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Safety in the Workplace

We all know the warning signs we see when in a car. The stop signs, crossing signs, and stop lights all keep us safe on the road. At home, we are all in charge of making our houses safe in the best ways we can for ourselves and our families. In the work environment, in can be hard to adjust to the new area and understand what is needed to remain safe. There are many tips we have for you to do your best to keep yourself and others safe while at work.

Be Aware

The most important thing to remember when trying to remain safe in the office is to be aware of your surroundings. Always concentrate on where you are going instead of texting or listening to loud music while walking. There may be a wet floor sign or something harmful on the ground that you could miss if you are not concentrating on where you are stepping. It’s very important to have your ears open too, just in case you don’t see those harms but someone else is there to warn you.

Company Policies

When you first are hired, talk with your boss about safety regulations. Ask about what the policy is on robberies, lockdowns, fires, and any other emergency you can think of. Memorize the lockdown drill and where the best emergency exits are located. If your boss assigns you an emergency role, be responsible for learning it. Your role could be pushing an alarm button or putting out a small fire in your designated area with a fire extinguisher. Whatever it is, make sure you practice it in your mind over and over until you have it down so that you can have a clear mind during an emergency.

Fire Safe Area

It is very important to try to keep your own area safe. One of the ways to do that is to make sure it is fire safe. Make sure your desk isn’t always cluttered, because then it becomes harder to contain if a little fire begins. You should make it a priority to protect important items and documents by using fire safe file cabinets or safes. Also, make sure that file cabinets, carrying cases, and other large objects are not obstructing your path to the fire exits. Every day, take a small break and walk your path to the nearest fire exits. Make sure that nobody has put anything in the way that could prevent you or others from getting out of the building.

Individual Safety

Now that the obvious physical safety concerns have been met, let’s talk a little more about mental, emotional, and internal health. An everyday office job can have horrible effects on a person’s well-being. Stress overloads often occur, depression can settle in, heart disease, back pain, and other horrible problems can easily become a reality to any worker. The mental and emotional problems from work can be reversed simply by decluttering and reorganizing your mind. Many people hold in more stress than is needed. Little things like to-do lists to get your thoughts on paper, listening to music, using a fidget pen or spinner, cleaning your desk at the end of the day, and taking short breaks can do a lot to improve your productivity and emotions. As for the back pain, what type of chair you have and how you sit in it can affect you greatly. If you can, try to find the best chair for you, and maybe even get a back support or footrest if you need. Make sure that you do your best to have good posture and often stand up, even if just for a minute every hour. The more short, walking breaks you take throughout the day, the less likely you are to gain weight and increase your risk for heart disease.

Data Storage 101: Backing Up Your Files for Peace of Mind

Data Storage

Have you ever lost a project or article due to a corrupted file or the power going out? With more and more aspects of small to medium businesses going digital, this comes with the reality that there are fewer physical backups available to rescue important documents. File redundancy is essential to avoid very expensive mistakes. The best practice in data backup is called the 2+1 Rule. For critical data, businesses should make two full copies, maintained on separate physical devices. In addition, a third copy should be kept offline, preferably stashed at another location. Having two complete copies offers some measure of business continuity, allowing organizations to continue their business as usual even with the complete loss of one set of data. The offline copy, meanwhile, serves as an important hedge against inadvertent mistakes and outright malice. Below are five of the best backup solutions for the data security of your business.

Verbatim portable hard drives are known for being some of the slimmest and compact for convenience when on the go. But what really makes this hard drive shine is its compatibility with USB 3.0 ports for data transfer to and from your computer up to 10 times faster. You can schedule automatic system backups with Nero software, which includes encryption and password protection. And if you’re looking to lower your energy demand, this model comes with Green Button energy-saving software. There are other brands with similar features, but Verbatim remains a value leader ahead of the pack at this price point.
In the event of a power surge, loss of data is a real possibility in the workplace without a surge protector in place. Belkin’s top rated 12 outlet surge protector for businesses has an 8 foot heavy duty cord and sliding safety covers. As an additional failsafe, this model also has telephone line protection for complete surge coverage to keep things running smoothly.

If the 1TB portable hard drive is overkill for your needs and you’re simply looking for storage that you can go anywhere with you, look no further than the Verbatim 32GB Store ‘n’ Stay Nano USB 3.0 Flash Drive.  Coming with a lifetime warranty, this drive sticks out from your laptop just far enough so you can get a grip on it.  You can leave this low-profile design drive plugged in when you put your laptop away in a bag.  Like the 1 TB hard drive, this drive also has data encryption and password protection.  At 32 GB, you can store roughly 7 full-length movies or 8,000 songs and pictures.

