What Every Start-up Needs to Know Before Going Online

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article |Going online with your start-up|What Every Start-up Needs to Know Before Going OnlineWhether or not you intend to actually do business online or are simply going to be using your business website to build brand, there are a few important things you should know before going online. Make no mistake about it. Business websites are important on several levels even if you aren’t going to be engaging in eCommerce but first take the time to understand how to make your website work for you and not the other way around!

Time Is Money

One of the things that altogether too many startups fail to realise is that managing a business website, even a bare-bones WordPress theme, takes an ungodly amount of time to develop and maintain. Instead of spreading yourself too thin once the site is developed, have you considered the benefits of using IT managed services?

Just keeping a business site up and running securely takes an enormous amount of time and effort and that’s something you probably don’t have to spare – especially in the early days. To borrow an old cliché, time is money, and this is why you would be better spending your time developing and running your business. Let IT managed services do what they do best for you while you do what you do best for your company. It’s a simple formula for success.

A Look at Important Elements of IT Management

One of the leading concerns within the private sector as well as the public sector is theft of intellectual property. Even if you aren’t going to be selling anything online, a website can open back doors to your business’s mainframe where all your proprietary information is stored. IT managed services that focus on safety and security can help protect the backbone of your business and that would be your products, current or in development. You could also leave company and client data vulnerable to breaches without managed IT security.

Uptime, Downtime and No Time

If you find IT managed services as part of a provider package, all the better. One of the things which frustrates customers and potential customers most is when they have found your company in a Google search but are unable to click through because your site is down. Uptime is important but downtime leads to no time, for your business that is, and no pun intended. Downtime for your audience leads to no time for you as they simply move on to the next link on the SERPs.

Your Key Takeaway in All This

There is no denying the importance of creating a business website but only to the extent that you can ensure it will be well maintained. Sometimes it’s better to have no website at all than one which frustrates potential clientele. If you are going to go online with your startup, make every effort to ensure it will be an enjoyable (engaging) experience for your customers. Customer experience, UX, is the main path to success and the roadmap for their journey is your website. That’s what you need to take with you to the bank.

Six Ways To Help Improve Your Online Security As A Business Owner

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Online Security|Six Ways To Help Improve Your Online Security As A Business OwnerYour business is always something that you can improve, and when it comes to your online security, there should certainly be some active attention towards this area of the company. The online world is a wonderful place, and it can bring with it a lot of opportunities. However, it’s important to recognize that you acknowledge the dangers of the internet and what it can bring. Here are six ways to help improve your online security as a business owner.

Be Vigilant With Your Data Storage

Firstly, it’s important to be vigilant when it comes to your data storage. If you’re not being active enough with the security of your data, then it’s at risk of being stolen or leaked. That’s not something that you want for your company or for the sake of any clients or customers that you hold data for. At this point, you’re then putting other people at risk, and that will never go down well when it comes to your reputation. A good way to handle data storage is to put it all in one place. There’s the cloud, which is an online storage place to keep all your data secure in or you can consider other online and offline options. There are plenty of companies and software out there that are committed to fending off cyber attacks and improving cybersecurity, so it’s important you work hard to ensure your data is safe from anything that you come across in the future. Just because you might be a small business doesn’t mean you won’t be targeted.

Outsource Your IT Security & Support

Outsourcing your IT security and support is definitely something that’s valuable to have when it comes to business. Seeing as a lot of businesses operate with some form of technology or IT device it’s essential everything is working as it should be. If it’s not, then it’s going to cause problems to your daily work life and perhaps restrict your ability and opportunities to make more money.

Consider outsourcing your IT security and support to save yourself the time and effort of having to hire it in-house yourself because this might not be possible with smaller businesses. A managed network security is also worth throwing into the deal when it comes to IT support because they can help ensure your network is secure from hackers at all times, whilst also looking at ways to improve it.

Create Stronger Passwords

Stronger passwords are a great way to help keep your accounts secure. It’s good to change your passwords every so often so that you’re further protecting and securing your logins. Whether that be for your staff members or for yourself, it’s good to use a password software and to take advantage of any two-step authentication that helps to add an extra layer of security. When it comes to passwords, many will attempt to use words and numbers that are relatable either to them personally or via the company. However, it’s important to avoid both of these and to pick something obscure. That’s where password creators on Google Chrome, for example, can provide very useful. If you’re struggling to think of them, just make sure to try and have a number, a special character, and one capital letter within each password. That should be enough to keep it secure.

Avoid Any Dodgy-Looking Websites

The internet is a vast space, and there are millions of websites across the world, so you’re likely to come across a few that don’t seem right. Try to avoid any dodgy-looking websites and trust your gut when it comes to these sites. You’ll likely recognize distinguishing features of these websites such as poor grammar and perhaps a poorly made web design. When making payments or sending files, make sure the site displays a green lock in the left-hand corner of the URL box. This lets you know that the website is secure for making payments and sending confidential information.

