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How to Cope with Job Stress During COVID-19

Coping with job stress during pandemic

Whether you are going into work or working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has probably changed the way you work. Fear and anxiety about this new disease and other strong emotions can be overwhelming, and workplace stress can lead to burnout. How you cope with these emotions and stress can affect your well-being, the well-being of the people you care about, your workplace, and your community. During this pandemic, it is critical that you recognize what stress looks like, take steps to build your resilience and manage job stress, and know where to go if you need help.

Recognize the symptoms of stress you may be experiencing.

  • Feeling irritation, anger, or in denial
  • Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
  • Lacking motivation
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having trouble concentrating

Know the common work-related factors that can add to stress during a pandemic:

  • Concern about the risk of being exposed to the virus at work
  • Taking care of personal and family needs while working
  • Managing a different workload
  • Lack of access to the tools and equipment needed to perform your job
  • Feelings that you are not contributing enough to work or guilt about not being on the frontline
  • Uncertainty about the future of your workplace and/or employment
  • Learning new communication tools and dealing with technical difficulties
  • Adapting to a different workspace and/or work schedule

Follow these tips to build resilience and manage job stress.

  • Communicate with your coworkers, supervisors, and employees about job stress while maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet).
    • Identify things that cause stress and work together to identify solutions.
    • Talk openly with employers, employees, and unions about how the pandemic is affecting work. Expectations should be communicated clearly by everyone.
    • Ask about how to access mental health resources in your workplace.
  • Identify those things which you do not have control over and do the best you can with the resources available to you.
  • Increase your sense of control by developing a consistent daily routine when possible — ideally one that is similar to your schedule before the pandemic.
    • Keep a regular sleep schedule.
    • Take breaks from work to stretch, exercise, or check in with your supportive colleagues, coworkers, family, and friends.
    • Spend time outdoors, either being physically active or relaxing.
    • If you work from home, set a regular time to end your work for the day, if possible.
    • Practice mindfulness techniques.
    • Do things you enjoy during non-work hours.
  • Know the facts about COVID-19. Be informed about how to protect yourself and others. Understanding the risk and sharing accurate information with people you care about can reduce stress and help you make a connection with others.
  • Remind yourself that each of us has a crucial role in fighting this pandemic.
  • Remind yourself that everyone is in an unusual situation with limited resources.
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally exhausting
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns, how you are feeling, or how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting you.
    • Connect with others through phone calls, email, text messages, mailing letters or cards, video chat, and social media.
    • Check on others. Helping others improves your sense of control, belonging, and self-esteem. Look for safe ways to offer social support to others, especially if they are showing signs of stress, such as depression and anxiety.
  • If you feel you may be misusing alcohol or other drugs (including prescription drugs) as a means of coping, reach out for help.
  • If you are being treated for a mental health condition, continue with your treatment and be aware of any new or worsening symptoms.

Know where to go if you need help or more information.

If you feel you or someone in your household may harm themselves or someone else:

If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety:

  • Disaster Distress Helpline
    • Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Check with your employer for information about possible employee assistance program resources.

If you need to find treatment or mental health providers in your area:

Mental Health Resources

COVID-19 Resources

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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The Key to Reducing COVID-19 Progression is Nasal Irrigation

Adco Roofing the key to reducing covid-19 progression is nasal irrigation

The coronavirus has stopped the world on its axis and has caused more than 450,000 deaths around the world. There is no vaccine yet but scientists are working diligently to find a cure. Some doctors say that if you have contracted the virus there may be something you can do to fight it. Amy Baxter, a reputable MD in Atlanta is known for her forward-thinking approach to established beliefs and she recommends a solution that is rarely heard of. She states that coronavirus infected patients can fight the virus with nasal irrigation.

The Key to Reducing COVID-19 Progression is Nasal Irrigation

Nasal Irrigation

Amy says that she strongly believes that nasal irrigation may be the key to reducing COVID-19 progression of symptoms and contagiousness. Her research and discussions with ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) and pulmonary colleagues support her assumption.

