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Month: December 2018

How To Protect Your Professional Reputation Online

Aah, the joys of social media. When you have a professional role, there are lots of things to think about, and your image across various platforms is one of them. No, we’re not talking about your actual image (although sure, you may want to get a haircut once in a while) we’re talking about how you’re perceived online, and as a result, within your community and profession. When it comes to protecting your reputation on the web, you need to follow a few steps, to make sure that you don’t cause yourself any trouble, and we’ve noted down a few easy ways that you can do this here.

Be careful what you tweet

Oh, Twitter. How we all love to have a little rant here and there, and how heated it can sometimes get when a disagreement arises. But as many professionals (and famous people) will tell you, those old tweets can come back around and haunt you. If you want to keep your reputation as clean as a whistle, make sure you’re not tweeting about anything that you wouldn’t say in a professional environment. Sure, you can tweet about how much you love eating cheese over the Christmas period, and nobody will hold it against you, but don’t tweet about how much you want to hit your neighbor with a baseball bat because of his loud music. It doesn’t look good.

Untag yourself

On sites such as Facebook and Instagram, your friends have the ability to tag you in pictures, which isn’t great news for your privacy. The issue here is that they probably find it hilarious that you got your arm stuck in a vending machine whilst you were steaming drunk, but your potential clients probably won’t. In fact, they will be quite worried about giving you their money if they see that you’re an off-the-rails individual where Instagram is concerned. Do yourself a favor, and keep these pictures between you and your buddies. The last thing that you want is for everybody to be asking you what happened on that night, especially when you can’t even remember.

Google yourself, and remove what isn’t too good

Ok, so it may sound like Googling yourself is a strange concept, especially if you’re not exactly, you know, Britney Spears. However, if you’re part of a big business or you have a large social media following, you’re going to have to say goodbye to anything that may not bode too well when it comes to your reputation, and Google is a good place to start. Whilst many images on the search engine don’t belong to them (as they don’t own the sites), there are still ways that you can get around it if Google won’t remove an image. You can get in touch with whoever runs the website, or you can try a method like suppression if they’re not willing to budge and Google won’t help.

Keep things set to private

Sure, you may feel like you should share some of your personal life online, but make a distinction between the personal and professional where you can. If there are some things you’d rather share with close friends and family, then have a Facebook account set to private, and separate it from all of your other public accounts. You don’t have to use your company accounts to share your own private thoughts (keep them business), and you can even use a different name for your personal ones if you only want to keep things between you and your loved ones. Take some time to secure your social media, and your other online profiles, too. You won’t regret it when you’ve saved your reputation.

So…

There are many ways to protect your reputation online, and one of them is being careful about what you tweet. Instead of going all out and writing what first comes to mind, take a moment to reflect on whether it is necessary, and whether it will damage your reputation. You can also untag yourself from any unprofessional photos, and remove pictures from Google if you don’t want them to be the first thing that people see. Lastly, set some accounts to private, and keep the information there between friends. This will help you to separate the personal and the professional.

Whatever you decide to do, your reputation is greatly important as a professional, and is something that you should take seriously if you want to be successful. Follow these simple tips if you want to make sure that it’s the best it can be, and that you have a reputation that precedes you (a good one, that is…).

Bringing Justice Closer To The Victims

Everyone can remember the first time they were the victim of a crime. It could have been something small as having your clothing robbed while our shopping. It might have been something that happened in your childhood such as a gang of youths stealing your bike. It might also have been when your home was broken into. Regardless of how large or small the crime was, it really does make you question the world. As a citizen who makes an effort to obey all the rules and keep on the right side of the law, it can be disheartening to witness injustices be done. Thankfully, there are many things that your local law office can do for you. Law businesses such as attorneys and lawyers all have access to some brilliant technology and new techniques they can use, to bring justice closer to the victim. It’s a bit of an anti-climax when after months of investigation and emotional trauma, the victim is brought in to hear the court sentence. Far better to involve them on the journey to that verdict and potential conviction.

