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Year: 2019

Four Tips to Help You Retain Your Employees When Your Business Works Across Time Zones

One of the biggest logistical challenges companies face when expanding across time zones is retaining a team that works in different locations.

One of the top reasons that employees cite as a reason for moving on from a company is that they feel overlooked by management. Not surprisingly, losing your employees is a big risk when you expand your business across more than one location, as your team may start to feel that they are not receiving the oversight, support and attention that they deserve.

If your organization is stretched across several time zones, these strategies offer solutions to help you keep your talent happy.

Embrace Technology Freedom

When your team works from multiple locations, it doesn’t make sense to have your talent tied to a desktop. Your employees may need to travel between offices or work from home or even a hotel room when meetings draw them to far-flung cities.

A useful strategy for managing this mobile workforce is giving your team choice over the devices they use. Thanks to advancements in mobile device management, allowing your team their choice of technology needn’t be cause for worry in terms of security. In fact, MDM is one of the ways that technology can improve security in business. Not only does MDM give you content visibility across your company’s devices, but Electric MDM can reduce business risks and support costs. Allowing your team to use a device of their choice is also a great way to boost retention. Bonus!

Focus on Employee Wellness

Investing heavily in employee wellness is vital, as it signals to your team that you value their contribution. Providing great office facilities with comfortable break-out areas is a great way to demonstrate that you are concerned about the quality of your team’s work environment, wherever they are located.

Prioritize Transparency

When the time comes to expand across time zones, it helps to be as transparent as possible about the future of your business, highlighting what the geographic expansion means for your team. Underlining that expanding your business will open doors for your team in their own careers is a great way to assure them that the transition period and challenges of expansion will pay off for them as well.

Accept Unusual Work Hours

When your various teams span multiple time zones, it won’t be unusual for your team to work odd working hours to cater to the requirements of your business. Some employees may struggle at first, and it’s important to support them if they can’t adjust, ideally offering transfers to other cities as an option. But now and then, one of your staff might embrace the unusual business hours and wish to work all their hours on the 24hr clock. And why not? A nine-to-five does not suit everybody, as research has shown that circadian rhythms vary, so different workers will be naturally more productive at different times. As far as possible, it makes sense to allow your team to work the hours that suit them best. Not only will they be more productive, but they are more likely to want to stay in their jobs, as they will feel supported and valued.

Whether you employ a staff of three or thirty, managing your team across time zones can be tricky. These tips will help you ensure that none of your work (or team members) slips through the cracks, and your business continues to thrive.

Thoughts on OSCP being ‘outdated’

In recent weeks I have been reading comments online about the Penetration Testing with Kali Linux (PWK) course and OSCP exam taking a lot of flak for being “tool old” and using “outdated exploits that don’t even work anymore.”

I believe most of these comments are directed at the lab environment and course materials. It is true that you won’t find many systems in modern pentesting engagements that are exploitable with older things such as EternalBlue (MS17-010).

But that is beside the point.

The PWK and OSCP exam are all about teaching you how to think, solve problems, persevere, and develop a pentesting methodology that works for you.

It is true that Hack The Box (HTB) and other modern online capture-the-flag frameworks are more leading-edge in that regard, which is great, and they can certainly be an excellent way to augment and prepare for the PWK/OSCP journey.

But the point is that it really doesn’t matter if you drive a 2019 Ferrari 488 Spider or a 1996 Honda Accord, it is whether or not you figure out how to get to the destination.

Go, Gadget Go! (5 Gadgets That Will Get You More Tooled Up Than The Inspector Himself!)

Whether it’s for work or play, gadgets have become a massive part of our lives. Of course, it can seem as if so many come out, so often that it’s almost impossible to stay on top of everything. Luckily, we have that sorted for you. In fact, all you need do to emulate that legendary hero that is inspector G is read on. 

Tablets

First off, if you want to get tooled up in the tech department, one thing that you have to consider investing in is a tablet. Of course, the market is the iPad Pro, which is the latest iteration of the very popular Apple tablet.

What separates the Ipad pro from their predecessors is that they are the thinnest and lightest model yet. They also have edge to edge screen and a pretty sweet Liquid Retina display too. However, the best thing by far is the fabulous Apple Pencil 2 that you can get to go with it. This being a device that allows you to use your iPad as a drawing screen. In fact, if you had to come up with a mugshot of an evil supervillain inspector G style, it would be the perfect device!

