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Sep
7
Cyberattack Prevention Planning
Posted by S2C Staff on 07 September 2018 01:01 PM

What's New in Technology September 2018

Cyberattack Prevention Planning

Cyberattack Prevention Planning

Every year we experience new challenges in the world of computer hacking – as well as new solutions. Cyber hackers have become aggressive, and so business owners must be more vigilant. Because clients are the source of your revenue, it is critically important to ensure their data never gets into the wrong hands.According to a recent survey conducted by the Better Business Bureau, more than half of small business owners reported they would no longer be profitable just one month following a data breach.According to Bill Fanelli, the chief security officer for the Council of Better Business Bureaus and co-author of the report, a primary vulnerability for small businesses is the carelessness of its employees. In fact, Fanelli observed that one of the most cost-effective prevention tools – employee education – is used by less than half of the companies surveyed. All it takes is for just one employee to click on a nefarious link or open an infected attachment for a cyber attacker to walk through an open door to your business.In many cases, business owners simply need to make employees aware of the types of behaviors that enable hackers to breach system security. To this end, the easiest prevention plan is to periodically conduct brief training sessions to reiterate the importance of:

  • Choosing a strong password
  • Changing the password often
  • Installing software updates as soon as alerts are received
  • Avoiding opening suspicious emails or online links
  • Never downloading unauthorized software or apps on company computers or smartphones
Firms should conduct a full assessment to protect their business from data breaches at least once a year. Also, it is recommended that business owners ensure all transactions are secured through solutions such as:
  • Automated Clearing House payments – an electronic network for financial transactions
  • Secure Point of Service terminals – an electronic device used to process card payments
One way to help protect your financial transactions is to consult with your small business banker for a review of your current transaction management services to ensure you’re doing all you can to protect your business and your customers.How to Develop a Cybersecurity PlanConsider using this five-step approach to help prevent your firm from being vulnerable to a data breach:
  1. Devise a step-by-step written communication plan detailing how your firm will conduct ongoing monitoring and maintenance, and recover normal operations should a cyber attack occur
  2. Identify at-risk assets, such as systems, data and financial operations
  3. Protect each asset by using tools such as IT security, off-site/cloud backup and vendor protection measures
  4. Develop an automatic alert system to detect incidents that indicate current or imminent threats to system integrity and lost or compromised data
  5. Create a response plan that encompasses worse-case scenario and contingency planning, staff training, written procedures, reporting and outreach communications to staff, vendors, customers and the public, if necessary.
Cybersecurity might not be your area of expertise, but your customers rely on you to keep their data safe. It’s important to take precautions to minimize your risk from this ever-growing danger.

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Aug
3
Negative Effects of Social Media on Young Minds
Posted by S2C Staff on 03 August 2018 01:56 AM

TIP OF THE MONTH

August 2018

Negative Effects of Social Media on Young Minds

While social media can be an easy, wonderful way to keep in touch with friends, a means of support and a window into what’s going on in the world, there are downsides for kids of which parents need to be aware. Here is a snapshot of a few of the negative effects:

1. Promotes Addiction

According to a 2016 survey from Common Sense Media, half of the teens surveyed felt addicted to their smartphones; 78 percent checked their devices at least hourly. In 2015, a Pew Research report found that 73 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds not only had access to a smartphone, but 24 percent reported that they were online “almost constantly.” This is not surprising, given a project conducted by researchers at UCLA. During their study, they scanned the brains of a few dozen adolescents as they watched what looked like an Instagram feed. When teens saw that their own pictures had received lots of “Likes”, they showed a greater activation in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, part of the brain's reward circuitry and one that’s particularly sensitive during adolescence. It’s easy to see how this vulnerable age group – easily influenced by what others think – would crave approval on social media.

2. Causes Depression

This is sobering. A study by the American Psychological Association found that adolescents who spent less time on non-screen activities (in-person social interaction, sports/exercise, homework, attending religious services) and more time on electronic communication and screens (social media, the internet, texting, gaming) had lower psychological well-being. Conversely, teens who spent a small amount of time on electronic communication were the happiest. In particular, it was found that teens who spent five hours per day using their phones were almost twice as likely to exhibit depressive symptoms than their peers who spent only one hour on their phones.

3. Contributes to Sleep Deprivation

Research has shown that teenagers need 9.5 hours of sleep each night, but on average only get 7.5 hours. But this is no surprise. According to the CDC, teens who spent three or more hours a day on electronic devices were 28 percent more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep. Further, teens who visited social media sites every day were 19 percent more likely not to get adequate sleep. Furthermore, an article in The Guardian stated that teens are so addicted to social media that one-fifth of secondary school kids will wake up at night to check social media to make sure they don’t miss out. This “fear of missing out” (aka FOMO) is another detrimental consequence of kids spending too time on social media.  

