StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

6 Easy Office Security Tips

Whether you are at home or in the office, you’ll agree that security is important. At home, you worry about the doors being broken into and you install a top alarm system, double lock the doors at night and even invest in a dog. Life is busy, though, and security can be easily forgotten about. You get complacent, you shut the door but don’t lock it. You leave the building without setting the alarm and all is fine. Then all of a sudden, that complacency will bite you when you end up being broken into. Your home and your office have got to be places that you look after, but your office is going to be the place that your livelihood gets messed with. Almost every business out there is at risk from theft by employees or outsiders, criminal break-ins and data theft. It’s a tough world, full of competition and you should be doing everything that you possibly can to look after your office and home, keeping them both secure.

People tend to get more concerned about their homes when they go out to work in the day, but they have a lot less concern for the security of their office. Unfortunately, it’s not potted plants that are at risk of theft or damage when people decide to take it upon themselves to break into your office. It’s going to be your data and your personal information, along with the personal information of your clients and your financial data. As a business owner, document storage and retrieval is going to be a big deal for your company, and paying attention to every way that you can secure your office is going to tighten up your business. Working in an office is going to mean you are exposed to certain threats, and we’ve got a list of tips for both you and your employees to keep as safe as possible while you are there:

Social Media

Your job doesn’t have to be completely online, but social media is important for any business. Your whole business is going to be critiqued and reviewed online, and so it makes sense for your staff to be very careful about what they say online; whether it’s business related or not. Social media profiles should also be private as much as possible, so that nothing about work that is shared is visible online. Sensitive information about your workplace that goes up about your office can leave you in a position of vulnerability. This could end up in lawsuits and leaving your business open to those who want to pick your business apart.

Integrated Security Systems

When you have a physical office building, you need to have an integrated security system to stop people who are unexpected from coming into your space. You should ideally have doors that are opened with key cards and a video camera system that can see the doors from every angle. Some offices that keep highly sensitive information on site also choose to use facial recognition software or video cameras for access. Making sure that your internal and external doors are locked at night, and auto-locked throughout the day with glass that isn’t easily breakable is so important. People may not be able to bypass the electronic systems, but it only takes a power failure to short circuit the whole thing. This is why manual locks are so important, and double-locking the place isn’t going to be over the top.

Employee Screening

A big reason for theft in a company is via the very people that work there. While you want to be able to trust your employees, it doesn’t mean that you can be complacent about the people that you hire. You could have the most stringent checks around and still find yourself at the mercy of the people working for you. Criminal record and referencing checks should be done upon hiring, and the control that you give your employees will need to be monitored. Do not allow employees or anyone outside a very tight and trusted group to have full access to the documents and data in your company. Financial documents should only be accessed by the proper finance teams at all times.

Lock & Key

Server rooms in your business are going to be the very place that sensitive information is stored. Anywhere that can be infiltrated by outside influences has to be kept under a physical lock and key as well as a data lock and key. Using the Cloud is a good way to keep sensitive information safe and away from servers, but it’s still precarious. Those servers have everything that makes your business what it is, and only those with an in-depth security clearance should have access to the server room. Ensure that you install your server room in the middle of an office and make sure that there are no walls that lean into your office neighbours. We’re not suggesting that there’s going to be a great heist with drills through the walls, but you never truly know!

Secure Workstations

Most of the time, people will bring their own tablets and laptops to the workplace so that they can work off something portable. If you have desktop computers, instead of portable laptops or tablets, you need to get these locked down so that in the event of a break-in, they cannot be stolen. Paperwork and documentation, if not in a secure storage centre, should also be under lock and key. Any desktop computers you’re not using should be locked away, as well and wiped of any data. Anything you don’t intend to keep should always be shredded and not just placed into recycling bins, as criminals tend to keep sensitive information including names and addresses. You’re not being overly cautious by taking a moment to look at your office security and not wanting to lose thousands of dollars in equipment.

