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Lasco Newsletter

Summer 2013

Greetings,
  
I hope your summer has been fun and filled with family and friends. The UP has been full of many different festivals and outdoor events to keep everyone busy. There is no shortage of activities around here!
As I was considering my topic for this issue of our newsletter, I determined the urgency and weight of one particular topic cannot be delayed. I cannot stress enough the importance of Vendor Management. You know that your company is doing everything by the book, but how do you know your vendors are? 
Some questions we recommend as you investigate your vendors are as follows: 
What is their financial strength? Is there consistency of management or instead a high turnover? What is their corporate direction? Do they have a long-term strategic plan? Are they current with technology? Is your data secure with your current vendor?
We also recommend that you monitor their audit outcomes and how the discrepencies are handled. (Please see the article in this issue titled "Vendor Management" for more tips.)
Another way to ensure you are performing proper vendor management is to attend conferences highlighting vendor management best practices. FIS recently held one of these conferences titled "In-Depth Conference". One of our employees attended and received a vast sum of valuable information. I find these events to be very beneficial for learning a good deal of relevant and valuable information in a short amount of time.  If you need help getting started or simply would like an outside perspective, Lasco is a great resource, please don't hesitate to find out how we can help. I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, and remember to spend some time relaxing before the next season approaches. 
  
Regards,
  
Dennis VanLandschoot
President & CEO
Lasco
  
  
800-800-6197 Ext. 1051                                                     dennis@lascoinc.com
  
In This Issue
Product Spotlight
Vendor Management
Securing Your Infrastructure
Protecting Your Computer Eyes
Credit Card Fraud
Tech News
In-House News
Employee Spotlight
Quote of the Quarter
Product Spotlight: Mitel Anyware
Communications in the Cloud 
 

Looking for a cloud-based communications system for your office? Need mobile twinning so your calls will be re-routed to your cell phone in case of power outage? How about an auto-attendant? Lasco and ESG have a great solution for you. Pricing is per-user based and our team of highly knowledgeable professionals will install the system for you, all while hosting all information in a highly secure data center. This system's ease of use will please even the least tech-savvy employee, yet all the high-tech capabilities that keep your company competitive and flexible are at your disposal. If you are considering an alternative to your current phone system or are simply interested in what options are available, we would be happy to demonstrate this or any other product at your earliest convenience.

 

Contact Tim Shandonay for further details (906-228-1044 or tims@lascoinc.com).

Vendor Management...
... Is For Everyone 
 

Whether you're a financial institution, a contractor or an insurance company, if you run a business you should be performing vendor management on an annual basis.   Vendor management is the annual process of reviewing all of your vendors.   Your goal is to ensure that the vendors you are working with and relying on for services that are critical to the function of your business, are stable and meeting their contractual obligations.   At a minimum, on an annual basis you should be reviewing the vendors that you are most dependent upon. During this review you should be looking at the following items:

Contract - Expiration date, renewal terms, is the vendor meeting their obligations as outlined in the contract?

Certificate of Insurance - Is it up to date and able to cover the amount of your contract?

Financial Statements - Is the company financially sound?

Organizational Chart - Has there been a great deal of turnover?

Security Policies/Programs - Does the vendor have strong security? Do they have access to any of your company's confidential data? If they do, are you requiring the vendor to sign confidentiality agreements?

Disaster Recovery - If the vendor you rely on has a disaster what is their plan to be up and running?

These are just a sampling of the items you should be reviewing when performing annual due diligence on your vendors. As technology keeps changing and becomes more and more stream lined, these types of due diligence activities become more important. Whether it's offsite backups, "cloud" storage, web hosting, or an I.T. service provider, knowing who you are working with and how they operate is crucial in today's world.

For more information on how to perform vendor management, please contact Melissa Murphy, Vice President, 906-228-1060 or melissa@lascoinc.com.

 

Article written by: Melissa Murphy, Vice President

 

Securing your Infrastructure
Standardization 
 

There are a lot of movies about hackers and their glorious green blinking cursor moving to and fro causing destruction and chaos. There are not any movies about IT departments systematically going through new computers and removing unneeded programs and limiting user rights to those that are actually needed. I suppose the reason is that it is not nearly as glorious, however I would like to suggest the former doesn't happen without the neglect of the latter.

