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Author: Will Chatham

Will Chatham is the Security Assessment Engineer for Arbor Networks. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. He started as a web developer, moved into Linux system administration, and ultimately found his place as a security professional. Having most recently conquered the OSCP certification, Will continues to hack his way into various things in an effort to make them more secure.

Expanding Your Small Business the Right Way

When you start a business, it’s likely that you’ll spend the first few years working alone. This is no bad thing – it will save you money, teach you new skills, and means you’ll have holistic control over your business that most large business owners would kill for. However, as you get used to this way of life, it may become difficult to know when it’s time to expand and bring a couple more people into the fold. Even when you do decide to take the plunge, making sure you expand safely and sustainably is easier said than done. Going from working alone to being a ‘boss’ in charge of other employees is a big step, and it brings its own challenges you’ll need to navigate in the right way.

Space and Systems

The first problem you’ll need to solve is simply where to put your new employees. As a self-employed trader, you may have been working from home all these years – do you want to ask your new employee to do the same? Or would it be more effective if you could work in the same shared space; in this case, do you need to invest in an office space? You’ll also need to ask yourself exactly what you are hiring this new person to cover. Do you want someone to share the load of your admin, or to take charge specifically over sales, or another area? When you’re working with others, job roles need to be clear and distinct.

Financial Planning

Self-employed tax returns are hard enough. When you start complicating this with wages, expenses, and other expenditures, the job can grow overwhelming. It’s important to put systems and structures in place to help you keep control over everything. Small lending businesses use products like FISCAL to streamline their transactions and track tax returns and the like, and there are plenty of tools out there for every aspect of your business needs if you know where to look. Do not leave your financial accounts to chance; it’s not worth the risk.


As your company grows, it’s no longer good enough to assume that just because you know something needs to happen that it will get dealt with. Similarly, if you decide to make big changes you will need to inform the people working for you to avoid misunderstandings and inefficient workloads. Communication is a key skill for any business owner to have, and it’s time to retrain yourself to listen to and communicate clearly with your employees.

Slow and Steady

When you finally break the barrier and start to grow your business, it can be addictive. Suddenly you want to expand as quickly as you can, employ more people, and grow your profits! This is a trap. Slow, steady expansion is the only way to sustainably grow your business into the future. Make sure to fully bed in each new employee before hiring another, and make sure you’re always in a position where your profits outweigh your expenditure on wages and the other costs of growth.

Parenting 101: Making Forever Memories the Easy Way

Once you have children, photos become even more special to you than they were before. As a parent, you want to save all the memories of your child. From when they’re sleeping, suckling, when they first start to talk, or when they turn a year old, every moment is unique, exciting, and adorable, making it impossible to stop taking videos and photos.

The new digital world has provided us with a lot of potential in taking videos and photos and saving them. Through this platform, children of today’s generation will have a more clear sense of where they lived, what they did as children, and the people who were around them during their childhood compared to those of former generations.

Tips on How to Make Lasting Memories

Invest in a Hard Drive or Memory Card

Although hard drives and memory cards are becoming a bit obsolete, they are a great and easy way of storing memories. Most people still prefer this method because they are small and tangible, and you can gift them to your children. Nowadays, there are rugged hard drives that are water and fire resistant compared to the old kind that got corrupted with time.

Hard drives and memory cards offer a safe, free system and more personal feel when storing your photos because you can manage and upload your photos however you want through your computer.

Social Media Storage

Whatever you upload on the internet remains there forever because the internet never forgets. When you upload photos or videos on your social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook, your blog, and Twitter, you can always retrieve them. As scary as this may sound, social media offers a good platform for you to store your baby’s picture. During special occasions in your child’s life, when you upload their photo, it can be downloaded, printed, and shared with ease. However, not all pictures are suitable to be posted on Social media.

Print your Photos

Printing photos of you and your children may seem a bit old-fashioned, but it never gets old. Printed images can easily be put into a photo album or displayed around your home by hanging them on the wall.

