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Year End Purchases for Tax Purposes

The end of the year is the time that companies start to think about taxes and one of the ways to reduce your taxes is to make business expenses at the end of the year. Although we are not CPA’s, here are 7 things that you should consider doing and/or buying prior to December 31st.

New Equipment: Depending on the purpose of the equipment and the type of business you have, you may be able to write off new business equipment at the end of the year instead of giving it to the IRS. This means that you can go out and buy a new tractor, copier, new bio-fridge, phones or a forklift. New or additional equipment should help you improve and expand your business operations so that 2018 will be the best year for your business yet.

New Computer and Software: Buying a new computer at the end of the year will allow you to find a great deal.  Many companies extend their black Friday/Cyber Monday deals into December or otherwise have Christmas deals.

Donating to Charitable Organization: One of the most interesting ways to select a recipient is to ask your employees submit ideas of organizations in need or for a good cause. You could even create the parameters to include only organization that are local, that directly help humans, etc. Have employees include a brief bio, history of the organization and how the donation would help. You could select the winner or let everyone vote. Bottom line, employees are involved and feel a part of it plus the company gets the deduction. Need help, call Power On, over 40% of our customers are not-for-profit organizations.

Car or Truck Purchase: If you are looking to buy a new car or truck for your small business the end of the year is the best time to go. Many dealerships find themselves discounting their vehicles heavily to meet their annual sales goals. To meet these goals, dealerships will have end of the year sales and if you are good enough you can usually negotiate the price down even further, especially if you are buying multiple vehicles.

Books:  The end of the year is tax season. Purchasing books to help your business get through tax season or legal issues are deductible. Not only can they be deducted but they can help you get through the bog of information. You can deduct business operations books or books on your specific business but they must be deducted over the useful lifespan of the book not just for one year.

Continuing Education:  Purchasing continuing education for your team members is a great idea for the end of the year. If the continuing education applies to the position each team member is in then you can deduct it from your taxes. Now there are many online continuing education programs where you can purchase a subscription and team members can take as many classes as they want. Higher trained and smarter team members can only make your business stronger.

Promotional Content:  Many types of promotional content can be deducted as current business expenses. The end of the year is a great time to buy business cards and ads.  You can also deduct the expense of sponsoring a sports team or a youth activity group as long as there is an obvious connection between your business and the team.

Hire a Veteran:  Veterans make some of the best team members in the world.  They are highly trained in their fields and willing to learn new fields and work hard.  Hiring a veteran at the end of the year will provide you with a team member to make your company strong. If you are in Missouri, check out the Show-Me Heroes program.


Non-Profit Infrastructure

Non-profit organizations focus on their mission. Whether it is helping the homeless, running a battered women’s shelter or feeding the less fortunate, monies they collect through donors and grants go to their mission and staffing. That completely makes sense. That is what they do and what is in their heart to do. However, infrastructure needs go unmet or unfunded.

Many Executive Directors and board members are focused on the bottom line and their mission statements. The infrastructure items are far down on their to do list and are put off for financial reasons until something breaks. Aging buildings usually have maintenance issues such as plumbing and HVAC. Most organizations don’t think about their computers, software, security, cabling and the heart and soul of the system, their server until they are disrupted or hacked.

Now more than ever phone systems, too are integrated with the computer network.  When the computer network goes down you are out of business. You won’t be able to send or receive email, make phone calls or save data to the server, if you have a server. If your anti-virus software is out of date you may be susceptible to being hacked or worse yet, a ransom ware attack could hold your organization hostage for cryptocurrency. More on that in another blog post.

With technology advancing at the speed of light, it’s difficult to know whether your nonprofit is working efficiently. From software to the communication and collaboration systems, you don’t know if your staff is being helped or held back by the tools you provide. Call Power On Technologies today for a FREE audit of your technology infrastructure and we will tell you what’s good, what’s old and what can be used more efficiently. We will give you a full report of our findings in order for your organization to prepare and budget to insure your organization is protected from the unexpected.

While technology audits can be performed remotely, we prefer to start with a one-day site visit. Larger and more complex organizations my require longer site visits.  We then perform an in-depth analysis of all your digital tools. In a written report, we tell you what is working well and how you can improve your operations with new digital tools and new ways of using them.

Call us to schedule your organization’s audit. 816-737-2900


Be Careful, by Pat Searcy

The show Hunted, is a fascinating show that just recently wrapped its current run on CBS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunted_(2017_TV_series)

The show follows nine teams, of two people in a real life manhunt as they attempt to disappear in today’s digital world. The hunters are ex-CIA, military and tech people who use technology to find them.

