Happy September! After a brutally hot Austin Summer, I’m kind of glad to see the cooler nights and hoping to soon see the cooler days as well! Usually, as Fall gets closer, I’ll find a day that is pretty slow, grab a notebook and pen and head out to a park to brainstorm business ideas, think back over the past twelve months to figure out what, organization-wise, we could be doing differently. There’s something about sitting outside, without a computer nearby, with a warm breeze, watching the leaves turn color that always helps me see things clearer and come up with some out-of-the-box ideas. I’ve seen all too often that businesses start to fail when they aren’t willing to embrace a needed change. What do you do to get inspired?
Imagine a world free of Virus, a world free of Trojan and a world free of Worms, but we all know that is a far cry from reality. We know it is a far cry because where there is cyberspace, there is cyber attack, and where there is cyber attack, there would equally be the need for a corresponding cyber security. And cyber security has never been in more demand than in today's advancing digital world.
Let's face it, we only required lock and key in the days of hard copies but we both would agree that those days are long gone. Faced with an increasing digital world, we have to deal with all the ramifications.
This article outlines four steps to securing cyber security for start-up businesses and small businesses alike. I would however, not stop short because home users can be beneficiaries too. Before that though, let me state that cyber threats come in many forms. Malware in particular, is the generic term used for most cyber threats. And it is this generic term that would be the topic of our discussion today.
So What Exactly is Malware?
Malware is a generic term for a software that contains either Trojan, Virus, Worm or any kind of program intended to harm a computer system. We would consider the different types of malware in another article but for now, let us proceed with the business at hand by laying out the four basic steps to ensure your system does not become a victim to potential files meant to corrupt your system.
The steps I will be introducing may seem simple, but make no mistake because failing to implement them could expose your information system or computer to danger. I am in no doubt that you have heard some horrible cyber crime stories in the likes of data corruption and theft of personal information. And believe me, theft is just one aspect of cyber crime, there are many more than we probably care to know.
And without further I do, here are the four basic steps that would help your start-up, small business or even personal computer system procure basic security and peace of mind for you.
4 Basic Tips For Cyber Security:
Create a secure password - many advocate a password length of at least 8 characters, with a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols.
Install updates when required
Ensure that patches are from trusted sources
Get a good anti-virus software - Kaspersky, McAfee and Sophos anti-virus are good ones. You can either procure a subscription for the period required or go for a yearly subscription.
An operating system is an operating system. It does not matter which I use. Someone might say. You are right, but a system that is no longer supported by a vendor is a huge security risk if it is being used on the internet because you are only inviting potential attacks. If there are no updates, there are bound to be security holes that hackers would too happily explore. So what is the message? The message is, if an operating system has no vendor support, it is not a good candidate for the internet. Get this right and your chances of peace would rocket high. This article is the sequel to:" To Protect or Not To Protect - Domain Names"and the prequel to "To Protect or Not to Protect - Tips For Preventing Computer Worms"
9/1/2016 Time for businesses to consider setting up retirement plans
9/15/2016 Employers Make Monthly Payroll tax deposit on the 15th of each month
9/15/2016 Partnership Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE
9/15/2016 Corporate Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE
9/15/2016 S Corporate Returns Due- FINAL DEADLINE
9/15/2016 Estate & Trusts Returns - Final Deadline; Bankruptcy fillings use the same form
9/15/2016 Individuals, Farmers & Fishermen Pay 3rd Quarter Estimated Tax Payment
9/15/2016 Corporations - 3rd Quarter Estimate Tax payment Due
9/15/2016 Estates & Trusts 3rd Estimated Tax Payment
9/15/2016 Deadline for Corporations and Partnerships to fund SEP-IRAs for previous year.
9/30/2016 Last day to establish SIMPLE plans for current year
9/30/2016 Time for businesses to consider setting up retirement plans
When receiving checks from your customers to pay for an open invoice there are a couple settings you can set to make the process easier. To get to these settings you need to be in the admin login. Go to Edit: Preferences: Payments: Company Preferences. At the top you’ll see Receive Payments with the option to Automatically Apply Payments. If you choose this option QuickBooks will automatically apply the payment to the oldest open invoice. This is useful if your customers make payments on their account but don’t pay specific invoices.
If you uncheck the box it will not automatically apply the payment allowing you to select which invoice to apply the payment to. This is very helpful when your customers make payments on specific invoice.
Either option allows you to select which invoice to apply the payment to, it’s just nice to not have it default to an invoice if you know you’ll be selecting something specific.
While random hashtags are everywhere, using them in social media really does serve a purpose. If used strategically, hashtags can take your content from only being seen by a few of your followers to a wide range of people that may not otherwise have seen it.
Not the random hashtags such as #mydogatemyhomework or #sleepydog, but serious hashtags that will help people find particular content on social media. If someone is looking for information on accounting, they can do a search for #accounting and find all relevant posts that used that hashtag.
If you are thinking about using a unique hashtag, be sure to do a quick search before you being your campaign. Doing a search will verify that your hashtag isn’t already in use for something that you would rather not be associated with.
Along those same lines, if it is a truly unique hashtag, let someone else look at it and see if they know what it refers to. For example, #therapist went viral for all the wrong reasons. #nowthatchersdead started the internet rumor that Cher was dead. It makes much more sense if you use uppercase letters. #NowThatchersDead. But you cannot rely on the public to use proper capitalization. The lack of space and the necessity to combine words can lead to some epic social media fails if you are not careful.
If you are stuck trying to come up with an idea, the website Hashtagify.me offers alternate hashtags to tired and overused ones such as #quote or #motivation.
ConvertKit is a new email service provider that is rapidly becoming more and more popular. What makes it different? You have one list that you manage with tags and automation. Let’s look at some of the features:
You can have lots of forms for that one list.
Easily send gift subscriptions
Create forms for many different incentives
Custom opt in forms for each post
Automation is made simple.
Sequences are super easy to set up.
It has the ability to create and design landing pages.
Available on your domain
If there is a drawback to ConvertKit, it’s that they do not have as many templates to choose from for your emails. In fact, they only have three. Text only, Simple, and Framed. The reason they do it like this is because it allows viewing your emails on a mobile devices much easier and cleaner. If you want to add your header to the template, they offer very simple instructions and you do not need any html knowledge to do it. However, if you do have html knowledge, you can set up as many templates and styles as you wish!
The OffAssist newsletter is made possible by the the coding talents of Next Level Digital Solutions.
Much of the advice in this newsletter is based upon the research, professional and personal experiences of the authors. If the reader has any questions concerning any material or procedure mentioned, the publisher and authors strongly suggest seeking the advice of a qualified CPA or other professional.