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October 28th, 2014

GoogleApps_Oct27_CWith Google Apps, such as Google Sheets, businesses have a powerful cloud-based spreadsheet creation tool. While Sheets does offer a wide variety of useful functions and features, there are some that have been missing. One such feature is Spell Check. If you have missed this, don't dismay. In fact, Google has recently implemented Spell Check for Google Sheets?

Spell Check in Google Sheets

When Google introduced their new version of Google Sheets they brought back a much requested feature - Spell Check. In Google Sheets, Spell Check works much the same as it does in other apps like Docs; you can select whether to check the entire sheet, worksheets, columns, and even individual cells.

In order for this feature to work best you need to ensure that the spreadsheets you are using are created using the new version of Google Sheets. You can check this by looking for a green checkmark on the lower-right of the file you would like to check for spelling.

This checkmark indicates that the sheet is running the latest version of Google Sheets. You can then run Spell Check on the whole sheet by:

  1. Opening the sheet you would like to check for spelling.
  2. Clicking Tools followed by Spelling.
The Spell Check should highlight any errors, along with replacement suggestions. If there are errors you should see a drop-down window open with options to:
  • Change - Will change the error to the selected word.
  • Ignore - Will ignore the error.
  • Add to dictionary - Will add the word that is highlighted to the dictionary.
If you would like to check either a column, row, or number of cells, you can do so by selecting this area first and then pressing Tools followed by Spelling. Interestingly enough, this feature is also available in sheets that were created in the older version of Google Sheets and then updated to the new version.

Looking to learn more about Google Sheets, or other Google Apps? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 22nd, 2014

SocialMedia_Oct20_CSocial media, for many companies, has become an integral part of their overall marketing strategy. In order to be successful with your social marketing initiatives, you need to develop content that users will share. This is easier said than done though, especially when it comes to selecting the type of content to develop. Here are five types of popular content that should be shared.

1. Selfies

The 2013 "word of the year", according to the Oxford English Dictionary, has become so popular it's no mean feat to avoid it these days. Truth be told, the selfie is popular for a reason: It is a quick way to get people to engage with your content.

The key here is to know when to take a selfie for your social media sites. What you want are selfies that make your company look more human, for example a group lunch meeting or after-work game night that shows people having fun. When done in the right way, selfie posts can increase interaction. Just be sure to limit the number you post, as too many could lead to you being perceived as being too focused on your company and not your customers.

2. Inside looks

When we find a product or service we like, we are often curious to learn more about it. This includes learning more about the company that makes the products or services and how it operates.

If you have a growing fan base, why not create content that provides customers with an inside look at some aspect of your business. Take pictures of your office, videos about how your products are made, or perhaps write content about how certain services are created and delivered. Basically, try to come up with content that gives people an inside view of the company.

The reason this type of content works is because it often gives customers a deeper understanding about a business, and creates a closer connection to the products and services. If you can increase overall attachment, you can increase the chances that customers will interact with content, stay loyal to your brand, and even share information about your company or recommend you.

3. Quotes

Famous quotes can be a great way to get a message across in a strong way. If for example you are hosting a Thanksgiving party, or Halloween party, adding a themed quote to your post could be a great way to encourage social media users to interact with it.

Also, if you can find quotes that are relevant to your industry, you could post these whilst asking for opinions or to further a point you're trying to make.

4. Fill in the blanks

While this may sound a little simple, posts that ask your audience to fill in a blank can be a great way to drive engagement while giving your customers a chance to tell their own story. For example, if you are a bakery who produces well-known donuts, asking a question like: "The first time I had this donut was _." could be a good way to inspire customers to interact with you.

5. Videos

One of the more drastic changes many social media sites like Facebook have implemented in the past couple of years is a feature that automatically plays a video when someone pauses on it while scrolling. While not fully welcomed by all users, this move has actually led to the number of video views increasing by as much as two times.

While creating a video because everyone else is, is a bad idea, if you have content that you know can be turned into a useful video e.g., a how-to video, then this could be a great way to reach your target market in an interesting way.

