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November 1, 2019  2:47 AM

How to Use Social Media for Small Business

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

When you own a small business, you may feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to develop successful social media campaigns. Social media provides one of the best ways to get new customers and retain current ones. Don’t be put off by the fact that you think it is too expensive or difficult. Here are some ways to reach an audience, build awareness of your brand and drive sales. 

Start with a plan

If you just dive right in, you have no idea what you’re trying to achieve. Creating a social media plan upfront ensures that your efforts on social media support your business goals. You need to:

Set goals and objectives – these should be based on metrics that will have a real impact on your business. 

Research your competition – don’t copy them but learn from what they’ve done. 

Find inspiration – ask existing followers what they would like to see more of and research case studies. 

Create a social media calendar – decide what content to use, when and where to post it and at what time. Try starting with the 80-20 rule – use 80% of content to entertain, educate and inform and 20% for brand promotion and selling of products. 

Use the right tools

As a small business, making use of a social media management tool can automate and simplify much of your work. There are many tools that can help you to boost your productivity and make the most of social media marketing without having to have a big social media marketing team. 

A tool like BuzzSumo can help you with content curation, allowing you to find and organize posts to share. Canva can help you to create eye-catching graphics for posts. Brandwatch allows you to create in-depth reports so you can get a picture of your overall efforts. 

Choose the right platform for your business

Don’t just make assumptions about where your target audience spends time online. Take a good look at the data. For instance, your instincts may tell you to target millennials on Instagram, but the data will tell you that about 80% of millennials still use Facebook, so you shouldn’t focus solely on Instagram. 

Hootsuite compiled some demographics information that can help you find out where your audience really spends time online. Of course, you will also need to get to know your audience to confirm where your efforts should be directed to have the most effect. 

Build relationships with your audience

The great value of social media is that you can relate directly to your audience. This allows you to build up relationships over time instead of asking for a sale upfront. When people engage with your content, you can reply and start to build trust. 

Joining Facebook groups is another way to build community and grow relationships. Building relationships with micro-influencers and other entrepreneurs in your niche can be fruitful. 

Focus on quality over quantity

Creating quality content on a couple of key channels is more effective than trying to conquer them all. If you focus on one or two channels at first and do this successfully, you can expand your efforts. 

Be authentic – a Stackla survey found that 86% of consumers say authenticity is what makes them support certain brands. Your posts should be honest and offer real value. 

People expect posts to include a visual element and Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest, in particular, are visual-first platforms. Use great imagery in your posts and it will increase engagement. 

As you implement your strategy, you need to keep track of what is successful and what isn’t so that you can keep fine-tuning your efforts and improve your results. 

October 28, 2019  3:59 AM

Ways the Tech Industry is Helping the Aging Population

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

A study done by the U.N. examined how the world population has aged and will continue to age and how this will affect people in every country across the globe. Many technologies are being developed to help the aging population – from smart medicine dispensers to medical alerts.

Companies are developing ways to help them maintain their independence for as long as possible. Here are some ways the tech industry is helping older adults.

Early identification of individuals at risk

Big data and artificial intelligence is heralding a new age of more personalized medicine. When lifestyle, clinical and biological information is brought together, therapies can be targeted to get the best outcomes when it comes to preventing and managing health problems.

Better use of data together with digital tools can identify risks and get people to help early on before health problems become worse.

Technologies that enable remote patient checkups, virtual examinations, and improved online record-keeping already exist. Elderly people with limited mobility can have a video consultation with a doctor, receive remote treatment, have a prescription delivered and pay online without leaving their homes.

Helping older adults maintain their independence

Within the home, technologies are already providing assistance for navigating around the house and performing daily tasks such as cleaning and cooking. In the U.S. 90% of seniors want to remain in their own homes as long as possible and technology makes this possible.

Various tools can make small but meaningful differences in their lives. Using a stairlift means going up and downstairs is no longer a daily struggle. 

Voice recognition software products are allowing access to devices normally controlled by an ordinary remote control. A tool like a Voice Helper can send out reminders to take medication. Grab bars are an inexpensive way to provide stability.

Bringing health care into homes

Companies like Tandem Careplanning provide personalized, private caregiving solutions – you can select, hire and schedule care as and when it is needed.

Activities include helping with basic daily living tasks such as bathing, grooming, take medicine, making meals etc. This allows elderly adults to get regular help and maintain a high quality of life.

