What Do You Know About GDPR?

I recently attended a lecture by a former FBI special agent on the topic of cybersecurity. Sounds cool, right? (It was!)

I’ve been paying close attention to the topic that is now top of mind for many since last summer, when I wrote this story for BizVoice® on fraud and cybersecurity issues, including what businesses should be doing to help prevent potential cyberattacks.

While I sat in a small room with 20 or so people who seemed genuinely surprised by much of what the former agent was saying, not much of it came as news to me (and I’m not bragging – I just went through my shocked phase last year when researching my story). But one thing I’d never heard before was something known as GDPR, an acronym for General Data Protection Regulation.

GDPR was passed in the European Union (EU) and takes effect in late May. It expands the rights of individuals under the regulation with regard to data privacy and places new burdens on companies or businesses that handle private data. And you might be thinking, “I’m in Indiana, not the EU.” And that’s true, this regulation primarily impacts users in the EU. But it also impacts any businesses or organizations that operate in the EU.

Indianapolis-based DemandJump recently posted a blog focusing on GDPR and how it impacts companies here in the United States, with links and a video to help others learn more about the potential impact:

From an internet user standpoint, this policy only affects those people located within the jurisdiction of the EU. However, companies that do business in the EU – regardless of where they are located – must also abide by the same rules, which has left many in the global technology industry reeling to meet these strict privacy standards by the May 25th deadline.

The GDPR is one of the first major legislative acts of its kind, but it certainly won’t be the last. The question is not whether the United States and others will pass a similar bill, but when.

At DemandJump, we have always believed in and respected the privacy of internet users, and we hold ourselves accountable for individuals’ rights to privacy and security. We also understand there is some sensitivity around data right now, and, well … we love data.

The truth is, data can be an amazing asset when used and handled responsibly, helping to automate, expand, speed up, and generally improve the world we live in. But those improvements should not come at the risk of individuals’ privacy.

Luckily for everyone, they don’t need to.

What is Data Privacy?

Check out this video from our very own Brad Wilson, Director of Engineering and Data Protection Officer at DemandJump about data privacy and GDPR.

In the context of GDPR – and the broader discussion about data privacy – the main goal is to put control over personal data back into the hands of individuals. This means that if any individual does not want to be recognized or known by a data consumer, they have the ability to instruct any system to “forget me”. This would trigger a string of technical actions which would anonymize their information, making it very difficult for any person, business or technology system to identify that person individually.

Fundamentally, this movement is not so much about restricting the usage of personal data as it is about giving control back to individuals. It’s about companies being open and transparent about what personal data they have on individuals, and about the way they handle that data.

For 10+ years there has been a lot of fuzziness and disparate regulation around data privacy and transparency. The EU is saying “no more”, and it’s highly likely that other regulatory bodies will follow suit.

Cybersecurity and data privacy experts will come together for the Indiana Chamber’s inaugural Cybersecurity Conference (in partnership with the Indiana attorney general’s office) on May 1-2. There’s still time to register for the two-day conference held in downtown Indianapolis, with focuses on responding to litigation following a data breach, vendor management, lessons from the defense industry and much more.

Share Your ‘Best Places’ Story

If you’ve ever been stuck in a terrible working environment, you know a good one when you find it. The difference could not be more obvious – not only how the employer treats employees, but how happy co-workers are to be working together to accomplish a singular mission.

Since the Indiana Chamber of Commerce hosts the Best Places to Work in Indiana program, we are obviously not putting ourselves in the race to be named one of the top workplaces in the state. We love shining the light on the companies that are true difference-makers in their industries; those that are innovating and making Indiana a better place for not only the products or services they provide, but for their employees to live, work and play.

Each year we highlight many of the companies on the Best Places list in BizVoice magazine. Through interviews and interactions with employers and employees, one of the themes that is evident is the personal connections happening at these companies. Employees are more than just a number. More than just a workforce.

To shine the spotlight even brighter, we’re going to be sharing some of our personal stories with you over the next three weeks as we gear up for the Best Places to Work in Indiana celebration on the evening of May 3. (You can go ahead and reserve tables or tickets here.)

And we want you to share your stories with us and with our followers on social media. If you’re interested in sharing why your workplace is special to you, please take a short video of yourself, tag us @IndianaChamber and use the hashtag #BPTWIN in your posts. We’ll retweet and share those so others can see what makes your company a great place to work.

As an example, here’s my story about why I’ve been proud to work at the Indiana Chamber for the last seven years.

Keep an eye out for more and we can’t wait to hear from you!

