How To Stay Safe When You Use Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi allows your team to stay connected on the go. You have to be careful, though, because public Wi-Fi is notoriously unsecure. Cybercriminals could also log into the free network you use and access data on your devices, such as your login information or confidential client files. Exercise caution and stay safe in several ways as you use your laptop, tablet or smartphone on public Wi-Fi networks.

Verify the Network Name

Before logging in, research the network. Only log into Wi-Fi that originates from a legitimate source as you avoid a man-in-the-middle attack. For example, cybercriminals may name their network “Free Wi-Fi” or mimic the establishment’s name as a way to attract users. Ask the barista, librarian or other staff member to verify the name of their public Wi-Fi network before you log in.

Turn off File Sharing

Your team relies on file sharing, but this feature is lucrative for cybercriminals, too. That’s why you want to turn off file sharing when you use public Wi-Fi. This step protects your files and data you don’t want criminals to access.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts data as it travels between your device and the server. Research free and paid VPN options, then add one to your devices for protection when you need it on the go.

Check for HTTPS

If you see a lock symbol and HTTPS in front of the website address in the status bar, you’re browsing a secure site. You can also use an HTTPS extension for extra protection.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

With two-factor authentication, you add an extra layer of protection to your online browsing. Even if cybercriminals gain access to your password, they probably cannot get into your account since they need to enter a unique authentication code also.

Update Software

Browser and software patches can improve security. Make it a habit to install these patches when you’re connected to a trusted network. Never update software when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi.

Forget the Network

After your public Wi-Fi session ends, log off all the websites you were signed into and tell your device to forget the network. This step prevents cybercriminals from connecting to your device automatically the next time you’re in the network area.

Limit your Activity

It’s tempting to think that cybercrime couldn’t happen to you or that you can afford to be careless because you have cybercrime and business liability insurance. However, always use caution. Save sensitive or confidential work for when you’re on a trusted network.

Your company may utilize public Wi-Fi often to stay connected and get work done. Encourage your employees to use caution and follow these steps as they stay safe.

Why And How To Switch To Healthy Caffeine Alternatives

Coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks all contain caffeine. Unfortunately, the caffeine you consume each day affects your health in a negative way. Change your habits and switch to caffeine alternatives as you get your energy boost and improve your health.

Benefits of Consuming Caffeine

Numerous studies show that you can gain several benefits when you consume caffeine regularly.

  • Decrease risk of developing diabetes
  • Enhance metabolism of glucose found in carbs
  • Reduce colon cancer risk
  • Boost antioxidants
  • Experience higher energy
  • Improve mood

Health and Life Benefits of Quitting or Reducing Caffeine

Although you may consume caffeine because you appreciate the benefits and alertness it provides, too much caffeine can cause dependency and dizziness, acid reflux and anxiety. You may even experience headaches, fatigue and irritability when you don’t get your caffeine fix. Additionally, caffeine can cause health and life challenges such as:

  • Increased release of stress hormones
  • Inability to regulate insulin
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Higher cholesterol levels
  • More digestive discomfort
  • Increase in calorie consumption, especially if you consume sugary caffeinated foods and drinks
  • Lower serotonin release
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Increased anxiety and depression
  • Imbalance in calcium, potassium and magnesium levels
  • Difficulty detoxing liver
  • Low birth weight and other problems in infants born to moms who consume caffeine

Healthy Caffeine Alternatives

You’ll improve your overall health when you reduce or cut caffeine from your diet. If you’re dependent on caffeine, consider making the switch gradually to these alternatives.

Rooibos tea – Gain an immune boost with this tasty hot or cold tea.

Teeccino and Cafix – Enjoy the familiar taste of coffee when you drink these two substitutes made from chicory, grain, figs and beetroot.

Ice Water – Jumpstart your metabolism, energy and focus as you fuel your body with ice water throughout the day.

B Vitamins – Gain mental clarity, energy and better sleep when you consume lean meats, nuts, seeds, and other foods that are high in B vitamins.

Apple – Open neural and muscle pathways while boosting your metabolism as you chew an apple.

Protein – Maintain energy, concentration and mood with a protein-packed meal or snack.

Ginkgo Biloba – Improve your focus, creativity and well-being when you consume this herbal extract as a tea or capsule.

Ginseng – Stimulate blood flow and reduce stress and depression with ginseng tea or capsules.

Stretch – Boost oxygen in your blood and spark alertness and focus when you stretch your body.

Cutting caffeine from your diet can improve your health and prolong your life. Talk to your doctor and health or life insurance provider for more tips as you switch to healthy caffeine alternatives and improve your overall health and well-being.

How To Convince A Loved One To Purchase Life Insurance

Life insurance provides financially for loved ones after you pass away. Not everyone understands the value of life insurance, though, and you may have parents, siblings or kids who need to buy a policy. Several tips help you convince your loved one to purchase this valuable coverage.

Share Peace of Mind

Your loved one may worry about how they’ll provide for the people who depend on them or cover medical expenses they incur as they age. Life insurance can replace their income, cover medical debts and take care of other concerns. Your loved one will gain peace of mind with this policy.

Provide for Children

Life insurance can provide financial resources for children, which is important if your loved one has kids. Their life insurance policy can pay for daily living, childcare and education expenses or leave a legacy for their surviving children.

Repay Debt

Many people take on a mortgage, student loan or credit card debt that may or may not be discharged upon death. Debt repayment can cripple the finances of survivors, but a life insurance benefit can repay debts and ease the financial burden survivors face.

