What is an Acceptable Use Policy and What Should it Contain

Most businesses and website owners are familiar with an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) which is an agreement between two or more parties expressing one’s commitment to stick to written standards of behavior that state they must properly use specific software or hardware services.

To put it simply, an AUP is a set of rules created by an owner of a website, online service or computer infrastructure that aims to restrict unlawful or unauthorized use of their software or information assets. To reduce the risk of legal action, many corporations, ISPs, website owners and universities have set forth in creating their own AUP. Therefore, an AUP gives direction on what sort of behavior and use of the company or university’s technology is approved and frowned upon.

An AUP is an essential component of any business. They’re part of the framework of information security policies. They’re often handed to new employees to read and sign the document before they are handed access to servers. Because of this, AUPs must be concise and simple to read and understand, but also convey the importance of what users are and are not allowed to do on the company’s IT systems.

An AUP is very similar to a Terms of Service or an End-user License Agreement text that can be found on almost all software applications. There are a few differences in the documents, though. AUPs tend to cover a larger range of computer resources, like websites. They also cover etiquette and respect for other users.

Do I need an AUP for my business?

The short answer is yes. An AUP protects your business from any legal actions being directed at you. It’s better to have your employees see it upfront instead of backpedaling if something goes awry. One important thing to be mindful of when you begin to create your AUP is to not write rules so specifically that rule-breakers can find loopholes around the policy. You also want to be sure the policy isn’t too vague that it’s useless in the eyes of employees.

An AUP may also restrict your liability around the illegal sharing of files. If an employee of yours downloaded music, videos or any file illegally, your business could be liable for this. Even if the downloaded files are legal, you could be paying to back up items that are for personal use. From a time and money perspective, it’s worth it to layout all policies about storing downloaded files.

It might seem obvious as to which websites to specifically block, but you must consider this carefully as you don’t want to prevent your employees from doing their job. You want to create a happy work environment while keeping productivity high.

Work with your IT department to create an efficient AUP that displays unwanted behavior but can also be enforced. Once you have this, distribute the AUP, answer any questions and have all employees sign saying they understand.

So, what exactly do I put in my AUP?

The coverage and range of them vary drastically, as certain policies apply to different departments, systems, software or data. Here are a few things most businesses mention in their AUP:

Purpose. The reason they put the policy in place, from a business perspective.

Expectations. This is a place to add any general, overall expectations you have for your employees and their use of the internet at work.

Acceptable use. Explain here how employees are expected to use the internet.

Unacceptable use. Here, name any unacceptable uses of company internet. You can focus on the ban of any specific sites, or broad terms, like social media. You can also name any prohibited behaviors, such as downloading illegal files.

Confidentiality and disclosure. Any sort of business policies you have that revolve around confidentiality and disclosure can be added here.

Use of Network. Place information regarding user accounts, general accounts, and the limitations of the network.

Enforcement. The last of the AUP, this part details when and how the company will monitor the use of network and how violators will be punished.

As stated earlier, enforcement is crucial to ensuring all employees follow the policies in the AUP. Employees should know you continuously monitor the network to make sure all rules are being followed. You may already even have monitoring software included in your small business devices. If you don’t, they’re simple to come by and install.

The idea of an AUP is to protect you and your business. By explaining to employees what they can and cannot do with company equipment and software. There isn’t one, general AUP that will work for all businesses, schools, and universities, so it’s important that you take the time and resources to create one that will benefit and pertain to your business specifically. You’ll need to not only look at your organization and take the ideas above and customize them to your business, but you’ll need to enforce the policies. Otherwise, employees will take advantage of your relaxed attitude.

 

Consider changing your AUP as your business continues to grow. Review your policy regularly to make sure all rules still apply.

Best Practices for Protecting Your Identity Online

Online identity theft has become increasingly common over the last decade. People are having their identity stolen and their personal information splashed across the internet. But why is this happening and how? You may think that when you sign yourself up for a chance to win a cruise, it is totally harmless. Or when you enter your information into a gaming network that your identity will not be compromised. What a lot of people do not realize is that they are giving more data than necessary, and people are gaining access to their personal information.

