In this digital age where information can be linked and duplicated, protecting your information can never be overemphasized. Imagine you had a physical store where you sold valuables, what would happen if you left it unattended to? Your guess is as good as ours.

Data privacy simply put, is how data should be handled, based on how important it is. It can be applied to critical pieces of information such as bank account data, credit card numbers, medical records, addresses and locations, passwords etc. The list of information to be kept secure can be exhaustive, as it is any and everything that a person or business considers confidential.

As an individual, here are a few ways to protect your personal information online:

1. Avoid using public Wi-fi for financial transactions:

Public Wi-Fi can be convenient but dangerous as the connection is public, and accessible to anyone. Unsecured internet connections are easy proofs for hackers to clone your card and get away with it.

2. Adopt multiple passwords across different platforms:

Using the same password across multiple platforms, allows the single breach of one account to lead to the easy access of other accounts.

3. Use a safe browser:

It is very common to have unauthorized pop-ups when visiting a web page that will lead to insecure websites. Change your settings to block unauthorized third-party activity while surfing the web.

Best practices for business owners:

1. Implement a disaster recovery plan:

Waiting till you are hacked before having a disaster recovery plan in itself is a disaster. As a business, it is very important to have a back-up plan for your most valuable asset – your data. You can read our article on why your company needs a disaster recovery plan

2. Set up a Two Factor Authentication (2FA):

If any password is compromised, 2FA prevents just anyone from logging into an account by requiring a second form of verification, such as a unique code sent to an email address or phone number.

3. Encrypt all data:

Data encryption is the act of translating data into a type of code or “cipher”, which can only be accessed and deciphered by specific users who have the decryption key. Think of it like a safe where your important information is kept, and only those with the combination can access it.

4. Eliminate inactive data:

Cyber thieves can’t steal what they can not see. Therefore, it is important to regularly identify data and applications no longer in use and fully take out in a secure manner.

5. Educate users in security awareness:

Never assume that employees know what information is confidential and can’t be shared. Educate them on all the ways to ensure data security and empower them with security tools to act as reinforcements.

6. Introduce access controls:

Not all employees need access to certain applications, even within an application, employees will not have equal rights to access select information. Once employees exit your business, ensure to remove their access.

Conclusion

On a final note, it is important for your company to take data privacy seriously as this can either hinder or aid the growth of your business. For more information, contact us today.

The expectations from 2021 will be high due to the fact that 2020 has been plagued by the crippling pandemic that has devastated numerous businesses and hurt a number of economies. But luckily, we live in an age of high technology, meaning that the latest trends in this area can give SMEs a boost and mitigate the effects of this crisis.

Here are some of the trends that you should watch for in 2021:

1. Automation

Repetitive, manual tasks take up a lot of employees’ time and diminish their productivity, not to mention that we’re talking about low-level tasks that don’t significantly impact the bottom line.

And yet, they have to be completed.

Small business owners who want to boost the productivity and performance of their employees should think about automating all these mundane tasks. When it comes to small businesses, these tasks include appointment scheduling, data entry, customer support, and so on.

By automating these and many other tasks, you’ll allow your employees to focus on more complex, high-level, value-adding tasks that require creativity and critical thinking.

2. Deep analytics tools

Small businesses, especially those in the manufacturing industry, have to handle massive amounts of data and make sense of them. Hiring a data scientist or outsourcing this task is pretty costly, which is why deep analytics tools will become indispensable.

By leveraging this technology, you’ll be able to obtain a number of valuable and actionable insights into different aspects of your business that will allow you to optimize various important processes. Deep analytics can help you identify pricing trends and gain a competitive advantage or interpret your manufacturing data so that you can improve your production quality control, for example. And what’s best, modern software doesn’t require you to be a technical user in order to harness the power of data-driven insights.

3. Chatbots
Chatbots make up one aspect of the broader uptake of artificial intelligence on the part of businesses. Chatbots integrate with messenger apps like Facebook and Whatsapp (or natively installed live-chat boxes) and mimic human interactions.

They have a range of applications and enable businesses to provide support, process purchases, and notify customers of important, time-sensitive updates. Because chatbots are available 24/7, they’re also very convenient.

4. Remote Working

The COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for what was already a growing trend in regards to remote work and with Nigeria experiencing its second wave, it seems like remote work is here to stay. Companies that let employees work from home have seen a range of benefits, including lower office costs, greater productivity, and increased wellbeing.

If it’s feasible, you should consider letting your workforce operate remotely, even if only for a few days a week. As flexible working opportunities become more commonplace, companies also need to think about how they will position themselves in the job market to attract the best talent.

Conclusion

While change can be difficult and confusing, it also creates opportunities. This is particularly the case when it comes to technology. Small businesses that effectively leverage new tech can achieve a variety of positive outcomes. These include more efficient, streamlined processes, higher-quality customer journeys, and happier employees. Find out more about how you can leverage tech and talk to a member of our team.

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Not only is your business growing, but technology is advancing at a rapid rate. Which means knowing if it’s time to upgrade to a new IT system is key to protecting the future of your business. Here are four ways to know if your organization is ready for an upgrade.

Your Response Time is Lagging: If users are waiting too long for the system to respond – or if the system often crashes – then it is being overworked and overloaded. Downtime costs small-to-midsize businesses thousands of naira per hour and will hamper employee productivity.

Your cybersecurity is lax: According to the official cybercrime, report cybercrime will cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. A Symantec study found that more than a third of all reported targeted attacks in 2014 were against small businesses. The emerging patterns show that cybercriminals will often target small and medium-sized businesses because they usually do not have the expertise or resources to fend them off. If your websites are consistently down and your staff are not security conscious then you may have a problem.

You can’t grow: As the organization grows, and the data that you store also grows, so too should your systems. If you add new products or expand your client portfolio, then this necessitates the expansion of your data warehousing system. In turn, the reporting functionality within your software must be dynamic and keep up with the pace of your past changing and vibrant business.

Everyone is complaining: Grumbling from employees and customers about delays, clunky processes, and tedious manual tasks means you have a big problem and it is absolutely time to reevaluate your IT infrastructure. Innovative software such as Microsoft Office 365 can help streamline your workflow and automating other processes can help keep customers to employees satisfied.

Final note: Ultimately, without updating your technology, you risk falling behind to competitors, while paying too much to keep your old systems alive or disappointing your clients. To future-proof your business and stay productive, you’ll need to embrace more modern technologies. The cloud can offer your firm space to grow, reliable uptime, flexible working, and cost-effective billing. It’s the freedom you need to do your best work efficiently. Want to find out more? Get in touch with our team.