How Cyber Security Affects My Business: 10 Solutions

With over 100 million registered domain names out there and the low cost of entry, the World Wide Web has entered into its massive operation. For example, billions of email messages are exchanged every day. No barriers to entry and low switching costs have made the cyber arena a lucrative spot for destructive behaviors. Specifically, spammers, hackers, and “spiders” are growing concerns for all online businesses. There are lots of technical and fragmented information regarding cyber security, yet few (if any) has viewed it in a systematic way. Thus, this article is to introduce the essentials of cyber security to the business owners:

1. Networks Matter

Intra-office and extra-office networking among computers and servers are hot spots for attackers. Make sure you tie up your network security since any minor network security leak can compromise your whole company data.

2. Physical Security

As obvious as it sounds, many companies still operate with old physical security systems and inadequate staff training programs.

3. Database Hacking

It is of absolute importance to monitor the people who maintain and manage your database. It is better to set different roles, each of which gives staffs special database access privileges.

4. Application Server Attacks

There are five things you can do to protect your servers:

Make sure to setup and test the redundancy servers properly
Make routine backups as a second habit
Define different roles and server access privileges if you have your servers
Check your server log periodically for any unusual activities
Make sure the server firewalls and server load balancers (if you have one) are setup properly.

5. Mail Server Hacking

Sometimes attackers can hack your mail server and spam, or impersonate others, as though the emails would be sent from you. For instance, a hacker can send fake emails to all your users and ask them to change their username and password to hijack their account credentials. Since users receive emails allegedly on behalf of your company, they will be willing to trust it and share their info.

6. DNS Attacks

Although Domain Name Server (DNS) attacks are not common, their magnitude of damages is profound. Can you imagine, for example, for one hour, your users will not have access to your website, or worse, they are redirected to the attacker phishing WebPages.

7. Admin Account Protections

Many serious applications, or big websites, come with an admin portal where the company staffs can log in and manage the website and mobile App contents. To have admin account protections, you need to have:

Different layer of admin access privileges based on organizational ranks and experiences

Secure admin authentications where all of the company staffs should contact the chief IT administer if they forgot their password

Secure registrations where all teams must be registered to the system as securely as possible. In other words, it is preposterous to see team registration form or signup in the online search results

Restrictions against search engines where all admin pages must not be crawled and indexed by search engines, which can easily be done by adding admin to your disallowed directory lists in your robots .txt file

Staff activity surveillance where for very sensitive admin platforms, it is better to monitor staff activities as to what pages they visited, in what frequencies, etc

Valid IP/MAC address verifications where you verify the IP or MAC addresses before showing the login form to the company staffs. This simple approach will make the job of hackers much difficult.

8. Forgot Password Compromises

Sometimes the attackers try to penetrate to your system via fake forgot password attempts. Here are four remedies:

Count the total attempts and lock the user account after a certain number of attempts
Utilize multiple password retrieval options, like the combination of cell phone and email address verifications
Make sure your forgot password form could detect “spiders” or robot submissions
Once a user password is successfully reset, email the user reminding them to change the reset-password immediately after the first login.

9. Brutal-Force Attacks

Brutal-force attacks are mainly many login attempts by attackers to break into a victim account and steal their identity and data often time in a way that is impossible for the victim to notice. The only remedy I know of is to limit the maximum login attempts (to for instance five) while saving each attempt in the database. After it reaches the limit, you will lock the user account, and have the user contact the system administrators for the account reactivations.

10. Session Hijackings

Session hijacking is an attack of which many programmers and business owners should be aware. After the user successfully logs into your system, they are assigned with one unique session ID for the ease of tracking. However, if the attackers take hold of a user’s session IDs, they can hijack the user’s accounts and make transactions on behalf of the user, especially via the shopping carts. Therefore, it is a good practice to log out users after a certain time of inactivity and destroys their sessions data correctly.

What was discussed are first, yet the main areas of cyber security that are going to alarm many businesses within the next five years. Last but not least, the full implementation of cyber security initiatives requires a thorough understanding of the firm processes and overarching the master plans. Indeed, as always, the strength of a chain is measured by its weakest link, so make sure to strengthen all of your system vulnerabilities and draft an updated contingency plans for catastrophic incidences.

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5 Tips To Make Your Brand Stand Out

Talk to any business mogul, and they will tell you that in the world of business, a brand is everything. The essence of a unique brand becomes even more essential in the current times of integration and free markets. Not only will a unique brand act as a marketing strategy but will help sustain the brand in the market.

One of the tips to differentiate your brand is to specialize in one industry. Whereas certain experts are of the opinion that there is no harm in the brand dealing with as many products and services as there is, this mode of business is likely to create mediocrity.

Mainly, specialization helps you be the best in the industry. Most consumers are likely to trust a brand that solves a particular problem, not one that purports to the answer to everything.

Secondly, employ the strategy of price differentiation. If you can sell a similar product offered in the product at a lower price then why not. However, while seeking to price your brand at a lesser price, the market has a tendency of linking higher prices to supremacy. The less costly products are likely to be perceived as lower in quality.

Moreover, the brand’s pricing policy must be transparent. For some reason, some brands are very secretive in their pricing that they will only reveal the price at the last stages of their contact with the customer. Where the customer desires to know the price from the onset, it should be the brand’s policy to give that information at that point.

Thirdly, investing in product innovation will undoubtedly keep the brand at a unique position from the other players in the industry. Although you may not prefer the idea of inventing a new product, an invention can be used to add features and services to your already existing goods and services. This way, even though copy cats imitate your brand, consumers will have a reason to choose your brand over the others.

The important fourth tip to differentiating your brand is its physical expression. Best examples of how your brand physically presents itself are through the brand’s logo and the business website. The choice of the logo, for instance, must be so distinct such that anyone seeing the logo can recognize it as your brand’s.

Further, website branding presents a perfect opportunity for the brand to stand out from the competitors. Ideally, the website should be professionally designed so that each point is easily navigable, contain easy-to- follow links and have relevant information. Furthermore, the brand website It should also be customized for the target audience to include the right theme, the perfect images, and any related videos.

Fifth, the brand should be customer- service centered. It goes without saying that each product and each service you deal with is meant for the client. The customer’s preference should, therefore, be what drives the brand. In this regard, the brand should be in the practice of regular market research that will reveal any shift in the market taste.
Also, the brand should have mechanisms for the customers to reach the company, make inquiries and give opinions. In simple terms, the brand should treat the customers differently from their customers. Contact lines must be full -operational and be quickly responsive.

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6 Ways Google has made it easier for Small Businesses

In recent years we have seen numerous businesses sprouting up worldwide with some starting small scale and gradually climbing the hierarchy while others made a breakthrough instantly and made a name for themselves among the thriving big wigs. It has been a thorough task for these businesses to fish real-time information, through Google and other avenues, from the diverse industries involved for integration that would see them scale higher in their operations.

Initially, the market was dominated by the already existing big businesses, leaving a very tight close for the success of other newcomers in line. However, over time, the business sector has witnessed some of the most amazing technological advancements that could be inducted in the businesses to boost their overall performance and profit margin.

Information tapping

Google has a broadened database that makes it easy for many new players to fetch knowledge from the web that can be used in improving their game play. It holds real-time information that are constantly updated with the changing trends in business. Thus, compared with other agencies dealing with established firms that on many occasions mostly give only after-success advices, it gives the entrepreneur apt knowledge on guidelines and steps to make their new ventures blossom and grow.

Google Apps for Work

With the many diverse applications created by Google, small businesses have been issued a new means by which they could manage their organizational data and work systems. With Apps like Gmail, the businesses can now create a customized company email which they could share with other players and stakeholders in the cloud. They are able to synchronize and store their sensitive transactions and particulars and at the same time share them with other involved parties also utilizing the cloud. This feature makes their business not to waste resources on employing file-keeping services and in the long run cut on spending that would have been incurred referring to agencies that manage systems and increase total revenue realized.