Nasal irrigation has been around for over 5,000 years and can cleanse your sinuses of bacteria and viruses. Amy states that recent studies on the flu and other colds show that nasal irrigation can reduce the symptoms and the length of the sickness. There are no studies yet to see if this is applies for the coronavirus.

Why it’s Effective

Amy believes this method could work to terminate the virus from taking over one’s immune system for many reasons. The first reason is that “SARS-CoV-2’s viral load is densest in sinuses/nasal cavity.”

The second reason is that coronavirus is more fatal in the elderly and men. Amy says that kids don’t develop full sinuses until teens, and males have bigger cavities than women, and the cavities are biggest in those over 70 years old.

Amy also states that the reason deaths are so low in southeast Asia (Vietnam, Thailand, Laos) is because they wear masks, bow and don’t shake hands. But the most significant difference between them and places like South Korea or Japan is that nasal irrigation is practiced by 80% of the population.

How to Do it

If you have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has it, Amy’s guide on how to perform a nasal wash, is:

Do a hypertonic nasal irrigation with half teaspoon povidone-iodine in the morning and in the evening with 8 ounce of boiled lukewarm tap water, half teaspoon baking soda, and one teaspoon salt per cup H20. Flush twice a day. This will give your immune system time to figure out what it needs while reducing the enemy.

Conclusion

Nasal irrigation may be effective in avoiding respiratory problems caused by COVID-19. Flushing the sinuses can stop the virus from spreading to your lungs and causing damage throughout your body. A nasal wash is a safe and risk-free solution to try.

 

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How to Protect your Homeowners Association from Cyber Theft?

Adco Roofing How to protect your hoa from cyber theft

Technology as great as it is comes with risks. The risks of getting hacked online or a data breach are higher than ever these days. As a Homeowners Association board member, this is one of many risks you may worry about. You already have enough to worry about such as accidents, injuries, and potential lawsuits. Data security is just one more thing to add to your list.  Homeowner Associations (HOAs) handle a lot of personal information daily that cyber-criminals would love to get their hands on, such as:

  • Homeowners names and addresses
  • Social security numbers
  • Bank account numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Credit histories

How To Protect your Homeowners Association from Cyber Theft?

Cyber theft becomes more sophisticated every day and the risks for a data breach increase. With each new firewall or security system, hackers develop a new way to break through. More than half of Homeowners Associations in the U.S. currently have policies and procedures to keep and store homeowner data. Regardless, fraud and theft are the top concerns. Ransomware, hacking, and phishing are the most commonly used forms of hacking according to a report by the Foundation of Community Association Research (FCAR).

  • 52% of all breaches occur from an unauthorized user accessing a network illegally. This can be done externally and within the association.
  • 32% of breaches occur due to phishing, where a cyber criminal sends an email designed to mimic a trusted resource. When a board member believes it is authentic and provides login credentials, the data becomes accessible to the thief.
  • 71% of all data breaches are financially motivated.
  • 58% of small-sized businesses experienced data breaches last year, so it is not all about the big corporations. Thieves believe that smaller companies have fewer resources available to protect their data.

Small breaches can cause big expenses. A breach of a small or medium business can bring on average $1.43 million in costs. On average costs can occur for breaches in smaller companies. Costs include compensation to association members, fines for stolen credit card information, and legal defense costs. An emerging type of data breach is called social engineering. A cyber criminal sends an email that evokes fear or urgency in a board member, essentially conning him or her into divulging personally identifiable information.  No matter how well-intentioned board members may be, they are always one mistaken email away from a scam and a data breach. That’s why protecting your association and its board is essential. Thankfully, you can take steps to protect both your personal liability and that of the association in the event of a breach.

Protecting Against a Cyber Theft

Review your association’s insurance coverage. Do not just assume that the association’s directors and officers (D&O) policy offers protection. These policies provide liability coverage for claims when individual members (or the board) fail to act or act wrongfully. They do not necessarily cover cyber liability unless it’s specifically listed within the policy. The association’s crime and fidelity policy is designed to protect the money in the association’s accounts. This may provide some coverage depending on the endorsements included in each association’s plan. You want to make sure that your association’s crime policy includes the following:

  • Computer fraud: Covers loss of money, securities, and property as a result of using a computer to fraudulently transfer funds from inside or outside of the association.

