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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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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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