February 2014

February 2014

Who Else Wants To Win A $50 Gift Card?

My quiz question from last month: The introduction of New York’s New Year’s Eve Ball in 1907 was a result of …?

The correct answer was c) a ban on fireworks.

Now, here’s this month’s trivia question. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to Best Buy!

According to Hallmark, the No. 1 card-giving holiday is:

a) Mother’s Day
b) Christmas
c) Valentine’s Day.

Call us right now with your answer!

214-329-1349

*Trivia winners are eligible to win again after 90 days of previous win.


Pop Quiz: You Just Discovered One Of Your Employees Had Their Smartphone Stolen… Quick, What Do You Do?

Over the last couple of months, we’ve come across some alarming statistics that you should know. Studies show that as many as 16% of smartphones are lost or stolen each year with only 7% of the stolen devices ever being recovered. Despite the fact that 60% of the missing smartphones are deemed to contain sensitive or confidential information, 57% of these phones were not protected with available security features, leaving the company exposed! In fact, only 14% of companies currently have a mobile-device security policy in place. The bottom line is, no matter how careful your employees are with their smartphones, losing a smartphone (or having one stolen) is likely to happen to you or your employees at some point in time.

In the hands of even a relatively unsophisticated hacker, all of your smartphone information can quickly be siphoned off. And time is of the essence for taking action. Criminals will remove the battery of your phone to prevent “remote wipes” of your data by your IT staff and then use a room without mobile access to break into the phone. This is akin to giving a thief the key to your data and the code to deactivate the alarm.

Asking employees to be more careful IS a good step in the right direction, but accidents happen and thieves are always on the prowl. That’s why it’s so important to take measures to lock down and secure any mobile devices you and your staff use to access your company’s network.

Here are just a few steps you can take now to be prepared:

  1. Strong Passwords. Enforce a strong mobile-device password policy and make sure your employees can’t leave devices unlocked and vulnerable.
  2. Enable Device Wiping. Prepare to be able to wipe both company-issued and personally owned devices that access company data. Make sure your employees are signing off on this before they add company data to their phones.
  3. Have A Plan In Place. If a phone is lost or stolen, act quickly! If you happen to find the phone again, then the data can likely be replaced; however, stolen data in the hands of a criminal can rarely ever be taken back!


VIRUS OF THE MONTH: Ransomware

“Ransomware is software that denies you access to your files until you pay a ransom.

In the past, malicious software typically corrupted or deleted data, but now it can hold your data hostage instead. For example, the Archiveus Trojan copies the contents of the My Documents folder into a password-protected file and then deletes the original files. It leaves a message telling you that you require a 30-character password to access the folder, and that you will be sent the password if you make purchases from an online pharmacy.

In that case, as in most ransomware so far, the password or key is concealed inside the Trojan’s code and can be retrieved by malware analysts. However, in the future, hackers could use asymmetric or public-key encryption (which uses one key to encrypt the data, but another to decrypt it) so that the password would not be stored on your computer.

For example, in February 2012 the UK Metropolitan Police warned Windows users of a malware attack that poses as a message from computer crime-fighting cops. In this attack ransomware attempts to lock the computer, and posing as an unofficial notice from a law enforcement agency, claims that the victim’s PC has visited illegal websites. Only payment by a fine, claims the message, will restore the computer’s functionality. However, the threats are a bluff as ransomware is not capable of doing these things.

Ransomware may become a problem as hackers start to use new means to get ransoms paid. Previously the use of premium rate SMS messages limited the usefulness to specific geographic areas.”

- “Ransomware.” Threatsaurus: the a-z of computer and data security threats.. Boston: Sophos, 2009. 59. Print.


Shiny New Gadget: FitBit

It’s the No. 1 New Year’s Resolution – lose weight and get in shape. And by now you are either well on your way to achieving that resolution or you have gotten sidetracked and are back to your old ways. Either way, this little gadget can help you. Whether you want to get on track or just stay there, the FitBit One™ can keep you in line.

This little device uses Bluetooth technology to track and report your steps, distance, calories burned and stairs climbed. Come nightfall, it measures your sleep quality, helps you learn how to sleep better and wakes you in the morning. You can even sync it with a smartphone app to track the food you eat and other activities you perform that burn additional calories.

