Posts tagged with "it"

Hackers Covet Your Identity; 5 Ways To Thwart Their Efforts

Each day people take a virtual trip through the internet to do their banking, make hotel reservations, shop for a new car, or engage in a myriad of other activities important to them.

It’s so routine that it’s easy to forget that you need to be just as careful about protecting yourself on those virtual journeys as you would on an actual one. “Hackers are creative about dreaming up new ideas for stealing your identity, so it’s important that you stay vigilant even if you already have taken action to guard yourself and your data,” says Chris Hoose, an IT consultant who works with small businesses.

Hoose says a few steps you can take to protect your identity include:

Use a password manager. One problem with passwords is that people often use simple ones that are easy to remember, but also easy to hack. A password manager  provides an encrypted database where you can store unique, long, complex passwords for each of your online accounts, and access them when you need them. “With a password manager, you can have better passwords that are harder to hack, and you don’t have to memorize them,” Hoose says.

Do your online activities with a VPN. Worried that your online browsing will lead identity thieves right back to you? One solution, Hoose says, is a virtual private network (VPN), which lends you a temporary IP address and hides your true IP address from every website or email you connect with. “It also prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location,” he says. “You just need to remember to connect to it when you want to use it.” A VPN usually costs about $40 to $50 a year, he says.

Be wary on social media. Most people check in on social media routinely to catch up on family news, connect with college buddies, or perhaps to share photos of a new puppy. Unfortunately, cyber thieves lurk in the background. “They know that social media platforms are an excellent source for personal information and information about your contacts, which makes identity theft that much easier for them,” Hoose says. To stay safe on social media, he suggests you check to see if you have already been compromised; avoid password reuse; update your security settings regularly; and limit your connections because the more you have, the more potential for a fraudulent or compromised account to send you a malicious link.

Keep tabs on your credit report. One way to make sure no one has taken on debt in your name, and damaged your credit in the process, is to request a full credit report from any of the three major agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You can get a free copy from any of them through the site. Also, it might be time to get off the mailing list for all those credit offers you receive that say you are pre-approved. “Those offers are a gold mine for identity thieves,” Hoose says. You can opt out of pre-approved credit offers by visiting.

Be sure to install anti-virus/malware software. Your first and best line of defense against identity theft on your computer remains anti-virus software and anti-malware software, Hoose says. When choosing one, he suggests making use of the trial period most companies offer. “That way you can try them out and decide which one works best for you,” he says.

“The more people try to foil identity thieves, the more sophisticated those thieves seem to get in their methods,” Hoose says. “But by being watchful and attentive, you can stay safe and enjoy your time online.”

About Chris Hoose

Chris Hoose  s the president of Choose Networks, an IT consulting firm for small businesses. Hoose started the company in 2001 to give large-scale solutions and support to businesses that can’t afford their own in-house IT department. He earned a Master of Information Systems Management from Friends University.

US Businesses Allowing Remote Working

The rise of cloud computing and teleconferencing represent both the biggest opportunity for growth as well as the most significant organizational challenge to companies around the world, according to new research from Condeco’s new research paper, The Modern Workplace 2019: People, places & technology, involving 750 corporate leaders. The full report can be downloaded here. Among the countries in the survey, remote working is particularly prevalent in Australia (45 per cent) with the US tied for being the country with the second most amount of companies allowing remote work (43 percent) and least widespread is Germany (35 per cent). However, US businesses were least likely to offer flextime (49 percent), while those in Singapore were most likely (66 percent). In addition, 43 percent of US business forecast that they will allow more remote working in the next year while only 9 percent have indicated that they will offer less remote working, a clear indicator that remote working is a major trend in America. 54 percent of US companies have said that they offer remote working to increase employee retention, which showcases employees increasing demands to work from home.

While recognizing digital transformation as crucial to their future success, 60 percent of those who participated express concern over the speed with which new technologies are reshaping their businesses. They are increasingly preoccupied with issues related to cloud computing, the internet of things, and big data.These technology challenges are contributing significantly to the changing nature of the corporate environment, the report finds. Cloud computing in particular has made it possible for increasing numbers of employees to work remotely and flexibly meaning that the central company workspace is rapidly becoming an administrative hub, rather than a traditional central focus where everyone gathers during set hours. The demands of regulation and compliance are also adding to the burden felt by businesses as they face the future. Condeco’s report is based on an in-depth survey of business leaders in six countries, including the United States, backed by qualitative interviews. Respondents overall say the biggest challenges facing their organizations in the next 12 months are digital transformation (37 percent) and the adoption of new technology (35 percent).

