How do firewalls prevent computer viruses?

You’ve likely heard the word ‘firewall’ used to describe a measure of prevention against cyber criminals. But that doesn’t mean you know how a firewall actually works, does it?

firewalls

Don’t worry—the truth is that most people don’t how a firewall works; they just expect it to do its job. But it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. Once you learn a little more about firewalls, you might feel more confident about installing one on your home computer, if you haven’t already. If you’re already using a firewall to prevent cyber attacks, perhaps learning more about how it works will improve your ability to manage the firewall with greater personalization at home and in the office.

What Is a Firewall?

It’s not really a wall at all—it’s more like a filter. It would actually be more accurate if firewalls were called ‘firefilters’ because they’re not built to keep everything out. Instead, firewalls are designed to filter threatening communications.

Firewalls function using a system of either inclusive or exclusive parameters, allowing specific types of communication in or excluding others. Generally, a firewall is controlled by an access control list, which has a particular set of guidelines that allow or resist access to specific computer communications. These guidelines can be customized to fit any need on just about any device capable of going online.

Related:- Applications Of Artificial Intelligence In Logistics

Different Types of Firewalls

There are two types of firewalls: network firewalls and host-based firewalls. Network firewalls are typically used by businesses that contain a comprehensive network of multiple computers, servers, and users. The network firewall monitors the communications occurring between the company computers and outside sources. If a company wishes to restrict certain websites, IP addresses, or services like Instant Messenger, it can do so using a network firewall.

Aside from controlling employee behavior on office equipment, this type of firewall safeguards the sensitive internal data of the company, such as customer databases and employee information. Firewalls stop intruders from accessing this information and protect the business from cyber attacks.

Host-based firewalls work similarly but are stored locally on a single computer. Every home computer should have some kind of host-based firewall installed on it. This functions as the first line of defense against cyber criminals and various online scams and attacks.

Host-based firewalls are also recommended for business computers that are network connected but not protected by a network firewall. They can also be useful for homes with multiple computers sharing the same network.

Most of the time, home computers are covered by a hardware firewall, like a router, which protects the network. But every home computer should also have a host-based system kind in place to guard against specific types of attacks.

Host-based firewalls are easy to install and protect your computer from malware, cookies, email viruses, pop-up windows, and more. Along with desktop computers, mobile devices can be installed with firewalls to protect online activity on the go.

Related:- 3 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Manufacturing Companies

Mobile Firewalls

Most smartphones include basic security settings like PIN numbers. While this may be enough to keep your best friend from using your phone, it’s not ever going to be enough to ward off sophisticated online attackers.

Mobile firewalls provide a barrier against certain kinds of attacks. For example, when certain settings like file share or networking are enabled on the device, the phone is designed to respond to outside requests automatically. First of all, these settings should be kept off whenever possible. What’s more, a firewall would stop these kinds of automatic response from happening in the first place.

3 Benefits of Cloud Computing for Manufacturing Companies

Considering taking your manufacturing company to the Cloud? You’re not alone—a 2016 survey by IDG found that 70% of companies currently use Cloud computing in some capacity. Today, it’s safe to assume that number is even higher.

Cloud computing

While you might not think of manufacturing and Cloud computing as natural partners, the truth is, the Cloud offers many benefits to the industry that can help you take your company to the next level. Here are just a few reasons to make the switch.

  1. Access data from anywhere

Imagine being able to access your data and content from anywhere. That’s one of the key benefits Cloud computing can provide.

Rather than storing all your company files on a local server or a personal computer, you can store them in the Cloud for 24/7 availability no matter where you are. And with everything stored in one location, you’ll be able to locate critical files much more easily.

Related:- Applications Of Artificial Intelligence In Logistics

  1. Respond quickly to disasters and incidents

With your data stored in the Cloud, you can bounce back quickly from system crashes, equipment losses, and other kinds of disasters. In fact, according to the IDG survey, disaster recovery is one of the main reasons IT leaders move to Cloud computing. Not only do you have guaranteed protection for your data, but with a hosted application that powers your operations from the Cloud, you can have your programs up and running again soon after a disaster.

