Which social media platform fits your SMB?

There are no one-size-fits-all options when it comes to the right social media platform for your small- or medium-sized business. Facebook might be the biggest name in social media networks, but there are trendier platforms like Instagram and Twitter that millennial customers usually prefer. Different platforms attract and cater to different people, and it’s essential for business owners to understand the pros and cons of each platform before settling on one.

Facebook

Research shows that 77% of consumers in the US have social media profiles and that Facebook is the most utilized social media platform by users younger than 50 years old. With over two billion users, Facebook offers the biggest audience and is the perfect place for companies that are looking to increase their brand awareness.

Apart from the huge user base, Facebook also increases customers’ trust by lending otherwise stiff businesses a human touch. Although you don’t have to invest heavily in this platform, you should at least create a basic page. Setting up your company’s page takes only a few minutes and not having one could affect your reputation.

YouTube

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with over 1.9 billion registered users. When properly utilized, it can bring in new customers and help you retain old ones. To increase your brand visibility and help viewers to get to know your company better, create a channel with videos about the products or services that you’re offering.

You can also encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel so they’ll be in the loop every time you upload a new video. Another huge advantage of using YouTube is that Google owns it, and videos from the site are more likely to appear on the first page of search results than other organic content.

Instagram

Launched in 2010, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms today. It boasts one billion registered users, mostly on the younger end of the scale (18-24 years old). Instagram is primarily for sharing photos and short videos, but it recently launched IGTV, an in-app tool for users and businesses to upload long-form videos.

Keep in mind that most users prefer to use Instagram for fun and creative content. The platform is known for beautiful photos, so choose aesthetic content over standoffish or corporate content.

To hit two birds with one stone, integrate your Instagram account with your Facebook page so every new picture or video on your profile will automatically post to your Facebook page.

Snapchat

Another trendy social media platform is Snapchat, which allows its 300+ million monthly users to share photos and videos that disappear within 24 hours. Businesses can use this platform to reach younger audiences through Snap ads, sponsored geofilters, and sponsored lenses.

Snap ads are 10-second full-screen videos with embedded links and calls to action that will appear on the timelines of targeted viewers. Sponsored geofilters and sponsored lenses, meanwhile, are custom filters that may contain elements relating to one’s brand. All these marketing options are available through AdManager, the app’s advertising platform.

Twitter

Twitter has 328 million active daily users. This number may be small compared to the other social media platforms on this list, but that’s precisely its charm: it gives users the feeling of security and coziness that comes from chatting with businesses directly and publicly. In fact, a whopping 85% of SMBs have Twitter accounts that they use to engage with current and potential customers. And because Twitter only allows up to 280 characters per tweet (excluding links), conversations between parties are straight to the point and results-oriented.

If you have more questions about social media platforms and how to use them strategically, contact us today.

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The right social media platform for your SMB

Facebook leads all social media platforms in terms of daily active users, audience reach, and cultural impact, but is it the best fit for your business? Every business has a unique audience, so what works for one business may not work for another. With all the available social media platforms to choose from, small- and medium-sized businesses should examine their options before they decide which is the best match for them.

Facebook

Research shows that 77% of consumers in the US have social media profiles and that Facebook is the most utilized social media platform by users younger than 50 years old. With over two billion users, Facebook offers the biggest audience and is the perfect place for companies that are looking to increase their brand awareness.

Apart from the huge user base, Facebook also increases customers’ trust by lending otherwise stiff businesses a human touch. Although you don’t have to invest heavily in this platform, you should at least create a basic page. Setting up your company’s page takes only a few minutes and not having one could affect your reputation.

YouTube

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with over 1.9 billion registered users. When properly utilized, it can bring in new customers and help you retain old ones. To increase your brand visibility and help viewers to get to know your company better, create a channel with videos about the products or services that you’re offering.

You can also encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel so they’ll be in the loop every time you upload a new video. Another huge advantage of using YouTube is that Google owns it, and videos from the site are more likely to appear on the first page of search results than other organic content.

Instagram

Launched in 2010, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms today. It boasts one billion registered users, mostly on the younger end of the scale (18-24 years old). Instagram is primarily for sharing photos and short videos, but it recently launched IGTV, an in-app tool for users and businesses to upload long-form videos.

Keep in mind that most users prefer to use Instagram for fun and creative content. The platform is known for beautiful photos, so choose aesthetic content over standoffish or corporate content.

To hit two birds with one stone, integrate your Instagram account with your Facebook page so every new picture or video on your profile will automatically post to your Facebook page.

