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4 Ways to Protect Your Small Business From Cyberattacks

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  • qUsing antivirus software and ensuring that it’s updated regularly.

  • Regularly backing up data and storing it offline or in another location, not just in the cloud.

  • Creating strong passwords and not using the same password across different accounts.

  • Requiring multifactor authentication, which asks for two identifying factors, like a password and a code, to access accounts and systems.

Some of these security features may already be at your disposal. “Many of the applications and software your company already uses will have built-in security features, but they won’t necessarily be turned on by default,” said Lauren Winchester, vice president of risk and response at Corvus Insurance, by email.

You can enable these features to quickly and easily add an extra layer of security to your business.

3. Train your employees — and yourself

You and your employees are often the first line of defense in protecting your business from cyberattacks. In fact, according to the 2022 Global Risks Report by the World Economic Forum, 95% of cybersecurity issues can be traced to human error.

Receiving basic cybersecurity training can help you and your employees learn to identify common threats, such as phishing emails or suspicious downloads, as well as develop online best practices, like safe browsing and strong passwords.

And with employees working remotely or in different office locations, it’s particularly important to create and review cybersecurity policies for your business, including safety guidelines and what to do in the event of a data breach.

The Federal Communications Commission offers a free online tool to help you create a customized cybersecurity plan based on your unique business needs. Free virtual and in-person cybersecurity training events are available from the U.S. Small Business Administration and its partners. Your internet systems and cyber insurance providers may also offer these types of training.

4. Invest in cybersecurity insurance

Cybersecurity insurance can help protect your business from financial losses caused by incidents such as data breaches, ransomware attacks and hacking.

If, for example, your point-of-sale system is hacked and the hackers release the stored credit card information of your customers, this policy would cover the cost of notifying your customers, investigating the incident and providing credit monitoring services. It would also cover legal fees or settlements if a customer sues your business as a result of the incident.

The best cyber insurance carriers in the market today, however, are more than a backstop to financial loss, says Lipton of AmTrust Financial Services. These insurance companies will not only provide a comprehensive policy, but will also help evaluate your systems, offer advice on how to better protect your data, and connect you with additional security partners or vendors in their network.

Look for a carrier that’s volunteering to be your partner in cybersecurity strategy, Lipton says. Insurance is “a critical component of the cybersecurity strategy, but it’s just one piece.”

What’s the best fit for your business?

Answer a few questions and we’ll match you with an insurance partner who can help you secure quotes.

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What is a dedicated IP address and why do you need one?

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A remote work requirement

Whether you’re new to remote work or a seasoned pro looking to up your game, you might be wondering, “What is a dedicated IP address?” or “Do I really need a dedicated IP for remote work?” Both are valid questions — especially now.

Since the shift to remote work, businesses and employees have dealt with increasing security risks and threats. Many telecommuters use VPNs or SSL certificates for a secure remote work experience, but it’s often not enough. Business owners and organizations are also advised to get a dedicated IP address for an added layer of protection.

The question is – is a dedicated IP worth it if you’re working outside of a traditional office space?

Before you decide whether to get a dedicated IP address or not, read on to learn to basics and benefits, including:

What is an IP address?

An internet protocol (IP) address is a unique address assigned to individual computers, servers, domains, or devices over the internet or a local network. Whenever you access a website, your computer communicates to the webserver through the IP address.

IP addresses consist of four sets of numbers, each separated by periods (x.x.x.x), ranging from 0 to 255, which comes out to around 4.2 billion combinations.

The conventional IP address we’re used to is the IPv4 (IP version 4). It was created in the 1980s and used a 32-bit system that didn’t account for how fast the internet would grow. We have long since exhausted those 4.2 billion combinations. Thus, a new internet addressing system called IPv6 was deployed in 1999.

IP addresses and the Domain Name System (DNS)

IP addresses aren’t random. They are produced and assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), part of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The ICANN is a non-profit organization that maintains internet security. One of its functions is to maintain the domain name system (DNS). You can think of the DNS as a phonebook that matches domain names to IP addresses.

