(1) Powerful Password Protection Processes

Since staff in environmental organizations are often less interested in technology than in other types of organizations, it's particularly important for future success that the 'people part' of cybersecurity is emphasized. One of the most important aspects of building a 'human firewall' is teaching staff to create strong passwords. On the Department of Homeland Security's Password Tip Card, the top 3 tips are:

  1. "Don’t make passwords easy to guess" - The easiest way to create a strong password is to use the first letters from a special phrase and then add a couple of numbers, capitals & characters. For instance: 1Dmpetg!
  2. "Unique account, unique password" - It's important to have unique password for every account you have because if your password is hacked and you have only one, then suddenly all of your accounts are at risk.
  3. "Never share your password" - The more people who know you password, the less secure.

(2) Timely Software Updates

Another 'human firewall' best practice for the future security of an environmental organization is to be sure to update all software used on all organization devices and computers. Updates are most often created to provide security patches, so it's important to tell your staff that these updates are for security purposes. When people know the reason for the updates they are more likely to take the time to perform the updates. Another best practice that can support people actually taking the time to do the updates is to provide time out in the work day to do them. Providing a coffee, popcorn or other treat during a 15 minute break during the day called 'Update Break' will help employees feel supported in the update process. Using a tool such as Patch My PC Updater (found on the 10 Best Free Software Updater Programs website) can also be beneficial.

(3) Regular Backup System

This cybersecurity area is one that can be taught to your staff, but also set up by a tech support professional. First, according to Dark Reading's article on Security Tips That Will Keep Your Company Safe, you need to identify the sensitive data that is "critical to the success" of the environmental organization's mission.   These could contain financial information, contact information, or political strategy information as well as "hardware and software assets, record the manufacturer, make model, serial number, and support information". When you have a list of the sensitive data, you next need to create a schedule for backups and ensure this schedule is followed with secure processes.

(4) Two Factor Authentication

This is a process for enhancing the security of you password system and according to Gartner, is "gaining market traction" because if you use a passwordless, user friendly, method for the second layer of protection that associates users with their devices or cellphones, it's a "rare win/win for security". Examples of Two Factor Authentication include fingerprint or fact identification on cellphones or the drawing of a geometric pattern, or sending a code to a users email or cellphone to confirm their identity.

(5) Malware Protection

This is another cybersecurity area that requires the cooperation of tech support or security professionals in your environmental organization and any staff who work with computers or devices. Since there are so many viruses and malware being created every year, such as as the recent DNSChanger Malware found by the FBI, it is vital to have powerful and up-to-date malware and virus protection on all computers and devices. In the case of the DNSChanger Malware, there is not yet a patch for it, so the FBI recommends making backups of all files on your device or computer before having a computer professional delete the malware.

(6) White Hat Hackers

If your environmental organization is large enough I strongly recommend employing white hat hackers whose primary job is to try to hack into your own systems as a means of finding weaknesses and patching them before black hat hackers (real hackers with criminal or destructive intentions) cause a breach of data. For example, the white hat security research group Mirai, which is Japanese for “the future," have created a botnet composed of servers, loader and a 'bot' that is able to apply brute force to a victim, report on data, check status of a system, infect it with malicious binary code and attack on command. This botnet causes a distributed denial of service (DDoS) to a set of target servers by constantly propagating to weakly configured Internet of Things (IoT) devices." By running their botnet, these white hat workers have found weaknesses in IoT devices and suggested repairs (Kolias, et al, 2017).

(7) Encryption

Any organization, including environmental ones, can benefit in terms of cybersecurity by using encryption. The simplest definition of encryption is a 'secret code." In the computer age there are a variety of options for encryption technology; one of the most interesting is called blockchain. Blockchain is often used to protect financial data because it is made up of blocks of code that are protected in a unique method. According to Kshetri, N. (2017), an organization's money resources are protected because third parties do not need to be involved in the transaction. "If a hacker penetrates a network and tries to steal money from an account, multiple redundant and identical ledger are stored worldwide. If one is breached, there are many others as backups that can provide the funds in the hacked account."

(8) Security Reward System

As more cities become smart, and members of environmental organizations live in these IoT profuse collectives, ensuring that your organization is following suggested techniques for secure smart cities is becoming increasingly important. A secure system proposed by Li, and Liao (2018) is to financially reward IoT vendors for ensuring security and also to reward governments. So for an environmental organization I suggest creating a reward system for staff and vendors who enhance security. This could be financial in small monetary rewards, or social, via badges or leaderboards or positive publicity.

(9) Home Security

Increasing numbers of organizations are becoming hybrid or remote so that employees can work from the comfort of their own homes. This practice has many benefits in terms of reduction of stress and sick days and financial savings in office space and travel requirements. However, for environmental organizations it is a preferred method since less travel to and from a physical office prevents much pollution and also reduces the spread of human disease. In terms of cybersecurity it creates an additional challenge since the organization must encourage its staff to make work-at-home offices secure. Oravec (2017) suggests using intelligent agents, remote deletion of rogue or infected programs as well as 'kill switches' to help protect staff homes and the technology they use for work.

