7 Basic Network Security Tips for Small Businesses

a man is looking at his laptop in the server room

Some small businesses might think it’s reasonable to assume that hackers and data thieves only go after large targets. Of course, these same criminals are well aware of this assumption, which is precisely why they know small businesses are often ripe for exploitation. According to CNBC, in 2019 small businesses were the targets of 43% of all cyberattacks, and more than half of them suffered some type of network security breach within the previous 12-month period.

Thankfully, there are some basic strategies that small businesses can employ to help them reduce their risk of ever having to experience a cyber attack.

Strong Passwords

Using a strong password is such a simple way to discourage hackers, yet many people still avoid using them.  Employers can enforce the use of strong passwords by requiring their systems to only accept passwords that consist of a combination of letters, special characters, and/or numbers, and are at least 8 characters long. For even better protection, enforcing the use of two-factor authentication provides another layer of security as it requires those attempting to log in to identify themselves by entering a code sent to their phone or email.

Network Security for your Corporate Wi-Fi

Businesses should always secure their Wi-Fi signal by requiring users to enter a password before gaining access. Leaving a Wi-Fi signal unsecured is simply another point of entry that leaves corporate software and data at risk for exploitation. 

Controlling Access

Employees should only have access to data and software on a need-to-know basis. Access to confidential information should be password protected and access to certain software applications should only be given to those required to use the software. Needless to say, a company should protect access to its network, requiring users to identify themselves before allowing access.

Encrypt Confidential Information

Some employees must use portable and removable media as part of their job responsibilities. Especially when working with confidential data, it’s important for companies to ensure that portable data is encrypted to prevent unauthorized access in the event the media becomes lost or stolen.

Disaster Recovery Planning

Companies should ask themselves if they are fully prepared if a long-term power outage should occur, or worse, an event such as a fire, flood, or some other type of natural disaster. If the answer is negative, they are overdue to get serious about developing a disaster recovery plan. Even small businesses are very dependent upon their hardware, software applications, and corporate data to conduct their daily business operations. Preparing a disaster recovery plan in advance means a company will be able to easily replace vital technology if a catastrophic event should occur.

Applying Network Security Updates/Performing Backups

Applying the latest software and hardware updates and patches allows companies to avoid malware and viruses that hackers often attach to outdated systems.  In addition, performing regular backups and making sure they can be easily restored is vital. Thus, ensuring that a company’s data is secure and readily available.

Educate Employees

Most business owners clearly understand that their ability to successfully conduct daily operations is very dependent upon having accurate and secure data to work with. However, sometimes employees may only consider how inconvenient certain security measures may make their daily tasks more challenging. Using a password of “1234” for every application they log into is convenient since it’s very easy to remember. However, weak passwords also leave business owners vulnerable to exploitation. This is where training employees on the “why” of security measures is so important. Employers can also train their employees to spot potential issues such as suspicious emails or unsecured web pages asking for confidential information.

Network Security Summary 

Companies should not feel discouraged if they find that safely and securely supporting their IT infrastructure is challenging. These types of challenges are precisely why Bluwater Technologies can help.

If you would like more information on how we can provide the technological support and security you need, please contact us.

5 Outsourcing Questions for Choosing Small Business IT Support

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One true fact is that no company in the second decade of the 21st Century does business without leveraging some type of technology. Hence, no company in this digital age doesn’t need IT support. When you’re getting your small business up and running, hiring a full-time IT professional, let alone a whole team of IT experts, is something that you probably can’t afford. Nevertheless, you cannot afford not to have an IT team, because you very much need it. What to do? Luckily, many IT service providers offer small business IT support to those companies that cannot afford to hire full-time IT professionals. If you’re considering outsourcing the IT functions of your small business to an IT service provider, then there are several crucial questions to ask your potential partner in technology.

Do you specialize in any industry?

Finding out the specific industries that your potential IT company specializes in is a crucial first step. For instance, if they make 60 percent or more of their revenue from logistics companies and you are a law firm, there are likely going to be some issues.

It’s best to outsource to an IT company that is conversant with the ins and outs of your industry and offers technology solutions that are valuable for businesses in your specific industry. An IT services provider who has enough experience in your field will understand your unique software and hardware needs. Thus will spend less time familiarizing themselves with foreign applications and more time optimizing technology for success.

What services are included in your IT support contracts?

“We cover everything” is an answer that sure sounds good, but it is not the one you are looking for. You have to ask yourself, does “everything” mean that all their services are preventative, proactive, or both?