Snapchat

Another trendy social media platform is Snapchat, which allows its 300+ million monthly users to share photos and videos that disappear within 24 hours. Businesses can use this platform to reach younger audiences through Snap ads, sponsored geofilters, and sponsored lenses.

Snap ads are 10-second full-screen videos with embedded links and calls to action that will appear on the timelines of targeted viewers. Sponsored geofilters and sponsored lenses, meanwhile, are custom filters that may contain elements relating to one’s brand. All these marketing options are available through AdManager, the app’s advertising platform.

Twitter

Twitter has 328 million active daily users. This number may be small compared to the other social media platforms on this list, but that’s precisely its charm: it gives users the feeling of security and coziness that comes from chatting with businesses directly and publicly. In fact, a whopping 85% of SMBs have Twitter accounts that they use to engage with current and potential customers. And because Twitter only allows up to 280 characters per tweet (excluding links), conversations between parties are straight to the point and results-oriented.

If you have more questions about social media platforms and how to use them strategically, contact us today.

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Apple’s 2nd 2018 product launch

Don’t be surprised that Apple has a second product launch for 2018. For starters, the first one covered only two products: the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Were there no new iterations for the iPad and MacBook? Apple’s announcement on October 18 gave us a teaser of an answer: “There’s more in the making.” Read on to learn about Apple’s latest offerings.

The redesigned and reengineered MacBook Air

The new model for 2018 is a breath of fresh air. It has 17% less volume, a quarter of a pound lighter, and 10% thinner than its predecessor, but it is by no means a lightweight when it comes to features and capabilities:

  • Faster performance – features the 1.6GHz/3.6GHz Core i5 processor, has up to 16GB of memory, and SSDs with up to 1.5TB of storage
  • 13.3” Retina display – has over 4 million pixels, making text and images are sharper and more detailed
  • Apple T2 Security Chip – enables Touch ID, permits only trusted operating system software to boot at startup, and encrypts stored data
  • Touch ID – allows user to unlock the device, buy items using Apple Pay, or open other apps in conjunction with a 3rd party password manager with a touch of a finger
  • Butterfly keyboard – each key is more stable and responsive, and is backlit for easier typing
  • Force touch trackpad – now larger, allowing better conveyance of finger gestures
  • Superb sound system – with louder speakers with more bass, and three mics enable clear group facetime call audio and voice recognition
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports – has versatile ports that enables fast data and graphics delivery and charging via a single cable

The new Mac mini

This small-yet-powerful PC packs six processors for five times faster performance than the previous model. Other features include:

  • Up to 64GB of memory
  • All-flash SSDs – four times faster, with up to 2TB of storage
  • Apple T2 Security Chip – just like what the new MacBook Air has
  • Connectivity options – has ports for Ethernet (configurable to 10GB), Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, USB-A, and audio
  • Stackability – use hundreds of Minis together for mission-critical IT processes that run 24/7

The new iPad Pro

The October 2018 launch focused solely on the Pro variant, perhaps signaling the discontinuation of the economical non-Pro iPads, considering Apple’s push for PC-level tablets.

iPad Pro users can now use resource-intensive programs such as AutoCAD, which is software that lets you tackle millions of objects within one file. Moreover, Photoshop users on the iPad Pro can create huge graphic design masterpieces with hundreds of layers without suffering lag.

The main features of iPad Pro include:

  • Liquid Retina display – gives the best color accuracy of any screen to date and shows things as true to life as possible
  • Face ID – use your face to open your device, log onto apps, and use Apple Pay
  • A12X Bionic Chip – contains the Neural Engine, which enables advanced machine learning for smart image and video editing, among others
  • 8-core CPU – run multiple programs simultaneously apart and dynamically together, such as doing multiple-item drag-and-drops across different apps
  • 7-core GPU – offers 1000x faster graphics performance
  • USB-C port – connect directly to your other devices so you can work on your creations immediately
  • Apple Pencil (sold separately) – features tip and slant sensitivity, making it the most intuitive electronic drawing tool in the market today
  • Smart Keyboard Folio (sold separately) – serves as a protective covering and a dual-mode keyboard: one mode lets you type comfortably on a desk, while the other lets you use the Pro on your lap

With so many top-of-the-line features that compliment their intuitive designs, it is no wonder that Apple devices command above-average prices. Indeed, Apple truly knows how to stir up demand for its products. To learn how you can take advantage of Apple’s powerful tech to make your staff more productive, efficient, and creative, drop us a line. Our IT experts can help you source the best hardware and software for your business.

