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How to Safely Manage Your Digital Files and Customer Data

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As online businesses and entrepreneurs, we can all appreciate the power and value of data on the internet today. No longer do we need to download and install software to a computer and be limited to where we can access our work or data online. At the same time, the costs of data storage and web space are also now cheaper than ever. With so much information constantly being uploaded, created and accessible on the internet, the business of online security is booming. While all of this is going on, it’s also important to understand why and how your data is being stored and if it’s being protected in the process.

Quick Tips for Keeping Your Personal Data and Customer Information Safe

The ability to store thousands of digital files in a single location has eliminated the pressure that a person might otherwise feel to organize those files if they were physical documents or materials that were cluttering up a desk or bookshelf. The “out of sight, out of mind” principal helps a person to ignore the clutter that is likely buried in their personal workstations, laptops, tablets and smartphones. But that lack of organization elevates that person’s cybersecurity risks. A physical document that includes sensitive personal or financial information can be shredded and destroyed, but a digital file that contains the same information can lay hidden forever.

Safe management of digital files begins with organizing those files into digital folders according to a consistent filing structure. Businesses with several employees can use a commercial document management system to automate this task. Duplicate digital files should be deleted to avoid losing track of sensitive information. Create a separate index of files to allow easy access to and recovery of data. Folders and sub-folders can become overly complicated, and a business that is not relying on a management system should develop its own folder filing system and naming strategy to minimize those complications.

Even with such protections in place, the number of attacks on personal data and customer information is still growing daily. Kaspersky reports 62% of people have experienced attacks involving their financial data, while 61% of those people were never able to fully recover data that was lost due to a cyber attack.

Document management should be coupled with a data backup strategy. Some commercial document management systems automatically back data up into the cloud. If cloud backup is used, make sure that all data sent to the cloud is encrypted at the time of the backup process. If cloud backup is not used, data can be backed up onto external hard drives, SSD devices, or other media that is disconnected from any online environment and stored in a secure location.

Customer files and other sensitive data can be further protected with hashing and salting routines. Hashing will authenticate messages to confirm the legitimacy of an information request. Salting adds extra values to passwords to make them more difficult for a password hacking algorithm to guess. When used with end-to-end encryption, hashing and salting will create an even more secure data management environment.

The Business of Keeping Personal Data and Company Information Safe

While these tasks might seem simple enough, data protection is a 24/365 game of defense for nearly all businesses and brands in the world today. With company and customer data being more crucial to protect than ever before, Microsoft recently came out with their own stats and infographic on the matter. Highlights from the report noted the following:

  • 140+ Days – The average number of days a hacker sits on your network before they are detected.
  • $12M – The average cost a business is impacted by for each security breach.
  • 72% of the U.S. workforce will be mobile by 2020, relying on devices other than their laptop to be productive.
  • 87% of senior managers admit to regularly uploading work files to a personal email or cloud account.

You can see even more information through the visual infographic below.

Unfortunately, even the safest management of digital files will not guarantee their protection from hackers who are intent on stealing the information in those files. In 2016, for example, the commercial cloud backup provider, Dropbox, suffered a data breach that leaked details of more than 68 million user accounts. Information in those accounts that was encrypted or otherwise locked down with hashing and salting was better protected from loss, largely because hackers will go after data that is easier to access without wasting time trying to break through encryption and other protections. Still, those data files did fall into cyberattackers’ hands and still remain at risk of being unencrypted.

Even with the potential for a data breach at all times, data storage platforms like Dropbox are still in massive demand and their usage numbers just continue to keep growing over time. Take a look at the chart below to see how Dropbox has scaled from their initial launch in 2008 to having more than 500 million users today. The massive growth behind Dropbox all started with their referral program that would reward users with extra space in exchange for referring a new Dropbox user. The funny thing about this process is that Dropbox was already ahead of the data storage game before many other companies and brands jumped into the mix.

Eight years later and Dropbox is still the largest player in this space, thanks to their five times faster sync on average versus competitors, having released over 90+ product updates in the past year and also having 500 billion calls to the Dropbox API per year. All of this is ultimately in place to not only scale the company in size, but to also protect customer data and files as well.

In addition to the massive business of online data storage and data protection, there is also going to be a world of opportunities for affiliate marketers to make money in this space as well — which includes everything from data monitoring, spyware software and data notification platforms that are constantly monitoring personal information and mentions online. The more money and competition that flows into this space, the more money there are for advertisers, affiliates and the sites covering such data and resources.