Of course, there are other options if the Apple Ipad Pro is out of your price range. One to consider is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 as it comes with not only a compatible pen but a keyboard as well. Something that gives it a more 2 in 1 feel.  Although, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 with its 8th-generation Intel Core and its 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display is also another popular option.

Fitness trackers

The next gadget to consider is a fitness tracker wearable, of which there are many to choose from. The good news is that there are options for nearly every budget, with unbranded versions going for as little as 30 on Amazon and other sites online.

Just like with anything else in this world, you get what you pay for when it comes to fitness trackers. What this means is investing a little extra in some of the best-known brands is never a bad idea.

Obviously, one of the best-known devices that has fitness tracking capabilities is the apple watch. Although there are some other brands and models that are pretty sleek and effective too.

In particular, Fitbits’ latest offering, the Versa is a great tracker with watch capabilities to try out.

The reason for this being that it monitors heart rate, and steps, and allows you to take calls and tracks your sleep as well. Something that is of course hugely important for staying in peak physical condition to rundown bad guys!

Laptops

Whether you use it to collate your case files, or research bad guys getting the right laptop for your needs is crucial. In fact, choosing the correct machine can be something of a conundrum! Especially with so many brands, offers, styles, and technical specifications on offer.

Of course, the best thing here is to identify what you will be using your laptop for. For example, some folks will primarily be using it for watching media, while the other will be playing online games. Still others like the inspector himself, will want them for work tasks and so will require a different type of spec.

The next task is to consider how much you want to spend on a laptop. Something that varies wildly because it’s such a massive market. In fact, Apple or Alienware machines, used for creative pursuits and gaming respectfully tend towards the top of the market on price. Although they are often well beyond the capability that many people need.

In fact, if you can, it’s always best to set a budget for your laptop purchase early on and shop around for the best deal you can find. It can even be worth your while to research the best time of the year to buy a laptop, as shopping in the post-Christmas sales can often get you a hefty discount. One that means you can buy the next laptop specification up if you so choose.

Home hubs

I wonder what inspector gadget would have thought about home hubs? I reckon he would have liked them. After all, they can be used to control the basic functionality of your home and hitched up to your smart security system as well. Something that he would have found really useful for keeping Dr Claw and his MAD agents out of his base. 
You may not be aware of it, but there are so many home hubs to choose from too. It’s not just the Alexa or Google Home versions. In fact, there is the Vivint Smart Home, Almond 3, Samsung SmartThings and even the Wink Hub 2.

Of course, the key thing to look out for hear is compatibility. The reason being that not all hubs work with all smart devices, such a Hue lights, Nest home, or Google assistant! Something that could make a massive difference if you have already invested in these smart systems for your home.

Also, be sure to test the inference of the hub thoroughly before you buy. After all, once you have it, you are stuck with it. Therefore, if the interface doesn’t gel with the way you do things, you could be letting yourself in for a whole heap of frustration!

VR

Lastly, one gadget that you absolutely cannot ignore is VR glasses like the PSVR, or Oculus Rift! Of course, these are mainly used for playing games and entertainment right now, but that isn’t necessarily what is in store in the future. In fact, over the next few years, its highly likely that you will see communications blossoming into the VR world. Something that will allow people to be in direct contact without leaving their location. 

Of course, until then you will have to make do with crime-busting games, and simulations like London Heist that will help to train you up to an inspector G level. Who knows maybe one day there will actually be a full Inspector Gadget experience playable on VR! Go, gadget go, indeed! 

Keeping Your Website Safe from Hackers: A Few Considerations

If you are thinking about making money off your website, you will need to ensure that you have ticked all the boxes and your protection is up to date. What would happen if your site suddenly went offline or got redirected to another page? Would your business survive? Chances are that it wouldn’t. Below you will find a few tips on how to manage your site’s security and protect your intellectual property at the same time.

WordPress Vulnerabilities

WordPress is by far the most popular blogging platform, and you can even build eCommerce sites on it. However, you will have to ensure that your host does everything possible to keep your site secure. Check the uptime before you would sign up for a package, and find out whether there are regular server backups on your page. Installing WordPress security alone might not prevent hacking alone, so you should look for advanced plugins and software.

