About Ren Carlton

Posts by Ren Carlton:

Cybersecurity: Safeguarding Personal Identifiable Information (PII)

Cybersecurity is the hot topic nowadays. With more threats – and more regulations to counter those threats – becoming a reality, it is crucial for businesses (from small to large) to begin strategizing a cybersecurity program.

 

Dentists and Physicians are targeted too!

People tend to believe that large corporations are only at risk for breaches, which is not true. Yes, larger companies are targeted more often; however, small businesses and dental & physician offices are more vulnerable due to their smaller or non-existent budget for IT security. In fact, dentists and physicians are beginning to become more targeted now due to the information a hacker can obtain using minimal effort.

 

As stated in a Dentist iQ article:

Many dentists believe that cyber criminals are not a threat to their small dental offices. However, when choosing between a large corporation or bank with security teams and firewalls, or a dental office with no firewall or security team, a dental practice will become the target. In fact, many hackers specifically target small dental offices because they believe small businesses don’t have the resources for sophisticated security devices and do not enforce employee security policies.

 

Cyber criminals striking gold

Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is equivalent to gold for cyber criminals. As stated by Medical Economics, “To criminals, your practice’s most valuable asset isn’t a high-tech medical device or a pricey piece of diagnostic equipment. It’s your patient records.” Physicians and dentists maintain plenty of patient records, which contains PII. This information allows for cyber criminals to steal patients’ identities. Identity fraud is steadily growing, with 2016 being a record year. According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study, which was released by Javelin Strategy & Research, $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016.

 

Better practices

To combat the cyber criminals, dental and physician offices need to implement better practices. There should be policies and procedures in place around the protection of patient records. There should also be controls in place to govern the security of applications and third-party vendors that either maintain or have access to patients’ PII. Examples of areas your IT controls should cover are: password complexity, firewall settings, third-party vendors’ security environment, and etc. Lastly, dental and physician offices should consider seeking assistance from third-party advisors, to assess their cyber risks.

 

By Shanee Yelder

Sources:

Oberman, S. J., Esq. (2015, February 24). Cyber security new necessity for dental practices. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2015/02/cyber-security-new-necessity-for-dental-practices.html
Pascual, A., Marchini, K., & Miller, S. (2017, February 01). 2017 Identity Fraud: Securing the Connected Life. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from https://www.javelinstrategy.com/coverage-area/2017-identity-fraud
Pratt, M. K. (2016, June 25). How cyberattacks can impact physicians. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/how-cyberattacks-can-impact-physicians

NAIC Cybersecurity Panel Asked to Consider Using New York Rule After Draft Fails to Gain Consensus

DENVER – After three attempts at developing an insurance data security model act that failed to gain consensus, the chairman of a National Association of Insurance Commissioners panel said he’s listening to all suggestions — including New York’s new cybersecurity rule.

New York insurance Superintendent Maria Vullo, speaking at the NAIC’s Spring National Meeting, asked the cybersecurity working group to accept New York’s rule as the panel prepares for another round of deliberations. Panel Chairman Raymond Farmer, South Carolina’s insurance director, told Best’s News Service, “everything’s on the table.”

New York’s cybersecurity rule took effect March 1. Vullo said the cornerstone of the rule is a periodic risk assessment of information systems, which includes an annual penetration test of a covered entity’s information system based on risk, as well as biannual vulnerability assessments. The rule requires insurance companies and other financial services institutions to establish and maintain cybersecurity programs. Companies will hire a chief information security officer responsible for implementing and overseeing the program and enforcing cybersecurity policies (Best’s News Service, Feb. 17, 2017).

David Provost, deputy commissioner of the Vermont’s captive insurance division, suggested the panel move forward in an area of little disagreement between New York’s plan and the working group’s latest draft regarding having cybersecurity plans in place. Provost urged this part of the panel’s work be advanced quickly in order to deal with differences concerning notification processes and in what constitutes a breach.

Vullo noted differences between the New York rule and the latest working group draft. She said the NAIC draft baseline requirement to institute information-sharing practices in the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act were inadequate. Vullo said the New York rule does not conflict with the federal law.

