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How to Better Protect Your Business Information in the Online World

More and more businesses are taking advantage of cloud computing and the different solutions implemented in the cloud. These web apps and systems can help make even small businesses be more competitive on the market. Things like SalesForce, for example, really change the way businesses and their team members operate.  But – you need to protect your business information when leveraging online services.

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Protect your Business Information

Unfortunately, the rise in cloud use among businesses is not always coupled with the implementation of proper security measures. In fact, many businesses still rely on obsolete methods to protect their sensitive information. That is why in this part, we’re going to take a look at some easy ways to better protect your business information.

The Right Security Policies

A good, well-secured environment can protect your business information by having a good set of security policies in the first place. You can’t expect members of the business to follow strict security standards when there are no standards to follow. This is also part of the reasons why IT implementations in businesses must also focus on information security.

There are plenty of ready-made solutions designed to improve information security, from simple access management systems to a unified, comprehensive enterprise security suite from reputable names like Masergy. Before looking into these solutions, however, you need to create the right information security policies and procedures.

It may seem like a tedious thing to do, but it is a necessary evil nonetheless. Through carefully crafted policies and proper training sessions, you can develop a strong foundation for business information security.

The Right Security Measures

Next, we need to implement the right security measures. As mentioned before, there is no shortage of solutions to use. Simpler measures such as the implementation of SSL security across the entire system can help prevent common issues like information theft. In fact, most of the best business cloud solutions today come with SSL encryption already built-in.

More advanced measures may be required to protect your business information. Customer details, for instance, must be stored in a safe cloud environment, using private encryption keys and with careful access management.

Last, but not least, always track access to sensitive data. Logging or tracking is an essential security measure that can help your business maintain the optimum level of security without issues. If a data leak occurs, it would be easy to track the source of the leak and take the necessary steps.

The Right Attitude Towards Security

The last part of the equation is the attitude towards security. You can’t expect to minimize security risks by acting recklessly. There are some simple rules you can follow in order to have better control over information security.

For starters, only store information that you actually need to store. You can’t lose customers’ credit card details if you don’t store them in the first place. Don’t forget to stay true to the security policies and measures you have put in place. Just because you are the owner of the business doesn’t mean you can break protocol.

Combined, the three elements will help create a suitably secured environment for maximum business information security. Get started today and have the best security practice implemented across your business.

Chromebooks Vs Laptops: Which Option is Best?

The competition within PC’s and laptops have never been higher. For years, it was a battle between Apple and Microsoft to gain the advantage, but with the arrival of Google and their Chromebooks, the competition has intensified.

Chromebooks Vs Laptops

Chromebooks have become popular since their launch. This is due to their simplicity to use because of their browser base that ultimately allows them to create cheap laptops that are fast and user-friendly. However, many are still unsure when it comes to choosing a Chromebook and a traditional laptop. Therefore, we’re looking at the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Windows v Chrome OS

Microsoft has spent a lot of time and effort trying to make Windows better and more intuitive. Windows 8 was good, but there were still things that frustrated users. However, the launch of Windows 10, has signaled a new era for the OS.

This is because you now have everything you need from the Start button, making it easier to access apps, email, settings and more. However, some processes are still long winded, but in general, things have improved.

However, Google has opted for a very simple OS that has basic settings. Therefore, if you need to access more advanced settings, you have to use your Chrome browser. A lot of the apps also work offline, so you won’t need to worry about internet access all the time.

If you are using a laptop with a touchscreen, you might find that Windows is a little more finger friendly compared with Chrome OS.

Apps and Software

Both Windows and Chrome OS have their own app stores, allowing you to search for your favorite apps and have them downloaded directly onto your laptop.

Windows has thousands of apps available in its store, and the advantage is that being Windows, it will run virtually everything.

Chrome OS isn’t as good as Windows in this respect. The app store is essentially a list of shortcuts that take you to the app’s website, and although many things can be accessed offline, it can still be limiting. Another thing to remember is that if you want to run anything with Adobe Flash, you won’t be able to do so on Chrome OS.

Browsing the Web

This is one area that you might think the Chromebook with its browser-based OS would excel. However, this isn’t strictly the case.

Although Chrome is fast and well integrated into the OS; the only problem is if you want to run Flash or another plug-in as you simply cannot do it.

Windows, by comparison, can use almost any browser you want. Therefore, you can choose the one that works best for you, or if each browser has its perks, have two separate browsers installed.

Gaming

For the hard-core gamer, there are many high-end Windows laptops that can handle the demands of graphic intense games. On the other hand, Chromebooks don’t have the processing power to handle the big games.

With a Windows laptop, you also have the option to upgrade the memory by going to a dedicated site such as Offtek.

Overall, Windows 10 has much more to offer. However, Google is always adapting, so don’t write them off completely.

 

Customer Acquisition: Everything You Need To Know For Your Online Business

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Whether you are a blogger, run an ecommerce store, or are a small business owner with an online presence, your success will be defined by the number of customers you attract to your website.

Customer acquisition is a vital part of the marketing mix for all businesses, and when you are operating online, there are a few things you need to know to ensure every chance of success.