Personal and Customer Data Manage Best Practices are Key

At the end of the day, the more we talk about data management and the potential downsides and hacks that come along with it, it’s simply a matter of keeping us all aware of such conditions and informing each other on better ways to protect our information. There is no doubt that online data storage and customer data will continue to be hacked and released on the dark web by hackers, but there are also some precautions everyone can do to keep their data safe. The unfortunate truth is that most of these leaks will likely come from other companies and brands that already have customer information, and will soon be attacked.

Good digital file management can therefore raise the bar for cyber protection, but it cannot stop a cyberattack that potentially compromises data in those digital files. The question that frequently comes up during a data file management project is “what is liability insurance and how does it fit into management of data files?” The simple answer is that cybersecurity insurance reimburses direct losses that a business might experience when hackers break through its cyber defenses, and provides funds to pay certain liabilities to third parties and fines from regulatory authorities that are levied when sensitive customer data is lost.

One of the more consistent recommendations for good data file management is that doing something is better than nothing at all, and that a management project should be started as soon as is possible. Hackers and cyberattackers are working every day to find new gaps in cybersecurity procedures as older gaps are closed off. Managing data files and adding cybersecurity insurance can keep businesses and individuals at least one step ahead of the hackers.

To learn more about the costs associated with cybercrimes and data leaks, be sure to always keep an eye on the latest data leaks in the business world, and also set up something as simple as a “Google Alerts” notification around your personal name to see when and where your information might be posted online.

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4 Ways Hiring a Brand Strategist Can Help Transform Your Business

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If you think hiring a brand strategist is a waste of money, think again. Read on to learn 4 ways a brand strategist can help transform your business.

Do you have a business that needs some help? Do you have a successful business but know there’s more you could be doing to boost image?

Company branding is critical to the identity of your company. It gives your employees and customers an idea of what to expect and demand from you. Do you wonder if a brand strategist could be beneficial to your business? If so, this post will tell you exactly what to expect.

What a Brand Strategist Can Do for You

What is a strategist? A brand strategist can help you focus your company’s brand in a way that benefits consumers. It can also be good for your employees.

1. View from the Outside

When we look too closely at something, it can be hard to see the details. But when we step back or bring in other points of view, we can see the big picture.

Hiring someone to help with brand development can be exactly like that. You’ve been looking at your company too close. Let someone come in with fresh eyes and look at it from another angle.

That angle may not be something you expected or would do for yourself. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be exactly what the company needs. A brand strategist will need to be able to challenge your views to give you a fresh perspective and a new approach.

2. Focus on Brand Targets

Brand targeting can be a tricky subject. You may think you know your target. A brand strategist will be able to look at your target and tell you whether it’s too broad. They also tell you if it’s not broad enough.

A strategist can also help you figure out if you’re hitting the target right. They’ll let you know what should change. They’ll also tell you how you should adjust the branding connections with consumers.

3. Employees

When you run a company, you know the customers only a part of it. Employees are the driving force behind running a business.

A branding strategist will rework your employee focus. The more you focus on making your company employee friendly, the better your chances of success. Creating a good employee program is where you’ll attract the best talent, which in turn makes your brand stronger.

4. Design

Designs or packaging can sometimes make or break a company’s brand. People are visual, and if something isn’t working, you might suffer for it.

How can a brand strategy help with this? Hiring someone to do research on the packaging of your company’s product is a great way to start. They can also take the input from consumers and compile it for you to see.

Companies like Smashbrand look at the data surrounding consumer preferences. They also research competitors and what makes them successful. You can learn more about the research and design techniques that make all the difference when you hire brand strategists who care about your brand.

Business and More

Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It only means you’re willing to accept expert opinions. Don’t hesitate to hire a brand strategist. They’ll help you make all aspects of your business everything it can be.

Want more tips for your business or company? Read about startup hacks and entrepreneur lifestyle tips.

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MegaPu.sh Push Notifications Network is Excellent for Affiliate Marketing

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As an affiliate marketer, you are constantly looking for new, creative, and effective ways to optimize your campaigns. It’s critically important that you look at every step at the process to unearth potential opportunities. Are you picking the right offers to promote? Are you basing them purely on payout or are you looking at conversion rates and competition too? In promoting these offers, are you looking at better ways to drive traffic toward the landing pages?

When it comes to converting on an affiliate offer, you must first get the attention of the potential lead. Once you’ve got their attention, you need them to click on through to the landing page. And once there, you need them to convert.

One of the fastest growing and most effective ways to get the attention of users is with push notifications, both on mobile and desktop. And MegaPu.sh is the first advertising network with an exclusive focus on push notifications.