Hacking isn’t hard to do for people who know what they are doing! So, what are you doing to protect yourself? What are you doing to protect your kids? Don’t panic… just take some precautions and these steps to help ensure that your identity stays protected when you or your loved ones go online.

Internet Cyber Security

Avoid Spammers.

This may seem like a no brainer. But remember this logic… if it seems too good to be true on the internet, it probably is. Spammers, scammers, and phishers appear in pop-ups and emails usually. You will see random sales opportunities or clickbait that may take you off of the page you were trying to get on. Although these things may look enticing, just stay away!

Avoid sending confidential information through email.

A lot of the time, you may get asked to send your driver’s license, birth certificate, a voided check or a social security card to a new employer or someone for a background check. Although you know who you are sending it to, it does not mean that it is safe to send over the email system. These documents are confidential for a reason. So, our suggestion is to go in person and give them a hard copy of it. Avoid sending any of these documents through any online system.

Use strong passwords and change them often.

Are you that person that uses your birthday or your dog’s name for all your passwords? Remembering all of your passwords can be difficult and resetting them constantly can be extremely frustrating. However, if you’re passwords are easy for you to remember, they are easy for someone else to guess. Use a password that you don’t think will be easily guessed by anyone else. Keep a hard copy of your passwords, not on your computer, that you can access.

Make sure to lock your devices.

Not everyone wants to punch in a passcode in to unlock their phone or iPad every time they want to use it? It may not seem like a big deal but swiping it open is very dangerous. The moment you lose one of your devices, a stranger has access to way too much. People leave their iPad on a table at a coffee shop or drop their phones from their purse when they are shopping. If someone finds it, they can easily access all of your personal information, pictures, contacts, as well as your email and possibly your bank account. Keep these devices locked with a strong password!

Avoid Public Wi-Fi.

Sometimes we have no choice but to use public Wi-Fi. Or do we? Have you considered using a personal hotspot? There are also some places that have a password encrypted internet. Public internet is usually free, which makes sense why everyone wants to use it. However, those few dollars may be worth it in the long run so that no one can access your computer or personal files!

Update your software.

This one can be very frustrating and seem like you have to do it all the time. When you update your software, it is not just to update your apps on your devices. Updating your device can help keep your security software up to date as well. If you keep your devices up to date, there is a much lower chance that someone could connect to your computer or iPad and hack into your files.

Check your credit reports and bank statements often.

A lot of the time, things are tied to our credit report or statements and we don’t even notice. You can often check for transactions and see if they were actually made by you. If not, you have to take action right away. If it is small frequent transactions, your bank may not even notify you. Just stay alert, stay aware and always stay protected.

Keeping your online identity safe is extremely important. It is not always about what you should do, but also what you shouldn’t do. Always assume that there is a chance your information could be compromised and take these tips seriously so you can stay safe online.

The Benefits of Remote IT and Computer Support

The success of your business requires multiple components working together with the same end in sight. One of those crucial departments is IT. Technology is constantly changing and improving which has pushed its level of importance relatively close to the top.

There are a lot of businesses in the United States that don’t have any sort of IT service or support, which leads to others trying to solve the problems. The situation can get worse in this case. Technology is something we simply cannot escape, and using the power of it is nearly essential to competing in today’s market. Your tools must remain usable, reliable and functional. A remote IT team can help with this.

If you’re a small business owner, you might not be looking for a full time or in-house IT employee. This is where remote IT positions can come in handy. Being a remote employee means reaching the internal server from an external source, such as a personal laptop or desktop. Wondering if hiring remotely for your IT positions is right for you and your business? Take a look at our list of benefits:

Remote IT

After-hours availability.

One of the best aspects of hiring remotely is always having an IT person available to answer any questions you have or if a massive issue arises after normal business hours. Computers inevitably need updating, and it’s an inconvenience to have to update them during work hours. So, as long as all your computers are on, this maintenance can be done at any point during the day or night.

Quicker response time.

