The Hottest New Self-Awareness Craze That You Need To Try

Sure, yoga teaches the flexibility that is key to adapting to your surroundings. But in practicing daily self-awareness, the saying “A team is only as good as its weakest player” is rarely truer than in the world of cybersecurity. How does your team stack up?

Cyber Attacks

Target knows. Sony knows. Ashley Madison definitely knows. That’s the bad thing – an organization may only realize how strong — or weak — their cybersecurity position is once there is a successful cyberattack. The nature of the attack doesn’t matter, nor does the overall effect. The damage is done, and the organization goes into clean-up mode. In the days immediately following, the phrase heard most is “How did this happen” when the real question should be “How can we prevent this from happening again”?

Subtlety isn’t the goal of a hacker, nor is it their strongest attribute. The modus operandi of any hacker is singular: find a cybersecurity vulnerability and exploit to their advantage. The rest doesn’t matter. You likely disagree, but we think you’ll realize this is exactly the case. After all, we want to help you beef up your security and prevent a vulnerability rather than shift into defensive mode upon clean-up from an attack. The latter is going to shift your focus for up to a year of reactivity, while a little extra focus now will prolong your proactive position. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially in this type of situation.

At the most basic level, your organization’s cybersecurity is based on your team’s awareness level – which can easily be assessed and addressed in training. Data breaches caused by hackers are one thing, but the simplest way for a hacker to gain access is by finding a weak link – a human operator – and using sneaky tricks to exploit weakness from that angle. A hacker can use pretty low-tech approaches in this way, like phishing.

Does your cybersecurity awareness training still include exercises and tips on old-fashioned tricks like phishing? It’s amazing the simple tactics some of these hackers will resort to – but the reason is that these tricks still work on us. A 2017 study by Google reported that phishing was still one of the most effective tactics used for hacking a user account.

  • Phishing is the practice of sending emails pretending to be from a reputable company, like Google or Apple, to get recipients to reveal personal information like passwords to the sender.

Perhaps it’s because we don’t see ourselves as targets anymore, thinking hackers only target the “big fish” for the bigger reward – a unique tactic called “whaling” – but the reality is that everyone is a target There are no exceptions. Any computer user can be an access point for a cyberattacker because any computer can serve a greater purpose for a cybercriminal.

  • Why does phishing still work? Because we let it. We start to shift our focus to the newer or more sophisticated methods hackers use, and we don’t maintain vigilance on the basic approaches in cybersecurity awareness training.

One click is sometimes all it takes to turn a user into a victim – and for a hacker to wreak havoc on a network. One click can lead to a malware installation, identity theft, or worse, ransomware. That click could cost an organization into the millions of dollars.

  • Ransomware is like a virus, where a hacker accesses a computer or network and places a file or code that blocks user access, and requires the user to pay money – a ransom – to the cyberattacker to regain access to the computer or network.

Remember when we said all it takes is one click? It’s true. In 2017, hackers sent emails to staff at Chipotle and managed to trick someone into one click, compromising the point-of-sale (POS) machines at locations that enabled the hackers to gain access to the credit card data of millions of customers. The worst part is that even end users who are in the tech industry have been tricked; Google and Facebook have both been affected to the tune of $100 million each because of successful phishing attempts.

  • Did you know that some companies hire former (“rehabilitated”) cybercriminals as cybersecurity specialists – true experts – to help mold technology teams in charge of cybersecurity and oversee cybersecurity awareness training programs? These are probably among the most solid and effective programs in existence!

One way organizations have used to test the awareness of their team is by executing an internal phishing campaign. This is a campaign where the company has total control of the phishing attempt but tests the staff to see where the weaknesses are. The results only help improve overall training and cybersecurity.

This approach is wildly successful in getting an accurate picture of your team’s awareness. Who fails the test? How far will some employees allow a hacker to get before realizing they are being phished? Where does your training lack focus that the attempt was successful?

