Category: Internet Freedom

Principal of Dewitt Tilton Group Launches “Inspire Your Community” Podcast to Do Just That

Principal of Dewitt Tilton Group Launches “Inspire Your Community” Podcast to Do Just That

(SAVANNAH, GA) Chris Tilton, one of two principals at the Dewitt Tilton Groupcommercial construction firm, has launched a monthly podcast featuring local stories of inspiration, kindness and positivity, and the company will reward people who help find those stories with a $300 donation to the cause of the nominator’s choice.

A small, heartwarming true story was the spark for “Inspire Your Community Podcast,” Tilton said.

Dewitt Tilton Group Inspire Podcast

“I heard about this guy who was dropping his daughter off at daycare one morning, just something lots of us do every day, and he noticed that the swing on the playground was broken. He didn’t complain about it to the daycare manager; he didn’t ignore the problem. Instead, the following Saturday, on his day off, he drove over and fixed the swing,” said Tilton. “Not a big thing, just seeing a problem and doing something about it.”

Such simple but true stories, Tilton thought, could inspire others to perform random acts of kindness or to act instead of complaining. His response is to launch a monthly podcast to tell true, inspiring stories suggested by members of the community. To encourage people to come forward with stories, the Dewitt Tilton Groupwill donate $300 to the cause of the successful nominator’s choice.

To submit story ideas, email dtg.inspire@gmail.com. One story will be selected each month to be the subject of the podcast, and the nominator of that story will be given the opportunity to designate a charity to receive a $300 donation.

“There are lots of inspirational stories out there, and we hope people will come forward to let us help share them,” Tilton said. “We’re starting now, so we need to hear from people. This is one small way we can all help counteract hate and negativity in the world.”

The podcast can be accessed at YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and everywhere else podcasts can be found. View the first episode here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EgdS0dh9UY.

For more information, contact the Dewitt Tilton Groupteam at dtg.inspire@gmail.com.

MORE INFORMATION ON DEWITT TILTON GROUP
The Dewitt Tilton Group, a premier construction firm located in Savannah, Ga., specializes in commercial construction. The principals, Andrew Dewitt and Chris Tilton, have more than 50 years of combined experience in the local construction industry. The firm manages every aspect of a commercial project from pre-construction to the final walk through. Known for using only highly reputable contractors, the Dewitt Tilton Groupbrings to the table design, engineering and construction capabilities to guarantee a smooth construction process for each client. The firm is located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue, Savannah, GA 31404. For more information or to contact the Dewitt Tilton Group, please call 912.777.3404 or visit http://www.dewitttiltongroup.com

CONTACT
Kim Thomas
Dewitt Tilton Group
912-777-3404
kim@dewitttiltongroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cecilia Russo Turner
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912-856-9075
info@crussomarketing.com

February Open for Business: The Art of Event Planning

February Open for Business: The Art of Event Planning

(SAVANNAH, GA) Join Carriage Trade Public Relations®, Inc. for the February session of their monthly Open for Business® series. This month’s topic is “The Art of Event Planning.”

Carriage Trade Public Relations Open for Business February

The conversation takes place via Facebook Live on Wednesday, February 27, at noon. Interested parties can find more information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2235689593353304/

Open for Business® is a monthly online social media article review series, where current marketing articles are discussed that will help your business become more competitive. It is held on the last Wednesday of every month at noon via Facebook Live.

ABOUT CARRIAGE TRADE PUBLIC RELATIONS®, INC.
Carriage Trade Public Relations, Inc. is Savannah’s premiere reputation management company. Founded in 1995 by Marjorie Young to help businesses increase their visibility in their community and globally online through its trademarked strategy, the REPUTATION MATRIX™ method.

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Cradduck
912.856.9075
savannahpublicrelations@gmail.com

Georgia Hospice Care Announces New Website Designed by Speros

Georgia Hospice Care Announces New Website Designed by Speros

(SAVANNAH, GA) GHC(formally Georgia Hospice Care) is pleased to announce the launch of a newly designed website —http://ghcholdings.com/— for the hospice provider in Georgia and South Carolina. The new site was adopted to transition the company’s Georgia branding into a name that would enable mulit-state use. Additionally, the company was seeking to enhance capabilities of the website for recruiting and raising the visibility of their non-profit 501c GHCFoundation for donations to support the companies charitable activities.