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Apple’s second stash of stocking stuffers

Leave it to tech heavyweight Apple to do two product launches within two months of each other. After launching Apple Watch Series 4 and three iPhone variants in September, here’s the additional stocking stuffers they unveiled on October 30.

The redesigned and reengineered MacBook Air

The new model for 2018 is a breath of fresh air. It has 17% less volume, a quarter of a pound lighter, and 10% thinner than its predecessor, but it is by no means a lightweight when it comes to features and capabilities:

  • Faster performance – features the 1.6GHz/3.6GHz Core i5 processor, has up to 16GB of memory, and SSDs with up to 1.5TB of storage
  • 13.3” Retina display – has over 4 million pixels, making text and images are sharper and more detailed
  • Apple T2 Security Chip – enables Touch ID, permits only trusted operating system software to boot at startup, and encrypts stored data
  • Touch ID – allows user to unlock the device, buy items using Apple Pay, or open other apps in conjunction with a 3rd party password manager with a touch of a finger
  • Butterfly keyboard – each key is more stable and responsive, and is backlit for easier typing
  • Force touch trackpad – now larger, allowing better conveyance of finger gestures
  • Superb sound system – with louder speakers with more bass, and three mics enable clear group facetime call audio and voice recognition
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports – has versatile ports that enables fast data and graphics delivery and charging via a single cable

The new Mac mini

This small-yet-powerful PC packs six processors for five times faster performance than the previous model. Other features include:

  • Up to 64GB of memory
  • All-flash SSDs – four times faster, with up to 2TB of storage
  • Apple T2 Security Chip – just like what the new MacBook Air has
  • Connectivity options – has ports for Ethernet (configurable to 10GB), Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, USB-A, and audio
  • Stackability – use hundreds of Minis together for mission-critical IT processes that run 24/7

The new iPad Pro

The October 2018 launch focused solely on the Pro variant, perhaps signaling the discontinuation of the economical non-Pro iPads, considering Apple’s push for PC-level tablets.

iPad Pro users can now use resource-intensive programs such as AutoCAD, which is software that lets you tackle millions of objects within one file. Moreover, Photoshop users on the iPad Pro can create huge graphic design masterpieces with hundreds of layers without suffering lag.

The main features of iPad Pro include:

  • Liquid Retina display – gives the best color accuracy of any screen to date and shows things as true to life as possible
  • Face ID – use your face to open your device, log onto apps, and use Apple Pay
  • A12X Bionic Chip – contains the Neural Engine, which enables advanced machine learning for smart image and video editing, among others
  • 8-core CPU – run multiple programs simultaneously apart and dynamically together, such as doing multiple-item drag-and-drops across different apps
  • 7-core GPU – offers 1000x faster graphics performance
  • USB-C port – connect directly to your other devices so you can work on your creations immediately
  • Apple Pencil (sold separately) – features tip and slant sensitivity, making it the most intuitive electronic drawing tool in the market today
  • Smart Keyboard Folio (sold separately) – serves as a protective covering and a dual-mode keyboard: one mode lets you type comfortably on a desk, while the other lets you use the Pro on your lap

With so many top-of-the-line features that compliment their intuitive designs, it is no wonder that Apple devices command above-average prices. Indeed, Apple truly knows how to stir up demand for its products. To learn how you can take advantage of Apple’s powerful tech to make your staff more productive, efficient, and creative, drop us a line. Our IT experts can help you source the best hardware and software for your business.

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Apple’s second product launch for 2018

Apple launched a couple of products in September. As usual, it’s just slim pickings — we were treated to three variants of the iPhone and the latest model of the Apple Watch. However, the trillion-dollar company was apparently not yet done, as it launched yet even more devices on October 30. Check out the additional lineup below.

The redesigned and reengineered MacBook Air

The new model for 2018 is a breath of fresh air. It has 17% less volume, a quarter of a pound lighter, and 10% thinner than its predecessor, but it is by no means a lightweight when it comes to features and capabilities:

  • Faster performance – features the 1.6GHz/3.6GHz Core i5 processor, has up to 16GB of memory, and SSDs with up to 1.5TB of storage
  • 13.3” Retina display – has over 4 million pixels, making text and images are sharper and more detailed
  • Apple T2 Security Chip – enables Touch ID, permits only trusted operating system software to boot at startup, and encrypts stored data
  • Touch ID – allows user to unlock the device, buy items using Apple Pay, or open other apps in conjunction with a 3rd party password manager with a touch of a finger
  • Butterfly keyboard – each key is more stable and responsive, and is backlit for easier typing
  • Force touch trackpad – now larger, allowing better conveyance of finger gestures
  • Superb sound system – with louder speakers with more bass, and three mics enable clear group facetime call audio and voice recognition
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports – has versatile ports that enables fast data and graphics delivery and charging via a single cable

