Change Your Passwords… Again : BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 50

Change Your Passwords… Again : BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 50

EPISODE 50!! AND, it’s our one year anniversary. So all around a big day for the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

In this episode we talk about what NIST has recommended for a new password strategy.

BBP : Episode 50 – Change Your Passwords… Again

First of all, congratulations to Dana and her team at the North Dakota Recreation and Parks Association on their new website. We launched http://NDRPA.com earlier this week. It’s a WordPress site with a calendar, subpage navigation and more. Check it out!

Also, I rescued two websites earlier this week from hacking. I’ll use this as my weekly reminder for all of your to back everything up. Websites, databases, financial information, personal photos… everything. Better to put a little bit of prevention and spend a little bit of money now than pay a bunch of money to possibly recover (or worse, possibly NOT recover) lost data.

Passwords

Back in 2003, Bill Burr (not the comedian) was a mid-level manager at NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology. They recommend standards on all sorts of things like official weight calibration, timing, and even technology guidelines like passwords. In 2003, Burr published NIST Special Publication 800-63 Appendix A, which spelled out the proper guidelines for creating and managing secure passwords on websites and networks. Those guidelines are still followed today.

The standards included a long password (8-12 characters), upper and lower case alphabet charcters, numbers, special characters and random. Sounds like every website you sign up for, doesn’t it?

But now, Mr. Burr has stated that in regards to this document and policy, “Much of what I did I now regret.” That’s an unfair statement by Bill. Back in 2003, we didn’t have much history of what computer network security was, and we definately didn’t have the case studies of how criminals and mischief-makers would do to gain access to computer networks. All of his recommendations sounded solid, and while possibly flawed, are still in use today.

What NIST and computer analysts are finding though is humans always find an easy way to get around something tough, and frankly secure. The requirements would allow a user to create a seemingly random password like “Pa5sW0rD”. You and I both know that says “PaSsWOrD”, but the computer sees it matches Burr’s recommendations.

So, when it comes time to update the password becasue of time requirements placed by the system adminstrators, or a data break. instead of creating a new, secure passwords, often we add something simple to it. “Pa5sW0rD” becomes “Pa5sW0rD1”, the “5” and “s” switch places, or something simple like that to remember but still meeting Burr’s recommendations.

Well the computer hackers have also figured out our shortcuts and have added some smarts into their password cracking to test out some of these easy switches. And it’s working.

In June 2017, NIST has published a new version of NIST Publication 800-63, which outlines a very different recommended password architecture. What started out as a project to simply review and slightly revise Burr’s policy recommendations became an eye-opening look into how users and criminals were using passwords. And results came back with a HUGE change in password policy.

Instead of a hard-to-remember, cryptic password, it was instead recommending four or five easy to remember words all pressed together. This is easy for the user to remember, change and use, and tough for the computer hackers to crack due to the length and randomness of the password.

A cartoon on XKCD.com drawn by Randall Munroe estimated that a password created using Burr’s methods, “Tr0ub4dor&3” would take only three days to crack using current methods. A password of four words all mixed together would take 550 years. That password was “correcthorsebatterystaple.” Which one do you think is easier to remember, and change? And if you DO need to change the password, which is now only recommended in the event of a data breach or similar event, you can swap out an entire word instead of just adding a “1” or “!” to the password.

It will be interesting to see how this is adapted and implemented across websites and networks. Most rules won’t allow passwords regardless of length, to not contain numbers, special charactes and upper/lower case, so there’s a lot of things that have to change for these guidelines to become common, but it makes sense.

Do you have thoughts on this or anything else technology related? Let me know on Twitter or at BeBizzy.com!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Can You Hear Me Now? – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 48

Can You Hear Me Now? – BeBizzy Break Podcast Episode 48

Have a favorite small or home business phone system tip? I’m looking for help!

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 48 – Can You Hear Me Now?

I am currently having a problem with my phone.

A few weeks ago, my mobile phone connection has significantly dropped off in my home office. I’m in a basement with only a small window directly above my head to the outside world. I get nearly no bars on my phone connection, and my 4G LTE is suspect.

So, I’m looking for some possible solutions to make phone calls with my clients a reality. So far I’ve considered :

  • Skype In and Out
    • Relatively cheap
    • Sound quallity is suspect
  • Ooma & Vonage
    • Extra equipment including a desktop phone
    • Upfront cost then relatively cheap
  • Grasshopper and RingCentral
    • Established, proven product
    • Little bit more expensive per month
    • Still needs some additional equipment
  • Other VOIP Solutions
    • Cost is low
    • Worried it goes away in a year
    • Technology is sometimes good, sometimes a little sketchy.

