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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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?

Read More

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.

Read More

Topics: email, small business IT, cybersecurity

Can Small Businesses Benefit from New HR Technology?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Apr 25, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Many business leaders agree that their companies' most valuable assets are their people. Training, engaging and retaining good workers offers a great ROI. Research shows that the top 5 percent of a company's performers are responsible for 26% of business output. Moreover, there is a significant cost to losing and replacing good employees. The average cost per hire is $4,129, and it takes an average of 42 days to fill a position, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. For small businesses, attracting top talent can be challenging and the hiring process particularly consuming given the distraction it can create for the company's leadership. Vacant (or poorly filled) positions in a small company can take a significant toll on productivity as well. Human resources (HR) technology may provide solutions for small firms looking to build stronger teams and solve other business problems.

Read More

Topics: small business, labor, human resources

Five Tips for Communicating in a Crisis

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Apr 18, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Any business of any size can experience a crisis. Whether you're United Airlines, Six Flags, the corner deli or neighborhood barber, mistakes happen. And, a disgruntled customer or employee can create major problems for your bottom line. In a communications environment that embraces a 24/7 news cycle and relies on social media, the ramifications of a blunder can quickly grow out of control. Does your business have a plan if your reputation is put on the line? Here are some tips from experts on how to prepare for and respond to crisis.

Read More

Topics: small business, communications

Don't Fall for a Tax Scam

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Apr 11, 2017 8:30:00 AM

It's tax time, and it's not just the government that wants your money. There are plenty of scam artists who view the annual ritual of filing tax returns as an opportunity to trick and defraud taxpayers. Criminals can make good money selling W2s and tax information, and identity theft provides even more ways to make a buck. Using fraudulent emails as a lure -- or phishing -- is a popular tactic among these opportunistic thieves.

Read More

Topics: taxes, cybersecurity, phishing

Protecting Your Online Privacy

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Apr 4, 2017 8:30:00 AM

There's been a brouhaha of late about Congress's vote to repeal regulations that seek to protect the privacy of broadband customers. In October, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published rules that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to let their customers opt in or opt out of providing certain information about them and their online activity. The rules were set to take effect later this year. Congress used the Congressional Review Act to invalidate the rules claiming that they unfairly target only one type of internet company, but don't hold websites (e.g., Facebook or Twitter) or search engines like Google to the same standard. The rule's opponents also argue that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the appropriate agency to regulate internet privacy, not the FCC. Rationale aside, the bottom line is that since FCC's rules will not take effect, the status quo will remain for the time being. But, that does not leave consumers powerless. There are steps individuals can take to protect their privacy online.

Read More

Topics: internet, technology, online privacy

Is Shadow IT Lurking in Your Office?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Mar 28, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Shadow IT, also called rogue or stealth IT, exists in most offices. It refers to technology that employees use for business purposes, but which is not sanctioned by the IT department. In fact, the IT department may not even be aware that it's being used. Employees are likely utilizing shadow IT for laudable purposes:  to make their jobs easier and improve their productivity. But for those who are responsible for a company's IT strategy, it makes their jobs harder. Worse, it can pose compliance and security risks to the business.  

Read More

Topics: small business, technology, cybersecurity

Small Business IT Solutions: In-House or Outsource?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Mar 21, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Today, businesses of all types and sizes rely on technology to succeed. Whether it's email, online sales, social media or accounting (the list goes on), the need for reliable, secure and effective technology is crucial to business operations. Most companies are not in the business of technology per se, but it's a recognized means to an end. TECHPol has previously discussed the important IT decisions that new businesses should make. The question then becomes one of implementation. How will those technological needs be met? Is it best to hire IT professionals to work in-house or to contract with outside experts who can function as a business's IT department?  It's not necessarily an either-or proposition, but many small firms find that handling all of their technology needs internally is unwieldy. For business owners who are inclined to leave the IT headaches to someone else, managed services companies provide an option to consider.

Read More

Topics: small business, technology, managed services

Leave A Comment

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. 

Follow Me



Focus Data Solutions

1020 N. Fairfax St., Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 836-0080
info@focusdatasolutions.com

We are your partner for IT outsourcing, cloud services, managed services, office relocation, backup solutions and network security.

Work with Focus Data Solutions