6 Cybersecurity Risks Associated with BYOD Programs

Networking security training
Cybersecurity is a growing concern for companies to safeguard their data.

In recent years, BYOD programs have become the norm for many businesses. It’s typically far cheaper for companies to have employees use their own devices, and many employees don’t like having multiple devices of the same type—one for personal use and one for work.

The main drawback to allowing or encouraging employees to use their own devices for work purposes is the risk it can present. Here are some of the cybersecurity risks that come with BYOD policies and how IT professionals can help address these risks.

1. Unsecured wi-fi.

Unsecured wi-fi, which can be used in many public places and some home networks as well, may allow third parties to gain access to company information on personal devices. This can be a risk even without BYOD policies. Personnel must be trained not to access company information when using unsecured wi-fi to protect sensitive information.

2. Android vulnerabilities.

Apple iPhones encrypt the information stored on the phones, but Android phones do not, which presents a security risk if the information is confidential. Most smartphones on the market are Android phones, so precautions must be taken to keep the unencrypted information—messages, emails, and downloads—from being accessed by someone who could use it against the business.

3. When employees leave.

Company-owned devices will be returned to the company when an employee moves on from the company, but BYOD devices will not be returned to the company, which means that former employees might retain access to confidential information unless the company takes steps to recover or secure it.

 

Network security training
Employees need to be safe when using their own devices for work purposes.

4. Lost or stolen devices.

If devices fall into the wrong hands, there’s no telling where sensitive or confidential company information could end up. Company phones could be disabled by the company if they were lost, but with a personal device, that action would be up to the owner’s discretion.

5. Jailbroken phones.

When individuals jailbreak their phones, which make them able to be used with different cell phone providers, it can lead to compromised integrity that can endanger information on the phone and make it more vulnerable.

6. Non-compliance issues. 

Some businesses have strict privacy issues, and using personal devices can lead to violations of privacy regulations. This is particularly true in legal and healthcare fields but can apply in almost any company. Safeguards must be put in place to prevent privacy from being violated if BYOD policies are going to be used.

There are tools and programs available to safeguard company information, and IT professionals can help companies figure out what kind of programs to use and how to implement them. IT professionals can also train company personnel in how to use these tools and how to avoid compromising company data when using personal devices for work.

PC AGE offers courses in cybersecurity to teach IT professionals how to keep information secure on any device. Contact us to learn more about cybersecurity and other courses that can prepare you for an IT career.

How to Improve Willpower, Change Habits and Behavior for a Healthy, Wealthy and Happy Life

What is the Single Greatest Correlation with Future Success?

Charles Duhigg, author of the book The Power of Habit, describes the marshmallow test as follows:

The Marshmallow Test

In the 1960s at Stanford, a researcher took his daughter and a whole bunch of her friends, put them in a room one by one, put a marshmallow in front of them and he would say, okay, look here’s the deal. You can eat that marshmallow. I’m going to leave the room for ten minutes; if when I come back the marshmallow is still there, then you will get a second marshmallow. For a four year old, there is nothing more tempting. This experiment has been replicated.

It was found that about 10% to 15% of the four-year olds could resist a marshmallow. The children that could resist the temptation were more successful later in life. They were getting their homework done more frequently and they were showing up for class more times. They were more popular in high school, not necessarily because they were prettier or richer but because they were just better at being friends. They got into better colleges, got better and higher paying jobs, got married earlier and stayed married longer.

Hundreds of studies on willpower since then have found that willpower seems to be the single greatest correlation with future success, more so than high IQ, more so than having rich parents with a lot of resources. Willpower seems to be this thing that prepares people for life.

