How to Ensure That You Have a Secure Site for Jewelry

secure site

30,000 websites are hacked every single day.

Any breach of security is something to take seriously.

However, if you run an e-commerce site, a breach in security can be especially devastating. In addition to the loss of business, while you handle illicit transactions and work to get your site back up and running, you’ll also lose your customers’ trust.

How can you ensure that you have a secure site if you sell jewelry online?

Read on to find out.

Don’t Store Customer’s Credit Card Information

We know that it’s convenient to keep all your customers’ payment information on file, but doing so makes it a lot easier for that information to fall into the wrong hands.

When in doubt, don’t allow your customers to autosave their payment information or even their addresses.

If you feel that this would truly hurt your business, then make sure you’ve set up a seriously layered site security. This means things like antivirus software, data encryption, constant analysis and logs of web traffic, and more.

Or, you can ask your customers to create their own user accounts, which they can log into every time they want to make a purchase on your jewelry site. Encourage them to use a different password than the one they use for everything and require a number and a special character.

Use Trusted Platforms

Another way to ensure you have a secure site on which to sell jewelry?

Make sure that you’re signing up with a reliable and trusted platform. We know that the platform you choose will influence the look of your site, but looks alone aren’t enough.

No one will care that your website looks chic and is easy to navigate when their credit card information has been shared online.

Fortunately, a compromise between a secure platform and a beautiful one is possible. Jewelry company 1 Camo has a platform that allows their homepage to include a brief video explaining their products and even offers a product search bar at the top.

The platform is also VeriSign secured, and its privacy policy is clearly visible.

Update Early And Often

We know that running website and software updates can be a pain — but doing so is an essential part of having a secure site.

Keep in mind that hackers are evolving right alongside software.

Often, these updates aren’t just helping your e-commerce jewelry platform to run more smoothly — they’re designed to stay one step ahead of hackers.

If you can’t keep up with filling your orders and updating your software at the same time, then it’s a good idea to look into professional services to help.

Get A More Secure Site Today

Having a secure site is an essential part of both building your brand and showing your customers that you value their business.

When something goes wrong with your jewelry website, you need to know as soon as possible — even before your customers do.

That’s where we come in.

Get in touch with us today to learn how our website monitoring services can help keep your website as sparkling as the jewels you sell.

9 Trends in IoT Projects and Ideas for 2018

loT projects

You’ve heard a lot about the Internet of Things — IoT for short.

However, especially if you’re not tuned into the tech world, it can often feel confusing.

Most people can get their minds around Smart Home technology. This helps you to remotely lock your door and access your home’s security cameras from your smartphone.

It can even regulate the temperature when you’re not home.

But understanding large-scale IoT projects like Smart City, Blockchain, and Smart Supply Chain are often much more complicated. Still, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the next big things in the IoT world.

In this post, we’ll help you to understand 2018’s most influential IoT projects. We’ll also discuss how the latest IoT advancements can benefit a wide variety of industries.

Ready to learn how these new IoT projects will help to make your life easier and your business more efficient?

Then keep reading.

1. ADN Voice Technology

Though AI-based ADN Voice Technology has been on the horizon for a while, 2017 was the year it came to the mass market.

In 2018, it will only continue to grow.

IoT projects that offer voice-led Operating Systems will soon become a part of daily life. They won’t just be a gadget that only the tech-obsessed can’t live without.

Amazon’s Alexa will likely become the most popular piece of ADN Voice Technology, outpacing even Siri and Google Assistant. To make driving safer, Alexa will be integrated into cars. In fact, it’s already included in some Ford vehicles.

This way, drivers can ask for directions or change the music without taking their hands off the wheel.

For added convenience, you can use Alexa and other ADN Voice Technology to control your Smart Home. You’ll be able to turn on your lights, adjust your thermostat, and much more.

You can even play music, make telephone calls and conduct voice-based Internet searches. Or, you can do a quick 7 Minute Workout.

2. Connected Industry

Connected Industry will continue to be one of the most influential IoT projects in 2018.

Companies in a wide variety of industries can use the massive amounts of contextual data provided by IoT devices. This will help them to improve manufacturing processes, fine-tune management strategies, and monitor factory/construction equipment.

One of the most popular connected industry fields?

Fleet management.

Fleet management companies will be able to track mileage, monitor the number of stops taken, and find the current location of their trucks. They can also monitor gas levels, and even detect dangers on the road.

Eventually, this may even lead to self-driving cars.

3. Smart City

2018’s Smart City IoT projects will focus on improving the lives of people that live in the world’s biggest metropolises.

This technology will help to streamline transportation, by collecting massive amounts of data regarding traffic, parking lots, and public transit.

Thanks to Smart City projects, delayed trains and sitting in hours of traffic may be a thing of the past.

These technologies even use cameras to monitor the traffic flow. This means that traffic lights will operate according to the levels of congestion. Public transit riders will get real-time updates regarding when a bus or subway will arrive.

Smart City technology will also influence the overall infrastructure of a city. This helps to improve predictive maintenance estimates. It also assists in the control of potential public health crises, and creates better city planning strategies.

4. Smart Energy

With much of global conversation focused on energy consumption, Smart Energy IoT projects will help both commercial buildings and households to better monitor their energy use.

Smart streetlights powered by cost-effective and energy-efficient LED lights will help cities lower their environmental impact.

Smart Meters will help households and commercial buildings to monitor their overall energy consumption. Many feel that this will lead to a larger reliance on solar power. This, in turn, will lower the overall pollution levels of a city, while also helping to detect power outages sooner than ever before.

Thanks to Smart Energy Grids, city officials will also be able to provide faster disaster recovery to residents.

5. Blockchain & IoT

Of course, with all the advancements in IoT projects, security threats become a major concern.