GHC Website designed by Speros

The design took approximately eight weeks to create and implement the new site. Designed by Speros, a full-service technology company headquartered in Savannah, the site features user-friendly navigation and a clean, professional design.

“The primary goal was to create a navigation scheme that made the site easy to use and informative,” said Lauren Dingus, web and graphics designer for Speros. “The group also needed a website that was interactive to include online forms, employment opportunities and a means for donations.”

GHCcoordinated the launch of the new website to coincide with the expansion of their hospice services into South Carolina.

“We enjoyed the process of working with Sperosand are thrilled with all aspects of the new website,” said GHCCFO and COO Kevin Gierc. “Our previous site was static with no interactive elements. This is a vast improvement for the families we serve.”

For more information, visit ghcholdings.com

ABOUT GHC
GHCwas founded with the goal of improving the accessibility and quality of care available to those who live in the rural areas of Georgia and South Carolina. GHCprovides the care and compassion needed to ensure that patients live their final days with the respect and dignity they deserve. GHChas locations in Savannah, Jesup, and Brunswick. For more information visit ghcholdings.com.

ABOUT SPEROS
Established in 1984, Sperosprovides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions and cloud computing. Sperosteam members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email info@speros.com.

CONTACT
Lauren Dingus
Web and Graphics Designer
Speros
ldingus@speros.com
912.790.5117

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Cecilia Russo
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912-665-0005
info@crussomarketing.com

Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations, Inc.
912-844-9990
VisTeam@carriagetradepr.com

Speros Expands Web Design and Technology Support with New Hires

Speros Expands Web Design and Technology Support with New Hires

(SAVANNAH, GA) Speros, a full-service technology company headquartered in Savannah, announces three new employees have joined the firm: Mary Elizabeth Sancomb, web and graphics designer; Dean Baynon, IT technician; and Michael Redmond, technology technician.

“Each of these new team members has a unique skill set to serve the increasing needs of our clients, and they will help us continue to provide the prompt personal attention customers expect from us,” said Susan Speros, chief executive officer of Speros. “We are excited to welcome them to the Speros team.”

Speros

Mary Elizabeth Sancomb

Sancomb, as a web and graphics designer, will be responsible for overseeing social media accounts, designing logos and websites and developing the firm’s marketing projects. The Savannah native is a 2017 graduate of the University of Georgia.

“I am excited to develop my design skills and help our clients find their personal brand and voice while developing their websites,” Sancomb said. “I’m also looking forward to helping Speros better connect with our customers on social media as well as developing new skills working with the knowledgeable staff at Speros.”

Dean Baynon, Speros

Dean Baynon

Baynon, as Speros’ newest IT technician, will be responsible for managing backups and anti-virus software and will help clients with equipment installations. He grew up in Statesboro and graduated from Ogeechee Tech in 2018 with an associate’s degree in IT. He also has completed an internship at Digital Office Equipment in Statesboro.

“I am pleased to work at Sperosbecause the company has an efficient, yet relaxed atmosphere,” Banyon said. “My coworkers are very friendly and helpful to everyone, both customers, and other employees. When I came on board, no one hesitated to answer any questions I had. Everyone here truly loves what they do.”

Speros

Michael Redmond

Redmond, a technology technician, will be responsible for the installation of cabling, structured wiring and all hardware required for various services. The Savannah native graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has 15 years of experience as a low-voltage technician and high-voltage electrician.

“I am happy to be part of such an experienced team. I hope to contribute by bringing my various experiences in the low-voltage field,” Redmond said.

ABOUT SPEROS
Established in 1984, Sperosprovides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions and cloud computing. Sperosteam members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email info@speros.com.

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations®
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912-856-9075
www.carriagetradepr.com

Open for Business ®: Search Engine Optimization 101

Open for Business ®: Search Engine Optimization 101

Open for Business

(SAVANNAH, GA) Join Carriage Trade Public Relations®, Inc.and Cecilia Russo Marketing, LLCfor the September session of their monthly Open for Business ®series. This month’s topic is search engine optimization (SEO). The conversation takes place via Facebook Live on Carriage Trade Public Relations’ Facebook page. This month’s session will be held on Wednesday, September 26, at noon. Interested parties can find more information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1846597912094801/

Open for Business ® is a monthly online social media article review series, where current marketing articles are discussed that will help your business become more competitive. We meet on the last Wednesday of every month at noon via Facebook Live.