A few things to keep in mind with this approach:

  • While internal phishing campaigns are helpful, don’t shift your training focus to only weaknesses discovered in this process.
  • Be careful not to call out any one particular team member or access point; the goal isn’t to embarrass team members but to improve your team’s awareness overall.
  • Don’t aim for only those team members you consider to be the weakest when it comes to cybersecurity knowledge; you’d be surprised at where an organization may discover vulnerabilities
    • On this note, it’s helpful to provide one-on-one level training catering to these team members, but you can still do so as a company by offering exercises aimed at specific weaknesses without placing blame.
  • Keep the phishing exercise as realistic as possible, so the teachable moments that result are valid and credible

When your exercises and training give you enough insight to update your training, keep the training outline simple with a few target areas that are comprehensive enough to be thorough but straightforward enough to be digestible:

  • Form a baseline for where your team is currently, regarding cybersecurity awareness.
  • Devise goals for where your team should be, and target dates to achieve these goals.
  • Outline a plan to meet these deadlines.
  • Develop a maintenance process for ongoing support.

Organizations can also take steps to protect themselves internally, too. Limit access to all computer equipment to authorized personnel only, install up-to-date antivirus software at each workstation and update all programs on a regular basis – especially security updates. Having a contingency plan in place for any vulnerabilities might seem like overkill, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Self-awareness is just the first step in achieving the ultimate level of cybersecurity protection – don’t wait until an attack happens before you start defending yourself and your organization!

This CEO Has The Coolest Tech Toys – Take a Look!

It happens to all of us at some point – you’re sitting by someone who whips out this über cool gadget, and you can’t take your eyes off of it. You have to know what it does… and where you can buy one! Read on for eye candy just like this.

CEO Tech Toys

We’ve all been there: Gadget Envy. We want the smartest phone, the thinnest tablet, the fastest Internet speeds, the strongest network connection, the battery that never dies – the list goes on. Part of this is due to our busy lifestyles, and part of this is from our never-ending quest to get more done in less time. The best gadgets combine advanced technological features with enhanced productivity.

The options are endless, but we’ve narrowed our list down to 5 categories with the top tech that today’s savvy CEO will have – along with the envy of everyone nearby!

Sound

We know you get perturbed with the pathetic volume coming from your laptop speakers. Amplification is impossible in atmospheres where white noise is loud, like airports, and while the settings on newer laptops and tablets are growing in sophistication, they still lack in sound quality. Here are a couple of solutions to help.

  • The ICE Harmony Floating Bluetooth Speaker packs powerful sound in a colossally cool package. The spinning speaker floats above the base with concealed (read, secret) magnets to maintain the floating position. The design results in a 3D sound effect and can be used separately from its base giving the user portable and potent sound, connecting to smartphones or tablets via Bluetooth.
  • Simple-to-use Startech USB Stereo Audio Adapter helps your laptop with the addition of SPDIF digital output. Designed for Windows-based machines (sorry, Mac lovers), functions as though users add a 5.1 sound card, and is quite compact but also has a set of two headphone jacks.

Secure Storage

So, you need to bring files along for the ride, but live in fear of losing your thumb drive? We have a couple of cool ideas for you.

  • The Aegis Secure Key 3Z is a super-tough USB storage device made from sturdy metal and uses top-of-the-line technology for encryption plus a physical keypad for which the user can set a custom PIN for secure entry.
  • PIN-protected storage is a popular choice these days. DiskAshur Pro is another option to secure up to 500GB of data with a customizable PIN, between seven and 15 characters.
  • Aegis makes this list with not one, but two options, with its Apricorn Secure Key USB 3.0 480GB Flash Drive. Using a 10-key alphanumeric keypad with a dust-proof and waterproof enclosure, this storage solution means business. This one is on the list has received accolades from NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a U.S.-based entity that oversees government IT security.

Power

The perennial power problem: your power capability does not match your mobile lifestyle or needs. In other words, your battery dies faster than the mother in a Disney movie and you need a backup solution.

Have you checked out the Orico SC28 Mobile Power Bank? With promises to power you all day, this one is designed for laptops instead of smartphones – for which power banks are everywhere. Recharging via USB or the old standby (wall plug-in), up to three devices at once can benefit from this baby.

  • The Jackery Titan S is a stylish portable battery charger whose claim to fame is its flexibility: it is also friendly to the MacBook.
  • The feature-filled Sandberg Laptop Powerbank charges quickly, supports (and automatically detects) multiple voltages, and comes with a dozen charge tips.

Mobile Hotspots

Our addiction to data is endless, and with the growing number of wireless providers offering unlimited data, we find ourselves using our smartphones as hotspots. Our ultimate battle is the need to connect versus the need to preserve smartphone battery life. Enter the mobile hotspot device!

