Happy Fourth!

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jul 3, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Focus Data Solutions wishes you a safe and happy Independence Day!

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Topics: holiday

Small Business Health Plans -- An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jun 27, 2017 8:27:57 AM

Another health care debate is raging in Washington. It's been tough going for efforts to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. No surprise there. Health care debates are always impassioned and complicated. Policy makers have been trying to figure out how to provide affordable, quality health care to Americans for decades, and many of the ideas for how to fix the system resurface time and time again. For years, small business groups have suggested a reform that could help them afford better coverage for their employees, but have run into roadblocks. Is it possible they'll find a path to success this time around?

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Topics: small business, federal policy, health benefits, associations

An Open Internet vs. Internet Freedom: What's the Debate?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jun 20, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Are you following the net neutrality debate? Perhaps you've heard about it and sense the passion surrounding it, but are not quite sure what is at stake. Back in 2015, TECHPol alerted readers to the new rules being proposed by the Federal government to ensure an "open internet." This seemingly innocuous concept has been the subject of much controversy, and now the 2015 rules are in the process of being reversed. It's time for a review and an update on the issue.

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Topics: Net Neutrality, regulations, federal policy, internet

3 Changing Labor Policies

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jun 13, 2017 8:30:00 AM

The election of a new administration has made the fate of many regulations uncertain. TECHPol has been following the status of and debate surrounding a number of proposed regulations that impose new requirements on small businesses. Developments in recent days related to overtime, retirement planning and employee definitions warrant an update.

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Topics: regulations, small business, labor, human resources

Social Media Phishing Soars

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jun 6, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Employee training is key to any business's defense against cyberattacks. According to PhishMe, an estimated 91% of cyberattacks start with a phishing email -- an attempt to secure personal or sensitive information by posing as a legitimate actor. It makes sense then that many businesses focus cybersecurity training on recognition of email phishing scams. However, recent studies show that cybercriminals are increasingly turning to social media to bait their prey. In 2016, social media phishing increased by an estimated 500%, and victims are more likely to fall for these scams. Cybersecurity training needs to adapt to this fast-growing form of attack.

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Topics: cybersecurity, cyberthreats, social media

Internet Privacy: What Has Changed?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

May 30, 2017 8:30:00 AM

While there's been a lot of activity around rules governing individuals' internet privacy, the answer to the question of "what has changed?" is "nothing yet." But a new bill introduced last week may shake things up. Here's where we stand:

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Topics: internet, technology policy

A Modern Workplace for More Millennials

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

May 23, 2017 8:30:00 AM

It's graduation time, and we are witnessing the tail end of the millennial generation (depending on whose definition you adopt) complete college and enter the workforce. Regardless of the year you use to mark the end of this Gen Y cohort, millennials now comprise a greater portion of the workforce than any other generation, and their presence will continue to grow for a few more years. By 2025, they will make up 75% of all employees. If you want to recruit and retain a young and talented workforce, you need to ensure your workplace meets modern expectations.

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Topics: labor, human resources

3 New Federal Initiatives to Help Businesses Fight Cybercrime

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

May 16, 2017 8:30:00 AM

There are many policymakers in Washington who understand the threat of cybercrime and who are looking for ways to help prevent it. In particular, there's a recognition that small businesses face a significant threat of becoming cybercrime targets, but are less likely to have the time or resources to devote to prevention. An oft cited statistic reveals that 43% of spear phishing attacks target small business and an estimated 90% of cybercrimes start with a phishing email. Three new initiatives highlight some of the ways the Federal government is trying to assist small businesses to adapt to the ever-changing cyberthreat landscape.

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Topics: small business IT, cybersecurity

6 Password Tips to Protect Your Data

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

May 9, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Happy World Password Day! Actually, it was last week, on May 4th. Did you celebrate? It's not too late. The purpose of the day is to bolster cybersecurity by reminding people to update and strengthen their passwords. A good idea given that a new report reveals that 81% of hacking-related data breaches can be traced to weak and/or stolen passwords. Are you doing what you can to protect yourself and your business?

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Topics: cybersecurity

Email or Text? Today's Business Communications

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

May 2, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Is email going by the wayside as texting becomes the preferred method of communicating? Yes and no. Sure, texting is faster and great for soliciting an immediate response. Certainly the younger generation prefers it, but for most business purposes, email is still the communications tool of choice. As businesses adapt to technological change and generational differences in the workforce, policies should be updated to ensure business communications are professional and secure.

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Topics: email, small business IT, cybersecurity

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FocusData: TECHPol is a blog on technology and business policy issues affecting small and mid-sized companies.  TECHPol’s primary author, Lori Salley Ring, spent 20-plus years working on Capitol Hill, including as the top staffer on the House Committee on Small Business.  FDS is an IT consulting firm providing managed services, office tech relocation, network security, and IT support for businesses in the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area.

Technology Policy Small Business


About the Author

Lori Salley Ring

Lori Salley Ring

Lori serves as Policy Advisor and Communications Specialist for Focus Data Solutions.  Lori spent more than 20 years working for the U.S. Congress, including as Chief of Staff to a member of the House leadership and as the Staff Director for the Committee on Small Business.  Lori also ran a Washington-based non-profit organization between stints working for the Federal government. 

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