June 2017 Newsletter
How Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Business
"Artificial intelligence" is a term often reserved for the likes of Skynet in the "Terminator" films or ENCOM's mainframe in the "Tron" movie, but the reality is that AI has been around for decades — and experts say the rumors of a forceful robotic takeover are exaggerated.
Instead, they see AI as an indispensable tool for supporting humans in virtually every aspect of life, especially in commercial applications. To find out more about how AI is rolling out in business and how it might develop in the future check out the article found at this link: https://shar.es/1RVbdE
This monthly publication provided courtesy of Mark Bowles, President of Ranger Business Solutions.
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Back in 2014, Code Spaces was murdered. The company offered tools for source code management, but they didn’t have solid control over sensitive information — including their backups. One cyberattack later, and Code Spaces was out of business. Their killer had used some standard techniques, but the most effective was getting an unwitting Code Space employee to help — likely via a phishing attack.
When it comes to cybercrime that targets businesses, employees are the largest risks. Your IT guys and gals are trained to recognize phishing attempts, funky websites, and other things that just don’t seem right. But can you say the same thing about the people in reception, or the folks over in sales?
Sure, those employees might know that clicking on links or opening attachments in strange emails can cause issues. But things have become pretty sophisticated; cybercriminals can make it look like someone in your office is sending the email, even if the content looks funny. It only takes a click to compromise the system. It also only takes a click to Google a funny-looking link or ask IT about a weird download you don’t recognize.
Just as you can’t trust people to be email-savvy, you also can’t trust them to come up with good passwords. It may sound so 2002, but plenty of people still use birthdays, pet names, or even “password” as their passcodes — or they meet the bare-minimum standards for required passcode complexity. Randomly generated passcodes are always better, and requiring multiple levels of authentication for secure data access is a must-do.
Remember, that’s just for the office. Once employees start working outside of your network, even more issues pop up. It’s not always possible to keep them from working from home, or from a coffee shop on the road. But it is possible to invest in security tools, like email encryption, that keep data more secure if they have to work outside your network. And if people are working remotely, remind them that walking away from the computer is a no-no. Anybody could lean over and see what they’re working on, download malware or spyware, or even swipe the entire device and walk out — all of which are cybersecurity disasters.
Last but not least, you need to consider the possibility of a deliberate security compromise. Whether they’re setting themselves up for a future job or setting you up for a vengeful fall, this common occurrence is hard to prevent. It’s possible that Code Space’s demise was the result of malice, so let it be a warning to you as well! Whenever an employee leaves the company for any reason, remove their accounts and access to your data. And make it clear to employees that this behavior is considered stealing, or worse, and will be treated as such in criminal and civil court.
You really have your work cut out for you, huh? Fortunately, it’s still possible to run a secureenough company in today’s world. Keep an eye on your data and on your employees. And foster an open communication that allows you to spot potential — or developing — compromises as soon as possible.
Free Report: What Every Small-Business Owner Must Know About Protecting
and Preserving Their Company’s Critical Data and Computer Systems
This report will outline in plain, nontechnical English common mistakes that many small-business owners make with their computer network that cost them thousands in lost sales, productivity and computer repair bills, as well as providing an easy, proven way to reduce or completely eliminate the financial expense and frustration caused by these oversights.
Download your FREE copy today at www.rangersolutions.com/protect
or call our office at (214) 329-1349
Shiny New Gadget Of The Month:
OctoGripper, the Octopus-Inspired Robotic Arm, Is Here
The animal kingdom is a reliable place to turn for mechanical inspiration. The German automation company Festo just made a robotic arm that takes its cue from an octopus. Meet the OctoGripper!
Festo figured it’s hard to beat the octopus’ flexibility. Built with a soft silicone structure that can be pneumatically controlled, the device bends inward to grip an item with two rows of suction cups. These create a vacuum, allowing the gripper to hold onto objects tightly while moving quickly a common challenge in robotics.
This isn’t the only thing Festo is taking from nature. They want to see the OctoGripper incorporated into their BionicMotion Robot, which is inspired by an elephant’s trunk. These could work side by side with humans, perhaps speeding up work.
Or they could pair up with Boston Dynamics and start the best robotic zoo this side of “Horizon: Zero Dawn.”
Goal Setting Doesn’t Work
(And Santa Claus May Not Exist) By Darren Hardy
When we were kids, we thought we could write down a list of everything we wanted and mail it to the North Pole. When we grew up, we realized there wasn’t really a big roly-poly guy who delivered presents. A real person had to earn the money, march through shopping malls, wrestle the presents home, wrap them up, and place them under the tree. But I think many people still believe in Santa Claus. Why else would they write down a list of wants on New Year’s Day, stick it in a drawer for the rest of the year, and wait around for their lives to change?