Pu-Push It Real Good

Push notifications offer a number of advantages over more traditional ad formats. Whereas there is a certain expectation for “ad blindness” with display advertising and click-thru rates via content marketing can be wildly unpredictable, push notifications are immediately noticeable and timely. They cannot be so easily ignored, representing an incredible opportunity for marketers to reach audiences like never before.

MegaPu.sh has certainly recognized this amazing opportunity and have provided a great platform where affiliates can reach these audiences easily and in a very cost-effective manner. In just one day, the network serves up around a billion impressions and over 9 million clicks with an effective cost-per-click (eCPC) of just 2.7 cents.

Pushing Demographics

As mentioned, these push notifications work on both desktop and mobile, so you’re able to get to your audience no matter where they are. The immediacy of the push notification allows for great targeting based on demographics too. The traffic found on MegaPu.sh is summed up in these pie charts.

The majority of users are male (80%) and you’ll find that nearly half fall into the 35 to 54 year age range. With such interests as business and software, this key demographic can be ripe for affiliate marketing opportunities. These are individuals who are typically at an age where they have some disposable income or they have interests that align with that (like cryptocurrency, gambling, and binary options).

So while you can certainly find success approaching other niches and verticals, keeping this kind of target demographic in mind can give you a sense of the kinds of affiliate offers that would likely perform best on the network. In addition to gaming and investing, you might also look into dating and similar areas.

Advertiser Control Panel

The user dashboard for MegaPu.sh is straightforward in its approach and aligns with much of what you’ve likely already experienced with other ad networks. The main page shows your main statistics at a glance, including the number of clicks and the amount of ad spend you’ve had today and this month. This amalgamates all the data across all your campaigns.

Before this main bar graph, you’ll find information about yesterday’s top 10 campaigns and your top campaigns overall, offering the number of clicks, targeted country and total cost. Next to this are lists of the top 10 active countries for campaigns across the network, plus the top 10 free across the network.

Navigation is through the left side, which is where you’ll access more detailed statistics reports, your campaign list, the area to add more funds to your account, information about the referral program, network news and so on. Two small items are worth noting here.

First, there is a bonus system in place based on the amount of your deposits. These are outlined in the FAQ. Putting $500 earns you one point, for instance, while putting in $5000 gets you 20 points. Each MP is worth $15 in ad budget, but you must exchange a minimum of 10 MP at a time.

Second, the referral program offers a generous 7% commission of the total payment by a partner that you refer to MegaPu.sh.

Create a Campaign

Creating a new campaign within MegaPu.sh consists of just a single page. It’s here that you’ll enter basic information like the campaign name and target link, as well as upload the image, set your target country, enter your CPC bid and so forth.

The CPC amount you should bid will vary considerably based on the geo you are trying to target. The country with the most volume at the moment is India and it has an average CPC of just 0.3 cents. By contrast, the average CPC in Russia is 8.9 cents, it’s 1.3 cents in Turkey, 6.1 cents in Kazakhstan, and 0.2 cents in Egypt.

Once you are done configuring your campaign (you can set limits based on spending or clicks, if you’d like), you submit it for approval. The moderation process is really efficient and fast. MegaPu.sh says that it is completed “within 30 minutes from the date of sending the campaign” during regular working hours, which are 8am to 11pm (GMT+3) Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm (GMT+3) on Saturday and Sunday.

Campaign Case Studies

As with all things advertising, your mileage may vary and these case studies may not necessarily be representative of what you might expect from your own campaigns. Such is the nature of affiliate marketing, after all.

In one modest example, the affiliate attempted to push traffic to a cryptocurrency offer that paid $250 on deposit. He ran a campaign targeting Poland, spending just $33.25 at 1.4 cents per click. This resulted in one conversion for a net profit of $216 or an ROI of 651%.

In a campaign on a larger scale, the offer being promoted was for a gambling site in Italy. The offer converts on signup, offering the new users 7 Euro in free bonus without a deposit. After running the push notification ad campaign for about three weeks, spending a total of $1,818.60 for around 70,000 clicks (96% unique), total commissions of $3,700.20 were generated. That’s an average ROI of 107.5%.

An Effective Traffic Source

Based on these two different examples, it’s clear enough that push notifications as a means of generating targeted traffic for affiliate offers can be very effective and remarkably profitable. MegaPu.sh makes it easy, giving you seamless access to traffic from all countries, including advanced targeting by platform and OS, full native tracking, and a generous referral program to boot.

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Rapidly Growing Business? Here Are 13 Ways to Stay on Brand

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Branding is incredibly important for any business. It becomes critical, however, when your company is growing quickly. After all, if more people are coming in contact with your brand over a shorter period of time, you must solidify the right message for that audience.

