2012, Volume 1
In this issue:
Preventing Social Networking Sites from Becoming a Security Risk
ETA Raises $2000 to Donate to Toys for Tots
Spotlight: Four Quick Facts About the Cloud
Volunteers Lend a Hand at Philabundance
ETA's Chris Aldred Featured in Channel Partners Magazine!
Hello, and welcome to Volume 1 of the 2012 edition of ListenUp!, your source for the latest news and expert advice about the world of business communications and data solutions.
In this issue, we'll discuss security issues presented by social networking sites, hear about a group of volunteers who recently spent time at a Philabundance food bank, shine a spotlight on some quick facts about "the Cloud", and check out all of the events going on at ETA.
Preventing Social Networking Sites from Becoming a Security Risk
Social networking is increasingly becoming a bigger and bigger player in the business world. In fact, the October 2011 survey Campaigns to Capabilities: Social Media and Marketing 2011, from Booz & Company and Buddy Media, shows that 65 percent of companies already have a social media policy in place and 29 percent plan to build one soon or are already in the process.
While social media can be a boost to marketing campaigns and corporate culture, it can also present some serious security risks and put your business’ network and reputation in harm’s way.
“The main security and privacy issue around social media,” says Ben Ronthke in an RSAConference article, “is that users will share huge amounts of highly confidential personal and business information with people they perceive to be legitimate.”
Some of the risk factors that most commonly prove this to be true include:
- Malicious links & code – Social networking users can be too trusting of content and contacts, and, as a result, often end up transmitting and receiving bits of malicious code. Sometimes hackers inject malicious code into sites (this is referred to as cross-site scripting) via advertisements, third-party applications and other paths.
- Sharing too much information or falling victim to social engineering - Sharing too much information is one way to get in trouble with social media. Regardless of how it happens, whether through intent, a simple lapse in judgment or social engineering (which uses tactics to manipulate others into performing actions or divulging confidential information), the result is often the same: once posted, your company’s private information is out there for wrongdoers and the competition to take advantage of.
- Phishing – With this type of social engineering, online attackers attempt to acquire information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. One of the most common examples of phishing is an email from a bank or credit card company asking you to click on a link to confirm your log in information. The sender is attempting to trick the recipient of the email into revealing confidential information by "confirming" it at the phisher's website.
Assuming that you want your company to be represented on social networking sites, how do you implement a security strategy that combats these types of risks from all angles?
The answer: There is no simple solution. But, to start, approach it from both an employee perspective and a technology perspective:
- Institute social media policy and procedures – You shouldn’t just enable employees to get on social media and represent your business without providing some guidelines. That’s asking for trouble. If you’re going to allow employees to use social networking sites, institute a policy that dictates, at the very least, who can and can't use social media on behalf of the company, and what information can and can’t be shared online.
- Educate the employees who are representing your company on social networking sites- If you do allow particular people to represent your business on social networking sites, educate them on the risks, the difference between personal and professional information, and the topics you would like them to discuss.
- Network security – Even with social media policy and procedures in place, organizations must also implement security solutions that scan for malware, data leakage and other suspicious activity. Make sure you:
- Utilize strong passwords
- Use unified threat management
- Keep all software, particularly your Web browsers, up to date
- Know your options. Through technology, you can –
- Completely block social networking site access for all employees
- Block social networking sites for some, but not for others
- Restrict access to specific components of social networking sites (games, file sharing, video uploading, etc)
Volunteers Lend a Hand at Philabundance
Many of ETA's experts, along with their family and friends, spent the evening of Tuesday, December 20th, sorting food donations for Philabundance, the region's largest hunger relief organization.
Philabundance's mission is to end hunger and malnutrition in the Delaware Valley by acquiring food and distributing it through organizations serving people in need. Philabundance relies on more than 60% of support from volunteer services to help feed our hungry Delaware Valley neighbors.
ETA's volunteers, who also brought along several family members to help out, included Heather Pearson - Sales Engineer, Michelle Vogt - Business Development Representative, Christian Schlegel - Network Services Specialist, Debbie Smith - Vice President, John Przasnyski - Senior Data Systems Engineer, Jeff Cantelope - Business Development Representative, Tony Rossi - Director of Sales, Glenda Logan Glover - Network Services Specialist, and Chris Aldred - Marketing Programs Manager.
For more information on Philabundance, visit www.philabundance.org.
Event Guide - Your Guide to ETA's Exciting (& Free!) Events
- Lunch & Learn: Hosted vs. Premise-based vs. Virtualized - Tuesday, March 13th - Since this was so popular in November, we thought we'd hold it again for those of you who didn't get the chance to attend the first time around.
