by Greg Bell
I discuss cybersecurity with hundreds of executives every year. The biggest mistake I see is companies treating cybersecurity solely as a technology matter for IT departments to solve. But it’s not. It’s an enterprise-wide opportunity that’s critically important.
If the end game is preventing something bad from happening, companies typically waste time and money on futile attempts to build an impenetrable wall of systems. Even if it were possible to build a wall that’s 100% secure, it wouldn’t begin to protect the rapidly growing amount of sensitive data that flows outside the firewall through devices and systems beyond the company’s direct control.
It’s far more important to focus on two things: identifying and protecting the company’s strategically important cyber assets and figuring out in advance how to mitigate damage when attacks occur.
Choose Which Areas to Protect
We live in a world where more and more products are connected to the internet — not just computers and phones, but home appliances, alarm systems, and garage door openers. Whether they know it or not, customers are sharing vast amounts of device usage and personal data whenever they turn on a product or use a service.
The companies entrusted with this data must recognize that cybersecurity and data protection are no longer just IT risks; they’re strategic business risks of the highest order. Reputations, brands, and revenue are all at stake. On some level, CEOs know this. According to our “CEO Outlook” study, cybersecurity is the most important risk concern on chief executives’ minds right now. But although executives seem to understand that strategy itself is a series of choices — about what your company will excel at and where competing doesn’t make sense — they take a peanut butter approach to cybersecurity, spreading it evenly across the entire business.
That’s why I stress the value of a cyber risk management framework that begins by focusing on the business factors driving growth and profitability and ends with the technology infrastructure. This is the opposite of the traditional approach, but it’s much more effective. Cybersecurity investments cannot be treated equally; some are simply more important than others.
For example, I recently learned that the chief security officer (CSO) of a large insurance company was spending much of his time, and millions of dollars, securing the company’s dealer network, a disparate group of thousands of brokers who have a direct relationship with policy holders. The brokers are not employees of the insurance company, and the systems these brokers use are not controlled by the company, even though they collect and process customer data. This is a real dilemma faced by many IT security specialists: How do I protect something that’s not in my environment but could impact the brand and the trust that our customers have in us?
What the CSO did not know at the time was that his company was planning to change its business model and expected to dismantle its dealer network within the next couple of years, meaning much of what he had been doing could soon be irrelevant. Companies that can talk about upcoming changes and plan for them in advance can build adaptive, agile, and effective cybersecurity strategies.
Although nearly one in five CEOs reported in KPMG’s survey that they’re uncomfortable with the degree to which mitigating cyber risk has become part of their responsibilities, one of their top priorities should be driving greater alignment between their business units and IT than typically exists today.
As in any risk management strategy, executives must look across the entire organization and assess the company’s cybersecurity assets, including investments in technology systems and highly skilled professionals to run them. Make sure these investments are aligned with both the company’s needs today and how its business model may evolve in the next three to five years.
Prepare to Be Breached
Once the key risks to the organization’s “crown jewels” and business processes are identified, it’s important to make informed, fiscally responsible judgments about which can be fixed and which can be monitored closely on a continuous basis. While it’s painful to think about, chances are your defenses will be breached at some point, and it’s best to have a plan in place for when such breaches are discovered.
Cybersecurity training that continuously evolves based on changing circumstances and evolving personnel roles is absolutely essential. Every employee should be informed about cybersecurity best practices and how to identify malicious software or phishing attempts. Too many companies have failed to recognize the importance of ongoing employee training.
Conduct regular cyber risk assessments, focusing on the most-important corporate data and business priorities, and conduct controlled breach scenarios to see how the company and its employees respond. What is the corporate chain of command in the event of a cybersecurity attack? How will you communicate with the news media and your customers?
A survey we recently conducted suggests that this kind of contingency planning is not taking place in many companies. In fact, it’s not even being funded: Nearly one-third (31%) of the executives reported that their companies had no designated leader whose sole focus is on cybersecurity, while 49% reported that they had not invested funds in information security during the past year.
The fact that we see so many companies not investing in cyber protections and not designating a cybersecurity leader suggests that even though cybersecurity concerns are top of mind, in many instances they aren’t being addressed appropriately.
Consumers see value in companies providing more transparency, education, and communication about their cybersecurity efforts and their effectiveness. Companies that do this successfully not only are more likely to win in the marketplace but also are able to withstand a security breach if it occurs.
by Dorie Clark
As you advance in your career, you have more experience and more connections to draw on for networking. But chances are you’ve also become a lot busier — as have the really successful people you’re now trying to meet. How do you get the attention of people who get dozens of invitations per week and hundreds of emails per day? And how do you find time to network with potential new clients or to recruit new employees when your calendar is packed?
The typical advice that’s given to entry-level employees — Invite people to coffee! Connect with them on LinkedIn! — simply doesn’t work for people at the top of their careers. Instead, you need to leverage an entirely different strategy, something I call “inbound networking.”
In the online world, “inbound marketing” is a term that was popularized about a decade ago by HubSpot cofounders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. It refers to the practice of creating valuable content, such as articles or podcasts, that draws customers to you directly (as opposed to spending a lot of time on cold calls or paying for advertising to lure them in).
