Lanit Updates 4/2020

What a start to April!

A lot has changed since our last newsletter but quite honestly I think we've all heard enough of everyone's conjecture and assumptions about things they don't really understand so I'll skip pass the easy "elephant in the room" subject and talk about something I actually do have some knowledge about.   

Let's discuss online reviews this month.

If you're like me and tend to do most of your shopping online for pretty much everything besides TV's, shoes, and coats (I know, odd choices but I have my reasons) then you're probably in the same boat as I am and try to find as may reviews as possible before spending hard earned money on whatever doodad I feel I need at the time. There's just something satisfying about purchasing something that Kim from Boston says "it's the best thing ever...5 stars!" 

In fact, studies shows that organizations and products that have higher online ratings enjoy an additional 28 percent in increased revenue versus lower rated products. That's quite a jump thanks to reviewers like "Kim from Boston" and makes online shoppers feel like they've made an informed decision and are confident in their purchase. 

...but how is it that we trust someone's opinion that we've never met before, maybe she has horrible taste in curtains or likes her tires on her car to wobble, maybe she's never seen a good TV and doesn't mind poor colors on her TV and so on...or the most likely answer, she doesn't actually exist. A little time searching around the web I found thousands of jobs available for doing nothing more than writing online reviews and plenty of areas to purchase reviews for my product or company.  

Most YouTube reviewers are paid to review their products they have on their channel and are constantly getting free swag from companies for positive reviews along with commissions from purchases when you "Click the link below for this super awesome doodad". Even the good ole Consumer Reports now has direct links to Amazon shopping from their websites that makes commissions on sales and still requires a paid subscription to read their full reviews. 

The opposite holds true too, people seem to be more motivated by irritation and anger than they are with satisfaction. I've seen a lot of uncalled for bad reviews on products I know to be good but they give it a low rating since it arrived a day later than expected, the shipping company kicked the box up to the front door, or maybe there was a piece missing or the color wasn't quite what they expected. Whatever the issue they feel their voice needs to be heard and berates a product that really doesn't deserve it. 

Of course not all reviews are conjured up by a massive telemarketing like firms sitting behind their keyboards reviewing away on products that they have no knowledge of as they get paid per entry, I've even reviewed a few things myself in what I hoped to be in an objective way sharing my true experience to try and help the next person trying to make the same decision that I just went through.  

So where do you turn? Honestly it's hard to say. Common sense still goes a long way and better yet, go put your hands on it if that's an option, even if you come back home and order it from an online retailer to save a few bucks. Really it boils down to taking a risk with every online purchase you make. When you're at the local store and picking something off the shelf but see a damaged box, most people will slide that product out of the way and grab the one without the damaged box or decide against a purchase once we see how cheaply built it may be. We are giving that freedom away when shopping online, sure it's convenient but there's also hidden cost to consider not only for surprises that show up at your doorstep but also losing local brick and mortar stores and the "usually" friendly service that comes with it. 


Regular IT Meetings


Mobile Scanning

With a lot of people working from home lately it may be a good time to think about some great mobile apps. 

Tiny Scanner is one of my favorite mobile phone apps. I don't do much paper scanning but when I do all I need is my phone. It's quick and works just as well for my needs as any other scanner. It has both a free and paid version. The free version allows single page scanning, which is more than likely all you need using a mobile app and the paid version has multi page scanning capabilities. Both allow you to send the scanned document via email, DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, amongst a few other applications. One of the handiest apps I have on my phone.    


Security Awareness 

Password Managers


One of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself is to use a unique, strong password for each of your accounts and apps. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to remember all of the different passwords. In addition, we know it’s time-consuming to constantly have to type in your passwords at different sites, generate new passwords, track the answers to all your security questions, and numerous other factors. However, there is a solution that will make your life both much simpler and far more secure—password managers.

How Password Managers Work:Password managers work by storing all of your passwords in a database, which is sometimes called a vault. The password manager encrypts the vault’s contents and protects it with a master password that only you know. When you need your passwords, such as to log in to your online bank or email account, you simply type your master password into your password manager to unlock the vault. The password manager will automatically retrieve the correct password and securely log you into the website. You no longer have to remember your passwords or manually log in to your accounts.

In addition, most password managers include the ability to automatically synchronize across multiple devices. This way, when you update a password on your laptop, those changes are synchronized to all your other devices. Finally, most password managers detect when you’re attempting to create a new online account or update the password for an existing account, and they automatically update the vault for you.

It’s critical that the master password you use to protect the password manager is long and unique. In fact, we recommend you make your master password a passphrase—a long password made up of multiple words or phrases. If your password manager supports two-step verification, use that for your master password as well. Finally, be sure you remember your master passphrase. If you forget it, you will not be able to access any of your other passwords.

Choosing a Password Manager:There are many password managers to choose from. When trying to find the one that’s best for you, keep the following in mind:

  • Your password manager should be simple to use. If you find the solution too complex to understand, find a different one that better fits your style and expertise.
  • The password manager should work on all devices you need to use passwords on. It should also be easy to keep your passwords synchronized across all your devices.
  • Use only well-known and trusted password managers. Be wary of products that have not been around for a long time or have little or no community feedback. Cyber criminals can create fake password managers to steal your information. Also, be very suspicious of vendors that promote they developed their own encryption solution.
  • Avoid any password manager that claims to be able to recover your master password for you. This means they know your master password, which exposes you to too much risk.
  • Make sure whatever solution you choose, the vendor continues to actively update and patch the password manager, and be especially sure you are always using the most recent version.
  • The password manager should give you the option of storing other sensitive data, such as the answers to your secret security questions, credit card information, and frequent flier numbers.
  • Consider writing your master passphrase in a sealed envelope and storing it in a locked cabinet, physical safe, or lockbox.

Password managers are a great way to securely store all your passwords and other sensitive data, such as credit card numbers. However, make sure to use a unique, strong master passphrase and always use the latest version of whichever solution you choose.