With printing, you can get creative and print photos on a coffee mug, a baby blanket, a DIY project, or on a poster. Making memories tangible makes them all the more special.

Save your Printed Photos

If you have photos in your album taken before the digital age, scan these photos, even though it is time-consuming, to secure them for the future.

Store Photos in the Cloud

 Most parents take photos using their smartphones, and the chances of losing all of them are high, especially with a toddler around. To avoid this, you can set up your smartphone in a way that all your photos will be backed up to a cloud automatically. A cloud storage system allows you to synchronize photos from various devices like your camera, computer, and phone, then share them with family and friends.

Backup cloud systems offer different plans. It is, therefore, necessary to determine the one that works for you according to the number of videos and photos you take monthly. Some of them include:

  • Amazon Cloud Drive: Allows you to access stored images from eight devices, an unlimited plan for everything with unlimited video and photo storage.
  • Apple iCloud: Offers an automatic free 5GB storage after you sign up, with the option to upgrade your plan once you exceed the storage limit.
  • Flickr: Allows users to upload, share photos, and give friends and family permission to organize the pictures at no cost.
  • Dropbox: It is a cloud storage system that allows synchronizing of files so that users can upload, save, and share photos with friends and family members easily. A free account offers 2GB with the option of upgrading at a fee or even sharing it with your spouse.
  • Google Photos: Google provides this video and photography storage and sharing service. The best part about this application is that it analyzes and organizes photos into groups like things, people, and places. It also sends you fun collages and videos it creates using images from a particular date. Google photos enable you to search for photos according to how you remember them, for example, the color of what you were wearing. These features have made it popular amongst most parents.

The following are steps to help you learn more about Google photo storage, how to get started, and stay organized.

  1. Create or sign in to your Google account.
  2. Sync everything on your smartphone or computer once you download the Google Photos App.
  3. Allow Google Photos to find all your photos on your computer.
  4. Ensure your settings are correct both on your smartphone and computer to get the most out of Google Photos.
  5. Follow phone and computer instructions.
  6. Ensure Google Photos on your phone is syncing and backing up with your Google Account.
  7. You can now confidently delete photos from your phone storage that have already been backed-up.

Use Multiple Options

Although there are many options to backup your photos, none of them is faultless. To be on the safe side, backup your photos on multiple options like two hard drives and memory cards, two cloud storage systems, or sharing your cloud storage albums like Google Photos ‘partner’ with others.

Burn Photos on DVDs and CDs

They are an easy and affordable back-up option. However, it is easy to lose or destroy photos, so consider another additional option.

Inform Friends and Family of your storage passwords and methods

Data experts are now recommending the addition of a memorandum to people’s wills on what action should be taken with their data in case of death; photos are no exception. Parents should appoint someone, whether a friend or family member, to be in charge of their children’s digital videos and pictures. Include the time frame and passwords for accounts before their expiry.

Bottom Line

Taking photos of children is the easiest way for parents to keep a record of their memories and show them to the kids when they are older. With the new digital methods of storing these photos like backing them up on Google photos, parents can now organize, edit photos and back them up on multiple platforms without worrying that they’ll get lost so that they can pass them onto their children.

3 Security Myths You Need To Stop Believing

Home security is so important and putting measures in place to protect your home from burglars will make you feel a lot safer. Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad advice out there about home security which causes people to make poor decisions and take unnecessary risks that actually increase the likelihood of a break-in. If you are concerned about your home security, make sure that you don’t listen to any of these myths.

Deterrents Don’t Work 

You might have heard people say that burglar alarms and security cameras don’t work as a deterrent because criminals are more advanced than they used to be. The logic is that criminals know how to get around these things and they don’t see them as a challenge anymore, so they won’t be deterred by a house that has these systems in place. However, that isn’t actually the case because, when faced with a choice between a house that has security systems in place and one that doesn’t, the burglar will always go with the second option. This myth often comes from statistics about fake security cameras, which can be recognized by burglars and are less effective. However, if you use professional security cameras installers and fit a good quality burglar alarm on your house, they absolutely will act as a deterrent. Having security cameras in place also makes it easier to catch the culprit if you are robbed, so they’re always a worthwhile investment. 

