Dress your website for success

When people visit websites, first impressions count. Wow your audience by following our tips.

Make a statement with professional photographs

Before site visitors read what’s on your website, they assess it by checking out your images. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, but are those words truly what you want to convey to your audience?

Blurry, outdated, or irrelevant pictures tell your site visitors that you don’t care about their browsing experience. In-house photos are the best option, but stock images shouldn’t cause any problems as long as they are optimized for mobile viewing and relevant to your content.

Help visitors find what they want with search tools

If your set of offerings is not expansive, a simple navigation menu ought to help visitors find what they need. However, the deeper your catalog gets, the more you’ll need additional tools. One way is to affix a search bar in your header so that people can use keywords to scour your site. Another way is to engage visitors via chat. You can preprogram a chatbot to ask questions that narrow down a visitor’s intention, or you can have a live agent address a visitor’s concerns in real time.

The more helpful your website is, the more it will foster trust in your brand and make visitors more likely to do business with you.

Extra tip:
Reduce the number of clicks a visitor has to make to achieve their objectives. For instance, eschew using the “Read more” link on product descriptions on product details pages. Visitors dive into a product page because they’re interested in fully learning more about the product, and the “Read more” link just hinders them from doing so.

Present your case clearly with good copywriting

The last thing you want to do is to confuse and frustrate your customers, so it’s important to keep all of your product or service descriptions as straightforward and simple as possible. If what you’re selling has detailed information, such as dimensions or technical requirements, make sure that they’re easy to read and are typed out.

Don’t use screenshots of information tables because web visitors compare offerings by collating information from different sellers. If your information is displayed in the form of an image, you’ll force users to type the info themselves. You’ll immediately lose the ones who don’t want that sort of hassle.

Let visitors get to know your company better in the About Us page

Your brand needs a story behind it that customers can relate to. Every company website should have an About Us page that describes your team, your company culture, and what sets you apart from the competition. Whatever your story is, make sure it’s accessible from any page on your site.

Hire a professional web designer

If your budget is tight, there are DIY site builders specifically geared toward small businesses. Or for a relatively low monthly fee, you can hire a managed website provider. A website provider will take care of:

  • Form – They’ll make your site look impressive on any screen size.
  • Function – The provider will ensure that your site is easy to use and works as expected, whether you’re using a keypad and mouse or just your finger or stylus.
  • Fixes – If something in your site is broken or you want to make changes to it (such as integrating an appointment scheduling app), they will handle it for you.

With more revenue originating online, small- and medium-sized business owners can’t afford to overlook the importance of creating a fully functional website. For more information on building a modern website, call us today!

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Here’s how you can wow website visitors

Much like how we’re turned off by professionals who look disheveled, we leave websites that look ugly and messy. Follow our tips to get your website cleaned up nicely and make it ready to convert customers.

Make a statement with professional photographs

Before site visitors read what’s on your website, they assess it by checking out your images. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, but are those words truly what you want to convey to your audience?

Blurry, outdated, or irrelevant pictures tell your site visitors that you don’t care about their browsing experience. In-house photos are the best option, but stock images shouldn’t cause any problems as long as they are optimized for mobile viewing and relevant to your content.

Help visitors find what they want with search tools

If your set of offerings is not expansive, a simple navigation menu ought to help visitors find what they need. However, the deeper your catalog gets, the more you’ll need additional tools. One way is to affix a search bar in your header so that people can use keywords to scour your site. Another way is to engage visitors via chat. You can preprogram a chatbot to ask questions that narrow down a visitor’s intention, or you can have a live agent address a visitor’s concerns in real time.

The more helpful your website is, the more it will foster trust in your brand and make visitors more likely to do business with you.

Extra tip:
Reduce the number of clicks a visitor has to make to achieve their objectives. For instance, eschew using the “Read more” link on product descriptions on product details pages. Visitors dive into a product page because they’re interested in fully learning more about the product, and the “Read more” link just hinders them from doing so.

Present your case clearly with good copywriting

The last thing you want to do is to confuse and frustrate your customers, so it’s important to keep all of your product or service descriptions as straightforward and simple as possible. If what you’re selling has detailed information, such as dimensions or technical requirements, make sure that they’re easy to read and are typed out.

Don’t use screenshots of information tables because web visitors compare offerings by collating information from different sellers. If your information is displayed in the form of an image, you’ll force users to type the info themselves. You’ll immediately lose the ones who don’t want that sort of hassle.

