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Definition of Kickback

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How does Kickback work?

A typical kickback is disguised in normal operations, making it very difficult to detect. It is a form of negotiated bribery usually associated with white-collar employees.

In a kickback arrangement, the process starts with the payer’s intention, who approaches the person (receiver) in a position of power for some preferential treatment. The payer pays the commission or kickback package to the receiver, and in exchange, the receiver acts in favor of the payer. However, the entire process is engineered in a convoluted manner such that it is very difficult to trace where and how the kickback arrangement panned out.

Whether the purpose of the kickback is good or bad doesn’t make much of a difference, as the practice itself is corrupt. The payment made to the receiver is referred to as a commission. Following are some of the significant red flags for kickback arrangement:

Vendors contact the employees directly beyond the scope of normal operations.

Limited to no review of critical processes within an organization.

Showing a special preference for a particular vendor or customer.

No quality inspection process for goods received.

Approval of inflated cost of goods sold.

Examples of Kickback

Let us have a look at some of the examples of kickback to understand how it operates under different scenarios.

Example #1 Example #2

A government employee is responsible for selecting contractors for an infrastructure project. Unfortunately, the employee decided to select a contractor who didn’t have the required technical qualification. Later it was revealed that the government employee received a kickback from that particular contractor. In this way, it resulted in the failure of the contract bidding process.

Example #3

In the US, the medical care service companies were well-known for their kickback arrangements. For example, the medical care companies used to announce fraudulent referral schemes that eventually ended up bribing doctors. Basically, companies rewarded the doctors for prescribing the patients tests, treatment, and diagnoses that they hardly needed. However, the US government passed the Anti-Kickback Enforcement Act to curb the occurrence of such kickback arrangement schemes.

Risks of Kickback

There are several risks associated with kickback, and some of the major risks are listed below:

Any person who is not willing to corroborate with the arrangement is going to end up on the wrong side of the deal owing to the biasness of the corrupt officials.

There is a high probability that the quality of the goods and services offered would be compromised.

There is a very low chance that the vendors or contractors, who leveraged kickbacks, would complete the job honestly.

How to Control Kickback?

Some of the ways or methods to control kickback are as follows:

As already mentioned above, the detection of kickbacks is a very difficult task. However, the whistle-blower culture is one of the ways to derail a kickback scheme. So, if there is any such whistle-blower, then that person is usually handled with great care and responsibility.

The management should set up a review system to analyze the third-party vendors at a specific interval. In the review system, the vendors can be selected randomly, and then their transaction details should be checked for the last few quarters. Further, other details like quoted price, physical address, contact numbers, website, and any other relevant information can also be retrieved for review.

If there is a vendor closely related to one of the company’s employees, then the management should check whether or not the transactions of this vendor are taking place at arm’s length. In addition, the ownership details of the vendor company should also be checked.

The introduction of any new vendor should be filtered using well-defined SOPs. It will ensure that only genuine or authentic vendors can join the company and get on board.

Key Takeaways

Some of the key takeaways of the article are:

A kickback refers to an illegal reward system that compensates some of the employees of an organization in exchange for their preferential treatment.

Kickback is considered a type of bribery, which is more prevalent in a white-collar jobs.

Some of the ways to control kickbacks include encouraging a whistle-blower culture within the organization, setting up a periodic vendor review system, and creating an SOP for new vendor onboarding.

Conclusion

Kickback is a serious issue, and it escalates the cost of doing business across the globe. It is the reason behind much of the world’s government corruption. However, it can be prevented or controlled if the above-mentioned measures are followed diligently.

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10 Practical Tests To Improve Customer Segmentation

Review the quality of your audience segments with this checklist

This blog post first appeared in the Arts Marketing Association’s, Journal of Arts Marketing, and we are now sharing it with Smartinsight’s readers. For more free resources, case studies, research and toolkits to promote art, culture and heritage visit culturalhive website. 

In an ideal world we would treat everyone as an individual and tailor and promote our offer accordingly. But this is impractical. Treating everyone as an homogenous mass however is ineffective – one size does not fit all. Segmentation provides us with a happy medium.

Segmentation is a fantastic way of reaching different people with different messages and can vastly improve how you cater for people. It means you can be strategic about audience growth and development of audience relationships.

Get it right and segmentation should provide true market insight that will lead to tangible results in audience development, organizational development and income.

I hope you find these 10 tests that I use to assess the quality of segmentation useful.

1. Segmentation needs to be practical

Segments need to be sufficient in size to make targeting them worthwhile your effort and they need to be in a position to engage with your offer. Having too many segments will also make managing your strategies tedious. Too few and it won’t give you the granularity you need. Between 5 and 8 segments tends to work best in many cases. In order to devise coherent strategies and develop long-term relationships, the segments should also be mutually exclusive – each individual can only sit in one segment.

