How Inferior Cyber Security Affects Small Businesses

Why Even Small Businesses Must Worry About Cyber Attacks

Everyone remembers the effect that security breaches have had on large corporations like Target and Home Depot. However, most small business owners don’t consider the potential impact that a security breach could have on them. Reports of small legal offices and online retailers being hacked has led many small businesses to the brink of bankruptcy. Most small business owners assume that they aren’t in danger of falling victim to cyber crimes because they assume that hackers wouldn’t want, or have use for, their data.

However, Most small business owners don’t recognize that they’re actually the perfect target in the eyes of many hackers. Personal information like social security numbers, credit card numbers, Tax Identification Numbers and other personal information can be uncovered by hackers and used to collect ransom from the affected small business. Ransomware is just one of the many forms of cyber crimes that affect small businesses and, in fact, Keeper Security estimates that 50% of small businesses were impacted by a security breach in 2016. Even further, The Huffington Post reports that 60% of small business owners impacted by cyber security attacks will fail within six months of the attack.

How to Prevent Cybersecurity Attacks on your Small Business

The ideal solution to this is to fortify your network as much as possible. Keeping your Antivirus software, firewalls and security features updated is the best way to protect your small business from cyber security attacks. Hackers are constantly evolving and coming up with innovative techniques for stealing your information and the only way you can hope to combat them is by keeping your security mechanisms up-to-date.

However, we all know that despite your significant investment in a state-of-the-art security system with the most updated security features; inevitably, an employee will open an email attachment which contains a virus that will infect your entire LAN. The only way to prevent these happenings is through regular cyber security training for your employees. Most small businesses don’t consider this a necessity, however it is, perhaps, the most proactive investment a small business owner can make toward protecting his/her SMB.

What to do if it Happens to YOU

So you’ve invested in premium cybersecurity for your small business, you’ve invested in cybersecurity training for your employees, you’ve done everything right and still, your business falls prey to a cyber security data breach. It happens. You wouldn’t be the first. What’s important is that you have a disaster-recovery plan in place so that you can respond as quickly and efficiently as possible. You must be prepared to shut down the infected device and potentially infected devices within the networks. You need to get in touch with your technical support quickly so that you can run a malware scan and quickly dispose of potential threats to your network. Being prepared to respond to a cyber attack can save your business money and limit the damage done by any hacker.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

Why You Need to Stay Up-To-Date with Cyber Security

Cyber security is one of the hottest topics on the market today. Cyber Security startups are popping up left and right as a result of increasing demand, as more and more businesses fall victim to security breaches every year. The increased prevalence of hacking is an unfortunate consequence of rapidly advancing technology which gives birth to innovations in the mechanisms that hackers can use to steal sensitive digital data. However, you need not fear so long as you are constantly informed with the most relevant cyber security information and you are properly prepared to protect your company’s sensitive information.

The Business Implications of NOT Staying Informed.

  • In 2016, over 33% of businesses lost at least 20% of revenue due to cyber security data breaches.
  • Cyber security breaches could also lead to lawsuits if the personal information of clients or employees falls into the hands of the wrong person.
  • Security breaches increased by an estimated 40% between 2015 and 2016 due to the constant evolution of hackers.

How to Stay Up-to-Date

  • Reading blogs and news streams of cyber security experts are a good place to start. A general google search will pull many of sources you can follow to stay informed on the most up-to-date cyber security information.
  • Following experts on social media will also help you stay informed in real-time. Brian Krebs might be a good place to start.
  • Vulnerability alerts and advisories are another reliable source of up-to-date security information. These feeds are generated from organizations like The National Vulnerability Database and SecurityFocus.
  • Attending cyber security seminars is another viable option for staying informed.

The Benefits of Staying Informed

  • Having the ability to innovate without fear. 71% of executives reported that fear of security breaches impeded their explorations of innovations to their business.
  • Having the freedom to focus on mission-critical initiatives without the fear of cyber security breaches impacting those initiatives, as 40% of businesses reported experiencing last year.

