If Your PC is Your Livelihood, Here Are Some Things You Should Know

For many people these days, it’s impossible to work and earn a living with your own personal computer. If your PC is your livelihood, you’re probably a little concerned about anything potentially happening to your computer. Many people would be completely lost without there, but burying your head in the sand and telling yourself it’s reliable and won’t break is not wise. Instead, you should be taking active steps to ensure that your computer doesn’t experience problems later on.

Backups Could Save You 

Backing up is one of those things that everyone knows they should do, but not many people actually do it. That’s a habit that you definitely need to break as soon as possible because those backups could save you if something does go wrong. If you’re going to lose your PC, it’s best that everything on it can be salvaged and made use of going forward, right?

You Must Understand Which Files Are Threats and Which Aren’t

If you spot a file on your PC that you’d don’t recognise, you might start to worry that it’s something that probably shouldn’t be there. Websites, such as the one you can find by following this link, will tell you which files are bad and must be removed ASAP and which files are harmless. Get in the habit of checking for these files in case your security software has missed them. 

You Should Take Steps to Make Successful Burglaries Less Likely 

It’s really important for you to take care of the physical security of your PC, as well as any other tech items you have. And the most important way of doing that is by making sure that your home is protected against the potentiality of a burglary occurring. No one likes to think about this, but if your home is a soft target, you will be more likely to have someone try to break in.

Keeping the Firewall Turned On is Essential

So many people turn the firewall off on their computer for all sorts of reasons. But there is no good reason to turn off the firewall. It’s there to protect you and it can stop your computer being invaded by something that could do real damage to your PC and stop you from earning your living.

Update Antivirus Software

Finally, you need to make sure that your antivirus software is up to date and in a fit state to protect your PC whenever it should be called upon to do so. You pay for that software, so makes sense that you should want to get the most out of it at all times. If it’s going to fail you because you kept skipping on those updates, you’ll definitely regret it later.

PC’s can be volatile at times, and there are so many problems that can arise out of the blue. Being aware of these issues and how you can fix them or avoid them is really important. Don’t leave things to chance if the entirety of your income relies on you being able to use your computer.

How To Protect Your Site From Hackers In 5 Steps

As an online business owner, you need to make safety one of your top priorities. Hackers are more likely to target small online businesses since these businesses cannot afford extensive cybersecurity solutions.

There are steps you can take to make your website safer, protect your customers’ data, and educate your visitors about online safety. This is especially important for customers who aren’t tech-savvy, such as senior citizens.

Set Up Best Practices And Stick To Them

You need to have a clearly defined safety policy that includes a set of best practices. These are some of the practices you should think about adopting:

  • Determine who needs to access sensitive data and where this data will be stored.
  • Enforce strong password policies for employees and visitors. Make sure passwords are changed regularly.
  • Think about using two-factor authentication.
  • Reset all passwords if you suspect that a security breach occurred.
  • Don’t use form auto-fill if you sell products online.

Updates

Updates typically become available when a flaw is found with a platform, a script, or an app. Some updates will be installed automatically, but you should regularly check for updates and install them.

Keep Your Backend Safe

There are a few things you can do to protect your backend from attacks:

  • Hackers often target admin directories. Make these directories hard to find and change the default passwords.
  • You can make your server safer with a Web application firewall.
  • There are other free or affordable security applications that you can install on your server.
  • Add a Content Security Policy to the headers of your pages. This element will tell browsers not to execute scripts from other domain names. Hackers might try to add malicious code to your pages to execute harmful scripts, but a CSP will tell browsers not to execute these scripts.

Use An SSL Certificate

You can easily obtain an SSL certificate and install it on your server. This certificate will encrypt all the data requested by visitors as well as the data shared with your server.

Once your SSL certificate is installed, visitors will see a padlock icon next to your URL. Depending on the certificate you install, there might also be a green section next to your site name.

An SSL certificate is an important feature since it prevents hackers from intercepting sensitive data when visitors fill out forms or make an online purchase. It also protects their privacy.

The padlock icon, HTTPS in the URL and the green section in your URLs are signs that Internet users know they should look for.

Transparency Is Important

Internet users care about security and particularly seniors need reassuring that they’re safe online. In fact, 85 percent of US Internet users said they wouldn’t visit a website if their browser told them it wasn’t secure. Some users will know they should look for a padlock icon, but others such as senior users won’t know what to look for. This is why you need to talk to your customers about the steps you are taking to protect their data.

If a breach occurs, you need to talk about what happened and the measures you took to prevent more incidents.

