Is Our Understanding of the Glycemic Index the Answer to Obesity and Other Weight-Related Problems?

Now here’s some shocking statistics for you. Did you know that as many as 1 in 2 Americans is on a diet at any given time; that nearly 2 out of every 3 Americans are clinically defined as overweight; and 1 in every 3 American adults are so overweight that they are considered obese. And let me add just one other statistic to emphasize just how big a problem this is. It is estimated, according to SurgeonGeneral.gov that 1 out of every 8 deaths in America relate to a person being overweight.

I think you’ll agree with me that these are absolutely shocking figures and in fact it was such a concern that way back in 2001, the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr Carmona, actually called for strong public health action.

But the problem is not just unique to adults. It’s a frightening fact that the problem is now spreading to our children. Such was the growing problem with child obesity that in July 2003, the Surgeon General gave a statement before the House of Representatives subcommittee on the growing problem. And the sad fact is that despite the spotlight focus on the issue, the percentage of people that is clinically defined as overweight and the number of people classed as obese, is growing every year.

While I have focused attention on US figures, which is at the top of the league table when it comes to numbers of overweight and obese individuals, it is not just a US health problem. The UK is quickly catching up and it seems that many other countries that follow in America’s footsteps, when it comes it eating habits, show similar signs of a growing problem every year.

In my pursuit to find out why there appears to be a growing epidemic around the world, I discovered some shocking truths about the food and the weight loss industries, some of these discoveries are revealed in a video I prepared earlier in the year. Its enough to make your blood boil!

The reason why I’m so angry and passionate on the subject of food and healthy eating is because our growing problem with weight loss and obesity is invariably due not to individual choice to over-eat or eat unhealthily, but more to do with the types of highly processed and fabricated food being churned out and labeled as healthy or low fat all backed with huge marketing budgets. Quite frankly its not any surprise that people are genuinely confused on what food is good for you.

In my book, the Glycemic Index At One With Nature, I set out the scientific reason in plain easy to follow language why following the glycemic index to eating food is probably the simplest and most effective method to permanent long-term weight loss and a healthier you. In fact low GI (glycemic index) food has grown in such popularity that there are now plenty of resources both on and offline for information, from general info on the glycemic index to lists of foods with their glycemic index values.

But let me be quite clear, the glycemic index of foods is extremely important not just from the perspective of losing weight, but also in getting us to understand the cause of a whole host of health related issues associated with obesity such as diabetes, arthritis, metabolic syndrome x, high blood pressure, heart disease and a host of degenerative diseases associated with excess weight.

So, before launching headfirst into the glycemic index food list, it’s important that you have at least a broad grasp of the glycemic index, how it works and how it can help you to achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can get a ton of free information on my specialist site on the Glycemic Index or search for my other articles on the subject.

Free Brokerage on Index CFDs – How Do CFD Brokers Make Their Money?

When anyone starts trading financial products for the first time, the trading costs involved are one of the most important criteria to consider. That is what makes trading index CFDs such a great product as they are generally commission free.

So the question most people ask is how can CFD brokers allow people to trade index CFDs commission free?

The reason CFD brokers allow you to trade index CFDs commission free is the fact that they have a spread on the index that you are trading. The spread is the difference between the first buyer and the first seller.

If we were to have a look at the Aussie 200 index for example the spread may be two or three points. The first buyer might be at 4000 and the first seller at 4002. As you can see there is a two point spread and so if we traded at one dollar per point then buying at 4002 and selling at 4000 would result in a two dollar loss. That two dollar loss is in effect your brokerage.

Trading Index CFDs with a small spread is critical

So as you can see there is no commission when trading an index CFD as in this example, but you will notice that if you got in and out when the market had not moved you would suffer a $2 loss. So whilst you may consider that you are getting the product commission free you are in effect being charged a small amount of brokerage. The great thing about this product is that the spread on an index CFD is usually kept to a minimum.

Free brokerage or $100 round trip?

There is no doubt that when you first starting out an index CFD at $1 per point is a brilliant option to consider. However, you can begin to see if you traded 25 contracts at 2 point spread your effective brokerage would be $50 to buy and $50 to sell making it a $100 round-trip.

Given the recent volatility of the Australian market and worldwide markets it becomes easy to see why one dollar per point is a very viable option. Even on the Australian market, which may move 100 points a day, at $1 per point you could be making or losing $100 a day.

