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How to Encourage the Sharing of Information in Your Team

Building a team is not always an easy thing to do. Not only do you need to find people who share common goals, but you need people who each bring something unique to the table. Unfortunately, the corporate environment has not always been one that fostered working well together, and so these two factors alone are insufficient for putting together a team willing to share information. In order to overcome this obstacle, it is first necessary to look at why we have so much trouble sharing what we know and then to find ways to encourage the sharing of information.

The Down Side of a Competitive Spirit

A little bit of competition is a good thing, but when that competitive drive to reach the top at all costs consumes you, it can be detrimental to working well in a team. Some people are overly competitive from a very early age, indeed, even toddlers are seen vying for mom’s attention. They will strike out at each other, bite, kick, scratch and scream their lungs out to be the one mom sees first. You might say this is normal behavior in a child that young and you might be right if it isn’t taken to extremes and if it is corrected by an astute mother.

But what of highly knowledgeable professionals who will do anything to claw their way up the corporate ladder? Have they somehow gotten themselves stuck in a juvenile mentality in terms of how they handle competition? This is the personality type that will work very hard to guard the information they have and will only share bits and pieces on a need to know basis. However, that could hold up a team for weeks, if not months or years if the information they are sitting on is a vital piece of a process that can’t continue unless all the pieces are fit together in tandem.

What You Can Do As Team Leader

After weeding out candidates who simply won’t be good team players, you are left with a group of individuals who, although willing to work together, may never have been briefed on the importance of sharing their piece of the pie. Understanding that you are working with individuals, sometimes it helps to have a non-confrontational way in which they can share what they have without fearing negative reactions of others in the group.

Some corporations even encourage team members to blog about their research on sites like presscave.com where you can write under a pseudonym if you want honest comments from other team members to whom you remain anonymous. There’s no threat there!

Some Companies Are Setting up Teams in the Cloud

Many companies have gone to setting up work spaces in the Cloud. Each team member is given access to the area he or she needs to work in and that is where they will leave what it is they know and where they expect to be within a given timeframe. These group spaces can be set up in a number of ways, either through dissemination of information through email, an online ‘conference room,’ or even a chat room where members can speak with select individuals, rather than the entire team, if that’s what they prefer.

In other words, by working in the Cloud you can meet briefly if need be, leave information for other team members to work through when they have time, and even access when they need your piece of the puzzle. This will often break down barriers so that team members have a sense of security when dealing with others.

The best way to encourage the sharing information is to provide a non-confrontational setting for the dissemination of knowledge. Most often, that space is in the Cloud.

6 Tips to Protect Your Business from Identity Theft

Identity theft is becoming an increasing concern for people, with major data breaches becoming a normal part of our daily news cycle. In fact, it is safe to say that your information is probably somewhere out in the void, just waiting for somebody to pick it up and start using it. This is not an exaggeration, this is just the unfortunate reality we have to deal with today.

As a business owner, you are most likely to be targeted by potential identity thieves not as an individual, but as a source. Your databases can be breached leaving all of your customers vulnerable, and putting your face on the news in a way you never wanted. To help protect your business from being targeted for identity theft, we offer six easy solutions to safeguard your company and your customers.

Secure Your Computer Infrastructure

Having a strong firewall and running anti-virus on a regular basis will save your company potential damage. There is an endless arms race running between security companies and hackers every second, and patches to anti-virus software are the only way for us to keep up. Failing to update your anti-virus is like refusing to cancel a lost credit card: you’re just asking for somebody to steal from you.

Change Passwords Regularly

Breaking into an account takes time, but it can be done. If you have been using the same password for the past five years that is more than enough time for somebody to have used brute force to figure out what it is. Adopt a policy of changing passwords at least once every three months, and do not use the same password in more than one place. This will foil brute force attempts to steal information. Require the same routine of your staff as well!

Compartmentalizing Customer Information

The information of your customers should remain on a need-to-know basis at all times. Identity thieves will often exploit your staff to attempt to pull customer information from them. Ensure that your staff only has the bare minimum customer information they need to do their job: they can’t reveal what they don’t know after all. Using identity verification techniques that minimize the exposure of confidential information ensures that the cause of identity theft is not somebody who works for you. Third-party identity verification services such as Cognito can help limit exposure to sensitive information.

