True story – I recently had a young lady tell me that her husband was quite the “do-it-yourselfer” when it came to car repairs.  Now, to be clear, I’m not opposed to the DIY mentality, but I would argue that it has its time and place.  In this case, the young man, who has nearly completed medical school and is applying for residencies, decided to take it upon himself to change the shocks and check the breaks on the family car.  To make a longer story short, in the process of removing one of the shocks, he accidentally sheared off one of the bolts that holds the shock in place.  Now this presents a dilemma!  To find out how this story turned out and why it matters, check out my blog post for this month.

Cybercriminals Confess:
The Top 4 Tricks And Sneaky Schemes They Use To Hack Your Computer Network

Most cybercriminals love their jobs. They get to put their hacking skills to the test. In fact, many of them “compete” against one another to see who can hack into a network the fastest or who can steal the most data. They don’t care who gets hurt along the way. And in most cases, it’s small-business owners who are getting hurt.

Cybercriminals will do anything to get what they want. Some want to create chaos. Some want to steal data. And others want to get straight to the money. These are the people who will hold your data hostage until you pay up. They install ransomware on your computers, and if you don’t pay, they threaten to delete your data. This is one of the many reasons why backing up ALL of your data is so important!

So, how do the bad guys get your data? How do they work their way into your network and find exactly what they’re looking for? Well, it’s much easier than you might think.

They count on you to have no security. This is why cybercriminals go after small businesses. They know most small-business owners don’t invest in security or invest very little. Even if the business does have security, it’s generally easy for a hacker to break through.

Then, all the hacker has to do is steal or destroy data, install malware on the computers and then wait. Because there are so many small businesses around the world, it’s just a numbers game for cybercriminals. When you attack every business, you are guaranteed to eventually succeed in the attack.

They let your employees do the work for them. Most cybercriminals aren’t going to “hack” into your network or computer. They’ll let your employees do it for them. All the cybercriminal needs to do is get hold of your company’s e-mail list and then e-mail your employees.

This phishing e-mail may include a link or an attached file. The e-mail may be disguised as a message from a bank or retailer – or another source your employees are familiar with. The problem is that it’s all fake. The cybercriminal wants your employees to click the link or open the file, which will likely install malware on their computer. Once the malware is there, the cybercriminal may gain access to your network and be able to steal critical data.

They exploit outdated hardware and software. If you haven’t updated your equipment in years, you leave it open to attack. This is a huge problem in the health care industry right now. Many hospital-based computers are still running Windows XP. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in 2014, which means the operating system isn’t getting any security patches, leaving users vulnerable.

Hackers spend a lot of time looking for vulnerabilities in different types of hardware and software. When they find them, it opens up the general public to those vulnerabilities. In many cases, hardware and software developers work to fix these vulnerabilities and get updates out to users. But these updates only work if YOU update your equipment. If your equipment is no longer supported by the developers or manufacturers, that’s a good indication that it’s time to update. While the upfront cost can be high, it doesn’t compare to the cost you’ll face if hackers get into your network.

They try every password. Many cybercriminals use password-cracking software to get past your password defenses. The weaker your password, the easier it is to break. In fact, hackers can often break simple passwords in a matter of seconds. This is why it’s so important to have strong passwords. Not only that, but all your passwords MUST be changed every three months.

Here’s why you need to constantly update your passwords: cybercriminals aren’t just going after you. They’re going after everybody, including the services you use as a business. If those businesses get hacked, criminals can gain access to countless passwords, including yours. Hackers then can either attempt to use your passwords or sell them for profit. Either way, if you never change your password, you make yourself a target.

Use these four points to your advantage! It is possible to protect yourself and your business from the bad guys. Do everything you can to implement stronger overall security. Prioritize stronger passwords. Keep your equipment updated. And most of all, educate your team about cyberthreats to your business!

Free Report: What Every Business Owner Must Know About Having an Honest, Competent, Responsive and Fairly Priced Computer Consultant

Don’t trust your company’s critical data and operations to just anyone! This business advisory guide will arm you with 21 revealing questions you should ask any computer consultant before giving them access to your company’s network. Choosing the wrong computer consultant to support your network can be incredibly frustrating and expensive, and could end up costing you in downtime, data loss and expensive repair bills, not to mention the headaches and frustrations.

Download your FREE copy by filling out the
form on the right
or call our office at (434) 333-6200.

2 Clues A Leader Is About To Fall

Success may leave clues, but clues often precede failure.

