What to Expect When You Engage in a Project With Lutz Tech

What to Expect When You Engage in a Project With Lutz Tech

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

What to Expect When You Engage in a Project With Lutz Tech

what to expect when you engage in a project with lutz tech

lindsey o’brien, LUTZ TECH PARTNER

 

In the continually evolving world of IT, no two projects are ever alike. Unexpected twists and turns abound, and technology can be a finicky beast – even on the best of days. In a world that is so naturally unpredictable, Lutz Tech strives to bring reliability and peace of mind to our clients’ projects through our four pillars of Project Management. These pillars, which also align with our four Lutz core values, are always top of mind for our project managers and provide a guideline for project success, no matter the dynamic circumstances that each inevitably brings.

 

PM Pillar #1: Authorize the project with a Scope of Work

Core Value: Confidence

Every project at Lutz Tech starts with a Scope of Work (SOW). This document outlines the key aspects of the project and serves as a roadmap for the entire endeavor. It begins with a solution statement, which clearly asserts the objective of the whole project.

 From there, perhaps the most important part of the SOW is the deliverables section. The project deliverables, in a nutshell, tell both our client and our engineering team the specific work we are agreeing to perform and holding ourselves accountable to. Just as importantly, this section also explicitly states anything that is NOT included in the project deliverables.

Other important parts of the scope of work include any pre-requisites that must be met by either team before project work can begin, the key stakeholders for both the client and engineering teams, and the level of risk involved with the project endeavor.

The ultimate purpose of the Scope of Work document is to give all stakeholders a clear and confident picture of what project success looks like.

 

PM Pillar #2: Simplify complexities

Core Value: Brainpower

IT projects can get very complicated, fast. Project engineers live and thrive in the complexity, whereas most end users do not. An effective project manager can distill those complex technical events into the bottom line: what is the goal we are trying to achieve, and how will this affect the end-user? Will the network be unavailable during the work? For how long? What can I expect after the work is complete? Who should I reach out to if I have a problem? These are the common questions clients ask as we guide them through IT projects. Summarizing the key points helps set proper expectations with our client partners, and, more importantly, makes the complex simple so that they can continue to focus on their own work and business. Lutz Tech gets in the technical weeds on our clients’ behalf, allowing them to stay high level.

 

PM Pillar #3: Choose resources smartly

Core Value: Humanity

Each member of our IT project team has unique talents and strengths, and, conversely, they all have weaknesses. A good project manager understands the unique attributes of each team member and leverages those teammates appropriately for the project at hand. Having a team member doing the work best suited to their skill set is a better experience for everyone, especially our client partners.

 

PM Pillar #4: Proactively communicate

Core Value: (Integrity)

IT work is intrinsically dynamic, so we balance that by providing consistent and effective communication to our clients throughout the project lifecycle. When we first see a problem on the horizon, we make our clients aware and work with them to overcome the issue immediately. Obstacles in a project will always crop up – it’s the name of the game. Timely and effective communication through a project helps minimize the effect of such obstacles and builds trust and rapport with our client partners.

 

Our four project management pillars aim to bring a standard, repeatable process to our projects, which equals a consistent experience for our client partners. We believe in them so much that at the end of each project, we ask our clients to provide feedback on how well we exemplified them. We always want to improve and rely on our client partners to help push us to be better.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.514.0064

lobrien@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

LINDSEY O'BRIEN + PROJECT MANAGER

Lindsey O'brien is a Project Manager at Lutz Tech with over eight years of experience. She is responsible for planning, coordinating, and implementing each phase of a managed service project's deliverables. In addition, she provides ongoing communication and support to ensure a positive, successful client experience.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Project Planning, Coordination & Implementation
  • Client Service
  • Technology
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Project Management Professional
  • PMI Heartland Nebraska/Iowa, Member
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • Bachelor of Journalism in Advertising, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • PMI Heartland Nebraska Iowa PMP Exam Prep Courses, Volunteer Instructor
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
  • What to Expect When You Engage in a Project With Lutz Tech

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OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

115 Canopy Street, Suite 200

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

4 Tips for a Successful Transition Back to the Office

4 Tips for a Successful Transition Back to the Office

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

4 Tips for a Successful Transition Back to the Office

4 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION BACK TO THE OFFICE

ROBERT KEENAN, CHIEF INFORMATION & RISK OFFICER

 

As the economy slowly reopens, remote workers are beginning to return to the office. Howeverbefore your staff return to the workplace, it’s imperative that companies develop and document a detailed plan and list of procedures to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy. 

