Monday, March 11, 2019

online business

online business


The week ahead in business - The Boston Globe

Posted: 10 Mar 2019 04:00 PM PDT

Monday, March 11

COMPETITION

Pitch night

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Watch Harvard students pitch to an accomplished panel of judges at an event organized by i3, Harvard College's innovation contest organizer. Dinner and other refreshments will be provided. Monday, 6 to 9 p.m., Cabot Science Library, 1 Oxford St., Cambridge. Free. Register online or go to the business agenda at bostonglobe.com.

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Tuesday, March 12

MEETUP

Happy hour

Get together with other women in technology at a happy hour organized by She+ Geeks Out and video software host Wistia. Tuesday, 6 to 8:30 p.m., Wistia, 17 Tudor St., Cambridge. $10. Register online or go to the business agenda at bostonglobe.com

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NETWORKING

Need for speed

Connect with other professionals in a special rapid-fire networking event hosted by event organizer NetworkNite. Attendees will swap tables every five minutes to meet new people. Tuesday, 8 to 10 p.m., Itadaki, 269 Newbury St., Boston. $26. Register online or go to the business agenda at bostonglobe.com

Wednesday, March 13

MIXER

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Entrepreneurs welcome

Meet with Boston-area entrepreneurs, innovators, and funders at a monthly meetup hosted by Seaport venue District Hall. The event is open to all members of the innovation community. Wednesday, 5 to 7 p.m., District Hall, 75 Northern Ave., Boston. Free. Register online or go to the business agenda bostonglobe.com.

DISCUSSION

Cannabis connection

Participate in a conversation on the future of social cannabis use in Massachusetts and beyond at an event organized by the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition (MassCann) and the Cannabis Society of Massachusetts. There will be panel discussions and chances to network. Wednesday, 6 to 8 p.m., Lighthouse East & North, 50 Milk St., twentieth floor, Boston. $15. Register online or go to the business agenda at bostonglobe.com.

Thursday, March 14

JOB FAIR

Tech businesses in Beantown

Meet with representatives from local tech companies at an event organized by online startup platform Built in Boston. Learn about job openings. Thursday, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Ned Devine's, 1 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston. $5. Register online or go to the business agenda at bostonglobe.com.

SPEAKER SERIES

Skincare

Hear from the founder of skincare startup Atolla Skin Lab as part of a series organized by 3d printer manufacturer Form Labs. Refreshments will be provided. Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m., Twin City Plaza, 22 McGrath Highway, Somerville. Free. Register online or go to the business agenda at bostonglobe.com.

Friday, March 15

CONFERENCE

The next step in space exploration

Participate in a summit focused on the future of space exploration organized by students at MIT. The event includes talks and panels on business and academic opportunities in space exploration. Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., MIT Building E14, 75 Amherst St., Cambridge. $20 to $150. Register online or go to the business agenda at bostonglobe.com.

Events of note? E-mail us at agenda@globe.com. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeBiz.

Internet security basics for home and small business users - Greeley Tribune

Posted: 10 Mar 2019 04:02 AM PDT

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2013, file photo illustration, hands type on a computer keyboard in Los Angeles. Tech experts agree that traditional passwords are annoying, outmoded and too easily hacked. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
AP | AP

With the prevalence of social media use, online banking and other online uses of personal or financial information, online security is more important than ever.

But a survey by security website Security Baron suggests many Coloradans don't follow best practices widely recommended by security experts, including multi-factor authentication and password vaults. According to the survey, Coloradans scored an average 31 percent on the test.

Scott Warner, vice president of sales at Connecting Point Greeley, 2401 17th St., spoke with The Tribune about a few internet security basics:

1. Creating a secure password

Warner said the biggest threat for individual users is having their personal accounts hacked because of weak passwords. With all that's required for most passwords, like lower- and uppercase letters, numerals and special characters, in varying ranges and not repeating prior passwords — not to mention, in some cases, changing your password every 90 days —  keeping track of strong passwords can be daunting.

Warner recommended home and small business users invest in a password management tool, which can automatically generate secure passwords users don't have to remember or write down. When required to log into a website, password management tools can automatically fill in the username and password. Warner recommended LastPass, which is available to individual users for free. Premium, family, team and enterprise options are also available for small fees, from about $36-72 a user annually.

LastPass reported in November 2017 the average employee using the service is managing 191 passwords. Keeping that many accounts secure manually isn't practical.

