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The Risks and Costs of Cyber Security in Business Today

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It is positively undeniable that the continuing advances in the Internet have had a profound impact on both our personal and our professional lives. It has become easier and more convenient than ever to connect with people all around the globe in new and innovative ways, from social media to live video and everything in between. From a business standpoint, this has also yielded remarkable opportunities to serve your existing customers better and to reach new customers more effectively.

However, as you are likely very keenly aware, there is always a price to be paid. Not a day goes by that we don’t hear about yet another malicious virus circulating around the web or yet another hacker group attempting a DDOS (distributed denial of service) attack. Cyber attacks are everywhere and businesses of all sizes need to be paying more attention to their cyber security efforts.

The Growing Threat of Cyber Attacks

A great report and infographic were posted on Business Insider earlier this year, explaining why cyber security is so important and why it will continue to be such a pivotal area of focus in the years to come.

The infographic, which was put together by BI Intelligence Senior Research Analyst John Greenough, explores several areas related to cybersecurity now and moving forward.

cybersecurity-inforgraphic

Think about it this way. As we put more data up on the web and as we get more devices that connect to the Internet, cyber criminals will have even more incentive to perform their nefarious acts. There may have been a bit of a leveling off of total US data breaches between 2014 and 2015, but the upward trend is obvious enough. For this reason and more, organizations and brands around the world are investing more time, money and resources into cyber coverage than ever before, to make sure they are protected from not only future attacks but also liabilities as well.

Remember that everyone is at risk here. If you use Dropbox, Facebook, and Gmail on your smartphone, you are at risk. If you receive payments from your small business customers over the Internet, you are at risk. If you are a government organization or an international mega-corporation, your data centers are at risk.

If you’ve ever had a concern about your online browsing history and personal data getting released, it might also be a good time for you to consider any of these top VPN service providers.

The Five Biggest Risks

According to the BI Intelligence report, which cites information from Raytheon’s Ponemon Institute, the five biggest risks to cyber security and the most threatened by cyber attacks are as follows:

  1. Zero Day Attacks: Whenever any service provider or software developer releases a new solution or program, it is vulnerable to attack. The hackers target vulnerabilities that have not yet been found or patched in the software. This is common with a number of mobile apps, for example, as well as any new releases in operating systems. This is a part of the reason why some software developers host “hackathon” events to proactively seek out vulnerabilities before the “bad guys” use them for nefarious purposes.
  2. Cloud-Data Leakage: Cloud computing and cloud storage have made running an online business infinitely easier. Take the “humble” business of blogging as a prime example. You host your website on a server and you access the back end through a web browser. You might store backups in Google Drive. The same is true with conventional businesses where employees may store what might otherwise be sensitive data to cloud services. That’s a lot of trust, because if those cloud services get hacked, a lot of sensitive customer information can leak, as was the case with the iCloud hack in 2014 that saw the leaking of celebrity private photos.
  3. Mobile Malware: It has been stated multiple times in recent years that mobile is the future. In reality, mobile is the present. More people are accessing Internet services and websites through their mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, than ever before, sometimes surpassing traditional desktop access. Mobile devices are also a treasure trove of data, from contact lists to credit card information. Unsurprisingly, hackers recognize this too.
  4. Targeted Attacks: While there are more general attacks, like how a DDOS can wipe out entire swaths of the Internet at a time, targeted attacks focus their efforts on a predetermined user or organization. Some of these come from activist groups, while others could stem from criminal activity. In both cases, your business could be at risk.
  5. SQL Injection: It used to be that the biggest fear was when a virus or other form of malware infected your own computer. While that is still a threat, to be sure, the scarier attack is one on a server. The hacker can insert malicious code on the server, running through to steal, delete and modify the data stored within. This could represent the compromising of all your customer data and your private records.

The Internet is a wonderfully powerful place, but it is also incredibly vulnerable to attack.

Investing More in Cyber Security

With all of these potential threats, businesses and organizations are significantly ramping up their cyber security efforts. It’s estimated that some $665 billion will be spent on cyber security initiatives between 2015 and 2020. According to Symantec, vulnerabilities were found in about three-quarters of websites around the world. That’s a very large proportion.

computer security breach

And, as mentioned above, this certainly is not a concern only for large corporations and government organizations. Indeed, small businesses are actually at much greater risk of cyber attack. This is because a proportionately larger part of small business worth is derived from the information it owns. If the hacker can steal that information, the direct worth of that small business is immediately diminished.

But if companies and enterprises want to invest more in cybersecurity, where should they be directing their resources? The Vormetric Global Insider Threat Report indicates that these five areas are where organizations are spending or plan to spend their money.

