Your Company’s Data Can’t Be Breached

Search Seo Online Internet Browsing Web ConceptYou’ve likely seen the stories in the news in recent years about company’s having their personal and customer data breached.

Whether it is major players like Sony and Target or smaller businesses that you have never heard of before, the financial damages have been staggering at times. Worse yet, a company’s trust with consumers can be severely crippled, leading it to have to try and win back many of those customers.

So, have you taken a look at your Internet security procedures, reviewing where you are strongest and where you need to do some work?

If not, think about how just one data security breach against your company could impact how you go about doing business in 2016 and hopefully beyond.

Security System Reviews

In order to lower the odds of your brand falling victim to a data breach, remember these key tidbits:

  • Security protection – First and foremost, do you have the proper security system in place to better thwart identity theft thieves? If not, look to see what is available on the market that will best suit your needs. Just as consumers can turn to an ITP Bureau or other such providers who can offer them critical information to protect against identity theft, business owners must do likewise, especially those who run online stores etc. Such a provider has a rating system in place to assess important factors that individuals would take into account when looking for a service to signal warning signs and ultimately thwart identity theft attacks;
  • Employee awareness – Given the fact those you employ (consider yourself the employee if you run a one-person small business) are your first line of defense against identity theft thieves, it is crucial that those on the frontlines stand guard against any data breach attempts. Yes, identity theft thieves are some of the smartest criminals on the lot, but they can be thwarted with the right security plan. Employees must be aware of and report any suspicious attempts to hack company computers. From questionable emails asking to download attachments to leaving company and customer data exposed in public places when employees might be working in a library, café or while on the road traveling for work, there are myriad of options for hackers to try and break-in to a company’s computer system. It is important that you have the same rigid standards regarding data protection in place for your mobile employees, including those you outsource work to. Whenever any of those employees leave your employ, make sure you change-up username and password entries into your system. While most of those who leave your employ are not ones to worry about, remember, just one identity theft thief can do a world of damage, including those who once might have been on your payroll. Lastly, properly assign customer and company data, so that not all employees have access to the most sensitive items. For example, there is no reason for someone on your marketing team to need access to customer financials, log-ins to customer sites etc. Be sure only those with a need for such data have access to it, along with making sure they do not share it with others in the company;
  • Are your providers truly secure? – Never overlook the importance of partnering with secure web hosting providers and others in the technology chain of your business. Any third parties you do business with should be required to sign a form indicating they have necessary security in place to oversee your company’s pertinent data. Also look at data encryption, including the idea of encrypting your company’s email when sensitive information is being passed around;
  • Review and remove – Finally, it is imperative that your company reviews its security procedures and those you do business with on a regular basis. Just like you should be reviewing your company culture from time to time, the same holds true for your company’s security procedures. Search for cracks in the armor, with the plan to fix such holes. Also remove any online data that is no longer of use to your business. This also means properly discarding any and all paper trails as it relates to company and customer data.

With all the different avenues that data breaches can come from, it may seem at times a tad overwhelming for you and your business to stay one step ahead of hackers.

Given all you and your brand stand to lose if a data breach is successfully committed against your business, make sure you’re prepared to stop hackers in their tracks.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and technology topics on the web.

Take Your Web Browsing to New and Safe Heights

Safety Vs Risk Choice ConceptWith all the concerns in recent years over website security, you would think more businesses would make it their number one focus.

Sadly, however, there are still too many companies who fail to put the right time and effort into thwarting hackers at the front door of their computer systems.

As a result, these businesses leave themselves open to an attack, an attack which oftentimes has devastating public relations and financial repercussions.

As 2016 enters its second month, is this the year that you and your brand take a stand against hackers? If so, what are some means by which to do just that?

Have a Plan and Execute It

In order for your business to improve its odds of keeping hackers away from your brand, you must have a plan and execute it.

Part of the plan is regularly checking to see where your business might be most vulnerable (your website, in-house computers, social media etc.) and knowing how to limit the odds of being hit.

To start with, having total freedom in web browsing does come with a price, a price that you must be willing to pay.