Enter Blockchain, which uses advanced cryptographic processes to create security measures with decentralized control options.

Because so much of today’s security is centralized, it makes it difficult to respond to data breaches and stop viruses before they get out of control.

With Blockchain, one compromised Smart Device will have a much tougher time infecting others. Essentially, this works because it allows digital information to be shared, but never copied.

The “original” digital data will provide much more information than in the past, including real-time updates. This data is protected by encryption, verification tools, and much more.

6. AI & Machine Learning

The goal of Machine Learning-based IoT projects is to help brands to collect massive amounts of data. Then, they analyze that data to increase operating efficiency and customer experience.

One of the most popular examples of Machine Learning in action was Microsoft’s Tay Al bot. Its goal was to learn about how 18-24-year-olds behave on social media, then replicate those behaviors.

Unsurprisingly, it succeeded.

How?

By identifying the most common behaviors, then replicating them. There are two options for how this Machine Learning can take place: Supervised and Unsupervised.

Unsupervised learning means that these machines work to discover which behaviors are the most common. It then ranks those behaviors and other data in order of importance and influence. Essentially, these machines monitor the the “real world.”

Supervised learning takes place within specific sets of data, memorizing and analyzing the desired outcome.

This way, a machine can learn to repeat it on its own.

7. Smart Supply Chain

Smart supply chains help to ensure that the massive amounts of data gathered by smart technology help to improve and streamline day-to-day operations.

A Smart Supply Chain is necessary for companies using AI and Smart data collection technologies. This is because it’s actually qualified to “decode” and implement the information collected.

It can also ensure that each individual operation within a company is using smart technology. This helps to keep things consistent.

Smart Supply Chains can help to fill in the gaps in production when workers are unavailable. This means that brands can produce more in less time. Additionally, these Smart Supply Chains often possess targeted skill sets that not every worker has.

This technology will also help companies to make better use of their storage space, avoid over-production, and help to monitor inventory.

You can rely on your business dashboard to help you and your human workers keep track of all this data. Learn how to create a dashboard to ensure that you don’t miss out on valuable information, as well as how to monitor your operations in real time.

It’s a common misconception that the Smart Supply Chain IoT projects will replace workers.

However, the reality is that it will only allow them to become more efficient. Less time spent on mindless, routine tasks means more time for face-to-face client meetings and a development of perfect pitch packets and new ideas.

8. Healthcare Innovations

Smart technology doesn’t just benefit your business.

The latest IoT projects can even help to save lives.

In fact, IoT healthcare is slated to be a $117 billion industry by 2020. IoT can help to keep better patient records, manage and optimize workflow and appointments. It can even work with your medical devices for more precise results.

Collecting Medical Data From Devices

For example, how can doctors and other healthcare professionals use the data from a patient’s FitBit to help them monitor their health and potentially diagnose illnesses?

Additionally, how can smart devices that measure other vital signs, like blood pressure and glucose levels, help doctors to keep an eye on their patients. It does all this while also allowing the patient to take an active role in their own healthcare.

Improving Records, Scheduling And Insurance

Sorting through insurance claims can be a nightmare for patients and medical professionals alike.

Luckily smart technology can help to make it much easier. There are efforts in place to streamline communication with insurance companies, ensure patients know what is and isn’t covered, and to keep track of medical billing processes.

Additionally, smart healthcare devices will use predictive analytics, often based on the information collected from the devices referenced above. This helps to ensure that patients schedule routine check-ups or follow-up appointments.

Finally, HIPAA laws and patient privacy are a huge concern.

For practices and professionals, the fines can be intimidating. Patients are worried that their private medical records could be compromised.

In 2018, smart healthcare technology will turn its attention to implementing increased security measures when it comes to patient medical records.

9. The Retail Industry

Especially in the short term, IoT projects will have the biggest influence on the retail industry.

Major retailers like Walmart have already started using Machine Learning and IoT technology to improve their customer experience and increase their sales — both online and in-store.

Smarter Pick-Up Processes

They use IoT technology to streamline their pick-up process. Instead of waiting in long lines, customers can simply scan the barcode of their receipt.

Then, the item they ordered will be delivered to them on a conveyer belt inside these so-called “Pick-Up Towers.”

No more waiting around for delivery men or having to wait days for the products to be shipped. Now, in-store instant gratification is possible — on customers’ own schedules.

Improved Customer Service

Thanks to the rise of the smartphone, customers have no problem conducting price comparison research on their own.

But if one of your competitors offers a better price on a product or service than you do, wouldn’t you like to be able to negotiate in real-time?

Smart technology makes it possible.

The latest retail IoT projects allow retailers to make best-price offers on the spot, so you don’t lose business to your competitors. Additionally, these technologies can also help you to identify your high-value customers. When they walk into a store or add another item to their digital cart, you’ll be notified.

That way, you can ensure that you’re providing your most loyal customers with the best service.

Additionally, smart technology ensures that you never run out of your most popular products. Through the use of predictive analytics, you can identify when you’re close to selling out of your high-ticket items. Then, you can re-stock so that they’ll never be unavailable.

Smart Store Analysis

Wouldn’t it be great if retailers could easily identify the most popular areas of their store? What about knowing where in a mall or larger shopping center consumers are most likely to visit?

Thanks to smart retail technology, it’s now possible.

With Smart Store Analysis, video camera or WiFi monitoring is used to more accurately assess where customers congregate.

This allows retailers to create the best and most effective store layout that can boost sales and even shorten line wait times.

This also means that in-store help will be immediately and more effectively dispatched. If smart technology alerts you that a customer has been standing in aisle 2, in front of a display of products, for more than 1 minute, you can send a representative in to help.

Look Out For These Nine IoT Projects In 2018

Now that you know the next big IoT projects, you’ve likely already started thinking about how these technologies can benefit both your business and your daily life.