  • Funds transfer fraud: Covers losses resulting from theft of association funds by means of fraudulent communication (phishing email or scam).

  • Fraudulently induced transfers: Covers losses due to any act that influences a person to take actions that may or may not be in their best interest (social engineering scam).

Homeowner Associations also should consider investing in cyber liability coverage if it’s not specified in their D&O policy. Look for policies that provide coverage for:

  • first-party (losses and damages to the association)
  • third-party (losses and damage to outside entities)

These will cover many of the expenses of data breaches, including legal and forensic services, regulatory expenses, notification costs, crisis management, and credit monitoring for all who were involved. Most cyber liability policies will include a retroactive date which is important because 56% of all breaches take several months to discover. In addition to reviewing the association’s insurance coverage, there are additional steps you can take to improve data security.

  • Make sure all personally identifiable information is encrypted and stored on a secure server.
  • Use complex passwords with a combination of lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Implement two-factor authentication that requires users to log in twice from two different devices.
  • Give administrative privileges or personally identifiable information access only to board members whose specific roles require it.

Conclusion

If possible, resource an outside cyber security firm that can monitor association data and alert the board of any concerns. The risk of data breaches grows every year, and homeowners trust their Homeowners Association board to keep their information safe. Take the necessary steps to prevent cyber attacks and save board members and residents from expensive headaches down the road.

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California Reopening: What We Know and Don’t Know

welcome to california

The state’s careful rollout of new rules has left a lot of people wondering. Here’s a breakdown of what we know – and what we don’t know – about how the state is reopening.

As the curve of the novel coronavirus cases in California has successfully flattened, the dialogue has shifted from how to contain the deadly virus to how we may reach a new normal of sorts.

Governor Gavin Newsom has been loosening restrictions at the state level but very slowly. In recent weeks, the governor has announced modifications to the state’s stay-at-home order to phase in the reopening of more sectors of the economy.

The Four Stages

California plans to reopen its economy in four phases:

Stage 1: Everyone is either staying at home or a member of the essential workforce

Stage 2: Reopening lower risk workplaces, including:

    • Non-essential manufacturing (toys, furniture, clothing, etc.)
    • Schools
    • Childcare facilities
    • Retail businesses for curbside pick-up
    • Offices where working remotely isn’t possible, but can be modified to make the environment safer for employees
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Stage 3: Reopening higher risk workplaces, which require close proximity to other people, including:

    • Hair salons
    • Nail salons
    • Gyms
    • Movie theaters
    • Sporting events without live audiences
    • In-person religious services (churches and weddings)
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Stage 4: Ending the stay-at-home order, which would allow for the reopening of:

    • Concert venues
    • Convention centers
    • Sporting events with live audiences
  •  

What stage are we in now?

Most of the state is in Stage 2. Gov. Newsom said Monday he expects roughly 53 of the state’s 58 counties to be able to move into the second phase now or in the very near future. He did not specify which five counties were not read for Stage 2 reopening.

What businesses are allowed to operate and which aren’t?

At the beginning of May, Bay Area counties loosened restrictions to allow some outdoor businesses, like construction, retail nurseries, landscapers and gardeners, to resume because they were considered lower risk for spreading the virus.

Starting May 8, bookstores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists and other similar retailers were allowed to start doing curbside pickup only. That means no in-store browsing. Manufacturers and logistics operations (like warehouses) were also allowed to reopen May 8, as long as they follow strict new guidelines.

On May 12, the governor released guidelines for counties to reopen shopping malls, dine-in restaurants and some office buildings, as long as they attest to the state that COVID-19 is under control locally. Since May 12, counties have slowly been reopening those parts of the economy, as well as outdoor museums, car washes and pet grooming services.

When will we move into Stage 3?

Gov. Newsom has not yet offered a specific timeline of when he plans to relax more restrictions, but he hinted parts of Stage 3 may come as early as June. In a press conference Monday, Newsom said the state might allow sporting events (without spectators), hair salons and church gatherings to all reconvene as early as the first week of June.

