Online Security at Your New Job

Online Security at Your New Job

When you start a new job, there’s a lot to learn. You’re meeting new people and adapting to a whole new workplace culture. You’re probably training on new computer software and trying to quickly learn your duties and responsibilities. You want to prove your value to your new employer and make sure your position is secure. One important way to do so is by safeguarding their computer systems and data. Follow these rules to protect yourself and your employer from cyber-attacks.

Be Careful With Email

A large number of attacks businesses and individuals face come through email. Cyber-attackers are devious, savvy and high-tech. They want to trick you into releasing malware into your employer’s system, and they’re good at it.

  • Never click on links in emails – Whether the email comes from your bank, your utility company or the software service you use every day, go directly to their website and log in from there. If it’s really a notification from them, it will be on their website.

 

  • Don’t open attachments – Retailers and software companies don’t send information that way without first letting you know it’s coming. Even if it comes from your mother, if it looks suspicious, don’t open it.

 

  • Guard personal information – social engineering is a process attackers use to trick you into trusting them and providing passwords or other trusted information.

Other Practical Tips

Email is the main way employees let cyber attackers in, but there are other ways you could compromise online security. When you’re new, you may have separate login/password combinations for several programs. Don’t write them on a post-it note and stick it to your monitor. Create a Google doc that contains them or store them on your password protected phone.

If you’re setting your own login information, don’t use common words or phrases. Your co-workers know your birthday, your anniversary and your pet’s name. Use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. Make at least one of the letters a capital.

Watch website URLs when you visit. The URL is what you type in the web browser. Cyber criminals sometimes use a variation that is very close to the real thing. You may not notice if you’re clicking on www.bankofamrica.com because it’s so similar to the real thing.

Keep from compromising your employer’s security when you take devices home. Password protect your laptop or other mobile device so even if it’s lost or stolen, the data stays safe. If something happens, tell your employer immediately. It’s better to alert them of a potential security risk than to allow data to fall into the wrong hands.

Online Security at Your New Job

Regularly Update Security Features

It’s annoying when that message pops up that says your anti-virus or software needs an update, but get in the habit of doing it right away. Developers continually create security patches for software as attackers find new vulnerabilities to exploit.

Anti-virus software protects your computer by detecting and removing viruses before they can cause damage. If you don’t update, it’s like not getting a flu shot every year. You may have been protected last year, but this year there’s a new strain.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team provides ongoing updates about online security issues as they develop. See a list of security vulnerabilities by week on their site to stay in the loop.

Brelsford Personnel has 35 years of experience placing qualified candidates in jobs they love. Experience our fresh approach when you check out our job board today.

*Missy Ticer is a blogger and East Texas resident who found her dream job. Content is exclusively for use by Brelsford Personnel.

5 Tips for Protecting Your Business from Cyber Attack

How to Protect Your Business From Cyber Attack

Recently both KETK and KLTV reported on a Michigan audit that should concern employers everywhere. Auditors planned a covert cyber-attack to discover their vulnerability, and the results were stunning. They sent a fake phishing email to 5,000 employees and almost one third of them opened it. A fourth clicked on the link that, had it been real, could have downloaded malware. One fifth put in access or other personal information. No matter what the size of your business, cyber security should be a top priority.

One problem employers have is you can’t always control what your employees are doing online. Attempts were successful not because an insider had malicious intent, but because people just got in a hurry. Distribute these tips as a reminder for long-term employees and an onboarding tool for new hires.

Know Your Vulnerabilities

Here are the most common types of cyber threats:

  • Phishing – Cyber attackers send fake email to try and fool recipients into providing information. It may look like it came from Bank of America or Tyler Water Utilities. It may have the appropriate logo and the same font that business uses. Recipients click on the link provided and the site prompts them to enter their passwords, account numbers or other personal information.

 

  • Malware – This type of program looks like it came from a trusted source. It prompts users to install fake antivirus software or download an update and often instructs them to click past security warnings from their antivirus or browser. Viruses, Trojans and spyware are all forms of malware. Some lurk on your computer and record keystrokes; others hide in the background and store credit card numbers. Imagine the damage if malware goes undetected while it steals your clients’ financial information.

 

  • Ransomware – This is a type of malware that takes over your computer, network or server and denies access to your data until you have paid a fee. Cybercriminals charge Bitcoin to remove encryption, and the price can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. It’s typically delivered as part of a phishing scam or as an email attachment. The files can’t be encrypted without the key provided by the attacker, so if you don’t have a recent backup you either have to pay up or lose your data.