Big Data, cloud services, and IoT will only continue to grow over the years. Soon, businesses will reach a point where using these technologies is no longer an option, but a requirement.

To avoid getting left behind, it’s important that you work with companies who can help you to stay one step ahead of trending technologies.

That’s where we come in.

We work to identify and implement the latest tech developments in your business. We help to digitize your brand, boost your online presence, and ensure that you have an intuitive interface.

Of course, we do a lot more than that, too.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how our services can help you to streamline every aspect of your business — and boost your profitability as a result.

Why Your Eco Marketing Isn’t as Green as You Think

Save the whales…collect the whole set! It’s a fun joke, but it’s utterly ironic in the face of the current “green” trend in marketing lately.

If you can claim to be eco-friendly in some fashion or another, you might boost your numbers. But how eco-friendly is your marketing strategy? Are you just saying you’re eco-friendly? Can you deliver what you promise?

Let’s take a few moments to look at what a real and sustainable eco marketing strategy looks like. And then we’ll see if your strategy stands up to the test. Scroll on to see.

1. The Three Legs of the Eco Marketing Stool

Stools are only as good as the legs holding them up. And if one leg breaks, the whole thing comes tumbling down along with its occupant.

The three legs of a sustainable marketing plan are these: Approachable, Doable, and Believable.

Approachable

What do you imagine when you hear “approachable?” Do you imagine someone who is forceful about their beliefs to the point of exclusion? Or do you imagine someone who just wants to share their beliefs?

Being eco-friendly is founded on belief. It ties into a particular worldview. And this worldview is quickly becoming the norm in our society.

Two things you can do to make your eco marketing approachable:

1. Make it Inclusive

Plug into to how your customers and clients feel about the environment and how society feels as a whole. Don’t try and push extremes as those will push people away.

2. Make it Neighborly

Does the cause affect your clients and customers directly? If you’re not seeing the numbers, it could be a simple matter of thinking too big. Try and find a way to connect the cause directly to your clients’ situation.

Believable

How believe is your ploy to affect change? Are you trying to save a whole rainforest? That might not be believable.

Are you trying to raise money for an eco development non-profit organization? Some organization that promotes sustainable farm practices?

Are you donating money from every transaction to help biohazard cleanup in the nation’s rivers and streams? You have to remember that it’s the small believable things your customers will be willing to help out with.

Find ways to make your own business eco-friendly. And then, use those actions in your eco marketing plan.

Doable

If you can’t follow through with the promises you include in your eco marketing, how long do you think you’ll retain people’s loyalty? Promise the moon only if you can deliver the moon.

Don’t promise the moon and deliver the sky.

If you do promise more than you can deliver, you’ll sink your marketing ship and damage your credibility.

Instead, start small. Where can you donate funds? How can you change your own practices in your own business?

Are there eco-friendly businesses in your area with whom you can affiliate? From a coalition of eco-friendly businesses and offer customers discounts on each other’s businesses for coming to yours.

If you reach too high, you’ll end up looking like the over-zealous eco-pirates on Whale Wars.

Standing Out and Keeping Up

Whatever your marketing theme is, make sure it stands on all three legs.

Now is the time to evaluate your brand and its message. Once everything’s up and running the way you’d like, make sure it stays there and works for you — and the audience that’s listening.

A Look at The Financials: Tech Startup Business Model

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It is essential to look at the financials of a tech startup business model if one is to understand today’s digital landscape.

Everything is different in today’s world, from the financials to the factors that are crucial to a business’s success.

Understanding the financial factors in the startup business model comes with experience and studying many different startups. Every case is different, but there are common threads that unite all startups.

Financials of the Startup Business Model: Complicated, Yet Simple

The startup business model is a complicated yet simple one.

Long-standing business practices are part of it, but they are not everything. Much has changed in the business models of today, especially when it comes to fundraising.

One example is the changes mentioned is that, unlike traditional businesses and companies, startups are funded in many different ways.

The tried and true financial lessons and practices no longer apply across the board in today’s business world.

Financial Details of Startups

In the world of startups, some are supported by investors and some pursue high risk business loans. Others are launched by a wealthy founder who can put in a large chunk of his or her own personal savings.

Financial factors that are examined in the startup business model include monthly revenue growth, revenue run rate, gross and net margins, burn rate, and more.

Still, despite the uncharted territory of the financials of the startup business model, more people than ever are pursuing this path.

Startups Continue To Be On The Rise

Startup funding applications are growing at an exponential rate, especially in the US. Each year breaks records set in the previous year when it comes to the founding and growth of startups.

In the midst of the startup frenzy, it’s necessary to take a step back to judge the success of your startup, especially when it comes to financials. This is important for anyone involved in the startup business model, at any stage of the game.

But how can you be confident in the strength of your startup business model? Creating financial projects is one way to do this. One must take into consideration sales projections, budgets, and more.

Other Important Factors to Consider in the Startup Business Model

Of course, this may be a given, but it bears repeating because it cannot be stressed enough. In today’s digital landscape, having a website that is up and running quickly is essential.

We have discussed before why website speed is only increasing in importance for any and every business that relies on their web presence to generate sales.

Businesses must also think about SEO best practices in order to fully optimize their web presence and maximize profits.

Having a website is a great first step, and no startup today can survive without one.

But having a fully functioning site that runs quickly and provides a great user experience is also an extremely significant aspect of the startup business model.

Today, it’s not enough to just have a website. It must be a great website that experiences few technical difficulties and provides an easy way to accomplish your online goals.

Use our website performance monitoring service to ensure that you get notified any time there are problems with your site. We also have a quick check tool that will ensure you are the first to know if and when your site goes down.

7 Things to Know About FCC Internet Neutrality Rules

fcc internet

The internet has changed everything about our lives.

