Business Solutions for Fall 2022

FA L L 2 0 2 2 VOLUME 5 • I SSUE 4 Does Your Business Have a Technology Plan? 3 Business Spotlight: The Winery at Shale Lake 4 Computer Security: The Human Factor 6 Tradition is Not a Business Model 7 I NS I DE CONT ENT S BUSINESS solutions A Journey from Coal Mine to Grape Vine

Sometimes real-life success begins with a dream. We were reminded of this while visiting with Susan Wesa, who owns a winery in Williamson with her husband David Wesa. The couple dreamed of planting grapes during retirement, and it all came true, albeit years ahead of schedule. Learn more about their adventure on pages 4 and 5 in the Business Spotlight on The Winery at Shale Lake. Of course, we all need to do more than dream. So this fall issue of Business Solutions also explores the need to plan, protect, and change. On page 3, we ask the question, Does Your Business Have a Technology Plan? If your answer is “No,” this article will hopefully inspire you to start the process. You’ll find Computer Security: The Human Factor on page 6, which shares strategies on how to protect your business from social engineering that can lead to a security breach. Then on page 7, Tradition is Not a Business Model encourages you to change aspects of your business that may have worked in the past but no longer serve your best interests. What are you dreaming of for your business? Is it a new product? A different workplace culture? An expanded customer base? Ask us how technology from Madison Communications can help you make dreams come true. Sincerely, The Madison Team 2 F A L L 2 0 2 2 Madison Communications Main Office: Madison Communications 21668 Double Arch Road Staunton, IL 62088 Monday – Saturday, 8:00 – 5:00 p.m. Payment Drop-Off Centers: 118 E State, Hamel, IL 594 Livingston Av, Livingston, IL 315 W Main, Staunton, IL 21668 Double Arch Rd, Staunton, IL Mailing Address: Madison Communications PO Box 29 Staunton, IL 62088 Customer Service: Phone: 800-422-4848 Email: Fax: 618-635-7213 Publication Contact: Lexy Hagler, Marketing Coordinator President: Robert W. Schwartz Business Solutions is a publication of Madison Communications 21668 Double Arch Road Staunton, IL 62088 Editorial and Circulation Contact: Lexy Hagler PO Box 29 Staunton, IL 62088 Extra issues are available to business customer employees on a limited basis while supplies last. Contact: Lexy Hagler, PO Box 29, Staunton, IL 62088, 618-635-5000 All brand names and product names used in this publication are trade names, service marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright© 2022 by Madison Communications and Cornerstone Publishing Group, Inc. BUSINESS solutions

F A L L 2 0 2 2 3 BUSINESS solutions Think strategically about hardware, software, and technical support Does Your Business Have a Technology Plan? A technology plan is similar to a business plan, financial plan, or human resources plan, in that it helps you tie a specific area of your business to overall business goals. A technology plan can help you think about the future, allowing you to prepare for your company’s upcoming needs and grow as technology changes over time. Your company needs a technology plan, no matter its size or offerings, and whether or not it specializes in technology. Benefits of a Technology Plan With a technology plan, your company can proactively adapt to, and keep up with, technological advances, which is beneficial in a number of ways: • You’ll be more likely to meet technology goals if you have them. A technology plan is where you can record such goals and track their progress. • Your business will have the right equipment to meet new customer demands. • You’ll be ahead of the technology curve, signaling to customers that you’re competent in other areas of your business as well. • You’ll have a budget for purchasing new technology so these expenses won’t come as a surprise and throw off your finances. • Your business may attract younger workers to whom up-todate technology is not just an added bonus, but expected. • You may save money. By not planning ahead, you risk having technology that becomes obsolete and needs to be replaced every few years. Thinking ahead and investing in better equipment can also result in fewer problems and less time and money needed to deal with them. How to Get Started The first step in building a technology plan is to assess your company’s current technology. Ask for feedback from both customers and employees to see what needs to be improved. Look for areas of your business that could use more technology to make the work more efficient. Also, look for places where you may have technology that you don’t need (for example, printers in a paperless office). Next, think about what you want to accomplish in your business and how technology can help. Set goals accordingly. Make sure to consider the feasibility of the goals, including how much time and money it will take to complete each one. Consider what technology might be needed if your company grows and how technology may change over time. After you create the plan, it’s time to start implementation. Don’t forget to revisit and revise it each year.