She said New York’s rule requires notices of significant cybersecurity events within 72 hours of a determination the event is material and reportable. But the NAIC model requires notice of data breaches within three days of determining that a breach may have occurred. “We believe that ‘may’ is too vague to be workable in practice, leading to confusion over what is required to be submitted,” Vullo said. “And also quite frankly, as a regulator, I don’t want to get a lot of junk.”

She said the NAIC model encourages institutions to protect personal information by encryption or other means for wireless data transmitted or on a public network for all nonpublic personal information stored on a laptop or other portable devices. She said New York’s encryption requirements are more specific, while continuing to be risk-based. New York requires a risk-based determination on what should be encrypted and that a chief information security officer review and approve any alternative compensating controls to ensure they are effective if the institution chooses not to use encryption.

Vullo said New York does not require institutions to specifically notify consumers in the event of a breach, but the rule does require institutions to have an incident-response plan that requires institutions to notify consumers as appropriate and notify regulators after a determination of a material event or breach.

“We’ve tried three times and we’re not there just yet, so this is a good regulation to consider,” Farmer said.

Comments on the working group’s latest draft and on the New York regulation are due to a drafting group headed by Rhode Island Insurance Superintendent Beth Dwyer April 17. A new revised draft is expected to be out the following week in advance of a May 9 conference call to discuss it. “Our focus is getting more narrow and more concise,” Farmer said, adding he hopes the committee might be able to take a vote on the next draft.

(By Thomas Harman, Washington Bureau manager, BestWeek: Tom.Harman@ambest.com), http://www3.ambest.com/ambv/bestnews/newscontent.aspx?AltSrc=23&RefNum=199015

 

Checklist for Hiring a Contract CFO

Here are some additional things to consider before hiring a contract CFO:
– Hourly rate
– Are you paying for his or her commute to your office?
– What other costs will you have?
– Who will actually do the work?
– Will the work be done onsite, offsite, or both?
I would also consider insisting on a weekly hours cap in order to control your costs.

Raising Money for a Business Startup – Investors and Busines Partners

When you are raising money, you are essentially taking on a business partner.  Possibly multiple business partners.

Not all partners are created equal

Some will be active, some will be passive, meaning some will just give you money while some will want an active role in the company

Who will do what?

It’s a good idea to know what want so you know find what you are looking for

You may not have the luxury of getting your ideal partner, in those situations you need to be prepared for what you are getting yourself into.

Remember those team projects in school where one kid does 99% of the work and one does almost nothing.  Which one are you going to be?

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you get everything in writing.  If things go wrong, as they often do, you can refer back to the agreements.

I also insist on establishing core values in order to define the principles the business will follow.  The core values of most of my businesses are:

– Honest – We do what we say we are going to do

– Excellent – We over-perform and exceed expectations

– Creative – We find better ways of doing things

– Innovative – We leverage technology

– Generous – We support people, organizations, and causes that we believe in

Want more?

You can watch the videos and subscribe to my YouTube channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmxQWgUDlPJo0IHCIa6SzrQ

Questions or comments?

​Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rencarlton

Twitter: @RenCarlton

IG: rencarlton

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmxQWgUDlPJo0IHCIa6SzrQ

Raising Money for a Business Startup – Why You Should Raise Money

Why should you raise money for your startup instead of bootstrapping?

First, raising money addresses 2 of my 3 critical success factors for a business startup

– Not running out of cash

– Having at least one partner or co-founder

Raising capital forces you to put your plan in writing and clarify your thoughts so you can pitch someone else.  Most people will require some form of business plan.

When you find an investor, it also validates the business… There is s big difference between someone

saying that you a have a good startup and someone actually investing.

Is your business good enough for outsiders to put their money in it?

Investors can also be a great resource for introductions, advice, and assistance.

Want more?

You can watch the videos and subscribe to my YouTube channel here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmxQWgUDlPJo0IHCIa6SzrQ

Questions or comments?

​Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rencarlton

Twitter: @RenCarlton

IG: rencarlton

Raising Money for a Business Startup – How to Pick a Startup Business

In order to raise money for a startup business, we need to select a business.