If you are looking to learn more about how you can leverage social media in your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
October 21st, 2014

Office365_Oct20_COffice 365, the cloud-based version of Office, is quickly becoming one of the most popular software suites used by small and medium businesses. With an ever increasing number of businesses migrating to this solution, it is not surprising that so many businesses consider making the move. However as there is always a chance of failure it is best to learn how to avoid this by being aware of the five of the most common ways an Office 365 migration can fail.

1. Slow Internet connection speeds

Because Office 365 is primarily cloud-based, you are going to need a solid bandwidth connection to use it. When migrating your files and system over to Office 365, you will likely need to consume a large quantity of bandwidth. This demand will often be enough to to tax most small business lines, resulting in lower Internet speeds all around while the migration is happening. If this is being carried out during business hours, employees might struggle to do their jobs properly if they are reliant on the Internet.

Beyond this, Office 365 is most often delivered over an Internet connection, rather than in-house servers. This means that the day-to-day demand for bandwidth will increase. If you are already noticing slow speeds and service interruptions before implementing Office 365, you will likely see these issues compounded after implementation.

To avoid this, you should ask an Office 365 provider to test your existing network connections to ensure that your Internet connection can handle the migration and day-to-day operation of Office 365. If not, a provider should be able to offer you a solution.

2. Mailboxes and files are too big

While the business versions of Office 365 do come with 50 GB of email storage and over 1 TB of file storage per user, actually getting your emails and files online could take a while, especially if you have users whose email inboxes are approaching the storage limit.

As a general rule of thumb, larger files will cause the migration of files to take longer. If this is not prepared for, then you could see migration affecting work or even continual issues of data not being available when it's needed.

To avoid this, you should encourage your staff to archive their email inboxes and either delete or remove emails with large attachments that aren't necessary.

3. Uninformed users

The average Office 365 migration takes from one to three days, depending on the size of the business and the amount of data moving over. If you start a migration without informing users that some files and emails won't be accessible over this time, or that even some systems may not be working, you could end up with employees unable to do their jobs and creating resentment of the new platform.

To avoid this, you should inform your employees about how the migration will run and what they can expect during the migration. Beyond this, you should try to run training sessions on how to use the new systems to ensure that everyone is familiar with it before they start to use it. This will increase the overall chance that the platform migration and subsequent use will be successful.

4. Older, less compatible software installed on systems

While many versions of Office 365 do come with subscriptions to the latest version of Microsoft Office, there is support built in for systems that are running slightly older versions of Office. If your business is using a version of Office that is older than Office 2010 (e.g., Office 2003), you will not be able to properly use Office 365.

Beyond this, you will also need to be using the latest version of Internet browser. If you use Chrome or Firefox, this won't be a problem, however if you use Internet Explorer you will need to be sure that you are using the latest version. Should you be using older systems, especially those no longer supported by Microsoft, you may also have trouble accessing Office 365 because you may be unable to upload to the latest version of Internet Explorer.

The good news about Office 365 is that actual systems requirements are low, so almost every business will be able to integrate it. We recommend that in order to avoid failure, or being unable to use all of the features, you should ask your provider to ensure that your software and systems are able to support Office 365.

5. Migrating yourself

On paper, migrating to Office 365 is a fairly simple and straightforward process. What many companies find, when they choose to migrate themselves, is that the process is often much more difficult than expected. Many companies come across unexpected issues that require an IT expert to solve.

In order to ensure a smooth migration from start to finish, it is a good idea to work with an IT provider like us. We can ensure that your systems are ready and the migration is smooth. Contact us today to learn more.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 21st, 2014

GoogleApps_Oct20_CThere are a wide variety of tools business owners and managers rely on, on a daily basis. One of the most valuable is the calendar, or Google Calendar if you are a Google Apps user. This app offers users numerous features that are expected of digital calendars, and some features that aren't. One such feature is the ability to layer multiple calendars from other users onto your own.

