Stationery Trends to Follow

By Anne Itri

It’s true.  Stationery and printed materials have declined.  However, print is still very much alive.  Shouldn’t your remaining printed materials differentiate and leave a strong impression?  If you agree, below are some of the trends in the industry that are making a big impact.

Trend 1 – Bright, Ultra White Paper Stock

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How to Bank Smarter with Escrow and Trust Accounts

By Monte Ehrenkranz

As a law firm, you have a variety of options available to you for the temporary holding of funds.  These options include escrow and client trust accounts.  In an escrow account, funds are deposited on behalf of the client in relation to business acquisitions or real estate transactions.  Then the funds are released as transactions dictate upon completion.  In a client trust account, client funds are held in trust by the attorney for the benefit of the client.  These types of accounts are commonly used for debt collection and to control administrative costs.  Funds can also be held in connection with a settlement.  It is common for a settlement check to be payable jointly to the attorney and client, covering payment to the attorney for fees and expenses, with the balance payable to the client.

Client trust accounts can also earn interest in two different ways.  The interest can be earned and payable to the client, annually issuing the client a 1099 form for tax return reporting, or the attorney can earn the interest in accordance with Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) procedures, which provide protection provisions for clients.

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Retirement Planning for Law Professionals

By ABA Retirement Funds

 Here’s a big word for you from the world of behavioral finance—hyperbolic discounting.  Hyperbolic discounting is a time-inconsistent model of discounting.  Ok, that didn’t help much.  Think of it this way—humans tend to value short-term rewards over longer-term rewards, even when, mathematically, the rewards are worth the same.  The farther away the reward, the more we tend to discount it.

How does it work?  Assume someone has the choice between $20.00 now or $100.00 tomorrow.  Most will wait a day and collect the $100.00 reward.  But what if I were to offer you $20.00 now, or $100.00 one year from now?  Turns out, many people will opt for the $20.00 now, discounting the value of a larger reward because it is so far into the future.  So expressed another way, hyperbolic discounting is a person’s desire for an immediate reward rather than a higher-value reward, at some point later.

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Raising Kids and Joining a Board of Trustees: Common Ground

By Elli Albert 

NJALA members say to me all the time, “Oh, I could never be president of NJALA.”  My response to them is always the same.  “Trust me, if I can do it, so can you!”

I often equate being president of a board of trustees to having children.  When I was expecting my first child, all I could think about was how I would ever be able to deal with a teenager!  I slowly realized something important.  Babies come out as infants, not as teenagers.  Raising a child is a cumulative process.  You learn things every day with your infant, who then becomes a child, who then becomes a teenager.  By the time children reach the teenage years, you have (usually) built up enough parenting skills to be ready for them and their challenges.  (I say that having survived the young adulthood of my two sons, now in their twenties!) 

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New Jersey’s New $15.00 Per Hour Minimum Wage: What Businesses Need to Know

By Andy Surtz

New Jersey’s governor, Phil Murphy, promised during his campaign, that he would raise the minimum wage in New Jersey.  As of February 2, 2019, this promise became a reality.  Governor Murphy signed a new law that would slowly raise the minimum wage for most hourly employees by the year 2024.  This bill will effectively raise the current minimum wage of $8.85 per hour to $15.00 per hour at an increment of approximately $1.00 per year.  Prior to this new bill, New Jersey raised its minimum wage by $0.25 per hour to accommodate a cost of living increase in January 2019.  Here is what you need to know about this new bill and how it will affect your business.

How Does the Minimum Wage Increase Work?

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Quality Maintenance Matters

By Gabriella Colasacco Hermey

Material selection and cleaning methodologies for floor surfaces have experienced many different trends over the years, but one truth always remains: quality matters.  Quality relationships, quality materials and quality maintenance contribute to a healthy bottom line and a healthy facility.
Stone and carpet are two of the most popular surfaces found in law offices.  There are key maintenance fundamentals and best practices every facility/office manager should know when selecting and caring for these materials.