Let visitors get to know your company better in the About Us page

Your brand needs a story behind it that customers can relate to. Every company website should have an About Us page that describes your team, your company culture, and what sets you apart from the competition. Whatever your story is, make sure it’s accessible from any page on your site.

Hire a professional web designer

If your budget is tight, there are DIY site builders specifically geared toward small businesses. Or for a relatively low monthly fee, you can hire a managed website provider. A website provider will take care of:

  • Form – They’ll make your site look impressive on any screen size.
  • Function – The provider will ensure that your site is easy to use and works as expected, whether you’re using a keypad and mouse or just your finger or stylus.
  • Fixes – If something in your site is broken or you want to make changes to it (such as integrating an appointment scheduling app), they will handle it for you.

With more revenue originating online, small- and medium-sized business owners can’t afford to overlook the importance of creating a fully functional website. For more information on building a modern website, call us today!

Posted in Business, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Top tips for making your website look awesome

Like people, websites also need to be dressed for success. Here’s how you can make yours look impressive and have visitors eager to do business with you.

Make a statement with professional photographs

Before site visitors read what’s on your website, they assess it by checking out your images. A picture is indeed worth a thousand words, but are those words truly what you want to convey to your audience?

Blurry, outdated, or irrelevant pictures tell your site visitors that you don’t care about their browsing experience. In-house photos are the best option, but stock images shouldn’t cause any problems as long as they are optimized for mobile viewing and relevant to your content.

Help visitors find what they want with search tools

If your set of offerings is not expansive, a simple navigation menu ought to help visitors find what they need. However, the deeper your catalog gets, the more you’ll need additional tools. One way is to affix a search bar in your header so that people can use keywords to scour your site. Another way is to engage visitors via chat. You can preprogram a chatbot to ask questions that narrow down a visitor’s intention, or you can have a live agent address a visitor’s concerns in real time.

The more helpful your website is, the more it will foster trust in your brand and make visitors more likely to do business with you.

Extra tip:
Reduce the number of clicks a visitor has to make to achieve their objectives. For instance, eschew using the “Read more” link on product descriptions on product details pages. Visitors dive into a product page because they’re interested in fully learning more about the product, and the “Read more” link just hinders them from doing so.

Present your case clearly with good copywriting

The last thing you want to do is to confuse and frustrate your customers, so it’s important to keep all of your product or service descriptions as straightforward and simple as possible. If what you’re selling has detailed information, such as dimensions or technical requirements, make sure that they’re easy to read and are typed out.

Don’t use screenshots of information tables because web visitors compare offerings by collating information from different sellers. If your information is displayed in the form of an image, you’ll force users to type the info themselves. You’ll immediately lose the ones who don’t want that sort of hassle.

Let visitors get to know your company better in the About Us page

Your brand needs a story behind it that customers can relate to. Every company website should have an About Us page that describes your team, your company culture, and what sets you apart from the competition. Whatever your story is, make sure it’s accessible from any page on your site.

Hire a professional web designer

If your budget is tight, there are DIY site builders specifically geared toward small businesses. Or for a relatively low monthly fee, you can hire a managed website provider. A website provider will take care of:

  • Form – They’ll make your site look impressive on any screen size.
  • Function – The provider will ensure that your site is easy to use and works as expected, whether you’re using a keypad and mouse or just your finger or stylus.
  • Fixes – If something in your site is broken or you want to make changes to it (such as integrating an appointment scheduling app), they will handle it for you.

With more revenue originating online, small- and medium-sized business owners can’t afford to overlook the importance of creating a fully functional website. For more information on building a modern website, call us today!

Posted in Business, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Turn off invasive Windows 10 settings in four steps

Windows 10 has become the operating system (OS) of choice among business and personal users. Despite the many improvements to the OS that Microsoft has rolled out, Windows 10 isn’t perfect. In fact, many users have complained about its intrusive default privacy settings. Luckily, you can easily turn these settings off to ensure your privacy.

Turn off personalized advertising

Windows 10 assigns each user an advertising ID to personalize their ad experience based on their recent browser history. You can turn off the advertising ID feature by doing the following:

  1. Click Start > Settings > Privacy > General.
  2. Toggle off the option “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.” This will reset your advertising ID.
  3. If you don’t want to receive locally relevant content from websites, toggle off the option “Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list.”

