As we all know, there are security risks to using mobile technology and the internet. The Department of Homeland Security and the Better Business Bureau recommend the following guidelines to help protect the security of the data that is being transmitted or stored:
- Always keep your laptop, PDA or cell phone within sight, even when at the office. Lock your business cell phone and PDA in a secure location when not in use.
- Keep your portable device within eyesight and easy reach when traveling. Stealing laptops at airports and from trains and restaurants has become a popular data theft technique. Contact us to inquire about STOP THEFT products, which help track your stolen or lost device and allows for "boot-locking" to prevent the thief from accessing your information.
- If at all possible, do not store any sensitive data (such as bank account numbers, ATM codes, Social Security numbers and credit/debit card info on these portable devices.)
- If you or any employee (a salesperson or telecommuter, for instance) needs to take sensitive data off home or business premises on a laptop, CD, flash drive or other portable device, insist amd make certain the data is encrypted.
- Password-protect access to the laptop, DA and cell phone. Also make use of passwords to protect internet access, e-mail, voicemail and address books.
- Turn off the devices when not in use.
- Do not download or accept file downloads from unknown sources.
- Do not share portable communication/organization tools with others.
- Back up all data regularly and keep back-up disks and other back-up materials in a locked, secure area.
- Be aware of Phishing - where scammers send authentic-looking emails in an attempt to have you "log in" to your accounts so they may steal the login information. Most agencies, like the IRS, will NOT email you a link - requesting logging in.
- Always use an anti-virus program, such as McAfee or Norton Anti-Virus.
- If you have been hacked or feel you were a victim of "keystroke" spyware, make a list of your websites you visit frequently. Change your passwords immediately.
- Go to the vendor or agency directly, verify the account has no suspicious activity. If it does, report it to the fraud division to protect yourself.
- If you feel your banking card/credit card information was stolen, consider speaking with the credit card company or bank to have the cards reported as compromised and have a new card issued.
- Visit The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity Page
- Visit Annual Credit Report for your free annual credit report.
Fire prevention is crucial to home fire safety. Here is a short list of quick, easily implemented fire safety tips and prevention measures.
- Install smoke detectors Every floor of your home should have an installed smoke detector, including inside and outside of each bedroom/sleeping area. It is extremely important to test your smoke detectors regularly and change out the batteries in each detector AT LEAST once a year.
- Kitchen safetyNever leave your pots and pans on the hot stove unattended. Try to have a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen and other areas where you might have an open flame, like near a fireplace or backyard barbeque grill.
- Fireplace Safety Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
- Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
- Leave glass doors open while burning a fire. Leaving the doors open ensures the fire receives enough air to complete combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney.
- Close glass doors when the fire is out to keep air from the chimney opening from getting into the room. Most glass fireplace doors have a metal mesh screen which should be closed when the glass doors are open. This mesh screen helps keep embers from getting out of the fireplace area.
- Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace door.
- When dumping ashes, ensure they are completely cool! Do not dump in your dumpster, as this can ignite a fire.
- On your way out Before leaving home (even if it's just for a few minutes) be sure to turn off and/or unplug appliances like coffee makers, curling irons, toasters, clothes irons, or scent warmers. It's also important that you not leave candles unattended, so remember to blow them out!
- Eliminate potential hazards You can start by clearing out any dead trees or shrubery from your property. Yes, this includes leaves. Your firewood pile should be stacked at least 30 feet from your home. Keep roof and gutters clean from leaves.
- Electrical Wiring If you experience any problems, or suspect any issues with the electrical wiring in your home, have an experienced electrician come and conduct an inspection immediately.
- Plan an escape In the best interest of your family, have everyone practice how to get out of the house in the event of a fire. Be sure to designate a meeting place outside the home, so you'll know when everyone is out safely.
- Make a fire safety checklist Sit down with your family, and make a checklist of fire prevention and safety measures, including ways to prevent fires at home, as well as the steps to take should an actual fire occur. Post this checklist on the refrigerator, bulletin board, or other higly visible area for a quick and easy access at all times.
