Cyber Security: Protect Your Business by Protecting Your Data

Cyber Security is the No. 1 concern for small business owners, according to a recent Business Journal survey. That concern is warranted: many go out of business after a security breach.

According to the Small Business Committee, 71 percent of cyber-attacks occur to businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The Journal’s report estimated that more than half a million small businesses will shut down in 2017 because of cyber security breaches. They also noted:

  • The cost to correct such attacks is often more than $36,000.
  • As a result, 60 percent of such businesses shut down within six months of a breach.

10 Ways to Protect Your Data

Here are the steps you can take to protect your systems:

  1. Educate yourself. Research and learn more about cyber-attacks and what the risks are for small business owners. Here are definitions and examples of some common
  2. Educate your team. If an employee doesn’t realize an email is a scam, he or she might compromise his/her computer.
  3. Be prepared. You have a fire evacuation plan in place for the building. You should also have a plan in place to handle different types of cyber security attacks. According to a 2012 nationwide study of small businesses, 83 percent of small businesses have no formal cyber security plan, and another 69 percent have no plan at all.
  4. Install anti-malware and antivirus protection and run it after any software updates. Many cyber-attacks occur through malware and aren’t noticed until too late.
  5. Update all software. Software updates often correct security bugs or problems. Make sure your team members are updating things or have an IT person handle it for everyone systematically.
  6. Pick up the phone and verify things instead of using emails, especially for credit card information and other financial data and transactions.
  7. Secure your hardware. In many cyber-attack cases, thieves first break in and steal employee laptops and other equipment. The physical loss is harmful, but thieves can also then use that equipment to hack your information. Physically lock items to desks. Keep all server rooms locked and closed when not in use. Make sure your building has a security system, including monitoring and cameras.
  8. Secure your Wi-Fi. Disable the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router so others cannot see the network. Also, update your Wi-Fi to the latest encryption standard.
  9. Encrypt your data. Operating systems comes with encryption tools such as BitLocker and FileVault for PCs and Macs, respectively. These tools encrypt everything as long as the system is logged off. Keep in mind that while someone is logged on, a hacker can still get in. Set employee computers to automatically log out after a certain length of time.
  10. Change passwords. Require employees to change passwords each quarter. Passwords need to be at least eight characters, a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Never use personal information or family birthdates.

Protect Your Company

Even with security, you may still be hit with a cyber-attack. Many companies are turning to cyber security insurance policies, just as they rely on insurance in case of an office flood or burglary. The demand for such policies is growing. If you have in-house team members managing security, consider a policy that protects against their errors as well as any packaged software problems.

Business Security

Concerned about security at your company? Give us a call to learn more about protecting your office and equipment.

Business Security Systems Need to Protect Inside and Out

Business owners all strive to keep their businesses safe. Installing security systems, cameras, and access tracking are all part of burglar prevention for your business.

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But what about protecting your company from inside threats? According to a recent study, 20 percent of employees would sell their work passwords to a competitor.

“The research by identity management company Sailpoint, found that of those who would sell their passwords, 44 percent would do it for less than $1,000, and some for less than $100. This is made worse by the fact that 65 percent admit to using a single password among applications and 32 percent share passwords with their co-workers.”

Less than $100. That could be all that’s standing between you and a hacker who takes down your business. While we all want to believe the people we hire are good, moral employees who would not do something like that, we simply do not know what people have been through, what life situations may drive their behavior.

Business security systems that keep intruders out are important, but just as vital are your internal security procedures. Take a look at this checklist of things to review to keep your data safe:

  • Employee access – Secur-Tek can help you control access to the business itself, and to certain rooms. But what about who has access to your important data? Of course employees need to have a certain level of access to data, and programs to do their jobs. Maybe you already track who has access to what while they are employed with you. But what happens after that employee leaves? The above survey found that more than two in five employees still have corporate account access after they leave their job. Do you have security procedures in place to revoke access or change passwords?
  • Uploads to the cloud – Well-meaning employees may be uploading data to the cloud using various storage programs. While it’s useful to backup information in case of a crash, be sure to confirm which information is uploaded where. If you don’t have a secure server set up, your data may be at risk.
  • Downloads – In large companies, employees are supposed to check with the IT department before downloading any software or installing anything. Studies show this does not always happen. Employees get impatient with the extra layer of process. As a small business owner, you may not have an IT department, or may not have oversight of what your team downloads. But one wrong program means a virus or malware or spyware, putting your business at risk. Make a list of approved programs and check all the computers in the office on a monthly basis. While this sounds big brother, your employee is not the one whose business is at risk.

