Small Business Tech Series 2016
– Brought to you by TS Conard Inc. Technology Solutions and the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce
We’ve got some great informational events coming up this month. If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear Dave Cooksey speak, I highly encourage you to attend. These events are centered around technology as it relates to small business, so all the data covered is very relatable.
These are FREE seminars AND lunch is provided, but reservations are required to attend, so please follow the links below to save your seat. We hope to see you there!
Employees Keeping Your Data Safe? Don’t Count On It
The biggest block to protecting your company’s data is employee ignorance about cybersecurity. In fact, your employees are probably compromising your data right now and aren’t even aware of it.
In case you haven’t read the reports, a statement from one of the many companies recently forced to close its doors following a cyber-attack involving one of their own employees brings the point home:
“Code Spaces will not be able to operate beyond this point. The cost of resolving this issue and the expected cost of refunding customers who have been left without the service they paid for will put Code Spaces in an irreversible position both financially and in terms of ongoing credibility.”
Root cause of the disaster? Very likely a phishing attack that one of their own team members unwittingly played a key role in.
If you want even a ghost of a chance that your data remains safe and secure, you MUST be aware of the five ways your employees are probably putting your company at risk right now:
First and foremost, people. This method is the most dominating and widespread cause of malware and randsomware in the US right now. Most people are aware that clicking on unknown links in an e-mail can lead to trouble. Yet clever hackers are sending ever more appealing e-mails that trick the unwary into clicking. Insist that no attachments from unknown sources are to be opened. And require that users on your network look up unknown links before blindly clicking on them.
Risky Passcode Practices
Think pass-phrase instead of passwords. Or require the use of a random password generator to keep weak passcodes from being the weak link in your data’s defenses. Invest in a company-wide password protection system. And wherever possible, use two-factor authentication for logins to critical sites.
Working Outside a Secured Network
It’s great that your team loves to collaborate. Just make sure it’s done in a secure network. E-mail-sharing and file-sharing over a non-secured network can lead to leaks. Train your team to share sensitive messages and files only within a secure company network. Even better, invest in encryption and collaboration tools that keep your data extra-safe while in transit. After all, great teams need to collaborate. Just make sure it’s getting done without putting your data at risk.
Walking away from an open laptop in a coffee shop is a recipe for disaster. Yet even at the office, stepping away from a workstation can expose sensitive data to snoops. Insist that wherever your team works, they maintain complete visual control over any screen showing confidential company data.
You may find it hard to believe, but employees leaking critical data on purpose happens all the time. It may be for a personal venture – or a personal vendetta against your company. Regardless of the cause, it’s always a risk. And you may not see it coming. Safeguard all data coming into or going out from your company. And always change access codes whenever someone leaves your employ – willingly or unwillingly.
Need an ally to help protect your data from employee sabotage – accidental or otherwise?
Don’t fight this battle alone – our Data Security Review can help!
Protecting company data in today’s fluid and fast-changing business environment is tough work. If you don’t have a robust protection plan in place, your critical data IS at risk. Our Data Security Review helps you and your team fend off attacks on company data. It also shows you the weak spots so you can seal them off from attack.
Call us today at (816) 233-3777 to book your Data Security Review right away. It’s valued at $497, but we’d like to provide this vital, risk-reducing service to you at no cost when you schedule it before August 31st.
Safe data practices by your employees are absolutely critical to your company’s success and survival. Contact us today for your free Data Security Review!
Are Notifications Killing Your Productivity?
How to win back your sanity – and your time
You get in to work, sit down at your desk, clear out a few e-mails and start blasting through that report that’s due in less than an hour… Looking good, on your way to the finish line when — whoops, what’s that? A text from one of the kids — forgot his homework… You’re just getting that fire doused when you get a Facebook IM from a friend, so you click to see what’s up and… whoa, check out the leaping-lizard video… The minutes slip by, and when you finally look up and check the time… Yikes, five minutes to finish that report!
It’s no joke. Not only are people more stressed than ever, but all those little attention shifts could be robbing you of as much as 3.2 hours every working day, according to recent studies in the new field of “Interruption Science.”
The science of what’s really going on…
An article in the Harvard Business Review says that trying to focus on more than one thing at a time lowers your IQ by 10 points — and decreases your productivity as much as 40%. (That’s nearly half of your entire day — gone!) No wonder we end so many days with that gnawing sense that we got so little done…
Among the chief culprits in all this is the endless stream of notifications that our smartphones and other devices send us whether we’re in the middle of a meeting, trying to finish a report, dodging traffic on the commute home or doing our best to give full attention to the real flesh-and-blood person sitting across the table at dinner…
We’re bombarded with an endless stream of visual and sound cues about the latest text message, e-mail, social update, instant message, phone call, voice mail, chat request… It’s all wonderful, but how do you balance it with getting important things done?