Ultimately, being proactive instead of reactive in regards to cyber security can lead to innovation, agility and a competitive advantage for businesses that adapt quickly and stay informed. It’s important to understand how to react to a crisis, but even more important, is staying up-to-date on cyber security information so that you may avert the crisis in the first place.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

How to Properly Track Paid Time Off for Your Employees

With the multitude of options available today, trying to figure out which paid time off (PTO) tracking software is best suited for your company can become an extremely cumbersome process.

Wouldn’t it be convenient if there were a simpler means of sifting through all of the porous options and uncover the superior products in relation to PTO tracking software?

Well I believe that possibility exists. I believe that when considering all of the options for your businesses PTO tracking software, you need to be able to identify three key features. If the software you’re examining doesn’t possess these features, then you may simply cross it off of your list and move on. Using this method will save you time and money and allow you to ensure that you’re investing in software that will benefit your business rather than serve as a hindrance

First, you’ll want to ensure that that the PTO tracking software you’re considering offers a secure online database with reliable servers. You don’t want to worry about your PTO tracking software crashing and losing all of your company’s employee attendance data. You don’t want to worry about a delayed connection due to poor servers. You also want to be sure that your personal information is secure. The PTO tracking software that you choose should include cloud-based software and database storage. You want to be sure that your information is backed up in a secure location. Thus, the PTO tracking software that you invest in should include strict security guidelines and dedicated servers and databases.

Second, you’ll want to ensure that the software you choose includes a built-in accrual calculator. Perhaps the most pronounced benefit of switching to automated PTO tracking software, is that people despise manually calculating accrued time off. If a system doesn’t include a built-in accrual calculator, then it’s not saving your business as much time as it could. This may seem like something that should inherently come with any PTO tracking software; but that’s not necessarily the case. Typically, premium PTO software will include this feature, but it’s something you’ll want to consider before choosing your businesses PTO tracking software.

Third, you want to make sure that the software you’re buying includes a user-friendly user interface (UI). Again, you’re making this investment in an effort to ensure that your business operates more efficiently. If the UI that you’re using is daunting and not easy to navigate, then the PTO tracking software will become more of a hassle than a relief. The only way to know for sure if the PTO tracking software you’re considering investing in offers a reliable UI, is to take it for a test run. You should only invest in PTO tracking software that offers a free trial or a refund policy.

If you follow these steps, then you should have no problem finding the perfect PTO tracking software for your company. Cumbersome though this task may seem, finding the right software for your company will aid peak performance and efficiency and save your business time and money.

Importance of Having an Employee Handbook

In our most recent episode of this month’s HR Insider, we discussed the importance of why businesses should have an employee handbook.

Employee handbooks are vital for various reasons. First, it let employees know how the company operates, what is expected out of them, and showcases the benefits of working for your company compared to others.

From attendance policies to sick leave, your employee handbook is your upfront contract to your employees. It sets clear expectations of what is expected from your workers.

Here are some other important reasons why your business should invest into developing an employee handbook:

  • Introduction – This is letting your employees know your company’s mission statement, core values, and the working environment. This is very important for your employees to know and will help them adapt to the companies values very easy.
  • Expectations – Letting employees know what exactly you and the company will expect from each individual employee. A well-written handbook provides employees with a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The handbook also serves as a compass for the organization’s policies and procedures.
  • Company Policies – The handbook will accurately help you convey your policies with your handbook and will assist your employees to consistently practice these policies throughout the company. This will also help your managers when making decisions on disciplining employees who have broken company policies.
  • Benefits – In your employee handbook, it should showcase the wonderful benefits you offer. Such as your retirement plan whether it be a 401(K) or any other retirement plan, bonuses and vacation time.
  • Protection – Most importantly, it will protect you, your managers, and your company when dealing with claims relating to harassment, misuse of funds, and attendance issues. By not having an employee handbook could prove detrimental to your business.