I’ve been closely following the moral collapse of two different leaders over the past several months. I was struck by how similar the themes are despite the differences in personalities and circumstances.

The situations are tragic for everyone involved, but especially those who trusted these leaders. Those who believed in and supported these leaders are naturally experiencing anger, betrayal and disappointment. The fallout has been ugly, and there is no joy in tracking these moral failures.

There are, however, lessons that can help both leaders and those they lead. Two things strike me:

Both leaders were known for having unusual perks and privileges. These weren’t the kind of benefits that increased their impact or effectiveness, but that signaled their power and increased their personal comfort. And it seems that these entitlements raised the eyebrows of many around them, all whom – apparently – never challenged them. As time went on, in at least once instance, these little things led to outright misuse of funds. What started small became a huge problem.

More concerning, the behavior of both was often abrasive or even abusive of those around them. Rage, yelling, name-calling and shaming are examples. I’ve always wondered why behavior that wouldn’t be tolerated by an employee or middle manager is accepted from a powerful leader. The easy answer is that people fear for their jobs and well-being. Ironically, that makes the offending leader think that their behavior isn’t that bad. After all, nobody complains, right?

The success or effectiveness of any leader is not a license to privilege or bad behavior. Treating people badly is a major shortcoming of any leader, regardless of skill or success. If it would be unacceptable from someone else in the organization, it should be unacceptable from those in power.

Personal privilege is telling. Although a leader can – because of their schedule, demands and responsibilities – sometimes need resources that others in the organization wouldn’t, we should still beware when the infrequent becomes the frequent and then the norm.

While we are often disappointed when a leader fails, we are rarely surprised. In retrospect, there were usually clues. It takes courage for the leader to recognize and change when they are guilty of these things, and it takes even more courage for a friend or colleague of the leader to challenge them to do so.

Mark Sanborn, CSP, CPAE, is the president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an “idea studio” that seeks to motivate and develop leaders in and outside of business. He’s the best-selling author of books like Fred Factor and The Potential Principle and a noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and company change. He holds the Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association and is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. Check out any of his excellent books, his video series, “Team Building: How to Motivate and Manage People,” or his website,, to learn more.

3 Ways Your Smartphone Helps You Become Mentally Strong

Sometimes smartphones are a distraction, and other times, they’re an amazing on-the-go productivity tool. To get even more out of your smartphone — and to become mentally stronger — try these three things:

Download apps or take online courses to stimulate your brain. There are numerous apps that can benefit your brain. Take Calm, for instance. This app helps you meditate and relax and find your center.

Be smart with social media. A lot of people are focused on building friend lists or mindlessly scrolling through

updates. For better mental health, avoid this. Instead, connect with people you genuinely want to connect with — whether it’s people in your field or people who inspire you.

Keep it positive. When you’re online, keep things positive. Only follow people on social media who contribute positively to your life and the world. Studies show that when we surround ourselves with positivity, we feel much better about ourselves. Inc., 9/16/2019

7 Google Search Shortcuts To Save You Time And Make You More Productive

  1. Search for specific phrases within quotation marks (“”). This way, Google will only return results with your exact phrase in them.
  2. Remove certain terms or phrases with a dash/minus (-). This will remove these words from your search.
  3. Add a tilde (~) to your keyword to include the keyword AND synonyms of that keyword.
  4. Add “site:” followed by a website and keyword to your search to search that keyword only within a specific website.
  5. Find out who is linking to any given website with “link:” This is great when you’re doing additional research or looking to improve your search engine optimization (SEO).
  6. Search within a specific time frame with two periods (..). This can help you narrow down search results to the most timely.
  7. Use “related:” to search for terms or websites that are similar to the one you’re already searching for.

Small Business Trends, 5/17/2019


No AI Just Yet – There’s a lot of talk that artificial intelligence is going to take over customer service. While AI support exists, it still cannot match the power of human interaction.

Personalized Customer Service – Coming off that first trend, people don’t want to be treated as numbers. Businesses that offer personalized service will find more success.

User Reviews Are More Important Than Ever – This is the first thing people look at before making a buying decision. They want to hear from real people. This is why good, personalized service is so important – it earns you good reviews.

Businesses Recognize Employee Happiness – It’s as simple as this: the happier the employees, the more productive they are. More businesses are realizing this and changing their workplaces in response.

More Remote Workers – Thanks to Internet access virtually everywhere, it’s easier for people to work from wherever – and this plays a huge role in employee happiness, too!

Freshworks, 8/11/2019

This monthly publication provided courtesy of Paul Meadows, President of Integrated Technology Group.

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