This guideline has been prepared using information gathered from federal, state and local governments and medical authorities. While this may not cover every situation that could arise, it does require companies to think about and preparfor instances that may not have been considered in the past. Here are four areas that you should have already been and/or should start doing immediately: 

1. COVID-19 TEAM ASSESSMENT  

If your business has not already created a COVID-19 team, you should do so immediately. This group should be comprised of key members needed to make decisions to ensure concerns from every angle are considered. These key members should serve as the spokesperson/messenger for the company/office. This team likely has already notified vendors, developed a plan for postal services, and documenting COVID-19 related messages from employeesSome items the COVID-19 taskforce should review before allowing employees to return include: 

  • Risk: Engage with risk management personnel to gauge the company’s readiness to return to the office. 
  • Insurance: Work with insurers to identify potential risks for returning to work.  
  • Legal: Work with legal counsel to ensure that the actions that are being taken by the COVID-19 return-to-work team are sound and do not violate any employee rights. 
  • Employee Guide: Develop an overview of what to expect when returning employees arrive back in the office. This guide should include:    
    • New entrance protocols for employees and visitors, 
    • A list of supplies that will and will not be available/provided (i.e., food, drinks, utensils, glassware, cups, etc.), 
    • Instructions on bringing equipment (laptops, chairs, etc.) back into the workplace and sanitization requirements, 
    • Changes to the work environment including room availability, relocation of desks, etc., 
    • Modifications to internal and external meeting protocols, hosting of client events, and visitor access. 

Having a team in place to assess and communicate on topics specific to COVID-19 will help your company filter and sort information and requests more efficiently. 

2. PREPARE YOUR OFFICE 

Naturally, you will need to prepare your office for the return of staff members. To ensure everything is ready and in working order, the following tips can be useful: 

OBTAIN A DETAILED FLOOR PLAN/LAYOUT OF YOUR OFFICE 

  • Highlight high traffic areas & exits. 
  • Designate traffic directions to ensure low interaction between staff. 
  • Map out desk/cubes, offices, conference rooms, etc. that adhere to the social distancing guidelines (6 feet apart). 

DESIGN A PHASED EMPLOYEE RETURN PLAN 

Based on the different regulations for each state, and due to the universal social distancing regulations, not all employees will be able to return to the office at the same time. It is recommended that you use a phased approach – taking into account the employee’s desire to return to the office as well as the ability (physically) to bring employees back into the officeIt is recommended that at least a threephase plan is used. The time between phases will depend on the success of the previous phase and adjusting/correcting for any unforeseen problems. Phases could be spaced out with 2-4 weeks in between. 

  • Work with your HR team to determine who will return in which phase. Each company will need to determine the best way to coordinate who/how many people can come back in each phase.  
  • Coordinate with your IT department to get returners set back up in the office so the process goes as smooth as possible. 
  • Know that there may be some people who will be comfortable and productive working remotely going forward.  
  • Plan to have shared/routing office space for those who will not need to return full-time.  

ENFORCE DISTANCING RULES, LIMIT CONTACT, AND INCREASE SANITARY MEASURES 

The current regulations to reduce the risk of spread for COVID-19 is geared heavily toward distancing, cleanliness, and reduced personal contact.  To continue these practices in a professional office environment, the following measures should be applied: 

  • Continue to use virtual forms of communication when possible such as Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, etc. If employees do need to meet, and their desktop does not have video or sound capabilities, have them try downloading one of the mentioned apps to their phone and use that to communicate. (NOTE: any of these suggestions should be cleared with the Risk and IT department to ensure they are secure and safe tools to use.)  
  • During the 1st and 2nd phase consider disallowing non-employees or clients in the office. 
  • Limit access to restrooms, kitchens, and copy rooms to a new socially distant norm.  
  • Temporarily close areas where employees congregate (lounges, break rooms) if possible. 
  • Limit the elevator usage. 
  • Increase nightly/weekend cleaning routines. 
  • Make sure cleaners are properly trained on the disinfecting guidelines. 
  • Determine areas that require thorough cleaning due to heavy usage, such as training rooms, conference rooms, break areas and restrooms. 
  • Although your company may not require them, offer face-masks for anyone who would like one or encourage them to use their own. 
  • Have hand sanitizers all throughout the building(s). 
  • Provide sterile wipes for people to wipe down their own surfaces. 
  • Place signage around the office to encourage and promote clean habits. 