Home health care providers often use automation technology to help them provide more client-centric services. AI won’t replace the need for caregivers but it can help automate more mundane tasks and caregivers can concentrate on more important healthcare responsibilities.

Protecting older adults and keeping them safe

Aging populations are often vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. Fortunately, banks are increasingly taking measures to protect elderly citizens.

Personal alarms can be life-changing for the elderly. The user can press a panic button in an emergency situation to send a message and get help.

The GPS Smart Sole is a shoe insert with GPS technology worn in the shoe that keeps loved ones clued into the whereabouts of the person wearing it via a smartphone or tablet. 

Howz has a flexible set of monitoring devices around the home that feed into an app. It checks for changes in routine, makes sure a person is up at the usual time, has closed the front door etc.

Keeping older adults connected and engaged

Many seniors feel lonely and this affects their health. Phone apps are one of the biggest advances in technology that can help them to stay connected and engaged.

You can now purchase cell phones and other devices made with seniors in mind that have simple interfaces and large enough fonts. Virtual senior centers are also emerging, where older adults can go online to socialize and take classes to learn new skills. 


October 27, 2019  4:39 AM

4 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Career in IT

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

The world of IT is never static. The market encounters constant changes, and employees need to adapt to them. A career in IT will never be boring for people who embrace change willingly. 

However, like any other career, it’s quite easy to get stuck in a career rut. You’d like to move up and get promotions, but it’s not as simple as it seems. There’s a growing amount of competition out there, and you’ll need to up your game if you want to come out ahead of the others. 

So, what can you do to set your IT career on an upward trajectory? 

  1. Self-evaluate your current situation

How are you going to move forward if you’re not doing such a great job in your present position? You need to do some introspection about your current abilities and whether they are sufficient to move you up the career ladder. 

Look at the feedback you’re getting from peers and superiors. This means having to be 100% honest with yourself. Ask yourself where you need to improve and how you can go about doing so. 

Remember that your IT job isn’t just about your hard skills. Soft skills, such as leadership, time management, and communication are vital. Don’t be afraid to embrace your shortcomings and learn to overcome them.

  1. Upgrade your qualifications

Since there are changes in the IT industry on nearly a daily basis, you need to keep your qualifications current. Out of date credentials won’t get you anywhere. Look out for the latest industry developments and IT training opportunities and take advantage of them. It will mean giving up some of your valuable free time but will be worth it when you bag a big promotion.

A willingness to commit to a lifelong learning mentality is something employers find persuasive in prospective employees and current employees applying for promotions. It shows your desire to put in the requisite work to earn the reward.

  1. Do the dirty work

Often some projects need to be completed that no one is keen to tackle. They might think they have enough work to do as it is, or they worry that it’s too much of a challenge. Either way, this is an excellent opportunity to test your mettle. You’re probably feeling the same way, but it’s time to get out of your comfort zone if you want to advance your career.

Take on the challenging new projects or the ones that have started but failed. Have faith in your ability to make a success of them. Your efforts will soon be noticed, which could open new doors for you.

This approach might seem like a bit of a gamble, but remember that you won’t know if it will work for you if you don’t try. Your willingness to help the organization and challenge yourself at the same time won’t go unnoticed.

  1. Get involved

You shouldn’t only be keeping up to date with developments in the IT industry. The industry you work in is just as important. For example, if you’re working in the IT department in the banking sector, you need to stay abreast of developments in the finance industry. 

Read the annual reports and gain a better understanding of the business and your role in it. You’ll need to keep yourself updated about new regulations that govern the industry, as well. 

If possible, get a mentor in the company who can show you what you need to be familiar with if you want to get ahead. The knowledge you acquire could allow you to seek career advancement beyond IT in a large organization. 


October 7, 2019  3:43 PM

Six Tips to Save Time on Marketing

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

As a marketer, you need to stay focused because you are usually faced with many distractions. For example, social media is an effective marketing tool but can also take up all your time.

By optimizing your workflow, focusing on tasks that have the most impact and using the right tools, you will be more effective and less stressed. Here are some tips to help you save time on marketing.

  1. Monitor time spent on tasks

Do you know how much time you spend on all the tasks you do during the day? If not, it helps to invest in an app like TimeMyLife to accurately record how much time you spend on each task. It is best to allocate specific time slots to attend to social media. Allow yourself a certain amount of time and then set a countdown timer.

