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13 Quick Fixes for Your Company’s Data Security

What’s your favorite solution for quickly improving your company’s data security? Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)  is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co. 1. Add a Web Application Firewall With the internet of things rapidly on the rise, I think it’s important for businesses to turn to web application firewalls (WAFs) for safeguarding their websites. Fortunately, services such as Sucuri and Cloudflare provide the required protection against cross-site scripting (XXS) vulnerabilities, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and other online threats. Equally imperative is keeping real-time backups of all important information. – Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns 2. Never Use Public Wi-Fi If at all possible, always use your personal hotspot instead of free or public Wi-Fi. Hotspots are often included in data plans, and if not, are usually cheap add-ons. – Karlo Tanjuakio, GoLeanSixSigma.com 3. Create Strict Password Protocols Password protocols are an easy first step to improving an organization’s data security. These protocols encompass things like the frequency of password changes, the complexity requirements of the passwords, the number of password-protected programs, levels of access, etc. If you need to improve security, then the first step is to look at how your organization manages passwords. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure 4. Implement Two-Factor Authentication Implementing a two-factor authentication process for email is simple to do and has helped cut down on our employee accounts being hacked. Education on email phishing scams has helped prevent suspicious emails being opened, which can allow for viruses access to our systems. Phishing emails can appear to come from within the company, but a little attention to details within the email can weed them out. – Jeff Pitta, Senior Market Advisors 5. Conduct Internal Phishing Tests to Identify Weak Links I think the No. 1 risk to corporate security is human error. This boils down to phishing, spear phishing and social engineering. Basically, people fall for fake log-in screens or accidentally divulge passwords and other secure information. I run random automated tests on my team to identify weak links and then provide targeted training to those individuals. – Ryan D Matzner, Fueled 6. Digitize Everything There is no underestimating the importance of digital security,…

Actress and Entrepreneur Nikki Reed Shares Her Insights on Sustainability, Tech, and Design

I recently attended the Fast Company Innovation Festival, sponsored by Dell and other amazing companies. One of the panels I attended, in partnership with Dell, featured Nikki Reed, a former actress and founder of Bayou with Love, a fashion brand with a focus on sustainable development. Also, on the panel was Senthil Balasubramanian of Sistine Solar and David Lear, head of Sustainable Development at Dell. Here’s what I learned: While we all care, to varying degrees, about the planet, sustainability, and ensuring we’re good stewards of it, it’s not  always easy to do, and we don’t always do our part. It’s important that creators, engineers, and designers all do their best to make products that look great. People sometimes need to be enticed to use a product, not only because it is good for the planet but indeed because it looks good as well. To get people to get out of their comfort zones, said Nikki, you sometimes have to do something that turns their heads. Aesthetics Go a Long Way As businesses look to create products that are better for the planet and supporting sustainability,  they have to be designed with the consumer in mind. In essence, the advice is: build products that people will WANT. Senthil shared how his company could just make solar panels, but instead, they want to make solar panels that LOOK great on your home and that others will want to have as well. Senthil said that “sustainability and aesthetics go hand in hand”. Be Resourceful David shared that as Dell creates products and product packaging, they work hard to ensure that the products they’re making today can be used (or reused) in the future. Dell’s product packaging, for example, is made to be re-used or recycled. In fact, Dell’s partnership with Nikki Reed is all about re-use. Inside of Dell’s computers, and that of every other computer and electronic gadget, there’s gold on the electronic circuitry. When recycled in large quantities this can add up to a lot of gold. Nikki’s partnership with Dell lets her take this gold and use it in…

Business Acquisition – 3 Things You Need to Know

Business acquisitions and mergers are no small feat. If you’re in the position of acquiring a business, merging with another business, or looking for your business to be acquired, we’ve gathered some helpful information from an expert in the industry. Y’vonne Ormond, the CEO of 5P Consulting, is a business facing technologist who has been in the industry for over 25 years. She knows what she’s talking about and we are going to share some of her top tips. First, What is 5P Consulting? 5P Consulting focuses on business problems in regards to people and processes and the technology surrounding them. Y’vonne shares that at 5P they, “typically work with companies that are scaling up or scaling down,” and they help find solutions to all of the problems that can come up while doing that. Mergers and Acquisitions – When Y’vonne is referring to a business scaling up or down, that includes business mergers and acquisitions. We all know that change is hard. But Y’vonne shared some really helpful information to help ease you and your company through a successful transition. Evaluate the Situation – If you’ve just acquired a new business, don’t change things right away. Do your best to maintain the existing culture, and the people, as you’re going through the process. As Y’vonne explains, “it’s all about being efficient, not just chopping things apart.” Dig in and understand what’s working well and what solutions the other organization already has in place. Never Lead in with Technology – First lean in with understanding the business goals and the strategy. Understand who the current talent is and dig into the company’s processes. After you’ve done all that, Y’vonne says you have the all clear to then see what’s going on in regard to technology. Leverage the resources that are already functioning well first and then bring in something new. So, You Want to Be Acquired. Now What? – Y’vonne implores, “don’t back off too soon!” It’s critical to stay engaged. If your assets, your people, and the things that you’ve built from your organization see disengagement, then they will disengage.…

