Tools / Articles
- 4 E-mails You Should NEVER Open
No matter how “bomb-proof” we make your network, you and your employees can still invite a hacker in if you click on a link or open an attachment in an e-mail sent by a cybercriminal. Some spam is obvious (can you say, “Viagra at a discount”?) but others are VERY cleverly designed to sneak past all the filters and trick the recipient into opening the door. Known as a “phishing” e-mail, this still is the #1 way hackers circumvent firewalls, filters and antivirus, so it’s critical that you and your employees know how to spot a threatening e-mail. Here are four types of e-mail ploys you should be on high alert for.
The Authority E-mail. The most common phishing e-mails are ones impersonating your bank, the Australian Federal Police, Australia Post, the ATO or some authority figure. The rule of thumb is this: ANY e-mail that comes in where 1) you don’t PERSONALLY know the sender, including e-mails from Australia Post, Microsoft or your “bank,” and 2) asks you to “verify” your account should be deleted. Remember, ANY important notification will be sent via old-fashioned snail mail. If it’s important, they can call you.
The “Account Verification” E-mail. Any e-mail that asks you to verify your password, bank information or login credentials, OR to update your account information, should be ignored. No legitimate vendor sends e-mails asking for this; they will simply ask you upon logging in to update or verify your information if that’s necessary.
The Typo E-mail. Another big warning sign is typos. E-mails coming from overseas (which is where most of these attacks come from) are written by people who do not speak or write English well. Therefore, if there are obvious typos or grammar mistakes, delete it.
The Zip File, PDF Or Invoice Attachment. Unless you specifically KNOW the sender of an e-mail, never, ever open an attachment. That includes PDFs, zip files, music and video files and anything referencing an unpaid invoice or accounting file (many hackers use this to get people in accounting departments to open e-mails). Of course, ANY file can carry a virus, so better to delete it than be sorry.
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- How To Get Your Employees To Commit To Achieving BIG Goals
by Dr. Nido Qubein
How do great leaders inspire others to commit themselves to their goals? It’s not just that they have charismatic personalities, or that they give a lot of high-energy motivational talks. What they do is communicate their vision so effectively that other people adopt it as their own.
Inspiring people is what great leaders like John F. Kennedy did best. In the early ’60s, President Kennedy set his sights on putting a man on the moon and told the American people, “We can do it!” He said it with such conviction that people believed it and committed themselves to making it happen. And, sure enough, we made it to the moon. That’s the formula for any leader to inspire commitment: clear goals, a solid plan of action and a strong conviction.
Of course, leadership takes more than inspiration. One of the most insightful tips I learned about leading others is that people do things for their reasons, not for your reasons or for mine. So how can you move past the empty rhetoric and translate your vision into concrete actions your people can identify with and get excited about? Let me suggest seven proven techniques for building a solid team:
Recognize outstanding performance.
Everyone likes to look good in the presence of their peers. When you find someone doing something right, make sure you give them public recognition. If they do really well, throw in a tangible benefit, bonus or gift. It will boost the whole team’s mood and productivity.
Constantly ask for input and ideas.
People are usually much more enthusiastic about supporting decisions and plans they helped create. So get ideas and input from any person whose job will be affected by any upcoming decision. When your team quits talking about the company, and starts talking about our company, you know you’ve got a team.
Give them proper coaching and training.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have one or two people who can plow into almost anything with little to no instruction from you. But most people need a lot of training, mentoring, coaching and guidance in the beginning. Without that, people can become frustrated quickly and lose interest in hitting a big goal.
Just be a nice person.
Make people feel valued and important by treating them with dignity and respect. If you have to correct someone’s mistake, do it privately, and counter it with a sincere compliment. Attacking someone and belittling them is never a useful way to get the most out of a team member.
Get rid of underperformers fast.
You’ve heard the phrase “Hire slow and fire fast.” This is a piece of advice we all need to keep in mind. Make sure you weed out the bad apples before they spoil your culture. That’s because keeping someone on the team who is not performing, is not trying and is clearly not doing their job sends a message that it’s okay – which is incredibly demotivating to high performers who are striving to hit big goals.
It takes a lot of patience and effort to build a solid team of people who will share and help you fulfill your vision, but the results will be well worth all you put into it.
- 4 Must-Have, Low-Risk Cloud Solutions
Let’s face it, your business has more competition than ever. And they’ll eat you alive if you fall behind in today’s technology “arms race.”
Maybe your network needs greater security. Or you haven’t yet taken advantage of new cloud-based apps that help your team get more done in less time. Today, the action is in the cloud. And if you don’t know what’s out there, it’s just that much easier for competitors to pull ahead.
To help you stay on top, here’s a quick survey of four ways to put the cloud in your corner, along with examples of each.
As devices on your network become more diverse and mobile, monitoring them in real time is absolutely critical to averting cyber-attacks. A good network-security tool probes for weak points and alerts you to potential threats. It can employ both hardware and software technologies. And today’s environment demands a bevy of checkpoints, from access control to WiFi-intrusion monitoring.