So let me know what you’re currently using if you are also unable to go exclusively with your smart phone, and we’ll talk about my decision in a future podcast!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Joining, Participating In & Hosting Twitter Chats : BBP Episode 47

Joining, Participating In & Hosting Twitter Chats : BBP Episode 47

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 47 – Joining, Participating In & Hosting Twitter Chats

Have you joined a Twitter chat? What has been your experience if you have? Are you ready to host a Twitter chat?

One of the biggest big advantages of the Twitter platform is for large groups of people to unite around a common topic to entertain, educate and provide a common voice. Leveraging that to learn about a topic is a great way to keep up with just about any category or specific subject.

But joining a Twitter chat can be a little tricky, and for many of us, scary. First of all, forget the scary part. You can join without anyone even knowing you’re there, so let’s just get that out of the way now. So that leaves the technical part. It’s usually as simple as following a hashtag. Tools like Hootsuite and others allow you to both follow a hashtag, and even create a seperate stream with only that hashtag, which makes it really easy to play along.

Joining a Twitter Chat

Some easy tips

  • Participate! Ask questions, submit answers, share slides and other media . The biggest waste of your time will be to sit and watch the chat go by with nothing contributed by you. Follow people to interact with you if the content is valuable, entertaining, or helpful.
  • When responding make sure you use the #Hashtag to ensure the admins and other followers can see your question, response or generate statement. This will allow everyone to use or respond to your post.
  • If this is a q/a chat, look for Q1, Q2 or something similar from the admins, then respond with a similar format A1, A2, etc. along with the #Hashtag
  • Follow the rules! Don’t promote your website, service or other items unless it’s allowed or requested by the hosts. Breaking these rules will 1) get you slapped on the wrist, or 2) get you banned from the chat

Creating a Twitter Chat

Maybe it’s time you’ve finally created your own Twitter chat. You have a following, you have a topic, now you just need a vehicle to get your message to the masses and maybe use it to drive education and maybe even revenue!

If you are looking to build a community and host a Twitter chat there are also a few things to consider.

  • Recruit a few ambassadors to help you with the chat by attending all of them, RT’ing invites and posts, and participating with answers and follow-up questions.
  • Pick a hashtag that is unique, easy to remember and is about the topic. Use the same hashtag on every chat, every notice, and every recap.
  • Schedule it when you think a large number of followers can attend. Many of the small business chats above are in the mid-evenings when fewer people are working, it’s after dinner and many of us would be watching TV or doing other leisure activities. Chats targeting moms might be mid-afternoon when the kids are at school or taking naps.
  • Prepare your questions, answers and related information in advance, and maybe even schedule in Hootsuite or other tools to make sure the timeline is followed.
  • Interact with other users as they share and respond to your questions. You never know what will come up or be revealed.
  • Prizes are a great way to get people to attend and interact.
  • Guest hosts can add a bit of energy into the chat with a new voice and their following.
  • Don’t be afraid to change things as they emerge. If you get some feedback that a different time/day will work better, or more or less of a type of content works better or worse, make changes.

Twitter chats can be a great way to stay informed of changes in a variety of topics. They can also be used to show your expertise in a subject, and network with a very significant group of experts in your field. Search one out and join a Twitter chat today and who knows, maybe tomorrow you’ll be leading your own Twitter chat!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

And as promised, photos of Medora, ND.

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#NetNeutrality Day of Action : BeBizzy Break Podcast EP:46

#NetNeutrality Day of Action : BeBizzy Break Podcast EP:46

BeBizzy Break Podcast : Episode 46 – #NetNeutrality Day of Action

Hosted by : Marv Dorner, owner of BeBizzy Consulting

Today’s episode is a quick view of #NetNeutrality.

If you’re unfamiliar with Net Neutrality, it’s simply the call to ensure the same speed, access and availability for all websites… basically what we have now.

Many companies, and of course some internet providers, would love to have priority access to the web, making their sites run at full speed, and throttling the rest of the websites.

Many people and companies are speaking out in defense of net neutrality, including Tim Berners-Lee, the man many credit with inventing the internet.

Join in the discussion and defend Net Neutrality by getting involved on Twitter using the #NetNeutrality hashtag, communicating with friends, family and elected officials, and supporting the companies listed on this article from the Verge.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

Own Your Digital Data – BBP EP 45

Own Your Digital Data – BBP EP 45

Own Your Digital Data.

You own your business name, your equipment, maybe you even own your building.

But I bet many of you don’t own your digital business presence.

I’m talking about  your domain names, your social media pages, Analytics and more.

