Author: Jimmy Rodela

Jimmy is a freelance writer and the owner of the GuildofBloggers.com. He has contributed to several reputable websites like SEMRush, SeachEnginePeople, and Business.com.

How Business Analysts Boost Productivity Within Operations Teams

Here’s an undeniable truth: Highly productive companies generate more revenue.

However, establishing optimum productivity isn’t always as easy to pull off.

This is where Business Analysts (BAs) come in handy.

Business analysts can increase your operations team’s productivity by helping them meet the set goals, boost their performance, and drill down on key areas for improvement.

BAs can even provide business analysis as a service to help Chief Information Officers (CIOs) deliver successful strategies by leveraging the right technology.

If you’re not convinced yet, read on to learn more about how business analysts can boost your operations teams’ productivity.

1. Determine operational needs

Business analysts offer the skills and expertise to help your company and teams identify operational needs through in-depth analyses of your targets and requirements.

For instance, a critical yet easily overlooked aspect that can impact your operations team’s performance is inefficient employee scheduling.

Managers could spend productive hours manually scheduling employee shifts, recording attendance, and processing payroll.

These paper-based methods eat up a lot of time and effort and can be open to errors that seriously impact your employees’ productivity and even cost you money.

Business analysts can help your operations teams address this by drilling down on your specific operational needs and help you find the right approach and implement the appropriate tools.

For example, BAs could help you look for, adopt, and implement the best-fitting online employee scheduling software to automate your scheduling process and solve productivity gaps while saving tons of time and energy.

That said, business analysts can help shape your operations team’s decision-making process by understanding the operational needs and the best strategies (and tools) to improve productivity and achieve success.


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2. Identify gaps and provide effective solutions

Business analysts have the training to “jump into” your existing processes and workflows quickly and work with your team members to pinpoint problems and work together to solve them efficiently.

They have the focus, time, and expertise to dig deep into your existing operational methods, strategies, workflows, and tools to see bottlenecks and gaps and steer your team members toward the right solutions.

For instance, business analysts can help you identify and analyze aspects in your customer service processes that eat up too much time and resources, affect their performance, and keep them from achieving optimum productivity.

BAs can then use the data and results to help you choose and deploy the right solutions. This can include streamlining critical parts of your client support workflows through robust customer service automation software.

With the help of business analysts, you can seamlessly optimize your operations team’s workflows, ensure they meet targets, and improve performance.

3. Streamline workflows to reduce operational costs and risks

While you can’t eliminate all the risks that usually come with operations, business analysts can help you reduce them, including lowering your operational costs.

Hiring qualified BAs allows you to tap into professional strategies and skills to manage your operational risks while reducing expenses.

For instance, a business analyst could assess your existing business processes and recommend investing in asset maintenance tools to improve productivity and lower operational costs.

If you run an equipment rental company, one of your business analysts’ strategic recommendations can be using digital equipment inspection forms to streamline and automate your workflows.

Doing so speeds up performing your equipment inspections and increases the accuracy of your results. This helps you manage your assets efficiently while ensuring you keep all your equipment in optimum condition.

You can reduce repair costs, keep operations running smoothly, and, in turn, save time, labor, and money while increasing your operations teams’ and company’s overall productivity.

Also, since online all your equipment inspection and associated data get stored on the cloud, everyone with the right credentials can easily access them. This can streamline your workflows and reduce manual, paper-based processes that can eat up a chunk of your resources.

4. Implement data driven strategies

Business analysts offer valuable expertise by helping your operations team leverage data to supercharge your processes and boost productivity.

BAs can help your operations team analyze and extract actionable insights from your data to achieve a seamless operational process.

Instead of bungling through the sometimes deep learning curve of advanced data analytics tools, you can work with a business analyst to walk your team through the process.

This allows your team to gain and leverage data insights quickly, helping your business get results faster.

For instance, BAs can help you analyze your customer experience data and determine the appropriate strategies and adjustments to improve client experiences with your brand. This can include adopting computerized cash registers into your systems.