Look at the size of your company and exactly how many employees (you might be the only member) are actively engaged online on a daily basis. With that, see where the cracks and holes may be, problems that could lead you to being the most vulnerable to hackers.

Among the potential problem areas to explore:

  • Working with a web hosting company who does not put an emphasis on security;
  • Allowing employees too much freedom on social media;
  • Falling victim to scams that compromise your computer network’s integrity.

In looking at just these three potential problems, first know who you are working with.

If your web hosting company is lackadaisical when it comes to protecting your website, it is time to find a new provider.

Ask them if they regularly do security checks to see what the latest tactics hackers are trying to implement. Does the provider also monitor your website on a regular basis, looking for anything out of the ordinary? Finally, what protocols do they have in place in the event your website is hacked? A provider that acts right away instead of when they get around to it is the one you want to opt for.

Next, how much freedom do your workers have when it comes to surfing the web during the business day?

Should Your Business Be More Social?

Some companies allow for a reasonable amount of time on social media and other approved sites, while other businesses all but forbid it.

You have to decide early on if your employees will be allowed certain Internet freedoms in the office or if they will be asked to focus squarely on their jobs. Keep in mind that social media usage by your workers can actually help promote your brand, so don’t be too fast to discount how it can help you.

On the flip side, social media can pose a danger to you and your business when used improperly.

For example, if one or more of your employees are using social media to discuss company operations, client data etc., a hacker can easily manipulate the conversation and gain access to your computer system.

The same holds true if someone with ill intent sends you a job application/resume. They could post a fake social media link on their resume, hoping you or someone in your office will download it. Once that happens, malware could be installed in your system, allowing hackers to gain access to company and/or client data that should never go public.

One final area to look at is the sites you and/or your employees browse.

Some sites may look innocent, but they in fact can be downright dangerous for your computer/s.

If you are the least bit suspicious about a site you or an employee comes across or someone proposing you download an attachment that just doesn’t feel right, plot the safer course and just avoid it.

Building and refining your brand takes time and effort.

Staying one step ahead of hackers should never be something you take lightly, especially in a day and age where the web is full of people with misguided intentions.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and technology topics on the web.

Keep Internet Thieves at Bay

Online Security Protection Internet Safety Learning Education CoIf you run a business and think that you’re not a target, think again.

Whether your company is small, midsize or large, you have a target on your back simply by the fact that you are an entrepreneur. If thieves can get their hands on your products, services, and especially information that will lead to a financial windfall for them, you can be singled out at any moment.

With that in mind, it behooves business owners to make sure they have their backs and the backs of their customers covered at all times. Remember, it just takes one slip-up for a hacker to make your life and your financial life miserable.

Be Pro-Active and Not Reactive

In order to make sure your Internet security is protected as much as possible from hackers (namely identity theft thieves), keep these tidbits in mind:

  • Be Pro-active – The last thing you want to do as a business owner is always be reacting to things, notably hackers. It is no secret that hacking is a profession for countless men and women, many of whom don’t care if you play by the rules or not. In order to decrease the chances of being financially hit, make sure you update your Internet protection software regularly. Look for cracks and kinks in its armor, thereby hopefully seeing them before thieves do. Just as you would use the appropriate computer software to limit your kids’ access to reaching inappropriate websites on your home computer, the same care and concern must be done for your business site. The goal here is to make sure no one is getting through to your company website without your approval;
  • Watch for employee red flags – While it would be comforting to think that all of your employees can always be trusted with sensitive company and customer data, it has proven time and time again that that is not the case. Even though you might think that the attack or attacks will come from the outside, many businesses have unfortunately discovered otherwise. Lessen the chances your business will become a victim by making sure you hire the best and brightest employees. If during the interview process you catch any red flags (past firings from jobs for disciplinary reasons such as stealing from employers and/or hacking websites, run-ins with the law etc.), think twice about bringing on that applicant as an employee. Also be sure to alert all employees once they are under your employ that in no shape or form will you tolerate illegal activities, notably as they relate to misusing company or customer data. If someone is caught doing just that, let it be known they could lose their job and potentially face criminal charges;
  • Be careful with outsourcing – While outsourcing business tasks is something many businesses do on a regular basis, this is another area where one must proceed with caution. Let’s say you outsource some or all of your accounting or client marketing needs to save on some of the workload for your in-house staff. In doing so, you provide the individual or individuals who will be working on accounting and client marketing sensitive data etc. It could be weeks or even months before you discover someone is then using that data for illegal purposes. Along with the financial hit to you and some of your customers, the public relations mess now on your hands is just as bad. Make sure you thoroughly research who you might outsource work to in order to lessen the odds they will be a problem for you and your clients down the road.

