Web design trends you should follow today

Many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) nowadays build and maintain their own website to reach more customers. But because a majority of your competitors also have a website, an underperforming site just won’t do. Follow these web design trends to increase web traffic and boost your bottom line.

Scrolling

Scrolling is a convenient method to navigate a website. Instead of clicking on confusing menus and drop-down tabs, you can just scroll through a one-page site that has a cleaner look and is usually more intuitive to users. This web design style is definitely more important now that people have grown more accustomed to mobile web browsing.

You also have to decide how far visitors will have to scroll to get to know your company. While a long scrolling page gives you more white space and content to work with, a short scrolling page can quickly convey your company’s message and encourages action.

Animations

One way businesses have been setting themselves apart from others is by adding customized animations to their pages. This doesn’t mean you should overload your site with flashy effects that take forever to load. If you want to use animations on your site, give it a subtle twist. For instance, Slack’s loading animation features their logo.

Additionally, animations can be used to increase user interaction and engagement. Hover animations will allow your users to position the mouse over your content and get an immediate response without having to move between pages. Slideshows on your homepage can also showcase what your company is about without throwing too much information at the audience. When deciding to add animation to your page, figure out how a specific effect can enhance the user experience while showcasing your business.

Flat design

To achieve an optimal viewing experience for users, many companies have adopted a flat design for their websites. The flat design style replaces the elements that give an illusion of depth, like shadows and textures, with minimalist typography and colors. For example, Google employed this style to get content to viewers more effectively. The company added flat-design colors and used a sans-serif font. This allows the logo to load faster and makes it easier to read, as well.

Full-screen forms

More websites and apps are using full-screen forms to increase user interaction. Rather than being redirected to another page where your visitors decide to register or login to a website, they are welcomed by a full-screen form right on the home page. This is also especially useful for mobile users since they are less likely to misclick sections of the form.

Customized photos

The next time you want to use photographs to highlight your company, forget about using stock photos. Business websites that exhibit the company’s own photographs on their homepages look more personal and stand out from the competition.

While these trends are popular at the moment, don’t blindly adopt them all because it might end up looking messy. Instead, use the trends that are best suited to your company.

If you want to learn more about current web design trends, give us a call.

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Five design tips to improve your website

It’s not enough for small businesses to have a beautiful-looking website these days. Small business owners must also adopt web design trends that not only attract more visitors but ultimately increase sales. Consider the following web design ideas to achieve just that.

Scrolling

Scrolling is a convenient method to navigate a website. Instead of clicking on confusing menus and drop-down tabs, you can just scroll through a one-page site that has a cleaner look and is usually more intuitive to users. This web design style is definitely more important now that people have grown more accustomed to mobile web browsing.

You also have to decide how far visitors will have to scroll to get to know your company. While a long scrolling page gives you more white space and content to work with, a short scrolling page can quickly convey your company’s message and encourages action.

Animations

One way businesses have been setting themselves apart from others is by adding customized animations to their pages. This doesn’t mean you should overload your site with flashy effects that take forever to load. If you want to use animations on your site, give it a subtle twist. For instance, Slack’s loading animation features their logo.

Additionally, animations can be used to increase user interaction and engagement. Hover animations will allow your users to position the mouse over your content and get an immediate response without having to move between pages. Slideshows on your homepage can also showcase what your company is about without throwing too much information at the audience. When deciding to add animation to your page, figure out how a specific effect can enhance the user experience while showcasing your business.

Flat design

To achieve an optimal viewing experience for users, many companies have adopted a flat design for their websites. The flat design style replaces the elements that give an illusion of depth, like shadows and textures, with minimalist typography and colors. For example, Google employed this style to get content to viewers more effectively. The company added flat-design colors and used a sans-serif font. This allows the logo to load faster and makes it easier to read, as well.

Full-screen forms

More websites and apps are using full-screen forms to increase user interaction. Rather than being redirected to another page where your visitors decide to register or login to a website, they are welcomed by a full-screen form right on the home page. This is also especially useful for mobile users since they are less likely to misclick sections of the form.

Customized photos

The next time you want to use photographs to highlight your company, forget about using stock photos. Business websites that exhibit the company’s own photographs on their homepages look more personal and stand out from the competition.

While these trends are popular at the moment, don’t blindly adopt them all because it might end up looking messy. Instead, use the trends that are best suited to your company.

If you want to learn more about current web design trends, give us a call.