Business analysts can help translate your raw data into useful information and turn them into easy-to-digest ideas, proposals, and even projects to make your operations more efficient.

5. Play various roles across your company

Most operational processes cut across multiple areas within a company. This makes business analysts valuable since they can often apply their expertise in many departments, such as sales, marketing, customer service, Information Technology, etc.

BAs can wear many hats and are not limited to just one area or department within your business. This allows them to help improve various processes and boost your company’s overall efficiency and productivity.

A dependable business analyst’s diverse skill set lets them start with one department and move through other parts of your entire operational process.

This allows business analysts to extend their services to other critical areas or all levels within your company that require business analysis support.

Working with a business analyst allows your operations team and other departments to work more efficiently and productively while ensuring your operations align with your organizational goals.

Also, business analysts help with your internal and external-facing processes while helping your teams keep up with industry trends, so your company maintains a competitive edge.

Wrapping up the role of business analysts in productive operations teams

A dependable business analyst can help ensure your business operations are highly functional, efficient, and geared towards optimum productivity.

BAs provide the necessary expertise, skillset, and experience and help your team find and deploy the right strategies and tools to help your operations team achieve optimum productivity.

The more productive your business operations are the higher your company’s profitability.

While working with business analysts can require a bit of an investment, the benefits of hiring one can far outweigh the costs and help your company sustain long-term growth and success.

Agile Vs Waterfall in Healthcare

The healthcare sector is one of the biggest and fastest-growing industries today. It includes companies that manufacture medical equipment, drugs, provide medical services, and facilitate the provision of healthcare products (among other things).

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare occupations are expected to grow by 15 percent from 2019 to 2029. The number of nurse practitioners alone is expected to increase by a whopping 52 percent within this time frame. This growth rate is much faster than the average for all non-healthcare occupations.

The rapid growth of the healthcare industry, which is worth a staggering $4 trillion based on the data from the 2020 Forbes Healthcare Virtual Summit, brings with it the need for more efficient patient care, a reduction in costs, and a better overall experience for patients. This is known as the Triple Aim.

This is where tools for project management and extensive knowledge of project management methodologies, namely agile and waterfall, will come into play.

After reading this article, you should have a deeper understanding of the agile and waterfall methodologies as well as their pros and cons. You should also be able to determine for yourself whether adopting waterfall or agile practices is best for any given scenario.

The waterfall development methodology

This flowchart shows the step-by-step process that is used in the waterfall development methodology. Image source: (https://www.macadamian.com/learn/when-to-use-waterfall-vs-agile/) Alt-text: Flowchart depicting steps used in waterfall development methodology: Gather & Document Requirements, Design, Development, Testing, Development/Delivery, and Final Outcome.

The waterfall development methodology is an approach to creating a product or service that entails the breaking down of project functions into distinct stages. Each succeeding stage is dependent on the outcome of the previous one, and completing them sequentially, within a strict budget and timeline, is necessary.

Within the healthcare sector, most people are more familiar with the waterfall development method and are comfortable with using it in their daily activities.

Using the waterfall method allows project managers to have a clear overview of the project. It also gives them an idea of the timeline for each stage of that project.

However, one downside to using the waterfall method is that it is inflexible by nature. This means that difficulties will often be encountered if there is even a slight deviation to the project plan.

 

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Waterfall development methodology pros

Below are several good points about the waterfall development methodology.

1. Extensive documentation

You won’t be able to backtrack to a previous stage of a project while using the waterfall method without wasting valuable time and resources. This forces you to create thorough documentation from the very beginning.

2. Knowledge stays in the organization

Thanks to extensive documentation, you won’t need to worry about lost knowledge in case someone from the team decides to leave the project. Also, you won’t need to spend time training new team members since they will easily be able to become familiar with the project by viewing the documentation themselves.

3. Team members can plan their time more efficiently

Team members will know in advance what they’ll be working on. This allows them to plan out their tasks more efficiently.