Here’s some tips on owning your digtal data

  • Google Business Listing – Make sure you use an email address owned by the company to create and manage the business listing. By not doing this, I’ve seen the process become very involved just to change the hours of operation.
  • Google Analytics – Same as above… use an email address belonging to the business to create this account. We’ve had an issue where we could not move an account to a client and therefore couldn’t use the existing account to manage everything without creating a new Analytics account.
  • Social Media – Picture this… you fire the employee in charge of social media. They created YOUR page with THEIR account, and therefore “own” it. Now, in order to make sure that previous employee doesn’t post negative information, or simply for you to continue to post as your business, you have to go to them and have them transfer ownership. Awkward! Create your own social media pages/accounts, and invite others to contribue. Then you can manage who gets access.
  • Domain Names and SSL’s – Your domain name is one of the first things potential customers can see. If you don’t technically “own” it, then moving it can be a long, and sometimes impossible process. Lease your own domain names, and SSL certificates to make sure you know when they are up for renewal, and can easilyl change everything in the event you move or change hosting.

If you’ currenty don’t own your digital business presence or properties, my suggestion is to get them as soon as you can. You never know when your current vendor will be leaving the business space, you lose critical employees, or even if YOU are planning on selling and need to transfer ownership.

Need some help getting this handled? Contact BeBizzy Consulting at 701.214.6271 or at BeBizzy.com and I’ll be happy to help you out!

Have any questions or suggestions for future podcasts? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

I HATE Printing : BBP EP 44

I HATE Printing : BBP EP 44

I hate printing.

PC Load Letter…?

More than most anything else in running my own businesses, paper drives me nuts.

Now I know this makes me a bit out of the ordinary. Most people still default to notepads, post-it notes, or random pieces of paper to keep short reminders, meeting notes, and ideas, but maybe it’s time for you to buckle down and think about using your technology to do this job, and de-clutter your life and business.

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Things You Probably Need To Print

There are some things in business that you might need to print, unfortunately.

  • Contracts
  • Invoices for Clients
  • Meeting Agendas

Print these if you must, but try to use tools like Docusign for contracts, email invoices from your accounting software for invoicing, and email or other electronic means for meeting agendas if possible.

Why Digital Instead of Print?

Like most controversial subjects, humans are looking for justification on why to do this process instead of just doing it like we’ve “always done it.” Need a few reasons to use digital instead of print? Here you go !

  • Offsite Backups – Fire, water, carelessness, etc can ruin your print documents. Digital files can be secured and backed up in several locations in case there’s a catastrophic event.
  • Searchable – Ever tried searching for a term or keyword in piles of paper? How about searching on the internet? Way easier to just type in what you want and have a few documents presented to you, isn’t it?
  • Accessible By Multiple Devices – Get to a document with your laptop, phone, tablet, or really anyone else’s device, all protected by login credentials.
  • Share or Limit Access to Files – Pretty much anyone can get into a general access filing cabinet. So that means you need MORE cabinets saved in secure areas like the accounting office, C-level suite, or possibly even another room. Digital files can be locked down to a single user, keeping access as secure as possible. On the flip side, if you need to share with multiple users a document can be shared across the network with anyone you wish.

Avoid the Day-To-Day Paper Mess

Ok, so it’s apparent that moving to paperless is a great method to clean up the office and become more efficient. How about some tools that will help you do this?

  • Storage – The first thing you need to do is determine how you are going to store and share the documents. If you want to keep everything contained in your network, you can use your internal server to do this. But if you want the advantages of outside accessibility you might consider using a cloud storage.
  • Backup/Security – Of course a big concern is security and backups of the data. Most of the cloud services have automatic backups and recovery systems. Also, most of them have encryption either natively active or available as an add-on.
    • Versioning – In some cases having multiple versions of the same document is desired. This works great on marketing documents, meeting agendas, policies, or other items that require several revisions. Cloud services like Box.com have a great way of tracking versions and accessing them as needed.
  • Receipts – One of the biggest sources of paper for many small businesses are receipts or bills. Get them digitized and out of your filing cabinets and make them easy to sort and report. All of the tools below make it easy to scan, photograph or submit a PDF of your receipts or bills.
  • Track Mileage and Travel Expenses – Eventually we all have to travel for business and tracking vehicle mileage, gas, food and other expenses can be tricky, or just a pain in the butt. Luckily there are many mobile apps and computer programs to help you with keeping track of these easily.
    • Milebug
    • MileIQ
    • Quickbooks
  • Notes – The staple of business life, right? We all take notes… lots of them. And most of the time they are on legal pads or composition notebooks that contain pages and pages of random notes and meeting results. Using electronic note systems keeps these loose notes organized, searchable, and shareable. And, if you use an tablet or some smartphones some of these applications also will allow the saving of handwritten notes.
    • Evernote
    • OneNote
  • Project and Task Management – Need to keep you and your team on task? You could use a whiteboard, random post-it notes, or just your brain to do this, or you could find a technology solution that meets the needs of your tasks and projects.
    • Scribblepost – My favorite task management application. Usable across all my devices.
    • Basecamp
    • Outlook, Gmail and GSuite all have excellent task management tools built in.

