Ways that Technology Can Ruin Our Business

Reblogger Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, ePRO, CRS, RCS-D
Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

Some great shared info here from Jeff Dowler be sure to pop-by his site to comment on his original post, thanks for sharing the knowledge Jeff!

Original content by Jeff Dowler, CRS CalBRE License #01490977

Ways that Technology Can Ruin Our Business


I am far from a data security expert. I know it and admit it willingly. But in this day and age I think we have to keep up with the issues that affect our online security and that of our computers, and potentially our businesses. No doubt you have seen some of the posts from Robert Siciliano  who often shares information we need to know about identity theft and online security and related matters. If you haven’t I recommend you follow him. Here’s his latest post on Social Engineering Scams.


Anyhow, on to what I learned yesterday!


CRS logoCRS offers some excellent education through a series of webinars, some free for members, some not, but the one I listened to yesterday, “Top 10 Ways Technology can Ruin Your Business” (with Alex Camelio, Craig Grant, and Juanita McDowell) offered some great tips and I thought I would share just a few of them.


They will be presenting at CRS Sellabration on February 9 in Phoenix for those CRS members who are going.


We all know viruses and malware can really ruin your day, and your computers functioning.  But did you know there are about 90,000 NEW viruses and malware every day? Imagine keeping up with that! Check out www.Map.norsecorp.com to see where viruses are coming from and who they are targeting – the US is far above and beyond the more targeted country. Scary stuff.


Indeed hacking today is like organized crime – they have a pretty sophisticated system and network of people working to find ways to hack into business and private computers and make money…the big companies have suffered (e.g., target, Chase, TJMaxx, The New York Times) but the most lucrative are small business and private individuals – about 30,000 hacks PER DAY!


Having some anti-virus and malware software is essential. They mentioned AVG, AVAST, Kaspersky and Avira as being the best. And when asked, Malwarebytes was a 5th.


Hacking is big businessPasswords may be the #1 flaw and the way in which hackers can readily gain access to our data and the sites we are on. Seems that lots of people are not very imaginative when it comes to creating passwords – using their names, home addresses, the word “password”, and the same password for multiple sites. The other system people use that is flawed and easy to hack is replacing letters with numbers, say S133P for SLeeP.


And with all the sites many of us have, how do you keep track of all these passwords?


There are a number of sites called password vaults (e.g., LastPass) that can store all your passwords. Sounds like a great idea, and many people use these…you may be doing so yourself. The downside is that hackers know what these systems are and what they do, and these sites themselves have all been hacked.


The speakers shared an interesting system for creating a UNIQUE PASSWORD for every single site, something they strongly recommend. Curious?


The strategy is to create a base password that is the same for all sites, a random combination of small and capital letters, numbers and symbols (e.g., 3Pr#%C-), PLUS something psychological that is meaningful only to you about the site, something you can remember about the website. So let’s say for Facebook you might use “zuck,” or “MyGooGlE” for gmail.


Another tip which is something we hear about all the time, but perhaps aren’t as careful about as we should be is our online presence, especially on social media. There is a wealth of information hackers can learn about people on Facebook and other sites, and the transparent nature of social media makes this a huge issue. Check your privacy settings. But even so, if you are there in any way, shape or form, there is always a risk.


We have an obligation to our clients to preserve the confidentiality of their data, in our emails, and our data storage. Check out Standard of Practice 1-9 of the Code of Ethics. It was recommended that we use cloud storage, such as Carbonite, to maintain security. It’s far better than using an external hard drive that is stored in the same place, in most cases, as your laptop.


Do NOT violate copyrightConcerns about copyright issues and plagiarism are nothing new – indeed we read posts on AR all the time about this, including this recent one by Debe Maxwell, "If You Don't Take Great Photos, BUY THEM!"


Copyright violations can be very costly, perhaps thousands of dollars, and could hurt you financially and/or damage your reputation. So produce it yourself, or get permission in writing, and use sites that allow royalty-free photos such as Pixabay.


And read the small print – that photo you found for free can perhaps only be used for 2 years! And if you edit one of these photos, say by adding a tagline to it, you may have violated the copyright and terms of use


There was lots more learning but these were the things that grabbed my attention the most.


Any tips you have picked up along the way or experiences you want to share?


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