Small Business Tips 10
5 Ways to Improve Your Family’s Cyber Security
It is easy to fall into bad habits or ignore cyber security at home. With a wide range of personal, financial and medical information stored online, taking time to strengthen your family’s online security could save you time, money and aggravation. This article includes basic tips that will provide peace of mind and help reduce risk.
- Protect Your Network – Failing to protect your home wireless network is like leaving your door wide open. Password protecting your network is a good place to start, but there are other steps you must take to truly protect your network. You should also change your security defaults and set up a firewall. Click here to learn more about how to secure your home network.
- Protect Your Computer – Utilize antivirus software to protect your computer from viruses, malware and spyware. Update your antivirus software, operating system and other applications often. Software updates include important security patches that protect your computer from known flaws and threats. Be cautious when downloading email attachments. Many spam or fraudulent email attachments contain malicious software. You should also fully shutdown your computer when not in use for extended periods.
- Protect Your Cellphone – Current smartphones are more powerful than many home computers were ten years ago. It is important to take similar precautions to protect your cellphone and your private data. This includes locking your phone when not in use, as well as using strong passwords and encryption. Click here to read our article, “8 Ways to Protect Your Smartphone”.
- Protect Your Children – Child predators and scammers target children on social networks, gaming sites, message boards and via email. It is important to begin teaching children about online safety early but you should also keep an open dialogue with older children and teens. The National Children’s Advocacy Center offers helpful tips on teaching your children about online safety. You should also be aware of how the information you post online may put your children at risk. Click here to read our alert on the risks of posting GPS tagged photos of your children.
- Protect Your Wallet – Each year hundreds of thousands of people fall victim to online scams. Familiarizing yourself with common schemes will help protect you and your family. The best rule of thumb to follow is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Click here to read our article, “Avoid the 5 Most Common Scams”. You can also read more about online scams at OnGuardOnline.gov.
7 Legal Tips for Working Parents
Managing a career while raising a family can present difficult challenges for many parents. These tips are designed to help working parents understand the laws that apply to time away from work and make the right decisions about benefits. Call your LegalShield provider law firm if you have any legal questions.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – In the United States FMLA allows eligible employees to take a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid job-protected leave, in a 12-month period, for the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a sick child, spouse or parent. FMLA also allows 12 workweeks for you to recover from a serious illness that leaves you unable to perform essential functions of your job. Eligibility is based on how long you have worked for your employer and the number of workers they employ. Learn more about FMLA by reading the U.S. Department of Labor fact sheet. Additional benefits are available for families of injured service members. Some states mandate protections that exceed FMLA standards. Click here to learn more or contact your LegalShield provider law firm.
- Employment Standards in Canada – In Canada employee leave is regulated by province or territory. Click here to learn more about the laws where you live or contact your LegalShield provider law firm.
- Know Your Employer’s Leave Policies – Some policies may be governed by state, federal or provincial law while others may be at the discretion of your employer. When considering a new job, ask to review the leave and time away from work policies. Additional leave time, the way leave is calculated or the ability to work from home may be an extra incentive for working parents.
- Review Health Coverage – Examine the costs and exclusions included in your health insurance plan. Adding a child or multiple children may be expensive. If both parents have employers offering insurance it is important to look beyond the monthly premium. How much are copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums? Expectant parents should also understand the potential costs of labor and delivery and save accordingly.
- Purchase Life Insurance – Life insurance is often more affordable when purchased through an employer. In most cases you cannot keep an employer sponsored policy when you leave. Carefully examine all of the options available and consider how much your children would need if something were to happen to you. It may be beneficial for women planning a pregnancy to purchase life insurance before becoming pregnant. Some health issues that may arise during or after pregnancy could affect the cost or ability to purchase insurance.
- Consider Short- and Long-Term Disability Insurance – Working mothers should prepare for maternity leave by purchasing short-term disability insurance to cover any unpaid portion of their leave. This insurance generally needs to be purchased before becoming pregnant so plan accordingly. Long-term disability insurance is every bit as vital as life insurance. An extended illness can be financially devastating. Before you sign up for any insurance have your LegalShield provider law firm review the terms.
- Savings – It is important to save first for emergencies. Once you have enough savings to cover one to two months without income you should begin saving for your children’s education. There are multiple options for college savings such as prepaid tuition plans and tax-advantaged savings plans. Examine all of your options to find out which plan is best for your family. Your LegalShield provider law firm can help you understand the terms and legal ramifications involved in saving for college.
Online User Agreements: What’s in the Fine Print?
When you agree to a website or software’s terms of service or user agreement you are entering what is sometimes referred to as a clickwrap or clickthrough agreement. Though you likely clicked a box or a link to confirm you read and understood the terms of the agreement, chances are you did not read and do not understand the terms. What are you agreeing to when you accept a website or software company’s terms?
- What is a clickwrap agreement? A clickwrap agreement is a take-it-or-leave-it contract or contract of adhesion, which means you do not have the ability to negotiate the terms. If you do not agree to the contract you will not be allowed to use the website, software or service. User agreements are notoriously long and filled with legal terms that make them difficult to understand. A study of 30 popular website’s user terms, completed at Georgia Tech, found that it would take an adult about 8 hours to read the average online user agreement. Most consumers make the choice to accept the terms without any review.
- What do you give up when you agree to terms of service? Some agreements grant social networking or media sharing websites the right to use your content for their own marketing and promotion. In some cases agreements will even grant copyright of your content and media or allow the company to license that content to other companies. They may require you to waive your ability to file suit in the event of a dispute. Many companies even include a clause that allows them to change the terms of service at any time without notice to users.
- Are these agreements legally valid? In most cases your click is enough to make the agreement binding and courts have generally upheld the validity of clickwrap agreements. To be enforceable in court, the terms of service must comply with the law governing the agreement. Companies generally have legal teams who work to ensure the terms are enforceable in court.
How can you become a more informed consumer? Terms of Service Didn’t Read is a website that attempts to rate sites based on their terms and privacy policies. Some sites, under pressure from consumers, have started using shorter and easier to read agreements. Becoming more aware of a website’s terms will help you make more informed decisions about which websites and software you use. It will also help you to consider what kind of information you are willing to share. If you have legal questions contact your LegalShield provider law firm.