Seventhman Blog

  1. BYOD Policy: Practical Tips for Small Business Owners

    "byod policy"I believe that some of you may have allowed remote working in your organization to help maximize productivity and minimize the cost of doing business.  Yet, some of you may be worried about the challenges that your BYOD crowd brings – from viruses, risk of data loss and other security nightmares that you can only imagine.  In an era where information resides on the cloud for everyone to easily access, having this flexibility may come at the high price of compromising the privacy of your company’s sensitive data.  If your employees work from mobile devices, the risk is two times higher.  How can you define that blurred line between work and personal computing in a way that’s mutually beneficial for both parties?

    BYOD Policy: Do You Really Need One?

    From social media, cloud computing, mobile, to virtualization of all types – we hear how small business owners face more issues with each new technology created.  Now, with the Bring-Your-Own-Device (or BYOD) movement, we’ve added more headaches to help desk as people ask for more support in accessing emails, databases and other valuable data from remote location… all in the name of productivity.  While empowering your employees to use their own devices to find solutions to your business needs may be great, having a policy can strengthen that trust factor through awareness and proper implementation.  As they say, with freedom and power comes responsibility.

    Creating a Robust BYOD Policy for Your Business

    To start, I’d say it’s not an easy job to write policies.. no matter what they are for.  Thanks to BYOD policy templates like those from White House BYOD Toolkit and IT Manager, you now have a guide to creating your own.  While it’s tempting to just copy it all, know that no two businesses are alike.  You still need to customize that policy to fit in with your current needs.  Make sure that you tailor your policy to your business code and ethics.  It helps to keep these pointers in mind too:

    1. Define what devices will be supported and what the network requirements are.
    2. Define user, corporate and IT responsibilities – including monitoring of usage and right to privacy
    3. Create a simple, clear and consistent policy that will cover all servers and technologies used
    4. Make sure to clearly define who owns the data or application on a device – from resetting a device to data deletion
    5. Check on what you’re all currently using to help you set up usage and sharing guidelines
    6. Use complex passwords, PINs and data encryption to add more security
    7. Restrict apps and choose them wisely before allowing your people to use it
    8. Manage wisely – from having a help desk to assist your employees to management software that keep tabs of data flow
    9. Define the consequences of policy violation (which can include job termination)
    10. Educate your employees at all times and implement effectively

     

    The whole point of having a BYOD policy is to protect your rights, as well as those of your employees.  The last thing you want is to restrict them to the point that working remotely feels more miserable than having to show up in the office.  Clarity and consistency are the keys to your policy’s success.  Good Luck!

    … and a Happy Thanksgiving from us all!  -Shaleen

     

     

  2. A Nightmare on IT Security Street

    "IT Security Flaws"Just in time for the Halloween, I’m writing this post to share with you security horror stories that give you the creeps, 365 days in a year.  IT executives are constantly battling these monsters that threaten the very safety of where their businesses are built.  As mobility reshapes the way we live, work and play – one can only wonder how protected your data really is on the cloud.  IT security will always feel like some slippery slope and with newer applications created each day come tremendous battles against privacy issues and data breach.  Can IT experts truly catch up in keeping both devices and data secured?

    IT Security Nightmares that Keep Tech Executives Up All Night

    In a digital age where information is power and data is commodity, people and businesses’ valuable data are like apples ready for the picking.  There are those who earn millions from buying and selling personal information in the black market.  In fact, we hear stories of data breach from time to time that it sounds like the new normal these days.  Just take for example this latest story affecting Experian and its users.  Like many of us in the tech world, we’re constantly fighting against:

    1. Human Error – It might surprise you that the biggest contributor to security risks is the human factor, of educating and training employees to keep their data and devices safe.  Even with company data policies, complacency and misuse runs like a plague.

    2. Theft – From mobile device theft where confidential data are stored to online identity theft, it poses greater risks to both individuals and businesses alike.

    3. Application Monster – Thanks to the BYOD movement, people simply love downloading free apps to their smart phones without carefully reading the set of permissions they’re granting.  That seemingly-harmless flashlight app may open a huge door to privacy violations if you’re not careful enough.

    4. The Ghost Database – Those running multiple retail locations may feel overconfident about their database security that they might miss vulnerabilities on their servers.  The last thing you want is a database of your customers’ unencrypted credit card numbers waiting to be exposed to unscrupulous hackers.

    5.  Backup Fail – Just because you can store and run almost anything on the cloud doesn’t mean you have to put your guard down.  Keeping a backup of your data will always come in handy, just in case you accidentally lose them.

    As they say, prevention is better than a cure.  Make sure that your business is well-equipped with the right technology and quality IT security team to help you overcome these challenges.  Better safe than sorry..