4. Might Lead to Identity Theft

An article on Truhealthonline.com stated one of the big problems with social media sites is that many times kids don’t read or understand the privacy settings of their accounts. They are clueless about the risks of disclosing unnecessary personal information. According to a recent survey referenced on this website, 20 percent of youth think it’s perfectly safe to post their personal information and photos online. Identity theft, anyone?

5. Cyberbullying

This is more widespread than you might think – and it extends beyond the borders of the United States. In 2014, a South Korean survey of kids between 11 and 14 found that 9.7 percent were involved in cyberbullying, either as victims (3.3 percent), perpetrators (3.4 percent) or both (3 percent). In 2009, a Finnish study discovered that out of 5,516 adolescents, 10 percent of the boys had been victims, 10 percent had bullied and 10 percent had witnessed cyberbullying. Among girls, the stats were higher: 11 percent, 9 percent and 16 percent, respectively. For parents, it may be time to think twice when you see your kids glued to their smartphones.


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Aug
3
How To Write Bot-Friendly Copy for Your Website
Posted by S2C Staff on 03 August 2018 01:55 AM

WHAT'S NEW IN TECHNOLOGY

August 2018

How To Write Bot-Friendly Copy for Your Website

How To Write Bot-Friendly Copy for Your WebsitePeople are spending less time “Googling” for information on where to shop, where to eat, where to vacation and where to get the best rates. Instead, many are using bots such as Amazon’s Alexa and iPhone’s Siri to do the browsing for them.

Artificial intelligence (AI) bots do not just conduct data searches, they assess information and make recommendations to consumers based on variables such as location and key phrases. For example, a local search for restaurants might reveal a laundry list of the closest venues. However, a search for a trendy or hopping bar could extend the search further out both geographically and look for those specific phrases.

That’s why it’s important not just to write copy that describes your organization, but use specific words and phrases that appeal to the types of consumers most likely to be interested in your service or wares. Small business owners need to optimize their website copy for today’s bot-friendly search landscape.

Speech Patterns

New AI bots usually are given search instructions via voice commands. For example, “Siri, find a nearby Thai restaurant that has takeout and accepts Discover.” This voice command reflects actual speech patterns, which are different from choosing select keywords that you would type into a search engine. Therefore, the top search results tend to yield websites that use similar phrases with prepositions, questions and comparison words. To provide copy most likely to get picked up by a bot search, consider writing, for example, a FAQ section with questions phrased the same way a customer would ask them.

User Reviews

Bots pick up review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor because the comments provided may closely mimic the initial search question. Consequently, it’s important to stay on top of customer comments about your business. Even if you get a bad review – either on your website or one of the popular social media sites –respond to the commenter and try to resolve the issue in a positive manner. It’s also a good idea to respond and thank each good review. Not only does this project a positive experience for the commenter and readers, but additional comments make it all the more likely that copy will be picked in a bot search.

Establish Credibility

Credibility is established in numerous ways. You need to ensure your website is secure with a safely encrypted HTTPS connection. You should encourage high levels of engagement – comments, reviews and testimonials. You also can establish credibility by sharing external links with high-quality websites. For example, if your products are featured in a national news article or even a local newspaper, quote from or share the article or link and be sure to credit the trustworthy source.

Mix Copy Lengths

There’s a time to be long-winded and a time to be brief and snappy. A well-designed website knows when and where to offer each type of copy. When a consumer browsing for information through a bot or search engine lands on your website, the copy should make it clear that he’s found what he’s looking for. However, those keywords or phrases may be buried in a long-form article meant to be educational or entertaining. Use side copy boxes to highlight brief product or service copy, cite pricing or make similar recommendations in order to give the reader additional quick information in a side glance.


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Jul
27
Old School and Hi-Tech Ways to Keep Track of Passwords
Posted by S2C Staff on 27 July 2018 03:19 PM

What's New in Technology July 2018

Old School and Hi-Tech Ways to Keep Track of Passwords

Old School Password and Hi-Tech Password, Password Saver, Password Generator In 2017, nearly one-third of internet users reported being victim to online hacking or similar suspicious activity on their accounts. But as anyone who regularly uses a computer – especially for financial transactions – knows, keeping track of passwords can be a time-consuming task. Even so, it is necessary to ensure your personal and financial information is kept private and secure.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest inconveniences that has emerged is trying to keep track of different passwords for different websites. This issue is exacerbated by the fact that many websites require you to change your password every three to six months. Trying to keep up with which password is current at which website is mindboggling and aggravating.

Here’s one easy trick. If you ever want to find your passwords while online, look in the Settings for your browser. For example, with Chrome you log in, go to Settings, Advanced Settings, Passwords, Manage Passwords and click on the “eye” icon to see the username and password for each website. Similarly, with Safari you can log in and click on Preferences, Passwords, and the asteriks to the right of the username to show the password for each website. Most browsers have similar procedures.

