Archive for the 'Security' Category

The Heat is On

Topic: Security, Strategies| Comments Off on The Heat is On

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In light of the disastrous fire situation in California, I thought it would be good to once again bring up the crucial importance of document storage.If you’re like me, especially since the stolen laptop debacle, you keep all your important papers in a sturdy filing cabinet and obsess over backing up your hard drive. No? Well, then I suggest reading this.

However, planning for a potential disaster goes well beyond storage. You need an action plan. What happens to your business in case of injury or death? Does anyone else have the keys to your filing cabinet or safe? Again, you might know the method to your storage madness, but would someone else?

Here are some tips:

  • Store and file your information in multiple locations. For your harddrive, utilize DVD’s, external drives, online storage centers, or a combination of all three. Photocopy important documents and compile a list of stored contents; then place in separate locations.
  • If you have yet to do so, start collecting relevant documents that would be crucial during an emergency such as banking, insurance, incorporation, and medical papers.
  • Organize – then create a list of the contents of your filing cabinet, safe, and harddrive so that you can easily pull the needed information when time is of the essence.
  • Create multiple copies of personal documents such as birth certificates, etc. that may be required by government entities in times of disaster. Keep in mind that copy machines may not be available when disaster strikes.
  • Inform one or two individuals about the contents and whereabouts of your critical documents in case you are unavailable.
  • Once your system is in place, its paramount that you maintain it. Dont wait til the end of the year to do it all again – instead remain aware of what documents should be added.

Generally, we don’t think about these things until it is too late. Take the initiative now to get your things in order. Class dismissed.

Disasters Are Not Fun

Topic: Helpful Ideas, Security, Strategies| Comments Off on Disasters Are Not Fun

I live in Orlando, FL and am a native Floridian.  Suffice it to say I’ve been through my fair share of hurricanes.  We lucked out with Dean thus far, but it serves as fair warning of what could happen to any of us.  For that reason, it’s a good idea to have a disaster preparedness plan for not only yourself but for your business as well.  Below are a few pointers for making sure you and your business survive whatever comes your way:

  1. Backup your files.  I’ve made this point a dozen times.  For more information, check out this article.
  2. Print out hardcopies of important documents – invoices, articles of incorporation, financials, contact information, etc.  Take it a step further and put these and other important documents such as insurance and personal information in a fire/water proof safe.
  3. Pick up a battery powered surge protector, this will give you a few extra minutes to save and shutdown when the power goes out.
  4. This tip is more or less for your safety.  Be sure to keep extra batteries, water, canned goods, blankets, clothing, and a weather radio in a safe place.
  5. Keep abreast of the latest happenings before its too late.  Watch a few minutes of evening news or the weather channel each night.
  6. Consider geting disaster recovery insurance.  This holds true especially for those of you with offices and warehouses outside of your home.  But remember, your home owners insurance might not cover the business happenings occuring inside your place of residence.
  7. Make sure others outside of the “danger zone” know where you will be and have the appropriate contact information if you are displaced during a disaster.
  8. Hang on to old reciepts and take photos of important equipment and other valuables inside your home, home office, or place of work.
  9. 9.  Stay sober and aware during the storm or natural disaster.  We like to have hurricane parties for the smaller storms (tropical storms and category 1 hurricanes), but anything bigger than that and you need to be in a proper state of mind to handle any situations that may arise.
  10. 10.  Inform your clients and customers ahead of time (if possible) of the impending situation and make plans to assure their orders are delivered accordingly.

Overall, just use your common sense and stay alert.  It’s not a question of if, but rather of when this will happen to your small business so it’s best to be prepared early rather than late.  If you have any other tips, let me know!  Class dismissed.

Don’t Take Security for Granted or “Getting Robbed Sucks”

Topic: Helpful Ideas, Security| 5 Comments »

Let me apologize for the severe lack of postings.  The dry spell is well warranted however.  Last Monday, I headed out for a weeklong vacation in the mountains of North Carolina.  We have a house up there and it’s really a great getaway.  It feels awesome (although a bit frustrating at times) to not be tied to your laptop, television, and hustle and bustle of the “real world”.  I got to sit by the stream, have a few beers, and just relax.

But it sucked, and here’s why.  The first leg of my vacation involved staying at a friends house in Charlotte.  We went out for a few beers and talked business – an all around good time.  But that night my truck was broken into.  Included in the heist was my cd player,  a chain saw, and my laptop (at least they were kind enough to leave my golf clubs).  For those of you who have been the victim of such a situation, you know it’s not the equipment that matters, it’s the data stored on it.

Invoices, passwords, bank information, personal data, financials, accounting ledgers, etc.  The list goes on and on for me and I’m sure it would for you as well.  One bright spot I suppose is that luckily I employed one of my previous posts and I had sufficient backups of all my data.  All I really must do is keep an eye out for identity theft, but other than that I’m okay.

I guess the moral of this hardship as well as this post is to not take your security for granted.  It CAN happen to you and at some point in your life it WILL happen to you.  All you can do is take the neccessary precautions.  Here are a few pointers to keep you safe and secure:

  • Backups
  • Backups
  • More backups.  The point here is to always back your data up.  A slight inconvenience now will save you a million headaches later
  • Don’t save passwords – especially to online banking or other personal information sites.  It’s really convenient but also pretty stupid.  I’ll make an exception for your desktop but not your notebook.
  • Encrypt sensitive data.  Again, a bit of a hassle now goes a long way later.
  • Utilize strong passwords and some form of screen lock software.  Assuming your less fortunate intruder is not a computer whiz but merely a drug fiend or common criminal, this should suffice for turning your laptop into a paperweight if it falls into the wrong hands.
  • Employ some form of loss prevention software such as LoJack for Laptops.  Maybe overkill for personal computing, but $49 bucks a year is a small price to pay for some added security.
  • Write down serial numbers and other identifying information.  Less than 1/3 of 1% of items are recovered (in Charlotte, NC) but this can be useful for the authorities when attempting to recover stolen equipment.
  • You would think this goes without saying, but not for me apparently.  Keep your laptop with you and not unattended.  Although, I’d have nothing to post about if I did that….

That’s all for now, I hope you take this one to heart and learn from my mistakes.  Condolences accepted but not required…

Class dismissed.