It is important to understand your business needs beforehand, and then ask the IT provider if they offer the services that your business needs. Also, should you experience technical issues with your server that necessitate a replacement, will the replacement be covered by the contract, or will it attract additional costs?

How flexible are your outsourcing IT support options?

IT support providers offer varying degrees of support, depending on their client’s IT needs and budgets. As a small business, you not only need an IT provider that fosters company growth, but is also capable of adapting their IT services to fluctuations in your business environment.

A reliable IT support provider is one that is able to provide a variety of customizable solutions. For instance, the IT company should not only serve as your fully outsourced IT department, but it should also provide expert consulting to help create a solid IT plan that supports our company’s long-term goals.

Will we have a dedicated account manager?

It is of the essence that you know who to contact in case of IT issues. Ask your IT provider whether you should reach out to the account manager, support desk, or the IT technicians themselves. A good IT support provider is one that appoints a dedicated account manager to handle responsibilities such as answering your questions, scheduling face-to-face meetings, etc.

How much does your service cost

When talking to a prospective IT support provider, you should be able to get a very close estimate of what it will cost to manage and support your IT network. Besides providing you with an estimate, they should also give clear and understandable reasons to justify their service cost. With these estimates, you can be able to compare the provider with other prospective IT support providers to find the one that offers the level of support your business needs at a cost that you can afford.


Deciding to outsource your small business IT support services is a big smart decision. The above five questions can help you to choose the IT company that is best suited for the job.

With the right IT support company, you will be able to establish a favorable client-provider relationship and set your business up for success.

We Know The Secret To Hiring Great Employees

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At Bluwater Technologies, we understand employees are one of the most important assets of a company, especially when a company provides services that require a high level of commitment to corporate clients. We are dedicated to hiring employees who possess not only a high degree of technical skills and knowledge but who are effective problem solvers as well. By following a well-rounded evaluation assessment plan for each prospective employee, we are able to have an “extra edge” when it comes to hiring only those who are able to meet, as well as exceed customer expectations.

Beyond Skills

Of course, we recognize it is vitally important for any prospective employee to possess a high level of technical knowledge and skills in order to provide outstanding service to our clients. However, we go the extra mile by developing a profile of each prospective candidate in order to assess traits such as:

  • Their ability to work with a wide variety of client styles, 
  • Leadership skills, 
  • Communication skills within a team,
  • Problem-solving skills, 
  • and their ability to effectively manage stress and resolve conflicts.

By taking this holistic approach to the overall hiring process, we are able to find the team members best suited to work with our clients.

Successful Onboarding

Once we select a new hire, we know the hiring process doesn’t stop on the first day of employment. In order for new employees to succeed in meeting the needs of our clients, we need to continue investing in our employees. This process starts right away by following an onboarding plan for each new hire. We encourage open communication with our employees and actively engage with new hires early on, encouraging them to feel part of the team as quickly as possible. We convey our corporate mission to new hires, as well as our goals and expectations. As we increase our own levels of productivity more effectively through the process of active onboarding, it enables us to increase our level of service to clients. 

If you would like to know more about Bluwater Technologies and our great team members, please contact us.

Upgrading the Small Business

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Successful businesses usually start off as visions to be realized only through a duration of hard work. Regardless of whether the business is started in the home or in a more industrialized area, however, a successful business will generally grow and when that happens, in most cases, the computer technology needs of the business will change — computer equipment will need to be upgraded. Entrepreneurs, particularly those running relatively small businesses, typically start off with gear that’s being stored in a closet or already sitting on a desktop. If there’s strong speculation that profits will be coming in or that upgrading equipment will help generate more profit, it’s time to upgrade computer equipment. 

Coming to an understanding of what equipment is needed does not have to be a painstaking task. Neither does learning how to use it. Learning to use computer equipment could be considered a business expense at first, whether it’s time or money being spent. But once minimal knowledge is obtained, it will pay off in the long run. Consequently, saving costs on having to outsource technical support to computer-support firms. There is no exact science, however, on how or when the assistance of computer-support technicians may be used. Through self-study, one may learn what is needed only as it becomes necessary. Whatever the case, the internet is generally the best friend of the small business owner when starting the business. A plethora of information exists therein that can save on having to consult computer-help firms.

Managed Services

In many cases, entrepreneurs starting out don’t have time to research some of the money-saving bits of information that can be obtained from the internet to efficiently run the computer equipment they’re using. In some cases, self-managing computer equipment can also bring on damaging results. This is due to a general lack of insight as to how the technology works. Bluewater Technologies specializes in starting, building, and upgrading successful businesses. Please contact us if assistance is needed in the management of computer equipment.

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.