Social Media Can Increase Productivity and Morale

Watch out Gen x’s this blog is going to sting a little. Today’s workforce is being appropriated by millennials. Is not news that there are many misconceptions surrounding this generation. Every aspect of life in the 21st century has been rocked by these dang millennials. Everything from education, government and economy have been affected by this generational shift. The workforce is naturally one of them to change as well… and yes millennials do work.

 

The good ol’ days of back-breaking hard labor is still valid, however, it is being done in a different form using something millennials grew up with, technology. When Grandpa said “work smarter not harder” they took that to heart and have run with it. With that being said, most businesses restrict social media use or ban it altogether while on the clock. But is that necessary, and is it really helping productivity? That answer is interesting. It just might be hurting your business’s productivity. Granted, driving a forklift and seeing what’s on Facebook is not an ideal situation at all. However, there is more to social media use at work that meets the eye.

 

  1. All employees need a mental break periodically. Sometimes that 15 min break just doesn’t do it. In order to continue to create quality work, it is usually a good thing to take a break. Even on a break an employee often stare at the same four walls they’ll spend 8 hours in, so breaking up the content is necessary for quality.

 

  1. Another benefit of utilizing social media in the workplace is the ability to network and make professional connections. Sometimes you may deal with vendors, buyers or other professional third parties to your business. Knowing these people and being able to socialize a bit can help in making deals or simple preparation in your job.

 

  1. It may actually save you time! Social media can assist employees in getting answers to their questions. Your employees won’t be knocking on the door or calling you with incessant questions. Others online can help them. Whether they’re networking with collogues through a peer group or watching YouTube in order to troubleshoot, social media can increase DIY work. It will also assist greatly in promoting your business.

 

  1. Social media will also assist in building a rapport with co-workers and other teams within the company. It encourages communication and cohesiveness. Both of these things are usually a pain point for most businesses, so if it can be increased and utilized through something fun like social media. It’s a win-win.

 

  1. Social media can improve employee recognition and retention. Co-workers and employers can see positive things being posted on personal accounts and groups. It adds to corporate culture by allowing recognition to occur. In the busyness of business, recognition can be overlooked which is a shame since it’s such a motivator. It also can boost morale in general, simply being trusted with social media.

 

It can be difficult to adopt this form of culture to your work especially when you’re stuck in running a business in an outdated fashion. Try to be open-minded when working with your millennial workforce. It may be frustrating trying to adapt to a new technology or even attempt to understand it. However, you never know, perhaps you just might learn something. The labor may look different, but it is just as effective if not more. Test your productivity and give your people a chance. Internet culture and corporate culture can go hand in hand.

 

Meta-Data

Focus Keyword: social media

Meta description: there is more to social media use at work that meets the eye.

 

How Secure is the Internet of Things?

The Internet of Things (IoT) holds great promise, but serious danger lurks there, too. New device and application security vulnerabilities are exposed daily. It seems impossible to secure every type of device in every potential use case scenario, and yet, when it comes to critical infrastructure, how could society settle for anything less?

Potential Security Nightmares in the IoT

Imagine wearing a connected, smart medical device such as an insulin pump or a cardiac pace maker. Using the same communication protocols that enable cloud access to vital health information, a hacker gains control of your medical device. This is a potentially fatal situation.

What if your automobile could be hacked with the criminal applying acceleration, braking or steering against your wishes? That’s a terrifying ride for one or several people. Now imagine an industrial facility—say a chemical plant—hacked and run amok. Or military equipment such as UAVs. These scenarios could quickly escalate into the stuff of nightmares for entire communities.

Shifting Our Thinking

Speaking at Cloud Expo Europe, Darren Thomson, CTO & vice president of technology services, reflected on the nature of IT solution development, noting that most new apps evolve from the mindset of ‘could we solve this problem’. It hasn’t been the nature of the IT industry to ask ‘should we’.

“But a car, a building, a city, a pipeline, a nuclear power facility can’t tolerate downtime. So if we don’t build security and privacy in to our designs from the very first whiteboard, we’re going to leave ourselves with a problem,” said Thomson.

