ATLANTA, July 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cbeyond, Inc. (Nasdaq:CBEY), the technology ally for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), today shared its top five tips to help businesses secure critical information, maintain business continuity and ensure ongoing productivity. These guidelines, part of Cbeyond's "Technology Ally" best practices series, are designed to help SMBs better communicate the benefits of securing information when addressing employees and customers in particular.
- As day-to-day operations of most SMBs would suffer significantly from a serious security incident, Cbeyond recommends the following five best practices: Understand the Importance of Your Data. Recognizing the consequences of compromised or lost data is the foundation for taking the necessary steps to protect it. Imagine what would happen if your employees did not have access to your data, or worse, if your competitors did. The benefits of securing data include mitigating risk, curbing loss and costs, maintaining reputation, and keeping customers – as well as potentially offering a differentiator from competitors.
- Consider the Benefits and Risks of Deploying New Technology. Be cautious when considering new technologies, and account for the benefits as well as the risks of implementation. As a rule of thumb, be wary of anything touted as a "convenience technology." Examine new practices such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and remote connectivity, and develop a formal policy as necessary. According to the Summer 2013 Cbeyond Business Leader Snapshot™ , 22 percent of business leaders surveyed stated they have developed a BYOD policy to address data access through personal devices such as tablets and smart phones, among others. Do your research and, when in doubt, consult with a qualified, reputable technology firm that knows the SMB landscape.
- Pay Attention to Security Basics. Many security issues can be avoided by simply following basic procedures. Create strong passwords and regularly patch applications and systems. Be skeptical of what you do and see on the web and always err on the side of caution. Because many SMBs do not have an IT department, seek out a vendor with relevant expertise to provide the technical support required to meet your business' security needs.
- Encourage Employees to Exercise Caution. Employees are at the front lines of the security battle. Every employee represents a potential opportunity for your data or systems to be compromised or leaked, even unintentionally, if they are not aware of their responsibilities in helping maintain security. Your employees should not visit unsafe websites, open emails of unknown origin, or trust strangely worded emails just because they come from acquaintances or customers. Encourage employees to reach out when in doubt; they should feel empowered to ask questions regarding security when a potential issue arises.
- Implement a Formal Security Policy. To take general security awareness to a formalized level, implement a written security policy and update it at least once a year. Continue security education as your business implements new technologies and as employees are involved with changing technologies. Talk with your customers about security to help them understand its importance to both parties. As a business owner, you need to ensure your employees and customers are educated on your policies: knowledge and communication around your procedures are key.
"When it comes to securing business information, taking the proper precautions on the front-end is well worth the time and effort," said Jeff Jenkins, director of information security at Cbeyond. "If your business does not have the in-house resources, it's critical to consult with a technology ally who can provide the insight and support needed to secure your data and maintain operations."