Which Software Is Right For My Business?

Every business can benefit from using software to speed up processes and improve organisation. But with so programmes out there on the market, how do you know which software is right for you? Certain software may be too simple for your needs, whilst other software may be overly complex. There are also factors such as cost to consider. Here are just some ways to help make the right choice when looking for software for your company.

Check online reviews

Online reviews are great at giving you unbiased information on software including the pros and cons. You may find professional reviews in tech publications are the most insightful as these people have tested lots of different software and so have more know-how when it comes to which programme is best (comparison guides are a great read). That said, user reviews can also be handy as they may offer information in layman terms and show how software can be applied in a real life setting. There are also video reviews out there on Youtube that may include walk-throughs of the software on screen so that you can see what it looks like.

Download free trials

Some software companies will offer the opportunity to download a free trial. This allows you to use the software for a few days and get to grips with its interface, helping you to determine whether its right for you. You can get your employees to test it out too if they’re also going to be using it and then you can vote whether you think it’s worth buying. Free trials may not always give you a full experience of what software is like to use – some features may be locked – but you can get a good idea just from the basic settings whether a programme is right for you.

Attend software demos

Some companies will host software demos in which a spokesperson will give a presentation and answer any questions regarding the software. Software demos can be very salesy and you’re likely to get very biased information as a result, however the chance to ask questions and possibly even negotiate pricing can make demos a worthwhile event. They’re also great chances to network with other business owners and get an idea of a software company’s target market.

Consider specialist software

There’s a lot of generic one-size-fits-all software when it comes to processes like accounting and project management. Some of this software is very popular and therefore has had a lot of money poured into improving it and making it reliable, however it may be too generic for some niche companies that need more specific features. Looking for specialist software such as veterinary software or architect software could be more beneficial in certain cases. It’s worth testing out a mix of specialist and generic software.

Go bespoke

There’s also the option to pay a software development company to build your own software. This could be designed entirely to your specs, giving you all the features you need. This can be more expensive, so make sure that you’re going to get regular use out of this software – it could be a way of combining the functions of multiple programmes into one software, saving you money in the long run.

The Damage of Disconnection: How To Proactively Prevent Network Issues

We demand a lot from our IT resources – and as possibilities expand, and the amount of data we process mounts, we can find that the performance of our infrastructure is left lacking. Network performance monitoring solutions can give oversight of the operations of enterprise networks, freeing up resource to present availability in response to peaks in demand, and keeping overall performance running well.

Such network monitoring tools can be proactive – running real-time analytics, minimizing network disruption and downtime and solving issues that crop up quickly. And of course, this will save you time and money in the long run.  But if you’re in the process of managing a growing start-up enterprise, heavily reliant on strong IT infrastructure, then you may encounter problems as the network grows quickly.

You may identify issues with effective monitoring that slow you down in identifying where a problem has its origin. Fixing problems can take longer than anticipated – and all the while you could be losing business. Here are some ways in which you can effectively optimize your network for maximum performance, minimum downtime and disruption to service:

Understanding The Set Up

Any attempt to remedy performance issues depends on your understanding of what’s happening within your network at any given moment. While people tend to automatically assume the network itself if, at fault, it may actually be PCs or servers that are causing problems. A tool like Compuware’s Vantage can help you pick up on problematic clients, bad performance on a WAN link, or badly constructed SQL on a server. This type of analysis tends to reveal issues existing on the system that you haven’t even been aware of – structural issues with the initial set up for example. If you take the time to collect all the information then you can head off most problems before they even impact on users. Adding bandwidth without first performing this type of diagnostic can be an expensive mistake, and the solutions that work for you will depend on the environment your network operates in. Opt for auto-alerts to let you know when an unusual event is occurring- you can usually set them up as emails or even text messages to your phone. There may be external factors that get flagged in this way, such as a neighboring WLAN coming online that then impacts the performance of your own network.

Future-proof Your Network

It’s important to factor in future requirements as well as stabilizing current demand. Build in future proofing measures through planning at the outset for increased capacity requirements. Capacity planning functionality in diagnostics will give you the required level of details about where future potential losses in data and packets lie by identifying areas prone to traffic slow down. If you are using too little bandwidth, it can cause as many problems as overload by contributing to underwhelming performance. Take a preventative approach to managing resources and data, and your network will run much more efficiently over time, for a small investment at the outset.

Keep Network Oversight

You need full visibility to keep everything running smoothly. It helps you to check on the flow of authorized traffic –and see any unauthorized requests too. Flagging up even currently non-critical issues with server, routing, bandwidth and network allows you to prevent issues before they become damaging to operations. If you have ‘blind spots’ such as increased traffic data or unexpected application performance, it can also make you aware of these.