Labor Law Changes

On this month’s episode of the HR Insider, we will be joined by a special guest, employment law attorney, Tina Izadi. The topic is about employment law and how it relates to small businesses. One of the numerous things we discussed in this episode was the recent changes to certain regulations regarding overtime pay. Because this is a looming cloud that is hanging over a lot of business owners, especially small businesses, we wanted to share with you a little of what was discussed before the episode airs.

The United States Department of Labor is considering changing certain language surrounding “defining and delimiting the exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales and Computer Employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Although the department is currently looking into modifying this language; in 2016, state, federal, and local legislatures have passed modified laws in favor of workers.

In case you missed it, here are some information on some of the laws that have been changed or could be changed:

Higher Minimum Wage Rates (States not Federal)

Although the federal minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour, some states took it upon themselves to raise the wage within their own states themselves. Colorado, Arizona, Maine and Washington were a few states that took matters into their own hands (or the voters) and raised the state level for minimum wage.

Overtime

Last year, businesses received shocking news that the Department of Labor was going to update a regulation that would increase the salary threshold for paid overtime from $455 per week to $913 per week. In the current language, salaried workers were only able to earn overtime if they made less than a salary of $23,660. The new law was set to go into effect on December 1, 2016 – but after 21 states challenged the proposed change, a federal judge halted the new law from going into effect indefinitely.

While President Obama’s revised overtime regulations will not be happening, many businesses are still wondering if the law will be changed yet again. In July of earlier this year, the Department of Labor issued a Request for Information that seeks to gather comments from the public concerning salaries and wages. You can go here to let your voice be heard: https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime/rfi2016.htm.

President Trump may revisit the overtime labor law changes as his Secretary of the Labor implied that the administration may change the salary threshold to $34,000 – $36,000 which is $650 to $700 per week.

Easy Time Clock ™   is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader.

Cloud Based Attendance Tracking – The New Frontier

Welcome to the Golden Age – or as we like to call it – the cloud based age. Remember that tidbit of advice marketing experts gave to small business owners a few years ago? It went something like this, “if your business is not online or not doing any form of online marketing then you might as well be out of business.”

As truthful as that may be for being online, we are here to tell you that the Cloud is going to be next frontier – especially when it comes to storing data.

Here are a few benefits of using a cloud based attendance tracking system:

  1. Set up is easy. In fact, we even allow a 30 day trial period where you are able to get a feel of our system before actually purchasing a subscription.
  2. Reduce or eliminate your costs on IT. With a cloud based attendance tracking system, there is no need for certain installations or expensive hardware. Using a cloud based system allows you to have promptly support via email or phone call.
  3. Streamline payroll. Turning in paper time sheets, adding in overtime, ensuring the proper deductions are being taken out, and other payroll functions can be time consuming and demanding. By using a cloud based attendance tracking system, it will allow you to streamline your payroll process with the only thing you have to do is approve your employees’ hours!
  4. Follow the cloud, instantly. With cloud based systems, employees can clock in and out on their phones or laptops! It’s that simple.

As you can see, cloud based attendance tracking systems are becoming the new frontier for HR, especially in regards to payroll. For smarter, more effective, more efficient use of your time, we recommend switching to a cloud based attendance tracking system today.

How to Track Employees’ Benefits

You just hired your first set of employees and have finally finished setting up your payroll. Given these are full-time employees, they are also entitled benefits. The benefits you have decided to offer your employees are retirement and healthcare. Now comes the hard question – how do you track them? This could get tricky, especially for small businesses whom do not have a human resources department or specialist.

But before you even begin to track your employees’ benefits, you may want to do some research on how you should properly streamline this process. Here are a few tips:

  1. It is important for you to know how other companies in your industry are managing their employees’ benefits. Perhaps you find out it is much easier to only offer health and dental insurance and let your employees pay for their own vision insurance.
  2. Meet with a HR professional or employment lawyer to become more knowledgeable about the benefits you are offering to your employees.

Now it’s time for you to begin tracking your employees’ benefits.

