Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Safeguard Your Computers From Spyware

If your company or personal computers connect to the Internet, it is imperative to have an action plan that recognizes this threat to protecting your proprietary data. It is no small threat, and small businesses are targeted as much as big businesses by automated infiltration programs. In fact, in its “State of Spyware—Q2 2006” report analyzing the impact of Spyware on businesses and consumers, Webroot Software, Inc. found that 89% of computers are infected.
Unfortunately, free Anti-Spyware solutions lack the sophistication to protect against the latest breeds of Spyware. While several good antivirus products are available to provide Spyware scanning, more is required. Four additional steps will help you prevent Spyware infiltration:
1. Installing a pop-up blocker.
2. Using a firewall.
3. Keeping your software updated.
4. Being selective when downloading software and other programs from the Internet. Be especially wary of free file sharing programs.
It is also advisable to develop a business relationship with a technology partner who can keep you apprised and updated with the latest solutions and protection. Business owner complacency creates an easy port of entry. Take steps today to avoid being a victim.
Source: Elizabeth Elliott Niedringhaus ( is president of SSE, Inc. a technology firm that helps scores of businesses with proactively managing their computer systems and protecting their operations from online threats.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Creating A "High-Retention" Culture

The following is a checklist for creating a high-retention culture. Check it out and see how your firm stakes up:
* Provide competitive pay and benefits.
* Provide clear expectations and directions.
* Provide ongoing job skills training, starting with a thorough new-employee orientation.
* Provide all the tools and resources needed to do the job.
* Give frequent and honest feedback on job performance. Offer praise or constructive criticism whenever either is appropriate, but don’t sugar-coat and don’t nit-pick. Strive for even-handedness.
* Squelch bureaucracy, red tape, and needless hassles.
* Squelch office politics and the rumor mill.
* Encourage, pay attention to and actually use employee input and feedback. Bosses do not have a monopoly on good ideas.
* Communicate in all directions: up, down and sideways. There’s almost no such thing as too much communication.
* Reward high performance.
* Low performers need to be reassigned, coached to success, or in some cases, they need to be removed from the organization. Leaving low performers or disruptive employees in place is a sure way to hurt morale among the rest of the team.
* Conduct annual Employee Satisfaction surveys. Allow anonymous responses to increase participation and candor.
* Conduct exit interviews when employees quit. Use this feedback to improve your culture and retention.
Here’s A 3-Step People Plan For Your Company:
1. Implement a well-thought-out Hiring System
2. Pay attention to all the areas covered by the High Retention Culture Checklist above, plus any others that you think apply to your company. Fix what’s broken and fill gaps as needed.
3. Monitor your employee turnover rate. Set goals and strive for continuous improvement versus both internal and external benchmarks.
Source: Bill Collier ( is a St. Louis-based business coach, consultant and speaker. He is the author of the book “How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner…and Still Have a Life.”