Cloud computing also contributes to faster incident responses. Since Cloud systems are typically larger and more capable than in-house systems, they can function more efficiently and contribute to faster response times, increasing customer satisfaction. And since the Cloud system is accessible from anywhere, your team can respond to incidents even when out of the office or on the go.

Related:- Focusing on the Future of Authentication

  1. Reduce your IT spending

Another popular reason for switching to Cloud computing is the money factor. As many companies have discovered, migrating to the Cloud can help you make the most of your IT budget.

With Cloud hosting, you’ll spend significantly less money buying, fixing, and updating hardware and servers. You can also reduce costs associated with staffing and security, since Cloud computing streamlines daily operations and provides an added measure of security for company data.

If cost-effective solutions, faster incident responses, and more accessible data appeal to you, eMazzanti can support you through every step of the Cloud computing process—from implementation to management, monitoring, and more.

If you’re still uncertain about Cloud computing or want to learn more about making the switch, reach out to us today for a consultation.

Applications Of Artificial Intelligence In Logistics

The application of artificial intelligence in logistics has enabled a radical change in the work system in the supply chain. Thanks to AI, companies have moved from a reactive scheme, in which logistics operations were adapted to changes in demand, to another proactive one, in which managers anticipate market behavior and adapt their resources accordingly.
Logistics
In this way, there is an improvement in efficiency and an increase in profitability. But how exactly does artificial intelligence work? In which warehouse operations is it most useful? We give you all the answers in this article.
Artificial intelligence: from the algorithm to Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence gives systems the ability to make intelligent decisions and execute automated operations without any human intervention. This procedure is based on a combination of three elements:
– Algorithms, orderly sequences of operations that are applied to perform a task optimally depending on the prevailing conditions.
– Software that dictates the precise instructions for the execution of each of the tasks of the hardware.
– Machine Learning that is, developments that allow the machines themselves, relying on the registered history and the repetition of operations, learn and improve the processes themselves gradually.
Applications of artificial intelligence in logistics
The applications of artificial intelligence in logistics are still under development, intending to reach their full potential in the coming years. However, some practices are already settling in the sector:
1. Prediction of consumption trends
Artificial intelligence makes use of big data for logistic purposes: it crosses internal information such as sales history with data extracted from forums, social networks, or other Internet sources.
In this way, the system is capable of issuing deductions on users’ intention to consume and, thus, anticipate demand behavior. This serves to launch anticipatory logistics and prevent stock breakage or avoid storing excess merchandise. In this way, the waste of resources is mitigated.
2. Automation of the transfer of products in the warehouse
One of the greatest exponents of artificial intelligence in logistics is the automated warehouses. They combine two fundamental systems: robotics applied to the warehouse and management software. Together, they carry out transport and product placement operations autonomously.
This shared work generates patterns over time that are continuously analyzed. In this way, artificial intelligence helps them to assign the ideal resource to each of the tasks that arise, as well as to adapt their movements in case of variations in the circuit.
3. Selection of the most efficient transport routes and journeys
The logistics transport coordination is easier with AI and adopts two aspects:
* The management of intralogistics movements: the warehouse management software stores a digital radiograph of the company’s facilities and records all movements. The program processes this data and organizes the movement of goods, whether they are carried out by robots or automatic systems or assisted by maintenance equipment.
* Fleet management of freight transport: artificial intelligence interprets and incorporates updated traffic information to local systems. With this, the software traces the most appropriate routes for the delivery of the different merchandise and corrects the itineraries in real-time in case of incidents.
4. Greater control of information in the supply chain
Process automation in the improved supply chain with the presence of artificial intelligence opens the door to real-time inventory maintenance, the issuance of instant supply orders, or the precise tracking of orders, among others.
Therefore, warehouse management software facilitates the programming of all these actions in day-to-day storage.
In addition, the integration of data and the improvement of traceability systems allows us to respond to the user’s need to know. For example, the usual question of where the package acquired in e-commerce can be resolved quickly and efficiently with the implementation of chatbots equipped with artificial intelligence.
Thanks to artificial intelligence in logistics, the risk of error is reduced and, therefore, the supply chain works more accurately. Fewer inefficiencies occur, and most repetitive operations are left to automatic systems that learn over time, to leave creative processes and strategic decisions in the hands of people.

