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Risky Online Behaviors

We do things on a daily basis without considering what their risks are.

There are many ways that you put yourself at risk every minute of every day. Whether it’s the risk of personal safety generated by where you are or the risk of personal health by careless exposure to germs and bacteria, it’s constant. But do you know how often you make yourself vulnerable by doing some very simple and perhaps seemingly harmless things when you’re on the web?

And for facility owners, did you know that 93% of your employees are engaging in risky behavior that could compromise your data or your customers’ data while using your computers? This figure comes from the recent survey by Intermedia (2015 Insider Risk Report) Of these employees, 97% of them have access to your and your customers’ sensitive data. Long-term employees represent 23% of your risk.

What are some of the behaviors that can make you, your business and your customers vulnerable to online threats? To find out answer these questions:

Do you fill out online forms?

Do you share photos on social media?

Do you use the same password for everything?

Do you use public Wi-Fi networks?

Do you accept any and every privacy policy?

Not sure why these actions are risky? Check out the brief synopses below.

Filling Out Online Forms

Basically, when you fill out a form online, you’re passing your information to a third party. It’s possible that a form is a fake and is not capturing your information for the purpose that you think. This is often referred to as phishing and legitimate sites – i.e., PayPal, eBay and Facebook – are often targets for this practice. Your information could be sold without your permission, so before passing out data like your addresses (email and physical) or phone numbers, be sure you know the site’s intentions. Often legitimate sites are targets of phishing (i.e., PayPal, eBay and Facebook.)

Also be careful about logging into third-party sites using your Facebook account. It may be easy but it isn’t safe. You could unintentionally give permission to share your Facebook data – and regret it later.

Be alert to anything that seems too good to be true or is just not quite right. I may be a scam, a phishing expedition or a hacked site. You’re better off passing on anything that makes you skeptical rather than passing your information to those with nefarious intent.

Sharing Photos on Social Media

Boy, do we all do this! If your phone is geotagging your pictures, others can pinpoint exactly where you are – and where you aren’t. This probably doesn’t matter for most of your pictures (assuming you take most of your pictures when you’re out somewhere) but if you post something from home, you could be giving away your home address to those you’d rather didn’t have it. To avoid this, just turn off geotagging on your smartphone or take the data off of any image that may be from a spot you’d rather keep private when you share it.

Using the Same Password for Everything

Yes, it’s tough to remember multitudes of passwords, but it’s safer. You should use unique passwords that are difficult for others to figure out for every service you use – especially when it comes to banking information and email. This is important because bad stuff happens: security breaches, stolen passwords. The unique passwords ensure that even if someone gets into one of your accounts, they won’t be able to get into all of your accounts with one set of credentials.

There are services available that help you create and remember good, unique passwords. It’s best to use two-step authentication with these services to make them even more secure. This type authentication requires the use of a unique code that is texted to your phone for login. So even if a hacker has your password, it’s highly unlikely that they also have your phone – and therefore won’t be able to access your account.

In addition to re-using passwords, lots of people share their passwords for many reasons. Most common are cost-savings (only purchasing single-user access), laziness (don’t take the time to set up individual user names and passwords). Some even think that not giving individual employees their own user names and passwords is better for security because they won’t have access after they leave your employment. This is a false sense of security since sharing one password is much riskier and gives you no way to track what individual users do while in the software.

Using Public Wi-Fi Networks

Almost everyone does it but that doesn’t make it safe. If you use public Wi-Fi in crowded places (like coffee shops) where we all have professional or social meetings, you can be exposing you and your computer to attacks.  The risk comes when commonly named and seemly safe sounding networks (i.e., AT&T or Starbucks Wi-Fi) can be easily spoofed for the sole purpose of capturing your logins. Even legitimate networks have security that is so low, it can be easily hacked. It’s much riskier than private Wi-Fi. So when you connect to “free Wi-Fi” at a restaurant, hotel or even a hospital waiting area, you could be connecting to a fake network – even if the public network you connect to requires a password, it is still vulnerable to hacking. Using a VPN (virtual private network) is safer – using encryption to keep your data much safer than a public network.

Accepting Any and Every Privacy Policy

Automatically accepting privacy policies on websites is also a way that you can increase your risk of compromise. Doing this is pretty much a necessary evil if you want to use many online services, it can pay to read through the entire policy statement. That is the only way you’ll know exactly what you’re approving.