Now the question is: Can we train people to improve their willpower? And the answer by Charles Duhigg is: yes, through habits. By choosing a reaction ahead of time. And by making people conscious of what they’re going to do when they feel hot blooded, in a cold blooded state. He concludes his lecture at TEDxTeachersCollege as follows:

“This is what we know about habits. They have cues, routines and rewards. And if you decide ahead of time, if you engage in this mindfulness in your life, where you’re aware of what’s driving these nearly subconscious behaviors, where your brain actually turns off, if you indulge yourself, to pay attention to the things that otherwise kind of happen at the periphery of our consciousness. We know from study after study, you have the ability to change any habit in your life.”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

The Power of Habit: Charles Duhigg at TEDxTeachersCollege

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMbsGBlpP30

 

The Willpower Instinct

The Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D, book The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It is an excellent work and very powerful to help people improve their willpower to achieve their goals. She is teaching a course on the same topic at Stanford University. Below is a summary of important points from her presentation at Google Talks:

Willpower Challenges:

What challenges do you have? Not doing homework/studying, exercising, getting up on time, washing dishes, etc.?

One Brain Two Minds

(Prefrontal Cortex)

Cortex

We actually have one brain but two minds. There is a competition between selves and we are completely two different people based on which mind takes over. Based on mindset, energy and stress level, your brain will meet your willpower in a different way and will make one choice today and another tomorrow.

Training the Physiology of Willpower

Tiny interventions can bring a major change in your willpower challenge or behavior. For example, if you do not have enough sleep or are tired, your willpower challenge will be harder.

What if you have a Willpower Failure?

Forgive Yourself for Willpower Failure: Do not be too hard on yourself as it will only make you more depressed and more prone to willpower failure.

Turn bad days into good data: Analyze what went wrong and plan better for the future.

Meet Your Future Self

Your future self is real. His happiness and his pain are real. It is you, really. The more you connect with your future self, the more control you have on your behavior. Imagine you are talking to your future self at retirement age (or 5, 10 or 30 years from now.) What’s going on? What is important in your life right now? Are you healthy? Do you have enough money to retire comfortably? Are you happy? People who connect to their future self and communicate with them are more likely to exercise and save money for retirement than people to whom their future self is a stranger.

Imagining Success is Good, Imagining Failure is Better

The Power of Pessimism

  • Most optimistic smokers and dieters more likely to fail.
  • Optimism about future behavior licenses self-indulgence today.
  • 75% of cases investigated for fraud by the SEC are the result of unrealistically optimistic initial profit projections.

If you are a student, it is good to imagine you graduated from the school and now have a good career, making good money and have a happy life. But it is better to imagine that you dropped out of school and are back to the same old job and problems. Now you may plan better to ensure that it does not happen.

Plan for Setbacks/Obstacles

Defensive Pessimism

  1. What is your goal?
  2. What would be the most positive outcome?
  3. What action will I take to reach this goal?
  4. What is the biggest obstacle?
  5. When and where is this obstacle most likely to occur?
  6. What can I do to prevent the obstacle?
  7. What specific thing will I do to get back to my goal when this obstacle happens?

Surfing the Urge

  1. Notice the thought, craving or feeling.
  2. Accept and attend to the inner experience.
  3. Breathe and give your brain and body a chance to pause and plan.
  4. Broaden your attention, and look for the action that will help you achieve your goal.

Be mindful of “a few seconds” things (such as taking a phone call from a friend who likes to talk long, watching TV or going to Youtube only for a few minutes) that can trap you to waste hours when you need to focus on your studies.

Tips for surfing the urge:
– Try to hold your breath for 15-30 seconds to practice self control.
– Try to hold your temptation for two minutes such as for smoking a cigarette.

Summary

Willpower Rules

  1. Train your willpower physiology.
  2. Forgive yourself.
  3. Make friends with your future self.
  4. Predict your failure.
  5. Surf the edge.

 

There are only two burdens in life. One is the burden of discipline (self-control) that weighs in ounces, and the other is the burden of regret that weighs in tons.