Focusing on the Future of Authentication

Weak and stolen passwords result in data breaches that cost businesses millions of dollars each year. Biometrics and multi-factor authentication (MFA) offer a stronger solution. And yet, hackers can still spoof fingerprints and voices. Take a look at the future of authentication and determine what options make the most sense for your organization.

Most experts agree that MFA provides a more secure environment for valuable data assets. With MFA, organizations require at least two verification methods to establish identity, instead of relying on passwords alone. For instance, authentication could include a password in conjunction with a fingerprint or verification text.

Future

However, the extra steps can impede productivity and cause frustration. For instance, dirt can render fingerprints unreadable and that means rejection of authorized users. And it takes time to drag out the cell phone to locate and enter one-time passcodes. Users tend to resist adopting complicated authentication measures, leaving organizations vulnerable.

Consequently, the future of authentication must combine more effective security with improved user experience. No single technology will provide the silver bullet. More likely, the answer lies in strengthening existing verification methods in combination with emerging technology to reduce risk while creating a seamless environment for the user.

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Risk-based Authentication

One option already in use involves adjusting the authentication requirements based on risk. For instance, an employee who accesses a given network regularly from the same device represents a low risk. In that case, the system might require just single-factor authentication, allowing the user access with minimal disruption.

On the other hand, if the system detects an access attempt from an unusual location or a new user, it will consider the action a high risk. It might deny access or ask for additional authentication. Most internet users have experienced a form of risk-based authentication when logging into a banking application on a new device, for instance.

Strengthen Biometrics with Anti-Spoofing

Biometrics have significantly improved security. However, the technology needs to evolve even further. For instance, with a high-quality voice recording or fingerprint mold, hackers can fool some voice and fingerprint recognition systems. Fortunately, researchers continue to improve biometric technology.

For example, security providers work to increase the security of fingerprint systems with increasingly sophisticated anti-spoofing measures. These tools determine with greater precision the “liveness” of the finger presented. Additional measures need to address other biometric modalities, such as palm scans and facial recognition.

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Behavior-based Authentication

In the ideal future of authentication, verification will occur behind the scenes, almost without conscious user involvement. The benefits of this “frictionless authentication” include a seamless user experience. Additionally, reduced user involvement in the authentication process means reduced risk due to human vulnerability.

For example, with behavior-based authentication, the system weighs multiple factors to determine the level of access. Unusual access attempts or significant changes in bandwidth use would trigger an alarm, for instance. The system may also factor in keystroke dynamics, mouse movements and other biometric patterns.

ehavioral-based authentication involves machine learning, determining behavior patterns over time for individual users or devices. It also provides continuous authentication. That is, even if a user gains initial access, the system analyzes behavior throughout the session and makes adjustments, particularly in a high-risk environment.

Embrace the Future of Authentication

Organizations need to ensure the security of vital intellectual assets and customer information. At the same time, they seek to improve user experience and support productivity. With so many authentication options available to you, choosing the right approach can prove challenging.

The cyber security experts at eMazzanti understand your need to balance security with usability and budgetary constraints. We can help your organization choose and implement the authentication methods that best meet your business needs.

Fix Mixed Content Warnings on Your HTTPS-Enabled Website

If you’re coming across mixed content warnings, you must be wondering why you’re seeing them. After all you’ve already migrated your site to HTTPS using an SSL/TLS certificate. This is very frustrating, and you want to fix these mixed content warnings ASAP. We get it; we totally get it.

content warnings

That’s why we’ve come up with solutions in these blogs. But before you pounce on the solutions, you must understand what a mixed content warning is and what it means.

What is the mixed content warning? Why do you see it?

When browsers come across HTTPS-enabled websites, they expect them to be fully secured. If they don’t find them entirely secure, they warn the users in the form of mixed content warnings. What we mean by this is that when some parts of your website are delivered over HTTPS and some over HTTP, the browsers regard it as “mixed content” and subsequently, display mixed content warnings.