Security should be a priority if you own an online business. Take security in your own hands and remember that transparency is key to earning the trust of your customers.

 

Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and aging, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Tech This Out: 10 Steps To Migrating Your Business Into The Digital Age

Whether your business is a new venture, or one that has been putting off the inevitable for some years, now is the time to take it into the digital arena. This opens up the door to quicker growth, increased profits, and greater stability. Frankly, that’s everything that any entrepreneur could shoot for.

If you’re going to make this transition, though, the migration needs to be smooth. It can be a daunting process, especially when you’re not a tech wizard. As long as you focus on each of the elements below, you should be just fine.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s turn your outdated venture into a modern business that’s set for years of success.

#1. Reaching Digital Audiences

The main incentive for transforming the business comes from the potential to sell products to a far larger customer base. With over 1.3 billion live websites on the internet, grabbing your fair share of the audience isn’t down to luck. You must know how to work for it.

Search engines are your greatest asset by far as most consumers will turn to Google when searching for a product. Meanwhile, a strong social media marketing strategy should stop the threat of customers scrolling on. Just remember that different demographics respond to varying ideas. Therefore, you must know your place in the market.

It’s also worth noting that the methods used for local marketing should vary from those aimed at reaching universal audiences. Show that you understand the needs of an online audience, and the migration will be far smoother.

#2. Handling Online Payments

Gaining interest from the online audiences is one thing, but converting it into a sale is another altogether. Due to the nature of digital business, obtaining their trust needs to be one of the top items on the agenda.

There are many contributing factors to consider. But ensuring that the clients are able to complete their purchases in a convenient manner is one that must be perfected instantly. The choice of ecommerce system is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Accepting as many payment types as possible is key.

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If the business plans to accept credit repayment plans, it must also run the necessary credit history checks. Letting money slip through the net due to bad debts is the last thing any entrepreneur needs. And if you do allow this to happen, you’ll only have yourself to blame.

#3. Using Modern Staffing Management

Moving into the modern business arena isn’t just about the way you interact with clients. The entire operational process can benefit from the introduction of advanced ideas. This is particularly evident when considering the recruitment and management of your team.

Every entrepreneur needs to be supported by productive employees. In today’s climate, it’s important to consider the benefits of outsourcing tasks to companies and freelancers. Or you can look to incorporate smarter recruitment methods when finding permanent on-site staff. The combination of those two ideas should work wonders.

Perhaps most importantly, communication and morale need to be maintained. Automated tracking and staff rewards should have a positive impact.

#4. Going Paperless

Turning your business into a digital operation allows you to bypass many problems. The ability to remove paperwork and physical filing systems is one of the most rewarding elements. This one step can save time, money, and space around the commercial properties.

First and foremost, you must look to improve the organization of anything related to the company’s finances. Investing in a new Accounts Payable system puts you in far better control of the firm’s accounts. However, you must learn to appreciate the importance of change management as well as the project management. After all, the human input is still central to the overall output.

Making the office spaces paperless isn’t just about the invoices and contract agreements. Your company handles many document types. Going digital enables quick access, even when you’re not in the office.

#5. Providing Digital Customer Care

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When thinking about the clients, your initial concerns revolve around the ability to gain their custom. In reality, as is the case with offline ventures, the key to sustained success comes from gaining their loyalty.

The lack of human interaction can encourage digital businesses to forget that consumers are still human. If anything, online interactions have an even greater need to be supported by great customer care. This can range from adding Live Chat to your website to providing telephone care and online FAQs. Either way, showing clients that your commitment doesn’t end with the sale is key.

It’s equally imperative to ensure that the company has established a fair returns policy. Removing any doubts can remove customer apprehensions. Crucially, it protects the company too.

#6. Protecting Your Assets

Avoiding the possibility of unnecessary returns is just the start of protecting assets on the digital platform. As part of the bid to provide a safe transaction, you should have invested in strong data protection. After all, one breach of data could bring long-lasting problems.

Once you become a digital business, intellectual theft becomes a far greater problem. The fact that you’ve reached a bigger audience means that your content could be seen by people that try to steal your ideas. Protecting your brand trademarks and innovative ideas is essential. Running a successful business is tough enough at the best of times. Allowing others to profit from your work is not an option.

There’s still a need to take care of physical assets, including your stock, particularly when you still run an offline store. Once again, though, digital tech and CCTV facilities are your greatest asset.

#7. Joining The Community

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The online community is simply massive, and your business needs to become a part of the conversation. Many entrepreneurs that are new to the digital arena assume that it’s them versus the world. While some companies are your direct competition, not everyone is an enemy.