4. Easily understandable

Because the waterfall method lays out the project in a way that is easily understandable, project management is usually straightforward.

5. Client input isn’t required

Client input is kept to a minimum except for occasional reviews, status meetings, and necessary approvals.

 

Waterfall development methodology cons

Below are negative points worth looking out for when using the waterfall development methodology.

1. No backtracking

Going back and making changes to a stage in the project that has already been completed can be costly and time-consuming. This puts a lot of pressure on team members during the planning phase.

2. No room for mistakes during the requirements phase

All the other stages of the project rely heavily on the requirements phase. Making errors here can doom the project even before it makes any significant headway.

3. Deadline creep

The domino effect is common in the waterfall method. This means that once a deadline is missed in just one stage of the project, the succeeding stages will most likely be affected as well.

4. End result may not be what the client actually needs

Because client involvement is kept to a minimum, the end product may end up not being what the client actually needs. This can lead to a major overhaul in the project plan which can eat into the project’s budget.

5. Unforeseen problems

Because the waterfall method is inflexible, it can be difficult to deal with unforeseen problems when they arise.

 

The agile development methodology

As you can see from this flowchart, the agile method and the waterfall method are quite similar. The key difference between the two is the agile method’s added feedback loop. (Image source: https://www.macadamian.com/learn/when-to-use-waterfall-vs-agile/). Alt-text: Flowchart depicting steps used in agile development methodology: Establish Requirements, Design, Develop, Test, Deploy, Micro Outcome, Feedback and Final Outcome.

Most modern healthcare organizations prefer to use agile planning over waterfall planning. This is largely due to the healthcare sector’s growing demand for newer project management tools and methodologies that adapt to constantly changing needs while allowing team members to be both disciplined and accountable.

In a nutshell, the agile development method encourages collaboration and frequent adaptation. This is in stark contrast to the inflexible nature of the waterfall method which favors careful planning.

Additionally, because the customers themselves are much more involved in the agile process, there is a much higher probability of customer satisfaction which can be attributed to agile in customer success.

While the stages of both the waterfall and the agile method are quite similar, the practices and values couldn’t be more different. (Image source: https://activecollab.com/blog/project-management/agile-project-management). Alt-text: Image depicting numerous agile practices and values

Here are three agile practices that you can start using right now:

1. The daily standup

This is a short daily meeting which usually lasts no more than 15 minutes. It allows the team to touch base and share important information.

2. The retrospective

At various stages during the project’s development, the team makes an assessment of their performance.

The three key questions teams ask themselves are:

  1. What worked well for us?
  2. What didn’t work well?
  3. What can be done differently to improve results?

3. Customer demos

This is done by presenting working versions of products or services to the customer at certain points throughout the development stages.

Agile development methodology pros

Below are positive points about the agile development methodology.

1. Agile is flexible

Because agile promotes a flexible approach to project management, priorities and requirements can easily be adjusted on the fly without any real consequences

2. Agile empowers the team

A team that uses the agile development method is NOT directed by a manager. It is expected to be self-organized, allowing members to set their own working standards and timelines.

3. Agile speeds up the production process

Because less time is spent on planning and documentation, the team is able to focus more on what needs to be done in order to be able to deliver a working iteration of the product or service.

A study was even done on applying agile practices to rare disease drug development to encourage evolutionary development, adaptive planning, rapid and flexible response to change, and continuous improvement.

4. Learning is encouraged and embraced

Learning is an integral part of the production process when it comes to the agile development method. With every iteration, the team learns how to improve upon the product or service that they are currently developing.

5. More opportunity for creativity

agile works better when the product’s design and vision isn’t too well defined. This allows the team to develop the product or service in conjunction with the customer’s input.

Agile development methodology cons

Below are some of the negative points when using agile development.

1. Outcome and timeline aren’t as predictable

Though agile’s iterative approach to developing a product or service allows the team to be flexible with their scope and timeline, the drawback is that timelines are often less predictable and aren’t set in stone.