About multiple calendar layering

The idea behind multiple calendar layers is that it allows you to view your own and other user's calendars on one screen. If other users have shared their calendars with you, you can easily see their events and schedule without having to ask them.

How do I add calendars from other employees/users?

Before you can layer your calendar, you need to first add other calendars. You can add calendars by:
  1. Opening your calendar.
  2. Clicking the box that says Add a coworker's calendar under Other calendars.
  3. Entering the email address of a colleague whose calendar you would like to show on yours.
  4. Pressing Enter.
The calendar should show all shared events and entries from the added calendar within a couple of seconds. To keep things clear, each calendar you layer will be assigned a different color.

In order for this to work, users must have shared their calendar with the organization. If they have not, you will get a pop-up box asking if you would like to ask the user to share their calendar. Similarly, only events that are shared will show up on your calendar.

You can edit whoever's calendar you see once this have been added, by going to your main calendar (calendar.google.com) and clicking on the colored box beside the calendar name, which will be located under Other calendars. Once you click on the box, the color will turn to grey and the user's events will be shown on your calendar too.

How do I layer these calendars?

The great thing about this feature is that it is automatic. When you add someone's calendar, their events will automatically be layered onto yours. You can tell this is working by looking at the Other calendars section of your calendar. If there are names with colored boxes beside them, events from these calendars should be showing on your calendar.

Hovering over a name and pressing the downward facing arrow that appears at the right will allow you to edit layering settings. This includes assigning another color, hiding the calendar, and even editing calendar settings.

Why is this useful?

Possibly the best reason this feature is useful is that it allows a manager to quickly and easily see what employees are doing. If, for example, you want to create a training session and are looking for a time when your staff are available, looking at the calendar can be a good start.

Of course, this feature only really works well if everyone is using their calendars and keeping them updated, so you might want to encourage employees to do this first before you start laying.

If you are looking to learn more about Google Calendar or any of the Google Apps, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 14th, 2014

GoogleApps_Oct16_CGoogle Analytics has become the most popular way for businesses of all sizes to track relevant website data like visitor information, clicks, links, etc. While this platform is useful, there is always the chance that it may not be configured properly, or your site may have data related weaknesses that inhibit useful data tracking. Luckily, Google has introduced a diagnostic tool to help.

About the Google Analytics Diagnostics tool

If you use Analytics then you know that this is a data heavy application that can quickly go from easy to use to a complicated mess, especially if you are tracking more than a couple of entities. Essentially, ensuring that the data being generated by Analytics is correct and sites are performing their best is not so easy if you're not an expert.

To help, Google implemented the Analytics Diagnostics tool which scans Analytics features like tracking code, account configuration and data on a regular basis. After each scan, you are provided with notifications about changes and potential issues that should be implemented in order to make sure the data collected and performance is optimal.

What does the Diagnostics tool look for?

There are a wide variety of information this tool looks for and it can provide you with notifications for a number of different issues:
  • The Analytics tracking code on pages you want to track is missing or the code is not configured properly.
  • Goals or set data trackers have stopped working or reporting.
  • Your visitor data isn't being recorded properly.
If errors are found, and you're the primary account linked to Analytics, or have editing permissions, you should see a notification bell with a red box and a number at the top-right of the screen when you log into Analytics. The number will show how many Diagnostics notifications you have that require your attention.

How to use this tool

This tool is configured to check your Analytics actions on a regular basis by default, so you should see notifications pop-up only if there are issues found. Should you notice that there is a red box above the notification bell at the top-right of the analytics screen, you can click on it to open a drop-down box.

