Simple Steps to a Safer Business

Beware of cyber criminals

“The United States Federal Government has had 13 breaches and failures of its own cybersecurity just in the past six months.”1  2 This is not including the number of breaches that haven’t even been detected. Former FBI cybersecurity expert Shawn Henry said, “Most major companies – like 94 percent – don’t know they have been hacked until a long time afterward.”1 It’s safe to say that keeping a company protected from malware and cyber criminals has never been more important. Some companies might not think they have the financial resources to purchase a specialized software or service to protect their network, which means they definitely can’t afford a cybersecurity breach.

During an international conference held by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), which took place from October 25-26, 2012, Matt Hajda – Lead Information Security Analyst of the United States Automobile Association – stated, “The threat of malware is real, and criminals use malware to infiltrate organizations looking for any way to make money.” He added, “Tools are freely available on the Internet for anyone to create a malware website with little knowledge required.” He suggested taking these immediate actions if possible:

  • Block your monitor from proxy traffic
  • Block known malicious websites
  • Block dynamic DNS sites
  • Block non-categorized sites
  • Block specific country codes
  • Block traffic destined to a URL without a domain name

Ongoing education about cybersecurity problems is critical for every single person in your organization; not making this a top priority could result in a loss of jobs and potentially a bankrupt company.

During that same ISSA international conference Rafal Los – Chief Security Evangelist at Hewlett Packard – asked, “How prepared are we to stake our careers that we are doing enough?” Questions he thinks we should consistently ask include: what could break; where are the brittle systems; and how bad would it be if attacked?

         Providing additional malware and cyber criminal protection will become mandatory in the near future as the number of cybersecurity breaches continues to increase. When you decide it’s time to take a smart step in the right direction, you will

Lower risks significantly with specialized cybersecurity software

amp up your business’s security with specialized software and services. No, I’m not talking about Norton AntiVirus. You get what you pay for – every hacker has extensive experience with Symantec.

Cybersecurity software I strongly recommend includes ePArmor and eProtex. In addition to software, they provide security monitoring as an ongoing 24/7 service. They will also help you comply with your industry regulations and mitigate risks regarding network security monitoring, network forensics, malware, and many of the immediate actions noted above.

Stay ahead of the curve, and save yourself from the headache and troubles of a security breach. Invest in high-quality cybersecurity software and services; you’ll be happy you did when you see what happens to the businesses around you that did not.

Hardware Vs. Software

“There was a recent study done by the scientific advisory board to president Obama that compared hardware progress to software progress, cause some people get up and say, ‘Yeah, well Kurzweil is right: computers, and communications, and even genetic sequencing and other information technologies are progressing at an exponential manner, but software is stuck in the mud.’ And so they analyzed this issue and they looked at all of the major scientific and engineering problem areas, and they found software had made more progress than hardware.

There was progress 1,000:1 over the last 15 years in hardware in being able to solve their problem; 15,000:1 in software for a total (since you multiply them) of 15,000,000:1 – with a lot more progress from improvement in software algorithms than hardware.”

“The bottom line is we’re making exponential gains in hardware AND software.”

Ray Kurzweil

Fresh Optimism

Sometimes it’s difficult to remain optimistic when reading or watching the news. There are so many problems, wars, starving children, deaths, financial troubles on an individual to global scale, and the list goes on.

On a positive note, life surrounds us, new children are born every day, many people, although a small percentage at this time, have easy access to food and water, and multitudes of people are working to make this world a better place. For the many negative aspects of life on this planet, there are responding positive occurrences. For every problem, there is a person or organization working on a solution.

I’ve talked with people who are apathetic and depressed about life. “We’re just going to die anyway. We might as well not even do anything,” They say. I tell them that it’s better to have lived than to have never existed at all. We’re here, so let’s make the best of our lives and the lives of those around us.

Optimism gives us hope for a better future, which motivates us to take action. These actions are what provide this world with positive solutions. You’re much more likely to think of a fresh idea or positive solution if you’re optimistic and hopeful. Yet some negative people get so frustrated with the way things are going that they can’t help but take the necessary actions to make the positive changes they want to see. Even in such situations, these individuals had to possess some kind of hope that their actions would work. Many times, the chances of you being stuck and immobile have a correlation with a negative attitude and no hope.

Truth be told, being positive and optimistic 24/7 doesn’t really work. Life can be very difficult. A moment of frustration and negativity may even be how we recognize a problem in the first place. But developing a habit of hope and optimism for yourself and the world will increase the problems we collectively solve.

Success Isn’t Always Fun

Studying for a test may not be fun, but getting an A+ is both fun and rewarding for most of us. Experiencing success is nice, but the time and work that go into it beforehand can be difficult.

Many aspects of success can be boring. Then again, I’m not familiar with success in the business world on a large scale yet. But the small, rewarding successes I experience on a weekly basis are a direct result of prioritizing my actions and projects. Many of these actions are boring at first–going to bed early, waking up early, checking and sending emails all day, making cold calls, doing a great job at every job even if I’m tired or not feeling well, sacrificing time with family and friends, etc.

Yet the small and major successes you will experience will reinforce you to continue to take actions similar to those listed above. Even if they aren’t always fun in the moment, the rewarding results will make them so much fun and make you happy you stuck with the smartest actions for your important work priorities.

If you’re having trouble with your priorities, be sure to check out this lifehacker article about prioritizing—–>How to Prioritize When Everything Is Important.

Lifehacker_logo

(Photo credit: drewkasler)

Competition

Andrew Carnegie, American businessman and phil...