Beware excessive overnight financing charges

The other reason CFD brokers are able to provide an index CFD commission free is that they charge an overnight financing rate which may be as high as the RBA rate plus or minus 4%. This means if you are holding an index CFD trade for a year you would be charged 4.25% +4% which equals 8.25% per annum calculated back as a daily rate. Always keep in mind that this financing rate is charged on your total position size which means it can get quite expensive allowing the CFD broker to pocket that finance.

Beginner Internet Marketing Tips – For Getting Your Site Indexed, This Works Like Crazy

Whether you’re working on Squidoo lenses, hubpages or even niche sites getting indexed is key. So let’s talk a little about getting indexed, what it is, what it means, how you know if you are, and how you can get indexed if you aren’t.

What is “getting indexed”?

Getting indexed simply means that Google has decided to add your site/page to the “index” of sites they have of all the known sites on the internet. So once Google has you in the index they actually know your site exists. Until you are indexed they don’t even know you are there.

What “getting indexed” is NOT.

Getting indexed does not mean you are going to show up on page 1 of Google for your keyword. That is something totally different. Being indexed just means they know you exist. Getting to the front page of Google takes a little more convincing that you are a great site and a good resource for their searchers.

How do you know your site is indexed?

There’s a couple ways to tell if your site is indexed or not. All of them involve asking Google in one way or another.

1. You can simply put the full address of your site in the Google search bar. You may come up with a long list of sites related to this url. You may also come up with some or any sites you have linked to this site FROM. It can be pretty confusing to know if your site has been indexed or not using this method.

2. You can put site:your-url.com in the search box of Google Now you will probably get one listing, and it will be your site.  This will show you your site has actually been indexed and Google knows it exists. I highly recommend using the site: function when searching to see if your site has been indexed, it will make it very obvious if your site has been indexed or not. If your site has NOT been indexed yet, you will get a message that says: Your search – site:your-url[dot]com – did not match any documents. This message from Google means it is NOT aware of your lens, and your lens is NOT in the index. Bummer.

What can you do to get your site indexed?

The best way to get your site indexed is to provide Google some links to find it from a site other than your own. What does this mean? It means creating content on other sites that link back to your own site. Here are a few places you can create that content:

1. Ezinearticles~ put a link in your resource box that leads back to your site/lens. Make sure your site is directly relevant to what your article is about.

2. Free ad blogs ~ there are tons of them around. They are generally set up on the wordpress platform. You simply sign up, then you have access to write a post. In this post you can create a link back to your site. It’s a really good idea to use the keywords you are targeting in your site/lens as the anchor text (the words people click on in a link) for the links back to your site.

3. Free blogs ~ a free blog is a great way to create a link back to your site. There are many many free blog platforms you can choose from, any of them will work.

4. Hubpages ~ another free platform where you can put a link back to the site you are trying to get indexed.

5. Wetpaint ~ another great free platform where you can put links back to a site you are trying to get indexed.

The key is to get some links out there ~ this is how Google finds sites. It sends its little “spiders” out to follow all the links of the web, it goes from one site, follows links there to another site, and so on and so on. When you have links from multiple sites (especially authority sites like the ones mentioned above) it shouldn’t take long for Google to find and index you.

I was indexed but now I’m not!!

If you find that you were indexed and now you are not, just go about the process of creating more content on multiple sites to let Google find you again.

BONUS

This may sound like a huge pain to do all this, but there is another bonus involved. All of these links you are creating back to your site to help it get indexed also count as “votes” when Google tallies the votes of related sites when deciding what to choose for the front page of the search results. When you are creating your links back to your site make sure you use the keywords you are targeting in your site as the anchor text, and you may find you site is not only indexed, but finding its way t the top of the Google search results for your chosen keyword.

Where to Find a Free Glycemic Index Chart

Are you conscious about your health? Are you looking for a special diet to help you maintain or lose weight? Do you want to protect yourself against harmful diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attack and the like? Nowadays you don’t need to go to too much trouble when it comes to looking for ways to stay fit and healthy. There is quite a lot of readily available information that can help you improve your lifestyle, such as is the free Glycemic Index chart.

