Data is valuable to business, so it’s bizarre that some companies don’t have a proper data backup strategy in place. Organizations of all sizes — including yours — need to be proactive when backing up their data. Here are four of the best backup solutions in the market for your consideration. USB flash drives USB Learn More “The best data backup solutions for your business”
Security researchers have discovered a new Android malware called DEFENSOR ID that snuck its way into the Google Play Store. Forensic analysis shows that the malware takes advantage of an Android device’s Accessibility Services to infiltrate the system and cause damage without being detected. To help you avoid this dangerous strain of malware, we’ve compiled Learn More “Watch out for this Android malware”
Most of us don’t normally associate Business Intelligence (BI) with small- or medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The huge investment required to hire data-delving specialists makes us think BI is only for larger organizations. But this is no longer the case. Not only does a growing selection of self-service tools make BI more affordable for SMBs, but Learn More “BI is not just for the big boys”
Today’s businesses rely heavily on data to run their day-to-day operations. They use it for everything from building client relationships to developing marketing strategies and so much more. But without data backups, businesses stand to suffer from major losses and even end up closing up for good should any natural or human-made disaster occur. With Learn More “Back up your data with these solutions”
Every computer user must be well-versed in various office programs, including Microsoft Excel. If you only know a few basic commands, you haven’t fully mastered Excel. Here are a few features that can make your life easier. Pie and Sunburst Charts Everyone knows that bombarding stakeholders with endless numbers and decimal points is the wrong Learn More “3 Microsoft Excel tips to master”
Making the decision to migrate from an on-site system to a cloud-based Office 365 is easy, but the migration process itself presents numerous security challenges. By covering these essentials, you’ll minimize security breaches and ensure you can enjoy the benefits of Office 365.
Identify your company’s sensitive data…
Most files housed within your servers contain sensitive commercial and personal data that must be properly identified and protected. Do this by conducting a security audit before you undertake your migration.
Your audit should identify the types of data stored in the various parts of your company network, including which specific information needs extra safeguarding. Be sure to consider everything from trade secrets and contract details to the personal information of your clients.
…and then restrict access to it
Once you’ve worked out where your most precious data lies, you can check who currently has access to it and whether their access is appropriate. After all, it’s not necessary for everyone to be able to get at all the data your company owns.
Ensure that each of your employees has access only to the data that’s necessary for them to perform their duties. The great thing about Office 365 is it lets you conveniently set different levels of permissions based on user roles.
Watch out for insider threats
It’s wise to consider everyone in your organization when it comes to auditing data access permissions – and that includes system administrators who may have master access to every element of your network infrastructure.
A rogue administrator is the stuff of nightmares, since their elevated position gives them much greater leeway to siphon off valuable data without being noticed – or even to allow others to conduct questionable business and bypass the usual built-in security precautions. You can mitigate this risk by monitoring your administrators’ data usage and activities.
Use machine learning to foresee security breaches
Every action performed by your staff within Office 365 is automatically logged, and with relative ease you can create detailed activity reports. But the sheer number of events taking place within Office 365 in the course of your business’s normal operations means that even attempting to identify questionable behavior will be akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
That’s not to say it’s unwise to be on the lookout for anomalies in normal usage – the export of unexplainably large volumes of data, for instance, could suggest that a member of your team is leaking intelligence to a competitor, or that they’re about to jump ship and take your trade secrets with them.
To make things easier, machine learning technologies can identify potential breaches before they happen by analyzing large swathes of data in seconds. Graph API is incorporated into Office 365, and allows for the integration of machine learning tools into your security environment to achieve just that. The same tools can also help you avoid being caught unawares by hackers, by identifying system login attempts from locations that are out of the ordinary.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the powerful collaborative features of Office 365 while ensuring the robust security your business demands. To find out more about how we can help your Office 365 migration run smoothly, just give us a call.
Employees are one of your biggest security holes. There is no foolproof prevention method for human error, which is why employee mistakes are one of the most common causes of a security breach. To reduce potential risks, we’ve suggested a few IT policies you should implement to protect your business.
In today’s business world, employees spend a lot of time on the internet. To ensure they’re not putting your business at risk, you need a clear set of web policies. This must limit internet use for business purposes only, prohibit unauthorized downloads, and restrict access to personal emails on company devices. You can also include recommended browsing practices and policies for using business devices on public wifi.
Just like the Internet policy mentioned above, company email accounts should only be utilized for business use. That means your employees should never use it to send personal files, forward links, or perform any type of business-related activities outside their specific job role. Additionally, consider implementing a standard email signature for all employees. This not only creates brand cohesion on all outgoing emails, but also makes it easy to identify messages from other employees, thus preventing spear phishing.
We’ve all heard the importance of a strong password time and time again. And this same principle should also apply to your employees. The reason is rather simple. Many employees will create the easiest to crack passwords for their business accounts. After all, if your organization gets hacked, it’s not their money or business at stake. So to encourage employees to create strong passwords, your policy should instruct them to include special characters, uppercase and lowercase letters, and numbers in their passwords.
Whether or not you allow your employees to conduct work on their own devices, such as a smartphone or tablet, it is important to have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. If your employees aren’t aware of your stance on BYOD, some are sure to assume they can conduct work-related tasks on their personal laptop or tablet. So have a BYOD policy and put it in the employee handbook. In addition to this, make sure to explain that data on any workstation is business property. This means employees aren’t allowed to remove or copy it without your authorization.
