Securing Data is a Process, NOT an Event!

 by Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection

“Sound data security is a process, not a checklist.” We’ve all heard that slogan – and with good reason. The way that sensitive information moves into, through, and out of your company’s networks or the software products you develop is ever-evolving. So, too, are the risks that hackers and data thieves pose as they adapt to the countermeasures you take to foil their efforts. Approaching data security with a one-and-done attitude ignores the here-and-now realities you face. That’s why Start with Security recommends that companies put procedures in place to keep your security current and address vulnerabilities that may arise.

A look at FTC law enforcement actions, closed investigations, and the experiences that businesses have shared with us demonstrates the wisdom of that advice. These examples illustrate why you should keep your security up to date and respond quickly to credible threats.

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Using Technology to Revamp Your Office

The Computing Center helps our clients revamp their businesses use of technolgy and better leverage it every day. How we work has dramatically changed over the last quarter century and a lot more change is on the way. Here are some newer technologies that will help us, but also affect how our businesses operate.

You’ve probably heard that every business is a tech business, but have you ever thought about how the innovative technology you use on a daily basis has impacted today’s workplace culture? Consider how talking on the phone has been almost entirely replaced by text and email or how work chats now take place through dedicated messaging platforms, like Slack. These applications changed the way everyone communicates—and now, tech wearables are popping up in the workplace, reinventing and enhancing office culture and productivity forever.

The latest innovative technology offers a compelling case study in how devices, gadgets, and wearable tech have the potential to change both the way you work and the culture of your company. As users begin to expect more from their IT departments, you need to pay attention to employee trends and how the latest technology can help your business achieve even more.

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Business Plan Myths

Our area is home to numerous start-up businesses. It's part of Ithaca's DNA and has been since the 1800s. Just go to The History Center to find out. Business planning and the the business plan process is taught at Cornell, IC, TC3 and even at some of our high schools. But even with all the education and work that goes on around us about business plans, myths remain. Tim Berry has done a good job exposing some of those myths with many being relevant to mature companies as well as start-ups.

The need for good business planning is as strong as ever, and the potential benefits are as important as ever. Every business owner ought to have a business plan. But the best strategies for business planning are different than they used to be.

With that in mind, I’ve identified 8 pervasive myths that stand between you, the business owner, and the planning your business ought to have.

1. A business plan has to be long
Not necessarily so. A business plan can take whatever form is most useful, even if that’s just a few lists and tables.

2. A business plan is hard to make
It doesn’t have to be. List your key strategy points and key tactics, and a few important major milestones (like deadlines, tasks, the new launch or new website, and necessary hires). Include projected sales, costs, expenses, and cash flow. Voila! You have a business plan.

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Freelancing - When to Save & When to Spurge

Over 57.3 million Americans currently engage in some form of freelance work, and research shows that the majority of workers will freelance by 2027. For a new freelancer, it can be scary to navigate money and create an effective budget guide when your income isn’t always steady. Fortunately, we’ve got the guide to help you learn how to manage your money- and splurge with ease.


Track Your Money

This is the first step for all freelancers, and it may be the most important step of all. You need to know where your money is going! And, no, that doesn’t just mean checking your bank account “every so often” to make sure that you’re in the clear.To actually make an effective budget guide, you need to know how much you’re spending and how much you’re saving. Are you spending too much on groceries each month? Too much on eating takeout? Too much on little impulse buys that don’t feel like much of anything- until you add them up?

Fortunately, today it’s easier than ever to track your personal finance and create a budget guide. You don’t even need pen and paper. With free money management apps, such as Mint or Personal Capital, you can simply link your bank accounts and credit cards and view all your transactions.

These apps can provide an overview to see how much income you’re actually making (in proportion to how much you’re spending). If you’re a freelancer, you already know that your money won’t necessarily be predictable. Apps like these can help you predict the downturns and plan accordingly for them.

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Initial Steps to Effective Social Media Marketing

Social Media platforms are all over the headlines these past weeks and not in good ways. However, social media can be very effective in getting your message to your clients. (Your'e reading this - right?!) Here are some steps to consider if you're going to add social media platforms to your marketing mix.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more — social media can be pretty overwhelming at times. But hold on!

Success in social media may not be nearly as complicated as you think. In fact, here’s a simple formula any small business owner or entrepreneur can follow to become a social media superstar. These  steps will get you started: 

Define your marketing goals

Start with a plan. Define a small set of marketing goals. (But not too many!) For example, perhaps you want to:

  • Develop better brand loyalty in customers who already like your products or services
  • Create a mailing list to allow you share new products or other news
  • Drive traffic to your website to share more information about your brand or generate more sales
  • Establish thought leadership to distinguish your brand in your industry or market
  • Expand brand recognition in general

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