Biometrics - How do they work and are they safe?

We are starting to see some clients using Biometrics, mostly fingerprint readers at this point.   It's our expectation that more sophisticated biometric sensors such as face recognition and whole hand readers will become more common in the next several years. 

Biometrics are part of the cutting edge of technology. Put simply, biometrics are any metrics related to human features. Fingerprinting is a very early and simple version of biometrics, like when you login to your phone using your fingerprint. As with any emerging technology, the first question you should ask is if they are safe.

How Do Biometrics Work?

If you've ever put your fingerprint into an device, you have a vague idea of how biometrics work. Basically, you record your biometric information, in this case a fingerprint. The information is then stored, to be accessed later for comparison with "live" information. Anyone else in the world can put their finger on you device's touch circle and it's not going to open your phone.

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New Phishing Scam Involving Company W-2s

Your company bookkeeper or outside accountant receives a seemingly innocuous email from the CEO, owner, or other "high up" person in the organization asking for a copy of all the 2015 W-2s in pdf form.  Simple enough - just one of the many things that need to be responded to every day.  Except this one isn't innocuous.  It's a trap to capture your employee's social security numbers.  And unfortunately, because of its deceptive simplicity, it's been successful in a few places.

"Can't happen here." or "We are way to small."  No such thing. No organization is immune and even the best anti-malware products may not be able to keep up with every single instance of this Scam.  In the last couple of weeks, we have seen instances with some of our clients where this exact Phishing Scam has been identified  Fortunately, most people are vigilant and aware.  They asked their superiors to confirm the request and stopped the issue then and there.

Below is a release from the IRS outlining this issue in more detail.  Bottom line is simple:  You can't be too careful with important company information. Always ask questions and independently doublecheck those kinds of requests.

IR-2016-34, March 1, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued an alert to payroll and human resources professionals to beware of an emerging phishing email scheme that purports to be from company executives and requests personal information on employees.

The IRS has learned this scheme — part of the surge in phishing emails seen this year — already has claimed several victims as payroll and human resources offices mistakenly email payroll data including Forms W-2 that contain Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information to cybercriminals posing as company executives.

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Operating in the 4th Industrial Revolution

by Karen Butner

Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Michael Hammer once defined operations innovation as "truly deep change" in core activities and processes. However, he added, this entails more than mere operational improvement or excellence—it necessitates "a departure from familiar norms and requires major changes in how departments conduct their work and relate to one another." More than a decade later, well into the era of digital operations, such deep change is more essential than ever.

A new industrial revolution is upon us—one in which digital technologies redefine business strategy and operational execution. Executives are pressured to innovate and make intelligent investments in game-changing technological advances such as the Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, cloud computing and analytics. With digital technology powering this operations revolution, technological change is at the forefront of operations executives’ awareness.

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How to find your office Zen

 How to find your office Zen

Sometimes we all need to step away from our work and take a little break. But often, actually leaving the office isn’t an option. So what do you do when you need a quick mental vacation? Thankfully, the same technology that helps you stay productive can help you productively relax, too. Here are five tech tips that can help you find your balance, right in the midst of a hectic workday.

Block out the noise
If you work in a noisy office environment, noise-reducing headphones can mute three-fourths of the commotion around you.Built-in microprocessors go beyond simply drowning out unwanted distractions. They actively make things quieter by analyzing background noise and creating an inverse sound wave that cancels out offending sounds.

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EMV Technology for Your Business

You may have noticed that a lot of newer credit cards have chips imbedded in them.  This new technology is more secure for the consumer, but for it to be "really" more secure, businesses that accept credit cards need the new readers.  Additionally, there's a shift in liability from the card issuer to the business.  We installed our new chip card reader back in September.  In addition to the old swipe cards and chip cards, our new reader will accept Apple Pay and Google Wallet.  For your business, if you're not up to speed this article is a good introduction into the world of EMV.

What is EMV chip card technology? Is it really more secure than magnetic stripe technology? Is compliance worth the cost of upgrading? It’s been over a month since the "EMV liability shift" went into effect in the U.S. on October 1, 2015, but many businesses still have unanswered questions.

To help you get the answers you need to minimize your liability, we’ve enlisted expert insight from Lorena Kubera, VP & GM of HP Retail Solutions Global Business Unit, and Cory McElroy, Director of Product Management & Marketing for HP Retail Solutions.

Here’s what you need to know to master the EMV shift.

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