Will Chatham is a Cyber Security Analyst, Ethical Hacker, and Penetration Tester at a federal data center in Asheville, NC. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.

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About Will Chatham

Will Chatham is a Cyber Security Analyst, Ethical Hacker, and Penetration Tester at a federal data center in Asheville, NC. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. His varied background, from developer to search engine optimizer to security professional, has helped him build a wide range of skills that help those with whom he works and teaches.

Software is the Key to Furthering Your Work Life

Furthering your work life can mean different things to different people. But it’s first and foremost about achieving more and going further. Everyone wants their career to be as successful as it possibly can be. There is nothing strange or unusual about that. One thing that can really help you to improve your work life is to use software correctly. Here are some examples of how that can be done.

Work on the Go and Access Files Anywhere

The great thing about working today is that you can work from pretty much anywhere you want to. If you want to work while you travel you can do. And it’s even possible to access all the files and documents you need by storing them in the cloud. When they’re located in a cloud server, you can access and save them there securely no matter where in the world you are. This is one example of how software can help you get more out of your work life and have it fit around your existing life too.

Work Hands-Free with Voice Recognition Software

Sometimes, you need to work when you have other things going on. That’s just how it is nowadays. For many people, work is not confined to the regular 9 to 5 schedule. It has to be done whenever it can be done. So, if you want to make some notes or draft a document while you clean up the house or feed the baby, you can do that by using voice recognition software. The advancement of this kind of software has completely changed how many people get their work done. It allows them much more flexibility.

Find Software That Understands Your Needs

There are so many software options out there these days, and many of them are designed to be used by specific kinds of businesses. There’s everything from pet grooming software to project management software. So, no matter what kind of niche you work you do, you can get it done better by using software solutions that are designed with your specific needs and requirements in mind. That has to be a good thing, and it shouldn’t be ignored if you want to further your work.

Prevent Unnecessary Headaches and Hitches

There are so many small things that can go wrong when you’re trying to run a businesses. These little headaches and hitches can really derail your plans and make life more difficult to you. Sometimes, it can become the case where you spend most of your time firefighting rather than doing the work that will help your company to progress. That’s clearly a problem, and it’s something that you should give some thought to. By using the best software solutions, a lot of these things can be prevented and avoided, so that’s a good reason to change your approach to software.

If you use the right software in the right way, you can progress your career and make your work life much easier. It’s a win-win situation, so what are you waiting for?

Nature Vs Nurture: Are Criminals Born or Made?

The question ‘are criminals born or made’ is a tricky one. As with anything when it comes to understanding something as complex as human beings, it doesn’t have a simple answer. But it’s a fascinating idea to look at, to understand what impact both nature and nurture have on us as humans and our personalities. When you think about notorious criminals and evil people in society, Hitler, Jack the Ripper and Ted Bundy to name a few, it’s easy to think that they were surely born ‘different’ to me and you and had something in them, to begin with to make them commit the atrocities they did. But how true is this?

‘Crime’ Is a Social Construct

When we’re trying to work out if crime is driven by nature or nurture, we firstly need to understand what crime is. It’s defined as an ‘action or omission which can be punished by law,’ but this itself is tricky. It means that the notion of ‘crime’ is a completely social construct- it’s us as humans who lay down the law of what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to our behaviors. Think about it, there is no ‘crime’ in the animal kingdom. With this being said, it could be argued that crime or criminals do not exist, it’s simply other humans who label them as such.

Biology of Risk and Violence

One of the reasons people may be naturally more prone to committing crime, particularly those involving a lot of risks or with violence is due to their genetic makeup. Both of these things can be noted in many people with high levels of testosterone. This is likely to be due to the way testosterone can affect dopamine levels, those with high levels of the hormone feel good when engaging in this kind of activity due to the way the brain’s reward system works. This could be why there are so many higher cases of male crime than female for violence or risk, any criminal or DUI lawyer would be able to confirm that most (but not all) cases they deal with are by men. So while crime may be a social construct, there is definitely a genetic/ biological element involved when it comes to defining some criminals.