If you’re looking for a physical disc alternative to the hard drives and flash drives, Blu-ray discs are a good cost-effective choice. Back in 2014, even Facebook purchased 10,000 Blu-ray discs for their data center storage needs so as to reduce energy costs.  One standard Blu-ray disc has over 5 times the storage of a single DVD.  And with 10 pack spindles available at historically low prices, this alternative storage solution is a definite value proposition.  Whatever the data backup needs be for your business, know that there are plenty of solutions available to make sure not one bit of data is at risk.

 

 

 

 

 

Get Organized: Make 2016 The Year Of The Filing Cabinet!

Oh Hiya! Meg here, and I’ve decided that this upcoming 2016 year will be the year of the filing cabinet. Filing plays a big role in office productivity and this is the year to take a good look at your system.

 

  • Desktop Revamp- If you’re anything like me, you keep a few too many files sitting out on your desk. I have to remind myself that they make filing cabinets for a reason! I start my filing reorganization with my desk and work my way out.

 

  • Divide and Conquer- Take a look at those files you’ve found on your desk and sort them out. Some of them may need to be worked through immediately and some may have a longer deadline. Sort the files into separate files with clearly marked deadlines to keep you organized and on task!

 

  • Label It- After you sort the files label them! Everyone has different organizational techniques so take some time to figure out a smooth system that works for you. Try to keep it simple; more complicated systems tend to get too extensive and you won’t be as motivated to stay organized.

 

  • Find a Filing Cabinet- I can’t tell you how much my system improved after I upgraded to a HON-694LP cabinet. Gone are the days of struggling with file drawers and squeaky hinges. It’s easy to stay organized when I have such a sleek cabinet to hold all my files!

 

Congratulations, you’ve conquered the file cabinet! Your new filing system will make that everyday, humdrum task of filing into the easiest thing you’ll do all day.

 

 

What is Identity Fraud & Identity Theft?

fraud

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal details. Identity fraud is when a criminal uses your information without your knowledge to obtain credit, goods or other services fraudulently. The personal cost to victims is not just financial, it can be a long and traumatic process to reclaim your identity.

Both at home and work we deal with pieces of information on a daily basis that may seem harmless individually, but when pieced together can be very valuable to criminals who could use that information to obtain passports and driving licenses in your name, open bank accounts, get credit cards, loans and state benefits.

 

How Does Identity Theft Happen?

Throughout the day, you may be at risk for identity theft at home, when you are out and about and Online. If you know where to look, and how to protect yourself, the chances of becoming a victim become much lower. Essentially, identity thieves are looking for personal details about you, your family or even your business – like your full name, current or previous address, date of birth and other key details like your bank account or credit card details for example.

Here are some examples of the methods identity thieves might use to get your information:

At Home

Bin Raiding – Identity thieves may go through the rubbish you throw out. Utility bills, bank and credit card statements and even letters or CV’s all carry valuable personal information that can used to steal an identity. Make sure you shred all documents that you wouldn’t want to fall into the hands of a stranger.
TIP: Use a cross-cut or micro-cut shredder for ultimate security.

Mail Forwarding – By not asking the postal service to redirect your mail when moving house, you are potentially providing fraudsters with a wealth of information about you delivered direct to their doorstep. Make sure when you change address you get your mail redirected to your new address for at least a year.

Unsolicited Contact – Phone calls claiming to be from banks asking you to update your personal information should be regarded with caution. Also fraudsters posing as market researchers may ask for personal information over the phone. Credible organisations will not mind you double checking their authenticity before providing such information.

Out and About

Theft Of Wallet Or Purse – The average purse or wallet contains bank cards, credit cards and valuable identity documents including driving licenses and membership cards. Victims realise very quickly that their wallet has been stolen but often do not realise the value of the information contained within it until it is too late.

 

Card Skimming – This usually occurs when a thief gets your information by ‘skimming’ or copying your credit card information when you make a purchase. They often then sell the information to professional criminal gangs. Like phishing, skimming can be used on its own to collect enough information to use your card fraudulently without stealing your entire identity.