If you want to ensure you eat the right kinds of food, a GI chart can surely help you out. This chart identifies different kinds of food and the Glycemic Index or GI of each. By knowing a food’s GI, you can tell if it is good for your body – if by eating it, you won’t run the risk of spiking your blood sugar – or if it increases the risk of diseases like diabetes. In many cases, the body gets sick due to the food we eat. A free GI chart can help solve this problem – and you won’t even need to pay for it.

So where can you find one? Here’s where you can go to find yourself a free chart:

o Surf the web

You can find almost anything in the internet. Simply type in the keywords and search using your trusted search engine. Many sites and articles offer free GI charts. Some are provided by health experts and supported by research; others even come in downloadable or print-ready formats. Pick and choose according to your needs and what suits you best.

o Browse through magazines and other print media

If you don’t have internet access, no worries. Health magazines, journals, and even newspapers can be good sources of these charts, too. Browse through them and look for your own free chart. In addition, you could also get to read other related articles like a comprehensive guide on how to use it and how you can benefit from it.

o Ask your doctor or friends

Make it a habit to visit your doctor regularly and not just when you are not feeling well. You can go and ask your doctor for a free chart the next time you drop him a visit. Chances are, he will give you a copy and even help you understand how to use it to improve your health and wellbeing. You may not know it but your friends may have copies as well and might just love to share them with you. Go ahead and ask around.

A free Glycemic Index chart is not so hard to find. You just need to surf the internet, browse through health magazines, journals or newspapers, and ask your doctor or friends to get one. You can start living a healthier lifestyle with this chart as a guide.

Basketball Free Throw Shooting – Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

No matter which clinic I ever hold for shooting improvement classes I always get a boat load of questions and concerns about shooting mechanics. Here is a list that covers some of those concerns.

Question 1. How important are the feet when shooting free throws?

Answer 1. There are many answers to this because it really does not matter how the feet line up as long as the feet are not too close together or too far apart. Shoulder width is perfect. Also don’t get hung up on being square to the basket on a free throw specifically. You can shoot just as well if you are facing a left wall. As long as your shooting shoulder and arm can be square to the basket that is the most important factor. The feet have little to do with the shot. You should spend most of your mental energy on the follow through, the finger spread, wrist movement and index finger touching the ball last.

Question 2. What part of the rim should I focus on?

Answer 2. No specific part. Focus on the whole rim. It is too hard to watch a spot on the front or back of the rim. Focus on the rim as a whole specifically for distance and then your mind dictates to your index finger to shoot the ball straight and it is also a big part of the sensitivity and touch that helps make the shot go straight. Crooked shots rarely go in. Judging the distance is a lot easier than shooting the ball straight since about 78% of shots are crooked.

Question 3. Does any specific finger dominate in the shot release process?

Answer 3. Again there are various ideas floating around. But through scientific logic and the makeup of the bone structure of the hand it is best to place the index finger on the center of the ball at 90 degrees to the seams. Not 75 or 80 degrees.. 90 degrees. Look at the back of your hand with your fingers spread as wide as possible. You will notice that the tip of the index finger and the tips of the thumb and pinky form an imaginary triangle. since this forms an almost perfect triangle it stands to reason that the index finger should be on the center of the ball and doing the most damage. The index finger should also line up with the elbow joint, the center of the ball and the center of the rim. These should be in alignment just before you pull the trigger, even though they may not be aligned prior to the shot.

Question 4. How do you get perfect ball rotation?

Answer 4. Perfect rotation happens naturally with correct mechanics. It is hard to believe something so simple is really butchered by thousands of players due mostly to their anatomical structure, ball hand alignment and poor follow through. Simply place your index finger in the center of the ball spread your fingers as wide as possible without tensing up, and shoot the ball in the air with the index finger touching the ball last and voila, perfect rotation. If the middle and /or ring finger add any contact to the ball you will notice the angle of the ball is slightly tilted. Another killer of correct rotation is the guide hand thumb which adds some side spin to the ball. Millions use their thumb and did so ever since they were little. The culprit here is lack of strength then over the years it became a habit, (a bad one at that)

Question 5. Should you watch the rim or the ball in flight after the shot has been released?