Secur-Tek works to keep your business secure from the outside. Be sure to consider what security measures you take inside your company to keep it safe.

Part 2: Q&A Continued: Secur-Tek Owner Discusses Changing Industry

Secur-Tek opened its doors in 1990 to provide the Triangle and central NC residents with security systems and home automation. In our last post, Owner Ken Henke spoke about his business and what customers should know about home and business security. This time, we continue the conversation, which includes his thoughts on a changing industry.Ken at Home Show

What question do you most often receive from potential or current customers and what’s the answer?

The most common question I get from people who call in, usually it’s do we have a contract for the system? We have a yearly agreement. A lot of our competitors have a three or five-year agreement, but we do one year.

Secur-Tek specializes in many audio and home automation services. What got you into this?

We work with a lot of builders and they have homeowners who request low-voltage products such as central vacs, audio systems, home automation, wired or wireless networking. Those are things we are able to install so it made sense to expand those services and offer them to the builders and in turn when a homeowner calls us to install them.

Not long ago, Forbes published an article on DIY home security and how it will affect the security industry. What do you think about those systems?

It mostly affects the providers of the “free” systems. A lot of the DIY systems are wireless. Some of these DIY systems are very cheap and are going to be easy for people to hack.  We do wired systems so there’s no interference so there’s no hacking or jamming of the system.

What changes do you see happening in the security/home automation industries?

I think security systems will start becoming more and more automated. The security system we install interfaces with the automation system we install. It’s going to be more and more integrated as time goes by. As it gets less and less cost prohibitive, these homes are going to have a package that includes lighting, security, music, blinds, who knows what they’re going to include. The prices keep coming down.

The one thing that will determine where it goes is whether there is enough level of expertise in the field. The companies who offer free systems, the technicians they hire, there’s often no expertise there. As these systems get more and more involved, my fear — is the field support going to be there to do the troubleshooting and the technical work that’s required in the field?

What’s important for someone to know about your business?

What’s important to us is the relationship with our customers. Our attrition rate for our customers is very low. We want to take care of that customer for life. That’s why we install a system at a market rate with the low monthly monitoring fee. Secur-Tek, Inc.’s monitoring rate is going to stay constant and not increase once the yearly agreement is over. Our employees all work for Secur-Tek and are licensed underneath my license. We don’t have subcontractors or people that I’m not familiar with that I’m sending to my customers. We trust our employees. We can let our technicians handle it and we feel comfortable that our customers are going to be happy.

Also, we use brand name products that people recognize. Everything we use has brand name recognition where we have the support of the manufacturer behind us. We’re planning for years down the road, not just for today.

And we’re a local company. What you pay Secur-Tek, Inc. is going to stay in the local community and not sent to another company’s headquarters located out of the state.

 

Part 1 Q&A: Secur-Tek Owner Reflects on Best Security Practices

Secur-Tek opened its doors in 1990 to provide the Triangle and central NC residents with security systems and home automation. Owner Ken Henke recently spoke about his business, the industry, and what customers should know about home and business security.

You had your first security job in 1983. How did you get into security?

A security company had a job opening that was appealing to me and with my associate degree in electronics it was a good fit. I worked for this company for seven years and then I started my own business.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I’m my own boss. Working for myself and having more control over what I am providing to the customers. So if I was working for somebody [and] I didn’t agree with what was being provided to the customer, but that’s the way the employer did it, you bit your tongue and got paid. But as the owner, we have a standard we want to meet and make the customer happy and they in turn refer us to neighbors, friends and business associates.

What’s the most important security thing a homeowner can do?

Lock their doors. Go online and read about the breaks-in that occur. For example, you’ll hear about a rash of car break-ins in a neighborhood. The police find out all the car doors were unlocked. A lot of times it’s crimes of opportunity. People will walk up to a door and turn the doorknob and if it opens, they might knock on the door to make sure no-one is home, and if no-  one is home, they’re going to go in.