2. Segments must be discernably different

When segmenting your audience (or potential audience) the first thing is to make sure the segments have discernably different needs. If one segment has no distinguishing differences from another or they all respond in a similar way, you will end up with homogenised strategies, which defeats the point of segmentation.

3. Don’t confuse behavioural clusters with segments

In Arts marketing for example, the Box Office database holds detailed information on behavioural patterns (performances selected, seat choices, frequency, party size, planning horizons, geography and so on). However this only describes WHAT your segments are CURRENTLY doing. It can’t tell you WHY they do these things. People may frequently move cluster but they shouldn’t frequently move segment. To be really effective, segments should be defined by WHAT each seeks to get out of the experience.

4. Use attitudinal segmentation

Not all C2DE families share the same needs and motivations, the same applies to ‘young people’ or BAMEs.

Using demographics as a basis for a segmentation system makes for simple evaluation, but can’t give you everything you need to inform planning. Attitudinal segmentation provides you with deep insight into your audiences.

Understanding what drives audiences, how they want to be made to feel and what motivates their involvement, enables you to identify and effectively target groups of individuals with shared values. This puts you in a position to influence their behaviour and deliver deeply satisfying experiences.

5. Segmentation should lend itself to differentiated strategies and campaigns

The same production or exhibition or product can appeal to a number of different segments for different reasons. One may seek primarily social outcomes, another driven to learn something new and a third be looking for emotional resonance. These three segments will recognise different benefits from the same work. They will respond to different messages via different platforms and be influenced by different factors.

Differentiated campaigns with messages optimized to resonate with a particular segment are more effective than a generic message aimed at everyone but speaking strongly to no one.

6. It should lend itself to development of products and services

As well as increasing your ability to reach segments, understanding what they want to get out of the experiences you offer, puts you in a position to the best experience and to shape the audience journey. Front of house ambience, customer service, catering, learning opportunities and merchandise can all be developed to cater for priority segment needs.

7. Remember to consider everyone in your priority segments

With limited resources the easy, obvious but potentially disastrous solution is to contact just those who are most actively and most recently engaged. For a time this might work but rinse and repeat this narrow selection process for any length of time and the result will be chronic audience-underdevelopment.

Good segmentation goes beyond defining people by their ‘lapsed-ness’ and to understanding why they might engage. While you don’t need to target absolutely everybody, you do need to be able to identify where the greatest potential lies and this will not only be in those that have most recently visited.

8. Great segmentation doesn’t live in the marketing department

A segmentation system delivered by marketing to other departments will often fail to become embedded within the organisation. Segmentation needs to involve everyone and belong to everyone.

In order to be immediately and intuitively recognisable and credible across departments the segmentation process has to be iterative with everyone involved in identifying then and fleshing them out.

This way it will provide a common language for talking about audiences – bridging the understanding of marketers, programmers, front of house, learning, fundraising, hospitality – putting audiences at the centre of the conversation.

9. Build it into your ongoing research

Segmentation, the gift that keeps on giving… whatever research you are conducting or data you are analysing, building your segments into this means you immediately have a more subtle and granular understanding of the outcomes.

Rather than 20% of our audiences think X or do Y, you now know which segments are displaying which behaviours or opinions, giving you further insight into why this may be the case, and how you can respond to the findings.

10. You need to be able to monitor and evaluate your success

This should perhaps be my first, not last point. As with all evaluation, it needs to be considered from the get-go.

Make sure you’ve got mechanisms in place to monitor what works best, where the greatest return on investment lies, who is responding, which messages resonate with which audience segments via which platforms.

This means you can adjust your strategies and change your messaging as you go. Segment evaluation also helps you prioritise and plan developments based on how well you are currently meeting the needs of your segments – a virtuous circle of improvement.

Culture Segments

Culture Segments is Morris Hargreaves McIntyre’s whole-of-market, psychographic segmentation system for arts, culture and heritage organisations.

The system draws upon a decade’s leading-edge practice helping our clients to truly understand and meet the needs of audiences for arts and heritage. It is based on people’s cultural values and motivations with the principal objective of providing the sector with a shared language for understanding the audience with a view to targeting them more accurately, engaging them more deeply, and building lasting relationships.

These segments can also be tagged at record level in Box Office systems – please contact me for further details.