Networking is facing a similar inflection point. Most professionals are constantly bombarded with Facebook and LinkedIn connection requests, not to mention endless requests to “pick their brain.” Trying to stand out in the midst of that noise is a losing battle, and you probably don’t have time to send a bunch of cold emails anyway.
Instead, you can successfully network with the most prominent people by doing something very different from everyone else: attracting them to you with inbound networking. In other words, make yourself interesting enough that they choose to seek you out. Here are three ways to do it.
Identify what sets you apart. One of the fastest ways to build a connection with someone is to find a commonality you share with them (your alma mater, a love of dogs, a passion for clean tech). That’s table stakes. But the way to genuinely capture their interest is to share something that seems exotic to them. It will often vary by context: In a roomful of political operatives, the fact that I was a former presidential campaign spokesperson is nice but not very interesting. But at a political fundraiser populated by lawyers and financiers, that background would make me a very desirable conversation partner.
The more interesting you seem, the more that powerful people will want to seek you out. And yet it can be hard for us to identify what’s most interesting about ourselves; over time, even the coolest things can come to seem banal. Ask your friends to identify the most fascinating elements of your biography, your interests, or your experiences — then do the same for them. At one recent workshop I led, we discovered that one executive had been a ball boy for the U.S. Open tennis tournament in his youth, and one attorney is an avid and regular surfer in the waters of New York City. Both are intriguing enough to spark a great conversation.
Become a connoisseur. Almost nothing elicits more interest than genuine expertise. If someone is drawn to a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, you’ll move to the top of their list. Since publishing my books, I’ve had innumerable colleagues seek me out to get advice about finding an agent or fine-tuning their manuscripts.
But sometimes it’s even better when your expertise is outside the fold of your profession. Richard, a financial journalist I profiled in my book Reinventing You, was able to build better and deeper relationships with his sources after he started to write part-time about food and wine. He discovered that his Wall Street contacts would proactively call him up to get information about hot new restaurants or the best places to entertain their clients.
You can also use nontraditional expertise to build multidimensional connections. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett could certainly have a decent conversation about business. But it’s their expert-level seriousness about the card game bridge that cemented their bond, eventually leading to Buffett’s decision to entrust billions to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
When you’re an expert in a given niche, you can often connect on a level playing field with people who, under other circumstances, might be out of reach. One friend of mine, a corporate executive who produces jazz records on the side, recently got invited to the home of an internationally famous rock star as Grammy campaign season heated up.
If you know a lot about wine, or nutrition, or salsa dancing, or email marketing, or any of a million other subjects, people who care about that topic are sure to be interested in what you have to say.
Become the center of the network. It’s not easy to build a high-powered network if you’re not already powerful. But New York City resident Jon Levy took the position that the best way to get invited to the party is to host the party. Nearly six years ago, he started hosting twice-monthly “Influencers” dinner gatherings, featuring luminaries in different fields. Levy’s gatherings now attract a guest roster of Nobel laureates and Olympic athletes. But he certainly didn’t start there.
Begin by inviting the most interesting professionals you know and asking them to recommend the most interesting people they know, and over time you can build a substantial network. At a certain point you’ll gain enough momentum that professionals who have heard about the dinners will even reach out to ask for an invitation. As Levy joked to one publication, “One day, I hope to accomplish something worthy of an invite to my own dinner.” When you’re the host, pulling together a great event liberates you to invite successful people who you might not normally consider your peers but who embrace the chance to network with other high-quality professionals.
I’ve also hosted more than two dozen dinner parties to broaden my network and meet interesting people. But that’s certainly not the only way to connect. These days, any professional who makes the effort to start a Meetup or Facebook group that brings people together could accomplish something similar.
The world is competing for the attention of the most successful people. If you want to meet them — and break through and build a lasting connection — the best strategy is to make them come to you. Identifying what’s uniquely interesting about you and becoming a connoisseur and a hub are techniques that will ensure you’re sought after by the people you’d most like to know.
Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is the author of Reinventing You and Stand Out. You can receive her free Stand Out Self-Assessment Workbook.
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Posted by athomenet
A community manager is tasked with keeping the community flowing smoothly. However, this isn’t a new position. The role of a community manager actually traces back to before the Great Depression, but the role has vastly changed due to the needs to the people and economy.
Prior to the Great Depression
Before the Great Depression, more people started to move into big cities, so they could be close to factories and other places of employment. The demand quickly increased, but there were few options for housing. As a result, property owners could get away with providing little in regards to improving housing conditions. Instead, they focused on collecting rent and only making crucial repairs.
During the Great Depression
During the Great Depression, things changed. People couldn’t afford their homes or even their rental properties. They started living with family members to save money, and many people’s homes went into foreclosure. This led to the development of the real estate management business. The Institute of Real Estate Management was founded, and people generally realized that community managers needed to have the right skills to do the job.
When the 1950s hit, people stopped wanting to live in big, noisy cities. Thus began the exodus to the suburbs, which lasted through the 1970s. Thanks to a better economy and more automobiles, people could commute more easily. More and more people also began renting apartments. The Baby Boomers, now graduating from college, didn’t want to live back home with their parents, so they turned to apartments instead. Divorce rates also climbed during these years, forcing divorced people to turn to apartments instead of buying homes.
The 1980s and Beyond
In the 1980s, the role of the community manager became more relevant. The economy saw a lot of ups and downs, so the community manager had to learn about sales and marketing to attract potential renters. By the 1990s, however, their role had changed again to meet demands. Now, the community manager had to focus on preserving and maximizing assets.
Community managers must have a lot of training, and their role in the community has evolved over time. Originally, they only needed to worry about collecting rent, but now their job requires many skills such as bookkeeping, sales, construction knowledge, law and many more.
by Jackie Coleman and John Coleman
- Confine your work to particular times and locations.
Leave your work at the office. Make a rule to work from home only in exceptional circumstances, and keep work folders, computers, and notebooks at your desk. If you work at home, don’t bring your laptop to bed or use it on your couch. Work in an office or a specified workspace. Doing this will mentally help you shut off work when you leave the room, giving you an incentive to work as efficiently as possible rather than lingering over tasks.
- Develop good mobile device habits
Keep two separate mobile phones — one for work and one for personal use — and leave the work phone in an out-of-the-way place (or turned off) on nights and weekends. And never check your work email in the hour or two prior to bed. When on vacation, lock work-related mobile devices in the hotel safe and check them only at predetermined times.
- Establish a good support network
Develop a support network of friends and mentors who can help you manage your professional stress so that it isn’t the burden solely of your significant other.
- Have an end-of-work habit
Think about what helps you unwind, and find space in your schedule for this habit — particularly at the end of a long day at work — so that when you return home you’re free of the baggage that’s built up throughout the day.
- Create a third space
These spaces are different for everyone — quiet cafes, book clubs, trout streams, karate classes, poker nights — but they are important for maintaining our identities and our sense of peace. Third spaces mean no person runs from responsibility to responsibility without having time to breathe.
CAMICB just received our anniversary pins for 10, 15 and 20 years. We will begin sending them in the new year. Congratulations to those of you who have reached these incredible milestones! We appreciate your commitment to the community association management profession and the CMCA credential.
by Andrea Drennen, CMCA | Find me on: LinkedIn
If you look at the needs of the typical community association manager, one thing stands out. CAM Managers need more time. Here are a couple of time saving tips and efficiency tricks that add up to real time you can use every day.
- Copy common responses you write to signature blocks in your mail program. Then you can simply drop in a beautifully written reply without having to waste time rewriting it each time, or digging through old emails to copy and paste.
- Don’t be afraid of Auto Reply in your email program. Use it when you need to go off-site, during busy season, when you’ll be in court, etc. People are very understanding of delays if they understand there is a reason for it.
- Look into a Voice Mail to Email service for your office. This can be very helpful for the manager on the go.
- Develop a hierarchy for who handles what issues. Instead of having homeowners call the manager directly, they should be directed to reception, who can route the call to accounting, or look up a quick piece of information.
- Invest in web-based management tools that allow you to access your full community data from your smart phone, laptop, or tablet, no matter where you are. Having everything possible in electronic form puts all of the info you need at your fingertips at a moment’s notice.
Posted by athomenet
The winter can be a lot of fun, but it can also cause a lot of damage to your home and community. It’s important that before the winter weather hits, you get your neighborhood ready for bad weather. Check out these four tips to winterize your community.
Tip #1: Get Ready for Snow
If your area gets snow during the winter, you’ll need to prepare the neighborhood. The association should partner with snow clearing companies before the snow hits, so there won’t be an issue if roads need to be cleared. It’s also a good idea to get some ice melt and encourage homeowners to do the same. That way, if there is a little ice, it can be treated without having to contact the snow clearing company, and everyone stays safe on the road.
Tip #2: Prepare for Rain
In other parts of the country, rain is common during winter, so if you expect a lot of rain, get ready for it. If you are part of a multi-family building, such as a condo, the association should hire someone to clean gutters, which will allow them to drain properly and prevent leaks. If the neighborhood is single-family detached units, urge homeowners to clean their gutters. The HOA can even contract with a professional who can clean everyone’s gutters at a reduced rate.
Tip #3: Ensure Everyone Will Stay Warm
The HOA should also ensure that common buildings or multi-family buildings will stay warm during the cold months. This means checking the furnaces and boilers to make sure they won’t break. Check the exterior for cracks or holes, including the roof, doors, windows and walls. Don’t forget to add insulation where needed, such as around windows and doors. If the homeowners live in detached dwellings, the responsibility falls on them to ensure their own homes stay warm, but you can help by educating them about what needs to be done. The HOA should also remind homeowners with wood-burning fireplaces to have theirs cleaned and checked before use.
Tip #4: Trim Branches
The colder weather can also bring about winter storms, which can be devastating for your community, especially if there are high winds. If there are damaged trees or weak branches within the community, have them removed before winter. Request that homeowners do the same. The board may even want to consider adding it as a requirement in the governing documents.
It’s up to the association to ensure winterization is completed on shared areas of the community, but it’s also important that homeowners are urged to follow these same steps to prevent damage or injury.