This box shows notifications with:

  • A description of the problem - So that you immediately know what you are dealing with.
  • Check again - If you have fixed the issue, or updated, click this to get the tool to check if it is working now.
  • A link to the relevant Analytics page - Clicking this will take you to the page or section where the problem was noticed, so you can take action to remedy it.
  • Details - A link that when clicked on will allow you to learn more about this error and see possible solutions. Click on Learn more to open relevant learning material developed by Google.
If you are looking to learn more about this tool and how you can use Google Analytics to track vital website data for your company, contact us today to see how we can help you set it up and even manage it.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 14th, 2014

Facebook_Oct13_CAs a business owner, there is a good chance that you have a Facebook Page. Many Page owners are keen to help expand their customer base and regularly post content on the platform, looking for increased interaction. While it is certainly easy to keep the posts flowing, posting successful content is more difficult to achieve consistently. A recent study by TrackMaven has made things a bit easier for businesses by highlighting useful elements that make up effective posts.

About the study

TrackMaven focuses on providing digital marketers with competitive intelligence. The company commissioned a study that looked at 1.5 million posts across 6,000 different Facebook Pages, in an effort to try and figure out what makes a so-called perfect post. According to the study, the idea of 'perfect' is a post that has gone viral on News Feeds and has extended overall content reach.

Essentially what they found is that there is no one perfect post! Rather, there are a number of post elements that, when combined, will usually lead to an increase in overall post reach and success. Here is a brief overview of the five common elements the most successful posts include.

They ask questions

The study found that on average, posts that ask a question will see 23% more engagement than other posts. While this makes sense, after all a question is really a call to action that aims to get the reader to do something, not every post works with a question.

If, for example, you are introducing a new event, or posting updates about a recent company gathering, questions may not make the most sense in this context. The key is to only include questions when they seem appropriate or a natural fit. If you want to inspire some action in your customers then a question can work well and urges people to actually do something more than simply look at a post.

The hashtag is used (sparingly)

In Facebook, as in other social networks, the hashtag is used to not only highlight words in a post, but to also make the post searchable. If you click on a hashtag on a post, you should see other posts also using that tag. When used in the right way, a hasthag can really increase engagement with your posts.

Interestingly enough, the TrackMaven study found that posts with hashtags saw 60% more engagement than those without. The key here is to use them sparingly! In other words, don't hashtag every word, or cram them all at the end. Instead, try to hashtag common words, or words associated with the company or content, directly in the content.

They post on weekends or off hours

There are hundreds, if not thousands of studies online looking at when the best time to post content is. Many conclude that the ideal time is different based on industry, type of business, audience, etc. While this is true, this study highlighted that companies who post after business hours and on the weekend can see increased interaction.

For posts on Sunday, interaction rate was 25% higher than similar content posted on a Wednesday, while posts that show up on News Feeds after 5:00 pm Monday to Friday will see over 10% higher interaction rates.

The key point here is that it could be a good idea to post your content when your audience is more likely to look at Facebook. Most business managers, owners, and even customers probably aren't looking at Facebook during business hours, so try scheduling content after the working day or on weekends.

They are visual

Take a look at your own News Feed and you will notice that a large majority of content on there is visual in nature. Be it videos, images, links with images, etc, Facebook is a highly visual platform.

The study, unsurprisingly, found that posts with visual content had higher interaction than posts with just text. In fact, posts with visual content had an average of 2.35 interactions per post while posts with just text had 1.71 interactions. While these numbers aren't high, it stresses that if you want your content to be shared or interacted with, visuals help.

They reach a general word count

A lot of people, when using social media, tend to be viewing Facebook on their mobile devices, or when they have a couple of spare minutes. What this equates to is people quickly scanning their News Feed and moving onto another post after only a few seconds, or less.

It is best to strive for a wordcount that is easily scannable for most posts. The study found that posts with 80-89 words inspired more engagement than shorter posts. This indicates that a good word count might be in the range of 70-100 for maximum effect. That being said, there are a number of professionals out there who use Facebook as an almost-blog and post longer content, who are relatively successful. We recommend trying out a few longer posts as well, just to see how people interact with them.

If you are looking to learn more about Facebook for your business, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 9th, 2014

Security_Oct07_CWhen first announced in April of 2014, Heartbleed was one of the biggest security issues ever uncovered. Companies scrambled to patch systems and ensure they were protected from this problem. While big news, there is a recently uncovered security flaw called Shellshock which could make Heartbleed look relatively small in comparison, and it is a potential problem you should be aware of.