While tracking your time, if you find you’re spending too much time on activities that don’t really add value, be ruthless and cut them out altogether or cut down the time you spend on them.

  1. Put processes in place for all your strategies

You need to have processes in place if you want your marketing to run like a well-oiled machine. If you’re blogging, you need a process for idea generation, writing, editing, finding images and posting.

If you want to invest in PPC, you need a process for choosing keywords, creating ad copy and monitoring campaigns. Processes not only streamline your efforts but ensure that tasks are done efficiently.

  1. Only use tools that offer real benefits

There are so many different automation tools today, all offering great benefits. It’s vital to use tools for marketing automation that help your business the most, rather than wasting time and money on those you don’t really need.

For example, a social media automation tool may be a big time-saver for you, especially if you operate on many different channels. A tool with a unified customer data platform may be exactly what you need if you want to build a clear picture of your customers and improve your customer service.

  1. Delegate or outsource tasks

You don’t have to do every task yourself. Even if you work on your own, you can hire a virtual assistant to help with administrative tasks or find a freelancer to write blog posts.

This is often more cost-effective than you imagine, giving you more time to spend on what really adds value to your business. If you are member of a team working on a project, it may help to delegate certain tasks to colleagues who may be more suited to doing them than you.

  1. Have a password manager

You have to log in to all kinds of tools and resources every day and this means you can accumulate a large number of passwords. It is impossible to remember them all and writing them down on bits of paper is dangerous.

Rather invest in a password manager like LastPass that stores them all in one place. You’ll never have to scramble and waste time trying to find a password again.

  1. Create a running list of ideas

As a marketer, you may find you struggle to keep generating ideas. It helps to keep a running list of ideas that you add to constantly. Every time you come across an idea that inspires you, make a note of it. Using a shared folder means team members can add to the list as well.

Marketing does not have to be as time-consuming as you think. If you use these tips, you can streamline the process and make it more efficient.


October 7, 2019  1:39 AM

How Technology Has Impacted the Global Business Environment

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

There’s good reason why leading experts are referring to the age we’re living in right now as the Technological Revolution. Technology has impacted the way in which we do things, and it’s had a massive impact on the global business environment as a whole.

Here’s just how technology has impacted the global business environment and why this is one of the best eras in which you can do business. 

Business in the Nineties 

Business used to work a whole lot differently in the nineties. We’d just hit the internet boom, and companies were only starting to realize the benefits of hooking up with an internet provider and using services like e-mail, fax and VoIP to get business done. We saw domain names, we saw beepers, we saw business moved forward with technology in a way that we had never seen before. 

It’s a lot like what we have going on today, except today we have even more advanced technology. Things like artificial intelligence and social media. 

Technology Has Made Business Artificially Intelligent

The use of technology has made many different business processes artificially intelligent. Now, computer systems can make automatic stock market trades that make sense. AI can even help businesses to see projections, behavioral information about customers and market estimates that can help them to plan the way forward better than ever before. 

Technology Has Made Business Deals Instant

Technology has made business deals instant. Where signing a deal could take days or weeks ten years ago, now you can do everything from the meeting through to the signing of the contract through remote, online or instant means. 

Things like Interbank exchange rates are less today because of this.

Technology Has Increased Reach

Technology in business has increased potential reach by millions. In the nineties, we weren’t entirely used to the words “viral” or “meme”, but today these words are part of everyday culture – and these can all be used for promoting a business or brand when used right. 

Not only have we managed to increase the reach between businesses, we’ve managed to improve the way we reach customers.

Technology Has Changed Customers 

The use of smart devices and technology hasn’t just changed business: It’s also changed the customers on the final end of the supply chain. Somewhere in the nineties, business started switching over from sales focused on products (“Buy this and see what this product can do for you.”) to more customer-focused marketing (“Buy this and see what this company can do for you.”) 

Technology has changed customers: And how businesses can keep track of customer habits.

Technology Has Made Business Easier to Quantify

Technology has made business easier to quantify than ever before. Now, businesses can see information about their customers and sales at the touch of a button – whether they want to see what customers have been doing over the past year, or whether they want to know how customer preference might have changed. 

Detailed statistics are available, whereas it used to have taken months before statistics like these were available.


