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Protect Your Computer Systems

October is National Cyber Security Month. Protect your computer systems with these 9 steps recommended by the U.S. Small Business Administration:

  1. Use the FCC’s Small Biz Cyber Planner to create a cyber security plan
    The  Small Biz Cyber Planner is valuable for businesses that lack the resources to hire a dedicated staff member to protect themselves from cyber threats. The tool walks users through a series of questions to determine which cyber security strategies should be included in the planning guide, and generates a customized PDF that serves as a cyber security strategy template.
  1. Establish cyber-security rules for  your employees
    Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect personally identifiable information.  Clearly detail the penalties for violating cyber security policies.
  1. Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code
    Install, use, and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors.
  1. Educate employees about safe social media practices
    Depending on what your business does, employees might be introducing competitors to sensitive details about your firm’s internal business. Employees should be taught how to post online in a way that does not reveal any trade secrets to the public or competing businesses. This type of safe social networking can help avoid serious risks to your business.
  1. Manage and assess risk
    Ask yourself, “What do we have to protect? And, what would impact our business the most?” Cyber-criminals often use lesser-protected small businesses as a bridge to attack larger firms with which they have a relationship. This can make unprepared small firms a less attractive business partner in the future, blocking potentially lucrative business deals.
  1. Download and install software updates when they are available
    All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install such updates automatically.
  1. Make backup copies of important business data and information
    Regularly backup the data on every computer used in your business. Critical data includes word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files, and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly.
  1. Control physical access to computers and network components
    Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft, so make sure they are stored and locked up when unattended.
  1. Secure Wi-Fi networks
    If you have a Wi-Fi network for your home business make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, configure your wireless access point or router so that it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID).  In addition, make sure that passwords are required for access. It is also critical to change the administrative password that was on the device when it was first purchased.

Be aware that cyber attacks happen all the time and security is an ever-changing field. Businesses must continually adapt to new attack methods and remain alert at all times.

Source: sba.gov

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Online Surveys & SEO Strategy

Gallop Web Services is thrilled to be a finalist for the 2012 Technology Business of the Year awards and we thank everyone who voted for us. We’ll find out on November 9th at the Loudoun Chamber Small Business Awards gala who the winners are for each of the business categories.

We can tell you right now who got the most votes from the online survey and it’s the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce.

The voting process is a great way to connect folks in Loudoun County with what is happening in the business community. No doubt about it… the publicity is great for GWS as it is for the 45 other business finalists. However, from a marketing perspective the People’s Choice (and any other survey) is a good way to get as many people as possible interested in visiting your website. A popular and limited event drives traffic to a website increasing the rankings with the search engines, which is good for a website’s visibility. The People’s Choice survey did exactly that for Loudoun Chamber—it increased traffic to the Chamber website and this is why they are the winner of the survey.

Tip: Try your own basic survey for free using Survey Monkey.

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