Disable Cortana

Microsoft has ventured into the market of voice-controlled virtual assistants with Cortana. This personal assistant allows users to set reminders, schedule events, and send emails, among other tasks. Every time you use Cortana, it collects information about your computer activity — “learning” it, so to speak — to improve user experience. But if you find this feature intrusive, you can disable Cortana completely with these steps:

  1. Search for the Windows Registry editor in the Windows search bar, or press Windows + R, type “regedit,” and click OK.
  2. Copy and paste HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows into the address bar at the top.
  3. Look for the Windows Search folder. If it doesn’t exist, create it by right-clicking the right-hand pane, then choose New > Key. Rename the folder “Windows Search”.
  4. Select the Windows Search folder, then right-click the right-hand pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  5. Name it “Allow Cortana,” and make sure the Value Data is set to zero.
  6. Restart your computer.

Stop peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing

Windows 10’s P2P file sharing feature enables your PC to share downloaded updates with other Windows 10 users by default. This helps other users update their systems faster and speeds up your upgrade downloads. To turn it off, do the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered.
  2. Note that the default setting is “Updates from more than one place.” If you want to disable this feature entirely, toggle off this option. If you want to share your files with PCs on your home network, leave this feature on and select PCs on my local network.

Change Microsoft’s Edge settings

Microsoft’s relaunched browser is chock-full of features, such as web experience personalization and typing prediction. Such features may make you uncomfortable since they all send back data to Microsoft. Here’s how to turn them off:

  1. Open Edge and click on the menu icon (three dots) in the upper right corner.
  2. Next, click on Settings > Privacy and services. Scroll down and switch on the “Send ‘Do Not Track’ requests” option.

There’s also a bunch of privacy and services settings that you may want to disable, such as tracking services, navigation error resolution, block potentially unwanted apps, and more.

For more tips on keeping Microsoft from tracking your online activity and more information about how to safeguard your security and privacy, drop us a line today. Our experts will be more than happy to help!

Posted in General Articles A, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

A guide to disabling Windows 10’s invasive settings

Do you feel like your online activity is being spied on? That’s because it probably is — but not by cybercriminals as you might think. It’s more likely that it’s your operating system that’s doing the spying and giving away information about you. Learn more about Windows 10’s not-so-private settings and how to fix them to ensure your privacy.

Turn off personalized advertising

Windows 10 assigns each user an advertising ID to personalize their ad experience based on their recent browser history. You can turn off the advertising ID feature by doing the following:

  1. Click Start > Settings > Privacy > General.
  2. Toggle off the option “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.” This will reset your advertising ID.
  3. If you don’t want to receive locally relevant content from websites, toggle off the option “Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list.”

Disable Cortana

Microsoft has ventured into the market of voice-controlled virtual assistants with Cortana. This personal assistant allows users to set reminders, schedule events, and send emails, among other tasks. Every time you use Cortana, it collects information about your computer activity — “learning” it, so to speak — to improve user experience. But if you find this feature intrusive, you can disable Cortana completely with these steps:

  1. Search for the Windows Registry editor in the Windows search bar, or press Windows + R, type “regedit,” and click OK.
  2. Copy and paste HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows into the address bar at the top.
  3. Look for the Windows Search folder. If it doesn’t exist, create it by right-clicking the right-hand pane, then choose New > Key. Rename the folder “Windows Search”.
  4. Select the Windows Search folder, then right-click the right-hand pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  5. Name it “Allow Cortana,” and make sure the Value Data is set to zero.
  6. Restart your computer.

Stop peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing

Windows 10’s P2P file sharing feature enables your PC to share downloaded updates with other Windows 10 users by default. This helps other users update their systems faster and speeds up your upgrade downloads. To turn it off, do the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered.
  2. Note that the default setting is “Updates from more than one place.” If you want to disable this feature entirely, toggle off this option. If you want to share your files with PCs on your home network, leave this feature on and select PCs on my local network.

Change Microsoft’s Edge settings

Microsoft’s relaunched browser is chock-full of features, such as web experience personalization and typing prediction. Such features may make you uncomfortable since they all send back data to Microsoft. Here’s how to turn them off:

  1. Open Edge and click on the menu icon (three dots) in the upper right corner.
  2. Next, click on Settings > Privacy and services. Scroll down and switch on the “Send ‘Do Not Track’ requests” option.

There’s also a bunch of privacy and services settings that you may want to disable, such as tracking services, navigation error resolution, block potentially unwanted apps, and more.

For more tips on keeping Microsoft from tracking your online activity and more information about how to safeguard your security and privacy, drop us a line today. Our experts will be more than happy to help!