According to the SBA, there are approximately 28 Million Small U.S. Businesses.  That is a large field!

In order to narrow down the field, we created a checklist.  This is our wish list…

– Scalable

– Profitable

– Produce cash flow relatively quickly

– Helps another one of our portfolio companies

– Interesting and/or fun business

– Strong likelihood of success

– Can we add value

– Compatibility with their team – matches our core values

– We like the business

– Defendable IP

– Our vested interest

You can watch the video and subscribe to my YouTube channel here:   https://youtu.be/19QyN9Hvgeo

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rencarlton

Twitter: @RenCarlton

IG: rencarlton

Raising Money for a Business Startup – Introduction

I have decided to document my journey of trying to raise money for a business startup.

The goal is to give you an unfiltered look at what it is really like to raise money for a new business

This is going to be 100% real, so there is a possibility that this it will not be successful

I have raised startup money in the past, but normally the process is not done in public, so I am not sure if broadcasting this journey will help or hurt the fundraising process.

I plan on publishing at least once per week.  Feel free to contact me with any questions, ideas, or comments.  I also ask that you share this with anyone you know that is interested in raising money for a business startup.

You can watch the video and subscribe to my YouTube channel here:  https://youtu.be/o92g836NKwU

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rencarlton

Twitter: @RenCarlton

IG: rencarlton

Benefits of Using Online Backups

Early one Saturday morning, approximately 15 years ago, something happened that changed my life forever. I woke up early to get some work done. As I pulled my Dell laptop out of its carrying case, I caught my sleeve on the case and accidentally dropped my laptop approximately 6 inches. I did not think it was a big deal until I tried to boot my computer…nothing.  After several phone calls and a trip to a computer repair store I learned the unfortunate truth, my hard drive had crashed and everything on my laptop was permanently lost. Work documents, personal records, photos, and much more were gone forever.

 

Ever since that morning I have diligently backed up every electronic storage device I own on a regular basis. We’re currently living in what some people are describing as the ‘digital age’ as seemingly every part of modern society is governed by computers and technology. Modern technology has advanced hugely over the last decade or so, which many people believe is due to the invention of smart phones and smart devices. We can now browse the web on the move, we can do our banking online, we can transfer funds and pay for items with a few clicks of a few buttons, and we can even earn an honest living online. Computers have revolutionized and changed society forever, which is why so many people and businesses rely on them. Unfortunately, as with all things, occasionally they do not work as well as they should and sometimes they do not work at all. In instances like this, secure backup and file backup services are not only useful, they are vital. Whether you are working on an important report or saving family photos, a sudden computer crash or an unwanted virus can wreak havoc on your life for weeks.

 

Secure backup services however, allow you to save all of your important files and data and allow you to restore data that would have otherwise been lost forever. Because of this, online backup services are becoming hugely popular, in fact, these services have been hugely popular for as long as we can remember and come highly recommended. Here is a look at a few of the benefits and advantages of using an online backup company or service to help protect and restore data.

 

Online secure backup services offer you protection

 

The main benefit associated with live backup services is that they offer you protection or rather they offer protection to your files and data stored on your computer. Let’s face it; computers do sometimes go wrong, sometimes for no reason whatsoever. 99% of the time they’re fantastic, but if it suddenly decides to freeze, crash, or break in the middle of an extremely important business document that you have spent countless hours, days, weeks, or months working on, it’s safe to say that if the file didn’t save, you would probably have a few choice words to say on the matter. That’s where remote backup services come into the mix. These web backup companies and services offer you protection against technological computer-related malfunctions that would have otherwise completely wiped out all of your work. Sometimes technology itself isn’t to blame, but rather Mother Nature herself. All computers require a power source, and in times of extreme weather, we can sometimes lose power, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes several hours, and in extreme cases, even days. Again, these remote backup services protect and store your files and data safely, so you know that even if the worst does happen, all is not lost.

 

Online backups run silently in the background

 

Another great thing about offsite backup services is that once you subscribe to them you are done. You don’t need to worry about anything else. They constantly run silently in the background and store everything. That means that you don’t need to manually save the files yourself, as the offsite backup service will take care of all of that for you. These services also provide you with vital statistics relating to each backup. Each time the live backup does its thing you can view extensive reports about each backup provided, so you know exactly when each complete pc backup was made.