Running a business these days of course carries risks, risks that you sometimes have little control over.

When it comes to protecting your business website (both from outside and inside threats), you do have more control than you might think.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business and technology issues on the web.

 

Take Your Company’s Data Integration to New Levels

Businessman using his tablet computerNow that you’ve got your company off and running and your business intelligence all locked up with data integration, it’s time to take it to new levels.

Data integration is the latest way for businesses in all industries to meet the constantly evolving demands of their clients and customers.

It’s also a proven way for businesses to streamline all their department efforts, including HR, marketing and sales.

Take Human Resources to the Next Level

Human resources professionals are always looking for new and better ways to attain and retain quality employees. The task hasn’t always been easy.

In the past, HR professionals had to perform their personnel hunt on the sly, plucking top employees from their current jobs, wooing them over secret lunches and convincing them to jump ship. The entire affair was cumbersome and fraught with frustration and disappointment.

Half the time, after that entire struggle, the caught employee turned out to be not as expected, and ended up jumping ship – again.

With data integration, HR professionals can cease opportunities to finely tune their search for high potential job candidates, to a point where they are nearly certain they are chasing the right rabbit.

Once on board, data integration systems give HR professionals a bird’s eye view of employee’s performance and where there is room for improvement.

Take Marketing to the Next Level

As the following article looks at, your marketing department may be the area where you will see the most benefit from unlocking knowledge and enhancing collaboration with data integration.

With the correct data integration system in place, your marketing team can project trends, target leads and customize marketing strategies in record time.

Using data integration systems, marketing managers can swiftly react to changing patterns and interests in your target demographics.

It’s like being able to read a customer’s mind, and then changing what you say seconds before you say it.

Take Sales to the Next Level

With a data integration system at your sales team’s disposal, they will be able to act on information that is input into the system.

They will be able to collaborate with other team members, whether they are across the room or around the globe.

Sales efforts no longer have to be put on hold because one or more members of your sales team are out of pocket. Shared data is data that can be acted on instantly.

Those who are able to utilize the data and move ahead with projects will be able to update the project status, sign their digital name to the work, and move on to next steps.

The lead, or target customer, will then move automatically and organically to the next stage in the buying decision, ready for the next sales member to take the lead.

Streamlining your business with data integration is the next big thing that technology has brought to the hands of business owners.

Take advantage of this latest wave and find out how data integration can change the way you do business.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Kate Supino writes about business and marketing practices.

Should You Be Prone to Hiring Big Data-Skilled Workers?

Keyboard With Key LearnShould you be hiring candidates with big data skills?

As big data becomes a big part of many businesses’ operations, there are more candidates out there who have gained big data skills either through their job, or by specializing in big data during their studies.

If you’re considering taking on candidates with big data skills, what can those skills do for your business?

Big Data and Business

Big data has a wide variety of uses for your business. Sometimes the difficulty is deciding what to focus on first.

You can use big data to analyze your customers’ behavior.

This could include anything from purchasing trends to how they interact with your website. You can gain insights into who these individuals are, where they are, what they want and how they interact with you.

You can use big data to track your business processes and finances.

From tracking the way sales ebb and flow throughout the year to analyzing data from different departments, big data can give you insights into the way your business works.

You can use big data to keep your social media game on top form.

From figuring out which posts are getting the most customer engagement, to finding out what customers are  saying about you, big data gives you insights via social media.