It’s possible for two companies to share a similar audience without being in direct competition with each other. When this is the case, joint marketing ventures can pay dividends. Alternatively, sharing market insights can help both parties stay ahead of the crowd in their respective crowds. As a digital business, you must grab hold of every opportunity that comes your way. This is one of them.

On a separate note, you can embrace the community vibe by encouraging existing clients to spread the word. Testimonials, customer reviews, and referral schemes can all help the audience grow at a rapid rate. In most cases, this will be far more efficient than your marketing schemes too.

#8. Incorporating Time Savers

Time is the most valuable asset in any business venture. Embracing the digital arena to its full capabilities gives you the best chance of maximized efficiency. Investing in video conferencing systems can be a great starting point, as it removes the need for unnecessary travel.

It’s often worth choosing computerized systems to handle key business activities. From automated stock management to email marketing workflows, the time saved allows you to focus on other areas. If nothing else, reducing the threat of human error should provide a better customer experience.

Forms can also be used to save time during recruitment processes as well as customer interactions. Apart from saving time, it should make life a lot less stressful. In turn, this should promote greater clarity when making other crucial decisions.

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#9. Tailoring Your Operation

Every digital business is unique and should embrace its strengths to find the best route to success. However, it’s equally crucial to remember that those characteristics may need to be altered in some geographic locations. This is because cultural variances impact customer trends.

All customers need to feel comfortable. This is why you must understand the importance of presenting information in their natural language. Even if they can read English, many clients will prefer to use a website that’s easier to navigate. Besides, this step shows that you’ve actively thought about their needs.

With this in mind, many digital businesses find that hiring external help is the best way to branch out. Turn the company into a franchise, and the small profits in each new location will increase the overall takings without any extra work.

#10. Maintaining Offline Endeavors

Transforming your offline company into a digital one can take everything to the next level. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon the existing company model. If you’ve been making money from those traditional ideas, there’s nothing wrong with continuing them alongside the new ones.

In truth, the digital presence is likely to increase the company’s local presence. Still, printed marketing materials and promotional events can still play a positive role. If you make the transition to the digital playground without appreciating your old clients, they may feel alienated.

Besides, a company that achieves success on both platforms is sure to reach its goals far sooner. Given that this is the whole point of taking the venture online, this should all the incentive that you’ll ever need.

Is Your Home Business Well Protected?

When you’re running a business from home, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of not taking it especially seriously. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t put in a huge amount of care and attention to the work that you do or that you don’t rely on the income for your business in order to make a living. Rather, it means that you see your business as somehow not quite as legitimate as a business that might be run from a professional office space. However, there’s one area of your business that you should always treat exactly as seriously as you would if you were running your business out of an office: security. If your business isn’t properly protected, then it could leave you in an incredibly dangerous position, and this is even more true for home business owners than any others. With that in mind, here are three ways to make sure that your home business is properly protected.

Cybersecurity

The assumption that most people make when they think about security and protection for a business is padlocks and security cameras. And sure, those are incredibly important, but in the modern age, there’s another kind of security that has become even more important: cybersecurity. Most business is conducted online these days, and without fully up to date anti-virus, anti-malware, and firewall software in place, your entire system is going to be pretty vulnerable. Make sure that you keep all of these as up to date as possible since that’s really the only thing keeping a lot of dedicated cyber criminals at bay.

Legal Support

When you start running any kind of business, no matter how small, you are going to find yourself dealing with issues of legality that you never had to understand before. This can be pretty overwhelming, but the last thing you want is to end up falling victim to or even accidentally engaging in, any kind of illegal activity. Because of this, it’s crucial that you get in touch with someone like The Law Office of Jaimee C. McDowell. That way you’ve always got someone who can protect you and your business and support you in the event of any illegal activity.

Home security

Of course, as important as cybersecurity is, you should also think about the premises for your business, aka, your home. A lot of intruders will assume that a home business is an easy target because it won’t have as many security features in place as an office. It’s important that you don’t prove them right and have an alarm system in place. After all, not only is this your place of business but it’s also where you live and break in can be incredibly traumatic for you and your family.

Of course, when it comes to some of these things, it’s a good idea to have these in place in your personal life anyway. Far too often we allow ourselves to fall into this false sense of security when we really could use a much greater level of protection than we have.

6 Steps to Starting a Lucrative Home-Based Business

Running a home-based business is the opportunity to work comfortably doing something you enjoy. As your own boss, you set the hours, make the rules, and keep all the profits. You can even make time to spend with the kids. That is why more and more people are considering starting a home business.

