Ever seen one of those movies where someone gets kidnapped and people find a note indicating that the kidnapper demands X amount of money in order for the person to be freed? Picture this: the things being kidnapped are every file, every photo, and every project on your computer. And you have to pay if you ever want to see them again.

It's called cyber-ransom, and it works a little differently than the suspicious typo- and link-ridden emails you know to look out for:


Ransomware is a type of malware that can be picked up from malicious links in emails or drive-by download attacks by visiting certain websites. Once it infects your computer, all of your personal files are hidden behind a virtually impenetrable wall of encryption. The only way to get access back? Pay them.

Cyber-ransom is a relatively new threat to Americans: previously, digital crimes like these were much more common in Russia or Europe, but tides and have turned and attention has veered towards the U.S. According to a report by Radware, 49% of businesses fell victim to cyber-ransom attacks in 2016.

More and more businesses are also at risk of what's known as DoS/DDoS extortion, where a company's website is overwhelmed by hackers bombarding the site with data requests, forcing the site to shut down. Companies have to pay a big fee if they want the attack to be stopped and the site up and running again. This doesn't just put companies at risk, but also consumers – the attack also includes data theft, meaning sensitive consumer information is also up for grabs.

Now, if you're part of the 40% of businesses who don't have a plan in place when a cyber ransom incident occurs, you might be wondering: what can we do?

1. Make sure software is up to date.
2. Plan ahead – would you be willing to pay if your system was attacked?
3. Be prepared to remove infected machines from your network.
4. Train staff on company practices for cyber security (don't open unknown links, etc.)
5. Backup data daily to off-network or off-site location.
6. Split up your network so an attack cannot affect the entire company.

Being aware of the problem is already a step ahead of many – keep a close eye on your network and you'll at least catch a problem early!


Posted: 3/29/2017 3:37:09 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

It's true! It's a real thing! You're not dreaming (or maybe you are?).

Based on the fact that we all lost one precious hour of sleep this past weekend, it feels fitting that we should be allotted an hour to make up for it – smack dab in the middle of the work day.


No, the day is not as nationally recognized as it should be, but that doesn't mean you can't celebrate in any way you see fit (ok, napping is the only proper way to celebrate). If you don't happen to work in a fancy space with napping pods, what's an employee to do?

Luckily a lot of companies are on board with the Napping Increases Productivity idea, with new data and products being released every month to back that theory up. It might be cool for you to nap but that doesn't necessarily make it easy, especially if there's no designated area to do so. We've got some suggestions for you! Disclaimer: we are not responsible for consequences resulting from your napping.

Get an Ostrich pillow.

Did you know ostriches sleep with their head in the sand? Your neck isn't quite long enough, so this company has brought the head cover up to you. Keep it quiet and dark with almost your whole face covered. Just bring a hair brush for a quick post-nap fix-up.




Sleep in your car.

We know, it sounds pathetic. BUT think about it – you have the privacy of your own space, and the security of knowing that you won't be caught looking like you're slacking. You're just on your lunch break and that lunch happens to be the consuming of some serious Zzzzs.

Get a desk hammock.

We're jealous of anyone that owns this thing, because it looks WONDERFUL. It hangs from underneath a desk, so not only can you sleep in comfort, but you also stay pretty incognito. Someone walking by might not even notice you.

Put your head down and a little sign up.

A simple "Ten Minute Power Nap. BRB." will do – putting your head down on your desk gives your eyes a rest from the screen and your brain a rest from the stress. The best marketing jargon in the world are the words "Power Nap," repositioning a quick snooze as a productivity booster rather than a catch up for an exhausted employee.

There you have it – happy napping!

Posted: 3/13/2017 4:14:20 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments

Introverts v. extroverts. You've seen the quizzes, possibly read the articles, and maybe you've even made Buzzfeed guess if you're an introvert or an extrovert by making a cupcake (yep, it's a thing).


They say spending time with a group of people is the perfect indicator – are you exhausted or energized afterwards?  Knowing your type promises to help harness your creativity and understand your productivity, even going so far as to allow a couple more notches on the scale: introverted extroverts and extroverted introverts (sheesh, just pick already!). The trend towards labeling yourself is going strong.

What if you, like many creative people, find yourself sitting comfortably in the category of the mysterious and often misunderstood Introvert? It means great things for your success in your field, but when it comes time to network you find yourself in a puddle of nervous sweat.

Networking can be one of the easiest ways to make your next career move, so why let your personality tendencies be a hinderance to your future success? You don't have to! Consider these tips a set of guidelines for pushing you a little out of your comfort zone – it'll be worth it, we promise.

1) Avoid the urge to go with friends.

You might feel more comfortable bringing a buddy, but think about it – the chances of you chatting with anyone but your friend are pretty low. There's something about being at an event solo that not only allows others to come up and start a conversation, but leaves you feeling a bit more confident on your way out.

2) Don't put pressure on yourself.

Just going is enough. You never know who else will be there, ready to strike up a conversation, and the act of going is already a step in the right direction. You don't have to talk to 15 people – even one conversation is better than nothing!

3) Set a time limit.

Knowing there is an end in sight might add some ease to the event (plus it might actually get you to go in the first place!). Plan to attend for only 20 or 30 minutes and you'll be a little less stressed, open to conversation, and might even enjoy yourself a bit!

4) Practice chatting.

On the bus, at the coffee shop, at a bar – take any opportunity you get to talk to strangers, even if it's just a sentence or two. Small talk can go a long way for your confidence level and to be honest, sometimes it makes people's day.

5) Wear something interesting.

If you're a person who finds conversations with strangers anxiety-inducing, it helps to have something to talk about, right? Most people at a networking event are itching to start a conversation so give them an easy opener and try an interesting piece of jewelry, or wear something that has a story behind it. Then, if someone compliments it, you have more to say than just "Thank you!"

Ready to test out some of these tips? Come see us at the upcoming Tech Madness event on March 14th!

Posted: 3/8/2017 4:05:12 PM by Amanda Wahl | with 0 comments