A Framework for Securing the IoT

Last November, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published its “ Strategic Principles for Securing the Internet of Things” report in an effort to bring together  IoT developers, manufacturers, service providers, and the users with a non-binding framework to guide security planning and conversations.

 

The DHS suggests these strategic principles for security the IoT:

  • Incorporate Security at the Design Phase
  • Promote Security Updates and Vulnerability Management
  • Build on Recognized Security Practices
  • Prioritize Security Measures According to Potential Impact
  • Promote Transparency across IoT
  • Connect Carefully and Deliberately

 

Technology solution and service providers can help safeguard their customers with several of these security principles.

 

How to Help Your Customers Navigate the IoT

As a technology provider, your business is already a trusted resources for IT and security knowledge.  60% of organizations surveyed have already started an IoT initiative, and another 23% of companies plan to start one within a year.

 

How can you guide your customers around the security pitfalls of the IoT, so they can benefit from its potential? Using the strategic principles above, IT services and solution providers can:

  • Manage customer vulnerability through proactive service with patching and security updates.
  • Stay up to date with the latest security concerns surrounding the IoT, as well as potential strategies for securing IoT devices. By understanding recognized security practices, you can help educate your customers about the best way forward.
  • Help customers prioritize their IoT initiatives by understanding the potential security risks of each new project.
  • When customers do roll out with new IoT initiatives and connected devices, help them connect carefully.

 

Meta Data

Focus Keyword: Internet of Things

Meta Description: It seems impossible to secure every type of device in every potential use case scenario.

Four Ways Big Data Can Positively Affects Your Business

Data isn’t just purchase history and advertising responses anymore. It’s much bigger, and it’s coming from your customers as well as from within your own company. As information grows, so does the potential for better business, from the way you interact with your customers to your internal processes and efficiencies. Here are four ways your company can see the positive effects:

  1. Give customers more personalized treatment

Every time a consumer makes a purchase, posts their status on social media or clicks an online ad, they’re generating data on themselves. And this data is priceless. It tells us who they are, what they spend money on, why they click—giving you complete access to the psychology of your customers and what makes them purchase. When analyzed correctly, this information can change the way you interact with your customers, allowing you to tailor your marketing efforts to individual wants and needs.

  1. Create more efficient operations

The value of internal data is oftentimes underestimated. Most companies collect measurements of their operations, but don’t take the time to analyze. Information like vehicle mileage, number of sick days used and printer ink consumption can shed light on new ways your business can become more efficient. While internal goals are often pushed aside to make time for paying clients, it’s important to remember that creating a more sustainable business environment can positively affect your bottom line. And who doesn’t want more money at the end of the day?

  1. Discover a world of mobile opportunities

Big data is organic and constantly changing. With troves of this data at your fingertips, why not make it work for you 24/7? Applying analytics to mobile applications is just one way to capitalize on this ever-changing information, and it will allow your business to evolve with your customers. Mobilizing information benefits both you and your consumers by giving them immediate access to your brand and giving you real-time customer insights.

Mobile data can also affect the way you operate. From inventory and field vehicles to project status and customer feedback, mobilizing big data within your business can create smarter tools that make you more efficient.

  1. Get an edge on the competition

When it comes to outperforming others within your industry, big data is the answer. Everyone has the same information, but it’s what you do with it that will set you apart. Companies that use this data as a foundation for innovative ideas—such as creating customized mobile apps—will have a leg up on the competition.

 

Prioritizing the management of your data storage is the first step toward success. Create a process for analyzing and make every inch of the information count. Big data is the future, and companies that make the effort to better understand it will become the biggest competition.

