5 Elements of a Cyber-Secure BYOD Policy [Infographic]

January 2, 2019 by Comerica Bank

Between 80 and 90 percent of the U.S. workforce prefers to work from home at least some of the time, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com. The modern workforce craves flexibility, and the technology needed to provide it is more readily available than ever before.

However, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can't necessarily afford to give their entire workforce laptops, tablets and smartphones to facilitate working remotely or while on the go. Instead, many SMBs have implemented bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies that let employees get work done on their personal devices. Offering this option can actually be a competitive advantage, and not just for the work-from-home benefits. Employees can bring a laptop into the office, for example, that they feel more comfortable working on.

For a BYOD policy to be successful, it must make small business cybersecurity a priority. This means that employers need to establish security measures that protect corporate data. If, for example, a lost or stolen tablet or smartphone ends up in the wrong hands, the result could be a damaging data breach. How will your organization respond to this incident? Will it implement mobile device management (MDM) systems so that smartphones can be remotely wiped? These are the types of questions a small business must address as part of implementing a BYOD policy.

From keeping personal data and company data separate, to establishing an acceptable-use policy, to requiring user authentication and more, SMBs need to create a cyber-secure BYOD policy. This is key to protecting digital assets while empowering employees.

We discuss the fundamental components of a BYOD policy in more depth in the following "5 Elements of a Cyber-Secure BYOD Policy" infographic.

 

BYOD Infographic

This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice for your business.

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Managing the Many Departments of a Dealership [Infographic]

December 21, 2018 by Comerica Bank

Auto dealership businesses extend well beyond the showroom. These operations are the sum of various departments that all work together, from sales to financing to service. However, that level of interconnectedness can prove difficult in some respects. Managing disparate internal units, while still generating efficiency and effectiveness, is naturally a more complex task. This underscores the value in car dealer services to help address these challenges.

Solving pain points along various departmental touch points is important, as cohesive operations are not only ideal, but necessary. Lag, dissonance, and miscommunication between departments can lead to costs, but proactively addressing disunity can put auto dealers on the right path forward.

For example, a comprehensive customer experience from first interaction to ongoing service provides a number of benefits. A smooth transition between sales and financing and insurance (F&I)—either made possible by consumer education or optimized workflows—can resolve many customer obstacles; while continuous communication when cars are serviced helps keep customers apprised and appeased.

Before auto dealers can enjoy these benefits, they have to align their departments. In some cases, this may even require further business growth, reorganization or strategy rethinking. Tackling these high-level concepts entails the type of planning that an experienced hand can help in. Comerica Bank has worked with automotive businesses for decades, and in that time has developed car dealer services designed to help dealerships address these exact opportunities.

Scale can make any departmental alignment effort more nuanced. Large dealer groups especially can benefit from financing services and risk management tools that can be used to pursue business goals.

Read our infographic on managing the many departments of a dealership and see how the Leading Bank for Business1 can help.

 

Managing Dealership Departments Infographic

 

1Comerica ranks first nationally among the top 25 U.S. financial holding companies, based on commercial and industrial loans outstanding as a percentage of assets, as of June 30, 2018. Data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice for your business.
 

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Emerging Technologies Disrupting Environmental Service Operations

November 14, 2018 by Comerica Bank

Powerful new technologies, from physical assets aided by onboard systems to data analysis algorithms, eventually transform the way businesses schedule, manage and engage in daily tasks. These emerging digital tools, platforms and processes can also have a major influence on long-term corporate planning and companywide transparency, not to mention critical metrics such as operational efficiency and profit.

Although the environmental management field has long been governed by traditional practices and workflows, disruption from emerging technologies already happens in various ways. Additionally, there's plenty of room for more changes in the future. The industry has already entered the beginning stages of a significant and widespread period of change.

Looking at areas of rapid change created by emerging technologies

There are many different parts of the environmental services industry that will soon look different due to new technology, as well as other areas where such improvements are already clear.

The Internet of Things, based on the connection of data sensors to everyday tools such as waste receptacles and vehicles, can help firms plan more effective pickup routes. Smart technology that involves machine learning helps individuals determine the proper destination for a piece of garbage, and improves recyclable sorting at first contact. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can provide information that leads to optimized, adaptable service schedules, which also boosts customer service.

The benefits of reducing the amount of time needed to sort waste or for a truck to complete its daily pickup schedule is clear, and the cost savings aren't hard to imagine. Environmental service firms that want to implement such technology and reap the benefits need a reliable source of funding to do so. Comerica Bank, the Leading Bank for Business1, offers effective loan options that make sense for modern environmental service companies and put them in a position to benefit from emerging technology throughout the industry.

1Comerica ranks first nationally among the top 25 U.S. financial holding companies, based on commercial and industrial loans outstanding as a percentage of assets, as of June 30, 2018. Data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice for your business.

 

Emerging Technologies Disrupting Environmental Services Operations Infographic

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5 Key Things to Look for When Evaluating a Potential Banking Partner

November 7, 2018 by Comerica Bank

Choosing the right banking partner for business services is about more than just interest rates and lending options. Today's businesses need the financial flexibility to keep up in a global, highly digital economy that moves quickly. Organizations need banks that offer the support, services and flexibility required to drive and sustain growth. This often means building trust through a comprehensive service model blending customer service and traditional financial services.
Selecting the best bank for your needs requires a careful analysis of where you are as a business and the specific service offerings available. Five key issues you should explore include:

1. Online banking options

Organizations can't afford to sacrifice convenience and accessibility with their banking partners. As consumers move at the speed enabled by cloud, web and mobile apps, organizations must also manage their back-office systems with speed and efficiency. If you can only engage with your bank in person, you could find your business falling behind peers who can interact with their banks in more convenient ways.
In many cases, how you empower your employees to operate will trickle down to how those workers serve your customers. If your leaders spend time making unnecessary trips to the bank, then they'll be left with less time to put toward customer-focused initiatives.

