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Aspis Becomes An Officially Certified Diversity Supplier

Washington, DC — Aspis, LLC, is proud to announce their recent certification as an LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTE ®) through the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Supplier Diversity Initiative. The NGLCC is the business voice of the LGBT community and serves as the nation’s exclusive certifying body for LGBT-owned and operated businesses.

“We are so pleased to welcome Aspis, LLC, to the ever-expanding network of NGLCC certified LGBT Business Enterprises and the hundreds of corporations and government agencies eager to put them to work,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson and Co-Founder and CEO Chance Mitchell. “According to NGLCC’s groundbreaking America’s LGBT Economy report, America’s estimated 1.4 million LGBT business owners, many of them NGLCC certified, add over $1.7 trillion to the GDP and create tens of thousands of new jobs. We are proud to count Aspis, LLC, among those who prove every day that LGBT businesses are the future of the American economy.”

Aspis, LLC, is now eligible to participate in the NGLCC’s corporate partners’ supplier diversity programs, can take advantage of the vast educational opportunities promoted by the NGLCC, and can work to foster business to business relationships with other LGBTBEs worldwide throughout the year and especially at the NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference.

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is the business voice of the LGBT community and the exclusive certifying body for LGBT-owned businesses. With more than 200 corporate partners, and 62 local, state and international affiliate chambers, NGLCC is the largest LGBT business development and economic advocacy organization in the world: http://www.nglcc.org

Secure Online Shopping

Today begins a month-long shopping spree starting tomorrow with Black Friday and continuing through Cyber Monday.  In 2018, retailers brought in a record $6.2 billion dollars in online sales on Black Friday and another $7.9 billion on Cyber Monday.  And U.S. shoppers spent a whopping $126 billion on online shopping over the 2018 holiday season.

Over 69% of Americans shop online each year.  There are three points in the transaction that consumers should have their cybersecurity sensibilities about them.  First, during the advertisement of the product drawing the consumer to the purchase site. Second, the actual online retail site itself.  Third, what happens with the credit card information after it has been entered into the site. 

Here are some tips and tricks to stay safe during the online purchase process:

  • Big box retailers like Target and Wal-Mart offer shoppers a familiar comfort.  They also provide consumers with a local presence to dispute product and billing issues.  This can be convenient and valuable if the customer service telephone line is not being helpful — simply walk into the store and speak with someone local and in person.
  • Big online retailers offer a tried and true experience. These household names like Amazon, Overstock, and Wayfair have not only been in the business for many years but process millions of transactions annually.  Their systems are designed for high volume. They are financially motivated to make sure purchases are secure. 
  • Other name brand retailers offer similar security, convenience and support as the big retailers.
  • Look for the little lock icon by the website address in the address bar of the web browser.  While it is easier than ever to set up a fraudulent website and enable these lock icons, it at a minimum provides some assurance that the data being sent from the computer to the retailer’s server is secure.

When dealing with a retailer that is unfamiliar consider these steps to minimize risk:

  • Use a credit card with a temporary or disposable number available from financial institutions.
  • Read the company’s “About Us”, “Contact Us” or similar page.  Look for a phone number (both toll free and local for extra confidence), real physical address (not just a P.O. box), and an email address.  Be extra careful of sites that only have a form asking for the visitor’s contact information but providing none of theirs.
  • Don’t let flashy web design fool you.  Reputable small local retailers may have built their site five years ago while a slick site built yesterday does not indicate any kind of security.  
  • Price is too good to be true.   There is a lot of competition out there and pricing loss leaders is an effective tactic. Also, we’ve all seen the stories once a year some retailer makes a pricing error causing a flash sale and they get tremendous free advertising by making the nightly news. However, especially with luxury brands, be very cautious if the price is greater than 50% off and the item isn’t clearly marketed as clearance, end of season, close out, or final mark down (liquidation) price.
  • Trust your gut.  Creating a fraudulent website today is easier than ever.  Websites with spelling mistakes, poor product pictures, and other signs might be enough to pass on whatever the item is and look for purchasing it elsewhere.

“Badges” that convey certification or trustworthiness can be valuable for new retailers but can also be easily forged.  Google no longer provides its trusted stores program. There are many others including well known organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.  Most importantly do not trust these at face value. Follow up with the certifying organization to ensure the retailer is actually certified.

Finally, be extra cautious with pop-up social retailers.  These companies pray on our impulses and emotions to get us to click through a transaction from an advertisement on social media feeds.  The goods are often gimicky like footie pajamas of our favorite major league sports teams. 

Following these recommendations will not provide a foolproof guarantee of a safe and secure holiday shopping season, but with these guidelines shoppers can be reasonably assured that they have done their best to protect themselves from online fraud.

A Novel Office Concept

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – Aspis, LLC, has established its first formal office at 1301 Oak Street, Kansas City, Missouri.