Answer 5. The great shooters watch the ball in flight. Examples, Jordan, Stojakovic, Nash, Nowitzki, Bird, Palubinskas, etc. Your eyes start the shot by watching and measuring the distance of the rim. You release the ball and the moment the ball leaves your index finger on the follow through your eyes move from the rim to the flight of the ball. It is much better control and you can study the shot and tell better if the ball is going in or not. You can also tell if your rotation is bad and this will reveal to you that you have a mechanical problem that needs attention.

Question 6. How important is a pre-shot routine.

Answer 6. It has no relevance at all to the life cycle of the shot. If you have the strength the ball needs then you will always pause the shot in the shooting pocket before it is released. So if you do pause, then no matter what pre shot mumbo jumbo one does, the pause will kill any pre-shot routine. (remember K.I.S.S.) The less movement the better. But it is a personal preference to do some cool things, I guess. Jason Kidd blows kisses to the wind, Karl Malone used to pray before a shot. Go figure.

Question 7. During any shot, what ‘mental picture’ should I have in my mind ,if any?

Answer 7. It should definitely not be an image of you making or missing the basket. This is a useless thought. If this is the case then this proves that there is no thought process on any shooting mechanics, exactly where the mind should be focused on. You should absolutely be thinking about the one or two worst mechanical flaws you are aware of that causes your most missed shots. Do you shoot short? Are you always left? Do you tend to shoot long? Every miss has a reason behind it. Recognize and rectify. Do you have a flying elbow? Is your hand scrunched up and in the cookie jar? Is your hand closed on the release? Does your wrist look floppy and loose after the release? etc etc. You get the idea.

Question 8. How important is it to shoot with the ball seams ?

Answer 8. No significance at all. Another personal preference. You can do it during free throws but during a game you don’t have time to line up the seams for a shot. You can shoot just as well with a seamless ball as long as the weight is official.

Question 9. Is there an optimal angle for a follow through?

Answer 9. Yes, absolutely. They say it is between 42 and 48 degrees, which will bring an average down to 45 degrees which is right in the middle. Understand that the higher the arc the more longer shots will hit the front of the rim. The flatter the arc the more perfect the shot should be because the rim flattens out reducing the area of entry.

Question 10. Does the hand as a whole shoot the ball or do the fingers play a big role?

Answer 10. Great question. Understanding this is the biggest and most important part of the whole shooting science. Mastering the hand placement, touch and feel control and release mechanism is more important than the rest of the factors involved in shooting. Too many players have the ball resting on the whole hand including all the pads and the palm. The way to get the palm off the ball is to widen your grip as wide as possible without too much tension. The wider the hand the easier it is for you and your mind to feel what fingers are applying the correct amount of energy to the shot. For example I number each finger to allow for accountability. The thumb is zero, the index finger is #1, the mid finger is #2, the ring finger is #3 and the pinky finger is #4. The thumb and pinky maintain support and width and are responsible for about 5% eac on the ball while the index finger is responsible for the other 90%. It does the lion’s share of the work. Notice I have left out #’s 2 and 3, since I believe they do more damage than good since they tend to go across the grain or in a lateral movement thus detracting from the perfect straight direction the ball needs.

Question 11. Why is it that the ring finger and the mid finger should have little effect on the shot?

Answer 11. Scientifically speaking, you will notice that there are no appendages (fingers) between the thumb and the forefinger. But obviously there are 2 fingers between the index finger and the Pinky. This creates a natural imbalance that does not benefit consistent accuracy. Due to this imbalance and the extra weight of these 2 fingers the tendency is for the hand to always move inwards towards the body causing lateral movement which is responsible for crooked shots. All the fingers must move forward to the basket without any lateral sway. Watch a bear, tiger, or bulldog walk and you will notice that their front paws always move back and inwards when they walk. Same principle. BUT, I will add this. For those weak individuals who have thin arms, hands and fingers I think it may be a good idea if they join the index and mid finger together on the ball which basically makes the index finger stronger. But there can be no more than a quarter inch extra length on the mid finger otherwise it will dominate the release point.

Question 12. Why is there somewhat of a difference between boys and girls shooting mechanics?

Answer 12. One main reason that separates the boys from the girls is the ‘strength factor’. Generally speaking until the age of puberty boys and girls are about the same in upper body strength. This ranges around 12-14 years old. I could be wrong here. Anyhow it takes longer for girls to develop a true jump shot because they really don’t jump very high and if your jump is only a few inches there is not much time within which to develop a ‘pause’ just before you release the ball. Plus the ‘shot pockets’ are usually much lower when strength is lacking. The ideal ‘shot pocket’ is just above the forehead but it takes strength in the upper body, arms and hands to be able to shoot from this position. Anytime you shoot from the chest, chin, or face area this means the ball is being thrust at the basket without any ‘pause time’ thus giving less time to aim.