  • The KnowRoaming Global Hotspot aims to provide seamless and simplified global connection in more than 140 countries, with unlimited data in more than 90, but only to corporate accounts at this time. The daily flat fee service is especially a bonus for those who travel to countries like Japan where connectivity is just ridiculously expensive for foreign travelers. About the size of a matchbox, the device battery lasts for up to 20 hours and supports 3G although LTE is pending.
  • Boasting speed and simplicity, the TP-Link M7650 Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot claims to be the fastest Wi-Fi router ever made, capable of streaming video to a user’s laptop or tablet and can support up to 32 devices at once – enough for an entire small office.

Just Cool Stuff

Here’s where things get really awesome! These items didn’t fit into any of the categories above, but couldn’t be left off this list. Just trust us and read on.

  • A notebook that you put in the microwave to erase everything you wrote (or doodled)? Yep! Well, using a Pilot FriXion pen, but still the Rocketbook Wave is a pretty incredible gadget. Not only can the microwave erase all your writing when you’re ready to start fresh, but you mark an icon to represent where you want your notes sent, and everything you write is then stored in your account on Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Slack, iMessage, email, and so much more. Using your smartphone and the Rocketbook mobile app, you scan your notes and voila! The Rocketbook Everlast erases with a dampened cloth instead and can be reused in the same way.
  • Moleskine, the cult favorite notebook maker, brings you the Smart Writing Set. This set includes the smart Pen+ tool that sends your writing to the Bluetooth-connected phone or tablet to display using the Moleskine Notes app, and your notes are editable within the app (highlights, scribbles, etc.).
  • Want to wow your crowd in a presentation? Logitech makes a Spotlight Presentation Remote that looks super cool when in use, including the ability to magnify and highlight selections on-screen, with Bluetooth connectivity. There is also a cool built-in timer that shows (only you) how long you’ve been talking and can give a subtle vibration at a pre-set timed interval.
  • Try the Gyration Air Mouse Voice with your presentation, which can act as a standard wireless mouse but also has built-in microphones to work with voice recognition as you get through slides. Voice commands can zoom, open web browsers, etc., with the push of a button.

This is just the tip of the tech iceberg; we know – but we’re pretty sure you’ll be as fascinated with the items on this list as we are. One thing we know for certain? You can’t wait to try them out and be the envy of someone else!

Will The (Cloud) Storage Wars Draw Blood?

Modern professional relationships require digital processes, like email, collaborative software, and file sharing. The cloud has opened up incredible possibilities beyond imagination a mere decade ago, but which is the right choice?

Cloud Storage

The competition is seriously fierce in cloud storage. The Internet of Things has fueled a data addiction for which traditional storage can’t physically support. We love our devices – I mean, we are straight-up addicted to our smartphones, our iPads, our Kindle Fire tablets, all of them. And there’s a reason we back up our smartphone content: we’d be absolutely lost if we lost it. Our contacts, our notes, our apps, our calendars, and everything we depend on for day-to-day use is on that tiny computer. Where do you back up your data? It’s probably safe to assume there is a cloud location you connect to that saves your backed-up data. It’s safe to assume because we would overwhelm traditional storage options.

Traditional storage hasn’t been able to meet expectations and needs for performance, availability, management, or the cost impact in comparison to growing demand. Everyone has an opinion on who their favorite cloud storage solution is, and it’s usually one of the Big Three players in the cloud game: Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive – and not in that order.

Technically speaking, the first cloud storage solutions launched well before today’s modern providers. Consumers had access in the early 1980’s through CompuServe, and AT&T launched a platform in the 1990’s to support small business solutions. Amazon Web Services introduced AWS S3, their cloud storage offering, in 2006 and functions as the storage provider for Dropbox, Pinterest, and many other large digital enterprises. The only thing that has changed is file size, file type – but mainly adoption.

Cloud storage is increasing in adoption for every professional environment – and is the only solution for distributed workforces! Managing resources for storage needs to be agile, and limited solutions also limit agility. The cloud is merely an accessible extension of your data storage center. Review your full data storage needs, and consider the advantages the cloud offers your business and daily operations.