 

Online backups are ready to go at any time

 

Another great benefit of these services is that they allow you to restore data at any time whatsoever, from any location, all with a few clicks of a button. Most of these automatic backup services are able to deliver your data instantly, so you don’t have to wait around very long for the data you backed to be restored. You can use them at any time, and retrieve files, data, and folders from anywhere, all with a few simple clicks.

 

Online backups allow you to retrieve corrupted files and data

 

Whether you subscribe to a complete pc backup service or you use an Apple Mac and subscribe to an online backup Mac service, the great thing about is they allow you unlimited backup capabilities. This means you can retrieve corrupted data or files. Computers pick up viruses, which can sometimes lead to data and file corruption.  In addition, sometimes files simply save corruptly for no clear reason whatsoever. Normally the file or data would need to be permanently wiped from your hard drive, but secure backup services mean you can retrieve corrupted files or data individually, or in cases of extreme virus attacks, you can retrieve all the files and data that would have ordinarily been lost forever.

 

Online backup services are extremely affordable

 

Another great benefit of automatic backup services is the fact that they’re extremely affordable and cost effective. Users are only required to pay small subscription fees for their cloud storage subscription service, and will save a fair amount of money, as they will not have to worry about paying for remote backup servers and software. They’re also great for saving money on energy bills, because these web backup services do not require a dedicated backup server to be running 24/7 for protection, your energy usage will be reduced as a result.

 

Online backups offer you peace of mind

 

Finally, the last, and some would say the most important benefit of using live backup services, is that they offer you peace of mind as you can restore data at any time, from anytime. You needn’t worry about losing that large presentation for work or your precious family photos, since the remote backup will ensure that the file is stored safely.

 

Conclusion

 

Using an online, offsite backup company makes sense for most businesses and individuals.  Whether you are storing vital tax information, or simply preserving a childhood video, taking a few minutes to install a secure backup system today can save you a countless amount of time, money, and frustration in the future.

 

Online Backup System – $59 Per Year! – Order Today and Receive a FREE GIFT!

Click the link http://bit.ly/saveyourdatanow if you are interested in a 15-day free trial of a computer backup system that has ALL of the following features:

  1. Easy to install and use
  2. Backups run automatically
  3. Backups are stored offsite (in the cloud)
  4. Backups are performed throughout the day (real-time)
  5. Backed-up information is easy to view and access via computer, smartphone, tablet, etc.
  6. Free customer support
  7. Affordable ($59 per year)

You will also receive a FREE GIFT if you purchase the online backup system using the following link, http://bit.ly/saveyourdatanow

 

References:

http://www.symform.com/blog/top-5-reasons-online-data-backup/

http://fileinabox.com/six-advantages-of-using-online-file-backup

LinkedIn Profile Writing System – LinkedIn Training and Sales System

LinkedIn, if used appropriately, can increase the revenue of a company. Social networking is often used as a simple, informal channel of communication; however, companies are now starting to realize that social networking is a powerful tool to promote a brand and increase sales.

 

LinkedIn Profile – Online Resume or Marketing Tool

LinkedIn was started in 2002 and officially launched on May 5, 2003. The company has become the world’s largest professional online network with over 135 million members in more than 200 countries. Many professionals join in LinkedIn groups, of which there are more than 2 million, so as to share knowledge and insights. As of November 2011, over 2 million companies had LinkedIn Company Pages.   There are 12 languages currently available on LinkedIn. These include: French, Germany, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, English, Swedish, Spanish, Russian, Romanian and Turkish. This makes LinkedIn a global social network where companies can get professionals to work for them from any part of the world. Thus, companies can create professional LinkedIn pages and attract the most qualified candidates worldwide

What Works and How It Is Done

There is no doubt that many companies are using social business to promote their products/services. The latest reports have shown the following:

  • The percentage of companies expecting to use social media for promotional activities pertaining to their business will rise from 71 percent to 83 percent in the next two years.
  • The number of companies expecting to use social strategies to generate sales leads and revenue will increase drastically. Today, 51 percent of companies use social strategies to generate leads and revenue, while 74 percent are planning to get on board in the next two years.
  • Post-sales support is expected to increase from the current 46 percent to 69 percent in the next two years. Each company has at least one social sales system.

