Small business owners often find it challenging to invest in the right tech for their businesses. If done correctly, the right IT can transform your business by boosting productivity, collaboration, and communication, accelerating sales, and opening brand new markets. Let’s look at seven ways tech can help you ensure your business meets its goals.
1. Evaluate your IT status
As quickly as technology is advancing, it’s a good idea to evaluate your IT status every year. Does all the technology you use perform as you would like it to? What technology are you missing out on that would improve your business? This is where a good IT consultant comes in. You want to work with a pro who is impartial and unbiased, who will work with your business interest at heart. You may find that everything you’re using right now is exactly what you need. But to keep your technology from slipping behind the curve, it’s smart to plan and budget for technology growth as your company grows.
2. Explore your own productivity tools
First, look at the productivity tools you already have, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Within each software you already use, there are likely several amazing features you aren’t even aware of so you never use – but some of your employees may. It’s smart to meet with your team members and find out how they are using your software more productively, which would be good info to share with the whole team.
3. Create an online strategy
Every business needs a solid online strategy, even if you don’t sell any product or service online. You need to have a presence online, a way for potential customers to find you easily, know what you’re about, and how to contact you. At minimum, make sure you have a Google My Business account set up. It’s a powerful and robust search tool that’s free and used by millions of people every hour.
4. Optimize your website
A lot of small businesses make the mistake of thinking their website is once and done. Building your website is only the first step. It needs to stay updated to serve you. An outdated website is not good for business. It may have out outdated design, information, and functionality. Google is not friendly to poorly optimized websites, so you could become almost invisible in search results if your website is not current and optimized. If you don’t have anyone in-house to keep your site fresh, you may need to outsource content updates and SEO.
5. Engage employees
When considering new or upgraded technology for your business, never overlook the people who will be using that technology every day! Your employees are an excellent resource for informing you on the limitations of your current systems, and what functionality they wish they had to perform their jobs better.
6. Consider a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
A CRM system will help to ensure you understand your customers better and capitalize on sales opportunities. It will also help you to remain organized by centralizing all your customers’ information, and taking it one step further, you will be able to give customers a far more personalized service and follow up properly with any prospects.
7. Keep on top of tech security
Your cyber security needs constant attention. Make sure you have a cyber security policy covering such areas as acceptable use, password guidelines, security practices and rules for downloading software. Putting a firewall in place is not a security plan. A security breach can wipe data or hold it hostage for a ransom, and no business, no matter how small, is safe without an active and evolving security plan.
What is cybersecurity posture?
Cybersecurity posture refers to an organization’s overall defense against cyber-attacks. Your cybersecurity posture encompasses any security policies in place, employee training programs, or security solutions you have deployed, from malware to anti-virus. It is the collective security status of all software and hardware, services, networks, and information, and how secure you are as a result of those tools and processes. These 5 steps will help your company stay safe, and maintain a strong cybersecurity posture.
- Two-Factor Authentication
Two-Factor Authentication is the current standards for adding extra layer of protection to existing system and account logins. 45% of polled businesses began using 2FA in 2018. Compared to 25% the year prior. Biometrics like fingerprints, voice, or even iris scans are also options, as are physical objects like keycards. Complete security usually demands multiple authentication methods: something you know (like a password), something you have (like your phone for 2FA), and something you are (like a fingerprint or other biometric).
- Data Encryption
Encrypted data is formatted using a key, storing or transmitting it in such a way that if would be meaningless if intercepted. It is one of the most efficient ways to secure a database given that decryption can only take place with the correct key.
- Access Monitoring
In addition to encryption, the client data you store should be protected from unauthorized access:
- A firewall is a particular type of solution that maintains the security of your network. It blocks unauthorized users from gaining access to your data. Firewalls are deployed via hardware, software, or a combination of the two.