Don’t forget to register for the Best Places to Work in Indiana event on May 3. Find more information at www.indianachamber.com/specialevents

Partnership Brings Bikes to Indiana Children

The idiom “it’s just like riding a bike” is meant to imply something is so simple and natural that if you haven’t done it in a while, you should be able to pick it back up with no problem.

But what if you never rode the bike to begin with? And this is not a metaphorical question; many children at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired have not experienced the opportunity of bicycling.

However, a partnership between Regions Bank and Nine13sports has opened up a new world to some children at the school who have never been on a bike.

Thanks to the partnership, “it’s just like riding a bike” means a whole lot more to those students.

Here’s the story from Regions:

Sitting on a bike, the second grader wears a pink outfit and a determined look.

“Riding a bike makes me a brave girl,” Kiarra said. “Here. I’ll show you.”

The bike is stationary, but the feat is unique. It’s not the first time for Kiarra and most of her fellow students at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. They were recently introduced to the joy and freedom of pedaling.

The bikes are there thanks to Indianapolis-based Nine13sports, a nonprofit that uses technology to bring bike riding to students across Indiana, giving an exercise outlet to many who’ve never had the opportunity before.

Tom Hanley is the Founder and CEO of Nine13sports. He’s a four-time USA Cycling National Champion. He’s also a survivor. In 2010, Hanley was one of 15 people injured in a horrific commercial vehicle crash, which killed his best friend. Hanley suffered serious injuries, including broken vertebrae and a brain injury ending his career as a competitive cyclist.

Now he shares his love for cycling with students.

“The core value of Nine13sports is that the bicycle is the ultimate equalizer. It allows us to take kids of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and abilities and connect with them in a way that’s on a level playing field,” Hanley said.

In just five years, the Nine13sports phenomenon has exploded. At one point, Nine13 worked with close to 10,000 students at 40 schools in a year. By the end of 2017, the program expanded to 40,000 students at 160 schools.

On this day, Hanley explains how the bikes and a simulator work. “It’s going to put you in the middle of a big video game. So all you have to do is pedal across the screen.”

What does unbridled fun look like? This.

With teachers and other students urging them on, the competition kicks in. While progress toward the finish line is tracked on a screen, students receive updates and encouragement.

“This is the exact same equipment, same program, and same staff we bring in,” Hanley said. “There are only a few minor modifications we’ve had to make, with being more verbal with the students knowing they have different abilities and different levels of eyesight.

Jim Durst, the Superintendent for the school, takes it all in with pride.

“The reality of it is, with the appropriate accommodations and opportunities, our kids can pretty much do anything their sighted counterparts can,” Durst said.

A few feet away, Kim Borges watches in amazement. The Indiana Area Marketing Manager for Regions also works with Nine13sports at other schools. But today is different.

“The message around this program is independence, and about what’s possible,” Borges said. “These kids are absolutely amazing and inspiring. They love the program. They’re excited about the program. They ask each week when we are coming back.”

Hanley is in the middle of it all. He’s sharing his passion and opening a new world to the students. And the realization of it all is emotional.

“Seeing them achieving that, it moves me to tears every time,” Hanley said.

Leslie Carter-Prall, Regions’ Indiana Area President, loves the impact of the program.

“I’m so proud of Regions and our commitment to communities – in particular the ways we can impact lives,” Carter-Prall said. “This is just another example of us doing more.”

Durst sees the same sense of accomplishment.

“We’ve really been blessed with Regions Bank and their willingness to collaborate and make a difference in our school,” Durst said. “I think working and collaborating with Nine13, what we’ve witnessed is the difference it makes for kids. When you see those kids on the bicycle, it really is an equalizer.”

Social Connection at What Cost?

It’s been fun, guys.

Digging our heads into the sand and enjoying our social media. Happily sharing gifs, memes, videos, photos with one another, connecting with friends (or frenemies) from high school and posting political opinions that will change exactly no one’s mind.

On some level, we probably all knew that Facebook was tracking our every “like” and “share” online. And yet, the reality of that fact has come crashing down on us over the past few weeks as privacy scandals at Facebook are making headlines.

Understandably, there’s a #DeleteFacebook campaign ongoing. And yet, I haven’t deleted my Facebook account, with no plans to do so. What about you?

While I’m not planning to leave Facebook, I have identified recently with a scene from NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” where privacy-conscious Ron Swanson is alerted that web site cookies exist and that Google Maps has a photo of his house:

(He’s throwing his computer in the dumpster, FYI.)

But that’s not a solution. Maybe for some it is, but not for me and probably many others working in today’s world, who need to utilize and understand technology and social connection.

