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Tech Tips

CYBERSECURITY AWARENESS MONTH 2021 CAMPAIGN

Now in its 18th year, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity
across our Nation. Held every October, Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a collaborative effort between government and
industry to ensure everyone in the Nation has the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.

DO YOUR PART. #BECYBERSMART.

Every year, led by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance
(NCSA)
, Cybersecurity Awareness Month conveys a clear message of the importance of partnership between
government and industry, from the White House to the individual.

The evergreen theme—Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.—encourages individuals and organizations to own their role in protecting their part of cyberspace, stressing personal accountability and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity.

WEEKLY THEMES

• Week 1: Be Cyber Smart
• Week 2: Fight the Phish!
• Week 3: Explore. Experience. Share.
• Week 4: Cybersecurity First

Use the Cybersecurity Awareness Month hashtag #BeCyberSmart, to help promote cybersecurity awareness. Also, be sure to keep checking the CISA website to learn more about upcoming Cybersecurity Awareness Month efforts in October.

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Tech Tips

Importance of a Password Manager

After I recommend to a client to enable MFA on all their accounts. I then recommend a Password Manager.

What is a Password Manager?

A Password Manager is a tool used to store usernames, passwords and other key data you need to be secure in to an encrypted vault, locked by one Master Password.

Why should I have a password manager?

We have come to the point in our lives where we have literally hundreds of websites and services we need to log in to and there is no easy way to remember all those passwords. The Password Manager can store all of these passwords for you, so you no longer have to remember them.

That’s not an issue…I use the same password or combination of password for every website…

I sure hope not. If anything has shown us from the major password data breaches of the past, that just creates an open door for CyberCriminals to easily gain access to the other accounts in your life.

It is ok…I write my passwords down on a piece of paper on my desk or in a file on my desktop called “Passwords.”

…Please. Don’t.

Some password managers actually help you secure your accounts. They check to see if you have weak passwords, suggest random more secure passwords and let you know if your account was part of a data breach.

Well isn’t that risky to put all my passwords in one place like that?

In short, yes. You should not put all your eggs in one basket. But when the fox has a full time setup in your hen house. I think it is worth protecting them as best as possible. And if your vault is compromised, you have a list of all the places you need to change your password.

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Tech Tips

Do you MFA?

Multi-Factor Authentication is a VERY important part of your IT Security setup.

What is MFA?

Multi-Factor Authentication is an authentication method requiring you (the end user) to use a second (2FA) or Multiple (MFA) form of authentication (proving you are who you say you are) through a second or multiple form of verification.

Why does this matter to me?

In the event your login credentials (your username and password) are obtained by another party (such as a hacker) when they attempt to log in as you, the system will ask them, “OK, that was right, but are you really who you say you are?” Popular methods involve a Phone Call or Text Message to your Phone, a “One Time” Code via an Email, Text or an Authentication app. If a service you use utilize has this security layer, you should enable it immediately.

So how do I find out if a service I use leverages MFA?

A handy website has been created just for you: https://2fa.directory/

Uh-oh a service I use regularly does not offer MFA!

You should definitely reach out to them to let them know they should offer it ASAP. You should also consider using another service.

I use a LOT of services and I do not feel like enabling this everywhere. What should I do?

I can think of a few options here. Do the High-Priority, High-Risk options first, such as Banking, Email, Communications, Data Storage and Social Media. Then make the habit to enable it the next time you log in to a service and set them up with all Net New accounts. If I haven’t recommend it to you before, outsource the work! Hire someone like a virtual assistant to do it for you. Don’t have one? I will plug my client who has a business doing just that: https://dcavirtual.com/

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Tech Tips

LinkedIn QR code

A little-known feature in LinkedIn is the built-in QR code! So when you are networking, instead of saying “find me on LinkedIn” or handing them a business card and hoping they find you later and remember to connect with you, why not connect right now?
Launch the app. Click the QR button on the Right Side of the Search bar, and then your code will appear on the “My code” tab. Have the other person do the same, but click the Scan tab. They will point their Camera at your QR code which will pull up your profile and allow them to connect with you!

You can find more information on LinkedIn’s Help site: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/94399/using-a-linkedin-qr-code-to-connect-with-members?lang=en.
Found this tip helpful? Please share it with others!

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Tech Tips

Google Yourself

I was recently at a business lunch and a vCMO mentioned you should Google yourself and see what comes up. I will take that one further (something I have done). Set a Google Alert!

What is a Google Alert?

To quote the Wikipedia article (as of this posting) “Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google.”

It basically is an “Auto-Goolger.” It Googles something for you and then lets you know the latest updates on it, by email.

