At first glance, cybersecurity might seem incredibly complicated and difficult to understand, but even a baseline understanding of some of the principles of cybersecurity can go a long way toward protecting your business. Let’s discuss some of the common-sense ways you can keep your business secure, even if you don’t have an internal IT department to ask for help from.
Keep Your Antivirus and Security Tools Updated
What’s better than eliminating a threat from your network? Stopping it from getting that far entirely. With antivirus, firewalls, and other security measures in place, you can keep your business secure from the majority of threats before they even become a problem in the first place.
Use a VPN
In case you or someone else on your team has to travel, or if you have a team that works remotely, a VPN is incredibly valuable. Public Wi-fi is notorious for being quite dangerous, and a virtual private network can offer a safe haven for you to access the Internet without fear of being observed by any onlookers.
Utilize Multi-Factor Authentication
You can take your security practices to the next level through the use of multi-factor authentication. A password can only do so much in today’s threat landscape, so you should back it up with biometrics, generated PINs, and other secondary measures that can make things much more difficult for any would-be hacker.
Use a Password Manager
We know you’ve heard it a thousand times; “always use a different password for each and every one of your accounts to maximize security.” While this should be practiced, it can be difficult to observe if you don’t have a password manager keeping tabs on each of your credentials. Plus, let’s face it, you don’t want to rely on your browser’s password management options if you can help it.
Avoid Phishing Scams
While it would certainly be amazing to win the lottery, a free vacation, or catch some juicy gossip in your email inbox, the fact of the matter is that phishing emails know that these kinds of temptations make you want to click on links in emails, regardless of how likely you think they might be. Other tactics used include fearmongering and threats, which aren’t nearly as fun to receive, but are equally as effective, if not more so under the right circumstances. Either way, you should use extreme scrutiny when navigating messages from unknown or unsolicited sources—especially if they contain links or attachments.
Let Us Help Your Business Keep Itself Safe
While you can certainly do all of the above on your own, why not work with a managed service provider like Point North Networks? We can take the stress out of managing your network security. To get started, call us at 651-234-0895.
While we’re all for efficiency, there are some boundaries that should not be crossed for everyone’s benefit. Take, for instance, the email you use to subscribe to online services. While it may be tempting (or, for some people, automatic) to use your work email address when you sign up for, say, your Netflix account or an online merchant, we wanted to discuss why this is a bad habit to get into that could have lasting consequences.
The reason you shouldn’t use your work email for personal purposes is a simple one:
What Happens If You No Longer Work for the Company?
Seriously, we want to know: what’s your plan if your employment comes to a sudden end?
Let’s say that you were using your work email for an assortment of personal reasons—maybe you used it to subscribe to a few subscription services, or you used it to login to a favorite online retailer or two… maybe one named after a really big river in South America.
Potential for distraction aside (which is itself a whole other can of worms), tying your personal life too much to your work life can have some long-term issues. Let’s say you did choose to use a work email to sign up for a personal service, only to leave that job some time later.
Regardless of the reason you leave—whether you or your position was terminated, you found another job, whatever—one of the first things that any responsible company will do is to deactivate your accounts from their system. Neglecting to do so would be a cybersecurity failure on their part. Good luck trying to recover a forgotten password when the authentication is sent to an email you no longer have access to.
Businesses Should Actively Discourage Private Use of Professional Email Addresses
There are plenty of reasons that a business should want to keep their users from using their professional email accounts for their own personal purposes. We’ll quickly run through the list:
- Corporate accounts are readily available online in many cases, making them easy targets for phishing and spam.
- On a related note, it becomes a lot easier for a cybercriminal to find online accounts that are tied to a business email address and use what they find to craft more effective spear phishing messages—ones that are tailored specifically for a particular recipient.
- Many people still reuse passwords across many different websites and services, so if a website is breached that an employee’s work email was used to access, there’s a good chance that a work password could be stolen with it.