The Novel Coworking space in the historic Kessler Building will provide Aspis several key features that advance business objectives.

Kessler Building, 1301 Oak Street, Kansas City, Missouri

Renovated in 2017 the office building is across the street from the Sprint Center and a convenient quick three block walk to the heart of Kansas City’s vibrant Power & Light District.

Located in downtown Kansas City’s Government District, it is a block away from the Bolling Federal Building and the Jackson County Circuit Courthouse; and just two blocks away from the City of Kansas City municipal offices such as City Hall, Municipal Court, and the Police Department. Town Pavilion, One Kansas City Place, and other major downtown office towers are just five blocks away.

The location also qualifies as both a Small Business Administration HUBZone and a Missouri Designated Opportunity Zone. This meets business objectives to develop under utilized talent and invest into these areas.

The coworking environment provides our employees a safe, clean, comfortable, convenient and collaborative environment with exposure and opportunity to build relationships with other coworking businesses.
– Jeff Wagner, Founder & CEO, Aspis, LLC.

Old Town Alexandria, 950 N Washington St, Alexandria, VA
Dupont Circle, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC

In addition to the Kansas City location, Novel offers the ability to access meeting space in over 30 other locations nationwide. This provides Aspis the unique ability to host client meetings in cities such as Chicago, Denver, Dallas, and Minneapolis. As Aspis begins to work with federal government clients in the national capital region, employees will have access to space in Old Town Alexandria ( 950 N Washington St, Alexandria, VA) half a mile from Braddock Road Metro Station and in Spring 2020 Dupont Circle ( 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC) will become available which is just a quarter mile from either the Dupont Circle or Farragut North Metro Stations and less than a half mile from the Farragut West Metro Station.

Aspis Joins the Equality Chamber of Commerce DC Metro Area

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – Aspis, LLC, has joined the Equality Chamber of Commerce DC Metro Area to reinforce its support of as a diverse and inclusive business both as an employer and as a federal contractor.   

“Being a member of Equality Chamber of Commerce DC Metro Area unequivocally demonstrates our commitment to the LGBT community in Washington, DC.” – Jeff Wagner, Founder & CEO, Aspis, LLC.

By joining the Equality Chamber of Commerce DC Metro Area, Aspis is helping the Chamber’s effort to ensure Business acceptance and business equality for the LGBT community is resulting in economic prosperity for all people in the DC Metro region.  

Equality Chamber of Commerce DC Metro Area is the non-profit, not-partisan network of several hundred queer and allied (Q&A) businesses and business leaders in the DC metropolitan area. Through its extended network of community partners and event participants in the capital area LGBT community, it regularly reaches approximately 5,000 individuals through is messaging, networking events, and workshops. Learn more at www.eccdc.biz.

How do I know if I need a CISO?

Few organizations have a business need that supports a full time Chief Information Security Officer. For those organizations that occasionally or periodically need to consult an expert, an Aspis Virtual CISO (vCISO) solution is the ideal answer.

Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and non-profits can benefit the most from a vCISO by supplementing the existing management team or as an interim solution. These organizations have highly capable people who deliver the mission of the business but may not have the necessary experience to effectively develop a cybersecurity strategy or navigate regulatory requirements.

An Aspis vCISO provides an extra resource that can help you and your organization achieve many objectives:

  • Develop information security strategic plans.
  • Create policies, standards, guides and procedures.
  • Create training and awareness materials and presentations.
  • Guide and advise internal assessments.
  • Facilitate and monitor independent audits and assessments.
  • Recruit information security talent.
  • Provide a stop gap while between CISOs.
  • Advise on solution, service and tool procurement.
  • Develop foundations for legal and regulatory compliance.
  • Develop program communications materials.
  • Create a program maturity roadmap.

What is a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)?

A CISO is an IT executive with expertise in information security (sometimes called computer security or cybersecurity). An organization’s CISO understands the enterprise’s business vision, mission and strategy and translates those goals into a program which ensures and assures the enterprise’s information and operational technology is safe and secure from human, non-human, and environmental threats by protecting confidentiality, integrity and availability of systems.

A CISO is a thought leader, visionary, and planner. As cybersecurity subject matter experts they can envision the information security program’s future and how it enables and adds value to the business. They plan projects that advance the business’ goals.

A CISO is a communicator who can effectively articulate risk of action or inaction when developing IT solutions. They use risk management techniques to evaluate information security risks and develop recommendations for remediation and mitigation. They are able to communicate highly complex technical topics to all levels of the organization. They do not use fear, uncertainty, or doubt to motivate action. Instead they present thoughtful reasoned and rational data to inform decision making.

A CISO is a trusted partner. They are not self-serving or biased. They understand that the enterprise’s information security program that they lead exists for one purpose: to benefit and further the mission and business of the organization. Afterall if there were no business to conduct, there would be no need for an information security program.