Tag Archives: Business advice

Online Security and Cyber-Security Tips

5 quick steps for online security

Online Security:  Protecting Your Data

  1. Hook up to a network that you know.

Free Wi-Fi is tempting, but be sure that you consider who is providing the connection. Public connections at the local coffee shop are usually unsecured and leave your machine open to outsiders. While these networks provide a convenience, there are risks to be aware of.

  1. Bank and shop with caution.

Shopping from familiar websites is a good place to start. Stick with the reputable sites that are tried and true – like Amazon or eBay. Also, when checking out and finalizing the purchase, look for the ‘padlock’ symbol or the abbreviation ‘https’ in the address bar at the top of your browser. This will ensure that you are on a secure, encrypted part of this webpage. Keeping an eye on your bank statements for suspicious activity is always a good idea, among these other best practices for shopping online.

  1. Use secure passwords.

Passwords for logging into any website should contain a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters – as well as be different for each website that you log into. It can definitely be a pain to remember all of these passwords, but ask yourself which is more of a pain – remembering these, or recovering stolen personal information.

  1. Lock Your Computer.

When you walk away from your machine, lock it. In Windows, it is as easy as pressing the Windows key + L. On an Apple Mac, pressing “Control+Shift+Eject” will do the trick (unless you do not have an optical drive, then you can hit the “Power” key instead of “Eject”). This practice would be the equivalent to deadbolting the front door of your home. It acts as a deterrent to the bad guys as well as a line of defense. It may even be worth setting up a password lock on your Apple or Windows machine as well.

  1. Do not click on anything unfamiliar.

If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you get an email from an unknown source, do not click any of the links within it – and immediately report it to your IT department. When a window pops up while browsing a website, immediately close it. Familiarity is always your friend. Using your judgment and trusting your gut is the ultimate defense when online. Always play it safe!


Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn for updates on cybersecurity and technology! Contact us with any questions or concerns you have about your technology! 

cyber-security data breach insurance

Data Breach Insurance: Is it necessary?

In response to the sharp uptick in cyber-crime in the past few years, insurance companies have increased their offering of data breach insurance. Often, we get the question, “should I buy data breach insurance?”  The answer is complicated.  Let’s break it down together to help you decide whether it is good for your business. (Full disclosure:  Yes, we have data breach insurance along with errors and omissions insurance, but we are responsible for protecting your data.)


Data breach insurance can help you recompense your losses in the case of a data breach, but it might not be enough to save your company.  First, the point of insurance is to pay out after disaster strikes. In the case of ransomware, the amount of downtime could be hours, days, or longer.  You might never recover your data. As an example, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce lost years of data after a ransomware attack.  How much of your customer data can you afford to lose entirely and still function? How long can your company operate without access to customer data (downtime)? Data breach insurance cannot get you back up and running faster, or guarantee recovery of your data.

Additionally, the costs associated with data breaches can be very difficult to measure.  One example is customer confidence.  Imagine having to notify your customers that their information has been breached as a result of an attack on your network.  Recent studies of consumers have shown that they are less likely to do business with companies after a data breach.  Major corporations, such as Target, might be able to recover.  Can you?  That brings us to our next consideration…


If a fire breaks out at your house, which would you rather have:  homeowners insurance, or a good fire suppression system?  Admittedly, a good fire suppression system might not eliminate all of your damage, but it should be able to contain it better than getting repaid after the damage is done.  Certain things in your house might never be able to be recovered.  Pictures of your major family events, family heirlooms, and sometimes even your loved ones can be in jeopardy.

Similarly, cyberattacks jeopardize your ability to deliver your product, the economic well being of you and your employees, and your reputation.  Wouldn’t you rather focus on prevention?   At a minimum, have a good backup solution that protects your most crucial data on the cloud.  There are options available that will cost about as much as data breach insurance.  We will help you determine your tolerance for downtime and find a solution that matches your budget.  Also, don’t forget to read the fine print!

Fine Print

Insurance is about managing risk, and agents still need to make a profit.  The fine print is often where you learn what a policy actually covers.  Here are a few things to look for in the fine print:

  • Is failure to patch a known vulnerability considered a pre-existing condition?
  • Should an unpatched system be covered under a clause for errors and omissions?
  • When an employee falls for a phishing attack and infects the network that way, is that covered?
  • Does it account for “human error?”
  • What are the limitations of coverage?  Will it cover employee salaries while they are unable to be productive?


Data breach insurance should be considered, but only after more proactive cybersecurity methods are in place.  Be certain that you are aware of what the policy does and does not cover.  Build your network to make your data breach policy redundant.


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Quick tips to increase your employee education and productivity

4 Tools for Employees Who Spend Too Much Time in Front of a Screen

At A Better Choice Network Solutions, we are committed to providing employee education to our end users.  These 4 tools can help employee productivity by helping employees sleep better, minimizing distractions, reducing eye-strain, and staying focused on the task at hand.

1. f.lux®

Research shows that that blue light emitted from screens and monitors can interrupt sleep patterns. If you are on your phone or computer well into the evening, or close to bedtime, you may have experienced this firsthand! f.lux is a browser extension that adjusts the color of your computer’s display to adapt to the time of day – “warm at night and like sunlight during the day.” Long story short, by reducing the harsh blue glow, f.lux may help you power down and fall asleep more easily, especially if you find you’re staying up too late working or checking Facebook.

2. StayFocusd

How much time have you or your employees lost to time-wasting websites? Maybe your team has a procrastination problem and accidentally loses hours of productivity to entertainment and leisure websites and apps. It’s so easy to say you’ll only spend five minutes setting your Fantasy Football lineup or taking a Buzzfeed quiz. Encourage staff to add the StayFocusd Chrome extension! With it, users can block any and all distracting sites for custom time periods. I also recommend an extension called TaskTimer, where you can set your own schedule and view analytics that measure Internet activity and time spent browsing the Web.

3. Pocket

We’ve all been there. Someone shares a compelling article, and then you find yourself consuming a never-ending string of suggested readings. Then, you look at the clock only to wonder where the time went! Sign up for a Pocket account to save Web pages, videos or articles you wish to visit at a later time! This app integrates with most browsers and will sync your saved content across all devices. And the best part is that you don’t even need an Internet connection! You can access everything you add all in one convenient place.

4. eyeCare

This vision protection extension notifies you regularly when it’s time to stop staring at your computer or smartphone screen so that you may rest your eyes. It even provides suggestions for what to do during your breaks to minimize discomfort! Use eyeCare in conjunction with Screen Shader to reduce eye strain and headaches.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates and news on cyber-security and technology.