Across all countries surveyed, access to talent supply (26 per cent) and regulation and compliance (24 per cent) are considered greater organizational challenges than business uncertainty (22 per cent). Welcome to the flexible working revolution. Almost half of global businesses surveyed (41 percent) say they already offer some degree of remote working, while three-fifths (60 percent) provide flextime opportunities, allowing employees to choose when to start and end their workday. “The research clearly shows that businesses are in the process of transforming their workplaces digitally, which enables them to transform the way that they are used physically,” said Paul Statham, CEO of Condeco.”Today’s technology allows for space to be used more flexibly and for employees to work remotely. This benefits businesses by maximizing office space, reducing costs and by keeping employees engaged and productive.”

The end of meeting-room culture? When employees do go into the office, it is most often for meetings with colleagues and customers. Yet the researchers discovered that finding, booking and using meeting rooms is a consistent point of organizational tension, even as more people are working remotely. Fewer than a quarter of those surveyed (23 percent) say that their employees have access to meeting rooms whenever they need them; however, the US leads the world with 31 percent, compared to just 9 percent in Singapore. Only a third of respondents (31 percent) currently use specialist meeting-room scheduling software to help make efficient use of their available space. Some of those surveyed believed that there was an opportunity to use artificial intelligence to book and use meeting rooms more effectively.

“AI can release individuals from routine, repetitive tasks at work and free them up for more value-adding and enriching activities. That’s why it is likely to play an important role in meeting room booking software,” said Peter Otto, Chief Product Officer at Condeco. Businesses are only just beginning to realize the extent to which the need for co-workers to meet in person is a thing of the past, as new conferencing systems enable teams to maintain real-time collaboration and conversation across vast distances and multiple time zones.“Ultimately new technology will enable businesses to allocate their resources and time more effectively,” said Otto.“There is also a role it can play in gathering data, but companies need to be aware of the ethical and privacy aspects of using it in this way and be prepared to be fully transparent in communicating what they are doing to their employees.”

US leaders prepare for the future While a fifth of business leaders worldwide (22 per cent) said that uncertainty was a concern for them, less than one fifth of American business leaders (16 percent) echoed this. The most-common concern for US respondents is technology adoption (45 percent) and talent supply (30 percent), suggesting that businesses are expecting these to be major issues over the next year. Only 11 percent of US business cited access to capital as their top organizational concern.

Seiko USA, Lorem Ipsum, stevie award, 360 MAGAZINE

Lorem Ipsum Receives Gold Stevie® Award for Seiko USA Campaign

Multi-disciplinary experiential design firm, Lorem Ipsum is pleased to announce that its work for Seiko USA has received a Gold Stevie® Award from the American Business Awards® in the Website category under “Consumer Products-Non-Durables.”

The award was presented on Tuesday, June 11 during the 17th Annual American Business Awards banquet in New York City. The American Business Awards feature a wide selection of categories to recognize the achievements of creative professionals working in web development, corporate communications, video production, app development, investor relations and live events.

Lorem Ipsum took on the challenge of taking Japanese manufacturer of watches, Seiko USA’s website which was absent of sales or software integration capabilities, and built a sales-drivensite using Shopify’s platform. As storytellers in a digital world, Lorem Ipsum’s goal in both the user experience and overall design was to ensure the product remained the ultimate focus while keeping with the brand’s aesthetic and transforming Seiko enthusiasts into paying customers. Their approach not only provided significant technical enhancements but also told the brand story with new and improved user experiences across all devices. Lorem Ipsum’s team of programmers created the Seiko Sync app, expanding the native Shopify features to create aunique consumer experience. For example, customizable filters allow users the option to searchfor products by technology, dial color, size and various other important consumer factors.

Their developers also created custom software, such as Shop Social, that enables enhanced capabilities beyond Shopify’s existing offerings, including a unique Instagram plug-in that integrated directly with the brand’s channel allowing for a continuous and curated feed of imagery.

By moving away from traditional marketing approaches and instead, utilizing social media and strategic retargeting tactics, Lorem Ipsum was able to drive traffic to Seiko’s U.S. page and increase sell-through. The customer management process was also customized while working closely with Seiko’s IT and fulfillment teams to create a cohesive system of applications and notifications to give Seikobetter sales and product functionality insights; ultimately, allowing Seiko to better understand end-users’ likes and dislikes in order to create content accordingly to engage users and improvethe overall purchase process.

“It is an honor to be recognized for our contribution,” says Abigail Honor, Partner at Lorem Ipsum. “Working with Seiko to launch their first U.S. e-commerce storefront was a big responsibility and our multi-disciplinary team rose to the challenge. Our focus was to create a straightforward user experience in which we created branded content, worked with influencerson unique campaigns and implemented strategic advertising to make the Seiko websitecompetitive. We are proud not only of the seamless launch but of the constant evolution of thesite throughout the year.”