More Tips on Avoiding Printing

Reasons digital is better than paper… check. Tools to keep me from printing… check. Now, you just need a few more tips on how to avoid using paper during the work day.

  • Print to PDF – Every time you would normally print a document to be placed in a filing cabinet, select Print to PDF and file it in your digital storage system.
  • Don’t Print Emails – I can’t think of a single reason, short of saving something offsite to maintain your innocence or proof of someone else’s guilt that you would print an email. It’s in your email, leave it there and use your other tools to
  • Maps – Remember the frustration and pain of using (and folding) paper maps? Heck, most people can’t even find north! Paper maps are close to obsolete the second they are printed. Use your GPS or smartphone to get where you need to go.
  • Faxes – If you need to fax something, first of all, yell at the company you are faxing information to. Then, after your meltdown, use a service like E-Fax to send electronic documents to their system. Odds are they have a digital service and don’t realize that the rest of us beat up our fax machines in an Office Space-like rampage.
  • Web Pages – Printing webpages was a pretty useful service several years ago, but now it’s just extra pieces of paper lying around. Send URLs via email, messaging systems, or share websites using apps like Pocket.
  • Bills – Did a bill arrive in the mail? Open it, scan it, save it in your storage location and accounting system, then put it in the shredder or trash bin… where it belongs.

Existing Paper

Finally, what should you do with the existing paper products you have in the office? You may have years of old documents, invoices, meeting notes just sitting in filing cabinets waiting patiently to be shredded when you’re ready to move or need more space. The easy solution would be to drag them out the parking lot, gather everything up, and set it on fire. But safety, and the law, make that impractical. So your options are really down to two. Store existing paper and remove it as it becomes unneeded or obsolete. Or, scan existing paper into your new digital system.

Scanning existing can be an expensive solution. However, do some math on what processes could be optimized by having the old documents digitized. Could more workforce work from home or remote locations more effectively? Could you share some information with partners, vendors or other resources to make things quicker? Could you make more money, or possibly spend less by buying less equipment or renting less space by getting rid of clutter? Is having your documents in a secure, emergency-proof location attractive to you as a business owner?

Scanning services are in nearly every town. They roll up to an office with a truck to keep documents in-house for the most part, and can even provide some solutions or guidance on how to set up your digital files. And if it’s something easy like receipts, Shoeboxed offers a service where you send in your receipts, then scan and organize them all, and you’re all set.

Stop Printing!

A paperless office might be right for you and your business. Maybe it’s time to get rid of those printing costs like paper, printer leases, toner, ink, storage and more by going all-digital. And, think of all that time you’ll save by not standing around the printer/copier waiting for you document to print!

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

Facebook Groups : BBP – Episode 43

Facebook Groups : BBP – Episode 43

Facebook Groups

Part of the intrigue of social media was the ability to interact with your friends, family, co-workers and other like-minded people throughout the world. Unfortunately, sites like Facebook have been reduced to vehicles to segment ourselves by political beliefs, brand support, or even what we find funny.

But what if I told you there was a way to use Facebook to be better at your job, your personal hobbies, or just things you enjoy?

That’s what Facebook Groups can do.

Facebook Groups are a vehicle that like-minded people can use to distribute and discuss issues, problems and ideas. Some are totally secret, some have to approve new members, and some take any and all members that wish to join. Groups can be a nice distraction from your general Facebook feed and a great place to bounce ideas, get uplifting support, or maybe even some constructive criticism.

FB GroupsJoining A Facebook Group

The way most people participate in groups is by joining several groups. As I stated earlier, there is a group for nearly ANY interest. I’ve joined groups for small business owners, WordPress development, mobile DJ’s, Brittany dog owners, local wedding vendors, motorcycle riders, hunting/fishing, and much more. In each of these groups there are other people with at least one similar interest and will communicate on questions or comments regarding that interest.

Joining a Facebook Group is easy. Search for it, find the group, and click Join Group. But here are some more tips when you’re looking for some groups to join:

  • If you belong to other groups, online or not, find out from other members if they have joined other groups on Facebook.
  • Join several similar groups, then quickly determine which groups are useful and which are not, then unsubscribe the ones that don’t fit your needs.
  • Be active in the discussions. Ask questions. Provide answers. Input some humor into the group where applicable. Be… nice….!