When it comes to mixed content, there are two main types of mixed content that you need to consider. The first one is Mixed Active Content (Mixed Scripting), and the second one is Mixed Passive Content (Mixed Display Content). When it comes to mixed active content, a script is loaded through insecure HTTP. The browsers block such content completely. On the other hand, mixed passive content consists of images, audio files, videos, etc. Such content isn’t deemed too dangerous by browsers, and therefore, they display warnings instead of blocking entire content.

We hope this has got you clear with the idea of mixed content. Now the next step is finding said mixed content. Because let’s face it, how can you fix it when you can’t find it? So, let’s find it.

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How to find mixed content?

There are many ways you can go about this. Let’s talk about the first one. Open up any page in a browser and view its source code. Now search for src=http and identify every resource that is being served over HTTP. This is the best method we can suggest. You can also detect mixed content by peeking through the console of your browser. But if you don’t have that much time (feeling lazy in other words), you should head to https://comodosslstore.com/ssltools/why-no-padlock.php and enter your domain there. This tool is automatic and scans for insecure links and resources. Although it’s a pretty accurate tool, sometimes, it might miss something.

How to fix a mixed content warning

It’s pretty apparent that you need to cover your entire website under the umbrella of HTTPS or SSL. To do so, you’ll have to serve the insecure content over HTTPS. In other words, you’ll have to make sure that the URLs of your sources have HTTPS in front of them. This can be done by using the HTTPS version of your URL.

You can do this only if you have the URL under your control though. What if there’s an external URL that doesn’t support HTTPS? If that’s the case, you’ve got two options left. You can contact the site administrator and ask him/her to make the URL available over HTTPS. And if he/she doesn’t do it for whatever reason, there’s no option but to remove that resource form your website.

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Fixing Mixed Content Warnings on a WordPress Site

Of course, the above two options will work for any environment. But if you have a WordPress site, you don’t need to go through the troubles as there’s a plugin that’ll do the job for you. You need to download the SSL Insecure Content Fixer. This plugin is pretty straightforward and makes your job much more manageable.

Final Thoughts

Insecure warnings by browsers leave a bad impression in a viewer’s mind and consequently, a major dent in your reputation. This can be avoided pretty easily. We hope this blog has helped you get rid of mixed content warnings.

What is the structure of the advertising industry?

Generally speaking, since the 1980s, a lot of advertising agencies have tended to move in the direction of a common structure. In the past, each agency offered a number of different marketing services under one roof. However, there has been a remarkable about-turn in the environment over the past 30 years.

advertising

While the number of agencies, which offered different services, increased as a result of the post-80s “unbundling”, ownership of these same agencies was dramatically concentrated. Huge consolidation within the industry led to a massive number of mergers and acquisitions as well as the creation – at the higher end of the market – of a small group of major international holding companies—each of these companies which control many separate agencies.

There are still independent owner-operated agencies in existence; however, in ever fewer numbers than ever before, and most are small in comparison with the group-owned brands.

Related:- Small Business Guide to Google Smart Campaigns

What are the different types of businesses operating in the advertising industry?

Advertising Agencies

The term ‘advertising agency’ (which is sometimes replaced with ‘creative agency’) is generally applied to a company whose primary role is to conceive as well as implement large-scale marketing concepts for its clients.

Customarily, advertising agencies come up with the main idea for a marketing campaign and then created a series of advertisements which speak to that idea across various media. They tend to concentrate on what is called above-the-line marketing advertisements. These address a mass market through the four significant media: television, print, radio and outdoor (posters).

The tool most frequently linked to the conventional advertising agency is the 30-second television spot. However, the eruption of digital marketing, formerly considered as one of the below-the-line disciplines, has radically altered the landscape of the traditional advertising agency.

More and more, these companies are being pushed by their clients to provide excellence in digital marketing as well as the more established mass-market media.

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Media Agencies

‘Media services’ (which are also called media investment services) is the term which is generally made use of in order to describe the process of providing the message, which is created by an advertising agency, by use of the media.

There are, generally speaking, two facets to this.

Media planning includes agreeing where (on which TV or – alternatively – digital channels, in which regional/national newspapers, etc.) the advertisement should be placed in order to attain the best impact on its proposed audience.

Media buying is the method of negotiating with individual media owners (such as broadcasters or publishers) over availability and price.

