Is your medical information safe?

Interesting article I read made me ponder…..Is our personal medical information safe? As an academic dean for a medical career college we introduced our students to online medical record software and taught them how to use it. We never thought about the systems housing the software.

With medical records going online, ask yourself how secure are the systems that store the software and data? According to security data experts your medical information is much more valuable to and vulnerable identity thieves than our credit card info.

Hospitals, clinics and mom and pop providers need to insure that security is a major focus of the computer systems that hold our information. Add this to your list when seeking a new medical provider…..I did 🙂


Let me know what you find out.

Social Media Security Lessons from the US Army (

To avoid leaks of sensitive information that might put missions and lives at risk, the Army created a 52-page handbook that explains what is and isn’t safe for soldiers and civilian personnel to post about online. The handbook was updated earlier this year.

Have you trained your employees on what they can and can’t say about your business on your (and their) social media accounts ? The consequences, while not nearly as deadly, can be just as serious.

1. Give specific examples of what is and isn’t safe to post.

The Army policy offers examples of potentially dangerous social media posts instead of general rules, and shows how they can be made safer. Posting specific information about a soldier’s duty assignment in a war zone can be used by potential enemies. More general information, like “My son or daughter has deployed to Afghanistan,” is less risky. Along the same lines, many companies tell their employees not to post information related to ongoing litigation involving the company, non-published financial data, or unreleased product information. Employees are told to direct questions on these subjects to specific groups, such as the legal department.

2. Think about the competition before posting.

In a company environment, employees should ask themselves, “What could a competitor, an unhappy customer or a disgruntled former employee do with this information?” before posting. In addition to information and interviews published in the media, competitive intelligence professionals can search the social media accounts of company executives and employees.

3. Train your social media staff.

When you assign an employee to maintain your company’s social media accounts, thoroughly train him or her on your company’s social media strategy and your social media conduct standards. Make sure they know what you expect when they post on your company’s behalf. And insist that they always know which account they are posting on. Many serious and embarrassing errors have been made by an employee who thought they were posting on their personal account, but the post appeared on the company’s account.

To read the complete article, go to

Protecting Your Online Reputation (part one):

Protect your wi-fi connections

If you’re like a lot of people, you use public wi-fi service offered by locations like Panera Bread. Unfortunately, some miscreants hang around public wi-fi sites using software tools to capture your passwords and other security information. When someone else has access to your account, it’s a lot harder to protect your reputation.

The good news is, many social sites have made a change to support start-to-finish encryption of your sessions with the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This keeps your important information out of the hands of people with bad intentions.

Google has implemented encryption automatically – you don’t need to make any changes. Here is Google’s explanation. Looks a bit out of date, but informative 

LinkedIn uses encryption automatically for some kinds of transmissions, and gives subscribers the option to select SSL start-to-finish. They warn us that some third-party applications may not support SSL:

The road to selecting SSL for LinkedIn is a bit long. Click on the dropdown menu next to your name, then choose ‘settings’, click the ‘account’ tab, then click ‘manage your security settings’. Finally you will see this:

Twitter reportedly made SSL their default setting in 2011, but it would be worthwhile to check your settings. Click on the drop-down menu next to the silhouette on the top menu bar and select ‘settings’. You should see this (the selection for ‘password reset’ is optional but a good choice):

Facebook – check your setting by clicking on the dropdown menu next to ‘home’, select ‘account settings’ then ‘security’, and you should see that secure browsing is enabled. If not, edit the setting.

Taking these precautions will take you a long way toward keeping the bad guys from scanning your signals for passwords. Want to learn more about protecting your online reputation? Contact Pat Huston (, Bob Gaynor (, or go to

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly: Use Twitter to attract followers and get your message out

Now that you’ve chosen a target market, you want to more about what they want, and tell them about what you do. If your customers use Twitter, it can be a great listening post. Plus a tool to tell your story. If they don’t, move on to a more useful tool.

Follow you: One of your main goals is to create a community around your business or brand, and Twitter can help you build a group of followers.

Buy, buy, buy? Think about the people you have decided to follow. Why did you follow them? Did all of their tweets say, “buy my stuff, buy my stuff, buy my stuff”? Probably not. You followed people who are up to date on your industry or your customers’ industry. You chose people who are influential with your customers. They share useful information. They answer questions. Other people will follow you for the same reasons.

Smart gal/ smart guy! Your goal is to establish yourself as a knowledgeable expert in your field, someone whose opinion is worth listening to. Spend time looking online for unique and interesting information about your customers’ industry. Talk to people at meetings and trade shows. Don’t just repeat the news, use your expertise to add value. If your tweets are interesting to your target market, the number of people who follow you will increase. You should send 80 to 90 percent informative tweets, and 10 to 20 percent relevant promotions for your product, service, or event.

Relevant promotions: use your tweets to move people to your web site. Tweet about white papers or ebooks they can get. Release a new blog post or podcast. Link to a video demonstrating a new product. Invite followers to an event. Point them to a landing page with sale prices. Announce a contest.

Read all about it! Twitter is an important tool for public relations. Listen to, comment and build relationships with media writers before you need to promote a new product or tell your side of a story.

Use Twitter Search. Go to and enter terms like ‘St. Petersburg Times’, ‘Tampa Tribune’, or ‘Tampa Bay Business Journal’. Look for listings of writers who cover areas that are important to you or your customers. If you see they have a question you can answer, respond quickly, respond only when your information is a good fit for their need, and include contact information in your response.