He said specifics on when and how that might happen would come in the next week or so.

What do we NOT know?

Newsom hasn’t fully explained the state’s plan to move into Stage 3, though we expect more answers in the coming week(s). For example, will nail salons be included or just hair salons? Gyms and movie theaters are also both part of Stage 3, but Newsom made no mention of whether or not they’d be allowed to reopen in June.

While there are lots of unknowns about the implementation of Stage 3, the biggest question may be what the Bay Area will do in response. Gov. Newsom has made it clear that localities can decide to move faster or slower than the state’s reopening timeline.

As most of the Bay Area counties decided to move more slowly into Stage 2, it wouldn’t be surprising if they also decided to hold off on the Stage 3 reopenings tentatively slated for June.

Is it possible we move back a stage?

Yes. The state may decide to enact stricter shelter-in-place restrictions if coronavirus cases start to spike.

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Update from ADCO on Covid-19

Dear Valued Adco Roofing & Waterproofing Customers,

We hope this message finds you well. As the Covid-19 situation continues to impact our normal routines, Adco Roofing & Waterproofing is taking responsible actions to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees, customers, and business partners.

Adco Roofing & Waterproofing remains committed and focused on maintaining our service and providing high-quality workmanship that our valued customers deserve.

Adco is fully operational and open for business. Please continue to place inspection or repair requests via telephone, email and or fax.  Our sales and production team are always available to help via phone, email, or Zoom.

Adco Roofing & Waterproofing will always do our best to meet our obligation to our customers, staff and the industry at large all while acting with proper health and safety policies.

  • We are continuing to follow the guidelines of the “Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response” published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with Roofing fitting into the category of “critical infrastructure” industries.
  • As of now, we have not experienced and do not anticipate any interruptions to material availability to service our customers.
  • We have instituted further measures at our facility to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our production and office staff while remaining operational.
  • Most of our non-production staff including Sales and Customer Service are continuing to work remotely.
  • We are continuing to limit on-site visits from Project Managers and Inspectors to pressing field installation challenges, emergency leaks, and final inspections with manufacturer representatives for warranty issuance.

While great challenges may lie ahead, the Adco Roofing & Waterproofing team is fully confident our team has the experience and dedication to support each other and our customers until a sense of normalcy returns to our daily personal and professional lives.

Thank you for your continued support and confidence in Adco Roofing & Waterproofing. We wish you and your families continued health and safety.

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Impact of COVID-19 on the Roofing Industry

Coronavirus is a global pandemic. It’s affecting our health, and the economy. It’s also affecting the roofing industry, so contractors must be ready.

Prevention is the key. As the virus spreads, employers need to take preventative measures. The number of cases is rising and you need to be prepared. Employers must have procedures in place for their workers to maintain health and well-being.

OSHA has taken initiative to remind employers of their existing standards, focusing on OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment standards. There is an OSHA webpage that provides employers with all current information on the virus. This is to help them establish guidelines and procedures for their workplace.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s advisory is also a great resource. This features a “Pandemic Preparedness” guide for employers. One key feature is that employers have a broader scope for questioning their employees on health issues. This is normally prohibited. They can request information about travel or when employees are showing flu-like symptoms. They can request for employees to have their temperature taken and can send them home at their discretion.

These measures can only be taken however when an employer feels the employee is a direct threat. Any information gained cannot be shared and adverse actions such as termination cannot be done.

The Affect on the Supply Chain

The virus in China is impacting the world in terms of production. Global markets and supply chains are feeling the strain. Mass quarantines, curfews, and travel restrictions are crippling Chinese shipping. This is affecting the roofing industry too. Specifically, the most drastic effects can be seen in the supply of solar roofing. Production has almost come to a stop as China is where 70% of these panels are produced.

Other materials are also seeing a decline in production. Aluminum, plastic, timber, and rubber have all declined. The lack of workforce has been the driving reason. Currently, manufacturing plants in China are believed to only be operating at 30%. This will continue to hit the roofing industry until the situation improves. U.S. roofing companies can expect to begin feeling higher costs and price fluctuations, material shortages, logistics breakdowns, order cancellations, and extended delays in product fulfillment and shipping.