Practical Security: Creating Ssh Tunnels

In a previous article, I went over some of the basic functions of ssh. In that article, I mentioned that simple remote shell access was not the most interesting thing you can do with ssh. I pointed out that remote command execution was more interesting than mundane remote shell access. In this article, I’ll discuss something that I think is even more interesting than remote shell access or remote execution: tunneling.

Reasons for Tunneling

There are two primary reasons to use ssh for tunneling. Before I give those reasons, I’ll describe what tunneling is.

Tunneling with ssh is the process of wrapping some network communication with the encrypted ssh protocol. Tunneling involves an ssh client connecting to an ssh server, just as in “regular cases.” But when the ssh client connects to the server, the client specifies the source and the destination for the tunnel.

The source is simply a bound network port that other processes can connect to. This port must either be managed by the ssh client or the ssh server.

The destination is another bound network port; but this time, it’s some other network server that the other end of the ssh tunnel can communicate with. If this seems a bit unclear, don’t worry; I’ll get into more detail shortly with an example. For now, you can just think of ssh tunneling as secure port forwarding.

You may be able to derive from this description one or both reasons I’m about to give for using ssh tunneling. The first reason I’ll give for using ssh tunneling is to connect two networks that do not have open access to one another. As an example, suppose you have an imap server setup on your home LAN. Also suppose that you have a laptop and want to be able to connect to your home imap server regardless of where you are. You could just open access on your home imap server to the world, but that’s a scary proposition. You could setup a VPN on your router, but that’s probably overkill. Or, you could create an ssh tunnel from your laptop to your home network when you want imap access. I’ll give an example of this in the next few paragraphs.

The second reason for using ssh tunneling is that it encrypts the network communication. In the imap example, an added benefit of using ssh is that the email data is encrypted. Your private communications with friends, family, and potential employers are secure as they travel over the tunnel on the internet. But be aware that communication before it hits the tunnel and after it leaves the tunnel are not encrypted.

There are two types of secure port forwarding using ssh: local forwards and remote forwards. For local forwards, the ssh client manages the source port. For remote forwards, the ssh server manages the source port. Whether you select a local or remote forward will depend on which system is able to initiate the connection, which has an ssh server running on it, and where you need the source of the tunnel.

Here is an example of a local forward. Continuing the imap connection, suppose that I have a laptop named “dink” and I want to access an imap server on a machine named “ezr.” Why not just connect directly to “ezr?” If “ezr” is behind a firewall and you can’t connect to port 143, then using ssh tunneling is a great alternative. Here is an ssh command that will allow you access to imap on “ezr”:

The “-L” in the command specifies that this is a local forward. The “8143” specifies that I want to bind 127.0.0.1:8143 as the source of the tunnel. The “localhost:143” specifies where to forward traffic on the remote end of the tunnel. While I specified “localhost” on the remote end, I could have specified any address and port that the remote machine could communicate with. Finally, “ezr” is the machine I want to ssh into.

Im Security Risks Spark Workplace Monitoring Debate

With more and more U.S. workers using instant messaging in the office, security experts are debating whether IT managers should be monitoring the instant communications.

No matter how many firewalls and intrusion detection systems a company has set up, if an employee is sending out critical information over instant messenger, they might as well be screaming it from the rooftops. Unsecure IM lines are one of the hottest new targets for hackers looking for critical corporation information to steal, according to security watchers. And they also provide an easy communication avenue for any employees bent on leaking information to a competitor.

And Dan Jude, president of Security Software Systems, Inc., based in Sugar Grove, Ill., says the best way for a company to protect itself and its critical business and financial information is to monitor the instant messages coming in and going out of their offices.

“What’s important is to make sure your employees are not abusing instant messaging,” says Jude, whose company develops and sells monitoring software. “Studies show that 70% to 80% of security breaches come from within the company. If employees can communicate inappropriate information without checks and balances, you’re leaving yourself open to problems.”

Jude points out that there are a number of reasons to monitor instant messages. He says that some brokerage firms monitor messages to make sure that brokers are not promising stock gains or guaranteeing earnings. He says companies also might want to monitor to make sure that an employee isn’t IMing coworkers off-color jokes that could be taken as sexual harassment. And of course, he says, it’s important to make sure employees are sending out information that is critical to the business.

Security Software Systems sells two IM monitoring products — one that sends a warning to a security administrator when an employee breaks policy and then automatically shuts down the instant messaging application.

The other product calls up a policy warning box when the user logs onto IM and calls for a digital signature from the user, attesting that the user understands the company’s policy. And if a violation of the policy occurs, the software will take a screen capture of the violating message and store it away.

Impact On Corporate Culture

But PentaSafe’s Pick says a lot of IT managers are hesitant to go with the new companies that have sprung up recently offering IM monitoring devices. He says a lot of managers are looking for monitoring systems that will fit in with their other enterprise-level monitoring systems.

