The Business Owner's Guide to Cyber Security
Join us and other Chamber of Commerce members on Wednesday, August 29th, from 5:00-6:30pm at CoJoe in downtown St. Joseph. Listen to Dave Cooksey as we explore the real world threats that plague modern business, and discover the solutions to combat against them.
Every company that attends will receive a complimentary Dark Web scan to assess your exposure RIGHT NOW on the dark web.
Appetizers and adult beverages supplied!
4 Ways To Keep Employees From Leaking Confidential Information
Hacking a business today is easier than it has ever been. With nearly every company in America now intimately intertwined with technology, you might think cyber security would be a priority. But the truth is, our protective measures have grown lax, as organizations fall behind the times in their trust of flimsy barriers, trusting in blind faith that they won’t be targeted.
Right alongside the rise of software that makes our life and work easier than ever, the tools cybercriminals use has advanced as well, enabling hackers to penetrate precious networks of data with minimal effort. What used to take thousands of lines of code now takes a couple of clicks. And actually, according to IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, 60% of the time it’s not some fancy tool that allows criminals to circumvent your defenses – it’s your employees letting them in.
No matter how impenetrable you may imagine your security measures are, they’ll be rendered useless if a hapless member of your team clicks the wrong file and opens the floodgates. When it comes to cyber security, your biggest vulnerability isn’t your antivirus – it’s your poorly trained employees. Here are four ways to prevent them from slipping up and opening your business up to attack.
1. STRONGER PASSWORDS
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s probably anything but to many members of your team. According to a 2015 survey conducted by TeleSign, close to 75% of consumers use duplicate passwords in their online activity. Twenty-one percent of them use passwords more than a decade old, 47% have been using the same password for five years and a whopping 54% use the same five passwords across an entire lifetime online.
As a business owner, these numbers shouldn’t just make you chuckle – they should make you mad. It may be that the entirety of your company’s data, everything you’ve worked so hard to build over years of blood, sweat and tears, could be guarded behind a password as simple as “123456.”
Make sure you train your employees on safe password practices. That means mandatory password changes to key business accounts every few months, each of them containing letters, numbers and symbols, preferably without any real words at all. It’s a small change, but it can drastically increase your odds against data breaches.
2. MAKE CYBER SECURITY PART OF YOUR COMPANY POLICY
If your business is going to survive a digital onslaught, safe online practices for your employees need to be more than a recommendation. They need to be mandatory company policies. Every new and existing employee needs to know what’s expected of them and what the consequences will be if they deviate from guidelines. For example, when an update comes through for a key piece of software, it needs to be installed immediately. Have a set procedure in place for them to follow if they encounter a suspicious e-mail or potentially malicious link. These and other practices, when set in stone, ensure that employees remain personally invested in protecting your company.
3. CONDUCT A SECURITY AUDIT
The best way to suss out any employee vulnerabilities, though, will always be to do a thorough security audit of all your systems. This means investigating the hardware and software you’re using on a daily basis, sure, but most importantly, you need to analyze the habits of your personnel and whether or not they’re complying with your high standards of cyber security.
4. TRAIN YOUR PEOPLE
As they say, forewarned is forearmed. This is never truer than when defending your business from data breaches. With comprehensive cyber security awareness training, outlining everything from the biggest digital threats to post-breach best practices, you can turn your biggest security liability into your greatest defense. If employees know the ins and outs of hackers’ tricks, it becomes exponentially more difficult for hackers to trick them and find a way into your network.
With all four of these steps, it can be difficult to determine just how to implement these policies within your organization – much less what should be included – but luckily, we can help. Contact us to find out how we can help you put a strong data security employee training program in place and patch any holes in your barriers before they become an issue.
Help Us Out And We’ll Give You A Brand-New Amazon Fire For Your Trouble
We love having you as a customer and, quite honestly, wish we had more like you! So instead of just wishing, we’ve decided to hold a special “refer a friend” event during the month of July.
Simply refer any company with 10 or more computers to our office to receive a FREE computer network assessment (a $397 value). Once we’ve completed our initial appointment with your referral, we’ll rush YOU a free Amazon Fire of your choice as a thank-you (or donate $100 to your favorite charity ... your choice!).
Simply call us at 816-233-3777 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your referral’s name and contact information today!