Meta-Data

Focus Keyword: big data

Meta Description: As information grows, so does the potential for better business

To Cloud, or Not to Cloud

Everyone is talking about cloud computing these days and for good reason. The cloud is revolutionizing how computing power is generated and consumed. Cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer. When tech companies say your data is backed up “in the cloud,” it has nothing to do with those white fluffy things in the sky. Your data isn’t actually up in the cosmos or floating around in space. It has a terrestrial home. It’s stored someplace – lots of places, actually – and a network of servers find what you need, when you need it and deliver it.

 

Cloud computing, if done properly can make your business much more efficient. However, a cloud solution is only as good as the quality of the research, the implementation, and the follow-through. So, how do you know if moving your business applications and data to the cloud is the right answer for you? There are few things you need to know about the cloud first.

 

What exactly is the cloud? This is a tricky question in and of itself. Just like the clouds in the sky, there are many clouds when it comes to technology. In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and applications over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. It is using a network of computers to store and process information, rather than a single hard drive.

 

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid? Not all clouds are the same. You have options with public clouds, private clouds, as well as hybrid clouds. Choosing the right options for your business comes down to the needs and the amount of control you would like to have.

 

–       Public clouds: owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, which deliver their computing resources such as servers and storage directly through the Internet. With a public cloud, the hardware and software is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.

 

–       Private clouds: unlike the public cloud, the private cloud is used by only one organization. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud.

 

–       Hybrid clouds: combine public and private clouds, that allows data and applications to be shared between them. Data and applications can move between public and private clouds as needed, offering better flexibility and more deployment options.

 

HaaS or Saas? Just like there are different types of clouds, when it comes to cloud computing, there are also different types cloud services. Most commonly used cloud services fall into two categories: HaaS and SaaS.

 

–       Hardware as a Service, or HaaS, basically refers to leased computing power and equipment from a central provider. The HaaS model is very much like other hardware service-based models – clients rent or lease, rather than purchase, a provider’s hardware.

 

–       Software as a Service, or SaaS, utilizes the Internet to provide applications to its users, which are managed by a third-party. Unlike HaaS, this is web-based model where software providers host and maintain the servers and databases – eliminates hardware investment costs.

 

Is it safe and reliable? As mentioned before, cloud computing is the way of the future. We know it is easy and inexpensive – but, is it safe and reliable? What good is saving money and switching to a cloud solution if it will bring additional risks to my business? Most cloud service providers offer encryption features such as service-side encryption to manage your own encryption keys. So, in reality, you ultimately decide how safe your solution is. As far as reliability goes, in many cases, cloud computing can reduce the amount of downtime right down to seconds. Since there are multiple copies of your data stored all throughout the cloud, there is no single point of failure. Most data can usually be recovered with a simple click of the mouse.

 

In the end, though, companies shouldn’t make decisions entirely based on what they are comfortable with, or what with what is cheapest. What should be most important is deciding whether or not transitioning into the cloud will work for your business.

 

To cloud, or not to cloud? The choice is all yours. Do your research and ask the right questions.

 

SEO META DATA

Focus Keyword: cloud computing

Meta Description: Cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet, instead of locally on your computer.

Seven Strategies to Keep Your Phone Safe from Hackers

In the span of a day, you probably do most of the following with your smartphone:

 

  • Go through your inbox and respond to emails (and unsubscribe from the annoying ones)
  • Check your bank account balance, breathe a sigh of relief, and purchase an item with your credit card
  • Send a text message to a friend, or two, or ten, or twenty—group texts are the best!
  • Play a game, get frustrated, and proceed to purchase an item within the game to move you along faster
  • Download a new application
  • Take a picture and send it to a family member or friend
  • Visit your work’s online database to check on that one project
  • Post to 2, 3, or 4 social media platforms 4, 5, or 6 times… each

 

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? In one day, you perform a variety of tasks with your phone. It’s your lifeline, your baby, your prized possession. Without it, you would be lost and feel completely naked.

As a result, your phone touches many different parts of your life all day, every day: your finances, your family, your daily habits, your work, your communication. We’re sure you probably see where we’re headed with this.

If you fail to protect your phone, whatever or whomever you fall prey to can easily rip through your entire life. Within minutes, your credit, reputation, and life can be destroyed. That’s why you should always and completely understand how to protect your phone from external threats.