Installing a security system is also important because it’s more than just security. It’s smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors. It’s protecting your home from burning down or the death of a person who lives in your house because of carbon monoxide.

For businesses, what’s the most important security measure they can take?

In that case, a monitored security system is important. With businesses, people do break in and randomly search for things to steal whether it’s petty cash or small electronic devices. They’re going to break open doors and cabinets. It could be more of a monetary loss from the vandalism versus anything that’s been stolen from your business. How much money are you going to lose from being out of business for a day?

Are there any security challenges unique to the Triangle area?

People in North Carolina face the same crime challenges everyone does. Crime is pretty much random. All it takes is for somebody that is living a life of crime or if someone gets into a financial situation and they’re desperate or need quick cash. Neighborhoods are getting broken into now where people have said, “Oh crime doesn’t happen in our neighborhood.” One thing I would pass onto people is: some sort of crime is going to come to your neighborhood in the future. There is no way that you’re going to stop it, and it’s random. So a security system is like an insurance policy. Things happen at the wrong time. A security system is there to minimize the impact and to allow you to have peace of mind and go on with your life.

What security mistake do homeowners or business owners make most?

They buy the “free” alarm systems. The public is susceptible to the marketers, who say “I’ve got a free alarm system.” But they charge the customer more for the monthly monitoring. In the long run, you pay more for the free system than you do a purchased system. A lot of our current customers have already gone through the free system and came to Secur-Tek, Inc. to get away from it.

Click here to read Part 2

5 Security Features to Consider for Your Business

Security for your business is not the same as what you install at home. Your North Carolina business needs to be secure not just from outside intruders at night, but at different times during the day, or from different people. Secur-Tek, Inc. can design a security system customized for your needs, with both wired and wireless options available.

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Here are five features to consider to keep your business secure:

  1. Limit Access – You might want to limit access to a certain area, such as a supply room. Security systems can be set up to partition an area without affecting other areas.
  2. Front Door Access – You can limit access to the entire building. Some businesses do not have customers coming in and out and therefore can have extra security with badge-only access to gain entry. Your employees will also feel safer knowing that they are protected from uninvited characters.
  3. Access Tracking – Want to know who is accessing those areas and at what times? Set up opening/closing reports. These reports can include who arms and disarms the system each day.
  4. Limit Open/Close Times – This feature will notify you if the system is disarmed outside specified hours. You may want to limit your morning opener only to a window of time from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Preventing 24-hour access — even for trusted employees — is one more way to secure your business.
  5. Video – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that about 30 percent of all business failures are traced directly to employee theft. B2C business owners should consider installing video cameras to monitor both customers and employees. Systems today can be monitored from a smartphone or tablet.

Bonus: Fire Security

Keeping your business secure against burglars and theft is critical, but it’s also important to consider other hazards that affect your business, such as fire. Fire is a big disaster for a small business. Fire detection systems allow for affordable and reliable protection that complies to stringent fire codes.

Fire protection systems can include:

  • Automatic and manual activation
  • Supervised smoke detectors
  • Waterflow supervisory systems to prevent water damage

Make sure your business is secure by giving Secur-Tek a call for a free consultation. 919-387-1800

7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Your Security Company

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A security system is one important way to keep your home or business safe. Security systems can deter crime, but you also want to make sure your security starts with scrutiny of the company itself.

When deciding which company to choose, be sure to check them out by asking these 7 questions:

  1. Are they insured? Any proper security company will have insurance to protect all parties.
  2. How do they choose employees? Are the employees part of the company or are they contractors? Whether your business needs security officers and guards or your home simply needs someone to install the system, a security company’s employees should undergo vigorous background checks. After all, the person installing your system will have access to your home and its contents. Background checks should include a criminal history, the sex offender list, and the employee should have multiple references.
  3. Are the company and its employees licensed? In the State of North Carolina, any person, firm, association, or corporation engaged in an alarm system business needs to be licensed and all service and installation technicians need to be registered.
  4. What is the company’s response time? If you need emergency assistance, you want help as soon as possible.
  5. How much will the service cost? You will ask this question naturally, but be sure to confirm installation costs, service costs, and fees. Some companies advertise one cost but charge you another.
  6. Do you have a contact person at the company? Or is there customer service available 24/7? When you have a question or concern, you shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to manage it.
  7. How does the company document any incidents that require your attention? Depending on your level of security, this may not apply. But if so, be sure the company has a policy in place, including logs and written reports. You should be able to acquire copies of those when necessary.