Disable The Drives

Ideally, you don’t have someone among your staff that will steal information from you, but just in case you should disable the drives. USB ports and floppy drives are the perfect way for people to steal information from inside the office and bring it outside; all they need is an external drive to plug in and go. You can have your IT team disable these drives or remove them altogether, which will prevent any of your company documentation or data that is held on the main server from being removed and brought anywhere outside of your office.

While you are making sure that your office and your data is completely secure against outside unwanted access, you should also be keeping your knowledge updated about the recent cyberattacks and office break-ins that are in your area and could affect you. It’s so essential to ensure that your IT team have brought the best malware and latest antivirus to you to install on your machines. If you are truly concerned about whether your office will get broken into, you could ensure that you bring in a security company and hire some guards for the front and back of your office. Protecting the company assets, data, software and equipment is an absolute must and as a business owner, you must do everything that you possibly can to ensure the safety of your staff and your information. Physical security is rather overlooked by most businesses but ensuring that you have the right security in place could change whether your office is a target or not for would-be thieves.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Learning the Specifics of Industrial Machines

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleThe livelihood of your business may depend significantly on the type of machines you use in your business. You could theoretically save money and rely on outdated and slower machines. However, these machines likewise will slow down your productivity and even compromise how well you can serve your customers.

Rather than rely on outdated technology, you could instead actually save more money as well as time and hassle by using new and updated machinery that comes with all of the technical features your business needs. You can learn more about machines with an extrusion line, heating elements, and wire feeders by going online today.

Realizing the Specifications

Chances are you are not a genius when it comes to industrial machines. You might have a basic idea of how they work. However, you might have no clue about matters like horsepower, amps, and other specifications.

Still, you might want to know about these specifications just so you can make wise decisions about what kinds of machines you should buy. You can click on the specifications link on the website to learn how the machine operates, what kind of motor it has, and how fast it works, among others.

Seeing the Machine in Action

You might also want to see the machine in use before you actually buy it. After all, how you can you know the machine is right for you unless you can see what it is capable of at your business?

The website has videos that you can watch to see what the equipment looks like while it is being used. These videos let you know not only how the machines work. They also show you the benefits that come once you have them installed and operational in your business.

As the owner of a busy factory, you have the decision making responsibility to invest in good machines for your business. You can make sound investments by reading about their specifications and also by looking at videos of them in use by visiting the company’s website today. You can then choose the ones that work best for you.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

4 Benefits of Incorporating Customer Service Into Your Marketing Strategy

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales ArticleIt is no secret that customer service can make or break a business. When customers are satisfied with the products or services that your business provides, they are more likely to continue doing business with your company. Additionally, happy customers are far more inclined to recommend your products to friends or family members. Providing quality and consistent customer service can be a challenge for many businesses. To help you overcome this obstacle, here are four benefits of incorporating customer service into your marketing strategy:

1. Improve the Reputation of Your Brand

Ensuring that customer service is an integral part of your marketing strategy can give your brand a competitive edge over similar types of businesses. This means that consumers will continue coming back to your business to spend their money.

2. Expand Brand Awareness

As an increasing number of consumers are doing the majority of their shopping online, online reviews have become more important than ever. Many prospective customers may read these reviews when deciding whether or not to do business with your company. By incorporating customer service into your marketing strategy, you increase the number of opportunities for positive customer interactions. This may result in an increased number of positive customer reviews which can instill trust and confidence in prospective buyers.

3. Increase Brand Loyalty

Positive interactions with your customers are key to developing a loyal fanbase. Companies like SolidCactus offer call center services and other digital marketing solutions that can help ensure that your customers get the quality service they expect from your brand. These positive interactions can drive referrals and help spread the word about your business. Similarly, negative customer experiences can result in negative reviews which can hinder sales and cause long-term damage to your brand.

4. Encourage Cross-Departmental Communication

Incorporating customer service into your marketing strategy can lead to more unified communication across various parts of your business. When properly executed, a customer support team is made aware of any specials or promotions your marketing team is running. In turn, customer support is able to refer customers to the marketing materials.