7 Ways To Make Your Business Money While You Sleep
Here are a few key ways to implement systems that perpetuate your business without your involvement.
1. MAKE YOURSELF INTO A PRODUCT.
Once you’ve found success, you should look for opportunities to promote yourself as a brand. Position yourself as the authority in your niche and develop products like videos or books that share your secrets to success.
2. DO FEWER THINGS.
It’s impossible to automate aspects of your business if you insist on doing everything yourself. You need to train your staff to handle certain aspects of your business. The best way to do this is to simplify your output. Look at McDonald’s. They do basically five things: burgers, fries, chicken, salad, and soda. They package these things differently and sell them in different combinations, but the simplicity is what allows them to reproduce the menu in locations all over the world. Identify your strengths, streamline your offerings, and focus on the items you can train your staff to replicate.
3. CREATE CONTINUITY.
Billing for each service or product you supply is volatile, because both your revenue and your client’s expenses vary wildly. Instead, consider selling a subscription at a flat rate – with maximum quality and minimal hassle, it’s the ultimate win-win for both you and your clients.
4. SELL YOUR SYSTEM CHEAP AND MAKE MONEY ON THE REFILLS.
We’re talking primarily about businesses that produce tangible goods here. Think Keurig coffee makers and HP printers. In these cases, once consumers own your brand of device, you’re guaranteed their continued business.
5. BECOME THE MIDDLEMAN.
Find a way to broker business and let other folks do the work for you. Becoming an Amazon affiliate is a great example. You link to their site, they sell, and you make money.
6. BECOME A TEACHER.
Look at your business and find ways to teach other entrepreneurs how to acquire the skills necessary for opening their own business modeled on yours. It’s another way to position yourself as an authority, enhancing the credibility of your brand, and it can be a great way to cash in on the educational aspects of your expertise.
7. BECOME AN INVESTOR.
Money makes money, but it’s important that you’re careful about how you invest as an entrepreneur. Look at your clients and assess their needs. Find a company (in addition to yours) that addresses those needs and invest there. This way, you forge a bond between your company and another, but you cement your position as the business that caters to your clients’ desires.
MIKE MICHALOWICZ (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts and no savings, he systematically bootstrapped a multimillion-dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group. He is also a former small-business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; MSNBC’s business makeover expert; a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and the author of the cult classic book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book, The Pumpkin Plan, has already been called “the next E-Myth!” For more information, visit www.mikemichalowicz.com.
Being passionate and dedicated to the work you do is a surefire path to success. But in the lives of many driven people, there comes a time when work begins to overtake other aspects of your life that are vital to living a full, happy, healthy existence. Here are five habits you’re probably practicing that are preventing you from achieving that fabled work-life balance.
1. SUPERHERO SYNDROME
Just because you’re a top performer doesn’t mean you should act the hero. Ruthlessly prune extra work to all but the most critical of projects. As they say, there will always be more work – don’t let it take over every moment of your day.
2. ARTIFICIAL URGENCY
Create very specific ways to determine the actual priority of each project, markers that indicate whether taking a few extra days on something will actually affect your business.
3. UNDEFINED BOUNDARIES
When we take work home, we may feel like we’re staying on top of everything, but in fact, without strict compartmentalization between work and life, neither is able to reach the heights that true focus will deliver. Draw a line in the sand and stick to it.
4. NO BUFFER
In order to even out your workload, you need to leave some space in your schedule for unanticipated events. One way to fix this is to create a 50% extra window of time for everything you need to accomplish.
5. CHASING TIME
It’s easy to constantly focus on what’s next, feeling as if you’re always behind the ball. But it’s vital that you commit to living in the moment as much as possible. And whatever you do, don’t forget that your mental health is just as important as that pile of work you have waiting on your desk.
4 AWESOME PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS YOU HAVEN’T HEARD OF
We’re all looking for ways to cut down on wasted time, and luckily, today there are so many that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Bento makes managing employee spending easy, with debit-based expense cards that offer administrators total flexibility and control. Scrumpy is a remarkably streamlined project management tool that even the smallest businesses can afford. Bubble enables noncoders to build web applications from the ground up with minimal technical knowledge. And Lever allows businesses looking for fresh talent to manage the entire hiring process from a single, easy-to-use, feature-rich platform.