 

Sales System – The Best Marketing Tools for Acquiring New Customers

Every company wants to apply the best marketing tools available to acquire new customers. A study was conducted to establish some of these tools. 62 SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) were asked to give their views on the best marketing tools that worked for them and the ones that didn’t work. The following results were recorded:   What NOT to use From the SME’s responses, the following tools were not recommended as a means of attracting new customers:

  • Call centers
  • Price cuts
  • Cold calling

The top three marketing tools that work The following are the three tools that were named to be the best for marketing, especially when looking for new customers:

  • Face to face networking: 84% of companies stated that face to face networking worked for them and would always use it when searching for new customers.
  • Partners and referrals: 80% of individuals and companies rated partners and referrals as “Good”, or “Very Good”.
  • Content: 76% of the people interviewed stated that creating and distributing compelling content in various forms helped them to acquire new customers.

From this information, it is clear that a combination of approaches if the best way to target your customer. The author recommends the following approach for obtaining new customers:

  • Use LinkedIn to identity potential customers.
  • Delivering appropriate content to the potential customers through various marketing tools.
  • Getting face to face meetings with potential customers.
  • Delivering better products and services in order to get more referrals and partners.

 

LinkedIn Profile Writing System – Why Everyone Should Have a LinkedIn Profile

  • It’s a way of getting your profile online. Your profile looks professional and is very easy to update. Some commentators see the LinkedIn profile as a replacement for the traditional CV. It will ensure that people find you on the web, as Google loves it. For those who already have an online presence, it can improve your ratings and increase the chances of you being found.
  • It gives more information than a traditional CV. It shows the extent of your network and recommendations from others, plus easy links to other online information that backs up your case.
  • It makes networking easy. As one independent consultant said: “it’s like they are making the networking aspect of freelancing too easy to fail.” It’s a useful database of your contacts that is easy to grow. It builds a professional community and reminds you of whom you know.
  • It gives you permission to keep in contact. If someone accepts your invitation to join your network, they are giving you permission to keep in touch. Using LinkedIn to keep in contact is a more personal and less intrusive method than email. It is a form of permission marketing; you can easily remove connections too.

 

Grow Your Network – Sarnoff’s Law

Undoubtedly, there is a direct relationship between the number of customers a company has and the volume of sales that the company makes. If a company has many customers, then it is like that their sales volume is higher. Sarnoff’s Law is attributed to David Sarnoff. David was an American businessman and pioneer of American commercial radio and television network. He was the founder of National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Sarnoff’s Law was created to relate the value of a radio station to the number of listeners. This law is of the view that network value is directly proportional to the number of listeners on that particular network. From a social network perspective, this theory simply implies that the more people are connected to a brand through social network, the more the effect in terms of brand awareness.

 

Accelerate Your Sales Cycle – How to Generate Leads Using LinkedIn

The truth is that a LinkedIn profile can be used to generate leads. Therefore, LinkedIn training such as profile writing should be taken serious. For you to benefit from LinkedIn as a tool to generate leads, you should understand the following social media attractions and distractions. Social media attractions

  • Making money
  • Gaining market share
  • Retaining customers
  • Building visibility

Social media distractions:

  • Fun and games
  • Friends and family
  • Sports and hobbies
  • Unrelated activities

You can use LinkedIn for both direct and indirect marketing campaigns by finding prospects via LinkedIn, but you need to build a relationship with the prospect first. The success of this approach will depend on your ability to connect with the prospect on a personal level, your ability to leverage mutual connections, and the strength of your value proposition.

 

Simplify Your Social Marketing Activities – How You Can Build a LinkedIn Marketing Campaign

There are numerous ways to build an effective LinkedIn marketing campaign.  Below is a process you can use to build one yourself:

  • Plan: It entails identifying your marketing objectives and outcome for LinkedIn, designing your client profile, and creating a compelling LinkedIn profile.
  • Connect: It entails segmenting your contacts, identifying the best search criteria, and building your sales system of targeted leads.
  • Profit: It entails building a relationship with your clients, promoting your call to action, and systemizing and replicating the process.

