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So far Susie Mahlberg has created 80 blog entries.

Essential Steps to Handle Negative Reviews

used with permission from SBA.gov., by Anita Campbell

Bad online reviews can cause potential customers to shop elsewhere, negatively impacting your business’ bottom line. If your business has received a bad online review, here are steps you can take to handle it and minimize the damage.

Respond to Customer Reviews

Ignoring a bad review won’t make it go away. On the other hand, responding to customer reviews can result in better ratings and improve your business’ online reputation.

The Harvard Business Review analyzed tens of thousands of hotel reviews and responses from TripAdvisor. The study found that around a third of reviews on TripAdvisor receive a response and almost a half of hotels respond to reviews. According to the study, hotels that respond to customer reviews receive 12 percent more reviews and their ratings increase by an average of 0.12 stars.

Yelp for Business Owners points out that responding to reviews is a great way […]

By | 2018-12-07T15:44:31+00:00 December 6th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Essential Steps to Handle Negative Reviews

Cybersecurity for small business: Ransomware

used with permission from FTC.gov., by Andrew Smith, Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection

Mention the word “ransomware” at a meeting of small business owners and you’ll feel the temperature in the room drop by 20 degrees. A ransomware attack is a chilling prospect that could freeze you out of the files you need to run your business. When FTC staff met with business owners across the country, you cited ransomware as a particular concern. New resources from the FTC can help protect your company from this threat.

Ransomware: How It Happens

What is a ransomware attack? It can start innocently enough. An employee clicks on a link, downloads an email attachment, or visits a website where malicious code is lurking in the background. With just one keystroke, they inadvertently install software that locks you out of your own files. The cyber crook then demands a ransom, often in the form of cryptocurrency. But even […]

By | 2018-12-07T15:44:30+00:00 December 6th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Cybersecurity for small business: Ransomware

Online scammers cost time and money. Here’s how to fight back.

used with permission from Microsoft On the Issues, by Athima Chansanchai

A message pops up on your screen. It screams that your computer is at risk or has been infected by a virus. Or, you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from tech support.

And then, before you know it, responding to these warnings has delivered your passwords and personal information to scammers, your PC is under their control and now they’re extorting you by peddling bogus security software and services.

A new Microsoft survey of 16 countries released this month, focused on tech support scams and their impact on consumers, shows less people are now susceptible to these scams. And the percentage of respondents who’ve been exposed to them is decreasing. Overall, people are losing less money. This 2018 Global Tech Support Scam Research report follows an earlier one Microsoft released in 2016.

Just in time for October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, […]

By | 2018-11-15T18:05:38+00:00 November 5th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Online scammers cost time and money. Here’s how to fight back.

Fend off cybercriminals with better business security practices

used with permission from Tektonika (HP), by Karen Gilleland

“Gimme the dough—or you’ll never see your files again!” In this scenario, the thug in the mask is ransomware, and it’s only one of the ways cybercriminals attack businesses—which are often left vulnerable due to poor business security or cybersecurity practices. Alongside the devastating effects cyber attacks can have on individuals, cybercriminals are sucking billions of dollars out of the economy, and you do not want your business in that position.

Toward the end of 2017, the US government passed H.R.2105, a law aimed at helping businesses beef up their cybersecurity by providing guidelines about effective tools and strategies to combat the rise of cybercrime. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been charged with developing a comprehensive set of guidelines by October 2018, but what can you do while waiting around for that to happen? Start firming up your IT environment with […]

By | 2018-11-15T18:05:46+00:00 November 5th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Fend off cybercriminals with better business security practices

Warn your friends about tech support scams

used with permission from FTC.gov., by Amy Hebert

Tech support scams, which get people to pay for fake computer help or steal their personal information, are convincing. You might already know the signs of a tech support scam, but do your friends and family? Here’s what they need to know now:

  • Companies like Microsoft don’t call and ask for access to your computer. If you get a call like that, it’s a scam.
  • Real companies also won’t ask for your account passwords. Only scammers do.
  • Tech support scammers try to convince you they’re legitimate. They’ll pretend to know about a problem on your computer. They’ll ask you to open normal files that look alarming to make you think you need help.
  • If you do need computer help, go directly to a person, business, or website you know you can trust. General online searches are risky because they might pull up […]
By | 2018-10-12T20:32:45+00:00 October 4th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Warn your friends about tech support scams

Don’t let the old hardware blues undermine office security

used with permission from Tektonika (HP), by Karen Gilleland

Unlike fine wine, your cyber assets don’t get better with age. Any PC more than four years old is not only costly to keep, but it’s also hack-friendly tech that could pose serious office security risk. Old PCs lack the built-in security triggers needed to repel the thousands of malware threats discovered each hour. With new technology, you could avoid 70–80 percent of the top malware detected.

