September 2nd, 2016

2016September2_Security_ARemember in 2012 when Dropbox’s data, which contained details of around two-thirds of its customers, were leaked? At the time, Dropbox reported that a collection of users’ email addresses had been stolen, but it wasn’t until recently that the company discovered that passwords had been stolen as well. So what does this mean for Dropbox users?

Despite the unfortunate incident, Dropbox has implemented a thorough threat-monitoring analysis and investigation, and has found no indication that user accounts were improperly accessed. However, this doesn’t mean you’re 100 percent in the clear.

What you need to do

As a precaution, Dropbox has emailed all users believed to have been affected by the security breach, and completed a password-reset for them. This ensures that even if these passwords had been cracked, they couldn’t be used to access Dropbox accounts. However, if you signed up for the platform prior to mid-2012 and haven’t updated your password since, you’ll be prompted to do so the next time you sign in. All you have to do is choose a new password that meets Dropbox's minimum security requirements, a task assisted by their “strength meter.” The company also recommends using its two-step authentication feature when you reset your password.

Apart from that, if you used your Dropbox password on other sites before mid-2012 -- whether for Facebook, YouTube or any other online platform -- you should change your password on those services as well. Since most of us reuse passwords, the first thing any hacker does after acquiring stolen passwords is try them on the most popular account-based sites.

Dropbox’s ongoing security practices

Dropbox’s security team is working to improve its monitoring process for compromises, abuses, and suspicious activities. It has also implemented a broad set of controls, including independent security audits and certifications, threat intelligence, and bug bounties for white hat hackers. Bug bounties is a program whereby Dropbox provides monetary rewards, from $216 up to $10,000, to people who report vulnerabilities before malicious hackers can exploit them. Not only that, but the company has also built open-source tools such as zxcvbn, a password strength estimator, and bcrypt, a password hashing function to ensure that a similar breach doesn’t happen again.

To learn more about keeping your online accounts secure, or about how you can protect your business from today’s increasing cyber threats, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
September 2nd, 2016

In its (11/1/12) article, “5 Unusual Ways Sandy Victims are Charging Their Cellphones,” The Blaze reported “A Blaze reader from Hoboken, N.J., sent us this photo of a makeshift charging station outside someone’s home.”

This is the fifth in a series of articles addressing top technology challenges facing nonprofit organizations. If you have a suggested topic, please email us, and we will try to address that topic in an upcoming article!

Business continuity planning includes developing policies and procedures your organization can use to mitigate risk and ensure that your operational work can continue should there be disruption to your technology solutions, whether it’s caused by human error or natural disaster. An important part of business continuity planning is identifying which operations are essential and to map out what technologies must be set up through back-up plans or redundant systems to enable your work to continue.

As an example, in 2012, the Northeast, including New York City and New Jersey, was faced with the worst disaster in over a century. Many nonprofits whose very mission was to assist those affected by Hurricane Sandy were disrupted by the flooding, electrical outages, and lack of public transportation caused by the storm. For those organizations that housed their data and IT infrastructure in-house and did not have cloud backup solutions, remote access was impossible and precious constituency and donor data was, in many cases, lost. Even though some of our customers were without power in their physical locations for three weeks, and we were out of power at the Sinu offices here in Tribeca for nearly a week, our customers did not lose data and they remained connected to their emails and other mission critical services. If they could charge their devices and get online, they could continue to function. It was during this disaster that our nonprofit customers truly understood the value of business continuity planning.

The cornerstone to preserving business continuity is to create and deploy data backup protocols for your daily operations. Below we have outlined some information about online backup services to help support business continuity and data security.

What is online file backup?

Online file backup is the process of storing the contents of your computer’s hard drive, such as your important documents and media files, through the Internet using a third party online backup service. If your hard drive crashes, your computer is stolen or damaged, you accidentally erase important information from your computer, or you otherwise lose access to important files, online backup services give you the ability to quickly restore any lost information.

Is online file backup secure?

Yes. Online backup services utilize the same security measures that financial institutions use to protect sensitive data. This means that the data you store with an online backup service is as secure as your bank account or credit card account information.

How do online backup services work?

Online backup services allow you to download a small computer program on your laptop or desktop computer. This application will allow you to select which files you would like to backup and set-up automated scheduled backups of your files. With Sinu, we take care of all the logistics for you and your employees.