Online

Personal Information Online – Anybody that uses the internet will regularly be asked to share personal information to gain access to websites and buy goods. Increasingly people are also placing large amounts of personal information about themselves on social networking sites such as Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, Linkedin and MySpace. Be cautious about the personal information you broadcast online. Fraudsters often look here for information.
Phishing – This term describes identity theft via email. Fraudsters will send an email claiming to be from a bank, a credit card company or other organisation with which you might have a relationship, asking for urgent information. Typically the email will ask you to click on a link to enter your account details on the company’s website to protect against identity fraud or to avoid your account being deactivated. But if you click on the link in the email you will be taken to a website which looks genuine, but has in fact been created by fraudsters to trick you into revealing your private information. The fraudsters then use the information provided to set about obtaining money from your accounts.

 

More Information and Useful Links

Protecting Your Information:  There are some very simple steps you can take to help keep your information safe and avoid having your identity stolen. Click here to find out what you should do to keep your ID safe.

Identity Fraud and Your Business: Businesses can also become victims of identity fraud or potentially expose customer or employee information which could lead to identity theft. Again, there are some simple steps your business can take to keep information secure. Click here to find out more.

For information on how to protect yourself online visit getsafeonline.com

If your identity has been stolen or to report a case of identity fraud,
visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud

Blog content Via

Privacy Filter Study

This independent research is commissioned by 3M, makers of the 3M privacy filter. Ponemon Institute conducted an experimental study on how the use of a privacy filter affects the productivity and privacy of actual employees in a business environment. Often overlooked by today’s mobile workforce is the importance of safeguarding confidential data from prying eyes. The findings of the Visual Privacy & Productivity Experimental Study reveal that there is awareness of the importance of visual privacy and this perception does affect productivity when working outside the office.

 

Five of our most important findings are as follows:

  • Employees are more productive and transparent when a 3M privacy filter is installed on their laptop or desktop computer.
  • Gender makes a difference. Female employees appear to work longer and harder than their male counterparts. The positive effect of the 3M privacy filter on employee productivity appears to be stronger for female versus male employees.
  • Age makes a difference. Employees between 26 and 35 years appear to work harder and longer than employees over 55 years. The positive effect of the 3M filter appears to be strongest for individuals at or below 35 years.
  • The impact of 3M privacy filters on employees’ productivity and transparency (or honesty of response) is related to their privacy orientation. The positive effect of the 3M privacy filter appears to be stronger for those who perceive privacy as very important or important to them.
  • Position seniority appears to impact the positive effect of the 3M privacy filter on employee productivity. Our results show that individuals at or above the supervisory level within their organizations are more productive than rank and file employees. In contrast, individuals below the supervisory level exhibit, on average, a higher level of transparency.

This is a small summary of the study done by 3M, for the full study click here

How to protect yourself and your business

To help protect you from outside sources that could be harmful to your business we have gathered information from the Wall Street Journal for tips and guidelines on how to avoid identity theft and credit card fraud. In order to avoid it, you need to know it- and we are your source for protection.

According to the article Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud- How to Protect Yourself, there are three main tips that everyone should take BEFORE they potentially could become a victim.

  • If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, you might be entitled to free credit monitoring. Look into this! According to the Journal, …”companies and financial institutions have stepped in with products that monitor your credit, reimburse you for lost wages or funds and guard your identity”.
  • Check your financial statements regularly, keeping an eye out for any unfamiliar activity. If you find something irregular, report it ASAP.
  • If you’re especially concerned about identity theft, consider freezing your credit report, which prevents hard inquiries without your permission.
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    For more information and preventative tips click here to read the full article

    Don’t leave home without it!

    We’re talking about your Emergency Binder! October is fire Prevention Month and that means time to brush up on your safety tips as well as prepare for anything that could happen.  Your binder needs to contain every important piece of valuable information or anything you would need in case you aren’t able to run home right away. Avery has come to the rescue and provided some tips on getting prepared.
     
    Decide what you need
    Start by gathering all the essentials you’ll want inside your emergency binder. Not sure what to include? Here are some key things to consider:

    – Cash—Place a stockpile of cash inside an Avery Secure Top Sheet Protectoror secure plastic pouch to cover any necessities you may need to purchase. Cash always comes in handy when credit cards aren’t accepted, or if ATMs aren’t working or are depleted of cash.

    – Documents—Birth certificates, marriage certificates, Social Security cards, car titles and other important documents should again, be sealed up safe inside an Avery Secure Top Sheet Protector.

    – Medication—Keep a list of existing medication, prescriptions and an emergency supply of other health needs for you and the whole family in a waterproof storage bag and attach it to your binder.