3. PREPARE YOUR EMPLOYEES 

It is now time to prepare your employees for their return to work. Some will be eager and others potentially nervous, so remember to give clear and nonnegotiable direction to help ease any tensions or stress that the transition may cause 

COMMUNICATE TIMELINESS AND EXPECTATIONS 

It’s important to keep your employees updated.  Here are a few items that should be conveyed to your staff: 

  • Provide an estimated timeline on the phased approach back into the office, and detail as best as possible what that process will look like. 
  • We suggest that the COVID team, in conjunction with the HR team, prepare a confidential questionnaire for each employee to complete for the sole purpose of ensuring that the employee is ready to return to work, identifying the appropriate phase the employee should return, and to address any individual concerns an employee might have about returning to work. Questions you could ask include: 
  • To the best of your knowledge, have you been exposed and/or been around another person who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last month? 
  • Are you experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID – 19? If yes, please describe.  
  • Have you recently traveled outside the State of ___? If yes, describe. 
  • Are there any unique circumstances the COVID Team needs to be aware of related to you returning to work in the office? If yes, please describe.  
  • Is it your desire to return to working at the office building as soon as possible versus continuing to temporarily work remotely? If so, why?  
  • Please list any company equipment you took home with you to work remotely. 

CHANGE  

While the workplace design, policies, and safety protocols are critical pieces of the puzzle, they do not touch on perhaps the most important aspect of the return to work—the readiness of the workforce physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Developing a plan to mitigate employee fears and concerns should be a top priority. 

To help employees, organizations must work to ensure their employees understand what to expect upon their return. Some employees may expect nothing to change, while others will assume everything will be different. Preparing employees and reminding them that these changes are designed to help keep them safe will ease their anxiety. 

4. CREATE A PLAN TO TRANSITION TECHNOLOGY 

As we migrate back to the office, we face many new challenges from an IT standpoint. From reconnecting office equipment to more changes in server functionality, having a technology plan in place to alleviate the stress of getting set back up upon their return to the office is imminent. 

FOR EMPLOYEES 

  • STOP USING VPN: Were you using a VPN connection while working from home? It is no longer needed when you are back in the office. You are now plugged in. There is no longer a need to connect this way, as a VPN connects from the outside-in. 
  • REASSEMBLE YOUR WORKSTATIONReassembling your workstation and plugging in the equipment that you took home can be a daunting process. However, the toughest part will be plugging in your data/ethernet cable to the right port on your desktop. This is required so that you can receive remote support, connect to the network, Internet, etc. So, be patient and do your best. Here are a few tips on how to properly connect your cables: 
  • Generally speaking, for data cables, most cubicles/offices have 2 data ports, marked with a # and either a “V” for voice or “D” for data. The # is not important to you, for now. The letters are. Plug your phone ethernet cable in the V, and plug your desktop ethernet cable into the D.  
  • If none of the above is marked, your MSP/IT staff will need to advise.  
  • If you only have one port, check your phone’s underside to see if there are ports to connect both phone and desktop together. Somewhat like this: Data Port > ethernet cable > phone > ethernet cable out of phone > desktop.   

FOR MANAGEMENT 

  • TAKE INVENTORYBuy more laptops, period. Also, budget for extra hardware that was originally needed when this happened, i.e., webcams, monitors, power strips, etc. that were all depleted during this time. It might seem expensive, but having equipment on the shelf, ready for IT or your Managed Service Provider to remotely manage, is a good thing. It will also save your staff hours in lost productivity.  
  • ANALYZE SOFTWARE: Inspect your firewall’s overall performance with your Managed Service Provider or IT staff. Did it suit your needs? Do you need more VPN licenses? Is the firewall licensing, as well as the firmware, up to date?  
  • REINFORCE SAFE ONLINE PRACTICES: Now is a great time to give your staff a reminder on the cybersecurity landscape, i.e., phishing attacks, malicious threats, malware, and online best practices. Do you have a plan in place should your business ever be comprised? It is more important than ever, as hackers recognize the vulnerability with the current state of business. 
  • FULLY TRANSITION TO THE CLOUD: If your business has not already fully transitioned over to the cloud, it may be time to do so. Cloud-based communication and file-sharing applications are making it easier than ever to stay connected. While the recent pandemic forced many small businesses to shift to some cloud-based applications, we have seen a lot of companies fully integrating cloud services going forward. 

