HACKERS: Is there a risk for the small office? Here’s some answers. [Small Biz Tech Buzz #109)

Hello, and welcome to the most recent edition of Terrapin Networks’ Small Biz Tech Buzz!

Did you hear about the saga in the last week or so with Facebook and how loosie-goosie they are with your data? Well, they are. And the truth is, they all are (Google, Instagram, Twitter, take your pick). That’s their specific business model.

Note how all these services are free. Here’s what that means: if the service is free, that means you are the product. You are what gets sold, and data about you is what advertisers are willing to pay for. That’s how Facebook and all the rest make the gobs of profits they make: they sell you. And we willingly go along.

People ask me all the time what to do about this. Well, disconnecting from all of it is an option, but not always a good one. These services have their useful functions. But we need to protect ourselves.

Here are some tips:

Don’t use the app: On your smartphone (iPhone or Android, makes no difference), I recommend not using the app for these services; that means no Facebook app or Instagram app, and so forth. Use your browser on the phone instead (Chrome, Firefox, Safari). Put your setting to ‘do not track’.

This latest nonsense where Facebook has been tracking all your text messages and all that happy news? That comes from the app. I suggest using a web browser instead. It does help.

Don’t use location services: I recommend this for phones or computers. If you don’t have location services set on your desktop or laptop, and you go to a vendor’s site (BestBuy or something), the site may think you are on Grand Rapids or something. My take: that’s not a bad thing at all.

Same with your phone. I keep my location services off, or at minimal unless I need it specifically for GPS directions. Then I turn it on, do what I need to do, then turn it off again. While this doesn’t exactly make you invisible, it goes a long way to slow down the ability of  Google and Facebook and all the rest to track your every move.

It may seem pretty neat when your phone pops up with a coupon when you walk by a favorite restaurant, but…it knows when you walked by that restaurant, right? So my advice is to slow that down.

Don’t use open WiFi: Just…don’t. When you are in that restaurant and they offer “free Wifi”, think twice. Or better yet, keep thinking about it until you talk yourself out of it. Use your phone. Need more data on your phone plan? Then upgrade your plan. Remember: if it’s free, you are giving yourself – data about you – away.

Those are just a few tips. Hope they help!

If you’re interested in talking more in-depth about how your personal data – and that of your small office – can leak out, and the best tactics to better protect yourself and your company, just let me know. I’m available and happy to help.

To your continued success,

 

 

 

Timothy Gillen CNE, MCP 
Small Office Tech Specialist
Founder and President, Terrapin Networks

If you’re new to me, or to my company Terrapin Networks, here’s a little about us: Based in Traverse City, Michigan, we provide small office tech solutions exclusively for small companies with 1-15 computer users. We have a unique perspective on small office and the utilization of technology; with some 25 years’ experience in the tech field and small business owners that go back over 40 years in Northern Michigan.

Oftentimes a smaller company can feel underappreciated and neglected by the ‘larger’ IT support firms. These firm’s model is based on getting “seats”, so they’d much rather support a single business with 50 users than 5 different companies with 10 users each. We turn that upside down – we’re all about the small office with 4, or 8, or 12 computer users. We’ve made it a real niche, and in the “outsourced tech services” world it is quite unusual. You can read more about us, who we are, and our backstory here.


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Service Spotlight

Protecting your small business-critical data has never been more important or easier to do. Our automated cloud backup and recovery services deliver complete data protection so you don’t have to worry about data loss, network failures, costly downtime, or even worse a complete shutdown of your company. Click to learn more about Terrapin DataProtect.


Thanks for reading! 

Have you or your company been in the news recently? Have you seen a story you think other small business owners would be interested in? Send it along! Click here and let me know about it.

In the meantime, follow along with Terrapin Networks on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Hello, and welcome to the most recent edition of Terrapin Networks' Small Biz Tech Buzz!

Did you hear about the saga in the last week or so with Facebook and how loosie-goosie they are with your data? Well, they are. And the truth is, they all are (Google, Instagram, Twitter, take your pick). That’s their specific business model.

Note how all these services are free. Here’s what that means: <strong>if the service is free, that means you are the product.</strong> You are what gets sold, and data about you is what advertisers are willing to pay for. That’s how Facebook and all the rest make the gobs of profits they make: they sell you. And we willingly go along.