Make it Visual

Dashboards are the ideal took for optimizing the performance of your network. With access to instant, at-a-glance information about performance, up/down status, storage, and wireless capacity – whether that’s on the premises or in the cloud – you’ll be able to see your network’s internal characteristics using endpoint data informatics. This can also help when it comes to collaborative working – any suppliers, associates, and vendors can also be notified of current network issues and work together on analyzing multiple layers of data.

Understanding the Cost

Business is all a matter of tackling competing priorities and resource demand. So it’s important to understand – and be able to explain to others – why network integrity needs to be prioritized. Understanding the true cost of issues can be a matter of quantifying it regarding lost revenue, damage to productivity or your business reputation taking a hit, which can cost you, future clients. Attach some solid numbers to these outcomes of potential downtime and outages, and you have a very convincing argument for investing in robust architecture and diagnostic tools.

Crafting Emails that Actually Sell

Although internet marketing experts have been saying that social media will kill email marketing for years, it still hasn’t happened, and in fact, the statistics show that email marketing is up to 40 times more effective at bringing in new customers than Twitter and Facebook put together! So, if you’re looking to market your products and services, you do still need to be using email.

Of course, just sending out any old email and expecting the customers to come flooding in is unrealistic. You need to carefully craft your emails so that they suck people in and make them unable to resist. Here are some tips to help you with that:

Use a Template

First of all, if you want to save time and ensure that your emails not only look good but also reassure the customer, you should use a template that means all the emails you send have a distinct look. You may also want to use the email signature manager at https://www.templafy.com/templafy-email-signature-manager/ to ensure that an up-to-date branded signature is included in every email sent out by your company. These are simple ideas that can immediately put the recipient at ease.

Craft an Eye-Catching Subject Line

So many marketing emails never get opened – they are immediately deleted upon first sight. So, you really do have to work to create eye-catching subject lines that demand to be opened. Some techniques that can work include asking a question, including an interesting spelling mistake, addressing the recipient by name (there’s software to make this easy) and, of course, mentioning a promotion or sale, and you can find more advice on the subject at http://www.addthis.com/academy/email-subject-line-best-practices/ . However, you will need to experiment a little to see what appeals to your target audience the most.

Don’t Make it About You

In the opening lines of your email at least, and in as much of the main body as possible, you should not make your copy about you. Put the focus on the recipient by starting off with a phrase like “I see you like..” or “I enjoyed the piece you wrote on…” because they are much more likely to keep reading if you don’t start pushing your agenda early on and you show some sort of connection with them.

Ask Questions

In the main body of your email, you should aim to ask questions such as “Are you looking to improve your writing?” or “What is the one thing you would change about (your product?” to get them more engaged and thinking about what they want and what your products or services offer. Studies show that you can convert four times as many people by asking more questions in your sales email, the key is to find the right questions for your audience!

Include a Call to Action

In closing your email, you should always include a quick call to action which should be no more than a line or two long. It should make the reader feel like they need whatever it is you’re selling without being pushy. Something like “ Can you afford to miss out on this amazing deal? If not, get in touch to discuss it further.” will do, but the more creative you can get the better.

Use these tips to craft better emails, and you’ll soon be selling way more stuff!

3 Simple Steps To Ensure You Don’t Become A Victim Of Identity Theft

Identity fraud is becoming big business amongst gangs, criminals and cyber hackers. In mere moments someone can steal your personal information and apply for credit cards in your name, rack up an obscene amount of debt in your name and even fly to sunnier climes using your name and a faked passport. Like something out of the movies, these individuals can take on your identity and become you. The scariest aspect of this crime is that you will probably never know how the criminal came to steal your identity and you will never be able to put a face to the criminal who committed the fraud. However, there are ways you can protect yourself and your identity.

Passwords

It goes without saying that the passwords to all of your online accounts need to be strong and unhackable. In the twenty-first century, we have accounts for everything from our online banking to our social media and from our email to our Amazon account. These passwords should all be unique. The sheer scale of the chaos that could be unleashed if a cyber hacker discovered the one password to all of your online accounts would be unthinkable. Keep them at least twelve characters long, unique for each account, with a range of letters, special characters and numbers, and ensure that you change them every couple of months. This is the first line of defence when keeping your online data secure.

If you want to check if your email has been compromised, you can head onto a specific search engine that will investigate if your email address has been present at all on the dark web. You simply input your email and let it run a search. If it has been compromised, you can then change the password to the account or close it down and set up a new one altogether.

Your PIN

Chip and PIN has made it even faster, easier and more efficient when paying for items in physical stores. However, with this ease also comes a greater threat of identity threat. When in a store, make sure you cover the pad you are inserting your pin into so that nobody can see it. If you lose your card at all, phone your bank immediately to get it canceled. And if you find yourself at a cashpoint and the hole in the wall looks dodgy for any reason, don’t use it. PIN readers may have been installed, or cameras may have been placed strategically to read the numbers you input onto the pad.