4 F A L L 2 0 2 2 BUSINESS spotlight Owners David and Susan Wesa began turning their winery dreams into reality when they purchased the property in 2006. She said, “David started making wine from a kit over 20 years ago, and we began looking for property to plant grapes and retire. When we found the old coal mine in Williamson, we fell in love with the land. The only way for us to buy it was to sell our Victorian home in Edwardsville and make the move years before we planned to retire. Along with our five children, we’ve been on this adventure ever since.” Cabins, Cottages, and Coziness Visitors to The Winery at Shale Lake, open March 15 through December 15, can come just for an evening or choose to stay awhile. There are four cabins along the lake’s south shore, five cottages on top of the hill including a honeymoon cottage, and a floating cabin on the lake with a wraparound deck that’s perfect for fishing. Each unit is a different size with a different theme. Some are pet friendly. Also on the property are a heated wine garden, cozy winter loft, scenic wine trail and picnic areas, plus an outdoor patio and grove. The Winery at Shale Lake makes 13 wines using red and white grape varietals, and these are the only wines served. Heavy appetizers are available, and live music takes place on selected Saturdays. Connected with Madison What more do you need when you have a gorgeous setting and delicious wine and food? Well, The Winery at Shale Lake also needs reliable technology. Madison Communications is happy to provide internet, TV, and voice services. Wesa noted, “We love Madison Communications and have used their services since we moved here. Our entire property is 200 acres and fairly remote, yet Madison Communications is able to meet our requirements. We offer free Wi-Fi to guests at The Winery and cottages, and David and I appreciate the The Winery at Shale Lake The Winery at Shale Lake in Williamson has autumn written all over it. You can sip Illinois wine while enjoying the picturesque setting featuring a 24-acre lake, 14-acre vineyard, and 60-foot hill (the highest point in Madison County). Don’t be surprised if you see deer running across the field or wild turkeys making their way into the woods. David and Susan Wesa invite you to “Get Away and Play”

F A L L 2 0 2 2 5 BUSINESS solutions convenience of being able to run our operations, especially cabin reservations, from any of our connected devices. Cable TV service is installed at The Winery and our house. The other units have separate antennas for local channels.” The cabins at The Winery at Shale Lake do not have Wi-Fi, which is a welcome feature for people wanting to relax and unplug. “We get a lot of appreciation from guests in the family-sized cabins for not having Wi-Fi. I can’t tell you how many times we hear, ‘So glad my kid’s device won’t work here’ from parents,” said Wesa. Has Madison Communications ever “gone the extra mile” to help The Winery at Shale Lake through a challenge? She replied, “We’ve had some issues over the years with so many different buildings on the property. The techs from Madison Communications have always been very patient, professional, and knowledgeable. They don’t give up until they’ve found a solution to the challenge.” Keep Moving Forward Speaking of challenges, David and Susan Wesa have faced many of them—including a recession, a drought, and a pandemic—unrelated to communications services. Wesa said, “We’ve had to make some business adjustments along the way, yet we keep moving forward. We do most of the work ourselves, with the help of incredible friends and family members, and are proud of what we’ve built in this little town of Williamson. We lead exciting, exhausting lives and wouldn’t have it any other way.” Let’s all raise a glass and toast to hard work and perseverance! Who’s Minding Your Business? Kristin Spaller Dispatcher Kristin Spaller joined our staff in 2016, bringing with her extensive experience as a telecommunicator in emergency services (Police, Fire, EMS). She was drawn to Madison Communications because it’s a locally owned, familybased business. As Dispatcher, what’s a typical workday at Madison Communications like for Spaller? She replied, “Typical is not really something we experience on a daily basis. I like to call what I do ‘controlled chaos.’ No day is really ever the same, which keeps the job really interesting.” Spaller maintains the installation schedule for technicians and dispatches them to trouble calls or plant issues. She also prepares orders for installs, maintains all plant records, provisions equipment for technicians while in the field, answers calls about payments or billing questions, and works with customers on troubleshooting TV and phone issues. “I could troubleshoot TV issues all day with customers. I really don’t like to give up until the problem is resolved,” Spaller said. She lives in Mt. Olive with her husband Matt and their two cats. They have two adult sons and enjoy exploring wineries in their free time. The techs from Madison Communications have always been very patient, professional, and knowledgeable. They don’t give up until they’ve found a solution to the challenge.” — SUSAN WESA, OWNER, THE WINERY AT SHALE LAKE