The ways we communicate, shop, and work have all been impacted by the internet. The web also makes a wealth of information readily accessible at your fingertips.

The internet has come to be regarded as a free and open public forum. Recently, internet users have worried that this freedom could be compromised by ending Net Neutrality.

Net Neutrality is an FCC internet policy that supports an open internet. But what is it exactly? Let’s take a closer look at seven things you should know.

A Brief History of FCC Internet Policy

The FCC first adopted Net Neutrality, or Open Internet rules, under the Obama administration in 2015.

The basic principle behind Net Neutrality is that all internet traffic should be treated equally. This means that internet service providers cannot provide faster speeds to websites or customers that pay more.

Net Neutrality Does not Give the Government Control of the Internet

There is concern over whether these rules would increase government oversight of the internet. Users were concerned that the policy could be a threat to their privacy and cybersecurity.

In short, Net Neutrality does not give the FCC, or any other government agency, control of the internet. The policy provides no additional authority to censor legal content on the internet.

In fact, Open Internet rules prevent internet service providers from blocking lawful content. This rule protects the internet from censorship.

So we’ve got an idea of what Net Neutrality does and doesn’t do. But what would the internet look like without Net Neutrality?

Sites Could Pay for Faster Speeds

One feature that Net Neutrality prohibits is charging certain websites for faster speeds. These so-called “fast lanes” could allow companies to pay for faster loading times.

Many internet users fear that changing Net Neutrality’s current policy could end online streaming as we know it.

Under existing rules, it costs the same amount to access a streaming site like Netflix as it does to access any other service. This is despite the fact that streaming online videos requires much more bandwidth.

Without these FCC internet rules, internet service providers could charge higher prices to access streaming services. This could make the cost prohibitive for most users.

Internet Service Providers Could Offer Preferential Treatment

Many internet service providers would have a direct incentive to charge more to access streaming sites.

Lately, many consumers have been turning to “cord-cutting” for their home entertainment needs. Because of the inexpensive costs of services like Hulu and Netflix, they’ve been ditching expensive cable plans. This trend has led to a cut in cable’s profits.

In many areas, cable television and internet service are sold by the same companies. For instance, Comcast, Verizon, Spectrum, and others all offer packages that bundle internet and cable service.

In short, internet service providers could charge users more to access Netflix. This could make a cable package look appealing.

Not only that, but some internet service providers actually own their own streaming services. For instance, AT&T owns DirectTV. Without Net Neutrality, AT&T could charge less for customers to access their own product.

These changes to current FCC internet rules could greatly limit consumer options.

Protecting Consumers

The rules of Net Neutrality are intended to protect internet users. The FCC internet policy insists that the internet is more like a public utility than a good that can be regulated by market forces.

For instance, Americans don’t buy their electricity or water from a private company. Instead, they purchase it from a government utility agency.

This centralized system ensures that prices are consistent for consumers. It alway maximizes the access that consumers have to these essential services.

The creators of Net Neutrality suggest that the government should treat the internet in a similar way. Because internet use is so ubiquitous, many consider it a necessity, rather than a luxury.

These rules are intended to regulate the price and distribution of internet service so that more Americans can continue to access it.

Are the Burdens Too Heavy for Internet Service Providers?

Whenever a consumer protection is passed, there is bound to be pushback from for-profit companies. All consumer protections cut into company profits to some extent.

Internet service providers complain that FCC regulations hinder their ability to regulate traffic. In some ways, this is true.

Net Neutrality does not allow service providers to place regulations sites because of the bandwidth they use. But providers are still able to block traffic from sources that pose security threats. They can also regulate traffic issues in times of high use and congestion.

Internet service providers also argue that Net Neutrality discourages investment in bandwidth. Remember, providers do not have the ability to charge more money for using more bandwidth. The companies argue that this makes the product’s value much less attractive to investors.

Since Net Neutrality has only been in place since 2015, the implications of this claim are still playing out.

Internet Rules are Changing

As we all know, the 2016 election brought a new administration to Washington DC. Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, has indicated interest in rolling back certain Net Neutrality regulations. It will be many months, if not longer, before we know the full effects of this move.

That said, Net Neutrality is not the only FCC internet rule that is changing. Earlier this year, Congress voted to overturn an FCC Broadband Privacy rule.

This rule required internet service providers to inform users that they were collecting data. It also required transparency about how the data would be used. Additionally, service providers had to take precautions to ensure consumer data was protected.

Again, these policy changes are extremely new. It will be a while before we can understand their full impact.

That said, these recent moves regarding FCC internet rules indicate that we might be entering a new age of internet policy.

Where do you fall on the Net Neutrality debate? Do you believe ending Net Neutrality would impact your business? Let use know in the comments!

Top 5 IT Admin Errors that Lead to Network Downtime

downtimeCreating and maintaining a website is crucial for businesses today. And if you don’t want your customers to switch to one of your competitors, you better make sure your online presence is conveniently accessible.

But today it’s no longer enough to just have a website. You must be prepared to manage things like downtime.

Why Downtime Management Is So Important

Downtime refers to periods of time when a system, such as a network, becomes unavailable. This hiccup can have detrimental effects for your business. And it happens probably more than you think.

Businesses deal with unplanned downtime an average of 13 times per year. The average cost of just one hour of downtime for a highly critical application? More than $82K.

But network downtime costs affect more than real dollar amounts. It can also negatively affect a company’s reputation, SEO and SERPs, loss of data, and the customer experience.

All of these, of course, are bad news for a business’s bottom line.

Consider the fact that 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase. Now, imagine someone was trying to either conduct further research on one of your products or was going back to your site to make a purchase.

If your site was down and refused to load because of an internal issue, chances are that person would do a Google search for the same type of product and look elsewhere.

After all, convenience and timeliness have everything to do with the customer experience and how customers—both new and existing ones—perceive your brand.