When you hire IT remotely, their sole job is to know everything about technology. If you come across a technology issue, support is just a phone call away rather than having to find an available technician and have him drive to you. A staff member may also be able to call or chat with a representative by sharing their computer screen almost immediately rather than putting in a ticket and waiting multiple days until it can be dealt with. You can be assured that most problems can be solved without having to leave your desk and that the situation was addressed quickly.

Increased productivity for in-house employees.

Once you hire remote tech support, your other employees who attempt to solve IT issues will no longer waste their time trying to fix something they know nothing about. With this remote tech service, your employees can focus on their primary position which allows more productivity. Think of having a remote IT team as a benefit for your employees. Especially if you choose to opt for remote desktop support because they’ll have support at their fingertips. Your employees will be more likely to reach out if the help is quick and simple. Another way remote desktop support is helpful is that the IT person will have total access to your employee’s space and desktop. Being able to see the dynamic of the issue will benefit both parties.

Constant system maintenance.

As long as you have IT support, you’ll always have a team watching for viruses, update in technology and general software issues. This can benefit you as you put your trust in someone who knows the ins and outs of technology. With their help, you’ll be able to repair any network issues before causing real damage, and if your system or software gets hacked, you can immediately have someone to call for support. Technology tends to fail on the occasion, like all machines. Having a team that is proactive in this field can help your productivity time and can keep you in competition with others in your area of expertise. You’ll also be able to sensitive data much more secure as IT companies have the best technology for keeping out viruses and preventing loss or theft of your work on a server.

Cutting edge technology.

This goes in conjunction with number four above, but it’s still worth noting. Finding someone with the right amount of IT experience can be difficult to find with technology constantly changing. No matter what field you and your colleagues are in, few of them are likely to be experts in the IT industry. Your IT support will be able to offer you consistent updates and access to new, cutting edge software to keep you a top competitor in your market.

Your employees will be better able to troubleshoot problems.

Once your team begins to use the help of an IT support service, they’ll be able to see how they solve certain issues firsthand. Your team maybe even ask to be a part of the problem-solving process. Rather than simply handing the situation over and waiting for someone else to fix it. Seeing these problems may also help prevent your employees from causing further damage or making the same mistake more than once. They can even learn the steps to take before contacting IT support to see if they can solve the problem alone, and they may feel like less of an inconvenience if they’re actively involved in problem-solving.

Having a remote IT team is simply easier.

Remote IT support will reduce the amount of research. The time you’d have to invest if you chose to attempt solving IT problems on your own. An IT provider can handle anything technology related. So you can focus on your area of expertise instead of trying to research why your computer screen went black and won’t turn on.

Investing in a remote IT company is probably the right choice for you and your company, large or small. Most computer and software issues are fully capable of being solved remotely. There’s no longer a need to wait for days for a technician in your area to fix the problem. It’s another expense to add, but if the budget allows, you won’t be disappointed. You just need to find the right Remote IT team for you and your staff.

Easy Ways To Protect Your Identity Online

Nowadays, we have to take online protection incredibly seriously. How do you know what you can send in an email? Are you worried about credit card theft? When should you or should you not type in your social security number into forms? Sometimes, these things sound like common sense, however the internet is full of traps and people who are smart enough to make things look legitimate. Here are some easy ways that you can protect your identity while online.

Update your Security Software

Some may not realize the importance of updating your security software. When you a buy a new laptop of computer, it may come with a free trial, but after a certain period of a time, it expires, and you are left with no protection. If you keep any files on your computer from your taxes, financial importation, or copies of your documents, there is now potential for someone to see or hack in and view everything. Security software is there to run daily, weekly and monthly scans so you can see any potential virus or trojans in your computer. If you set it up for automatic, it will tell you consistently if you are in good shape or need to look into something! Look into Avast, McAfee Norton, Total AV, Bitdefender, AVG, or PC PROTECT.

Use Strong Passwords

Don’t be “that guy” who uses PASSWORD for all your passwords… Don’t use your birthday, your last name, your spouse’s name, or anything that people would know just by looking you up. Try to use a variety of things; Upper- and lower-case letters, a few numbers, and some sort of symbol. And also, I know it is easier to remember, but don’t use the same password for everything. If a hacker gets in one site, they have you for everything else! Make a variety of passwords that you use and store them safely somewhere outside your computer where you can look them up when necessary.