The DNS was born because IP addresses are composed of a string of numbers – making it difficult for users to remember which numbers belonged to which website. Without the DNS, you would have to type in “64.233.187.99” to get to Google and other IP addresses to get to other websites.

How IP addresses work

Your network, devices and the internet use IP addresses to communicate with each other. Let’s look at how IP addresses work when connecting your device to the internet.

Before your device can access the internet, it must connect to a network. That network would likely be your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if you’re at home, while it would be public Wi-Fi if you’re outside your home network.

Internet activity goes through the ISP, which is shared with your device using an IP address. In this case, the ISP assigns an IP address to your device. That assigned IP address, however, is temporary. When you turn your modem or router off, your device gets disconnected from the network. Or, when you travel, your device uses another network to connect to the internet.

That new network you connect to (hotel, coffee shop, or airport Wi-Fi) shares a different IP address. This is but one of many examples of how devices use IP addresses to communicate with each other.

There are several types of IP addresses, which we’ll explore in the next section.

Different types of IP addresses

There are different types of IP addresses, which are further subdivided into different categories.

Consumer IP addresses and website IP addresses are the main types of IP addresses.

Consumer IP address

Consumer IP addresses are assigned to devices connected to the internet. There are two kinds of consumer IP addresses: private and public IP addresses.

These types describe a network’s location: private IP addresses are used inside a network, while public IP addresses are used outside.

Private IP vs. Public IP

Your network router assigns private IP addresses to your devices to communicate with it internally. In contrast, your ISP assigns public IP addresses. The public IP is the primary address associated with your internet network.

Private IP addresses exist because multiple devices connect to a household’s network. Modern homes have computers, smartphones, tablets and even Bluetooth-enabled devices such as speakers, printers or smart TVs connecting to a router at any given time.

Because your router connects to so many devices, it needs a way to identify each item. Thus, it generates private IP addresses that differentiate each device on the internal network.

While each device connected to the network has its own private IP address to communicate with the router, remember that all devices simultaneously access the internet through the router as well. Thus, they all have the same public IP address.

Public IP addresses are further classified into two kinds – static and dynamic. These types describe a network’s permanency.

Dynamic IP vs. Static IP

A dynamic IP address is an IP address that often changes, while a static IP address does not change. ISPs and web hosting companies automatically assign dynamic IP addresses while they manually create static IP addresses.

Dynamic IP addresses are the most common type of IP address. They are only active for a certain amount of time, after which they expire. Once the computer disconnects from the network, it receives a new IP address or requests a new one.

Advantages of dynamic IP addresses include cost savings and security. ISPs buy multiple IP addresses and assign them to users. Automating the movement of IP addresses means there’s no need to get users their original IP addresses. Once a user is disconnected, ISPs can reassign a new IP address and give new users the old one to use.

Additionally, a changing IP makes it harder for criminals to hack into your network.

Individuals and businesses seldom use static IP addresses. Servers hosting large websites or providing email and FTP services use static IP addresses so other devices can easily find them on the web.

Website IP address

The website IP address is the other type of IP address besides the consumer IP.

If consumer IPs are assigned to devices connected to the internet, website IPs are used for web hosting packages. There are two types of website IPs: shared and dedicated.

We’ll be focusing on these two types, specifically dedicated IP addresses.

Dedicated IP address vs. Shared IP address

You can get a dedicated IP address and shared IP address from hosting providers, but the main difference is the number of users assigned to it.

Dedicated IPs are exclusive to a single account, while a shared IP is assigned to multiple users.

Shared IP addresses are often common to shared hosting accounts. This type of web hosting plan hosts multiple websites on the same server, making it possible for these domains to share an IP address.

But, while shared IP addresses are common in shared hosting plans, it is also possible to have a shared IP address without a shared server. For instance, some Managed WordPress hosting plans share IP addresses but not server resources.

Shared IP addresses are often dynamic IPs, while dedicated IP addresses are static. You have sole use over them once they’re assigned to you.

Important: Don’t confuse a dedicated IP address with a dedicated server; you can get a dedicated IP address without signing up for a dedicated hosting plan.

