Apply This One Essential Advertising Principle To Sell Your Product Right

From: Intuit QuickBooks, by Katherine Gustafson

At the end of the film The Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo diCaprio, is coaching would-be salesmen by asking them to sell him a pen. As he hands the silver pen to each one, they start describing the pen and its benefits: the pen is nice, the pen works, the pen can help you write your thoughts. Each time, Belfort moves on, unsatisfied.

What kind of sales pitch is he looking for? The one he wants was given to him earlier in the film by his drug dealer friend, Brad, who grabs the pen and says to Belfort, “Write your name.” Belfort replies, “I can’t, I don’t have a pen.” Sold! <READ MORE>

Law Technology Today’s Top 10 Articles of 2014

From: Law Technology Today, Posted by: Gwynne Monahan January 13, 2015

Last week we looked back at the standout articles and posts from Law Practice Magazine and Law Practice Today in 2014. Now, we’re taking a look back at this blog and some of its thought-provoking, or otherwise interesting posts. I confess this has been tricky, as there is such good content; my inclination is to point you to the archives and call it a day.

I could do this the long way, like a 70,000 word exposition of all the good content, but I’m opting for the short way: a manageable post covering the Top 10 based on analytics. <READ MORE>

The 5 Best Websites for Business Cards

From: Intuit QuickBooks, by Megan Sullivan

Even with our growing reliance on technology, having a business card ready for an impromptu meeting, networking event or long-anticipated face-to-face consultation is still important. Fortunately, with the advent of design and do-it-yourself sites, you no longer need to be a design wizard to have an eye-catching business card.

Below is a roundup of five of the best online locations for designing and ordering your business cards. Some key things to remember as you sort through this list and others are:

Design

How important is it that your business card stands out from the pack? If you’re looking for something truly unique, it might be best to invest in the services of a freelance graphic designer (try Elance or 99designs) who can create something completely original for you.

Cost and Quantity

Chances are you don’t need 10,000 business cards. Make sure to examine the quantity levels available as well as the related costs. Obviously, the more you order, the more you save, but stockpiling business cards may not be the best option, especially if you anticipate any changes in your title or contact information, including updating a phone number, email or address.

Look and Feel

If the stock of the paper is important to you (not too thin, not too thick), you might want to spend some time at an office supply store getting an idea of the different weights of paper (referred to as “pounds”). Your typical sheet of printer paper is 20 pounds, while your typical business card is 80-pound cover. If you want to be sure you’re getting what you want, it might be best to acquaint yourself with these weights before ordering online.

Resources

A quick note about this list: It includes sites with the primary purpose of providing business materials. There are other sites online that offer business cards as one of their product categories (i.e. Zazzle) that are not listed here. <READ MORE>

CryptoWall ransomware variant has new defenses

This ransomware began to surface in our area back in October, 2014.  Please take a moment to review the article.  The battle continues.

From: PC World, by Jeremy Kirk, January 8, 2015

CryptoWall, one of a family of malware programs that encrypts files and demands a ransom from victims, has undergone a revamp that is frustrating security researchers.

At one time, CryptoWall was a second-rate successor to CryptoLocker, which largely disappeared after law enforcement shut down the Gameover Zeus botnet that was used to distribute it.

Ransomware has been around for more than a decade, but cybercriminals have resurrected the scam over the last couple of years with surprising success. Files on computers infected with ransomware are encrypted, and victims are encouraged to pay a ransom—usually in the virtual currency Bitcoin—to unlock their files.

Dell SecureWorks estimated in August 2014 that CryptoWall had infected 600,000 computers in the previous six months, netting as much as $1 million in ransoms. The fee demanded ranges from $100 to $500. <READ MORE>

10 Time Saving Technology Troubleshooting Tactics

From: Law Technology Today, Posted by: Craig Huggart January 6, 2015

Don’t you hate it when you are in a hurry to meet a deadline and your technology fails you? It happens to everybody, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Next time it happens to you, these tactics can help you move forward faster. You don’t have to be a geek to do these things, you just have to be willing to try.

In the 30 years I’ve been working with technology, the specifics have changed in huge ways but the principles are still the same. It doesn’t matter is you are using a Windows PC, a Mac, an iPad, an Android device, or whatever, these tactics work.<READ MORE>

What Is a Contingency Plan and Why Does Your Business Need One?