A few weeks back they learned of someone’s email address and successfully changed the password based on info they obtained from Facebook post and pictures. In an attempt to get into it and gather information on them, they searched their Facebook account and found they ‘liked’ two different sports teams. Then they discovered pictures of them at one of those teams games. Using this information, they clicked the ‘forgot password’ and got to answer a security question which was, “Your Favorite Sports Team”. Next thing you know they were in the email account.

I use strong passwords, but watching them do this caused me to turn on “2-Step Verification”.

For more information contact us at 816-737-2900.


The Wi-Fi Pineapple, Part 2 by Pat Searcy

The Pineapple is a middleman that will broadcast any SSID you create. The Pineapple must also connect to any ‘real’ internet connection which could be their smart phone, or another legit internet connection. When an innocent persons device locates the Pineapples broadcasted SSID and connects to it, the Pineapples memory card logs all keystrokes and forwards the connection to the real internet connection so the unknowing person can actually surf wherever they wanted to go. You really have no idea it is taking place at all.

The only way around it is to be CERTAIN you’re actually connecting to the coffee shops REAL Wi-Fi. I had attended a security seminar at a local country Club and I had connected to ‘THEIR Free Wi-Fi’ and the signal was pretty strong,,,, it was their Pineapple device. The real Wi-Fi was named ‘MHCC Guest’.

I understand that hotels are the worst. Someone rents a room in the middle of the hotel. They pay for a room ($150) and high speed internet ($15), then set up a Pineapple ($99) and a landing page that looks official. They have the ability to obtain data a few floors above them, a few floors below them and whatever distance the Pineapple can reach. BTW – for around $500 you can buy 2,500 corporate logos so creating a “Free Marriott Hotel Guest” Wi-Fi landing page to appear like the real deal isn’t hard at all. Even if the ‘real deal’ has a login page where you’re supposed to enter your last name and room number,,,,,, it can easily be spoofed too.


Free Wi-Fi Access, Just Say No-by Pat Searcy, Power On President

You have just checked into your hotel room and decided to use the free WI-FI. While you’re on-line, you log into your email, Google and/or possibly other sites. What you don’t know and what many folks don’t know, is that this has been setup just to capture your keystrokes and steal personal information.  

For a mere $99 anyone can buy and set up a WI-FI Pineapple which can be purchased at www.hakshop.com. This device acts as the middle man between the WIFI and an internet connection. When you connect to the WI-FI, the Pineapple device logs everything you do including your keystrokes. There is even a complimentary Android Wi-Fi Pineapple Connector app for setup and Internet tethering. This is one reason why I personally don’t use free WI-FI. For more information about Free Wi-Fi Protection, contact us at 816-737-2900, or visit our website www.thinkpoweron.com


Are you protected?

According to Barracuda.com a Data Breach is defined as “an incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data has potentially been viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so. Data breaches may involve personal health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), trade secrets or intellectual property.”

One of the perks of doing what we do at Power On Technologies is our commitment to protecting our clients of a potential data breach. First, there is a cool site www.haveibeenpwned.com that when you enter your email into you are able to check like companies to see if they have been breached or targeted. Secondly, make sure YOU are protected today and in the future, give us a call at 816-737-2900, or visit our website at www.thinkpoweron.com


Russian Malicious Cyber Activity

 

 

National Cyber Awareness System:

GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity

12/29/2016 02:21 PM EST

Original release date: December 29, 2016

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a Joint Analysis Report (JAR) that details Russian malicious cyber activity, designated as GRIZZLY STEPPE. This activity by Russian civilian and military intelligence services (RIS) is part of an ongoing campaign of cyber-enabled operations directed at the U.S. government and private sector entities.

DHS recommends that network administrators review the Security Publication for more information and implement the recommendations provided.


Did you or someone in your family unwrap a new tablet? Be vigilant downloading new apps!

 

 

National Cyber Awareness System:

FTC Releases Alert on Fake Apps for Mobile Devices

12/22/2016 10:02 PM EST

Original release date: December 22, 2016

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an alert on fraudulent mobile apps designed to exploit consumers. Some fake apps may steal personal information such as credit card numbers. By taking precautions, users can protect themselves and their private data.

US-CERT encourages users and administrators to refer to the FTC Scam Alert and background article on Understanding Mobile Apps. For more information, see the US-CERT Tip on Cybersecurity for Electronic Devices.


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