Cybersecurity essentials for every business

No matter the size of your business or the field of business in which you operate, you almost always use technology products in your operations on a daily basis. Cyberattacks can affect businesses of all sizes and almost always end up costing a business money. In severe cases, a cyberattack can be fatal to the survival of a business. Combined with the growing prevalence of cybercrime, it is clear why all businesses need to take care of the essentials when it comes to cybersecurity. Here are some top tips for staying secure.

Use strong passwords

Every device and online service that you make use of will employ a password to filter access to authorised persons only. However, these efforts fall apart if you do not use a complex password, and a different password for each service. Passwords do get stolen, so if you share passwords across multiple accounts, then a criminal can get access to a wide range of your company’s services by obtaining just one password.

Beware of email spoofing

Train your employees to spot the signs of a spoofed email. This is when the “from” field of an email address looks like a legitimate sender but is in fact someone else. Tell-tale signs include a slightly misspelled domain name, curious requests to pay invoices for services that you didn’t request, and poor grammar and language in an email.

Firewalls are still effective

Many of the most successful cyberattacks are perpetrated by automated tools. A firewall protects your internal network and your website against these automated penetration technologies, reducing the likelihood that a vulnerability in your systems will be identified by a criminal. Next-generation firewalls are excellent at identifying suspicious activity and will simply block any suspect traffic, keeping your network safe.

Always update your hardware and software

Every system and software package has security holes when it is released. These are identified over time and patches are made public to close the gaps, but patches are only effective if they are installed. Once the security problem is public, hackers can easily hunt for opportunities to exploit it. Protect your computing resources by always installing any security patches as soon as they are released.

Hire an expert

If you make extensive use of technology services, then you might want to get an expert to help you. A cybersecurity contractor will review your technology practices and identify any security holes that make your business vulnerable. Paying a contractor through an umbrella company makes it easy to get on board top expertise as you do not have to worry about getting the paperwork and taxation issues right.

There is no question that remaining vigilant and taking preventative action will offer a large degree of protection against cyberattacks, but you can still fall victim to cybercriminals. For this reason, you should also protect your business by making regular backups and by putting in place a disaster recovery plan, which can mitigate any damage done by a security breach.

 

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How to Use Minimalist Web Design the Right Way

Are you an Oxford business looking to revamp your website so it reflects the current trend for minimalist design? If so, you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be an easy task. After all, minimalist means less, right? So that must mean less work, and less skill. Nothing could be further from the truth. Designing a website in a minimalist style can actually be very tricky, according to Oxford web designers. Take a look at some of the ways they say you can succeed by paying attention to the small details.

What is Minimalist Web Design?

Minimalism in web design is all about taking out the unnecessary elements on a site and helping to make it more functional, and cleaner. While this may sound like an easy principal for any Oxford business to master, it is actually more complicated than it appears. In effect you are looking for optimum usability but with fewer elements on the page to do it. There are certain elements within minimalist design, however, that can really help you succeed with this type of design.

Flat Design

Web design Oxford experts point to the existence of a flat interface to show you how minimalist design can work effectively. Flat design has been a trend for some time, and it means a site is designed without any textures, highlights, shading, or other three-dimensional elements. These elements were popular in previous years, but now look more dated.

Limit Your Use of Colour

Minimalist sites are not a riot of colour, whether they are promoting a drink or a law firm. But colour is used by Oxford web designers to highlight important parts of the site, or to draw attention to elements. It is very useful in flat design. Many minimalist sites are designed in a muted colour palette and contain a couple of bold colours as the highlight element.

Hide or Remove Elements

There is a fine balance between losing elements on a site and losing functionality, so it pays to work with a professional web designer to achieve this goal. Basically, if there is an element on the site that isn’t crucial, it shouldn’t be there.

Respect the Whitespace

White space is one of the main elements of minimalist design and should be used effectively to make a website look impressive while remaining easy to use. White space is also called negative space as it does not have to be white. It should be clear of other elements, to give the design room to breathe.

 

 

Image: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Internet_g170-Web_Design_Puzzle_Shows_Website_Concept_p122960.html

 

 

 

What Are Some of the Things to Look for in an Antivirus Program for Businesses?

Businesses no longer need antivirus programs as a best practice. It is a true requirement. Imagine that your work files are compromised by hackers! That would be the end of your business. So what are the 10 things businesses should look for when they compare antivirus software?

1. Potency

Obviously, the antivirus program has to be able to find viruses and other infections, isolate them and get rid of them. This is something you must find out from trusted sources, not just from advertisements that say the program is great.

2. Cost

Unfortunately, businesses are on a budget. And while IT budgets tend to be the highest in an organization, there are limitations. You need to make sure that the program is affordable and offers value for money.

3. Centralized Administration

You need to be able to have a single person – or department – to be able to access all the individual reports. You can’t rely on staff that doesn’t have an IT background to report on any issues they may encounter. Additionally, you must be able to control all the different licenses from one location, instead of visiting each individual machine.

4. It Must Include Email Protection

Look at your personal inbox at home. How much spam is in there? That has to be avoided in businesses, so make sure email is protected as well. Protection should also ensure malware contained inside emails can’t affect the rest of your business.

5. Compatibility

Your program should work across different devices. With remote working on the rise, you will probably have computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones in your organization. The program should work across all of them.

