Oct 15

CUSTOMER SERVICE CORNER: Keep Customers’ Information Safe

285_2758456With frequent news coverage about data escaping government (and other) offices and posing potential security failures, more customers are feeling a little insecure about their personal information.

Here are a few practices you can implement to make sure that no personal data escapes your company:
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May 12

MANAGEMENT MINUTE: Own the skill of the future

skill-of-the-futureWhat’s the single most important skill that the next generation of supervisors will need? Smooth interpersonal skills? Superior communication abilities? Advanced technological competencies?

None of the above, says Harvard University professor Dr. Howard Gardner. The most important skill is the ability to organize and process information. Tomorrow’s supervisor will handle an increasing amount of data. Her success is dependent upon her ability to “synthesize,” or handle and analyze that information, Gardner claims.

Here’s a quick guideline to use as you prepare your next report:

  1. Pre-Synthesize. Collect data from articles, reports, Web sites and interviews. Consolidate all of your information in an easy-to-read, highly-accessible format.
  2. Decide. This is the most important step. Determine what’s crucial to your report and what facts can be spared. Consider what facts and figures you can verify, and make sure your information is timely.
  3. Evaluate. Does your data lead toward a conclusive point? Do you make a coherent argument? Look at the big picture before you continue to the details.
  4. Outline. Make a rough draft of your report and solicit feedback from colleagues or a trusted mentor. Ask them to find holes in your logic and evaluate the format.
  5. Finalize. Put everything together and deliver the final product.
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Oct 02

CUSTOMER SERVICE CORNER: Keep your customers’ personal information secure

keep-data-secureWith the recent news coverage about data escaping government offices and posing potential security failures, more customers are feeling a little insecure about their personal information.

As a customer service representative, you may think that you don’t need to worry about these security problems because of the nature of your job. But there are a few practices you can implement to make sure that no personal data escapes your agency:

  1. Don’t copy any data to your laptop, PDA or cell phone. You may bring these electronics to work with you, but be sure to keep the data within the confines of your secure agency. The security that you may have on your personal electronics is probably not as impenetrable, nor are they monitored by the Information Technology (IT) department in your agency. Because of this, they are most likely more susceptible to outside attacks.
  2. Keep your work inside your office. Don’t be tempted to take sensitive data home, or anywhere else, to work on. Removing data from the office always poses a security risk. If you have extra work that you want to catch up on, talk to your supervisor about arranging times when it’s best to complete that work.
  3. Use only a secure server. If you do receive permission to work on your personal computer or laptop outside of your office, make sure you’re accessing the Internet with a secure server. Don’t use just any old default connection that’s available. Use a password-protected connection that you or someone you know and trust created.
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