IT Support: Protect your Small Business

a woman in glasses is looking at her cell phone

Often times, the largest holes in a business are created by employees. There is no surefire prevention method for employee errors. This is why one small or big human error can cause a breach of security. In order to reduce any risks in your workplace, Bluewater Technologies wants to suggest some policies. You should consider implementing these if you want to protect your small business.

Protect your Small Business Data

Do you allow your employees to complete work-related assignments on their own devices? Whether you do so or not, it is still important that your workplace has a policy regarding BYOD. If you have some employees who are not fully aware of where the company stands on bringing their own devices, you may have some who are using their own devices. Establishing a policy for BYOD and adding it to an updated handbook will leave no doubt about where you stand on BYOD. You should also make sure your employees understand that data on any workplace system belongs to the business. Employees will not be able to remove any data from the business properly without being authorized to do so. 


We know there have been many discussions about passwords and the importance of creating one that is complex. Unfortunately, many employees still create passwords that are easy for someone to hack. If your business does get hacked due to an employee using a simple password, the entire business will be at stake. A password policy can explain the importance of complex passwords. Additionally, encourage your employees to avoid using passwords that are easy to crack.

World Wide Web

Employees spend quite some time on the Internet on a daily basis. In order for you to ensure none of your employees are putting your business at risk, we encourage you to create an internet policy. Your policy prohibits any downloads that have not been authorized or it can restrict various websites during work hours. You may also want to include policies related to using business laptops, mobile devices, etc. on networks outside of the workplace. Especially if those networks are public.

We understand how complex it can be to create internet policies, password policies, and more. However, taking the steps to ensure your business is safe is important to keep hackers away. If you think your business needs to make changes in regards to security practices or if you need proper IT support to protect your business, do not hesitate to contact us today.

Data Security Methods

a pair of glasses sitting on top of a laptop computer

The internet is a commodity with several different ways of accessing it — but be careful. Although the internet is easy to access, one may be exposing personal information in ways that compromise data security.

Some of the most common ways that people can access the internet are through cellular technology, WiFi, and dial-up. However, dial-up internet users are dwindling. With the threat of cybercrime on the rise, these avenues through which the internet is accessed should be evaluated periodically for security holes by which criminals attempt to take advantage of the privacy of internet users. Evaluating data encryption (security) options and determining a budget for it can be daunting. Consider the scheme below to exemplify this point.


Accessing the internet through WiFcan be done in one of two basic ways with regard to security. One way is if the WiFi network being used requires a password to access it. This password implies that data on the WiFi network is encrypted. Therefore protected from prying eyes, for the most part. However, once the data leaves that network and goes out to the internet, it can be open for anybody to see depending on the website being accessed — websites using addresses with the prefix ‘https‘ are safe to use (the ‘s‘ must be there). 

No Password

The second way of accessing the internet through a WiFi network is if no password is used. Data therein will be open for everyone to see all the way through to the destination. However, if the websites accessed use the ‘HTTPS in the prefix of the website address, the data will be protected all the way through. Regardless of whether a password is required to access the WiFi network.  

The above is simply stated regarding the security of WiFi data transfer. Even within this simple description, one can see that protecting computer data over a network and the internet can be complicated. Different networks used to access the internet, other than WiFi, can require different types of encryption protocols. This depends on what the needs of a user or business are.  It might be best to acquire the services of professionals to assist in the process. 

Please contact us for assistance in determining appropriate data security and transfer methods.

Computer Tip of the Day – The New USB Restricted Mode for iOS

a person using a tablet on a table

Many people use their iPhones or iPads to conduct business while on the go.  While these types of devices offer great convenience and flexibility, they are often more prone to theft and potential hacking outside of an employee’s place of work.  If you use an iPad or iPhone for job-related activities, read on to learn more about what Apple’s USB restricted mode feature entails and how to access it.

What is USB Restricted Mode?