Benefits of a dedicated IP address

There are several benefits to having a single IP address dedicated to your use. It’s fast and secure, and there’s a smaller chance of your IP getting blacklisted.

Let’s explore each benefit in detail:

1. Secure remote access

A dedicated IP address allows employees to connect to company resources securely. It enables you to control access to specific resources and sensitive company assets. You can do this by allowing specific IP addresses and restricting access to servers and gateways you choose.

2. Reduced risk of IP blacklisting

Another benefit of a dedicated IP address is safety and location privacy. Some people prefer it when they can’t be traced.

While sharing an IP address is generally safe, it risks country-specific blocking of your website. Other websites on your server might perform illegal activities such as sending out spam emails, viruses, or malware that could get your websites blocked by search engines.

When you use a dedicated IP address for remote work or otherwise, there is zero chance of your IP getting blocked — unless you do something malicious intentionally.

3. Faster and safer file transfer

A dedicated IP ensures faster site speeds. You don’t have to contend with web traffic because you’re the only one using the IP address.

A dedicated IP also allows you to build a file transfer protocol (FTP) server to share files within an organization. A private FTP server offers better protection and a faster file transfer rate.

4. Improved email deliverability

You will benefit from a dedicated IP address if you send large volumes of emails; anything above 100,000+ per year is considered a large volume.

The main reason?

An IP’s reputation can impact your email delivery rate.

Email services such as Gmail and Yahoo trust emails from dedicated IPs more than those from shared IP addresses. They often double-check emails from shared IP addresses because spam emails are more likely to come from accounts hosted on those IPs.

5. Direct access to your website

Dedicated IP addresses allow you to access your website directly using the IP address since it’s the only domain mapped to that IP. For example, typing in “64.233.187.99” would lead you directly to Google because that is its dedicated IP address.

While it’s not the main advantage of having a dedicated IP, it is a handy perk when domain servers are down.

Dedicated IP address: A must-have for remote workers

Bottom line: Beef up your cybersecurity efforts with a dedicated IP address. It securely connects you to your remote server and improves site speed. That’s a win-win for remote workers and their employees and clients.

Need a dedicated IP address for remote work? Enjoy the benefits of dedicated IP by purchasing a GoDaddy dedicated IP as an add-on, or get one free by signing up for a GoDaddy dedicated hosting plan.



Get Hosting for $1.00*/mo with GoDaddy!

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Running a Business

Strengthen Your Customer Call Experience

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It takes effort, hard work, and dedication to establish a business, but this is something that should go without saying. The issue is that many new companies are under the impression that they must accomplish everything on their own. Let’s use an example to make things clearer:

A new firm with no workers to ensure that product is handled, marketing is taken care of, inventory is maintained, and goals are established and achieved, all while handling continuous phone calls. It’s a lot of work, to say the least, but it’s also not essential.

Constant calls are distracting, and between robocalls and genuine leads, it’s difficult to sort through them while staying on track for your company. Responsive enterprises, on the other hand, create more powerful impressions, resulting in successful business interactions and loyal customers.

You can have the best product or service in the world, but if no one knows about it or can’t get in touch with you, your company won’t succeed.

How do you maintain a balance between your company and your consumers or clients? With a live receptionist service.

The goal should be to find a balance between your business and attending to customers or clients. The sweet spot is where you are free to focus on what you’re good at while not having to worry about the small stuff. This is where a live receptionist service comes in.

Companies like Alliance Virtual Offices understand what it takes to build a business in this day and age. Many companies are looking to cut back on staff and costs by working remotely and finding proper technology to handle many of the administrative tasks needed to run a successful business.

With Alliance Virtual Offices, you can pick between 3 Live Receptionist plans that won’t break the bank and will ensure that your customers or clients are always greeted by a friendly, professional voice. Plus, there is no setup fee and every plan includes a dedicated business number and a market-leading Virtual Phone system.