Avoid Sketchy Emails

We have all thought about opening that one email that looked interesting. Whether it was from someone you know, someone you think you know, or a complete stranger with an interesting email title; it is crucial that you avoid even clicking on these emails. The moment you open them, there is potential for harm. A lot of these emails look like a Giveaway or You have Won a Prize, can catch your attention. These emails may look totally legitimate! They will typically ask you to fill out a form to receive your free *fill in the blank* but as soon as you do, you are actually giving your name, address and credit card information to a total stranger and/or a hacker. For future emails, when in doubt, Don’t Do It! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Protecting your identity does not have to be difficult if done the right way. We encourage you to always practice safe usage on the internet and know the consequences of what could happen if you don’t. Also, teach your kids!! Kids have no idea what they are clicking on and if they see a toy, a prize or something they want, they will almost always click. Hackers can take full advantage of those who do not know better so always remember to remind your kids, parents, and any older generations of what could happen if they don’t practice safe internet usage.

Easy Ways To Protect Your Identity Online

Top Cyber Security Tips to Protect Your Business

Now more than ever, cyber security is an important measure that every small or big business should take. Threats are everywhere and have the potential to jeopardize your entire business. Without knowing much about the types of security risks against you, you can still take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from the unknown. It also might help to hire a consultant to review your practices.

The following are the top cyber security tips for protecting your business’s infrastructure:

Educate Employees

If you take any precaution at all against cyber threats, it should be to educate all of your employees. Many say that employees are actually one of the biggest security risks to businesses. If your team isn’t well-read on how to use their technology securely, then there’s no point in upkeeping everything because it’s bound to be corrupted at some point. To combat this, start by teaching your employees about how to adhere to your security policies. By briefing your team members on at least the basics of cybersecurity, they’ll beware of the common mistakes that lead to leaks and break-ins.

Backup Essential Documents and Information

In addition to teaching employees, you need to also instruct them to backup their files. If a security breach were to occur, every device could be protected from wiping if files and essential information is copied onto a shared network or hard drive. This is often taken for granted, but it’s something users and especially businesses should listen to.

Secure Your Network

How can you protect your networks if you’re not an IT whiz? You can start by implementing a firewall and starting the encryption process. Also, hide your WiFi by restricting the broadcast of your network name. It seems simple, but putting in complex passwords is important. Make sure your router and WiFi are password-protected so only verified individuals can access them.

Protect Mobile Devices

In the modern age, a lot of business is being conducted through mobile devices. The devices your employees and clients use should not be easy for a cybercriminal to crack. If you administer work devices, guarantee that they always have passwords to unlock them and install security applications to monitor and track any vulnerabilities. Many businessowners disregard the prevalence of threats from mobile, but this is a growing concern that you should address straight away.

Need help defending your business from cyber security issues? Get in touch with one of DataOne’s specialists and consultants prior to securing your system.

Does My Small Business Need an IT Consultant?

Chances are, if you’re a small business, you always take the opportunity to manage all of your business functions in-house. It’s convenient and free, but there’s so much to consider on a daily basis that it will likely overwhelm any business owner. Sometimes small businesses are afraid to seek outside help, and that could actually prove a detriment to your company’s overall productivity. It might be a good time to consider reaching out to a professional when it comes to these stressful tasks.

One thing almost every business needs a consultant for is IT Services. Information Technology is everywhere now, as we all rely on computers and devices to complete a majority of our work. It’s important to understand the importance of managing your IT Infrastructure and making it the best and most secure system it can be. You probably don’t have the time to maintain every piece of hardware and software yourself, so hiring a consultant is an efficient and cost-effective solution.

Here are a few reasons why hiring an outside IT expert is a smart decision for any small business:

Protect Your Employees

Probably the most important thing to consider when it comes to your business technology if is your IT system is secure and protects your interests. Without the know-how on IT, it’s very difficult to establish the correct security protocols for your business. This is vital to protect your confidential information and your employees’ personal information. Rest assured, an IT professional can help put in place an effective system that safeguards all of your stakeholders. An expert will know how important it is to run secure IT and ensure your valuable business data is protected and backed up. In the long-run, having one will actually save you money because you won’t need to handle any threats or security breaches that could end up costing your business big bucks.