September 28, 2019  1:12 AM

5 Reasons Why You Should Consider SaaS for Your Business

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

Nowadays, it is required to have 24/7, secure access to business applications from wherever you are; and that’s why more and more businesses are turning to the cloud. It’s no wonder that traditional companies that run on-premise systems are struggling to stay on the market. In order to survive on that market as an IT business, you need to develop your abilities to keep up and even surpass the competition. If you haven’t done so already, using the software-as-a-service (SaaS) type of cloud computing might be the best investment that you’ll make.

Therefore, in this article we’ll list 5 reasons why you should really consider SaaS as a business model for your company.

The Costs

Every company has a budget that is devoted to IT expenses. Naturally, an on-premise system setup can take a good portion of that budget. And the reason for that is that besides the necessary software, you need to pay for the in-house server hardware, the licenses for software and a few employees that should always be there and manage potential issues. The difference between an on-premise system and a cloud-based one is that the first one will host everything in-house. Meanwhile, in a cloud environment, there’s a third party provider that hosts everything for you.

A second reason why it is much less expensive to host your business applications on the cloud, is because this way your company is allowed to pay on an as-needed basis, which basically means that you only pay for the resources you use.

The Space

The second thing that might come to one’s mind right after the costs, is the needed space for conducting a company’s activities. With an on-premise system you need to make room not only for the IT team that is devoted to managing the business applications, but also for the servers and the hardware. Besides that, there’s always the wiring, electricity and even the ventilation system that needs to be very efficient in order to create the right environment for the server room.

If you’re considering creating a SaaS business, you don’t even have to think about all of the above. With a cloud-based system, no extra physical space is necessary for the maintenance of the business applications. More so, you don’t even have to worry about security problems, since that’s also an issue handled by your provider.

Performance and Time Management

Generally, deploying a solution using an on-premise system can take a very long time. But that’s not the case with SaaS, which enables the deployment of cloud-based systems across lots of regions in a considerably shorter period of time. As established, you don’t need hardware, so that means that you won’t be wasting time with procuring IT infrastructure and setting up VPN access. Additionally, as your business expands and you employ more people to work for your company, you don’t have to worry about providing them hardware and access to the applications; you can just add them as users on your cloud system.

System Upgrades and Features

Upgrades are another issue that your cloud provider can handle, which basically means that they’ll make sure that at all times, you’re using the most up-to-date version of software for your business applications. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about reimplementing features of your applications, because with SaaS your customizations are always portable to future versions.

The reason why that’s such an important feature of cloud computing is because with on-premise systems, your customizations aren’t generally portable to future versions. And that translates into a lot of effort from the IT team, which has to test and redeploy the system every time.

Security

For every company out there, one of the most critical concerns is security, especially nowadays when every system can become vulnerable at one point or another. With cloud computing, security can sometimes be even more robust than it is for on-premise systems, considering just how much companies are investing for cloud security. Your cloud provider handles the security issues at all times, putting in a best effort to keep your data safe.

In conclusion, whether you want to move your existing business to the cloud, or if you’re just starting out and think that SaaS is your best option for a business model, you’re making the right choice. With cloud-based applications, your provider handles most of the job by taking care of performance, security, hardware issues and everything else. At this point in time, there can be no doubt that a SaaS business model has become virtually mandatory for any company that truly wants to thrive.


September 9, 2019  11:42 AM

Emergence of Big Data AI

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

Not long ago, big data was one of themost talked about tech trends, as was artificial intelligence (AI). But, in case people need a reminder of how fast technology evolves, they only need to consider something newer — big data AI. It combines elements of both technologies. AI allows computers to perform cognitive functions, much like the human brain. It can also make adjustments based on what the information shows. In contrast, big data looks for insights in gigantic quantities of data and may spotlight certain trends, but it doesn’t act on them. So, big data AI can both compile information and respond to it. In some cases, companies working with big data AI build tools or platforms that require AI and big data capabilities to work. Each of the technologies plays a defining role in achieving the result.

Making Sense of Location-Based Data

A company called Near has technology that uses aspects of big data and AI. It recently closed a funding round where the company got $100 million to develop technology that gathers mobility-based behavioral data from more than 1.6 billion devices around the world. For example, the enterprise has tools that tell users how often people from a certain demographic visit stores and when, or how far they traveled to get there. AI comes into play because the enterprise collects data from third-party sources and uses machine learning algorithms developed in-house to clean the information and cut out noise, making it more usable.