Time savers: Twitter can take up a lot of your time, but it shouldn’t. Organize your contacts and manage your tweets with tools like TweetDeck. TweetDeck ( lets you connect with contacts in Twitter, along with Facebook and LinkedIn. The most important advantage is that you can organize your followers and tweets into groups and keep track of them in separate columns. You can create a column to track tweets that mention you or your company. Set up another column that holds only direct messages (DMs) from followers to you. A column for tweets from industry leaders, and a column for important customers. And you can tweet and reply to tweets from the tool. Go to their site and see it for yourself.

Security! Security!Security! Be sure to activate the secure connection option, which encrypts your communication with Twitter. This gives you more protection from hackers in a Wi-Fi environment. Make the change in your account settings. Do it now!

Bob Gaynor Marketing Director at Geek Speak LLC is a contributing writer for SCORE Pinellas 115 in Clearwater, Florida.


Social media 101 for employees: Building a culture of collaboration

Customer service training experts predict employees will bolt as the economy improves. Why? Consider the following professional development scenarios these past few years. Conflict resolution training for dismal if any merit increase, team building skills within a survivor (as in reality TV) mentality, a collaborative approach to long hours, and self provided technology training through a company smart phone that never lets you stop working. Couple this with the death of any formal company training, perks, conferences or soft skills enhancements other that the yearly round up for changing your health benefits. Funny, they always seem to cost more, provide less and come with a strict time frame which includes a window of opportunity that narrows every year.

So big business I got something for you. A perk at minimal cost that keeps on giving and provides you with happy employees willing to contribute to the company social media campaign through their personal accounts. (We can teach the under 30 crowd how to tweet if they help us boomers with loading and using smart phone apps.) Amazingly, the soft benefits are even larger. A culture of collaboration develops as departments discover their social media niche and share with others. The no fb mentality goes the way of no personal calls at work. All benefit by creating the KLT (know, like, trust) culture that social media breeds. This follows with a corporate policy and an ad-hoc selection of social media experts from an informed base of company professionals. Oh, don’t forget to train the President. 🙂

Mr. Livingstone, I presume: How to use LinkedIn to search for contacts

Now that you’ve chosen a target market, start looking for contacts. If your target customers are involved with LinkedIn, it’s a great place to look for decision makers, business managers, and information about their companies.

Where the money is. Why did Willie Sutton rob banks? “Because that’s where the money is.” That’s true for LinkedIn if your target market is businesses. More than 40 percent of North American users are from large companies (10,000 employees or more). Another 30 percent work at companies with 1,000 to 10,000 employees. About 16 percent are C-level, VP or Director. Executives at all of the companies in the Fortune 500 are members. Nearly 2 million companies have LinkedIn company pages.

Join ‘em. Join LinkedIn groups (up to 50) that are relevant to your industry and your target market’s industry. See what questions they are asking. Answer questions to show your expertise. Post informative updates (90%) and focused offers (10%). Follow the top influencers identified by the group. For really important groups, become a top influencer yourself. Being a member of a group also makes it easier to invite group members to be part of your network.

Want to get extra attention and influence? Start your own group. Invite members and start conversations. Ask questions. Promote your events.

Hunt for customers using the LinkedIn Advanced Search feature.

Places to go. Focus on the geography where your customers are, or where you want them to be. Choose entire countries, or look for contacts within a given distance of a postal code.

People to see. Search for contacts by job title, industry, and company name. Or look for individuals by name or key words in their profiles. LinkedIn lets you look for people who worked at companies in the past – they can be a good source of insider information. Armed with this information, you can learn about contacts in advance – no more “cold” calls or mailings. Remember: the more people in your extended network, the more people you can see.

Besides looking for customers, this is a good way to look for new employees.

Things to do. Look for your contacts’ events. Events are good opportunities to meet potential customers off-line … you know, face to face. Help them know, like and trust you. On your home page, go to ‘Search Events’ and enter Tampa, Florida, or another geography. Pick a time frame and an event type and click ‘search’. Sign up for the ones that look good and go!

Extra! Extra! Subscribe to LinkedIn Today to get current news from industry groups that are important to your business. Post links to relevant articles and make insightful comments. Share news with your company colleagues.

Reach out. Save your search, and export results to spreadsheet or contact manager software. Start building your relationships and revenue. Answer group questions. Invite people to join your network. Promote your events. Post updates and comment on other people’s posts. Go out and shake hands. Use the search information for a phone, email or mail campaign. Boldly go where you haven’t gone before.

Stalking on facebook

Today I was handed a note by a previous friend on facebook. The note read “I knew you’d like the piano staircase video.” It hit me as I was driving down the road. This “friend” was referring to a sharing I had on facebook. I was flabbergasted. Not only had I removed them as a friend, I had BLOCKED them as well. All to real an example that third party applications can override anything you do to remove someone from peering into your life.

I am grateful for the lesson this taught me. I learned not to friend so quickly. I learned how to un-friend and block someone from access. I also learned that you can not stop someone from spying and peering into your life. I shudder to think what a truly malicious stranger could accomplish. I hope my experience makes you think twice about that nosy friend that demands you chat with them and then emails you with criticism if you don’t reply. Someone that  clicks on your friend’s profiles that they do not know and gives you unsolicited negative opinions on the friends you have. Someone that puts a note in your hand that says I can still see what you are doing on facebook by mentioning one of your posts. Creepy crawly and Charlie Manson. I hope they see this when it posts on facebook!