The advertising industry is incredibly complex. In addition to this, there are many different types of skills that are required in order to create a successful advertising campaign. Career opportunities abound for individuals who are artistic, good at writing, analytical as well as creative.

In support of the OpenSSL Software Foundation

Open source technologies and their contributions to computing and especially the internet, have been taken for granted for a long time – too long.

Consider the OpenSSL Software Foundation.  Its expertise in cryptography has long provided the internet’s foundation for safe online transactions, allowing us to buy airline tickets or check online balances securely and with ease.  Yet while the OpenSSL code may be freely available, the foundation needs developers, tools, QA and oversight to produce the best code – and that carries a cost, just as it does for the rest of us.

OpenSSL

“These guys don’t work on OpenSSL for money,” said Steve Marquess, founder of the OpenSSL Software Foundation, whose eloquent statement of the underfunding of the open source movement struck a raw nerve among the technorati.  “They don’t do it for fame (who outside of geek circles ever heard of them or OpenSSL until “heartbleed” hit the news?). They do it out of pride in craftsmanship and the responsibility for something they believe in.”

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GlobalSign believes in the Open Source community too.  Such vast collaborative efforts have the structure and ethos to leverage massive IQ of its formidable user base against appropriate challenges, and achieve results that most commercial organizations simply cannot.  Simply stated, the world gets better, more transparent software at lower cost.  We all benefit.

GlobalSign is grateful to the OpenSSL Software Foundation and its leaders, Steve Marquess and Steve Henson, for acknowledging our financial contribution to the group.  “With this donation from Globalsign we have the first donation from a CA. I hope their example is followed by other companies who have leveraged OpenSSL as a central component of their business.”

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We contributed not for glorification, but because as Steve emphasized, it’s time the commercial vendors and the government start putting their money where their businesses’ benefit.

We thank Steve and the foundation for their contributions to secure internet transactions, and look forward to working more closely with them. We encourage others to join GlobalSign in supporting The OpenSSL Software Foundation.

Top 10 Apps to Order Medicine Online in India

The new online medicine ordering apps are even offering attractive discounts to gather large customer bases. According to the medical data analyst firm Tracxn, over 60 online pharmacies are operating in India and engaged in the delivery of medicines through websites and apps.

medicine

People also love the fact that they don’t have to go to the local store and can get their medicines sitting on their couch. The online medicine apps also have other benefits which we will explore below.

Benefits of Medicine Ordering Apps

So, why should you look at creating your own medicine ordering apps? Here is a look at the benefits for both customers and businesses.

For Customers-

  • You can get your medicines while sitting on your couch
  • The apps offer great discounts and other incentives like free shipping
  • Get reminders about your medicine needs
  • Access a vast range of information on prescription drugs and medicines

For Pharmacies-

  • Pharmacies can have an online presence and increase their customer base
  • They can attract new customers and reach new geographical locations
  • Search medicines and look for generic alternatives
  • Stores can manage their inventory digitally and get helpful reminders and notifications on expiry dates
  • Offer different schemes and marketing campaigns to customers
  • Provide a superior level of customer service
  • Advantage or refill orders from repeat customers

Top Online Medicine Ordering Apps

What are the top online medicine ordering apps today? Here is a look at some of the more popular choices.

1 Practo

Practo is a trusted name in the domain of doctor appointment booking and reviews. Recently the company launched its online medicine app across 100 cities in India such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune, and Lucknow.

You can order over 40,000 medicines using the app. Practo has tied up with local drug stores and pharmacies which help them deliver prescription medicines at your doorstep right on time.

The app lets you upload your prescription using the phone camera and then it can auto refill the medicines conveniently. The system also remembers your past orders and makes them ready when you need them.

Download here: For iOS | For Android

2 1mg

1mg app lets you buy medicine online and also access related information regarding your prescription drugs. You can know about dosage, side effects, and other details about your medicines through the app.

The company has set up partnerships with local pharmacies that take care of fulfilling the customer needs. You can order medicines with this online medicine app in cities such as Chennai, Delhi, Lucknow, Agra, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Indore, and Bangalore.

The best part of the app is that you can enter the names of medicines and get cheaper alternatives with the same compound. The app also offers health tips from eminent doctors based on the medicines you order.