2. The customer needs to invest time in the product

In agile development, the input of the customer is vital to the production process. This means that unwanted setbacks can occur if the client is frequently unavailable.

3. Documentation isn’t available

As previously mentioned, documentation isn’t one of the priorities of the agile development method. With no documentation, lost knowledge can quickly become a major issue should any team members decide to quit.

The lack of documentation can make knowledge transfer, training, and agile implementation challenging.

Based on survey data, 23% of respondents say insufficient training, education, and best practices for implementing agile hinders the proper adoption of agile practices within the organization.

4. A lack of trust within the team can be catastrophic

Trust is crucial in the agile development method since all the team members should be working closely to produce the best results. A lack of trust within the team can cause big problems down the line.

5. Re-work is unavoidable

Because the agile method values collaboration and frequent adaptation, a lot of time is inevitably spent working, and re-working, the product or service. This usually goes on until both the development team and the client are satisfied with the end product.

 

Which development method should you use?

There are a number of factors that you should consider before deciding on the best methodology to use for your healthcare organization.

For instance, if your project, such as adopting new software to improve your organization’s healthcare system, has strict regulatory requirements and there is little to no room to make changes, you may want to opt for the waterfall development method.

On the other hand, if your organization doesn’t have a strict process to follow and you have the luxury of being able to work flexibly, then going with the agile method may be a better choice.

At the end of the day, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your team, as well as having an extensive understanding of the pros and cons of both the waterfall and the agile development methods for your healthcare facility and operations, will help you make a smarter, more educated decision as to which development methodology should work best for you.

5 Kinds of Software to Streamline Online Business Processes

Inefficient processes can cost your business 20% to 30% of revenue loss every year.Inefficient processes can cost your business 20% to 30% of revenue loss every year.

Disorganized business workflows hamper your workers’ productivity and collaboration and eat up time and expenses. This causes your company to perform poorly and fulfill targets more slowly.
Streamline your business processes by using the right, all-inclusive software tools for your organization. Check out five of them:

1. Call recording software

If your online business is like any other, you regularly do numerous calls to coordinate with your suppliers, follow up on leads, address customers’ inquiries and complaints, train employees, and more.

In those instances, documentation of conversations and shared information is crucial to resolve issues or perform the next steps in your business processes.
Instead of recording on pen and paper or other traditional means, do that most efficiently with call recording software programs. These tools allow you to automate or control when recording starts and ends, listen in on conversations in real time, set up metrics for evaluation, store and organize recorded calls, and more.

Choosing the best call recording software for your company depends on your business needs and activities, so identify them first before considering which tools or services to take. You can partner with call centers, acquire or install business phone systems, and download mobile apps.

Ringover, for instance, is one such tool you can use. It has call forwarding, computer greetings, automatic recording, call routing, dialer, screen poop, and other advanced features.

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With call recording software, monitoring and evaluating discussions over the phone become time and energy savers, so you can focus more on improving related and other business processes.

2. Project management tools

Project management software tools help you closely oversee your business project tasks, phases, and targets from beginning to closing. 

They have user-friendly functionalities and interfaces, so busy project managers can quickly go through updates, milestones, delegation, and corrective actions fast. 
They and team members can even interact with each other, upload files, comment, and do other collaborative activities on the platform.

Examples of project management tools to use include Scoro, which lets you create projects with deadlines and sub-tasks and boasts of these other top features:

Real-time dashboard for key performance indicators (KPIs)

Real-time dashboard for key performance indicators (KPIs)

Billing and time tracking

Contact management

Comprehensive progress and finances reporting

Quoting and invoicing with pre-made templates

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On the other hand, Wrike is among the new project management tools around and largely similar to well-known software programs Asana and Trello.

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Robust and versatile, Wrike provides communication and documentation management features for easier team collaboration and greater task and progress visibility. It also lets you prioritize assignments and align your team seamlessly toward goals and through timelines.