Prepare for End of Life Expenses

People generally do not like to talk about planning their funeral, but it’s an expense that could burden survivors. Talk with your loved one about the cost of a funeral and the advantages of covering this expense with a life insurance policy.

Emphasize the Benefits of Buying Young

Because life insurance premiums are typically tied to a person’s age and health, encourage your loved one to purchase a policy while they’re young. They will save money. As a bonus, their whole life insurance policy will have more time to grow in value the longer they own it.

Offer Life Insurance as a Gift

Your loved one may not want to buy insurance because of the cost. Offer to pay the premiums as a gift. The policy will remain in your loved one’s name and is for their benefit, but they won’t have to pay for it.

Use what Motivates Them

Maybe your loved one has pre-paid their funeral, doesn’t have debt or children, and owns a group life insurance policy from work. Remind them that a private term or whole life insurance policy can provide additional resources for the people they love or causes that are important to them. They can also use their death benefit to support a favorite charity, university scholarship or social cause as they leave a legacy.

Life insurance is a valuable asset. Use these tips to convince your loved one to purchase this valuable coverage for their peace of mind.

Drug Testing Policy Details For Your Construction Independent Contractors

The construction industry relies on independent contractors who perform specialized services like plumbing, painting and drywall installation. To prioritize safety on the job site and ensure quality work, consider implementing a drug testing policy for the independent contractors you hire.

Benefits of Drug Testing

Regular drug testing promotes safety on the job site. Additionally, it improves productivity and quality of work, lowers absenteeism and boosts morale.

Your company also builds your reputation when you implement drug testing for your independent contractors. In certain cases, you can lose contracts and be blacklisted from jobs if your independent contractors work while they’re visibly high or otherwise produce shoddy work because of drug use. Protect your business and reputation when you implement a drug testing policy.

Prepare a Contract

When you work with an independent contractor, you both typically sign a contract that outlines the exact project, timeline and pay rate. Include your drug testing policy in this contract.

Consult your specific state’s laws regarding drug testing as you prepare the contract. Check with your construction insurance agent for details on any drug testing protocols they require, too.

Typically, you may perform a drug test on every new independent contractor and after an accident when you suspect drug use was involved. You may also choose to perform random drug testing if you have reasonable suspicion of drug use, which includes:

  • Direct observation of drug use or associated symptoms such as uncoordinated movements, slurred speech or erratic behavior.
  • Reports from reliable sources that the independent contractor is using drugs.
  • Evidence of tampering with drug test results.

The independent contractors who apply to work for you must agree to your drug testing policy. You are then responsible to enforce it equally for all employees.

Select a Drug Testing Company

Most drug testing occurs in an independent third-party facility that’s certified by the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). You will schedule the appointment, and the independent contractor is responsible to drive to the facility where he or she will provide a urine sample. You receive test results in several hours or several days depending on the facility and results.

Address the Test Results

If the independent contractor tests positive for drugs or refuses to take the test, you must perform disciplinary action, which can include dismissal. Exceptions include a positive test for prescribed medications that the employee reported and takes responsibly. Outline your dismissal procedure in the employment contract to reduce surprises and liability for improper discipline.

As a construction professional, you must maintain safety and quality on the job site. Drug testing can help, so create a specific drug testing policy for your independent contractors.

Safety Tips For Your Construction Site Landscaping Specialists

Landscaping specialists play an important role in many construction sites. This profession can be dangerous, though. If you employ landscaping specialists, ensure they follow these safety tips.

Stay Visible

Working near roadways and heavy equipment like backhoes is dangerous. While everyone on the job site should be aware of their surroundings, landscapers also benefit from wearing reflective clothing. They can wear highly visible colors, too, that allow them to stand out rather than blend in to the surrounding dirt and plants.

Dress for Safety

No matter how big or small the job, landscapers should wear safety gear. It protects landscapers from hazards like thorns, rocks, uneven terrain, and weather.

  • Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt that fit snugly.
  • Thick socks and sturdy work boots.
  • Gloves and a hard hat.
  • Protective eye and ear wear.
  • No loose clothing or jewelry.

Additionally, if landscapers will lift rocks, rake stones or perform other repetitive tasks, they should take frequent breaks and wear back and wrist braces if needed.

Sharpen Tools

Dull tools require extra force and make tasks take longer. Sharpen tools to ensure they work properly, and you can get the job done faster and prevent repetitive-stress injuries.

Know the Machines

Landscapers may use a variety of machines, including mowers, augers, tillers, and blowers. Every person who operates one of these machines should first read the safety manual and then know how to operate the machine properly. Ensure operators hold the proper certification to operate each machine legally, too.

Stay away from Moving Parts

Moving machine blades and power tools can cause serious damage. Workers should stay far away from any moving parts and maintain a safe distance until the object comes to a complete stop.

Complete Repairs Carefully

When a mower jams or a power tool malfunctions, landscapers should use caution as they make repairs. First, they should turn off the power supply, then ensure the moving parts have stopped completely. Only then can they finish the repair safely.

Use Chemicals with Caution

If landscapers use chemicals on plants, they should know how to store, use and dispose of those materials properly. Never allow an inexperienced landscaper to work with hazardous and flammable chemicals.

Call Utility Companies Before Digging

Reduce the risk of electrocution, expensive repairs and other hazards when you notify utility companies before digging. This tip helps landscapers avoid puncturing gas, electric or other underground utility lines.

Purchase Insurance

Despite these safety precautions, the landscapers you hire may suffer an injury or damage property. Purchase adequate construction insurance.

As you work on construction sites, you want to protect your landscape specialists. Implement these tips, and ensure your landscaping specialists follow them, too.