Question 13. How important is ‘timing’ on a jump shot or a free throw shot in general?

Answer 13. It does affect some players who get their shot out of ‘sync’ due to leverage and improper mechanics. Anytime a player brings the ball past the top of their head or way to the side of their head and go into what I call a ‘negative’ phase, then this creates more of a launching mode where the first move is ‘at’ the rim. The initial movement of the ball should always be ‘up’ first then ‘at’ the rim. This changes leverage on a shot by bringing it way behind the head.
Also during a jump shot you do not want to have the ball in your hand on the way down. If you must it is better to shoot on the way up than on the way down. Shooting on the way down is a real strength drain.

Question 14. How important is it to be ‘squared up” before you shoot?

Answer 14. It depends. Around the basket it is not so important because you can twist and turn your body in relation to other bodies and use the wrist and fingers to maneuver the ball to the hoop. But when you are further out you want to have as much body control as possible and having your feet squared also squares your shoulders and you are basically shooting a free throw from all over the court. If you have the upper body strength you can afford to be less ‘squared up’ because you can make up for lower body irregularities with upper body strength. Not recommended but it happens all the time. As long as the upper body or shoulders are squared your chances are improved. What about one legged shots, or fadeaways? In these cases the lower body is irregular but the upper body is usually squared. Another important point here is that the key body part that needs to be squared to the basket is the shoulder elbow and wrist joints.

Question 15. You hear so much about the follow through yet there are thousands of different ones. Is there such a thing as a perfect follow through?

Answer 15. Now we are getting serious. This is where coaches and players should spend more time, on the perfect follow through. I can only answer from experience and how my follow through helps me shoot at 99% from the line. You can still be a great shooter with variations but the key is to follow natural laws or scientific.

Are Free Solar Panels A Good Deal?

There are many companies offering free installation of solar panels for your home through “Rent a Roof ” schemes. Great news you say, no initial costs and free electricity for your home. Sounds too good to be true? There are many things to consider that you wont be told about when choosing to install free solar panels.

So what’s the catch?
Well the solar panels and installation are in fact free. So no catch? Not quite, although the panels are free and you do receive free electricity produced by the panels but you don’t actually own the solar panels. These are owned by the company that installs them. This company also receives all the Feed-In-Tariff Payments(FIT’s) which are guaranteed for 25 years.

What are FiT payments?
Feed-in Tariffs (also known as FiTs) are the payments received by the owner of a Solar PV system. This a government backed scheme that pays people for creating their own “green electricity”. If you opt for an installation of free Solar PV you will see nothing of these payments, which in the long run would give you a great return on investment if you purchased your own Solar PV system.

Selling your house? You may have a problem
There has been various problems exposed for home owners that are trying to sell their house with free solar panels installed on their roof. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), have advised against making offers to buy properties fitted where free solar panels have been installed.

The problem is partly due to the company that installed your solar panels now own your roof for the duration of the Feed-in Tariff life time, this is now 20 years. It is difficult for buyers to secure mortgages on houses with “free solar pv” due to not having full ownership of the roof.

What are the alternatives to free solar panels?
Solar panels have halved in price over the last year meaning the capital outlay is significantly lower that you might expect. A typical solar PV system now costs between £4,000 and £7,000 depending on the size. Another alternative to “free solar panel schemes” if you can’t afford the initial outlay upfront you can secure a low interest loan, such as the home improvement loans from Tesco.

The original outlay may be more costly initially, but in the long run you will be better off and will avoid running to any issues with your roof. You will also receive the full Feed-in Tariff, export tariff as well as generating your own electricity to reduce your bills. The total income on a typical 4kwp Solar PV system for example is £869.58 annually, this will increase year on year with in-line with inflation.

All payments and savings are tax free, index linked and guaranteed for 20 years. So a Return on investment over 20 years = 21.77% (Based on annual inflation of 4% and annual energy price increases of 8.7%).