How do I restore my files using an online backup service?

The process of restoring lost files differs depending on the service provider. In most cases, it is as simple as accessing your online account and downloading the files you have backed up. The amount of time it takes to download your backed-up files varies based on the amount of data you have stored with your online backup service. It can take anywhere from a few hours if you have a small number of files backed up to several days if you have many large files to recover.

Isn’t in-house backup safer than the cloud which I hear is getting hacked all the time?

No. Small businesses and nonprofits just don’t have the resources to invest in securing their data the way the large cloud data storage do. These cloud service providers spend millions of dollars to provide safe backup and data storage and their very reputation and revenue depend on it. Breaches in security would seriously harm their reputation, as well as that of the industry itself. As such, they have considerable incentive to ensure the protection of their client information through security investments, expert talent and fast adaptability protocols.

Don’t forget your laptops!

Most organizations regularly backup their servers, but do not have a system to backup data from the laptops that are increasingly being used in the workplace by employees. Because people using laptops often store data on the local drive rather than on the server, mobility poses a data security risk if not mitigated. We recommend an online file backup solution for each laptop.

The cloud has made disaster recovery a natural extension of data management by making online backup services accessible for most organizations. At Sinu, our goal is to make data security and data backup seamless for our clients and their employees. We automate virtual data backup, ensuring your staff can stay focused on the mission critical services your constituents need. Should Mother Nature strike, your operational data will be secure and accessible when you need it.

September 2nd, 2016

IBM’s Phil Gilbert is leading the company in the “design thinking” way. Photo Credit: Sandy Carson for The New York Times as reported in the article “IBM’s Design-Centered Strategy to Set Free the Squares,” 11/14/15.

The Internet is challenging the very way companies think about their product design. In the rush to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) to, well… everything, companies are discovering that being connected for the sake of being part of IoT isn’t enough. Savvy consumers are looking for products that are functional and make their lives easier in addition to the convenience of connectivity.

For example, Whirlpool recently launched a line of smart appliances, only to discover consumers saw little value in what was being offered. The Washington Post reports:

“We’re a little bit of a hammer looking for a nail right now,” Chris Quatrochi, Whirlpool’s global director of user experience and connectivity, said last week at a conference hosted by tech blog Gigaom. The buyers of web-connected washers, more than a year after launch, are still “not at all widespread,” he said. “Trying to understand exactly the value proposition that you provide to the consumer has been a little bit of a challenge.”

IBM, by sharp contrast, is recalibrating its product development and centering it around consumers, hoping that by lining up products with the self-identified needs consumers request, they can begin turning around their profits. According to the New York Times, IBM’s general manager of design, Phil Gilbert, is leading a new initiative called “design thinking.” They note, “Among other things, design thinking flips traditional technology product development on its head. The old way is that you come up with a new product idea and then try to sell it to customers. In the design thinking way, the idea is to identify users’ needs as a starting point.”

This consumer-oriented approach is something we at Sinu have adopted for over 15 years. We understood long ago that providing more technology just for the sake of it would do little to improve the lives or save time for the people we serve, and it could add unnecessary cost to our “all-in-one” solution.

“Over the years, we have built our customer support infrastructure in response to what our customers need,” explains Sinu co-founder and COO, John Christie. “We provide proven tools with unlimited support to increase employee satisfaction and efficiency. Then, we take it a step further by monitoring all the systems and prevent problems before they occur.”

The result, Sinu consistently beats its competitors in national industry averages for customer satisfaction.

Now as for Whirlpool trying to hit the mark with its products, the company’s global director of user experience and connectivity said: “If I could actually [build] a connected solution that folded the clothes, we could all retire.”

August 29th, 2016

2016August29_SocialMedia_AFishes are known to travel together in schools. They do so as a defense mechanism against predators or as a means to find a mate. Rarely do we see a fish making its way through the ocean unaccompanied. Schools of fish are the Twitter equivalent of celebrities or public figures, whereby lone guppies are SMBs struggling to make a splash in terms of their online presence. Allow Twitter’s latest stand-alone dashboard app to lend your business a helping hand.