Source:

Willpower Instinct: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5BXuZL1HAg

Six Sources of Influences

(Note: This part is taken from “Change Anything! Use Skillpower over Willpower by Al Switzler at TEDxFremont)

You don’t have a Willpower Problem;

The 6 Sources of Influences:

  1. Personal Ability- Can I do it? If not, can I learn a skill to achieve it?
  2. Personal Motivation- Do I want to? Am I motivated? (How much do I want to change and why?
  3. Social Motivation- Do I have encouragement and support? Someone who keeps me on track? (Identify friends from accomplices. If you can’t turn accomplices to friends, i.e. they are not serious in helping you, stay away from them!)
  4. Social Ability- Do I have someone to coach me, give me feedback to improve?
  5. Structural Motivation- Do I have any rewards or incentives to keep me going?
  6. Structural Ability- Am I in an environment which helps to control my space? Is it possible to make my good behavior easy and my bad behavior hard? (e.g. if you cannot study at home, go to a library or come to school to study; get rid of junk food in the house. Make healthy food easily available and junk food out of reach.) Remember, it’s not a willpower problem, it’s a math problem.

Nos. 1 and 2 derive from yourself. Nos. 3 and 4 derive from external help. For Nos. 5 and 6, you need to make plans in advance to create the environment.

Control Sources of Influences that Control You

 

The Science of Change

Identify your crucial moments: You are not tempted 24/7. Identify which time, place, and/or people makes you most tempted.

Create your vital behaviors: What do you have to do when you are at risk. (If you can refocus your behaviors, not succumb to the urge, for just 3 or 4 minutes, you can get back to wanting to do your own behaviors.)

Write Reasons to Achieve Your Goals in a 3×5 Card

Here is Sharman’s 3×5 card that lost 107 lbs. She read this card when she was tempted to eat say cheese cake in a party, etc.

Turn Bad Days into Good Data

Finally, the last step is to turn bad days into good data. To prevent relapse, you have to plan for what happens if you ever failed to control your behavior. Understand what went wrong, analyze it, talk to someone about it, know what to do about it, etc. A plan is not a plan until it specifies how you deal with setbacks.

Source:     Change anything! Use Skillpower over Willpower: Al Switzler at TEDxFremont https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TX-Nu5wTS8

 

Insanitydoing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein

The unexamined life is not worth living.”

Socrates

 

Source: How to Find Fulfilling Work: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=veriqDHLXsw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zafar Khizer
President
PC AGE Career Institute

 

6 Skills You Need for a Successful Computer Networking Career

It training courses
Computer networking professionals need a variety of skills to be successful.

Computer networking is predicted to be the third-fastest growing occupation between 2014 and 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The field is considered to be at full employment, unlike many other fields. Success in a computer networking career requires a variety of skills, including some outside of technical expertise. Here are the top skills you need to have a successful computer networking career.

1. Analytical skills.

It isn’t enough to know how to set up, install, and maintain computer networks; you also need to have analytical skills to troubleshoot problems and figure out better ways of doing things. With the rapid pace of technological advancements, IT professionals will always need to be able to figure things out and improve on existing systems.

2. A listening ear.

Listening is more than just hearing what someone says. Being able to read tone and body language can make all the difference in whether you really hear what someone is trying to tell you about a situation or problem. The better you are at listening to your co-workers and hearing what they are saying, the more successful you are likely to be in a computer networking career.

3. The ability to multitask.

Computer networking typically involves multiple projects at the same time, like running periodic updates and preparing for a new software rollout, or improving the network’s security protocols while phasing out an underperforming piece of hardware. Multitasking can apply to managers, team leaders, or even entry-level technicians, so it’s a good skill to have.

IT training courses
Computer networking is a growing field, and qualified professionals are in-demand.

4. Problem-solving skills.

These skills involve the ability to figure out why something is malfunctioning or failing to work as expected. Solving problems quickly can mean the difference between keeping the network secure and having a major data breach. It can mean the difference between a network that functions well for the company and one that is useless until the network team can solve the problem.

5. Interpersonal skills.

Computer network professionals need to be able to work well with a team, and that requires interpersonal skills. To be respected and valued as a team member or leader, you must be able to understand other people’s points of view and express your ideas and directives clearly. You won’t get any credit for your good ideas, not to mention your skills, if you don’t have the ability to make yourself heard and benefit the team as a whole.

6. A wide computer background.

Sure, computer networking professionals need to know all about networks, but they may also need to know about all the different kinds of software being used on the network, enough programming to write a fix when something’s not working, and how cloud computing impacts the network. The person who is always learning and can’t seem to get enough computer knowledge will have the advantage on most jobs.

