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How to Properly Implement a Secure BYOD Policy in Your Small Business

October 13, 2014 at 10:25 am PST

As technology pushes small businesses toward the use of smartphones and other devices in the workplace, securing your company’s privacy is not an easy task. However, if you follow these simple rules, integral information will not land into the wrong hands. Here are some tips on how to make bring your own device, or BYOD, a benefit to the workplace without worrying about security.

1. Establish the Objective

Image_via_flickr_by_Sean_MacAntee

Image via flickr by Sean MacAntee

When deciding on a BYOD policy, you must first identify what you plan to achieve through its implementation. Since there are so many security risks involved, a plan is imperative. If you can’t define the point of it, you might as well abandon it. While security is a risk, plans that are well researched have several advantages including increased employee work rate, improved customer satisfaction, and reduced cost on technological upgrades.

2. Decide What Devices Are Allowed

The next step is deciding what devices to allow. If you only want iPads or Androids, tell your employees specifically. If you are ever in doubt, purchase your own company devices to hand out to employees. While this may seem like an unnecessary expenditure, it will put your mind at ease. It’s also a tax-deductible expense. Check out these area-specific BYOD instructions to connect each of these devices to your company network.

3. Make Security Policies

Since employees are able to access sensitive information on your servers from home or anywhere else, bring forth a policy to curb potential pitfalls. The first thing to do is to decide if you are able to handle this task on your own. If not, you may want to consider hiring an IT firm to overlook the security of your BYOD security. You could also have authentication, as well as passwords. This means that your system will periodically require password updates or even a new password for each log-in, each which goes a long way to preserving important information.

4. Combine BYOD Policy with Acceptable Use

If you don’t already have an “Acceptable Use Policy” for your business, you should strongly consider one. Not only will it curb employee distractions, but it will reduce potential risk for harmful viruses and malware. While employees will undoubtedly slip at some point, set forth rules that will lay out the disciplinary actions for such indiscretion. In addition to this, make sure that you have some sort of monitoring system in place. There’s no need to be nosy, but knowing what your workers do while on your network can save you a headache in the future.

5. Train Your Employees

Training can be the difference between increased productivity and total catastrophe. Engage in communication with your employees about the BYOD policy, and hold training seminars on a frequent basis to show them potential risks of BYOD abuse. This shows employees not only how to use their device effectively, but also that they are being monitored at all times.

6. Develop an Exit Strategy

Undoubtedly, at some point, employees will leave your company. Removing them from access to information on the network, business email, and other apps to which they previously had access can be tricky. Make certain that you figure out a way to avoid security lapse by maintaining an exit checklist. On this list, you can decide how you want to shut down their access. Some of the most common security checks disable company emails, wiping company-issued devices, and changing the passwords to any company accounts used in their position. Once these steps are completed, you can stand assured that your company’s private information is secured.

Once you have considered all of these aspects, it is finally time to decide whether or not implementing a BYOD policy is in the best interest of your business. While there are downsides, the key advantage might lie in keeping up with your competitors. Remaining a forward-thinking business not only attracts new customers, but helps you to retain them in the future.

Updating your Cisco Small Business Router Firmware

October 8, 2014 at 3:25 pm PST

Hello all,

Hope you all are enjoying a productive week. This week I thought it would be prudent to talk about upgrading router (+switch and wireless access point) firmware. The firmware is software that is embedded on the router. This firmware is normally updated to include new features and enhancements to the device. All of our firmware upgrades are FREE.

So take a look at a quick Knowledge Base article (based in our fabulous support forum) on upgrading the firmware on the new RV130 and RV130W: https://supportforums.cisco.com/document/12318721/firmwarelanguage-upgrade-rv130-and-rv130w-using-web-interface.

You will need to download the firmware to your computer and connect an ethernet cable from computer to your router.

Side note: We have an option, yes there is another way. Check out this blog on FindIt.

Make it great rest of the week.

Marc

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Cisco Small Business Named a Top 100 Champion in the 2014 Small Business Influencer Awards

September 29, 2014 at 4:23 pm PST

Hello!

