We’ve seen a flurry of new laws come out over the past few years that attempt to maintain individual privacy in a world where the internet remembers all. In Europe, for instance, there’s the so-called “right to be forgotten.”
But these measures don’t capture the full picture of what is happening in the digital world. If you’re a company and you post something or get a bad review, it remains for all time. There’s usually nothing you can do about it.
Everyone, therefore, is becoming obsessed with their digital footprint. The internet is chock full of blogs reminding students who want jobs after they graduate not to post pictures of themselves drunk on Facebook. There are articles telling companies that they have to hire public relations experts who can manage potential social media PR disasters. And there are computer forensics expert witness services reminding people that they need to be careful about what they reveal online. Hackers lurk around every corner.
Most people know that when they do something online, websites collect data and store it. That’s part and parcel of using the internet. But comparatively few people really have a gut feel for just how much of their data is out there.
If you’re struggling to get your head around this, just hop onto your Amazon account and take a look at your purchase history. You can view everything you’ve ever bought for the last twenty years.
That’s right; Amazon knows what you were buying two decades ago if you use the same account.
The number of ways that digital footprints can affect business is extraordinary.
Unlike individuals looking for internet privacy, companies want an online presence. They want as much positive exposure as they can get to sell more goods and raise awareness. But the type of publicity matters. Having a good digital footprint is awesome. It builds your brand and enables you to expand your operations. Having a lousy footprint does the opposite and can be very damaging.
Then there’s the issue of security. Here, companies need to be careful. They want to divulge some information so that customers find it easy to get in touch with them. But they don’t want to provide so much that hackers could exploit them. It is a delicate balance.
It would help if you assumed that everything you publish online lasts forever. Even if you delete it from your accounts, there’s a chance that someone, somewhere has a copy.
For that reason, whatever content you create matters a lot. You need whatever you publish to remain consistent with your brand, regardless of who writes or produces it. Disjointed, inaccurate or, heaven forbid, “offensive” content may come back to bite you.
Of course, not all companies will manage their digital footprints. Some may actively embrace risk – especially those who want to create a scene. But that doesn’t mean that it is unimportant. Digital footprints last forever, and that’s kinda scary.
Being the owner of a business in 2020 can be somewhat of a rollercoaster. We have all the resources we need to prosper, the opportunity to research everything comprehensively, and the knowledge of other people at our disposal. However, this also means that things are more cutthroat and more frustrating than ever before.
In the highs and lows of owning a business in 2020, technology can play a crucial role. Technology can significantly enhance your commercial success in many respects. It can enable you to generate sales from leads through social media, raise awareness of your brand through email campaigns and digital billboards, and re-target customers who have previously shown an interest in your business.
Here, we are going to look at some of the other ways in which technology can help to boost your sales.
In recent times, the advancement of mobile apps has sped up, with countless different business apps and entertainment apps – pretty much one for every conceivable need. There’s no reason why you can’t stay ahead of the curve or at least keep up by developing an app that’s centred on your business. No matter what field you are in, or what goods or services you offer, there will be something you can do with mobile apps, even if it’s just raising brand awareness. Every small jolt in the right direction can make a significant difference to your sales and help to generate new leads.
Thanks to technology and the internet, customers have much higher expectations of businesses. They want things faster, and they want processes to be safe and straightforward.
There are plenty of tools and technology that you can take on board and use to automate parts of your processes and make the customer experience quicker and more satisfying. This may include things like payment options for when they find themselves cashless and without a card.
If you are sensible and committed to your business, you will consider all of the options available to you, and implement them to the best of your ability.
One of the most significant ways in which technology can aid your business and improve sales is through communication.
When a customer is looking for a product or a service, the first place they will turn to is the internet for contact details and reviews. If you have a clear, easy to navigate and up to date website, this immediately boosts your profile. They will then look at social media and review sites to find out whom to go to and whom to avoid.
The internet allows you to stay in touch with existing customers to check all is well with the product or service that you are offering and to reach out to past ones and encourage them to come back to you. Email marketing campaigns and social media are some of the best ways of doing this as they allow you to directly engage and communicate with your customer on a meaningful and personal level.
Technology is evolving every day, and keeping up with the developments and using them to your advantage will only help to boost your sales and make your business a success story.
It’s hard to say what the future of technology will hold, though a lot of people like to think about this topic. The idea of bringing the future into the present is something which people are always striving for, with new products being thought up every single day. Of course, though, embracing the future isn’t quite as easy as some people think. In the case of an office, there will be a lot of work to do before you can consider your place to be futuristic. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the key elements which will bring your business forward in time, all without having to spend a fortune.