 

  • Botnets – It sounds like sci-fi, but Botnets are networks of infected computers under an attacker’s control. The infected computer functions normally, but works to corrupt as many devices as possible.

How to Protect Your Business From Cyber Attack

Communicate With Staff

This is perhaps the most important thing you can do to protect your data, but it requires an ongoing effort. Your employees are busy doing their jobs, so they aren’t always thinking about cyber-security. Train them not to open unexpected attachments, and then remind them regularly. Set a reminder on your calendar to have a cyber-security refresher course.

Viruses often arrive in email that looks like it was sent from family members, friends, co-workers and acquaintances. The email might have genuinely come from that person without their knowledge.

Avoid files with the extension .exe, but all extensions can hide a virus. Unless the attachment is expected, call or text the sender to see if it’s legitimate.

Test Their Knowledge

Find out which employees are paying attention and who needs additional training by sending your own phishing attack. Show employees what just one click can do and, if they continue to repeat their mistakes, implement repercussions. Test them once a month using one of these phishing simulators.

Safeguard Passwords

Remind employees to keep their passwords in a safe place. A post-it note on their monitor is not a safe place. Security is about control, and the only way to absolutely control who uses your computer is to be the only one who can log in.

Regularly Update Your Anti-Virus

Cyber-attackers continually develop more sophisticated technology. They make money at it, and they’re very intelligent. Regularly updating your anti-virus software makes it equipped to handle threats as they evolve.

Brelsford Personnel stays consistently up to date on the challenges faced by East Texas employers. When candidates work with us to find a job, we make resources available like our Employee Cyber Security Handbook. Contact us to find out more.

*Missy Ticer is a blogger and East Texas resident who found her dream job. Content is exclusively for use by Brelsford Personnel.

8 Characteristics Great Managers Look for in College Grads

8 Characteristics Great Managers Look for in College Grads

Michael Klazema

[Courtesy of Glassdoor.com]

Are college students ready for the challenges of the modern workplace? Many employers say no. A recent survey revealed that only about 50% of managers felt recent graduates were prepared for full-time work. By contrast, 87% of college grads felt they were ready to enter the workforce. These drastically different numbers show that there is a gulf between the expectations of employers and recent graduates. This discrepancy poses challenges for recent grads seeking jobs and for businesses that wish to hire young workers.
No matter which group you fall into, knowing the characteristics that successful managers look for from recent college graduates is beneficial. If you are a hiring manager, keeping an eye on these characteristics can help you identify the cream of the crop. If you are fresh out of college and trying to land your first job, boning up on these hard and soft skills can give you an advantage.

Here are eight characteristics that managers want to see from recent college graduates.

1. Strong writing skills

When PayScale surveyed nearly 64,000 managers for its 2016 survey, 44% of them said recent college graduates lacked proficiency in writing. No other hard skill was mentioned more often. While programming and other tech-related skills are often listed as the most valuable skills a person can have, writing is viewed as a more universal skill. Between emails, proposals, reports, project documents, and memos, even people in non-writing roles need to be able to write. College grads should add a few more writing classes to their schedules if they want to prepare for full-time work. Many managers look at cover letters more to assess writing skills than to learn additional details about a candidate.

2. Public speaking abilities

Written communication skills may be what managers are missing the most in recent college graduates, but verbal communication skills remain important. Just like writing manifests itself in many different fields, public speaking is essential for presentations, meetings with clients and customers, and other professional tasks. These responsibilities are not exclusive to any one industry, making them an important part of every recent grad’s repertoire.

3. Team mentality

Back in school, teachers would occasionally pair students with people they didn’t like much, or at least didn’t ordinarily work with. The justification was, “Someday, you aren’t going to get to choose your co-workers.” Our teachers were right. You don’t get to choose who you work with, and you need to be ready to collaborate with anyone. Most professionals learn this lesson after a few years in the workforce. Managers hiring recent grads are looking for the interpersonal skills and good attitude that indicate a team player. While every company’s culture is different, most are grounded in team values. Recent graduates should expect reference checks and interview questions about teamwork.

4. A high GPA

The further you get out of school, the less your college GPA matters. For recent graduates without a ton of work experience, though, the GPA may be a point of interest during the hiring process. According to USA Today College, 43% of companies have a formal GPA threshold for the people they hire. For most companies, the threshold is a 3.0 GPA. Occasionally, an employer might demand a 3.5. Either way, graduates should know that hiring managers are looking at their GPAs. Furthermore, many managers are using verification background checks to verify college degrees, attendance dates, and GPAs.