But how do you protect against threats that evade your monitoring efforts? Due to the recent spread of “fileless” malware, no antivirus program is 100% “bullet-proof.” However, you should be able to find basic software protection for around $40 per user. Look for features such as e-mail security, data loss prevention, network segmentation and behavioral analytics. And ideally, it scans quickly, takes up little space on your devices and may even be able to recover files encrypted by ransomware.
Giving your team the right cloud collaboration tools can be almost as good as giving them steroids… (Except, of course, it’s legal.) With the wide array of apps available today, the trick is finding the best one – or the best combination – for your company. Top contenders include Asana, Slack, Teamwork, Trello and Google Drive. These and similar apps can improve efficiencies in areas like project and task management, team communications and collaboration, brainstorming, document processing and storage, and more. And with cloud collaboration, you’re no longer restricted to bringing aboard talent from your local area alone.
Contracts & Accounting
Contracts and proposals that get bogged down in logistics can hurt monthly revenues. Is your sales team still asking customers to sign and fax back important documents? If so, they’re losing precious minutes every day. Then there’s the cost of storing and managing physical files. It all adds up. It’s no wonder so many companies now use electronic signature apps, such as DocuSign, Adobe Sign and RPost. They’ll let you manage the signing of important documents entirely online, and will encrypt and store files for you. Some are even court-approved and create a full audit trail.
For small business accounting, industry veteran QuickBooks, now with an online version, and upstart Xero can help you keep the books with relative ease. They both offer a clean, intuitive UI and affordable pricing with a comprehensive set of features. And, of course, being cloud-based, they can be accessed from a variety of locations, adding flexibility to your workforce.
Does your company need to prove its mettle to investors? You’d be hard-pressed to find a better all-in-one planning solution than Tarkenton GoSmallBiz. Created by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, it’s specifically built for small to medium sized businesses. You get highly customizable and detailed data fields to help simplify your planning process. It then lets you create financial statements and projections without external spreadsheets. And as a subscriber to GoSmallBiz, you also get access to business-planning experts who can help you tweak your plans and proposals.
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In Your Company’s Cloud Technology
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- Network Abuse: Don’t Push Your ‘Luck’
Look around your office. Isn’t it great to see your team hard at work on their computers? Yet if we take a closer look, let’s see what’s really happening…
Joe, your new sales rep, is poring over last weekend’s game stats…
Amy in marketing is looking for a new job, surfing your competitors’ websites, chatting with their HR people…
Wes, over in customer support, just bogged down your entire network by downloading a video file of Metallica in concert…
Guy, your new hire in shipping, is on hotdate.com, viewing questionable photos…
Bob in accounting is browsing stock-investing sites, in search of a hot tip…
Okay, so maybe it’s not that bad at your company. But this type of behavior will happen to some degree if you don’t proactively prevent it. The real problem is, unfiltered content often links to malware and other threats. Ignore it and you risk productivity losses, legal liabilities, extortion, blackmail and fraud. And not only that, the resulting data loss and corruption can cost your company big-time. Cyberthreats stemming from unfiltered content aren’t something you can count on your lucky leprechaun or four-leaf clover to protect you from.
In today’s mobile environment, content filtering has becoming a greater challenge than ever before. Your company may already be doing some filtering at the network level. However, when was the last time you checked the number of mobile devices linked to your network? As your workforce goes mobile, your network is exposed to a rapidly expanding “attack surface.” With BYOD (bring your own device) now the norm, the old rules of content filtering just don’t cut it anymore.
Are You Making Any Of These Mistakes?
Old content-filtering models presume your network has a safe “firewall.” But now, with BYOD, you need a different way to protect your data. And that’s where endpoint security comes into play. Endpoint filtering keeps devices on your network safe from infection, no matter where they hook into the Internet.
But make ANY of the following mistakes with endpoint security and your network could be a sitting duck:
1.Missing even ONE endpoint. This applies to tablets and smartphones as well as home-based machines that VPN into your network.
2.Skimping on security policies, protocols and training. Believing that tech tools alone will keep your network secure is a recipe for breaches. In fact, no technology can keep a network safe if users cut corners.
3.Leaving endpoint filtering out of your overall security plan. Ad hoc security invites disaster. An improperly designed system exposes holes that hackers love to find.
So, What Exactly Should You Filter?
Forrester Research states that companies whose users access the cloud should:
- Detect and intercept unusual or fraudulent activities related to data in the cloud.
- Detect, neutralize and eliminate malware in cloud platforms.
- Detect and monitor unsanctioned cloud applications and platforms usage.
- Protect against leaks of confidential information.
- Encrypt structured and unstructured data in cloud platforms.
- Investigate suspicious users and incidents.
Between BYOD and ever more complex cyberthreats, you simply can’t afford to run around putting out fires. You absolutely MUST proactively defend your network in depth with endpoint content filtering.