What exactly is Shellshock?

Shellshock is the name applied to a recently uncovered software vulnerability which could be exploited to hack and compromise untold millions of servers and machines around the world. At its heart, the Shellshock vulnerability is based on a program called Bash. This is a Unix-based command program that allows users to type actions that the computer will then execute. It can also read files called scripts that contain detailed instructions.

Bash is run in a text-based window called a shell and is the main command program used by OS X and Unix. If you have a Mac computer and want to see what Bash looks like, simply hit Command (Apple Key) + Spacebar and type in Terminal. In the text-based window that opens in Bash you can enter commands using the Bash language to get your computer to do something e.g., eject a disc, connect to a server, move a file, etc.

The problem with Bash however is that it was recently discovered that by entering a specific line of code '() { :; };)' in a command you could get a system to run any following commands. In other words, when this command is used, Bash will continue to read and execute commands that come after it. This in turn could lead to a hacker being able to gain full, yet unauthorized, access to systems without having to enter a password. If this happens, there is very little you can do about it.

Why is this such a big issue?

To be clear: Shellshock should not directly affect most Windows-based machines, instead it affects machines that use Unix and Unix-based operating systems (including OS X). So why is this so big a deal when the majority of the world uses Windows-based computers? In truth, the majority of end-users will be safe from this exploit. However, the problem lies with bigger machines like Web servers and other devices such as networking devices, and computers that have had a Bash command shell installed.

While most users have Windows-based computers, the servers that support a vast percentage of the Internet and many business systems run Unix. Combine this with the fact that many other devices like home routers, security cameras, Point of Sale systems, etc. run Unix and this is becomes a big deal.

As we stated above, hackers can gain access to systems using Bash. If for example this system happens to be a Web server where important user information is stored, and the hacker is able to use Bash to gain access and then escalate themselves to administrative status, they could steal everything. In turn this could lead to the information being released on to the Web for other hackers to purchase and subsequently use to launch other attacks - even Windows-based systems. Essentially, there are a nearly unlimited number of things a hacker can do once they have access.

If this is not dealt with, or taken seriously, we could see not only increased data breaches but also larger scale breaches. We could also see an increase in website crashes, unavailability, etc.

So what should we do?

Because Shellshock mainly affects back-end systems, there is little the majority of users can do at this time. That being said, there are many Wi-Fi routers and networks out there that do use Unix. Someone with a bit of know-how can gain access to these and execute attacks when an individual with a system using Bash tries to connect to Wi-Fi. So, it is a good idea to refrain from connecting to unsecured networks.

Also, if you haven't installed a Bash command line on your Windows-based machine your systems will probably be safe from this particular exploit. If you do have servers in your business however, or networking devices, it is worthwhile contacting us right away. The developers of Bash have released a partial fix for this problem and we can help upgrade your systems to ensure the patch has been installed properly.

This exploit, while easy to execute, will be incredibly difficult to protect systems from. That's why working with an IT partner like us can really help. Not only do we keep systems up-to-date and secure, we can also ensure that they will not be affected by issues like this. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
October 7th, 2014

Office365_Oct07_CWhile there are numerous popular software suites out there for businesses, one of the most popular has got to be Microsoft's Office. Over the past couple of years, different versions of Office have surfaced, including Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365. While both types include Office, there is confusion as to the difference between them.

What is Microsoft Office 2013?

Microsoft Office 2013 is the latest version of Microsoft's popular Office suite. With apps like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and more, it is mostly similar to all previous versions of Office. When you purchase this type of Office you receive a number of licenses allowing you to install this on up to five computers or devices - depending on the version (e.g., Home, Student, Professional) of Office that you get.

You can purchase these products outright, as you have done with previous versions of Office, but Microsoft is really pushing their subscription-based version of Office, what they call Office 365. When you subscribe to the Office 365 version of Microsoft 2013, you get the same software as you would if you purchased it outright, the only difference is you pay for it either monthly or yearly, instead of all at once.

