I recently had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from a number of local SME businesses and gave them a useful overview of crucial areas they should consider when implementing new technologies. Here are the 5 key points from the event, which I hope helped them (and will help you!) to benefit from technology:
1. Support your systems
Ensuring that your software and hardware is fully supported and secure is paramount. Unsupported software and hardware is generally out of date and will no longer receive updates to aid your security.
Not having access to essential updates and patches can put your business at risk. You’re more likely to be a victim of cybercrime if you are using older systems that are more vulnerable to viruses that have been in development for a longer time.
Updated, modern software is often furnished with better, updated security measures that are designed to be harder to exploit. To put this into perspective, a study carried out by Microsoft in 2013 shows the positive impact of security software innovation. You’ll also notice how the newer operating system, Windows 8, has a significantly lower infection rate than Windows XP. Though XP is a much older operating system, at the time of this report it was still supported, so you can see how using an updated operating system can instantly increase your security.
While this may mean you may have to spend more initially, it’s definitely a worthy investment that will save you money in the long term. Running and maintaining virus-prone, unsupported systems can end up being much more expensive than upgrading.
2. The power of the cloud
The cloud has become one of the most important tech innovations of recent times, allowing businesses to house their data in a way that is more secure than an in-house infrastructure, as well as offering unparalleled support, agility and cost-effectiveness.
3. Get the most out of your network and surf securely
It’s all well and good paying for a super-fast fibre connection but without the right hardware, you may not be able to benefit from the high bandwidth speed of your provider. In other words, a basic home router such as a Netgear may not be enough to suit the requirements of a business. At the other end of the spectrum, a Cisco device may be overcompensating. Choosing a DrayTek or Sophos device provides a good middle ground and is much more suited to a SME business.
When it comes to setting up your Wi-Fi, extra measures can be put in place to strengthen your security, such as splitting your guest and office traffic to ensure your professional network is safeguarded from non-work websites that your guests may be visiting. You may also want to consider getting a firewall to block malicious software that could be encountered when using the internet, or alternatively, limit your employees web access.
4. Maximise your security
Security measures such as installing antivirus software should be a top priority, we usually recommend Windows Defender as a minimum requirement for a small business because it comes with Windows and offers reasonable protection at no additional cost.
Though this may sound obvious, creating passwords that can’t be guessed easily will also make a difference, never use passwords like 123456 or ’password’ – these are commonly used passwords and are easy to guess. To avoid this issue and ensure you’re protected, follow these tips on how to choose a strong password. Make sure to share these tips with your employees, perhaps even print off the infographic or share it over email to reinforce the importance of choosing a strong password.
Make sure to watch out for any suspicious looking emails and links and properly train any new staff how to use the business network correctly and safely.
5. Back-up your business
I cannot stress this enough. Backing up your data could be one of the most important things you do for your business. If you do not create a back-up you could lose everything! In a case of emergency, such as a system failure or even if your building is affected by fire or flooding, having a back-up of your data stored out of the office or in the cloud will mean you’re always protected. Depending on the nature of your business, you may even be able to continue work as usual too! As I mentioned earlier, the most reliable and cheapest way to store your data is in the cloud, so it’s definitely worth looking into your options.
While this blog highlights some key areas to consider, you can also find out more about how technology can improve your business by getting in touch at Marcus.Schaffrath@c5alliance.com