VersaTrust has been serving the Texas area since 1997 , providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.
More money on less investment, that’s the dream, right? Well, counterintuitive as it may seem, flash-in-the-pan tech fads and trends may be just the way to achieve that. With the right tools, you can associate your SMB with popular new technologies without much investment. These are our five tips on how to cash in on things as silly and childish as Pokémon GO and as technical and trendy as the internet of things.
Get in early
One of the biggest indicators of how successful your SMB will be in making big gains off of a new trend is how early you get in. Fads, especially in the tech world, can come and go in no time. Be careful not to invest in resources with a long-term commitment like new logos or graphics, but instead in low-cost workarounds like special promotions and social media campaigns that put you front and center immediately. Once the popular kids have moved onto a fresh fixation, you’ll be ready to move forward without skipping a beat.
Use existing tools
How can you get up to speed quickly without investing too much in permanent resources? The trick is to hijack existing opportunities and strategies for your own message. For example, John Deere has been selling farming equipment for over 150 years, with no signs of slowing down. But with a creative combination of existing GPS technology and mobile devices, they quickly jumped to the forefront of the “Internet of Things” craze by connecting their vehicles to crop planning practices.
Participate in the narrative
So you’ve identified a trend you want to cash in on and you’ve commandeered existing tools to help sell your product. How else can you gain momentum? Social media is everywhere nowadays, and it doesn’t seem to be a dying trend. However, it’s no panacea; simply posting “We’ve got a promotion on all seasonal products #inserttechfadhere” won’t bring obsessed customers to your doorstep. Take a minute to understand the mechanics of what pulls everyone away from work, friends, and family, and show participants you’re one of them. Is it competitive? Polarizing? Take a stand or pick a team and invite customers who are “on your side” to get a discount.
Merge the fad with your business model
With a little creative brainstorming, most business models can actually integrate their product or service with a passing trend. Chatbots have been shoring up the “deep learning” revolution, and clothing retailers have come up with a really creative way to employ them to drive sales. By simply providing their chatbots with a fashion tree, the bots can ask basic questions which whittle down clothing recommendations to those that align with customers’ tastes.
Address difficulties presented by the fad
What if you can’t find a way for your products or services to directly interact with the blazing new trend? The next best thing is to provide solutions to problems presented by it. Does interacting with the popular app or activity eat up a lot of mobile device battery? Remind passersby your outlets are available for customers, or that you sell mobile battery packs. Does it require driving all over town? Remind customers of your latest car rental promotion. Sometimes just associating yourself with the trend is enough.
Not sure how to integrate your business with the latest fads? We’re the experts on all things technology related, from the most recent to the ancient. As a small- to medium-sized business owner, getting the most value out of your technology investments is crucial to getting your foot in the door and working your way toward bigger profits. From machine learning to Pokémon GO, no question is too trivial — ask us today!
Quick, what’s the most important thing about your business’s precious data? Besides knowing how to back it up properly and protect it from catastrophic loss, how about understanding all the lingo used to describe it? The term “big data” – in reference to large, complex data sets – is a well-known buzzword these days, but a slew of new “data” terms are in style now, too.
Data is the lifeblood of the information age. It gets observed, collected, organized, and analyzed, and it allows businesses to compete for profit and prosperity. And it takes many forms, each one unique and often vividly-named by the addition of a simple descriptive word.
As such, we thought a short glossary was in order to help keep you current on a handful of new data buzzwords and how they might impact your business.
If “big data” is about powerful machines, huge databases, and sophisticated analytics, its little brother “small data” is about people. Small data takes a scaled-down approach to data mining that relies on things like social media to acquire important information. Archiving it is also simpler since a complex central data warehouse isn’t necessary.
The notion of “slow data” may seem a bit counterintuitive since processing ones and zeroes means things are happening fast. Some information, however, is actually acquired more slowly. Take, for example, the polar ice caps, where things literally move at a glacial pace. Since this kind of data doesn’t require frequent analysis it is suitable for back-up in its native format in a secure data lake.
We’re guessing you knew this buzzword was coming next, and it’s probably exactly what you thought it would be. “Fast data” refers to data events that happen fast – as in thousands of times per second – such as financial tickers or electrical sensors. Being able to act on it without delay is critical, so storing it immediately in a stable, easy to access location is a must.
Put simply, “dark data” is nothing more than day-to-day operational data that’s not getting used. It often refers to unanalyzed information in the form of customer call records, competitors’ price fluctuations, or website visitor trends. It can also include data that’s no longer accessible, such as when a storage device becomes obsolete. Your business can bring some of this redundant, out-of-date, or hidden data into the light with software designed to tidy things up.