However, we can – and should – all do a better job of understanding just what we’re agreeing to when downloading new apps and sharing on social media. Instead of an “ignorance is bliss” outlook, take a thorough look through your privacy settings and advertising settings and be very specific about what information you want to share with each platform or app.

If you are interested in downloading the full archive of what data Facebook contains about you, this article from Inc. includes an easy five-step process:

How to Get Your Data

In typical Facebook fashion, it’s easy to get this data, but only if you know exactly where to look. That’s what I’m here for.

  1. Click this link. You’re looking for facebook.com/settings. If for some strange reason that doesn’t work, on desktop, you want to click the little upside-down triangle in the upper right-hand corner, then drop down and click “Settings.”
  2. Click where it says “Download Archive.” You will likely have to reenter your password. Facebook will need about 10 or 15 minutes to compile your data and will send you a link via email to get your information.
  3. Check your email spam folder; the message Facebook sent me wasn’t readily visible in my inbox. The subject should read “Your Facebook download is ready.” Click the link in your email and you’ll be sent back to Facebook again–and probably have to enter your password once more. (This is a good thing; there’s a lot of personal information in the files they’re sending you.)
  4. Click the “Download Archive” button on this second screen, and you’ll download a .zip file that should be called: “facebook-YOURUSERNAME.zip.” Extract the files by clicking on the .zip file in most cases, and you’ll wind up with a series of folders. There should be a file called simply “index.html.”
  5. Click on that, and the archive should open in your browser.

I’m going to download my Facebook data – mainly to see what it contains and how accurate some of it is. I joined Facebook when I was a sophomore in college, back in 2005. So, I’ll have 13 years of data to comb through and I’m assuming it’s going to be as embarrassing as when I read back through my diary from junior high.

#BizVoiceExtra: International School Impresses

I’d heard of the International School of Indiana long before I had the chance to visit for a story in the current edition of BizVoice®, but really didn’t have any idea of the school’s mission as it was founded in Indianapolis over 20 years ago.

Now I can’t stop relating to it.

As you can read here in the story in our March/April edition of BizVoice, the school was created in 1994 to offer an international education option for families of foreign executives and since that time has become known for offering one of the most rigorous curriculums for students in Indiana. The high school has a 100% graduation rate and a 100% college acceptance rate and last year’s class of graduating seniors (there were 42 of them) was offered $6 million in merit scholarships.

I toured both the lower school (ages three up through grades five) and upper school (grades six through 12) and walked through classrooms of pre-kindergarten children learning Mandarin, Spanish and French and was blown away by the poise and passion of high school students speaking about their experiences with the school.

Seeing today that the city of Indianapolis has received a final license from the World Trade Centers Association to establish a World Trade Center in the city makes me think of the International School. While the school was established nearly 25 years ago, the founding mission is still relevant in offering an international curriculum to students in Indiana (whether local students or those from other nations).

I was also reminded of the school when I recently visited a friend in San Francisco and met numerous people – from my friends’ housemates from Russia, to one of our Lyft drivers from Algiers – who were multilingual.

While I was accidentally interviewing (yes – it’s a hazard of my job) that Lyft driver from Algiers, I asked him what language is dominant there and was thinking the answer would be French. It was but, in addition, he listed two others I’d never heard of. English is his fourth language.

The students at the International School are also able to learn up to four languages, right here in central Indiana. It’s the only school in the Midwest with a trilingual option, in addition to English.

As Indiana continues to make a name for itself around the world, seeing the impact of the International School up close and personal was enlightening and – as I’ve mentioned – sticks with you.

Cheers to the Network Security Administrators

Here’s a little tip – don’t check your work email on your mobile phone while riding in an airport shuttle on the way back to your car from vacation.

Don’t quickly open any emails saying you had a recent sign-in attempt and need to remedy your information.

Don’t click the link! DON’T do it.

I did it.

Yep, it was me. The person who studied and learned about fraud, email phishing, social engineering (and a lot of other terrifying cybersecurity issues) for a 1,200-plus word story for BizVoice® magazine last year. The person who has warned everyone about these issues since learning all those terrifying things. The one who pays close attention when data breaches are discussed in the media.

It was me. I did it. Ugh.

Thankfully, I realized what I’d done nearly immediately. I clicked on the link, but I didn’t enter any information and I quickly alerted our network guardian angel administrator, Jeff. Then I panicked all the way home from my relaxing vacation.

But Jeff let me know he was keeping an eye on it, and that I hadn’t broken everything (I was sure I had). Such a relief I have rarely felt in my adult life.