6 F A L L 2 0 2 2 How to help protect your company from social engineering Computer Security: The Human Factor To ensure your company’s computer systems are secure, you back up your data regularly, use robust passwords, promptly address any problems reported by your staff, register your software, install an antivirus application, have a disaster recovery plan in place, and use all other necessary measures. So, you’re all set, right? No—not until you consider that your biggest computer security threat could be you and your employees. What is Social Engineering? Social engineering is a form of intrusion into a computer security system through the people that operate it. Rather than breaking into systems using technology, social engineers gain the confidence of system users and then trick them into performing actions or divulging information that result in a security breach. Social engineers rely on people’s natural inclination to trust others at their word and respond to authority, as well as their disinclination to appear paranoid. They also rely on key information seeming unimportant to those who hold it. For example, a person posing as a company executive calls a system administrator, demanding that certain actions be performed immediately. The system administrator, intimidated by the person calling, complies, without checking the caller’s credentials. Before realizing the consequences, the system administrator divulges a password, leaks confidential information, or compromises a network. In another example, a person posing as an IT consultant walks into a company and makes requests of the receptionist. The receptionist, not wanting to appear paranoid, refrains from checking the “consultant’s” credentials, and offers passwords and other information that lead to an attack. Strategies for Foiling Social Engineers Here are strategies to help avoid these threats: • Do not share passwords with anyone other than known employees and company contractors. (Generally speaking, system administrators will not need your password. They will have their own.) • Make it a policy that all IT professionals entering the premises must be accompanied by your company’s system administrator. • Shred all documents containing specific information about the company, even if they are not “confidential,” per se. Such documents include calendars, organizational charts, contact lists, policy manuals, vacation lists, and so on. • If someone claiming to be from a trusted outside source calls and requests information, insist on hanging up and calling back at the known number for that source. • Do not follow instructions received in a suspicious email (such as following a link to a website, replying with your password, or running an attached executable file). • Do not share information with anyone you don’t know who claims to be offering help on a known problem, especially if you’re not aware of the problem. • Do not be afraid to check someone’s credentials. Anyone with a legitimate reason to be contacting you won’t mind. Remember, social engineers rely on people’s inclination to trust, so learn to be just suspicious enough to outsmart them.

F A L L 2 0 2 2 7 BUSINESS solutions Sticking to traditions from the past may be hurting your business in the present Traditions are beloved parts of family life—the first-day-of-school photo, a recurring Thanksgiving menu, when and where you open holiday gifts. Doing the same thing year after year is comforting. But what works well at home doesn’t work as well in the business world. Why? Because blindly following tradition causes us to turn off our brains and can get in the way of critical thinking, imagination, and innovation. Unless your business is brand new, it has traditions. To identify them, think about these questions: Do you handle tasks a certain way simply because that’s the way you’ve always done them? Do you hold regular meetings more out of habit than necessity? Do you still have the same marketing materials, merchandising displays, or products that you had five years ago? The problemwith holding on too tightly to traditions is that it prevents your business from moving forward. Instead, stay open to fresh ideas and encourage your employees to look for better, faster, and more efficient ways to do their jobs and serve your customers. Many resources are available to help your business develop fresh approaches to replace those tired traditions. For example, consider the following: • Join a business or community group to hear inspiring speakers and network with new people. • Expand your knowledge by studying the success stories of businesses outside your community or field of business. • Stay updated on trends by reading books, taking classes, and traveling. • Check out Pinterest for images that may spark a more creative tactic for items such as your office interior, product packaging, or advertising. While the past should be respected, great business leaders are advocates for change. Make sure you stay curious and have the courage to challenge the status quo. Tradition is Not a Business Model Tried-and-True Apps for Small Businesses There are thousands of productivity apps out there to help you do everything from managing your to- do list to staying on top of business expenses. If you don’t have the time to wade through a long list of apps, check out this short list of some of the best and most popular ones: • Best for time tracking: RescueTime, Toggl, Eternity Time Log • Best for project management: Basecamp, Trello, Asana • Best for team communication: Slack, Stride, Skype for Business • Best for customer relationship management: Streak, Insightly, Nimble • Best for accepting payments: Square, PayPal Here, Dwolla • Best for accounting: QuickBooks Online, Freshbooks, Wave • Best for creating and sharing to-do lists: Wunderlist, Evernote, OmniFocus Of course, apps are just one category of tools to boost small business efficiency and productivity. Others include the internet, phone, and Wi-Fi security services Madison Communications offers. Visit www. to learn more.

As a small business owner, you have enough on your plate. Let Madison Communications function as your IT Department. Our highly skilled technicians can provide services including: To learn more, call 1-800-422-4848. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL • Router and switch installations • Network design and monitoring • Point-to-Point services • OP system support • Server and workstation management • Workstation installation and support • Software installation and setup • Virus and malware removal • Onsite and offsite data backup • Website development and management • E mail support for Exchange, SmarterMail, and Office 365