Use Dedicated Devices

Do not let employees use their own devices for work related purposes. While employees mean well, their personal devices could be compromised in ways you cannot account for. So, make sure you have a clear distinction between work devices and personal devices. If an employee needs to work from home, the best option is to provide a device for them to use for work. At work, having a dedicated terminal for sensitive functions (like banking) will limit that terminal’s exposure to viruses and other ways to compromise it.

Educate Your Employees

The weakest link in any security arrangement is the human link. Educating your employees on proper security protocols can help reduce your business’s risk. Education is not perfect, but instilling a culture of good security practices will go a long way towards safeguarding your employees and customers from theft.

Insurance

If all else fails – making sure you have good insurance will protect your business from the fallout. No matter how much you work to protect your customers, a few will inevitably fall through the cracks. Having insurance will allow you to make it right with your customers without destroying your business.

Protect Your Customers, Protect Your Business

Remember that identity theft is, for the most part, preventable. While you cannot do anything about other companies that fail in their obligations, you can do something about your business. Following these steps will protect both yourself and your customers from the perils of identity theft and fraud.

5 Ways to Keep Your Employees Safe at Work

As a business owner, your employees are perhaps your most valuable assets. Any entrepreneur worth his salt knows that to please his customers, he must first address the happiness of his team – making sure workers are healthy, safe, and fulfilled in their roles.

When it comes to give and take, it’s not enough to provide extra holiday or bonuses to compensate hard work. As an employer, it is your duty to look after your workers, but above-par health and safety regulations will also benefit your business, so it’s worth going the extra mile. With this in mind, here are five ways to keep your employees safe at work.

Be Prepared

With the humdrum normality of everyday life in the office, it’s easy to think that your workplace is immune to danger. The reality is, none of us expect natural disasters or crime, and yet those unfortunate events still happen. The best way to protect your business is to prepare for the worst. Know that a break-in, cyber attack, or other crime could befall your workplace at any time, and have a written plan of action ready.

Follow Preventative Measures

Many people only install burglar alarms or extra locks after a burglary, so stay ahead of the game and prevent one happening in the first place. We often hear about the importance of data security, but it’s easy to forget that leaving your office building vulnerable to intruders puts real people at risk. If in doubt, contact your local law enforcement officials and ask them to run a risk assessment on your premises. Once you’re aware of your vulnerabilities, you can set about sealing the cracks in your defense.

Safeguard Your Vehicles

If your employees use vehicles for work, make sure they are regularly inspected, and that security measures are in place to protect their belongings. If you own three or more company vehicles, consider taking out fleet car insurance to reduce your overall expenses without compromising on complete coverage.

Check In With Your Employees

People are unpredictable, and you can never truly know what’s going on under the surface. Violent behavior often masquerades under a guise of normality until something provokes an outburst; so keep a close eye on each member of your team. If you run a large-scale business, make sure your managers are checking in with their employees regularly and keeping tabs on their mental health.

Follow Health and Safety Requirements

It goes without saying that you should follow health and safety requirements in your workplace, but during busy periods it’s easy to let your standards slip. Make sure your employees and managers are abiding by workplace safety rules, and arrange for regular inspections to make sure no one is cutting corners. It never hurts to be over-prepared, so talk to a workplace safety expert to ensure you have the appropriate measures in place.

Without the people who show up day after day, your business simply would not run. Therefore, it makes sense from a financial point of view (as well as a moralistic one) to keep your employees safe at work.

Why Data Cloud Storage Improves Business Performance

Technological infrastructure is a real headache for most businesses. Large or small, companies have to be ready for the unexpected, like a hard drive suddenly dying or an employee’s PC repeatedly showing the blue screen of death shortly after every reboot. When systems aren’t functioning right, any kind of strategy goes out the window because when you cannot deliver, your business is toast.

Here are a few reasons why cloud storage supports business performance.

Distributed File Architecture Supporting a Global Workforce

Companies no longer rely on an internal network to provide file access to everyone who needs it. With the increasing use of outside contractors, part-time employees, and home workers that require access to documents, spreadsheets, and other files from the company server, it becomes a real headache for IT departments. For smaller companies that don’t really have an IT department at all, the inconvenience is felt even more.