Here are seven easy strategies to help you protect your beloved smartphone and all the precious data held within that piece of metal and glass:

Passwords

This goes for your phone and all your accounts as well. First and foremost, your phone should be locked. Whether you use a pattern, pin code, word, or fingerprint scan, it doesn’t matter… just use something. This is your first line of defense. If someone has your phone and can’t get past your unlock code, you’re much better off. You’d rather the bad guy sell your phone for parts than have access to your banking information and your mother’s cell phone number, right?

However, if someone does have your phone and they do get past your unlock code (or you don’t have one at all… shame!), make sure all your online accounts have extremely strong passwords (Hors*ESR-soo_123purteEE$!?) and all your confidential apps (banking, email, work) are secured with a lock code, as well.

Delete

Delete any files, pictures and text messages off your phone that you no longer need. Why let them hang around if you no longer need them? It also helps save space for new data. If someone gains access to your phone (remotely or physically), they could stumble upon something you could have easily prevented them from seeing.

This also goes hand in hand with applications you no longer use. Delete your account and all your information tied into the app, then uninstall the application.  For example, if you downloaded an app like Mint to manage your finances and you no longer use it, disconnect your banking account, delete your account and then uninstall it from for your phone. These steps are important.

Think

If you don’t want it out in the public, then don’t upload it, send it, or have any part in it. This is common sense but, unfortunately, it’s far too common of an occurrence that it really doesn’t make any sense at all. Don’t send an email or text on your phone that you wouldn’t want your family to see. Don’t send a picture that you wouldn’t want your coworkers to see. Just don’t do it. We know the pull is there, but you can withstand it. We promise.

Apps

Believe it or not, Apple and Google aren’t always on top of everything. Shocker, right? In fact, they’ve both had a nasty string of malware sweep through their app stores—millions of downloads, millions of infections. To avoid this, check ratings, comments, number of downloads, star ratings, and reviews from customers before downloading anything. Always check and verify the app developer.

Updates

To ensure maximum security and guarantee there are no loopholes for threats to slip through, always check your phone for updates. This method will differ from brand to brand, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to maneuver through. For instance, on Android, you would find available updates if you go to Settings, About Phone, Software Update and then Software Update Check.  It’s as simple as that.

Notify

If you ever lose your phone (or it gets taken), notify your carrier as soon as possible. They’ll do what they have to do to shut down your phone. You can also set it up so that you have the power to track down your phone and remote lock or reset it. On Android, this can be done from Android Device Manager online. With Apple, this can be done through iCloud.com. Once you’ve contacted your carrier, immediately reset any passwords that you can—your email, bank accounts and social media outlets being the recommended first ones to change.

Wi-Fi

Jumping onto public Wi-Fi is convenient but, unfortunately, hackers have the ability to create illegitimate Wi-Fi hotspots pretty easily. Once you connect, you give them direct access to your phone and all its data. A few good tips to remember: disable automatic connection, never let a connection remember you, and try to stick with connections that require a login.

 

SEO META DATA

Focus Keyword: smartphone

Meta Description: If you fail to protect your smartphone you can fall prey to hackers.

Simple Tips to Help your Business Avoid Ransomware

Ransomware is not something you can resolve with a few clicks of the mouse.  You can’t install a new anti-virus solution and expect it to work its magic.  And you can’t call up your IT Provider and hope some nerdy tech will make everything new again within the hour, unless you have a solid backup solution and they can roll back to pre-ransomware data. Ransomware doesn’t work that way.

Your business will be stuck.  There will be downtime; there might be lost data, and there will probably be some angry clients and frustrated employees thrown into the mix somewhere.  Ransomware will take your data, encrypt it, and force you to pay for the decryption key.  If you attempt to decrypt your data without paying for it first, the malware might automatically destroy your data.