IMPLEMENT YOUR PLAN 

Before re-entering the office, there are multiple items that should be reviewed to ensure the safety and readiness of your staff and the company. These items include designating a COVID team to handle all pandemic related matters, preparing your office and employees for the changes ahead, and working with your IT team to properly reconnect all technology systems and equipment.  

Navigating through these uncertain times will be challenging for everyone, as there are many moving parts. So, it’s important to be patient and proactive to ease the transition back into the office. If you have any questions, or you are interested in having our team helping you transition back to the office, contact your Lutz representative or email us at info@lutz.us 

Important Disclosure Information

Please remember that due to various factors, including changing guidance and regulations that are continually being amended and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be the most to up to date. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized risk or compliance advice from Lutz. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to their firm’s individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with a professional at Lutz. Lutz is not a law firm, and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.763.2973

rkeenan@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

ROBERT KEENAN + CHIEF INFORMATION & RISK OFFICER

Robert Keenan is the Chief Information & Risk Officer at Lutz with over 20 years of compliance and operational risk experience. He focuses on risk management, compliance, and security for the firm, and will partner with the operations team to drive process improvement and operational efficiencies for Lutz.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Risk Management & Compliance
  • Operations
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
  • Society of Compliance and Ethics Professionals
  • National Society of Compliance Professionals
  • Certified Fraud Examiner
  • Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BA in Finance, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
  • MPA, Drake University, Des Moines, IA
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners - Heartland Chapter, Past Board Member

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Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

115 Canopy Street, Suite 200

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

5 Technology Tips for Working Remote

5 Technology Tips for Working Remote

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

5 Technology Tips for Working Remote

5 TECHNOLOGY TIPS FOR WORKING REMOTE

neil wardyn, VIRTUAL CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

 

The impact of COVID-19 has been felt all over the world. To keep businesses running, most companies have implemented the capabilities for users to work remotely. This has allowed businesses to function still while the offices remain empty. As we slowly start to move back to our pre-COVID-19 lifestyles, the capability to work remotely will continue to be available and most likely used more frequently. Here are some considerations as our workforce continues to be one that is mobile.

1. Security

  • Patching
    • Make sure that your service provider has a plan in place to apply critical patches to remote systems. Not applying these patches could leave the system vulnerable to attacks.
  • Anti-Virus and Malware Protection
    • Any remote system should be running a Next-Generation Antivirus that uses a combination of AI, behavior detection, and machine learning to help detect and anticipate unknown treats along with catching known threats.
  •  VPN
    • A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides a secure encrypted connection for the remote system to communicate to the company’s private network. This protects your sensitive data and allows you to access information inside the private network.
  • Disk Encryption
    • With the increase of mobile devices, comes the increased possibility that these devices can be stolen or lost. Disk Encryption locks down the hard drive to make sure someone cannot hack into your device.
  • Multi-Factor Authentication
    • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requires multiple credentials to allow access to an application. For example, when you log in to a program, you will also be sent a code to your mobile phone that you must enter before you are granted entry. This can help prevent access to your information if your password is compromised. It can also prevent access from brute force attacks and phishing attempts. 

2. Environment

  • Equipment
    • To work effectively from home, you should have a similar environment to what you have in the office. This includes your monitors, keyboard, mouse, comfortable chair, etc.
  • Dedicated Work Area
    • Make sure that you have a dedicated area. This will allow you to stay focused and effectively communicate with coworkers during phone calls and video meetings. 
  • Reliable Bandwidth
    • Home internet will be essential, so having a reliable Internet Service Provider (ISP) is critical.
  • Type of Computer
    • As workers continue to become more mobile, businesses need to evaluate if a laptop or desktop makes more sense. Is the remote worker using a personal computer at home? Remote workers should not be using personal devices for business purposes.