PC AGE offers courses to help you get started in a computer networking career or broaden your knowledge base to be even more successful in your IT career.  Contact us for information about PC AGE’s many programs to help students get started in computer networking.

What Is the Linux+ Certification and Why Is It Valuable?

IT certifications
The Linux operating system is widely used in many products and applications.

The CompTIA Linux+ certification prepares IT professionals to work with servers and devices that use the Linux operating system. Linux is an open-source operating system that uses the same type of programming concepts, files, and commands as UNIX, which predates it. Linux operates everything from Google, Facebook, and your in-car GPS to Android smartphones and the smart devices (refrigerators, media centers, etc.) used in many homes today, while UNIX operates Mac computers and iPhones, along with many devices and systems used by businesses.

It stands to reason that knowing how to administer Linux systems would open up many opportunities in the IT field, since it is so widely used. Also, knowledge of Linux and how it operates also qualifies someone in many cases to administer UNIX systems as well, since they are so similar in how they work.

IT certifications
Linux runs the Android operating system for smartphones, among many others.

The Value of Linux+ Certification

The open source nature of Linux means that there are lots of different variations available, which makes the system fairly complex. Because of the complexity of Linux, many employers require certification to ensure that their new hires have a good working knowledge of Linux.

Certifications demonstrate that your skills are verified by an independent body, which gives employers confidence in your skill level beyond what could be demonstrated through the typical job interview process. Some employers that require Linux certification include Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Dell, and Xerox.

One benefit of CompTIA Linux+ certification is that passing the two exams required for this certification enables the IT professional to get two other certifications without any additional preparation or exams. The information is the same for those exams: the LPI (Linux Professional Institute) Level 1(LPIC-1) certification and the Novell SUSE Desktop Support Technician designation.

What Is Involved in the Certification Process?

Because the CompTIA Linux+ certification requires students to pass two exams, preparation can be intense. Preparing in a classroom setting allows students to collaborate and help each other study the material, as well as providing ample practice and help with areas of struggle and difficulty.

The certification can usually be achieved in less than a year, and with intensive coursework, that time can often be shortened to just weeks or months. Another advantage to taking preparation courses is that it forces the IT professional to set aside other responsibilities or activities to make time to study adequately, which increases the chances of passing the exam.

While the CompTIA Linux+ certification demonstrates knowledge about all of the basic concepts and tasks involved in Linux, advanced certifications are available as well for those who need them. Many employers consider the Linux+ certification adequate for positions in their companies and don’t require further certifications unless more specific knowledge is required for a particular position.

CompTIA—A Cut Above

There are several Linux certifications available, but only the CompTIA Linux+ certification offers other certifications when students pass its exam, and CompTIA has the finest reputation among employers for its certifications as well.

PC AGE offers comprehensive preparation courses for many of the most sought-after IT certifications including CompTIA Linux+. Contact us for more information about our programs and the certification preparation courses we offer.

Debunking 7 Myths about IT Certification

IT certification
IT certifications can help your career. 

The IT certification process has been much discussed by those in the field, employers, and students who want to enter the field. As with most topics, misinformation and myths can sometimes take the place of the truth about IT certification.

Here are some of the most common myths surrounding IT certification and the truth behind them.

1. IT certifications are too theoretical.

While no one certification can completely prepare an IT professional for most positions in the field, certifications do provide a thorough background in systems like Microsoft, UNIX, Linux, and others. Furthermore, IT certification exams increasingly incorporate performance-based testing, which simulates working through an actual problem or situation. Some exams even have takers interact with offsite servers in real time.

2. IT certifications have a short life cycle.

The fact that IT certifications are frequently overhauled and require recertification every few years is actually a positive rather than a negative, because it means certifications are more relevant and incorporate new technologies and advances. The IT field moves extremely fast, and technology that is used today may not be used next month or next year. IT certifications need to keep up in order to remain relevant, and they do this through overhauls and recertifications.