Obviously, none of this is necessarily considered a good thing.  It’s not like any business out there is just asking to have their data kidnapped and held for ransom or that they’d welcome downtime with open arms.  In fact, those are probably two scenarios no business ever wants.  So, to avoid both of them, here’s what we suggest.

Keep everything updated.

Never let any part of your technology go without the updates they need to operate effectively.  This includes your browser, software, plug-ins, and your operating system as a whole.  When you postpone updates or fail to check for updates on a regular basis, you might be leaving gaps and vulnerabilities in your system that don’t need to be there.  Hackers can use these holes to infect your system with malware like Ransomware.

Rely on a layered security solution.

You should never go without a full and legitimate security solution installed and implemented on your system.  And you should always make sure this security solution is layered – which means you should have everything covered from anti-virus and firewalls to admin privileges and spam protection.  If your solution isn’t layered, then you’re potentially creating unnecessary vulnerabilities.  Someone somewhere can slip by where your defenses are weak or non-existent.

stay away from phishing.

Phishing becomes a bigger problem with each passing day.  All anyone has to do is email you a malicious link or attachment.  If you make that fateful decision to click or download, then you can say hello to any form of ruthless malware that wants to come your way.  Including Ransomware.  Never click or download anything unless you’re positive it comes from a trusted source.  And this expands beyond email to include any random website you stumble on.

Train your employees

Just because you know how to avoid Ransomware doesn’t mean all of your employees know how to.  And if your employees don’t know how to avoid Ransomware (or if they don’t even know what it is), then your business is running on luck.  Provide your team with regular cyber security training sessions and keep your team up-to-date with how-to’s, advice, and must-know’s.

 

Looking to boost your business’s defenses, but you’re not sure where to start? Then give us a call today! Our security experts would be glad to answer any questions you may have.

Four Ways to Secure Your Digital Life

Allowing a site to remember your password or to track your search history may make for a more user-friendly experience but that might not always be the best idea. More often than not, adding a step here and a step there will help you protect yourself within the Internet of Things (IoT) more successfully.

Here are four not-so-difficult steps that’ll keep things relatively easy, but your data increasingly private.

Log out

It’s nice to open up an application or a website and automatically log-in, but this may hurt you in the long run. If anyone gains access to your device or workstation, any site or application you’re currently logged into is fair game. They could view personal messages on your Facebook account, read critical reports on your office applications and snatch financial data from your banking website.

Create multiple accounts

A good way to prioritize the security of your various online activities is to assign different email accounts to them. For example, all the shopping you do goes to one address and your personal correspondences go to another.  Require an extra step such as two-factor authentication for your online shopping account. This way, you’re better safeguarding extremely private information such as your address and finances. For your personal email, automatic log-in may not be so horrible in this case. Sending jokes or videos back and forth to your family and friends aren’t necessarily of extreme importance. However, keep in mind that viruses can hijack your emails and send security threats to any correspondence in your personal emails. So ensure your anti-virus and firewall are up to date and running smooth.

Wipe your history

There are simple ways to keep your browsing history private. Whether you decide to use the “private” mode on your browser or to clear your history and wipe your cookies every few days, it’s an effective way to keep your habits private. It only takes a couple minutes to navigate to the “history” tab of your internet browser and wipe the contents, so there’s really no excuse to not do it regularly. Take a break on Fridays and clean up your computer so that on Monday you can come into work with a fresh slate.

Update your system

It’s easy to check the “remind me later” box when your system prompts you for an update—however, updates to your software and applications are there for a very important reason. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to complete a patch that could protect you and your data from a major cyber security breach. Do not ever put them off for another time. Whatever you’re working on can wait for the patch to download and install, because by ignoring them, you’re making a grave mistake and could be inviting a security breach.

Overall, these items are easy to maintain and are a simple part of computer maintenance, especially if you are concerned with security. Once you get in the habit of consistency with these four steps, you can rest assured that your digital life will be that much safer.

 

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Focus Keyword: data privacy

Meta Description: Protect you and your data from a major cyber security breach.