Ultimately, project completion will slow which affects suppliers and project managers. Roofers are advised to begin preparing for these effects now by evaluating their own supply chains from end to end to pinpoint vulnerabilities. You need to identify potential alternative supply sources, preparing for costs to soar, and making sure you have adequate provisions to protect against increased costs, supply chain delays and interruptions.

Incorporate Force Majeure Clauses

This needs to be in your contracts. This allocates the risk of performance if performance is delayed indefinitely or stopped as a result of circumstances outside of a party’s control. It also provides notice to the parties of the types of events that would cause a project to be suspended or that would excuse performance such as coronavirus and supply issues.

The party impacted by the force majeure is protected by temporarily suspending or terminating the contract due to unexpected and unavoidable events. The event must be beyond the control of the contracting parties, it cannot be anticipated, foreseeable, or expected, and the event must be unavoidable. At this time, the coronavirus pandemic and its global economic impact are covered under this.

The following elements should be addressed in a force majeure clause:

  • What events are considered force majeure?
  • Who is responsible for suspending performance?
  • Who is allowed to invoke the clause?
  • Which contractual obligations are covered by the clause?
  • How is the inability to perform determined?

What if the Event Continues for an Extended Period?

If your company already has this clause in place, it would still be wise to review those provisions to make sure they are clear. Make sure terms such as “widespread epidemic,” “pandemic,” and/or “public health emergency” are added. Since courts will interpret the clause based on the wording, these key phrases need to be included.

Price Increase Provisions

Contractors need to consider adding terms to their contracts to protect themselves from labor and material price increase. A price acceleration provision allows the roofing contractor to adjust the contract price to reflect the revised actual cost of the labor and materials. The price acceleration clause is usually limited to increases in materials over the course of a single project.

The contractor also needs to provide the prime contractor or owner with evidence supporting the claim for additional compensation. Price acceleration clauses also sometimes contain a termination for convenience provision. This will enable the contractor to escape a contract if the cost of materials has increased too much.

A roofing contractor may find it difficult to include a price acceleration clause in its contract with a prime contractor because both the owner and the prime contractor are looking for fixed prices initially. In this situation, the roofing contractor should consider buying and storing materials prior to construction to avoid any potential increases later on.

Requesting a deposit to purchase the requested materials is also a good idea. The subcontractor should consider requesting that the prime contractor also add a similar provision in its contract. This way the prime contractor can seek additional funds from the owner for any labor or price acceleration that occurs throughout the project.

Smart Bidding

Roofing contractors should also be cautious when providing firm bids for projects. Especially, if they will not begin construction for a few months. In these cases, the contractor faces additional exposure for any increases in the costs of labor and materials caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Estimating these jobs thoughtfully, and conservatively can potentially make or break a roofing contractor. Especially since the extent of the repercussions of the coronavirus on the market is not yet known. Since there is no current vaccine for the coronavirus and the number of infected individuals continues to rise, there is no way to know when the economy will normalize. Roofing contractors need to take steps to mitigate their risks and protect themselves. As the virus remains at large, there will be impacts to the U.S. construction industry, after the shock wave from China’s supply lines spreads.

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Covid-19: What should HOAs Do?

There are rising confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus in California. As a result, Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a State of Emergency. There is an increased risk for health care workers, individuals with respiratory and other underlying health issues, as well as the elderly.

Proactive homeowners’ boards and their management professionals are thinking about how this virus might impact their residential communities and what can be done to blunt the impact. Most are asking the following questions:

▪ Can we prohibit all guests from entering the community?

▪ Can we prohibit owners from undertaking renovation projects so we can prevent contractors and other workers from entering the property?

▪ Can we prevent residents we know have traveled to any high-risk areas (China, Italy, Spain, Iran) from returning to their units?

▪ Can we ask potential purchasers and potential renters if they have traveled to any high-risk areas?

▪ Does the State of Emergency mean the board now has emergency statutory powers?

▪ Should we stop holding meetings?

While it is admirable that some community association boards are gearing up for the inevitable spread of Covid-19, a balance must be struck in order to avoid panic.