Stone will never go out of style, and if properly maintained, this surface will last the life of the facility.  From marble and granite, to travertine and limestone, stone has been used for centuries for architectural finishes, on vertical and horizontal surfaces alike, due to its attractive appearance and durability.
Different types of stone may look beautiful side by side or throughout contiguous areas, but stone selections should not be made by aesthetics alone.  Stone surfaces, whether vertical or horizontal, interior or exterior, require different care based on material, traffic patterns and usage.  For example, it is not a good idea to pair marble and granite or marble and terrazzo together for several reasons, including variations of density and hardness, and incompatible maintenance requirements that could cause harm to the neighboring stone.  Choosing stone from the same family or stone with similar maintenance needs, such as marble and limestone, combined with a tailored routine surface care plan, will help ensure your stone floors last for centuries.
After the January 2017 effective date of OSHA 1910.21 subpart D, Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems), the trend to choose textured stone surfaces and finishes has increased.  The updated law is designed to “help prevent and reduce workplace slips, trips, and falls, as well as other injuries and fatalities associated with walking-working surface hazards”.  Under 1910.21, OSHA defines general industry workplaces walking-working surfaces as floors, stairways, steps and aisles, among other horizontal, vertical and inclined or angled surfaces.[i]
Stone floors, textured or smooth, are exceptional architectural finishes for just about all types of facilities; but, remember, choosing high-quality materials is only the first step in creating beautifully designed spaces.  Having an expert surface care consultant provide a long-term maintenance strategy, cost analysis and surface recommendations before a flooring investment is made is a close second, if not as important as the first step.  The same qualified consultant can provide a field assessment and offer recommendations for existing floors that may involve restoration as needed and an ongoing cleaning and maintenance plan.


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Four Recruitment Strategies to Help Law Firms Succeed in A Candidate-Driven Market

By Micki Mersky

Today’s job market is the most competitive in a generation.  In this climate, providing a positive candidate experience is critical to attracting and hiring the best talent available.  However, many law firms are struggling to deliver without the right recruitment strategies.  A great candidate experience, from job posting to offer, does not only create excitement for one great candidate; it can also lead to higher quality applicants, more hires and new referrals.
As a result, it becomes clear how much the hiring process matters in providing a great first impression to new hires.  For employers who want to gain an edge on their competition, consider the following recruitment strategies to transform your candidate experience in 2019.

Portray a strong employer brand

According to The Execu|Search Group’s 2019 Hiring Outlook, 59% of job seekers spend thirty or more minutes researching a company throughout the hiring process.  Between websites, social media, press and employee review sites, every candidate has a strong impression of your organization before her or she walks in the door.
As a result, it is critical that law firms utilize these online platforms to reach out to those candidates looking for the right fit.  When a job seeker looks at your law firm online, he or she should be able to determine who you are, what you do and why you’re a great place to work.

