A Strong Defense . . .

While it’s easy to defend something you know well, it’s tougher to mount a vigorous defense of something with which you’re not familiar. But with a solid knowledge base, not only can you articulately defend your position, you can also better assimilate new knowledge that advances a fierce conversation towards a solution.

Recently, a client contacted us about a glitch with her survey launch. Panicked, she blamed the mishap on our system. But I was confident the issue wasn’t inherent to our system but was instead caused by user error.

As we continued our discussion, I discovered a major part of the problem: too many cooks in the kitchen. Although our platform allows survey administrators to create and assign user subaccounts, those administrators must also set user permissions and monitor sub-user activity. In this case, multiple individuals had access to this account; unfortunately, however, they weren’t communicating with each other.

As our conversation progressed, I also learned our client was receiving a high number of email bounce backs. I got a sense the Email Relay settings were causing this problem — and, sure enough, these settings were activated.

When Email Relay is on, we’re not able to provide tracking information as the emails are being routed through the client’s server. While the client wasn’t sure who had changed these settings, she was happy we found a resolution.

My thorough training allows me to listen intently and ask the right questions. Rather than become defensive, I work with our clients to find solutions.

As I’ve learned, knowing your subject matter is key to helping all of us manage the insecurities that make people defensive, empowering us to provide the highest quality customer service.

I Got Your Back (Up)

After my last blog post, many people asked me to go into more depth about the best ways to back up their data. While we all know the importance of backing up our files, it’s often one of the most neglected acts of basic computer maintenance. But as anyone who’s experienced a computer crash can tell you, losing your most important data — personal and professional — is an unmitigated disaster that can end in tears. Don’t let this happen to you.

So, here are a few more useful tips that will help you keep your data safe and secure:

First, keep track of where you store your information. While keeping your files organized is good for workflow, consolidating your data also makes it easier for data specialists to recover those files if your hard drive crashes.

Second, schedule a regular backup. It’s a simple process that requires simply an external hard drive and approximately 30 minutes. Plug the external drive into your computer’s USB and follow the prompts that guide you through making it your default backup drive. Once the process is complete, your operating system will regularly and automatically back up your computer.

Third, sign up for a cloud storage service. Dropbox, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon offer cloud services with differing amounts of free and paid storage space. While the one you choose is mostly a matter of preference, these services ensure that your most important files are backed up and available no matter where you are.

Finally, keep physical copies of your most valuable documents. While digital storage has many advantages, there’s nothing like having a hard copy of a file that was lost or accidently deleted.

But no matter what solution you choose, you must always be proactive. Because although I got your back (up), you have to always watch your front.

Protecting Your Data: Basic Steps

As computer and internet usage rises, your data and technology profile continues to grow and define you, while privacy vulnerabilities continue to increase. From the information you share on the web to the data collected by all the companies with which you interact, there’s plenty of information available about you on the internet.

Since you’re leading more of your life on computers, smartphones and tablets, it’s critical to ensure that you’re taking the most basic steps to protect sensitive data.

First, take your data seriously by having multiple backup locations. In the unfortunate event that your computer crashes and you didn’t back up your files, that data is lost forever. As a safeguard, use an external hard-drive or cloud storage service to back up your most important information.

Second, just because you delete something doesn’t mean that it can’t be recovered. But there are file scrubbing applications that will permanently delete your recycled files. This is especially important if you’re removing sensitive personal information such as financial records that you may have accessed on a shared computer.

Third, be wary of the sites you visit, especially if you’re downloading third-party software. Some sites host legitimate third-party applications that they bundle with Trojans and other types of malware. Many anti-virus programs provide browser extensions which inform you about unsecure and dangerous websites. Use these tools as an internet roadmap so you’ll know which places to avoid.

This isn’t a comprehensive list by any means. But following at least a few of these steps is a good way to start protecting your data and regaining some control over your technology profile.

In This Life

Sometimes you observe a situation and realize that common knowledge isn’t all that common. Rather than heap scorn, this is actually a chance for you to speak up and share your “common sense” with others — leading to one of those magical “Oh, I didn’t realize” moments.

I recently had an encounter like this at my office. Faced with a rapidly approaching deadline, my colleague became increasingly frustrated because she couldn’t figure out how to quickly send multiple documents to a waiting client. Observing her growing angst, an opportunity presented itself.

Now if you’re unaware of how to do this, it could appear to be a daunting task. But, secure in my knowledge, I calmly maneuvered her mouse and, in a few click and drags, all 74 documents were attached to the email she was composing.

Her reaction was priceless. “Oh, I didn’t realize it was that easy!” The task done, peace ensued.

Although there are many things that may be common knowledge to you, you should always be ready and willing to assist others — your information can provide a timely solution to their problem.

Whether it’s mundane tasks or complicated procedures, don’t be afraid to share what you know. Speaking up can save a colleague, friend or stranger from misspent time and aggravation, and promote a smarter and more collaborative work environment.

Why You Must Protect Your Data

While you may think you already have enough safety measures in place to protect your data, the unfortunate reality is that cyber criminals have realized the lack of data security implementation within small businesses, and are therefore starting to target them more and more. While high-risk organizations will avoid this possibility by minimizing human risk, hackers are able to infiltrate less secured systems with a better percentage of success.

You may be wondering how hackers access your sensitive data. Although you may have effective firewall software, hackers still have several points of entry. All it takes is one malware application, such as an email attachment, to leave you exposed to other threats.

So how do you remain secure in an increasingly insecure internet environment?

First, you must take your data security seriously. Whether it’s a simple Word document, or a password protected .zip file, make sure you know exactly where your data is located. It’s also crucial that you NEVER share your passwords nor install software without approval from your IT Team. Lastly, when browsing the internet, avoid clicking on ads or any unfamiliar links.

You should also take additional precautions, such as changing your default password and strengthening your passwords by avoiding obvious phrases.

A few committed hackers can wreak havoc on poorly secured systems. You can prevent most problems by valuing your data and implementing these basic security protocols. Taking these types of measures can give you peace of mind, knowing that your systems are safer from attacks.