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Tips to improve your business website

Your company website creates an initial impression on potential customers. And because first impressions last, your website must be visually appealing, responsive, and up-to-date with web trends. Your visitors must have a seamless experience while navigating your site. These design trends will make them click on that “Buy Now” button.

Scrolling

Scrolling is a convenient method to navigate a website. Instead of clicking on confusing menus and drop-down tabs, you can just scroll through a one-page site that has a cleaner look and is usually more intuitive to users. This web design style is definitely more important now that people have grown more accustomed to mobile web browsing.

You also have to decide how far visitors will have to scroll to get to know your company. While a long scrolling page gives you more white space and content to work with, a short scrolling page can quickly convey your company’s message and encourages action.

Animations

One way businesses have been setting themselves apart from others is by adding customized animations to their pages. This doesn’t mean you should overload your site with flashy effects that take forever to load. If you want to use animations on your site, give it a subtle twist. For instance, Slack’s loading animation features their logo.

Additionally, animations can be used to increase user interaction and engagement. Hover animations will allow your users to position the mouse over your content and get an immediate response without having to move between pages. Slideshows on your homepage can also showcase what your company is about without throwing too much information at the audience. When deciding to add animation to your page, figure out how a specific effect can enhance the user experience while showcasing your business.

Flat design

To achieve an optimal viewing experience for users, many companies have adopted a flat design for their websites. The flat design style replaces the elements that give an illusion of depth, like shadows and textures, with minimalist typography and colors. For example, Google employed this style to get content to viewers more effectively. The company added flat-design colors and used a sans-serif font. This allows the logo to load faster and makes it easier to read, as well.

Full-screen forms

More websites and apps are using full-screen forms to increase user interaction. Rather than being redirected to another page where your visitors decide to register or login to a website, they are welcomed by a full-screen form right on the home page. This is also especially useful for mobile users since they are less likely to misclick sections of the form.

Customized photos

The next time you want to use photographs to highlight your company, forget about using stock photos. Business websites that exhibit the company’s own photographs on their homepages look more personal and stand out from the competition.

While these trends are popular at the moment, don’t blindly adopt them all because it might end up looking messy. Instead, use the trends that are best suited to your company.

If you want to learn more about current web design trends, give us a call.

Posted in General Articles B, Web & Cloud | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

What goes into a business continuity plan?

Events out of your control can disrupt your business operations. While you can’t necessarily control the unexpected, you can take some precautions to prevent most business disruptions. Here are some things to consider when developing a business continuity plan (BCP).

Backup your data, applications, and servers

Today, companies are more dependent than ever on IT and data. If these critical components suddenly become inaccessible, there’s little chance your business will survive. Regularly backing up these elements ensures they can be restored quickly in the event of a disaster, security breach, or damage to IT equipment.

In the past, most businesses would create backups on-site and with tape backups, but today more and more businesses are using the cloud, and here are several reasons why:

  • Cloud backups are affordable and cost much less than onsite backups
    Backups can be automated, therefore saving you time
  • Cloud providers usually back up your data to multiple locations (so if one of their facilities goes down, your backups are still safe at another site).
  • Backups can be accessed from anywhere, whether it’s at an employee’s home or at an alternate office.
  • If you need to access them, backups can be restored quickly

Virtualize servers and desktops

When you virtualize your servers or desktops, they can be used at any location – be it at your workplace, home, or a coffee shop in the Bahamas. In terms of business continuity, this is useful in case your main office suddenly becomes unusable due to hostile weather conditions.

Have a backup power supply

No electricity means zero productivity and money down the drain. Having a backup power supply will ensure that when the electricity goes down, your employees can continue working.

A good solution is an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), which gives employees a fair amount of time to finish their work as if nothing ever happened. Also, if you have a server room, a UPS will ensure your vital servers stay cool.

Utilize social media

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, most people are on at least one social network these days. And if there is any kind of outage or disaster, social media is usually one of the first places customers, colleagues, staff, and vendors will check the status of your business. So when it comes to business continuity, keep at least one social media account active to keep your customers and followers informed.

Implement unified communications

Unified communication (UC) creates a virtualized communication infrastructure. That means instead of your communication tools – like phones, instant messaging, and video calls – all being stored locally at your workplace, you can access them anywhere. So if your office is inaccessible, employees can still use your phones and other communication tools from their homes. What’s more, UC tools can route business calls to your employees’ smartphones. That means they’ll never miss an important call, even if they’re not in the office.