According to Noah Pepper, Twitter’s product and engineering manager, “For businesses, Twitter is a place to share news, tell stories, and have conversations that support, educate, and delight their customers.” On top of that, he states that “It's a place for authentic interactions – but we know that creating these kinds of connections isn't always easy for businesses that are time and resource-constrained.” Because of this, Twitter has developed a brand new application that helps lighten your social media load -- enter Twitter Dashboard.

Twitter Dashboard specifically caters toward small- to medium-sized businesses, helping them to establish a fast, efficient and affordable means to manage their online presence. It helps you easily track and engage with audiences. The free app is still in the beta phase but is available to all businesses in the United States via iOS devices. There’s also a desktop web version as well.

With the help of Twitter Dashboard, social media managers can schedule tweets and set up customized feeds with the sole purpose of tracking what’s being said about a particular business. There are tools in the app that aids in tracking keywords as well as brainstorming ideas for potential tweets.

Here are some examples from Noah Pepper:

  • Say you work at a restaurant. You can come up with something like, “Your team is as unique as your business. Tweet a surprising fact about one of your team members.” This helps remind you to share some of the recent recognition your chef has received.
  • Or if you are an interior designer, when you see the tweet “Share the love. Like and Retweet kind words from your customers,” you’re prompted you to Retweet the next customer’s reaction to one of your projects.
Twitter Dashboard may not be of much use to savvy online marketers, but for those who have just dipped their toes into social media, it might help build the confidence needed to take flight. And this is exactly what Twitter needs if it's aiming to increase overall platform engagement.

Small- and medium-sized businesses should seize every opportunity they can to grow. Leverage the power of social media and see your company spread its wings and fly, soaring amidst the chirp of the blue birds tweeting. For further questions about Twitter Dashboard, feel free to give us a call, follow us, tweet us or give us a direct message -- we’re always ready to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
August 26th, 2016

2016August26_BusinessIntelligence_AIf genie lamps were out of stock before you could place an order for one, the next best thing to manage and grow your small- and medium-sized business lies in CRM. Short for customer relationship management, a real difference is possible, with the right software of course. With the numerous options out there, finding the most suitable one is like walking into a maze without a flashlight or GPS. We spared you the trouble and rounded up the best CRM software options for 2016:

Since every business differs in terms of size, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to CRM. Thus, varying corporate sizes require unique CRM software that best addresses requirements. We’ll be taking a look at ideal CRM software options for the following categories: businesses in general, very small businesses and ones that are free.

Best CRM Software for Small Businesses: Salesforce

Salesforce has long been considered one of the top-tier CRM solutions, mainly due to its cloud-based nature coupled with full-featured capabilities that cater to businesses of every size. Typically, Salesforce is synonymous with larger enterprises, but that doesn’t mean small- and medium-sized businesses are denied the same perks. Enter Salesforce’s small business edition: with it, SMBs can utilize the robust set of CRM tools at an affordable rate.

Salesforce Small Business Solutions offer packages that are tailor-made for small businesses. With it you’ll be able to fully utilize all that Salesforce has to offer. In order for your company to really thrive, your CRM should be equipped with features such as lead generation, contact and opportunity management, sales forecasting, workflow automation as well as collaborative tools -- all of which can be found in Salesforce. Also, the software is cloud-based, meaning that you can access data and files anywhere at anytime via mobile devices.

Best CRM Software for Very Small Businesses: Insightly

Underneath its simple and navigable facade lies a CRM software that is abundant with capabilities, all of which fit the bill for microbusinesses. Aside from the fact that it has the vital components small businesses really look for in CRM software, it’s also highly scalable to accommodate the growth of your company. Furthermore, Insightly is currently one of the more affordable CRM solutions on the market; there’s even a free version if you wish to test the waters. There are also paid plans available at a fraction of the price when compared with other CRM software solutions.

Even with the free version or paid plans that start at $12, Insightly doesn’t compromise utility with affordability. It comes equipped with all the vital CRM capabilities any microbusiness would need. This includes detailed sales reports, opportunity, contact and project management as well. It’s also scalable to meet the needs of your business as it grows. To top it all off, it’s a cloud-based CRM software allowing you to access data anywhere at anytime via Internet-enabled mobile devices.

