Gate Customer Newsletter Hostway
Issue: January 2014

BYOD: Stay Secure While Incorporating Personal Devices

A few years ago, CIOs might have dismissed the notion of a "bring your own device" (BYOD) policy. Imagine their cries about security and privacy – how can data possibly be protected beyond company firewalls? This year would have stunned them with the growing popularity of just that – employees accessing company intranets on their personal devices.

A recent Gartner survey of CIOs outlines the momentum expected in the BYOD trend within the next few years. By 2016, 38% of the surveyed companies plan to stop providing employees with devices. Taken a step further, Gartner predicts that by 2017 nearly 50% of employers will have a BYOD policy in place.

Is this new movement really any surprise, though, with the growing number of startups, flexibility in employee schedules, and expansion in the global workforce? Traditional work hours are long gone, with the aforementioned factors contributing to why the BYOD trend is accelerating.

Personal devices offer flexibility for employees and decreased expenses for employers. It goes beyond that, though – the assorted pros and cons of the BYOD policy have been widely noted across numerous technology outlets, including PC World. With these in mind, there are a variety of actions CIOs should consider to ensure data privacy is intact.

Increased Password Protection.

Any device configured with company emails should have enhanced security measures in place. Reexamining your password requirements and password revision frequency could uncover security vulnerabilities. Requiring a password in order to access any individual device is an absolute must.

Secure File Sharing.

Our world demands instant access on the go. Putting a damper on access is a quick way to decrease employee engagement. Fortunately, secure file-sharing services like Cloud Drive offer security in our cloudy world. A central approved SaaS application should be standardized company-wide to assist with storing and sharing documents while still maintaining security.

File Classification System.

What can be shared externally and what cannot? Sometimes the lines are a bit unclear. A formal, standard classification and labeling system can quickly help employees efficiently share information with colleagues and customers without inadvertently leaking something confidential.

Data Recovery Process.

BYOD brings an interesting challenge to recovering data when employees leave a company. A formal process for accessing and acquiring materials will be necessary, and all employees must agree to these steps.

Device Stipends.

One of the BYOD employee drawbacks is a financial gain for employers no cost associated with device hardware. Stipends based on merit might be a valuable way to maintain employee engagement, while showing good faith in their autonomy. Software discounts from partners are also a rewarding and encouraging way to lessen the financial burden your employees experience due to BYOD.

BYOD doesn't have to create a security nightmare. Creative solutions that continue to empower employees can sustain the flexibility generated by BYOD while adding a layer of security. Without such processes, BYOD can quickly become the Wild West.

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In This Issue
BYOD: Stay Secure While Incorporating Personal Devices
Is Using a Free or ISP-based Email Address Detrimental to Business?
Will Your Business Be Found in 2014?
Connect with Us on Social Media
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Huffington Post
December 31, 2013
7 Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Small Business

SmallBizTrends
December 31, 2013
2014 WordPress Website Trends: What’s Hot and What’s Not

Marketing Profs
January 2, 2014
SMBs’ 2014 Marketing Priorities

Is Using a Free or ISP-based Email Address Detrimental to Business?

Small-business decision-makers know the importance of a free or inexpensive utility, and free email services are everywhere. Funding is finite, and other aspects of the company are always begging for increased resources.

So it's easy to see why some small businesses are on Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and the like: Maybe they started out with a business address like "mybusinessname@gmail.com," and remain reticent to move? Perhaps they are afraid that changing addresses could confuse customers? Or maybe they just don't see the point in paying for any service you can get free?

Whatever the circumstances, there's a strong business case to be made for company branded, domain-based email (like "yourname@yourbusinessname.com") – a case that draws upon issues of credibility, marketing and security:

  1. Be Memorable. A business email address should be as memorable and unique as possible. There’s not much unique about your gmail address, is there? It's also difficult for people to remember your business email when you're on a widespread, free email service or ISP. Was that a Yahoo address or Hotmail?
  2. Be Conventional. People have also come to expect the name of a company to be located directly after the "@" sign of an email address. When you're on a free service, it looks unreliable; it gives the impression that your business isn't really a business, but rather an individual looking to sell a product or service. That leads to speculation on just how much of a foundation a business has, how many bad business days it may be from folding, and so on.
  3. Be Consistent. Your business, in most cases, already has a website; presumably, it also already has a domain. Matching your email addresses to your website helps people find you. You may even already be paying to have them: Most website hosting packages come with some number of email accounts that match your web domain.
  4. Be Read. Without your unique domain name on your email address, the risk of being seen as junk mail or as a scam increases greatly. Think about it: When you get an email from what appears to be a personal email account – one that is unfamiliar – with a "special offer," do you always open it? Do you ever open it?
  5. Be Secure. Domain-based email correspondence, unambiguous and reassuring, carries the added risk mitigation benefit of giving you access to departing employees' email when they quit – something lacking from free email solutions. Control is a huge component: Having your employees on company-based email gives you control over your mission-critical business data.

How do you want your company to be seen? How secure should your information be? If the answers to these questions seem crucial to the future of your business, then a domain-based email solution makes sense.

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Will Your Business Be Found in 2014?

Is your web presence everything it can be?

It's never been more important to have a professional, informative, user-friendly web presence for your business, e-commerce-ready and Social-Local-Mobile (SoLoMo) marketing-friendly. We've compiled a number of statistics and survey results to back that message.

Your web presence gets you discovered – whether via your website or a social media presence – and generates revenue, both in terms of e-commerce and brick-and-mortar sales. Add in the mobile component, so you can be found by anyone at any time.

For instance: 97 percent of consumers search online media when researching products and services in their local area, and 85 percent say that they are more likely to buy products or services when additional information is available online.

E-commerce is also increasingly important: 83 percent of American Internet users have made an online purchase, with online sales for 2011 accounting for $255 billion dollars of sales in the U.S. alone.

SoLoMo's role becomes clear when you realize that 86 million Americans use their smartphones to shop online, and 53 percent of smartphone users compare prices from multiple vendors while shopping via smartphone.

With all the time and effort you put into establishing your business, don't sell yourself short by ignoring your online storefront potential. Make sure that you're getting the most you can out of your signpost to the online world.

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