Keep in mind that these are only the first few items you have to address in your business continuity plan. You’ll also need to consider things like training employees and having a communications plan for informing stakeholders. If you want more advice on these areas or need top-class business continuity tools, contact us today.

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Keep your business alive with BCP

Power outages, disasters, and other disruptions are inevitable. Thousands of businesses around the globe are affected by them every year, with lost profits ranging into the millions, if not billions. So how can your business protect itself and stay open when the unexpected strikes? Here is a standard business continuity plan (BCP) your company can rely on.

Backup your data, applications, and servers

Today, companies are more dependent than ever on IT and data. If these critical components suddenly become inaccessible, there’s little chance your business will survive. Regularly backing up these elements ensures they can be restored quickly in the event of a disaster, security breach, or damage to IT equipment.

In the past, most businesses would create backups on-site and with tape backups, but today more and more businesses are using the cloud, and here are several reasons why:

  • Cloud backups are affordable and cost much less than onsite backups
    Backups can be automated, therefore saving you time
  • Cloud providers usually back up your data to multiple locations (so if one of their facilities goes down, your backups are still safe at another site).
  • Backups can be accessed from anywhere, whether it’s at an employee’s home or at an alternate office.
  • If you need to access them, backups can be restored quickly

Virtualize servers and desktops

When you virtualize your servers or desktops, they can be used at any location – be it at your workplace, home, or a coffee shop in the Bahamas. In terms of business continuity, this is useful in case your main office suddenly becomes unusable due to hostile weather conditions.

Have a backup power supply

No electricity means zero productivity and money down the drain. Having a backup power supply will ensure that when the electricity goes down, your employees can continue working.

A good solution is an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), which gives employees a fair amount of time to finish their work as if nothing ever happened. Also, if you have a server room, a UPS will ensure your vital servers stay cool.

Utilize social media

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, most people are on at least one social network these days. And if there is any kind of outage or disaster, social media is usually one of the first places customers, colleagues, staff, and vendors will check the status of your business. So when it comes to business continuity, keep at least one social media account active to keep your customers and followers informed.

Implement unified communications

Unified communication (UC) creates a virtualized communication infrastructure. That means instead of your communication tools – like phones, instant messaging, and video calls – all being stored locally at your workplace, you can access them anywhere. So if your office is inaccessible, employees can still use your phones and other communication tools from their homes. What’s more, UC tools can route business calls to your employees’ smartphones. That means they’ll never miss an important call, even if they’re not in the office.

Keep in mind that these are only the first few items you have to address in your business continuity plan. You’ll also need to consider things like training employees and having a communications plan for informing stakeholders. If you want more advice on these areas or need top-class business continuity tools, contact us today.

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BCP tactics to keep your business running

Whether your business is hit with a brief power outage or by a natural disaster, any kind of interruption to your organization’s productivity cuts into your profits. A business continuity plan (BCP) is critical to ensuring your organization stays open. Here are some of the key strategies many companies rely on.

Backup your data, applications, and servers

Today, companies are more dependent than ever on IT and data. If these critical components suddenly become inaccessible, there’s little chance your business will survive. Regularly backing up these elements ensures they can be restored quickly in the event of a disaster, security breach, or damage to IT equipment.

In the past, most businesses would create backups on-site and with tape backups, but today more and more businesses are using the cloud, and here are several reasons why:

  • Cloud backups are affordable and cost much less than onsite backups
    Backups can be automated, therefore saving you time
  • Cloud providers usually back up your data to multiple locations (so if one of their facilities goes down, your backups are still safe at another site).
  • Backups can be accessed from anywhere, whether it’s at an employee’s home or at an alternate office.
  • If you need to access them, backups can be restored quickly

Virtualize servers and desktops

When you virtualize your servers or desktops, they can be used at any location – be it at your workplace, home, or a coffee shop in the Bahamas. In terms of business continuity, this is useful in case your main office suddenly becomes unusable due to hostile weather conditions.

Have a backup power supply

No electricity means zero productivity and money down the drain. Having a backup power supply will ensure that when the electricity goes down, your employees can continue working.

A good solution is an uninterrupted power supply (UPS), which gives employees a fair amount of time to finish their work as if nothing ever happened. Also, if you have a server room, a UPS will ensure your vital servers stay cool.

