About Duy Vu

Duy is the Technology Editor at Protect Your Bubble. Follow Duy on Google for more insights into the tech and digital world.

The Sweeter Side of your Smartphone [Valentine's Day Infographic]

15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day. Although that may seem like a depressing statistic, receiving flowers is better than receiving none! Protect Your Bubble did some research and we found some interesting facts about men and women in regards to Valentine’s Day.


22% of U.S. men and women have damaged their smartphone while on a date (most were while taking a selfie). In cases like these, we would suggest using a selfie stick.  Also, we found 61% of people would not date someone with a cracked phone.  We’re not surprised, a cracked phone is a sign of a chaotic life. Majority of people like stability and security.


For more sweet V-Day facts, check the infographic below.


Valentines Day infographic



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Refrigerator Rundown: A Look at the Value of Your Fridge [Infographic]

Did you know America overwhelmingly loves sweets? 51% of respondents of a Protect Your Bubble survey said desserts were their favorite food item in the fridge, followed by 21% for cheese and 12% for alcohol. With the seeming preference for desserts and cheese, we’re going to guess cheesecake is America’s favorite dessert.


We also found out that when the power goes out, 61% of respondents worry about their meat the most in their fridge compared to 30% for milk and 7% for vegetables.  Meat isn’t cheap and expect it to rise even more this year.


Below is a complete rundown of what we found on how consumers value their refrigerator:


Refrigerator infographic


Click here to see how a refrigerator protection plan can benefit your household.


If your refrigerator has already broken down, our friends at Fixed By Assurant offer appliance repair services.



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The Small Business Guide to BYOD [E-Book]

byod - bring your own device

Bring Your Own Device or BYOD is becoming more a viable solution each year for small businesses as smartphones have become common devices utilized daily. Below is our viewable and downloadable E-Book to BYOD. Our guide covers everything including advantages, risks, costs, and implementation.


Download here






2. BYOD INTRODUCTION The technological revolution has made us dependent on our mobile devices, whether we’re at home, in the office, on the go or anywhere in between. Our smartphones, tablets and laptops enhance how we connect and communicate, as well as enable us to create, access and share information from any place, at any time. Naturally, our personal mobile devices have started to integrate into the workplace, insomuch that by 2018, 70 percent of working professionals will work on their personal smart devices, according to Gartner. 1 It’s called the “consumerization of IT,” an enterprise mobility trend turned revolution that promotes mobile computing and empowers employees to choose their own favored device to maximize work productivity. This practice is more commonly known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) ― an IT policy or program that allows and even encourages employees to use their personal smartphone, tablet or notebook for accessing enterprise data and systems. According to “Key Strategies to Capture and Measure the Value of Consumerization of IT,” a Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned by Trend Micro, 68 percent of U.S. and European firms in 2012 deployed smartphone BYOD programs, and 47 percent deployed tablet and laptop BYOD programs. 2 This eBook draws awareness to the importance of varying BYOD programs and can help your organization learn more about deployment strategies. Is your business up to date on the prolific effects and pervasive nature of BYOD? Explore the following pros, cons and how-to steps for getting started.


3. BYOD PART ONE: ADVANTAGES & RISKS A BYOD initiative fosters employee empowerment, work flexibility and motivation. On the employer side, small and midsize businesses can lower costs and improve productivity. But with any business opportunity comes risk. Security, IT control and hidden costs are prominent BYOD concerns. The following highlights the successful outcomes, as well as implications, of deploying a BYOD policy. Employee Satisfaction. Employee satisfaction is a leading impetus for companies to implement a BYOD policy. BYOD offers the freedom of choice to employees, addresses personal preferences and promotes better work-life balance. Employees who communicate and access data, onsite or remotely, on their personal smartphone, tablet or laptop benefit from increased flexibility and self-sufficiency. Enhanced mobility (e.g., working from home) using personally invested devices (as opposed to devices selected by IT) boosts employee satisfaction and prevents workers from having to carry multiple devices. Employees are more comfortable using their own devices, and as employees become experts at using their own device for work-related activities, productivity increases. Productivity. A Forrester Research study found that 70 percent of survey respondents reported an increase in worker productivity.3 Compared to technology typically deployed by company IT departments, employees tend to use newer, faster and more advanced devices. As a result, employees work more efficiently on these cutting- edge devices, which optimizes productivity. Remote employees also have the capability to access corporate information and communicate anytime from anywhere. For 48 percent of firms, providing work-from- home or telecommuting employees with easy access to company data was an influential factor for adopting a BYOD offers the freedom of choice to employees, addresses personal preferences and promotes better work-life balance