Cognitive and Social Influences

Early influences can dramatically shape an individual’s personality, their outlook and can be a predictor for later behavior. Things like child abuse for example can cause depression, hopelessness and a negative self-view later in life. Social influences like bullying or very stressful situations like homelessness, death of parents, terror or other factors can do the same. Combined with other factors, these things could increase the chances of committing crime in some individuals.

The real answer to whether criminals are born or made? It’s a bit of both. Most of the time, people can have a predisposition towards criminal behavior due to their genetic makeup. But it’s opportunity in the environment that causes them to act on this. With this in mind, the best way to prevent people from committing crime in the first place is by providing better opportunities, things for young people to do and education which can stop them from swaying in this direction.

How to Make Your Employees Your First Arms Against Hackers

As it is with many businesses, your employees tend to be found on the front line in case of a cyber-attack. While the management often flatters themselves by thinking they know their business better than any, and who better to defend it than themselves, they’re often sadly mistaken; after all, they’re not always in front of their computers.

Give your business the gift of safety by understanding why it’s so important to start safeguarding it through your employees, making them your most trusted weapon of defense.

It will keep their personal details securely stored, as well, and make them a bit more web-savvy than they used to be.

Give them the tools

When you feel like the time has come to take your browsing safety more serious, you need to have the right training incorporated. A decent anti-virus software and firewalls are great stuff, but it doesn’t quite cut through the intricate ways cyber criminals try to get ahold of your company details. Start by reading up on the best tools for your company and have a look at DontPayFull.com for some discounted software to start you off on the right foot.

Hire a professional to teach them how to spot attempts at phishing, what a dodgy email might look like, as well as the early signs of when a computer might have been hacked.

The better their training is, the higher your chances are for keeping the criminals at bay. Keep it up and repeat at least once a year to make sure they stay up to date on the latest ways we can have our details stolen – and to ensure that it all sinks in, of course.

Point out a super user

If you ever introduce a new software to your business, it’s a good idea to let the early learners lead the rest. The same applies to cybersecurity; give a few of your best ones the responsibility of observing the others, reminding their co-workers to stay safe when browsing, and tell the employees to alert the super users if they see anything suspicious.

You’re not going to be around at all times to keep an eye on them, and peer-to-peer learning is usually more beneficial than the big brother-approach of management on constant inspection. Read more about the advantages of letting them lead each other in digitalistmag.com – and remember that it makes, even more, sense if your employees are of different generations.

Review their cyber knowledge

While nobody likes the idea of being reviewed, this one is purely meant to reinforce their learning – not to point fingers at anyone who has fallen behind. Challenge your team with a mock-attack from time to time and produce a monthly review. In the beginning, you might notice a few slip-ups; this is perfectly normal, and you don’t need to stress out on them quite yet.

Keep preaching cyber security and give a hint to one of the super users if you see that someone are less than up to date – with time, the whole team will be your strongest defense against any hackers. And they won’t even make it past the first click on a link – not with the vigorous training you’ve given them.

Essential Information for All Employers Looking to Maintain a Content Workforce

Whether your business has one staff member or thousands, it’s absolutely essential that you maintain a content workforce to guarantee the high levels of productivity and brilliant customer service that generate your business’ income. But with so many different responsibilities, few business owners fail to give the necessary amount of thought and support to their staff members to be truly considered good employers. So, if you’ve neglected your staff a little and are looking to start making changes to this, where should you start? Not to worry. That’s where we come in to help. Here are a few areas of employee care that you need to begin focusing on.

Contracts

First things first, if an individual is working for you on a consistent basis, it’s important that you offer them the opportunity to become a full or part time employee, as opposed to being self-employed. Of course, bringing in self employed people for one off jobs is absolutely fine and some individuals simply prefer being self employed. But if these people are working for you most days, then the offer of becoming an employee will go down well. Contracted hours (which go hand in hand with a steady and regular income) will give them a sense of loyalty towards your brand, boosting their efforts to do an effective job.