When reviewing your cloud storage priorities, there are many issues that deserve a deeper consideration. Here is the “Top Ten” List we suggest using as a checklist, and in no particular order:

  • Cost
    • The financial impact of cloud storage is usually the first factor any business considers, but we disagree with this position. While your bottom line is critical to your overall operational budget, there is a multitude of factors that could have a greater impact on your day-to-day needs.
    • It’s surprising just how many decision-makers are surprised – and unprepared for – the expenses required to utilize cloud providers.
  • Sync Simplicity
    • If storing or backing up your data to a cloud solution is cumbersome, the likelihood of full adoption by your staff – and your clients, if applicable – will be a struggle, and result in decreased productivity and decreased reliability. You don’t have time for that!
  • Sync Speed
    • Just as with simplicity, speed is a factor with the ability to sync data quickly. As with any downtime, no one can afford reduced productivity due to Internet connection issues, and it’s an even larger issue if it’s due to your cloud storage provider.
  • Location
    • As they say in real estate, “Location, location, location”! Anyone who thinks it doesn’t matter where your data is stored physically is wrong. Wrong! Though there are too many reasons this matters to list, here are just a few:
    • Data stored in the U.S. is both protected by and susceptible to U.S. laws, like the Patriot Act and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Data stored in – or containing the information of – European Union nations are subject to protection by legislation passed by European Parliament enacting strict consumer data protection rules.
    • Facilities that physically house servers for cloud storage providers are just as open to impacts of weather and natural disasters as any other structure in that locale – and accessing your data will be subject to these conditions.
    • Is the physical security of the location a concern under any other circumstances?
  • Reliability and Access
    • Is the vendor reliable? The key players in the cloud storage game tend to be the best for valid reasons, but appropriate considerations, in this case, would be hardware failures, power disruptions, or even vendor disputes. Crazier things have happened.
  • Storage Capacity
    • How much data do you anticipate storing in the cloud? This is like trying to choose your favorite song. The answer changes on a regular basis, and most of the time there is no one singular answer. Obviously, you’ll want to choose a provider that is capable of offering you more storage than you think you’ll ever need, but you also don’t want to pay for storage you’re not using nor will you ever. It’s a delicate balance, and many providers allow for variable usage.
  • File Sharing
    • How many times have you attached a document to an email message, and tried to send it only to get the dreaded error message “File exceeds the maximum size of 25MB. Try removing an attachment and send again”? You are then faced with trying to reduce the file size (Word document into a PDF, etc.) or uploading the file into a cloud solution like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneNote, and sharing the access URL instead.
  • Application Integrations
    • The number one request made by anyone accessing cloud storage and utilizing an application is to offer an intuitive user experience. Statistics show half of all users that abandon a cloud app do so due to integration issues, citing missed deadlines.
  • Support
    • If any issues arise, it’s critical that users achieve the needed help immediately from an adequately trained member of support team equipped with the right knowledge to resolve the situation.
  • Data Security
    • The cloud and data stored in cloud environments face risks, just like any other professional endeavor. A cloud storage provider that can guarantee against cybersecurity vulnerability and takes the greatest care in safeguarding your data is an excellent vendor and partner.

We’ve talked about what you need – now let’s talk about who can help you. Here is a fantastic detailed resource when comparing many of the cloud vendors at once, but let’s talk about the Big Three. The key players in the Cloud Storage Wars are Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneNote – and any one of these providers would valiantly battle to the bloody end for your business! There is a reason that these three are the best in the biz: they’ve earned their reputation with quality service, support, and every other item in the checklist.

  • Dropbox
    • Offers a free basic storage plan (2GB)
    • Paid plans and features cater to business customers
  • Google Drive
    • Offers a free basic storage plan: clarification, Google users have 15GB of free cloud storage – shared between Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Drive. If you get a ton of emails and don’t clean out your inbox often, that eats up your 15GB
    • Paid plans and features cater to business customers
  • OneNote
    • Offers a free basic storage plan (5GB)
    • Paid plans and features cater to business customers: Here is where it truly pays to use OneNote and be an Office 365 customer, as the paid plans are included with Office 365 subscriptions, either Personal or Home.

The ability to sync, share files and speed are all a focus of these teams, and the competition is pretty ruthless. In fact, Dropbox and Microsoft have formed a partnership to allow easier integration by making Office Online available to Dropbox users at no cost. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!

So, which provider is right for you? Only you can make that decision. Armed with this information and reviewing our checklist will hopefully help you make the right choice!