4 Accounting Software Features You’re Not Taking Advantage

Guest Article If you use accounting software every day to handle your books, on top of managing the day to day operations, you might not be leveraging all the features that will ensure your business is optimizing cash flow. Any accounting software has an accounts receivable (AR) module that can improve collecting payments from clients. Common pain points of the entire AR process can be avoided by simply using your current accounting software to it’s fullest capacity. Many small businesses struggle with collections, that combined with a lack accurate accounting records, and you’ve got a mess on your hands. There are four accounts receivable functions you likely already have in your software and once activated they can make big difference to the bottom-line. Recurring Billing Support Recurring payments are common. If you are in a situation where you can set up recurring payments for clients via ACH debits or some other electronic method, you should do it. It helps promote higher collection rates while minimizing the time spent on future collection efforts. If you’re providing good enough services/products to your clients, you’ll want to ensure their payments are coming in on time, so you can spend more time focusing on running the business rather than dealing with collections issues. Billing/Collection Email Integration If billing your customers isn’t as simple as you’d like, then you’ll need to establish some level of a billing and collections process. If a customer’s due date is arriving, you’ll want to send a reminder email. If they’ve paid on time, they will likely desire an invoice. If they have not paid, you’ll have to begin the dreaded collections process of sending past-due notices. Leverage your AR software to create and send emails. It will go a long way toward improving your collections process. This eliminates the need to copy data from the program and paste/attach it into an email. The ability to have this communication at your fingertips as soon as you need it will let you breeze through any reminder emails or Invoice-paid emails that you provide to a client as a courtesy. Your AR…

4 Reasons Big Technology is a Must for Small Business

Small business owners wear a lot of hats and have many obligations, that include overseeing all of the technology in the workplace. As important as that task is, it’s easy for it to fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Staying on top of technology as it evolves is not only the best way to run your business efficiently, it’s also necessary if you want to keep up with – and stay ahead of – your competition. Despite understanding its importance, many business owners don’t understand the power of technology and just how transformational it can be. Here’s a look at what technology can do for your business. Find New Customers Digital marketing can help you attract more customers and raise awareness of your business, and there are plenty of tools available to help you get started, starting with social marketing tools. Nearly every business is using – or should be using – social marketing, and managing your accounts is now easier than ever before. Some of the most popular social marketing tools include: Google Analytics – One of the easiest to use, this tool helps you track website traffic, conversions, and opt-ins that came from social media. Hootsuite Impact – This tool can measure and improve the ROI of your social media efforts across paid, owned, and earned social channels by optimizing your activity. Facebook Pixels – Facebook Pixels allows you to capture the Facebook users that are visiting your site or other landing pages so that you can retarget them later with relevant Facebook ads. You can also use technology to help you collect information about your potential customers, making it easier to reach them and meet their specific needs. Email marketing is still one of the most effective tools used to build and enhance customer relationships. Build your email list by employ an opt-in form to collect visitors contact information and any other details that will help personalize their experience with your business. Starting from scratch? Once again, technology can help. If marketing is still new to you, don’t worry. There is a wide range of marketing planning software available…

How to Leverage Technology for Growth with Torani’s Head of IT

Sylvie Mwila Jonath, Head of IT for Torani, gives us “a taste” of what it looks like when a business grows and how important it is to leverage technology to grow. Torani, known nationwide for making delicious flavored syrups, was founded in 1925 and is a third generation, family-owned business. Sylvie shared with us that the company has grown leaps and bounds since its inception and has witnessed double-digit growth in the past 10 years alone. But, such rapid growth, “comes with all kinds of complexity, you can imagine,” Sylvie stated. We asked Sylvie what technology Torani is currently using. On the back end, she told us Torani utilizes Oracle which allows them to connect all of the functions within the organization. To connect and interact with their customers, Torani uses Salesforce as a CRM. She also gave us some great advice about growing a business, “the best way to scale it is to leverage technology.” Here are some of the top ways Sylvie recommends using technology in scaling your business: Engagement Technology allows companies to engage with their customers but it also enables companies to collaborate within the company. Sylvie projected that Torani will likely double their size in the next 5 years. That’s a lot of new customers and employees to keep up with, but technology is making it so much easier. Getting information out to customers is faster than ever through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Technology Helps Solve Problems as You Grow Technology enables “more interaction with our customer base–not just one-way, but two-way engagement.” Torani uses Social Studio, another one of Oracle’s products. With Social Studio, Torani’s social media accounts send info to the service cloud and their agents see it and then they respond. Sylvie also said they’ve been able to collect and generate leads the same way.     It Keeps Your Business Lean Technology has helped Torani scale by implementing new technology and using the people they already have in place. Sylvie articulated that just because a business is growing doesn’t necessarily mean you should hire more people. Make the…