However, what is convenient about the ease of finding your passwords is also reason for alarm. If you leave your computer unattended while logged into your browser, anyone can find them.

For this reason, it’s important to keep your computer password-protected and always within reach. Bear in mind, too, that there are other ways to keep track of passwords. For example, if you’re old school you might write them down in a notebook, crossing them out as you periodically update them. Some folks keep them updated in a spreadsheet software program. However, these tactics are susceptible to theft if, say, your home is burglarized and the thief takes both your computer and your password notebook. It can also be cumbersome if you are away from home and want to log in to websites from your smartphone.

Today’s smartphones typically provide a way to store password information in their settings or options menu. For example, on the iPhone go to Settings, Accounts & Passwords, App & Website Passwords, (input security protocol for access), then click on the individual websites and apps for each user name and password.

There also are apps designed to help you keep track of passwords. The following are highly recommended for their ease of use and security measures.

  • LastPass – Import saved login credentials from Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc. If you opt for the Premium suite for $2 a month, you also get the ability to sync information between your desktop and mobile devices, enhanced authentication options and tech support.

  • Dashlane – This app is known for it simple, intuitive interface accessible with two-factor authentication. The app lets you change passwords across multiple sites with just a few clicks, and also keeps track of receipts of transactions so you can go back and review them.

  • Roboform – This old-school password manager that can generate strong passwords, store and encrypt them, and sync them across multiple devices. It’s an older app that’s recently been updated with a more intuitive interface and features an autofill function.

There are scads of apps designed to track passwords, so you can search for reviews and rankings to see which one offers features best suited to your needs. One of the perks of apps is that many are free to download and try out. If you don’t like it, delete and install another. When you find one you like, you might want to check out any premium features that are available for a fee.


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Jun
6
Amazon's Alexa as a Virtual Office Assistant
Posted by S2C Staff on 06 June 2018 09:22 AM

What's New in Technology

June 2018

Amazon's Alexa as a Virtual Office Assistant

Amazon's Alexa as a Virtual Office AssistantStudies have shown that as much as 40 percent of time spent at work is generally unproductive, busy work. Things like checking emails, ordering supplies, fixing the copy machine or trying to figure out how to work a conference call line – during the conference call. These tasks can be aggravating and, when experienced by everyone in the firm, can have an impact on the bottom line.

To help companies manage small, day-to-day tasks, Amazon has launched Alexa for Business. Amazon Echo is a speaker; Echo Dot is a smaller speaker. Alexa is the name of the virtual assistant who you can converse with through the Echo speaker. Alexa boasts more than 25,000 skills – which are basically apps that you enable in order to access a particular service. For example, you can get an up-to-the-minute news brief from Reuters, request the stock price of a specific security, order a driver from Uber or Lyft, translate a word or sentence from another language, order supplies, compile a to-do list or initiate phone calls – all by simply asking Alexa.

Alexa for Business isn’t just for individual use. A company can set up Alexa devices in common areas throughout the workplace for all employees to use.

Around the Office

Alexa for Business enables a firm to manage all of the Alexa devices from a centralized console connected to your Alexa for Business account. This is a time-saving feature so that the devices do not need to be managed individually.

This configuration enables all employees to utilize Alexa for various tasks, such as getting directions, finding an open meeting room, ordering supplies, reporting building problems or notifying IT of an equipment issue. Alexa also can be linked to internal computer networks to provide company-specific information, such as inventory levels or sales figures.

At Your Desk

For folks who work in an individual office, Alexa at your desk can help you manage your calendar, maintain a to-do list and set up reminders so that you don’t miss a meeting or an appointment. By simply speaking in a normal voice, you can ask Alexa to make phone calls for you and dial into conference calls. You can set up skills for your specific device or incorporate, for example, the corporate calendar so that every device has access.

Employees can even use Alexa for Business skills with their home devices, which allows them to work from home. They also can access skills from their home device while at work.

In the Conference Room

Alexa for Business includes skills that make it easy to configure Alexa to control your conference room calls, audio and visual equipment, and any meeting applications. This allows anyone to get the meeting started by speaking to Alexa. For small conference rooms, an Alexa-enabled device can actually function as an audio conferencing vehicle; in larger conference rooms, Alexa can run the equipment so that participants can focus on the meeting – not the phone or presentation glitches.

In today’s competitive business environment, the ability to maximize every staff member’s productivity can be a key driver for success. Start by having a frank discussion with employees about what tasks drain their time and resources throughout today, then consider adopting Alexa for Business to help address those issues and give your entire firm an on-demand virtual assistant.


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May
17
ICFiles Express Upgrade
Posted by S2C Staff on 17 May 2018 10:21 PM
Dear ICFiles Clients

If you are having problems with ICFiles Express. Please uninstall your current version and install this Express v41

https://www.icfiles.com/APIv2/publish/publish.htm


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