Smart Tech Is The Way To Go 

There’s a smart version of everything these days from doorbells to locks and a lot of people assume that smart tech is always the way to go if you want to keep your home secure. However, a lot of these products are designed with smart features in mind, not security. A smart door lock, for example, might be handy because you can lock it from your phone but it can also be drilled open in 4 seconds because the actual lock itself is terrible. There are some smart products, like video doorbells, which are good for security but just because something is new, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better and sometimes, the tried and tested methods are more effective. When buying security equipment, always look for good hardware over fancy smart features. 

It Won’t Make You Feel Safer 

This is a common myth that doesn’t carry any weight because it’s simply not true. While some people will always feel unsafe, the majority of people do find that they feel safer when they invest in home security systems. While there are other ways to make yourself feel safe, home security is the most effective. In the end, it’s a personal choice and if you think that you will feel safer with a burglar alarm and security cameras installed around your home, you should put some in. 

These myths often cause people to neglect home security because they don’t think that it will make much difference. But if you ignore this bad advice, you will have a much better chance of keeping your home safe. 

Ideas for Cutting Business Costs and Making More Eco-Friendly Choices

If you are a small business owner, then looking for ways to reduce your spend is always going to be a good idea. When you spend less, and are selling more, your business will be in a better position to thrive and exceed expectations. There are a number of things that you can do to save money with your small business, starting with being more eco-friendly and creating a business that is ‘greener.’ When you take steps to have your business be more environmentally-friendly, there are things that will save you money in the long term, as well as help your business reputation, and improve how things are done. If you are a small business with a conscience, then taking steps to improve things is a must. 

What are some of the things that you can do as a business? There will be some things that will have an upfront cost, but long term, these will lead to money savings. There can be some things that are just simple swaps, and there are some things that can take some time and planning to implement. There are many benefits, so why not look into what your business can start doing, today? Here are some suggestions for a more eco-friendly and more sustainable small business.

Use Natural Light

You might work in a quite traditional office setting. If so, having as much natural light in there as possible, will help to keep the office lit, as well as help to get fresh air, and to conserve energy. If you have things that are obstructing windows, then they should be removed to let in as much natural light as possible. Artificial light can also not be a good thing for people’s health, and teaming that with a computer screen can be pretty bad for headaches and eye problems. 

Invest in Light Timers

There are certain times of the year when we will need to put the lights on, as we can’t work in the dark. However, this can lead to wasting a lot of electricity, especially if lights don’t get switched off. Instead, installing something like motion sensors can be a good idea so that lights will automatically switch off when there isn’t anyone in the room. Similarly, if there are only a small number of people working, it could be worth getting some desk lamps instead. Then people can light their desks as and when needed, and you don’t have to switch on all of the lights in the room, just for a small number of people.

Reduce Paper Usage

Paper by itself isn’t something that will break the bank. However, there are more reasons to cut down on your paper usage than just saving money. In an effort to reduce how much paper your business consumes, to save trees and money, you could go down to paperless billing and invoicing. When you send things out to customers and clients, email rather than mail them. The same goes for anything that you receive. From your bank account or other business contacts, choose to go paperless.

On a similar note to help save paper, it makes a lot of sense to only print what is essential. Make sure that you print out the things that actually need to be printed. If hard copies aren’t needed, then save them on your computer and to the cloud. That will cut down on your physical filing and folder space too.

Distribute Reusable Bottles

When you have a team of people coming into the workspace to work, there is kind of an expectation that there will be things like access to water to drink and cups of coffee or tea to have too. In order to cut down on plastic cups for water and takeaway coffee cups, think about offering staff a reusable water bottle instead. Then they can use up their own bottle, rather than you as a business having to buy in lots of plastic cups that just get wasted. The same for reusable coffee options; can you offer them a reusable cup to wash up and use again and again? It can be a small upfront cost to the business, but will help to save in the long term.  

