Text Box: Largest Air Duct Cleaning Company in Texas
Text Box: Newsletter
Text Box: Poor Indoor Air Quality can make your customer sick at their job or home.
Text Box: Internet Attacks—Are They Costing You Money?
Text Box: Volume 1, Issue 2 June 2004
Text Box: Power Vac America provides both residential and commercial air conditioning and air duct cleaning service in Houston and the surrounding area. We are NADCA certified, licensed by the state of Texas, and a member of the Better Business Bureau. We want to be your Duct Cleaner! We only do HVAC system cleaning and air duct cleaning service. We DO NOT do any service work!
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Text Box: The Best “State of the Art” Equipment
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Text Box: Ever had a day, maybe a week where you said, “That’s it, I’m done. Enough already.” You want to put a sign in the front window: FOR SALE: One Construction Company, CHEAP! (I’ll pay you to take this stupid thing off my hands.) Sometimes, things don’t go well. You want to bag it. Welcome, dear heart, to being in business for yourself. This happens to almost everyone at some point in this business.
Text Box: Stay the Course —by Michael Stone
Text Box: It seems that each week we hear of a new virus or worm spreading like wild fire throughout the internet. We all know the media likes stories like this, but is it relevant to you? The question is: Are you loosing money? After all, who would want to bother with a small business? Aren’t the big corporations the ones that need to be worried?
Text Box: Thanks for the great response from our first newsletter and thanks for the summer weather. I found both of these articles very interesting and wanted to share them with you. If you have an article that you would like to share, please let me know. Doug Long
Text Box: Newsletter Spotlight Text Box: Continued on Page 3
Text Box: Largest Air Duct Cleaning Company in Texas
Text Box: Newsletter
Text Box: Internet Attacks—Are they Costing you Money—cont.
Text Box: June, 2004 Page 2
Text Box: The big corporations are worried and they are spending millions of dollars a year to protect their computer systems. Unfortunately, most internet attacks are a crime of opportunity. The attacker does not care whether the victim is a big business, a small business or a home computer. All the attacker cares about is that his attack will work. While hacking is alive and well in the computer underworld it is viruses and worms that are the greater danger today and neither one cares who it attacks. Both viruses and worms are just computer programs and programs don’t care who the victim is. They just want more victims. How Many Victims? The Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (CERT/CC) is the federally funded agency that tracks computer security issues. They define an incident as unauthorized use of a computer system, an unwanted disruption of computer service, or changes to a system without the owner’s knowledge. The chart below shows that the number of security incidents reported to CERT/CC is growing at a phenomenal rate. There were over 137,000 attacks last year alone. You can be certain that the actual number of attacks is significantly higher since many incidents go unreported. Number of Reported Security Incidents per Year How to Protect Your Business Unfortunately there is no single solution to protect your computer system. The best solution is to layer levels of protection on top of one another. The critical layers are: · Physical Security – Keeping unauthorized people away from your computers and data connections. · Internet Firewall – Can be hardware or software that filters incoming internet traffic and automatically prevents many types of attacks. Hardware firewalls also hide your computer from the internet so they are usually a far better solution than software firewalls. · Operating System – Limits what computers can connect one another, what information can be shared and who can log on to a computer or network. · Antivirus Protection – Filters out harmful viruses and worms before they can do damage. · Business Practices – Ensure that users have strong passwords, that computers are monitored for unnatural events and regular back ups take place. Worms are the most common threat at the moment. They typically spread when a worm gets into a computer and then gathers all the email addresses on the hard disk. The worm then secretly starts emailing itself to everyone on the list. Anyone on the list who is not properly protected will then have the worm do the same thing on their computer. Along the way, the worm usually opens up security holes to allow hackers to enter every computer it infects. The image below shows how the layered approach protects your computer. This worm is most likely riding in on an infected email. Physical security is immediately bypassed. It does not matter how many doors and locks it takes to get to your computer, since the worm surfs in on the wires that connect you to the internet. The internet firewall is not an obstacle either, because it must let email through. Fortunately, the antivirus software catches the worm before it can reach its target. Had the worm reached the operating system it would have opened security holes that would then allow a hacker to bypass all levels of security and get to the computer data or use the computer to launch an attack on someone else. This type of attack has caused more than one unsuspecting person to have the F.B.I. knock on their door. Are You Protected? It is a challenge for most small businesses get protected and it can be an even bigger challenge to stay protected. Even if all five layers are in place (and they usually are not) each layer must be kept up to date. In the example above, if the antivirus software had not been up to date the system may have been infected. Many components such as antivirus software and some firewalls can be set up to automatically stay current. Some Windows operating systems can do this too, but the application software such as Word, Excel, and Internet Explorer is not automatically updated. This leaves gaping holes just waiting to be exploited. This quick lesson in computer security helps explain why large companies have so many people in their information technology (IT) departments. Many small businesses however, do not have a single IT person on staff. If you fall into this category and firewalls, operating systems and automatic updates are foreign to you, then you should have a professional information technology consultant check out your business systems to make sure you are protected. Eldon Moreland is the president of Sudden Systems, a Houston, Texas based information technology consulting firm. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (713) 460-3332 Are You Protected? It is a challenge for most small businesses get protected and it can be an even bigger challenge to stay protected. Even if all five layers are in place (and they usually are not) each layer must be kept up to date. In the example above, if the antivirus software had not been up to date the system may have been infected. Many components such as antivirus software and some firewalls can be set up to automatically stay current. Some Windows operating systems can do this too, but the application software such as Word, Excel, and Internet Explorer is not automatically updated. This leaves gaping holes just waiting to be exploited. These are some of the reasons large companies have so many people in their information technology (IT) departments. Many small businesses however, do not have a single IT professional. If you fall into this category and firewalls, operating systems and automatic updates are foreign to you, then you should have an IT professional check out your system to make sure you are protected. Eldon Moreland is the president of Sudden Systems, a Houston, Texas base information technology consulting firm. He can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at (713) 460-3332
Text Box: Largest Air Duct Cleaning Company in Texas
Text Box: Newsletter
Text Box: Stay the Course —cont.