Wrike’s best features are:Wrike’s best features are:
Gantt charts as visual project timetables;

Synchronization of tasks and milestones with iCalendar and Google and Outlook calendars;

Up-to-date information for clients and team members, and others.

Choose from among the project management tools online to find the right one for your goals, approaches, and organizational structure. By doing so, you simplify your team collaboration and project fulfillment processes along the way.


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3. Business process management software

A process automation tool, this kind of software program lets you and your business analysts outline your daily business processes, recognize and remove bottlenecks, curb expenses, and increase efficiency and your involved staff’s effectiveness.

The result: you open more room for growth, manage any change in business requirements more smoothly, extend to other industries with minimal cost, and others.
Business process management software (BPMS) tools also work well alongside workflow software programs such as Biztalk and Moss. They simplify any tasks associated with coding and building workflow technologies, routing architecture, and business rules engine — giving your staff more attention to their core competencies.

When looking for the right system for your online business, consider essential BPM software features such as visual workflows, scalability, single sign-on, drag-and-drop form builders, etc.

You can tap Ultimus for cost-efficient, low-code enterprise BPMS solutions and services, including training, certification, consultation, and support provision.

You can also use Appian, which offers suitable functions for every phase of the business process lifecycle. It has granular, real-time, and predictive analytics, pre-made connectors and easy-to-configure APIs for quicker integration, and several other practical features.

With the right BPMS for your company, you can optimize your daily processes, boost your productivity, and steadily scale your enterprise. 

4. Sales and marketing software tools

This type of tool is among the most practical business management software programs. It powerfully integrates sales, marketing, and related tasks and features, so you can enhance those processes in one platform.

Sales and marketing software programs often include functionalities for customer relationship management (CRM), customer support, automation and communication tools to capture and close leads, and more.These tools help you organize your sales and marketing teams and make them increasingly efficient and productive in meeting their targets.

One example is VipeCloud. An all-in-one program, it reduces the number of related apps used and your sales representatives’ manual tasks. VipeCloud offers email templates, custom workflows, and others to automate and standardize your proven business workflows.

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VipeCloud also has a built-in sales CRM that minimizes administrative data entries, provides contact scoring so you can discover the best prospects, review reports and effective measures, and streamline communications.

It also supports your email marketing activities with drip campaigns, social sharing, newsletters, and sign-up forms.

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Through comprehensive sales and marketing software tools like VipeCloud, you can closely track and document your business processes, solidify your team’s collaboration, and deliver better services to your customers.

5. HR software

If your Human Resources department feels overwhelmed with the plethora of tasks and software systems involved, you can resort to using all-in-one solutions to organize your HR processes.

Comprehensive HR software programs consider all related activities and support you with the right capabilities to fulfill them: from hiring to onboarding, time tracking, payroll integration, and more.

GoCo is one HR software tool you can use for your enterprise. It provides a paper-free onboarding experience, digitizes necessary documents, and conducts automated orientation sessions, among others.

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At a glance, GoCo lets your employees view, compare, and enroll in their desired benefits packages, helps you seamlessly manage these plans and associated costs, and harmonizes them with your payroll.

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It also synchronizes insurance compliance requirements with your insurance carriers, allows you to partner with certified HMO advisors, and instantly facilitates deductions and contributions.

What’s more, you can oversee your employees’ timesheets, paid time off, and holiday hours from the GoCo dashboard. Time tracking, clocking in and out, editing timesheets, and computing overtime become easier, more flexible digital processes.

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GoCo provides many other automated checklists for your HR workflows, such as termination, promotion, travel requests, etc. Plus, if you wish to retain your HR systems instead of GoCo’s embedded tools, you can smoothly integrate them.

HR software programs like GoCo help you supervise your employees more closely, support them with their tenure needs, and empower your HR department to fulfill their responsibilities more effectively.

Start streamlining your business workflows.Start streamlining your business workflows.