Cybersecurity Needs to Take Precedent Over Convenience
While convenience is an appealing motivator, it is important that your processes are shaped to prioritize your business’ security. Educating your team about password best practices and the actual importance of this kind of work/life balance will be key to shoring up this particular security issue.
We’re Here to Help Strike the Balance
Turn to us for help with keeping your team members from inappropriately merging their work lives and personal lives, as well as our assistance in optimizing the rest of your processes. Give us a call at 651-234-0895 to learn more.
Typing on your keyboard is something that you do every day, but sometimes you just don’t want to do it. You can give your hands a break and use Microsoft Word’s dictation feature; this lets you use your voice to write in the software. Let’s go over how you might use the feature on a desktop, web browser, or mobile device.
On Your Desktop Application
If you use Microsoft Word on your desktop or a laptop, you can use the built-in dictation feature. From the Home tab, click on the Dictate button. It is the blue microphone in the top-right corner. You can then click on the gear icon to adjust the settings as needed. Some of these settings include auto-punctuation, language filtering, and dialect. You can use the pause or unpause buttons to take a break when needed. There is also a guide available to show you how to do things like add punctuation.
On the Browser Version of Word
The browser version of Word is exactly the same as the desktop version; you just go to the Home tab and use the Dictate button. The settings are mostly the same, too, so just follow the directions as they appear in the previous paragraph. You can click the X to close out of dictation.
On Your Mobile Device
The mobile application version of MS Word gives you an easy-to-use button just above the keyboard for dictation. You’ll see a microphone on it. The same features as outlined above work here in the same way. To stop dictation, click on the keyboard icon that will take the place of the dictation button.
Sure enough, it’s easy to use the dictation feature, and that’s probably by design. However, we do want to make sure you are aware that you should be proofreading your work, as anything voice-related can be somewhat unreliable on its own.
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It’s quite possible for employees to overwork themselves, even in a remote environment. Let’s take a look at some ways that you can minimize remote overwork for your employees, especially as the boundaries typically set in place by the morning commute are eroded and work/life balance blurs.
First Off: Yes, Overwork is an Issue
Countless issues and workplace challenges have bubbled to the surface in recent years, including others that are much more divisive, like wage inequality and racial imbalances. However, these issues are much greater and more difficult to address in this format, and overwork presents a different challenge to overcome.
Overwork is a very real issue that can impact your organization in several different ways. Employees can grow fatigued, anxious, and physically ill with symptoms like headaches, pain, and vision problems. Too much remote work can also impact interpersonal communications. Add in the emotional stress and pressure caused by the pandemic and you have many employees walking around like ticking time bombs. All of this can create the perfect storm for destroying even the best worker’s productivity and performance.
The question must be asked, what can we do to help reduce overwork?
How to Help Diminish Remote Overwork
You might not be able to visit each of your workers individually, but you can implement policies that can keep them from overworking themselves in general, and it all starts by thinking about things not in terms of remote work policies, but in-house and remote policies.
1. Support the Use of a Schedule
We are not talking about just setting up a schedule outlining work hours; we also mean that you should help them to establish a workday routine that is manageable. Be sure to emphasize the importance of starting and ending the workday at consistent and appropriate times, and try to reinforce this consistency whenever you can. This helps to prevent employee burnout and overwork.
2. Use Time Tracking Tools
Time-tracking tools can help your team and keep them from overworking themselves, as you can take a look at where all of their time is being spent at a glance. A visual reminder of where they are in their seemingly-endless pile of tasks can be immensely helpful. COMPANYNAME can help you implement a time-tracking tool that will help your team stay on task and keep them from working themselves into the ground.
3. Encourage Your Team to Speak Up
Finally, you should empower your team to speak up if they feel their work requirements are becoming unreasonable. If they feel like they are overburdened or afraid to say no to more work, you need to know. Make sure they are comfortable coming to you about any concerns they might have so that you can address the issue at its roots without making it worse.
Point North networks, Inc., can help your team implement the tools it needs to succeed. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.