Aiding With Risk Assessments

Companies work in the risk assessment realm when representatives decide whether to offer insurance or loans to clients. They need to determine whether extending those things to a client could be a bad idea for the brand that’s offering them. For example, if a company seems likely to file an excessive number of insurance claims, it could be a high risk for an insurance company and cause the company to pay higher premiums to compensate. Or, if it appears that a client is unable or unwilling to pay back a loan, they’ll likely have trouble securing one that’s as generous as they want. Some big data AI companies assist underwriters with making risk assessment decisions. The proprietary technologies they use cuts down the time required to come to conclusions and allow the users to view more data when evaluating a client. Cytora is a company that operates in the European and Australian markets for now but plans to expand. It has an AI data engine that gathers information from multiple sources, like government data sets and news articles. Then, it intelligently assigns a risk grade from A to F, with an F-graded business most likely to have the highest claims costs. Similarly, there’s a business called Scienaptic that combines AI and big data while looking at other kinds of risks, too. For example, besides assisting with commercial underwriting needs, it works for fraud prevention and financial forecasting. The company recently received agreements from a company in Singapore that will invest $7 million to help build its technology.

Potential Hurdles Limiting the Internet of Things

Some Companies Will Restructure to Maintain Stability As Big Data AI Gains Prominence
Company leaders have to evaluate several things before they prepare to go public through an initial public offering (IPO). Some of the questions typically on the table relate to the appropriateness of the current management team, the trustworthiness of the board members and whether the company has a history of profitability. In 2014, Cloudera and Hortonworks had much-hyped IPOs. But, in January 2019, Hortonworks closed an all-stock, $5.2 billion merger with Cloudera. Both of those companies use Hadoop to help clients manage and assess their data, and they were constant competitors. The merger should allow the companies to blend their talents and business models and figure out how to stay profitable in this age of big data AI. Some analysts wonder if the end of big data is near. But, it seems like it’s merely evolving to incorporate more AI. As such, more mergers between big data companies may happen, and a shift could occur where those companies bring AI experts on board to help them prepare for the future. Even if mergers don’t happen, big data companies may start investigating how they could revamp their technologies to feature more AI elements. One of the main advantages of doing that is that AI could help people make sense of big data findings faster than before since it has decision-making abilities. Then the companies using those platforms could become more successful at applying the insights provided to them by specialized platforms. Big data as a standalone technology is not going away, but people should expect more instances where it gets better with AI.

The Abundant and Diverse Potential of Big Data AI

The examples above illustrate how there are compelling use cases for big data AI in the business world. But, people need to realize that other applications exist, too. One fascinating example of what’s possible involved the most recent Wimbledon tennis tournament. Wimbledon organizers invite hundreds of thousands of people to attend the event, plus stream it live to millions more around the world across nearly two weeks. Plus, the high-profile event demands constant security. Data helps the event succeed without major problems. IBM is the official technology partner of Wimbledon, and it has collected 62.8 million data points since 1990. The information gathered ranges from photographs of the matches to the positions of players on the court. Then, IBM uses AI in inventive ways, too. It created a chatbot that allows fans to find out more about scheduled matches or their favorite players. But, on the back end, there’s substantially more happening with help from AI. IBM applies AI to real-time video footage, tasking it with analyzing the expressions made by tennis stars or the noise level of the cheers from fans. Wimbledon representatives then depend on AI’s findings to help them figure out the best highlights from the matches on a given day. There are 10 courts on the Wimbledon grounds, so mining through all the video data without AI would be too time-consuming. After all, people demand updates as quickly as possible and wouldn’t want recorded footage to reach them days later. This is just one example of how big data AI could facilitate progress in unexpected ways. As it becomes even more widely used, people can expect to see more surprising and relevant uses.

“Big Data” May Become More Like “Extremely Relevant Data”

It’s too early to say for sure what the rise of big data AI will mean for the companies that decide to experiment with it. But, one likely possibility is that the time required to benefit from big data will shorten. That’s because instead of platforms merely looking through vast quantities of data and finding patterns, AI will help ensure that the evaluated data is the most applicable to a user’s needs. So, people may look through less data for analysis, but only because AI found the most appropriate information first. Big data is already much faster than humans working without it, but the efficiency may increase even more.