Posted in General Articles C, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Ensure your privacy in Windows 10

Windows 10 helps users by giving useful suggestions as they type and by displaying ads based on their online searches. But these can feel invasive after a while. To ensure your privacy and keep Microsoft’s watchful eye off your computer activity, follow these tips.

Turn off personalized advertising

Windows 10 assigns each user an advertising ID to personalize their ad experience based on their recent browser history. You can turn off the advertising ID feature by doing the following:

  1. Click Start > Settings > Privacy > General.
  2. Toggle off the option “Let apps use my advertising ID for experiences across apps.” This will reset your advertising ID.
  3. If you don’t want to receive locally relevant content from websites, toggle off the option “Let websites provide locally relevant content by accessing my language list.”

Disable Cortana

Microsoft has ventured into the market of voice-controlled virtual assistants with Cortana. This personal assistant allows users to set reminders, schedule events, and send emails, among other tasks. Every time you use Cortana, it collects information about your computer activity — “learning” it, so to speak — to improve user experience. But if you find this feature intrusive, you can disable Cortana completely with these steps:

  1. Search for the Windows Registry editor in the Windows search bar, or press Windows + R, type “regedit,” and click OK.
  2. Copy and paste HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows into the address bar at the top.
  3. Look for the Windows Search folder. If it doesn’t exist, create it by right-clicking the right-hand pane, then choose New > Key. Rename the folder “Windows Search”.
  4. Select the Windows Search folder, then right-click the right-hand pane and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  5. Name it “Allow Cortana,” and make sure the Value Data is set to zero.
  6. Restart your computer.

Stop peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing

Windows 10’s P2P file sharing feature enables your PC to share downloaded updates with other Windows 10 users by default. This helps other users update their systems faster and speeds up your upgrade downloads. To turn it off, do the following:

  1. Go to Settings > Update and Security > Windows Update > Advanced Options > Choose how updates are delivered.
  2. Note that the default setting is “Updates from more than one place.” If you want to disable this feature entirely, toggle off this option. If you want to share your files with PCs on your home network, leave this feature on and select PCs on my local network.

Change Microsoft’s Edge settings

Microsoft’s relaunched browser is chock-full of features, such as web experience personalization and typing prediction. Such features may make you uncomfortable since they all send back data to Microsoft. Here’s how to turn them off:

  1. Open Edge and click on the menu icon (three dots) in the upper right corner.
  2. Next, click on Settings > Privacy and services. Scroll down and switch on the “Send ‘Do Not Track’ requests” option.

There’s also a bunch of privacy and services settings that you may want to disable, such as tracking services, navigation error resolution, block potentially unwanted apps, and more.

For more tips on keeping Microsoft from tracking your online activity and more information about how to safeguard your security and privacy, drop us a line today. Our experts will be more than happy to help!

Posted in General Articles B, Windows | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Monitoring your employees online: Is it a good idea?

The question of monitoring your employees’ computers is a tricky one. Some say such a practice is unethical. But it can also be a way to prevent data breaches. Find out the pros and cons of monitoring your employees’ online behavior by reading this blog. And should you decide your business needs employee monitoring, we have some helpful tips on how to implement it.

The case for monitoring

Here are several reasons why monitoring your employees’ activities on company devices is a good idea. It can help you:

  • Protect your organization from data theft or harm – because careless or disgruntled employees may leak or steal your data.
  • Ensure you have a harassment-free workplace – because cyberharassment (sexual or otherwise) happens among employees.
  • Ensure members of your staff comply with policies – such as not downloading illegal programs or spending time on websites with illegal or hostile content.
  • Provide evidence in case of a lawsuit – should an employee participate in illegal activities using your business’s computers (heaven forbid!), monitoring their device can provide evidence of their involvement.

Sadly, many business owners who monitor their employees often discover that their staff members aren’t focused solely on the company’s success.

Arguments against employee monitoring

Of course, you should also be aware of the potential downsides to monitoring. These include:

  • Productivity loss – monitoring can put a damper on employee morale, and you may see the distrust leading to productivity losses.
  • Lost privacy and lawsuits – you’ll likely learn personal details about your employees that you would’ve never known about had you not monitored them. You may discover their political or religious views, sexual orientation, or medical problems. This subjects your business to potential privacy or discrimination issues if you or your management team acts negatively based on any of this information.

Monitoring guidelines to follow

If you decide to monitor your employees, here are a few tips you should follow.