Accelerate your performance like never before with these and other robust software programs for your organization. They will help you optimize your daily operations, improve workforce cooperation, complete your deliverables, and eventually scale up your business more smoothly. The sooner you leverage them, the faster you can get to where you want to bring your organization.

4 Business Analyst Interview Questions and Answers to Kickstart Your Career

If you’re just starting your career as a Business Analyst (BA),

knowing the usual types of interview questions can help you prepare to impress your potential employers. 

After all, knowing the possible interview questions will help you prepare the right answers that will make you stand out from other candidates who are vying for the same position.

Although the requirements for Business Analyst positions vary depending on the company, there are a set of common questions that you’re most likely to hear in every interview. 

These questions could range from a simple “Why a career in Business Analysis?” to more in-depth queries, like the kind of tools you use, so the more familiar you are with these questions, the better equipped you’ll be to ace your interviews. 

To aid you on how to do just that, here are four Business Analyst interview questions and possible answers to help you prepare to leave a positive impression on your prospective companies. 

Question 1. What is the role of a Business Analyst in a company?

As a business analyst, you play a crucial role in guiding businesses to improve their products, services, software, and processes through data analysis. 

Plus, you can bridge the gap between IT and your employers to help boost efficiency and translate data into useful and actionable insights. 

As such, you’ll need to emphasize the specific roles of business analysts. If you have experience in the field, discuss some of your previous functions with your interviewers. 

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Here are some of the things you can consider to help you discuss the roles of a BA. 

  • Business analysts can take on specific roles within a company project such as System Analyst, Application Designer, Business Planner, Technical Architect, Data Analyst, etc. 

If you’ve played these specific roles in the past, expound on what you did and the solutions you came up with. 

  • The job of a BA will vary based on the requirements of your potential employer – some BA roles may be limited to IT projects, with a few extending to marketing, accounting, finance, and more. 
  • Your primary role as a BA is to help determine the needs of your company, uncover the problems – including using predictive technology to predict future issues (to some extent) – and come up with business solutions.   
  • Aside from technical skills, your role as a BA will require you to have a good grasp on engineering concepts, possess leadership qualities, and excellent communication skills. 

Question 2. What are the crucial tools for Business Analysis?

There is a wide array of tools and software that business analysts use to perform several functions required of the role. 

With that said, interviewers will ask you what the crucial tools are for business analysis so they’ll know which ones you’re proficient in and what you can bring to their company.   

If you are proficient with tools like MS Office, Structured Query Language (SQL), Blueprint, programming languages such as Python and R, Tableau, and more, bring them up during the interview. 

Most interviewers will also ask you outrightly about the tools and the training you are certified in, but instead of going through the whole list, bring to focus a few of your most recent ones. 

For instance, if you have undergone a CBAP certification training course, then discuss how it has enhanced your skills and how you can apply it to your prospective company.

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Doing so helps give your potential employers an idea about your skills and proficiency, and whether or not you already have what they need or if they need to train you for specific tools. 


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Question 3. How do you handle difficult stakeholders?

Remember that being a Business Analyst means coming up with solutions, but you’ll also need to prepare for the possibility when your proposed solutions are met with resistance. 

Many factors can contribute to this, but among the rest, human factors like – difficult stakeholders – might be one of the most challenging to handle. 

Your potential employers will want to know how you can manage this type of situation since it is bound to happen in every company.  

You won’t need to provide an entire outline of your answers during your actual interview, but keep these few points in mind when formulating your possible responses. 

  • Spot your “difficult” stakeholders from the group, listen to what they have to say, and exercise a significant amount of patience.  

If you cut them off or be impolite towards them, it will only lead to misunderstandings, and that will not help you resolve any of your issues. 

