Sklar Technology Partners - February 2019

February 2019

7462 Old Hickory Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111 • • 804-730-2628

Is Your Home Smart Yet ? Hear from Richmond’s Expert on Home Automation

electrician realized he didn’t know what he was doing and bailed out. Of course, I opened my big mouth and said, “Well, we can do that!” At the time, “we” was me, my Dodge Neon, and a rented generator from Home Depot. My brother and I went out there and set everything up. That first job took us two days. Today, I would expect someone on my team to get it done in four hours. After that first job, I started reaching out to home builders and convinced them to hire us to wire their properties for audio, video, phone, and data. At the time, it was largely assumed the electrician should handle that kind of job, but I convinced the homebuilding community that was like contracting a plumber to sell candy bars. Rapidly changing technology is part of the reason Livewire is so valuable to our clients. There’s always going to be some new gadget or doodad that claims to make life better. You could DIY each one, or you could get premium service and make sure it gets done the right way. Drastic change is also what I love about the industry. It’s exhilarating. The tech field is completely different than it was when my grandfather was starting out, and I can only imagine how much it will have changed when my grandkids are getting into the industry. I’ll never stop learning new things. Plus, I get to play with cool tech for a living. What could be better than that?

invented a lot of technologies still being used in the industry today. When I went to his house, he wasn’t playing shuffleboard; he was soldering electronics together. I remember the excitement of seeing the latest gadget from Japan or hearing amazing sound systems. I wanted in. That passion continued to grow throughout my life. I love taking things apart and putting them back together. As personal computers and the internet became more prevalent, the idea of machines talking on a global network fascinated me. Shortly after graduating from high school in 1995 (the first year the internet was considered commercially viable), I got paid to rebuild a web server from scratch. Later that year, someone from the Washington Post came into my journalism class and told us that if we wanted to succeed in online journalism, we needed to learn how to code HTML. I bought a book and taught myself how to make my own websites. In 1996, I started a consulting business writing code for websites, which would grow to earn a few million dollars in revenue per year. I got a taste for being an entrepreneur and decided I never wanted a “real job” again. After the dot-com collapse, I still wanted to work for myself, this time with employees. I bought my first house in 2001, and my wife and I wired it for the latest technology. Shortly after that I ran into a builder whose electrician had left him high and dry. He hired the electrician to automate his property, but halfway through the job, the

I love bringing new technology into my life, so it was only a matter of time before I jumped aboard the “smart house” craze. I got the smart doorbell, door lock, garage door opener, heating system Nest thermostat, alarm system, light controls, and all the other gadgets. Each one had its own app, and not all of them worked like they should. It was a real pain! Instead of making me feel like I was living in the future, struggling with all these gadgets made me want to go back to 1985. residential and commercial properties. Livewire got it all to work seamlessly within a single app. Now when I want to switch on the lights, turn up the heat, or make sure the garage door is closed, I can do it all with a voice command through Alexa. I was so impressed with the result that I invited Livewire founder and CEO Henry Clifford to talk about what got him into the home automation industry. –Randy Sklar A Word from Henry I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandfather. He was an electrical engineer and Fortunately, there’s a company located in Richmond that specializes in automating

–Henry Clifford


Now, Not Later Why Your Business Needs to Implement TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION

The High Cost of Living

Can You Afford a Data Breach?

This is the single most expensive thing a business owner can say: “My company is too small to be a target for hackers.”

The misconception that cybercriminals can only profit from massive, multibillion-dollar companies causes most small-business owners to skip over implementing a data security program. Why spend money on something they don’t need, right? It’s this mindset that has made small business a favorite target of hackers. National Cyber Security Alliance found that 70 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses. And the results are devastating. If? No, you should be asking, “What happens when my company suffers a cyber breach?” The price tag is around $117,000, according to the cybersecurity experts at Kaspersky Lab. How does the damage get so expensive? First, you have to factor in the cost of notifying your customers that a breach has occured, which is required by federal law. Then there are the costs of investigations, any industry fines or penalties, card replacements, legal fees, system upgrades, and most importantly, the cost of lost business. This kind of financial damage can be impossible to recover from, which is why 60 percent of small businesses that suffer from a cyber breach will go under within six months. Anyone who claims they can prevent 100 percent of all data breaches is selling something — and there’s a good chance that what they’re selling is a scam. Data security experts will openly admit that, while you can and should take precautions to protect your business, you cannot prevent every breach. Instead, your best option is to make sure you’ll be able to identify a breach when it happens, respond quickly, and recover with little to no downtime. Malicious cyber activity cost the United States economy $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016. That cost has only grown in the last three years, as the number of attacks has increased. Small-business owners who continue to ignore this threat are putting themselves — and their companies — in jeopardy. What happens if my company suffers a cyber breach?

