Computer and Mobile Device Security – Trade offs

What kind, and how much, local network, online, computer and mobile device security is needed for a small office or home business?

The main thing to consider is the fact that all small business computer systems are vulnerable to some degree, and security of any kind can be breached. This presents an often discouraging dilemma for small business owners and managers. Very often, putting in packaged security programs means unintentionally locking out essential services. You often sacrifice productivity and convenience for more security. Throwing money at expensive software and installing it with the expectations of ‘Wall-E being AI’ without the experience to configure it, and find the right balance, can be frustrating at best. Hiring an IT company that specializes in security for small business computer systems can be very expensive and may not be cost effective in the end.

I recommend a happy medium between winging it alone, or letting a high cost computer and mobile device security company milk your bank account.

computer and mobile device security

First, security risks in a small office can be managed effectively with basic security measures (see below) that don’t require a lot of technical experience, just basic research and honest effort. A few examples of this would be, not saving private information in browsers, installing a reputable anti-malware program to actively scan your production workstations, among many others. And also, common sense precautions against “human error” malware or ransomware file downloads, or email “phishing” scams can filter out the most obvious of them. Using a cautiously wary approach akin to “I wasn’t born yesterday” can go a long way.

Second, get some help from a small business computer and mobile device security company that has its priorities in the right order. A. Solve the security problem. B. Implement the solution to your satisfaction, and the best of their ability, C. Test and verify. E. Proactively solve, rather than worry and fret about computer security or any IT challenge. When all major projects are accomplished, then, D. Worry about marketing and up-selling the new Client (it should almost be an afterthought).

 

Key computer and mobile device security guidelines for a small office network:

 

Full, frequent, backups of all important production files and databases.

Offsite or Off-network duplicate backup of production files and databases.

Never download attachments or click on a link from any unsolicited email

Never download any files from untrusted websites without verifiable CA certificate.

Make sure Windows, or Operating System, Firewall is turned on and update regularly.

Anti-Malware software that updates and actively scans for installations and intrusions.

Set Internet Browsers to erase cookies and temporary files (don’t save passwords, etc.)

Never install add-ons, toolbars, or unnecessary “convenience” plugins in Internet Browser

Limit Production Folder sharing to production users only.

Unique passwords on Server and Production comps (8-char, alpha, numeric, symbol)

Don’t use iframes (on main traffic web pages) there are site security issues associated with them

Use a remote VPN computer service that is secure, efficient, and private.

 

There are many more, some that are easy to implement, and others that require some technical expertise, but on the whole more research and perseverance than anything else.

Continue Reading →

How to Hire a Small Business Computer Consultant

Finding a dependable Computer Repair and Service person can be a daunting challenge, particularly if your a busy small business person. You just don’t have the time or background to go searching for the Small Business Computer Consultant that’s a good fit for you. Online referral services, like Angie’s List can give you a head start in finding a mobile, onsite, IT Consultant you can trust and depend on, but that’s not everything. There are still a number of pieces that have to fall into place before you hear “click”. You have to match skills to your IT needs, Software expertise, Scheduling to Availability, Budget to Contractor rates, etc. On top of all this you still have to go through the process of finding out if you’re compatible in terms of personal style and business attitude, which can differ widely. Experience is a big plus, but some old dogs resist learning new tricks. So where to start, and what to look for?

Small Business Computer Consultant

Here’s a punch list of essential qualities and project management skills a Small Business Computer Consultant should (IMHO) cultivate, to inspire loyalty and trust in both new and existing Clients:

His/Her primary concern should be quality assurance: comprehensive, accurate, efficient, and cost effective (below market rates).

Moves out of their own way, and yours: Values your time, careful not to perform unnecessary diagnostics that don’t yield practical results, is not always right, etc.

Knows what he/she’s getting into, and can say when he/she doesn’t know. Engages in careful planning and research, to find out what he doesn’t know, prior to an installation or upgrade.

Does his homework beforehand: Makes sure that software and hardware meets and exceeds the minimum technical performance requirements published by the software manufacturer. Verifies that 3rd party, proprietary, business software, written for a certain industry has adequate support commensurate with the cost.

Trusts but verifies: Goes around the sales rep, and contacts the manufacturer and/or vendor’s technical support department to further verify the requirements, technical specifications, and known issues, and that patches, updates, or service packs are available to address known issues.

Is Consistently Diligent in his efforts: has the tenacity to apply the above principles, before, during, and after any Client hardware or software installation. In so doing, your Small Business Computer Consultant will formulate affordable, practical, and effective solutions for your small business.

Continue Reading →