Lorem Ipsum provided the creative assets fromvideo to lifestyle photography for all of Seiko’s campaigns throughout the year, most notably for their national campaigns-Prospex StreetSeries and Coutura Car, and designed customized landing pages, e-mail campaigns, and third-party banners that provided a visual narrative of product and lifestyle images.The team’s creative and marketing strategies led to the fastest sellout of a single Seiko product in company history with the launch of the cult classic Alpinist timepiece. “The nominations submitted to the 2019 American Business Awards were outstanding,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards. “They illustrate the continued vibrancy of innovation and high level of achievement across the American economic landscape.” More than 3,800 nominations from organizations of all sizes and industries were submitted for consideration in a wide range of categories. More than 250 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process to select this year’s Stevie Award winners.

ABOUT LOREM IPSUM

Lorem Ipsum is a multi-disciplinary firm specializing in the planning, design and production of experiences. Our work includes museums, exhibits, immersive shows, visitor attractions as well as all types of filmed and interactive media.

Founded in 2000, the company is headquartered in New York, with offices in London and Moscow. Our global team of over forty professionals includes writers, filmmakers, designers, architects, technologists and researchers.

At Lorem Ipsum, they think of themselves as storytellers. They believe in the power of dramatic narratives. They use words, pictures, music, artifacts, physical props, live performance, lighting, sound design, video, animation, games, social media, virtual and augmented reality to tell engaging stories and create emotional experiences.

For more information on the award or Lorem Ipsum’s work, please visit http://www.loremipsumcorp.com

ABOUT THE STEVIE AWARDS

Stevie Awards are conferred in seven programs: the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, the German Stevie Awards, The American Business Awards®, The International Business Awards®, the Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, and the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Stevie Awards competitions receive more than 12,000 entries each year from organizations in more than 70 nations. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind them, the Stevies recognize outstanding performancesin the workplace worldwide.

Learn more about the Stevie Awards at http://www.StevieAwards.com.

5 Tech Trends For Businesses

5 Tech Trends That Businesses Can’t Afford To Ignore

With technology evolving at such a rapid pace, some business owners are left digitally disoriented as they try to figure out which of the latest innovations they need to invest in and what they can ignore.

It can make for confusing times.

All that bewilderment aside, though, these fast-developing advances also create opportunities that can help small and medium-sized businesses become more competitive – if they understand how to seize them.

“Technology exists today that at one time was available only to large corporations with huge technology budgets,” says Chris Hoose (www.choosenetworks.com), an IT consultant who works with small businesses.

“Every year, technology becomes even more accessible to companies of all sizes.”

Hoose says businesses that want to stay on top of their games should make sure they invest in these technological trends, if they haven’t already:

The Internet of Things. Many Internet of Things-connected devices, such as smart refrigerators and thermostats, are designed for home use, but there are also applications for small businesses, Hoose says. Some examples: smart locks use digital keys that can’t be lost or stolen, and log a record of who uses a door and when; RFID tags on merchandise can prevent theft and automatically update inventory; and mobile-card readers can replace cash registers.

Artificial intelligence. Don’t be fooled into thinking that AI is something only the big organizations can afford to use, Hoose says. “It’s making inroads into technologies accessible for businesses of all sizes,” he says. “AI can help you offer increasingly personalized experiences to customers by maximizing your time and automating manual tasks, like data entry.” AI also can be used to improve decision making, Hoose says. Essentially, AI will help you take that jumble of data most businesses have and analyze it in a way that allows you to make better-informed judgments on the actions you need to take.

Telecommuting. The office world is changing and more workers spend at least a portion of their work week telecommuting. “In many cases remote employees use their own equipment, which can eliminate some of the company’s costs with purchasing and maintaining computers, printers and mobile phones,” Hoose says. Video conferencing, instant messaging and other advances are helping to make telecommuting a viable option, he says.

Customer-relationship-management (CRM) software. Any application that a business uses to interact with customers, analyze data, or recommend products and services to customers is “part of the CRM family,” Hoose says. “This type of software helps your team manage, control and build customer relationships,” he says. “It can log your team’s touchpoints with prospects, including emails, phone calls, voicemails and in-person meetings. You can have a complete record of your team’s interaction with a prospect that’s easy for anyone to access.”

Voice search. Consumers increasingly are making use of such AI assistants as Siri or Alexa to help them do internet searches using their voices. “Voice search is changing the way people find information because these queries are structured differently than when we type terms into a search engine,” Hoose says.

“Organizations of all types can benefit from optimizing their content to improve where they fall in a voice search.”

“To help propel your business going forward, it’s important to stay abreast of technology innovation,” Hoose says. “These technologies will help you expand your customer base, create more efficient in-house processes, and increase engagement from both customers and staff.”