2. Safe browsing

According to Cisco's Visual Networking Index, 94 percent of the North American population will average 261 gigabytes of internet traffic per month by 2022. With so much activity, there's plenty of unfamiliar territory to traverse on the internet, but some websites could contain malicious data that could compromise your security.

If a link seems suspicious, Warner simply recommended hovering over the link to see the URL. A link that shows up in your inbox as "YourBank.Web" could take you instead to "GiveHackersYourPassword.Web", but if the attempt isn't very sophisticated, a simple wave of the mouse will tell you its true destination.

For a safety net, Warner recommended a paid DNS (Domain Name Server) scanning tool, like Cisco Umbrella. If you go to a website with malicious data, the a DNS scanning tool can block that site before it loads.

HTTPS, which literally stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol "Secure," has become a standard for secure websites, rather than HTTP, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. HTTPS is usually shown at the start of a web address (without having to type it into the address bar) and indicated by a small padlock icon. Warner pointed out harmful data can still find its way onto HTTPS sites.

From a business standpoint, Warner said it's important to check your firewalls for HTTPS compatibility. A firewall needs to have deep packet inspect to be able to verify the safety of data from HTTPS websites, he explained.

3. Secure email use

A primary email address, where password reset links are typically sent, are big targets for hackers to get users to reveal personal information. This is commonly done through phishing, where a hacker makes an email look like you're sending information like a password or credit card number to a reputable company, when you're really sending that information directly to the hacker. The first step in defending against phishers is a good email filter, Warner said.

Many email providers, particularly from the larger search engines, integrate email filters, so everyday users don't have to find a new email filter. If you find yourself as the target of a lot of phishing attempts, it might be time to try a new email provider.

The other way to prevent phishing is to enable multi-factor authentication, Warner said. Offered on most major services, multi-factor authentication asks for verification from an email or phone in addition to a username or password.

Email attachments are another vulnerability for many users. Warner said the rule of thumb is: "If you don't know what it is, don't open it."

Particularly .zip and .rar files can contain malicious data, but .pdf files are usually trustworthy. If you're unsure what's in the attachment, Warner recommended simply asking the sender.

4. Keep your systems up to date

All these tools, whether they're for password management or DNS scanning, could become worthless if they aren't updated. Hackers are always working to find new security vulnerabilities, and a firewall can't do anything to fix those vulnerabilities if it isn't up to date.

Most importantly, the operating system itself needs updates to function with other software as it gets updated. On Jan. 14, 2020, Microsoft will stop updating Windows 7, Warner pointed out, so small businesses on a tight budget need to prepare to switch to new systems if they haven't already.

Tesla's decision to close all its stores and sell cars online only sounds crazy — but it might be brilliant - Business Insider

Posted: 10 Mar 2019 05:59 AM PDT

Just over a week ago, Tesla announced the arrival of its long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 sedan — but also revealed that it would close nearly all its retail locations and move to online-only sales.

The second part was greeted with shock and jeers, but Tesla is serious. And the move could be brilliant.

I'll admit that I didn't think so at first. Tesla doesn't use franchised dealers, as every other major manufacturer selling in the US does. Instead, Tesla favors direct sales and has met stiff resistance from auto dealers in a number of states (laws governing car sales are state-by-state, as Tesla has been given permission to do direct sales in some of them).

I asked CEO Elon Musk about this on a controversial conference call with the media after the announcement, and he said that he expects pushback from established dealers who don't want to allow a nationwide, online end-run around the franchising laws. If they stand in Tesla's way, they'd interfere with interstate commerce — unconstitutional, according to him.

"Good luck with that," he said.

Read more:Tesla is shuttering most of its stores as the company switches to an online-only sales model

Tesla's direct-sales challenges

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Diego Donamaria/Getty Images for SXSW

After the announcement, I thought through the implications. In the US, the states are often seen as "laboratories" for legal changes that might later become national. The federal government keeps an eye on the experiments. A good current example is marijuana legalization. Eventually, if enough big states go that route, weed might be legalized throughout the US.

My theory had been that Tesla was undertaking a direct-sales experiment, and that it could someday petition for a federal exception. Truthfully, I thought it would fail, largely because every time a big car company has attempted to cut out dealers, the dealers with their staunch allies in local governments and in Washington has fought back.

I figured Tesla would accept a hybrid model, with direct sales in some states but ultimately franchised dealers in others.