Wages

By law, all employees should be paid the minimum wage. This goes without saying. But how about offering your staff base a good living wage? This may take a little out of your own profits, but it will draw the best individuals towards your brand and will also ensure that your staff have sufficient cash flow to maintain a good quality of life. This will mean less stresses at home, which means better efforts in the workplace. If your staff are stressed with money worries, their mind is often going to stray from their work, they are less likely to get a good night’s sleep before their shift and they won’t have the positive mindset required to deliver friendly customer service.

Holiday

Staff should be allowed a certain amount of time off from work each year. They can take this in one large chunk or individual days. Try to be as lenient as possible with holidays. Remember that not everyone will want to take a solid week off for a getaway holiday. They may have familial commitments which will mean taking one or two days off for a wedding here and a couple of days for a birthday celebration there. The more lenient you are with negotiating leave, the more likely your staff are to have a stress free time off, rejuvenating themselves and returning to work happy and enthusiastic.

Sick Pay

If employees are too ill to work they can claim statutory sick pay of £89.35 per week. You are obliged to pay this for up to 28 weeks. This is not negotiable and is required by law. However, you are entirely in your right to request sick notes from a doctor as proof that the member of staff is too ill to work. If you receive an appropriate sick note, refrain from acting in an unprofessional or harsh manner to the employee: they are unwell and it is their right to be helped through this time. Remember that stress can enhance and accentuate existing illness, so undue stress for the employee is only likely to prolong the issue.

Bereavement Leave

Needless to say, bereavement leave is an extremely sensitive topic. Surprisingly, many employers lack empathy when negotiating this with their staff. It is essential to remember that staff who are requesting bereavement leave may not be in the best state of mind and you do not want to add to their troubles and worries. Consult the employers bereavement leave guide if you have any concerns or questions.

Maternity and Paternity Leave

Paid maternity leave is standard practice in the U.K. and law has developed to also allocate paid paternity leave too. This allows both parents of a child, regardless of their gender, to spend necessary bonding hours with their child as they enter the world. Statutory maternity leave is 52 weeks: ordinary maternity leave of 24 weeks and additional maternity leave of 26 weeks. Not all new mothers will necessarily wish to take the entire time off, but it should at least be offered. It is recommended that new mothers take at least two weeks off following their child’s birth (four weeks if they are working in a factory). Statutory paternity leave is only two weeks paid leave, however, further paid time off can be issued at your own discretion.

Training

Once all of these areas have been talked through with your employee and outlined in their contract, it’s time to get them to work. Before setting them to the job, encourage them to undertake a training process which will endow them with all of the essential information required to excel in their position. A staff member who is confident in their job role, what is expected of them and how to deliver the best performance are going to be a much better asset to your workforce than someone who is feeling lost and as though they are faking their way through each day.

These are just a few areas of employee care that you should prioritise. Remember that your workforce is the backbone of your company and without them you wouldn’t be able to thrive or make the turnover that you are used to. So treat your employees in the best manner possible. Workers who feel appreciated will take extra steps to ensure that they are providing the best quality work for what they are being paid. Appreciation also encourages staff loyalty, ensuring that professionals stay within your company rather than taking their skills to competitors. Maintaining the same staff members for extended periods of time also saves you from having to take on new staff. This means less cash paid out in advertising positions or using recruitment agencies, less time spent training new members of the team, staff members to bond more effectively and allows you a better understanding of your workforce as a whole.

So You Want To Be A Software Developer?

With technological advances emerging regularly and the need for more coding wizards to enter the world of computer programming, there has never been a better time to break into the world of software development. As a growing industry that overlaps with many other information technology sectors, software development is a career that is very much in demand. The job market is buoyant, and the rewards are vast. If you want to forge a new career utilizing your coding skills, then software development could be for you.

