Follow by Email

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A generation changes hiring

What benefits are you willing to provide to attract today’s workforce? The U.S. Millennial generation is poised to outnumber Baby boomers by 2019. The Pew Research Center estimates that Millennials will number over 73 million while Boomers decline to 72 million. This population surge also translates to the workforce as Pew reported that Millennials did, in fact, surpass Baby Boomers in 2016.

So the chances of your hiring pool being populated by Millennials is very high. What you were offering in the way of incentives and hiring packages in the past may not be of interest today. Applicants may turn down your offering because of a better package elsewhere. And that doesn’t always mean money.

Companies know that the job marketplace is changing. In order to be competitive, incentives to hire are being reconsidered. Pension plans are being phased out as companies look to save money and retirement accounts have become portable. While one business may pay well another may have a more “millennial” conducive atmosphere. The younger workforce seeks independence and freedom to make choices. You don’t need brick and mortar to start a business and these potential employees know that. Today is easier than ever to follow the dream of being your own boss and launching a business that will change the world. Attracting and retaining talent is becoming difficult and competitive. Companies need to tap into the energy that is driving the marketplace. But how do they draw potential talent into the corporate world? By downplaying the corporate label and integrating freedom and flexibility into the workplace.

Being aware of massive student loan debt facing today’s graduate, companies are offering better than average salary options as well as paying for postgraduate degrees and training. The cube farms of yesteryear still exist to some extent, not everyone can have a corner office. But the office decor is more upbeat and well lighted encouraging a more productive environment. Playing to the work-life balance many companies have embraced the idea of unlimited leave. Which may sound like a pathway to abuse but past studies have shown that employees with unlimited time off benefits actually took less leave. If a business doesn’t have a gym on the grounds they offer access to established gyms nearby. Team bonding events, both on and off-site. Nurseries. Pet sitting services. Meals and snacks. The list is ever growing and is only limited by the employer’s imagination and of course what they can afford.

Studies have shown that the Millennial generation is changing the marketplace. They are also changing the workplace. If not by their expectations of what employers should offer but how the company is managed. The entrance level employees ten years ago are upper-level management and CEO’s today.

You may offer a traditional employment package with a higher salary but if your competitors' benefits and culture are better, you’re losing talent. If not at the hiring phase but during retention. Changes to the hiring and benefits culture may be a slow drag for some employers into a new era but it should also affect the workplace in its entirety in a positive manner.

See the blog archive for other posts relating to the Millennials workforce.

Hiring in the Millennial age May 2017
Customer service in the Millennial age March 2017
Not like all the others September 2016

Monday, June 18, 2018

Why am I doing all the work?

NOTE: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated with relevant information.

McDonald’s recently announced that it would be expanding automated ordering kiosks to 1,000 stores per quarter for the next eight quarters. Pundits rued the announcement as McDonald’s response to labor costs due to higher minimum wage requirements, thus eliminating the need for cashiers. Of course, McDonald’s did not report or even intimate that cashier’s would be replaced or their workforce reduced. The kiosks are meant to supplement the cashiers and enhance the customer experience. Admittedly, McDonald’s CEO noted that. “kiosks allow customers to dwell on the available options and choices, which in turn promotes additional sales.”
While no company would admit to eliminating jobs, one has to wonder the longer-term effect over time. Layoffs may not occur but will companies installing point of sale automation continue to hire at the same rate as before automation?

Over the years we’ve become accustomed to pumping our own gas, bagging our groceries, and other self-checkout situations. As technology improves mobile ordering and service delivery becomes more frequent. Fast food restaurants have integrated phone apps and pay systems to allow for mobile ordering and pickup. Most of these businesses don’t appear to have fewer employees, but, again, what will the industry experience after automation has been in place for several years? Gas stations use to have several employees dedicated to pumping gas. Now there is one operating the terminal that controls the pumps. Grocery stores have ten plus checkout lanes installed sometimes only having a couple staffed.

Automation may or may not affect the workforce but it is affecting the customer experience and wallet. While self-checkouts and automation may make the customer experience smoother, faster, and more convenient it is not lowering prices. Begging the question-Why am I, the customer, doing the work of the service provider for the same price? Recent experiences brought this to light.