In today’s guide, I’m going to shine a light on the various customer acquisition strategies that are available at your disposal. There are plenty of different channels to discuss, such as SEO, advertising, and social media marketing, so let’s dive in straight away with some of the basics.

The task at hand

It’s worth understanding that customer acquisition is not an easy task in this day and age, even if you feel your particular niche is currently undeserved. It takes a lot of technical knowledge, creativity, and hard work to start finding the right kind of customers online. Not only that, of course, but you need a sound strategy and a lot of planning to set the wheels in motion – and ensure they don’t come tumbling off at any stage of your journey. Prioritizing your investment can be a daunting task, however, but I hope that this guide will give you a few pointers on where to focus your efforts.

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The research stage

First of all, before looking at any other online marketing technique such as SEO or SEM, it’s important to have a think about what it is you are trying to achieve. Ultimately, online marketing needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy, and as such you need to develop your KPIs and plan before you start the heavy lifting, so to speak. So, the first step is to know who your customer is. Establish your unique selling point (USP), and work out who your ideal customer is. What are their pain points, interests, and demographic makeups? Where does your business fit into the wider marketplace, and what value do you bring to the customer? Once you have a concrete idea of who you are trying to attract, you can then start analysing the ideal channels for your acquisition strategy, and start reaching out to your perfect customers.

The basics of search

Search is vital to your online business, regardless of any other tactic. Ultimately, if no one can see you online, you won’t get any visitors other than from bots. Search engine optimization is the starting point for  search, and it is vital that you know what you are talking about, whether you are doing DIY SEO or hiring a consultant. With a little basic knowledge of SEO, you will be better placed to hire a reputable firm with confidence. As http://www.ldseosydney.com.au/ recommend, you should be looking for a company with good levels of experience and a track record that includes plenty of happy customers. You also need to be aware of search engine marketing – or SEM – which uses search advertising such as Google Adwords and many others. It’s important to understand that the top three ranking ads on Google account for over 40 percent of the clicks, so it is an area you don’t want to miss out.

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Conversion

While search is vital to any customer acquisition strategy, you need those visitors to your site to take the right action. Whether that is buying products, contacting you by phone, or just signing up to your email list depends on your strategy, of course. But, to get those visitors taking the right action, you need to think about conversion rate optimization – or CRO. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on SEO if no one ever buys anything from your store, right? With this in mind, it is vital that you think long and hard about your conversion rates, and endeavor to improve them all the time.

Affiliate marketing

If you have products to sell, affiliate marketing – where other people use their websites to sell your products for a small slice of commission – are well worth thinking about. Affiliate marketing is huge these days, and is responsible for at least 1 percent of the country’s GDP – that’s more than farming and agriculture. As you can see, there is plenty of opportunities to get your name out there with affiliate marketing, so it should be part of your marketing strategy if relevant – i.e. if you sell products.

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Social media marketing

Forget what you might have heard about social media being the perfect place to advertise for free – those days are long gone. In fact, research suggests that fewer than 1 percent of your Facebook followers will ever see your posts, which means that you have to be incredibly lucky to develop a successful business page. But social media is far from a busted flush – as long as you are prepared to pay for advertising. Boosting posts and promoting your pages to targeted markets can have a significant impact on your engagement and following, but make sure that you know what you are doing before spending a cent.

Customer referrals

Of course, customer references are just as important online as they are in the real world. And given that more than two-thirds of all new business opportunities come from referrals, it’s worth your time investigating. Look at your local business directories as a starting point – like http://www.nationwide.com.au/, for example – and ask your customers if they wouldn’t mind writing a review on completion of the job. You can incentive them with a small discount if they are reticent, but there is plenty more you can do to encourage your happy clients to refer you to others. ‘Refer a friend’ schemes work well, and you can also ask your customers to share your info on Facebook. Surveys are another great tool for finding happy customers, and once they are complete, you can send them to a landing page where they can check out your referral scheme. Finally, make sure you are keeping in touch with your past customers – you never know when they will be willing to a) buy again or b) recommend your business to others.  

 

Palmtops, Netbooks, Ultrabooks, Notebooks, Laptops: which is which?

 

Have you ever wondered what those many terms – laptop, ultrabook, notebook, netbook, etc, mean? Notebooks, Ultrabooks, and laptops are particularly confusing. Sometimes you just hear the terms and don’t care much because they don’t help much anyway, right?

Wrong. If you’re planning to buy a portable computer device in the foreseeable future, you need to learn the difference between these machines. This will help you make a sound, informed decision based on your needs.

We’ve made the job easier for you by briefly explaining the key differences between them below.

 

Palmtops

 

Palmtops are the smallest portable computers that ever existed. There were even smaller than today’s smartphones, with some measuring a measly 6-7 inches. The devices were full computers, however, unlike smartphones. They run a low powered version of windows called Windows CE though later models could run the full Windows XP. They also supported most applications that could be supported by full-size computers and although they were not very powerful, they were not very slow either. Unfortunately, the widespread adoption of smartphones rendered these devices obsolete. No one is manufacturing new palmtops presently.