Secure Data Vaults

Through the Google Apps for Work, the small businesses’ owners are capable of monitoring their companies’ networks and data channels. The cloud storage, after syncing, allows for one approved administrator to conduct log-ins to the business’ account. This saves on capital, resource and time that would have been used in consulting, making it easier to conduct transactions. The entrepreneur has no worries of having information land on unauthorized hands.

Expanded Market Base

The growing cloud technology is enabling the small businesses to rapidly grow and outshine other entities in the sector. Its Google Apps for work involves linking in with the rest of the world and give rivaling competition to the large businesses pre-existing. As compared to the old marketing methods, our small business is able to market its products and services to the rest of the world and invite lucrative offers from interested clients. You are facilitated to learn the market trends and derive what the current demand entails in terms of efficient quality delivery.

SEO & AdWords

Recently Google has gone back to their old way of doing things. The new Penguin 4.0 algorithm was released within the month of September, and updates are happening daily instead of having to wait three months to see updates. In the past, Google favored big businesses after the initial Penguin update in April of 2011, and today it is no longer the case as many small businesses are able to compete in a global marketplace and grow their business all through Google says Tal Lifschitz CEO of Rise Marketing SEO Hong Kong

Flexibility

Using the accounts registered on the cloud services, the small proprietor could always change the settings and nature of the business’ operation in accordance to what the market currently demands to reduce on flaws. Many of the bigger companies still have not adopted this new style and therefore surfer a lot of costs in developing IT solutions that still rely on their resources to run the systems.

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Build it or Buy it?

Computers have changed our way of life so much that we can’t deny the fact that this technology has become almost like a third arm, and to some the air they breathe. This device has made life easier, efficient, and convenient to its beneficiaries that work in offices, play games, design and so much more. Nowadays, when something isn’t automated or computerized we tend to critique its existence.

Knowing what you want from a computer is important when purchasing a new system. How much processing power will you need? Are you using it for design, word processing, entertainment, or gaming? Do you want a top of the line computer that uses all the latest technology available, or are you interested in a computer that just does the raw basics like skype, microsoft word, and web browsing? Do you want a desktop or laptop? The list of question goes on.

Having the opportunity to build my own desktop pc, I am able to share with you first hand the pro and cons of building your rig. Building a desktop allows you to be more creative and unique with your rig, allowing you to give it your personal touch. Also, expandability is a huge plus for future upgrades and fault testing. You can build a supercomputer if you wish, with all the high end parts once it’s compatible. Compatibility, to me is the only con there is when build your own rig. Other than that you can alway switch parts to upgrade your system or for personal preferences.

The question still remains can I buy a computer that is as powerful or better than a personally built rig? Yes you can. It might cost you a bit more for some options that will provide you with the power of a high end built computer.

1. Mac Pro

Apple has never failed at producing great craftsmanship and power packed computer systems. I choose this as number on our list because of its expandability after purchase. This system can always be upgraded but easily swapping out parts and components. It’s small and compact but the specs speaks out loud. See specs here: http://www.apple.com/mac-pro/specs/. This computer delivers in every category and is back by Apple care that provide you with great customer care if you ever need it.

2. IMac

This beauty also manufactured by Apple has set the standard high for all other manufacturers competing for dominance. This display produces gorgeous pictures and viewing angles and is a preferred choice for individuals that are into graphic design, animation, and other media related areas. This device is also power and upgradable thanks to Apple. See specs here: http://www.apple.com/imac/specs/.

3. Dell XPS 13

For a laptop that won’t break the bank the Dell XPS 13 delivers you an experience that of a $1000 laptop. I choose this laptop for the purpose of mobility. Not everyone will want to sit behind a desk and work, so this one’s for you guys. With its bezel -less display, lightweight but sturdy frame this laptop packs a punch. Also, Dell provides you with a great customer support team that are will and able to help you around the clock. See specs here: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/productdetails/xps-13-9350-laptop .

So it all comes down to you when deciding on whether to build or buy. Both have benefits and limits. Computers today are just getting that much more powerful but you just need to concentrate on what is best for you and your tasks.

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