The Concept of the Glycemic Load Index

Although the majority of sweets, or candies, have a high glycemic index, one or two candies in your daily eating schedule, would give only a slight rise to your blood sugar level. The glycemic response is dependent not only on the type of carbohydrate – simple or complex, but also the quantity you eat! Therefore, researchers have introduced the concept of the glycemic load index, to simultaneously assess quality and quantity of the carbohydrates in a meal.

The glycemic load index is calculated by multiplying weight of carbohydrates with the glycemic index of the product, and dividing the result by 100. For calculation purposes, the fiber is subtracted from the total carbohydrates and the weight is in grams. Calculated values of the index can be found in tables on a variety of web pages dedicated to the low-carbohydrates diets.

The value of the glycemic load index is based on the idea that it makes sense to eat a larger amount of food with a low glycemic index instead of eating a smaller portion with a high glycemic index. For example, a slice of a white bread will raise your blood sugar level 2.5 times more than a slice of watermelon.

A diet focused on a low the glycemic load index tends to estimate a quantity of carbohydrates which is necessary for the optimization of glycemic control. Such a diet helps to decrease total body mass, thereby helping to prevent the risk of increase in a blood pressure, the risk of cardiovascular diseases and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Here are some tips on how to reduce the glycemic load index of your meal:

 

  • Increase a consumption of whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and an amount of starch-free vegetables.
  • Reduce an amount of starchy and processed foods, such as baked potatoes, french fries, white and, especially, parboiled rice and white bread in your menu.
  • Eat a limited amount of sugar-containing foods, such as regular carbonated soft drinks and sweetened beverages, biscuits, cakes and sweets. All kinds of sweets, pastries, jams and sugars tend to rapidly increase your blood sugar level.

An effective diet, which is based on the glycemic load index, has to be versatile. Do not avoid eating certain foods, as cereals, fruits, vegetables or even fats. Many of these products contain vitamins and minerals which are essential for your health. And do not feel deprived – eat your midday snack! A few pieces of your favorite candies after a proper lunch will not ruin your diet!

5 Reasons Your Business Should Have an Information Protection Policy

Information is the lifeblood of all businesses, but many business owners and high level managers often overlook the security of their business information to focus on what they consider more important; “the generation of revenue.” Many even know the risk well in advance but take on the mentality, “It will never happen to us.” Then the inevitable happens.

Experience has proven that the disregard for the protection of business information is disastrous. The smallest vulnerability in a business’s Information Security System (ISS) can and does cause businesses thousands, even millions of dollars in financial loss everyday. Experts have found that in the majority of the cases involving “loss” from the theft of information that the business owner(s) or managers were aware that potential breaches existed and did nothing to correct the issue. Experts also point out that in 99% of the cases that the cost to fix the breach would have been thousands to millions of dollars cheaper then the loss the business sustained from the breach itself.

According to “Trends in Proprietary Loss” (ASIS International, 2007) these are the top 5 reasons businesses of all sizes should have an active and progressive Information Security System (ISS) and Information Security Management System (ISMS) in place.

  • Loss of reputation/image/goodwill – Taking a hit in the pocket could be bad but not as half as bad as taking a hit to your reputation. Many business can rebound from loss of revenue but repairing your business reputation can cost astronomical time, effort and money. The implications are overwhelming in most cases.
  • Loss of competitive advantage in one product/service – When you have been working feverishly to stay ahead of the game but your competitor beats you to the finish line every time, “There’s a hole in your boat.” The leaking of trade secrets, product delivery timelines and other business processes can completely derail a business and destroy its competitive advantage.” In 2006 there was a well known case of information theft concerning an employee from a major beverage. That employee stole trade information and conspired to sell it to another beverage company for 1.5 million dollars.The employee was arrested after the competitor turned her in.
  • Reduced of projected/anticipated returns or profitability – This can occur when your competitor knows your pricing strategy. If they’re selling the same type of product or service as your business they can, and will easily outprice you.
  • Loss of core business technology or process – A quick Google search will give you some insight on how businesses lose billions in the process when technology is leaked or stolen. The case of the drawn out and costly battle of the “Cell Phone Giants” comes to mind. Do a Google search about it. There are some really insightful facts that you may not have known about the case.
  • Loss of competitive advantage in multiple products/services

All of the above are sound reasons while your business should have an active information security policy. I am of the opinion that any business that regularly loses money and fails to implement processes to stop it,will soon be out of business. Therefore, I encourage all business managers, executives and owners to take the protection of their information seriously. Make time to review your current information security processes and policy with your security manager. Listen to his/her concerns and recommendations. After all that is what you hired him/her for. Concentrate on making your security a “Necessary good” instead of a “Necessary evil” and dedicate a reasonable but flexible budget to immediately address new or unexpected security threats. It could truly save you a life of headaches, court battles and money in the end.