We are so excited that for the second year in a row, Cisco Small Business has been chosen as a Top 100 Small Business Influencer.

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Ved Sharma, Dir/GM, Cisco SMB Services states, “I could not be prouder of our teams whose combined efforts continue to make Cisco Small Business products and services an industry-leading preference for our customers. Our focus on reaching the Small Business community via Facebook, Twitter and other social media avenues helps us to engage with and communicate to small and mid-sized companies. ”

The Small Business Influencer Awards are presented to those who are influential to small businesses in North America, through the products, services, knowledge, information or support they provide to the small business market.

The Champions are selected by a panel of judges steeped in the small business market, based on the following criteria;

  • advocating on behalf of small businesses,
  • providing products or services that address the unique challenges faced by small businesses,
  • revolutionizing how small businesses do business or how they solve business challenges,
  • helping small businesses grow,
  • or otherwise impacting small businesses in a significant way.

Says Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends and one of the co-founders of the Awards, “Influencers are those who play crucial roles in the small business ecosystem, but who often are in the background. The Top 100 Champions have distinguished themselves in some way. Check out the Cisco Award. The Small Business Influencer Awards enable the small business community to nominate and show their support for those that influence and support them.

Read more about the Cisco Small Business portfolio: http://www.cisco.com/cisco/web/solutions/small_business/index.html

Read more about Cisco Small Business Services www.cisco.com/go/smbservices

Read and participate in the  Cisco Small Business blog http://blogs.cisco.com/smallbusiness/

Thank you everyone for helping make us a Top 100 Small Business Influencer!

Cindy

 

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A Partner Experience with the new Cisco WAP371 802.11ac Wireless Access Point

September 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm PST

Hello all,

Hello all, I trust everyone’s week is going well. Today we get to hear from Michiel Beenen, the founder of TechConnect, based in the Netherlands. Michiel recently heard about the new Cisco WAP371 and wanted to see if this new 802.11ac wireless access point hit the mark. He has already deployed the WAP321 and WAP561, so the new WAP371 was peaking his interest. Here is what Michiel had to say:

“After many years of working with Cisco Aironet and Small Business devices, it was time for our company to start testing new access point models that would support Wi-Fi AC (higher speeds). But for many smaller companies and even for at home, Aironet products are just a bit to much and require way more knowledge than then you would simply need in a SMB/Home environment.

So after testing out the WAP321 and WAP561 last year we decided to buy a couple of Cisco WAP371 access points and so far the experience has been great. Installation was as easy as plugging it into your network, browsing to the IP of the access point and then following the Wizard.

The wizard will simply ask for a new admin password, Wi-Fi network names and security and if you want to setup a ‘cluster’ of WAP access points. A cluster can be very handy in a lot of cases, when you have more than one access point, a cluster takes care of a lot of things like roaming between access points and automatically updating the most important settings to each access point within a cluster (things like SSID and other settings will be automatically synced between all devices).

After the wizard is finished you get back into the graphical user interface and from there you can basically do whatever you want. Adjust settings like QoS, Radio channels, VLAN but also Guest support (with or without a Portal).

So far we have been testing with multiple iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Macbooks plus some Airplay speakers and it all seems to work perfectly fine.

Speed-wise we have reached speeds of up to 870Mbps so far over AC Wi-Fi and up to 250mMbps on the 2.4GHz band.

All in all, we are very satisfied with this product and happy that Cisco is coming up with products like this for the Small Business and Home users.”

More about TechConnect:  TechConnect started in 1997, from the melting pot of several successful tech community web sites. Through the years, it has evolved into an internet company whose focus lies on technology solutions, gaming, music and online advertising.  In the beginning, TechConnect was about the passion for technology, and the drive to making dreams come true.

TechConnect’s strength lies in the unique blend of skills and knowledge brought about by the varied and international nature of its employees. Hailing from across Europe, and from all walks of life, TechConnect employees are the lifeblood and heartbeat of the company, with their ideas, varied life experience and professional training. TechConnect helps small and medium sized companies in the Netherlands and Belgium with IT solutions and web services.