Buy Energy Efficient Technology

If you have a lot of modern technology, then the chances are that they will be some of the most energy efficient things in the office. However, if you have some older equipment and technology, then they really can guzzle up electricity. That is not only expensive for the business, but it can be bad for the environment too. In an effort to be more green, think about swapping out the older technology and equipment that you have for some more energy efficient electronics and appliances. Why pay for using more electricity if you don’t have to?

Change Your Light Bulbs

Another thing to think about when it comes to the energy that your business uses is to think about getting more energy efficient light bulbs. LED light bulbs are the best choice as they can last for a long time, and they don’t compromise on the quality of the light that you get. They are a cost upfront, but when then use a fraction of the electricity that traditional bulbs do, you will quickly notice the difference. They use less energy as well, which saves money and is better for the environment.

Consider Solar Panels

If you are wanting to really go green with your business, then how about having a business that can power itself? Solar panels are growing in popularity, and are a good choice for homes and businesses alike. As a result, you might want to think about some solar software from JobNimbus as it can help you to save time and money, when it comes to powering your office. If you are in an area that has the climate to really benefit, then you can also sell back some of the power, so you can actually make a side income from it. Of course, there are some upfront costs that are associated, so that is definitely something to think about. 

Flexible Working

Due to recent events ongoing around the world, there are a number of businesses that have gone to complete remote working. This can be a really good thing for the environment, as it means no commuting for employees, and no energy bills for the office space. People are returning to work in a more normal way at the moment, but it could still be a good idea to consider flexible working. When you have fewer colleagues in at a time, it could mean that you could get a smaller office space, helping to reduce costs. There will be fewer energy costs, meaning less energy is wasted, and it can be a good thing for commuting costs, as well as reducing the commuting impact on the environment. So if you can have employees work flexibly, it is a good thing to keep on doing, for the team, the business, and the environment.

On a similar note, it could be a good idea to reduce or limit how many meetings that the business holds in person. If it means that you have to travel far to meet someone for a meeting, why not just hold the meeting on a video call instead? Local meetings could stay in person, but for any that involve travel or going to the office just for a meeting, should think about doing remote meetings instead, as video calls can work just as well, and mean reduced travel and the associated benefits for the environment.

Make it Easy to Recycle

It can be hard for people in the office to get excited about recycling if there is no way for them to do just that. If you only provide them with a regular bin, then nothing will get recycled, because who is going to sort through it all? A simple solution is to get recycling bins, for a variety of materials, so that your team can make better choices around their waste and what they dispose of. You could even consider something like a food waste bin too as people will have food with them for their lunch and snacks. This could then become your own compost, or be recycled locally. 

Start a Rooftop Garden

If you want to get the whole team more excited about green choices around the office, and get them enthused about recycling and composting, then it can be a good idea to start a rooftop or terrace garden at the office (or fill whatever space you have). It can be a good way to grow your own things, such as herbs, fruits, and veggies, and can be a pretty calming and relaxing space to be during break times, which is a really positive thing to implement in an office setting. It can be a lot of fun too.

Have you got any other suggestions for improving the business and making more eco-friendly choices? It would be great to hear what you think.

Business Safety Is Paramount

The terms “cyber-attack” and “cybercrime” have entered the daily vocabulary of large and small businesses in recent years, as a result of the increasing number and scope of incidents.

In fact, relevant studies that have been carried out give a clearer picture regarding the extent of the problem. For example, a recent Ponemon Institute survey of 665 information security experts found that 54% of participating companies were hit by a successful cyber attack, with the average cost for large companies amounting to $5 million or $301 dollars per employee.