ABOUT CARRIAGE TRADE PUBLIC RELATIONS, INC.
Carriage Trade Public Relations, Inc. is Savannah’s premiere reputation management company. Founded in 1995 by Marjorie Young to help businesses increase their visibility in their community and globally online through its trademarked strategy, the REPUTATION MATRIX™ method.

ABOUT CECILIA RUSSO MARKETING, LLC
Cecilia Russo Marketing, LLCwas founded by Cecilia Russo Turner in 2008. The firm puts the power of publicity to work, helping organizations, businesses and individuals move the needle and achieve their specific communications objectives through key reputation management strategies. For more information, call 912.665.0005 or visit https://ceciliarussomarketing.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
912.856.9075
savannahpublicrelations@gmail.com

Savannah’s Oelschig Nursery Installs Advanced Technology

Savannah’s Oelschig Nursery Installs Advanced Technology

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Southeast’s oldest floral and landscape nursery has gone high tech. Founded in 1882, Savannah’s family-owned and -operated Oelschig Nursery, Inc., was recently outfitted for the 21st century by Speros, a full-service technology company in Savannah. The upgrade allows the business to maintain better client data as well as track and control inventory.

Oelschig's Nursery

Fourth generation CEO Kurt Oelschig realized that the business needed a fully integrated system to better serve customers and track inventory. “We went to Sperosbecause we needed new computers but they also provided new point-of-sale computers and a new server computer that archives client data as well as hosts email and bookkeeping software,” said Oelschig. “We added a high definition surveillance camera system to monitor inventory, provide security and ensure safety.”

The surveillance system ensures and monitors the safety of employees, inventory, trucks and other equipment on the grounds. The computer upgrade assures faster and more accurate vendor orders along with a speedier checkout process; the enhanced customer record technology also offers a history of past purchases plus recommendations for automatic reorders.

As a wholesale-only horticulture business, Oelschig Nurseryhas served the floriculture needs of the coastal Southeast for over a century. Specializing in bedding plants for seasonal color and holiday crops for Easter and Christmas including Poinsettias, lilies, and Dutch bulbs, Oelschigsalso has a family and employee honored tradition of supporting non-profit organizations in the Savannah, coastal Georgia, and South Carolina communities it serves.

ABOUT SPEROS
Established in 1984, Sperosprovides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions and cloud computing. Sperosteam members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit www.speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email info@speros.com.

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Cecilia Russo
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912-665-0005
info@crussomarketing.com

Savannah Christian Prep School Upgrades Technology to Offer One-On-One Campus

Savannah Christian Prep School Upgrades Technology to Offer One-On-One Campus

(SAVANNAH, GA) Speros, a Savannah-based technology services company, has installed new campus-wide WiFi capabilities at the Savannah Christian Preparatory School to provide greater technology opportunities for students and enable the school to move closer to its goal of offering a “one-to-one” campus for students.

The upgrade coincided with multiple building and infrastructure improvements at Savannah Christian’s main campus on Chatham Parkway in conjunction with the school’s decision to close satellite campuses and consolidate all grades in one location.

Over the years, the school had installed a mix of different types of WiFi access points across the campus, none of which were centrally managed and did not support adequate demand for teacher, student and guest access. The new system unites the wireless infrastructure and provides ample room for students to use school-provided devices in classrooms and labs and to bring their own devices.

Heather Radtke and the Speros team provided a solution that has helped re-position Savannah Christian as a more technologically focused school,” said Rick Tindol, the school’s director of technology. “We use technology to teach traditional classes as well as courses that focus on technology, such as our CAD curriculum. It also allows us to prepare students for jobs that don’t exist yet.”

All students, from kindergarten through twelfth grade, use a mix of iPads, PCs and Chromebooks, but middle and upper school students may also bring their own devices to access the new student network. Tindol said about 650 devices access the system daily. Those include personal devices used by teachers and students, teachers’ desktop computers and 200 Chromebooks and 100 iPads provided by the school.

“Our goal is to make Savannah Christian a one-to-one campus, meaning every student will have their own device,” Tindol said. “We’re not there yet, as some classrooms have desktops that students share, but this new system allows us to get there.”