So, how can you keep your communications consistent as you expand operations and onboard new team members? To find out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council how to stay on brand when a new company is gaining traction.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. Create a Consistent Social Media Voice

As your team grows, more people will be posting as your brand on different social media channels, so it’s important that you have a consistent voice across the board. Create a document that outlines the type of voice you want to portray. Is your brand funny, serious or a mix of the two? What are some jokes that you’ve used in the past?

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

2. Develop a Brand Persona

Having a very clear and thoroughly fleshed-out brand persona is essential to ensure consistency in messaging. It enables your team to communicate in your brand’s voice across all channels, from your website to social media to email marketing. Brand personas can, and probably should, evolve, but the sooner you define one the more on brand your messaging will be.

Karl Kangur, MRR Media

3. Create a Collaborative Style Guide

Having a brand style guide that is both easily accessible and managed in a way that leads to collaboration between team members is a great way to ensure messaging and brand guidelines are adhered to even as new channels are identified and built out.

Nick Eubanks, From The Future

4. Educate Employees During Onboarding

My company is currently in a rapid-growth phase, so we’ve made brand messaging part of our onboarding process for new hires. Everyone who comes through our doors learns our value propositions because they apply to company goals beyond marketing. They guide the interactions we have with customers and our vision for the future state of the company.

Sean Harper, Kin Insurance

5. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity

When marketers and public relations professionals are in a rush to draft a press release or marketing email, mistakes happen that can negatively impact how your customers receive brand messaging. To keep your communications on brand, prioritize quality over quantity. Be strategic about the marketing and media opportunities you pursue (and the ones you decline).

Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep

6. Keep Your Ears Open

The best way to stay on brand and relevant as your business grows is to listen to your current customers. As people who already benefit from your products and services, it is crucial to pay attention to their ideas and the feedback and comments they make on social media. Customers help build a brand and keep it on track.

Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

7. Hire a Designer and a Copywriter

Different teams manage different communications channels (in-app is engineers, email and social media are marketing, knowledge base and tickets are customer support), which makes it very hard to align them. Before the “publish” button gets pushed, everything should have gone through a designer and a writer with a deep understanding of your brand.

Tim Chaves, ZipBooks Accounting Software

8. Remain True to Your Core Values

Even as you grow and scale up your marketing, it’s important to stay consistent with your core brand identity. To do this, you need a clear understanding of your role in the marketplace and your unique value proposition. Understand what your customers expect from you in your messages and marketing as well as in your products. Always remember your commitment to your core values.

Shawn Porat, Scorely

9. Centralize Your Documents

We have a centralized place, our intranet, where all of our documents can be found. These documents are constantly being updated. Employees send marketing team requests for what is needed and then they are uploaded to the intranet so everyone can find and use them.

Nicole Smartt, Star Staffing

10. Remain Consistent

Stay true to your brand’s purpose. Through familiarity, you’ll build a good business reputation. If you keep switching the name, the look and the message, people will think they’re looking at a different company. Stay consistent to your brand by creating relevant content that will also enhance it. Old customers will recognize your longevity while you continue to build the business.

Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com

11. Utilize Trusted Communicators

Even while a business is rapidly expanding, one thing you do not want to do is have newer team members handle outward communications. I’ve found that the best way to maintain a consistent level of on-brand communications is to have team members with seniority have the final say on content editing and social media, while newer talent shadows the seniors to better understand the brand’s philosophy.

Bryce Welker, Crush The LSAT

12. Embrace Change

Be comfortable with change. When you’re new and growing fast, your brand will be changing and evolving over time. It’s a good idea to embrace that communications will need to change. The best way to keep it as streamlined and consistent as possible is to know your brand and your customer. Make sure you’re speaking to them in a consistent way, and if you do evolve the message over time, do so in an intentional manner, then measure the results.

Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure

13. Don’t Neglect Design

When we talk about staying on message, it’s common to focus primarily on the written or spoken word. However, it is important to remember that an audience sees your visual design before reading a single word. Your website, email newsletters, social media visual content and even your team’s email signatures should all share a well-designed and cohesive visual brand identity.

Ismael Wrixen, FE International

Nothing is Better than Watching Your Business Grow…

However… if you aren’t ready and have the necessary precautions in place, you might find your thriving business actually falling behind and imploding onto itself. Make sure you have all eyes on your business and are ready to expand in all directions. To learn more about improving your business and scaling to that next level, be sure to read up on these expert tips.

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