5. Relevant work experience

Businesses committed to hiring recent college graduates aren’t expecting to see candidates with ten years of experience. It’s because of the relative lack of work experience that employers pay attention to things like GPA for younger candidates. With that said, no hiring manager is going to ignore work experience altogether. When it comes to screening recent grads, companies are looking for part-time jobs, summer gigs, and relevant internship experience. These resume entries show initiative, commitment, and an ability to hold down a job—all things every manager wants to see in any hire.

6. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills

The PayScale survey identified writing as the hard skill that most managers found lacking in recent college grads. For soft skills, critical thinking and problem solving were the problem areas. 60% of managers surveyed said their younger hires lacked these skills. They want to know the people they are hiring know how to identify problems and challenges and solve them. An interview question to gauge this skill area might be something along the lines of, “Tell me about a time you faced a major challenge and how you overcame it.” Answers that indicate innovation, proactivity, or the resilience to rise above failure and adversity are what managers want to hear. No new college grad should go into an interview without a possible answer ready.

7. Attention to detail

Often, hiring managers have the impression that younger, greener professionals don’t have great attention to detail. This snap judgment is typically made in response to resumes, cover letters, and other communications that managers share with candidates in the lead-up to or immediately following an interview. According to the PayScale survey, 56% of managers said recent grads were lacking attention to detail, probably thanks largely to typos, misspellings, missing attachments, or poor grammar. Some of these issues can be chalked up to writing skills. But new graduates also need to be conscious of the fact that every move they make is being recorded and judged. Submitting a resume or cover letter with one or two typos might seem like a small thing, but it can lead to a bad first impression.

8. Leadership experience

“Recent college graduate with extensive leadership skills” may seem like an oxymoron. Someone who doesn’t have a lot of work experience probably hasn’t been promoted to a managerial or executive role. Still, first-time job searchers can prove leadership skills in other ways. Club president or team captain roles might seem superfluous in the professional realm, but they can add another dimension to a sparse resume.

It’s possible that hiring managers expect more from just-out-of-college applicants than they once did. It’s also possible that many graduates simply aren’t as prepared for jobs as they think they are. Either way, the eight characteristics listed above form a rubric for the ideal recent college grad applicant. Whether you are a hiring manager considering younger candidates or a recent graduate looking for your first job, use these characteristics as a roadmap to make your life easier.

Small Business Saturday

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Small Business Saturday

It’s ‘Clean Out Your Computer’ day. Here’s how to declutter your computer in 4 steps.

Save your sanity by keeping files straight from the start.

Chris Ambrose

[Courtesy of Monster.com]

It's Clean Out Your Computer day Here's how to declutter your computer in 4 steps

If you’ve ever seen the comedy “Zoolander,” you may remember the hysterical scene where the not-so-bright title character played by Ben Stiller is told to search for some hard drive files “in the computer.” Zoolander goes into a rage when he can’t open the computer and shatters it open instead.

You may have felt like doing the same thing with your own computer at a time when you couldn’t find an important file you knew you had but can’t locate. Today for Clean Out Your Computer Day, I’ve gathered some easy-to-use, expert tips for decluttering your computer files and getting them organized so you can stop computer rage before it starts.

1. Subdivide your folders

One of the most important steps you can take to organizing your computer’s files is creating subdivisions within folders. In her article, “Where Did I Save That Document?” productivity expert Laura Stack suggests using subdivision to help with organization.

“If every folder were labeled ‘My Documents,’ you wouldn’t find anything,” she notes. Instead, consider making more folders based on type of work or the date it was created. “Microsoft automatically sets up a folder titled ‘My Documents,’ where you can save your documents. If you save EVERYTHING under this directory, you will never be able to find what you need,” writes Stack. Make sure you take control of where your files and work go.

2. Remove old files

Do you have a file — whether it be a spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation — you use a couple times a week? You should probably keep those around on your Desktop, but almost everything else should go somewhere else.

N2 Publishing CTO Jim Hall advises people delete or move files off their desktop if they’re not in use. “Move files you don’t use often to an external hard drive or cloud storage (whatever you trust and are comfortable with). And don’t be afraid to delete files you won’t ever use again. Clear out your photos and store them on an external drive or cloud, too.”

3. Think about how you want to search

Before you save something new, remember to first ask yourself “how will I search for this in the future?” Take for instance, the example of searching for old insurance files from Stack’s article.