It’s not going to be long before office users don’t need to have their own computers. Internet-based computing is getting better and better, making it possible for very slow machines to perform the tasks of a much pricier one. You can achieve this sort of system within your own business, though. By having a one very powerful central server, you can use very basic machines to enable your users to give it commands. This makes it possible to have your employees move around your business with ease, while also making it much cheaper to add new systems.
Smart Space Saving
As time goes on, land and property is getting more and more expensive. You get less for your money than you used to, and this leaves a lot of businesses without the space they need for their work. Specialty doors can be built to raise up, rather than opening outwards, making them take up far less space than they would have done before. Along with this, tables and desks can be lowered into the floor when they aren’t being used. Having electronics doing these jobs will make your office feel like it’s come right out of the future.
AI promises to take over many jobs over the next couple of decades. While it is still quite a young market, though, you can still bring AI into your business, using it for an array of different jobs. Security, task management, and even power usage can all be controlled by computers. Scripts can be made which will respond to changes far faster than humans can, and the record which computers are able to make gives them a reference point which humans simply can’t achieve. Of course, though, you will need someone to set all of this up for you, and this could take a lot of work.
With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to get started on making your office feel like it’s from the future. Many people struggle with this sort of work, only to find that they would have achieved far more than they have in the past with some simple research. As time goes on, this sort of technology will become normal, and you will have to look for new ways to embrace the future.
For most of the world, China is a success story. The country was poor just a couple of decades ago. Today, though, it stands as an example of what happens when you give people a tiny bit of freedom and allow them to unleash their economic genius.
Unfortunately, though, the country’s rapid growth has come at a high cost for its soil. For years, manufacturers have been pumping out toxic waste into freshwater, and it’s made its way into the ground, creating health problems.
The human cost of these industrial policies is enormous. China has among the highest bladder and rectum cancer rates in the developing world, all thanks to soil pollution. Every year millions of people die prematurely. It’s a massive problem.
China’s industrial boom got going in the 1990s. Western manufacturers began outsourcing their operations to take advantage of the cheap labor and relative political stability. The country seemed like the ideal place to open factories. In the early years of the 21st century, the building work accelerated. Practically every industry in the world relocated some of its operations, taking advantage of rock-bottom wages and lax regulatory laws.
Now, though, the CCP and the rest of the country are reaping the thorns of their industry-led growth model. It bought a lot of wealth, but it also took a terrible toll on the environment. The soil is now so contaminated that it is affecting crops, getting into the water supply, and making people very ill indeed.
To put into perspective the scale of the change, consider this: Lake Tai used to be a pristine landscape with no factories at all. In the last thirty years, companies built more than 3,000 factories in the vicinity. Now the water is so polluted that it is bright green year-round. Nothing can live there, according to https://www.theguardian.com.
Soil pollution is a massive problem that went unnoticed in China for a long time. Now, though, the CCP is taking steps to remedy the problem.
Part of the solution is preventing the soil from becoming toxic in the first place. The government is rolling out new regulations that impose high fines on anyone caught dumping waste into freshwater.
The other effort is to find ways to clean the soil itself. As https://thompsonrock.com highlights, there are already plenty of machines out there that can do this. Adequate ground cleaning on-site is a great way for industrial companies to lower their footprint. If a firm no longer needs a factory, it can remove the structure and then clean the soil underneath.
Of course, the issue of pollution remains very sensitive in China. While it is a problem for health, it is also making a lot of people wealthy. For the first time, the average Chinese can afford the basics of life – and then some.
When you have lived so much of your life in poverty, it is hard to make any decisions that might threaten that. Soil cleaning, therefore, will probably take a while to ramp up in the country.
Data breaches are becoming increasingly common – and damaging – as the need for companies to store data where it’s accessible online conflicts with the need to keep that same data safe from prying eyes. Here are some of the biggest breaches in the past couple of years.
Facebook’s March data breach was one of the most infamous of 2018. A company known as Cambridge Analytica was discovered using an app that scraped user data from the social media platform. Initially, Cambridge Analytica claimed that only 30 million users were affected but Facebook was later able to confirm the number as at least 87 million. Even this number may be too low.
As if the Cambridge Analytica scandal wasn’t bad enough, other apps were also found to be scavenging data from the site. Facebook suffered an even more embarrassing breach later in the year when it was revealed that a glitch in the site’s own software was leaving user data exposed. This was hastily corrected but it’s not known how many Facebook users may have had their data compromised.
