I hope you are enjoying all that this season has to offer before the snow settles in. It's fitting that as the clouds outside are taking their place in the skies for the wintry season, Lasco is researching and developing a new model moving forward under the Cloud Computing concept. Many people across the globe are still learning about Cloud Computing, while others have been using forms of this concept for quite some time. The term itself is very general and many forms of technology and its use fall under this definition. The model that we're pursuing is a "Community Cloud" concept, that encompasses mutli-user shared infrastructure, but focuses on the target's needs such as security, regulatory compliance, performance and stability. There are a number of prevalent points that make the cloud concept compelling. Resiliency to hardware and/or infrastructure failure is inherent to cloud services. Because resources are shared from a pool, scalability is easily achieved as needs change through dynamic allocation of system resources. From the security perspective, cloud infrastructure benefits from the data center layered security approach. Equivalent security controls are often not cost justified and small businesses typically don't have the technical background to implement complex security while maintaining usability. Cloud data center environments and the centralization of resources, applications and data allows end users more flexibility in accessing their environments. I invite you to contact myself or Tim Shandonay (800-800-6197 Ext. 1044 or firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have any questions regarding this new technology model that Lasco is embracing. As always, our goal is to bring you the best and most reliable technology at a reasonable price in order for you to succeed.
I wish you and yours the best this Holiday Season.
President & CEO
A Must For the Corporate World
In the 90's it was unheard of for a business not to have a company website or web page. In today's world it's becoming similar with Social Media. It's almost unheard of for a business not to have involvement in some type of Social Media, such as a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Twitter, YouTube or some type of blog. According to recent studies, social media use by businesses grew from 42% in 2008 to 80% in 2011. Social media is now used by more than 90% of small businesses. A significant 83% of marketers said that social media was important to their business.
Unfortunately, some marketers rush into the world of social media without defining a strategy or creating a good plan. Every business is different, so your plan needs to be based on your needs. A few items taken from a Social Media Marketing Conference I recently attended in Marquette are as follows:
- Study your current customer base and ask:
- Who are my current customers
- Why do they do business with me
- What are the common characteristics and interests
- Which customers bring in the most business
- Check out your competition
- Who are your competitors targeting
- Who are their current customers
- Look for a niche market your competition may be overlooking
- Analyze your product/service
- Make a list of the features of your product or service
- List the benefits of each feature
- Make a list of people or groups who have a need for your product/service
By answering these questions, you may get a good start of what type of social media your business needs. For example: if you sell real estate, you may want to have a Facebook page that would drive customers to your website. How about creating a LinkedIn profile where you could possibly locate a local realtor group to join for networking with other agents or possible purchasers. Or perhaps a Twitter account, where a quick tweet of a new listing could be sent out to prospective buyers.
Having a grasp on your target market means you'll be able to make correct choices for which social media platforms will work best to reach your potential customers. Still don't think Social Media will benefit you? Watch the following video to see just how prominent social media is becoming: http://givinginadigitalworld.org/2012/11/08/socialnomics-social-media-revolution-video-updated-for-2013/
The Perfect Storm
Don't be fooled! There is a lot of buzz surrounding the roll out issues with the Affordable Care Act's healthcare.gov website. That has set the stage for a story that isn't as obvious; fake health care websites designed to steal information.
Information thieves have typically preyed on the latest hot topics via spam in your mailbox, ads on webpages or hijacking google results to point to malicious websites. However, this opportunity has unique advantages for the cyber-criminal.
First of all, the customer is expecting to enter sensitive information not only about them but their entire family as insurance applications typically do. This opens the door for a fake website to ask for social security numbers, bank account numbers and other sensitive information more readily.
The part that saddens me the most in such stories is that it is usually the most vulnerable who fall prey to these scams. Please help spread the word about this risk. There are a couple things the Better Business Bureau recommends to help avoid these risks.
- Don't search for the website via Google or other search engines. Type Healthcare.gov directly into the address bar. From there you can get to the state level websites.
- Make sure that the address bar shows a secure connection and verify the identity. It is important to note if the address in the certificate matches the website you intended to go to. This type of security only encrypts your information between your computer and the website, if it is a fake website the attacker still harvests your information
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 email@example.com.
Face To Face Communication
We all know that 'communication is key', whether in personal relationships or business relationships. Many business partnerships have been lost and many won, all based on the effectiveness of communication. As important as this element is to our lives and considering how often we participate in it... perhaps a quick look at being more effective at communication is in order. Below are some good reminders of 'best practice' when communicating face to face. I encourage you to take a moment with each one and consider how you can improve your own skills, even the ones you pride yourself on - there's always room for improvement.