  1. Network Defenses: Protecting data at the network level.
  2. Endpoint and Mobile Device Protection: Securing individual devices against hacking.
  3. Data in Motion Defenses: Protecting the data as it is transmitted from one place to another, including through more advanced encryption.
  4. Data at Rest Defenses: Securing database data against attack by increasing security measures.
  5. Analysis and Correlation Tools: Seeking out suspicious activity by monitoring and analyzing data flow.

Top Cyber Attacks Over the Years

Even though employees are the most cited source of data breaches, they’re obviously not the only ones to blame. A leaky infrastructure becomes a more likely target. Literally, millions of personal records are exposed each year.

Some of the more notable cyber attacks in recent memory include:

  • 2005-07: Albert Gonzalez and his cohorts stole more than 170 million card and ATM numbers using SQL injection.
  • 2010: PayPal hacked and customer information leaked after restricting WikiLeaks’ use of the online payment processor.
  • 2011: Canadian government hacked by users with Chinese IP addresses.
  • 2011: Sony PSN customer information hacked and leaked.
  • 2011: Citigroup victim of brute force attack, exposing 200,000 customer accounts.
  • 2012: Yahoo! hacked with customer passwords leaked on the Internet.
  • 2013: Spamhaus, a popular spam-detecting solution in the UK, hacked.
  • 2014: The “Fappening” leaks nude celebrity photos stolen from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Apple iCloud.
  • 2015: Ashley Madison victim of data breach, perpetrated by The Impact Team.
  • 2016: Concerted DDOS attack of Dyn DNS significantly disrupts Internet access; IoT malware blamed.

How to Protect Yourself

With rising fears of cyber attacks and the increasing need for better cyber security measures, what can you do to protect yourself from such attacks? While no solution will ever be 100% comprehensive, there are a few basic steps you can take.

Security Code

Utilize two-step verification/authentication wherever possible. Use secure and unique passwords with every service that you use. Make sure that all of your online databases and data are suitably protected against attack. Keep regular, redundant backups of all your data in different locations in case any one of them is attacked. Be extra careful with any personal information you share online and how you choose to share it.

And above all else, realize and recognize that anything, everything that you upload to the Internet at any point, even if you delete it anytime thereafter, is vulnerable to attack and theft. If it’s ever been on the Internet, it’s forever and could be exposed to all to see.

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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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11 Features of a Great Law Firm Web Design and SEO

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Lawyers are awesome at what they do — which is legal stuff. If you want to be the best at what you do, it’s often best to focus solely on what you are best at, while outsourcing the rest. This should be true with all services and organizations that want to have an amazing website that not only shows off what a business or agency does but also blows away the competition in the process.

The legal industry is growing rapidly, which means it is important that your law firm stands out from the pack. Your website should be the place where your prospective clients can get a sense of your knowledge and skills in law practice. Hence, they can trust you to win their cases.

In order to make your website stand out, you should call on a professional web design firm that knows how to highlight your strengths. So, let’s see how a great law firm web design should look.

Use Your Firm’s Logo and Name

Use your unique logo to build brand recognition on your website. This will allow clients to identify you immediately and follow you both online and offline. In the same respect, use your law firm’s name in the URL and in the header of the website so that it can be easier for customers to find you.

If you don’t currently have a logo design for your legal firm, this is something you should immediately invest. The good news is that this can be accomplished for a fraction of the cost a traditional design team or agency would charge. Through the power of the internet and artificial intelligence, you can use this design tool to create a legal company brand logo like the one below in a matter of seconds.

Highlight Your Law Firm’s Strengths

Your strengths set you apart from the rest. So, try to stress your practice in a particular area of practice. We can actually point out a perfect example of this from a Seattle-based personal injury lawsuit team below. By highlighting these numbers and success rates, it not only shows off your firm’s legitimacy and success rate but will also keep your clients feel safe and secure in the process. When using this type of content on your site, ensure that this piece of information stands out in the firm’s web design. This is also called the unique selling point and will make your prospective clients want to work with you.

List All the Legal Services You Offer

Make sure that the website lists all the services that you provide and how you can help your clients. Also, mention your skills and your experience and try to place these details on your homepage. Make sure they are informative and helpful.

If you aren’t sure how to best set this up, just take a few minutes to search “top legal firms” on Google, and see the many different site designs and navigation menus being used. The most important thing is to provide your audience with what they are looking for, while also not overloading them with options and distractions in the process.

Use the Firm’s Chosen Colors

Make your website design and company brand stand out by adopting a color combination that is perfectly tailored to convey your message. Use the colors as backgrounds, in the links, in the visual separators, and for the icons. Make sure that these colors are the same as those in your logo so that you can be easily recognizable.