The upgrade also allows Tindol and his team to better manage and oversee student internet access, as the new equipment offers separate networks for students, teachers and guests and provides a greater layer of security in protecting school records and student privacy.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Speros, having used their phone systems for at least 20 years,” Tindol said. “We’ve come to rely on them for technological support as well as to provide the solutions we seek in offering 21st-century learning skills to our students.”

Savannah Christian Preparatory School is an independent, non-denominational PK-12 college prep Christian school, founded in 1951 by the Rev. George and Mrs. Harold Deane Akins. Savannah Christian has nearly 1,300 students on campus, nearly 900 family households and more than 200 employees.

ABOUT SPEROS
Established in 1984, Speros provides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions and cloud computing. Speros team members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email info@speros.com.

CONTACT
Heather Radtke
Vice President
Speros
hradtke@speros.com
912.354.8900

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Cecilia Russo
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912-665-0005
info@crussomarketing.com

Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations, Inc.
912-844-9990
VisTeam@carriagetradepr.com

Mark Howard to Present “Avoiding the 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make Regarding Retirement” to Savannah Jaycees

Mark Howard to Present “Avoiding the 3 Biggest Retirement Mistakes”

(Savannah, GA) Mark Howard, President and founder of Howard Financial Group, will be the featured speaker at The Savannah Jaycees meeting on Tuesday, August 1st. Open networking will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the program will run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Savannah Jaycees’ headquarters, located at 101 Atlas Street.

Howard will present “Avoiding the 3 Biggest Retirement Mistakes” during the Jaycees August gathering as a part of their “Leadership Now” series. Attendees will learn:

· How to earn consistent returns in today’s economy

· What “true diversification” is.

· The hidden costs of the most common form of investments.

Howard has over 25 years experience in the financial services industry. He is recognized as an expert on Retirement Income Planning and has been featured many times on news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Business Chronicle, Barron’s Magazine, South Magazine, AM 750 WSB, AM 1290 WTKS and Savannah Morning News.

In 2014, Howard founded Howard Financial Group, which is headquartered in Savannah. His firm focuses on strategies to grow their clients’ retirement dollars while taking less risk. “We specialize in protection of principle, providing a reasonable rate of return over time, and keeping things simple for our clients”, said Howard.

Howard Financial Group services clients from all over the country, many that are recognizable names from the world of sports, entertainment and politics.

Last year, Howard and his firm were chosen to be a part of Advisors Excel, an elite group of financial advisors nationwide that were recently highlighted in the New York Times bestseller Money: Master the Game, written by Tony Robbins.

“From our work helping thousands of families and individuals from all walks of life prepare and transition into retirement, I’m able to give a unique perspective into what works and what doesn’t,” said Howard. “I hope to share some timely information with this group of young business professionals and area leaders to help them avoid the same mistakes so many others have made.”

For further information, or to register, visit the Savannah Jaycees web site at http://savannahjaycees.com/savannah-jaycees-leadership-now-series/ or visit them on facebook at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/savannah.jaycees/

For more information on Howard Financial Group, visit www.howardfinancialgroup.com or call 912-777-6944.

MORE INFORMATION ON THE SAVANNAH JAYCEES
The Savannah Jaycees is a nonprofit organization of young professionals, between the ages of 21 to 40, whose mission is to inspire leadership development through community involvement. The Savannah Jaycees have been an organization since 1942 and are celebrating their 75th Anniversary this year. Among the Savannah Jaycees’ most notable projects were the installation of voting booths throughout Chatham County, spearheading efforts to build the Civic Center, helping to build the Kicklighter School and Chatham Nursing Home, founding Toys-for-Tots with the Marines and the fire department, renovating the Forsyth Fountain, and creating Jaycees Park on Tybee Island. The United States Jaycees was founded in 1920 with vision is to be the leading global network of active young citizens. To learn more, visit http://savannahjaycees.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/savannah.jaycees?ref=br_tf

Cecilia Russo
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912-665-0005
info@crussomarketing.com

Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations, Inc.
912-844-9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com

Hinesville’s First Presbyterian Christian Academy Launches New Website Created by Speros

Hinesville’s First Presbyterian Christian Academy Launches New Website Created by Speros

(SAVANNAH, GA) First Presbyterian Christian Academy in Hinesville, Ga., is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, http://fpcahinesville.com/. Designed by Speros, a full-service technology company headquartered in Savannah, the site features up-to-date technology and easy functionality that allow school administrators to make their own routine updates.

First Presbyterian Christian Academy’s previous website had not been updated in a few years,” said Lauren Dingus, Speros web and graphics designer. “School officials had lost touch with the person who built it originally, so they had no idea how to update the information themselves.”

Shannon Hickey, First Presbyterian’s interim head of school, said their collective goal with Speros was to have an up-to-date website they would be able to keep up by themselves.

Lauren Dingus of Speros

Lauren Dingus of Speros

Speros was responsive to those needs and also helped us better organize our web content since we had a good deal of information that families of prospective students would be looking for online,” Hickey said.

First Presbyterian Christian Academy, a fully accredited non-denominational Christian school located in Hinesville, Ga., just outside the gates of Fort Stewart. Founded in 1975, the Academy strives to provide students in the Liberty County area with a high-quality education in a nurturing Christian environment promoting academic excellence, spiritual development and family involvement in a well-rounded educational environment.

Speros' Website Homepage New

Speros’ New Online Homepage

MORE INFORMATION ON SPEROS
Established in 1984, Speros provides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions, and cloud computing. Speros team members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email info@speros.com.

CONTACT
Lauren Dingus
Web and Graphics Designer
Speros
ldingus@speros.com
912.790.5117

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Cecilia Russo
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912-665-0005
info@crussomarketing.com

Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations, Inc.
912-844-9990
VisTeam@carriagetradepr.com

Savannah ObGyn Launches New Website Created by Speros

Savannah ObGyn Launches New Website Created by Speros

(SAVANNAH, GA) Savannah ObGyn is pleased to announce the launch of its newly restructured website, http://savannahobgyn.com.

Designed by Speros, a full-service technology company headquartered in Savannah, the site includes resource tabs that provide patients with educational information such as real patient stories about minimally invasive robotic surgery performed with the da Vinci Surgical System; and educational videos and handouts from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Bright and welcoming in shades of teal and green, the website also offers downloadable forms for patients and information about participating insurance carrier networks, as well as a link to Savannah ObGyn’s Facebook page.

Built on a custom WordPress platform, the website allows the office to make updates to their site and additionally features tracking services via Google Analytics.

“The previous website was built on a fixed template that was limited and offered only three pages of basic information and no way for people to send inquiries through the website,” explained Lauren Dingus, web and graphics designer for Speros. “The new website structure allows Savannah ObGyn to feature much more patient-focused information, and provides an easy way for patients to contact the office and even request a specific provider.”

Lauren Dingus of Speros

Lauren Dingus of Speros

Savannah ObGyn is full-service obstetrics and gynecology practice serving the needs of Southeast Georgia and South Carolina since 1995. Its physicians and nurse practitioners offer comprehensive women’s health services in a friendly and caring environment, helping patients manage their health through all stages of life, from adolescence through the reproductive years and into menopause.

MORE INFORMATION ON SPEROS
Established in 1984, Speros provides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design and branding solutions, and cloud computing. Speros team members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email info@speros.com.

CONTACT
Lauren Dingus
Web and Graphics Designer
Speros
ldingus@speros.com
912.790.5117

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Cecilia Russo
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912-665-0005
info@crussomarketing.com

Speros Vice President
, Heather Radtke to Speak at Savannah Chamber’s May 2 SMART Luncheon on How to Prevent Hackers from Compromising Business Security

Speros Vice President
, Heather Radtke to Speak at Savannah Chamber’s May 2 SMART Luncheon on How to Prevent Hackers from Compromising Business Security

(SAVANNAH, GA) Heather Radtke, Vice President
 of Speros, Inc., on Tuesday, May 2, will discuss five steps small business owners can take to avoid having their data hacked.

Radtke will outline the suggested safeguards during the Savannah Chamber’s Small Business Council SMART Luncheon from 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Savannah Morning News auditorium, 1375 Chatham Parkway.

“If you are a small business owner, there is a 50-50 chance your company will be the victim of a cyber attack,” Radtke says. “But there are several things you can do to safeguard your online data and avoid being hacked, or minimize the impact.”