Backups

It is crucial that you generate automatic backups for your site. Most hosts will allow you to do that and save a copy to a cloud account or even your computer. Backups will allow you to restore the site whenever there is a problem, and it is recommended that you do this every time you install a major software update or move to a different host.

Spam Protection

Spam protection is only working if you set it up properly. On WordPress Askimet is the most popular solution, but it is not a hundred percent accurate, if you are on the free package. You can also use OWASP Attack Surface Detector to check your applications, too. Make sure that you are setting your comments to be awaiting moderation all the time, so you don’t get your site hacked or flooded with fake comments. Another thing to consider would be to monitor your website traffic, so you can check where visitors are coming from. If most of them are from Asia, and you are in the Western world, you can suspect that hackers are trying to gain access to your account.

Keeping It In House

The best way to fix your site is to do it yourself, so nobody else has access to the infrastructure and the content. You might want to check your blog posts on CopyScape from time to time, to be sure that nobody took it and used it. This would have a negative impact on your search engine rankings. You might set up a VPN network at https://vpncoffee.com/ to keep your site shielded.

Setting Up Temporary Passwords

Whenever you use a contractor for working on your website, or to fix an issue, you will need to give them a separate temporary password that you can control. You don’t want a disgruntled contractor to break your site because you had a disagreement. Remove the account as soon as the work is finished, to keep your data secure.

Your website is your virtual business and shop front, so you have to protect it as much as you would protect your physical business.

The Tech Tips That Will Save Your Business Money

Being able to do things easier, quicker and better helps to streamline your business and save some money. This is where technology can be really useful. Thanks to different tools and applications, you can help to improve your business, speed up processes and get better results from your employees.

Knowing what’s out there and the difference it can make will help you achieve some amazing results. Take a look at these useful tech tips that will transform your business and help you save money.

Save on your travel costs with video conferencing

While traveling for work can sometimes have its benefits, there are several negative elements to business travel, with time and cost being two of them. If you have employees who regularly travel for meetings, why not encourage them to try video conferencing instead?

There are many benefits that come with video conferencing, but the benefit of having your staff in the office instead of out on the road will help increase productivity. You will also soon start noticing the difference in cost and the greener benefits it will bring to your business.

Use cloud storage for added security at a lower cost

When you’re relying on servers and internal memory to keep your company’s data safe, there’s always a danger that things could fail. More and more businesses are switching to cloud working instead as a way to get instant access to files and data, as well as making sure that they are all safely stored. Cloud computing is a great way to cut costs for your business, and allows you to benefit from having better access to software subscriptions over paying hefty costs for a program.

Cloud working will speed up your work, allowing your employees to do more, while also spending less.

Benefit from online tools that will grow your business

Today’s consumers want to be able to do things quickly and hassle-free, and in most cases, this means using online tools. Being able to make bookings online and managing account and payment info from your website is an appealing prospect to your clients or customers, and could drive your business forward.

Acumatica Rental demonstrates the ways that having an online platform can grow businesses, providing a low-cost option that’s worth the ROI. If you’re not already offering your services online, then it’s time you got started. Don’t forget to market your new services so that your customers can take advantage of them.

Go mobile the easy way

Does your business endorse flexible working? If not, perhaps it’s time you embraced it. With mobile working technology, your employees can work securely and effectively from any location. This allows your teams to enjoy home working as well as other benefits that will help make for a healthy work/life balance. While there are both advantages and disadvantages of flexible working, it is worth considering making the move to help your business embrace more modern ways of working and reflect current workplace trends.

If you want to help get the most out of your employees, consider upgrading your tech and boosting your security systems to put mobile working on the table.

Enable easier collaboration to achieve better results

Collaboration has never been easier than with technology. With the right tools, your teams will be able to work better together, as well as benefit from instant updates to make projects more cohesive and to provide greater results for your business. Whether your employees are all in the same office or spread out across different locations, online collaboration tools help make collaboration much simpler.

If you’re looking for suggestions for the best online collaboration tools to try, take a look at Asana, Podio and Flock. These types of tools can also be used across multiple devices to help workers stay on top of projects wherever they are.