They, too, might have mulled this over and concluded that it would be better to take the plunge and impose their own solution. "People want to buy stuff online," Musk told me. And he's right. Besides, a large number of Tesla sales are evidently already conducted mostly online, and the wider auto industry has been exploring more streamlined, frictionless ways to provide buying advice, pair buyers with cars, arrange test drives, and modernize the time-consuming, dealer-centric financing and insurance part of the process.

Tesla frontrunning the risk for everybody else

The Tesla Model 3.
Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Tesla has always served as a sort of risk frontrunner for the car business. The General Motors and Fords of the world have been happy to let Musk and his company absorb all the early challenges of validating a market for electric vehicles. Contrary to what many auto-industry outsiders think, Tesla is widely admired and rooted for in Detroit. They know how hard it is to start a carmaker — much less one making only electric cars.

That's why I now think the online-only sales effort makes sense. It's classic Tesla: risky, but if Tesla's succeeds, the big automakers would have more ammunition to modify the franchise system than they have in the past.

I also came up with another theory about why Tesla is doing this: Tesla intends to fail.

The company was already operating over 300 stores, and it's possible that a hard business analysis concluded that with online sales become prevalent with just about everything except cars, and with Tesla facing down entrenched dealer resistance to direct sales, it simply wasn't smart to keep fighting a losing fight and following a sales model that was off-putting to customers.

Running a retail network is tough, after all. And if you try to do it yourself — and the major automakers don't — it's also quite expensive. So Tesla decided, perhaps, to wind down. Give the online-only approach a shot. If it works, great.

And if it doesn't? Well, there huge national dealer firms, operating franchises in many states, that could take over Tesla's business — companies such as AutoNation and Penske Automotive Group. A partnership would make it much easier for Tesla to get vehicles to customers, although it would obviously compromise Musk's desire to vertically integrate Tesla's operations and could detract from Tesla's profits (although I think Tesla could be more profitable if it offloaded some sales and manufacturing to outside contractors).

Now, you could say that I'm overthinking this decision, and you might be correct. But it is a big deal — bigger, really, than the arrival of the Model 3. While Tesla is superb and car design, technological innovation, and crowdsourced marketing, it struggles with manufacturing, logistics, and fulfillment — the boring, blocking-and-tackling stuff that the rest of the auto industry has perfected.

Tesla could use some excuses to tap that expertise. But the company has to devise ways to do it that won't make Tesla look like it isn't Tesla.

Women Empowering Women Conference and Business Expo - Woodlands Online

Posted: 10 Mar 2019 10:28 PM PDT

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Are you ready to elevate your business? The Women Empowering Women Express Network (WEWEN) of the American Business Women's Association (ABWA) invites you to explore the beliefs, planning, skills, and networking that can take your business to the next level! Join them for the 3rd Annual Women Empowering Women Conference and Business Expo on May 1, 2019 at at Lone Star College-Tomball in the Beckendorf Conference Center at 30555 Tomball Parkway, Tomball, Texas 77375 from 8:30AM-1:30PM.

The conference will feature a luncheon and keynote address from Dr. Lee Ann Nutt entitled "Beliefs Based Leadership: Achieving Extraordinary Outcomes". Dr. Nutt currently serves as the Lone Star College-Tomball President and is an author, educator, and TEDx speaker. A professional development breakout session "Planning for Company Future and Growth" from Futurist and Corporate Strategist Hank Moore or "Social Media and Digital Marketing for 2019, Are You Up to Date" from ACTWD Digital Solutions President Beth Guide, a Business Expo featuring forty local businesses, and many opportunities for networking are also included in the event this year. Sponsors include Proline Supply Company, Mundy Legal Services, PLLC, MK Events, Jeff Howell Edward Jones, and Howdy Marketing.

Conference Co-Chair Kim Howell stated, "The professional development offered at this year's conference is incredible and can benefit business owners and any working professional. The information presented will both challenge and encourage you. We are also excited to offer the opportunity to build key relationships through the business expo." Proceeds from the event will fund professional development and local scholarships. "Education is at the core of our mission and we look forward to empowering additional recipients through this conference," shared WEWEN President Melissa Rotholz.

Registration is available online at wewen.org and includes the keynote address, workshop, luncheon, and business expo. Business expo exhibiter booths are also available and include all conference activities. Details can be found at wewen.org under WEWC or contact communications@wewen.org.

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