Galveston Financial Capital: Services

For help starting or expanding your business, connect with the Galveston County Small Business Development Center.

Consulting –

GC SBDC’s professional business consultants help you develop business plans and strategies, identify financing options, prepare loan packages and conduct financial check-ups using ProfitCents, a financial analytical software.  Our consultants have extensive, practical experience in varied fields including marketing, finance, retail and management. Most have been business owners themselves, many have advanced degrees. A Spanish to English translator is available upon request.

Workshops & Seminars –

GC SBDC’s affordable workshops and seminars cover business topics including marketing, finance, management, computers, taxes and executive skills enhancement. Our instructors share their real-world experience with you in our state-of-the-art classrooms and computer labs. Our training seminars are designed to help broaden your business knowledge and improve your skills, whether you are new to entrepreneurship or a seasoned entrepreneur.

Specialty Programs –

Sell your products and services to federal, state and local government agencies, pursue international markets, receive free technical engineering assistance, or obtain discounted professional services through our specialty programs.

Business Library –

Whether you are starting, operating, or growing your business in Galveston County, our business research librarian can help you find the information you need to be successful.  Our business information services include access to our business library — a comprehensive research and reference library offering extensive online and print business tools and resources — and general reference assistance in conducting industry and market research.

 

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Security and Risk Online: Strengthening your Online Protection

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In this modern world, identity theft is a huge black market industry today. Don’t be just another statistics and take precautionary measures to protect your identity online today. Here are some useful ways to follow:

Stay away from public Wi-Fi

Connecting to a free public Wi-Fi is risky. It provides an easy way for hackers to steal your identity and track what you’re doing online. They may steal your logins and obtain any sensitive information if you aren’t being extra careful.

Software updates are important

You might find software updates that keep on popping on your screen as a disruption and insignificant but what you don’t know is that their updates are very important for many different reasons. One thing is because software updates could save you from outside attacks. Outdated software is like living in a house with no locks on the doors, you are so unprotected and vulnerable inviting unwanted intruders to access important things.

Phishers! Phishers!

Phishers are tech-savvy con artists and identity thieves whose goal is to steal sensitive information from their victims using fake websites, fake emails, and other sophisticated techniques to steal information.  Email phishing scams are the most effective strategy cybercriminals used to steal your information. If you ever encounter an email asking to confirm any information, don’t give away details.

Check if you’re already a victim

There’s a certain website called hasmyidentitybeenstolen.com that can detect whether your email address is at risk and if it’s on the dark web already. All you have to do is to enter your email address and confirmed it. This is so legit that the CEO of this site has been featured in BBC Rip-Off Britain last year 2015.

Check your online bills and statements

Regularly monitor your online bills, in this manner you’ll quickly detect if there’s a malicious activity going on your accounts and to quickly take actions before it’s too late.

 

Tokyo Online Fraud detection firm outs $1b Russian ad-fraud gang and its robo-browsing Methbot

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A $1 billion Russia-based criminal gang has been bilking online advertisers by impersonating high-profile Web sites like ESPN, Vogue, CBS Sports, Fox News and the Huffington Post and selling phony ad slots, but that’s about to end.

Online fraud-prevention firm White Ops is releasing data today that will enable online advertisers and ad marketplaces to block the efforts of the group, which is cashing in on its intimate knowledge of the automated infrastructure that controls the buying and selling of video ads.

The group has been ramping up its activities since October so that it now reaps roughly $3 million to $5 million per day from unsuspecting advertisers and gives them nothing in return, says White Ops, which discovered the first hints of the scam in September.

When someone clicks on a video that’s posted to a Web page, the video is often preceded by a short advertising video known as pre-roll. The pre-roll slot is sold realtime – within 100 milliseconds – via an automated auction. That click to request the video is what initiates the ad auction, and the browser directly receives the pre-roll from the advertiser that wins, says White Ops CEO Michael Tiffany.

The system relies on information provided by the browser to verify what site the browser user is visiting and that it actually receives the pre-roll ad. “The ecosystem believes what the browser says about what site you’re at,” he says.

Beware Methobot

The gang, which Tiffany calls AFT13, has created a robo-browser called Methbot that spoofs all the necessary interactions needed to initiate, carry out and complete the ad transactions. So Methbot contacts an ad exchange and says it needs a pre-roll for a video on Vogue.com, for example. The system runs an instant auction, settles on an ad and sends it to Methbot, which verifies that it received it and played it.

Then the advertiser pays the entity the website that the browser claimed to be visiting, but that entity resolves ultimately to AFK13, not to Voguecom, in this example, he says.

INSIDER: Traditional anti-virus is dead: Long live the new and improved AV

Beyond this, AFK13 spoofs the geolocation of the IP addresses that the Methbot servers use so it seems they are all owned by U.S. internet service providers. The proxy IP addresses mask the fact that Methbot traffic is generated by servers as opposed to individual personal computers generating legitimate traffic. It also hides that the servers are located in data centers in Dallas and Amsterdam.