Having telephone issues, issues meaning no dial tone, which translates into a true triple play of also no Internet or TV, the problem was reported. Rather than fight the system and try to talk to a person I decided to play along with the online troubleshooting. After a half hour on the floor performing several technical tasks to determine the nature of the problem, the online assistant determined that there was something wrong with the incoming line and repairs were needed. Wise decision. I do admit that following the system and performing the checks wasn’t that difficult. After the troubleshooting, I was even guided through the repair appointment process. Although given that all of our communications were out, the process could not have been completed without a Smartphone.

Not so long ago, a repair technician would have come out and completed the whole process. Which in this case they still had to do. The point being, I did the repair troubleshooting. Did I get a stipend or bill discount for performing the tech work?

The second instance was noticed while checking in for a flight. You can already check in and print boarding passes from the comfort of home or directly to your phone. Then if you have bags to check, you report to the airline agent who checks your paperwork, weighs your bag, prints and attaches your luggage claim tags and takes your bags. This flight introduced us to a new system for our convenience. Once at the airport we were shuttled to a kiosk where we checked our bags, printed our luggage claim tags, attached the tags, and then handed them to an agent, who put them on the conveyor, which was the only step performed by the airline. Didn’t see any payment for that day's work either.

As technology improves more and more services are being pushed onto the consumer. Companies reassign personnel because the customer is now performing those jobs, but prices stay the same. Companies explain this by saying that they are able to keep their prices low by adding the new “self-serve” features. Keep prices low? How about lowER?

Yes, it is more convenient and sometimes quicker to just do things for yourself.  Eventually, there will be no human interaction at all. Just scan your phone and off you go. Oh yeah…that’s happening now.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

What we give up for convenience

If you think about it, who is the culprit in the multitude of personal data breaches? The hackers? The companies that failed to protect the data? Or is it ourselves for uploading our personal data in the first place? This really isn’t a proper question because we aren’t the culprits. But the point is that we, ourselves, allow more and more data to be collected by mega corporations. Sometimes it is innocuous as registering on a web site or app, which we cannot always avoid because in order to do business in the digital world we have to. What I mean by allow is two pronged. One, we are not outspoken enough about the Google’s and Facebook’s of the digital world collecting data. Facebook has seen a little backlash recently, but people will continue over sharing every detail of their life. But that’s the really big picture. 

Second, and more specific to personal security, is what we allow by making choices to upload or share personal data. We do this by plugging in the new smart TV without learning about its capabilities and without changing the settings. Or by installing the multitude of other appliances, cameras, digital assistants that we bring into our homes and plug and play. Anything you can talk to on demand and receive a response has to be listening all the time. Creepy? We will allow apps to track our location so that when we are in certain stores or near certain locations we receive notifications. As with listening, these apps aren’t waiting for you to arrive at a certain location, they are tracking and storing your every move until you arrive at the specific location.

How much privacy are we willing to give up?

Last month police and the FBI captured a man suspected of being a serial rapist and murderer in a multitude of cases from forty years ago. The case was broken through the use of DNA. The suspect himself was smart enough not to have his DNA logged into any DNA databases. Smart detectives realized that outside of justice system DNA databases there is a plethora of information being collected by private entities. Ancestral research companies provide DNA collection kits, which allow people to submit their DNA for comparison to other samples in hopes of finding family matches. You guessed it, the profiles are stored in databases so that they can be pinged during searches.

Checking crime scene DNA against public sources of DNA, police were able to get a familial match. That match narrowed the pool of suspects down to one family. Then through traditional police work detectives were able to identify a suspect. As you can imagine privacy watchdogs are all over the issue of law enforcement having access to private sector databases.

For some time Amazon has been offering package delivery inside of your home. Utilizing an Amazon smart lock, with the customer’s permission and knowledge, delivery personnel can unlock your door and drop the package inside. Of course, you are alerted each step of the process. Amazon recently announced package delivery to your vehicle. Currently the service is only offered to owners of GM and Volvo vehicles in certain cities.  The privacy we give for convenience. We allow cleaning and pet sitting services into our vacant homes but more than likely we have met the workers performing the services. I’m sure Amazon does a fantastic job vetting it’s employees. The point is we are giving complete strangers access to our homes and vehicles. We are then shocked and surprised when something bad happens. 

Check yourself

As with corporations and social media we gladly share and upload personal data, even our current location and DNA profiles. Trusting souls that we humans are we don’t cry foul until there is a breach or government overreach. Even though we are the ones that probably share a little too much.