If something doesn’t look right, then avoid it at all costs because it’s likely to be something that could cause your business harm in some way.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |Online Security|Six Ways To Help Improve Your Online Security As A Business OwnerDelete Any Old Employee Accounts

Employees are responsible for how they navigate the internet, and so care should be taken to look after them in this regard. However, one way to help the company’s online security is to ensure you disable and delete any old employee accounts. Whether these be online ones or offline with computer logins. You must make sure that all of these are disabled or deleted so that in the case of a disgruntled employee leaving, they don’t do anything that might compromise the safety of the company. It’s worth trying to do this with the employee themselves if they’re leaving on good terms, but if not, it’s good to track every account the staff member has that represents the company or has contained any form of company payment methods. The quicker you do this, the better, and that way you’ve got a limited trial when it comes to your company’s details being on the internet.

Train Your Staff

Training your staff is essential because as much as they’re not able to stop a cyberattack from happening if it were to happen, they do bear some responsibility. It is up to you as a company to provide your staff with the proper training on how to use the internet safely. You can never assume that everyone has the same knowledge of the internet and how to spot hackers and cyber-attacks because that’s not always going to be the case. You may find that people who you thought were confident could still fall into the trap. Make sure you’re regularly training your staff and being made aware of occasions where new methods and protocols have come out in order to protect people’s details online.

Improving your online security is essential, so use these tips to make sure your company stays safe online. Whether it’s outsourcing your security support to training your staff, it’s all-important to do.

Stay Secure: How to Do an IT Risk Assessment

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article |IT Risk Assessment|Stay Secure: How to Do an IT Risk AssessmentThere is no question that IT security is a high priority for businesses and government organizations around the world. It seems like there’s a new major story of a security breach every day.

Universities and even the U.S. Coast Guard were attacked with ransomware. You may think that your business is small so it won’t be targeted. Every organization that has a network connection is at risk of an attack.

The best way to prevent an attack is to perform an IT risk assessment. Read on to learn what a risk assessment is and how you can perform one to improve your security.

What is a Risk Assessment?

Your first question is likely to be “What is a security risk assessment?” It’s an in-depth process where you analyze your entire network and databases to determine where your systems are the most vulnerable.

That allows you to prioritize your risks and take action to secure your systems. This is an important thing to do regularly because it can save your business.

A security attack or data breach can be incredibly costly to your business. You’ll experience downtime and lost productivity. Your business will also lose public trust, which can be very difficult to regain.

Your business may be exposed to class-action lawsuits. Those are very costly and could bankrupt your business.

How to Perform an IT Risk Assessment

You don’t want to wait until your systems experience an attack to strengthen the security of your network. An IT risk assessment is a preventative measure that can help you identify your most vulnerable areas and plug up the holes in your systems, policies, and procedures.

Here are the steps you should take to perform a thorough risk assessment.

Know Your Most Vulnerable Assets

Usually, when hackers attack your systems, they want a couple of things. They want to get your most sensitive data, and they want to make money from it.

Your first step is to identify the areas that are real threats that hackers could attack. For example, databases where you store payment information needs additional security.

Intellectual property, trade secrets, confidential documents with vendors, servers, and contact information all require a high level of security.

You want to ask yourself what types of data you collect, why you collect the data, and where the data is stored.

Review Current IT Policies

Most organizations have an IT policy that governs how internal networks and devices are used by employees.
Employees are often the biggest threat to businesses because they are targets of phishing attacks. They just need to click on the wrong email to bring your systems to a halt.

Another area that needs review is mobile device usage. Many employees are mobile and conduct business at client sites and coffee shops. You need to have a strict policy to protect these devices.

For example, a part of the policy could state that they cannot use a public WiFi connection to connect to your network. Instead, they have to use a VPN at all times.

What Would Happen If…

This step isn’t very fun, but it will help you figure out the worst-case scenario if you were to experience an attack.

Think through different situations, like what would happen if you got hit with a ransomware attack. What would the consequences and the costs be to your organization?

Other situations include data loss and compliance consequences. In some cases, a data breach could violate privacy laws and regulations. That could result in major fines for your organization.

Compliance Audit

As part of your audit, you need to make sure that your organization is in compliance with various privacy and data laws.

This will vary by industry, so you need to be aware of the laws and regulations that apply to you.

Prioritize the Threats

Your next step in the risk assessment is to prioritize the threats according to the cost to your business.
You want to have three levels of danger to your business – high risk, medium, and low risk.

For example, a denial of service attack would be detrimental to your business because it would bring down your servers. This would be a high-level threat.

A natural disaster could be a low-level threat if your building is far from a flood plain or is in an earthqueak-resistant building.

Create an Attack Strategy

You have to develop a plan of attack to shore up the security of your systems. This will help you take care of the most critical threats first and then tackle the low-level threats.

You should have a spreadsheet or document that outlines the threat, when it needs to be complete, and who is responsible. That will keep everyone accountable.

Educate Your Team

The one thing you can do to prevent security attacks is to educate your team. Not just the IT staff, but everyone who interacts with your networks. That could be vendors, customers, or employees.

The more they understand about IT security, the less risk they become to your business. That enables them to be on the lookout for threats and bring them to your attention.

Have a Response Plan

It also helps to have a response plan in place in case the worst does happen. Your response plan is meant to take quick action to minimize the damage.

Be Smart About IT Security

If there’s one major threat to your business, it’s your IT network. Hackers will try to get into your systems and steal data, which can be sold to the highest bidder.

The best way to prevent those attacks is to do an IT risk assessment. That is an in-depth overview of your systems and networks to identify the vulnerabilities and close them before it’s too late.

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