Work From Home: How To Maximize Productivity During A Pandemic

Professional working from home

As a business owner today, you are now facing unprecedented challenges to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic. You are asked to self-isolate and practice social distancing to “flatten the curve.” You are asked to allow your employees to work from home to reduce possible exposure and slow the spread of COVID-19.

These are all reasonable requests. However, as a business owner you also need to maximize productivity, bring in revenue and try to grow your business in these demanding times. How can you accomplish these goals when your office is now a ghost town and productivity has fallen off a cliff?

The answer lies in setting up your office to function remotely by allowing employees and volunteers to work from home, or remotely. If you’ve never implemented a work-from-home policy before, it may seem like a whole different world. Managing an entirely remote workforce goes far beyond giving your employees a laptop and reminding them to check in every once in a while. After all, there are many factors most business owners haven’t ever had to consider, such as: (more…)

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Electronic Payments: Protecting Your Employees and Organization

Electronic Payments and Protection

Employees or small organizations are using electronic payments more than ever before. As the use of credit cards to make purchases and payments replaces the use of cash, and online merchants supplant brick-and-mortar stores, protecting electronic payments becomes more important.

Whether you are making payments for your own personal consumption or on behalf of your organization, electronic payments need to be protected.

Online sales in the United States grew to a record high of nearly 19 percent during the 2019 holiday season. At the same time, the convenience of using credit cards and other electronic payment services is compelling consumers to rapidly reduce their use of cash.

The 2019 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice report shows that cash is used about 50 percent of the time for in-person transactions under $10 (for things like lunch or coffee). For larger purchases of $25 or more, cash is used only 10 percent of the time. Cyber-criminals are taking advantage of the increase in electronic payments. (more…)

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Website Attacks: How You Can Protect Your Organization

Computer and programming codes secured against website attacks

Malicious files and links regularly bypass security products, leaving many organizations vulnerable to web-based attacks including Ransomware, Phishing and data breaches like Emotet, Dridex, Maze, Lokibot, Wannacry etc. Organizations can enhance security against website attacks by following cyber security best practices like the implementation of a multi-layered security concept known as Defense-in-Depth.

Following the recommendations of the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) encouraging website administrators to review it’s updated “Tip on Website Security”, we are using this article as a public service educational piece with the hope that it will help those who manage websites for small organizations to take the necessary steps to protect against website attacks.

What is website security?

Website security refers to the protection of personal and organizational public-facing websites from cyber attacks.

Why should I care about website security?

Cyber attacks against public-facing websites—regardless of size—are common and may result in:

  • Website defacement,
  • Loss of website availability or denial-of-service (DoS) condition,
  • Compromise of sensitive customer or organizational data,
  • An attacker taking control of the affected website, or
  • Use of website as a staging point for watering hole attacks.

These threats affect all aspects of information security—confidentiality, integrity, and availability—and can gravely damage the reputation of the website and its owner. (more…)

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The Challenges of Data Leakage Prevention for Small Businesses

Hard drive with technicians trying to stop data leakage

With the rapid advances in technology and the attendant interconnected nature of computer systems, many business owners are becoming increasingly aware of the dire need to control the flow of information into, through and out of their enterprises, and challenges of trying to prevent data leakage.

For years, the focus of the business owner was on how to stop viruses, spam, network intrusions etc. Now the new threat is massive data leakage. This new threat affects all kinds of businesses large and small. According to a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) report, over 80 percent of respondents to a survey acknowledged that the fear of data loss and leakage was one of the biggest challenges facing their establishments. Of these, over 50 percent admitted that they were already victims of data leakage incidents. (more…)

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The Business Case for EndPoint Security in Small Organizations

According to BAE Systems, almost 50 percent of small businesses have experienced a cyber attack, and as much as 60 percent of hacked small- and medium-sized businesses go out of business after six months. By deploying endpoint security solutions, most cyber attack attempts can be prevented.

Devices and services protected by endpoint security solutions

Faced with limited IT personnel and budget, small business environment usually end up with non-standard computer configurations, inadequate or non-existent security policies, old equipment etc.

The impact of the failure of an endpoint on business processes can be a little scary sometimes. A good example is a call I got from a friend the other day. The boss’s computer had a couple of viruses and they had to disconnect the computer from the network.

Of course that meant business had to come to a halt because everything was on the boss’s computer. There were no anti-virus software on any of the workstations and of course no firewall of any kind, so it was free for all. (more…)

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Web Browser Extensions Caught Spying On Chrome and Firefox Users

Representation of data transfer due to web browser extension spying.

Not too long ago, we warned users about why some online ads they see seem to be precisely targeted to their tastes and interests, including the spooky tendencies of websites remembering browsing and shopping preferences from visit to visit or device to device. It turns out that Avast and its recently acquired AVG, have been doing a lot of background spying and data pilfering through their “free” web browser plugins.

Data pilfering is widespread and very profitable, and data thieves seem to have no problem getting willing “victims” counting the number of people using “free” products that come with all kinds of terms and conditions. So much so that some even boast of the ability to provide “[I]ncredibly detailed clickstream data from 100 million global online shoppers and 20 million global app users” that advertisers can analyze “…however you want: track what users searched for, how they interacted with a particular brand or product, and what they bought. Look into any category, country, or domain.”

All from a user looking for a solution to protect them from online threats and installing a web browser extension that is supposed to protect them from such invasion of privacy.

As reported by the creator of Adblock Plus, Wladimir Palant, Avast has been spying on the users of their antivirus products, and appears to have been doing so for years, through their Avast Online Security web browser extension which is promoted as having the ability to provide “maximum protection” from spyware and other online dangers.

The sad fact is that sometimes, users are not even aware that they have the extension because the Avast Secure Browser has Avast Online Security installed by default and is hidden from the extension listing and cannot be uninstalled by regular means. (more…)

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