Utilize social media

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, most people are on at least one social network these days. And if there is any kind of outage or disaster, social media is usually one of the first places customers, colleagues, staff, and vendors will check the status of your business. So when it comes to business continuity, keep at least one social media account active to keep your customers and followers informed.

Implement unified communications

Unified communication (UC) creates a virtualized communication infrastructure. That means instead of your communication tools – like phones, instant messaging, and video calls – all being stored locally at your workplace, you can access them anywhere. So if your office is inaccessible, employees can still use your phones and other communication tools from their homes. What’s more, UC tools can route business calls to your employees’ smartphones. That means they’ll never miss an important call, even if they’re not in the office.

Keep in mind that these are only the first few items you have to address in your business continuity plan. You’ll also need to consider things like training employees and having a communications plan for informing stakeholders. If you want more advice on these areas or need top-class business continuity tools, contact us today.

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The 101 on Android location settings

As you learn about the various features of your Android smartphone, you will come across location services and whether or not you want to approve them. If you think this convenient feature is harmless, think again. Sometimes it’s best to hide your location in your smartphone as this can affect your device’s security. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how to change the location settings on your Android smartphone.

Photos and GPS tagging

Your Android smartphone gives you the ability to attach GPS coordinates to the pictures you take, known as geo-locating or GPS tagging. This lets you arrange pictures in albums by location. Geo-locating images in itself isn’t a bad thing, but you can get into trouble when you broadcast sensitive locations to the world. For instance, a picture of your expensive watch with a GPS tag of your house isn’t the best idea.

Here are four ways to control geo-locating photos:

  1. Go to your camera settings and you’ll find an on/off toggle.
  2. Simply go to Settings > Location and from there you can decide if you want the location saved along with your images.
  3. Download an EXIF editor and manually remove the location information from specific images.
  4. You can also turn off location services altogether by going to Settings > Location.

Discrete location settings

Apart from location settings in photos and GPS tagging, Android actually has three discrete location settings that allow you to set how accurately you want location reporting to be. You can find these at Settings > Location. Note that this affects your smartphone’s battery life immensely.

  • High accuracy – This uses the GPS radio in your phone to pinpoint its exact location using data from satellites while making use of nearby Wi-Fi and cellular networks too.
  • Battery saving – This mode only uses Wi-Fi networks and mobile networks to identify locations, and while it might not be as accurate, it will help your battery last longer.
  • Device sensors only – This only uses the GPS radio to find you. It may take a little more time to find your location since it’s not using nearby Wi-Fi and mobile networks to get your general location first. This also uses more battery.

Having your location settings turned off will not only help keep your smartphone’s security intact, but also help strengthen your battery life. Interested in learning more about Android phones and their functions? We have solutions for you and your business.

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Stop Android location settings

When you use your Android smartphone for the first time, you’ll be asked about location services and whether you want to turn them on. Google and your carrier will ask you to approve their own location services as well. What you might not know is that there are other options for location services with Android that can affect your device’s security. To that end, let’s look at how to change some of these settings.

Photos and GPS tagging

Your Android smartphone gives you the ability to attach GPS coordinates to the pictures you take, known as geo-locating or GPS tagging. This lets you arrange pictures in albums by location. Geo-locating images in itself isn’t a bad thing, but you can get into trouble when you broadcast sensitive locations to the world. For instance, a picture of your expensive watch with a GPS tag of your house isn’t the best idea.

Here are four ways to control geo-locating photos:

  1. Go to your camera settings and you’ll find an on/off toggle.
  2. Simply go to Settings > Location and from there you can decide if you want the location saved along with your images.
  3. Download an EXIF editor and manually remove the location information from specific images.
  4. You can also turn off location services altogether by going to Settings > Location.

Discrete location settings

Apart from location settings in photos and GPS tagging, Android actually has three discrete location settings that allow you to set how accurately you want location reporting to be. You can find these at Settings > Location. Note that this affects your smartphone’s battery life immensely.

  • High accuracy – This uses the GPS radio in your phone to pinpoint its exact location using data from satellites while making use of nearby Wi-Fi and cellular networks too.
  • Battery saving – This mode only uses Wi-Fi networks and mobile networks to identify locations, and while it might not be as accurate, it will help your battery last longer.
  • Device sensors only – This only uses the GPS radio to find you. It may take a little more time to find your location since it’s not using nearby Wi-Fi and mobile networks to get your general location first. This also uses more battery.

Having your location settings turned off will not only help keep your smartphone’s security intact, but also help strengthen your battery life. Interested in learning more about Android phones and their functions? We have solutions for you and your business.