Customer service is a cornerstone of any successful business. When you incorporate customer service into your marketing strategy, it can yield some serious results. Creating a positive customer experience gives your business a unique selling proposition which can encourage brand loyalty and lead to repeat customers.

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article

Three SEO Considerations When Choosing Your Next Hosting Company

Let’s start with a couple of statements about hosting. True: hosting companies do not generally affect your organic ranking. False: hosting companies have no bearing on your SEO.

Many business owners aren’t aware that cost and convenience aren’t the only consideration to make when opting for a new hosting company. While these two points are valid and extremely important to growing organisations, what can’t be underestimated is the impact on website SEO that the correct – or incorrect – provider can bring to your site.

Whether your company is trampling the competition, or you’re looking for ways to save money while maintaining a great service, there are many reasons why you may wish to switch your hosting company.

For some businesses, loyalty means ease and convenience – and that works for them, but it’s not always the best option. For one thing, you could end up improving your services dramatically – and at no extra cost. Some brands may even find their hosting costs reduce when they switch, because plenty of operators are looking for new business and offer attractive incentives to the right customers.

So what should you look out for in a service provider? And what could the pitfalls be? Read on to find out the three major considerations you should make before making the commitment to change your hosting company this year.

Speed

Site speed is a huge ranking factor – and it may well be the case that you are considering a hosting move in order to create a more rapid site with better performance. Ranking improvements are definitely seen when a website greatly increases its speed and useability – and that’s simply due to the fact that Google loves to see websites that are slick and ready for customers to use as soon as they click.

Of course, there are ways you can control some of the factors that slow websites down, such as the content, coding and application of imagery and widgets, but a lot of the blame can often be portioned off to your host. So, you can rest easy that you’ve done nothing at all wrong.

The speed of your website can fluctuate normally, so the best and most accurate way to measure your current site speed is to take a look at it, as often as you can, to observe any changes or stalling points that concern you.

Once you’ve double-checked your site’s speed and you still feel it could benefit from being faster, start shopping around to see if your host (or a competitor) can offer you a better service.

The best results for a speedy website will come from migrating a website to a server that’s closer to you and your customer base. This doesn’t necessarily mean in the same town, but swapping a stateside server for one in the UK (if you’re based in England) could make a huge difference. Other host-related factors you can look into are the availability of a Content Delivery Network (CDN), or simply the type of hard drive technology used. It may also be worth asking if the server you’re being linked to is optimised to your content management system – such as WordPress or DNN.

Security

The safety of your site is a huge consideration, and should be taken seriously from initial build to the development of further mini-sites, as and when your business grows. SEO can take a huge hit if your website ranks low on the secure rating, and can end up being hugely damaging if left to deteriorate.

If your website isn’t deterring hackers, they can easily create spam pages and generate fake backlinks that can swoop underneath the radar for months. Google hates this sort of activity as it can be damaging to users’ experience, and so guess what? It penalises without mercy. Poor security can be fixed manually, but often this takes time and the harsh penalties may already have taken effect.

If your website is not hosted on a truly secure server, your site may also be open to malware attacks, infecting your website and putting your visitors at risk. Not only is this a huge inconvenience to your visitors, it also opens you up to having a security warning shown by your results – a huge turn-off for potential customers – or even being blacklisted by search engines completely. And no one wants this for their website; trust us!

To avoid any of these potential headaches and heartbreaks, make sure you talk through the security options available with your web host and request information and costs for any malware removal support, and other hacker defenses they offer to protect your website from attacks. Entrepreneur.com also suggests requesting information about data encryption, to ensure your information is being held and shared securely.

Technical Support

There will come a time that you will need the professional support of a web hosting specialist. Don’t get stung with a huge bill when you really need the help; make sure you’re prepared from the start with a package that includes support right from the off.

Web hosting comes with a variety of potential pitfalls and even if this isn’t your first time at the start of a big project like moving servers, there are many ways in which small things can be overlooked. And small issues will no doubt lead to bigger issues further down the line. The best advice – as with most things – is to seek out a professional’s opinion wherever you can. Or even better, seek more than one opinion to make sure the advice you’re getting is sound and relevant to your particular needs.

