Tuesday, October 8, 2013

4 Tech Tips for SMB Owners to Remember

Written By: Michael Hoffman, PCProfessional Marketing Manager

A growing number of small and medium businesses here in Oakland use a combination of PCs, laptops and mobile devices to help complete business tasks.

Emerging technologies open the door to a more connected, mobile work space, but evolving threats pose significant harm to SMBs.  Here are a few tips and things to consider when evaluating your company’s internal IT technology infrastructure:

1. Anti-virus, Patches and Updates

Technically speaking, anti-virus and patches/updates could be in separate categories due to their critical importance for businesses.  To be proactive, every business should install some type of antivirus software to keep their PCs safer from threats.  There is a wide selection of both free and paid software solutions available, and serves as an important layer of defense against increasingly sophisticated malware and virus threats.

Once installed, most programs automatically alert users any time a new update or version is available – it’s advisable to install updates, as they typically include security bug fixes and upgraded firmware.  Don’t ignore patch and software updates – it’s an easy way to keep your computer and work environment secure, though many users ignore automatic alerts.   

2. Passwords

Passwords are critical to help defend from cyber thieves, and companies need to be aware of which databases and programs employees have access to. Make sure passwords are required to access any company-specific information, and keep passwords updated to further increase protection.  Microsoft advises changing “passwords every 30 to 90 days,” and urges SMBs and users alike to be cautious when dealing with account logins and sensitive information.     

3. Organize Your PC

As you continue to create, save, share, and download documents and work files, it’s extremely easy for clutter to build up.  It’s recommend PC users go through the computer and create folders, backup, and delete files as projects and tasks that have been completed. If you have storage space on your PC – or your company’s internal network – it’s a good idea to archive older information and only keep newer, current information on your desktop.

Decision makers and IT specialists need to advise employees on company protocol related to storing information on USB flash drives, external hard drives, and other portable media that could put company data at risk.

4. Full Control

In the haste and business of day-to-day operations, it’s easy to forget a lot of things that aren’t on our minds frequently. SMBs should always control access of the company domain name, Website and SSL certificate.  Also, keep track of domain and registrar expiration dates, so your business doesn’t run the risk of unknowingly losing control of the website.  These are the type of forgettable action items that can cause serious headaches if forgotten about by everyone in the office.

As more technologies enter the business world, SMBs looking to keep themselves better secured from outside threat have more complex problems.  Sometimes, it’s the basic things that are important and most often ignored, so don’t let a simple task snowball into a disaster later down the road. 

For more information regarding cyber security, the FCC has published a good guide regarding tips and tricks that should be considered.

Michael Hoffman is Marketing Manager of PC Professional, an innovative Oakland-based IT company helping clients ranging from small and medium businesses and non-profits to government and corporations.  Founded in 1981, PC Professional has helped business to business clients, assisting with IT outsourcing, projects, cloud computing, and IT consulting and managed services.  

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