Where to Find Your Big Data Candidates

So just where can you find your big data candidates?

There are two main ways:

Hiring a candidate who recently studied big data, or looking for someone with experience. Both have their advantages.

With more schools offering big data courses these days, you can find candidates who have been taught an in depth knowledge of big data.

As the article “Hiring Smart: The 5 Best Schools Cranking Out Big Data Job Candidates” says, big data students will have learned while training on real data sets, giving them the skills your business needs.

You can also hire candidates who already have experience in the field.

With more businesses making use of big data, so more professionals are learning big data skills and applying them in their roles.

Whether you hire a dedicated data scientist, or a skilled multi-tasker with big data smarts, experienced candidates will bring expertise to their role.

Big Data Can Be Applied In Many Roles

With so many uses for big data, there is the potential for you to make use of big data skills across departments.

Candidates with big data skills will bring an in-depth knowledge of how big data works, and how to make the most of it. Those skills can provide a real boost to your business; giving you candidates who can undertake in depth analysis and use the insights they gain to drive your business forward.

From analyzing data about your business processes, to streamlining your marketing efforts, candidates who can handle big data can do a lot for your business.

As well as hiring someone specifically for the role of data specialist, you will also benefit from looking for big data skills in any candidate who will be in a position to use data to gain insights.

There’s no doubt that big data is here to stay.

By hiring candidates who are confident handling big data, you will be providing your business with valuable skills that will benefit you in the long term.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on a range of topics including social media, SEO that works, and how to make big data work for your business.

Is Your Company’s Network Management Sound?

Young Business Executive Using LaptopTechnology is changing rapidly.

Is your business’s network management staying on pace with those changes or falling behind?

The antiquated main IT focus on hardware setup and troubleshooting has morphed to include tasks related to cloud services and more.

Since sound network management is directly linked to effective internal communications and business success, here’s how to ensure yours is staged for success now and in the future:

Consider Information Security

Your top concern regarding the rapidly changing technological landscape must be the security of your company’s information.

Hackers are a dime-a-dozen and information can be compromised on many fronts.

Work with your network management team to pinpoint holes in information security and take rapid action on any concerns that are voiced by the team.

Assess Company Technology Policies

Whether on a work computer, a personal smartphone or another device, employees can now access thousands of apps and software programs with ease.

This shift in available technology has softened the edges of once-strict company technology policies.

Workers who once feared the wrath of their IT department after downloading software without permission now don’t see the problem of installing an app for the transfer of company photography or of using an online spreadsheet program for the input of company data.

Before the use of such software at your company gets out of hand and possibly compromises the business’s security, take a hard look at your technology policy.

Assess whether the policy addresses the latest evolution in smartphone apps and other technologies and work with your network management team to revise the policy as needed.

Look to the Future Workspace

Employees who sit at desks in the office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day are quickly becoming the exception rather than the norm.

Flex and telecommuting policies are changing the way people work.

This workspace revolution is also changing the standards tasks that are associated with network management.

Just a few of the issues to consider regarding your company’s future workspace include how to deal with employees working from their private computers, how cloud services will change the way you do business and more.

Rather than ignoring these impending changes, face them head on to keep your network management one step ahead of the game.

Hire Innovators

If you are asking the question as the article, “Are you ready for the next generation of network management?” looks at, take an overview of your current workforce and consider the answer to that question.

If your company has an in-house IT department, consider the best professionals to hire into the department who can help lead your network into the next generation.

If your network management is outsourced, take a close look at how it’s being managed and if changes are needed.

By placing your network management into the hands of innovators, you can rest easier knowing it will stay in step with the future of business technologies.

Is your business ready for the next generation of network management?

Answer that question with confidence by considering the security of your company’s sensitive information, by assessing the business’s technology policies and more.

By taking action on the network’s weak spots now, you can keep pace with future changes in the technological landscape.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Shayla Ebsen is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience both in the corporate and freelance settings.