Before a new device is connected to the network, a process needs to occur which will tighten security and reduce the risk of exploitation: secure standardization. It is important that this process is repeatable and documented. There will be different sets of standards based on what kind of device it is. This process covers the steps taken from the minute you remove the device from the box until you have it in use and will continue to be used to audit the devices in the future.

The reason we need secure standards is because attacks really do happen. I would argue they are not as flawless and polished as Hollywood would have us believe; however that does not negate the very real threat. One way to prevent attacks is to remove any unnecessary software. Don't use that Ask Toolbar in Internet Explorer? Get rid of it. Does your ATM really need Adobe reader? Get rid of it. Trialware that constantly nags you? Get rid of it. I think you get the point. Any software can and will have bugs in them which could allow an attacker a way in.

As you are creating your standards I have found a couple resources to be useful. The Center for Internet Security, National Institute of Standards & Technology, and the Federal Desktop Core Configuration are all large organizations that have been through the hoops. They have done the work and created some very detailed configuration standards. If you don't understand everything they have there don't add it to yours. However, it is a good place to get ideas.

In the end, the goal is to give the bad guys less targets to shoot at and keep your information safe and secure. 

 

Article written by: Ryan Valiquette, Logical Security Officer/Support Technician

For questions on this topic you can reach Ryan at 800-800-6197 Ext. 1056 or ryanv@lascoinc.com.  

Protecting Your Computer Eyes

Most of us spend the majority of our workday on a computer but a lot of us may not know the best way to maintain good visibility with your computer screen. Using your computer monitor improperly or under less than ideal conditions can cause chronic eye strain and fatigue which can put a real cramp in your workflow. When you're using your computer, try these tips to keep your eyes - and yourself - from working quite so hard:

  • Check your monitor positioning. When sitting at your workstation naturally, your monitor(s) should be between 20 and 40 inches away from your eyes; it should also be between 5 and 20 below eye level. Having a display outside of this range can put unnecessary strain on your eyes.
  • Use low contrast wallpapers. If your network policy allows it, change your wallpaper to a neutral plain color or lower contrast image that makes your desktop items easier to see. Having bright or vibrant wallpaper images makes icons and text harder to see.
  • Use a comfortable resolution. The resolution of your screen is what makes the type or images that are visible seem larger or smaller. If you have to lean forward or back to clearly see the text on your screen, you probably need to adjust your resolution.
  • Don't be afraid of zoom features. Most software programs like Word, Excel, and Outlook, alongside all web browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, etc...) have a built-in zoom feature to make text easer to see when reading or typing. Use the feature by holding down the [CTRL] or "control" key on your keyboard and moving the scroll wheel on your mouse (forward to zoom in, backward to zoom out).

Using these simple steps can keep your eyes healthy and can even make you more productive! If you need help using any of these features or have any questions about them, you can always call the Lasco Technical Support team to help you out!

  
Article written by: Tyler Moore, Support Technician

For questions on this topic you can reach our Tech Department at 800-800-6197 Ext. 1045 or support@lascoinc.com.  


Credit Card Fraud
How Small Businesses Can Protect Themselves
 

We've all been aware of how prevalent credit card fraud is and there is countless information on how individuals can protect themselves. But, how does a business protect themselves from credit card thieves placing orders online or by phone? 

Many times a business cannot re-coup their losses. In many cases, the owner of the credit card is not liable for the purchase and the credit card company is not obligated to investigate. 

There are some safeguards a business can use to protect them against credit card fraud.