Apple recently added a new security feature to their iOS. It prevents anyone from attempting to connect to one of their iPad or iPhone devices from a USB device. This feature can come into play when the device has been locked for more than an hour. Or an hour from the time the device was last disconnected from a trusted USB accessory.  Essentially this reduces an Apple device to a dumb battery pack. It also does not allow it to be recognized as a smart device.  No data communication is allowed while the device is in USB-restricted mode.

The Right iOS

For those who find this feature appealing, you’ll have to make sure you have the right iOS.  To check to see what iOS your device is currently using, go under Settings > General > Software Update. If you are currently using Apple’s iOS 11.4.1 then you can use the USB-restricted mode feature.  If not, then you’ll need to download the latest iOS to have access to it.

How Do I Engage Restricted Mode?

If you have the proper iOS and want to see whether or not the USB restricted mode is applied to your device, click on “Settings”, then “Passcode”.  Enter your password when instructed to do so.  On the right, you should see a section entitled, “Allow Access When Locked”.  The last option listed should be, “USB Accessories”.  If you don’t want to allow USB access when your device is locked, then you should disable or turn off this feature.

If you would like more computer tips on how to safely engage in work-related activities while on the go, please contact us.

Computer Tip Of The Day: Using Two-Factor Authentication

a person is typing on a computer keyboard

Two-factor authentication can provide your workplace with an extra foundation of security. It requires extra information beyond just a username and your password to access computer accounts.

Two-Factor Authentication for Emails

Two-step authentication will require a combination of a username and a password, in addition to an extra piece of information that includes a security code that will be sent to a mobile device. Adding an extra layer of security to an email account is one of the biggest improvements that can be made.

Workplace Social Media Accounts

We are aware of how popular social media accounts are in the business world, especially due to their ability to attract customers from across the world. It is important that the proper steps are taken to secure social media sites. Two-step authentication can also be used to secure social media accounts.

It is very important to always be cyber aware, even if you find it to be an inconvenience. The extra steps you take to secure your account can be the difference between having a successful business and a business that fails because it was not properly secured in the online world.

If there are various online accounts that need to be managed, it is greatly important that you take the proper steps to secure online accounts, customer data, and other vital business information.

Two-factor authentication will generally include one or more of the following:

  • One of your physical characteristics, such as your fingerprint.
  • A one-time security code that can be sent to your mobile device or email address that you will enter after you have entered your username and password. The login process will not be completed until the security code has been entered.
  • Another layer of security that can be used for identity verification is challenge questions. When choosing challenge questions, we encourage you to choose questions that may be difficult for others to answer. Avoid choosing simple challenge questions that hackers can find answers to by searching online, especially on social media.

Two-factor authentication is becoming a popular choice for many account holders in all industries. Contact us today for more information on two-factor authentication and how you can become more cyber aware.

How to Store Technology During Employee Turnover

two computer monitors sitting on top of a wooden desk

Even in small companies, turnover can be a frequent issue and any laptops or tablets you provide for employee use can go days or weeks in between owners. Developing a standard procedure to store technology doesn’t only help keep them secure; it helps keep them in good condition physically.

What steps should you take when storing the devices?

  • Store them on racks or shelves that allow for ventilation. Even if the devices aren’t in use, you don’t want to crowd them together. Some devices may be accidentally stored in sleep mode and continue to generate heat. Ventilation also helps prevent a build-up of moisture in or around the device: it’s impossible to completely dehumidify the air, but ventilation will certainly help.
  • Keep the closet or storage room insulated. This may be tricky to do if you’re renting office space, but even placing an insulation blanket over a cabinet full of laptops and tablets can help regulate the temperature. Rapid temperature fluctuations are dangerous for technology, and the temperature shifts between an increasingly chilly office at night and the heater coming on in the morning can damage your devices.
  • Let your IT service know. If your IT service company is handling your company’s licenses, they need to know to change access, switch over licenses, and deactivate accounts. They can also do a sweep of the device’s files to make sure no unusual activity occurred during a former employee’s last few days of work.

More and more companies are providing work devices for their employees, and if your company chooses to invest in that hardware it’s important to make sure it stays well-protected and functional for as many years as possible. Go to Bluewater Technologies to see what we can do to keep all of your technology safe.