And speaking of tidying, here we finally have “dirty data.” While not quite as provocative as, say, dirty dancing or a dirty martini, it does have a tendency to arouse anxiety. But it’s actually not harmful to your data warehouse; it merely refers to a data set prior to its being “cleaned,” such as a leads list that contains duplicates, spelling mistakes, or formatting errors. The key is ensuring it gets spruced up before moving it into production.
If this index of buzzwords has left you wondering about the ways that different types of information affect your specific business, we’ve got answers. Setting up and managing your databases, super-secure backup strategies, and a thorough understanding of information technology are what we provide, so call or message us today.
Don’t be put off by the tech jargon of security experts you find in forums and self-help books. A managed service provider is what you need to break down complex security ideas into easy-to-understand language. However, they generally focus on installing and managing protection software that’s often far too complicated to operate without their help. And when that’s the case, what can you do to improve the safety of your business and its data? Keep reading for 5 effective, down-to-earth cybersecurity measures that you not only need to know, but need to put into action
1. Two-Factor Authentication
Did an attacker get your password? With two-factor authentication they’ll still need your mobile device to do any damage. Here’s how it works: every time you log into a service that requires a password, the service will send a code to your mobile device for another layer of authentication. Nowadays, most internet services have this option: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, Slack, etc. Check a full list here to see if you could be using two-factor authentication on any of your online accounts.
2. Password Manager
Say goodbye to the bygone era of memorizing a long list of different passwords for the various websites and services you use. Password manager software may have been around for a long time, but it’s still a viable solution for improving your login integrity. After installing it, all you need to do is create one secure master password and let the software do the rest. It will store and encrypt all of your passwords in one place for future reference and help generate random, more secure passwords for any new logins.
3. Keep All Software Up to Date
Update all of your software and your operating system as often as possible — it’s that simple. New versions come with better protection and fix any newly discovered loopholes. If you are too busy or can’t find the time to do it, check for an automatic update option. Any excuse for postponing updates will feel a lot less valid when it means a security breach or system crash.
4. Disable Flash Player
Adobe Flash Player may be what allows you to play Candy Crush during your work breaks, but it has boasted such a poor security record that most experts recommend that users block the plugin entirely. Most internet browsers have the option to block Flash by default, while allowing you to enable blocked content you deem acceptable by simply right-clicking and selecting Run this Plugin.
5. HTTPS Everywhere
When dealing with technology, long acronyms tend to scare off novice users before they even make it to step two. But don’t panic, there’s only one step to this trick. ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ is a browser extension that forces your browser to automatically navigate to sites using a secured encryption, if the site allows it. The thing is, a significant percentage of websites offer HTTPS connections but don’t present them as the default. When that’s the case, ‘HTTPS Everywhere’ gives your browser a gentle nudge in the right direction.
While in-depth security measures need to be implemented and managed by experts, little steps like the ones listed here can be just as important. Check back often for more helpful cybersecurity tips, but if you have more urgent security needs for yourself and your business, our experts are ready and waiting to offer a helping hand — why not reach out to us today?
WordPress is one of the most popular and reliable content management systems on the market, and for this reason it is also one of the most frequently targeted platform for hackers. Websites that are running older versions of WordPress are often vulnerable to security breaches and data leaks. Seeking to correct a number of bugs, WordPress recently updated to version 4.5.3, a release that doesn’t provide much additional functionality but is highly recommended by the WordPress security team. Here’s what you need to know about their latest security update.
What’s new in WordPress 4.5.3?
The latest WordPress version includes fixes for more than two dozen critical vulnerabilities, including:
- Redirect bypass in the WordPress customizer API
- Two separate cross-scripting problems via attachment names
- Information disclosure bug in revision history
- Denial-of-service vulnerability in the oEmbed protocol
- Unauthorized category removal from a post
- Password change by stolen cookies
- Some less secure sanitize_file_name edge cases
All vulnerabilities were found by members of the WordPress community. In addition to the security issues listed above, WordPress 4.5.3 fixes 17 maintenance issues from its predecessors 4.5, 4.5.1 and 4.5.2 (See full list).
WordPress update process
Many sites have an automatic background update, meaning that website admins will receive an email, confirming the update. If your website doesn’t support this feature, you can trigger manual updates by logging in to your WordPress dashboard and click on the ‘Please update now’ link, which is clearly visible on the top of the page.
Before you perform the update, however, we highly advise you to make a backup of your website. This is so that you can quickly restore your site in the event that something goes wrong. Once you have your backup ready, you can go ahead and update your site with the push of a button. Alternatively you can download WordPress 4.5.3 here and install it via File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
It’s important to update to the newest versions of WordPress to ensure that you have access to all of its functionalities and to keep your data and website visitors safe from potential security threats. Google will also demote websites that are running old versions of WordPress in its search results pages – all the more reason why you should regularly check for WordPress updates. If you have any questions about WordPress security, feel free to get in touch with our experts today.