There is one thing many small businesses do that puts them at risk for a cyber-attack. They take a reactive approach to IT security. They wait until something bad happens before they do anything.
Unfortunately, we live and work in a time when you can no longer be reactive to cyberthreats. Practically every small business is connected to the Internet and relies on a network to function. It’s the digital world we live in. We have to deal with hackers, data loss, equipment failure and everything else that goes with living in that digital world.
But you can reduce your risk and prevent hackers from getting into your network by taking a proactive approach to your cyber security and by working closely with an experienced IT services company that knows how to navigate today’s digital world and all the threats that go along with it.
Looking back 20 or 25 years, reactive IT support used to be the norm. Something would go wrong and you could call up IT to fix it. Well, things are more complex in 2020. Threats take many forms, and simply being reactive doesn’t work anymore.
What does it mean to be proactive with your IT support?
It means your business is more secure and you’re ready to take on today’s cyberthreats. It means you’re working with professionals who have the tools and resources to protect you before the worst happens. It just makes sense.
Working with a dedicated IT firm means you don’t have to take care of your IT security needs by yourself. If you’re like most small businesses, you don’t have the resources to hire an IT specialist or a whole IT department. Having an on-site IT specialist can be expensive. Because they are in such high demand right now, they command hefty wages.
Plus, you don’t want any gaps in your support. If your one “IT guy” goes on a vacation or can’t come in one day, you’re out of luck should anything happen. When you work with an IT services firm, chances are they’ll offer 24/7 support (many of the good ones do).
When you have 24/7 support, it becomes so much easier to catch problems before they happen. If your cloud backup goes down, you’ve got support. If hackers try to break through your network security, you’ll be alerted. And all of your software stays up-to-date with the latest security patches. The list goes on.
You have people watching out for your interests. Think about how much better you’d sleep at night with that kind of protection guarding your business!
Here’s another really great thing about working with a proactive IT services firm: you can tell your customers about it! In fact, you could make it a selling point. Today’s consumers are more security-minded than ever before. And with data breaches hitting major companies every year, your current (and future) customers want to know that their personal and financial data are safe.
Don’t wait until something breaks or until you are hacked before calling support for help. That puts the future of your business at risk. You need to work with an IT services company that is ready and willing to proactively manage your network. An experienced company has the training, certification and know-how required to tackle today’s cyberthreats while managing your network’s needs.
Make that call and never be caught off guard by threats that are never going to go away. Turn vulnerabilities into strengths.
How To Turn Weaknesses Into Strengths
Public speaker and author David Rendall has a book called The Freak Factor: Discovering Uniqueness By Flaunting Weakness that presents the idea that your weaknesses can be flipped to become your strengths. It’s all in how you view what you think are weaknesses and how you treat them. Rendall explains that rather than taking action in spite of your weaknesses, you should find ways in which they can actually be assets.
Rendall tours the country encouraging entrepreneurs and leaders to adopt this mindset. I’ve sat through his presentation a few times, and each time, I’ve come out with new and different perspectives. Here are my top three take-aways from Rendall’s teachings and how I’ve applied them in my own life.
Change the situation, not the person. You can’t change people. You can compromise or accept them as they are, but you can’t “fix” them. However, you can craft the situation to make it a better fit for that person (without forcing it, of course).
I’ve seen many companies make the mistake of promoting someone from within to a position they’re just not meant for. Rather than forcing them into a position that’s outside their wheelhouse, get them the things they need to be better at what they already do best. In other words, try looking at their strengths and finding the fit that’s best for both them and you.
They’ll be happier and more engaged, and your company will run a whole lot more smoothly.
Surround yourself with other strengths. No profitable business runs without the help of at least some other soul somewhere along the line, and those people who help us are almost always filling in a skill set that we don’t possess ourselves. Why else would we ask for their help?
When you’re building a team, think about your strengths and weaknesses. What are you not great at? What characteristics do you lack that you need someone else to fulfill? Conversely, what do you already have or know that would render another person with this same exact skill set useless? It’s almost like putting together a puzzle. Find the people who fill in the gaps and complete the picture of your ideal company.
Cultivate your weaknesses. The key thing that Rendall says is that your weaknesses are part of who you are, and you should embrace them and amplify them. What he means is that in the same way that you can’t easily improve on your weaknesses, you also can’t easily get rid of them, so why not accept them? As Jean Cocteau is often credited with saying, “Whatever the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.”
This is something we all have the capacity to do, but it’s easier said than done because we are constantly advised to suppress those less-than-desired characteristics. The key is to sincerely harness your weaknesses and make them something constructive, something that you can use to your advantage or at least cleverly work around. From there, nothing can stop you from reaching any goal in sight.
Use These 4 Tips To Successfully Manage Remote Teams
Have a daily check-in — Whether it’s over chat or video, check in with every member of the team. It might be one-on-one for certain projects or in a group setting if there are things everyone needs to know. Apps like Zoom make this a cinch.
Keep communications channels open — In addition to daily check-ins, let everyone know you are available throughout the day – and make sure you’re available. Everyone must be able to communicate with you and each other. Slack is a great app for handling remote communication.
Look at results, not daily activity — Micromanaging never works with remote teams. When you take a hands-off approach, you want to look more at the end results of everyone’s work, not what they’re doing every hour or day. It just isn’t productive.
Give your team the resources they need — If a team member is missing a critical piece of technology, such as a laptop certified to do the work that needs to be done, make sure they have it. Never assume everyone has everything they need. Inc., March 16, 2020.
3 Things You Need To Stop Doing Online Now
Logging In To Accounts With Facebook Or Google:
These buttons have appeared on websites across the Internet – including e-commerce sites. They make logging in a breeze. But as convenient as they seem, they’re major privacy (and security) risks. They allow Facebook and Google to track your activity with greater ease. It gives them more personalized data they can sell to advertisers.
Saving Passwords In Your Browser:
When you update or create a new password, most browsers ask if you want to save it. It makes signing into your accounts super-easy – but never say yes. This is NOT a secure way to store passwords, and it puts you at major risk.
Saying Yes To Cookies And Not Deleting Them:
Websites now ask for your permission to “allow cookies.” Cookies are used for advertising and website personalization. But they’re also used to track your activity on the websites you visit. Every time you exit your browser, delete cookies first. It’s one small way to protect your privacy.
— Digital Trends, Dec. 6, 2019.
3 Business Intelligence Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed
They’re another way to put your data in one place so you can make decisions. Domo, for example, offers a dashboard tool that brings your data together for utmost visibility.
How is your market changing? With tools like those offered by SAP, you can get greater insight into what’s next – and you can test models before making major decisions.
These types of tools clean your data to make it make sense. They get rid of outdated, duplicate or even false data points. Sisense makes tools that can accurately “fill in” certain incomplete data points, such as partial addresses.
— Small Business Trends, March 3, 2020.