To conquer the endless interruptions when you need to concentrate, follow these steps:
Phone Calls and Text Messages
First, you’ll want to weed out all but mission-critical calls and texts. That way, you can go into Do Not Disturb mode without feeling panicky that your kids, boss, client or aging parent may not be able to reach you in a pinch:
Android: Tap Settings > Sound & notification > Interruptions and set your preferences. Then open Contacts and star the folks you don’t want to block when you’re in Do Not Disturb mode.
iOS: Tap Settings > Do Not Disturb > Allow Calls From and select Favorites. Next, check your iOS Favorites list — texts and calls from these folks will get through even when you’re in Do Not Disturb mode.
In Facebook, go to Settings > Notifications and turn off any notifications you don’t need. In Twitter, select Settings from the upper-right drop-down menu, then your preferred notifications from the new menu on the left.
If you’re a Gmail user and that little bright red circle from Google Plus screams “click me” more often than you’d like, unfortunately your only option is to download Google Chrome and install the Hide Google+ Notification extension.
No matter which e-mail client you use, there’s a setting for turning notifications off. And that’s just half the battle… To really master time spent in e-mail, try limiting your responses to certain times of day. You may want to set up an autoresponder to let folks know what your “e-mail hours” are if you’re concerned about not responding right away.
Of course, if you’d like help with any of this, call us! But call soon, before that crazy cat video sucks you back into the maelstrom…
Become an influencer in your industry with these 3 blog hacks.
Building a “tribe” on social media with your blog can help drive sales for your business. Here are three ways to build it fast, and make it last. 1) Content is king. Leave out the blurry iPhone pics. Mediocre content is no way to build an audience. Make it “good to great,” or leave it out. 2) Originality wins. Forget what you learned in school… Break rules and get creative to stand out. Top bloggers all share personal, unique and original content. That’s what your audience cares about most – your unique voice and perspective. 3) Collaboration is key. Connect with other bloggers to exchange audiences and/or content. This one tactic alone can help you reach millions of new readers. Entrepreneur.com, 06.07.16
The average cost of a data breach keeps rising.
According to a recent study by IBM, excluding mega-thefts like the Sony hack, the overall average total cost per incident is around $4 million. Yet costs vary by industry. A health-care firm that deals with highly regulated and intimately detailed patient records may see a cost per stolen record at $355. At the other end of the spectrum, cost per stolen record in the public sector is closer to $80. Having an incident response team on hand cuts cost per stolen record by $16 a pop. Use of encryption saved an average of $13, employee training $9 and appointing a chief information officer $7. The report shows that how and when you respond to a cyber-attack can reduce the cost of recovery. Fortune, 06.15.16
The Body Cardio scale by Withings introduces a whole new health metric.
It measures “Pulse Wave Velocity” (PWV), giving you insight into your heart health. Besides PWV, it also displays weight and body mass index (BMI). It even displays a weather report so you can check your weight before getting dressed. Other metrics include body fat, water percentage, muscle mass and bone mass. The Health Mate app it pairs with offers health and weight tips, trends and encouragement. At 0.7 inches “thin,” it features a tempered glass top and an aluminum back. While Withings’s claims about PWV aren’t regulated by the FDA, Paris cardiologist Dr. Pierre Boutouyrie says, “If we could have just one measurement for cardiovascular health, it would be Pulse Wave Velocity.” DigitalTrends.com, 06.17.16
The 8-hour workday is as outdated as the manual typewriter.
If you want to get a whole lot more done in your day, it’s time to rethink how you structure it. Working eight hours per day started in the industrial revolution as a way to limit the number of hours workers had to endure on the factory floor. Yet a recent study by the Draugiem Group found that the ideal work-to-break ratio was 52 minutes of work with a 17-minute break. Folks who do that turn out to have a unique level of focus in their work. They’re able to crush their competition because that’s how the brain naturally functions. Structuring your day in this way can help you beat frustrating distractions and boost your productivity. Forbes, 06.07.16
Here are 3 must-have apps for the type-A personality in your life. Could that be you?
Hate2Wait is a godsend for folks who can’t stand to queue up. It estimates restaurant wait times and lets you reserve a table instantly. Spam is the bane of goal-driven people. It distracts and takes time to clean up. Put Unroll.me on your iPhone and link it to your e-mail accounts. It then lists every newsletter and promotion you’re getting, and lets you lump them all into one e-mail address, keeping your in-box clear and clutter-free. Type A’s love tracking their finances. Mint tracks all your money in one place, making budgeting and expense tracking a breeze. Just the thing for the type A in your life. PCmag.com, 06.04.16