And Pick also says some managers are thinking twice about monitoring their employees’ every word.

“Do I police everything people say?” asks Pick. “How does that affect corporate culture? We need to protect privacy and confidentiality but how do you weight that with having a healthy corporate culture? Controls tend to demoralize people somewhat.”

Securing instant messaging can be a tough project since the technology comes with very little, if any, security capabilities built into them.

Mike Rasmussen, director of research and information security at Giga Information Group, a Boston-based analyst firm, says instant messenger software — whether it’s from Yahoo or AOL or Microsoft — has been lax when it comes to any kind of security. If a user is sending a credit card number or critical company information over instant messengers, it’s not secured.

But Rasmussen says makers of instant messenger software are working to make their transmissions more secure, preparing to add encryption capabilities, along with virus scanners. He says improvements should be coming as soon as six months from now.

Is Chatgpt Safe? What Are The Risks?

ChatGPT is an excellent AI chatbot that can be extremely beneficial for its user in solving queries, writing stories and poems, generating essays, etc. Ever since ChatGPT’s release, it has been extensively used by people, with subscribers adding up every day. 

But regardless of the benefits provided by ChatGPT, there are still a few limitations and risks associated with an AI chatbot. There are a few things you should be wary of when using the AI chatbot, however. According to the developers, Chat GPT does have the potential to produce biased and harmful content

This uplifts the question, Is ChatGPT safe? Are there any risks? Is ChatGPT a cybersecurity threat? 

Is ChatGPT safe to give your phone number?

ChatGPT asks for a phone number to confirm your identity and provide services. So, when you provide your number, you aren’t exactly giving your number to ChatGPT, as the service isn’t the same as OpenAI. 

You can even go through and read ChatGPT’s privacy policy, and how they use personal information, before providing your phone number to the AI chatbot.

Although, providing a phone number will always raise a small amount of risk. Like, if the security is breached, any data consumed by the company has the potential to become a target. But, as we discuss elsewhere you do need a phone number to use Chat GPT.

Is ChatGPT safe to download?

For now, you can’t download ChatGPT as there is no official app available for users. ChatGPT is only accessible through web browsers on the PC or smartphones. So, if you find an app pretending to be ChatGPT, don’t download it as it can be risky.

Scammers often create these fake apps to commit fraud or scams, if you have any app named ChatGPT or ChatGBT, delete it immediately. ChatGPT is powered by OpenAI, therefore, you shouldn’t download any app from anywhere else apart from OpenAI’s official website. 

What are the ChatGPT risks?

The biggest risk of ChatGPT is its ability to generate phishing and spam emails. Hackers and fraudsters can use ChatGPT to develop these emails. To be safe from all off these you must use a VPN and get Surfshark right now. Since the AI models have been trained with a large amount of information, it’s easier for hackers to develop these dangerous emails, which can appear quite convincing to many.

It’s possible for fraudsters to create these dangerous emails with links and send them to various people for personal gain and commit scams. 

There is another possibility of scammers creating a fake customer service chatbot using OpenAI’s technology. This can lead to tricking people into providing personal information and acquiring money from users. 

What are the ethical issues with ChatGPT?

AI chatbots like ChatGPT, use machines to generate high-quality content, have conversations, write codes, and more. This could result in affecting employment rates, which is currently a major ethical concern.

According to a few experts, extensive use of ChatGPT or other AI tools could lead to the loss of jobs for many people. Especially those industries that work on routine tasks. 

The impact of AI tools on employment is currently unknown. However, there is a high chance technology would over-power the job rates in coming years in the market. 

Is ChatGPT a cybersecurity threat?

The cybersecurity industry tends to believe AI chatbots like ChatGPT could be misused by hackers to commit fraud. An Israeli cybersecurity company demonstrated how an AI chatbot can develop a phishing email that can carry a malicious payload. The company also thinks “ChatGPT has the potential to alter the cyber danger landscape.”

It is possible to produce phishing emails through the AI chatbot. The request to generate phishing emails might get declined on the first try by the chatbot.

However, rewriting the request resulted in bypassing the software’s guardrails. Experts believe ChatGPT’s capability to create legitimate-appearing phishing emails could result in an expansion in cybercrimes, especially for those users who are not native English speakers. 

Another research scientist at Sophos, Chester Wisniewski said, It’s easy to witness ChatGPT being misused by hackers for all types of social engineering invasions. At a standard level, I was able to produce phishing lures, which could be utilized to build real conversations for business emails and even attack other chat apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. 