Lord & Taylor and Saks
Lord & Taylor came under fire a couple of years ago after a major data breach. A raft of credit card details and names was discovered up for sale on a hacker platform by a security firm. The information was traced back to two high-end department stores: Lord & Taylor and Saks. Both stores had suffered a total system compromise and anyone who’d used a payment card at either store was apt to have had their data stolen. Over five million customers were affected and one person initiated a class action lawsuit against Lord & Taylor on behalf of those whose financial details had been compromised.
Online geneology sites are all the rage – but handing over so much personal data should give users pause, especially following the data breach at MyHeritage. In June of 2018, a file was found on a private server outside the company containing the emails and hashed passwords of every user who’d registered since the previous October.
This incident shows why making an effort to get the best IT support for your business should not be ignored. You really cannot afford to cut corners. It also highlights the importance of storing only encrypted passwords and keeping user data separate from login information. Because MyHeritage stored hashed passwords, the attackers could not log into the users’ accounts. They also lacked access to the geneological data — in fact, it appears that all they had was the email addresses. Any data breach for a company like MyHeritage is bad news, however.
In one of the most dramatic data breaches of recent times, attackers seized control of two databases owned by the Sacramento Bee newspaper. One contained the personal details of the paper’s subscribers. Perhaps even more disturbingly, the other database consisted of voter registration data provided by the Government. The hackers demanded a huge ransom for the data, which the paper refused to pay. Instead, they took the step of deleting both databases from their servers so that a similar attack could not occur in the future. This was bolting the stable door after the horse was gone, however, as the attackers promptly publicised the information online.
The Ticketfly attack is another example of a data breach where the initial motivation was blackmail rather than simple data theft. Ticketfly is an online ticketing service engaged in selling tickets for concerts and sporting events. Their website was hacked and taken down for over a week, disrupting their operation and making sales impossible. Things went from bad to worse when the attackers demanded a ransom and Ticketfly refused. The attackers responded by uploading the personal details of Ticketfly staff and users to the hacked website where they were publicly visible.
Avoiding data breaches is a matter of good security. Ensure that you and your staff are up to date on the latest social engineering tactics and that all your computer systems are properly updated, patched and protected by security software. There is no excuse for poor security in the current day and age and the impact of a data breach could be very grave indeed. In fact, a lot of businesses underestimate the consequences. However, just think about the reputational damage and the money lost because of fraud losses, fines, and the cost of fixing the vulnerability and repairing your reputation. So, no matter whether your business is big or small, prioritizing security is of huge importance.
Of course, the chances are you have never built an app before, and it can appear very challenging. But if you work with the right company and you have a clear idea, there are no limits to what you can create.
But here are some considerations before you get involved with a professional company.
Problem-solving & Goals
Almost every product is designed and brought to life because they’re a means of solving a problem for somebody. The vacuum, for example, was a much faster way to sweep, and now you’ll be hard pushed to find a home that doesn’t have one. Whatsapp started as a free form of group communication, and now almost every single mobile phone has it. In both these cases, they solve the problem for the consumer.
Depending on what your business is, you’ll have the option to market your app B2B or to the general public. You need to consider a few issues that face both markets while doing your research. And it should be noted that almost all apps have some similar functions and purposes. So it’s all about extra functionality and how smoothly it runs – value, value and more value.
You need to understand what people enjoy using and how they use things. If you want to create something with minimal options, then you have to make sure that each of those options is easy to access, the primary function of every application should be evident.
Find design inspiration
Consider technical aspects
Marketing and monetisation
Test other apps
While you are searching for some inspiration and functionality, make sure that you don’t end up trying to design something too close to the competition. Just remember that there are very few brand-new ideas, it’s more like older ideas are improved upon.
Even if you are absolutely terrible at art, sit down with pen and paper and consider what your app is going to look like to the user. This might take a few tries before you get something that you think will work. Screenshots of all the apps you like, images, you can even mock some copy up.
This will just help you get a feel for how your users are going to experience your application, and how it’s going to look. Of course, you can bring this to the company that we are working with to build your app, and they will be able to guide you as to the best layout that you can use.
The goal of this is for you to be able to research and understand how and why people use applications, and why that would be applicable to your business. By cementing your ideas when you finally approach an app-building company, they’ll get a feel for the direction you’re going, and you’ll get an app that you’ll be proud of.