Train Your Team Properly

During the on-boarding process of any new employees, the hardest concept to grasp is how to use your company’s hardware and software capabilities. It’s even more difficult to properly communicate this information to your team. If you bring on an IT consultant, they will take care of any training your employees will need. That way, you can focus on your managerial tasks and keeping tack of your business in the meantime.

Find the Best Technology for Your Business

Part of specializing in a product or service is being able to determine the right tools to accomplish your business goals. With so many software options nowadays, it’s almost impossible to pick the best resource to support your needs. An IT expert will have a well-informed opinion about what software is worth the money. They can handle purchasing and installing the software across your company’s devices, and best of all, they’ll share some tips and tricks with you about how to utilize it in the best way possible.

Interested in hiring an IT consultant for your business? Get in touch with one of our experts here.

Cyber-Security Risks Businesses Face in 2019

As we develop and undertake new technology for our businesses every year, it seems like our security risks are as prevalent as ever. With every new platform or trend, there’s a new uncertainty. Many business owners and CEOs don’t realize these cyber-security threats exist and, as a result, don’t take the necessary precautions to limit breaches. Make sure you’re aware of these risks your business might face in 2019:

Ransomware

Over the last few years, cyber-criminals have relied on ransomware to target unsuspecting users and force them to follow their commands. The way that ransomware works is it locks users out of their accounts or computers and will only offer access if they comply with the ransomers’ demands, which could include paying a large sum of money. The problem is that either accepting or rejecting a cyber-criminal’s requested payment will result in detriments to your business. If you refuse to comply, your business could be jeopardized. If you accept and pay the ransom, you lose credibility and something valuable to your company. Either way, employees should be aware of this type of threat and avoid it at all costs.

Internet of Things (IoT)

Nowadays, there are a wide variety of devices in a business, and not all of them are monitored. IoT devices could pose a significant risk if businesses refuse to acknowledge and secure them. The number of devices will only increase, and most aren’t even categorized or tracked by the business. To put a stop to this, companies should set up a verifiable system of monitoring and create an inventory to stop breaches. As the number of endpoints continues to increase, businesses need to be more diligent in keeping an eye on every device present.

New Laws and Regulations

Last year, many rules and regulations were put in place to protect businesses and their employees from cyber threats. Instead of helping to decrease risks, cyber regulation enforcement could distract companies from what’s important. Businesses need to keep track of the new laws in 2019, but still focus on remaining proactive in defending themselves from threats. Finding an equilibrium between following regulations and building a strong security system is essential.

Employees

It’s difficult to understand, but one of the most common causes of cyber-security threats to a business is an employee. The problem is that employees don’t recognize the threat that they themselves pose. Every employee of a business affects cyber-security. It’s important to train your team and teach them the do’s and don’ts of your infrastructure and how to identify risks before they fall prey to them.

Protect your business by consulting with one of our in house security experts today. 

Reasons Why Your Wireless Printer Isn’t Working

Concept of online data sharing

We’ve all been there. You need to print an important document and your printer refuses to play nice! So you try again with the same results, desperately trying to figure out why your printer is having trouble doing its job all of a sudden.

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Top 3 Reasons To Upgrade Your Wireless Network

WiFi router with city view

We use our wireless networks every day with hardly a thought as to whether they are functioning properly or secure. Unfortunately, our attitude towards updating and maintaining our networks regularly is much the same and that can leave you, your business, or your family frustrated and at risk.

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What Is Data Migration?

business hand clicking data migration button on touch screen

If you own a business, at some point and time you will hear the words ‘Data Migration’. But what exactly is data migration and do you really need it? First, let’s start with what is data. In your business, data is all the information that is needed to run your business. Information about your employees, your clients, your vendors, your inventory, your business rules, and any other details that are required to keep the business operating. I think you can see now that data in your business is not only vital but there can also be a lot of it.

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