Final Thoughts

ChatGPT is definitely a great AI chatbot that can make the process of generating information easier for many users.

However, ChatGPT can’t be labeled as 100% safe, as there is a potential for hackers to misuse ChatGPT and circulate phishing emails to commit fraud.

Above, we have mentioned everything about the risks of ChatGPT including whether it’s safe to provide your phone number to ChatGPT and whether ChatGPT is safe to download. 

Guide To C# Directoryinfo With Properties, Methods

Introduction to C# DirectoryInfo

Web development, programming languages, Software testing & others

Syntax

Below is the simple syntax for the implementation of the DirectoryInfo class. We can explain the below syntax in the following ways.

First, we have defined a class with a variable with a type of DirectoryInfo.

We are assigning the object created by DirectoryInfo with help of a new keyword.

We can see the syntax here we are passing the dpath for the object creation to the DirectoryInfo class.

Here dpath is any string of path.

Finally, we are using the code as the directory.create, and it will create the directory.

Remember that we should also check for whether a directory already exists or not.

DirectoryInfo directory = new DirectoryInfo(dPath); directory.Create(); Working of C# DirectoryInfo class

We can explain the working of the DirectoryInfo class in the following way.

Namespace chúng tôi contains the class the DirectoryInfo, so if we want to use it we need to include this library.

Most important thing about it, by using the available command we can create and move the directory.

It has many methods which are the key strength of the DirectoryInfo, which allows us to perform creation and deletion.

Most important point about the DirectoryInfo class is that we cannot inherit it because it is a sealed class (we can learn more about the sealed class in C# in its documentation).

Constructors of C# DirectoryInfo

In the constructors are the way to initialization of the DirectoryInfo class. Here we need to pass the path to initialize, and the path is the string of directory which we want to create or move.

Function type ( private/public/protected ) DirectoryInfo ( string directoryPath );

Attribut,

Methods of C# DirectoryInfo

Here are the following methods mention below:

Create ( string ): If we want to create a new directory we can use the method. Here in the method, we are passing a string which string path for which we want to create the directory.

CreateSubdirectory: We learned that we can create the directory with the help of the method create, now what if we wanted to create a directory inside another directory ( subdirectory ). We can simply use the CreateSubdirectory method for it. Bypassing a string path to this method we can also create a subdirectory to the specified path.

MoveTo: It used to move all the constants and the instances of the directory to the other location.

Delete: It will delete the specified directory, bypassing a boolean value to it we can inform its compiler if we want to delete its subdirectory also.

GetDirectories: To know about the subdirectory we can use this method. Many times in real life programming where we need to know the pathname before deleting, so it will be very useful as it mentions the subdirectory details.

GetFiles: In case if we want to get the file from the specified directory then we can use the GetFile method.

GetType(): To know the type of instance ( current ).

Refresh(): To refresh the object state we can use the method Refresh().

SetAccessControl: This method is mostly used for security reasons and it will get a DirectorySecurity as the object to describe it.

ToString(): To get the original path that was passed by the user we can use the method ToString().

Properties of C# DirectoryInfo

Here are the properties mention below

CreationTime: In case if we wanted to know the date and time of the directory creation then we can use the property CreationTime.

Exists: It returns the boolean value, which shows if the directory exists or not. In case if the directory is already there then it returns true ele it will return false.

FullName: If we wanted to get the full name of the file ( which means starting from root directory ).

Name: In this case, it used simply to get the name of the directory.

LastAccessTime: In case if we wanted to get the last date and time when the directory was modified then we can use this property.

LastWriteTime: If we wanted to get the last file changes and save the details of the changes.

Extension: It is used to get the string representing the extension part of the file.

Parent: In case if we wanted to get the parent directory name then we can use Parent. It will give us the parent directory name.

Example of C# DirectoryInfo

Below is a very simple example, here we are simply trying to create a directory, we are also checking if the directory already exists or not.

Code:

using System.IO; using System; class createDirectory { static void Main() { string dPath = @"D:directoryExample"; DirectoryInfo directory = new DirectoryInfo(dPath); if (directory.Exists) { Console.WriteLine("The directory which you are trying to create is already there"); } else { directory.Create(); Console.WriteLine("Congratulation we have created directory"); } Console.ReadLine(); } }

Output:

Conclusion

From this tutorial, we learned about the DirectoryInfo in C# and we learned about the DirectoryInfo behaviors with a very important example. We learned about the constructors and methods of the DirectoryInfo. We understand the working of DirectoryInfo in C#.

Recommended Articles

This is a guide to C# DirectoryInfo. Here we discuss the working, constructors, properties, methods of C# DirectoryInfo with example for better understanding. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –

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