Involved in court tactics

The overwhelming majority of people have no clue as to how courts work. They don’t know the basic system itself, and they certainly are not aware of the tactics that are used in court by both sides. The prosecutor has the tough job rather than the defendant because the premise of all justice is, innocent until proven guilty. Therefore to involve the victim could show them how you are working for their best interests. Some things might seem odd but if you explain to them that what you’re doing is to anticipate moves of the other side, they will understand your motives. For example, it’s better to choose a court date that is months away rather than weeks because this gives the other side a time to listen. Your side as the prosecutor can choose what evidence to keep secret until the cross examination or inform the other side. Of course they will put up a front, but if you can give them little pieces of evidence against their case, and allow them to mull it over time, the defendant usually changes their plea from not guilty to guilty.

Keep them updated

Managing victims across your legal practice is something that has become the norm. This means that victims that have hired you will and can be updated at their homes without a need to come into your office. This saves a lot of time that could be better utilized to their advantage. Take for example this criminal case management, where you can contact the victims via a victim management tool, and also keep them updated about restitution and hold an active correspondence with them. They are updated about any verdict and how you will enact it, such as compensation from the guilty party, but also be aware of their emotional state.

It’s never been more important to show the public how important law and order is. Justice needs to be understood and not just given. Use modern techniques of involving your clients about your tactics in court with a software tool.

4 Surprising Everyday Tech That Can Misuse Your Data

According to a Clark School study at the University of Maryland there is, on average, a hacking attack on computers happening every 39 seconds in the United States. The study doesn’t quantify how many attacks occur on other devices, but it’s fair to say that hackers are an innovative and hard-working bunch. Your smartphone and your favorite everyday gadgets can also become a target. In fact, by 2020, it’s expected that the Internet of Things will reach out around 200 billion connected devices in the US only. To put things into perspectives, there are already 25 connected devices per 100 inhabitants. The trend is expected to continue to grow. After all, when you think about it, you probably already have no far from 25 devices just for yourself. From your fitness tracker to your smart home system, modern households have made themselves more and more vulnerable to data breach attempts. How so, you ask? By increasing the reliance on IoT devices for everyday activities. The question is not whether your data are safe, but how your IoT data can be misused against you. The chilling answer you might not have expected is that some of your favorite gadgets could be the source of data (mis)interpretation. Your home is not data-safe, on the contrary!


Don’t let your ISP track your activities

Cybercriminals keep an active eye on innovative technologies to access loosely protected data – or data without any form of protection. Not only businesses, but individuals are vulnerable to hacking attacks. From using unreliable security software packages that fail to protect you to lacking common sense when you receive suspicious emails, you need to educate your household to the best way of managing your data privacy. However, what you may not know is that your Internet Service Provider, or ISP for short, can gain full access to your location, your searches, and your browsing history. While it shouldn’t matter, legal authorities can demand to see those data or can be alerted in the event of questionable activities. Admittedly, while this might be advantageous to target terrorists and other criminals online, you could be exposed to legal actions for something as innocent as essay research about controversial topics. Additionally, your geolocation can block access to specific content. The addition of a free VPN to your household network can ensure that your data are not getting used against you. A virtual private network will hide your data from the ISP.

Don’t let Alexa orders anything on your behalf

Alexa, the voice assistant introduced by Amazon on the market a few years back, has made a reputation for itself by helping you to organize your household and your online orders. But this apparently useful gadget has also developed a nasty habit; it can pass orders on your behalf without your knowledge. Does it mean Alexa has developed a form of intelligence of its own and can make decisions for you? Of course not. Alexa is and remains an AI tool that learns at your contact but never enough to become its own ruler. These unexpected orders are the results of data mishaps on Alexa’s part. The most famous story is about a little girl in Dallas who started a conversation with Alexa about cookies and a dollhouse, which led to the accidental order of the dollhouse. When the news reported the incident, Alexa devices picked up on the news segment and ordered further dollhouses, proving that the device is always listening.

Your fitness tracker reveals the location of secret military bases

Your fitness tracker might be your best ally if you’re trying to get in shape, but it knows far too much about your life to be trusted. Wearables are designed to collect data all the times, aggregated information and providing access to companies to analyze your performance and the one of the devices. And that’s precisely where the problem lies. Users of the Strava app realize that the heatmap could reveal not only the location of military bases but also the names and APIs of the individuals on each running route. In short, a fitness tracker could expose the entire position and routines of the armed services. Who needs spies anymore?