Research shows that companies that prioritize the customer experience earn 60% more profits than their competitors.

In August 2013, the New York Times’ site went down—but only for two hours. Still, one of its top competitors, the Wall Street Journal, took advantage. The Journal temporarily dropped its paywall in an effort to convert Times’ readers.

Additionally, the Times’ stock dropped.

Downtime can happen due to a number of reasons, some of which are within your control.

In fact, human error is the cause of as much as 75% of downtime.

Below, we discuss the top five preventable IT admin errors that can lead to network downtime.

Top 5 IT Admin Errors

1. Failure to backup systems.

This may sound like an amateur move for IT professionals, but it does happen.

In order to salvage intel if a system goes down, a clear backup plan is needed.

Make sure your backup is fully functioning the way it should be for whatever type of infrastructure you have.

Double check that all intended storage devices are included in the backup, and be aware that the backup you’re using is the most current.

Another error that some companies face is cutting corners by not investing in the most current updates or security measures.

These investments will actually benefit you in the long run.

2. Not getting everyone on board with policies and procedures.

Training is a crucial aspect of almost any job, but especially in a position where instrumental data is involved.

In this case, it’s important to make sure there are policies and plans in place for staff to follow consistently.

You want to make sure your IT team is following these procedures across the board. Aside from regular check-ups, make sure there are policies in place—what to do and when to execute on them—when things do go wrong.

This protocol should include a comprehensive checklist and regular testing procedures. Testing is non-negotiable but it’s important to also remember to test partial parts of a whole system.

Partial failures can occur in both the network hardware as well as in electrical switchgear.

What are your recovery options? Do you know how much storage your system can handle? Are you keeping up with updates necessary to speed up any slowdowns? Is your backup equipped with the most current information? And are you documenting the details of each issue?

Is your backup equipped with the most current information? And are you documenting the details of each issue?

These are questions your team should always be asking themselves and know how to answer.

Having post-procedures in place when things slow down or go down is key. It prevents more chaos around an already stressful situation when time is of the essence. It also minimizes downtime.

3. Taking security lightly.

Another cause of downtime is through intentional human error in the form of a cyber attack.

Cyber attacks occur when stored information systems are not fully secure. And they’re quite common.

The number of reported data breaches last year was 781. This number has increased 23% since 2013.

Cyber attacks do more than threaten the loyalty of your customer base and the reputation of your company. It also costs a lot of money in recovery.

The average total cost of a data breach in the U.S. is $6.5 million. And the global cost of cyber attacks in 2019 is projected to be $2.1 trillion.

Make sure your security systems are tight, consistently tested, and updated when necessary.

4. Not investing in redundant parts.

When purchasing parts of a system, such as CPUs, fans, and power supplies, an IT manager may initially choose the cheaper option to save the department money. Cheaper options usually include one set of parts to a system.

However, if downtime should occur, getting those redundant parts for backup errors will cost you time and money. And that’s something you’ll want to avoid for the sake of the company’s reputation as well as your own.

Preparing for an outage means investing in the protection of the parts needed for the system to run, even if that means it’ll cost you more to begin with.

Consider which elements should be redundant—from batteries to Internet providers, and everything in between.

5. Not investing in a real-time service.

It’s nearly impossible and unrealistic to manually check your website every few minutes.

As a business owner, you’ve got a million and one things on your to-do list. Your staff is busy with their respective tasks.

Even your IT team, the people in charge of making sure your systems are secure, has a lot of other responsibilities to manage.

It’s also important to note that your employees aren’t working 24 hours like your website is.

Investing in a service that notifies you in real-time if your site goes down is a big piece of the puzzle to minimize the duration of downtime.

Have questions about how this type of service could help your business, or just want more information? We’ve got you covered here.

Secure Web Hosting for Your Business: What to Watch For

secure web hosting Security. Sounds like a powerful word, doesn’t it?

Truth is, it is powerful.

Think about the difference between the term “web hosting” and the term “secure web hosting.” Sounds like you would consider choosing the second one, right?

Over the years, online security has become vital. Registering a domain name, designing a killer website and being online is no longer enough.

After all, when you create a website, it’s like you put all your information on a cyberspace where hackers can enter and grab all the information they might need. The first thing you want to do is look for a host which provides you with the security needed.

Before we start, let’s take a look at the types of people who might want to break your website’s security protocol:

Identity Thieves

These hackers have one simple goal: Gather essential information about their victims and use them for personal gain.

Either it is your e-mails or your clients’ information, these hackers will definitely benefit from you and move on to their next victim because that’s what they do.

Actual Thieves

Do you know how much money moves via wireless signals, optic fibers, or even cell phones? Literally billions. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but there are people who have the knowledge and the resources to steal parts of these billions.

If you own or run an e-shop, secure web hosting is absolutely essential. Look for web hosts featuring SSL certificate, and secure all the data transmitted to and from your website.

The Tricksters

To be honest, they are the worst. They just hack a website, take it down or even destroy it just for fun. However, even though it is a hobby for them, their work can definitely cause a number of problems to you and your business (loss of revenue, your clients will lose their trust in you etc.)

Are you are an individual trying to secure their essential information or a company monitoring a bunch of websites? The list below will definitely help you with your web server’s security:

Secure Web Hosting Basic Tools

Before you go deeper into the world of secure web hosting, there are three basic tools you have to learn how to use. All three of them will add a basic layer of security to your website and they will help you avoid all the drama hacking comes with:

Anti-Virus Software

Think of the internet as a hospital where 50 percent of the people are affected by a virus and the other 50 percent are visiting. The point is that anything that is online is vulnerable to viruses and your website is not an exception.

Find an open-source cPanel or Plesk anti-virus software and scan all of your directories for suspicious files that could destroy your online presence in a snap. Two of the most popular ones are ClamAV are avast!

Rootkit Scanner

Think of rootkits as small spiders that sneak into your web server. These spiders are so tiny that your anti-virus is not always able to detect them, so you need a rootkit scanner to get rid of them.

Firewall

Sure, it sounds like a really fancy term. You have certainly watched movies about hackers trying to break a company’s firewall and get into the server to steal valuable data. However, the truth is that not all firewalls are equally strong.

Use a basic, free firewall to protect your server and block unauthorized access. It might not be as strong as CIA’s firewall, but it will get some job done.

Whatever you do, when looking for a host you have to make sure they offer you all these three basic applications to optimize and improve your server’s protection. Since they are not so sophisticated or that hard to find, they will most likely be free of charge.

FTP Settings

FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. A useful protocol for every time you want to upload new files on your server. Generally speaking, FTP is a secure protocol, but this doesn’t mean that hackers are not able to attack it by modifying your uploaded files.

Talk with your web host provider and ask about SFTP availability. Yes, you guessed it right, that “S” stand for “secure”. This tiny little layer of protection will not be all you are going to need but it will be just another way to help you rest better at night.

After all, secure web hosting involves a number of steps.

Extra FTP tip: We are sure you already have, but we have to mention it. Uncheck that option which says “Allow Anonymous Uploads” and “Allow Anonymous Logins”. This will help you block strangers from uploading files to your web server. You’re welcome!

Updating Your Control Panel

Whatever your web hosting control panel is (Plesk or cPanel) make sure you always update it to the latest version. You see, the latest versions usually fix all the security bugs the previous ones had –and, trust us, you want that fix.

Talk with your host and ask them about your control panel’s updates. Do they automatically do it for you? How does your server’s updating process affect your website? Yes, all you have to do is ask.

Backup Like There is No Tomorrow

You already know how important backups are but, for some reason, we always feel the need to remind it. Because no matter how important backups are, people always tend to forget about them. If you are one of them, have one of your employees do it for you.

Even after you have done your best to protect your website from annoying intruders, unexpected things can always happen when you are at least prepared for them. There is only one solution to this –more common than you think— problem. BACKUPS.

No matter what attack or unlucky incident you may be dealing with, a backup will never disappoint you. It will always be there for you and help you get your website up and running at no time. Eat that, hackers!

Most hosts come with tools to help you manage your backups, but what about theirs? Ask them how often they backup their servers, what procedures they prefer, and where they store the data collected. After all, you have the right to know!

Monitoring your website 24/7 might sound hard and the truth is that it really is. Being on the constant lookout for cyber-attacks; trying to figure out what has gone wrong; searching for that part of your server that needs extra attention. It is a hard word.

If all of the above, sound intimidating, feel free to sign up today and get your own, personalized website report! We’ll be happy to help!

The Dyn DDoS Attack that Broke the Internet: Here’s What Happened

Dyn DDos AttackEven internet giants can’t consider themselves infallible in 2016. This is especially true after the most recent DDOS attack that took down websites like Twitter, Reddit, and Netflix.

Understanding DDOS attacks is helpful to knowing why your favorite websites are down. It’s also helpful when putting plans in place to protect your own website.

SiteUptime provides network performance monitoring services that make sure that your website is accessible from many points of the internet.

You’ll love our affordable service plans. SiteUpTime helps protect your website from hackers looking to steal information or bring your website down with a DDOS attack.

These attacks may seem random and unpredictable at times. There seems to be little anyone can do to prevent the internet from “breaking” during the time when these hackers wreck their havoc.

What a DDOS attack is

“DDOS” stands for Distributed Denial of Service. These attacks happen when a number of hackers and their bots go to a site all at once. This rush overwhelms the servers and causes the service to fail.

During this downtime, there isn’t much web hosts, web developers, and individual users can do to bring the website back to working order. This is evident in the latest DDOS attack on Dyn, a widely used internet performance manager.

These attacks, sometimes coming from the “darknet” can cost just $150 for a week-long DDOS attack. This makes the chances of a DDOS occurring higher since these cheap prices are in the budget for most people with malicious intent.

Interestingly enough, these attacks do not typically occur as an attempt to steal data from websites. But, in some attacks, this information can become compromised.

Instead, DDoS attacks block others from accessing the site and the information they have on it. Favorite videos on Youtube, sending out orders on Etsy or viewing your personal bank account information can all be stopped with an attack.

Ensuring that your website is secure is a first step in ensuring that a DDOS attack doesn’t harm your business.

There are ways to take steps that can help you avoid or prevent a DDoS attack. Try giving your employees additional training in online security and creating detailed online policies and strategies.

Botnets

Botnets are a network of computers that have been infected by malicious viruses that remain hidden on the computer until an event like a DDOS attack occurs.

During this time, the “botmaster” is able to coordinate an attack and collect control of infected computers. Just one botnet could bring down a website.

However, these botnets may work collectively to target larger websites and networks in order to bring down the sites for a longer period of time and over a larger geographical area.

In the case of the Dyn DDoS attack, a collective of hackers and botnets worked together across the globe.

Since they were located in different areas, the botnets completely took out Dyn databases on the east coast of the United States.

This was accomplished by them targeting the Dyn servers that linked back to the East Cost but were located in other countries.

The Dyn DDoS attack

On October 21st, 2016, your access to many favorite websites may have suddenly stopped working.

Some of the websites that were taken offline caused massive problems. Twitter, Reddit, GitHub, Etsy, Imgur, PayPal, Spotify, Yelp, and the PlayStation Network reported problems stemming from the Dyn DDos attack.

Problematically, this attack stopped users from accessing their information and cost these companies hours of business. For internet-based companies, this can be devasting.

SiteUptime aids in internet performance monitoring to find out exactly how much downtime your web site endures.