Best Free CRM Software: Zoho CRM

Not having to pay for Zoho doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t deliver the necessary capabilities required from CRM software. Zoho CRM provides your business with all the core functions it needs. Moreover, it allows you to onboard up ten users for free. Courtesy of Zoho CRM’s mobile app, you’ll be able be access data regardless of time or location. Here are some of the other features that the free version of Zoho CRM has to offer:
  • 360-view - all the vital information is stored and displayed, allowing you to make the best business decisions. This includes contacts, sale cycles, pipelines, and discover trends. It also helps you identify opportunities.
  • Automation - spend less time dealing with mundane tasks by automating tasks such as lead generation, contact management, calendars and even call logs.
  • Collaboration - Zoho CRM doubles as a social media platform integrating with Twitter and Facebook to link contacts to their social media accounts. This allows you to see their updates as well as the interactions you’ve had on social media right from your dashboard.
  • Analytics - you can track sales as well as measure both business and employee performance via a range of reporting capabilities.
  • Security - with Zoho CRM, you are given full control over who can do what with the software. Besides creating individual user profiles, you can assign roles and even restrict access.
Unlike farms, the main component to a company's growth isn’t fertilizer and sunshine. Instead, it’s competent CRM software that allows your business to reach its full potential. If you have any questions on customer relationship management software, feel free to get in touch with us. We’re more than happy to not only provide answers but also be part of your success.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
August 18th, 2016

2016August18_Security_AEvery time we learn about a cyberattack that has affected so many businesses, we invest in security technologies that will safeguard our systems. This year, however, social engineering attacks have taken center stage in the Rio Olympics. Using various scams, hackers can circumvent network security systems by convincing gullible users into giving away sensitive information. But spectators aren’t the only victims. Without knowing the most common social engineering exploits, your business’s data is also at risk. That’s why we have compiled four of the most frequently used social engineering scams to help protect you and your business.

Phishing Phishing scams are perhaps the most common type of social engineering attack. Usually seen as links embedded in email messages, these scams lead potential victims into seemingly trustworthy web pages, where they are prompted to fill in their name, address, login information, social security number, and credit card number.

Phishing emails often appear to come from reputable sources, which makes the embedded link even more compelling to click on. Sometimes phishing emails masquerade as government agencies urging you to fill up a personal survey, and other times phishing scams pose as false banking sites. In fact earlier this year, fraudulent Olympics-themed emails redirected potential victims to fake ticketing services, where they would eventually input their personal and financial information. This led to several cases of stolen identities.


What’s the best way to infiltrate your business? Through your office’s front door, of course! Scam artists can simply befriend an employee near the entrance of the building and ask them to hold the door, thereby gaining access into a restricted area. From here, they can steal valuable company secrets and wreak havoc on your IT infrastructure. Though larger enterprises with sophisticated surveillance systems are prepared for these attacks, small- to mid-sized companies are less so.

Quid pro quo

Similar to phishing, quid pro quo attacks offer appealing services or goods in exchange for highly sensitive information. For example, an attacker may offer potential targets free tickets to attend the Olympic games in exchange for their login credentials. Chances are if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


Pretexting is another form of social engineering whereby an attacker fabricates a scenario to convince a potential victim into providing access to sensitive data and systems. These types of attacks involve scammers who request personal information from their targets in order to verify their identity. Attackers will usually impersonate co-workers, police, tax authorities, or IT auditors in order to gain their targets’ trust and trick them into divulging company secrets.

The unfortunate reality is that fraudsters and their social engineering tactics are becoming more sophisticated. And with the Olympics underway, individuals and businesses alike should prepare for the oncoming wave of social engineering attacks that threaten our sensitive information. Nevertheless, the best way to avoid these scams is knowing what they are and being critical of every email, pop-up ad, and embedded link that you encounter in the internet.

To find out how you can further protect your business from social engineering attacks, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Security
August 12th, 2016

2016August12_Productivity_AWhile an impressive arsenal of weapons can help you win a battle, you need diligence, perseverance and sacrifice to win the war. But when that war is waged in the arena of calendar management, you’re dealing with a whole other monster. When scheduling meetings, uncontrollable factors like varying schedules and department-specific time constraints mean that the same war strategy won’t yield the same successful results. Allow Microsoft FindTime to lead your organization to victory in the battle of cross-organization meeting arrangement.