3. Communication

  • Tools
    • Applications like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting, LogMeIn, Intermedia, and Google Hangouts allow you to stay easily connected.
  • VoIP Softphones
    • These programs enable you to make calls from your computer. You need a VoIP service to use these applications.
  • File Sharing
    • Using tools like Google Drive, Microsoft Office 365 (Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive), OneHub, or Dropbox allows you to share documents through the cloud easily. Some of these applications also allow multiple users to be editing the document at the same time.

4. Cloud Computing

  • Moving internal software to cloud-based solutions provides a variety of benefits, a few of which include:
    • Savings on capital costs since physical hardware will no longer need to be refreshed
    • Keeps you running on the latest version of the software with most recent enhancements
    • The worry of power outages, ISP outages, and disasters at the office does not affect cloud-hosted applications
    • Hosted applications can usually be accessed from a variety of devices

5. Support

  • Shadow IT
    • Shadow IT is the use of technology systems, software, or applications that are not administered by the organization’s IT department. With people working remotely, the risk for Shadow IT increases.
    • Unsupported apps, or even worse, malicious apps, could be installed and create serious security risks
  • Make sure all users have access to contact information for your managed service provider.

The way we work is changing, and how we respond to these adaptations is critical for continued success. By implementing these technology tips, your company can begin to operate more efficiently and securely. Contact Lutz Tech today to learn more about our technology solutions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

308.382.7850

nwardyn@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

3320 JAMES ROAD

SUITE 100

GRAND ISLAND, NE 68803

NEIL WARDYN + VIRTUAL CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

Neil Wardyn is a Virtual Chief Technology Officer at Lutz Tech with over 17 years of IT experience. He is responsible for architecting short-term and long-term technology plans and strategies for potential clients. In addition, he will provide support in resolving technology-related issues.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Technology Plan Construction
  • Outsourced IT
  • Technical Support
  • Technology
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
  • Oracle Certified Associate
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BA in Computer Science, Hastings College, Hastings, NE
COMMUNITY SERVICE
  • Grand Island Leadership Tomorrow, Board of Directors
  • Central Community College,  IT Advisory Committee
  • IT Pathway, Advisory Committee
  • Skills USA, Contest Coordinator
  • Youth Sports Coach

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

115 Canopy Street, Suite 200

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Microsoft Office 365 + Optimizing Business Processes

Microsoft Office 365 + Optimizing Business Processes

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

MICROSOFT OFFICE 365 + OPTIMIZING BUSINESS PROCESSES

When owning a business, there are many things to master in a small window of time. From figuring out your finances to managing your employees, juggling everything can be a difficult task to accomplish. When you conclude that you need a better way of doing things, you should first consider the applications and programs you are utilizing. In this webinar, Gary Newton and Matt Longenecker of Lutz Tech will introduce you to Microsoft Office 365 – a program that can handle many different business processes for you.

 

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SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

115 Canopy Street, Suite 200

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Lutz adds Scott Sutton to Grand Island Office

Lutz adds Scott Sutton to Grand Island Office

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

Lutz adds Scott Sutton to Grand Island Office

Lutz, a Nebraska-based business solutions firm, welcomes Scott Sutton to its Grand Island office.

Scott Sutton joins Lutz’s tech division as an Escalation Engineer. He is responsible for managing escalation issues, as well as, providing onsite technical support to outsourced IT clients. Sutton received his Bachelor’s degree in intercultural ministry from Ethnos360 Missionary Training Center.

 

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read more

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS!

We tap into the vast knowledge and experience within our organization to provide you with monthly content on topics and ideas that drive and challenge your company every day.

Toll-Free: 866.577.0780  |  Privacy Policy

All content © Lutz & Company, PC

OMAHA

13616 California Street, Suite 300

Omaha, NE 68154

P: 402.496.8800

HASTINGS

747 N Burlington Avenue, Suite 401

Hastings, NE 68901

P: 402.462.4154

LINCOLN 

115 Canopy Street, Suite 200

Lincoln, NE 68508

P: 531.500.2000

GRAND ISLAND

3320 James Road, Suite 100

Grand Island, NE 68803

P: 308.382.7850

Password Management

Password Management

 

LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS

 

password management

john may, project engineer

 

Few things are as irritating as having to think up new passwords. And just about every app and website you go these days require registering, which means creating a new password. On top of that, it must be one you’ve never used before and nothing that uses any part of your name or would identify you in any way. 