What is Office 365 for business then?

Where it gets confusing for many is that in 2011 Microsoft launched a cloud-based version of Office for businesses also called Office 365. Despite the same name as the subscription-based version of Office 2013, this is a different product that is aimed at businesses.

Office 365 for businesses is a monthly (or yearly) per-user subscription service that offers businesses productivity software, enhanced communication apps like email and video conferencing; guaranteed security; and support for intranet and collaboration solution SharePoint.

With Office 365 for business, companies can sign up for a number of plans. Some of them, like Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office 365 Midsize Business, offer full versions of Office 2013 (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Lync, Outlook, Notes, Access, etc) that users can install on their computers or mobile devices. Other versions, like Office 365 Small Business, come with Office Web Apps which can be accessed via your browser.

Which is better for business?

Most businesses will benefit more from Office 365 because of the extra features and enhanced security. Not to mention the fact that the monthly per-user cost is usually lower when compared to licensing the same version of Office 2013 for each individual.

Some other benefits Office 365 for Business include:

  • All users are on the same version of Office: Because Office 365 for Business is based in the cloud and is managed via a central admin panel, you can ensure that all users have exactly the same version of Office, which in turn ensures that your files will be compatible.
  • Reduced licensing costs: If you were to purchase individual versions of Office 2013 for your employees, you could end up paying over USD $399 for the Professional version which can only be installed on one computer. Compare this with Office 365 Small Business Premium which costs USD $12.50 per user, per month and offers the same version of Office, along with more features.
  • Enhanced security and uptime: Microsoft guarantees that Office 365 software will be up and running 99.9% of the time, which means the programs you rely on will be available when you need them.
  • It's more mobile: With Office Web Apps and Office 2013 mobile apps you can take your work anywhere. Combine this with solutions like SharePoint which allow you to store documents in a central location, which makes it easier to access your files while out of the office. Beyond that, if you would like to use the Office mobile apps, you will need an Office 365 subscription.
If you are looking to integrate Office 365 into your organization, or would like to learn more, contact us today.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 7th, 2014

GoogleApps_Oct07_CIn business writing, the list is one of the more useful components. Lists make it easier to view important content or break up longer content into smaller more easily digestible parts. If you use Google Apps, and more specifically Google Docs, do you know how to add and format lists? Did you also know that Google has recently updated the way lists can be created?

Creating a bulleted/numbered list in a Google Doc

If you have text in a Doc that you would like to change into a bulleted or numbered list, you can do so by:
  1. Highlighting the content you would like to be turned into a list.
  2. Pressing More in the toolbar above the document.
  3. Clicking on either the button with 1,2,3, or bullets.
This will turn the highlighted content into a list. If you want to include sublists, click where you would like the sublist to start and hit Tab. This will move the list item over one indent and create a sublist. If you have sublists that are supposed to be major list items, then click at the left-side of the point and hit Shift + Tab.

Formatting your bullets or numbers

By default, any numbered lists will start with standard numbers (e.g., 1,2,3) and bulleted lists will start with a round bullet. You can change the type of number or bullet used by pressing on the little gray arrow beside the list type button on the menu bar above the text field. This will bring up a drop-down menu with different types of lists. For example, you can change 1,2,3 lists into A,B,C lists, or Roman Numerals.

You can change the color of the bullets or numbers by clicking on one of the bullets and pressing the text color button. This is located in the menu bar above the text field and looks like an A with a black bar below it. Select the color you want.

The new change to bulleted/numbered lists

In late September, Google introduced a small change to the way Docs handles lists. Now, when you are typing, you can enter a number of characters on a new line and Google will automatically create a list. For example, if you are typing and need to create a numbered list hit Enter to go to a new line and enter: 1. (with the period).

You will notice that this creates an automatic indent. Hitting Enter again will add another list item. The characters you can use to tell Docs to automatically create a list include: *, -, (a), a), a., (A), A), A., I., (1), 1), and 1.

