or Everyone or turn it off completely in here. When you choose someone to share with, or they choose you, there’s a notification giving you a preview of the file and the option to deny or accept the transfer.

26.You can make audio-only FaceTime calls by tapping the phone icon instead of the video icon in the FaceTime app. If you’re paying for wi-fi or cellular by the megabyte, this will save you money.

27.You can use Siri to do all sorts of things, from switching on wi-fi to taking a photo. Tap on the tap the ‘?’ symbol in the bottom left of the Siri screen.

28.Instead of tapping on back buttons, you can now use a gesture to return to a previous view by swiping right from the left edge of the screen.

29.In iOS 7, you can view the sent/received times for each message (text and iMessage) by swiping left from anywhere within the chat history.

30.Siri can read out your email for you. Hold down on the Home key then say “Read my emails” to get the name of the sender, time and date sent, and subject of the email. Follow-up by saying “Yes” when asked if you want the text read out to you.

Written by: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes On: