McCurdy Group - Insurance and Financial Consultants

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mortgage Insurance

To protect your investment in your home, you've most likely purchased insurance coverage for storm and fire damage and for prople getting injured on your property. But have you thought about mortgage insurance - how to continue making those mortgage payments if you or your spouse were to die prematurely? How would you make sure the other could afford to raise your family in your home?

A term life insurance policy can help. You may be surprised at how affordable it is if you are in good health. You can design a plan that fit your needs and mortgage.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

USB Drives - Beware!!

As technology advances, so do the risks! USB Drive/memory sticks came on the market a few years ago and could only hold a small amount of data. Now they can hold a significant amount of data and they are being used everywhere! The problem now is the increased likelihood that sensitive data can be lost or stolen or the devices can be used to inject viruses or other malware into computers. Data from a USB can be loaded onto a workstation without restriction, bypassing firewalls and other network defenses.

There is an interesting account of a consultant who was hired to probe the security of a credit union. Early one day he scattered 20 USB drives – disguised as promotional items- in the parking lot of the credit union. Each drive was infected with a virus that, when inserted into the SUB port, would send critical data back to the consultant. Amazingly, 15 of the drives were picked up by employees – all of whom subsequently plugged them into their computers. The software on each drive loaded itself onto the PC and the consultant received enough data not only to gain access to the infected PC but other systems on the credit union’s network as well!

If you need to use USB drives as part of your day-to-day business, then disk encryption software or a secure USB drive may be your best bet. Having a good security policy in force that addresses the use of these drives and other “outside software” being loaded onto company computers is not a bad idea either! It's important for you to consider your insurance policies – do you have anything on your business policy that would cover you if an employee did damage of this nature? Things to think about!

Think You Are Good At Multi Tasking? Think Again!

Many employees try to juggle several tasks at the same time – jumping back and forth from email messages to working an open project on the computer to answering phone calls. A recent study of college students reveals that multi-tasking may actually lower productivity.

Researchers at Stanford University studied 262 college undergraduates and found that students who regularly used various media at once were not very skilled at tests of memory, attention, or "task-switching." The results surprised researchers who had expected to find an innate ability in multi-taskers that made them skilled at handling multiple tasks at once.The participants first filled out questionnaires on their media use – how often they went online, watched television, read, listened to music, emailed and text-messaged, and how often they did a few of those activities at the same time. Based on these responses, the researchers classified the participants as heavy or light media multi-taskers and then put them through a series of cognitive tests.The test results suggest that heavy multi-taskers are not actually good at juggling numerous activities. They scored lower than those classified as light multi-taskers on filtering out irrelevant distractions, on organizing and filing away information, and on shifting their attention from one task to another.

Commentary: The results of this study cast doubt on the wisdom of using technology to jump around between tasks. Of course, there are times that interruptions are unavoidable, but employees may find it beneficial to stop answering emails and phone calls when working on a project requiring close attention. Efficiency experts have suggested that setting aside particular times of the day to answer emails and to respond to phone calls is an effective time management tool. Constant access to the Internet, telephone and other media may hurt rather than help productivity.

Amy Norton, "'Multi-taskers' are bad at one thing: multi-tasking," (Aug. 24, 2009)Amy Norton, "'Multi-taskers' are bad at one thing: multi-tasking," (Aug. 24, 2009)