Radtke will outline five ways small business owners can lessen their chances of a data breach, including how often and where they should back up data. She will also discuss firewalls, antivirus software and anti-spam systems and will dispense tips on detecting hackers and minimizing damage if an attack should occur.

“Like any emergency plan, business owners need to have a plan in place in advance so they can respond quickly if their computer system is hacked,” Radtke says. “This includes everything from physically disconnecting computers from the network to breaking the news to business partners, vendors, customers and other stakeholders.”

The event is for Savannah Chamber of Commerce members only. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m., and the cost is $12.

RSVP at SPainter@SavannahChamber.com or call 912-644-6458. Small Business Council SMART Luncheons are hosted each month with guest speakers presenting topics relevant to small business owners and employees.

Heather Radtke, Vice President of Speros

Heather Radtke, Vice President of Speros, Inc.

MORE INFORMATION ON SPEROS
Established in 1984, Speros provides technology solutions for businesses, offering telephone systems, IT services, surveillance systems, web design, branding solutions and cloud computing. Speros team members continually stay updated on leading-edge, certified technologies to maximize solutions and ensure businesses succeed in this fast-paced, technology-driven world. For more information, visit speros.com, call 912-354-8900 or email info@speros.com.

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Cecilia Russo
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912-665-0005
info@crussomarketing.com

How To Create Strong Passwords

By Lauren Dingus

The internet is literally at our fingertips day in and day out. With all of our information, from bills to banking to medical records, being available through apps on our smartphones and online portals, keeping your accounts secure should be one of our biggest concerns.

However, most of us have become complacent when it comes to the passwords we use to protect our personal information. This leaves us vulnerable to identity theft. With large scale hacks from celebrity iPhones to Yahoo, it’s time to rethink our passwords.

  • Always Use a Unique Password
    Using the same password for all of your accounts is a big no-no. This leaves you vulnerable to having all of your information out there for the taking. The average person has more than 20 different logins spread across a wide variety of websites, but they probably don’t use 20 unique passwords. To make sure all of your information is secure, you need to have a unique password for each of your online accounts.
  • Avoid Being Predictable
    Steer clear of the obvious, such as using your birthdate the names of your kids, street address or anything else that can be easily tied to you. Also, try not to use any of the most common passwords, including “password”, “123456”, “baseball” and “football”. All of these were in Splashdata’s top 10 worst passwords list for 2015, and should definitely not be used to secure your personal information.

If your password is predictable, consists of one word or is on the list of worst passwords, then it’s time to rethink your account security.

  • Follow a Strong Password Formula
    While there is no standard for creating a password that will guarantee your account won’t be hacked, there are formulas you can follow to increase the strength of the passwords you use. Generally, the higher the quantity, and wider the variety of characters you use, the stronger your password will be. According to Microsoft’s website, you should choose a password that uses at least 6 characters and mixes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Use a Password Manager
    A password manager is essentially a digital address book for all of your online accounts. You can use this to keep all of your usernames and passwords stored in a secure database. This frees you from having to remember every single password for every single account and also prevents you from having to do multiple password recoveries when you inevitably forget a password. Instead, you have one, hopefully very strong, password to remember so you can access your online accounts database.
  • Use 2-Step Verification when Available
    Two-Step Verification, or Two-Factor Authorization, gives your account a second layer of protection. First, you enter your password to sign on, then a verification code is texted to your phone that you have to enter in order to complete the login. By enabling this feature, you are ensuring that no one will be able to access your account without your knowledge. You will receive a verification code if someone attempts to access your account.

Following these steps will have you well on your way to keeping your personal information safe. You will be able to significantly decrease the likelihood of your personal information becoming compromised by creating strong, discreet passwords and avoiding untrusted sources when online.

Lauren Dingus of Speros

Lauren Dingus is the web and graphics designer at Speros, responsible for the website development division, including graphic design and branding, content writing, and consulting on digital marketing strategies. For information, contact Lauren at ldingus@speros.com or 912.354.8900

ICANN FAQs

by Keith Fletcher, Chief Operations Officer at Speros

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief.

The United States stands alone in this assertion that every voice should be able to speak. Most countries have some provision for Freedom of Speech in the laws or constitutions. However, nearly every country has limitations on free speech. Several countries are notable for an extreme censorship and lack of free speech: Iran, North Korea, Nepal, and China are all examples. People are often arrested or executed in these countries for speaking out.