Before any meetings take place, you’ll need to download Microsoft FindTime first. Fear not, because this Microsoft Outlook add-in is easily downloadable and is 100 percent free. FindTime was developed to help you and your guests do just that -- find time! Coordinating all attendees’ schedules, FindTime will iron out a time that works for everyone.

Just the thought of having to organize a meeting across your organization can stir up anxiety and elicit a huge sigh... Sigh! Why? On top of handling your own hectic schedule, you’re expected to juggle your attendees’ schedules as well. This would be the moment when telephone calls start to flood in and emails start to go back and forth, rarely heading toward a unified decision.

Bid adieu to all of that with Microsoft FindTime. Simply compose a new email or reply to an existing one and click the New Messaging Poll at the upper right hand corner. From there, choose the attendees, propose a couple tentative meeting times, and let the voting begin! Once a consensus is reached, a confirmation email is automatically sent to everyone attending.

What makes it even easier is that attendees can take a look at the visual summary that tallies all the votes, and who voted for what times. This lets you see what times the majority of people have chosen, giving you a chance to rework your schedule in advance if and when necessary.

Another plus is that to receive a Microsoft FindTime invitation, your friends and family don’t need an email address or even an Internet connection! Participants aren’t required to have Office 365 either; only the organizers need to access Office 365. This means that you can reach out to your friends, loved ones, and colleagues to organize your meetings, set up playdates, and even plan surprise birthday parties -- the possibilities are endless.

For more info about Microsoft FindTime, feel free to send us an email or give us a call! Our experts will gladly answer your questions. We believe that time is money, and money is the last thing you’d want to jeopardize. Allow us to help safeguard your assets by ensuring that all the time you spend on the clock doesn’t go to waste. Every minute counts.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic business
August 8th, 2016

2016August8_SocialMedia_AFacebook’s most recent monthly active users numbered over 1.7 billion. Billion, with a ‘b.’ Since creating and managing a page for your business is free, there simply isn’t an excuse to put off doing so another day. Whether your page is being neglected because of low traffic or ROI on the time you invest in it, 1.7 billion is too large a number to ignore. Here are our six tricks for making your page a worthwhile endeavor.

Use video whenever possible

Recently, Mr. Zuckerberg himself was caught opining about the value of video in social media. And while there hasn’t yet been any news about newsfeed algorithms giving preference to video, it’s definitely a safe bet when compared to texts and graphics. Facebook Live is an excellent way to engage your subscribers, and there are several ways to leverage it for increased profitability. Whether it’s an Ask Me Anything segment or a promotional announcement, hit that record button more often for more engagement.

Facebook only promos

While we’re on the topic of promotions, make sure you’re creating some that are only available through Facebook. If you’re simply reposting those from your website or e-commerce store, it’s harder for followers to justify maintaining any interest in your page. Use Facebook Live or a pre-recorded video to introduce a better-than-usual discount on your products or services. The key here is getting customers to actually visit your page, so make sure it’s not a coupon code or a link they can just pass on to friends. Ask the first 100 viewers to post their email address in the comments section of the video. If their increased dwelling time doesn’t make a lasting impression on them, it probably will make an impression on their Facebook newsfeed algorithm.

Facebook CTAs: use them and update them

Unbeknownst to most, the ‘call to action’ button on your business page can be edited to display more than a dozen different messages. Experiment with the different messages and where they link to. You’ve probably stared at the CTAs on your .com page for hours, hoping to come up with a hard-hitting sell -- why wouldn’t you do the same on Facebook?

Don’t just link to yourself

The most insightful page will always be the most valuable one. If someone has already liked your page, they know you exist and they have a decent idea of what you sell. Make sure to take a break from posting links to your site, and include relevant news and information that relates to your field. If your merchandise is videogames, inventory updates aren’t going to provide much value to your followers. Post third-party reviews of items you stock or industry news that readers will find interesting.

Pin to top function

When you find the post that keeps followers coming back for more, why bury it beneath more recent and less popular posts? Click the arrow in the upper-right corner of the post and select Pin to Top. This will keep it above everything else and impossible to miss for anyone visiting your page. It could be anything we’ve already discussed in this article: promotions, videos, popular third-party content -- anything timely and relevant.