Don’t let burglars know about your habits

Who doesn’t love the ease-of-use and comfort of a smart home installation? But you might reconsider your choices when you discover that your smart home data could be used against you. Indeed, experienced hackers could gain access to your smart data, discovering your home routine and more importantly the times when you’re not at home. From ransomware attacks that threatened to take over your house to targeted burglary, smart home does not mean safe home.

Can you trust your everyday tech? While it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use any device that connects to the IoT, it’s fair to say that exercising caution and common sense should be your default position at all times.

Yes, New Tech Will Help Your Business Grow

Some business owners can be wary about introducing new tech into their business. But, this shouldn’t be the case as new tech is going to be able to help you grow your business like nothing else can. You might be wondering how tech is going to help your business grow, and many people will be asking the same question. As this is the case, in this article I am going to be discussing a few of the ways in which new tech can do this for your business.

Reaching New Customers And Clients

One suggestion that I have for you here is to use a live chat on your website. This allows your clients to talk to you directly without having to wait in a queue on the phone, or wait for a reply by email. This means that they can ask you questions that they might otherwise avoid, which could potentially lead to a higher conversion rate. This is going to be great for your business, and you will see a rising number of customers if you use this tool for your website.

Delivering A Better Service

Do you want proof that tech can you deliver a better service that will lead to increased success? Just look at the medical industry. Every year, medical companies are investing in tech like new cardiac ultrasound machines that deliver a faster solution to their patients with more reliable results. This gives them the edge over competitors, and yes, competition does exist in the medical world. At its core, it’s just like any other business.

If you look at other industries, you will see that the same thing applies. The more tech that you have in your business, the better service you will be able to deliver. Whether this is using ipads instead of paper copies of files, or tech that allows for better quality pictures, you will find that your level of service increases.

Introducing Scalability And Cutting Costs

If you don’t already know what scalability is, it’s the ability to grow your business, at the same rate as your profits. So, if you want to grow your business but you are spending too much money at the moment, you need to think about cutting costs. You can invest in tech to do this, as you will no longer need to hire a full workforce for the jobs that the tech can do. Many people prefer this option as it means they only have to make a one-off payment for the tech to work (even if it is a pretty big one), and then they don’t have to pay a salary afterward.

Tech can go a long way when it comes to saving your business money and allowing it to grow, but you need to think about this carefully before you commit to it.

I hope that you have found this article helpful, and see how new tech will indeed help your business grow. Don’t be afraid to come into the era of tech, you might find that it benefits you more than you think.

Social Media Trends To Be Watching For

Can you quite believe that another year has nearly been and gone? 2018 has been a bit of a whirlwind for a number of reasons, with all sorts of things going on around the world. So when you look back it, it can be easy to only look at those things that happened throughout the year that weren’t all that great. But in reality, there have been so many good things that have happened. One sector to look at in particular is the internet and things like social media channels. They have been changing and changing, and look very different to what we knew about them when they first started out. Naturally, they change and evolve to keep up with demand, as well as the technology that is available.

Gone are the days when social media was for just sharing memes; you can now stream live video, make short 15-second stories to view, and make your face into a dog at any given moment. Social media influencers are on the rise too, so the social media networks are finding ways to make sure that the content is able to stay relevant and can help influencers (because when they do well, the social channels do well too). But what is on the horizon for the year to come? What changes do we think we will see in social media over the next few weeks, months, and year? Here are some trends that are set to popular. Get to know them, so that you can make the most of them and use them to your (or your business’ advantage).

More Relevant Content

When social media content is irrelevant to the person scrolling through it, it can be very frustrating. When you think of it from a business or an influencer point of view, it can be very frustrating when their content is coming up to the right people or customers are having to wade through a whole heap of other stuff to see what you have to offer. Which is why targeted personalization is a growing trend for social media and online marketing and content marketing in general. Having the right kind of data to help them and their audiences will mean that content can be tailored, as well as the content reaching the exact audiences that they want to see.

Machine Learning

In a similar vein to what is mentioned above, sites like Facebook and Google could never write specific rules to choose the ads a particular social media user is most likely to click on. But that is where machine learning comes in. It helps to identify patterns in user behavior and determine which  advertisements are most likely to be relevant to which social media user. You could take a look here if you are interested in looking at more of machine learning, but it is something that is going to become more and more prevalent in our world, especially the digital world. Simply because machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence that means systems are able to automatically learn and improve from what has happened before.