Be flexible in your requirements

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Mail Fraud Tips

By Peapack-Gladstone Bank
In light of recent check thefts from mailboxes, the following are local law enforcement tips to avoid mail theft:
Bank online: Refrain from mailing checks, cash, gift cards or other negotiable items if possible.  Use online banking instead.
Use a gel pen: If you must send a check in the mail, use a gel pen to write out checks.   Ballpoint pen ink can be easily washed off a check.
Mail at post office: Take those checks to the post office counter to be mailed and record the name of the postal employee who takes those checks.
Use plain white envelopes to mail checks: Do not use return envelopes with the utility logo or municipality for tax payments on them.  These are easy targets for thieves.
Monitor bank activity: Check bank activity online and review bank statements as soon as they are received to check for discrepancies.
See something, say something: Call 911 to report any suspicious activity near mailboxes.
Report the theft: If you have been a victim of mail theft, call the U.S. Postal Inspectors Service at 877-876-2455 and choose option 4.
More tips from the U.S. Postal Inspectors website:
- Use the letters slots inside your post office for your mail, or hand it to a letter carrier.
- Pick up your mail promptly after delivery.  Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight.  If you’re expecting checks, credit cards or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
- If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
- If you change your address, immediately notify your post office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
- Don’t send cash in the mail.
- Tell your post office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.
- Report all suspected mail theft to a postal inspector.
- Consider starting a neighborhood watch program.  By exchanging work and vacation schedules with trusted friends and neighbors, you can watch each other’s mailboxes (as well as homes).
Consult with your local postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.
Peapack-Gladstone Bank, founded in 1921, is a high-performing boutique bank known nationally for unparalleled client service, integrity and trust.  For more information on Peapack-Gladstone Bank’s leading wealth, lending and deposit solutions, please contact Terese S. Gardenier, SMD, Escrow Services, at [email protected].  
The Security Tips provided are for informational use only and are not intended for financial or investment advice.  Peapack-Gladstone Bank and its affiliates assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided.

5 Questions with…Bernie Merer

By Cathy Aveta
CA: What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
BM: Miss Trudy, my wife.  We’ve been a team for over 50 years and I couldn’t live without her.
CA: What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
BM: I worked in a kosher butcher shop on the line pulling gall bladders out of chickens.  I saw so slow, the lady next to me had to both of our jobs.  Picture Lucy and Ethel on the candy line.
CA: What’s your favorite current TV show?
BM: Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley.  Lots of different segments, and there’s never a time that I don’t learn something new.
CA: What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
BM: Neil Diamond in Philadelphia.  Kids bought Miss Trudy and I tickets to go.  Great show.
CA: What’s your favorite ‘90s jam?
BM: I don’t even know what you’re talking about!  I like Welch’s grape jam the best.  No jelly for me.  If you’re talking music…I’m a doo-wop guy.  Give me the Duprees, Drifters, Crests or Kenny Vance and The Planotones.
Cathy Aveta is the Director of Paralegal Services & Attorney Recruitment at Saiber LLC in Florham Park, New Jersey.
Bernie Merer is the Director of Human Resources & Facilities at Saiber LLC in Florham Park, New Jersey.

Smart Change Starts Here Tip Sheet: Five Solution Features to Consider

By Canon Solutions America, Inc.

Prioritize Document Control and Security

A law firm IT administrator needs to wear a lot of hats to be successful.  Network maintenance, third-party vendor management and data security are just a few of the administrator’s responsibilities.
Data security is a common top priority due to the volume and nature of information that is handled during legal review.  A workflow solution designed for document control and security can help law firms limit access to private client data without adding a lot of work to overwhelmed IT teams.
Choosing the right solution for your law firm can be time-consuming.  Here are five important features to consider when implementing a secure, easy-to-manage document control solution.

1. Documents are stored, managed and accessed within the perimeters of a secure ecosystem

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President's Message February 2019