How Encryption Works

The remarkable growth of the Internet has thrilled businesses and consumers alike with its promise of changing the way we live and work. It’s easy to buy and sell goods all over the world from a desktop, laptop or mobile device. But privacy and security are major concerns on the Internet, especially when you’re using it to send sensitive information between parties.

There’s a whole lot of information that we don’t want other people to see, such as:

  • Credit-card information
  • Social Security numbers
  • Private correspondence
  • Personal details
  • Sensitive company information
  • Bank-account information ­

Information security is provided on computers and over the Internet by a variety of methods. But the most popular forms of security all rely on encryption, the process of encoding information in such a way that only the person (or computer) with the key can decode it.

Recent history

The Data Encryption Standard (DES) is a block cipher (a form of shared secret encryption) that was selected by the National Bureau of Standards as an official Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) for the United States in 1976 and which has subsequently enjoyed widespread use internationally.

Concerns about security and the relatively slow operation of DES in software motivated researchers to propose a variety of alternative block cipher designs, which started to appear in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The Rijndael encryption algorithm was adopted by the US Government as standard symmetric-key encryption, or Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). AES was announced by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on November 26, 2001 after a 5-year standardization process.

Many encryption algorithms exist but the two main characteristics that identify and differentiate one encryption algorithm from another are its ability to secure the protected data against attacks and its speed and efficiency in doing so.

How Encryption Secures Communication on the Web

For many years, the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol has been securing web transactions using encryption between your web browser and a web server, protecting you from anybody that might be snooping on the network in the middle.

Here’s a simple explanation of the process:

  1. It begins when the browser requests a secure page (usually https://)
  2. The web server then sends its public key with its certificate.
  3. The browser checks that the certificate was issued by a trusted party (usually a trusted root CA), that the certificate is still valid, and that the certificate is related to the site contacted.
  4. The browser then uses the public key to encrypt a random symmetric encryption key, and sends it to the server with the encrypted URL required. as well as other encrypted http data.
  5. The web server decrypts the symmetric encryption key using its private key, and uses the browser’s symmetric key to decrypt its URL and http data.
  6. The web server sends back the requested html document and http data encrypted with the browser’s symmetric key. The browser decrypts the http data and html document using the symmetric key and displays the information.

Security and privacy will always be a concern for those of us who utilize the Internet, because there will always be a battle between developers who are engaged in improving security and privacy, and hackers who are seeking to undermine it.

Is cyber security a concern for your business? Then give us a call today to schedule some time with one of our security experts.

How Businesses can use Social Media Effectively

Social Media Is considered to be the future of digital marketing, but how to plug in to this massive new movement is a genuine business concern. A lot of businesses still struggle with understanding how to use social media effectively.

As a business owner, it can be tempting to want to jump right in and establish profiles on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. After all, social media can be a great way to attract and convert new customers.

But in order to be successful on social media, you have to do more than merely participate. You have to effectively engage your followers and create a relationship with them.  And like any relationship, you need to show them that you care about them and share their concerns. Only then will you be able to get any sort of ROI from the time, energy, and money that you put into social media.

Here are some ways to humanize your social media marketing efforts:

  1. Treat Your Followers like People, not Numbers

In the recent past, businesses relied on personal relationships to make sales and retain customers. They built genuine trust and established real relationships with their customers.

Try to create the same experience for your social media followers. Instead of relying on metrics or page views, pay attention to engagement. Engagement essentially refers to the number of authentic, real (as in not spam) comments and shares you receive from your online community.

  1. The 5-3-2 Rule

The people who follow you on social media may not be customers yet, but they are potential ones. Don’t overwhelm with them with promotional ads, discounts, pop-ups, etc. Savvy social media users ignore these and look for companies that treat them respectfully as individuals.