Back to School
We take safety and security at school very seriously. Not only do we work with school district adminstration in designing and servicing these systems to keep children safe while on campus - we are seeking to make sure school children everywhere are safe on the way to and from school as well. Parents should discuss safety with their children on a regular basis. Those daily, small conversations on the way to the grocery store or the football game are those priceless moments where you have your child's captive attention. Use this time to discuss the following things with your child to ensure safe practices are second-nature to him or her.
- If walking to school, take only a pre-planned route. If possible, walk with friends, and not alone.
- Obey all traffic laws and signals, and cross the street only where there are marked crosswalks, and ideally a crossing guard. If you feel your community is lacking an adequate school speed limit or crossing guard, contact your school board or city. Speak up - you could possibly help save numerous lives.
- Stay out of the street while waiting on the bus. Once the bus arrves, quickly and calmly board and take a seat.
- Never stop or bend down in front of a school bus, or any other vehicle, where driver visibility is limited. When getting off the bus, immediately cross the road with the protection of the bus stop lights.
- Never accept a ride to school, or leave from school with a stranger, even if he/she claims to be a family friend. If a stranger attempts to pick you up from school, immediately go inside and report to school staff.
- Always obey all school/classroom rules.
Never leave a classroom without a teacher's permission.
- Never leave school grounds without a teacher or other trusted adult present.
- Notify a teacher immediately of any suspicious behavior on or around school grounds. Come directly home after school, unless a parent makes other arrangements or gives permission to do otherwise. Make sure the adult caring for you always knows where you are.
We offer many residential systems that allow for a variety of alarms intrusion alarms, panic alarms, video-verified intrusion alarms, and CCTV systems with remote viewing capability. In addition to these safeguards, here are a few tips on how to protect your home while you are away.
- Determine the length of time you will be away. If you will be away for an extended period of time, stop your mail with the post office. Also, have the newspaper hold your deliveries to prevent piling up in your driveway. This signals to others you are away and your home is vulnerable. If you will only be away for a few days, contact a trusted neighbor to pick your mail and paper up for you.
- Also, enlist their help to keep an eye on your property for suspicious activity. Make sure they have your contact information so they may contact you in the event of an emergency.
- Invest in a timer for the lights on your home. This gives the illusion someone is there. If you trust a neighbor or nearby family member to see to your pets or houseplants, have them alternate the lighting to achieve the same effect.
- Ensure that all doors and windows are securely locked, and that your home alarm system is armed. If you will be away, it is wise to have a preventative-maintenance check on your system to ensure it is working properly before your departure. Call us at 1-866-444-3778,we can take care of that for you!
- Beware of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and broadcasting the dates you will be away. There have been numerous robberies of families who have attended funerals of loved ones, simply because it was published in a paper or online. This is a real threat, let only those who need to know you will be gone, your plans.
- If you will be gone for a super-long period of time, have a service or a trusted neighbor mow or shovel snow on your property. Unkept property insinuates no one is home and all valuables are for the taking.
- And always....always....make sure your pets are taken care of. If you have a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member seeing to your pets, they could possibly gather your mail/paper and tend to your lights and houseplants as well.
- Program Poison Control into your cell phone - 1-800-222-1222. The Animal Poison Control Line is 1-888-426-4435. Both are available 24/7, 365.
- Put the help numbers on or near every telephone in the home.
- Store all medicines and hosuehold products up and away and out of sight in a cabinet where a child or pet cannot reach them.
- Do not place your next dose on the counter or table where children can reach them - it only takes seconds for a child to get them.
- If you have to do something else while taking medicine, such as answer the phone, take any young children with you.
- Secure the child safety cap everytime you use a medicine.
- After using them, do not leave medicines or household products out. Put them away in the proper secure location.
- Be aware of any legal or illegal drugs that guests may bring into your home. Ask guests to store drugs where children cannot find them. Children can easily get into pillboxes, purses, backpacks, etc.
- Always properly dispose of your medicines. Please see the FDA's website, Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know
- Never call medicine "Candy."
- Identify poisonous plants in your home or yard and place them out of reach, or remove them. Remember your pets! Remove poisionous plants from their area.
- If poisoning occurs, remain calm.
- Call 911 if the victim has collapsed or is not breathing. If the victim is alert, dial 1-800-222-1222. Have this information ready: victim's age and weight, container or bottle of poison, time of hte poison exposure, and address where the poisoning occurred.