(10) Protect Privacy

While it's important to use the above 9 security tips to protect your environmental organization, it is also important to protect the privacy of the staff who work for you along with the volunteers and members of your company. With the advent of the IoT, often profiling methods are used to link devices to a users account which can lead to discovery about the users identity and life circumstances which can in turn lead to "economic, social, and other forms of discriminatory treatment." Wachter (2018) suggests following the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which became law in May of 2018. In the simplest terms, the GDPR requires privacy by design and privacy by default. For your environmental organization I recommend requiring your technology staff purchase and install only software systems, computers and devices that follow the GDPR regulations in their designs and default settings.














7 SMB Security Tips That Will Keep Your Company Safe (2019). Dark Reading. Retrieved from https://www.darkreading.com/endpoint/7-smb-security-tips-that-will-keep-your-company-safe---------------/d/d-id/1336067?image_number=2

10 Best Free Software Updater Programs. (2019). Lifewire. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/free-software-updater-programs-2625200

Bat Conservation International (2019). Retrieved from http://www.batcon.org/

Charity Navigator (2019). Retrieved from https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=5684

DNSChanger Malware (2019). Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/dns-changer-malware.pdf/view

Stamford, C. (2019). Gartner Identifies the Top Seven Security and Risk Management Trends for 2019. Gartner. Retrieved from https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-03-05-gartner-identifies-the-top-seven-security-and-risk-ma

Kolias, C. Kambourakis, G. Stavrou, A., Voas, J. (2017). DDoS in the IoT: Mirai and Other Botnets.Computer, (7), 80. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1109/MC.2017.201

Kshetri, N. (2017). Blockchain’s roles in strengthening cybersecurity and protecting privacy. TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY, 41(10), 1027–1038. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1016/j.telpol.2017.09.003

Li, Z., & Liao, Q. (2018). Economic solutions to improve cybersecurity of governments and smart cities via vulnerability markets. GOVERNMENT INFORMATION QUARTERLY, 35(1), 151–160. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1016/j.giq.2017.10.006

Oravec, J. A. (2017). Kill switches, remote deletion, and intelligent agents: Framing everyday household cybersecurity in the internet of things. Technology in Society, 189. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1016/j.techsoc.2017.09.004

Password Tip Card. (2019). Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Best%20Practices%20for%20Creating%20a%20Password.pdf

Wachter, S. (2018). Normative challenges of identification in the Internet of Things: Privacy, profiling, discrimination, and the GDPR. COMPUTER LAW & SECURITY REVIEW, 34(3), 436–449. https://doi-org.proxy1.ncu.edu/10.1016/j.clsr.2018.02.002

As a celebration of the 10th Inspiring Ideas Blog & a continuation of the job search help topic, I'd like to share with you my top 10 favorite interview prep TED Talks, with a special bonus video included at the end of the list.  Enjoy!

1. Pursuing your dreams can be scary, especially when you have kid(s) relying on you - get inspired by someone who took the leap...
Turning Fear into Fuel for Brilliance

2. If you feel like giving up, let this video show you how to persevere...
“What I learned from 32 grueling interviews”

3. The job search can get you down, so if you need a research-based morale boost, view on...
The Surprising Science of Happiness

4. If you are looking for specific tried & tested techniques about how to connect with all those people in increasingly popular panel interviews...
Intrigue - How to Create Interest and Connect with Anyone

5. Another amazingly quick, easy, and effective mood lifter...
Do these 5 simple things every day

6. Concerned about that first impression?  Here's how to shine before you speak a word...
Your body language shapes who you are

7. Wondering what to do with your hands?
Body Language: The Power is in the Palm of Your Hands

8. Want to make a good verbal impression? Here's how...
How to speak so people want to listen

9. Have a complicated topic you need to simplify or clarify?
Talk Nerdy to Me

10. Thankfully, none of my interviews have gone quite like this!
However, I'm still still bringing a bell with me, just in case...
Silly Job Interview - Monty Python

A one-stop shop for job searching, CareerOneStop has several unique features:

1. In the middle of the homepage, you can select an area of the website for your category, for instance Career Changer, Entry-Level, Veteran, Older Worker, Young Adult, Worker with Disabilities, or even if you are Laid Off . Selecting this link takes you to a tools that assesses the skills you have in your current position and suggests careers using similar skills as well as how to more easily transcend special challenges with resources and suggestions.

2. Under the Explore Careers tab, you can find links to the Fastest-Growing Careers, Careers with the Most Openings, Careers with the Largest Employment, and even Careers with Declining Employment - for your area, state, or the whole country.

4. Also under Explore Careers is the Self Assessment Section where you can discover skills and interests far beyond what you may think of on your own.

