Posts

VoIP: A New Dimension in Communication for SMBs

Image
VoIP: A New Dimension in Communication for SMBs Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is about a decade old technology that is gaining popularity among individual subscribers and businesses. In conventional systems, phone calls are made using telephones or handsets that are connected by phone cables. These calls are routed using the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN,) carrying a signal from one telephone to the other. But instead of connecting telephones to the phone cables through phone jacks in the walls, VoIP uses the internet where phones can be connected to broadband devices, adapters or PCs using broadband. With this system, voice is converted into a digital signal and carried over the Internet. Let's take a look at all the options that are available to make calls using VoIP. Make Calls from a PC: Using this platform a call can be placed from your PC. Your computer is connected to the Internet via broadband. A specially designed software app allows you to place and receiv…

SMBs: It is Hackers v. You - Don't Let Them Score

Image
SMBs: It is Hackers v. You - Don't Let Them Score Selling stolen IDs and other personal data is a lucrative trade for hackers. They are always looking for sources where vital information is stored. As a small to midsize business you store your client's personal information, collected from different sources, on your computers and servers. Your Point-of-sale (PoS) terminal and some website transactions can be completed by use of electronic banking, credit cards or debit cards only. Your customers have to key-in their pins or passwords to make payments. That information has to be saved. Also, depending on the kind of services or products you provide, you may be collecting Social Security numbers, addresses, driver's license numbers and DOBs of your clients. Information that personal is as important as it can get. Any source of that information is like a gold mine for a hacker. All this means only one thing for you: A data security nightmare. Here are the channels hackers can us…

Business Disaster: What Threatens Small Businesses the Most?

Image
Business Disaster: What Threatens Small Businesses the Most? There are many threats to the integrity of a small business, and not all of them are as dramatic as a cyberattack or a hurricane. Every small business needs to do a risk assessment to determine all the threats that exist that could bring harm. External threats are the ones that get the the most attention. These can be big snowstorms or hurricanes that bring down power lines and network connections. They can also be man-made. A power outage due to a grid failure, or an act of terror. Also in this category are phishing scams, cyber attacks and data theft from external sources.All of these are the ones that make the evening network news, and every business needs to plan how to handle them. However, there are some internal threats that can be just as serious, but are far less attention getting.For example, human error. Stolen data can occur because someone forgot about changing their passcode, or they left a smartphone containing…

Data Protection and Bring Your Own Device to Work

Image
Data Protection and Bring Your Own Device to Work BYOD refers to a firm's policy of allowing employees to use their own personal phones, tablets and laptops for all their work applications.This is a pretty common policy, and it has many benefits, but it brings along risks. How are you addressing these risks? Here are some of the issues raised by BYOD A lost device - If you issue company phones, you have the ability to remotely wipe the unit clean if it is lost or stolen. With employee's personal devices, do you still have that ability. If not, your data is at risk.Software updates - Is the employee responsible for updating all the software and virus protection programs on their own devices? If that responsibility transfers to them, you are at the mercy of their willingness to keep track of such tedious tasks. If you accept responsibility for it, do you have the in-house staff to handle all the extra work?Back ups - with data being entered on many different devices, something must…

Everyday Human Error Can Affect Data Protection

Image
Everyday Human Error Can Affect Data Protection Are you under the impression that data loss is all about putting up firewalls to protect against evil cyber attacks? Some of the biggest sources of data loss include sloppiness, human error, and just plain forgetfulness. What are some of the unglamorous things that we do every day that leave us vulnerable? Passwords Old or easy passwords are a good first example. Employees set up simple passwords that are easy to crack. More importantly, employees may share passwords, and many often fail to create new ones on a frequent basis. Both of these represent critical breakdowns of good data protection practices. Emails Another significant problem caused by bad judgement is the tendency of people to open phishing scams. Most everyone now knows about the Nigerian who wants to send money to your bank account, but many new scams come along everyday and people fall for them. This is such a serious source of virus infection that some companies now deliberat…

Disaster Recovery Plans: Do You Have One?

Image
Disaster Recovery Plans: Do You Have One? Disaster recovery and business continuity plans are issues that almost all small businesses fail to think about. More frequently, they decide they haven't the resources to address such "unthinkables." If your business was down for 1-2 days or more, what costs would you incur? Lost revenues and lost productivity. These are obvious. You won't make the money that you would have if you remained open. This is especially true if you provide a service. Services are inherently tied to time, and time cannot be re-created. Sure, you can work extra hours next week, but it won't be a service provided at the time it was expected. However, even if you provide a product that can be purchased next week instead of today, a customer didn't get it when they most wanted or needed it.

There are other far more serious consequences of business downtime than just unsold goods and services. There are the intangibles that can't be so easil…

Why Small Businesses Shouldn't Avoid Making Disaster Recovery Plans.

Image
Why Small Businesses Shouldn't Avoid Making Disaster Recovery Plans. Entrepreneurs and small businesses, especially ones that are fairly new, often don't think about making plans to recover in case of a disaster. However, it is the smallest business that most likely has the fewest resources to fall back on in case of disaster. Why does this happen? It isn't on an entrepreneur's radar - The challenge and hurdles of starting out are what drive small business owners. The excitement that comes with getting a new client or releasing a new product are what motivates them. To be honest, things like disaster recovery plans are a little dull and aren't part of the exciting day-to-day hustle of running a company. As a result, these issues get put on the back burner.Planning tools can seem too complex - Ideas like "risk assessment" and "business impact analysis" can be intimidating. Many SMBs may just feel the whole area is overwhelming and leave it to anothe…