Let us now look at some important steps for comprehensive protection:

The most basic of all protection measures is a reliable antivirus program capable of scanning your computer and detecting the infection in real time. These programs are designed to boot at boot time of the operating system and remain as a process in memory so that at any time they are able to detect any malware. Even with an industrial pc you should be sure it is safe.

Properly setting up a firewall is an equally basic protection measure. Its function concerns the regulation of data traffic between two networks. The common mistake that is made is to accept all connections except those that the user prohibits, when in fact its proper operation is achieved by prohibiting all connections except those that the user allows.

The pop-up windows appear above the website you are visiting. Most pop-ups are created by advertisers, but they are not likely to contain malware and cause you problems. It is therefore advisable to block such pop-ups.

It is very common to install applications from the Internet without knowing their origin. This carries many risks, most notably the invasion of malicious accounting on our computer as these are applications whose origin has not been identified and therefore their reliability. 

A very common means of spreading malware is emails. Many would-be hackers send installed viruses as attachments, causing the virus to enter the system as soon as the user opens the file, causing extensive damage. We therefore suggest that if you do not open an email from an unknown sender and if you come across an email of dubious origin delete it immediately.

A good VPN is your friend

Your first real tool in the battle of privacy is the virtual private network (VPN). A VPN is an encrypted connection that allows you to connect to a network over the Internet in a way that treats your connection as if you belonged to that local area network (LAN). A VPN is really useful for companies, as employees have access to shared disks, printers and more. It is also a great tool for personal data protection. When choosing a VPN, look for VPNs that do not record traffic and do not hold or sell data. In general, all VPNs should respond to requests from law enforcement. However, a VPN provider that does not maintain logs will not have much to show when the authorities check.

Don’t risk a breach of data and the loss of thousands; but instead look towards simple solutions that will certainly allow you to protect your company and the jobs within it. 

Five Tips To Improve Your Brand Reputation With Technology

Technology has completely changed many parts of marketing, especially the way that brand reputation is built. Digital advertising and artificial intelligence, for example, have become tools in reputation building. 

Technology can be used by your competitors to tarnish the reputation of your brand online. A sizable amount of your time and marketing budget should be invested in making technology work for you, by making your tech products with cutting edge, quality hardware (find electronic components here, to the way you use the internet. Reputation can help you to secure investors and more customers.

  1. Build a top-shelf website. Technology means that most people now own a smartphone and can access the internet. Your website is the face of your brand online, so a large part of your online reputation depends on how that website looks. Improve your user interface to help site visitors navigate around. Make sure the site is optimized for mobile. Use the site to promote the right kind of content, using strong keywords, to reach the right people. Make your website more visible by marketing it on social media. 
  2. Use chatbots to boost customer service. Your customers need to get the best online shopping experience, both for your reputation and to increase the number of conversions. If a site visitor can’t find what they need fast, they’re going to leave the site and might give you a negative review. A chatbot that runs on your website can help your customers in finding what they want, and answer frequently asked questions. This kind of service makes the customer feel more appreciated, encouraging them to spend more time and money on your site. 
  3. Leverage social influencers. Thanks to technology, it’s easy to reach potential customers through sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Remember that your competitors and malicious reviewers are on these platforms too. Build a community of influencers to help you drown out the negative reviews that people might have shared. Instead, create content that is engaging and informative, and promote it through social media influencers to correct any misinformation that may be out there. 
  4. Use quality hardware. If you create technology products, you need to use quality hardware in the build. Everything from the electrical components inside the item, to what the exterior is made of matter. Poor quality hardware makes for poor products that don’t last and will give you a poor reputation. Quality products encourage repeat customers and a brand people see as top quality.  
  5. Leverage voice search. Online voice search has become very popular, as more and more online tasks shift to mobile. If you can adapt your web content to voice searches, your chances of getting more traffic and building a positive reputation for your brand online will grow enormously. Voice search works a little differently to classic SEO, so you can also use this to get ahead of the competition who might be doing this yet. If you’re unsure how to optimize for voice search, hire an SEO expert to help you get it right.