Effective, comprehensive IT policies and procedures are critical to successful business function. From start-ups to big businesses, following best practices is a game-changer that consistently pays off. Best practices apply to effective use of hardware and software, as well as ongoing education about security practices.
Well-devised and deployed policies help employees make the most of your network capabilities, and potentially prevent a data breach before it happens. If your industry is regulated, compliance concerns rapidly become an issue that must be addressed to ensure your business remains competitive. We talked earlier about the need for strong password protection, and don’t forget policies and procedures to cover mobile devices used for business purposes.
Ensure security best practices by keeping employees up to date on internet scams and schemes. Help employees identify suspect email and practice responding. Set up informative email or intranet updates to develop a risk-savvy workforce with the knowledge to avoid phishing, social engineering, and other malicious internet methods. Remember—good fences make good neighbors—and that means your employees should know how to maintain network privacy, and share with authorized users only. Stay alert for spam, unlicensed software, and inadequate virus and spyware protection.
Depending on your geographical area, your business—and your network—could be at risk for severe weather, electrical outages or surges. Plan, protect, and use data back-up services. A well-considered continuity plan, in case of data breach or severe weather, increases readiness and reduces liability.
If you run a brick and mortar business, secure end-point payment terminals are critical. Despite difficulties with embedded digital chips, the technology protects you from absorbing the cost of fraudulent purchases. Even after the October 1, 2015 adoption deadline, many retailers have encountered certification and other difficulties with their chip readers, leaving them, not the bank, liable for unauthorized charges. While wrinkles remain to be worked out, using smart card tech is currently your best protection against charged-back fraud claims.
Unless your business is related to IT, chances are good that your time is better spent focusing on your business plan, rather than network maintenance. For SMB interests, the budget ability to hire specifically for IT purposes is usually limited. When you do onboard, interview for candidates who have the specific software and hardware experience you need. Reduce your hardware footprint by considering cloud options and outsource security needs to vendors capable of cost-effective 24/7 monitoring.
Like passwords, IT practices are not set and forget. Trends and threats change. We can help. Whether you need to supplement your IT services or outsource completely, we offer a wide range of effective, affordable IT services. Sign up for a free Network Audit today.
Achieve Networks partners with small and medium size enterprises to provide IT support, maintenance, cloud capabilities, and data recovery, among other services. We work every day with business owners interested in fully exploiting their technology to improve their bottom line.