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Protecting Yourself, Your Family and Your Community

Safety and security is the top concern for most families, as they are continuously looking for ways to make sure their families, belongings and communities are as secure as possible.

There are a number of safety precautions that can be taken to ensure you aren’t the next victim of theft, cyber threats or violent crimes. After all, as threats continue to increase and criminals find different ways to penetrate their way into homes around the country, being prepared to deal with the unexpected is of significant importance.

Cyber Security at Work

Cyber security continues to be one of the biggest threats in homes and corporations across American. According to a USA Today article by Elizabeth Weise, an alarming 43 percent of U.S. companies have experienced some sort of data breach over the past year, which is a 10 percent increase from the previous year. This proves there is a serious problem with cyber security that is implemented within companies and hackers are finding more creative ways to compromise the safety of personal information stored in a company’s secured files.

“Despite the rise in breaches, 27% of companies didn’t have a data breach response plan or team in place, though that’s down from 39% who didn’t have them in the previous year’s survey,” Weise wrote. “Even in companies that have breach plans in place, employees aren’t convinced they will work. Only 30% of those responding to the survey said their organization was ‘effective or very effective’ at creating such plans.”

Cyber security at home

In 2015 and beyond, there will be a significant industry demand for cyber security professionals who can help companies and families find ways to block threats to personal information. According to a recently published article in Forbes, the biggest threat to cyber security could be right under our noses in homes across the world.

Video game systems has become one of the most significant threats to families, as video games are now connected online with personal information being used to purchase features and identify gamers from one another.

Here’s an excerpt from the Forbes article with a tip on avoiding these threats:

“Things aren’t always what they seem in video games … or in life. Gamers need to be on the lookout for phishing attempts, and parents need to teach kids the cyber facts of life. Don’t let your guard down just because an email says it’s from your favorite game company: watch for attempts to get you to provide your login data. Often, links will be supplied that go to fake websites that look just like the real thing – but aren’t. When in doubt, contact your game provider directly.

Many gaming companies have been hacked at some point – in today’s world, that sometimes cannot be avoided. The bigger question is, how did they respond? Do a search on the Internet to determine if your gaming provider has been hacked; if so, see what the reports said about the event. You want to work with companies who have great incident response and forensic skills: How fast did they act upon recognizing the breach? How did they communicate the situation to their customers? What did they do to make their customers whole? Did they fix the security gap promptly?

Video games are fun. Security precautions won’t detract from their entertainment value; in fact, bringing an IT security perspective to gaming will enhance your enjoyment – and relieve your mind as a parent. Security keeps the bad guys on screen … which is the only place they belong.” – Forbes

Background Checks and Fingerprinting

With concealed carry becoming legal all around the country, the number of people seeking to provide background checks has increased drastically. A number of entities have had their background checks in questions, not just limited to concealed carry. Thousands of companies utilize background checks to properly screen their employees, but how thorough do these companies get to ensure a person handling your life or private files has a clean record?

“Not all background checks are created equal,” said Lara Cottingham, deputy assistant director to the City of Houston’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department, in an article that appeared on CNet.com. “It’s easy to lie about your name, it’s easy to lie about your Social Security number, it’s easy to lie about where you’ve lived. Your fingerprints are tied to you.”

In addition to background checks, companies are now requiring employees to have their fingerprints done to have a thorough check. Companies who are looking to hire employees, organizations looking to secure background checks of potential members and families looking to hire a babysitter for their child should all consider having a complete background and fingerprint check done with a reputable company that will make sure their information is secure. The safety of your company, community and family depends on having the right people with clean backgrounds having access to personal information and files.

One company being pressured to conduct more thorough background checks through fingerprinting is Uber. The fairly new company that allows users to order rides from their smartphones has recently come under fire for their screening process, with critics accusing them of not conducting proper checks to weed out criminals.

“You’d have to be crazy to employ people who haven’t been fingerprinted because you’d only be one disaster away from being sued,” said Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, sponsor or HB 225, which has become known as the “Uber” bill, in an Insurance Journal article.

Under Powell’s proposed bill, Uber drivers must have criminal background checks and companies like Uber should get their background checks and fingerprinting done at a reputable company that can ensure privacy.

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