You can’t always avoid uploading data or providing data through registrations. What you can do is be aware of what and to whom you are sharing. Monitor your financial accounts and pay attention to announcements of breaches. You may not be directly affected, but your other accounts may have been compromised through third party links to the breach victim.

Just as we are told to change smoke detector batteries at Daylight Saving Time, maybe we should get in the habit of doing online security checks every time there is a breach announcement.

Please see the blog archive for other posts relating to privacy.
Keys to the vault August 2015

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

There’s been a breach

Note: This post was originally published in 2015. It has been updated with new information relating to the topic. 

Last week Twitter announced a breach of passwords. Twitter claimed that no personal data was released and encouraged users to change passwords. Since the big breaches from the fall of 2014 it seems like every month we have heard about a new breach. If not banks then major retailers or healthcare systems. The private information we entrust others to keep safe is being violated on a regular basis.

Try as you might to stay off the “grid” by paying cash, getting paper statements, or banking in person, eventually you will be a victim of identity theft or some sort of financial intrusion. Either because of convenience or because a company demands you use an electronic system. It is difficult to navigate in today’s world without having some portion of personal data stored on an institution’s computer.

Personal data

Ever check out at a store that you shop infrequently and they ask for your address, phone number, or name, and you’re in their system? Freaky right? At some point you’ve provided them with your personal information. Larger companies own smaller companies…your personal data is bought and shared daily.

Tax season just passed and it’s a good bet that when you filed your taxes, electronically of course, your return was rejected by the IRS because, surprise, the return associated with your social security number has already been filed.  

The IRS estimates that more than 122 million returns were filed electronically in 2017. While the IRS has seen a decline in personal tax fraud, falsified business returns have increased. The IRS identified 10,000 compared to 4,000 fraudulent business returns in 2016.  The IRS doesn’t publish everything it is doing to combat tax identity fraud. Some of the public efforts are tightening access to private sector filing software and more thoroughly scrutinizing refunds. When your SSN has been compromised the IRS issues you an electronic identification number for future filings. This solution should keep your tax information safe, as it is a unique number. But so was you’re your SSN at the time it was generated. 

We use to worry about someone stealing a driver’s license or credit card. If that didn’t happen you didn’t have much to worry about. Years ago, while working as an undercover detective, and when I say “years ago” I mean before there was a computer in every home and a world-wide inter web of computers.  A senior administrator had a briefcase stolen that contained contact information for all of the detectives. Not just name and phone numbers but addresses, birthdays and yes the coveted social security number. Not sure what we called it then, but it wasn’t a breach. But in today’s terminology, the breach compromised so much personal information what could one do? You couldn’t completely change everything. In those days though we were more concerned with operational security than identity theft. Yes, identity theft occurred, but not on the level or frequency as today. The criminals at that time weren’t as sophisticated in that skill set as they are today. Plus, copying and sharing was a literal concept. The documents would have to be photocopied and personally distributed. 

We knew that if we worked hard and fast to recover the documents, we could determine the extent at which the information had been distributed. The faster the culprit was caught, the less chance the information could be distributed. Today, your information can be stolen from a third party vendor’s database by a criminal in another country and uploaded to a distribution network all from a keyboard, in a matter of minutes.

Document, document, document

The tenets of the paper world of long ago still hold true. Identify the breach and work fast to stop the leak.
Once you’ve identified a problem, you need to start working to quickly plug the leak. Contact the source in which you became aware of the breach-credit card, driver’s license, IRS, etc. Get that entity started on resolving the issue. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, your State’s Attorney Generals Office, even the FBI if you seem to be apart of a larger breach. File local police reports also. It may seem for naught but you’ll have a record of the report and a case number to go with any other complaint filings. Most of the entities you will deal with, including law enforcement, have online complaint forms. It doesn’t take long and you can get it done in less than a day.

Document, document, document, everything you do and the entities you’ve contacted. Keep your notes for future reference.

Consider a monitoring program. There are lots of companies out there that perform this service. Of course do your research and choose wisely. If the breach occurred from a major retailer, financial, or health institution, they may offer some sort of credit monitoring or identity repair service for free. Take advantage of it.