 

Conclusion – LinkedIn Training and Sales System

Social media is an effective tool for promoting an organization by improving brand awareness, generating leads, and increasing sales. For this to be achieved, your sales team needs to have well-written LinkedIn profiles, a large network of relevant connections, and good content to distribute to potential clients.

 

About Rencat

Rencat is a digital marketing company that specializes in helping organizations use LinkedIn to increase sales.  Our LinkedIn training and sales system grows your referral base, accelerates your sales cycle, and simplifies your social marketing activities.

  • Grow your referral base by connecting with more prospects.
  • Accelerate your sales cycle by interacting with prospects that have common connections and interests.
  • Simplify your social marketing activities by using our proven services, resources, and processes.

Rencat’s services include:

  • LinkedIn Profile Analysis – Learn how to attract the people and companies that will benefit you the most using your LinkedIn profile.
  • LinkedIn Profile Enhancement – Engage our team of professional writers in order to create the LinkedIn profile that is right for you.
  • LinkedIn Marketing Campaign – Leverage our services and resources to create a social marketing campaign that produces results.

 

Resources

  • Social Media as a Tool of Marketing and Creating Brand Awareness – Christine Adhiambo Odhiambo
  • The Business Of Social Business – What Works And How It’s Done – IBM
  • Which Are The Best Marketing Tools For Acquiring New Customers? – Malcolm Wicks
  • How To Use LinkedIn To Bring In Business – Sonja Jefferson
  • Sarnoff’s Law – David Sarnoff
  • How to Generate Leads Using LinkedIn – Hubspot
  • Business Accelerator Program – http://www.linkfluencer.com/business-accelerator-program/

 

Shen Yun, Work of Art or Weapon Against Communism?

Is Shen Yun’s business model the wave of the future for exposing political unrest?  Shen Yun, one of the most amazing shows of our times, combines 5,000 years of Chinese history with song and dance.  However, the show is not permitted to be shown in China because of the artists depiction of Chinese politics.  Is Shen Yun a work of art, or a carefully designed weapon against communism?

George Sawyer, self-proclaimed esoteric Taoist and responsible hedonist, commented

“Shen Yun seems to be part of the propaganda arm of Falun Gong / Falun Dafa, a religious group that openly and publicly challenged the political power of the Chinese government and has paid a terrible price.

Falun Gong seems to have quite a reputation as a cult, and has received lots of terrible press.  They are being persecuted by the Chinese Government. While Falun Gong says it’s about religion, it seems to me to be about politics.  Their Wikipedia page – Falun Gong – seems quite neutral, and side-steps the “cult” issue.  The best English language account I’ve found of their dispute with the Chinese government is David Palmer’s book, “Qigong Fever: Body, Science and Utopia in China”

Here is a snippet from an articles about recent performances

Shen Yun at Lincoln Center: Truth on Falun Gong

…. If Shen Yun is a good representation of classical Chinese dance and  historical costumes then female representation is on the VERY demure  side. All the dancers wore floor length skirts and high necks and  sleeves. I don’t think I saw one thigh or chest. Sex appeal there were  none. Artistry yes. But then the show took an unexpected turn. Suddenly  there was this heavy-handed spiritual preaching about the religious  group Falun Dafa and how to achieve salvation and truth through the  Dafa. On top of the terrible lyrical translation projected on the screen  about this new religious movement in China (founded in 1992), there  were quite a few skits reacting the persecution of Falun followers in  China by the government – represented by dancers wearing all black with a  bright red sickle and hammer emblem on their backs.

The reviewer goes on to say that except for the “preachy parts ” the performance was enjoyable.

Based on the experiences of friends with Falun Dafa and based on what I’ve read, especially from the qigong community, I steer clear of them.”

On a much lighter note, here are my comments about the show, www.theepochtimes.com/n3/498255-ive-never-seen-anything-like-it-ceo-says-of-shen-yun/