We hope these four policies shed some light on the industry’s best security practices. If you’d like more tips or are interested in a security audit of your business, give us a call.
Are you making the most of your business’s greatest assets? The data your employees and customers generate is an unsung hero, just waiting to take your business to the next level. Obviously, enough information can help any company make better decisions, but how can a small or medium-sized organization use data analysis to increase revenue?
Many businesses shy away from data analytics due to the perceived costs and resources required to get anything of value. However, even the most humble mom-and-pop stores and home-based entrepreneurs have access to a broad range of worthwhile information.
It doesn’t make sense to spend half your week mired in spreadsheets and charts if you’re not extracting information that helps increase revenue. Basic data analytics solutions from companies like Microsoft and Google offer solutions to streamline the collection and examination of company information. But with an array of different tools to choose from, what should you consider before investing in one?
How easy is it to use? There’s no point investing in a dashboard solution if you don’t understand the way the insights are presented. Analysis functions must be straightforward and user-friendly.
Are the results actionable? Great insights are worthless if applying them requires another staff member that you can’t afford. Test drive an analytics solution before investing to ensure that its insights are easy to understand and apply.
Does it save you time? If you’re already relying on data analysis for growth, your first priority should be boosting productivity. Look for solutions that will enable you to complete your current analytics tasks in less time.
Is it compatible with other apps? You need a solution that cuts down on manual data entry and doesn’t add steps to any existing processes. Make sure any analytics software you’re considering can integrate with your existing solutions before signing on the dotted line.
Whether your aim is to attract new customers, retain existing clients, expand your services, or decide on a new location, your data is an indispensable asset. It’s there in good times and bad times, just waiting for you to take a closer look.
If you’d like to learn more about adding value to your business with data analysis, or want to explore data analysis software options, get in touch with us today – we’ll be happy to recommend options based on your needs and requirements.
Google. Facebook. Amazon. These tech giants collect data from us the moment we sign up for their products and services. Some information we willingly surrender (like our name and email address) and others they collect from the services we use (like the sites we visit or the people we contact). Does Apple collect as much information about you as other companies do?
What Facebook & Google Know
Let’s first look at what Facebook knows about you. As the biggest social network in the world, Facebook makes a lot of money through advertising. The more data it gathers about you, the more able they are to target you with relevant ads. Aside from the information you provide when you open an account, Facebook also tracks your browsing history, knows your social circle, and keeps note of your general interests.
Facebook also retains the names and numbers of people in your contact list who are not yet on Facebook to create “shadow profiles.” When they sign up for the social network, these contacts appear in your “People You May Know” recommendations.
Facebook’s Messenger app keeps a record of all your conversations, contacts, and even SMS messages (if you give Messenger permission to manage them).
Google also gathers data to target users with promotions and advertising. But they have more data to collate and play with, thanks to their other services like Google Maps, AdSense, and YouTube. They know the places you’ve been, the things you buy online, and the music you like.
What Apple Knows
Compared with Facebook and Google, Apple knows little about you. They know your name, home address, email address, all the apps and songs you’ve downloaded, and anything you’ve purchased in the Apple Store.
Facebook, Google, and Apple all allow you to download a file that reveals what they know about you. The files from Facebook and Google are often massive, sometimes containing gigabytes’ worth of data. Apple’s files are a lot smaller, and they make it more difficult for you or a hacker to download and see all the information they have on you.
Protecting your privacy online doesn’t mean you have to swear off Facebook or stop using Google’s services, but knowing how these companies collect information about you is the first step. If you want to learn more about how Apple collects information on you, don’t hesitate to give our experts a call.
Thanks to social media, businesses can stay in close contact with their customers and while also attracting new ones. But what happens when one of these platforms doesn’t guard the information you’ve given it? How does this affect its users?
Last month, news broke that a firm known as Cambridge Analytica collected private data from over 50 million Facebook users. The British company supposedly used this information in 2016 to influence voter behavior during the US presidential election and UK’s Brexit campaign.
How did they harvest the data?
In 2015, a Facebook personality quiz app called “This is Your Digital Life” was created by Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan. Around 270,000 Facebook users signed up and gave information about themselves in exchange for humorous results.
What users didn’t know was that Kogan’s firm, Global Science Research, struck a deal with Cambridge Analytica to share the information that was gathered. Aside from collecting information about the Facebook users, the app also mined some data about the users’ friends.
Information collected was based on:
- Data from other platforms that are also owned by Facebook, including Instagram and WhatsApp
- Advertisers and other third-party partners
- Apps and websites which use Facebook services
- Your location
- The devices you use for Facebook access
- Payments handled by Facebook
- Your Facebook connections and networks
- Messages, photos and other content that other users send to you
- The information you disclose to Facebook
- Your activities on Facebook
What happened to the sourced information?
Cambridge Analytica analyzed the collected data to create psychological profiles and invent better political drives to influence whom people would vote for. Although there is still a huge debate about how effective this plans were, there’s no doubt that tens of thousands of users were manipulated into signing away their data without knowing it.
What can I do to keep my information safe?
Remove third-party apps that use your Facebook account. Visit your “Settings” menu and go to “Apps”. You should see the list of all the services that are using information about your Facebook profile. Check on each app, and if you don’t need it or use it anymore, delete it to revoke its access.
If you need more information on how to keep your data secure, feel free to give us a call today!