After a self-admonishing mea culpa when I returned to the office, I was again put at ease upon being reminded that this happens more regularly than I realized and that it’s a very easy thing to fall for.

That is NOT an excuse for complacency, of course. Think before you click! Make sure you know your company’s security protocols, think critically about the email address the email is coming from (does your security administrator typically handle anything related to Microsoft? Then Microsoft is probably not emailing you directly!). Just pay attention.

I was reminded firsthand that our information technology and network security administrators are on the front lines of keeping our dumb mistakes at bay.

Thank goodness for that.

If you’ve got a great networking security team supporting your workplace, thank them when you get the chance. You probably don’t always know or understand what they do, but when things get dicey, you’ll really appreciate their expertise.

(If you don’t have a network security team, you’re risking a lot. Check out that BizVoice story I mentioned above for more about the pitfalls of not being covered by good security measures.)

U of Indy Unveils Enhanced Digital Mayoral Archives

Archives

History is fascinating.

When we moved my grandmother to a long-term care facility several years ago, our family was sorting through some of the boxes of keepsakes she had stored in her garage, including items from her childhood.

At the time, I had a young daughter and came across a pamphlet of advice for new parents from the 1950s. It was shocking to see the words of wisdom I was being given today versus the advice of even recent history. Later, we found cookbooks from the 1960s and 1970s containing recipes filled with way too many Jello and cream cheese combinations. Yuck. But fascinating!

If you’re a student of history – or even have a passing interest in learning about those who came before us – here’s something you’ll love: the University of Indianapolis recently unveiled a digital tool that enables anyone to access information about Indianapolis civic history.

The “Digital Backpacks” collection is a free, interactive feature where users can create folders with items collected during the administrations of Indianapolis mayors back to 1968, including an emphasis on sports history.

“The Digital Mayoral Archives enhances the University’s ability to extend its reach beyond the campus,” said Institute Director Edward Frantz. “By connecting to the history of our city, University students also are able to comprehend the way in which the past interacts with the present.”

”We believe this will become a significant teaching tool in Indiana and an important resource for political scholars and armchair historians around the world,” added Frantz, a history professor at the University of Indianapolis.

The backpacks feature is an enhancement to the Digital Mayoral Archives created as part of an ongoing partnership with digital history leader HistoryIT, a Maine-based company that leverages technology to improve access to historical archives. In 2013, HistoryIT began the process of digitizing more than 600 file boxes full of documents, images, recordings and other artifacts from the administrations of Indianapolis mayors Richard Lugar, William Hudnut and Stephen Goldsmith, and from the records of Indiana politician L. Keith Bulen.

Today, more than 400,000 items, including previously confidential documents, are available online. Nearly 23,000 users have logged on and searched the Digital Mayoral Archives.

#BizVoiceExtra: Tuition Support Makes a Difference

Balancing work, family and life is challenging – throwing in a full-time, or even part-time, education on top can seem near impossible.

One thing that can ease the struggle of pursuing a degree as a working adult? Employer tuition support.

Employers that provide tuition support are making a long-term investment in their employees, and employees take that investment to heart. I learned that recently when speaking with several people for the March/April edition of BizVoice® about their experiences with tuition support and the benefits of attaining those advanced degrees through WGU Indiana.

(You can read that story in our new edition here.)

All of those interviewed couldn’t speak more highly of the impact of knowing their employer is actively supporting them. The return on investment for those companies yields people that are devoted to the organization, on top of the more tangible benefits of skilled and educated employees.

Dan Minnick

Dan Minnick

One of the WGU Indiana graduates featured in the story is Dan Minnick, a nursing professional development educator at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie. I asked representatives from IU Health to provide more information on their tuition support program.

An abridged Q&A via email with Lauren Zink, vice president of Total Rewards and Shared Services at IU Health, follows:

BV: What is the benefit to IU Health as an employer when its team members have finished their degrees or have completed advanced degrees?

LZ: “Our goal at IU Health is to provide long-term career opportunities for our team members. We have a wide variety of jobs and a continuous need to fill them with dedicated, talented individuals. As our team members obtain the education they need to qualify and apply for new positions, it allows IU Health to retain them as valued team members and provides them with the opportunities to advance their careers. This mutually beneficial partnership leads to stronger employee engagement and retention, and that too is a very important priority at IU Health.”

BV: What would you say to employers who aren’t currently supporting team members with tuition support? How has this been beneficial for your organization?

LZ: “We understand that most organizations have many competing priorities and limited dollars to invest. However, the return on this investment is one that can be tracked and measured, and has a significant positive impact on the culture. When we invest in our most valuable asset, our people, we build a sustainable workforce that can grow with the organization. It also sends a very positive message to job seekers that their ongoing career development will be a priority at IU Health.”