  1.  Be sure to collect all the information from the credit card.
    1. Name of cardholder
    2. Full credit card number
    3. Complete address and phone number associated with card holder. This will allow you to use the address verification service which will compare the billing address supplied by the customer with the bank's current database.
    4. Make sure to get the 3 or 4 digit code. The code does not appear on any receipts so unless the user  has the physical card they will not be able to give this to you.
    5. Another option is to call the credit card issuing bank and request that they contact the customer to verify the charge.  According to Visa, using the card verification method can reduce chargebacks by as much as 26%.
  2. Be careful about orders being shipped or billed to places other the card holders  billing address.
    1. This can be a sign of fraudulent use, request phone numbers for both  addresses . With this information you can use a web site like "www.anywho.com", this integrates telephone numbers, maps and e-mail addresses to confirm if a billing address is legitimate or not.
  3. Watch out for unusually large next-day orders. 
    1. Orders of  non-typical size or a next day delivery at your business should always be a red flag, while not all these are fraudulent they are the most typically used. 
    2. For International orders some countries especially developing nations, have a bad reputation for fraud. Experts actually advise against shipping any order internationally that have different "bill to" and "ship to" addresses.
  4. Do everything possible to validate the order before shipping it.
    1. When orders are not placed in person, anything you can do to prove the customer is the true credit card holder is beneficial.  One way, may  be to ask for a  fax of their drivers license. Most times the fraudulent users will not have this physical item  and therefore may give up.
  5. Take immediate steps to reduce damage if fraud is discovered. 
    1. First, call the police and report the crime. 
    2. Then call the cardholders issuing bank and ask someone to make a courtesy call to the cardholder. Let the bank know you have the address where the charged product is being shipped.
    3. When cardholder calls you, convince him or her to report the crime to the police in the city where the product was shipped. It may be possible for you to recover the stolen merchandise.

The last tip, and probably the most obvious, trust your instincts. If the caller does not seem confident in the information he or she is giving or you feel uncomfortable sending the merchandise, don't do it.  It may be better to lose an order than to risk giving it away.

 

Article submitted by: Sherri Sheldon, Bank Services Support - Item Processing/Check 21

Original article written by the NFIB Small Business Legal Center and posted online here: http://www.nfib.com/business-resources/business-resources-item?cmsid=29075  

Tech News...
In-House News...

A recent golf outing raised $1,120 for the Delta Animal Shelter. The golf outingDelta Animal Shelter Donation  sponsors included Lasco, Associated Bank, BOSC Inc, Charter Business, Enterprise Systems Group, FIS, First Service Corporation and the Form House.

Shown in the photo from Left to Right are Tim Shandonay (Lasco's VP of IT), Susan Gartland (Shelter Manager), Robert Baer (Lasco's VP of Bank Services) and Jennifer Bloniarz (Adoption Specialist).

Employee Spotlight
Sherri Sheldon, Bank Services Support - Item Processing/Check 21, celebrating 10 years of employment at Lasco! During her time of employment at Lasco her duties have seen many changes, although her area of expertise remains unchanged and she continues to be a valuable employee.
Sherri & her husband Steven enjoy spending time with family, especially their children and grandchildren. They can often be found fishing, or taking the grandkids to the park or the zoo. Sherri also enjoys reading and socializing and relies heavily on her faith in God. She can often be found sharing her joy with others.
  
Jennifer Wilson, Bank Services Support - Item Processing/Check 21, celebrating 10 years of employment at Lasco! Jennifer is a full-time mother of three as well as working part-time here at Lasco. She enjoys spending time with her husband, riding the motorcycle and taking the kids camping. She especially enjoys baking kid-friendly desserts with her kids! She also loves music and is a member of her church choir.
  
Emily Wright, Administrative Assistant, celebrating 5 years of employment at Lasco! Emily truly enjoys her position at the company and is always happy to help others with projects or simply making sure they have what they need. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her husband Jeremy, their nephews and friends and mentoring younger women. She also enjoys kayaking, snowshoeing, gardening, cooking & baking, and volunteering at their church. She and her husband also just finished building their house. Her goals include enjoying life to the fullest and encouraging others along the way.
  
Noah Fazer, Support Technician, celebrating 1 year of employment at Lasco!

Noah holds an associates degree in Computer Networks Systems and Security from Bay De Noc Community College, and is Microsoft Technology Associate certified in Windows Networking, Windows Operating Systems, and Windows Security. 

Outside of Lasco, he is a typical "Yooper" who enjoys anything to do with being outside, from hunting to kayaking, and everything in between. His favorite weekend hideout is his family camp outside of Escanaba. He is also an avid runner, and enjoys golfing when he has the time.

Quote of the Quarter...
   
"If you have a little money in the bank or spare change in a dish someplace... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy." *
  
*Source: "1: How Many People Does It Take To Make a Difference?"
                  by Dan Zadra and Kobi Yamada
  
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