Video Content

For a lot of people, they won’t have the time or inclination to sit down and read a lengthy blog post, unless it is something that they are really invested in. Which is where video content comes in. How many times have you seen video content, such as a cookie decorating video or a video of ‘hacks’ as you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed? Video content is really key and it does start to stop you in your tracks. The algorithms of many social channels have changed, and will continue to change, making video content more and more valuable. As well as conventional methods of creating video, you can do some off-the-cuff videos with things like IG-TV and Instagram stories. In fact, more and more users are using the Instagram video tools than the ‘original’ Snapchat video feature. So you can see just how quickly things change, and how they can grow and grow.

Influencer Marketing

You might have seen plenty of #ad disclosures or the ‘paid partnership with’ disclosures coming up on your social media feed over the past year. But the truth is, this is going to get bigger and bigger. Influencer marketing is something that is really new, but it is getting bigger and bigger. It hasn’t been something that has been trialled before it started, and now over 90% of companies that use influencer marketing strongly believe that it is successful for them. So it can be worth it to get an influencer on-board if you’re a brand, so be prepared to see plenty more of where that came from.

Publishing Content

You can share links on social media channels, and have been able to do that for a while now. But something that is becoming really novel is using social media channels for publishing content. Take the site LinkedIn, for example. Over the past year or so it has got busier and busier with users, and has become more and more popular to be used as a publishing outlet. You can see many companies, as well as individuals, using the platform to boost their marketing by sharing some inspiring, informative, or influential content.

Along similar lines, there are other social channels like Instagram that are making it easier for people to ‘swipe up’ to read articles or visit a website where something was bought from. This kind of feature is only available to a certain number at the moment, as you have to have over 10,000 followers, but could the future of it being allowed for everyone, no matter the number of followers? Social media and content marketing isn’t just about creating great stuff on your website. It is all about how it is shared and promoted on social channels as well now.

Do any of these trends interest you as we enter 2019? It would be good to hear what you think and what you preferred social channel is.

Bespoke Software Development Tips

Software lies at the core of business efficiency. It may be a lot cheaper to go for a software solution that is bought off of the shelf. However nothing meets the efficiency and effectiveness that can be reaped through implementing a bespoke software solution. This type of software will be completely tailor-made in order to suit your business; the size of your company, the activities you need to carry out, the data you need to store and your goals for expansion in the future. Read on to discover the top seven tips for having your own bespoke software developed.

Feasibility check

A lot of people overlook this point; however a feasibility check is essential. What is the purpose of developing your software? How is it going to provide you with improved efficiency? How will ROI be affected?

Technology infrastructure plan

Draw up a plan compromising of all the technologies and servers utilised in your business at present. This is essential because the software you develop needs to be compatible with the technology you use if you are to benefit from a cost efficient and time effective software development process.

Outsourcing

Outsourcing can ensure your software runs effectively for a lifetime. You can of course take advantage of the fantastic professionals out there who are trained and qualified in software development. But what a lot of people do not realise is that not only will you have the peace of mind that your software development is in the hands of the best, but you will also know you are covered in the future should any glitches occur. This is because these businesses provide substantial care and after support.

A long testing period is essential

Whether you are getting a company to develop your software or you are doing it yourself testing is imperative. This does not merely relate to a quick hour of playing around on the software. You need a testing period of approximately a month in order to ensure everything runs properly.

Find a robust software programming language

Believe it or not, but all software does not speak the same language! From Visual Basic to Java to C++, the choices are vast. Don’t try and go for something unusual – this will make bespoke software development and integration of other systems extremely difficult. Make sure you opt for a robust option. Aside from the three just mentioned other good options include; VB.NET and C#.

Web-based software application

Web-based software solutions are on the rise, with so many options, from SD-WAN to productivity apps. These are seen as highly beneficial as the only thing that is required is an internet connection for it to run. This type of software is seen as the future.

Lots of features are not always a good thing

It can be very easy to get distracted and build a software solution with a monumental number of different features. However, if these are not necessary, then don’t include them. The whole point of bespoke software is so that you can manage segments of your business efficiently. Pointless features simply complicate it.

If you follow the seven tips given in this article then you should have no issue when it comes to developing the perfect bespoke software solution for your business.