The new Mac mini

This small-yet-powerful PC packs six processors for five times faster performance than the previous model. Other features include:

  • Up to 64GB of memory
  • All-flash SSDs – four times faster, with up to 2TB of storage
  • Apple T2 Security Chip – just like what the new MacBook Air has
  • Connectivity options – has ports for Ethernet (configurable to 10GB), Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, USB-A, and audio
  • Stackability – use hundreds of Minis together for mission-critical IT processes that run 24/7

The new iPad Pro

The October 2018 launch focused solely on the Pro variant, perhaps signaling the discontinuation of the economical non-Pro iPads, considering Apple’s push for PC-level tablets.

iPad Pro users can now use resource-intensive programs such as AutoCAD, which is software that lets you tackle millions of objects within one file. Moreover, Photoshop users on the iPad Pro can create huge graphic design masterpieces with hundreds of layers without suffering lag.

The main features of iPad Pro include:

  • Liquid Retina display – gives the best color accuracy of any screen to date and shows things as true to life as possible
  • Face ID – use your face to open your device, log onto apps, and use Apple Pay
  • A12X Bionic Chip – contains the Neural Engine, which enables advanced machine learning for smart image and video editing, among others
  • 8-core CPU – run multiple programs simultaneously apart and dynamically together, such as doing multiple-item drag-and-drops across different apps
  • 7-core GPU – offers 1000x faster graphics performance
  • USB-C port – connect directly to your other devices so you can work on your creations immediately
  • Apple Pencil (sold separately) – features tip and slant sensitivity, making it the most intuitive electronic drawing tool in the market today
  • Smart Keyboard Folio (sold separately) – serves as a protective covering and a dual-mode keyboard: one mode lets you type comfortably on a desk, while the other lets you use the Pro on your lap

With so many top-of-the-line features that compliment their intuitive designs, it is no wonder that Apple devices command above-average prices. Indeed, Apple truly knows how to stir up demand for its products. To learn how you can take advantage of Apple’s powerful tech to make your staff more productive, efficient, and creative, drop us a line. Our IT experts can help you source the best hardware and software for your business.

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

Have you updated your firmware yet?

You can find firmware everywhere, from a tiny networked LED light bulb to the biggest data center. This code is powerful because it controls the device it’s installed on. If your firmware is outdated, it can be used to spy on your environment, steal or corrupt your data, or even damage the system it’s controlling.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a basic type of software that is embedded into every piece of hardware. It cannot be uninstalled or removed, and is only compatible with the make and model of the hardware it is installed on. Think of it like a translator between your stiff and unchanging hardware and your fluid and evolving software.

For example, Windows can be installed on almost any computer, and it helps users surf the internet and watch YouTube videos. But how does Windows know how to communicate and connect with your hardware router to do all that? Firmware on your router allows you to update and modify settings so other, higher-level pieces of software can interact with it.

Why is firmware security important?

Firmware installed on a router is a great example of why addressing this issue is so critical. When you buy a router and plug it in, it should be able to connect devices to your wireless network with almost zero input from you. However, leaving default settings such as the username and password for web browser access will leave you woefully exposed.

And the username and password example is just one of hundreds. More experienced hackers can exploit holes that even experienced users have no way of fixing. The only way to secure these hardware security gaps is with firmware updates from the device’s manufacturer.

How do I protect myself?

Firmware exploits are not rare occurrences. Not too long ago, a cybersecurity professional discovered that sending a 33-character text message to a router generated an SMS response that included the administrator username and password.

Unfortunately, every manufacturer has different procedures for checking and updating firmware. The best place to start is Googling “[manufacturer name] router firmware update.” For instance, if you have a DLink of Netgear router, typing “192.168.0.1” into a web browser will allow you to access its firmware and update process, assuming you have the username and password.

Remember that routers are just one example of how firmware affects your cybersecurity posture. Hard drives, motherboards, and even mice and keyboards need to be checked. Routinely checking all your devices for firmware updates should be combined with the same process you use to check for software updates.

It can be a tedious process, and we highly recommend hiring an IT provider to take care of it for you. If you’re curious about what else we can do to help, give us a call today!

