Month: November 2016

21 Nov 2016

3 Common Web Security Errors You Should Steer Clear Of

To celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), we’ve put together this list of common computing security mishaps. We (along with your IT team) strongly recommend steering clear of these errors, for NCSAM and all months to follow. You can thank us later.

Neglecting to Save Regularly

Of course, no one would ever have a problem saving their work if they weren’t so absorbed in their current project. Despite the obvious benefits of saving (namely, the fact that it allows you to continue your work from when you left off, instead of restarting it), we often skip out on the few clicks needed to safely save the information for next time, especially if our computing habits translate to us leaving our devices on until their next use.

Aside from making it so that your work is saved throughout its checkpoints, saving documents regularly ensures the safety of your data should your device ever be stolen. Your IT team will encrypt your data so it won’t end up in the wrong hands – they just can’t recover that data unless it’s saved somewhere secure.

Treating Sensitive Information Carelessly

Considering the amount of time most people spend on their computing devices, it’s easy to understand why so many security “slips of the tongue” happen so often. Indeed, opportunities for mistakes seem to present themselves at any turn. Accidentally sharing sensitive information can happen by simply sending an email to the wrong recipient, or leaving printed documents unattended in a public space.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix that your IT team can offer you if you’ve openly – albeit mistakenly – shared sensitive computing-related info. The only practice to employ here is loss prevention. That means re-reading your emails, ensuring that no sensitive documents are left where they shouldn’t be, and taking any other mindful security measures that will protect your computing privacy.

Forgetting to Lock the Computer

If you’re working in a public space, your computer should be locked whenever you aren’t looking at it. Regardless of the brevity of your next bathroom trip, or how close the water cooler is to your desk, your screen is meant for your eyes only. If left unlocked when you aren’t around, you’re instantly vulnerable to someone slipping in your chair during the few seconds you aren’t around, taking whatever passwords and sensitive information they can find.

It’s unlikely, of course, especially if you work with people you trust, but you have to take whatever security measures are available to you. In this case, that means locking your computer. The security benefits here vastly outweigh any hesitance you might have to perform such a clear security measure in front of coworkers. Follow respective locking direction for Mac and PC.

In all cases, your IT team is available to help clean up the mess. However, it’s important to realize that some things are unrecoverable if they were lost due to computing negligence. In order to prevent security issues before they have a chance to manifest, it’s best to avoid making the mishaps outlined here.

21 Nov 2016

4 Tips on Staying Cyber-Safe This Holiday Season

The holidays are a jolly time of year, there’s no denying that. One thing we also can’t deny is that nothing can put a damper on the holiday season quite like getting your computer hacked into. As it turns out, the holidays present a higher-than-usual risk for online safety. Due to people being so trusting during this time – and due to the obvious increase in online expenditure – it’s easy to overlook some of the common pitfalls of online attacks. Opening oneself up to a cyber-attack during this time risks financial information and private data. Follow these steps in order to minimize online vulnerability during the holidays.

Segment Sensitive Data

Flat, open networks are a playground for cyber attackers, allowing them to navigate as they see fit should they find an opening. The best practice is to segment your sensitive data, keeping your important backups far from being connected to your primary network. This will keep attackers from accessing data you label as privileged.

Keep Your Network Clean

If your device is connected to the internet (which, in all likelihood, it is), it’s important for all connections to be purified. Cleanliness, in regards to network security, means applying recommended security and patch upgrades and updating the computer with the newest software. With the internet of things (IoT) on the come-up, computing potential has been opened up to new degrees, and with this change comes a host of new avenues for cyber attackers to take when targeting users like you. Because of this, it’s now more important than ever to update and patch your devices. If a device is too archaic to patch, it might be time to consider a replacement.

Monitor Device Traffic and Access

Even if your devices are adequately patched and are using defined policies, it’s still important for you to monitor its connections. This means keeping track of all traffic moving in and out of the network and letting your IT team know when your device connects with someone – or something – suspicious. Also, it’s important for you to know who is in your own network and what sort of information they’re accessing. Make a habit of continuously keeping track of internal interactions. This way, if privileged information is being accessed by someone outside your network, you’ll know right away.

Put Your Network to the Test

After taking the above steps, the best way to find out if your network is truly secure is for you to try and hack it yourself. Until your cyber security is put to the test, there’s no telling if the applied patches are valid, or if the data you meant to segment is much easier to get to than it should be.

While compliance with these steps won’t be a bulletproof guarantee of your network security this holiday season (no such guarantees exist in IT, anyway), they will increase your network protection exponentially, and paint you in the least attractive light possible to the legions of cyber attackers out there. As you’ll likely find, a cyber-safe holiday season is a jolly one, indeed.

21 Nov 2016

Pricing a Website Project? Consider These 4 Costs

With web creation and design being more readily available to the average consumer now than ever, it’s possible that you’re considering the move to your very own digital platform. This is encouraged, of course, but it’s best to have an idea of the costs involved before diving in.

Time

Although it doesn’t translate directly to finances, a working person’s time is, ultimately, money. You can outsource your work to a web designer (which, if you don’t have experience in web design, you likely should), but they’ll still need to consult with you regularly in order to establish the direction, development, and design of the platform. If they won’t be taking care of the production’s oversight, you or one of your employees will need to do so. All of this takes time.

Creating content, of course, is also time-demanding. If you have someone on your staff or network who writes well, they can take care of the monthly blog posts and any landing page alterations as needed – if you don’t have that person, it will have to be you.

Whether it’s your time, or an employee’s paid time, building a website will demand a certain amount of it, which costs money.

Marketing

Opening up a website to the public is like starting a second store for your business. Despite all necessary steps being followed, if no one knows about the store, people won’t happen upon it unless by chance. The same applies to your website – no marketing almost always means next to no traffic. That’s why you need the digital equivalent of a “Grand Opening” for your website, and some offline and online advertising – both of those things cost an amount of money.

How you intend on attracting visitors to your site is up to you. You can hire a social media manager or SEO company; you can also use paid traffic like Facebook ads or Google Adwords. There’s some room for play here, and the right choice will lead to the growth you’re looking for, or potentially more.

Maintenance

Starting a website is much like having a child. Financially speaking, it would be great if the child’s only expense was the hospital delivery bill. However, that just isn’t how things work – they’ll eventually be needing clothes, food, schooling, a car, etc. The same applies to a website. Despite the cost of what was needed to erect the platform, there are ongoing maintenance costs to consider.