Why should I set a Google Alert?

If good news or bad news is coming, wouldn’t you want to be first to know?

News travels fast and even faster on the internet. Be the first to know if your Business, Name or something you may be interested in as recently been posted to the internet.

So, how do I set it up?

  • Visit https://www.google.com/alerts (sign in to your Google account if you are not signed in already).
  • In the Create an alert about … box type what you would like to be alerted on
  • For example you can type your name “John Smith”
  • Google will show you a preview of the results, if you are satisfied, click the Create Alert button and you are DONE!

BONUS: you can click show options before you click Create Alert or click the pencil next to the already created alert to alter the search parameters such as limit the country you want results from, how often you may want it, or even what Sources you would want results from, for example; only “News.” You can use advanced search like "John Smith" with the quotation marks if you do not want a result like George John, Smith James showing up in your results or if you go by a few names you can have "John Smith" OR "Johnny Smith" as your search sting. Read more on Google Advanced search here: https://www.google.com/advanced_search

Was this post helpful? Have you set up alerts before? Were you today-years-old when you found about this cool feature? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Tech Tips

Process Automation

Technology is a crucial piece in process automation, but in reality, process automation is a process. The technology comes in as a tool to help you achieve your desired outcome. Before you can automate your process, you need first to define your process. Before you define your process, you need to define your purpose or desired outcome. There is a difference between mechanization and automation. In automobile manufacturing, factory line workers use tire lift assists to save their backs versus lifting the tire themselves. The tire lift is an example of mechanization. Automation is the stamping of car parts. Make it once, repeat.

Before the stamping of doors was automated someone, made them by hand. Then someone in charge thought this was a misuse of a human employee’s time and expertise. Then a person was brought in to analyze how a door is made, find or design a machine or configure an existing machine to do the work that need to be done, then install the machine.

Why is Process Automation important for business?

Businesses are as Marcus Lemonis says, about People, Product and Process. If you can save your people from having to do repetitive tasks that they no longer wish to do, this frees up their time to do the things they enjoy and want to do.

As a vCIO this is my job when it comes to helping a business out. Someone reaches out with a problem to be solved, I analyze the situation and see if there is a way to improve or fix the situation weather by training, documentation, mechanization or possibly even communication!

For the example of blogging, I am using WordPress.com. For the example of Social Media scheduled publishing, I am using Hootsuite. While I can schedule this blog to post and then auto push to social media channels, I am missing the capability to push to my Better Call I.T. LinkedIn Business Page. I can only post to my personal profile on LinkedIn with the builtin publicize functionality on WordPress.com and I want to but the post on both not only because my audience is greater on my Personal Profile, but my LinkedIn Business Page needs fresh content so the business can look like it is — still in business :-).

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Tech Tips

Domain Hijacking

I had lunch with a friend today and she mentioned she was closing her business due to COVID. While this was heartbreaking to hear, I had to ask her what are you doing with your old domain?

Her response: letting it expire.

I advised her not to. It is very easy for a cyber criminal to watch for domains to expire then snatch them up. Once they have them they can set up a matching email address for the members of the former company and then attempt a campaign where they go to popular websites like google or LinkedIn and attempt to do password recoveries on the account. Since they have access to the underlying email account it should be relatively easy for them to get in.

What should I do if I am closing my business?

Before you close your business down, transfer your domain to Google Domains. Once it is there set up a forwarder to an email address you are checking. Even better set up a “Catch All” where all email address go to that one address. If you have no intention to check the emails that come from your old address, set up a rule or a filter to auto-delete emails sent to that old email address.

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Uncategorized

Two Decades of Technology

Today officially marks 20 years of being in Business. I started when Windows 2000 was the bane of everyone’s existance and Windows ME had the dumbest security hole. If you hit Cancel on the Screen Saver Password Prompt it would let you in!

My business has been through a lot of changes but Customer Service is Number 1!

What was life like for you 20 years ago?

Categories
Thought Leadership

Where do I start?

I had a call today with someone who was trying to redo their internal company web page for their department and the question came up at the end of our discussion “Where do I start?”

Well, actually it is quite easy. You start the same way you start a research paper. What is your objective?

The purpose of your web page or website should be defined before you begin. What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to share some information? Are you trying to sell something? Everything after that should tie back to the objective. If it does not, then either you have gone astray on your course or your objective needs to be revised or rewritten.

Too many times I have seen people start out their rebuild with the redesign. Yes you should keep your website fresh and hip with the times but if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t matter how good it looks. They bogged down in the details, the colors, the with wireframes, and waste precious project time on that so in the end everything has to be rushed to hit the deadline. After this point, you can work on your organization (menu/navigation) then your content and finally your look and feel design.

