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.