How can you tell if you’ve gone overboard with promotional messages? The 5-3-2 rule is a good way to keep things in check. Developed by TA McCann of Gist, it involves posting in a ratio of:

  • Five social media posts based on information from others that’s relevant to your audience.
  • Three non-sales related posts based on your information that’s relevant to your audience.
  • Two personal posts that aren’t business-related and help humanize you and your brand.
  1. Take Your Time

Social media is all about the long sell. Your goal isn’t necessarily to generate sales with every promotional tweet or status update you run (although it’s great when that happens from time to time). Instead, look at every new interaction as an opportunity to build engagement with your followers. With each message, their understanding, trust and appreciation of your brand grows, as does their willingness to buy from you in the future.

  1. Be a Good Listener

One of the best things you can do to boost ROI is simply to be a good listener. Encourage your followers to give you feedback on your products, services and brand. Let them know that you’re listening and that you value their feedback.

Learn when your followers are active and how they prefer to be engaged, and what types of content or information they value most. From there, you can make changes that are intended to strengthen the relationship you have with the people you’re ultimately trying to convert.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting your social media marketing efforts to result in a positive ROI for your investment of time and money, but you can’t force it. To be successful with social media, focus less on sales and more on people, taking the time needed to develop solid, long-term relationships.

 

The 5 basic requirements of a culture of security

Securing your network and data isn’t just about a strong antivirus solution.  It’s a lot more than that.

It’s about employees.  It’s about leadership.  It’s about thought processes.  It’s about how all of these things tie into each other to create, support, and encourage a culture of security.  When you integrate these elements into your cyber-security strategy successfully, your business will be better off, and you’ll have a legitimate chance to fight off cyber-threats.

So then the question naturally becomes: Does your preexisting security solution take into consideration the human element or does it begin and end with software?

In other words, have you created a culture of security or are you just doing the bare minimum and hoping for the best?

Building an effective culture of security within your organization is not an easy thing to do.  It’s not a one-time thing.  And it’s definitely not something that can be accomplished within a month (or even a year – heck, who knows how long it takes).  It’s a process that never stops evolving and will never go away.

But when it comes to the most basic requirements for a culture of security, these things never change.  If you go about them the right way, they can be simple to achieve and accomplished in a far shorter timeframe.  Here are the five most basic requirements of a culture of security.

Everyone has buy-in.

If you’re struggling to build a holistic security culture, this might be the reason you’re struggling.  Everyone on your team has to offer up their ‘buy-in’ – or their unwavering support of the process as a whole.  If not, then what you’ll be greeted with is indifference and half-hearted attempts at maintaining standard security protocols.  Not a strong security culture.

Everyone knows the basics.

When it comes to online security, things can quickly get… complex.  But, nonetheless, everyone should (and can) be familiar with the basics – like phishing, corrupt ads, patching, viruses, and passwords.  If they don’t understand how these things work, then why would they ever worry about protecting themselves (and your data) against them?  Train your staff on the basics and make sure everyone in your organization understands what they are.

Everyone gets the why.

The ‘why’ of everything is incredibly important.  If people can’t wrap their head around the fallout of a successful phishing attack or if they just don’t get the point of patching outdated software, then, again, why would they worry about any of it?  Don’t be ashamed to reassert over and over again why security is important.  Explain what happens when cyber-threats are successful and what they can ultimately cost the business.

Everyone stays suspicious.

Suspicion is everyone’s greatest ally.  The more suspicious your employees are, the more likely it is that your business can sidestep potentially fatal cyber-attacks.  If your employee opens an email and thinks, “I don’t know who this is, so why would they be sending me an attachment?” then you’ve done your job.  But this ties into everything else – they won’t be suspicious if they don’t know the basics, and if they don’t understand the basics, then they won’t understand the repercussions.

Everyone follows the rules.

Obviously, if you’re going to have a legitimate culture of security, then everyone needs to follow the rules.  It’s simple really.  You establish basic protocols, and they follow these protocols.  And you probably know what comes next – none of this will be possible if your employees don’t have buy-in, they don’t understand why all of it is important, and they don’t know how to adopt a suspicious mindset.  Make sure you take the steps to lay out a solid foundation for a strong culture of security.  One missed requirement can mean the death of your network, your business, and your future.