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Outdated firmware: An overlooked threat

If most of your company’s computers are obsolete, they double or even triple your chances of experiencing a data breach. This emphasizes how dangerous it is to have outdated applications, operating systems, and even web browsers. Failing to update your firmware could expose your business to major security threats.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a basic type of software that is embedded into every piece of hardware. It cannot be uninstalled or removed, and is only compatible with the make and model of the hardware it is installed on. Think of it like a translator between your stiff and unchanging hardware and your fluid and evolving software.

For example, Windows can be installed on almost any computer, and it helps users surf the internet and watch YouTube videos. But how does Windows know how to communicate and connect with your hardware router to do all that? Firmware on your router allows you to update and modify settings so other, higher-level pieces of software can interact with it.

Why is firmware security important?

Firmware installed on a router is a great example of why addressing this issue is so critical. When you buy a router and plug it in, it should be able to connect devices to your wireless network with almost zero input from you. However, leaving default settings such as the username and password for web browser access will leave you woefully exposed.

And the username and password example is just one of hundreds. More experienced hackers can exploit holes that even experienced users have no way of fixing. The only way to secure these hardware security gaps is with firmware updates from the device’s manufacturer.

How do I protect myself?

Firmware exploits are not rare occurrences. Not too long ago, a cybersecurity professional discovered that sending a 33-character text message to a router generated an SMS response that included the administrator username and password.

Unfortunately, every manufacturer has different procedures for checking and updating firmware. The best place to start is Googling “[manufacturer name] router firmware update.” For instance, if you have a DLink of Netgear router, typing “192.168.0.1” into a web browser will allow you to access its firmware and update process, assuming you have the username and password.

Remember that routers are just one example of how firmware affects your cybersecurity posture. Hard drives, motherboards, and even mice and keyboards need to be checked. Routinely checking all your devices for firmware updates should be combined with the same process you use to check for software updates.

It can be a tedious process, and we highly recommend hiring an IT provider to take care of it for you. If you’re curious about what else we can do to help, give us a call today!

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

Obsolete firmware poses security risks

Are you still using that old computer that is not-so gracefully aging and devaluing? Maybe you are running important programs on older machines with old operating systems since they “still work fine.” While it might still help you get the job done, there may be hidden security risks that can lead to major problems later on.

What is firmware?

Firmware is a basic type of software that is embedded into every piece of hardware. It cannot be uninstalled or removed, and is only compatible with the make and model of the hardware it is installed on. Think of it like a translator between your stiff and unchanging hardware and your fluid and evolving software.

For example, Windows can be installed on almost any computer, and it helps users surf the internet and watch YouTube videos. But how does Windows know how to communicate and connect with your hardware router to do all that? Firmware on your router allows you to update and modify settings so other, higher-level pieces of software can interact with it.

Why is firmware security important?

Firmware installed on a router is a great example of why addressing this issue is so critical. When you buy a router and plug it in, it should be able to connect devices to your wireless network with almost zero input from you. However, leaving default settings such as the username and password for web browser access will leave you woefully exposed.

And the username and password example is just one of hundreds. More experienced hackers can exploit holes that even experienced users have no way of fixing. The only way to secure these hardware security gaps is with firmware updates from the device’s manufacturer.

How do I protect myself?

Firmware exploits are not rare occurrences. Not too long ago, a cybersecurity professional discovered that sending a 33-character text message to a router generated an SMS response that included the administrator username and password.

Unfortunately, every manufacturer has different procedures for checking and updating firmware. The best place to start is Googling “[manufacturer name] router firmware update.” For instance, if you have a DLink of Netgear router, typing “192.168.0.1” into a web browser will allow you to access its firmware and update process, assuming you have the username and password.

Remember that routers are just one example of how firmware affects your cybersecurity posture. Hard drives, motherboards, and even mice and keyboards need to be checked. Routinely checking all your devices for firmware updates should be combined with the same process you use to check for software updates.

It can be a tedious process, and we highly recommend hiring an IT provider to take care of it for you. If you’re curious about what else we can do to help, give us a call today!

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

Protect your browser, protect your business

Any successful small- or medium-sized business today must do two things to thrive: digital marketing and network security to keep its data safe from cyber attacks and other forms of data loss. When it comes to security, browsers are no exception. In small- and medium-sized businesses, some 50 to 150 workers access the net daily through the company network via browsers on your devices. Each one of these access points needs to be protected, and it’s easy to do.

