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10 Solutions for Better Cyber Security of Small Businesses

10 Solutions for Better Cyber Security of Small Businesses

In today’s online world, if you aren’t making use of a number of different cyber security solutions, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to attack. Don’t make the mistake that you’re not important enough or large enough to come under attack from a hacker, either.

Even the smallest business may be targeted by a cyber-attack. Sometimes these attackers even seek out small businesses with little to no security just to have fun destroying their servers and data. If you’re a small business, here are ten cyber security solutions you need to consider implementing today.

1. Symantec

Symantec’s small business option provides the same level of security that many larger enterprises make use of, only at a much more affordable rate. These cyber security packages are designed to keep your data secure and your equipment protected from cyber assaults.

Implementing Symantec’s small business package provides you with antivirus and antispyware programs, a strong firewall, and programs that automatically back up data, provide quick disaster recovery options, keep your connections private, and much more.

2. Random.org

One area that is often a security weakness that isn’t something you can fix with some additional software is weak passwords. If your employees don’t use strong, difficult to guess passwords to access their accounts, hackers can gain access to your entire network fairly easily.

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Even if you give your employees guidelines to use, some may still select weak passwords that can easily be broken. Random.org takes care of that problem. It randomly creates a strong password for each employee, giving them no excuse not to have their accounts protected.

3. Comodo

Comodo is a top of the line security tool that is available for free. It allows you to remotely monitor and manage computers, patch programs remotely, and more.

Comodo also offers several other programs that provide solutions to isolating machines infected with malware and blocking malware from accessing your network. Some options are free, while some upgrades must be paid for.

4. Snort

Snort is designed to watch over your network when you can’t be there to do so. This intrusion prevention and detection software monitors the entire network in real-time.

As soon as a user or program tries to access something they shouldn’t, that user or program is flagged. Too many unauthorized attempts will lead to the user being blocked or the program being quarantined until you can review it and decide if it should be given an exception or not.

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5. ESET

ESET is a security system that can be expanded to cover more than just your desktops and laptops. It can cover your servers, networks, mobile devices, and even your USB drives. It also covers Mac and Windows systems, Android and iPhones, and a variety of different email and file servers.

You can even create custom solutions for your network. Simply select your company’s size, the type of product you have, and your industry to begin customizing your package. You can add remote management, endpoint security, encryption, mobile security, file security, two-factor authentication, and much more.

6. Lookout Mobile Security

If many of your employees use mobile devices or their smartphones for work, you need Lookout Mobile Security. It’s designed specifically for these products and helps to cut down on the number of data leakages, malware, and other risks.

These risks often come with apps and devices that have been jailbroken or otherwise tampered with. The program also lets you add apps and mobile software to a white list, view what devices are using your network, and investigate any security breaches.

7. StaySafeOnline.org

If you know that you have security issues but aren’t sure where to start addressing them, look at StaySafeOnline.org. This website includes a number of different resources that will help you assess your overall risks, create a plan for handling your cyber-security, and prepare training materials for your employees.

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The website is a part of the National Cyber Security Alliance and contains new information related to cyber-security as it becomes available. It’s a great place to start preparing your business’s cyber-defenses.

8. CloudFlare

CloudFlare offers another set of free tools that help prevent your website from coming under attack from things such as denial of service or SQL injections. These types of attacks can lead to your website going offline or losing data, so it’s vital you protect against them.

CloudFlare detects and blocks attacks automatically, then creates a detailed report so you know what’s happened. It also tracks visitors and assesses their IP address, reputation, and a number of other factors. It can use these factors to block those that may cause you harm.

9. CSID

CSID is a protection service designed to keep a business from falling victim to identity theft. While you have heard of individuals having their identities stolen, you may not realize it can happen to your business, too.

CSID, however, is a full-service identity protection solution designed to battle many different fraudulent activities and scams designed to steal your business identity or authority. The program also provides advanced authentication tools to help protect the transmission and storage of sensitive data.

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10. HTTPS Everywhere

This final tool is designed to protect your network from virus-filled websites and scripts that try to come into your network through the internet. It is a browser extension that can be used in Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Opera to encrypt all of your communications.

While many believe that HTTPS, or Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is enough to protection all online communications, few people realize that only a select number of pages are coded in HTTPS.

Conclusion

Many websites, in fact, mix HTTP and HTTPS pages, and that can lead to gaps in their security. HTTPS Everywhere adds additional protection as you browse, protecting you from these security gaps so you are secure no matter what webpage you’re on.

While these ten tools may not provide full coverage of your network, they can address many issues you may have. As a small business, the fact that many are free or are budget-friendly is a major plus.

Featured photo credit: Small Business via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

But what does being productive actually entail?

Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

1. Avoid Multitasking

Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

2. Turn off Notifications

According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

3. Manage Interruptions

There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

4. Eat the Frog

Mark Twain once famously said that:

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“if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

5. Cut Down on Meetings

Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

6. Utilize Tools

Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

Some examples of tools that could be used:

Communication
  • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
  • Samepage for video conference software.
  • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
Task Management
  • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
  • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
  • Wekan for an open source option.
Database Management
Time Tracking
  • Clockify for a free tracker.
  • TMetric for workspace integrations.
  • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

7. Declutter and Organize

Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Take Breaks

Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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9. Drink Water

Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

The Bottom Line

The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

Reference

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