     

     

     

  3. 5 Smarter Ways of Managing Your Valuable Data

    "data security"In light of the recent NSA spying scandal, I’m curious if your faith in technology has dwindled – especially when it concerns storage of valuable data.  These revelations may have been an eye opener for many business owners to rethink how they treat data privacy and protect themselves from those who would like to access them without your consent.  When the future of how we do work is shifting to mobility, you begin to wonder if all those cloud storage out there are worthy of your trust.  For the same reason that we hear Google announcing that their cloud storage now encrypts all data with strict key access controls, one can only wonder if you’re better off bringing in IT talents in-house into setting up a small server room somewhere.

    Data Security: No One-Size-Fits-All Solution

    If you believe that having a backup of your files and software to a storage device or the cloud makes it totally secured, think again.  Technology impacts our daily life in terms of work productivity, safety and relationships.  If you’re one of those who can’t live a day without email, surely you’ll know how important it is to keep your messages not only private, but accessible when and where you need them.  Somehow, we are codependent on machines to keep a watch for all the information trail we leave behind.  Unfortunately, technology has some loopholes and backdoors for anyone with less than good intentions.  Protecting your data properly is a MUST!

    How Do You Create a Sound Data Storage Solution?

    Whether you opt for on-premise solutions, cloud storage or a combination of both, take time to…

    1. Understand your data – by defining the value of your data, you can clearly outline how you will go about with choosing the best way to store these (online or offline).

    2. Check Credentials – If you’re choosing a data storage provider, make sure that these are highly trusted in the industry to make sure that they give you a highly secured environment for all of your data security needs.

    3. Define Archiving – Create a policy on how data will be managed, where some important data will be retained for years and others, for days or weeks only.

    4. Optimize Solutions – When looking for storage and security solutions, it’s important that you choose the one that will fit your data needs; not the other way around.  If you run a mobile workforce, the more you should look for flexible solutions that can run across platforms – not just those running on desktops.

    5. Calculate Costs – Don’t be tempted to let upfront costs influence your decision in choosing the right provider.  You may be tempted to sign up for that great discount, which may add more cost to you in the long run.  Think of long term here.

    No matter what your choice is, make sure that you can easily retrieve data once it’s been stored.  Having a recovery plan and constantly testing your backup may be your best defense against  disasters.  Besides, what’s the point of archiving it all if you can’t access the right data when you need it?

     

     

  4. Empowering Your Mobile Workers Without Sacrificing Data Security

    "empower mobile workers"Just where do you draw the line between your worker’s right to choose and your business security?  In more than two decades of working with mobile teams across the globe, I have experienced firsthand how the global workforce is quickly shaping this new generation of mobile and motivated workers who are willing to work anywhere on computing devices of their choice.  Whether they use personal or corporate supplied tools to meet the company’s expectations, these workers still need to access your organization’s network and applications.  Now, this freedom comes with the risk of getting access to untrustworthy content online, other than losing visibility and control over what your team is working on.  How can you support this need for mobility and easy access to your business resources without sacrificing security of your data then?

    The Great Mobile Mindset Shifts

    Those who are doing business traditionally are still locked in old school ways where IT is concerned.  They may even be tied with the usual cycles of software development.  While you can engage your workers with questions to make sure they are the right fit for you, especially when you’re outsourcing, you will have to find that balance still.  These BYOD ( bring your own device ) workers are more diverse than you think and by developing a new set of policies that allow them to mix freedom with responsibility, you may just secure the agile business that you seek for – in the need to adapt to these consumerization of mobile devices and change as a whole.

    Being Proactive is the First Step

    Empowering your new breed of mobile workers means approaching your business in a new light.  You don’t have to risk information security in the need to innovate either.  Having a comprehensive policy will allow your team to work securely anywhere, even on virtual desktops.  While it’s your job to secure your business data and applications, you can also support your worker-owned smartphones, tablets, laptops, hybrids and netbooks.  You have to define how your mobile worker will provision for the tools and how they will use these devices for work.  Although most outsourced providers are equipped with their own, if you’re starting to open this option to your employees, you can offer some stipend to encourage buy-in or offer affordable plans that will encourage them to buy these tools of the trade with the service plans of their choice.  By having this shared ownership, you have to let your mobile workers know that there are certain limits where access to data is concerned, including passwords and encryption.

    Dealing with Consumerization and Innovation

    While consumerization and usage of these mobile devices can foster new relationships between your team and your business, know that an empowered worker can drive innovation to your cause.  They know that these gadgets are good and they want to use its fullest potential to help you succeed.  It might even surprise you that by supporting the BYOD concept, you may just stop your top talent from leaving.  It may sound simple, but it all takes careful planning as you:

    1. Secure enterprise services that allow your workers to connect from any device.  This means strong authentication where applications, VPN and Wi-Fi, are concerned. You have to make sure that your workers can utilize any platform to access data – securely.

    2. Draft a comprehensive plan that effectively ensures your mobile workers will comply, even over various geographic locations.

    3. Keep a backup of important data in case someone accidentally modifies or changes the one you share online with everyone.

    4. Train your workers on how to use data and applications safely as learning is the key to reducing risks.

    In short, keep the balance between human and technical so you can empower a flexible team to be at their most productive.  Are you ready to trust your mobile team?