Check on:

  • How the company treats your data.
  • If you can opt out of sharing your data.
  • If you can delete your data when you delete your account.
  • How the company secures your data from threats.
  • What the policy is for notifying you of changes to the privacy policy.
  • How the company (especially social media) treats data created by a child.
  • What the company’s abuse policy is.

Other risky behaviors include clicking on pop-ups, clicking on Facebook ads, opening email from unfamiliar people or emails that have questionable subject lines – even if they are from people you know.

The gist of it? If you’re online, be smart, pay attention and be careful what you share.

Sources: Entrepreneur Magazine, MIT Information Systems and Technology, eSecurity Planet

Look Into WordPress For Your Facility

A fellow named John Rampton is well-versed in all things Internet. Among other things, he is managing editor of search-engine marketing news site Search Engine Journal and founder of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Adogy, a marketing company specializing in helping startups.  John shared an awesome list of “reasons” in a recent Entrepreneur Magazine article that can help you in taking the leap to build your website and/or blog.

The Internet is an important tool for you. It gives you competitive advantage against others in your marketplace who aren’t savvy enough to utilize it and it allows you to provide very specific capabilities to your customers online – where they want to do business with you. Tools like WordPress are incredibly enabling because they give owners like you (who are not secretly web developers) create and manage web sites – easily and cheaply. And because of its lack of cost and ease of use of use, it is a tool that really enables the very smallest children’s activity centers use professional online assets like websites and blogs.

Here’s a little background on WordPress from Rampton’s article:

Originally launched in 2003, WordPress has become perhaps the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. Today, WordPress is used by more than 74 million sites that publish new posts every second. No matter the size of the blog that is using WordPress. This widely used CMS has become a favorite among businesses because of how powerful of a tool it is.

So you may ask: exactly what is a CMS? A content management system is a computer application that allows publishing, editing and modifying content, organizing, deleting as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment.

This definition, while very general, does provide you with a good basic concept of what a CMS is.

Every CMS, including WordPress, has foundational features plus perhaps unique features that help users to distinguish one from the other. Obviously, the specific features that WordPress offers have worked well for a plethora of users and have helped to make it so powerful and so widely used.

Just how powerful is WordPress exactly?

Glancing down Rampton’s list of 25 reasons to use WordPress, some of its value-adds jump out.

  1. It’s free.
  2. Powerful right out of the box.
  3. Flexible.
  4. Search engine friendly.
  5. Safe and secure.
  6. Customizable.
  7. Easy to use.
  8. Lots of support.
  9. Hosts multimedia.
  10. Mobile friendly.
  11. Integration.
  12. Easy to manage.
  13. More than just a blog.
  14. Establishes a community.
  15. Saves you money.
  16. Numerous ecommerce solutions.
  17. You’re not committed to one hosting provider.
  18. Keeps your site looking fresh.
  19. Can be used as a membership service.
  20. Schedule posts.
  21. Multi-user capability.
  22. Add testimonials.
  23. Publish content with one-click.
  24. Universal platform.
  25. WordPress keeps getting better.

We’re going to summarize some of the items on this list that we feel like are especially pertinent to the types of businesses you run.

It is free. And not only is it free, WordPress also carries no hidden charges for lots of traffic. It’s just free. And this is tremendous for you as you try to drive your profitability as high as possible. And since it’s open source, there are no copyright or trademark issues – or costs – if you want to customize the source code for your unique needs.

Immediate benefits. Many software tools don’t deliver value “out-of-the-box” which is a technology term for immediately and without any real work. This is significant because many other CMSs aren’t like this.

You can do almost anything with it. Because WordPress is flexible, you aren’t limited with what type of online presence you use it for. It can be a personal blog or an ecommerce site. There are many, many features and extensions that let you do just about anything you want to do.

Sites are search engine friendly. You may not quite understand this one, but it is quite important that WordPress makes your site easily picked up by search engines. If this were not so, the sites built using WordPress would not be easy to find by those searching on the Internet. WordPress’s broad use is testament to how search engine friendly it is simple because if it weren’t, this many people would not bother with it.

It’s safe and secure. Even though it’s free, WordPress is serious about security. It’s constant updates help to ensure this

You can customize it. Make it look like you want it to look – and follow your branding. Branding is critical when you’re in the competitive environment of children’s activity centers, so the fact that WordPress is customizable is a fantastic feature.