With the overload of information and options out there, figuring out the differences between the three types of phone systems - Hosted, On-Premise and Virtualized - can be difficult and even frustrating. That's why ETA's hosting a free, informative seminar that features Senior Network Services Specialist Paul Weiss discussing the benefits, technical requirements and pricing models for all three business phone system provisioning models.
Look for an invitation in your email and links on the ETA website to this event's registration page. If you'd like to register now, before the invitations go out, simply click here to let us know.
- Ronald McDonald House Dinner Preparation - Friday, March 16th from 4pm to 7pm - During this event, ETA volunteers will help prepare a dinner at the Ronald McDonald House of Southern NJ, which is attached to Cooper Hospital. Ronald McDonald House of SNJ provides a home-away-from-home to families of seriously ill and traumatically injured children who are being treated at nearby hospitals.
Unfortunately, since this event was so popular with ETA volunteers, there are no more spaces available for participants. If you need more information, simply visit http://tiny.cc/ETACommunity_RMH.
In Case You Missed It:
- What's Up In the Cloud? - Tuesday, January 17th at 11am - ETA and IT Solutions, ETA’s trusted LINC Partner and a recognized leader in Cloud applications, joined forces host “WHAT’S UP IN THE CLOUD?” earlier this month.
During this interactive event at ETA's office, attendees learned which Cloud-based applications are helping many small to mid-sized businesses improve operational efficiency, reduce overhead and increase productivity, and which ones are not quite ready for prime time yet. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed a delicious lunch!
ETA Raises $2,000 to Donate
to Toys for Tots
For the past few years, ETA has held a 50/50 drawing during the weeks leading up to the holiday season to raise funds for Toys for Tots, a U.S. Marine Corps program that works to collect new, unwrapped toys to distribute as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children.
This past holiday season, ETA reached a grand total of $2,000 for the first time since we began the Toys for Tots fundraiser!
All of the money donated went towards buying new toys for the program. So thank you to the ETA customers, partners and friends who contributed to the cause!
For more pictures and information on our most recent Toys for Tots fundraiser, click here.
Four Quick Facts About the Cloud
1. The term "Cloud" really is just a fancy name for the Internet. The main differentiator between the two lies in the word service - When you use the Cloud, you're using storage, data, applications, and other resources that are delivered as a service over the Internet.
The Internet itself is not a service, it's simply an interconnected network that's accessible worldwide.
2. The invention of the Cloud is not the end of internal IT support. Quite the opposite in fact. Cloud services and the outside companies who provide them need to be updated and monitored by someone in your organization. Think of it this way: It's the same as managing the servers located in your office - the only difference is that internal IT will be developing applications and managing infrastructure based in the Cloud instead of in your office.
For more, check out this article by CIO.com on "How to Retool Your IT Skills for the Cloud".
3. You CAN take your voice into the Cloud too. Though most businesses still have PBX infrastructure on their premises, more and more are looking into Hosted voice services. With Hosted, the phone system resides in an offsite data center, not in your server room. That data center is maintained by a provider and, with most Hosted arrangements, you manage your system through an online portal.
4. You can never be 100% certain that your information is 100% secure. But that can also be said anytime you put your information in someone else's hands - Whether those hands belong to a private IT company, an internal IT staff member or a Cloud service provider.
When it comes to Cloud security, it's in the best interest of the company providing you Cloud services to keep your data secure. They have a lot to lose if your information is compromised, including their business. So you can bet that, like you, they will do everything in their power to ensure the security of your information.
ETA's Chris Aldred Featured in Channel Partners Magazine!Chris Aldred, ETA's Marketing Programs Manager, is writing a five-part series titled "Driving Sales on a Budget" for Channel Partners Magazine! The series discusses what Aldred calls the "CAR Methodology:" Continuous contact, Alignment with sales and a Results focus.
The first piece in the series is available online here. It explores why you need to have a successful continuous contact strategy and how to implement it with a minimal investment. The second and third parts of the series will expand upon this introduction to continuous contact, while the fourth and fifth sections will discuss alignment with sales and how to have a results focus.
For more than two decades, Channel Partners has been the leader in providing news and analysis to indirect sales channels serving the communications industry. It is the unrivaled resource for resellers, aggregators, agents, brokers, VARs, systems integrators, interconnects and dealers that provide network-based communications and computing services, associated CPE and applications as well as managed and professional services.
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