Overly restrictive protocol that unnecessarily impacts your residents’ freedoms and quality of life are not likely to withstand a potential legal challenge and they also will create unnecessary strain in your community. It is important to remember that not every private residential community will be impacted in the same way.

In multifamily buildings where residents encounter each other frequently in the elevators, corridors, and other common areas, the need to address preventative measures is much more pressing than in an HOA with single family homes and no enclosed common areas.

Condominium, cooperative and HOA boards should be discussing the issue of Covid-19 with their residents. We believe that the following protocol may be helpful:

▪ Urge residents who have frequent guests to limit or reduce guest usage for the near future.

▪ If there is Airbnb and other short-term rental activity occurring in your community that violates your governing documents, work with association counsel to minimize that activity.

▪ Place hand sanitizer stations in high traffic areas in the community.

▪ Speak to association counsel before engaging in conversations with potential purchasers or potential renters about Covid-19 and their possible travel-related exposure.

▪ Speak to association counsel about the applicability of emergency powers now that Governor Newsom has declared a State of Emergency. Don’t assume that this means that your board can utilize the same emergency powers that are activated in response to damage caused by an event for which a state of emergency is declared.

▪ Make sure you have updated emergency contact information for all owners including any residents who may be particularly vulnerable.

▪ Let your residents know that if they are feeling ill or have any questions or concerns that they can contact the Covid-19 hotline that can be reached at ‪1-684-633-5871.

The board may also wish to pass a rule or update an existing rule to address the use of common areas such as the pool or clubhouse for private social events hosted by residents. That rule might limit the number of such events or the number of people that can attend.

In terms of suspending meetings, the board needs to continue operating and administering the association’s business and meetings are a large part of that. In most communities, board meetings are so poorly attended that they are not likely to become an issue in terms of virus transmission. However, if your board is concerned, you can explore the use of an in-house cable channel to broadcast the meetings live so people can watch in the privacy of their homes.

There is no doubt that the flames of anxiety are being stoked by the 24-hour news cycle coverage of Covid-19. Association residents will undoubtedly be looking to their elected boards and management professionals to set the right tone when dealing with this latest challenge.

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How to Protect your HOA from a Cyber Attack

Associations handle personally identifiable information on a daily basis. This data includes homeowner names, addresses, bank account information, credit card numbers, credit histories, and Social Security numbers, which are very attractive for cyber criminals.

As data thieves grow more sophisticated in their tactics, the potential risks of a data breach increase for an association.

The Foundation for Community Association Research, reports that more than half of homeowners associations have policies and procedures in place to collect, store, and protect homeowners’ personal data.

More than half (52%) of all data breaches result from hacking, which occurs when an unauthorized user accesses a computer network for illicit purposes, according to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report. This can happen either externally (by a cyber criminal from an outside entity) or internally (by an association board member).

32% percent of breaches occur due to phishing, where a cyber criminal sends an email designed to mimic that of a financial institution or otherwise trusted resource. If a board member believes the email is authentic and provides login credentials as requested, the data thief has all the information he or she needs to access association accounts. Phishing schemes have become more effective as fraudsters refine their strategy.

In every piece of sensitive data, cyber thieves see dollar signs. According to Verizon, 71% of breaches are financially motivated.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking breaches only happen to large companies. Ponemon Institute’s 2018 State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium Size Businesses report shows that 58% of small-to-mid-size businesses (companies employing between 100 to 1,000 people) experienced a data breach during fiscal year 2018, up from 54% in 2017.

No matter how well-intentioned board members may be, they could be one mistaken email away from falling for a phishing scheme and causing a data breach. That’s why protecting your association and its board is paramount. Thankfully, you can take steps to protect both your personal liability and that of the association in the event of a breach.

Start by reviewing your association’s insurance coverage. Board members may think their association’s directors and officers (D&O) policy offers protection. While these policies provide liability coverage for claims when individual members (or the entire board) fail to act or act wrongfully on the association’s behalf, they do not cover cyber liability unless it’s specifically listed within the policy.