Download here: For iOS | For Android

3 NetMeds

NetMeds medicine ordering app is operated by Dadha Company which is operating in India since 1914. The online pharmacy lets you order from anywhere in the world while deliveries are made to locations in India only.

You can upload your prescription and place your order in minutes using the app. A discount of 15% is applicable on all types of medicines and the deliveries are made within 2 to 3 days. You can also avail cash on delivery service across locations in India.

Payments can be made through debit and credit cards.

Download here: For iOS | For Android

4 BookMeds

BookMeds app lets you buy products of different categories such as medicines, surgical products, orthopedic care, mother and baby care, hospital equipment, medical gadgets, protein supplements, fitness products, and more.

The service is operational across 600 pin codes in India covering places like Delhi, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Lucknow, Kolkata, Patna, Indore, and other regions. You can upload your prescription and get medicines delivered to your doorstep.

You can avail free cash on delivery and get your medicines within 4 hours of ordering. The online medicine ordering app is available in both Android and iOS.

Download here: For Android

5 Yodawy

Yodawy is the best medicine ordering app in Egypt. The app lets users search from a huge database of medicines and even suggests correct spellings to make the searches easy. You can also upload a picture of your handwritten prescription and have experts decipher the handwriting.

The company has tied up with over 500 local pharmacies in Egypt who take care of fulfilling the orders. Medicines are delivered within 30 minutes from the nearest pharmacy all across the country. The platform even allows users to access their medical insurance copayment online through their smartphones. The app also submits claims on your behalf if the insurance provider is listed in their network.

Download here: For iOS | For Android

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6 SmartMedics

SmartMedics can be used for ordering medicines and consulting doctors from different branches of medicine. You can order medicines online across different cities in India by calling them or using the website and mobile app.

The pharmacy will collect the prescription from your home or you can also upload a picture through the app. The app promises a discount of 22% on all healthcare products and delivers the medicines within 48 hours. There are no delivery charges and the minimum order is Rs 100.

You can pay either by card or through cash on delivery.

Download here: For iOS | For Android

7 WeChemist

Do you want your medicines within 2 hours?

WeChemist promises exactly the same and also offers great discounts on your purchases. You can purchase medicines using the mobile app by uploading a picture of your prescription. Then you need to select your address and confirm the order to get the medicines brought right to your home.

If you don’t get the medicines within 2 hours, you can still have them delivered on the same day of ordering.

8 BrownPacket

Ordering medicines online is a breeze with BrownPacket. You just have to upload your prescription and provide the necessary delivery details. Your medicines are shipped to you within 2 hours to 48 hours of placing the order.

You can have huge discounts on your medicines up to 22%. The service is currently available in Bengaluru, Patna, and Delhi with attractive discounts and incentives for the first time and repeat buyers.

BrownPacket partners with local pharmacies and invites drug stores to join their network to boost their sales.

Download here: For iOS | For Android

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9 PharmEasy

PharmEasy is one of the largest online subscription medicine portals in India. With this app, you can order OTC products, healthcare products, and medicines and also get them home-delivered within 24-48 hours. You can book health tests at your home as per the convenience.

Along with saving FLAT 20% on every order, this app offers you a discount up to 70% on health tests and packages with zero sample pickup charges. Currently, PharmEasy is operating in 1000+ towns and cities, covering more than 22000+ pin codes across India.

This app will help you with medication adherence by refilling your medicines every month. So with PharmEasy, no more hassle or worry of running out of your medicines ever. Download this app now.

Download here: For iOS | For Android

10 Myra Medicines

The Bengaluru-based startup, Myra Medicine delivers medicines within 30 minutes with up to 35% off on maximum products. Currently, they are working in some areas in Mumbai and Bangalore from 9 am to 10 pm.

Before ordering medicines, you can create a list through drop down option or pictures shown in the app. Once the list is created, confirm and get your medicines delivered right at your doorstep. You can pay online by debit card, credit card, net banking, and have cash on delivery option too.

Conclusion

Online medicine ordering apps have come as a boon to India. The business is experiencing a good profit margin even after offering discounts to customers. Patients also prefer the fact that they can order the medicines and get it delivered quickly to their doorstep.