Down-level hardware could potentially jeopardize your business—and that risk carries a price tag far exceeding an investment in state-of-the-art technology. As Two River Community Bank put it, “The risk just isn’t worth it.” There’s no reason to stick with outdated hardware, especially when computing power is growing exponentially and faster than ever. Older hardware may be costing you precious time, and the longer you delay updating old equipment, the further behind you’ll fall in the skills, knowledge, and technology needed to compete […]

By | 2018-10-12T20:32:54+00:00 October 4th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Don’t let the old hardware blues undermine office security

How to avoid a Bitcoin blackmail scam

used with permission from FTC.gov., by Cristina Miranda

“I know about the secret you are keeping from your wife and everyone else. You can ignore this letter, or pay me a $8600 confidentiality fee in Bitcoin”.

It’s enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine, but these chilling words are part of a new scam targeting men.

Here’s how it works. Scammers have been sending letters to men, demanding payments using bitcoin in exchange for keeping quiet about alleged affairs. The letter also explains how to use bitcoin to make the payment.

This is a criminal extortion attempt to separate people from their money.

If you — or someone you know — gets a letter like this, report it immediately to your local police, and the FBI.

Threats, intimidation and high-pressure tactics are classic signs of a scam. Learn how to stay ahead of clever crooks with these practical tips, […]

By | 2018-09-11T17:51:39+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on How to avoid a Bitcoin blackmail scam

Watch out for card skimming at the gas pump

used with permission from FTC.gov, by Colleen Tressler

With the summer travel season in high gear, the FTC is warning drivers about skimming scams at the pump.

Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals.  These card readers grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid a skimmer when you gas up:

  • Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read “void.”
    Photo credit: National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) and Conexxus
  • Look at the card reader itself. […]
By | 2018-09-11T17:51:37+00:00 September 7th, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on Watch out for card skimming at the gas pump

What are cookies?

used with permission from Norton by Symantec

Mention “cookies” and most people expect a chocolate chip treat to appear. When talking about computers, however, cookies aren’t on the dropdown menu. In fact, they’re not even physical objects. Yet they do a great deal of the work that makes it more convenient for you to browse the Internet — and they can be troublesome if you don’t know how to clear or delete cookies.

Meet the computer cookie

A computer “cookie” is more formally known as an HTTP cookie, a web cookie, an Internet cookie or a browser cookie. The name is a shorter version of “magic cookie,” which is a term for a packet of data that a computer receives and then sends back without changing or altering it.

No matter what it’s called, a computer cookie consists of information. When you visit a website, the website sends the cookie to your computer. Your computer stores […]

By | 2018-08-03T20:37:34+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on What are cookies?

5 questions every SMB should ask about workstations – but rarely do

used with permission from HP Tech@Work

How can SMB owners determine if workstations are right for them and, if so, how to select the best machines for their particular needs?

Workstations have been around long enough now that it’s safe to start talking about how modern versions of these machines are nothing like the pricey behemoths grandpa used back in the ‘90s.

Today’s workstations are vastly improved with processing, graphics and storage capabilities being enhanced on a continual basis. At the same time, they have become much more compact, mobile, stylish and affordable over the years, with prices on some models starting at less than $1,000.

Considering all these benefits, it should come as little surprise that small- to mid-sized businesses are starting to consider workstations as an alternative to the consumer PCs they’ve traditionally favored.

But how can SMB owners determine if workstations are right for them and, if so, how to select the best machines […]

By | 2018-08-03T20:37:31+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|Newsletter|Comments Off on 5 questions every SMB should ask about workstations – but rarely do