  • Some stakeholders are difficult because they are not comfortable with some of the things in your project. So take the time to dig deeper into their issues by listening to what they say and answering any questions they might have.
  • As much as possible, meet and discuss with your difficult stakeholders personally as a way of showing them that you are committed to working towards the same goal with them. 
  • Continuously engaging your difficult stakeholders helps them understand that their contribution is valuable to your project. Their resistance could also stem from valid points of view, so it’s crucial that you don’t just dismiss their opinions.  

Keep in mind that there are no perfect answers, but being prepared for possible questions like this will always help you have concrete responses.

Question 4.  Do you have any questions for me? 

Asking tons of questions comes with the job of being a Business Analyst, and one of the best places to demonstrate your ability to ask relevant and insightful questions is during your interview. 

This part of the interview that you can turn into a conversation by asking questions about the company, its processes, and more.

Aside from demonstrating your abilities, asking relevant questions also shows your potential employers your interest in their company, which can only help increase your chances of getting the job.   

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Here are a few questions that you can ask your interviewers. 

  • How does your company handle systems analysis, and do you have a dedicated systems analyst?” 

There are companies with job postings for BAs when what they really want is a Systems Analyst/BA, so it’s best to clarify this ahead if this is not the type of role you would like to fulfill. 

  • Which project phases are your BAs involved with?”

If your interviewer says that business analysts are only involved in requirements, then the company might be looking for a Requirement Analyst specialist. 

This might not suit you if you want to perform a deeper and wider BA role, so you should get this out of the way during the interview. 

  • Does your company have a central BA team, or does each function have its own BA team?”  

Asking this question will help you determine whether or not there is a central team that will allow the pooling of knowledge. 

Bottomline

There might not be perfect answers to your business analyst interview questions, but being prepared by learning the possible responses will help equip you for the big day. 

Remember that being a business analyst means solving problems, and your interview Q&A is the first obstacle you need to overcome in a long list of challenges coming your way in a BA career. 

Also Read: Business Analyst Manager Interview Questions

Did you learn something from this post? Please share this with your network if you agree. Cheers!

How to Bulletproof Your Business from Dangerous and Modern Cyber Attacks

Have you heard of the expression, “He’ll never know what hit him?”

That’s what people say when they see someone ill-prepared to face an incoming disaster.

Of course, that is not how you want your business to be in the face of cyber attacks.

In 2018, Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation uncovered that 58% of cyber attack victims were small businesses.

Modern-day hackers target small businesses more than big ones because most of these small businesses have minimal or basic security, making it easier to steal their sensitive information.

The scariest part is your business might be in the middle of a cyber attack right now without you noticing. You need to ensure protection from threats like brand infringement, for example, where your brand details get stolen and another company uses them as their own.

A cyber attack can have a colossal impact on your business and may even lead to its demise.

If you want to safeguard it, you need to arm yourself with the following tips on how to bulletproof your business from dangerous and modern cyber attacks.

1. Ensure That Your Wi-Fi Is Secure

Your Wi-Fi network is the easiest channel to infiltrate and then gain access to all your business information. Scary, right? So the safest way to keep your network secure is by protecting it with a strong password.

Make your Wi-Fi password strong by including as many different character combinations as possible and if you can, limit the number of employees with direct access to your password.

Also, avoid having your customers and employees use a single network. Offer a guest network for your customers to prevent other users from gaining access to your business network, information, printers, computers, LAN, etc.

However, if you are traveling and doing business online, you will have no control over public networks in hotels and other establishments.

It’s vital to ensure data protection when you are conducting your business from somewhere other than your office by using your phone’s mobile data or a VPN.

2. Segment Your Network

Your network will have a lot of connected users, but you can limit their access depending on their functions.
Ensure that your employees have access only to information they need to perform their jobs by applying role-based access control (RBAC). For instance, your marketing manager should not have access to financial accounts only intended for C-level executives.

With the RBAC model, roles are based on some factors like job competency, responsibility, and authorization among other things, giving you the option to designate different users as an administrator, end user, or a specialist user.

Moreover, by using RBAC, you can limit access to your computer resources based on specific tasks like the ability to edit, create, or view files.