4. BYOD policy.3 Employees can communicate more frequently and efficiently. Meanwhile, employers gain higher returns on employee time. Reduced Expenses. A BYOD policy can reduce IT expenses by imparting costs onto the user, who is financially responsible for the device, its voice and data services and maintenance of the hardware. BYOD becomes a cost-cutting initiative that enables companies to gain a competitive edge while maximizing the overall output of their employees. On the user side, employees can independently upgrade to state-of-the-art hardware and adopt the latest features without any lag time. Rolling out company-wide technology can be a time- consuming endeavor that ultimately affects efficiency and productivity. Keep in mind, the cost-effectiveness of BYOD differs from organization to organization, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Before deploying a BYOD policy, perform a cost-benefit analysis and consider these common challenges: Network Security & Control. Allowing employees to access corporate data on personal devices is convenient, but it can also increase threats of intrusion, data breaches, data loss, viruses and malware attacks. Security is identified as the number one challenge for BYOD, especially if an employee smartphone or tablet is lost, stolen or compromised. Other risks include privacy, compliance, license management and lack of visibility issues. With a BYOD policy, companies relinquish enterprise control, such as enforcing an acceptable use policy for hardware and IT-managed security protocols. Implement security measures to protect sensitive data and applications, and train employees on company-developed BYOD specifications to ensure appropriate and safe usage. Trend Micro describes it as “shifting your focus from securing the device to securing the user.”4 A BYOD policy can reduce IT expenses by imparting costs onto the user, who is financially responsible


5. BYOD IT Resources & Cost. Employees may partially or entirely cover the costs of their own devices, but integrating and managing a diverse range of devices and varying operating systems can be costly. SMBs may not have the resources to offer IT support from a dedicated help desk or IT personnel. Support calls and IT challenges can also lower worker productivity and increase IT workload and complexity, and business operations could decelerate as a whole. IT infrastructure (wireless LAN and network access control) and an enterprise mobile management solution will also have to support an operable and safe BYOD virtual environment. The goal of a company cost-benefit evaluation is to first identify the problem. What problem in your organization would a BYOD solution solve? If there’s no identifiable problem, then identify how BYOD can enhance your business operations, subsequently increasing your fiscal bottom line. Mark Coates, the EMEA VP at Good Technology, told Tech Radar that “the right solution will be scalable and manageable.” The BYOD program and organization should grow together, alongside evolving mobile enterprise strategies.5


6. BYOD PART TWO: 3 STEPS TO GET STARTED A BYOD guide by cloud computing company Citrix shares that, on average, 5.18 devices per knowledge worker connect to the corporate network, and 4.43 devices across all workers connect to the corporate network. The number of devices is predicted to rise to six by 2020.6 As this data shows, your company may already and informally function as a BYOD organization, yet without the necessary policy guidelines that create a monitored digital work environment. Implementing a BYOD policy ensures personal mobile access to company data stays controlled and protected. You can start by establishing financial expectations (including compensation and reimbursement) followed by security mitigations and policy implementation. Step One ― Establish financial parameters. Determine if your company will reimburse for data and voice services costs. A reimbursement policy helps ensure all employees adhere to the same requirements. Some organizations even compensate employees (in part or full) who use personal devices for work. Cost sharing also exercises extra control over the effects of consumerization. Software license fees, maintenance fees, telecommunications costs and network infrastructure costs are all expenses that need to be determined. Trend Micro’s analysis of the Forrester Research study explains that software license fees and client access licenses enable employees to access corporate software, mobile applications, middleware and mobile services.2 Typically, the end user can cover more of the maintenance costs, but your company may be responsible for certain expenses like purchasing new servers to support a wide range of devices. On average, 5.18 devices per knowledge worker connect to the corporate network.


7. BYOD Step Two ― Address security concerns. According to IBM, 71 percent of CEOs and IT managers say their most significant mobile enterprise challenge is security.3 You can reduce security risks by using enterprise mobility management software that offers comprehensive, industry-validated and multi-layered security, including app-level encryption and data leakage prevention.5 In addition, implement Windows app and desktop virtualization and secure file sharing.6 Your organization can mitigate security vulnerabilities with these additional measures: ●● Anti-malware and anti-virus software protection ●● Encryption and isolation ●● Passcodes, passwords and single sign-on ●● Remote wipe and data retrieval on lost, stolen or noncompliant devices, on devices of terminated employees or after a data breach ●● Jailbreaking prevention and detection ●● Sandboxing ●● Disabled printing ●● Preventing access to client-side storage ●● Secure application access (app tunnels, blacklisting, whitelisting)6 ●● Network access control (NAC) technology for user authentication ●● Private cloud services (BYOC, Bring Your Own Cloud)8