10 Smart Solutions for Checking In With Your Remote Team Members

What’s one innovative solution you use to check in with your remote team, and how is it effective? Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co. 1. Monday Monday is an amazing project and team management tool we began using a few months back. It is extremely intuitive and visually appealing. Monday allows us to see what each team member is working on, communicate with one another, review deadlines and more. This tool has proven to be extremely effective in managing our team that is composed of both in-house and remote team members. – Duran Inci, Optimum7 2. Time Doctor About 80% of my team is remote, and we’ve been using Time Doctor for the last four years. It makes the team check in and check out, define daily tasks, capture screenshots and generate payrolls at the end of the month. It gives a sense of being watched to the teams; they feel like they have a manager who is monitoring them. It also increases the accountability and visibility of the remote team. – Piyush Jain, Simpalm 3. Slack  It’s not quite as good as face-to-face communication, but Slack seems to be as close as you can get to the rapport-building, casual-brainstorming settings that typically only happen in real-life contexts. The instantaneous back-and-forth and channel-based communication make it easy to keep people on the same page, both for the very small details as well as for larger goals. – Roger Lee, Human Interest 4. Annual In-Person Visits I plan trips each year to different cities where my remote team works so I can visit them. Of course, if I can do other business while I’m there, like making it part of my annual holiday, then it’s all the better. I spend the day with them working and doing some type of fun activity. It’s been the best bonding experience for all of us. We understand each other so much better. – Peter Daisyme, Hostt 5. Sococo  Sococo is a very fun and great way to have that local office feel while being remote. Everyone…

Five Ways the Print Industry Uses AI from Xerox

If you take an interest in annual industry predictions you’ll have noticed artificial intelligence (AI) tops nearly every reputable 2018 list. Amidst the sensationalist claims of robots stealing human jobs and societal concerns about AI spinning out of control, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was on hand to ground the AI conversation firmly in the present. In its 2018 AI Predictions, PwC stated that 2018 is the year that “AI will come down to earth – and get to work.” PwC predicts that in 2018 AI will finally start doing things, yet not necessarily in ways which set the world alight per certain overzealous media headlines. For AI to come down to earth, it needs to function at its most basic level and this boils down to automating processes – something the print industry has talked about for some time. Here’s how Xerox puts artificial intelligence to work for the print industry right now The four types of artificial intelligence Before I discuss how the print industry uses AI from Xerox today, let’s agree on some terms and concepts. The definition of AI is generally accepted to mean the ability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior. Admittedly, this definition is an umbrella term for a broad spectrum of technology so the industry coined four types of AI: Reactive machines. The most basic functionality of AI where the machine can only react to current scenarios, with no ability to use experience to inform decisions. Limited memory. The machine can make observations about its environment to inform a decision i.e. the technology behind self-driving cars. Theory of mind. At this point, AI becomes more futuristic. To fall into this category, AI must have the ability to understand thoughts and emotions and use this to react to the world around it. Self-aware AI. The most advanced type of AI and requires the machine to have its own consciousness, something that does not exist — yet. 5 examples of artificial intelligence for the print industry There may be a lot of hype and speculation around the latter two categories, but in reality, it’s the AI which falls into the…

13 Important Questions to Ask Before You Sign Up With a SaaS Provider

Every business owner should go into a vendor partnership with a clear understanding of the details. When considering a potential software as a service (SaaS) vendor, what’s one security question that should always be asked? Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co. 1. Where Is Our Credit Card Data Stored? Get a guarantee that your provider won’t store your credit card details on its own server. In a best-case scenario, a provider will use a payment gateway or vendor’s server for processing and maintaining all of your information. Though no measure is cyberattack proof, most of these third-party vendors have the appropriate security and infrastructure in place to handle your sensitive data. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker 2. Do You Use Two-Factor Authentication? By now, most mission-critical systems offer two-step verification. In addition to logging in with a password, a code will be sent to your mobile phone, which you‘ll also need to enter to confirm that you are really you. This additional layer prevents someone who may have access to your password from also logging into vital technical systems and causing damage. – David Ciccarelli, Voices.com 3. What’s Your Action Plan for a Worst-Case Scenario? When evaluating a SaaS partner, ask them what the worst-case scenario is that they can foresee. It might be a data breach, a service outage or something else, depending on the software. Then, ask how they would deal with that worst case. Ask detailed questions, and make sure you‘re comfortable with the action plan laid out. – Brittany Hodak, The Superfan Company 4. Is Data Encrypted at Rest? Data should be encrypted in transit and at rest. Secure sockets layer (SSL) encryption for data in transit is nearly ubiquitous, but many vendors don’t encrypt data at rest on storage devices. If their network is breached, that data is vulnerable. Ask potential vendors if the data is encrypted, how it is encrypted and who has access to the keys. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting 5. Are You GDPR Compliant? The recent EU General Data Protection Regulation sowed much confusion among online businesses worldwide, but one positive side effect is that it forced reputable SaaS vendors…

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