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How to Avoid Layoffs During Tough Financial Times

Laoyff noticeTo save money during tough financial times, businesses often resort to layoffs as a way of staying competitive. However, layoffs can damage your reputation and negatively impact the morale of current employees.

Thankfully, there are alternative options to layoffs that often go overlooked, including the following:

  • Reorganization. Instead of hiring multiple individuals in separate roles, always look for opportunities to consolidate. Encouraging employees to cross-train one another is an effective way to ensure that there are no gaps in the workflow, without needing to onboard more employees, which would increase spending. Essentially, you are assigning more responsibilities to strategic roles. An open dialogue between managers and employees is critical here, as you want to ensure that your employees are not overworked and that they enjoy any additional tasks they are assigned.
  • Work-sharing. This is when multiple employees are retained as part- or reduced-time employees and split the job duties regularly performed by one employee. To be eligible for a work-sharing agreement, employers must have been operating in Canada for at least two years, among other requirements. For more specifics on all of the eligibility requirements, click here.
  • Wage subsidies. To save on hiring costs during times of financial strife, many businesses turn to wage subsidies. There are a variety of programs available that give employers immediate access to savings through tax credits when they hire certain types of workers. For a list of programs, click here.

In addition to the above tips, another critical aspect of surviving tough financial times is staying positive. This attitude will be evident to your employees and will instil a sense of security that will be vital in preserving high-quality work.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

5 Trade Show Best Practices

Convention 2015For many businesses, trade shows act as an effective lead-generation tactic that can help build key industry relationships. However, when businesses poorly plan their trade show appearances, there’s a chance they could miss out on such benefits, costing them time and money.

To ensure your business is prepared the next time you attend a trade show, keep in mind the following best practices:

  1. Choose wisely. The first step—and arguably the most important—is to carefully pick which trade show you want to attend. Conduct as much research as possible and choose the trade show that makes the most sense based on your budget, trade show contract terms, etc. Registering in advance can also help you save money. If possible, all of this should be done about 12 months prior to the show.
  2. Determine objectives and exhibits. Getting a grasp on what your goals are for the trade show will dictate the messaging of your exhibit. Consider any technology or signage you will need at your booth to support your objectives and coordinate with the appropriate vendors. Completing this step at least six months in advance is critical.
  3. Focus on logistics. The simple aspects of trade show planning can be the easiest to overlook. About four months prior to the show, ensure that you have chosen and informed the staff that will be attending. At this point, you should have your booth floor plan figured out and any travel or lodging needs finalized. Communicating your attendance to your clients and the general public can be done around this time as well.
  4. Scope out the competition. Many businesses that attend trade shows never take the time to see what competitors are presenting. When you first arrive at the show, map out the booths worth visiting. In addition, you should keep any marketing literature given to you by salespeople, as it can give you insight into other businesses’ messaging.
  5. Follow up. After the show is over, the real lead generation begins. Gather up all of the contact information you collected from the show and sort leads by viability.

In general, it’s important to remind employees that attending trade shows isn’t a vacation; it’s work. Taking the benefits of the show seriously and planning appropriately will ensure that your business gets the most out of the experience.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

Protecting Yourself from Ransomware

Cyber hackerCyber security experts recently warned that ransomware attacks may be on the rise. This type of malware actually encrypts your data and then requires you to pay a fee in order to access it. With ransom sums often amounting to thousands of dollars, consider taking these simple steps to protect yourself from ransomware:

  • Use trustworthy anti-virus software and make sure it is up to date.
  • Enable automated updates of your operating system and browser.
  • Only download software from trusted sites.
  • Never open attachments in unsolicited emails, even if they come from people in your contacts.
  • Never click on a link in an unsolicited email.
  • Make sure to back up your data regularly and store it offline.

Preventive measures are important, but they can’t account for everything.  It is important to go over your policy and look for any gaps in your coverage.


© 2015 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Internet of Things – Looming Security Nightmare?

Internet Concept The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that describes a new paradigm emerging in our cyber world. It has been described as “uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure”.1 Essentially this means an interconnected network of pretty much anything we can think of (refrigerators, televisions, highway sensors, tracking personal activity, monitoring groundwater runoff, etc.). If you haven’t heard of IoT before, you will hear a lot about it from now on. Our global world is shrinking, and an inherently human trait is finding ways of doing things smarter, faster, and more efficiently.

What does this have to do with Cyber Risk?

There are two sides to the coin. As we strive to do things smarter, there are always unintended consequences. Bringing a smart TV into our homes means having it automatically connect to our home network so we can enjoy movies when we want. But that also means cybersecurity becomes an issue. For example, if someone manages to get inside of our network, finds all of the devices connected to that network, and starts using that computer power as part of their BotNet, then society at large has a big problem. And that is exactly what is happening.

 What is the solution?

The Internet of Things, just like the public Internet, is now growing extremely fast. It is estimated that in just six years (2020), there will be more than 30 billion things interconnected via the Internet.2 Being aware of the growing cyber security problem, and learning what it means to each of us, is a critical first step. And as we develop these new things, and decide to connect them to our networks, we must keep the risk in mind. When deciding to use technology in our lives we must always consider, Is the risk worth the benefit?

Is the risk worth the benefit?

In our highly interconnected global village of people and things, our interdependencies with each other is undeniable. Like it or not, the IoT will continue to grow and affect our lives. It is up to each of us to make sure we understand and manage the risks, so that we realize a net benefit in this new world, the world of IoT.

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_Things

2 https://www.abiresearch.com/press/more-than-30-billion-devices-will-wirelessly-conne

Responding to a Data Breach

Network security crashNo company, big or small, is immune to a data breach. Many small employers falsely believe they can elude the attention of a hacker, yet studies have shown the opposite is true. According to the Symantec SMB Threat Awareness Poll Global Results, 40 per cent of the data breaches in 2011 were at small to mid-sized companies.

Data breach response policies are essential for organizations of any size.  A response policy should outline how your company will respond in the event of a data breach, and lay out an action plan that will be used to investigate potential breaches to mitigate damage should a breach occur.

Defining a Data Breach

A data breach is an incident where Personal Identifying Information (PII) is accessed and/or stolen by an unauthorized individual. Examples of PII include:

  • Social insurance numbers
  • Credit card information (credit card numbers – whole or part; credit card expiration dates; cardholder names; cardholder addresses)
  • Tax identification information numbers (social insurance numbers; business identification numbers; employer identification numbers)
  • Biometric records (fingerprints; DNA; retinal patterns and other measurements of physical characteristics for use in verifying the identity of individuals)
  • Payroll information (paycheques; paystubs)
  • Medical information for any employee or customer (doctor names and claims; insurance claims; prescriptions; any related personal medical information)
  • Other personal information of a customer, employee or contractor (dates of birth; addresses; phone numbers; maiden names; names; customer numbers)

Data breaches can be costly. According to the Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Survey, the average per record cost of a data breach was $194 in 2011; the average organizational cost of a data breach was $5.5 million.

Breach Containment and Preliminary Assessment

A breach or a suspected breach of PII must be immediately investigated and contained. Since all PII is of a highly confidential nature, only personnel necessary for the data breach investigation should be informed of the breach. The following information must be reported to appropriate management personnel:

  • When (date and time) did the breach happen?
  • How did the breach happen?
  • What types of PII were possibly compromised? (Be as detailed as possible: name; name and social insurance number; name, account and password; etc.)
  • How many customers may be affected?  Read full article >>



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