Now imagine if these countries were in control of the Internet, and censored everything that was posted, tweeted, shared, liked or added on any website in any country. Imagine if small businesses in the United States were monitored for the content they created, or if an American student couldn’t access information concerning a project, because one of these governments thought the subject was inappropriate.

If the United States releases its authority over ICANN, problems like these could arise before too long. By relinquishing all power and control of the internet to the other governments of the world, we face the potential of experiencing the censorship that citizens of oppressive governments experience. We, the people, need to start speaking out.

As Speros has become aware of this growing threat, we have begun encouraging the business community to be aware of this situation. Doing nothing is not an option right now. ICANN is being turned over to a global group of managers and taken away from US based control. This new control will not be subject to our constitution or our right to free expression. The only way to ensure that the entire world, and our freedom of expression on the internet, is protected is if the US Commerce Department remains in control.

If you aren’t sure of the issues surrounding ICANN and the possible transfer coming this fall, here are some Frequently Asked Questions:

What is ICANN?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN /ˈaɪkæn/ eye-kan) is an organization that is responsible for the coordination of maintenance and methodology of several databases of unique identifiers related to the namespaces of the Internet, and ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.

What are ICANN’s specific roles and responsibilities?
Much of ICANN’s work has concerned the Internet’s global Domain Name System, including policy development for internationalization of the DNS system, introduction of new generic top-level domains (TLDs), and the operation of root name servers. The numbering facilities ICANN manages include the Internet Protocol address spaces for IPv4 and IPv6, and assignment of address blocks to regional Internet registries. ICANN also maintains registries of Internet protocol identifiers. ICANN performs the actual technical maintenance work of the central Internet address pools and DNS Root registries pursuant to the IANA function contract. ICANN’s primary principles of operation have been described as helping preserve the operational stability of the Internet; to promote competition; to achieve broad representation of the global Internet community; and to develop policies appropriate to its mission through bottom-up, consensus-based processes.

What is the history of ICANN?
ICANN was created on September 18, 1998, and incorporated on September 30, 1998. It is headquartered in Los Angeles. On September 29, 2006, ICANN signed an agreement with the United States Department of Commerce (DOC), moving the organization further towards a solely multi-stakeholder governance model. (The multi-stakeholder community is a term used to describe private-sector users as well as others with a stake in Internet governance.) On October 1, 2009, the U.S. Department of Commerce gave up its control of ICANN, completing ICANN’s transition.

What is the current relationship between the U.S. government and ICANN?
The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), which is the U.S. Department of Commerce agency principally responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues, represents the U.S. government in ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), which provides advice to the ICANN Board on the public policy aspects of the broad range of issues pending before ICANN. Generally, NTIA’s programs and policymaking focus largely on expanding broadband Internet access and adoption in America, expanding the use of spectrum by all users, and ensuring that the Internet remains an engine for continued innovation and economic growth. The NTIA is also the Executive Branch expert on issues relating to the Domain Name System (DNS) and supports a multi-stakeholder approach to the coordination of the DNS to ensure the long-term viability of the Internet as a force for innovation and economic growth.

What is the U.S. government doing to further privatize ICANN?
In March 2014, the Obama administration announced the NTIA plans to move one part of the governance system – the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, or IANA, which is part of the domain name system, from the Department of Commerce to ICANN by the fall of 2015, when the current contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) expires on September 30, 2015.

Why did the U.S. government make this decision?
The U.S. is preparing to “transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multi-stakeholder community” in an effort to move important Internet technical functions to the global Internet community. The U.S. government’s current responsibilities to be transitioned include the procedural role of administering changes to the Domain Name System’s (DNS) to the authoritative root zone file – the database containing the lists of names and addresses of all top-level domains – as well as serving as the historic steward of the unique identifiers registries for Domain names, IP addresses, and protocol parameters.

How is ICANN preparing for the transition?
In making its announcement, the U.S. recognized ICANN’s maturation in becoming an effective multi-stakeholder organization and requested that ICANN convene the global community to develop the transition process from of the U.S. stewardship to a global community consensus-driven mechanism. Immediately following the U.S. announcement, ICANN launched a process to transition the role of the U.S. government relating to the Internet’s unique identifiers system. ICANN’s President and CEO Fadi Chehadé has stated by the time the current contract with the
U.S. Government expires in September 2015, he anticipates having a defined and clear process for global multi-stakeholder stewardship of ICANN’s performance of these technical functions.