From: Intuit QuickBooks, Suzanne Kearnson December 24, 2014

For 2015 – Start off the New Year by ensuring your Business stays in Business.

You’re humming along in your business, and suddenly — out of the blue — the unexpected happens. It could be in the form of a natural disaster, or something else, like a medical emergency for you or your most valuable employee. You could lose your entire data system to a tech glitch, or sales of your new product could flat-line.

Any of these events could prevent a business from functioning, and that’s where contingency planning can save the day. Stephen Bush, who is CEO of AEX Commercial Financing Group and has 30 years as a small-business consultant, sums it up: “Contingency planning involves asking yourself what could go wrong for every aspect of your business, and then preparing an action plan for what you will do if that happens.” Here is a four-step process you can use to prepare a contingency plan for your business. <READ MORE>

What the Sony hack can teach us about protecting our email

From: PC World, by Tony Bradley, December 23, 2014

While the buzz around the Sony hack has shifted to the impact on free speech, and terrorist threats against movie theaters that dare to show the movie The Interview, there are many layers to the Sony debacle. One element that made for salacious headlines immediately following the hack, but has since faded from the spotlight, was the hackers’ dumping of company emails onto the Web.

The messages of Sony executives were both damaging and embarrassing. The fallout should remind us that there are likely a few things in all our email archives that could be humiliating if a hacker, hacktivist, or malicious insider published the contents for all to see. I have thousands, or tens of thousands of emails, going back for years. It’s safe to assume that something in there would at least be embarrassing, if not damaging to me personally or professionally as well. <READ MORE>

8 Ways to Keep Your Business From Being Hacked

From: Intuit QuickBooks, by Laura McCamy on December 15, 2014

Just because your business is small, don’t imagine you’re immune to the predatory tactics of malicious hackers. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) reports that 50 percent of small-business owners in a 2013 survey said they had experienced a cyber attack. Security breaches can be a serious problem for small businesses because they often don’t have the resources to recover from an attack.

If you are feeling overwhelmed at the thought of adding one more item to your overflowing to do list, there is good news. NCSA Executive Director Michael Kaiser offers eight ways to protect your data and your business.

1. Don’t Be Complacent

“It’s likely that small businesses are more vulnerable than larger businesses that are making larger investments in security. The bad guys know that,” Kaiser says. Cyber criminals have lots of tricks up their sleeves, from creating fake payroll entries to finding ways to siphon money out of your business bank account. “An operation that has good cash flow could have a fair amount of money in the bank at any given time,” he says, which makes it an attractive target. <READ MORE>

How to train your staff on cyber security (and make it stick)

From: PC World, By , December 18, 2014

A strong security policy is one thing. Employees’ actual security behaviors are often quite another. In the complex and rapidly changing world of cyber security, experts say that training is essential to keep workers up to speed – and ensure your business stays safe.

How do you teach employees security tactics, and make sure they actually utilize them? Try these five tips to start: <READ MORE>

In Depth: Cloud Computing for Lawyers

From: Law Technology Today, Posted by: Gwynne Monahan August 29, 2014

The phrase “cloud computing” is ubiquitous. Instagram. Dropbox. Google Apps. Evernote. Netflix. There is little in every day life not touched by cloud computing. That’s increasingly true for the practice of law and running a law firm as well. Here’s what you need to know to get the most of cloud computing applications, with an eye on ethics and client confidentiality.

The Basics of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing, broadly defined, is a category of software and services delivered over the Internet rather than installed locally on a user’s computer. Cloud computing offers a variety of potential advantages, including:

  • Low upfront costs.
  • Access from any device with an Internet connection.
  • Simple setup and configuration.
  • Built-in disaster preparedness.

Using cloud computing applications in your practice can give you freedom and flexibility. For example, it removes the worry of losing a day of work for solo and small firm lawyers, and it lets cross-country or otherwise disparate teams collaborate efficiently at mid-size and large law firms. Because cloud computing places data–particularly client data–on remote servers outside of the lawyer’s direct control, it is also cause for some concern regarding client confidentiality and the applicable rules of professional conduct.  Each lawyer considering using cloud-based tools will need to weigh those concerns and make sure they’re confident they’re taking reasonable steps to protect their clients. Further reading: Lawyers and the Cloud: 3 Myths Debunked