This helps Methbot duck detection mechanisms that look for a few IP addresses that generate enormous volumes of requests Tiffany says, enabling AFK13 to sell 200 million to 300 million false ad impressions per day for 1.3 cents per view on average, White Ops says. The fraud network does its work from an estimated 800 to 1,000 nodes in its data centers and operates 24 hours per day, with a sales cycle of 5 seconds per impression.

Methbot further avoids detection by selling the ads on more than 6,000 domains representing about 250,000 URLs.

To pull this all off, AFK13 has amassed an impressive infrastructure that includes:

The servers that generate all the Methbot browser activity.

A bank of 500,000 IPv4 addresses (worth about $4 million if sold on the open market).

A means of registering those IP addresses so they appear to be allocated to U.S. ISPs.

Methbot software.

The software has been upgraded over the period that White Ops became aware of it, Tiffany says. For example, White Ops first caught on to the scam when it noted a small error in an HTTP header used by the group. One value, known as Cache-Control, contained a colon, which violated the specification for that value. Since then the error has been corrected.

Online Security: Which? Files Supercomplaint Against Banks Over Transfer Fraud

Banks may face formal inquiry into whether they can refuse to reimburse victims conned into transferring money into fraudsters’ accounts

UK banks should do more to protect customers tricked into transferring money to fraudsters, according to a consumer body that has lodged a “supercomplaint” with financial regulators. The move by Which? means banks could now face a formal investigation into whether they can continue refusing to reimburse victims.

The organisation submitted its first supercomplaint this year in the same week that official data revealed that fraud in the UK payments industry had soared by 53% as criminals develop increasingly sophisticated tactics to steal bank customers’ cash.

Which? said banks should “shoulder more responsibility” when someone is conned into transferring money to another person’s account, just as they reimburse customers who lose money due to scams involving debit and credit cards or fraudulent account activity.

Some customers have lost considerable sums. In March this year the Guardian featured the case of Sarah and David Fisher, who were conned out of £25,000 after a fraudster posed as their builder and emailed them a fake invoice that was virtually identical to the one they were expecting.

The explosion in online and mobile banking means UK consumers now make more than 70m bank transfers a month, compared with just over 100m in a whole year just a decade ago. Which? claims that “protections have not kept up”.

Using its legal powers, the organisation has submitted a supercomplaint to the Payment Systems Regulator, the watchdog for the UK’s £75tn payment systems industry, which must now respond within 90 days.

There are many financial frauds that directly target customers, such as phishing emails and phone- and text-based scams. However, among the biggest growth areas are impersonation and deception scams where fraudsters hack into someone’s email account and then pose as the builder, solicitor, landscape gardener or other tradesperson that the consumer has legitimately employed. Typically, the victim receives an invoice via email, which does not rouse suspicion because they were expecting it. It looks authentic and is usually for the correct amount – however, unbeknown to the consumer, the bank account number and sort code have been changed to those of the fraudster.

This is what happened to the Fishers, from north-west London. Last October they received a genuine invoice for building work that was being carried out, then what appeared to be a follow-up email from the same firm with a fresh invoice attached that included “our new banking details”. The couple duly paid the requested £25,000, and while it quickly emerged they had been scammed, by the time the bank that operated the account used to accept their money was alerted, the cash had been withdrawn.

Almost a year after the incident, they have yet to recover a penny of their money. Sarah Fisher, a record label manager, told the Guardian this week that the police had identified the fraudster as someone living in Denmark. As a result, the case was “not being progressed” and had effectively come to a halt.

She added: “We took it to the financial ombudsman, who said that Barclays [which operated the account] had not behaved improperly.” However, she said their MP, Tulip Siddiq, had said the case raised important issues and intended to pursue the matter in parliament.

Victims conned in this way currently have no legal right to get their money back from their bank, said Which?. Banks typically refuse to refund customers on the basis that they made the payment voluntarily. However, Which? said: “Consumers can only protect themselves so far. People cannot be expected to detect complex scams pressuring them to transfer money immediately, or lookalike bills from their solicitor or builder.”

The organisation said banks had invested in security systems to detect and prevent fraud where they were liable to reimburse the victim, but added: “There aren’t sufficient checks if someone is tricked into transferring money directly to another person’s account.”

Which? said it wanted the regulators to formally investigate the scale of bank transfer fraud and how much it was costing consumers, and propose new measures and greater liability for banks to ensure consumers are better protected.

The Payment Systems Regulator confirmed that it had received the supercomplaint and said it would examine the evidence Which? had supplied and gather its own, “to build a clearer picture of the issue and decide a course of action”.

Possible outcomes might include regulatory action, a review or a referral of the complaint to another body.

The Peterson Group LLC: Leadership is Never Based on Position

It is a common misconception that if a person is higher in rank than the others, he is already considered the leader of the pact.  Even managers have this kind of mindset.

Well, fact is, they will not be somehow on that spot if they had not shown leadership streaks, will they? After all, famous author and speaker, John Maxwell has defined leadership as having the competence to exude influence on others, thus gaining the chance to outstand over their peers. Perhaps influence means having to step up the ladder with the help of back up?

However, in his review, Prof. Mel Holcom of Arizona State University clearly states that “the first thing to realize is that taking advantage of a leadership opportunity does not necessarily mean moving up the career ladder.”