  1. The most popular form of tracking your employees’ benefits is by using an administration benefits software. Manually tracking benefits is unnecessary in this day and age. Also, a lot of these tracking softwares come with expert assistance and automated processes. Some of the benefits of using an administrative benefits software platform include on-boarding new employees, ability to store information in the Cloud, and access employees’ benefits information. (Did we mention Easy Time Clock does all of this too?!)
  2. Block out time every month to review benefits information. As we know, health insurance benefits information is constantly changing. You want to make sure your information stays up to date.
  3. Make sure to review your employees’ enrollment and deductions each pay cycle to ensure everything is running smoothly.
  4. Make sure to update your employees’ benefits information immediately if they have submitted a change to prior information (like birth of a new baby, married, etc.). Doing this promptly avoids any incorrect deductions being made on their next pay cycle.

Those are just a few tips on how you can begin to track your employees’ benefits. Being a small business owner is no easy task – trust me I know.

But don’t feel stressed out if you just hired your first set of employees and do not know how to track their benefits. In fact, if you are reading this blog then you are already on our website for Easy Time Clock. A little bit about what we do. We are a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader. Easy Time Clock also tracks and manages your employees benefits so you don’t have too! Please call us today to request a free demo!

Properly Defining Your Employees

Although many small business owners are aware of the repercussions of not properly defining their employees – exempt or non-exempt; salaried or hourly; some small business owners still runs into problems come tax time. By not properly defining your employees’ statuses, businesses owners can face hefty fines and penalties even if the error was completely unintentional.

To avoid getting penalized and fined, business owners, especially small business owners, should understand how to properly determine an employee’s classification and how they should get paid.

Salaried Employee

A salaried employee is paid on an annual, fixed amount. The salary is divided by the pay periods based on  2,080 hours. Employees whom are salaried do not have to clock in and are not required to submit time sheets.

Hourly Employee

An hourly employee is paid on the hours that are worked. Hourly employees are required to submit time sheets and clock in and clock out.

Best Practices on Differentiating an Hourly Employee and Salaried Employee

Here are some best practices on how you can differentiate an employee who should be salaried versus hourly.

  1. Hourly employees are required by law to be paid overtime if they exceed their 40 hours in a single work week. If you have to pay overtime to these employees then this means they should be considered non-exempt and are entitled to overtime.
  2. A common misconception is that salaried employees are not entitled to overtime, however, that is not the case. Just because an employee is salaried does not make them automatically exempt. Salaried employees who make less than the minimum amount of money set by the Department of Labor are able to receive overtime and a half; they are also able to be classified non-exempt.
  3. An employee can be considered exempt if they pass the white collar exemption test. Senior executives, managers and supervisors are most commonly classified as exempt.

For more information about overtime, white collar exemption and other employee law information, please visit the Department of Labor’s website .

Also – don’t forget Easy Time Clock is a cloud-based time and attendance system that provides a comprehensive, accurate, and affordable solution allowing employees to clock in and out with a computer, mobile device, or biometric reader. Let us keep track of your hourly employees’ time and benefits!

What is the Lilypad technology?

By: Alisha Allen Gardner

I wanted to take Easy Time Clock to a new level and begin to offer other Software as a Service (SaaS) products. One of the major pain points I felt as a child care provider in my past, and now as a parent with a child in daycare, was the lack of ability to communicate digitally with the provider. We are in a time in which we live off of technology. If you don’t take a credit card, that’s a burden on the parents to make sure they have checks or cash on hand (who even keeps their checks on them anymore?).  Every day at pickup, you are provided a daily sheet that inevitably ends up on the floor of your car. As a parent who has shared custody, I never knew what was going on with my kiddo unless someone else told me. MyLilypadApp.com solves all of those problems and more.  Lilypad brings the power of the internet to your daycare to save the provider time and money. We offer time tracking, a parent portal for payments, daily sheets, calendar access, and billing management for the provider. It is also super cute and offers different blog options than Easy Time Clock. I hope, in time, we are able to be a provider and parent resource for anything kiddo related.