 

Netbooks

 

Just below the palmtop was another mysterious device called the netbook. Netbooks were a little bigger than palmtops, some measuring up to 10 inches. But most of them were in the 8 to 9-inch range. Users saw them as a good alternative to large phones especially where a lot of typing was needed – you have to admit that typing a full MS Office word document on even the largest tablet isn’t easy. Unlike palmtops though, many companies still manufacture netbooks and they have dominated the sub-$200 price range in more recent years as the price point for entry level laptops has spiraled ever downwards.

 

Ultrabooks

 

More recently, netbooks have been replaced with Ultrabooks which compete directly with the likes of the Macbook Air and are not nearly as small but a lot more powerful. Ultrabooks could be looked at as shrunken versions of normal laptops because the only major difference between them and traditional laptops is mostly the size. While traditional laptops often weigh around 6-7 pounds, while some Ultrabooks regularly weigh between 3-4 pounds. Additionally, while laptop screens are 14inches to 15.6 inches, ultrabook screens are often 11 to 13 inches.

Keep in mind though that there are bigger and heavier Ultrabooks, some just as large as laptops. However, even in such circumstances, you’ll always notice a few other differences. First, Ultrabooks, just as the name suggests, are ultra-thin. Most of them are less than 2cm thick. Look at this one from Lenovo:

The other difference is that Ultrabooks mostly use SSD memory rather than the common HDD. SDD or Solid State Drives are characteristically quieter, lighter, and faster than HDDs. But they are also a lot more expensive, partly explaining why Ultrabooks are a bit highly priced compared to ordinary laptops. A 128GB ultrabook isn’t unusual and can cost just as much as a 1TB laptop.

Ultrabooks also don’t have DVD drives. Bear this in mind when shopping for your next portable computer.

Laptops and notebooks

 

We have combined these two because their features greatly overlap. Nevertheless, there still a few differences that you may want to keep in mind when shopping. Starting with the obvious, notebooks are lighter than laptops. Laptops are usually the bulkiest of the lot. A typical notebook weighs less than six pounds. This makes notebooks easier to carry around compared to laptops. Manufacturers of notebooks use different technologies, known as flat-panel technologies, to make the devices so thin and lightweight.

Look at the two devices below. The one on the left is a laptop while the one on the right is a notebook. You can see how much slimmer the notebook is.

In terms of computing power, there isn’t much difference between a notebook and a PC. They have the same CPUs, the same memory range, and the same drives.

We also have to mention that the bulkiness of laptops is because they are often packed with features. The original laptops were meant to resemble desktop computers, the only difference being than laptops were to be designed to sit on the lap. That’s why some laptops even had floppy drives. But floppies are no longer in use. Laptops also generate more heat compared to notebooks.

So, now you know what the different terms mean. If you’re still confused with the terms elitebook, probook, Chromebooks, ZBooks, and the likes, these are just names used by HP on it’s different notebooks, Ultrabooks, and laptops.

 

Why Aren’t More Businesses Hiring Software Developers?

Business growth is sometimes limited not by your ideas and enthusiasm, but by your technology. Hiring software developers can be a game changer.

To give a very crude but logical example, think about how you can interact with your customers. If you resort to using just phone calls, then think of the costs involved, the problems that could arise, and the number of customers you alienate because you don’t have a web-based chat system or support for email. If everyone has to call your business, wait for thirty minutes to connect to a disgruntled employee, then put down the phone in anger because their problem still isn’t fixed, do you think that’d come back? Absolutely not! In fact, they’d probably tell all their friends and sooner or later, you’ll build up a terrible reputation.

Since you would never restrict the ways your customers contact you, why do you restrict other parts of your business? So let’s talk about software developers and how they can improve your business by removing restrictions that you shouldn’t have in the first place.

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Hiring software developers can seem expensive

If you look up how much does it cost to develop an app for smartphones, then you’ll be surprised to see that it’s actually relatively cheap. This isn’t because software developing is an easy job and it’s not because software developers are underpaid, it’s simply because it doesn’t take much time to make something. Of course, there are testing phases and you need to spend some time planning out an app before you start developing it, but once the initial planning phases are finished, a software developer can get to work and make you a smartphone app in a relatively short amount of time that will boost sales and customer interaction.

Software developers make excellent advisers

Software developers are the perfect tech advisers for your company. They’ll be able to advise you on different software solutions that are cheaper or contain more features that are relevant to your business. For instance, if you’re currently using Microsoft Office and you want an easier way to collaborate with people who are working remotely, then you may have completely forgotten that cloud office solutions such as Google Docs have collaborative features built-in and it costs nothing to use. They are fantastic additions to your team if you want to save money, time and have an expert on hand to deal with almost any tech issue you can think of.

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Software developers can create bespoke solutions

If you want to create a custom piece of software that fits your exact specifications, your only option is hiring software developers. For instance, maybe you want to give your employees a custom-made app to keep them updated with tasks instead of using existing software such as Skype or Slack. Maybe you need custom tools for specific jobs such as allowing your customers to edit their orders and customize a product on your website before they order it. There are many advantages to creating bespoke software, and it’s far cheaper to hire a developer to create, update and manage software as opposed to outsourcing it.