September 9, 2019  5:20 AM

How Has Cyber Security Evolved in the Last 10 Years

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

The last ten years of cyber security have taught us a lot about hackers and their resilience to infiltrate some of the biggest companies in the world. Common mistakes continue to occur, such as Instagram account passwords being held in text format, and regular Internet users continue to fall for phishing scams or downloading malware.

Yahoo was hacked twice once in 2013 and 2014, with 3 billion and 500 million records impacted. First American Financial Corp used poor security practices, leading to 885 million records being impacted in 2019.

Facebook also had poor security practices that lead to 540 million records being accessible in 2019.

The evolution of cyber threats continues to outpace some of the world’s top tech companies. Zeus Trojan was released in 2008, and it was one of the first times security experts saw a trojan of this sophistication. The software was able to log a person’s keys pressed and grabbed information from forms. Over $70 million was stolen using this trojan.

Target was hacked as a result of a variant of the Zeus Trojan. Viruses, trojans and worms have been around for decades, but they were starting to become more advanced and complex in the last ten years.

Connected devices have also started to spread, and once a device or even automobile is connected, they have the potential to be hacked. Intruders have been able to infiltrate streaming video entertainment systems and in-car WiFi. Connected car vulnerabilities first came to light at the 2016 Black Hat security conference. Remote hacking had the potential, at the time, to access 471,000 vehicles.

We’re also seeing an expansion of the cyber security field. Information security analysts are in a field that takes less than five years to enter and has a median pay of $98,350. The field requires a Bachelor’s degree to enter and basic cyber security courses. The field is growing at a rate of 28%, which is far faster than average.

Security experts have started to put some of the responsibility in the hands of the consumer because perimeter security can always be breached.

Encryption and multi-factor authentication remain the two key most important tools in combating security breaches. Multi-factor authentication has the ability to prevent access to user accounts on banking systems, social media and other platforms. This has remained one of the most powerful tools in helping prevent single record access online.

Encryption is becoming more widespread, and we have seen some early encryption be able to be hacked. WPS, which allows devices to access WiFi, has been shown to be vulnerable, so we’re seeing that consumer ease of use can lead to an increased number of vulnerabilities.

We’re also seeing that while security experts continue to advance prevention measures, a lot of large-scale attacks are kept in the dark. The US military had 26.5 million records hacked in 2006, and it took weeks to alert the public that the attack occurred. Consumers are starting to put security into their own hands, and this has been an approach that security teams are recommending to keep data safe and secure.


September 8, 2019  10:14 AM

Going Past the Basics for Cybersecurity

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

Data breaches are an all too common occurrence and there is no single measure of their impact. Aside from the adverse impact a data breach has on the affected company, data breaches also have a domino effect on the affected company’s customers. In fact, quite often the breach occurs within companies with which we’ve established much trust.

Unfortunately, many users view security as a passive endeavor that can or should be resolved simply by installing some perceived magic bullet, such as antivirus software. The reality is that antivirus software never has been and never will be a panacea. At best, antivirus software serves as a good pre-filter for a wide range of known threats.

You can bolster your defenses through the use of other technologies, such as firewalls, phishing filters, VPN’s like Surfshark, spam filters, and the like. But even bolstered, you still are left essentially with an arsenal of products adept at pre-filtering known threats.

This isn’t to say you should relax your controls or not use these products. If you can minimize your risk to the biggest majority of threats, you’ve gone a long way towards better security. It does, however, mean that you have to rethink your stance – you have to assess your own risk potential and your own risk tolerance, and then develop your own risk management plan.

For a home user with no business assets to be concerned with, your biggest concerns regarding data theft will probably be things like the risk of having your bank account compromised or becoming a victim of credit card fraud.

Once you’ve identified what your risk potential is, then determine what your risk tolerance is. Many banks, for example, will allow you to setup alerts for a wide range of activities, including things like wire transfers, drops in your balance, and the like. Take advantage of these features and setup a series of alerts that will give you early warning if your account is compromised but won’t be so intrusive that you quickly find yourself ignoring them.

Monitor your credit reports. You can do this manually or via a service such as IDWatchDog. Several free antivirus products come bundled with a free version of IDWatchDog so cost is not a factor here. You should also monitor your credit card expenses. If a breach involving your credit card has occurred, attackers will often start with small sums to check the validity of a card. In other words, don’t just look for big unexpected expenses – look for small unexpected expenses as well.

