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.


Amazon Opens First Staffed College Campus Store

Today Amazon seeks to increase its brand strategy even farther by beginning to enter college campuses, where a large demographic of their customers are already living. It celebrated its first college campus opening today at Purdue University where students can not only pick up ordered textbooks but also almost anything else from the mammoth retailer and have it delivered to Purdue University where they can pick it up through self-serve lockers or an actual Amazon employee.

The new service is convenient and quite easy to use as well. Students simply visit This allows students to find what textbooks are needed for their classes via a Purdue badge with the school’s logo on it, as well as any other Amazon item, plus Campus Prime-Eligble items that are able to be picked up in only twenty-four hours! Then, once the student checks out they simply click “Amazon@Purdue” as they’re preferred shipping location.

This campus location is the first of many more campus stores Amazon has planned. They already plan to open an additional physical desk on Purdue’s campus for this Spring. Amazon also plans to expand the free one-day shipping option to students once the new expansion opens.

The expansion of Amazon to college campus is an interesting prospect that seems like a no-brainer for college students, Amazon, and the colleges themselves. College students get a convenient way to get their textbooks at reasonable prices with additional convenience of picking them, and almost anything else they could want, right on campus. The colleges themselves receive a small portion of the revenue made through the new service. And Amazon’s convenience will lure students into its new on-campus services. It seems like a win-win for all.

Written by: Paul Savage, Jr.

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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.


‘Facebook At Work’ Apps Hit App Stores, Priming for Public Release

The office is where Facebook seems to have eyes set for next as it seeks to enter the enterprise world with the release of a ‘Facebook at Work’ app that is set to hit app stores on Wednesday. Very few companies, according to Facebook, are currently testing the app but the company is strongly continuing its efforts it began late last year.

This new tool works and looks strikingly similar to Facebook’s current social media network, but the software is still in its early stages according to the company. ‘Facebook At Work’ will allow employees in larger companies and corporations to collaborate through this new private social network or mobile app. There are some important changes made for this new collaboration tool though. Most notable is the removal of advertisements and the company’s claim of no data mining or user tracking. Corporate profiles are also kept separate from users’ private profiles.

Unlike many other enterprise tools the service is familiar to users and the company also offers up Groups, one of the key features of the new app. Facebook believes this valuable asset could replace e- mail list that can often become unmanageable over time.

It has yet to be seen how the adoption rates of this new tool will perform. Facebook is used to growing entertaining products, using data from its users to sell ads to its vast following. This is quite the opposite from the strict security that is used by corporate offices to secure its sensitive information. Facebook isn’t exactly known for its excellent privacy policies  and therefore must work even harder to prove to chief information officers that the security for these apps and interfaces is there.

The company is also entering into a market that already has seen some strong contenders. Microsoft acquired enterprise social network, Yammer, in 2012. Slack, a self-coined “team communication for the 21st century” tool, was recently valued at $1 billion. The competition is steep.

This new service was recently expanded from fewer than a dozen test companies back in November to a wider audience. It is unclear when the service will actually launch to the public as details are still being determined by Facebook. The app will be launching on both the iPhone and Android in the App Store and Android Stores, respectively.

It seems Facebook will need to do some considerable marketing to CIOs in these coming months leading up to a public launch, proving that while familiarity is an excellent thing for employees, the security must be there for the company.

Written by: Paul Savage, Jr.

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