Text Box: Volume 1, Issue 2 June, 2004 Page 3
Text Box: At least once a week, I hear these comments from a potential coaching client. They call me, ready to throw in the towel. “Why am I doing this to myself? Can I save this stupid company? What do I do to get out of this morass of debt, nasty customers and ungrateful employees that I have created?” Let’s look at what you need to stay on top of your business and not let it get you or your employees down. Let’s talk about staying the course. First, you need courage. It’s what you carry behind your belt buckle that determines your long-term success in this business. Fully one third of the people who get into some form of a construction related business do not last the first year. Over half are gone by the end of their second year. Three fourths are history by the end of the third year. Ouch. Talk to the buying public and everyone knows how rich contractors are getting. Start a business and you are assured of vast profits. We haul our wealth to the bank in cream cans. When reality sets in, those with little or no heart drift off to find easier pickings. It takes real courage to work through the problems of this business on a day-to-day basis. One young man, whom I have quoted before, said, “I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it is an illusion to me . . . failure always made me try harder next time.” –Michael Jordan Is there any wonder why he is arguably the best of all time at basketball? Second, you need patience, lots of it and in two parts. It takes patience to run your business one day at a time, to attack problems one problem at a time. Additionally, you need the ability to set long-term goals for yourself, your employees and your company. It takes patience to let them happen. When you started your business, you knew it would take time to get up and going. All of a sudden we have to get everything done at once? When it doesn’t all come together in some pre-determined time frame, many quit and run. They can’t stand not knowing when things will turn around and the business will take off. They aren’t in complete control, so they quit. Things happen that sidetrack and delay the best laid plans. Patience, young Jedi. Keep your eye on the target. On the shelf above my computer monitor is a small sign I put up many years ago. E. Joseph Cossman said, “Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.” Which brings us to focus. Focusing your time and attention on your business to the exclusion of all else takes effort. Few people have the strength to do this. It is easy to get distracted in our fast paced world. However, to make a business successful, especially one involved in the construction industry, focus is essential. You and your people must stay focused on the task at hand. You start to do this by setting your tasks for each day. This should be done every morning. Prioritize your list and stay focused on the top item until it is done. Then, move on to item number two, then three, etc. Your staff should be taught this process and you should insist they use the same approach to planning their day and their week. I believe Brian Tracy is the one who said, “Successful people do the things they don’t like to do, and they do them first.” You must become a true leader to build a strong and vibrant company. To encourage others, to instill confidence in them, to help them perform at their best requires first of all that you lead by example. A true leader refuses to consider the possibility of failure. Many key events in human history have occurred because of the resolution, or lack thereof, of one person. Abe Lincoln, on one occasion, overruled his cabinet (after a 1-9 vote) to see through a resolution he felt he needed to win the battle at hand and bring the nation back together. Courageous patience is the true test of a great leader. The true leader also allows his people to make mistakes. Mistakes happen regardless of the penalties you impose, so take a positive approach. Help alleviate the fear of failure and rejection in others by encouraging them to take a calculated risk and allow honest mistakes. Give your people regular praise and approval. Congratulate the “good tries” as well as the successes, large and small. Create a work place where your people feel safe from blame or criticism of any kind. Then say and do things that make people feel good about themselves and the work they are doing. One of our coaching clients recently called and told me about giving a job superintendent he had employed for several years a transfer to the competition. He brought in a new job super, turned the chap loose and saw an almost immediate change in the attitude of his field staff. The new guy had self-esteem, a plan to get things done and gave the employees a pat on the back and a “well done” frequently. Now people are getting the work done on time and are also willing to put in extra effort to get the jobs completed. Remember, you and your employees are going to screw up. Mistakes are going to be made and don’t act surprised when they do. How you respond to those situations will go a long way in setting an example for your employees on how you want things handled or done and what happens when they don’t. In everything you do, set a good example. Smile, do your job, stay focused on the work you need to do. Be someone others are happy to spend time with, even briefly. Delegate and insist your employees do the work you are paying them to do. Don’t do it for them. Telling them to “take care of it” when they start asking you to think for them, shows you mean business. This will also free up your time to do the things you need to do each day and each week. When something happens, i.e.…you get pushed off the wall, make it a habit to bounce, not break. Encourage your employees to respond in the same manner and you will start to see an improvement in the attitude of yourself and your people. A good attitude makes Staying the Course much easier. This article was written by Michael Stone Construction Programs & Results 1001 49th Street Washougal, WA 98671 1-360-335-1100
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