We are always exploring more cost-effective ways to get things done here at SMB blog. The reason is due to the comparatively few IT staffers that small and medium businesses have. It does not mean that SMBs are any less dependent on IT, however.
Indeed, small and medium businesses are actually more adventurous in dabbling with cutting edge technologies, such as cloud computing, in order to gain a competitive edge or to reduce their expenditure. In addition, some have aggressively adopted open source solutions or tapped into f<strong>ree software applications</strong> in a bid to reduce direct licensing expenditure.
Despite that, the question that has been nagging me was this: How do SMBs keep in the loop pertaining to security matters? A good solution is to keep a constant tab on good security blogs such as our own Data Security blog, of course. Yet with every SMB no doubt relying on a unique mix of applications and technologies, are there any better ways to ensure that they stay up-to-date on pertinent security vulnerabilities and updates?
Today, I would like to suggest the use of Google Alerts. For the uninitiated, Google Alerts is a free service that allows users to define keywords that you want monitored on the Internet. Once the matching keywords are found in Google's continuously updated index, either an e-mail is sent out or a custom feed updated. Frequency of updates can be adjusted, and options range from "as-it-happens" to "one a day" or "once a week."
The idea behind using Google Alert to keep abreast of security updates is simple: you define keywords related to applications that you use, and the system will send you an e-mail if any matches are found.
Obviously, this method is far from a perfect solution. The challenge is to define a search term that is wide enough to net results but yet not too broad as to scoop up too much unrelated news. You will need to do some experimentation to get the best results, though I would suggest using the following settings to monitor for "Adobe Reader" as an example:
+"Adobe Reader" update patch flaw
If you limit it to "News" types of sites, the above search term will essentially pick up any news of "update" or "patch" or "flaw" related to the compulsory term "Adobe Reader." Defining a daily summary to be received via e-mail has worked for me.
With the above system in place, I hope you can rest a little easier knowing that news of major security vulnerabilities or hacks will reach you in a timely manner, while you won't be overwhelmed with trying to keep up with dozens of news or vendor sites.
I hope the above tip is of use to you. Do share of any other time-saving tips that you might have that will benefit SMBs.