More questions about security? Contact us to find out about different options for security systems.

 

Business Security, Monitoring, and Customer Service

One Stop ShopSecur-Tek provides state-of-the-art business security and home automation services to residential and commercial customers in Apex, Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, and central North Carolina. We provide commercial customers of all sizes with everything needed to minimize risks and keep businesses safe. You can focus on running your businesses while we provide the security expertise and systems you need. We can provide your business with fire protection systems, access control, burglar alarms, security cameras (CCTV and video), and background music.

Fire Protection – Alarms, Smoke, and Sprinkler Waterflow Detectors

Even if you have fire insurance, it’s far better to prevent a fire than to have one, make an insurance claim, and try to rebuild from the ashes. Many businesses never recover from a fire. You can get protected against total disaster with our fire code compliant fire detection systems. Manual pull fire alarms, supervised smoke detectors, and waterflow monitors all work together. Manual pull alarms are like the ones in many public buildings—once pulled the horns go off and the fire department is alerted. Supervised smoke detectors allow a fast response before the fire gets out of control. Water is a fire’s worst enemy but it’s not always your friend. Waterflow monitors minimize the water damage and flooding that happens when sprinklers go off; water can cause more damage than fire.

Access Control Systems

You can get access control systems to monitor your business. You can monitor your property (onsite or remotely) and employees and keep unwanted people from causing trouble. Locks with passcodes or keycards will let authorized people in and keep the bad guys out. Our software can be loaded onto the PC you already have. We have a wide variety of solutions and price points so let us know what you need and we’ll customize a solution just for you.

Burglar Alarms and Monitoring

Burglars are always a danger to your valuable inventory and business property. Our burglar alarms and systems let you know when someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time. You can get reports of exactly when your burglar alarm is armed and disarmed as well as who is accessing it. This is perfect for knowing when your business opens and closes. You’ll know if someone disarms the alarm late at night or before regular opening hours.

CCTV Security Cameras and Video Storage

Burglars aren’t the only source of theft. Shoplifters and even employees can be a major problem. Protecting yourself with camera monitoring is smart because it discourages theft; stealing is a lot less appealing to thieves if they know they’re being watched! Security footage is indispensable when you need evidence to show a judge. Camera evidence is hard to deny and will help to convict a thief and protect your business from theft, false claims, and other liabilities. We can set you up with 1 to 100 CCTV cameras, PC-based systems, and remote monitoring. One of our most popular packages is Honeywell’s 4-Camera Internet system—you can even monitor your business on your phone!

Business Background Music Source

Having a safe and secure business is important and it’s also key to provide an environment that makes customers want to spend money. Background music helps you control the mood and image of your business. We can supply all the relaxing and professional background music you need—perfect for offices and stores that need to convey professionalism.

To learn more about how your business can benefit from using security and home automation services, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

Security Tips at Christmas

Santa Holding Stack of GiftsIt’s the most wonderful time of the year with the kids jingle belling and friends coming to call. There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, presents to be buying, and lots of fun for all!

But, a word to the wise: Even though you may be like most people who are enjoying the holly jolliness of the season, don’t get so lost in the festivities that you forget some of the harsh realities of the world in which we live.

It’s unfortunate that there are folks out there who will and do take advantage of other people’s situations, including their distractions. So be mindful of what’s around you and what can possibly happen.

  • Your perfectly positioned beautifully decorated Christmas tree with all its brightly colored lights and exquisitely wrapped presents underneath can draw compliments as well as the attention of burglars. In recent years, there have been reports of burglaries during the holiday season. You don’t want to come home from an outing to find that someone has broken into your home and made off with all your gifts.
  • Speaking of Christmas decorations, if you put up outdoor decorations use an outdoor outlet in lieu of pulling cords through a slightly opened window for a power source. Burglars will find the easiest access to your home, and a cracked window is simply too hard to resist.
  • When out shopping all the attractive sales, try not to laden the backseat of your vehicle with all your goodies. This can be a big temptation to passersby.
  • If you’re an online shopper, you still need to be cautious with your packages. Be wary of deliveries left at your door. This is another invitation to passersby to casually walk up and take a peek or take the entire package. Leave instructions for the deliveries to be dropped off at a time when you or a neighbor will be home to receive them.
  • In this modern age of social media, refrain from “checking in” while you’re out and about. This alerts friends and possibly friends of friends that you’re not home. Also refrain from posting news of extravagant purchases… also a broadcast to people and an invitation for the criminal elements in your extended circle.