The association’s crime and fidelity policy, which protects the money in the association’s accounts, may provide some coverage depending on the endorsements included in each association’s plan. Ensure your association’s crime policy includes the following:

Computer fraud. Covers loss of money, securities, and property as a result of using a computer to fraudulently transfer funds from inside the association or banking premises to outside the premises.

Funds transfer fraud. Covers losses resulting from theft of association funds by means of a fraudulent communication, such as a phishing email.

Fraudulently induced transfers. Covers losses due to any act that influences a person to take actions that may or may not be in their best interest, such as replying to social engineering threats.

Associations also should consider cyber liability coverage if it’s not specified in their D&O policy. Look for policies that provide first-party (losses and damages to the association) and third-party (losses and damage to outside entities) coverage. These will cover many of the expenses of data breaches, including legal and forensic services, regulatory expenses, notification costs, crisis management, and credit monitoring for all affected parties.

Most cyber liability policies will include a retroactive date; if a claim happens prior to that date, your association won’t be covered. This is an important stipulation to consider, especially since 56% of all breaches take months to discover, Verizon notes.

In addition to reviewing the association’s insurance coverage, board members can take multiple steps to improve data security.

■ Make sure all personally identifiable information is encrypted and stored in a secure server.

■ Talk with your manager about the data security requirements that are in place.

■ Use complex passwords with lowercase letters, uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

■ Implement two-factor authentication that requires users to log in twice from two different devices.

■ Give administrative privileges or personally identifiable information access only to board members whose specific roles require it.

■ Engage an outside cybersecurity firm that can monitor association data and alert the board of any concerns, if funds allow.

The risk of data breaches grows every year, and homeowners trust a community association’s board to keep their information safe. Don’t break that trust. Taking steps to prevent cyber attacks will save board members and residents from agonizing and expensive headaches down the road.

Source: HOAresources

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New Laws Affecting HOA Communities in California

With the new year, California has adopted new laws impacting the way your association might function. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a few bills into law affecting HOAs in 2020.

Some of these changes include, how elections are conducted, restrictions on accessory dwelling units, and specifications regarding whether or not a contractor is considered an employee. These changes may force associations to make modifications to existing regulations and practices within their communities.

Senate Bill 323 includes;

–      Suspending the right to vote in elections if the community member is overdue in their assessments

–      Setting qualifications for board member candidates

–      Requiring a third party to monitor elections 

Additionally, homeowners now face more challenges when building accessory dwelling units or ADUs.

This law prohibits HOAs from enforcing rules that would make ADUs difficult to build. However, it does allow them to impose reasonable restrictions, such as:

–      The owner must occupy the main residence instead of the ADU

–      Only one ADU maybe built on the lot

–      The ADU cannot be sold separately from the primary home on the lot

–      The ADU cannot be larger than 50% of the main residence or 1,200 square feet in size

Finally, one of the biggest changes reclassifies an independent contractor as an employee. Assembly Bill 5 states that contractors are considered employees unless the community association does not supervise the person’s work.

–      Attorneys, accountants, engineers, and other professionals who provide services to common interest communities are exempt 

Collectively, these changes were established after the first of the year. Boards and managers in the state of California should be aware and anticipate changes within their associations. It’s recommended that all communities in California consult a legal professional when establishing these updates.

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10 Holiday Gifts You Should Never Give

With Christmas right around the corner, it’s time to start shopping, if you haven’t already, for gifts for those on your list. And, if you don’t want to be known as a sucky gift giver, take our advice and take a look at these twenty gifts you should never give.

10. UNDERWEAR

Unless you’re buying them for your significant other, this is definitely a no-no. Underwear is as personal as it gets, and if you give them to someone you don’t have that kind of relationship with, things could get really weird, really fast. Even if you do plan on giving them to your bae, it still might not be such a good idea–unless you plan on giving it to them when no one else is around. Can you imagine the looks on the faces of your family and friends when your significant other opens up the box and pulls out some racy underwear?

9. UGLY SWEATERS

Ah, the dreaded Christmas sweater. The gift we love to hate. Unless you’re a grandmother or a great aunt, this item shouldn’t even be anywhere on your Christmas gift list.