Update, update, update

If you get notification of a password breach or hear it on the news, such as the recent Twitter breach, don’t ignore it. Like Twitter, companies publicize that no personal data was infiltrated but passwords “may” have been compromised. It is important to regularly change passwords as a matter of routine. However, when a company has had their password database specifically breached it is important to act quickly and update your settings. It is equally important to update other accounts in which you use that same password. Maybe get in the habit of updating passwords whenever there is a breach in the news. 

We should have different passwords for every account but let’s face it no one does that. So when one password is compromised the other accounts that use that same password are now in danger of being hacked. Cyber-criminals have highly sophisticated search processes. They may not be searching for you, specifically, but once they get your logon or password they can use that to find other accounts. Once they have one piece of the puzzle it is isn’t that difficult to break the rest.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Odenton Shopping Center: What's under the asphalt?

This article was originally written for the Heritage Times, the news journal of the Odenton Heritage Society, Summer 2014, Number 39. Thought it fit well in this blog as it reflects how businesses and development affect a community and it’s history. For the purposes of this post updates have been made where needed to reflect the current status of the shopping center. Hope you enjoy the article.

Under the Asphalt

The arrowhead shaped piece of land that runs from the Odenton traffic circle up to what was once called Stoney Hill (the location of the present day Wheels Skate Center) and between Annapolis and Odenton Roads has always been a popular area for travelers and trade. The future site of the Odenton Shopping Center (OSC) has more history to it than just a vacant lot developed for modern commercial use. From the beginning, when Native American trails crossed in Odenton, the future site of the Odenton Shopping Center has been an area for trade and commerce that continues.

What we know as Annapolis and Odenton Roads began as Native American trails, which are documented in late 18thcentury maps of Maryland. These trails were used by Native Americans travelling north and south and later by settlers traveling between Annapolis and Frederick. 

A possible, undocumented, reason for why the early trails intersected where they did [near the traffic circle] could be due to the location of a once bountiful spring. The eastern portion of the land on which the OSC now sits once contained a fresh water spring known as Picture Spring. (Approximately the site of the Goodwill store) The spring was a resting area for Native Americans traveling through the Odenton area. In her 1978 publication, Odenton, A Town The Railroad Built, Catherine O’Malley described the site as follows. 
“…,”Picture Spring” was located in Odenton, near the present day A&P, on Odenton Road, in a clump of sycamore and willow trees on which the Indians had carved pictures, totem pole style. It was a resting place for the Indians who came from the North and were on their way to make war with the Southern Maryland Piscataways and the Eastern Shore Maryland Nanticokes. The spring was a strong source of crystal clear water, which flowed into the Severn River. But alas, it was buried when the Odenton Shopping Center area was developed. A very large pile of stone chips, broken arrowheads and Indian artifacts located near the spring is also gone, being buried beneath approximately 20 feet of fill dirt.”

The 2003 Odenton Small Area Plan, Community History, paralleled Mrs. O’Malley’s research stating that the site was popular with Native American inhabitants who were in the area between 8000 B.C. to 1400 A.D. and used Picture Spring for stone tool manufacturing and campsites. As the area became populated with settlers, the Native Americans moved on or died from being exposed to disease. The site of the future OSC remained wooded. 

The train comes to town

Odenton continued to grow and became even more populated as the result of the opening of the Annapolis and Elkridge Railroad in 1837 and the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad crossing the Annapolis & Elkridge RR in 1868; 1868 being the year that the town of Odenton was officially founded. The Annapolis & Elkridge Railroad paralleled Annapolis Road on its way through Odenton and onto Gambrills. The closest stop to the future OSC was Sappington Station, a short walk from Picture Spring. Prior research conducted by the Odenton Heritage Society shows that Civil War Union Soldiers camped not far from Picture Spring near the intersection of Sappington Station Road and Burns Crossing Road, which would have been on the north side of the A&E RR Sappington Station.

Throughout the expansion of population in Odenton the future site of the OSC remained wooded and Picture Spring an active area for drawing water. Oral histories collected by the Odenton Heritage Society revealed that in the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s there was a small enclave of homes near Picture Spring. Families used the spring for water and maintained the access to the spring by protecting it from environmental damage. Residents of Odenton from the 1950’s remember the site to be a wooded area with a natural spring. Locals would draw water and kids would play in the spring in the hot summer days.