- Intrusion Detection. One of the only surefire ways to protect your network and data is to actively watch over it. A Security Operations Center (SOC) can monitor your network traffic around the clock and respond to any intrusion attempts in real time.
- Password Hygiene
- Length and Complexity. The easier it is for you to remember a password, the easier it’ll be for a hacker to crack.
- Personal Information. Password recovery systems use personal details to verify a user’s identity – unfortunately, with widespread use of social media, it’s not difficult for hackers to research a target through Facebook to determine when they were born, information about their family, personal interests, etc.
- Numbers, Case, and Symbols. While it may be easier to remember a password that’s all lower-case letters, it’s important to mix in numbers, capitals, and symbols in order to increase the complexity,
- Avoid Patterns and Sequences. “abc123”, or the first row of letters on the keyboard, “qwerty”, etc., are extremely easy for hackers to guess.
- Avoid Dangerous Emails
Always exercise caution when it comes to clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. Be careful even if the email seems to be coming from a known source or even from within your organization as email addresses are often spoofed:
- Be wary of links and attachments in email messages. They may contain malware that can infect your computer.
- Confirm the real sender of the message. The company name in the “From” field should match the address. Also, watch for addresses that contain typographical errors or lookalike domains like “janedoemicrosofthelp.com”.
- Hover over the URL in the email to view the full address. If you don’t recognize it, or if all the URLs in the email are the same, phishing is likely.
Cybersecurity is as complex as it is essential. Most low firms don’t have the resources (or the desire) to handle everything on their own. A knowledgeable IT services company can make all the difference. An IT provider with a proven track record of cybersecurity success can help you develop a cybersecurity plan capable of defending your law firm and your clients against hackers.
At mPowered IT, we have the experience and solutions needed to keep you safe through this year’s challenges and beyond. To learn more reach out to us at 678–389–6200 or schedule a free zero obligation consultation here.
Protecting your small business against cyber crime should be your top priority. If you don’t have proactive security measures in place to protect your IT network, it’s only a matter of time before it will be attacked. Below are 20 cybersecurity tips for small businesses. Continue reading to ensure your business has the protection it needs to avoid a devastating data breach.
Security Tip #1 – Use Strong Passwords – The most commonly used method for hacking accounts is password spraying, which only works when passwords are weak.
Security Tip #2 – Don’t Feed The Fish – 64% of businesses experienced phishing and social engineering attacks in 2019.
Security Tip #3 – Train For Awareness – 32% of breaches involve phishing – phishing awareness and education are some of the best ways to decrease risk.
Security Tip #4 – Scan The Dark Web – 64% of Americans have never checked to see if they were affected by a data breach.
Security Tip #5 – Be Wary Of Mobile Apps – In 2018, an average of 10,573 malicious mobile apps were blocked per day.
Security Tip #6 – Use Two-Factor Authentication – 2FA can stop the vast majority of current account hacking attempts.
Security Tip #7 – Focus On Cyber Hygiene – Most cybersecurity issues can be addressed by correcting the fundamentals.
Security Tip #8 – Think Before Clicking– Any email or SMS link could be hiding malicious code.
Security Tip #9 – Create A Training Plan – Staff cybersecurity training should begin at onboarding.
Security Tip #10 – Bring In Experts – IT security professionals bring the tools and expertise needed to lock down your business.
Security Tip #11 – Recognize And Reward – Acknowledge employees who report phishing emails or other attacks.
Security Tip #12 – No Business Is Too Small – Breaches affect organizations of all sizes.
Security Tip #13 – Encrypt Your Data – This adds an extra layer of security should your data ever be compromised.
Security Tip #14 – Test Your Backups – Make sure you can rely on your recovery solution.
Security Tip #15 – Verify Financial Transactions – Check with the CFO or manager before sending funds or changing payment arrangements.
Security Tip #16 – Stick To Trusted Networks – Restrict business devices from using public wifi networks.
Security Tip #17 – Purge Stale Data – Data that’s no longer needed adds unnecessary risk to exposure or breach.