How then do we define leadership? And who are those worthy of being called a leader if it is not based on rank or position?

The Peterson Group, a leadership development and organizational consulting firm, states that you do not necessarily have to be an official to be a leader. Leadership goes more than a position or authority. The key is demonstrating relationship skills and, as Maxwell has emphasized, influence.

Setting up a good relationship among your colleagues is an important factor in being a leader, even if you are in the same level with them in a team. It is a big deal among human beings to know there is a person who understands them or someone they can go to when they need it. People can also instinctively know if you are being a fraud through your actions or being true in your intentions. The real emphasis on the C’s (charisma, character, commitment, courage and communication) amounts to the level of relationship you have built with other people, not with how many people are under you.

Influence, on the other hand, is a crucial element in leadership. Leadership can never exist without influence. Influence is not on how many influential people can back you up and get you on top of the pyramid; it is on how many people are willing to give you the position because they know you deserve it.

On a healthy debate held for leadership development among students in Jakarta, Indonesia, reasons for being a leader without holding a position was brought to light. Among the most essential characteristics aside from the aforementioned are initiative, discernment, generosity and focus, characteristics which does not necessarily require rank or position.

 

The Hiring Guru: Meir Ezra And “Good People”

The Hiring Guru: Meir Ezra And “Good People”

Since releasing my book, The Naked Interview: Hiring Without Regret, I’ve spoken to many clients and business owners about the topic of hiring and retaining great people. One colleague I recently reviewed the subject with is Meir Ezra, a successful businessman and consultant, based in the Tampa, FL area.

Among his accomplishments, Ezra established and grew a company to $100 Million in revenues in just three years. He has a wide range of experience in many fields, is a successful inventor with several registered patents and has donated millions of dollars to charitable organizations.

Ezra intelligently pointed out that when it comes to hiring, many business owners overly concern themselves with finding what they refer to as “good people”. He believes this is too broad of a general notion. Of course, it’s important we work with good people, but in business, what we really need to have on our team are people who are productive, first and foremost.

Identifying candidates who will be productive on your team is critical to a successful hire and something I cover in Chapter 6: The Interview where I ask Has This Candidate Produced Results?
It is vital to check the candidate’s ability to achieve results. Is the prospect able to translate his or her knowledge into definite results of value? You need to know about that person’s earlier products. Then to effectively verify this, check references after the interview.

Another thing Meir Ezra emphasizes when it comes to hiring is how much responsibility there is on the employer to make sure the new hire is given everything they need to become a productive member of the team. This comes down to well-documented job responsibilities and effective training. Your new team member needs to understand not only what their job is, but exactly how to do it successfully. This needs to be drilled until they are competent and confident in their abilities. Furthermore, your new team member needs to understand the overall organizational structure, its purposes and goals and how they can best contribute to those ends.

Finally, like everyone in a successful organization, your new team member needs something to be measured by. Identifying the specific actions they are responsible for taking and what they need to produce is critical. This takes the guesswork out of productivity, giving your new hire and management the ability to quantify production.

Properly identifying successful candidates, training them, monitoring their statistics and optimizing production are areas I work on with many of my coaching clients on an ongoing basis. When all of these areas are carefully managed, the results are outstanding. Staff morale and retention increase dramatically and profitability is maximized.

I introduce how a standardized process can increase your results in this area in my free video series at HiringAcademy.com.

It’s great getting input from successful businessmen like Meir Ezra and aspiring entrepreneurs alike. Please leave your own comments about hiring below, sharing things you’ve found effective or questions you may have. I read all the feedback I receive and respond as well.Meir Ezra

PT Asaba Group Holdings Indonesia

Originally distributing stationery products in 1962, ASABA GROUP was formed on May 1974.

The GROUP has successfully transformed itself into a respected and reputable Indonesian company with strong business units excel in each establishment and market. The subsidiaries are diversified from Stationary Manufacturing Units (producing Staedtler pencils, Zebra Pen and Max Staples), major Office Equipment and Copier distribution company (representing major brands such as Canon, Konica Minolta and Sharp), Stationery Retail Outlets, Computer Solution Provider and System Integrator (representing Microsoft, CA, etc), Food Manufacturing and Bakery Chains, Property business, etc.

PT ASABA – a member of ASABA GROUP – has grown from supplying Stationery to include Office Automation, Copier and Document Solution, Data Management & Office Security, Computer Supplies, Digital Printing, Survey Systems, etc.

To support the growing business, PT ASABA has developed efficient and successful sales and distribution offices on major cities in Indonesia: Jakarta (Head Quarter), Medan, Bandung, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Balikpapan. PT ASABA also has extensive subdistributors and reseller network in other cities throughout Indonesia.

PT ASABA is always ready to take the chance to utilize its expertise, vast network and solid financial position to deliver our best and high valuable Products and Services to our customers and other stakeholders.

OUR MISSION

“To expand and grow profitable businesses, by becoming preferred partner in providing best value distribution, solution, and service lines.”

OUR VISION

“To be the best managed corporation in people development and advanced infrastructure by fostering entrepreneurial spirit and customer satisfaction focus.”