Good password management is a must-have component of risk management. Don’t share your password among different sites. If a company you do business with is breached and your username and password is stolen as a result, attackers will often try the same username and password combination on different sites. This enables one breach to have far reaching consequences across all your online accounts. To prevent this, having a unique password for each sensitive site is imperative.

Of course, you can share the same password across sites that don’t matter – i.e. sites that don’t require a credit card and which contain no sensitive personal information. But make sure your bank account password is unique and that each credit card account has a unique password as well. Your email account should have yet another unique password. Don’t use the same PIN either. There is a simple trick to making this all easier – write down the passwords.

This goes back to risk tolerance – you can’t protect against every possible scenario. Instead, focus on the most likely scenarios, i.e. someone gaining online access indirectly via the Web. So again, don’t be afraid to write down your passwords if it helps ensure you will use unique passwords on each of your sensitive accounts.

To recap, assume your data will be compromised in some fashion, even because of a company you do business with. Assess your risk by figure out what would be at stake when (not if) that occurs. Then implement smart measures that will give you an early warning of potential signs of compromise of sensitive accounts or data (i.e. credit reports). Understand your risk tolerance so these measures are pertinent but don’t cripple your day to day activities or overwhelm you with noise. And remember, your goal is not to achieve 100% security; that’s impossible. And by all means, use antivirus software – just don’t believe it’s going to stop every threat.


September 8, 2019  5:11 AM

Are Cryptocurrencies Here to Stay?

Keith Harrell Profile: SAS70ExPERT

Evolution of currency is taking center stage in the financial world. Recent reports indicate that over 70% of finance professionals are optimistic that cryptocurrencies are not going away any time soon because acceptance of cryptocurrency is gaining substantial ground worldwide. But do people know what bitcoin is? Do they know where to buy bitcoin? Such questions still make it difficult for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to gain extensive use in the world.

Several economic superpowers such as China, Canada, and India, among others, are still posing high resistance to this technological move. This opposition, however, has not deterred researchers and developers from continuing their quest to revolutionize the money industry. Users of cryptocurrency are still flooding the scene to search for more investment in the same. 

There is a thin line between deciding whether people would like to move towards crypto use or if they will refuse altogether. Various aspects come into play to support the technology and opposed in equal measure. Here we will look at two significant elements that are still causing ripples on the platforms of discussion about the future of bitcoin investments alongside other emerging cryptocurrencies.

Lack Of Regulation

Central banks in the whole world are not regulating cryptocurrencies. 

Market forces are the only controls to the free flow of cryptos in blockchain channels worldwide. Such a liberal market is viewed to be tricky because it is likely to be manipulated by superior players.

 Due to this, central banks have remained skeptical about the whole idea of buying and selling of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

On the other hand, some users argue that the lack of regulation opens up the world economy and ensures fair competition. 

There is no reserve currency in the crypto-world. Nonetheless, since bitcoin was the first-ever currency of this kind, it gained much significance. To some extent, it is seen as the “virtual reserve crypto” because whenever you would want to purchase any other crypto to be it Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin cash, or any other, the reference is always bitcoin or the fiat US dollar. Therefore, for most transactions using cryptocurrency, you must know how to buy bitcoin since it still commands a considerable share of the crypto scene.

International Business

Participants in e-commerce and international business are beginning to accept bitcoins as a mode of exchange. 

The downside of buying bitcoin or selling it is the lack of accountability, and in no small extent, evaders of tax obligations are buying bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies so that they conceal their financial worth. Doing this hurts economies hence the reason banks avoid buying bitcoins.

That said, the cryptocurrency use is increasing day by day, and the possibility of it existing in the future is very high. This positiveness does not stop the principal economic players from engaging in the debate about its viability.

Many cryptocurrencies are coming up. Apart from the largest blockchain commander bitcoin, other smaller entrants like Ripple, Tether and other ones that are just launching their whitepapers are also gaining significant use among crypto-lovers.

In a nutshell, cryptocurrencies are here to stay. The only question we can ponder about is ‘how long, and how?’ Will the world economy sustain runaway inflations and bubble-bursts. 

The assurance is still bleak, but with technological improvements, and globalization, the hope of crypto-future is almost a guarantee. Nevertheless, due to the excessive launch of many other cryptocurrencies apart from bitcoin, the over-reliance on bitcoin will subside, and this will bring sanity and stability in the cryptocurrency arena.


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