5 Social Customer Service Tools You Should Know About

By Diana Gomez

Gone are the days of customer service phones ringing off the hook.

While some people may still want to use traditional means to connect with companies, modern consumers rarely want to pick up the phone if they experience a customer-service issue.

Instead, they’re turning to social media to voice concerns and ask questions, knowing that a simple tweet is often the best way to address an issue quickly and easily.

Social customer service tools

Did you know that 42 percent of consumers who complain on social media expect a response no more than 60 minutes later?

This may seem unreasonable, but compare that with the time it should take for a resolution via phone. And these days, the advent of social media has not only opened up more communication channels, but it has lowered patience. A recent study showed that people who complain on social media on nights and weekends expect the same service and response time as they would during normal Monday through Friday business hours. How can companies keep up with that? What a beast.

Smart companies are catching on that social media is their strongest customer service tool. KLM, for example, the leading airline in customer service, realized the importance of social media in 2010 when Icelandic ash left tens of thousands of customers stranded in airports everywhere. It was the biggest interruption to European air traffic since World War II.

Those customers turned to social media for solutions to their travel woes, and KLM responded. Soon after, the airline made social media the focus of its customer service efforts. Resolution time was cut to one day, and one social media post is responded to within one hour — and it all happens via social media.

There are several tools out there ready to help companies get their customer service needs under control as efficiently as possible using social media. Here are a few I’ve found to be worthwhile.

Salesforce

Salesforce is the tool that drives the customer-service machine of KLM. How does it work? Its system extracts customer-service requests from over 150 million social media networks, blogs, forums and more using customized keyword identifiers. The tool’s technology works its magic by searching comments and phrases combining, for example, #KLM, @KLM, and any KLM mentions with customer-service trigger words like “help” or “my flight is late.”

The cool part is that the software can then prioritize the results automatically using the purchase history of the customer and their activity level on social media. So if you have a big Twitter following and you’re a frequent flier, you’ll probably be placed at the front of the customer-service queue. Pretty nifty.

LiveOps Social

Another social customer service tool, LiveOps Social, is a cloud-based contact center/virtual call center software. But instead of tickets submitted through voice, online contact forms, or email, it searches requests on Twitter and Facebook and then submits a ticket that way. The concern is then placed in a service queue alongside all the other requests, but it is prioritized according to the customer’s social and service history.

Social Dynamx

This social customer service tool lets companies manage one-on-one, real-time social conversation. The system automatically routes customers to an agent based on his or her expertise, work group, current caseload, average time to respond and service satisfaction rate. Work groups represent different issues, so say a product has a very specific issue — a work group is created to address that particular concern, and they’ll receive all the tweets relating to that issue. If a customer prefers a different agent, or expert, that change can be easily made.

SparkCentral

Companies that handle a high volume of customer service requests are turning to social media helpdesk platform SparkCentral. Formerly known as TwitSpark, the key to its success lies in the response time. This tool provides super fast and efficient follow-up customer service over Facebook and Twitter. From seemingly petty problems to crisis management, it’s all automatically prioritized and attended to promptly.

ConverSocial

Used by big companies like Google, Barclaycard, and Hertz, ConverSocial is a cloud-based social service solution for large-scale monitoring. Using sophisticated technology, the service decides for itself whether or not a social media complaint warrants a response.

Any Tweeter out there can understand that not every tweet deserves an agent to spend his or her time responding to it. ConverSocial totally gets that. Like other tools, it prioritizes a response according to social and customer history. More serious issues of course would go to the front of the queue. If a response is delayed, the system automatically reroutes the issue to a new agent.

Has your company used social media to resolve customer service issues? Please share your experiences in the comments!

Author’s Bio: Diana Gomez is the Marketing Coordinator at Lyoness America, where she integrates social customer service and business marketing strategies for USA and Canada. Lyoness is an international shopping community and loyalty rewards program, where businesses and consumers benefit with free membership and money back with every purchase.

Overcoming Big Data Skills Concerns

abigdate

Big data analytics has been proven to be highly beneficial for businesses, allowing them to extract optimal value from their data and make better-informed decisions.

