Sunday, June 30, 2013

LinkedIn: Is your networking Not working?

LinkedIn is a social "network". Much like real world face-to-face clubs and events, being active in LinkedIn groups can help you meet new people and form meaningful connections.

So, think of LinkedIn groups as business functions or networking events. If you don't show up and talk to people, you don't get much out of the event.

Here's what you need to do to get started successfully networking with LinkedIn:

- participate in at least 1 Discussion per Week
- share content that's relevant to the audience / group
- post content, questions, & polls that will invite replies from other members
- match the ‘tempo’ of the group, with the topic and frequency of your posts
- share good news as well as business & personal victories
- if you're new, say so. Introduce yourself to the group
- say hello to new members

And one more, for the good of the order:

- Spread The Word.

Invite others to join the group - and help them get started by sharing success tips that you've learned along the way.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Small business, big IT security risks.

According to a survey by Symantec (, small businesses don't think that they're a target for cyber attacks and Internet threats.  Despite acknowledging an awareness of the risks posed by Internet threats, they're not doing enough to protect themselves:

  • 67 percent don’t use web-based security/service
  • 61 percent don’t use antivirus on all desktops
  • 47 percent don’t use security on mail server/services
  • 40 percent don’t use a security suite on all desktops

If you're responsible for IT in your small business but aren't sure where to start, consider the following tips for IT security as presented by the FCC.

10 Cyber Security Tips for Small Business

Broadband and information technology are powerful factors in small businesses reaching new markets and increasing productivity and efficiency. However, businesses need a cybersecurity strategy to protect their own business, their customers, and their data from growing cybersecurity threats.
1. Train employees in security principles
Establish basic security practices to protect sensitive business information and communicate them to all employees on a regular basis. Establish rules of behavior describing how to handle and protect customer information and other vital data. Clearly spell out the penalties for violating business policies.
2. Protect information, computers and networks from viruses, spyware and other malicious code
Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. Most software packages now offer subscriptions to "security service" applications, which provide additional layers of protection. Set the antivirus software to automatically check for updates at a scheduled time of low computer usage, such as at night (midnight, for example), and then set the software to do a scan after the software update.
3. Provide firewall security for your Internet connection
A firewall is set of related programs that prevent outsiders from accessing data on a private network. Install and maintain firewalls between your internal network and the Internet. If employees work from home, ensure that their home systems are protected by firewalls. Install firewalls on all computers – including laptops – used in conducting your business.
4. Download and install software updates for your operating systems and applications as they become available
All operating system vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install such updates automatically.
5. Make backup copies of important business data and information.
Regularly backup the data on every computer used in your business. Critical data includes word processing documents, electronic spreadsheets, databases, financial files, human resources files and accounts receivable/payable files. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly.
6. Control physical access to your computers and network components
Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft, so make sure they are stored and locked up when unattended.
7. Secure your Wi-Fi networks If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace make sure it is secure and hidden.
To hide your Wi-Fi network, set-up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name also known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). In addition, make sure to turn on the encryption so that passwords are required for access. Lastly, it is critical to change the administrative password that was on the device when it was first purchased.
8. Require individual user accounts for each employee
Setup a separate account for each individual and require that strong passwords be used for each account. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.
9. Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software
Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems. Employees should only be given access to the specific data systems that they need for their jobs, and should not be able to install any software without permission.
10. Regularly change passwords
Passwords that stay the same, will, over time, be shared and become common knowledge to coworkers and can be easily hacked. Passwords should be changed at least every three months.


Friday, March 23, 2012

How to invite contacts to your Linkedin group

You're on Linkedin to network, right?

Active members are the life blood of any group.  Wouldn't you agree that no activity = no opportunity to connect?  It's important that group members take ownership of growing the group by inviting new interesting and interested people.  Any member of the group can extend invitations to other contacts.  And here's how...

Once logged into Linkedin, go to the group that you want to extend invites to.  Next, look towards the middle right hand side of the screen to find the"share group" link.

Click for Larger view

Click the "Share group" link to open a sub-menu; and then click "Invite others".  You can then either start typing a name in the text field, or click the "In" button located to the right of the text field and view your list of connections to select from.

The issue that I have with this is that Linkedin doesn't allow users to customize the message sent to the new invite.

For "member protection", this is all you get to work with:

  • Lance Gahimer invites you to join Linking Terre Haute on LinkedIn
  • I would like to invite you to join my group on LinkedIn.

- Pretty non-descript, and not very engaging at all.  It's fine in most cases - where you've already given connection an advanced notice that you're sending a group invite, and you've explained the value and why they should join.

My preference is to send them an email and make it more personal - even if I've already explained the what and the why.

In that case, click the link "Share on Linkedin" rather that "Invite others". In the pop up window, uncheck the box "Post to updates" unless you want this to go to your stream for all contacts to see. Click the check box "Send to individuals", and enter the email address of your contact.

Again, the default message is pretty bland: "I found this and thought you might be interested." You'll want to customize the invite to make it more personal and appealing.

There you have it. Now, go forth and invite.