BV: What do you tell your team members who aren’t sure if they want to go back to school?

LZ: “Education requires a time, energy and resource commitment. Only an individual can truly discern if they are ready to embark on this journey, and if they are, we are there to support them.”

#BizVoiceExtra: SMWC’s 3+1 Degree

Anna Madden

Anna Madden will graduate from Terre Haute’s Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) with both her bachelor’s and graduate degrees.

That’s not unique – most schools offer graduate degree programs. What is more unusual, however, is that Madden will get both of those degrees in just four years, with the SMWC 3+1 accelerated degree program.

(We’ve got more coverage on other accelerated degree programs around the state in our new edition of BizVoice. See the story for more here.)

It was because of a short walk to class with Dr. DJ Wasmer, professor of business and business department chair, that Madden decided to change majors to business and pursue the 3+1 degree.

The benefits, in her perspective: Getting her master’s degree earlier puts her ahead of the competition coming out of school, and the cost savings for an accelerated degree are well worth the rigorous program.

The compressed timeframe was also appealing to Madden.

“My parents were pushing me to do a master’s, but I wasn’t really interested in doing it. I hate that six years of time; I’m eager to get into everything. That’s part of my personality. In four years I’ll have two degrees and be able to study abroad. It’s a win-win,” she adds.

At SMWC, the Masters in Leadership Development (MLD) is the graduate degree piece, which was started in 2007. The 3+1 accelerated program currently is available for business majors, but the MLD program is open to anyone and can be completed in a year’s time. It contains two tracks: organizational leadership and not-for-profit leadership.

Wasmer notes the accelerated program is tough.

“They carry heavier loads and do all the same work as you would do in four years; it’s just compressed. It’s demanding, but it’s doable,” he says.

The challenge is enticing for students like Madden.

“This is awesome. I love the idea of pushing myself harder,” she exclaims.

“I think this program is difficult and challenging, but I have not seen this amount of attention and appreciation (from the staff) anywhere else. It’s so achievable with their help.”

Wasmer adds, “We want to graduate people that can think, emphasize critical thinking skills, emphasize creativity, problem-solving skills, which includes quantitative reasoning.”

Dr. DJ Wasmer

The MLD degree is available online, as well as in person in Terre Haute and Indianapolis; any undergraduate degree can be enhanced with an MLD, not just business majors, Wasmer notes.

“Leadership is essential to our educational enterprise here; one of our core values. We try to graduate leaders who will effect positive change, whether it’s in their community, their workplace, through their religion,” he says. “Leadership is not just for business people. We try to infuse it in everything we do and all the opportunities.”

To learn more about the program, visit www.smwc.edu/academics/departments/business-leadership/31-leadership-development/

SMWC is also featured in our new edition of BizVoice, along with three other private Indiana institutions of higher education, highlighting unique campus programs or offerings. See that story here.

New Blog Series: #BizVoiceExtra

There’s a phrase most writers know (and loathe, even though we understand the necessity of it): “kill your darlings.”

While it doesn’t literally mean to kill anyone, the point is that you will write things that are so witty and smart and wonderful that you have probably lost objectivity on whether the words or phrases are useful to the reader.

The only solution is to kill them! Delete. Rewrite. Either way, make sure you’re not just writing for yourself – you’re writing for the reader.

I wish I had all the room in the world – or, within the pages of our bimonthly business magazine, BizVoice – to keep all my lovely darlings and every interview and nugget of information that I find fascinating when working on a story.

Side note: It probably causes my editor, Tom, a little heartburn when I say, “Can I have a little more room, pleassssssse?” (It happens nearly every edition. Sorry, Tom!)

But we have so many great stories to tell about the people and companies making Indiana a special place to work and live that I want to share as much of that with our readers as possible.

In an effort to tell more of those stories that didn’t get into the magazine, I’m starting a new series here on our blog (and this social media manager is giving it a hashtag, of course): #BizVoiceExtra. While it’s not a total workaround of “killing my darlings,” this means I can expand on some topics that readers also might find interesting.

Look here for stories and photos you won’t find in BizVoice from me and hopefully my fellow writers (they don’t know I’m going to rope them into this yet, ha!).

Our March-April edition of BizVoice drops this week! Keep an eye out for some intriguing stories focusing on education and workforce, Indiana Vision 2025 progress and a trip through Indiana’s political history with another entry in our yearlong Road Trip Treasures series.

I’ll have a few of the #BizVoiceExtra stories from our new edition in a few days. Check back soon!