By Mary Beth Donoghue

As I sit down to write this month’s message, Punxsutawney Phil has left his burrow to look for his shadow for the 133rd time and predicted an early spring.  A little more than one week later, the NJALA decided to cancel the February monthly meeting due to inclement weather!  It is a decision the board does not take lightly, as there are many components involved with cancelling our monthly meetings, including working with our venue, notifying our membership and business partners and, most importantly, working with our planned speaker about possibly re-scheduling the program.  Daniel Sean Kaye’s scheduled February presentation, “A Delicate but Crucial Conversation: Talking About Depression and Suicide in the Workplace”, looked to be a relevant and well-attended session based on our registrations. Unfortunately, we are not able to reschedule this session for this program year, but we look forward to hopefully scheduling Daniel to speak in the future.
So, as we ideally move closer to spring-like weather, I hope you all will join us for our March monthly meeting on March 12, 2019.  The March meeting will be held at a new location, the Bridgewater Marriott.  Our topic is “Ch-ch-ch-Changes: Taking the Challenge Out of Change”,presented by a fabulous speaker, Judy Hissong of Nesso Strategies.  If you have been lucky enough to hear Judy speak at ALA conferences or past NJALA events, you know that this will be an engaging meeting.  You may be wondering why we are having this meeting at the Bridgewater Marriott.  Let me tell you why.  The NJALA covers the entire state of New Jersey, and, if you did not notice, New Jersey is a long state.  The NJALA is very grateful that individuals from firms located in the middle and southern parts of the state have joined the chapter to receive many of the benefits that come with our membership, even if they cannot always physically attend our meetings in West Orange.  In past years, we have hosted some monthly meetings and educational sessions at locations closer to the middle of the state.  By choosing the Bridgewater Marriott, we hope that more members geographically located in the middle and southern parts of the state will join us for this terrific presentation.  If you have not yet registered for this meeting, please do so here.  If you happen to be one of the individuals who has difficulty making our meetings in West Orange, we would like to hear your ideas as we address being as inclusive as possible going forward with all our members across the state.
Also, at our March meeting, the Nominations Committee will present the slate of board officers and trustees for our next term.  Normally, the slate is presented at the February meeting, but due to the February meeting cancellation, this announcement will now take place at the March meeting, followed by a floor vote, and then the swearing-in of our new officers and trustees at our April meeting. 
Many NJALA members will be attending the upcoming ALA Annual Conference and Exposition in Grapevine, Texas from April 14, 2019 to April 17, 2019.  ALA annual conferences are not only an opportunity to hear amazing speakers (like Judy Hissong, our March speaker), but also a place to gain subject-matter knowledge and learn about the latest solutions in the legal management field.  You will have the chance to discover legal management tools of the future and alternative approaches to your day-to-day work from individuals with diverse backgrounds, work environments and responsibilities.  In addition, you get to network with peers from all over the country, as well as colleagues from Canada, Mexico, Australia and the rest of the globe.  Any board member would be happy to discuss with you the benefits of attending this event should you have an interest.  It is not too late to register for this incredible professional experience.
As you have heard many times over the last few years, our organization would not be what it is today without the support of our business partners.  Our Business Partner Relations and Advisory Committee has been working tirelessly throughout the entire winter preparing new materials and brochures for business partner sponsorship.  We hope you will take a moment to consider sharing NJALA business partner opportunities with vendors you deal with on a regular basis at your own firms.  Any member of our Business Partner Relations and Advisory Committee is willing to speak with you or reach out to any vendor you would like the NJALA to consider for business partner sponsorship.  We are excited to be launching even more new initiatives to promote the wonderful relationships we have with our esteemed business partners, so please keep an eye out for updates.
Finally, I would like to urge all of you reading this to reach out to myself or any member of the board if you have comments, questions, concerns or ideas related to our industry and the NJALA.  We are here to represent you and are eager to hear what you have to say.  On behalf of the entire board, I want to thank each and every one of you for your membership in our organization, and I encourage you to renew your membership before the March 31, 2019 deadline.  It has been both a privilege and a pleasure serving as your President over this past year.
Mary Beth Donoghue is the Administrative Office Manager of Day Pitney LLP in Parsippany, New Jersey.

How Much Does VoIP Phone Service Cost a Small to Midsize Business?

By Vincent Finaldi

In the VoIP industry, one of the most common questions we are asked is, “How much does a cloud-based VoIP phone system cost?”  The answer is…it depends—primarily on three main factors.  To help you get a sense of how pricing is determined in the VoIP industry, we’ve openly and honestly discussed those three factors below.

VoIP Pricing: A History Lesson

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5 Questions with...Sarah Clark

By Cathy Aveta

CA: What are some of your pet peeves?

SC: Drivers who pull the “late merge” with a whole line of traffic waiting to exit, people who do not bag their own groceries at the supermarket and people who complain about having to do a task for so long that they could have completed it and been done in the time spent complaining.