Be personal

Lastly, use your company’s Facebook page as a place where followers can engage you on a personal level. There are countless opportunities for stiff, formal business language and attitudes, but social media isn’t the place for that. Post fun, behind-the-scenes photos of your business, respond to comments in a conversational tone, make jokes -- anything that sets your page apart from your customer service accounts.

Facebook may be free, but that doesn’t mean a profitable page is a walk in the park. For all the latest tips, trends, and features, you’ll need an expert. Exploiting social media for your bottom line is a slippery game, but it’s one we play every day. For a partner who can turn your ‘Likes’ into dollars, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
August 5th, 2016

Stolen data from the Democratic National Committee was carefully timed to be leaked during the Convention last month and consequently shared the media stage with the candidates. This latest data breach sent a chill down the spines of many organizations as they question their own information security policies.

While there is no one silver bullet to manage data security, there are several steps your organization can take to help mitigate the risk:

1. Create and Manage Strong Passwords

The most secure passwords are long, include special characters, do not repeat between accounts, and are changed often.

Here are some tips for generating secure passwords:

  • Generate a different password for each online account
  • Make a random 2 to 4 word paraphrase that does not include any elements from your name, organization, address or any information associated with you
  • When generating your own password, it should contain upper and lowercase letters, punctuation, a number and be a minimum of 14 characters long
  • Change your passwords every 3-6 months and don’t reuse them
  • Do not store your password list in the cloud, such as on Google Docs or Dropbox

There are several password management solutions that can help you both generate and manage secure passwords for your online accounts. Lastpass offers free and premium password generation and management services. With Lastpass you only need to remember one master password to access the other passwords it encrypts and stores for you. A good, free tool is xkpasswd which can help generate strong passwords.

2. Review Your Password-Protected Systems

Keep track of which systems require passwords and who has access to them. Review system security regularly and remove any unused accounts. Reset those passwords at least once a year – more often if you have high employee turnover.

3. Reduce Risk by Removing Unused Technology

Eliminate any Business Solutions which are no longer used. You should export data to a permanent storage solution, like a DVD, and shut down the unused system. We don’t recommend keeping technology around “just in case,” because it is another security risk.

4. Integrate Authentication

Try to integrate the authentication of as many of your systems as possible. Several systems now support ‘Single Sign On’ where one system will let you in if you have already authenticated to another one. Explore these possibilities with your IT team to reduce the number of passwords you need to enter. The less passwords you have the more willing you will be to make your passwords “strong” and it will shrink your risk profile.

5. Online Transactions

Never use your debit card at a place you don’t trust completely, use a credit card instead because your credit card has limited liability while your debit card does not. The security protocols for online commerce vary greatly, and it’s important to shop from trusted sites.

6. Recognize Phishing

While most of us are now aware of the most popular phishing scams (someone you know is stuck in a European country and has lost all their credit cards), it’s becoming harder to tell a spam email from a legitimate one. Here are a few tips to help you recognize a hacker that might be phishing for your data:

  • If you receive an email from what looks like a trusted company (especially your bank), avoid clicking on the link. Instead, type the URL of that company directly in the browser. Banks don’t ask for personal information to be given by general URL or by email.
  • If a company sends you an email asking you to call them, look up their contact information online. Don’t use the phone number in the email. If it’s a criminal, you’ll be calling them and not your trusted company representative.
  • Review the email reply address. Once you click “reply,” you can see the email address in your reply field. If it looks suspicious, it probably isn’t safe to communicate. Phishers often cloak the email address when they email you, hoping you won’t look deeper to discover it’s a phony email.

7. Instant Messaging

Instant messaging (IM) has become a common means to communicate, even in the workplace. When you IM with friends or colleagues, do not give out critical information through IM because it is impossible to know whether the other computer is secure.

8. Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that is known as “multi factor authentication” that requires not only a password and username but also something that only, and only, that user has on them, i.e. a piece of information only they should know or have immediately at hand. Many solutions request this, some require it. Whenever it is available, take the time to provide a second credential, such as your mobile phone number or an alternative email account for the added protection.