People ask me all the time what to do about this. Well, disconnecting from all of it is an option, but not always a good one. These services have their useful functions. But we need to protect ourselves.

Here are some tips:

Don’t use the app: On your smartphone (iPhone or Android, makes no difference), I recommend not using the app for these services; that means no Facebook app or Instagram app, and so forth. Use your browser on the phone instead (Chrome, Firefox, Safari). Put your setting to ‘do not track’.

This latest nonsense where Facebook has been tracking all your text messages and all that happy news? That comes from the app. I suggest using a web browser instead. It does help.

Don’t use location services: I recommend this for phones or computers. If you don’t have location services set on your desktop or laptop, and you go to a vendor’s site (BestBuy or something), the site may think you are on Grand Rapids or something. My take: that’s not a bad thing at all.

Same with your phone. I keep my location services off, or at minimal unless I need it specifically for GPS directions. Then I turn it on, do what I need to do, then turn it off again. While this doesn’t exactly make you invisible, it goes a long way to slow down the ability of  Google and Facebook and all the rest to track your every move.

It may seem pretty neat when your phone pops up with a coupon when you walk by a favorite restaurant, but…it knows when you walked by that restaurant, right? So my advice is to slow that down.

Don’t use open WiFi: Just…don’t. When you are in that restaurant and they offer “free Wifi”, think twice. Or better yet, keep thinking about it until you talk yourself out of it. Use your phone. Need more data on your phone plan? Then upgrade your plan. Remember: if it’s free, you are giving yourself – data about you – away.

Those are just a few tips. Hope they help!

If you’re interested in talking more in-depth about how your personal data – and that of your small office – can leak out, and the best tactics to better protect yourself and your company, just let me know. I’m available and happy to help.

To your continued success,
Tim

Timothy Gillen CNE, MCP
Small Office Tech Specialist
Founder and President, Terrapin Networks


If you’re new to me, or to my company Terrapin Networks, here’s a little about us: Based in Traverse City, Michigan, we provide small office tech solutions exclusively for small companies with 1-15 computer users. We have a unique perspective on small office and the utilization of technology; with some 25 years’ experience in the tech field and small business owners that go back over 40 years in Northern Michigan.

Oftentimes a smaller company can feel underappreciated and neglected by the ‘larger’ IT support firms. These firm’s model is based on getting “seats”, so they’d much rather support a single business with 50 users than 5 different companies with 10 users each. We turn that upside down – we’re all about the small office with 4, or 8, or 12 computer users. We’ve made it a real niche, and in the “outsourced tech services” world it is quite unusual.
You can read more about us, who we are, and our backstory here.


Small Biz Tech Buzz | Up North News

Traverse City's Restaurant Idea Man

Meet Simon Joseph, the man behind the mini-empire spawned by the food truck Roaming Harvest.

Traverse City’s Dilemma: Why This Hot Vacation Mecca Can’t Attract Young Workers

Our local economy is thriving in many ways, says BridgeMI.com, (but) stands a very real chance of losing the talent wars if it can’t figure out how to attract new, younger workers to live there full time.

Change Helps Ignite Manufacturing Industry

Change is inevitable in the business world, says keynote speakers during the fourth annual Northern Michigan Manufacturing Summit at the Hagerty Center.

Gander Outdoors Opens Its Doors

Less than a year after Gander Mountain closed its doors in Traverse City, Gander Outdoors has reopened in the same building

Beating the Average: Cheboygan County is striving to overcome problems experienced by millions of Americans.

"It's God's country, but not without its own challenges." Cheboygan County rated as the most average of the thousands of communities surveyed for U.S. News' Healthiest Communities project.


Small Biz Tech News | News from Around the World

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Embroiled in a data privacy scandal, Facebook kicked off its 30-city Community Boost tour Monday in downtown St. Louis.


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Protecting your small business-critical data has never been more important or easier to do. Our automated cloud backup and recovery services deliver complete data protection so you don’t have to worry about data loss, network failures, costly downtime, or even worse a complete shutdown of your company. Click to learn more about Terrapin DataProtect.


Thanks for reading! 

Have you or your company been in the news recently? Have you seen a story you think other small business owners would be interested in? Send it along! Click here and let me know about it.

In the meantime, follow along with Terrapin Networks on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

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