Posts made in April 2019

Tech Tip: Answering Security Questions

Answers to security questions must be memorable to you, but they don’t have to be true.

Today online banking, creating new email accounts, health insurance applications and the like often require security questions.  The trouble is, your mother’s maiden name is not a secret. For most, a simple search on Facebook reveals the answer to this security question. Since your credit score may be at stake if someone hacks your bank account, it is worth considering carefully how you may answer these questions.  Think of a memorable alternative to the true answer. For example: If your mother had 5 siblings with maiden name Olson, your answer could be “Oliesixpack.” Since your favorite pet is probably also featured on Facebook-think of a similar unique and memorable alternative for this.

 

4 Tips for Creating a Risk Free Email Policy

As a means to keep in touch, email is both a must-have resource and a costly liability. Keeping inboxes free of spam and malicious software is just one part of the battle — it is also important to lay down some ground rules governing the use of email in your organization. That’s why every company should have an up-to-date email policy that teaches employees to use company email safely.

#1. Draw the line between business and personal use                            

Though it might seem obvious, one of the first things your policy should make clear is that business email accounts are meant for business purposes only. Many employees don’t think twice about using their business email addresses for personal communications out of convenience. But allowing this can lead to security compromises and reduced productivity.

#2. Make it clear that all emails are company property                             

Since business email addresses are provided by the company and meant for business use, every email sent and received using these accounts are the property of the company. This means employees shouldn’t use company email addresses for sending personal emails since these accounts are owned and monitored by the business.

#3. Train employees to identify phishing scams                                               

Email is the number one delivery channel for social engineering scams. Although the clear majority of them will be picked up by any enterprise-grade spam filter, there are always a few that make it through. These tend to be the most dangerous ones since they’re often targeted towards specific victims and involve impersonation of a colleague or superior.  Provide regular training to help employees identify these scams and report anything suspicious immediately.

#4. Align email policy with your brand                                                      

Your email policy isn’t just about setting strict rules pertaining to security, use, and accessibility. As your go-to channel for conversations with customers, it also plays a key role in your brand. To that end, your policy should provide clear guidelines to help maintain brand consistency and a high standard of customer service.

Although not always included as part of a formal email policy, consider including a section offering guidance on things like etiquette, forwarding, and response times. For example, employees should ideally feel obligated to reply to both internal and external emails within a specified time frame.

 

Guest Article: When a DREAM is bigger than a DIY

As a provider of IT services and computer repair for the Twin Cities business community we often run across interesting and helpful stories for our clients.  In this guest post, Justin and Jenna Bakken, owners at XtraMile Construction link their daily work life in construction to the big dream they are pursuing by building an entrepreneurial center for impoverished youth in Guatemala.

by Justin and Jenna Bakken, XtraMile Construction

Have you ever seen a DIY (do it yourself) video and left feeling empowered?  The vision, the urge to create was so strong. The dream kitchen was so close, you could see the family meals being shared and countless parties being hosted. You only needed to take that intrusive wall down to open up the space. Maybe add a window for more natural lighting, install new cabinets, replace the wood floor, add a trendy backsplash, a few strokes of paint, and of course top of the line stainless steel appliances!  Motivated, you fuel that dream and it gets way bigger than the simple DIY project. Yet, undeterred you embark on a journey.  Perhaps, a few short hours, days, or even months later you come to the realization that this dream kitchen was a job for a team, a group of skillfully suited people?

The truth is, big projects and big dreams need teams of people to be completed or come to life. Being in the field of construction, I (Justin) have often noticed after a project comes to a close, the contractor or project manager get all the praise. What many people don’t see are the hours of hard work by skilled tradesmen. Yes, the contractor needed people skills to sell a job, he needed vision, and an ability to bring together dedicated, hardworking, skilled individuals to complete the dream. Yet, the dream and the kitchen came to life because of everyone who worked on the project.

What does your dream look like? We started dreaming after backpacking around Guatemala for 3 months for our honeymoon. Over the course of our travels we have spent about 2 years in Guatemala. Each time we returned  we  had the privilege to volunteer our time by helping at local churches, meal programs, rural schools, and orphanages. We have many dreams, one is to create a dream and entrepreneurial center for youth living in poverty.  We will be providing a safe and fun environment, where youth will be equipped to think big and create businesses to better their lives and communities. Now, we are surrounding ourselves with driven and generous people who want to make a difference in the lives of others. One day we will have reached and changed the lives of thousands of youth, but it will not have happened without the help and expertise of hundreds of people.

Dream big friends, whether it is to impact your community or to create that Pinterest worthy kitchen! Just remember when to go the extra mile in your DIY endeavors and when to call us at XtraMile construction. Check out XtraMile Construction at:    www.xtramileconstruction.com

 

 

May: Shiny New Gadget of the Month

Tech Gadgets that improve productivity, efficiency and security in the workplace.

512GB  MicroSD cards: Samsung and PNY

A great way to increase the internal capacity of your portable device

The thought of packing the equivalent of nearly 1,000 CD-ROMs on something barely bigger than the average human fingernail would have been unimaginable only a decade ago.

Now storage companies like Samsung, Sandisk or Integral are slowly pushing 512GB microSD cards in the market, fueled by demand from mobile devices.

PNY is one of the latest to do so with the Elite. At  $125 it is comparable in price with other products in the same category but far more expensive than the 400GB SanDisk Ultra which is about half of the price for three quarters of the capacity.

The 512GB card, the highest commercial capacity available,  allows you to dramatically increase available storage on your smartphone, great for 4K footage of field visits or business videos.