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Better Call I.T. Tech Tips

Video Conferencing Etiquette

With Video Conferencing platforms such as Zoom becoming the norm for communications during the pandemic these days, I thought I would put some pen to paper of the basics of Video Conferencing Etiquette.

“Alright, Mr. DeVille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Get Ready, Get Dressed.

Even my business coach was unimpressed with my choice of wardrobe on our last Zoom call. I was wearing a T-Shirt and Jeans. My first thought was, ‘Hey! At least I put on pants!’ He reminded me how much people judge you by how you look and how you present yourself. This is true in both in person as well as in Video Conferences. From then on, I dressed appropriately for each meeting as though I was going to attend it in person.

Silence is Golden

And Duct Tape is Silver.

Evey time I join a call, I IMMEDIATELY put myself on mute. I leave myself on mute the entire time until either I am called on, it is my turn to talk, or I plan to be the next person to speak. Why? Well it is distracting to hear anything that may go on in your background (the dog, the kid, the doorbell, the fan, sirens, car horns, etc.). Whenever I am on the phone with my offshore colleagues I regularly hear the busy streets of Mumbai behind them on the other end of the call. I was on a call with someone who was a MAJOR mouth breather and had to mute her several times during the call so we everyone could hear me speak to the class. So, keep yourself on mute. Teams and the latest version of WebEx have the function to turn yourself on mute AFTER you connect your audio setup and BEFORE you join the call. What a blessing.

Smile, you are on Candid Camera

While we love to “see” everyone in a meeting, it may not always be appropriate. I was on a dress call for an upcoming rebid presentation that the client wanted done over Video Conference. The person who was presenting the power point for the group also had his camera on. While he was not the one speaking the whole time, he was the one who wanted this control. This is totally fine way to do it this way so that people do not need to “pass the ball” around the room with different slide decks and waste time in the transition, this also helps with the flow of the presentation. The problem was he spent the ENTIRE time pacing and fidgeting during the presentation. Even the VP who was on the call had to bring it up as a problem. His response, of course, was he would not have his camera on during the actual presentation the next day but still…it was DISTRACTING. I do have to say, if this was a dress rehearsal, you weren’t acting like it 🙂

Mind Your Background (Noise)

On a recent Zoom call we recorded for our Podcast, one of our hosts decided to put a giant American Flag up on the wall behind him (‘MURICA!). As soon as he joined the call I made sure to comment on it. There was nothing wrong with it but it made an impact on me and was worth mentioning. Plus we normally chat back and forth before the recording for sound check and warm up.

During one of our Virtual Dads Night’s Out one of the dads was commenting on some of the bottles of adult beverages on display behind him in his Home Office. They then went in to a diatribe about their preferences in adult beverages. Totally appropriate to the subject of the call but take this as a note that people see and notice what is behind you in a video call. This also holds true for any background noise coming from your end of the line. Find a quiet corner (or closet) to close the door and connect to your call. Use a headset if you have one. Even a basic phone headset will work over using the built in speakers and microphone on your computer. If you are ever in a busy place, keep yourself on mute and consider Noise Cancelling Headphones.

This is my Good Side

While most of our laptops and phones have the camera at the top, some unfortunate models have it at the bottom of the screen. With this, your video will show you from the chin up – not a good look for anyone. So keep in mind where your camera is and how you look to others when you Camera is on and you are speaking. Some folks have resorted to putting their laptop on phone books or using an external camera in order to get the best angle.

My eyes are up here

When you are speaking or listening keep in mind where you are looking. When you are speaking; think of how the News Anchors do it. Look straight at the camera and “Read the News.” You are making eye contact with the other participants without actually looking at them. (Look but try not to stare.) Glance at the screen to see your audiences reactions. While you are listening; look at the camera and do your active listening techniques (nod your head and agree, or disagree). If this is too much for you, or you plan on getting distracted checking emails (read: surfing Facebook) then turn your camera off when you are done your part of the call.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Believe it or not, your laptop and phone camera do not produce light on their own (shocker)! So make sure there is a good light source in front of you or next to you. NOT BEHIND YOU! (You will be a blocked out silhouette of yourself.) Sometimes it helps to be next to a window with natural light but a desk lamp works just as well. Put the lamp behind your laptop and point it at your face.

Slow Traffic; Keep Right.

If you are on a slow or mobile connection, this CAN AFFECT THE CALL QUALITY. Think about not using your camera, or chatting in the chat box instead of talking out loud as folks may not be able to follow you.

Thanks for reading! If you have more tips to add; please comment below!