Tech Sensibility: The Newsletter (May 2015)
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- When creating an online screen or user name for a web forum or financial account, make sure it does not give out any information about you. Avoid screen names that hint at your favorite sports, hobbies and personal interests. Such information, combined with other clues in your profile, can provide enough information for anyone with ill intention to determine who you are.
- When you sign up for a new online service that assigns a temporary password to your account, change it immediately. Temporary passwords are often insecure and may be transmitted through email - which is not a secure way to communicate a password.
- If you receive an email that looks legitimately sent to you by your service provider, work, school, or another official entity, be extra careful. If such an email contains a phrase like "We need to verify your account information", it is likely a phishing scheme that someone is using to get your information. Delete the email and do not click on any links inside it. If you need to communicate with the organization that you think sent that message, call them instead. Use the phone number listed on your official statements.
- Never wear your security badge outside of the office in public. Identity thieves look for such badges to learn your name, office and perhaps even your security clearance level. In addition, they can see what your badge looks like, which increases the chances of successful forgery. Always put away your badge when going outside, even when taking a short break.
- Give out your social security number only when absolutely necessary. Many online services use social security numbers for user identification. Ask them to use an alternate number if possible.
Can Companies Grow Without Outsourcing Overseas?
It has become common for companies to outsource low-level work overseas, where labor is far cheaper. In this difficult job market, is it feasible to "keep jobs at home" as labor costs rise and competitors are increasingly outsourcing?
It depends on the company. While outsourcing works for some, other companies will be more successful hiring local talent. It is not a wise decision to outsource based only on the rate you pay your workers. There are other factors to consider, including the management of international relationships, time spent coordinating projects, and differences in cultures.
When deciding whether to outsource, you must consider all the costs. Only then can you compare the price of outsourcing overseas with hiring local employees. Most people only look at the hourly rate, which by itself is only one variable and not a solid indicator of what the total outsourcing cost may be.
Sometimes outsourcing may be the only way to start your business and the best way to help a local economy. If you are manufacturing a product and are seeking investors, you will need to minimize your production costs in order to get funded. You may be forced to choose between outsourcing the manufacturing process overseas and not starting the business in the first place. You should take into consideration that if your business becomes successful, you may eventually decide to hire employees in the U.S.
While some have made it their 2015 goal to become healthier, many others are deciding to take control of their borrowing and spending habits. Making everyday purchases on a credit card with an unpaid balance will harm your credit score. Credit card transactions are a large factor in determining credit scores, while debit card transactions are not. So instead, try using a debit card that is linked to a bank account, and that has no overdraft protection, preventing you from spending any more than your account holds. To strengthen your credit score, you should make occasional monthly purchases on the credit card, and then pay off the bill in full each month.
Store credit cards can be very tempting. They lure you in by offering deep discounts on your first purchase. While a 20% discount on your first purchase may seem enticing, remember that store credit cards often come with the largest interest rates on unpaid balances (often 20% or more), much higher than the average rate for regular credit cards. Pay off any balance on store credit cards and subsequently, cut those cards up. They are almost never worth the value that they promise.
Paying down credit card balances with the highest interest rate is very important. Take some time to arrange all your credit card accounts, from highest interest rate to lowest. Start with the lowest- pay the minimum due amount on lower-rate interest card accounts. For the highest interest balances, try paying at least 20% more than the minimum amount due. Once those cards are paid off, redirect that money that to then pay off the balances on the lower-interest cards.
Many supportive resources are available to anyone struggling with debt, like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (www.nfcc.org). They can help you find a credit counselor in your area who will assist you in devising a plan. Remember, with strong discipline and solid planning, no amount of debt is undefeatable.
Join me for a fireside chat with Matt Weinberg, President of Technology and Development at Vector Media Group, an Inc. 5000 company, on Thursday, June 11th from 6 - 8 pm. We will discuss creative thinking and inspiration, developing IT leaders, the value of IT, vendor relations, the cloud, build-vs-buy and other business technology topics. Come and have a glass of wine, healthy snacks and network with many of New York's IT professionals.
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