Below are a few recommendations that I believe will help any business to begin improving their information security process. It will also help to improve overall security in general.

Recommendations

  • Ensure that sensitive information is only accessible to a small group of people based on a need to know basis. This information is to be kept in a secure area with progressive and redundant security measures.
  • The first level of security can be posted signage that designates the level of authorization required to be in specific areas. These signs should also advise the consequences for ignoring them.
  • The second level of security may include CCTV cameras which are manned or unmanned (but have the ability to be reviewed later). Cameras serve as a good method to detect, deter and in some cases respond to nefarious behavior.
  • The third level of security mandates designated key cards or key fobs to enter restricted areas. This authorization can also be indicated by color coded ID badges. A security checkpoint guarded by trained security officers is also an option.
  • The fourth level of security concerns areas where the most sensitive information is held. This area should include CCTV cameras, locked file cabinets and safes. This should be supported by a well written Information Protection Policy created in partnership with an experienced security professional and it should be strictly adhered to.
  • Lastly, a schedule for audit and compliance should be instituted and a designated person appointed the responsibility for its oversight. This recommendation has more to do with Information Security Management, which I will discuss in a later topic.

General Information Security Practices

The preceding concerned security strategies for highly sensitive information however, we must not overlook the need for the security of general business information. Information comes in many forms and businesses must protect them all. Here are a few more tips that I recommend to improve your current Information Security Policy:

  • Ensure that all documents that contain personal, personnel and company information are always kept secure. This information should never be left lying around on someone’s desk or in their inbox. Always keep this type of information under lock and key and designate a person to ensure strict accountability.
  • Ensure that you have a information security policy in place and share it with your entire staff. This policy should include how to file or discard company information.
  • Ensure that your company has a shredder and include shredding regulations (what should be shredded, when and by whom) into your policy.
  • Always ensure that someone in your organization stays abreast of current cyber threats. This person is normally the head of the IT department or your security manager. He/she should also ensure that your anti-virus and firewall systems are regularly updated and tested. If your company does not have a dedicated IT department of manager it wouldn’t hurt to consult with an IT Security firm to get a check-up.
  • Ensure that your Information Protection policy includes regulations pertaining to thumb drives and portable hard drives. The policy should clearly state what information can be saved or uploaded from and to the devices. Also consult with your IT department to disable the USB ports on your computers and networks if necessary.
  • Finally, every business should have a Non-Disclosure Agreement. NDAs set the expectations for your employees as it pertains to the privacy of your business affairs, processes and materials. It also provides the recourse for violating the policy. can be found on the web, but I recommend consulting with your attorney to ensure that your NDA provides you and your business optimum protection.

That about sums it up. I believe that by implementing these strategies that every business can improve the protection of their information and reduce the chances of suffering financial loss. In many cases you may even increase your profitability, which is why we are all in business anyway. I hope that you found this information valuable. Never underestimate what a solid Information Security Program can do for you.

Thanks for reading and I hope that these quick security tips help to kick start or rekindle your Information Security Program.

Making Your Employees Understand the Value of Information

When deploying a bespoke information security awareness campaign, the ultimate aim is to build a mindset in which employees come to respect and protect the information they work with. To achieve this, it’s imperative that employees fully understand the value of that information.

Failing to understand the value of information is a major cause of information security breaches. For example, it’s the reason why sensitive information ends up in wastepaper baskets or recycling boxes, which subsequently exposes it to ‘dumpster diving’ – the practice of scouring company bins for useful competitor intelligence.

Failing to understand the value of information has led to some of the high profile ‘laptop left on a train’ incidents, where employees are walking around with sensitive information on their hard drives that hasn’t been encrypted for transport.