Creating A Facebook Group

Not finding a group that fits exactly what you need or want? Create your own Facebook Group!

It’s free, the creation process is relatively easy, and the result can be very fulfilling.

However, be advised that owning a Facebook Group can be a lot of work depending on your subject, your members, and your personal goals for the group.

Here are a few things to consider before you create a group:

  • A group can be created for nearly any topic of interest. Have a tool you use for work, a hobby you spend a fair amount of time learning, or just an obscure skill? Start a group and see if there are any others with the same interest.
  • Do you have time to spend managing the group?
  • Are you going to approve everyone interested, or is there a manual process involved to allow users access?
  • If you are going to approve new members, do you have a documented criteria of what is needed in order to join?
  • Once approved, do you have a method of monitoring the posts and comments in order to discipline, or eventually remove users from the group?
  • If you don’t have time to monitor, are you willing (able?) to let others monitor the discussions for you?
  • How will you attract new members to the group? Other social media channels? Other online media (podcasts, YouTube)? Traditional media like radio, TV, newspapers or magazines? Or are you going to just allow search and word of mouth to attract visitors?

Facebook Groups can be a powerful, useful piece of your social media services. But, if used too much, or without restrictions can end up being a distraction in an stream already cresting its banks. Find topics useful and interesting to you, join them, or create your own, and you will start seeing some benefit from Facebook beyond the usual birthdays, lunch posts, and meme photos.

Episode 43 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast

In episode 43 we talk about some of the things listed here, and expand on them a bit. We also talk about my Samsung Chromebook Pro, which I started using last week as my out-of-the-office computer. Check it out below, or subscribe to the podcast.

Don’t forget to send us any suggestions for apps to review or people to interview. And subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio

And as always, leave the technical stuff to us!

WEBSITE LAUNCH – Aspire Homes #DareToAspire

WEBSITE LAUNCH – Aspire Homes #DareToAspire

BeBizzy Consulting is proud to announce the launch of our latest website, DareToAspireND.com!

Greg and Brandon have formed Aspire Homes to use their years of construction and home building experience to build your dream home in the Bismarck – Mandan area. Contact them to view one of their currently under construction homes in some of the newest developments in the area, or to create a plan on a lot you’ve already purchsed.

#DareToAspire

http://DareToAspireND.com

WEBSITE LAUNCH – Stadium Bar and The Lodge

WEBSITE LAUNCH – Stadium Bar and The Lodge

BeBizzy Consulting is proud to announce the launch of our latest website, StadiumLodge.com!

A sports bar on one side of the building, and a restaurant on the other with the same food and drink on both sides. Also has a beautiful patio during the summer months, gaming, special musical events, and more.

Take your team, your co-workers, or your friends over to the Stadium Bar and The Lodge for lunch, pre-game meal, or just a fun night out watching the game or taking in some local musical talent.

http://stadiumlodge.com

WordPress 4.8 Available

WordPress 4.8 Available

WordPress 4.8 Is Available

The new version of WordPress (codename Evans) was released today, so if you are someone that updates regularly download it now, or run the updater in your installation.  While I didn’t see any documented security fixes with this release, there’s always some bug fixes or patches for security holes. Be ready for smaller updates to appear in the next few weeks as security leaks appear and are patched.

Samsung Chromebook Pro AmazonSome of the features available in the new version of WordPress 4.8 are:

  • Image Widget – Most of us have looked to insert an image in a widget and have had to upload to the image library, grab the location of the image, and then code an image insert into HTML. FINALLY there’s an easy way to insert images built into the widget editor.
  • Video & Audio Widget – Like images, it’s been a manual process to add video and audio to the widgets. That’s been fixed with this update.
  • Rich Text Widgets – Speaking of FINALLY, users can now add all sorts of text formatting to widget text. Bullets, bolding, easy text links are now all possible in the widget editor.
  • Admin Panel Headings – changes in how the Admin panel looks and works remove the “Add New” links in the Admin headings.
  • Removal of dead technology – Silverlight, WMV and WMA files have been removed from the core, so plugins may be required to continue to use anything featuring these formats.
  • JavaScript Text Editor – Need to change some JavaScript without using an outside editor? Open it right in the WordPress editor and make your changes!

There are several other changes in the WordPress system, and they can all be viewed here : https://wordpress.org/news/2017/06/evans/

BeBizzy Consulting automatically updates all websites we have developed whenever possible to ensure the most current, most secure code for our customers. If you’re ready to launch YOUR new website, give us a call at 701.214.6271 or use our contact form.