3. IT certifications aren’t worth the money.

IT certifications are not cheap—there are costs for preparation courses, study materials, and the exam itself. These certifications are an effective way to keep skills updated and can take the place of a degree (or supplement it) so professionals have the skills they will need to work productively in the IT field. Can you really put a price on the ability to do your job?

4. IT certifications have become too common.

If many IT professionals are obtaining certifications, are they even worthwhile anymore? Yes, they can be worthwhile when employers want them and are willing to pay more to hire those that have them. One way to look at the fact that many people have certifications is that all those people valued them enough to spend the time and money to get them. Additionally, employers require them for many jobs and expect them, so why shouldn’t more and more people be earning them?

Certification
Many advanced skills can be learned through IT certifications.

5. It’s impossible to tell which certifications are most desired by employers. 

As you get further into a specialty or specific position, it will become clear to you which certifications will be beneficial. If you have to get a few to work towards the one you end up needing most, you will benefit from the breadth and depth of knowledge and information you gain from them. Looking at job descriptions for positions you want will give you a good idea about which certifications will be needed for those positions.

6. Companies won’t pay more for IT certifications. 

Salaries for those with certifications continue to increase. Data shows that various certifications can give you an 8 to 16 percent boost in pay, including many common certifications from vendors like Oracle and Cisco as well as vendor neutral certifications.

7. IT certification prep courses are too expensive.  

When certifications are responsible for premiums of thousands of dollars in salary, spending a little money for prep courses is well worth the hands-on assistance you will get. Those who take prep courses are much more likely to pass the exams the first time, which saves money because they won’t have to retake the exam when they don’t pass the first time. And some jobs can even be had with just certification and no degree, which will save you thousands of dollars and years of preparation if you have the right skills.

PC AGE provides preparation courses for many of the most in-demand certifications to help you get your IT career off the ground.  Contact us to learn more about all the courses we offer and how you can benefit.

How to Become a Senior Systems Administrator

IT courses
Senior systems administrators are responsible for all things IT.

A senior systems administrator is usually responsible for all of the networks, servers, and IT equipment used by a company. When something goes wrong within the IT department, employees and supervisors will look to the senior systems administrator to fix it or make sure it is fixed as soon as possible so the company can function.

Senior systems administrator is not an entry-level position, but typically requires a great deal of knowledge and experience in the field. Some entry-level positions, like IT technician, systems engineer, or systems administrator can lead to a senior systems administrator position with enough time, experience, and education.

Skills Needed for Senior Systems Administrator Position

Senior systems administrators must know a lot about all aspects of IT in order to do their jobs well. They typically have knowledge of all the programming languages used within the company as well as the hardware and software being used, the Unix operating system, backup and recovery processes, monitoring tools for system performance, and management and supervision practices. Although these positions are not primarily focused on cybersecurity, knowledge in this area is also helpful.

This position also requires the ability to design and organize complex systems, to configure those systems to work well together and conform to a company’s policies and procedures, and to be able to communicate about these systems with others in writing and verbally. The ability to multi-task and respond effectively to emergencies is also needed.

IT courses

Work Environment of Senior Systems Administrator Position

The work environment of a senior systems administrator can be pressure-filled at times, especially when there are problems with the system. Night and weekend work is sometimes required in order to resolve problems promptly and perform updates while the system is not being used.

Effective senior staff will be able to delegate some of these tasks to the staff they supervise, but in the end, the senior administrator will always be expected to know what is happening in the department and will be held responsible for the outcome. Many senior staff members are also expected to be on call during their off hours in case a problem comes up.

Although senior administrators have a lot of responsibilities, they also make a considerably higher salary than entry level employees. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a senior systems administrator is $105, 290.

A Path to a Senior Systems Administrator Position

Entry level positions for systems technicians, engineers or administrators often don’t require a degree if you can demonstrate that you have the skills for the position. Many senior positions do require degrees, however. Starting with an entry level position and taking courses as you gain experience is one way to get a senior position.

You should also earn certifications in the network and server areas to demonstrate your skills. PC AGE offers coursework that can help you earn certifications and even be used toward a degree through an agreement with Thomas Edison State University. Contact us to learn more about all our programs and how they can help you get a senior systems administrator position.