Keeping Your Information Secure on the Go
Jul201612

Keeping your data secure while you are at home is hard enough. But when traveling, especially out of the country, it is even harder. But it is worth the extra effort because your data is worth so much to you and potentially to someone else.

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VPN

virtual private network (VPN) is a third party server that is put between yourself and your target destination. There are several advantages that a VPN presents, but as with many security features, more secure can mean less convenient. When you connect with a website, you usually connect from your computer to their servers and get your content. But depending on where you are, how you are connecting to the internet and where you are trying to go this may or may not be secure.

When using a VPN you connect to the VPN before your destination and the VPN can provide different services. One of which is an encrypted signal that better protects your data in transit. While the encryption is a big plus, especially when traveling outside of your comfort zone, it can be slightly slower than a direct connection because of the increased steps. VPNs are available for both computer and mobile devices like the Galaxy Note5. One thing to remember about VPN services is that paying for one will generally get you better results since they can have more servers and support available.

Locks

An easy way to keep your data more secure is by limiting the physical access to your phone. One of the best ways is to know that your phone is within your control at all times. But unless you can guarantee this, there is still the possibility that someone could pick pocket you or you just forget it in a cab.

The most secure passwords for a phone tend to be long and random because they are harder for someone or a computer to guess. But this isn’t always a practical solution because you might forget a complicated password. However, avoiding easily gathered information like birthdays or other publicly available information will keep it more secure. A four digit PIN has a 1 in 10,000 chance of being guessed randomly and a six digit one has a 1 in 1,000,000 chance. These are short enough that they can be easily remembered even if they are random, and they give a good level of security for not a lot of effort.

Secure Wi-Fi

All the security in the world won’t help much if your connection to the internet is not secure. It is better to assume that a Wi-Fi signal is not encrypted unless it asks you for a WPA/WPA2 certification. It is also best to make sure the address you are visiting starts with “https” as opposed to “http.” The “s” stands for secure and lets you know that the traffic is being encrypted before it is sent to the server. It is also important to log out of services when you are done using them so there isn’t any way for someone else to come along and pick up where you left off.

Be careful and limit your access to sites that have sensitive information like banking or other financial services while on public or free Wi-Fi. Using https as well as a VPN can help you be as secure as possible.

 

Productivity Tools to Automate 3 Vital Business Functions
Jun201629

The internet is a battleground; a great war of aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses trying to make their mark. But only the very brave survive. Because statistics prove that 90% of small businesses fail.

And one of the greatest reasons for failure is a lack of business skills, and under this umbrella falls efficiency. Research by Huffington Post reports that the small businesses who succeed are scaling their efforts by automating tasks. In fact, it is expected that small businesses who incorporate marketing automation for instance, will grow substantially in the immediate future.

If you want to win the war and dominate your competitors online, you need to pay attention to these three business functions and the productivity tools that can be used for better efficiency and management in time-heavy processes like marketing, billing and measuring:

#1: Marketing

Marketing is the foundation of your business. You can offer the best product or service, but if no one knows about it, your business will fail. And if you don’t keep selling whatever you’re selling, you will close your doors.

To anchor and stabilize your business for growth, your marketing efforts need to connect you with the resources, businesses and people you are trying to reach.

It is communication which is vital to building trust and business relationships, and for that end you can use an online meeting software like ClickMeeting.

Not only can you use this productivity tool to save travel time and the costs of hosting offline meetings and conferences, but you can also use it for staff training and to provide value to your target audience in the form of presentations and webinars.

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ClickMeeting provides software that boasts these top features:

  • File and screen sharing
  • Whiteboard presentations
  • Video recording and viewing
  • Web based and Android app
  • Integrations with Google Apps and Twitter

#2: Billing

If you’re a service based business or bill according to time, you’re going to want to find out more about WorkflowMax which automates workflow and job management.

On their website, they boldly state that, “A recent survey showed that on average, we save each of our customers 628 hours of time and $22,000 every year”. 628 hours of time per year, per customer? Think what you could do with that time…

WorkflowMax handles everything from A – Z with regards to pre-sales and billing. As such, this productivity tool is most often used in creative, marketing, architecture, business, engineering, consulting, IT, building, and construction industries.

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Some of WorkflowMax’es primary features are:

  • Quoting templates
  • Generating quotes
  • Timesheets and job management
  • Project management and collaboration
  • Job costing
  • CRM
  • Tracking leads, proposals and sales

#3: Measuring

51% of small business marketers say that measuring is exceptionally important to better understand customer journeys. And marketing, especially online, is all about the customer journey. But it is all too easy to become frustrated with the copious amounts of data you must sift through, all the places you must visit, and the countless switching of sites. Just as important as expansion itself, monitoring and measuring your progression as well as information collection, is often the most daunting and time wasting saga for the entrepreneur and small business owner. But it’s one business function that has to be done if you want to understand what’s working, and what’s not. With the business dashboard Cyfe, you can save time and effort. And your nerves. The Cyfe app is used to analyze and track data from other online applications and software.

dashboard

Image Credit: TechnologyAdvice

It goes without saying that it gives you a view of Google Analytics and your social media accounts, but with this productivity tool, everything is in one place, even Gmail, Google calendar and PayPal.

Nuff said. But there is more…it’s top features also allow the following:

  • Competitor research
  • Dashboard sharing so clients can also have a view
  • Can be viewed in TV mode for teams
  • View data for any date range

Conclusion

There you have it. Three exceptional online productivity tools that can be used to significantly reduce your time in three of the most time consuming business areas:

  1. Marketing
  2. Billing
  3. Measuring

Tasks in these business functions may not be your core business, but they are key to the sustainability and growth of your company.

 

Planning The Perfect Machu Picchu Trip
Jun201602

 

When looking for some quality South America Travel time, Machu Picchu cannot be matched in terms of its pure beauty and status as a wonder of the world. This guide will hopefully help you to find out a bit more about how to approach your next trip to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail and how to get the most out of it.

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How to travel

There are a number of Machu Picchu Tour options to choose from, but it is also possible to do it alone. I would personally recommend a tour because it is much cheaper and the stresses of organising everything are taken away and you can focus more on making the trek to Machu Picchu (it will take some fitness and determination to conquer the Inca trail). It is possible to hire porters to help lighten the load on your trip, it is advisable to pay porters a fair wage and really engage with them and this will only add to the experience.

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When

The period between July and August is certainly the busiest and this is naturally the peak tourist season and it is much drier during this season. At most times of the year you will experience some form of mist or rain in the Andes, particularly due to the high altitude. Between November and April is the rainy season and actually going during November and April can be perfect, especially if you want to avoid the peak tourist season and the rain.

How far

The Inca trail is relatively short at just over 40km long, but don’t let this fool you. The high altitude and up and down landscape can really take its toll. It is important to do some training before you go and make sure that you have an adequate level of fitness. You should give yourself a final test of fitness before you go, perhaps in the form of a long and hilly walk in your local area.

When you get there

Probably the best tip when you are there is to get on the trail early, most tour groups will be arriving after 11am and therefore it is best if you can get out before them. The morning light will also be ideal for taking photographs, so keep that in mind when deciding when to embark on your walk.   

What to see

Naturally the trail offers some extremely beautiful sights of the surrounding highlands. When you reach the 500 year old citadel it will certainly be a sight that you cannot believe and it will be truly breathtaking, for the view and also the altitude which is over 2400 metres above sea level.. Some of the highlights of the mountain are the Inti Watana, the Room of the Three Windows and the Temple of the Sun. Once you get there it should naturally be simple just to walk and explore everything that you desire.

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