For just $99, it’s a great companion to help keep you motivated and on track with your fitness goals. Remember Pearson’s Law: “That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.” Check it out at www.fitbit.com


The Lines in Your Business

I have been working on my new book, which, most likely, will have the word “Line” in the title. So, I decided to do a little research on the word “Line.” I had no idea there were so many words that have “line” in them … that have a great deal to do with being successful. Let me give you a few examples:

  • Discipline – Discipline and success go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.
  • Streamline – The successful companies today are doing everything they can to streamline operations. Complicated policies, procedures, rules and regulations are being simplified, replaced or deleted. Subtraction (simplifying) is the exercise of genius … addition (complicating) is the exercise of fools … so streamline your operations and your life every chance you get.
  • Deadline – A goal without a deadline is just a wish, so it is important to set deadlines. But also understand that a missed deadline is more than a disappointment, it is a statement to your client or boss that you can’t be counted on.
  • Online – Being online can be a useful tool for productivity but also a terrible distraction to productivity if something else catches your attention … so be careful and stay focused on the task at hand.
  • Guideline – If it was important enough to establish a guideline, then it should be followed.
  • Bottom line – Companies that don’t make a profit will eventually fail. It is not how much money a company takes in (revenue) that will make it successful … it’s all about profitability. To sustain success, you must always control your bottom line.
  • Frontline – The problem with so many companies today is those making the decisions are so far removed or have been away from the frontline for so long that they haven’t a clue what the true consequences of their decisions are until it’s too late. If you want to be successful, then you need to stay as close to the frontline as possible. Get out from behind your desk and get on the frontline to see what is really going on in your company.
  • Laugh line – While you are doing all of this, it is important for you to keep your sense of humor and have some fun. Any wrinkle I have on my face caused by my laughing or smiling is a welcomed wrinkle. As far as I’m concerned, laugh lines are signs you are living a happy life.
  • Lifeline – You have no idea how long or short your lifeline is, so make the most of the time you have. Keep asking yourself … “Is what I am doing taking me where I want to go?” Your lifeline is a finite amount of time … there are no “do-overs” or recouping of moments lost … so make the most of the moments you have.
  • Sideline – The sideline is not where you want to be. Get in the game. Learn the necessary skills and have the courage to be a player. To paraphrase former President Theodore Roosevelt …

This is all about YOUR TIME LINE so … pay attention to how you are handling the LINES in your life.

So, What Does This Mean?

Simple. Back up your data. With a 1-in-10 chance that your hard drive dies in the first 3 years of its life and an accelerating chance of failure after that, there is no excuse for being caught without a solid backup. Ever.

Make a plan. Build equipment replacement into your budget at least every 4 years for most devices, with a 10% equipment-replacement expense built in over the 1st year and then again starting in year 3.

As for that 10-year-old PC in the back room still running Windows XP and your most critical reporting software, the clock is ticking …


How To Unlock The Secrets Hiding In Your Web Site Report

Web site reports can tell you a LOT about the visitors to your web site IF you know how to read them. Here’s a quick lesson on how to decipher those reports …

Hits vs. Unique Visitors

It’s been said that “hits” is short for “How Idiots Track Sales.” Total hits is a deceptive number because a single visitor on a single page could easily pull a dozen files or more.

We focus on “unique visitors,” the best indicator of how many individual people are actually visiting your site. If your number of unique visitors is extremely low, it’s either a sign of weak marketing or a technical issue. Note however that 61.5% of web traffic is via “bots” (non-human traffic) searching the web.

Browsers

What web browsers are visitors using when coming to your site? There are many browsers in use today, including mobile browsers. You need to test that your site works with all the browsers identified in your reports.

Exit Page

Your “Exit Page” shows the last page someone is at before they leave your site. If you’re not getting visitors to “convert” to a client or lead, take a closer look. There may be a technical issue, a bad web site headline, no offer, slow-loading graphics or confusing copy. Something on this page is making your visitors leave without doing what you want them to do.

Experiment with various headlines, offers and designs until you find something more successful.

Update Keywords and Keyword Phrases

Be sure your web site keywords line up with the words people use when searching for products or services you offer. Keeping these aligned will allow you to optimize your conversion rate and minimize your expenses when using pay-per-click search-engine marketing.


The Lighter Side: Amazing Facts About Love

February is traditionally love month, so here are some random love facts (or myths) that might surprise you:

  1. People are more likely to tilt their heads to the right when kissing instead of the left (65% of people go to the right!).
  2. Falling in love can induce a calming effect on the body and mind and raises levels of nerve-growth factor for about a year, which helps to restore the nervous system and improves the lover’s memory.
  3. Love can also exert the same stress on your body as deep fear. You see the same physiological responses – pupil dilation, sweaty palms and increased heart rate.
  4. Philadelphia International Airport finished as the No. 1 best airport for making a love connection, according to a recent survey.
  5. Men who kiss their wives in the morning live five years longer than those who don’t.
  6. The tradition of the diamond engagement ring comes from Archduke Maximilian of Austria who, in the 15th century, gave a diamond ring to his fiancée, Mary of Burgundy.
  7. People who are newly in love produce decreased levels of the hormone serotonin – as low as levels seen in people with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to feel obsessed when you’re smitten.
  8. According to mathematical theory, we should date a dozen people before choosing a long-term partner; that provides the best chance that you’ll make a love match.