Opening Day 

Several families owned the sections of land that would need to be purchased to build the OSC. David Eutsler purchased the wooded lots in the late 1950’s and later partnered with Stanley Yaffe to assemble the lots necessary to build the OSC. There is no definitive documentation of the dates the OSC opened and tenants filled the space. From what has been learned thus far, the Odenton Shopping Center opened in 1958.

The original shopping center spanned from the liquor store to the barbershop. The point where the addition was added can be seen outside of the barbershop.The curb line is straight up to the barbershop and then angles out to continue up the hill. The angle in the curb is where the original OSC stopped. The addition created an angle in the design. At this point, the stores had recessed entryways some twenty feet from the curb and the awning covering the sidewalk was wider. After the angle, the stores entranceways became closer to the curb as they are today. 

Point of expansion to the Odenton Shopping Center
An original tenant was Beacon’s Pharmacy, owned by Stanley Yaffe. Beacon Pharmacy, was documented in a Capital Gazette newspaper article as, “the centerpiece of the Odenton Shopping Center since each opened in 1958”. Beacon’s was sold to CVS in 1995. 

Another of the original tenants, which remains to this day, is the Odenton Barbers, Tanning, and Fitness. The original owner, Bill Burroughs, opened a shop in Fort Meade in 1963. When the OSC was developed and opened, Mr. Burroughs moved the shop to the OSC in 1965 and has been there ever since. Oral histories recall a sandlot ball field at the western end of the property where barber customers awaiting service and local residents would play pickup baseball games. 

Newspaper ads in 1967 announced the arrival of W.T. Grants department store, which originally occupied the space where the Giant grocery store is located. In the mid 1970’s, the A&P grocery store moved from its original anchor spot at the east end of the OSC, to a larger separate facility that still sits perpendicular to the shopping center (Goodwill building). The original out building was connected to the OSC by an awning-covered walkway. The first major renovation took place in 1991, modernizing the fa├žade.

An ad in the 1971 Arundel High School Panorama listed these stores as members of the OSC.*
Arnold’s Shoes
Beacon Pharmacy
Citizen’s National Bank
Gordon’s Clothier’s
Launette Inc.
Odenton Barbers
Odenton Liquors
Princess Shops  
Salon on the Green
Schumann’s Bakery
Western Auto
* A&P grocery and W.T. Grants were part of the OSC at this time. It is not known why those businesses were not included in the ad.

The Odenton Shopping Center has always served its community well. Providing access to a centrally located business environment to serve basic consumer needs with a variety of locally owned as well as national chain stores.

Please read other posts regarding Odenton business history.
Building History July 2016

Please help preserve the history of your local communities. As time passes and development increases we are losing the treasures of our past. This includes our oral history. Your community elders are a wealth of information. Take the time to ask and listen. 
To learn more about Odenton and become involved in local history please visit the Odenton Heritage Society.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Return phone calls

We recently needed some electrical work done. A friend made a recommendation. The electrician was called and several voice mails were left. Messages were also left with an assistant. Never received a return call. It baffles me how small businesses can ignore requests of their services. Apologies for singling out specific professions, but from my experience it seems to happen most often with tradesmen who own their own business, e.g.-electricians, plumbers, masons, etc. More than once, I’ve been referred to a person in the trades for residential work. The call is made but what you don’t get is a return call. You keep trying because of the reference regarding the quality of their skills, to no avail. Eventually you move on. Job lost. How can small businesses afford to ignore potential jobs? It makes you wonder how well their businesses are doing. To ignore potential customers/jobs is tantamount to turning business away. If they can afford that then they must have trucks unloading cash to the bank. Sometimes I think I chose the wrong career path.

My uncle was an electrician and ran a successful business for decades. He was able to sell the business and retire comfortably. When I was young I would spend summers helping with “apprentice” type duties. When I wasn’t at the job site I would help my aunt who ran the administrative side of the business as well as the supply chain. During those summers, I learned a lot about electrical work and running a business. Part of what I learned is how to speak to customers and potential clients. Seek out contracts and jobs. You never know from where your next paycheck is going to come.

Even if the job is outside your purview, call the customer back and offer an explanation-that the job is too small or not the type of work your business does. Give referrals. You may have turned down a job but you established some good will that may come back to benefit you later.

