You Already Have Security Tools. Now Use Them.

Security IT Tools

“Security” is a part of the new normal, but business owners typically tune out when they see or hear the word. Most of the sales push behind security involves scare tactics or product marketing – and when fringe security tools use the same buzzwords as full security measures, it is difficult to cut through the noise.

In reality, you most likely have all the tools your small business needs to reduce the risk of a breach.

You know who has your back when it comes to security? The people who make the computers, hardware and software you use. You own it, it’s already paid for. Security items range from features within hardware to settings within the systems, plus the constant patches and updates vendors push out to keep ahead of current risks. Vendors also publish best practices for their products, and advise when they will no longer support products well in advance of the “end of life” date. It’s all there in your network…right now.

Tools Require Technicians

Let’s say Microsoft issues a security patch and your IT person has that on their “to do” list. Then Suzi in accounting and John in marketing call for help – even for something as simple as resetting a password. That patch gets put aside for a minute, or a week, leaving your business exposed to hackers exploiting the vulnerability that patch was designed to close. Or, if a security feature affects the performance of an application or computer, the user or IT person disable the feature, trading tangible performance for protecting from the unknown. There are only so many hours in a day for a one or two person IT team to keep up with technology, maintain your technology, AND provide support to end users. How effective can a single IT person be with so many technical tasks to perform to keep your business running while learning new technologies to move you forward?

Know Your IT Team Capabilities

There’s a reason why so many IT assessments uncover major security issues within SMB’s. Knowing what to do with the tools you have, how to maximize your technology, and provide future guidance comes down to the level of expertise your IT team delivers. All of the services sound the same. Think about it, the competitors in your industry probably all have the same services, tout the same benefits, use similar messaging. What separates YOUR business from theirs? Go to the next level in evaluating the expertise, the tool set, and guidance provided by your IT team. This will help ensure you maximize your current investment in technology, leverage your security tools, and get amazing value for your monthly IT spend.

The bottom line is, you are already invested in IT and data security. It’s a question of having the right people in place to leverage those tools, train end users on safe best practices, and keep your business moving ahead. Otherwise, you’re letting hackers and end users control the fate of your business on any given day. That’s not a scare tactic – it’s simply the new reality.

Security Tips: Untrain Your Click Brain

Security Tips

Did you know that the best marketers in the world are cyber hackers? They use the same types of marketing tools and psychology as the big ad agencies do to entice you to let them into your home and business. Advertisers have spent years and billions of dollars training you to click on links, ads, and email offers. Hackers operate the same way, but without rules or boundaries. Throw online shopping habits into the mix, and your “click brain” is conditioned to click without thinking twice. To protect yourself at work and at home, you need to Untrain your Click Brain.

According to multiple security and government surveys, over 80% of security hacks are caused by staff error. That means end users like you are as much a piece to protecting your personal and business data as any product or software. There are several ways that you can be the first and last line of defense against hackers.

  1. Keep your security tools active – Disabling security features like antivirus, ad blockers, and “click to play video” settings allows malware into your world, even run automatically on your device. Is allowing your bank information to be stolen worth the risk of eliminating a step to watching cat videos?
  2. Changing Passwords Regularly –Hackers count on people using weak passwords without ever changing them. And, it’s likely you use that password for many different accounts. Change your passwords every 90 days using strong, complex passwords with multiple types of characters. Be sure to use different passwords for your accounts to minimize impact if one is stolen.
  3. Follow Policy. Does your company have policies for internet use, email, and data security? If so, be sure to follow them closely – they are in place for a reason. These policies are also a good rule of thumb for your personal data protection outside of work. Hackers are only as strong as your weakness, so reducing your vulnerabilities reduces your risk of attack.
  4. Slow Down. Take a closer, skeptical look at emails and ads. What are they asking you to do? What is the offer, the urgency, the context? If you are comfortable, then see who the email is from. Is the email address familiar and spelled correctly? As for ads…
  5. Don’t Click on Ads. EVER. Remember, hackers easily mimic legitimate ads. If you see an offer that interests you, open a new browser and do a Google search for the offer. If the offer is legitimate, go to the site via your search. Bad offers will either not show up in a search or the search will return complaints about the malicious ads.

Retraining yourself to use email and the internet safely can greatly reduce the risk of hackers affecting your business and personal data. Notice the word “reduce”. If you see something that looks out of place or if you have even the slightest doubt, take a screenshot and send it to your IT team. They’ll appreciate validating your simple request over having to clean up from a cyber attack every time.

For a complete End User Security presentation or more information on this topic, please contact our CMO Marc Winter via email [email protected].