Help employees to be more productive

If you’re hoping to help your workers be more productive, then you should consider some other tech tools that could make it happen. In addition to collaboration tools, online project management tools like Trello can help employees plan their days, manage tasks and provide updates as needed. By enabling better productivity, you can make the most of your resources to achieve bigger things for your business.

Stay on top of your finances

If you run a small business, then it’s likely as the owner that you wear multiple hats, including that of the accountant. This can be difficult, especially if you’re not confident with figures. With online accounting tools, however, you can get a grip of all of your outgoings and make sure you stay up to date with everything. Online accounting tools can also make light work of generating invoices and other tasks, which will help free up your time to focus on the more strategic elements of your business.

Make the most of using freelancers

Many of the tools above have been used successfully by businesses to establish a more ‘digital workforce’. With the right tools in place, employees don’t need to share the same physical office in order to work effectively. For many small businesses, having several full-time employees isn’t always feasible, and using freelancers can help ease the burden without committing to full-time, permanent staff. You can hire freelancers on an ongoing or project basis, and you’ll save money by having them work from home or from their desired location over being physically present in the office.
No matter what the size of your business, there are several ways that technology could help save you money. From cutting your costs to getting the most out of your workers, there are many approaches that have been proven effective for saving your business time and money. While bringing new tools into your business could require some initial investment, you can be sure of making savings in the long-term. Looking at effective ways of using technology in your business could bring some much-needed changes that will help your business achieve success.

How To Gain The Most Profit From Your Website

When you design and build your very own website, you may believe that once it’s all complete and released your hard work is done. As you sit back and wait for your people to start buying your products or services and for the profits to roll in, you’ll probably notice that not that much is going on. Simply creating a site is not enough to attract customers and produce an income, as there are many other tasks you must complete in order to ensure that your website gets enough visitors and then generates money as a result. The following information should act as a guide for the basics, so carry on reading to find out how you can maximize the profits of your website.

Generate Traffic For Your Site

Your website will not be getting many visitors if you don’t take the appropriate steps to generate enough traffic. There are many different ways that you can do this, some of which are very simple and quick to complete. By using specific keywords that are related to your products and services or websites informative purpose, you can increase your potential of ranking higher up on search engines. You can include these keywords in the content on your site, and if this content is written with depth and detail you will increase your chances of gaining more visitors. Harnessing social media to promote your site is a smart and modern way, and is especially good for marketing very niche or unique product or service.

Take Advantage Of Social Media

Social media sites have hundreds of millions of users, and every single one of these is a potential customer, so you’re really missing out if you don’t cash in on the various opportunities these platforms present. You’re able to create a page or profile for your business, and then utilize the various advertising and shopping options. Social media marketing is usually a very fruitful endeavour, as you can reach large groups of specific users that fit perfectly into your target audience. These users then have the option of providing you with instant feedback and opinions on the posts you make, and provide you with helpful insights from several different viewpoints you make not usually get access to. Additionally, you can create a ‘shop’ or ‘visit website’ section so that any interested users can easily make their way straight to your site and potentially make a purchase.

Pay Per Click Advertising

PPC (or Pay Per Click) advertising is a great way to generate some extra money from your website. Essentially, an advertiser will pay a site to dedicate a small banner to promoting their own product or service, or include links inside text to generate the host an income each time a user clicks on sai link. Google Ads scripts for PPC professionals are so easy to come by, and they can really help to boost your traffic and provide you with a little extra at the same time. You will be able to help your website rank higher up search results and gain more attention from users across the internet,

Turning Visitors Into Loyal Customers

When you manage to get a good number of visitors on your site, you have to think of good ways to convert them into loyal customers that come again. An easy way of doing this is to add the option on your site for each user to enter their email address in order to subscribe to updates, news and promotions. By getting some contact details, you are establishing a direct line between you and people that take an active interest in your website and business, and you are able to send them marketing material that they receive almost instantly. Supplying links to your website or specific advertised products within the email will increase your traffic drastically, and increase your chances of gaining a sale. There are certain ways of sending mass emails efficiently, so be sure to review them before you let them go.

Hopefully, these tips and tricks can help you gain a greater profit from your website. You may have to put in a little bit of extra work in order to generate traffic and keep your users interested, but it will be worth it when you see how fruitful your online adventure can be. Change your marketing strategies to focus on social media platforms and email contact, as these will further boost your levels of traffic and likelihood of reaching the right people.