How to Spot Fraud in eCommerce Transactions

The anonymity of the digital world is giving a headache to all online commerce vendors. One of the first steps in doing any kind of eCommerce transaction online is to require the visitor to register. This is one of the biggest hurdles in online commerce, be it B2C or B2B.

A consumer user will often avoid complex and convoluted registration forms and turn away—choosing to do business elsewhere without these barriers. A business user expects to have smooth access to external services without any extra hassle. Unfortunately, this is not the world we live in. Yet…

eCommerce

Too many times online sites fall for the attribute trap. They want to know everything about their customer, so they require too much info upfront. Wouldn’t it work with less information? Or perhaps using external information sources to expedite the registration process? Using a third party source, who has already vetted the identity at some point, would be a great way to speed up customer conversion.

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How to spot an eCommerce fraudster

To spot a fraud, you have to use a source where the true identity of the user has been verified at some point. Clark Kent trying to register to your online site won’t get far unless an independent source can actually confirm his home address of now extinct Krypton, which might prove to be a tad difficult. It’s gone.

Leveraging an existing identity, such as an eID, is one option. Unfortunately, eIDs are not enjoying the success they should have outside of a few countries. But, there are other sources where a verified digital identity can be queried.

Banks in most parts of the world implement a stringent registration process in order to become a customer. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) confirm the identity of their subscriber in most cases, leaving out the so called burner identities, or pre-paid subscriptions without any link to an existing credit card or other personal identifier. This varies from operator to operator and from country to country, but in general, financial institutions and MNOs are a good source in spotting a fraud.

How financial institutions and mobile network operators spot fraud

Financial institutions and MNOs have a repository of vetted identities. They know our name, our address, email, phone number and various other attributes and they have done their job in vetting these attributes. Otherwise, Mr. Kent would be out of gas, have no access to his money and unable to send a text message.

The companies holding these identities can act as Identity Providers, or attribute providers. This information could be used for our benefit, with user consent, to improve our experience with other digital or third party services. Emphasis on user consent.

The API-economy is all about machines talking to other machines. If you have an online site, you could utilize the API exposed by a third party to acquire user attributes. You can use the multiple standards available to confirm the identity of an online user from a third party and make sure that person is actually Superman and not Bizarro.

Federation protocols, such as SAML and WS-Federation, have been around for a while and they have established themselves as the de-facto protocols in transferring identity information from one domain to another. OAuth, OpenID Connect are more recent ones, relying on the trust infrastructure of the internet and being very friendly towards the developers. The most recent one is now Mobile Connect.

Mobile Connect is a specific implementation of the OpenID Connect protocol, but it has the most potential to disrupt everything we know about authentication.

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The promise of a global identity with Mobile Connect

If you think of your own situation, you will think of your customer experience. We all have too many passwords. I can barely keep up with all the different passwords I have used to register as “Superman not Bizzaro”. As users, we don’t want another password.

Mobile Connect can provide a single global identity. If you are eBay or Amazon, or the local bike shop, Mobile Connect can deliver you an identity. What’s more important, Mobile Connect can deliver, with the users consent, attributes about your online customers. So, I urge you to look up the Mobile Connect program from GSMA.

With Mobile Connect, a true global identity could be easily and readily available and it’s tied to our phone number.

How to Build Sustainable IoT Products

Many companies are looking for ways to become more sustainable and play their part in stopping or slowing down the climate crisis. You’ve probably heard a lot about how IoT can fight the climate crisis by helping integrate renewable energy sources into the electric grid, powering electric vehicles, or optimizing manufacturing processes to reduce their carbon footprint.

Those contributions are certainly meaningful, but what about the carbon footprint and sustainability impact of the IoT products themselves?

How

According to new estimates from the latest Global IoT Forecast report from Transforma Insights, there will be 24.1 billion connected devices by 2030.

All of those IoT solutions will require a considerable amount of energy to run. Our role as Product Leaders is to build solutions that provide value to customers, to our company, and to have a positive (or at least neutral) impact on society and the environment.

Making the Case to Executives – Sustainability is Good for Business

Although the climate crisis is a critical problem in our world today, it’s still challenging to convince executives and other senior leaders to invest in this area.