It is to use and easy to manege. Both of these are critical to you as an owner or manager because your time is precious. The platform is universal – so no matter how many sites with very different purposes you have, the dashboards look and work the same way. You can also schedule posts – which allows you to do weeks and weeks worth of work at one time!

Supports video and audio files. WordPress doesn’t cheat you out of being able to use all of your multimedia assets. All of those videos of performances and competitions are easily included on your site using your WordPress tools.  You don’t have to find another place to store, host or even to edit them. Just upload your media files to your library and go!

On the go with mobile. You know your parents are going to be using your site on their smartphone and other mobile devices so the fact that WordPress is mobile friendly is not only critical but is absolutely fabulous!

Multiple users are managed easily. You can allow multiple users to help with managing your WordPress sites. This doesn’t compromise the security or integrity of your content, however, because you can also assign each user a role so that they can only do what you want them to do.

WordPress uses a universal platform. So regardless how many sites you have or how different their uses are, the dashboard for management is the same.

Plenty of improvements ahead. Even though WordPress is free, you get real value and quality from top-notch developers who make sure that WordPress is continuously getting better. And don’t forget that – because it is an open source platform – any developer can enhance the WordPress code to create an even better CMS.

Hopefully, you’re seeing the value that using WordPress can bring as a tool for building online assets for your facility. it makes creating and managing your Internet presence much more “doable” then you may have ever considered it before!

Jackrabbit’s Conveniences Make a Difference to Parents

Jackrabbit’s parent portal has put Hand2Hand Gymnastics on the leading edge with online conveniences that give them a distinct competitive advantage.

OWNERSHIP BRINGS BLESSING | Diane never planned to be a gym owner. But recent career challenges had given her incentive to consider trying something new. It just so happened that the gym where her son was working announced that it would close because the owners were retiring. Buying the gym was something that Diane and her husband decided they could do and it has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. They’ve built a thriving business that they enjoy and that their son and daughter-in-law will take over when the time is right.

TECHNOLOGY ENABLED AND INSPIRED | One great advantage the previous owner left Diane with was Jackrabbit. Diane quickly learned that the software had everything they needed to run the gym. She soon put Jackrabbit’s online options in place to make class registration and payment convenient for parents and staff. Parents can register whenever it’s convenient for them – even if the gym is closed – and the time that staff has to spend registering students has been cut by more than ½.

“It is awesome to arrive in the gym and see 5 or 6 new registrations that took place a 4 am. And we didn’t have to do anything!” 

Even if parents call to register, office staff directs them to the website to enter their own information. Since first offering the online options, Diane has also added tablets in the gym lobby available for parents to register and to take care of other things like resetting forgotten passwords.

“The popularity of the portal with our parents inspired us to provide several tablets for use in our gym lobby. Parents take care of their own gym business as they wait for their children and it doesn’t require intervention by our staff. It really makes things efficient.”

A couple of great by-products from offering the parent portal are more proactive parents who check children’s progress and their account information much more often and the creation of e-signatures that can be stored (in addition to paper waivers) which Diane’s insurance company loves.

“Jackrabbit makes offering options around our automated payments easy. We added a courtesy period where parents can ask for an 8-day delay in hitting the cards on file. This helps parents who, for instance, use a child support debit cards that won’t be replenished on the 1st to make payments to us.” 

ORGANIZATION DETAILS | 1 location, 725 students, 12 instructors, Diane Matson-Trifiro, Owner/Manager

Additional Staff Resources Accommodate Jackrabbit’s Growth

Consistent Customer Growth Inspires Charlotte-based Software Company to Expand Support, Development and Sales Teams 

CHARLOTTE, NC – February 18, 2014Jackrabbit Technologies, leading provider of online class  management software for youth activities centers, recently added ten new members to its Support, Development and Sales teams. The additions are in response to the growth in new customers that the company continues to experience across the eight market segments that it serves. With more of its market sector organizations adopting technology to improve their operations, Jackrabbit has not seen a decrease in growth trends since its inception almost a decade ago.

The cofounders, Mark Mahoney and Mike Carper, take a grass roots approach to growth, invest heavily back into the company and tie their change and innovation decisions to customer and employee satisfaction.

The Development team welcomes, Jon Hickman, Greg Bronzert and Michael Bost to a well-seasoned senior team. The additional resources will not only help to maintain Jackrabbit’s rapid rate of software enhancements but work on the new development projects that will keep Jackrabbit at the forefront of innovation in the class management industry.