5. Scroll over the Job Search Tab for a plethora of resources - the Job Search Planning section is particularly strong

And of course, CareerOneStop has a large listing of jobs for you to peruse with several adjustable filters.

Which career research website has a Job seeker help phone number answered by
a real human being?

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, O'NET OnLine is a tool for career exploration and job analysis! It offers a way to browse groups of similar occupations to explore careers AND a way to find skills required for specific occupations - great for resume writing and LinkedIn portfolio development.

Also, if you select the 'Job Seeker Help' link at the bottom right of the main page, you will find a Toll-free number that connects you with a helpful person who will then give you a local number for a job-finding assistance agency near you. This agency will provide FREE resume, cover letter, and job search assistance in person or online.

ii Next week: A one-stop shop for job searching!

As I step up my job search process in preparation for graduation in May 2018, I find myself drawing on my community college librarian days. One of the fields most interesting to me work-wise is that of Academic Technology Coordinator because it combines all of my past experience and education (degrees in IT support AND educational technology along with several years teaching online courses using a variety of course management systems) - so I feel I could make a great contribution to the field.

While applying to the one open position for Academic Technology Coordinator locally, I found myself wondering if were similar job titles to which I could use to expand my job search.

So I went to Lansing Community College's wonderful database collection in the Career Research category & found 3 FREE career research tool websites that help in the exploratory phase of job searching.

Recommended career research tool website #1:
My Next Move's
clean, up-beat homepage allows you to search for career ideas via keywords, industry, function or via 'brightness of outlook' - meaning via a list of careers that will grow rapidly in the next few years, or will have large numbers of openings.

an image of My Next Move Homepage

When I did a search for 'Academic Technology Coordinator' at
https://www.mynextmove.org I landed on a page listing not only knowledge, skills, & abilities for this career, but also stats showing that this is a 'Bright Outlook' career. Most importantly the page showed me another job title to use in my search: 'Distance Learning Coordinator'.

How might you use My Next Move?  If this post is helpful to you, feel free to share your experience in the comments below!

ii Next week: Which career research website has a Job Seek Help phone number answered by a real human being?

Have you ever wanted to learn more about one of the fastest growing industries of the new century?

Michigan State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Serious Game Design that you can attend either 100% online or via hybrid courses partly on campus in East Lansing.   During my time earning this certificate I learned a great deal about game design theory, particularly in the realm of serious games, as well as user testing and interaction design. The knowledge and experience I gained was applied in several ways:
1. A series of outdoor games in the Nature Science Club.
2. Prototypes of two nature-themed board games: Which Michigan Snake? TreeTop=NewWeb
3. Designs of new courses for the LCC Youth ProgramNature Science, Gaming for Science & 3D World Map Making

MSU's Serious Game Design Certificate Program is highly recommended for its relevance in a variety of careers.

I'd like to post a public thank you to the staff of the Women's Center of Greater Lansing. I've visited several times during the launch of my job search process, and have always left with a lighter heart and a huge smile on my face. Just knowing that they are rooting for me and are available with so much assistance helps keep me motivated in my quest.

The Lansing women's Center is an amazing resource whether you are looking for a job or just moral support. They offer a job-seeker's support group (along with many others), professional clothing closet, computer room & printing, resume & cover letter assistance, counseling, a legal clinic, and even the opportunity to relax with their therapy cats. All services are free or sliding scale. Volunteering & donations are always welcome.

Women's Center of Greater Lansing Logo
Women's Center of Greater Lansing Logo

With many thanks to Professor Grimm & my classmates, I'd like to share with you a fantastic online course at Michigan State University: JRN 492 Seminar: Building Your Professional Brand

In this class I was motivated by grade (of course) but also a fun online badge-earning system to make the following accomplishments in only 5 weeks:

1. Converted my 6 page CV to a 1 page Resume
2. Updated my online hub include a new blog: Inspiring Ideas @ http://trixiabeeker.com/
3. Updated & cleaned up my LinkedIn Profile
4. Increased from 1 to 204 connections on LinkedIn
5. Learned how to make recommendations on LinkedIn
6. Renewed contact with many old friends & colleagues on LinkedIn & Facebook
7. Updated my Twitter Profile
8. Updated my Facebook photo to match Twitter, LinkedIn & my Hub Website
9. Learned about the importance of a consolidated, professional brand
10. Learned about a lot of terrific job hunt & branding resources (which I will be blogging about over the next few weeks - watch this space!)

My son loves Google Doodles & I enjoy exploring with him the many famous & many more should-be-more-famous people honored by the doodles.  One of our recent favorites is this celebration of a merging of graphic art & techno music wrapped up in an app that allows you to create a Fischinger-esque online ditty.

Below is a wee tune I tapped in to help my son fall asleep.  Enjoy listening & creating your own tunes in honor of Oskar Fischinger 🙂