That's right: it's time for October's tech news. This month, we're not talking about the latest hack, the newest operating system, or the weirdest/coolest/most-wanted new gadget. Nope. We're getting real: the cost of phishing scams and a credit card deadline are two topics that made the list. Let's dive right in.
The Real Cost of Phishing
We all know that stealing information is bad and (for the victims) expensive to fix. Surprisingly though, a study of over 300 IT pros revealed that the costliest part of being phished (tricked by a false email) isn't measured in dollars. This study, Cost of Phishing and Value of Employee Training, estimates that the average non-IT employee loses about four hours of working time dealing with malware. Totaled up, this lost time amounted to well over the collective costs of combating malware and containing credential compromises. As the title suggests, the most effective strategy is prevention rather than cure: properly train employees.
Office 2016: Small Business’s Best Friend?
Although it has been overshadowed somewhat by the debut of Windows 10, we all knew that another version of Microsoft Office was in the works. And, as this article from Small Business Computing points out, Microsoft Office 2016 has a lot to offer the small business, including a dash of data analytics being integrated into Excel, real-time collaboration in document creation and editing with Office 365 (the subscription-based version of Office), and enhanced cloud-based security abilities.
It's encouraging to see that Microsoft didn't just rest on its laurels as the industry-standard business productivity software. My unscientific and unofficial opinion is that, facing competition from Google’s free and collaboration-friendly Docs program, the folks behind Office have to step up to the plate and keep this perennial favorite current. Anyone who has ever used real-time document collaboration knows that going back to waiting for other people's edits seems like it takes an inordinate amount of time. We’re looking forward to this feature.
For Sale: Cooler Domain Extensions
Speaking of Google, you may have heard of Google Domains. I've used it as a one-stop shop for a domain name and personalized business email address for another site, and I can tell you that it was a snap to set up. Recently, the mega company's Google for Work blog announced some changes to the program. Most interestingly, they are opening up 90+ new domain name endings. While traditionalists don't mind being stuck with a .com or .net address, anyone with a flair for the dramatic can use .cool, .actor, or .guru as their site's last few letters.
For simplicity's sake, you can manage your custom email addresses and other Google Domain addendums through the Google Apps for Work site.
Credit Card Deadline Is Here
Finally, Wall Street Journal wants to remind all small-business owners that the end of an era is approaching. October 2015 signals the start of the switch from magnetic stripe credit cards to the chip-and-PIN cards already used in Europe and other parts of the world. (This new system is called EMV, for future reference.) Although signature-based credit card transactions will still be processed, there will be a liability shift if fraud occurs. The entity responsible for any costs will be whoever has the weaker technology. If you, the small business owner, rely on an old-school swipe and sign transaction, you might be left holding the bag when things go awry. On the flip side, if you have the newer tech but the bank doesn't offer chip-and-PIN cards, then the bank has the problem.
And that’s Techsperts Talk News for this month—check in with us next week for more IT info your small business can use!
Featured image: 123rf.com