At a fraction of the cost of a permanent employee, our professional live receptionist service strengthens your customer call experience while also reducing distractions, giving you valuable time back to focus. For up to six days a week, your live receptionist will screen and filter calls, take messages, and schedule appointments on your behalf — all according to your requirements and real-time calendar. 

If you’re looking for a reliable and stable business solution, then Alliance Virtual Offices is the perfect choice for you. With their commercially recognized address and business number, you can easily list your business on the 411 national directory. This way, potential lenders will know that you’re a credible and established company. So don’t wait any longer, head to Alliance Virtual Offices today and see what they can do for you!

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Business Software

Best Barcode Label Printers for Small Business

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The best barcode label printers make it easy to create and print codes that help you track your inventory. Thermal printers, which use heat to print, eliminate the need for ink and can print hundreds of labels per minute.

Some barcode printers are also compatible with point-of-sale systems, so keep an eye out for your preferred software. However, just because your POS system isn’t listed doesn’t mean you can’t use the associated printer; it may just require exporting and reformatting your labels to print from a computer.

Rollo Label Printer: Best overall

Cost: $180.

  • Phone, chat and email support.

  • Integrated shipping platform.

  • Option to print for a wide size range, from barcodes to shipping labels.

  • Not wireless; connects through USB.

Why we like it: The Rollo is the industry standard for shipping label printers, and it works for barcode labels and a variety of other uses, too. You can print on any direct thermal label, including free UPS labels, unlike other brands which are only compatible with their own branded label paper. The device is compatible with Windows, Mac, and all major shipping platforms and marketplaces including Shopify and Etsy. The wireless version is available for about $280.

Brother QL-810W: Best for portability

Cost: $180 and up.

  • Wireless connectivity.

  • Lightweight and compact.

  • Compatible with Mac, Windows, and mobile apps AirPrint and Brother iPrint&Label.

  • Prints in black and red. (Most label printers only print in black.)

  • Software can be complicated to set up.

Why we like it: Brother’s QL line of label printers are lightweight and durable. Reviews note some difficulties with setup, but once online these devices are among the best for wireless, high-speed and portable label printing. You can access and customize label templates with the Brother iPrint&Label mobile app. This model is our top pick, but the QL-800 and QL-1100 are similar in function and price.

Zebra ZD421: Best for durability

Cost: $440 and up.

  • Compact
  • Compatible with Android and iOS.

  • Wireless connectivity.

  • Can be used for shipping labels.

  • Pricier than other options.

Why we like it: Zebra makes reliable, industrial-quality printers that can withstand long-term use. Reviewers say the ZD421 is a consistent, speedy model. Like other Zebra printers, it’s ideal for high-volume retail businesses and warehouses. Zebra printers are an investment, but they’re known to be high-performing and long-lasting.

Phomemo-M110: Best low-cost option

Cost: $66 and up.

Compatible business software not available.

Pros

  • Low
  • Lightweight and portable.

  • Bluetooth connectivity.

  • Android and iOS app includes label templates and editing feature

Cons

  • Less powerful than higher-priced options.

  • Only for barcode and product labels; can’t create shipping labels.

  • Only compatible with Phomemo app.

Why we like it: The Phomemo-M110 is small, but fully capable. It’s a great option for businesses making sales on-the-go, like at farmers markets and festivals. The rechargeable device is unlikely to last as long as most of the other options listed here, but it works well for businesses on a budget. For a slight upgrade, the Phomemo-M220 for $91.99 can connect with USB and has more label size options.

Dymo LabelWriter 550: Best high-speed option

Cost: $150 and up.

Compatible business software includes: Shopify, Lightspeed, Square.

  • Compatible with Mac and Windows.

  • Can print directly from e-commerce websites, including Shopify and Etsy.

  • Can only be used with authentic Dymo brand label paper.

  • Not wireless; connects through USB.

Why we like it: The LabelWriter is a high-speed device, printing up to 90 labels per minute. You can access and customize templates with the company’s free software, and print in high resolution. However, newer Dymo models, including this one, are only compatible with Dymo-brand paper, so materials can get costly. For a larger option that can print shipping labels as well as barcode labels, try the similar LabelWriter 4XL.

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