Sorry, but it’s time to grow up. Most people know how to write down goals, but few ever achieve them. Want to stop chasing rainbows, wishing on stars, and rubbing lamps, and instead achieve real results? This article will help you start.
WARNING: Achievement requires work, discipline, commitment, and maybe some heartache and a stiffened spine. If any of that makes you queasy, I invite you to continue reading.
The Cause of All Your Problems — and the Solution
When I ask people what they want to improve in their lives, I hear things like, “I need to make more money,” or “My marriage is unhappy,” or “I need to lose weight.”
But these are simply symptoms or outcomes of the problem. The cause of the problem is you — and this is probably one of the most sobering understandings you can reach as you work toward your stated goals. Whatever it is you want to change, whether it’s your marriage, financial situation, or weight, you’ll never achieve lasting change until you change. Once you improve, everything else around you will improve.
In life, you don’t get what you want; you get in life what you are. The success you have in life correlates with your level of self-worth. But the human tendency is to engage in the study of effects, while giving little attention to causes.
I see this travesty play out every day. People complain about their terrible marriage, so they leave it. Oddly enough, they end up with similar problems in the next relationship. Why? Because they didn’t address the real problem. The same set of circumstances and patterns of behavior will create the same outcome. Some people go from diet plan to diet plan, losing weight and then gaining it all back. Why? Because the plan and the weight aren’t the issues or the solutions; they are effects, and the weight will ultimately meet them back where they are.
Darren Hardy is the creator and visionary behind SUCCESS magazine as well as the New York Times best-selling book “The Compound Effect.” His newest book is “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster.” For more, visit: www.darrenhardy.com
- Use This App To Pinpoint Dangerous Drivers. The open road is full of jerks and road rages, and a new app is taking them on. Nexar asks you to mount your phone to your dashboard, and it will monitor surrounding traffic. If someone starts driving dangerously, it will ask if you want to record what’s going on with a 30-second video. The goal is to capture license plates of bad or hostile drivers. This is useful if you witness a crash or a criminal offense. According to trafficsafetystore.com, Nexar also uploads data to a central database. It will let you know if someone with a bad driving history enters the camera’s field of vision, helping you spot potential bad drivers. In the future, Nexar plans to use GPS to identify dangerous cars to the side and behind them, too. Safety Resource Center - December 1, 2016
- Where Have Tablet Sales Gone? Remember when they said tablets would outsell desktop and laptop computers? That now seems a tad optimistic. In March, Techcrunch.com reported that tablet sales are going down. But why? It turns out that folks treat tablets like computers meaning they don’t upgrade them nearly as often as smartphones. “The iPad 2 isstill in use today,” IDC Senior Analyst Jitesh Ubrani tells TechCrunch. “The [original] iPad Minis and Air are all still in use today. They were being supported by Apple until very recently. People have been hanging onto these devices and they’re finding that they work just as well as they did when they were released.”. That’s bad news for the tablet giants, who are still releasing new versions of tablets at least once a year. In the future, don’t expect big releases or online unveilings for slates. Techcrunch.com March 21, 2017
- Should You Have A Mobile App For Your Business? One of the great things about apps is that you don’t need to be a big developer or company to build one. In fact, according to www.smallbusinesscomputing.com, 42 percent of small businesses in the United States have their own mobile app. By the end of the year, that figure is expected to hit 67 percent! Somewhat unsurprisingly, the most cited reason SMBs said they decided to build mobile apps is to increase sales (39 percent), followed by improving customers service (30 percent). Others turn to mobile apps as a competitive advantage in specific markets (22 percent) while for some organizations, their parent company suggested an app (10 percent). But with apps becoming more affordable than ever, there are lots of reasons to invest in your own app and lots of ways to recoup that investment. What would your ideal app do? SmallBusinessComputing.com March 09, 2017
- Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Airport Jacket – Cargo jacket for Travel. If you always find yourself forking out for excess baggage every time you take a flight, then an Aussiebased startup has come up with an ingenious solution that’ll have you confidently packing the kitchen sink for your next trip. The “Airport Jacket” is, for all intents and purposes, a wearable suitcase. With a whopping 14 pockets and two detachable pocket panels capable of taking up to 15 kgs. (about 33 lbs.) of stuff, your only concern will be ensuring your legs don’t give way as you stagger toward the check-in desk. The jacket Ñ with all the stuff inside can be quickly transformed into a small bag so you only need to put it on when you arrive at the airport. Once you’re through check-in and on the plane, you can fold it back up again before throwing it into one of the overhead bins. Digital Trends – February 26, 2017