Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Learn How to Secure your database from information leaks


Secure Your Database from Information Leaks 

Locks, alarms, and cameras can help safeguard your facilities and equipment.  But what about your computer databases—the places where valuable, sensitive, and potentially irreplaceable assets of your small business are stored?

It may be easy to assume that Internet firewalls and PC passwords are enough to prevent unauthorized access.  But according to Fredric Paul, publisher and editor-in-chief of bMighty.com, an online resource that specializes in the IT needs of small and medium-sized businesses, database breaches from both external and internal sources are increasing at an alarming rate.  

“Small businesses face a higher risk because they usually lack the IT security infrastructure and expertise of larger, but no less vulnerable, corporations,” Paul explains.  “Because small businesses also lack the resources and expertise to detect and respond quickly to a breach, the consequences of unauthorized access are greater as well.”

Here are some steps for keeping your small business database as safe as possible:

Enable security capabilities.  Many off-the-shelf databases have only limited default security controls.  Make sure that all authentication controls are enabled, and avoid using common passwords for user and administrator accounts.
 
Give the database a security check-up.  Before entering any data, make no unwanted or unnecessary sharing features are activated by default.  Check the software developer’s website every few months to ensure that your version is up-to-date with all the latest security patches.   

Restrict database access.  Even if you have a small, trusted staff, access to the database should be limited to a need-to-know basis.  This will prevent passwords and other important information from being misused or unintentionally shared.  It also provides an extra measure of safety in the event today’s colleague becomes tomorrow’s competitor. 

Make regular backups.  Depending on the size and extent of your small business databases, back-ups should be made on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.  The data should be stored in encrypted format to further minimize its value to a data thief.  Back-ups should also be kept at a secure, off-site location in the event your normal place of business become inaccessible due to weather, fire, or natural disaster. 

Keep track of trends.  Even if you don’t consider yourself a computer whiz, safeguarding IT resources is easier when you take a proactive approach.  Resources such as bMighty.com can provide valuable information and tips for ensuring your system stays in step with your small business’s needs.
 
To learn more about safeguarding your small business’s physical and electronic assets, contact SCORE “Counselors to America's Small Business.”  SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners.  Call 610-327-2673 for the Pottstown SCORE chapter, or find a Pottstown counselor online at http://www.pottstownscore.org/.

The Four Seasons of Your Start-Up - Winter

Just in time for the snow comes the Winter installment of The Four Seasons of Your Start-Up. Learn what steps are next, and as Wayne Barz points out, remember after the dormant days of winter comes the new growth of spring.  So get ready and learn what to do to make your business successful at this stage in the game.

http://techonomicman.com/2012/11/05/the-four-seasons-of-your-start-upwinter/

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2012 SCORE Appreciation Dinner

Pottstown SCORE would like to share a video of the Appreciation Dinner they held Saturday, October 13th at the Bellewood Golf Club.  One of the many joys of being a SCORE member.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Four Seasons of Your Start Up- Autumn

Time for the third installment of the blog by Wayne Barz on the Fours Seasons of Your Start Up.  In this installment Wayne discusses what steps should be taken to ensure all the work you have put into making your business successful are not in vain. Business has grown but now what do you do?  Are you still working on growing your business but want to plan ahead for the future? Just click here to find out all the answers and more!

You can also reach the blog by using the URL listed below
http://techonomicman.com/2012/10/15/the-four-seasons-of-your-start-upautumn/

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SCORE Workshops; How to Start a Business

It's that time again for the knowledgeable people of SCORE to share their knowledge and experience with You!  Have you decided to open your own business but don't know what to do?  Are you planning to open a business in the future but don't have any idea where to start?  SCORE has some answers for you.  Starting Monday Nov. 5th SCORE will begin their How to Start and Operate a Small Business workshops.  Their are four workshops total beginning with the legal and tax aspect of business and ending with how to turn a profit.  Workshops are Monday nights from 7-9:30pm in Suite 360 of the Tri-County Area Chamber of Commerce Conference Center, 152 E. High Street in Pottstown.  Sign up for all four workshops and receive the course book and materials FREE, or you can simply choose which workshops are best for you.  It's your choice! Seats are limited so registration is required.

Workshop Brochure PDF (For Adobe Reader):
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B_PQt-OzKfq-cjhqMU9jUExtdlE

Workshop Brochure (Google Doc for those without Adobe PDF Reader): https://docs.google.com/document/d/12dR-VwdyLnqTfN8aWxp64DBjzCz0sXP7FgSdNKR1IQ0/edit

Online Registration: http://www.pottstownscore.org/OnlineRegistrationForm/form.html


For more information contact your Pottstown SCORE chapter at (610) 327-2673 or by email at info@pottstownscore.org




Friday, October 5, 2012

The Four Season's of Your Start-Up - Summertime

It's time for the second installment of the blog series that Don so graciously shared with everyone last month.  Although we are moving into Winter, wouldn't it be nice to remember that Summertime Heat.  Learn how to Heat up your business with this next installment and how to avoid getting burned.

You can also reach this page by clicking the URL below
http://techonomicman.com/2012/09/26/the-four-seasons-of-your-start-upsummertime/

When It Comes to Customer Service, Small is Beautiful   

Size isn’t everything, especially for providing value to customers. 

This important fact can help distinguish small “mom and pop” businesses from big box chain stores. It gives them a powerful competitive advantage in an age when more consumers crave and expect a high level of service and responsiveness. 

Your position at the “front lines” of your business gives you direct access to your customers’ needs, attitudes, and opinions.  You know the kinds of products or services they want, when they want them, and how best to deliver them. 

To gain these valuable insights, you need to proactively assess what you do and should be doing to keep customers coming back, rather than tempting them to try the “big store” down the street. 

Start by putting yourself in your customers’ place.  How would you like to be treated if you were a first-time customer or a “regular?”  Also consider conveniences.  What can you do to make it easier to find items and check out, rather than having to navigate a big-box store’s aisles and cashier lines?

Also visit other stores and service centers, including those unrelated to your business.  See what they do that you find appealing, and adapt those practices to enhance your business’s customer experience.  Similarly, watch for aspects you don’t like, but be sure to understand the reasons behind problems or poor service, such as understaffing and limited inventory.  This will help prevent similar problems from arising in your business.

How you connect with customers by phone or email will also help differentiate your small business from the sometimes bureaucratic nature of big-box chains.  Answer calls promptly and with a friendly greeting.  Avoid putting callers on hold for longer than a minute; take a message and respond as soon as possible.  If you use an automated answering system, your customer service line should be one of the first options. 

Although it may be impractical to handle email inquiries as they arrive, don’t let them sit for too long.  Some email systems automatically generate a response to acknowledge the message.  Make sure the text is upbeat and friendly—again, the kind of message you’d want to receive.   A promise to respond within 24 hours may not be enough.  Designate certain times during the day to handle email queries, or assign the responsibility to an employee.  
 
The best tactic for gaining a competitive edge is to contact SCORE "Counselors to America's Small Business." SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call 610-327-2673 for the Pottstown SCORE chapter, or find a Pottstown counselor online at http://www.pottstownscore.org/.