Regardless of whether you are a technology enthusiast or not, you must have noticed an increased reliance on technology across all areas of life over the past few years. Along with this greater role of tech, you must have also experienced frustrations from time to time due to its eccentricities, often buggy codes, incompatible formats, etc. Additionally, you must have suffered from its fickleness.

Every now and then a popular product or service goes kaput. Unexpected changes in terms and conditions of existing services that we use are announced. We may not like them, but what choice do we have?

We have all seen our favorite mobile apps, even favorite companies – along with our favorite products and services, getting closed without warning.

From Evernote introducing a two-device clause (and triggering a huge migration to OneNote as a result) to Facebook frequently changing its news feed algorithm to WhatsApp now poised to introducing ads in our messaging experience – things can change drastically at any point in this space.

That makes one wonder, what would endure If Dropbox were to close down tomorrow? What would happen to our data? What about our creative notes scattered across multiple platforms? Would our efforts be wiped out or rendered redundant so easily by things that are out of our control? Are we at the mercy of those who rule the internet and dictate the trends?

Here are some thoughts on how small businesses can reclaim their power and not let technology become a bane or a maze they simply cannot figure out how to navigate.

Have multiple backups of important data

The old saying “Do not put all your eggs in one basket” applies not just to the stock markets but also to technology.

It’s unlikely that all the places where you save your data would malfunction or cease to exist at once, but the likelihood of investing heavily in one platform and suffering due to it is relatively high. Dropbox accounts have been hacked into more than once. The latest breach has resulted in more than 68 million passwords being leaked online.

If that doesn’t scare you, it should. Most businesses, as well as individuals, have availed of such cloud services at some point.

What is the solution?

Make regular backups of your system and store them on an external hard disk. If your laptop crashes or is hacked, you would still have access to the important data. You might also want to consider creating a cloud within your house/office – a cloud only you or the inhabitants of that place can access because it would be hosted on a private network. You may even program it in a way that it takes system backups at predetermined points of time.

Run security updates on all your devices

Each time the OEM of your mobile device or software provider pushes out an update, please do accept it and download it as soon as you can.

Install security and anti-virus/malware software on your phones as well, especially the ones that store critical information. Make use of encryption wherever possible and always employ a difficult to figure out password to unlock your phone or laptop.

Thanks to mobile apps and the ease of browsing the internet on smartphones, we use them for all kinds of purposes. The way these apps work, they are constantly collecting our data and storing it. Google in particular says this is important if it is to give its users most relevant and up-to-date information.

The downside of this is that if your phone or account gets hacked, you stand to lose a lot.

It’s easy to hack small businesses, and as a result many of them are being targeted. Research has found that “hackers typically go after businesses with fewer than 100 employees,” because these companies do not invest in cyber security, or are lax about it, and are therefore deemed “weak and vulnerable.” Don’t let that be you.

Don’t visit unsecure websites

Sometimes we bring misfortune upon ourselves.

Don’t visit sites that seem suspicious or click on links that are sent to you from unfamiliar accounts. Don’t download material unless sent by a trusted source. And even then, you should pause before you click on a link. Phishing scams abound. If you have invested in anti-virus and anti-malware software, it can guard you from becoming a victim, but only to an extent.

Steer clear of open Wi-Fi

No matter how tempting it may be to use the airport Wi-Fi or that at the mall, even if only to quickly check your email or respond to a message, don’t do it. Just don’t.

Stay away from open and free Wi-Fi as a matter of principle. These are unsecure networks and you run a big risk of getting hacked or being snooped upon when you plug into them. We are sure your data is confidential and you wouldn’t want a malicious presence to compromise it.

Invest in offline relationships

So social media and your website combined are tremendous tools for generating leads, and that is also the way of the future. As owners of a digital marketing agency, we can vouch for their tremendous effectiveness in this regard (or we wouldn’t be in this business!) But we would still insist on nurturing offline relationships with your clients.

You may procure leads online, but if your potential clients or present customers live around you, it’s a good idea to meet up in person and invest in the relationship. People still appreciate that personal touch and it will help you stand out.

Technology certainly does have a downside, and it’s not pretty. It’s, in fact, very dark. If hacked, you may lose a lot of money. If your service provider is hacked, you tend to lose critical data, and hence potential investments.

How do you keep your web data safe? Imaginovation offers hosting and cloud computing services for all its customers. Please contact us if you want to learn more about keeping your website safe!


Pete Peranzo

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