This information, along with the other data our services gather, can help with your personal understanding of DDos attacks in relation to your business.

As some have noted, DDoS attacks typically target a single website. Usually, this happens when someone or some group has a personal reason to remove that company from full online functionality for an uncertain amount of time.

In the case of the Dyn attack, the unprecedented incident took out a host that allowed multiple large websites to function.

Surprisingly, for this DDoS attack, Network World reported that only 10% of the world’s botnets were involved in the Dyn DDoS attack.

This particular DDoS attack took out websites for the east coast for almost the entire day– beginning at internet “primetime” in the morning and a third wave of the attack occurring just after 4pm est.

What’s happening now

As for Dyn, all of the websites taken down by the October 21st attack have returned to full function. Users can once again enjoy their services and business owners can go back to providing goods and making their living.

However, this massive attack has called for a review of the way websites and servers currently run.

Improving the technology and coding behind websites like Dyn may be able to prevent a future attack, but staying one step ahead of massive networks of hackers is a difficult task.

The remedy to this problem is not very clearly, unfortunately. As with many things coming from the dark side of the internet, finding out motives and solutions will be difficult.

Dyn has produced a piece that outlines the impact, timeline, and possible solutions to remove the possibility of DDoS attacks from happening in the future.

While SiteUptime is absolutely on board with fighting for a solution, it is our biggest priority to keep you up-to-date with the correct information.

We help your business by monitoring the internet performance of your website to provide great service to your customers.

Conclusion:

The DDoS attack on Dyn is a good example of why internet security is an important topic that should be at the forefront of any business owner’s mind. Security is important regardless of whether or not the company is small or large.

SiteUptime provides monitoring locations across the globe to test the functionality of your website from different points on the map.

With multiple locations, SiteUptime checks that problems like DDoS attacks don’t take down your website to different user groups.

Our locations are currently New York City, San Fransisco, Portland, Brazil, Ireland, Australia, and Singapore. Being across the globe is just another step we take to ensure that your website is monitoring and prepared for problems like DDoS attacks.

Network Performance Monitoring: 4 Reasons Your Site Goes Down

If you have a business, chances are you also have a website that brings in new customers from the web.

Providing network performance monitoring to over 125,000 websites, SiteUptime understands the necessity of having a funetwork performance monitoringnctional website that is reaching customers in order to keep businesses successful.

We know that a site that is up 99% of the time still equates to 7 hours out of every month where customers simply cannot reach your business website. For a new customer, this downtime is disastrous.

SiteUptime provides network performance monitoring services that make sure that your website is accessible throughout time and from multiple points of the internet. With our affordable service plans, you can be assured that your website stays available for your customers.

To best protect your business from the problems associated with websites going down, here are our top 4 reasons for site crashes.

What can network performance monitoring do for you?

Network performance monitoring can best be defined as the process of testing your website from multiple access points and time to check accessibility and the way your site is able to perform under various circumstances

SiteUptime has monitoring locations across the globe to test the network performance of your website from a comprehensive standpoint. Whether you are a web design or hosting company, or an individual website owner, network performance monitoring can help bring in a customer base you may have previously been missing.

With SiteUptime, your website will be monitored from varied geographical locations like New York City, San Fransisco, Portland, Brazil, Ireland, Australia, and Singapore. The scheduled testing that occurs from each of these locations will test the functionality of your website and verify any errors that occur.

Unfortunately, without a network performance monitoring system, it is difficult for website owners to effectively track what is going on.

The data you could be missing without network performance monitoring.

Network performance monitoring not only assists business owners in maintaining their e-consumer base through the knowledge of when their site is down, but it also offers an important mass of data that may otherwise be missed.

Shopping Cart Functionality

As a business that allows for online shopping, knowing if your customers are able to use their shopping carts and purchase their selections without error is integral to ensuring that customers can buy your products.

Uptime

As mentioned earlier, a website that is up 99% of the time is still down seven hours out of the month.

Studies have shown that 78% of customers have left without a sale or purchase due to bad service on a website, so knowing the amount of time that your site is properly working is key to understanding what you’re missing out on.

Website Visitors

Knowing how many people visit your website can also help business owners understand what functionalities can best provide service to their customers.

Similarly, business owners are able to tailor their specific web packages to match the hits they are getting.

Broken Links

Remember that blog you posted in 2012? The internet does, though you may not. That specific blog can still be getting hits in 2016 and onwards if your SEO is still hitting the right marks.

It’s not reasonable for you to have an eye on every single link you’ve ever used to ensure that it is still working, but a network performance monitoring system is able to do so for you.

Page Speed

Knowing how quickly your page loads can help you understand whether or not customers are likely to stick around until your website is fully accessible to them. As we all remember the days of dial-up, slow web access is not something to be desired.

Network performance monitoring enables you to understand why your website is slow and what you can do about it to increase the success of your website and, as a result, your business.

The top 4 reasons your website is down

Server Overload

Once of the top reasons that websites go down is because of a server overload.

This is sometimes seen as a “good problem” to be having, as it means that too many people are trying to access your website at the same time. Though there is room for celebration (you are getting tons of new customers after all), you must ask yourself why you aren’t able to serve all of those customers.

Another common cause of server overloads is because your website is under attack by a hacker or group of hackers. These overloads, called DOS (Denial Of Service), occur when a hacker uses multiple computers that are often infected with viruses to view your website at the same time, causing your website to go down as a result of the overwhelming demand and traffic.

Hacking

In relation to DOS attacks, hackers can cause your website to go down for a multitude of reasons. When your web security is compromised through accidental leaks of information, hackers can take down your website to retrieve your data and create harmful waves felt throughout your business.

Client database information, bank access, and other key components to your business may become compromised without the proper network safety being practiced.