Andrew Carnegie, American businessman and philanthropist. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’re all too familiar with competition. Competition takes place just about everywhere, surrounding us every day. It takes place in school, at work, at home, when we’re playing recreational sports, and when we’re playing just about any other game. Most of all, it takes place when we’re competing for our survival.

“Darwin saw competition between individuals of a single species. He recognized that within a local population the individual with, for example, the sharper beak, the longer horn, or the brighter feather might have a better chance to survive and reproduce than other individuals.”

“And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.”
Andrew Carnegie

In business, worrying about the competition can often do more harm than good. If you’re just focusing on how to outperform the competition, you’re actually giving yourself limitations while also giving the competition the lead. It is so much better to be aware of what the businesses around you are doing while also thinking of your own exceptional solutions for your customers.

Keeping your business at a micro business level can also be beneficial. As a micro business owner with 1 – 10 employees, you can have a wide variety of work you perform, making it extremely hard for big business to have much of an impact on you.

Competition can actually be fun. If you develop smart business strategies and only operate on a small scale, you will be able to adapt or change course much faster and easier than the bigger businesses around you. The key is to constantly improve yourself and your business. When you’re competing with yourself, you’re always improving. If you’re strictly competing with another business, you’ll be satisfied as soon as you’re outperforming them. This will hold you back from improvements as long as you’re in the lead. That can add up to a lot of missed opportunities you would have noticed had you been competing with yourself.

Above all, don’t let your competition bother you too much, and enjoy the day-to-day operations of your business.

Rework

Luckily, I read Rework this weekend. I think I’ll read it again and maybe another time. It’s that good. Rework is an excellent book for employees, students, teachers, and small business owners.

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier have a fresh, practical approach to the business world.

Abundance

Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler needs to be a must read in every school and workplace.

The Future Is Better Than You Think

To borrow the summary from the book, it is about how “progress in artificial intelligence, robotics, infinite computing, ubiquitous broadband networks, digital manufacturing, nanomaterials, synthetic biology, and many other exponentially growing technologies will enable us to make greater gains in the next two decades than we have in the previous 200 years.”

The progress taking place from 2032-2042 will outperform the gains we have achieved from 2012-2032. We’re already seeing a similar pattern. As Jeffrey Rayport points out, “The average smart phone is as powerful as a high-end Mac or PC of less than a decade ago.” Having a basic understanding of exponential growth also helps when analyzing these changes.

These technologies are going to grow at incredible speeds because they are subject to Moore’s law, and the community behind them simply makes things happen. As improvements are made with these technologies, the prices of them will drop significantly, making them accessible to the most impoverished parts of the world. Though many people refer to the most impoverished people in the world as the ‘Bottom Billion’, Diamandis and Kotler choose to refer to them as the ‘Rising Billion.’ With access to inexpensive, advanced technology, it’s far easier for the Rising Billion to make global changes. And it will only become easier in the future.

We are surrounded by bad news. Bad news sells, and as a result, some of us often believe there isn’t hope in the world. Diamandis and Kotler believe this is our greatest challenge to achieving abundance stating, “The inability of people to see the positive trends through the sea of bad news–that may be the biggest stumbling block on the road toward abundance.”

But more positive stories could be published than bad stories. It’s not breaking news when good things are happening in the world because they are ordinary. This is a good thing. If it was breaking news every time a plane landed safely, we would be in trouble. If you enjoy good news, though, visit Huffpost Good News.

With these exponential technologies, an abundant future for earth is very likely. Like Diamandis and Kotler state, “When seen through the lens of technology, few resources are truly scarce; they’re mainly inaccessible.” Soon we will have access to technology that provides everyone on this planet with abundant solutions.

Many people will be resistant to these changes, which isn’t unusual. “People will resist breakthrough ideas until the moment they’re accepted as the new norm.”

Ray Kurzweil

Ray Kurzweil is one the most important visionaries to study. Though some of his predictions may seem outlandish, he has an established track record of success. Truth is, I could constantly go on about him.

It’s important to study futurists in business even if their predictions aren’t accurate. Consistently thinking about future inventions and possibilities trains you to anticipate and accept change, therefore making it easier to adapt in the business world when inevitable changes occur.

Do yourself a favor and visit some of Kurzweil’s sites to learn more.

Kurzweilai.net, Transcendant Man, Bigthink.com/raykurzweil, Singularity.com,

Spend Time With People Older Than Yourself

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Spending time with people older than yourself is vital if you are to succeed. If you are going to spend a significant amount of time with them, it’s important to be discerning, just like I hope you are with anyone else you choose to be around.

That’s why I choose to spend time with a dear 80 year old friend of mine (pictured above) multiple times a week. I have received a lifetime of important lessons from him. I apply many of these lessons on a weekly basis, and others as needed. Fortunately, he is patient. He has been a small business owner, and he understands what it takes to succeed. With his help, I have been able to help a significant amount of customers and stay profitable all year. I have been very lucky to meet and become friends with such a smart, kind man. He really puts things into perspective and is honest and helpful with his critiques. He also recognizes when I’m doing something well. Too many people focus on what’s wrong and forget to acknowledge progress.

Many times you can learn more from someone with experience than you can by sitting around reading books all day. Reading is extremely important, but don’t let it stop you from meeting and spending time with great, knowledgeable individuals.

So go out and spend time with your grandparents if they are still around. Listen to their crazy stories if they have any. Above all, listen closely to those who are older and wiser than yourself. It will change your life for the better.