Documentation

If you have your passport, birth certificate and financial documentation at home, you need to make sure you keep them safe. Don’t leave these items in drawers or under your bed. These are the first places any thief will look. Instead, try to put these documents into a lockable container or file which you can then store away in your attic space or under a floorboard. The harder it is for any potential thief to locate and get into, the more likely it is that they will give up and move on.

Becoming a victim of identity theft can leave you feeling vulnerable, foolish and violated. However, by ensuring that you heed this advice, you will be doing everything in your power to prevent your identity from ever falling into the hands of someone else.

Launch Your Business Like a Rocket with Convenient Tech Tools

Starting a business will never be a total breeze, but there are always ways to make it easier. Technology is one of the biggest things to speed up the process of starting a business and make it simpler,  and more accessible for anyone. If you’re thinking of starting a business but you’re worried that it’s going to take too much time and money to get anywhere, there are many tech tools that could change things for you. From cloud computing to social media, you don’t have to spend a lot of money or even use up a lot of your time running a business. Here are some of the things you could be doing.

Get Everything Set Up Online

If you can’t even get past the first stage of starting your business, you’re not going to going to get very far. Setting up all the official stuff to create your business legally can often be a bit of a hassle. You might get confused about what you need to do and end up going around in circles trying to work it out. It can also simply be time-consuming and frustrating. If you want things to be easier, you can do it all online without any trouble. Using a package from Your Company Formations, you can set up a limited company, and have some useful extras to go along with it. Get a registered office address, an annual filing service, and even mail forwarding to make everything simple.

Run on a Budget with Virtual Help

The internet makes so many things much easier to deal with. One of the things it can allow you to do is expand your business without having to hire permanent employees. With help from virtual assistants, you can get all your necessary work done. You can use a personal assistant, web designer, content writer, customer service assistant and plenty of other people to make your business look bigger than it is. When you work with people virtually, you can choose people from all over the world who are suited to your needs and to your budget. You can coordinate everyone you work with using various tools to keep everyone on track.

Get the Word Out with Digital Marketing

While traditional marketing methods are still useful, it’s difficult to get anywhere these days without digital marketing. Fortunately, digital marketing methods are often very cost-effective, so they’re ideal for getting a business off the ground. From social media to SEO and PPC, you can use a range of techniques to promote your business online. Of course, you need to use them effectively if you want to make sure you’re not just wasting money. New business owners will often try to do it all themselves, but it’s often better to get professional help. While you can learn the basics, you probably don’t have time to do everything on your own.

Work on Your Business Anywhere with Cloud Tech

Cloud technology has become one of the staples of running a successful business. It makes information accessible from anywhere, which is ideal when you’re collaborating with others, or you move around a lot. If you’re using cloud technology, you can work on things from different devices and stay connected, no matter where you are. Whether you’re working from home, in a coworking space, moving into your first office or travelling the world, you can make sure you’re able to work on anything you need to and coordinate with anyone you’re working with.

Funding

Technology also makes it easier for you to find the funding you need for your business. The internet makes it simpler to find useful resources, but that’s not the only way you can look for the funding you need. Many people have been turning to crowdfunding for various products and creative projects for years. Crowdfunding allows people to raise money by getting anyone and everyone to contribute however much they want so that they can reach a specific goal. Often this is done on an “all or nothing” approach; if they don’t reach their target, they don’t get any of the money. People who donate or invest often get something in return too.

Operate Online Only

If you want to use tech to make starting a business easier, doing everything online is the best thing you can do. While having a physical store or being able to invite clients to your office could be a goal for the future, it doesn’t need to be now. Stay online and you can keep your costs done and be much more flexible.

You could have a business set up in a few hours if you use the right technology. All you need is a good plan.

Firefox Captive Portal Spam in Burp Suite

About a year ago, Mozilla added “captive portal” support to Firefox in an attempt to enhance usability when connecting to free WiFi portals, such as at an airport or a hotel. You have probably interacted with captive portals in the past, and if you are a Firefox user, you may have wondered why you had to open Chrome or IE or Safari to be able to log into the WiFi system, as you could only get the “Sign In” page to pop up in one of those browsers before getting access to the full Internet.

Firefox added support for these “Sign In” pages about a year ago, so that you don’t need to use a (shudder) different browser. That is all well and good, except for when it comes to using Burp Suite as a proxy for Firefox. If you are a pentester, you are probably used using Firefox (especially on Kali Linux) for your traffic proxying through Burp, as they make it easier than any other browser to set up and disable the proxy.

However, you may now be seeing a ton of requests like this:

Disable the detectportal.firefox.com requests

Seeing all those requests in Burp, much less thinking about all the noise they generate otherwise, is annoying. Because you probably won’t ever need to use a Captive Portal on your pentesting machine (a VM, in my case), you can completely disable Firefox’s attempts to detect them. Just browse to about:config and enter network.captive-portal-service.enabled. Double click it to change its value to “false” and you should be good to go.

That’s all, folks!