Coding Errors

Another common reason for sites to go down is an error in coding. Though your developers should be working to prevent problems happening within the coding of your websites, errors can and will occur.

When a circumstance is not properly tested and prepared for, it is possible for the “perfect storm” to come together and cause your site to go down if all the right conditions are met that you coding is not ready to handle.

Datacenter Problems

As most websites use data centers to store their information and run their site on the backend, it is not uncommon for these centers to experience errors and downtime of their own. If a natural disaster occurs in the area of your center, this is an unavoidable reason for your website to go down.

In these cases, clear communication is needed to work with the center to get things up and running again.

We’re here to help.

SiteUptime is here to provide you with unbeatable network performance monitoring services for competitive prices.

We are also here to support our customers with educational information that can help with the way you understand how to protect your information online and how to better your website all through our blog content. Our comprehensive FAQ page also holds tons of valuable information for you.

To get started with network performance monitoring on your site, contact us!

Site Monitoring Tools: 4 Big Reasons You Need Them

Branding seems to be the hot new buzzword these days. People talk of crafting and protecting brands, of their customers making a connection with their brand, not just their company.

site monitoring toolsIt’s more than just your product or your information; branding encompasses the look, feel, and experience of a company or person.

Small businesses often have a more intimate relationship with their customers; in these cases, branding is a very big deal!

Your website is a direct 24/7 portal between your customers and audience to you and your brand.

But what happens if there’s an issue with your site and it goes down or pages won’t load? Is your website secure? And, how does it affect your Google rankings?

A website without site monitoring tools makes itself vulnerable to a host of issues that can quickly grow beyond your control.

If you think you can handle it on your own, read on to find out the four biggest issues that threaten you and your brand and what you can do now to protect it.

Time On Your Hands

Time is money – that old adage is truer than ever these days.

If your site has any issues, and it goes down, how quickly do you think you would be made aware of it? How much effort do you think it would take to really get to the root of the problem?

If you’ve got a small company or just run the website yourself, you might be caught unaware by a small problem that grew large while you weren’t looking.

At this point, you’re losing precious time dealing with it.

A site monitoring service nips this issue in the bud. You won’t have to be combing through logs for information or manually compiling data.Your website is a direct 24/7 portal between your customers and audience to you and your brand.

But what happens if there’s an issue with your site and it goes down or pages won’t load? Is your website secure? And how does it affect your Google rankings?

A website without site monitoring tools makes itself vulnerable to a host of issues that can quickly grow beyond your control.

These tools compile your IT info into one place for easy access, improving efficiency in real time.

With your site being monitored twenty-four hours a day, you can spend your valuable time crafting your posts or filling orders instead of keeping one eye open for problems.

Get Notified Before Your Site Suffers

Not only will your IT data be easily accessible in one central location, you will receive proactive notifications when something goes wrong.

Things that would usually go unnoticed are immediately brought to your attention, allowing you to take the steps needed to right your site.

Your website will suffer if your disc space fills up, causing the whole operation to lag or even fail.

If your anti-virus protection is out of date, it could cause a huge issue not only for your customers but for your own computer as well.

Twenty-seven percent of blogs or websites are run on WordPress. If yours is one of them you should know themes need to be updated often to prevent any kind of security risk.

Site monitoring tools are a proactive way to take control of your site and ultimately, the user experience.

The sooner you know there’s an issue, the quicker you can react.

Gain Insight And Understand How To Improve

You might think your website is perfect the way it is.

Of course, that’s how one feels after pouring their time and energy into creating something, especially something as personal as a brand website.

But, is it really all that great?

What if your hi-res images create a long loading time? Or those animations that you thought were eye-catching were actually ignored and just ate up space?

Is your load speed dragging and effectively killing your Google search results?

Yes – your website’s overall health and quality might be affecting your standings in Google rankings. If Google crawls your site and sees it’s down, you drop lower on the list.

Monitoring your site’s performance can really make that much of a difference which is why it’s always good to get another opinion.

With site monitoring tools, you’ll get a look into what works and what doesn’t on your website. Once you can see the bigger picture, you can start making decisions that will improve the overall health of your site.

Getting to know your site, you’ll see if your site isn’t responding the way you want it to, and from there you can get it where you need it to be.

The Worst Crime: Going Offline

What’s worse than having a site that loads slowly? A site that doesn’t load at all.

Going offline is incredibly costly, and not just from a financial perspective.

Imagine how you would feel about a site that suddenly wasn’t available.

Would you trust it with your credit card information? Would you feel that the info in the blog was legitimate?

The damage to your reputation is one of the biggest issues of site downtime.

You’ll lose money, true, but you’ll lose your customers’ trust and that’s almost impossible to get back.

Slow load time, being hijacked by malicious code, and a total site shut down – this is a business’ biggest nightmare.

Up to 40% of visitors to your page will click away from your site if it loads too slowly. Can you take that kind of hit?

All of the above points combine to make sure this never happens to you and your site.

Understanding your site, early detection of any issues, and saving time in dealing with these issues are the ultimate way to preserve your standings and improve user experience.

Site Monitoring Tools Are Vital For Your Website’s Health And Performance

Killing your user experience.

Wiping your website’s views on Google.

Losing customers and money.

Spending time on minor issues that spiraled out of control.

Leaving your site vulnerable to hackers and viruses.

Do you need more reasons to protect your brand?

Keep your peace of mind with a reliable and affordable service like SiteUptime.

SiteUptime has several plans – one of them at zero cost! – that will make sure your site never suffers any of the above pitfalls.

They’re available 24/7 in various locations around the world, ensuring there’s always someone watching out for you.

Their remote locations always verify their findings too so that you’re never sent into panic mode over a false reading.

Try it out and get a look into your website’s performance. A simple tweak might be all it takes to keep your customers happy and ultimately boost your bottom line.