Our job as Product Leaders is to articulate the benefits of sustainability in business terms. Sustainability can be a big differentiator for your company and your product. In short, sustainability is good for business! Here’s how:

Reduce your product’s total cost of ownership

Industrial IoT is one area where IoT is having the biggest impact and clearest return on investment.

For most industrial customers, their energy bill is a major line-item in their P&L. These companies spend millions of dollars in energy management to keep their electricity bill under control.

Help your customers meet their sustainability goals

Today, more and more companies have aggressive sustainability targets—either because it helps their brand or their bottom line. For example, many leading companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have pledged to become energy neutral in the coming years.

If your IoT product can solve the customer’s pain AND help them achieve their sustainability goals, they are more likely to purchase your solution, even if you are more expensive than the competition.

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Attract talent

The competition to attract IoT talent is fierce. Companies with a focus on sustainability have an advantage as new generations are more purpose-driven, and they are choosing to work for companies that they believe have a positive impact in the world.

Incorporating sustainability practices in your product will give you an advantage when hiring and retaining the best and brightest minds.

Setting Your Sustainability Targets

One of the reasons sustainability efforts fail is because they don’t have clear targets or a distinct definition of success. For many companies, sustainability is just a message from the marketing team, but it doesn’t have real weight behind it.

In contrast, some of the top companies in the world have robust sustainability strategies. For example, check out the sustainability plans from MicrosoftAmazon, or Ericsson.

Before you propose plans to improve the sustainability of your IoT product, make sure you have clear targets to ensure you are moving in the right direction.

A sustainability target includes:

  • The sustainability area to address (e.g., one or more of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals such as energy consumption or waste reduction.)
  • The desired goal
  • A timeline to reach the goal

For example, the key to halting climate change is eliminating carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuels. Therefore, a common target is to become carbon neutral by a specific year. Keep in mind, these are usually company-wide strategies, and your product is just one of the components. But, you need to do your part to contribute to that goal.

When defining sustainability goals, you will usually have intermediate milestones along the way. You can leverage these milestones as the targets for your own product roadmap.

A Structured Approach to Sustainable IoT Products

Now that you have the tools to convince executives that sustainability is good for business, and that you’ve set your targets, it’s time to drive action.

For Product Leaders to drive action, we need a structured approach that includes sustainability within our products.

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My proposed approach has three parts:

  1. Define a sustainability baseline for your IoT product
  2. Identify sustainability opportunities for your IoT product
  3. Balance sustainability decisions with the rest of your product strategy

1. Defining a sustainability baseline for your IoT product

Before you create a plan for creating a more sustainable IoT product, you need to start by understanding where you are today. In short, you need a baseline.

Creating a baseline might seem daunting if you think of your product as monolithic. My recommendation is to break down your product in its core components and then analyze each one of them with your team.

2. Identifying sustainability opportunities for your IoT product

Your next step is to identify opportunities where you can improve your product to drive towards your sustainability goal. Walking the IoT technology stack is again a great tool for involving your team in identifying these opportunities.

Below is a list of questions you can use as you walk the IoT Technology Stack with your team. Though the list is not exhaustive, it is a starting point as you prepare to facilitate this exercise.

3. Balancing sustainability decisions with the rest of your product strategy

Once you identify sustainability opportunities for your IoT product, it can be tempting to start implementing them right away. Before you dive in, it’s crucial to evaluate the impact of those opportunities across your current product strategy.

Putting your sustainability plan into practice may require changes to your product, your processes, and your supply chain. You need to be aware of how those changes will impact your user experience, your data strategy, your business model, etc.

  • UX Decision Area: how does changing this chip impact the user experience of all the personas that interact with our product?
  • Data Decision Area: how does swapping this chip impact the amount of data my device produces or transmits to the cloud?
  • Business Decision Area: how does this hardware change impact my pricing and profit margins? And what impact does it have in my partner structure?

To learn more about how to use the IoT Decision Framework, read my article here. If you are looking for a deep-dive into the IoT Decision Framework to improve your overall product strategy, I recommend checking out my online course: The IoT Product Manager Certificate Program.