Advice: This is best given as a gag gift or for use at an ugly-Christmas-sweater party (yes, there’s such a thing).

FUN FACT
According to Time magazine, sweaters have been around since the 19th century, although the Christmas sweater didn’t become a thing until just a few decades ago. In fact, according to The Wall Street Journal, the Christmas sweater started being mass-marketed in the 1980s.

8. EXERCISE GEAR

If your girlfriend or wife has been asking you lately if she looks fat, regardless of your response (and we hope you gave the right response), it’s probably not a good idea to give her exercise gear for Christmas. While you’re at it, you can cross shapeware, workout apparel, bathroom scale, diet cookbook and gym membership off that list, too. The last thing anyone wants to hear is that you think they need to lose weight. Even if that’s not the message you’re trying to send, it will most likely be taken in that way.

7. PETS

Making the choice to get a pet is a big decision–and, it’s one that’s usually best left up to the one(s) who will be caring for the pet. Keep in mind that not everyone is ready for such a responsibility. So, unless you’re getting the pet for your kids or someone else who lives in your household, it’s not a good idea to give a living, breathing creature to someone else. Instead, try this tip from MSN: “Try a stuffed animal first, and see how friends do with that.”

6. RE-GIFTS

You know that gift that you got last year that you really didn’t like and now you’re trying to pass it off onto someone else? Yeah, that’s what a re-gift is. No matter how tempting it may be to re-wrap it and give it to someone else, don’t do it. Especially if you don’t remember who gave it to you. You could end up giving the gift back to the original giver, and that would be just plain embarrassing–for them and for you.

5. PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE GIFTS

We understand that you may not like your in-laws or step family, but that’s no reason to intentionally get them a sucky gift in the hopes of crushing their ego. Here are some examples of what we mean:

-The mother-in-law who gives her son a lavish gift but gives her daughter-in-law something cheap and tacky.
-The stepdaughter who gets her new stepmother a hideous shirt.
-The jealous friend who gives junk food to the friend she knows is on a diet.

4. CASH OR GIFT CERTIFICATES

Unless you’re planning on giving these to your teenager (trust us, they’ll thank you), it’s probably not a good idea to give cash or a gift certificate to your significant other. People like getting gifts that required some thought and effort on the part of the gift-giver. Even if you have to get creative and give them something homemade, it’s the thought that counts.

TIP: Cash gifts are often seen as tacky and awkward. Our advice? Just don’t do it.

3. CANDLES

Candles are the perfect gift to give to a co-worker or an acquaintance–not so much when it comes to your significant other. Candles scream “we’re just friends,” so unless that’s the message your trying to send to the person you’re romantically involved with, candles are a no-go. Besides, most people have a ton of candles in their home already, and the last thing they need is more candles–no matter how good they smell. Another thing to keep in mind is that strong-scented candles can be quite bothersome for people with sensitive noses.

2. CDs and DVDs

These gifts used to be all the rage at one time, but thanks to the growth of digital downloads and streaming services available through iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and the like, these once hip items are now outdated. Plus, giving CDs and DVDs to certain people might send a not-so-nice message. According to 99.3/105.7 KISS FM in Richmond, VA, giving CDs and/or DVDs to your co-workers can send an “I didn’t want this so I’m gonna give it to you” message.

1. GIMMICK GIFTS

Who doesn’t love a good laugh? But, that’s pretty much all you’ll get out of gimmick gifts. I mean, seriously, when is anyone ever going to use unicorn hand puppets or shaving cream that smells like bacon or a ‘knit your own beard‘ kit? You’ll just be wasting your money when you could have spent it on something more useful. Plus, it’ll probably end up in a corner somewhere collecting dust until the recipient decides to get rid of it.

CONCLUSION

Make sure you get your loved ones a gift they’ll like or else they’ll be forced to return it. And, that can make for an embarrassing situation, especially if they run into you while they’re returning it or at some point down the road you ask them if they’re enjoying the gift and they have to make up some lie to save themselves and you from embarrassment. Whatever you get, just be sure to put some thought into it. Thanks for reading, and happy shopping!