However, when starting any type of business, you have to prepare thoroughly: make a business plan, find investors and potential clients, appropriate workspace etc. A home-based business is no different – besides the workspace part, you’ve got that taken care of. In order to make it a successful one, there are steps you need to take before the opening day.

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Make a Wise Decision

There’s a difference between talents and skills. Talents are traits, like creativity. Skills are things you learn, such as coding apps or building fireplaces. It’s the combination of the two that translates to a business.

Use your skills as business ideas, but eliminate anything that’s wrong for your lifestyle, such as spot-welding in the living room. You can also disregard your corporate skills like “office manager” if you’re planning to work on your own.

You will need talents like initiative, innovation, discipline, and a sense of organization. If you can’t work efficiently and overcome obstacles, you won’t be in business for long.

Find the business concept that best fits your abilities. Whatever choice you make, it should be something you feel passionate about: you’ll have to invest a lot of time and energy into making your business a lucrative one, make sure you enjoy that time.

2. Legalize It

While you may have new-found freedom in your work, federal, state, and local authorities still require accountability. Find out what your business requires for proper licenses and permits.

Inquire about your tax obligations. As a sole proprietor, you’re responsible for your company’s taxes and debts. Compliance with tax law, licenses, insurance, and federal or state regulations can be complex. It’s always a good idea to consult with a business attorney to find the right solution for your business model and goals.

3. Set up the Office

Before setting up the home office, check if local ordinances allow you to conduct your business from home. Then, as you start planning, consider the surroundings. If you’ll meet clients there, both you and your house need to make a good impression: wearing clean clothes isn’t enough when you work at home. Your property must be well-maintained, clean and comfortable. A neat workspace tells clients that you will also take care of their business in an organized and dedicated way.

Even if your business is conducted mainly online, you’ll want a dedicated spot to work in. A separate room is best for minimizing distractions. If you don’t have one, set aside ample space in the living room, bedroom, or kitchen. You have to set boundaries with your family members to avoid distractions. A physical barrier is the easiest way to achieve that – if you don’t see each other, it will be easier to resist the need to hang out. In a separate room, you can be completely dedicated to work during working hours and give all your attention to your family when you close the office door.

4. Mind the Security

Don’t assume that homeowner’s insurance is enough to cover your business assets. You may need a separate policy rider for designated business assets.

To secure these assets, consider burglar alarms and surveillance cameras. You should always have a home-wired smoke alarm and fire extinguisher in your office. If you’re expecting to receive packages, a post office box might be a better idea to reduce the risk of theft.

Digital security measures should include firewalls, anti-malware, encrypted messaging and data storage, and strong passwords. Be sure to back up critical data regularly to devices like external hard drives or flash drives in the event of power outages or computer viruses.

5. Get Acquainted with Technology

In addition to security, you should become familiar with business technologies. Every task you can automate or streamline improves productivity. For example, stick to digital documents rather than paper ones to reduce office expenses, wasted effort, and clutter.

An effective technical strategy might include cloud services, business software and apps. You’ll find free online storage, but you can also invest in affordable paid apps that provide more features. Expense-tracking apps will help you keep organized records. Some include features like identity theft protection and data breach alerts.

You should also have a company website that serves your customers 24/7. Take the time to find the web hosting, site layout, and content that works best with your brand and your market. Consider using apps to track your social media efforts so you can determine which platforms and posts are working best for you.

Take advantage of VoIP (voice over internet protocol) solutions as a cheaper, higher-quality alternative to traditional phone exchanges. You should be able to add useful features like video chat, audio recordings, and automated menus to improve customer interaction.

6. Develop a Work-at-Home Attitude

In some ways running your own business is harder than working for someone else. It takes self-discipline. For instance, it’s harder to get up and start work each morning when you always have the option of sleeping late.

Regard running your home business as you would working for another company. Try to keep to a productive work schedule and ask family and friends to respect it. Establish priorities and keep a daily to-do list. But allow yourself some time to unwind or your stress levels will keep climbing.

In conclusion, a home-based business could be a great opportunity. Just be sure you have the right business idea to suit your particular skills and talents. It’s important that you can stay motivated and be productive. While there are a lot of elements required to start and manage a business, working profitably from home is possible through thoughtful planning and developing good work habits.

 

Author Bio:

michelle_lauryMichelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle. You can reach her via Twitter.