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Artificial Intelligence's Impact on the Legal Industry

By Paul Sperry

Over the last few years, the legal industry has found itself in the midst of a sea change that has been exacerbated by competitive pressures, an increasingly intelligent client base and the advent of technology to control costs and affect outcomes.  Although there’s been tremendous interest around topics like alternative billing models, e-discovery, legal processing, outsourcing, mobility, cloud strategies, big data, security, etc., today it seems like everyone (engineers, data scientists, entrepreneurs, business owners, senior management executives and, yes, even lawyers) is talking about artificial intelligence (AI).

The Wikipedia definition of AI is “intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals.  A machine imitating human behavior, such as ‘learning’ and ‘problem solving’.”  The definition continues to change, and has been split into two broad types of AI—narrow (applied) and general.  Narrow AI is intelligent systems that have been taught to carry out specific tasks without being explicitly programmed to do so, e.g., Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.  General AI is the type of adaptable intellect found in humans, a flexible form of intelligence capable of learning how to carry out vastly different tasks.

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Business Partners and You: Perfect Together

By Sarah Clark, CLM

If you are like me and have lived in New Jersey for as long as you can remember, you can still hear former Governor Thomas Kean reciting the state slogan, “New Jersey and You: Perfect Together” (and may even throw in your best Jersey accent for emphasis).  As I thought about content for this article, this slogan came to mind over and over again.  Why, you ask?  It is because I am here to write about the importance of collaborating with our NJALA business partners to achieve your law firm’s goals.  While I may be stating the obvious, our business partners are here to help you, and working with them can help you in ways you never knew.
Let’s face it, you would not be in a management or administrative position without at least some contact with business partners, but when was the last time you reached out and scheduled a quick telephone call or meeting with a business partner to see what is new and exciting?  You may be surprised to find out that our business partners can help you in numerous ways, and that they are not just there to make the sale.  I understand that we are busy, need to get our regular work done and are often hard-pressed to find the time for extra meetings or exploring new company relationships.  We may not have the luxury to take on additional projects or incorporate alternate systems and/or procedures.  My guess is that most of us subscribe to the principle of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”; but, you could be missing out.
We all know that the right products and services are key to successful legal administration.  Business partner relationships are important connections and resources as we conduct our jobs, plan for the future and expand our knowledge of products, changes and trends.  Building future business partner relationships can help us when a product or service changes or when an additional product or service is needed.  Positive relationships with business partners also provide a way to enhance our profession within our communities. 
Recently, I was chatting with one of our business partners, Gabriella Hermey from J. Herbro, also known as Dri-Klean.  Gabriella’s company cleans commercial carpet and office interiors.  She was chatting with a member at an NJALA event about her need to replace the carpeting in her office.  Our member told Gabriella that she assumed their carpet was unsalvageable and would need to be replaced.  Gabriella offered to come take a look at the carpet, and was tasked with trying to lessen the stains and freshen the space temporarily until the budget allowed for the high cost of carpet replacement.  According to Gabriella: “Instead, our team was able to thoroughly remove all the stains and improve the overall profile and air quality in the space.  We’re so pleased to know the client was thrilled with the results and we were able to extend the life of the carpet, saving them money, time and effort, all without disrupting their routine.”   Thanks to a quick conversation with one of our business partners, this member was able to save her law firm the costly expense of replacing its carpets. 
Another member, Elli Albert, told me about a time when she needed a temporary secretary for her office.  “When I was desperate for a temporary floater in my office, I called a few different staff recruiting agencies.  The only one who came up with multiple, qualified candidates, or, in fact, any candidates, was Micki Mersky from our NJALA business partner, Execu-Search.  She placed our temp with us, and the temp was eventually hired as a permanent employee.  I now recommend Micki and her firm constantly.  They are extremely diligent and pleasant to work with.”  Elli was willing to step out of her normal routine and give someone new a chance.  The results were a win-win for all involved.
I am sure I could find many more testimonials from our members about successful experiences with our business partners.  The point is, unless you make the effort to find out what is new or what has changed within the industry, you may be missing out on the opportunity to save your law firm time, money and aggravation.  One simple meeting with a print management company or an off-site storage facility could result in significantly less headaches down the road.  Please make this a professional goal for 2019.  Consider taking a meeting.  You may be surprised with what you find.
We all know that without our business partners, NJALA would not be able to offer our amazing educational and social events and scholarships.  We owe them a big thank you for their constant support.  Taking the time to really get to know our business partners is a great way to show your thanks.  Give them a chance to hear about your projects and initiatives, and let them try to build a solution that will make you “perfect together”.
Sarah Clark, CLM is the Director of Administration for McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter, LLP in Newark, New Jersey.