9. Limit Local Administrator Rights

IT best practices dictate that employees not be given local administrative rights. With local administrative rights, the security controls used to protect a company’s systems including password controls, anti-malware software, and similar tools, can be shut off. Unapproved software could also be installed, breaking business-critical applications and causing disruption and downtime. A company can also be exposed to malware, including a number of different phishing scams that can deliberately run code on systems with full permissions if someone inadvertently clicks on a malicious link or opens infected email content.

If you have any questions about the security of your technology, give us a call and we would be happy to tell you about the Sinu Solution and how we keep your data safe.

August 5th, 2016

This is the third in a series of tips and resources addressing top technology challenges facing nonprofit organizations. If you have a suggested topic, please email us, and we will try to address that topic in an upcoming article!

As the world quickly moves to the cloud, the need for physical offices is evaporating. According to a recent American Time Use Study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The share of workers doing some or all of their work at home grew from 19 percent in 2003—the first year the ATUS was conducted—to 24 percent in 2015. In this same period, the average time employed persons spent working at home on days they worked increased by 40 minutes.” A growing number of employees are telecommuting at least part of the time, either by working at home or on the go using devices.

With a mobility solutions in place, nonprofits can realize benefits like cost savings, improved employee morale, and more efficient use of time and resources. Further, new tools may also provide more efficient board engagement, improve member relationship management and even help increase volunteer hours. As with anything, proper planning goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth roll-out and successful outcomes.

Here are some quick tips to ensure your nonprofit technology is mobile-ready and secure, as well as some suggestions for mobile solutions and services that may aid in your productivity.


Nonprofits are increasingly allowing employees to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). On the one hand, it makes it significantly easier for your employee to use the devices they are most accustomed to while reducing a nonprofit’s hardware investment. On the other, it means your nonprofit must decide who takes care of the device: you or the employee? What happens if the device becomes too old for your software? How do you manage security? What devices are allowed? BYOD can work, but the questions should be answered and built into a written policy that is uniformly enforced.

Mobile-Ready Applications

Software that works on laptops and desktops may not be fully operational on devices such as tablets or smartphones. It’s important to check the mobile friendliness of your software, particularly accounting and CRM, prior to purchasing devices or new software. Most software companies have upgraded their programming to be available, but sometimes functionality is different when using a laptop vs. a tablet. Ensuring software-to-device compatibility ahead of time will save you money while also ensuring your employees have the tools they need to efficiently and securely perform their tasks remotely. For more information, check out our blog, “IT and the surge of remote workers.

Mobile Twinning

If you’re off to meetings or out of the office, it may be worth setting up a “mobile twinning” system for employees who need it. The system will ring both your work desk and an assigned cell phone at the same time (hence the “twin”), allowing you to choose which phone you wish to answer. The best part is that it allows you to keep your cell phone number private while still appearing like you’re simply answering your phone right from your desk. If you don’t pick up either phone, it pops the call automatically back into your work voicemail box.

Mobile Encryption

If mobile devices are storing sensitive information in cloud-based enterprise programs, local encryption may not be needed as the program will provide encryption. However, if contacts, photos and sensitive data is stored locally on the device, it becomes important to secure and back up that data, especially on laptops, which often get overlooked. (See our blog on laptop back up for more information.)

Video Chat and Conferencing

As demand grows for video conferencing, the competition is heating up. This means that your nonprofit can take advantage of more effective, user-friendly video conferencing features at significantly lower costs that what has been available in the past. For example, The Next Web reports, “The Chrome browser will have a new ‘Cast’ feature in the drop-down menu in Chrome 51, which is currently in beta.” The goal appears to couple this feature with Google Hangouts making it super easy to launch a video stream or video chat right from your browser.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft just launched Skype Meetings for small businesses in the US. TechTimes reports, “the service features PowerPoint integration, the laser pointer and whiteboard functionality, and screensharing, which are some of the most popular presentation tools on Skype for Business.

Video conferencing can provide opportunities to connect with your staff, volunteers, and board more often even when they cannot attend meetings in person. Since each service offers different functionality at different price points, we recommend that you do some research and “test” each product to determine what capabilities each solution offers, and whether it will meet the needs of your organization.

At Sinu, we believe that people matter, objects don’t. We look forward to helping your nonprofit best utilize technology to unleash the real power – the power of your people.

Topic Articles