As more and more businesses are adopting big data analytics, it is becoming increasingly necessary to make big data a part of your business strategy.

However, it is not easy to implement a big data solution, because there is a significant shortage of big data skills.

Then again, if you use the right hiring strategies, you may be able to recruit some of the best big data experts available in the market.

How to Hire the Right Big Data Talent

Define Responsibilities

Before you start the hiring process, it is essential that you clearly define the role and responsibilities that you want the big data expert to assume.

This will help you determine what kind of big data talent you should look for, so that you can attract the most suitable candidates. It also gives the candidates a clearer idea of your expectations.

Set Job Requirements

First of all, you need to set the minimum academic and experience qualifications to ensure that the candidate has the necessary knowledge, skills and training to handle the tasks that come with the job. Then, list down the specific skills and qualities that he or she must possess.

For instance, the candidate should be familiar with the specific type of big data solution that you are planning to implement.

According to a blog post entitled “Combating Big Data Skills Concerns“, business organizations are not only trying to recruit and retain experts to handle long-existing data management technologies, but also new big data technologies such as Hadoop.

It is important that you hire a big data expert who makes an effort to stay up-to-date with the latest big data technologies.

Attract the Best Candidates

Big data experts are highly sought after these days, and they can afford to be selective.

As such, you need to make a very competitive offer in order to attract the best big data talent. Big data experts enjoy solving challenging problems, and they thrive in an environment that allows them to exercise their creativity.

You can bait them by giving them interesting data to manage and fascinating problems to solve, so that they can satisfy their intellectual curiosity endlessly.

While money may not be the main factor affecting a big data expert’s choice of job, it is still an important consideration. Therefore, you have to make sure that you offer your big data expert a highly competitive salary.

Evaluate the Candidates

There are many tools from reliable sources that can help you perform a thorough and accurate evaluation of candidates.

You can use these tools to do resume screening and reference checks, conduct competency-based and background interviews, and create real-life scenarios to assess the responses of the candidates.

It is also a good idea to use psychometric assessments such as cognitive testing, emotional intelligence testing and motivational assessment.

A competent big data expert can do wonders for your business by helping you get the most out of your data.

By following the tips above, you can significantly increase your chances of landing the best big data talent.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

How Technology is Powering Success

By Teddy Hunt

The year was 1994. Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, and their guest sat around a quaint coffee table between NBC’s “Today” segments and pondered the pronunciation of the “@” symbol. “That little mark,” he said. “With the ‘a’ and then the ring around it. Couric said she thought it was ‘about.'” He went on to ask, “What is the Internet, anyway? Do you write to it, like mail?”

Just two decades ago, this was the reality, even among some of the most successful, high-profile people in our society. Now, the Internet and other forms of technology have become ingrained in our culture, and for good reason. Businesses and the people who run them depend on technology for success in many ways. 

technology to print on potato chip

Improving Efficiency

In today’s economy, a business has to squeeze out every ounce of productivity to remain competitive and successful, and technology provides us with many avenues to accomplish just that.

Efficiency serves as technology’s over-arching theme; it encompasses everything we’ve come to love and expect of the wonderful little gadgets we depend on. We can retrieve and share data in an instant, swipe a magical piece of plastic in exchange for goods and services, and tasks that we once performed by hand are now being streamlined by technology, void of human error.

Expanding Knowledge

Have you ever stopped to consider the sheer volume of information available to you on the Internet? Why not use that to your advantage? Except for encyclopedia salesmen, just about every other business person is reaping the benefits of unlimited amounts of knowledge with just the click of a button.

Internet searching brings you everything from interview dos and don’ts, to market trends, to tips on how to start your first business, all without ever having to leave your home. Even if you do leave your home, that same information is available to you on a smartphone or tablet. Technology is constantly reshaping the nature of knowledge, giving us the potential to be smarter and more efficient than ever before.