About Chris Hoose

Chris Hoose (www.choosenetworks.com) is the president of Choose Networks, an IT consulting firm for small businesses. Hoose started the company in 2001 to give large-scale solutions and support to businesses that can’t afford their own in-house IT department. He earned a Master of Information Systems Management from Friends University.

How to Design Your Own Interactive Magic Mirror

Interactive magic mirrors are an interesting piece of tech. In an instant, they are able to provide those that look into them with all sorts of information, from personal skincare tips to what the weather outside is like on that day. They are also transforming the way people are now shopping for clothes and makeup, as they are able to show customers what they look like in certain styles.

If interactive magic mirror tech has taken your fancy, why stop at being a consumer of it? Why not go the whole hog and design your very own? To see what you need to do in order to set about this somewhat difficult yet highly rewarding task, make sure to read on.

Source the right tools and equipment

When it comes to designing an interactive magic mirror, you need an abundance of tools and pieces of equipment by your side:

• Computer screen, mouse, and keyboard

• Basic mirror

• Raspberry PI (extremely important)

• USB power cord

• 8GB SD-card

• Adapter

HDMI-to-VGA adapter

As this is fundamentally a piece of IoT technology, you’re also going to need tools that help you to build a circuit board. The first thing that you need to source in this regard is a PCB design tool. By installing and implementing such a tool into your working process, you will be able to design PCBs from idea to manufacture with ease, especially when you allow the CircuitStudio how-to video to assist you along the way. Other tools needed in this instance include a breadboard, a soldering iron, and etching equipment.

Get your sizes spot on

It is incredibly important that you take the literal size of your task into consideration — if something is even just an inch out of place, the whole project could be ruined. This sentiment rings especially true when it comes to matching your mirror with your computer screen. By choosing a screen that doesn’t fit your mirror, the render that the screens gives will be out of place and, subsequently, made to be all but redundant.

Install your Raspberry PI

The previously mentioned piece of equipment known as the Raspberry PI plays a pivotal role in proceedings, so make sure that you don’t forget to source one. When it comes to installing this equipment, just make sure that only one cord is pulled through the bottom of the mirror’s case — this will stop the tech from becoming overloaded with data and, ultimately, it will stop it from overheating.

Don’t forget to install the Raspbian operating system, as doing so will give you free rein to tap into the PI boot sequence as and when you see fit going forward.

Connect your mirror to the Internet

After all the hard work that you put in, it would be a shame to ruin it all by forgetting to connect your magic mirror to the Internet. Once this connection is forged, your mirror will be able to display real-time information, such as weather reports and news bulletins.

When you decide to design a magic mirror, you will be sure to be occupied for months on end. It will all be worth it in the end, though.

T.I. Launches Tech Cypha

This February, Hip-Hop Entrepreneurs are making black history by advancing the technology industry. Clifford Harris Jr, known as “T.I.,” launches a new syndicated investment vehicle called Tech Cypha with business partner Jason Geter and Brandon “BL” Lewis; son of late great boxing promoter and entrepreneur Butch Lewis. Leveraging technologies such as Airbnb, Lyft and Lime through the eyes of hip-hop culture, the team also launched a Los Angeles-based entertainment startup called Culture Genesis. Together, the new collaborative investment strategy allows high-net-worth individuals to participate in trending tech startup deals.

The strategy evolved when Geter and Harris made their first investment 12 years ago into a company called Streetcred.com, a site that allowed fans to go online and share opinions about street culture. While that first deal didn’t work out, Geter and Harris maintained interest in the technology and startup scene to create opportunities for their networks and promote new businesses.

“We learned a lot,” says Harris. “Now, we know where our demographic is.”

For Geter, that demographic is taking advantage of Atlanta’s surging position as a cultural and technological mecca in the United States. Indeed, Atlanta-area startups raised roughly $1.15 billion in 2018, a record for the region, according to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

“Being in the city of Atlanta and with Georgia Tech producing so much talent, and coming from us being within the hip-hop culture, which is always influencing and promoting things, we saw an opportunity,” says Geter. “In the past, we were always looking through the glass window and looking at ways we can participate earlier. And that’s by coming together to pool our resources so we can invest more.”

Through informed mentorship programs and partnerships, Tech Cypha will include using influencers in various fields. Currently, the syndicate includes Lil Duval, Killer Mike, Tamika ‘Tiny’ Harris, Tai Green, Korey Roberson, Stephanie Shirley, and BJ Kerr among others. As an industry leader, Lewis is known for his talent in branding, marketing and partnership deals.

“Often times, we drive technology like social media and apps, but we are never apart of the ownership,” Lewis continues, “Tech Cypha is going to be an investment vehicle looking for promising, early and late-stage startups to invest capital in, assist with marketing and give branding directions. It’s our way of bridging the gap between the culture and technology.”