6. Excellent Reporting Tools

The reporting tools should deliver easy to understand results that can be taken to senior management meetings to review latest attacks and more.

7. Technical Support

You may have an IT department, but they will not be trained in the specific program you choose. Therefore, it should come with round the clock IT support, preferably both online and over the telephone. And all operatives should speak proper English.

8. Certification

Only choose a program that is properly certified by industry standards and has been tested accordingly.

9. Simplified Licensing

If you have new starters or if someone leaves, you don’t want to spend ages buying or cancelling licenses. This should all work according to a simplified process that allows adding and removal instantly.

10. Automatic Updating

Finally, the program should update automatically and it should do so across all machines. This process must be easy to manage, because most individual computers will have restrictions on them in terms of what they can install and download. This goes back to having a centralized control feature in place.

There you have it, the 10 most important things to look for in an antivirus program for businesses. Deciding on the program is an important decision. Hence, take your time to review your different options before coming to a final conclusion.

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Three SEO Tips that Have Reputation Management Powers

Too many people still see Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Online Reputation Management (ORM) as two separate things. As a results, experts often find that businesses come to them asking for either or, as they don’t have the budget to do both.

However, the reality is that companies that focus strongly on SEO find that their ORM benefits as well. And the reverse is also true. This is why it should really be seen as a single entity that is inextricably linked. Let’s take a look at three SEO tips that will also have an effect on your reputation.

Tip 1 – Content Is King

Google is constantly changing its algorithms and the latest one seems to be particularly focused on how long someone stays on a website after clicking on it. This is known as ‘dwell time’. The longer someone stays, the higher the quality of the site is deemed to be. The higher the quality, the more likely the page is ranked highly on Google. This is why it is such a popular SEO technique. But it is also an important ORM technique. Reputation management is all about being at the top of Google. The more control someone has over what is found when searching for their name on Google, the better they will look as a result. Controlling results is the same as controlling the conversation. So, if you have content that people want to read, you also have a good reputation.

Tip 2 – Google Must Be Able to Find and Verify Your Business

Google focuses strongly on the quality of content, but that is not the be all and end all. They want to make sure that this content is trusted, particularly by local searchers. You can truly control a conversation if Google knows where you are located and they have been able to verify this. This is why it is recommended to sign up for Google Places and to make sure a website includes the full address details of the business. This is an integral part of local search engine optimization. It is also now an integral part of ORM. Again, when you control and own the data that is out there, it is hard for someone else to discredit that.

Tip 3 – Link Building

Finally, as is explained by Search Engine Land, link building is best compared to a politician canvasing for votes. When you link and connect to other websites, and they agree to this link, you are essentially getting their vote, stating that you are a trustworthy company. This tells others and Google that you have trusted information that is relevant and appropriate.

Unfortunately, link building can also go completely wrong. Too many businesses still spam other sites and put a link to their business website in any place they could find. If Google becomes aware of this, and they will, then your site will be penalized and this will ruin your reputation. You must create sharable, interesting content and have this promoted by trustworthy third party websites.

Again, this links strongly to reputation management. When you reach out to a third party and they know your business story, you will be creating a community of allies in the online world. Each of these allies will be happy to help you when needed. Essentially, you will be building a team that will be on your side if you come under attack. This is also because by helping you, you are helping them as well. As such, should they find themselves under attack, you should be ready to help them, too.

The Festive Season Is Coming up and You Need to Focus Your Marketing

The festive season is only just around the corner, so now is the time to make sure that your pay per click (PPC) advertising is working properly. This means that you have to get your advertisement campaign focused, have your budget ready and make sure that you know which keywords to use. This will guarantee your online success.

Managing an Effective PPC Campaign for the Holiday Season

First of all, did you know that 25% of customers buy in the month of October? And a further 50% buy in November? This means that you have to get ready now if you want to reach your sales targets. If you are not yet working with a PPC management company, find one today, in other words.

First of all, you have to focus on your budget. You don’t want to underspend at this time, because now is when you get results. Additionally, think about when customers will be online to shop, which tends to be predominantly in evening times. Your budget should go up around the month of October and you should keep it there until the New Year. Your budget in November should be slightly higher than October, and slightly higher still in December.

Make sure you monitor your progress every single day. You may usually only monitor weekly, or even less frequently, but daily is needed in this busy time period. This will give you the opportunity to make changes as and when needed. After all, the festive season is relatively short.

Focus during your monitoring on which URLs are the most popular, and adjust your budget so that they get the most money. If you find that multiple URLs are working really well, then you might want to give up on a few others so that you can focus specifically on those.

PPC advertising is all about timing things right in a focused way. Yet, you also have to have the right message. Hence, speak to your consultant to find out whether timed adverts could work for you. Things like offering a limited time only discount can be highly effective if you are guaranteed to be able to reach the right people.

When you work with your consultant, you also have to remember that about 50% of shoppers go to stores they have not been to before. Hence, don’t focus solely on targeting the customers you already have on your database, but also on attracting new customers. During the holiday season, people want to buy new and unique things, after all.

Finally, make sure that you get your keywords right. This is absolutely vital during the holiday season in particular. Your PPC management consultant should be able to perform extensive keyword analysis for you, so that you can make sure that you will get the best results. Do keep your eye on the ball, however, by monitoring whether the results they promise are actually being delivered.

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