The Latest IT Trend: BYOA

men-97291_150Most businesses have heard of BYOD by now. That’s “bring your own device,” and it refers to the fast-growing trend of employees bringing personally-owned smartphones, tablets, and other devices into the workplace. Along with the BYOD trend we’re now seeing BYOA, which stands for “bring your own app.” Employees who use mobile, cloud-based apps in their personal life are turning to these for business use.

The biggest advantage: productivity. The biggest concern: security.

Can You Avoid It?

Unless you have extremely rigid security policies in place, or a very tech-phobic team, your employees are almost certainly using their own devices and apps already. If you aren’t sure, ask them. Find out what phones and tablets they use, what applications they like, and what they use for work.

Most people start by accessing company email on their personal devices, or adding it to their Gmail account. As for apps, the most common examples include Evernote for note-taking and record keeping; Dropbox for file sharing; Skype for chat, phone, and video calls; Google Docs for email, document editing, and storage; and many more.

Since people are so accustomed to these apps, it’s easy to start using them for business. Maybe there’s a document they want to work on from home (Dropbox/Google Docs), or they need to connect to a co-worker while travelling (Skype), or they want to keep detailed notes in meetings (Evernote). Most people wouldn’t think twice about using apps like these to get their work done, especially if it’s easier than using whatever tools are provided by your company.

How Do You Manage It?

You can take one of three approaches: block it, ignore it, or embrace and guide it. Given the productivity benefits for employees, it doesn’t make sense to block it. If you ignore it, you are taking a huge gamble on security. That leaves one answer: embrace this trend, and guide it so that you still gain all the benefits while managing business risk.

For email, decide whether it is acceptable for staff to access it on personal devices. This isn’t as simple as it sounds. For example, hourly employees who read company email after hours should get paid for that time, so HR needs to be closely involved in these discussions. Also you need to decide how to handle email security in the event of a termination. The best practice is to create a BYOD policy that gives the employer “right to wipe” if an employee is terminated, to protect the security of company information. That means you can remotely delete all the data from their personal devices. If you go this route you need to decide what tools you will use to enforce this policy.

If you find people are regularly using file-sharing services, that’s an indication that remote access to company files is inconvenient to use. Either improve remote access capabilities, or consider moving your company file storage to one of these services. Nearly all the major file sharing services have affordable business editions. The business versions have improved security and management features over the consumer versions, so you’ll have better control over company data.

Is Skype popular in your company? That means it’s time to explore video conferencing. Skype has a premium version, or you can check out other tools like Gotomeeting.com. Video calls are more productive than conference calls, because if someone gets distracted you can see they are doing other things. They can’t simply put you on mute.

Tools that help employees manage to-do lists and note-taking tend to be based on individual preferences, so these are not areas where it makes sense to dictate company policies around which apps are acceptable. Just be sure your staff is saving company information in the appropriate places for record-keeping, and they don’t keep valuable data that you need on personal devices that you can’t control or secure.

How Do You Keep Your Company Secure?

There are many aspects of security that you need to consider. First, there is risk of viruses and malware from employees downloading files from uncontrolled locations. Many companies with strong security measures in place have been undone by an employee innocently checking their personal webmail at work and clicking on an infected email attachment. That virus can easily slip onto the servers and wreak havoc. Unless you are monitoring network traffic very carefully, you have no way to know what files employees may introduce to your network and whether they are virus-free.

If an employee loses a device with company data on it, make sure that device is encrypted and locked so that your data is protected. This holds true for company-provided devices as well. Some devices can be tracked using GPS, and you can install tracking tools or require employees to use them. If devices are being retired, including employees’ home PCs, make sure data is destroyed and is unrecoverable. Consider offering a company electronics recycling program so that you can ensure data destruction takes place.

If you are subject to regulatory compliance requirements, security is an especially serious concern. Data that is properly secured inside your network can be taken outside your network on a mobile device or cloud-based app, and that can put you at risk for regulatory issues. Review your data to determine what’s at risk and how to protect it.

There are a variety of technology tools that can help protect you, and these are crucial to a strong security policy. This includes everything from antivirus to web filters to tracking tools. However, the best way to manage security is by setting clear policies that are communicated and reinforced regularly. Provide security-awareness training to your team to help them better understand how to avoid issues and protect their (and your) information. Provide guidance on what apps are acceptable and how they can be used. Explain what data is protected by regulatory requirements. Make it clear that data security is a priority for the company, and help them understand the role they play.

 

Juicy Read: The Checklist Manifesto


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The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

By Atul Gawande

The modern world has given us   stupendous know-how. Yet avoidable failures continue to plague us. Atul Gawande argues that we can do better, using the simplest of methods: the checklist. He reveals how checklists bring about striking improvements in any field.

 

 

Save A Bundle Of Money On Taxes While Updating Outdated Computer Equipment

download (3)Here’s A Perfectly Legal Way For You To Save A Bundle Of Money On Taxes While Updating Outdated Computer Equipment,
But You Have To Act FAST…

Please forgive me for the headline if it seems a bit “sensational,” but I really needed a way to get your attention about a perfectly legal way to save quite a bit of money on taxes while updating outdated computer equipment that is going to quickly pass you by if you don’t act soon.