    – Photos—Keep duplicates of old and treasured photos of your ancestors and other precious family photos in Avery Photo Pages, in case you don’t have time to grab your photo albums.

    – Computer files—Save a backup of important documents or personal digital memories from your computer onto a CD or DVD for safekeeping. Use Avery CD Pagesto hold your CDs and DVDs.

    – Contacts—Make sure you have your important contacts safe and secure in an Avery Business Card Pages.

    Put together your binder
    After you’ve collected your “must have” items, your next step is to find the binder that best fits everything you’ll want to take with you. Consider choosing a binder that’s brightly colored, so it’s easy to spot when you need to grab it quickly. It also needs to be portable, so keep the size of your binder in mind. And of course, you’ll want a binder that’s durable so your information is kept safe and protected. You’ll find plenty of choices in Avery Heavy-Duty Binders, available in a wide range of holding capacities and colors.

    The more organized your emergency binder, the easier it is to find what you need. With Avery Durable Ready Index Dividers, you’ll have no problem accessing your key documents in a flash—whether it’s your insurance policy, your medical provider or even your emergency contacts. Plus, the dividers are reinforced in three ways so they’re stronger and designed to last longer. Customize your table of contents with free Avery Templates. Just enter your titles and print right from your own desktop.

    Keep it updated
    Once you’ve put together your family’s emergency binder, periodically review the contents and make sure the information inside is current. You might also want to make a spare copy duplicating as many items as you can, and keeping it in a separate location such as in your car or with a trusted relative or friend who lives outside your area. And as a final precaution, keep your binder sealed inside a water-tight, Ziploc® plastic bag to protect it from the elements. You never know when you’ll need it, but having an emergency binder is one way you can be ready to handle tough situations, should they come your way.

     
    Don’t forget to shop for all your Emergency Binder necessities at www.portersop.com and be on the look out for our Blue Cow E-Blast next week for more fire safety tips! If you aren’t receiving our emails click here to let us know! We’ll make sure to get you in on our tips, new products, and discounts every other week!

    A Hidden Risk: Protecting your office copier

    One risk many companies don’t think about when it comes to confidential information or sensitive material- digital copiers have hard drives that store all the information copied! Here are some steps to help keep your information secure:

    1. Clean off your hard drive before selling an office copier, just as you would your computer.

    2. If you don’t have an IT person in house, hire an expert who can help you check your equipment before selling or giving it away.

    3. Create a digital filing system to minimize risk. the fewer places information is stored to handled, the less likely it will get into the wrong hands. One digital copier may be enough for your employees.

    4. Alert your employees to the fact that all information they copy is saved and to take care when they scan or photocopy private information. If employees are copying things that are not work related, this may serve to be a helpful deterrent and help you save on paper cost and the overuse of your copier at the same time.

    While you’re at it… go ahead and get yourself some privacy as well! View all of our Privacy Filters for Computer Monitors here and view some of our favorites below!

              

    LCD Monitor Privacy Screen Filter                  Privacy Screen Filter for Notebook

    Make sure to stop by www.portersop.com for more computer supplies and office necessities!

    15 STEPS to protect your small business!

    Don’t be left in the dark- Take control of your business by making sure everything is secure and protected! Follow these simple steps from our Office Stuff flyer this month to help you get started…

    1. Inventory your company’s sensitive information and document where it is stored.

    2. Keep sensitive data in strategic and minimal locations.

    3. Encrypt sensitive data through applications or secure databases.

    4. Use a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connection for receiving or transmitting credit card information and other financial data across the Internet.

    5. Get at least two references for all new employees (and a background check may not be a bad idea).

    6. Institute a good privacy policy and educate your employees on the use of social sites like Facebook and Twitter in the workplace.

    7. Use a secure wireless connection adn a firewall.

    8. Update your anti-virus software on a regular basis.

    9. Change passwords on a regular basis and have computers return to the login screen after a few minutes of inactivity.

    10. Download applications that only come from reliable sources.

    11. Keep important data in locked filing cabinets or locked rooms.

    12. Use paper shredders on a regular basis and place them throughout the ofice.

    13. Password-protect laptops and mobile devices and be careful how you connect to outside Wi-Fi Sources.

    14. Verify the secuirty practices of any of your vendors or outsourcers.

    15. Consider using a managed security service or consultant to make sure your buisiness is as secure as possible.

     

    The Swingline Stack-n-Shred Shredder will help you stay on top of your game AND save you time. Just place your stack of papers in, close the lid, and walk away- it does the rest for you! Buy yours here!