“You can’t remember, ‘Did I call that “automobile” insurance, or “car” insurance, or “Bronco” insurance?’ You would logically want to go to ONE place in your files to find all information related to insurance. So a simple solution is to put the noun first, such as ‘Insurance, Auto;’ ‘Insurance, Homeowners;’ ‘Insurance, Medical.’” By placing the noun first in the file name you reduce time spent searching and stressing.

4. Invent a file-naming system

Perhaps the best way to prevent all future mishaps is create a simple file-naming system that incorporates both a date and a useful description. Your files don’t have to be in a code that would make the pros at NASA proud, just use short, clear names for your files, advises Hall. “And be consistent with the style or format you use.”

Computers are powerful productivity machines, but like anything else, they must be organized from time to time to remain dependable and easy to use. Take these small steps and you can prevent plenty of headaches in the future.

Give your people C.R.A.P. if you want great employee retention

Jeff Kortes

[Courtesy of smartbrief.com]

Early in my career, I worked for an incredible general manager that taught me a lot of C.R.A.P. — caring, respect, appreciation and praise. He also taught me that giving people C.R.A.P. was at the heart of driving employee loyalty and retention.

He never told me it was about caring, respect, appreciation and praise. He just showed me and, as my mentor, I listened and applied the philosophy. As time went on, I added some other key elements to truly be able to solve employee retention problems in organizations that I worked in. The four elements of C.R.A.P. are simple. I said simple, not easy.

Here they are.

Caring.

People know if you care about them or not. They simply do. There is a vibe that is given off if you don’t care. I’m not so sure you can fake it but the good thing is that most leaders do care about their people. They are there for their people when they need them and stand by them when times are tough. They are available to listen and to talk to their people when their people need to talk.

When your people need you, they need you right away. If you put them off in their time of need, the likelihood they will come to you in the future drops off considerably. Make time for them so you can understand their problems and help to solve them. Your people will love you for it.

Respect.

Everyone wants it. Everyone deserves it, at least until they show that they are not worthy of that respect. Micromanaging people is one of the greatest signs of your respect for them. It sends the message you don’t trust them or their ability to get the job done. Micromanaging is one of the biggest reasons people quit their job. It is frustrating and, in your heart, you know your boss does not trust you if you are being micromanaged.

Another element of respect is wanting the best for your people. It means you are in it for them; not just you. The best bosses know that if their people grow that they might ultimately leave but they know that it is the right thing do and that their role is to help you succeed.

Give your people CRAP if you want great employee retention

Appreciation.

I have heard the statistic that 50% of the people in the workforce do not feel appreciated. That is a scary statistic. It’s not hard to thank people for the work they do and the results they deliver. Maybe we didn’t lead that way in the past. It is how we have to lead today and into the future.

However. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that things have changed. You can’t get the most out of your people if they never hear when they do things right. With the mantra of continuous improvement, we certainly hear when we need to do things better or have done things wrong. Without appreciation, people get beaten down and don’t want to come to work. A little appreciation goes a long way towards keeping people fired up and energized about what they do. How hard is to say “nice job” when someone gets you that report on time?

Praise. I like to call praise “positive affirmation on steroids.” Praise takes appreciation to the next level. Growing up, praise was not something I received and, frankly, it stunk not getting any! Unfortunately, we went the other way with the millennial generation and gushed praise every time they did anything right. Some of them became praise addicts. They got praised for simply showing up and finishing — even if it was in 12th place.

Praise

is designed for when people exceed expectations, not just do their jobs. When someone does a good job, they do need appreciation. When they exceed expectations, they need to hear that is was a big deal, they hit it out of the park and that they made a huge difference to the organization. Is that going to offend some of the average performers? Perhaps, it will but that’s just the way it is. We need people to realize that when they do great things, we will take note of those great things and make a big deal out of it.

This is simple stuff but it is not easy to do for some reason. It takes time and hard work on the part of a leader to give people C.R.A.P. But, if you do it, your people will be loyal, follow you anywhere and want to stay working for you. Giving your people C.R.A.P. will also give you a feeling of accomplishment and the impact on the organization will be something that goes beyond the bottom line. Remember, C.R.A.P. works!

Jeff Kortes is an employee-retention speaker, author and expert by accident. His early career spanned 25 years as an HR professional, trainer, and consultant. His no-nonsense approach is reflected in his C.R.A.P. Leadership System, which instills positive supervisory and managerial behavior while driving results in the organization. He shares expert advice on Twitter @JeffKortes and on his website.