- Give your full attention - put down the cell phone
- Repeat back what was just discussed to give opportunity for clarification
- Speak clearly
- Watch your volume! Speak loud enough to be heard, but not obnoxious or abrasive
- Don't interrupt
- Be honest, direct and concise - get to the point
- Be aware of your tone - it can imply more than you realize
- Keep a good attitude
- Don't react or be defensive - a thoughtful response can accomplish more
- Assume the best about the other person and consider you may not always have ALL of the facts
- Ask open-ended questions to get the other person's opinions and thoughts
- Make sure your responses are productive and not destructive
- Be honoring toward others in your speech
Remember, honoring others in your speech and action will show you to be trustworthy - often a rare quality. There are countless ways to improve ourselves and our communication skills, and countless times every day to practice. Just remember, each day is a new day and you can begin again to improve your skills - every day, every conversation.
Recommended articles on this topic:
How to Communicate Effectively at Work: http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2011/11/21/how-to-communicate-effectively-at-work/
10 Ways to Communicate Better at Work: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2012/08/14/10-ways-to-communicate-better-at-work-
Article written by: Emily Wright, Administrative Assistant
The Original Computer Bugs
When a computer does something it's not supposed to, we might use the old adage: "My computer's got a bug or something!" Do you know where this saying got its popularity of usage? This one, as you may or may not have known, actually did come from a literal origin. Here's a little history on how the "bug" got its status.
In 1945, Navy Captain and computer programmer Grace Hopper was operating the Mark II computer at a Navy research lab in Dahlgren, Virginia, when the machine stopped functioning normally. (At that time, computer machines occupied large rooms and had hundreds of electrical switches to do what now happens on a nearly 2-inch square processing unit.) After a long troubleshooting inspection, Captain Hopper was able to identify the cause of the failure: a moth had managed to lodge itself between two electrical switch contacts, causing the respective circuit to fail, throwing off all subsequent switch actions. (Taylor, 1984)
After removing the moth, the next execute cycle of the computer went normally and Captain Hopper happily announced that she had fixed the first real computer bug. This term usage, combined with her arguably impeccable computer "de-bugging" abilities demonstrated in her future projects brought the term to popularity. The rogue moth itself was disposed of at the time, but the log book entry documenting the moth's discovery and removal can be seen at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. (Hughey, 2012)
Hughey, R. (n.d.). Log Book With Computer Bug. Retrieved from National Museum of American History: http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_334663
III, A. L. (1984, April 16). The Wizard Inside The Machine. Time Magazine , p. 2.
Article written by: Tyler Moore, Support Technician
- American Banker Magazine names FIS to the #1 spot for the FinTech 100 for Pioneering Mobile Payment Technology. *
- Rural areas will soon see faster and more reliable internet connections as the government speeds up telecom projects on federal lands. **
- Thanks to new image recognition software, consumers will soon be able to use the camera on their smartphone to scan a product, identify it, and purchase it all from their mobile phone. ***
** The Kiplinger Letter: Vol. 90, No. 39
*** The Kiplinger Letter: Vol. 90, No. 42
Lasco employees donate to UPAWS (Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter). Every Friday, Lasco employees donate $1 for the privilege to wear casual clothing to work. At the end of each quarter the money is matched by Lasco and an organization is chosen to receive the funds.
Pictured from left to right are: Kellie Johnson (VP of Bank Services), Lareina Van Strien (Manager of UPAWS) and Sandy Etelamaki (Bank Services Customer Support)
Robert Baer, Vice President of Bank Services, celebrating 17 years of employment at Lasco! Robert has filled many different roles in both the Bank Services and IT sides of our business. Through his years at Lasco he has witnessed and taken part in many changes that have been made in the banking industry. During his time away from the office he enjoys spending time with family and friends, though his most cherished moments are spent with his wife and two young boys. They enjoy everything that gets them into the great outdoors including: golfing, boating, and camping just to name a few.
Kellie Johnson, Vice President of Bank Services, celebrating 17 years of employment at Lasco! Starting in Bank Services as a balancer, she has enjoyed all areas of the bank services department, including customer support, data report writing (BIC), product and bank conversions to name a few.
Kellie & her husband Scott enjoy spending time with family, including their 2 children, Taylor (21) and Tyler (17). They can often be found riding their Harley, or spending time at their camp near the Houghton area. Kellie also enjoys workouts at the gym, cooking and watching the Redwings!
|Quote of the Quarter...|
"If you can drink from your kitchen faucet whenever you want... you are more fortunate by far than 1.5 billion people who have no access to clean water at all." *
*Source: "1: How Many People Does It Take To Make a Difference?"
by Dan Zadra and Kobi Yamada
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