I know successful small business owners who are always hustling for more business. Their calendars are full of work and employees are busy. In busy times they know that they can never sit back, put their feet up, and figure they’re on top. They know that there are trends, up and downs, in any business. You have to keep looking ahead at what is coming. Always improving. Always analyzing what is working and what is not.

I had my own business. Some months it was very busy. During those times consideration was given to either doing the all the work myself or contracting out work. Other months you’re checking the phone lines because you can’t remember the last time there was a call. The point being - feast or famine. You never know when the phone is going to stop ringing.

Owning your own business is a great feeling. You should do what you love and if you can make money at it all the better. But it still takes effort. Just because you have a commodity that is in demand, doesn’t mean that it will stay in demand. Every business has competition, some more than others. If you don’t stay one step ahead your business will start to decline.

As far as my electrical issue. I did find an electrician that answered the phone personally and was eager to help. He passed on some troubleshooting tips that actually solved the problem without a service call. I didn’t formally hire the person but there was good will built for his honestly and eagerness. Definitely saved the contact information and will gladly give him referrals.  

Please feel free to share. See the blog archive for other posts about customer service.

All systems down October 2017
Lasting Impression September 2016

Monday, April 2, 2018

How secure are apps?

Every business is pushing their mobile apps. Some are highly interactive, giving access to secure accounts. Others are merely informational almost static platforms. Everyday we become more and more dependent on our phones. The Pew Research Center estimates that 77% of Americans have a Smartphone. A conglomerate of different studies from 2017 reported that Americans average five (5) hours a day using mobile devices and of that time 90% is spent using apps. Now when you allow that everything on your phone is an app of some sort it kind of diminishes the 90%, but the point being is that we are on are phones a lot.

Why have an app?

Phones are now like appendages. We are rarely without them. This is a big reason why companies push apps. That and because the phones create a focal point for data collection. Most apps require some sort of registration. That provides a modicum of security but it is mostly for data collection. Location services on smart phones allow app users to be tracked and pinpointed where they are using the app. This let’s the business collect, not only, your personal information but how, why and where you’re using the app, and what you are buying. All of this data is used to target advertising and reshape sales.

Since 2014 mobile Internet use has been more common on mobile devices than desktops. You can accomplish so much on your phone now you probably could go days without turning on a laptop or desktop. Apple has a cute commercial where the camera follows a girl throughout her day using her iPad.

A neighbor asks her what she is doing on her computer. She answers, “What’s a computer?”
The procession to apps began with the advent of online access to accounts and shopping. To encourage electronic account access, some companies even threatened higher fees for receiving paper documents through the mail. Then everything moved to our phones. Businesses lure customers into their apps with rewards or deals for using them. Some put more effort into their apps than their websites.


How secure are all these apps we’re either using voluntarily or “forced” to use by companies? The transmission of data between the users phone and the app servers usually has end-to-end encryption. Meaning the data being sent and received is encrypted. The problems arise from the users lack of security awareness and hacks into the apps servers.

A high percentage of our phone use is in public. If you’re concerned about data usage you’re always looking for a WiFi signal. Logging into public WiFi is one of the most unsecure actions a Smartphone user can do. If you don’t inadvertently log into a hackers signal then you’re sending a signal that your phone is publically available. Once a hacker zeros in on your phone they can intercept your transmissions to and from the apps you are using. Intercepting the phone’s connection to the router is commonly known as “man in the middle”. While that is still a popular hack it is time consuming and much more work than going after the bigger treasure. Company servers.

Why is it important to frequently change passwords? And not use the same passwords or login/password pair for more than one account? More sophisticated cyber criminals know where the money is. It’s in the servers of big companies. If not the financial records then the personal data. Recently, Under Armour announced that their app had been breached. They assured users that no financial data had been accessed only user names and emails. While that may give some a sigh of relief there’s still a problem. Hackers will sell those users names, emails, and passwords on the dark web. They’re valuable because many users will use the same login information across many accounts. Hackers can use the data gleaned from one breach to access your other accounts.

Using apps are as safe as the host makes their server data and how you use the app. Most of the security issues are out of your hands. If you are not compromised in public more than likely the company’s servers or app itself will be hacked, exposing your data. All you can do is be as safe and aware as possible on your end. Monitor accounts and change passwords frequently.

Please feel free to share. Check the archives for other posts about privacy and online security.
Are you being watched? February 2018
Keys to the vault August 2015