8. BYOD Step Three ― Implement and communicate a clear policy. A formal, coherent policy gives employees the freedom to choose their preferred device for work-related activities, whether primarily, occasionally or in addition to corporate-owned machines. The policy should outline security requirements, cost coverage, user privileges, risks and rules of behavior. Limit the scope of your policy—for example, restrict the information available to BYOD employees and only allow certain devices to access it. 7 Your BYOD policy depends on the size of your business, financial limitations and security and control management resources. An organization can break down a BYOD policy into the following four options: 3 1.         Unlimited access 2.         Restricted access to strictly non-sensitive data and systems 3.           IT-controlled access (monitored devices, apps and stored data) 4.            Access while prohibiting the ability to locally store data on any personal device Best practices to consider include: ●● Provide a stipend for employees who use their own devices entirely ●● Ensure your users have secure single-click access to authorized applications through a unified private app store ●● Provision (or de-provision) apps from an IT single point of control ●● Secure all business data in the data center ●● Protect business information that resides on the endpoint ●● Deliver, track and monitor apps and desktops on devices ●● Secure and sync file sharing ●● Communicate the implementation and disseminate guidelines on data access and storage, segregation of work and personal data, etc.


9. BYOD The following questions can help guide the development of your policy: ●● Which employees are eligible for BYOD and under what guidelines? Will employees have to earn this privilege, or is it a company-wide perk? ●● What type of criteria makes an employee eligible? Travel? Performance? Job responsibilities? ●● What services or discounts will you offer? Or will employees have to install apps on their own, enabling your company to forgo licensing compliance? ●● What costs will the employee be responsible for? What services will your organization provide or reimburse? The White House’s Digital Services Advisory Group and Federal Chief Information Officers Council offers a digital toolkit in support of federal agencies implementing a BYOD program. IT departments can use these sample policies and case studies as a starting point for assembling policies. TechRepublic’s suggested BYOD policy templates can also help your organization draft the best, most simplified policy to meet specific company needs.


10. BYOD CONCLUSION BYOD is steadily driving business efficiencies and enhancing how employees work in today’s digital landscape. As the demand for mobile and flexibility increases and technology evolves, BYOD continues to serve as an effective and relevant solution. Led by BYOD pioneers like Intel Corp., Ford Motor Company and IBM, BYOD is gaining permanence. Consider it to be a business opportunity to enrich your employees’ experience and the overall operation of your workplace. Giving employees the freedom to choose their own device to use for work helps deliver information at a fast pace and spurs business innovation. This mobile expectation of employees as consumers and consumers as employees creates a demand for the consumerization of IT. If you want to know how you can respond to this demand, use this eBook as a launching point for embracing the culture of BYOD. Can your company afford to neglect this opportunity?





http://www.trendmicro. com/cloud-content/us/pdfs/business/white-papers/wp_forrester_measure-value-of-consumerization.pdf

http://www.ibm.com/mobilefirst/us/en/bring-your-own-device/byod.html http://www.trendmicro.com/us/enterprise/challenges/it-consumerization/ http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing/what-is-byod-and-why-is-it-important–1175088

http://resources.idgenterprise.com/original/AST-0093753_byod-best-practices.pdf http://www.forbes.com/sites/eliseackerman/2013/05/28/calculating-the-true-cost-of-byod/ http://www.informationweek.com/cloud/infrastructure-as-a-service/will-byod-become-bring-your-own-cloud/d/d-id/1141602

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Do You Need an Intervention? Apple Snobs Need to Answer These 5 Questions

apple fanboy

More than a nuclear war, the Mayan calendar, or acidification of our oceans —an Apple fan turned Apple snob is, really, the demise of the world. Are you one? Let’s hope not.


1. Does an Apple bumper sticker adorn your car?

apple bumper sticker

The backside of a car has been the designated space to make passive aggressive statements or outward proclamations since 1927 when the Ford Model A was introduced as the first vehicle to be built with a bumper. “Google Search: Bumper Sticker Wikipedia” also informs that bumper stickers first made their historic debut as flag-like stickers attached to bumpers by wires before World War II, as well as promotional “See Rock City” cardboard signs advertising the tourist spot Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.


Now that the history lesson is over, evaluate that Apple decal plastered to the backside of your car. Fellow drivers have to unwillingly acknowledge that you, along with 50 percent of the U.S. population, (proudly) own an Apple product.


Recovery Tip: Remove Apple sticker, along with your 26.2 and Greek letter stickers while you’re at it. Then restore your car’s integrity with with Goo Gone!


2. Have you camped out in front of an Apple store?

apple store campers

In 2013, die-hard Apple fans were photographed at a two-week campsite outside the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City. A seemingly unemployed camper in a powder blue Under Armour polo and khakis embarked on a publicity quest to await the rumored September 20 release of the next generation iPhone. The event even unfolded on social media as fans took to Twitter to publicize their Apple experience.