Instantaneous Communication

We’ve come a long way since the first mobile phone call in 1973. Communication on the go has become a necessity in the business world. Email and smartphones have changed the way we communicate with our peers and our customers by providing us with a variety of instantaneous connections. We can run our offices from the road if we have to, or instantly respond to customer inquiries after hours. No matter how personal you believe old-fashioned snail mail to be, the reality is that technology has taken over communication. Putting pen to paper puts you a step behind the competition. 

Promoting Open Mindedness 

As technology evolves, a successful person must learn to adapt. New developments keep us on our toes because we understand the importance of being up to speed when it comes to new technologies that could better our businesses.
This translates very well to being adaptive in general. All too often, we dig our heels in and resist change because our way of doing things works. Eventually, we must accept that it’s possible for something else to come along that works better. As technology grows, we should be willing to follow suit. 

Shrinking the World

Consider this scenario: A journalist on location in an unknown Middle Eastern village witnesses the beginnings of what could turn out to be a breaking news story. She pulls out her trusty 4G smartphone, snaps a few high resolution photos, and uses the phone to type a brief news blurb about what just took place. She can instantly upload all of that information to her news site. 

Technology eliminates boundaries. We can use it to manipulate the business world and in our professions in ways we couldn’t before. It brings everything to our fingertips so that we may, in turn, deliver it to someone else. 
Technology continues to redefine our culture as it grows. We should all be willing to use it to learn and become better at what we do because, without it, we would truly be in the dark.

Author’s Bio: Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.

Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc

Site Crash: What’s Your Response Plan?

By Michelle Rebecca

Website crashes can be detrimental to a company’s operation. If your host goes down, your software fails or your internet provider encounters a problem, it is your business that suffers. When these situations occur you are no longer able to conduct e-business or to monitor your site’s feedback.

In order to decrease the impact of site crashes it is important to have an emergency response plan. Below is a list of tips for helping your organization navigate a site malfunction.

Investigate the Issue

Once you have been alerted to an issue with your website, the first step is to look for yourself. While a customer or employee may have encountered a problem with your website, this issue could be related to their network connection or a number of other external causes.

Accessing your website and attempting to navigate the pages will determine whether or not this is an actual issue with the website or simply a problem on someone else’s end. For instance, if you were to check your site’s XML management page and find that it was down, then you would know you have an internal problem to manage.

Once you’ve established that there is a real problem, you need to find out exactly what the issue is. This issue may be related to your website’s host, a programming error or a network problem. Identifying the cause for the site crash will allow you to make a plan for contacting the necessary individuals and getting your site back up as soon as possible.

Programming Error

You can determine whether or not a site has a programming error by checking the status bar at the bottom of the page as suggested by Smashing Magazine. If this bar reads “loaded” or “done” then you can be sure that the issue is not related to the site’s software or server.

On the other hand, the terms “waiting” or “connecting” designate that the problem is in fact a programming error. Having identified this problem, you now know to alert your tech team in order to locate the error in the coding for your site.

Web Server Software

If programming is not an issue, then web server software may be the culprit. By logging onto your website’s server you can determine whether the server has run out of space, run out of memory or whether there is another situation of that nature.

Also, when you log in, many servers take you to a control panel that may indicate the problem for you. As for disk space and memory concerns, there are a series of commands you can utilize while logged into your server to view available space as noted in Smashing Magazine’s article.

Hard Disk Space

By inputing “admin@server$ df” in the command line of your server its disk space allocation will be displayed. This will display your site’s file systems and the percentage to which they are currently being used. If this percentage is 100 percent then you’ve found your issue and need to free up some space.

Memory

Considering the small likelihood that your server’s hard disk space is taken up, you should proceed to check the memory. Utilizing the “free” command will allow you to view how much memory is currently in use. From there you can determine whether a particular piece of software is slowing down your server and proceed to solve the issue accordingly.

Getting to the bottom of a website issue can be a time consuming and stressful situation. Use the aforementioned steps and tips to help identify website problems and to determine how to solve them.

Author’s Bio: Michelle is a blogger and freelancer with a passion for social media and blogging. She loves how social media connects people across the globe, and appreciates that blogging gives her the opportunity to voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.