If you think that you’re required to update your passwords more often, and with more rules (large caps, small case, symbol, fingerprint, no numbers in sequence) than you used to, you’re right. Keeping your information safe is paramount for most websites, and keeping cybercriminals at bay is more of a challenge than ever. 

The Science Of Passwords 

Even the simplest password is more than just what you tap onto your screen. ABC12335 turns into a much longer series of random alphanumeric symbols within the app. In the tech industry, this is called password hashing–putting your simple password into an algorithm that converts it to a jumbled assortment of characters. When passwords are hashed, it’s a lot harder for cybercriminals to hack.

Going a step further, into securing your information, some companies have added salt to the hash. One of the flaws with hashing is that it spits out a uniform code for a given password–“mydog” would consistently translate to DHE_N &RVOJ Ihi457p3ournc. When a salting layer is added, every time you type in “mydog” there’s another series of characters before the hashed password. For example, using hjkrog before the DHE_N sequence. 

Still, despite IT security experts’ best efforts, data breaches are all too common. Cybercriminals aren’t sitting in some basement guessing at your password; there is a mountain of software out there that’s designed to help hackers break through these barriers. 

Two-Layer Verification

Multi-Factor Authorization (MFA) or Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) add another layer of password security for consumers. The most common example of this is using your fingerprint on your smartphone–biometric identification. Another example of 2FA is when you receive a code on your smartphone to access your app. Blockchain is the latest addition to password security. This technology blocks access when an inauthentic user can’t be traced to the beginning point of the security chain. In essence, when they break into one point along the chain, they are blocked from further access.

Managing Your Passwords–Do’s and Dont’s

Here are a few ways to keep your passwords secure. Some are pretty basic, but worth repeating. 

  • Don’t share your passwords with others. Along those lines, don’t use someone else’s device to log into your online banking accounts. That doubly exposes you to cybertheft.
  • Do use a different password for all your accounts. This is as simple as capitalizing a different character, changing spelling, or adding a short word at the end–“my dog rocks” to “myDogrox” to MydogRox”.
  • Do use MFA or 2FA whenever you have the option.
  • Do make your password longer, not heavier on gobbledygook. Use complete sentences, with caps and punctuation–My dog rocks. 
  • Do create passwords that you can remember but are hard to guess–I don’t like pepperoni. 
  • Do be as complex as you can easily remember–I don’T like PePPeron!.

Also, one reason you should not duplicate passwords is that every time you do, you double your chance for a data breach. So, you have a password for Target–IbuyLots–that you also use at TJMaxx and Amazon. If there’s a data breach at one, your risk for fraud is tripled. 

Use A Password Manager

Password managers are like bank vaults for your data. They store all your passwords in one place. The best ones also sync between your devices, autocompleting your password so you don’t have to manually input it every time you log in. When you use one of these apps, you only need to remember one master key. The app does the rest, creating unique passwords for all your websites and apps.

Lastpass is a strong choice for a password manager, either individually or for business. Basic service is free, and for $4 per month, you can manage passwords for the entire family. Lastpass integrates all your password-driven apps and sites to their vault and generates new passwords that are stored there. You can also download your credit cards, prescriptions, and insurance info so all your information is stored in one safe place. 

Dashlane is also one of the best password managers out there. It’s similar to Lastpass in capabilities and pricing, and also offers a business suite. One of Dashlane’s best features is that they implement a zero-knowledge system. Meaning their employees don’t see your information. 

Lutz can manage all your personal and business needs, from tax strategies to talent acquisition to outsourced IT. We’re experts and are happy to work with you, whether it’s advising on an M&A project or helping you decide which password manager is best for you. Please contact us if you have any questions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

402.496.8800

jmay@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

john may + project engineer

John May is a Project Engineer at Lutz Tech with over 10 years of experience in IT. He is responsible for assisting outsourced IT clients with technology infrastructure enhancements.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • IT Infrastructure
  • Technology
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
  • Password Management

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