On Brevity and Passion

By Elyssa A. Goldstein, CLM, PHR, SHRM-CP

I’ve never been known for my brevity.  I love to tell stories, relish playing games like Taboo and Catch Phrase and am extremely comfortable in front of a crowd.
That said, I am also keenly aware of the power of words.  Sometimes, saying less (or saying nothing at all) creates the biggest impact.
As another year draws to a close, and we all take the time to reflect on our highs and lows and resolve to make the necessary improvements in the coming year, I could easily share pages worth of NJALA commentary.  (Don’t worry, I won’t.)
I’ve done some light “preaching” when discussing topics like motivation, gratitude and priorities in the past, and, though I have not been privy to any negative feedback, I am sure there are those who take issue with the way I deliver my messages.
Freedom of thought is one of the greatest freedoms we have, and my intention is not to change your mind or have you fall in line. 
My intention instead is to communicate the passion behind the words I write, the passion I feel for my legal administration profession and the passion I demonstrate as a member of the NJALA.  (Example: Screaming at the top of my lungs whenever the New Jersey chapter is mentioned at a national ALA event.)
We all have our reasons for being affiliated with the NJALA.  Maybe, at one time, “passion” would have made your list.  Maybe, for you, “passion” never stood a chance. 
Careers ebb and flow much like the ocean tide, and maybe you’ve been longing for a way to feel reenergized and reinvigorated. 
I would argue that the NJALA is the opportunity you’ve been seeking.
You will likely receive several e-mails during the month of January asking for committee members, assistance with volunteer efforts and the like.  Take a chance.  Throw your hat in the ring.  Raise your proverbial hand.  As the saying goes, “don’t knock it…”.  (See, brevity.)
I hope my words find their way into your year-end reflections, because I know the NJALA will continue to do amazing and impactful things in 2019. 
Until then, I wish you and yours the happiest and healthiest of holiday seasons.
Elyssa A. Goldstein, CLM, PHR, SHRM-CP is the Firm Administrator of Rebenack, Aronow & Mascolo, LLP in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Moving to The Cloud and How to Get There

By Rich Kukla

The Cloud—Past, Present and Beyond

Over the past few years, the discussion concerning moving to the cloud has become one of the top topics of conversation in the IT industry.  As with any major infrastructure change, there are lots of options to consider, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a cloud migration.
By definition, “the cloud” is nothing more than a data center that is accessible over the public Internet.  By moving to a cloud infrastructure, you’re moving your company’s data to someone else’s server, and paying a rental fee for that service.  Instead of purchasing physical servers, and hosting those servers at your office, your data would be stored in a data center, and you can access that data as needed.  This eliminates the need to refresh your on-premise server hardware every few years, and potentially increases your data’s accessibility.

