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site gets hacked, you are liable. Use a hosted shopping cart solution.” Jeter also recommends changing the default password on your router to limit or prevent access to your network, the starting point for many security breaches. “Another thing you could possibly do to protect your data in your home security network is to restrict the MAC address for each of your devices directly with your router,” says Jeter. “Basically any computer, every phone, every device that can connect to the Internet has a MAC address. You can restrict access to your router to only machines where the MAC address is registered with that router.” Restricting access to your data remains one
of the primary focuses of cyber security for small businesses and individuals. “Data security is one of these things that needs to become part of our day-to-day routine,” says Fred Aebli, instructor and internship coordinator at Penn State Information and Science Technology, Worthington-Scranton Campus. “It has to become a practice that’s a process. It has to become ingrained in your employees that they have to be aware of the customers’ data, their privacy. It has to become part of the day-to-day work attitude and process. Anybody and everybody is at risk.” As a victim of identity theft, Aebli knows firsthand the importance of cyber security. “It’s not just running scans or malware,” he says. “It’s a layered
Who are you and what are you doing on my website? By Jack Reager
When I started working as a web developer, there was a great deal of software that my company purchased a license for (which in hindsight I realize cost a small fortune). By using that software, I was able to find out all sorts of interesting things about the visitors to the websites I was employed to manage. What did they do when they got there? What web browser were they using? What resolution was the monitor that our site was displayed on? Each of these questions had answers for us that shaped what we did with not only our clients’ current websites, but subsequent redesigns. We used this knowledge to help us build a better product for our clients, generating in more sales for them. In 2005, Google Analytics completely changed the way businesses drove traffic to their websites and how my company worked…for absolutely free. Google Analytics has evolved in many ways from the original product but more importantly, web developers have changed the ways in which they use the information. Today, marketers don’t care much to know what monitor resolution viewers are using. How a viewer got to a client’s website, for example, is vastly more important. Integrated marketing campaigns mean that consistent messaging across all platforms— web, social, print, etc.— is critical to determining whether or not a campaign is successful and it’s never too late to be looking at if and how your organization can be learning from its website. It is not a question of if your organization should be using analytics, but a question of what you should be using analytics for. At BlackOut Design, when we first meet a new client, we ask them a few, very straightforward questions about how they want to be using their website and what they
hope to learn from it in terms of consumer data. A business should always be able to identify what people are reading and sharing from its website, what pages they’re looking at, and what pages the business actually wants them to see. Once a business can fill in these blanks, it’s up to the marketing firm to determine what is or isn’t working in a client’s overall marketing strategy. Armed with some key data, your business may be able to identify what might not be functioning correctly on your website or what content may need to be redone. Did you have 150 visitors land on your information request form and no one filled it out? Did 1, 500 people look at that fancy blue widget you were selling and yet not one sale? Maybe it’s time to look at pricing or the aesthetic of product placement. If the 10 hours a week you’re putting into crafting Facebook and LinkedIn content isn’t translating into new visits to your website, then it may be time to reexamine whether or not you’re spending your resources in the right marketing activities. The best and most accurate way to determine this is through a robust, efficient and user- friendly website. There are a host of features and some great benefits to using website analytics but it’s a running joke in our office that working with analytics can be a full time job. I typically joke that working with analytics can be a full time job. More precisely though it is very easy to get lost in the weeds and data that is available once you start working with it. That’s why it’s critical to make an investment in a marketing agency that will work with your organization, using analytics to help it grow and most importantly, define a return on your investment. Jack Reager is owner of BlackOut Design in Scranton.
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approach making sure that you are not sharing data through networks that are unsecure, making sure you don’t have the same password for everything. The password should be somewhat complex even though it’s a pain in the butt to remember.” Aebli suggests encrypting data and hard drives, especially for sales people with notebooks or laptops, and to do due diligence to vet outside services used in your business. “You need to make sure you take a look at your agreements and understand, ‘if I put my data out in the cloud, where is it residing?’” he says. “You should also ask, ‘when I want to move, if I want to leave your services, how easy is it to move my data from one personal service to the other? How are their data servers backed up? What happens if their cloud crashes? If you put your data out there, who else is sharing
that same location with it? Is it a competitor? How is it put out there in a secure fashion?’” While security of your online data may seem overwhelming, Aebli believes small business owners can follow best practices, implement basic strategies and policies or hire the experts. “Any time you have technology touching your business, you have risk and you have to manage it. We assume the technology sector is doing everything it can to protect us and they are. But at the same time, you have to make sure you understand what you can do also to safeguard data. There are certain steps people aren’t doing .. . .making sure to change passwords on a regular basis, making sure your virus scan and malware software is installed and checking to see it’s running. Bottom line: It goes back to education,” says Aebli.
are musicians, who have learned to use both sides of their brain.” ideas. One thing they cannot be is poor at interperAnnual earnings for a software developer are sonal relations. “One of the professional lessons widely varied, depending on the individual’s experiI’ve learned is that developers must deal with ence and capabilities. The BLS has indicated that, emotional people, which many young people are on a national scale, average annual earnings for not particularly good at,” says Speicher. developers during 2013 exceeded $96,000. Another key to creative problem solving is to Speicher says that new college graduates understand the consequences of particular lines of entering the job market can expect to earn $30,000 computer code. This skill, if not properly mastered, to $40,000 per year. While a few “super-star posican affect the operation of an entire company and tions” exist in NEPA, earnings for an experienced endanger precious data. developer can total $60,000 to $80,000. One of the biggest challenges Speicher now To forecast the future of software developfaces is talent acquisition. Although local schools ment, Speicher points out that modern IT has now produce some talent (Speicher praises the Univer- surpassed many of the developments foreseen in sity of Scranton as a “great source” for software the world of Star Trek. He is certain IT advancement education), he finds UM Tech often has to look will soon offer thumb scans with a cell phone, enfar and wide. For example, he notes he recently abling a customer to walk into store and pay for a received a resume from a job candidate in Pakistan. transaction quick and easily. Applications activated “It’s actually quite common for students from with eye (retina) recognition are also ahead. Pakistan and India to apply for IT jobs in the United Speicher forecasts that the term “container” will States,” says Speicher. “America ranks low in math soon become common. This word is being used to education, but the IT talent shortages we encounter define everything needed to run a program, includare bigger than the national problems with math.” ing all facets of the IT system. Another challenge that faces software de“Software powers IT and the internet, so the velopers involves the sheer stress of creating IT role of software developer is going to be around for deliverables that work flawlessly. Reality dictates a long time,” adds Speicher. that software written for a production environment * The Scientist will sometimes fail, so the developer has to take As an INTJ, your primary mode of living is focused interinto account ways to recover vital data. nally, where you take things in primarily via your intuition. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with IT professional must juggle many concerns things rationally and logically. at once, while dealing with distractions. Speicher INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. admits the distractions create some of the most They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they unpleasant situations. “Code writers have to keep their heads down, but they also need to participate continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others. in customer interaction,” says Speicher. “These are Read about the other personality types at www.personalitypage.com or www.keirsey.com some of the reasons why good developers often SOFTWARE DEVELOPER — continued from page nine