Using a cloud service designed for businesses that enable anyone with a mobile app or web browser to access the necessary company files, once they’ve passed through two-factor authentication, makes it simpler. There’s no complicated setup necessary because everyone can be given access to the folders they need in the secure cloud. File audit trails and multi-factor authentication protocols ensure that companies can keep track of who’s accessing what and verify that only the approved people can access shared files.

Stay Focused on Core Competencies

Running a proper data center with all the equipment and staff required is expensive and involved. Trying to do so on a small budget or as a small business takes the focus away from providing services to customers and the technology team that is supporting that effort.

Whether looking to place group files on a secure cloud service or purchasing a sales package that works in the cloud, taking advantage of professional companies that already offer excellent data cloud services ensures you get the talent without having to find and hire it. Be sure to compare one cloud service with another, like they do at cloudstoragebuzz.com, to see which one is right for your business.

Scalable Storage as Needed

Growing businesses need ever-increasing amounts of storage. This puts a strain on the existing network and requires adding larger local drives to PCs while ensuring there are enough network drives to handle the storage capacity requirements as they grow. Needless to say, this is one problem that the IT team could well do without.

The beauty of using a cloud service is that they have sufficient storage capacities to allocate increasing storage to businesses on an “as needed” basis. Basic plans sometimes have an unlimited data capacity, but most business plans require additional payment for extra terabytes of storage at affordable rates.

In many ways, cloud storage takes some of the heavy lifting away from IT departments – and people tasked with this responsibility in SMEs – so the company can focus on its core operations. The cost per megabyte or gigabyte is low with so many cloud providers competing, so it just doesn’t make sense to try to handle it all in-house any longer.

5 Marketing Tactics to Reach Your Demographic

It is important for businesses to promote the right message to the right customer. Yet, choosing the right marketing channels can often be complex, especially when attempting to promote your brand to a specific audience. To ensure your success, read the following five marketing tactics to reach your demographic.

1. A Social Media Strategy

Facebook has approximately 1.5 billion users, which proves the large majority of planet Earth is using social media to connect with loved ones, colleagues, acquaintances and, of course, businesses. Any company hoping to succeed online must, therefore, have a strong social media presence.

Yet, with so many online campaigns to compete with, you might find it difficult knowing how or where to start – or you might be tempted to replicate your competitors’ post. However, those dedicated to developing a solid presence and connecting with their key demographic must create original, engaging social media posts that boost brand recognition and increase traffic. Firstly, consider your brand and who you’re marketing too. If you’re appealing to Millenials, then speak their language. Network and connect with Instagram and Twitter stars, converse with your customers and be unique.

2. A Video Marketing Campaign

Video marketing has easily become one of the most compelling forms of social media marketing, with people watching more daily minutes of video on Facebook over YouTube. Videos are not only engaging, but they are incredibly shareable, too – so, if you do it well, you can trust people will share your content with their followers, which can boost your online reach. It might, therefore, be helpful to enlist the help of video marketing experts, such as working-beautifully.co.uk.

3. Traditional Marketing Tactics

Many modern businesses are focusing all their attention developing engaging, creative online marketing campaigns; however, it is still beneficial to focus on a traditional marketing strategy to reach your demographic. It is important to define your target market to identify how they commonly consume information. For example, most people over the age of 55 still consume marketing and information via traditional printed press.

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Companies striving to connect with their target audience in the digital world must boost their website’s ranking in the search engines. It is vital to get to grips with the various SEO tactics that can help improve your search rankings, so you can maximize your online visibility and drive traffic to your website. For example, you could increase your site’s load time, utilize keyword optimization and embark on an effective outreach program.

5. A Content Marketing Strategy

If you want to reach your demographic, you must start creating content that will appeal to your audience. Segment your audience to produce different forms of content that will increase your reach. Video marketing might be one of the most powerful engagement tools, but there are also other forms of content to target your audience, such as blog posts, case studies, infographics, white papers and podcasts.

Aim to create engaging, informative content that complements your branding, which can establish your business as a thought leader. It is, therefore, a great way to help users make an informed decision regarding your brand, products and services, while increasing your trust and credibility within an industry.