Segregate your network into different smaller networks for specific company departments and with varying access levels. Segregation will also help you contain any network malfunctions and attacks since not all of your networks will be affected.

By segmenting your computer network, you can manage traffic to reduce congestion and improve network performance and choose which information to isolate, thereby improving your online security.

3. Implement Two-Step Authentication

Two-step authentication procedures offer added layers of protection to an online system because users are required to verify their identity twice.

The first step asks users for their sign-in details, like the username and password, and the second step requires user identity confirmation through specific personal information.

Common security questions like the name of your first pet, however, can still be easily deciphered by hackers, so the two-step authentication procedure makes use of other forms of confirmation like fingerprints, QR codes, email codes, SMS codes, and one-time passwords.

Two-step authentication is highly effective in protecting your online information from hackers, and platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google even use them to ensure the security of their users’ accounts.

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Ensure that any device (mobile phones and laptops) that you assign to your employees requires two-step authentication to protect critical business and customer information from outsiders and deny them access in case the device is stolen or lost.


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4. Utilize SSL Encryption

To keep your website safe from hackers and strengthen your online protection, you need to set up safeguards to ensure maximum security. One way is through an SSL certificate.

An SSL certificate encrypts connections between a browser and your server. You know it’s active if your site URL shows HTTPS instead of HTTP and has a padlock icon beside it.

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Sensitive information such as credit card details and passwords can be transferred securely during online transactions if you have SSL encryption in place, making it a vital factor in preventing hackers from accessing confidential information.

5. Apply SIEM Technology

It’s essential to be vigilant of cyber-attacks and to check your network for possible threats regularly.

A great approach to help you monitor your online safety and security is by using Security Information and Event Management (SIEM).

SIEM tools allow you to see the security landscape of your network by gathering all security log data from various applications and software elements, security controls, and host operating systems.

SIEM also analyzes extensive security log data to identify any security threats and attacks.

Cybersecurity services like Bulletproof, allow you to virtually own an outsourced Security Operations Center (SOC), which can run penetration testing and managed SIEM on a 24/7 basis.

As you work with these third-party providers, you can enjoy the benefit of having highly-skilled professionals monitor the health of your network 24/7.

6. Train Your Employees on Security

According to the Annual Cyber Security Report 2019 from Bulletproof, an average of 14.5 billion spam messages are sent in a day, and 73% of these are phishing emails. Phishing emails normally target unsuspecting employees to gain access to your sensitive information.

Your online reputation lies on how equipped your employees are at dealing with threats and cyber attacks since they have access to your sensitive business information. It’s crucial for them to catch security incidents and report them.

If your employees are trained on which dangers to look out for, they can help you prevent attacks before they happen or at least mitigate the possible damages to your business.

Here are two things your employees should be trained in to strengthen your online security:

a. Phishing. This is a security issue that your employees should be highly aware of. Hackers disguise themselves as reputable organizations or entities through ads and emails to gain control over sensitive information like credit card details and passwords.

Most phishing emails attempt to convince users that they are from legitimate sources and that the matter they are presenting needs your urgent attention.

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In the screenshot above, Gmail alerts users of emails that have been reported as a phishing scam. These fraudulent messages request users to click on links or download an attachment that may look harmless to the untrained eye.

Your employees should learn to recognize phishing emails right away. Make it a part of your company policy to be cautious of unsolicited emails to avoid security breaches.

b. Strong Password. Require your employees to use a strong business account password by including as many unique characters and numbers as possible.

Encourage them to use separate passwords for the business and their personal accounts. If they use the same passwords for both accounts, you run the risk of compromising your company data in case their password gets leaked.

Also, prohibit them from sharing their company passwords with anyone to limit access to sensitive business information and protect trade secrets.

Final Thoughts

Online safety and security should be a priority for your business to keep you and your customers’ assets and sensitive information protected.

You can safeguard your business from hackers and cyber attacks by following the tips discussed in this article.