Security Tip #18 – Stay Up To Date – Follow cybersecurity trends and breaking news so that you can stay prepared.
Security Tip #19 – Monitor Personal Devices – If employees use them to access company data, they need to be monitored, protected, and kept updated.
Security Tip #20 – Get A Cyber Audit – Only a cybersecurity expert can truly evaluate your business’ cybersecurity posture.
At mPowered IT, we have the experience and solutions needed to keep you safe through this year’s challenges and beyond. To learn more reach out to us at 678-389-6200 or schedule a free zero obligation consultation here.
Companies of all sizes rely on quality IT support to successfully run their business. Unfortunately, not all startups or small businesses need or can afford a whole IT department. I’m sure you’ve heard before that outsourcing your IT services to a Managed Services Provider (MSP) will save you a lot of money. But how?
Lowering Your Overhead Cost – Employee salaries and benefits can add up – not to mention the in-house hardware that goes along with that. Outsourcing your IT services will drastically lower these costs and you’ll benefit from having experts for any given task at a lower cost.
Increasing Your Productivity – If your network goes down, it will cause a loss in productivity and efficiency, which equates to a loss in money. Having an MSP who monitors your network 24/7 will reduce the risk of downtime and work to keep your network running smoothly.
Improve Your Security – With the help of an MSP you can significantly improve the security of your business which and avoid security breaches. Security breaches can result in financial loss and an experienced MSP will be aware of these threats before they can come to fruition.
Improve Business Efficiencies – Technology is ever-changing and getting people adjusted to new systems can put a halt to your business productivity. Allow an MSP to focus their attention on what they know best, and specialize in, so your employees don’t have to. Hiring an MSP is an efficient way to save money and time in your work day.
Are you interested in learning more on how an MSP could help your organization save money? Give us a call at 678-389-6200 or visit mPoweredIT.com to schedule a 30 minute call with mPowered IT CEO, John Mamon.
Managed IT Service Providers (MSPs) help small businesses compete, stay secure and avoid downtime by providing outstanding service, navigate emerging technologies and mitigate cyber security risks.
Let us help you identify the warning signals and what to look for in your next MSP.
Reason #1 – Response to issues is routinely slow
- Does your IT support provider respond quickly to your IT issues/problems/needs?
- Does slow response time impact you and your business?
- How would a faster response time make a difference to your business?
Reason #2 – Remediation of issues is often ineffective (takes multiple call backs to resolve)
- Are your IT issues resolved effectively or does it require multiple call backs to resolve your IT challenges?
- How does ineffective remediation of your issues impact your business?
- What difference would quick and effective remediation make to your business?
Reason #3 – There has been major ‘downtime’ or degraded performance for a period of time.
- Have you experienced downtime or any major issues lately?
- Have you experienced security breaches or virus issues?
- How does downtime impact you, your employees, and your business’s bottom line?
Reason #4 – There is a breach of obligation by the IT provider (not doing what they said they would) like:
- Patching isn’t getting done
- Backups aren’t working and or you have no idea if they’d work when you need them
- Not monitoring the systems
- Have you had problems with back-ups not working?
- Is patching not getting done?
- Do you have issues that should have been prevented with proactive monitoring?
- When was the last time your backup was tested? How does this impact you?
- How do these issues impact your business?
Reasons #5 – There is a lack of value (or more value elsewhere)
- Are you sure you are getting all you can from the money you are spending on IT?
- Has your current IT provider helped you from a budgeting perspective?
- Do they provide value at the executive level?
Reason #6 – There is a major problem with communication
- Would you say that your IT provider is a close partner, genuinely concerned with the success of your business?
- Does your IT provider regularly communicate with you on a proactive basis – not just for support issues?
- Could your relationship with your IT provider be improved?
- What difference would a better relationship make to you?
For more, call us at 678-389-6200 or contact us online.