The Sales team’s additional team member, Kristin Stoutz, is supporting the specific needs of potential customers in each of Jackrabbit’s business sectors.

The Support team gains six new faces to enable Jackrabbit to continue to provide world class support and add even more traditional and innovative training options for customers. Two of the new Support team members, Cay Carlson and Graham Bingham, will join the West Coast support team while four new team members, Donna Martinelli, Kathryn Maddox, Jennifer Cantelmo and Gwen St. Pierre will be based from the company’s East Coast headquarters.

“The consistent need to enhance our staff resources is a strong validation of our software and confirms that we understand the needs our customers face in operating and growing their businesses,” comments Jackrabbit’s President and CoFounder, Mark Mahoney. “We’re already enjoying the benefits of having these new team members on board.”

Jackrabbit Provides Owners with Powerful Tools that Offer Distinct Benefits to Parents and Staff Members

Gymnastics Unlimited New Jersey                       

www.gu-nj.com

1 location, 450 students, 30 instructors

Owner, Kathleen McCormick

THE CHALLENGE

Kathleen was in search of an online solution for managing her gym. She had used several popular systems in the past but found that none provided the features, flexibility and robustness that she needed to handle her day-to-day operations and could move her gym forward.

THE SOLUTION

Kathleen was very excited about the online features that Jackrabbit’s platform offers. Being able to register and manage account information online in addition to enjoying the convenience of auto pay features mean Kathleen’s gym is a 24 hour operation – and parents have noticed that. These online features eliminate time-consuming manual processes for Kathleen’ staff and set her gym apart from the other gym’s in the area.

Jackrabbit also offers an amazing option – free of charge – in the unlimited lead file. Gyms that want to market to inactive families and prospects can keep these contacts separate from their active families, yet still use Jackrabbit tools to communicate with them quickly and easily.

The time savings that Jackrabbit has made possible are difficult for Kathleen to quantify. Kathleen has definitely seen an increase in her office’s professionalism and in the staff’s confidence in data accuracy and considers Jackrabbit to have been a catalyst to her smoothly flowing operating processes.

JACKRABBIT ADDED VALUE

Jackrabbit has helped Kathleen and her staff to elevate their performance and professionalism in operations, customer service and marketing and given them differentiators that parents notice.

“Jackrabbit’s online registration has made our lives much easier! Parents love it because they can use it and the portal to do everything they need to do – except drop their kids off for class!”  

— Kathleen McCormick, Gymnastics Unlimited New Jersey

Jackrabbit Provides Owner Anywhere, Anytime Access to his Business Information

Gymstars Gymnastics  

www.gymstars.com

1 location, 1009 students, 85 instructors

President & CEO, Bob Tanon

THE CHALLENGE

Bob needed to replace his PC-based product with a web-based class management solution so he would have better access to his information. Bob saw what he wanted in Jackrabbit but was skeptical of the data import process from his existing system. It would be chaos if information was lost or imported incorrectly.

THE SOLUTION

Bob’s data import into Jackrabbit required only a few minor tweaks. Jackrabbit support helped him perfect his formats and Bob was up and running with his data in his new system. Bob’s initial mission – in gaining anywhere, anytime access to his data is accomplished and now he has the added benefit that his data is safe and accessible even if his individual computer crashes.

Jackrabbit saves Bob time in labor and paper costs. The ease of accessing data, sending and manipulating reports in Excel and integrating data into QuickBooks has significantly reduced Bob’s bookkeeping labor needs. Online role-taking has helped reduce weekly paper consumption from 1½ cases to ¼ case and that doesn’t include the savings from taking paper out of the online registration process!

Using online role-taking has also reduced the number of drops experienced from absentees because contacting students immediately during missed classes almost ensures that make-ups will be scheduled.

JACKRABBIT ADDED VALUE

Jackrabbit gave Bob a smooth transition from his existing program. With Jackrabbit, Bob has better access to his business data, greater control over his cost and performance and automated, online processes that support paperless operations.

“Jackrabbit has given us many tools to use to make our business better. If I had been using Jackrabbit when I first opened, I would have had a much easier time growing and expanding.”   — Bob Tanon, Gymstars Gymnastics

See what Bob says about Jackrabbit on YouTube.