If you don't want to create a list like this, then simply hit Backspace after the list is indented to convert it into a normal line. You can also turn this function off by pressing Tools followed by Preferences… and unticking Automatically detect lists and then Ok.

Looking to learn more about using Google Docs in the office? Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 2nd, 2014

Security_Sep29_CIt's probably safe to say that the security of your networks and systems is something you are concerned about. In truth, the majority of businesses do have security measures in place. The question you therefore need to ask yourself is if the measures you have implemented are sufficient enough. To help answer that question, here are five common security flaws business owners should be aware of.

1. Open wireless networks

Wireless networks are one of the most common ways businesses allow their employees to get online. With one main Internet line and a couple of wireless routers, you can theoretically have the whole office online. This method of connecting does save money, but there is an inherent security risk with this and that is an unsecure network.

Contrary to popular belief, simply plugging in a wireless router and creating a basic network won't mean you are secure. If you don't set a password on your routers, then anyone within range can connect. Hackers and criminal organizations are known to look for, and then target these networks. With fairly simple tools and a bit of know-how, they can start capturing data that goes in and out of the network, and even attacking the network and computers attached. In other words, unprotected networks are basically open invitations to hackers.

Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that all wireless networks in the office are secured with passwords that are not easy to guess. For example, many Internet Service Providers who install hardware when setting up networks will often just use the company's main phone number as the password to the router. This is too easy to work out, so changing to a password that is a lot more difficult to guess is makes sense.

2. Email is not secure

Admittedly, most companies who have implemented a new email system in the past couple of years will likely be fairly secure. This is especially true if they use cloud-based options, or well-known email systems like Exchange which offer enhanced security and scanning, while using modern email transition methods.

The businesses at risk are those using older systems like POP, or systems that don't encrypt passwords (what are known as 'clear passwords'). If your system doesn't encrypt information like this, anyone with the right tools and a bit of knowledge can capture login information and potentially compromise your systems and data.

If you are using older email systems, it is advisable to upgrade to newer ones, especially if they don't encrypt important information.

3. Mobile devices that aren't secure enough

Mobile devices, like tablets and smartphones, are being used more than ever before in business, and do offer a great way to stay connected and productive while out of the office. The issue with this however is that if you use your tablet or phone to connect to office systems, and don't have security measures in place, you could find networks compromised.

For example, if you have linked your work email to your tablet, but don't have a screen lock enabled and you lose your device anyone who picks it up will have access to your email and potentially sensitive information.

The same goes if you accidentally install a fake app with malware on it. You could find your systems infected. Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that your device is locked with at least a passcode, and you have anti-virus and malware scanners installed and running on a regular basis.

4. Anti-virus scanners that aren't maintained

These days, it is essential that you have anti-virus, malware, and spyware scanners installed on all machines and devices in your company and that you take the time to configure these properly. It could be that scans are scheduled during business hours, or they just aren't updated. If you install these solutions onto your systems, and they start to scan during work time, most employees will just turn the scanner off thus leaving systems wide-open.

The same goes for not properly ensuring that these systems are updated. Updates are important for scanners, because they implement new virus databases that contain newly discovered malware and viruses, and fixes for them.

Therefore, scanners need to be properly installed and maintained if they are going to even stand a chance of keeping systems secure.

5. Lack of firewalls

A firewall is a networking security tool that can be configured to block certain types of network access and data from leaving the network or being accessed from outside of the network. A properly configured firewall is necessary for network security, and while many modems include this, it's often not robust enough for business use.

What you need instead is a firewall that covers the whole network at the point where data enters and exits (usually before the routers). These are business-centric tools that should be installed by an IT partner like us, in order for them to be most effective.

How do I ensure proper business security?

The absolute best way a business can ensure that their systems and networks are secure is to work with an IT partner like us. Our managed services can help ensure that you have proper security measures in place and the systems are set up and managed properly. Tech peace of mind means the focus can be on creating a successful company instead. Contact us today to learn more.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security