Failing to understand the value of information can even cause employees to talk themselves into doing things they’ve already been told is bad practice, such as connecting to an unsecure hotel wi-fi to check email. We’ve all been tempted to do it because of the convenience. What stops us is knowing how valuable the emails coming in and out are – all of which can be intercepted on an unsecure wireless connection.

Communicating value

The value of information is best communicated through a clear information classification scheme. For example, let’s use the traditional labels of ‘public’, ‘internal’ and ‘confidential’ information. One of the most effective methods of communicating value is to consider all of the information types within your organisation and categorise them under these headings. Turn that into a clear communication that allows employees to see exactly which information types should be considered under which classification. There are also some engaging and fun ways to embed this in your employees’ minds.

Make classification mandatory

Making classification of all documents mandatory also helps to embed this consideration of value. A classification must be assigned to every new piece of information that employees generate. Similarly, every piece of information they receive must be immediately checked for its classification. If a piece of information is passed on without a classification, then the practice of sending it back to the originator for classification will eventually cause this handling procedure to become second nature.

Protecting confidential information: Carrot or stick?

For most organisations, accidentally or intentionally disclosing confidential information is a disciplinary offence. As long as you state this as part of a campaign that simultaneously instils the value of information, then it can be quite effective.

However, bear in mind that the most effective internal communications campaigns succeed by aligning the objectives of the employee with the objectives of the organisation. Therefore, a more effective method is to make the employee see the personal value of protecting information at work. There are many messages that can be used, such as building the employee’s perception of their contribution to organisation success, and the need to protect the integrity of this achievement. You can also communicate how devastating an information breach can be – for example, through lost revenue or a fine from the Information Commissioner’s Office. An information breach could even cause enough lost competitive advantage that an organisation is no longer able to operate at the same size it was. This associates the concept of information security with job security.

Acformation – The New Information Paradigm

The First Paradigm – Age of Information (circa 1980 – 2000)

Information, coming in, captured the then market realities. It represented the collective market notions such as ideas, beliefs, etc. for a given time period. The Information Gradient (IG), the rate at the which a given information changed – proven, disprove etc. was fairly linear. In other words, the market behaviour was within the predictable limits of Organizational Think-tanks (OT).

The Second Paradigm – The Rise and Fall of Real Time Information (circa 2000 – 2012)

The changing market dynamics brought new problems to these OT. The IG lost its linearity. It became a victim to unforeseen market forces, and thus became more skewed. The Information captured did not convincingly represent the market notions.

It was then time for the next paradigm shift – the Real Time Information (RIT). But, RIT never represented information at all. It was a screenshot of the market notions at any point of time. It allowed the OT to ‘trust’ the market forces before taking any strategic decision.

It worked well for a while. Until RIT started losing the ‘realness’ of the information. As the real-time capturing of information peaked, companies started becoming more aspirational. They wanted information created a moment ago. While the technological advancements made it possible to capture and deliver information real-time, these companies found it difficult to put this information into perspective. For a vital component of the information made no sense – how useful is this piece of information for the immediate decisions to be made and its integrity for long-term strategic decisions.

The era of RIT came to end.

The Third Paradigm – The Age of Acformation (Present)

RIT is dead. How could a piece of information captured a minute ago make sense? More so, when information captured a minute ago will not be the same as the information that is to be captured the next minute. Especially in an industry such as Apparel or Footwear where the fashion trends are changing.

RIT lacks a continuity, in terms of aiding the business in taking market decisions.

Acformation was born. It stands for Actionable Information.

Acformation is radically different. It does not capture or represent information at all.

Acformation, in essence, represents the rate of change of information. In other words, it represents IG. IG is a meta-information, i.e. information about Information. It provides the much need context for the information, and is thus, Actionable.

Understand your company’s Information Structure

As a retailer, you need to understand the Information Structure of your business.

Primary Information (PI)

Stock Levels

What do you have? How much of it do you have?

Sales

What has been sold?

How much of it has been sold?

Secondary (or Meta) Information (SI)

What did this customer buy?

How much did the customer buy?

What is the Customer Profile?

What is the customer buying history?

Miscellaneous Information (MI)

Company Performance

Accounts and Balance.

Actionable Information (AI)

Given the PI, SI & MI levels, how disposed is the customer (or a group of them) to buy in the future?

How likely will the purchase be made?

How frequent will this happen?

Will there any change in their preferences as result?

How resources is your shop in making this happen?