The Cloud Ahead

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2018 New Jersey Paralegal Convention Recap

By Nancy Harris

On October 26, 2018, fellow board member, Alison Rizzo, and I represented the NJALA as a vendor at the New Jersey Paralegal Convention.  The Convention was an all-day affair for experienced, career paralegals, paralegal students and those seeking continuing legal education to enhance their skills, network with fellow paralegals and explore services designed for the legal profession.  This outing was an excellent opportunity for the NJALA to increase our visibility, and promote and market our organization’s services to paralegal managers.  The New Jersey Paralegal Convention Committee put together a wonderful event and were more than accommodating to us.  We sincerely appreciate it and were glad to partner with them.
In addition to the tremendous joy of meeting everyone, we spoke with several prospective members who were excited to find out more about our organization.  Some of them are new managers (like all of us were at one time) who need help, resources and guidance to better themselves in their jobs.  We look forward to having them join our NJALA family. 
We even ran into several of our NJALA business partners at this event!  We already know we have wonderful business partners, but, after being a vendor for a day, we gained newfound respect and admiration for them.  They all make a long and tiring day look easy!  Kudos to our business partners! 
At the end of the Convention, Alison and I walked away feeling accomplished, as we met endearing people who were genuinely happy to hear about our organization.  We will be looking for volunteers next year so others may have the opportunity to see what all the hype is about.
Nancy Harris is the Law Office Administrator of the Law Office of William E. Staehle in Morristown, New Jersey.

Breach Response Checklist for Law Firms

By Stew Smith

These days, data breaches have become almost commonplace.  It’s no longer if you get breached, but rather when you get breached.  While prevention is still key, it is important law firms implement procedures to quickly detect breaches and contain the damage once confirmed.  Likened to fire preparedness in an office building, cyber-security should be a non-negotiable component of a responsible workplace, regardless of size.  Don’t have a plan in place?  Here is a checklist of items to get you started: 

  • Review your state’s data breach laws and make a list of entities you have to contact.
  • Contact law enforcement or consumer protection agencies, if your state law requires it.
  • Contact your data security specialist or IT consultant.  If you don’t have one, you may want to hire someone to perform an IT security audit so you’re less likely to experience another data breach in the future.
  • Reach out to your insurance company if you have cyber liability insurance.  Your cyber liability insurance provider will pay for some of the costs associated with responding to a data breach, including (depending on your policy) crisis management, credit monitoring and data breach investigation.
  • Investigate the breach, compiling information as to where it occurred and what data was lost.  (If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, hiring a security consultant to perform an audit may be wise.)
  • Repair any security weaknesses, but keep records and evidence of the breach (which you might need to turn over to law enforcement agencies later).
  • Contact a credit monitoring company about fraud and IT theft prevention services you can offer your customers.
  • Set up a telephone line or e-mail address to handle incoming questions and concerns from customers.
  • Post an announcement on your website about the data breach and how customers may contact you with questions.
  • Notify individual customers (via e-mail, telephone or mail, in accordance with state regulations).

Post Assessment & Planning

  • Assess gaps and evaluate effectiveness of plans, procedures and staff training.
  • Adjust security and response plans and processes; communicate and train accordingly.
  • Stay current; test your plan often and remain aware of changing threats and law.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.  Take some time to review this checklist and get the ball rolling on a response plan today.  Educate yourself on best practices, seek guidance on where you might be most vulnerable, patch any weaknesses and develop a strong security response plan for potential incidents and recovery.
Stew Smith, CISM is Vice President of Business Development at Business Machine Technologies, Inc.  A 21-year member of the BMT team, Stew helps new clients get the most from BMT’s arsenal of services.  A former Senior Network Engineer, and Operations Manager, Stew has authored many of BMT’s procedures and policies.  Stew may be reached at [email protected].

Getting Rid of Those Pesky Replies!

With a new website comes learning.  With learning comes wisdom.  With wisdom comes.... user preferences.

Many of you may feel overwhelmed by the volume of email you are receiving from the community forum, and you may prefer not to see all of the replies that come in to a particular topic.  Well, there is an answer!  See below:

First:  Log in to the website

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