Thanks to the recently updated tax deduction titled “Section 179 election” (see http://www.section179.org for details), the Federal Government allows you to buy up to $25,000 in machinery, computers, software, office furniture, vehicles or other tangible goods and take the full expense deduction in the current year, thereby REDUCING your taxable income on your current year’s tax return.

It’s important to note that this is significantly less than the 2013 deduction allowances, but is still real money in your pocket! But you have to act now, as once the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, Section 179 can’t help your 2014 profits anymore. Visit our website here:

or call us today!

But Here’s How I’m Going To “Sweeten The Pot” And Help You Save Even MORE Money…

In the spirit of saving you money, I’ve decided to “sweeten the pot” and make the following offer to anyone looking to take advantage of this end-of-year deduction.

Call us before December 15, 2014, to discuss potential hardware purchases in your business, and not only will we provide you with a full action plan to implement your new technology before December 31st, we will also send you a FREE copy of the book 1001 Deductions And Tax Breaks 2014: Your Complete Guide To Everything Deductible – a smart business owner is always looking for more ways to save money!

 

8 Productivity-Boosting Tech Tips

Save a few minutes to over an hour EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even the smallest improvements, just a few seconds here and there, really add up when they are repeated over and over throughout the work week.

Buy a New Computer- If your computer takes more than a few seconds to boot up every morning, it’s time for a new one, or at least a tune-up. For best performance, replace desktop PCs every 3-4 years and laptops every 2-3 years.

Manage Email Better- Saving a few seconds every time you check email is a big deal. See article page 3.

Add Another Monitor- The easiest and cheapest way to get more done in less time. Results vary depending on the type of work you do, but one thing is clear: dual monitors are a huge productivity booster.

Encourage Remote Access- Make it easy for people to work anytime, anywhere, and give them flexibility. People will put in not only more hours, but also more productive hours because they have home life better under control.

Upgrade Your Internet- Do you use cloud-based services? Spend a lot of time online? Check out faster Internet for increased speed throughout the day.

Make Information Easier to Access- Employees spend hours every day searching for what they need. Clean up and reorganize your company’s shared data drives. Communicate the new structure to your team, and have managers enforce it. Take it further: investigate document management systems.

Chat with Instant Messaging- A quick and easy way to communicate with others inside the company. It’s more immediate and interactive than email, but less disruptive than a phone call.

Reorganize Your Desktop- Have everyone on your team reorganize their workspace to make it more efficient: make everything you do on a regular basis accessible within one to two mouse clicks.

There are always more ways technology can make your team more productive! Just ask CIO!

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Refer Our Services And We’ll Donate $100 To Your Favorite Charity!

Picture4We love having you as a client, and quite honestly, we wish we had more like you! So instead of just wishing, we’ve decided to hold a special “refer a friend” event.

Refer any company with 15 or more computers to our office to receive a FREE Computer Network Assessment (a $397 value). Once we’ve completed our initial appointment with your referral, we’ll donate $100 to your favorite charity for every referral that you’ve sent, as a small thank-you for thinking of us.

Simply call us at 314-414-8400 with your referral’s name and contact information today!

 

YES! I’m Scared About the Security of My Company’s Data!

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PLEASE Schedule a FREE Data Security and Backup Audit in My Name to Make Sure My Data is Protected from Dangerous Gremlins, Ghosts, and Goblins!

I understand that I am not obligated to do or buy anything by signing up for this offer. For free one of your technicians will schedule an appointment and conduct a data security and backup audit. Upon completion, I’ll receive a report that will show any problems, threats, or vulnerable areas that need to be addressed.

If a problem is discovered, I will receive a recommended action plan and fixed-fee quote to resolve it with no hidden fees. Again, I am under no obligation to hire you to do any work.

Need To Speak To Someone Right Away?

Call: 314-414-8400

This Halloween…Who’s Keeping An Eye On Your Computer Network?

Picture3Many business owners and managers we work with wait FAR too long to have us check and update their computer network’s health and security. Unless we are actively performing regular daily/weekly/monthly maintenance, a nasty virus, malicious hacker, unexpected software corruption, hardware failure or dozens of other problems could catch you off guard and result in extensive downtime, data loss and expensive data recovery efforts.

That’s because many businesses do not perform regular maintenance on their network and therefore are overlooking many serious threats that are increasing all the time. At some point, disaster strikes and they find themselves in a real mess, with a network down and employees sitting idle, waiting to get back to work.

By then the damage is done, and it can cost thousands of dollars to get the network back to normal, if that’s even possible. What saddens me even more is the fact that almost every one of these costly disasters could have easily been prevented if someone had checked their network’s security and health to remove these threats on a regular basis.

No More Excuses! Our Free Network Checkup Will “Exorcise”
The Demons Hiding In Your Computer Network

From now until Halloween (October 31st), we’re offering all clients and newsletter recipients a FREE Network Checkup ($497 value) so that you have no excuse for not making sure your computer network is safe and sound.

Schedule your FREE Network Checkup to “see” if you are truly safe from spyware, viruses, hackers and other SPOOKY disasters.

Call our office at 314-414-8400.

Email info@cioservicesllc.com.

OR visit the contact page on our newly redesigned website to ask for your FREE Network Checkup.

http://www.cioservicesllc.com/contact-us/