Data stored on desktops, servers and in the cloud, doesn’t make it safe. If anything, it makes it available to anyone who has the desire and capabilities to hack into your system and cause mayhem for your business operations.

One thing you should be doing to protect your data – and your company – is to make use of privacy-protecting browser extensions. Depending on the nature of your business, both you and your employees are likely to be online at least some, if not all, of the working day. What are some of the browser extensions that can make the experience more secure?

Prevent browser tracking

If you don’t like the idea of a third party (reputable or otherwise) being able to track your browsing habits, try installing a tool for private browsing. These programs offer protection against tracking by blocking third-party cookies as well as malware. Some extensions also boast secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization and can guard against tracking and data collection from social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Blocking adverts

While online ads may seem harmless, the truth is they can contain scripts and widgets that send your data back to a third party. A decent ad blocking program will block banner, rollover and pop-up ads, and also prevent you from inadvertently visiting a site that may contain malware.
Many blockers contain additional features such as the ability to disable cookies and scripts used by third-parties on a site, the option to block specific items, and even options to ‘clean up’ Facebook, and hide YouTube comments. The major blockers work with Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and you’ll be able to find everything from user-friendly solutions to more advanced tools that are customizable down to the tiniest degree.

Consider installing a VPN

Unfortunately, browser tracking, malware, and adware are not the only internet nasties that you need to be concerned about. but the good news is that there a number of other extensions that you can download to really get a grip on your online safety. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is something else to consider. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, effectively shutting out anyone who may be trying to see what you’re doing.

Commonly used in countries where the internet is heavily censored by the powers that be, a VPN allows for private browsing as well as enabling users to access blocked sites – in China’s case that’s anything from blogs criticizing the government to Facebook and Instagram. There are hundreds of VPNs on the market so do a little research and find one that suits you best.

Finally, it goes without saying that having anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on your PC, tablet, and even your smartphone is crucial if you want to ensure your online safety.

Is browsing at your workplace secure? Would you like a more comprehensive security system for your business? We can tell you all about it and help your business protect itself from online threats. Get in touch with us today.

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Browser security for business data

The internet isn’t for the naive. It’s a wild place of dangerous creatures like malware, scams, and hackers. And as any business owner today would know, data is everything. If you or your employees browse the net unprotected, this valuable resource is threatened by cyber attacks. One way to protect your business’ data is to secure your browsers. It is easy enough for every small- and medium-sized business to do.

Data stored on desktops, servers and in the cloud, doesn’t make it safe. If anything, it makes it available to anyone who has the desire and capabilities to hack into your system and cause mayhem for your business operations.

One thing you should be doing to protect your data – and your company – is to make use of privacy-protecting browser extensions. Depending on the nature of your business, both you and your employees are likely to be online at least some, if not all, of the working day. What are some of the browser extensions that can make the experience more secure?

Prevent browser tracking

If you don’t like the idea of a third party (reputable or otherwise) being able to track your browsing habits, try installing a tool for private browsing. These programs offer protection against tracking by blocking third-party cookies as well as malware. Some extensions also boast secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization and can guard against tracking and data collection from social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Blocking adverts

While online ads may seem harmless, the truth is they can contain scripts and widgets that send your data back to a third party. A decent ad blocking program will block banner, rollover and pop-up ads, and also prevent you from inadvertently visiting a site that may contain malware.
Many blockers contain additional features such as the ability to disable cookies and scripts used by third-parties on a site, the option to block specific items, and even options to ‘clean up’ Facebook, and hide YouTube comments. The major blockers work with Google Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and you’ll be able to find everything from user-friendly solutions to more advanced tools that are customizable down to the tiniest degree.

Consider installing a VPN

Unfortunately, browser tracking, malware, and adware are not the only internet nasties that you need to be concerned about. but the good news is that there a number of other extensions that you can download to really get a grip on your online safety. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is something else to consider. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, effectively shutting out anyone who may be trying to see what you’re doing.

Commonly used in countries where the internet is heavily censored by the powers that be, a VPN allows for private browsing as well as enabling users to access blocked sites – in China’s case that’s anything from blogs criticizing the government to Facebook and Instagram. There are hundreds of VPNs on the market so do a little research and find one that suits you best.

Finally, it goes without saying that having anti-virus and anti-malware software installed on your PC, tablet, and even your smartphone is crucial if you want to ensure your online safety.

Is browsing at your workplace secure? Would you like a more comprehensive security system for your business? We can tell you all about it and help your business protect itself from online threats. Get in touch with us today.

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