The holidays are upon us! While Santa is making his list of who’s naughty or nice, you are probably making your own lists of what needs to get done. With consumer activity at a high and many staff members taking time off, the holidays can be stressful for small businesses. Let technology help you get ready and be safe over the season, whether that’s at the office or at home. Here are tips from the experts at ICC:
Kirk Bane, President & CEO: Hardware can be repurchased if stolen, but your data can’t be replaced. If you plan to close your office at all during the season, make sure to backup your data either with an external hard drive – located offsite – or cloud storage.
Jesse Courchaine, Managed Services Director: Make sure you have a crisis communication plan in place. The holidays are a prime time for hackers. Create an “on call” list and make sure everyone knows who to call or what to do if a security breach were to happen.
Shaun Bullock, VP of Sales: Your website doesn’t go on vacation when you do, so make sure you still have some support available to monitor live chat help, social media engagement, etc. Consider posting a notice on your home page or sending customers an email letting them know about reduced hours over the holidays.
Mason James, Senior Technical Consultant: Make it easy for customers to find relevant information on your website. Use banners or highlight most requested information like holiday return policies or shipping deadlines on your home page.
Austin Gardner, Technical Consultant: Make sure the software on all your devices is up to date. A lot of the connection issues people face is due to outdated software.
Jim Otepka, Technical Consultant: Especially if you’re an online retailer, you may want to consider boosting your WiFi connection for the holiday season. The easiest way to do this is by upgrading your router and installing a range extender.
Bryan Richmond, Technical Consultant: When you leave the office, make sure to log out of all accounts and applications. That way no one will have access to your accounts via your physical desktop or laptop.
Patrick O’Brien, Technical Consultant: If you’re traveling, take photos or scan important documents like your passport or driver’s license and store them in a secure account like Google Drive or iCloud.
Dan Gepner, Technical Consultant: Be very cautious of phishing scams at the office and at home. Unfortunately, the holidays bring out more cyberhackers than usual. Even if an email sounds familiar do not click on any links or download attachments. They are written to deceive you.
Ryan Tool, Technical Consultant: Turn off Bluetooth and NFC (Near Field Communications) when not in use to reduce the risk of cyberhackers getting into your data.
Tyler Harnden, Business Development: These days it’s important to provide different payment methods. If you don’t have them already, consider adding options like mobile wallets (i.e. Apple Pay). You don’t want a customer abandoning a purchase because you’re not offering their preferred method of payment.
Josh Layton, Business Development Consultant: The holidays are often the busiest shopping time. Use this time to collect information on what your customers like, get an idea about their shopping habits, and more. This data can be very helpful later.
Teri English, Project Manager: Take advantage of automation. Get all social media posts and eblasts created in advance and schedule them to publish while you’re out of the office.
Susie De-Foort, Finance Manager: Whether it’s your personal or business account, regularly check your online activity for anything unusual. Set up alerts with your bank to notify you of any suspicious activity or new purchases.
Rebecca Flores, Administrative Assistant: This may be a good time to change passwords. Use passwords that are long and use multi-step verification whenever possible for personal and business use.
ICC can help you with more ideas to keep operations running smoothly over the holidays. We can put a comprehensive security plan in place to protect your financial information. We conduct a number of audits and tests, as well as put tactics in place, to significantly reduce the possibility of an attack, protect your data and most importantly – have the ability to restore it. Our defense strategy includes network security, email security, security patches & updates, employee education, backups and quarterly cybersecurity reviews to boost your defenses against cybercriminals and lost data. If you are missing one piece of the pie, you may be putting your business at risk and could be faced with significant business disruption and financial loss.
December 12, 2022