Demonstrate Your Skills

As a career changer, you are one of the rare breeds that need to locate the skills that they already have in their armor to show any potential new employer how easily they can be transferred to a career in software development. Depending on which industry you have worked in previously, this could be tricky. If you’ve worked with computers or in a technical discipline, it can be easier to demonstrate your analytical and problem-solving skills. If you have worked in an unrelated sector such as teaching or design, it can be harder to pinpoint the desired skills so think about your ability to be creative, think outside the box and work effectively under pressure. These are also vital facets to the software developer’s role.

Show Your Passion

You could be an expert coder, but you also need to show your enthusiasm and passion for the job. If you love coding in your spare time, talk about this at interview. Show your interviewers some of the projects that you have done in your own time and let them know that you’re an active member of software developer forums online. Tell them everything you know about different methodologies such as Kanban and Agile. Impress them with your keenness and willingness to learn and a software company may be eager to hire you so they can morph you into their ideal employee.

Keep Learning

It’s vital that you code in your spare time and experiment with different software applications. Consider exploring the use of virtual clock software to test out your coded projects at different points in the future. By effectively embarking on some technological time travel, you can demonstrate your knowledge of the testing environment and your ability to adapt your coding to mitigate the impact of potential bugs.

You could also venture beyond your knowledge of coding to learn about version control systems. The world of software development is competitive so by ensuring that your bow has as many strings as possible, you are pitching yourself above your rivals. Get online and research Git and TDD. Then attempt to implement your newfound knowledge into some of the programming work you’re doing in your spare time.

There has never been a better time to utilize your passion for coding and technical expertise than in today’s fast paced and ever-changing technologically advanced world. If you have the determination, enthusiasm and drive to change your career, you have every chance of becoming a successful software developer.

Taking Better Care Of Your Workers – 5 Top Tips

Every business needs excellent workers at its core to succeed. Your employees might drive the sales. They represent your company in customer service or manage your administration. Each function is essential to keep your business running. Without people power, your business would simply fail. So how do you make sure that your people are performing as well as they should be and can continue to do so for years to come?

Develop Yourself

Looking after your employees should be every manager’s priority. Of course, nobody is born with a built-in ability to manage and lead effectively. It takes time to acquire the experience. It also takes time to acquire to achieve the level of skills you need to be as effective in your role as you want to be. Reflective practice is a great way to self-develop your managerial skills. Beyond this, aim to continue your education and training with continuing professional development.

Keep On Top

Use online and computer-based apps or systems to keep on top of your staff development, vacations, and performance reviews. There are plenty to choose from. Some HR software is available for free, so you can keep on track with the needs of your employees. It helps you to schedule key meetings, and ensure there are enough human resources during holiday periods. Most importantly, it means you can stay on top of your recruitment program and applicant tracking.

Benefits

Many companies review their benefits packages annually. Usually, these are carefully crafted to attract the best talent while caring for the needs of your employees. You might choose to include things like gym memberships if many of your workers are office-based. You might operate a diversity in the workplace policy. Still, many companies find that parents of school-aged children make up the majority of employees. In this case, you might prefer to add childcare support to your package.

Health & Safety

Small startups can’t always afford to hire a specialist health and safety officer. This means it is down to you to ensure all employees are trained and working safely. Accidents and illnesses often have to be reported to official bodies. How do you handle that sensitive administration? How do ensure that employees are in good health and enjoy good levels of fitness? Of course, there are interpersonal clashes that can occur too. The physical and mental well-being of your team should be your utmost priority.

Careers

Ultimately, your employees work for you as part of their career aspirations. Are you supporting their progress or hindering it? If you’re unable to offer continuous professional development, pay rises and promotion, you’ll suffer a high turnover of personnel. The cost of recruitment is much higher than working to retain your current employee list. It’s not just money that motivates a worker to perform well.

Taking better care of your workers should always be on your mind as a manager or business owner. They are the force that drives customers to your business and converts them to revenue. You workforce keep your business running and help you to grow it, develop it, and make it a success. What more can you do today?