1. Create written policies
When you monitor your employees, ask yourself: “Am I doing this for security purposes? Is it to ensure my employees aren’t wasting time on games or social media?” If your monitoring policies are too strict, you could create an atmosphere of distrust.

Set guidelines for acceptable use of email and social media, web browsing, instant messaging, and downloading software and apps. Also, make sure to include how monitoring will be carried out and how data will be used, secured, and destroyed.

2. Tell your employees
It’s important to inform your employees about the scope of your monitoring policies. If they find out you’re doing it secretly, you could face legal issues. By being transparent, you may actually see a boost in productivity by deterring employees from wasting time on the web.

When you tell your employees, explain why you’re doing it and the risks your business faces from misuse of digital assets. Reassure them you’re not doing it to spy on their personal life, but to create a compliant and law-abiding workplace. Because their activities will now be less private, encourage your staff to use their smartphones for personal matters. Also, provide your employees a copy of your written policy for them to read and sign.

3. Get the right technology tools
You don’t need to know each and every employee activity, so look for apps and software that alert you of the most relevant problems, so you can focus on more important tasks.

If implemented correctly, employee monitoring makes your business more secure and productive. For more information about security and other IT support tools, get in touch with us today.

Posted in General Articles C, Security | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Guidelines on monitoring your employees’ online activities

There are advantages and disadvantages to monitoring your employees’ online behavior. Below is an honest and transparent list of arguments for and against such a practice. However, should you decide to monitor your employees, we have some guidelines for you to follow for a smooth implementation process.

The case for monitoring

Here are several reasons why monitoring your employees’ activities on company devices is a good idea. It can help you:

  • Protect your organization from data theft or harm – because careless or disgruntled employees may leak or steal your data.
  • Ensure you have a harassment-free workplace – because cyberharassment (sexual or otherwise) happens among employees.
  • Ensure members of your staff comply with policies – such as not downloading illegal programs or spending time on websites with illegal or hostile content.
  • Provide evidence in case of a lawsuit – should an employee participate in illegal activities using your business’s computers (heaven forbid!), monitoring their device can provide evidence of their involvement.

Sadly, many business owners who monitor their employees often discover that their staff members aren’t focused solely on the company’s success.

Arguments against employee monitoring

Of course, you should also be aware of the potential downsides to monitoring. These include:

  • Productivity loss – monitoring can put a damper on employee morale, and you may see the distrust leading to productivity losses.
  • Lost privacy and lawsuits – you’ll likely learn personal details about your employees that you would’ve never known about had you not monitored them. You may discover their political or religious views, sexual orientation, or medical problems. This subjects your business to potential privacy or discrimination issues if you or your management team acts negatively based on any of this information.

Monitoring guidelines to follow

If you decide to monitor your employees, here are a few tips you should follow.

1. Create written policies
When you monitor your employees, ask yourself: “Am I doing this for security purposes? Is it to ensure my employees aren’t wasting time on games or social media?” If your monitoring policies are too strict, you could create an atmosphere of distrust.

Set guidelines for acceptable use of email and social media, web browsing, instant messaging, and downloading software and apps. Also, make sure to include how monitoring will be carried out and how data will be used, secured, and destroyed.

2. Tell your employees
It’s important to inform your employees about the scope of your monitoring policies. If they find out you’re doing it secretly, you could face legal issues. By being transparent, you may actually see a boost in productivity by deterring employees from wasting time on the web.

When you tell your employees, explain why you’re doing it and the risks your business faces from misuse of digital assets. Reassure them you’re not doing it to spy on their personal life, but to create a compliant and law-abiding workplace. Because their activities will now be less private, encourage your staff to use their smartphones for personal matters. Also, provide your employees a copy of your written policy for them to read and sign.

3. Get the right technology tools
You don’t need to know each and every employee activity, so look for apps and software that alert you of the most relevant problems, so you can focus on more important tasks.

If implemented correctly, employee monitoring makes your business more secure and productive. For more information about security and other IT support tools, get in touch with us today.

Posted in General Articles B, Security | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Should you monitor your employees’ online activities?

To monitor or not to monitor — that is the question. Employee monitoring is a touchy subject. If you’ve ever considered it, then you may ask yourself if it is a good idea for an employer to check on their staff’s online activities. Below are the pros and cons of employee monitoring, and some helpful tips should you push through with it.

