5 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Small to Medium Businesses

Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that because their business is small, they are less likely to fall victim to a cyberattack compared to larger companies. This ‘not much to steal’ mindset is all too common among small to medium business owners, but it’s completely incorrect. In reality, around 71% of cyberattacks happen to small businesses with less than 100 employees meaning that, actually, your small business might be at a bigger risk of a cyberattack than the big guys. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself and the data that you hold on your business, customers, and employees.

Outsource IT:

Perhaps one of the easiest and most efficient ways to deal with cybersecurity in a small business is to outsource your IT to an experienced company that specializes in cybersecurity, like Capstone IT Services. They have experienced employees who will be able to make sure that all your IT security measures are up to date, plus they can provide expert IT support as and when you need it. And, it’s usually much cheaper compared to hiring your own in-house security experts.

Use a Firewall:

A firewall is often one of the first lines of defense against a cyber-attack, and it’s recommended that you use one to provide a barrier between your data and any cybercriminals looking to get their hands on it. Along with the standard external firewall, many companies are also using internal firewalls to provide an extra layer of protection. If you have employees working from home, it’s essential that they install a firewall on their home network too.

Have Clear Cybersecurity Policies:

Your risk of a cyberattack will drop when your employees are suitably trained and educated on how to prevent cyberattacks, protect data, and report a suspected breach. It’s important to document your protocols and provide employees with a clear set of guidelines to adhere to. Employees of small to medium businesses often take on a range of roles, so make it a priority to train all employees who access the network on your company’s best practices and security policies.

Plan for Mobile Devices:

With almost 60% of businesses now allowing BYOD, it’s essential to have a documented policy that focuses on security precautions when employees bring their own device to work, particularly mobile devices like smartphones and smartwatches. You should require employees to set up automatic security updates for any device that they use for work and apply the password policy to any device accessing the network.

Enforce Safe Password Policies:

Changing passwords can be inconvenient but it can also be the difference between avoiding a cyberattack and being a victim to one. Over 60% of data breaches are a result of lost, stolen, or easily-guessed passwords, so it’s important to have strict password policies in place and make sure that they are adhered to. Employees should be required to use strong passwords that contain upper- and lower-case letters, symbols and numbers, and update them every 60-90 days.

Small businesses are at the biggest risk of cybercrime, so it’s never been more essential to put a range of cybersecurity best practices into place in your company.

5 Ways You Can Automate Your Business for Faster Growth

Do you want your business to grow at a much faster pace than it is currently projected to? If so, you need to seriously consider automating your daily processes and operations. Take the load off of your human workforce and let technology take over for a while — if you do, you’ll be sure to see a remarkable improvement when it comes to the number of tasks that you complete and the number of tight deadlines that you hit.

If you don’t want to waste any time in scaling your industry, you need to embrace automation. Here are five ways you can automate your business for faster growth:

  1. Invest in a PBX system

With a PBX system in place, you will be able to automate the task of handling your phone calls. No longer will you have to employ a receptionist to answer your incoming calls, as this ‘auto-attendant’ solution will be capable of doing this for you. This will save you money when it comes to hiring reception staff, and it will allow you to get on with your daily tasks without having to worry about answering the phone all day.

  1. Ensure that your workforce embraces automation

If your workforce doesn’t embrace automation, you’re going to have a hard time convincing them that your business is going in the right direction. All of your employees must buy into the idea of automation. Otherwise, they’ll just shun all of the tech tools that you invest in.

To prepare your workforce for the automation revolution that you plan to unveil in your workspace, you should:

  • Remove all doubt and fear by talking to your employees about the benefits of automation
  • Be transparent and inclusive when discussing what technology you are going to be using
  • Train your staff members to work with and alongside the tech that you invest in

Learn from the experts

All of today’s biggest companies will now, under some title or another, employ an automation expert. If you are to unearth the secrets of seamless automation integration, you should get in touch with these experts and learn from them.

Automate for free

Automation doesn’t necessarily have to be a costly venture. If you want to take this step forward in your business’s development in the most cost-affection fashion possible, you should seek to automate for free.

Choose the right vendor

If you get to the point where you want to align yourself with an automated services provider, it’s essential that you choose the right vendor. Don’t partner up with the first company or professional that you come across. Take some time to consider where you want to be in three years, and try to align yourself with an external force that shares similar aspirations.

If you want to see your business grow from strength to strength over the coming years, you should be taking full advantage of automation technology. When you do decide to embrace this tech, just be sure to put all of the advice laid out above into practice.

5 Types of Popular Contract Types for Construction Contractors

Seeing your house or construction project taking shape is an exciting prospect. If you want the project to go according to plan, it pays to have a contract in place. A contract is simply a legally binding document that spells out the scope of the project plus when and how payments will be made. In this light, there are a few popular contract types that contractors use. Below, we will look at five of them.

Lump-Sum Contracts

This is one of the most popular types of contracts used by contractors. It is a contract that binds a project that has a fixed cost that is agreed upon by all parties before work starts. Because the full cost of the project is already spelled out, the contractor is able to keep the project within budget. It is also helpful for clients because they know there will not be any additional costs during the project.

Subcontract Agreements

As the name suggests, these are contracts signed between the main contractor and a sub-contractor. It lists everything the sub-contractor has to do for the main contractor and how much they will be compensated for these tasks. This type of contract also transfers responsibilities for what the sub-contractor does from the main contractor to the sub-contractor.

This type of contract also protects the sub-contractor by providing a guarantee that they will be compensated fully for everything they do.

Time and Material Contracts

These contracts are written where the scope of the project is not fully defined. The client and the contractor usually agree on rates for the materials to be bought plus hourly or daily rates for the contractor and those working under them. All of these rates must be verified and included in the contract.

To keep things as clear as possible, contractors can use contract lifecycle management to create, organize, and send contracts easily.

When these rates are added to the contract, they are usually defined as overhead, direct, indirect, or markup. In some cases, the client will put a cap on how much the contractor can bill during the project.

These contracts are perfect for when the client does not know how long a project might take or when they can estimate the amount of time it will take.

Cost Plus Contracts

These contracts are perfect for projects where the cost of materials and other resources cannot be immediately identified. The contract covers all costs, expenses, and purchases made during the project. The client has to establish the maximum cost of all these expenses to protect themselves from unnecessary charges.

Residential Contracts

These contracts are important for homeowners who want a new house. Because a house is a huge investment, a homeowner must ensure that the work they need is done properly. Because of laws that protect homeowners and clients, the contractor is obliged to do a good job and this type of contract ensures this happens.

This type of contract comes with many legal requirements attached, so every contractor must ensure they make their contract law-compliant.

Every contractor should draw up contracts for all projects they do. This protects them and their clients and ensures they are paid fully and on time.