Should your website go down – heaven forbid – you need to know that the support is there to get you back up and running quickly and with minimum upheaval or stress. Make sure your web hosting company offers 24/7 technical support to get those issues fixed quickly and have your website back on track in as little time as possible.

To give yourself even more peace of mind, delve into the experience and qualifications of the staff you’ll be working with whenever you contact your web host. Will you have a specific team assigned to your website? Do you know their names and their credentials? All of these things will help you to gain a better relationship with the people who can fix any of your issues quickly and will give you a better idea of the expertise you are paying for, too.

Sometimes you get what you pay for. Often with web hosting, you’ll be better off paying more for a better service if it means keeping your SEO ranking high, your customers safe and your website up and running efficiently and quickly.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Bedroom to Boardroom: Transforming Ideas Into Fully-Fledged Businesses

Think you have what it takes to be a masterful entrepreneur? Do you think that you’ve got a brilliant idea that no one has ever thought of? Are you confident that you could do a better job than other entrepreneurs you’ve met or heard about?

If you agreed to any of the questions above, then you’ve probably wanted to start your own business for a while. Those ideas stewing in your head need to go somewhere, but do you have any clue how to actually fund your idea or get it started? There are plenty of people using platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo to crowdfund their projects, but many of these have failed spectacularly because the owners just didn’t know how to handle their ideas.

If you want a safe and reliable way to turn your ideas into actual businesses, then this article will provide you with some practical advice on how you can achieve your dreams with ease.

Study your industry and learn the necessary skills before doing anything

Let’s start with a hard truth; you won’t get anywhere without some knowledge, training, and skills. The days of trial and error are long gone and if you want to start a business now, there is just so much information out there that can teach you how to do it successfully the first time. Failing once is fine, failing twice is acceptable, but failing for the third time’s just asking for trouble and it’s clear that you haven’t done enough research or put enough effort into your ideas.

Start with online courses. There are plenty of online learning platforms and you can study virtually anything. From an online OSHA training for construction to learning how to paint and draw, there are a countless number of courses online that can help you learn about the industries that you want to get involved with. Not only will you learn the necessary skills to run a business in said industry, but you’ll also pick up plenty of valuable tips regarding the industry itself, how it operates and also how to take advantage of it.

You’re going to need money and a source of funding

The most popular way for people to save money on their startup investment is to crowdfund their project. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on selling an electronic device, setting up a service or even designing a video game–crowdfunding is one of the most popular and straightforward methods of getting the funding you need.

There are, of course, other ways to secure money. You could always approach investors and other entrepreneurs to give you a chance, but you could also consider using your own money. Let’s face it, starting up a business isn’t exactly cheap but there are plenty of ways to make it less expensive and more accessible as long as you’re willing to experiment a bit. For instance, starting as a home-based business is absolutely fine and you can get by with having no employees for a decent amount of time. However, no matter what the starting point for your business is, you’ll eventually have to hire staff to work for you and also pay for more expensive tasks such as marketing and design.

Getting people excited by using social media

One of the most interesting ways to get people talking about your business idea is to use social media. It’s fascinating because the way your intended audience reacts to your business can vary greatly depending on the circumstances. For instance, they might love your idea because another company that offers a similar product recently went bust, or your product might be completely different to what is offered in the mainstream, thus creating a loyal following that is dedicated to your cause or your product.

Hopefully, this article has given you plenty of practical advice to use for your next business idea. Being optimistic is good, but there should be a limit to how confident you are. There will always be a need to ground yourself in reality and starting a business or becoming your own boss is one of those times where it helps to be realistic. We’ve all got high hopes and dreams, but it pays to be logical as well. If you’re absolutely dedicated to your idea and you want to show the world just how special your business is, then you need to take the long route and do everything the proper way. Just remember that there are no shortcuts.