Turn Your Online Business Into A Fortress

The internet has made it possible for so many people to build businesses from their own home; it saves them on paying rent for a premises, it makes it cheaper for them to advertise their products and services, and it gives them a wider customer base to buy their products. Unfortunately, no one really considers that online businesses have a few vulnerabilities that aren’t usually seen in physical stores. Whether you’re conducting your business part-time, or you depend on it as your sole source of income, here are a few vulnerabilities that could affect your business, and how you can protect it like a fortress.

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Cyber safety

Since 2016, there has been an increase in reports of online businesses being targeted and held to ransom by cyber-criminals. Experts are warning that small businesses are fast becoming their favorite target because most of them are woefully unprepared for hacks to their online domain. Don’t make your business a weak target for cyber-criminals – this is your livelihood, so protect it like a fortress. Invest in antivirus and encryption software that automatically updates to patch vulnerable spots in your security, blocks spam, and detects spyware. Companies that sell this type of software include McAfee, Norton, AVG and Avira. Cyber criminals also look for exploits in WordPress and popular plugins, so it’s vital you keep them up to date if you’re using this to host your website.

Get insurance

Depending on the kind of service you offer, you might want to consider professional indemnity insurance; this will protect you if a client accuses you of providing  inadequate advice, services or designs that resulted in a financial loss. You can get professional indemnity insurance to cover both defence costs and any liability found owing in the event of a claim up to the limit of indemnity. There are different kinds of insurance for different services, so make sure you do your research to ensure you’re properly covered.

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Secure payments

If you’re selling something online, enabling mobile payments such as PayPal can increase your sales by allowing more impulsive purchases. You’ll also receive prompt payments rather than dealing with a billing or invoicing system. A good merchant service provider can sort you out with an online payment system for your eCommerce store. But more importantly, they can help you set up secure payments. The minute your customers enter their card details into your system, they are vulnerable to cyber attacks. You need excellent encryption software and top of the line credit card security to keep these details safe from cyber thieves. No one will use your store again if they’re worried about their details being stolen.

Reputation

The best kind of protection you can provide for your business is building up a solid reputation. Establish yourself as a reliable salesperson, a provider of good quality products, and someone who responds well to customer feedback. Customers are usually very trusting of online businesses, but once they hear of any hacking incidents or lawsuits, they are less likely to return.

Secure Your Business and Protect Your Data

Unless you’ve been living in the Arctic Circle or the International Space Station for the past few years, you can’t fail to have noticed that a lot of business, many of them very prominent, have had their data hacked and stolen in recent years.

This is, in part, due to the fact that data in itself has become big business, as has conducting one’s business online, and partly because hackers have never been more skilled than they are right now. What this means for you is, if you run a business, which stores data and which is connected in any way to the internet, you need to step up your game to secure your business and protect your data. Here are a few things that will help you with that:

Access to Excellent IT Support

If you have a good IT Support team on your side, then you’ve already won half of the battle because they will be able to look at your current IT infrastructure and practices and tell you what you’re doing right and what needs to be improved. What’s more, they’ll be able to ensure that any measures you take, are implemented correctly, so that your systems really are safe.

Brief Your Staff

Often, it is the unwise actions of an employee, such as opening an unsolicited attachment or logging onto a suspect site, that cause company networks to be hacked and infected with malware and viruses that steal data and put them at risk. That’s why, if you want to avoid having your sensitive data held to ransom of your business being forced to stop, you need to brief your employees on all the things they shouldn’t be doing (opening attachments, sharing passwords, visiting non-approved websites) that could prove disastrous.

Use Strong Passwords

It’s also important that anyone who has access to your network is compelled to use a strong password, which consists of a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, and which is random enough that it won’t be easily guessed. They should also change these passwords on a monthly basis to avoid data breaches, and they should really not write their passwords down, where they could be found either.

Encrypt Everything

Encryption is probably the best tool you have to secure your business and protect your data. Once your files are encrypted, they will be almost impossible to access by anyone who doesn’t have the key.

Back It Up

If you don’t want to lose your important data -the data that keeps your business running successfully -then you simply must back it up, preferably off-site at a location run by professionals. The cost of lost data and run into the hundreds of thousands, depending on the size of your business, so don’t let it happen!

Install Antivirus on Every Device

Last, but definitely not least, you should install antivirus and malware protection on every single device any of your employees may use to connect to your network and conduct business, including their personal smartphones and tablets. If you don’t do this, it could be so easy for a hacker to steal your data.

Securing your data will cost you time, and you will need to invest some money into it, but if you don’t do at least the things outline above, well, it could be very expensive and completely disastrous to your business!