2. Specialized advisory services

Most banks offer some basic advice on the best uses of different account and loan types, but the approach often focuses on providing enough details to push a customer to a decision. Businesses face varied demands depending on the specifics of their industry and nuances of the market at a given time. Look for a bank that will advise you on services and lending options that will foster growth. In particular, focus on identifying if any banks you are considering offer advisors with specialized knowledge for your industry to go along with general banking expertise.

3. Needs-based services

Product-focused business banking can prove problematic as companies try to make sense of what service offering makes the most sense for them without fully understanding how banking, insurance, wealth management and legal issues come together to impact their situation. Banks that offer needs-based services can help organizations understand the holistic circumstances around their financial services situation and make the best decisions possible. Ultimately, businesses should look for a bank that sets itself apart because it is ultimately standing out based on relationships and advice, not products and interest rates.

4. Service breadth

Advisory options for corporate banking customers are invaluable, but only if they are accompanied by flexible service models that give businesses a wide range of solutions from which to choose. Don't neglect the full breadth of services available from a banking partner, as businesses today are increasingly pulled in many directions at once. You may need to bolster growth in one part of your organization while becoming conservative in your investments elsewhere. Banks that can blend investment, lending and other corporate-focused services can be invaluable when you face such situations.

5. Global reach

Digital technologies are breaking down traditional boundaries between customers and businesses, including geographic issues. With customers able to learn about and interact with brands in new, more intuitive ways, and with import and export opportunities ever-expanding, organizations increasingly must be prepared to operate across national borders, managing customer interactions, employment, foreign currency risks and supply chain issues across the globe. Banks with dedicated international services can make it easier to transition to a global business model, even in small ways, as your company grows.

Get the most from business banking

Businesses need more than basic banking and lending. As the Leading Bank for Business1, Comerica Bank sets the standard for modern, sophisticated banking services that can empower organizations to sustain growth in a rapidly changing marketplace.

1Comerica ranks first nationally among the top 25 U.S. financial holding companies, based on commercial and industrial loans outstanding as a percentage of assets, as of June 30, 2018. Data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice for your business.

 

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Setting a Fiscal Baseline for Regulatory Compliance

November 5, 2018 by Comerica Bank

Environmental regulatory compliance is both a challenge and opportunity for environmental services businesses. On one hand, organizations in the various segments of the waste management industry must be especially cautious about following best practices in how they handle and dispose of materials at all times or be at risk of significant negative attention. On the other hand, environmental standards also offer waste management businesses an opportunity to provide new services focused on making compliance easier for other businesses.

For example, a waste management organization operating in a region with many data centers may want to open a specialized e-waste management service to take advantage of the market opportunity. Similarly, a business in an industrial region may want to offer specialized solutions for chemical and industrial waste removal. These services can be invaluable, especially as the cost of non-compliance with environmental laws can be high.

Considering the costs of failure to maintain environmental compliance

Non-compliance with environmental standards can be personally costly, not just impactful at the business level. The Environmental Protection Agency has the power to enforce regulatory standards by punishing offenders in the form of civil and/or criminal trials. In major breach incidents, a business may be fined heavily for the incident, and leaders could be either fined or face criminal charges. These aren't just nominal charges either. The EPA recently released the results of its enforcement activities for the fiscal year 2017. During that period, the agency required environmental criminals to pay out $2.98 billion. This came in the form of fines, restitution, and mitigation. Total criminal sentencing during the year amounted to more than 150 years in jail.

Investing in the equipment, staff or technology you need to maintain compliance may seem expensive, but this move may pay off. The EPA isn't just interested in recouping funds based on damages and using criminal punishment as a deterrent. Instead, the agency is also committed to creating a level fiscal playing field as businesses strive for compliance. As such, the EPA searches for situations in which organizations may be failing to comply in order to gain a financial advantage and levy penalties accordingly.

Environmental services businesses can't afford to cut regulatory corners. They can capitalize on the scrutiny facing businesses across just about every sector to offer services that solve specific pain points. For example, proper disposal of hazardous waste materials represents a growing challenge as the EPA works to monitor safe handling across a material's entire lifecycle.

Looking at hazardous waste as an example of regulatory challenges

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act covers the majority of hazardous waste issues, and any compliance audits will usually be performed by either the EPA or a state authority that works with the EPA. Inspections can involve anything from asking for material manifests to visiting a work site and evaluating the environment for signs of contamination or malpractice. For environmental services firms, it's important to recognize that the EPA inspects processes regarding handling, transportation, storage and disposal of hazardous materials.

Preparing to ramp up regulatory compliance

Building stronger environmental regulatory compliance practices can require significant financial investments. An environmental services firm could enact a variety of strategies, including:

  • Investing in state-of-the-art trucks and waste management equipment.
  • Purchasing real estate, constructing new facilities or renovating outdated buildings to support modernized operations.
  • Deploying modern information technology systems, including internet-of-things devices, to track materials and improve documentation.

These types of investments can dramatically improve compliance, but they come with costs. Comerica Bank can help. We're the Leading Bank for Business1 and will work closely with you to help you identify the best strategies and financing opportunities for your organization.

 

1Comerica ranks first nationally among the top 25 U.S. financial holding companies, based on commercial and industrial loans outstanding as a percentage of assets, as of June 30, 2018. Data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

This information is provided for general awareness purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as legal or compliance advice for your business.
 

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