A survey by Paychex recently found that 68 percent of small-business leaders remain unworried about their digital security. If you need proof, you can just look at the passwords they and their employees use. According to SecureAuth, a staggering 81 percent of Americans use the same passwords for multiple accounts, the majority of which are unimaginative old standbys like “1234567,” “qwerty,” and “password.” These trends, compounded by the fact that passwords generally aren’t very airtight, turn the typical login and password combination into a paper shield for hackers. Even stronger passwords that include multiple uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and other characters often only take a few hours to crack with an advanced brute-force tool. Once they’re cracked, they’re often posted on the darknet or sold to the highest bidder. Here’s where two-factor authentication (2FA) comes in. 2FA forces users to input more than one field of identification to access their account. If you’ve ever used your PIN at an ATM, you’ve already used 2FA, but many other forms exist. When logging into your email, Google can send an alert to your phone that includes a login number, which you type on your PC to gain access to your account. Banks often couple passwords with one of your security questions. Whatever the tactic, it’s much sturdier than your average password. It’s still not foolproof, but it’s an excellent first-line defense against hackers. However, implementing 2FA into your own business isn’t the easiest proposition. You’ll either need to create a custom solution — a big headache that may not be worth it for your small business — or hire a technical company suited for the job. This doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s worth noting, though, that whenever you bring in an outside party, it’s a potential failure point for your cybersecurity. It’s vital to vet them properly and ensure they practice what they preach. 2FA can’t be the beginning and end of your cybersecurity strategy, but consider it a large first step toward protecting your livelihood. Trust us — when the digital wolves come knocking at your door, you’ll be glad you installed the door in the first place.

A Clear Look at CBD Oil Miracle Elixir or Marketing Fad?

CBD’s actions. We know some pieces but definitely not the whole story at this point.” Is CBD Just Another Fad? While CBD oil seems to have replaced charcoal as the trendy new cure-all, unlike charcoal, CBD might have legitimate benefits for some people. AARP has published that a greater number of baby boomers have started using CBD oil to treat arthritis pain, the FDA has approved a CBD medication to treat certain forms of childhood epilepsy, and there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to support the claim that CBD oil can help treat depression and anxiety. As more states legalize the use of medical cannabis or start to regulate CBD oil, we will continue to see a rise in CBD products. But before you jump on the bandwagon, remember: Medical experts agree that more research is needed to determine if CBD is more than a placebo — and if you do decide to try it, you might want to make sure your CBD oil is legal first.

Watch out, penicillin, there’s a new miracle drug in town. In the last year, CBD oil has gone from stoner niche to marketing buzzword, ending up in everything from bath bombs to dog treats (yes, really). It’s the new gluten-free. Everyone from country singers to your cousin on Reddit is claiming CBD oil is the answer to inflammation, pain, acne, anxiety, PTSD, insomnia, and even cancer! But does it really live up to the hype? What is CBD oil? Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a chemical found in cannabis. CBD isn’t the part of cannabis that leads to “That 70s Show” style circles — that’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). A non-psychotropic cannabis extract, CBD doesn’t interact with the same receptors as THC, so users don’t get high from it. However, CBD seems to positively interact with serotonin and pain receptors in the human brain, leading to the perceived health benefits. The keyword here is seems : Dr. Marcel Bonn-Miller from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine said, “We still don’t fully understand all of the mechanisms involved in

Spicy Salmon Tartare


• 3/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cilantro, minced • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chives, minced • 1 1/2 teaspoons grapeseed or vegetable oil • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste • Crackers or chips, for serving

• 1 8-ounce boneless, skinless salmon fillet • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice • 1/4 teaspoon lime zest • 1/4 cup cucumber, seeded and finely diced • 1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced • 1 1/2 teaspoons shallots, minced

Directions 1. Place salmon in freezer for 20 minutes to make slicing easier. 2. Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients for mixing. 3. Thinly slice salmon into sheets and cut sheets into strips and strips into cubes. When finished, you should have 1/8-inch cubes. 4. In a mixing bowl, combine salmon with all other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. 5. Garnish with chips or crackers and serve.

Inspired by Epicurious

7462 Old Hickory Drive Mechanicsville, VA 23111 804-730-2628


Inside This Issue

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The Home of the Future 2FA Is Essential to Business Security The Real Cost of a Data Breach What’s the Deal with CBD Oil? Spicy Salmon Tartare 3 Ways Nature Improves Your Health



A Walk in the Woods Is the Prescription

3 Ways Contact With Nature Improves Your Health

with depression. In one study from the University of Essex, participants with major depressive disorder reported an improvement in self-esteem and mood after spending time in nature. Exercising while in nature resulted in even more of a mood boost for participants. A Calming Effect Research also shows that spending time in nature reduces stress. In a study conducted by Chiba University in Japan, participants spent two nights in the forest. Researchers evaluated their levels of stress hormones during and after this period and compared it to their normal work days in the city. Across the board, participants’ stress levels were much lower during the days spent in the forest and for several days afterward. Today, we’re less connected to our natural environment than our ancestors were. Modern comforts and technology mean we don’t have to go outside to get our food. But nature is still accessible and you don’t have to go far to find it. In many of the studies, even minor exposure to the outdoors, like adding plants to your home or looking out a window during work, showed health benefits. This winter, find ways to bring a little more nature into your life each day. Your brain will thank you.

Our ancestors were deeply connected to their natural environment, mostly because their survival depended on it. With no Whole Foods available, those who could best track a mammoth, find water, and forage for edible

plants kept themselves alive and passed on their genes. Given our history as hunter-gatherers, it’s no wonder contact with nature provides us with several health benefits. A Memory Boost In a University of Michigan study, a group of students were asked to take a memory test that involved repeating numbers back to researchers. Next, researchers separated the students into two groups. Group A took a walk around an arboretum and Group B walked along busy city streets. Afterward, they were asked to take the memory test again. Group A, the students who had walked in the arboretum, performed 20 percent better on the memory test. Group B didn’t show any marked improvement. Additional research has corroborated the memory-enhancing effects of nature.

A Mood Boost Observing the benefits nature has for cognitive function, scientists wondered what effects it might have on individuals diagnosed

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