Even though there are realities to consider, it is the holiday season and it is a time for joy, peace, love and togetherness. Enjoy the season but be mindful at the same time.

If you’d like some professional help with securing your home and assets during the holidays and throughout the year, there are security companies that offer a variety of options, from the simple to the complex. Secur-Tek is one of those companies and a consultation is always complimentary. Contact us at 919-387-1800.

Advantages of Having an Access Control System

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWikipedia defines access control as: the “selective restriction of access to a place or other resource.”

On-site security is extremely important. Whether it’s your business or the neighborhood’s community pool, no one wants unauthorized persons entering the property. With access control, you can help reduce the risk of unwanted visitors or even disgruntled former employees.

If you own a business or manage a property where people come and go, you might consider looking into having an access control system installed so that you can control, restrict or give authorization to specific people.

Why choose an Access Control System?

Access control systems are software-based and can offer a wide range of security solutions.

The access control system’s electronic key is harder to copy than the traditional metal key that one could bring to the local hardware store to duplicate. It would take a pretty tech-savvy person to copy a keycard. In addition, the keycard can be monitored. If it got lost or stolen, you have the ability to quickly and easily remove it from your system and issue a new card. As the system is computerized, you can access it from anywhere, anytime. The advantage here for businesses or property managers is that you don’t have to worry about someone making copies of keys and you don’t have to change locks when keys are lost.

Access control systems can keep track of employees’ comings and goings. You won’t need a separate time-clock. In addition, a few minutes of your time allows you to program keycards to authorize entry into only the areas designated per person. Gone are the days of having a ring full of keys for entry into different offices.

For more information on how to secure one of your most valuable assets—your business or property—with an access control system, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.

How secure is your home network?

hackersWe call it The Internet of Things. And it’s very likely that you have it in your house: you know, the connection of electronic devices to the Internet so that you can have access to them. It could be your baby monitor, your home security network, your heating/cooling system, your coffee pot or your refrigerator—all these things can be connected to the Internet so that you can check in and/or make adjustments to them via your computer or smart phone. The Internet of Things allows us to be connected to most everything these days, making it more convenient for us to access and control our devices from almost anywhere there is an Internet connection, as well as monitor our homes and the goings on inside.

No doubt the Internet of Things gives you peace of mind, knowing that you can check in on your baby from another room or while you’re out. It allows you to adjust the temperature in your- home, so that it’s that perfect 68 degrees when you get home from work. Or you can lower the temperature of your refrigerator so that your favorite beverage is chilled when you walk in the door. You can lock or unlock your doors from another location. The ease of it all is amazing, isn’t it?

Let’s take a minute, however, to play devil’s advocate. If you can access your home, others can, as well. The Internet opens the doors for many great things; yet at the same time that it opens the doors for you, it also presents the opportunity for hackers to get inside your home and take control just as you would. A hacker could take control of your home security system and disable your locks or cameras. A hacker could take control of your baby monitor and speak through it. That same person could take control of your computer and use the installed camera to spy on you.

A recent article in the News and Observer highlighted the risks to using companies that don’t  know what they’re doing – the non-experts that have got into the security game purely to make money.  So, how can you protect yourself and your family against these invasions of privacy?

To protect yourself from hackers, you need to make sure you have a system that is secure. Choosing a professional security company to install your systems is the best route. Security professionals can make sure that the equipment you use in your home conforms to safety standards and that any data you transmit over the Internet in order to control your devices is encrypted. They can set your system up so that the Internet of Things is convenient and secure, minimizing your risk to a hacker’s intrusion.

For more information on securing your family and home, contact Secur-Tek at 919-387-1800.  All consultations are complimentary.