9to5Mac shared how it got real, real fast, on Twitter that fall:


“Hey @9to5mac we are camped out waiting for the new iPhone. Retweet and spread the word to follow @SYMJustin and myself along our journey!” Jon Murphy (@SYM_Jon) September 6, 2013.


“Finally camped outside the apple store with @sym_jon now the real adventure begins pic.twitter.com/k7okbB7HKj” Justin (@SYMJustin) September 6, 2013.


Recovery Tip: Use the online pre-ordering option and get a job.


3. Are protective device cases for amateurs?

apple otter box

Apple products are lauded not only for slick functionality, but a stunning design. The iPhone 6 is built with technological perfection and feels like lightweight luxury in the palm of your hand. Any true Apple connoisseur realizes what shame it is to mask the beautiful design of an iPhone with a clunky plastic case. You believe in the expert craftsmanship and aesthetic elegance of the iOS.


Recovery Tip: If your Apple pride keeps you from protecting it with a massive Otterbox case, pick up an iphone 6 protection plan. You’ll be grateful you have it for when you crack the screen or drop it in the loo.


4. Is the green text bubble a dating dealbreaker?

apple green bubble iphone

You know who you are. You just broke into texting territory with your latest Tinder interest and now texts come through as green bubbles. Green text bubbles are an abomination, which means the quintessential Apple snob regrets not swiping left. But people who text green bubbles are human too. Beyond the green bubble text message could be a good heart, compassionate soul and intelligent mind.


Recovery Tip: Remember, there’s more to a person than the color of their bubble.


5. Do you see the world as “iPhone vs. Android”?

apple vs android

You’re either team iPhone or stupid. And if someone dares to be pro-Android, you might as well drive to a cliff and catapult yourself off of it. If the ongoing iPhone vs. Android debate is as big of a conflict in your life as House of Starks vs. House Lannister or Lindsay Lohan vs. Sobriety, you’re more than just an Apple snob. Apple shouldn’t bring out the worst in you. Be a happy Apple user! That’s what Steve Jobs would have wanted—a world of happy and open-minded Apple device fans and users who can peacefully coexist with fans and users of other brands.


Recovery Tip: Find peace and harmony by befriending an Android user to resolve your Android aggression.



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2015 Tax Season Begins: Identity Theft Scams on the Rise

tax scams

It’s that time of the year again. As we prepare our tax returns, the IRS and other government officials are preparing for an increase in tax refund identity theft. While you’re dreading and worrying about your 1040′s, identity theft scammers are gleefully scheming of ways to steal your private information. Last year, the Internal Revenue Service paid out an estimated $5.2 billion in fraudulent tax refunds.


These thieves regularly pretend to be employees of the IRS in an attempt to convince taxpayers that their e-mails you receive are “official” communication solicitations. When you open the email, victims are tricked into revealing personal and financial information. Undoubtedly, the priority of these scammers is to try and get your credit card and bank account numbers, passwords, or your Social Security number. Armed with this type of information, these thieves will use this personal data to steal from your financial accounts, rack up charges on your credit cards, or open new loans under your name.


tax identity theft

How do you know if your tax return or records have been affected? Taxpayers only discover they’re victims of tax refund identity theft when they attempt to file a legitimate return. The IRS will reject the tax return and typically sends a notification stating that:


  • More than one tax return has already been filed
  • There is a balance due or collection actions have been taken for unfiled tax returns
  • The IRS has realized you’ve received wages from employers that you don’t know

With the prevalence of identity theft scams heading into the 2015 tax filing season, here are some tips taxpayers could follow to protect themselves, including:


  • File electronically. The IRS suggests that consumers should file their taxes electronically.
  • Lock your mailbox. Most thieves are also known to target your mailbox. With employers sending sensitive information like W-2s and other personal documents, consumers could lock their mailboxes to prevent thieves from accessing this mail.
  • Sign up for fraud alerts. Placing a fraud alert on your credit report can help prevent your accounts from being used for fraud. Identity theft protection services offer such round-the-clock monitoring.
  • Check your credit report. If you feel that you are a victim of identity theft, review your credit history to determine whether or not an identity thief has used your identity to conduct fraudulent activities.
  • Avoid unsolicited calls. Remember that taxpayers will not be asked to reveal their personal in unsolicited calls. If you’re being solicited for personal information, listen to the alarm bells ringing in your head.

Scam artists are highly creative people. If you have doubts or suspect you’ve become a victim of identity theft, the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit is available for people to contact. Pick up the phone and call the agency.




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