Is your small business doing everything possible to ensure that you are protected? Do you understand how to track network activity? Do you know how to put systems in place to monitor your wifi network? Although these things may not be directly related to your core business, they are essential and cannot be ignored. This article is intended to highlight some of the many strategies a small business owner could implement to protect themselves and their company.
It is hard to imagine that perhaps twenty years ago, computers were only a small part of doing business. In 2018, there are virtually no businesses that do not rely on the power and organizational benefits of a computer to run their organization. Onwards, AI can be used for many business processes. Although computers have brought many benefits to small business owners, there are also problems that can and do occur as a result.
The Problems That The Internet Can Cause
The Internet has made the world smaller, has made communication easier and has enabled business to be conducted across continents. But it also a huge time waster, disgruntled staff can use the internet to share your small business secrets, and cause potentially catastrophic damage to the company. As a small business owner, there are so many different challenges facing you that it can seem almost impossible to master them all. When it comes to technology, the best solution may be to utilize hardware and software options to monitor your internet connection and prevent your precious data being shared either deliberately or unintentionally with the outside world.
1 Monitor Internet Access Via Your Firewall
In the simplest of terms any site that your employee’s visit has to be accessed via a door, which in technical terms is called a firewall. A network administrator can configure your firewall to provide a report on every individual computer within your network, detailing which sites that computer visited. It can even be configured to identify the username of the person logged into the computer at that time. SurfControl, Websense, and GFI Webmonitor are all excellent add-ons, that can provide you with these type of details.
2 Block Access To Certain Websites Via URL
In certain circumstances, it might be beneficial to block access to some websites at source rather than monitor who is accessing which sites. There are many different reasons why you might want to implement this approach from something as simple as blocking Facebook, because you pay your employees to work, rather than sit on a social media site all day, to preventing access to pornographic websites. Pornographic and other less desirable websites could not only put your company into a legal or sexual harassment situation, but some of those sites can also download viruses and malicious software to your network. These could then cause even more significant problems further down the road. Once again Websense, SurfControl, and GFI Webmonitor can assist you with this situation.
3 Filter Access Using Keywords
The internet is an ever-changing and evolving place, which is where it can be difficult to simply block website addresses. The software will only block the sites that you have told it to, so it can become an almost impossible task. After all, how can you block a site that you don’t even know exists? This is where the use of keywords can be of great benefit. Let’s take something a little less risque such as Bitcoin. There has been a lot of talk and publicity in the media about this topic, and so it is not unreasonable to assume that your employees might be tempted to spend their time researching bitcoin rather than working. By adding Bitcoin to the list of keywords that are blocked, you can instantly solve this problem. Depending on the software you have installed, you can block an unlimited number of keywords quickly and easily providing a flexible and efficient option, that can be updated as often as required, with minimum fuss.
4 Monitor Email
Email provides an opportunity for vast volumes of data to be transferred quickly and easily. Let’s take the situation of an employee who works for a Formula 1 team, but knows they are leaving in the next few months to join a competing team. It would not be especially difficult for them to email sensitive information to their new employers that would be devastating to their current employers. A software tool such as Spector CNE enables the owner of the network to automatically monitor the emails their employees send and receive. Once again specific keywords can be identified, which when used will set off alerts in real time. Spector CNE can also monitor applications such as Instant Messaging Applications, and web browsing and even offers keystroke logging. This means that every key you employee hits during the day is recorded.
5 Monitor Access To Files
Not everyone requires access to all of the files in a computer system, and the Windows operating system provides excellent options which are built in to monitor which files an employee has opened or indeed even tried to open. This means that if they have been attempting to access a file that there were prevented from opening by a security measure already in place, their attempt to access that file will still be logged. This is all set up under the Group Policy system, and it involves a two-step process. The first part of the process is to enable the auditing, and then you need to decide on the properties of each part of the system you want to audit.
For many small business owners, the hassle and degree of difficulty involved in setting these systems up can seem too complicated to invoke. However, by investing a little time and effort the potential benefits of these systems can far outweigh the hassle and stress involved in installing them. There are many IT companies such as DNS CT who offer an all-inclusive type service, where they will come to your premises, install and explain all of the necessary systems for you, enabling you to get on with running your business, safe in the knowledge that your IT systems are suitably protected.