Michiel Beenen is the Founder and Managing Director of TechConnect. Internet entrepreneur and online gaming enthusiast, Michiel started the online community (GameConnect) through a combination of his passion for bringing friends together. Michiel has worked on many projects on the cutting edge of online and offline technology, and each has allowed him to build an unparalleled amount of personal connections at all levels of the advertising and gaming worlds, and he loves nothing more than creating new opportunities and projects driven by passion and technical aptitude.

 Thank you to Michiel for taking the time out to pen this up for us. Make it a great rest of the week.

Marc

techconnectsittard

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Small Business Profile: Auto Union Tuning

July 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm PST

Hello all,

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Out here in Southern California, in a town called Huntington Beach, is a growing Auto Shop called Auto Union Tuning.

It is a special place where the owners, Dave and Raz specialize in car care, maintenance and tuning of VW, Audi and Porsche automobiles. On any day, you will find a combination of these three car makes on the lifts and in the garages. From quick VAG-com checks to complete engine rebuilds, you name it, this shop can take care of most work.

There is one specific car they specialize in is the Audi B5 S4. This particular model is sought after by Audi enthusiasts for the tuning potential. This S4 was manufactured between 1997 and 2002, which sported a twin-turbocharged 2.7 liter inline 6 cylinder engine. Some key upgrades can make a 10+ year old car beat new Nissan GTR’s, Supercharged BMW M3′s, Supercharged Corvette’s, Vipers, Shelby’s etc. down a quarter mile.

But alas, that is another story.

I first met Raz back when I was in search of someone to work on my own B7 Audi S4 Avant. Thankfully, I met Raz and he worked on my baby until I sold her to a gentleman that flew out from Salt Lake City and bought my Audi S4 site unseen. This largely because of a conversation I recommended my buyer to have with AUT. Yes, AUT did a good job not only maintaining and caring for my then car. But it is the countless other AUT customers who told others about their experience in how AUT handled their customers and their customers cars. Simply, the they did a great job in running a great business. In the few years I have known the owners, I have seen their business being born, move into a small shop, expand into neighboring units, then move into their current facility, which I must say, is impressive.

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The Office

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The Lifts

With all of this growth, Raz and Dave has seen their network needs and requirements evolve. At first, basic network connectivity using a consumer all-in-one router did it’s job obediently for the first few years, but once they moved into the new facility, things had to change. Simply, the networking strategy had to grow up.

Fast Forward to today, there’s now a total of two new mechanics, office employees, three new workstations and a new ticket writing software that needs to be available on multiple workstations. No doubt new employees and more requirements on their network will be coming in the future.

Yes, Raz and Dave have planned for growth. The new waiting room and front office now houses new couches and a TV. New wheel displays are set-up, vendor banners are hung, and the walls are newly painted.There is a bunch of exhaust and performance parts displayed around the room.

But this planning also included a new need for wireless guest access and of course a secure network where Auto Union Tuning Employees can access secure files and applications, such as the new ticket software. With some discussion, and some assistance, Team AUT procured new Cisco Small Business product, including one of Ivor’s 300 Series PoE Managed Switches, and a pair of Nasser’s WAP551 wireless access points. All of the workstations are hard-lined into the 300 Series Switch, and the WAP551′s are set-up and deployed with a guest network and secure internal network and they are now providing blazing performance in the office and garage workspaces. The entire deployment was said to be under 30 minutes. Much of the time savings was due to the WAP551′s Single Point Setup. The team has some cleanup work, cable management, mounting the wireless access points, but most of the heavy lifting work is complete. The AUT Team is happy with the new network and greeting new customers every day.

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Auto Union Tuning’s Owners: Raz and Dave

Auto Union Tuning is but one example of how a small business can literally take off from day one and transform and evolve into a growing, thriving business. With honest, good old fashioned hard work comes success and growth. With this growth comes the necessity for it’s networking infrastructure to be flexible and scalable.

We think you will find that the Cisco Small Business portfolio fits this model rather well.

For more information on our portfolio of networking products -- click on these links: switching, wireless, routing.

Thanks for the read.

Marc

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