When it comes to building a trustworthy brand and relating to your audience, take a look at the different ways businesses and brand use colors to accomplish this. A perfect example would be the color “Grey”, and how companies like Apple, Wikipedia, Puma and others implement this into their logo design and branding to better relate with their audience and show off their professionalism in the process.

Share Your Work

Share your best case studies and their results on your website. They will show that you have the necessary knowledge and expertise and they also demonstrate that you have had exceptional results in your previous practice. Moreover, link your website to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. This way, people can interact with you and this can also be a window to harvest new clients and convert your client base into a great following.

This is something I often discuss when talking about blogging and building out About Me pages. While most people just throw these types of pages together, they are actually going to be one of the most read pages on your site, and definitely a great place to showcase any case studies, testimonials, or customer success stories.

Register Your Firm with Google My Business

This is not a web design feature per say, but it will be of great help to you. List your law firm with Google My Business. It is free and easy to register. All that it requires is your basic information such as the firm’s name, the website information, and the location of your company. Then, you can verify your business with the firm’s code.

After that, you can enter more information such as the hours of operation, your description, and services. You can optimize your presence so that your firm can be identified through Google searches by clients around you. Incorporate a link to the firm’s site and build a great and lasting reputation.

Optimization through SEO

Optimize your website for the search engines so that you can get in the top rankings. It might sound like rocket science, but it’s not difficult at all. For example, WordPress has amazing SEO features built within their themes and plugins.

Also, as far as SEO is concerned, you can keep the following tips in mind:

  • Use proper names for the images on your site as this enhances the results from the search engines and improves the content of the site.
  • Do not choke or stuff your site with too many pages and posts that are not related to your practice. This will have an opposite result and it will be harder for the search engines to find you. Moreover, your website may suffer a penalty as a result of irrelevance.
  • Format your texts properly to make sure that they are easy to read and comprehend. This will make the prospective clients want to return to your website.
  • Contextualize your links as this makes it easier for clients to get the bigger picture and understand the information on your website. Customers can relate when you link to relevant sources and materials.

Share your Results and Testimonials

Share the most important testimonials from past clients. This helps build great confidence, trust, and credibility in your prospective customers. Clients will be more inclined to seek your legal services if they can tell that you’ve been winning related cases.

Research supports the fact that testimonials work to attract customers. It is a marketing tool and you can display it on the lawyer’s profiles.

When adding testimonials to your site, it’s important to make sure you are using ones that are real and authentic. Also, if you have the opportunity to showcase someone famous or well-known within your niche, do that as well. You can see some great examples of testimonial usage on my Blogging University course page. Not only are testimonials and reviews important for legal firms and online courses, they are crucial in the acceptance and usage of local businesses, stores, and resturants as well.

Highlight Your Attorneys’ Successes and use Social Profiles

You may have many lawyers dealing with different law areas. List all their awards and achievements and include a testimonial from each of them. This will make them more approachable. Also, it is a sure-fire way of enhancing and promoting their skills and building the firm’s credibility. It is also a way of winning new clients.

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of social media and profile pages have to offer. To see a perfect example of how to build a personal brand, while showing off your expertise, user reviews, and awards are to check out Michelle Hubbard’s Instagram profile. Not only is this helping her build a personal brand and following, it’s also showing she is the real deal and knows what she is doing when it comes to fighting for animal rights.

List the Areas of Practice

It is a must to list all the practice areas and the contact for each lawyer in your firm. It will be easier for future customers to search for the right specialist for their case. It also helps them reach the attorney directly without going through a lot of hassle with the customer support, toll-free numbers, etc.

Again, this goes back to the practice of making sure you provide your audience with as much information and value as possible, but not overloading them with options in the process. Highlight your expertise and areas of practice through bullet points or visuals to get the most impact.

Make Your Website Fast and Responsive

Many of the clients work online with their desktops, laptops, and smartphones. Make sure that your website is responsive and works perfectly on every device and does not frustrate your customers with various delays. Your site should not take ages to load and display the information. You can always check the site’s speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Also, make the content easy to read because most visitors don’t have the time to go through large blocks of text.

These are the main aspects that will make your law firm’s web design attractive for prospective customers. Also, make sure that you always take your client’s grievances into consideration and implement their recommendations. They are the users and they know best what they are looking for.

Need help making your legal page even better?

Don’t worry if all of these seems too time-consuming and overwhelming… we’ve got you covered! Having been in the industry for well over 20 years now, I’ve been able to work alongside some of the best agencies, freelancers, and designers in the world today. Take a look at our web services page and see how we can help launch your brand or business to that next level.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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