Posted in Android, General Articles B | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Disabling Android location settings

While your Android smartphone’s location services make it easier for you to use certain apps or functions like photo tagging, it’s often best to hide your location since they can affect your device’s security. With that in mind, isn’t it time you took a look at how to change the location settings on your Android smartphone to enhance its security?

Photos and GPS tagging

Your Android smartphone gives you the ability to attach GPS coordinates to the pictures you take, known as geo-locating or GPS tagging. This lets you arrange pictures in albums by location. Geo-locating images in itself isn’t a bad thing, but you can get into trouble when you broadcast sensitive locations to the world. For instance, a picture of your expensive watch with a GPS tag of your house isn’t the best idea.

Here are four ways to control geo-locating photos:

  1. Go to your camera settings and you’ll find an on/off toggle.
  2. Simply go to Settings > Location and from there you can decide if you want the location saved along with your images.
  3. Download an EXIF editor and manually remove the location information from specific images.
  4. You can also turn off location services altogether by going to Settings > Location.

Discrete location settings

Apart from location settings in photos and GPS tagging, Android actually has three discrete location settings that allow you to set how accurately you want location reporting to be. You can find these at Settings > Location. Note that this affects your smartphone’s battery life immensely.

  • High accuracy – This uses the GPS radio in your phone to pinpoint its exact location using data from satellites while making use of nearby Wi-Fi and cellular networks too.
  • Battery saving – This mode only uses Wi-Fi networks and mobile networks to identify locations, and while it might not be as accurate, it will help your battery last longer.
  • Device sensors only – This only uses the GPS radio to find you. It may take a little more time to find your location since it’s not using nearby Wi-Fi and mobile networks to get your general location first. This also uses more battery.

Having your location settings turned off will not only help keep your smartphone’s security intact, but also help strengthen your battery life. Interested in learning more about Android phones and their functions? We have solutions for you and your business.

Posted in Android, General Articles A | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

What makes hypervisors weak?

Hypervisors have changed the game of cybersecurity. They provide unmatched cyber protection for your data as they keep it in the cloud. However, hypervisors still have vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Find out how their weak points can be addressed.

A hypervisor is a software application that distributes computing resources (e.g., processing power, RAM, storage) into virtual machines (VMs), which can then be delivered to other computers in a network. This gives people the resources they need to run resource-intensive applications without having to rely on powerful and expensive desktop computers.

System administrators can also use a hypervisor to monitor and manage VMs. So if hackers manage to compromise hypervisor software, they’ll have unfettered access to every VM and the data stored on them.

While hypervisors are generally well-protected and robust, security experts say hackers will eventually find a bug in the software. So far, there have been limited reports of hypervisor hacks; but in theory, cybercriminals could run a program that can break out of a VM and interact directly with the hypervisor. From there, they can control everything, from access privileges to computing resources.

Another point of vulnerability is the network. Since hypervisors distribute VMs via the company network, they can be susceptible to remove intrusions and denial-of-service attacks if you don’t have the right protections in place.

If those attack methods aren’t possible, hackers can always break into server rooms and compromise the hypervisor directly. So what can you do to protect against these threats?

Create separate VM and management networks

Keeping your VM network away from your management network is a great way to secure your virtualized environment. If malware compromises your VMs, it won’t be able to affect your hypervisor.

Set access privileges

Ideally, only you, your system administrator, or virtualization provider should have access to your hypervisor console. You need to set strict access restrictions on the software to prevent unauthorized users from messing with VM settings and viewing your most sensitive data.

Disable unnecessary services

Off-the-shelf operating systems will have many unnecessary services and apps that increase the attack surface of your VMs. If you can’t tell which ones to disable, consult with a virtualization specialist.

Pay attention to physical security

Breaking into a server room is the easiest way to compromise hypervisors, so make sure your physical servers are behind locked doors and watched over by staff at all times.

Install top-notch network security tools

Due to network intrusions affecting hypervisor security, installing cutting-edge firewalls and intrusion prevention systems is highly recommended. These security tools monitor network traffic for abnormal behavior to protect you from the newest exploits.

Stay on top of hypervisor updates

Hypervisors must be updated to defend them against the latest threats. But if you’d rather spend your time on more important projects, you can always entrust the security of your hypervisors to a highly experienced and certified managed services provider, like us.

Contact us today to see how we can protect your virtualized environment.

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