The case for monitoring

Here are several reasons why monitoring your employees’ activities on company devices is a good idea. It can help you:

  • Protect your organization from data theft or harm – because careless or disgruntled employees may leak or steal your data.
  • Ensure you have a harassment-free workplace – because cyberharassment (sexual or otherwise) happens among employees.
  • Ensure members of your staff comply with policies – such as not downloading illegal programs or spending time on websites with illegal or hostile content.
  • Provide evidence in case of a lawsuit – should an employee participate in illegal activities using your business’s computers (heaven forbid!), monitoring their device can provide evidence of their involvement.

Sadly, many business owners who monitor their employees often discover that their staff members aren’t focused solely on the company’s success.

Arguments against employee monitoring

Of course, you should also be aware of the potential downsides to monitoring. These include:

  • Productivity loss – monitoring can put a damper on employee morale, and you may see the distrust leading to productivity losses.
  • Lost privacy and lawsuits – you’ll likely learn personal details about your employees that you would’ve never known about had you not monitored them. You may discover their political or religious views, sexual orientation, or medical problems. This subjects your business to potential privacy or discrimination issues if you or your management team acts negatively based on any of this information.

Monitoring guidelines to follow

If you decide to monitor your employees, here are a few tips you should follow.

1. Create written policies
When you monitor your employees, ask yourself: “Am I doing this for security purposes? Is it to ensure my employees aren’t wasting time on games or social media?” If your monitoring policies are too strict, you could create an atmosphere of distrust.

Set guidelines for acceptable use of email and social media, web browsing, instant messaging, and downloading software and apps. Also, make sure to include how monitoring will be carried out and how data will be used, secured, and destroyed.

2. Tell your employees
It’s important to inform your employees about the scope of your monitoring policies. If they find out you’re doing it secretly, you could face legal issues. By being transparent, you may actually see a boost in productivity by deterring employees from wasting time on the web.

When you tell your employees, explain why you’re doing it and the risks your business faces from misuse of digital assets. Reassure them you’re not doing it to spy on their personal life, but to create a compliant and law-abiding workplace. Because their activities will now be less private, encourage your staff to use their smartphones for personal matters. Also, provide your employees a copy of your written policy for them to read and sign.

3. Get the right technology tools
You don’t need to know each and every employee activity, so look for apps and software that alert you of the most relevant problems, so you can focus on more important tasks.

If implemented correctly, employee monitoring makes your business more secure and productive. For more information about security and other IT support tools, get in touch with us today.

Posted in General Articles A, Security | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Prevent hackers from stealing healthcare data

Advances in IT have transformed paper medical records into digital files that can easily be accessed and stored. Sadly, this development has also resulted in sensitive healthcare data, or personal health information (PHI), becoming a bigger target for hackers. Because of this, healthcare providers must remain vigilant against all forms of cyberattacks.

From financial information to medical information

In the past few years, cybercriminals have focused on stealing financial data, including credit card numbers, online banking credentials, and other personal information. But things are taking a turn, with financial institutions fortifying their database security and raising client awareness on the growing problems.

Stronger data protection measures in the financial industry have forced criminals to turn their attention to medical data, which is typically much less secure. Patient data includes date of birth, medical and physical records, and social security number — information that can’t be easily reset, and is significantly more valuable than credit card data.

Securing healthcare data

Healthcare data has become more attractive to criminals, and it’s crucial that medical institutions take necessary precautions to secure their patients’ information from data thieves. Here are some best practices to secure those pieces of information:

  • Encrypt healthcare data – Encryption translates patients’ data into code that only authorized users with a decryption key can decode. Multi-encryption is also an effective way to keep out intruders.
  • Protect your network and Wi-Fi – Because hackers use a variety of tools to break into IT systems and obtain medical records, your healthcare organization needs to invest in the best security solutions, including firewalls and antivirus software. Also worth considering is network segregation, which blocks attackers’ attempts to penetrate your networks to steal an organization’s information.
  • Educate employees – Staff members need to be trained in various areas of information security. Regularly conduct cybersecurity training sessions that cover policies such as setting strong passwords, implementing spam filters, protecting against phishing scams, and spotting different kinds of data breach methods.
  • Secure physical locations – Most healthcare institutions still retain their patients’ records on paper and store them in cabinets. Ensure that all loopholes are covered by installing surveillance cameras and other physical security controls, such as electronic door locks. Enforce strict rules about granting access to high-risk offices containing sensitive data only to authorized personnel.

It is important for healthcare providers to secure sensitive patient data. Learn how your organization can better protect your patients’ information by giving us a call.

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