What are the specifics of the transition process?
ICANN is in the process of developing a transition proposal that will be reviewed and approved by the multi-stakeholder community, the ICANN Board of Directors, and the NTIA. Two groups are overseeing the transition process. The IANA Stewardship Transition Coordination Group (ICG) was established in June 2014. Thirty individuals from 13 stakeholder constituencies are charged with drafting and submitting a proposal on the steps needed to ensure the transition will comply with the requirements outlined by the NTIA. The ICANN Accountability and Governance Cross Community Working Group (CCWG) was established in October 2014 and is charged with developing “proposals that would enhance ICANN’s accountability towards all stakeholders” after the U.S. role ends. It has identified two work streams: those accountability mechanisms that must be in place or committed to prior to the transition and those that are important but can wait until after the transition to be implemented.

What is the current status of the transition process?
The CCWG had set a deadline of June 30 for delivering its recommendations to the Board and the ICG plans to deliver its final proposal to the NTIA for review and presumed acceptance on July 31. The NTIA would unlikely make a final decision before receiving both proposals. .

Will ICANN be able to meet the September timeline?
If the ICG and CCWG proposals are transmitted to the NTIA by July 31, the NTIA would have a month to assess the proposals before the August 31 deadline for notifying ICANN if it decides to extend the contract. Congress is scheduled to be in recess in August. Thus, the proposal will be submitted and a decision will be made by the NTIA while Congress, which has expressed great interest in this issue, will not be able to exercise oversight by questioning the NTIA, ICANN, or industry experts at a formal hearing, thoroughly assessing the proposal, or adopting legislation expressing support or opposition. Moreover, since ICANN will wait to implement major reforms until after the NTIA notifies the organization that they are acceptable, even if the NTIA approves the proposal, there is virtually no chance that critical and binding reforms to ICANN will be adopted and in effect before the NTIA must decide to extend the contract or let it expire.

What happens if ICANN cannot meet the September deadline?
Unfortunately, the announced timelines indicate that necessary procedures and reforms may not be in place before the Commerce Department must decide whether to extend its contract with ICANN or let it expire. To allow sufficient time for consideration and implementation, the Commerce Department should be prepared to exercise its option to extend the contract with ICANN for two years, through September 2017.

Will a contract extension be necessary?
NTIA administrator Lawrence Strickling and ICANN CEO Fade Chehade have both insisted that September 30 is a goal, not a deadline. The NTIA has the ability to extend the IANA functions contract for up to four years and the U.S. can exercise its option to extend the contract with ICANN through September 2017.

What isn’t changing?
Independent of the U.S. transition, the roles of the Internet technical organizations, including ICANN’s role as administrator of the Internet’s unique identifier system, remain unchanged. The Internet’s Unique Identifier functions are not apparent to most Internet users, but they play a critical role in maintaining a single, global, unified and interoperable Internet.

What is ICANN’s role in the 21st century Internet?
Setting the rules of the road for the coming global digital age will be one of the great challenges for policy makers around the world in the years ahead. The basket of issues involved in the development of a 21st century Internet are truly daunting and ever evolving, as the Internet ecosystem grows more complex and ubiquitous.

How will the Internet be governed without U.S. involvement?
Though it is essentially an American creation and still largely overseen by the U.S. government, it has always been the plan for the U.S. to turn over the day-to-day management of the technical backbone of the Internet to ICANN, which is an independent, multi-stakeholder institution.

What can business owners do to help?
Call the media; Call elected representatives; Call the Commerce Department. It’s not too late to stop this from happening. We can protect our rights and the future generation’s rights online.

Resources:
https://www.icann.org/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICANN
http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2015/02/time-is-running-out-the-us-must-be-prepared-to-renew-the-icann-contract
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2108780/us-government-to-end-formal-relationship-with-icann.html
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/category/icann
https://www.icann.org/resources/press-material/release-2014-03-14-en

Keith Fletcher is the Chief Operations Officer at Speros. Fletcher has been a C level executive with multinational corporations for the past 30 years. He was also Director of Global Telecommunications and Far East IT for Phillips Van-Heusen.