5 Ways to Improve Your Internet Data Security

Whether your internet network serves your home devices, your home office, or a small to medium business, internet data security is always an ongoing concern. The threat of cyber-attacks, hackers, and other malicious actors continues to increase as more and more of our business and personal financial lives are conducted over the internet on connective devices and in the cloud.

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Here are some basic common sense ways to improve your personal and business data security’s exposure over the internet.

1. Construct a Secure Data Infrastructure

We often focus on perimeter security to the extent that our system’s overall infrastructure security suffers. Many times the vast majority of security budgeting and planning goes into firewall protection. There are multiple ways that a firewall can be penetrated or defeated by persons with access to system information and weaknesses. Firewalls are very important but are just the beginning of comprehensive data security.

Layered security systems are important for defeating hackers and cyber attacks. Every device on your network should be running fully updated operating systems and using applications that are updated with all available security patches. It is essential that you have operating systems, applications, and programs that automatically update or that you manually check for updates regularly. Internal devices should all also have filtering and antivirus software installed and operating properly. Depending on the size and scope of the data that you are protecting, investing in intrusion/attack detection and continuous monitoring software may also be useful for cost-effective and efficient data infrastructure security.

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2. Make Sure All Users On Your Network Are Educated On Data Security Risks

Whether you have local family users on your personal network or have co-workers and employees accessing data and network resources locally or remotely, it is critical that every person on your network understands and uses best security practices.

No one should ever click on links in any form of messaging from unknown and untrusted sources, whether inside emails, texts, or instant messages. All users should log off all applications properly when finished using them, and credentials should not be saved on operating systems or inside programs. Implementing dual authorization of any financial transactions, which requires your additional authorization, also adds an extra layer of protection.

3. Pay Attention To Your Privacy Settings

Your social networking applications contain vast amounts of personal information about all aspects of your online activities. If you ignore privacy settings on any of the platforms that you use, the default settings likely provide visibility over the internet that would shock you. For every platform and application that you use you should carefully check the privacy settings. You should understand the settings and select what you want to share with anyone, only with contacts or friends, or with no one at all.

In addition to social networks, you should understand how your private information might be visible on online storage services. Unless you understand the privacy settings on Google Docs, you should not use it to store sensitive personal information. If you are using Dropbox for storing sensitive data you should understand how to use encryption to archive your information.

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4. Be Smart With Passwords and Keep Your Contact Info Secure

Weak passwords are much more vulnerable than in previous times, as hacking techniques and methods become more advanced. Use complex and lengthy passwords in every use that requires password security. Go for 12 or more characters and include a mixture of capitals and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. Use a different password for every service or application in the event that a single password is compromised somehow. In order to keep your passwords securely stored and accessible to you only, look for a quality password manager program.

If you share your primary email address or phone number with any online application or website, you are inviting an unlimited number of spam emails, text messages, and telemarketing calls by voluntarily placing your contact information on marketing lists that are sold all around the world. If you need to sign up for an unknown service, use an alternate email address or even an alternate phone number. If you decide later that the resource is trusted and you want to use your primary contact information, you can update as needed.

5. Use End-To-End Encryption With All Messaging Apps

There are many messaging apps in use today, with more being developed all the time. Modern messaging is quickly supplanting email, text messaging, and voice calling as the go-to way to communicate with family, friends, and even for business purposes. Most messaging apps use encryption, although the default method is “in transit” encryption. This encryption is deciphered by the app provider and messages are stored on their servers. If those servers are compromised in any way, your data is exposed. By choosing end-to-end encryption only you and your end-user will be able to see the information you share. Be sure to determine if your messaging app uses end-to-end encryption by default or if it can be selected for specific or all conversations.

12 Effective Ways to Expand Your Social Media Influence

The digital era is a gift that keeps giving. Before digital technology made the planet essentially into a global village, both individual and business possibilities were only limited to geographical limits. Now, there are well over 3 billion people around the world who are on social media. Geographical restrictions which used to exist in the past, exist no-more.

Social Media Influence

With so many people online, social networks are no longer exclusive to bringing people together but are also the best places to establish an impact, especially for businesses with the intention of expanding their brand outreach. And with brand recognition comes the opportunity to drive valuable traffic and attract permanent clients, making it an essential tool for both online and offline marketing.

There is no doubt that using social media and establishing the right social networks is an essential part of every business’ operations; the only real issue is getting to leverage it effectively to attract the underlying benefits. Since there are no shortcuts in leveraging the various social media networks, going through the motions is the only sure way to know what sticks and what does not. The learning curve may be intimidating as you try to incorporate the various techniques available, but the excitement that comes from seeing your business gain traction through social media interactions is inherently rewarding.

With that in mind, how do you leverage Instagram, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media platforms to create the influence your business needs?

How to expand your social media influence the right way

The difference between a business that has an impact on social networks and one that doesn’t, depends on the ability to understand what your potential clients want. To help with this, here are sure ways you can use to expand your circle of social media influence.

1. Have clear objectives and goals

Identifying your goals and objectives is as essential as having a compass to direct your actions. Once you have an understanding of the achievements you have set for your business, you can then dedicate time to research the various social media platforms to gain an understanding of how they work. That research also helps to understand the type of audience, for instance, on Facebook, as opposed to the one on Twitter.

Making a note of those subtle differences will also give you an edge on how you will integrate your efforts to achieve the most favorable outcomes. Since creating a strong social network is a process, it means always studying trends and having objectives that guide your every move.

2. Network with influential people and brands

There is one profound outcome that comes from networking with influential people and brands: credibility. When you follow people with influence or follow other brands relevant to your unique business brand, you build security around your followers since you openly establish that what your business does is credible and authentic.

3. Employ social media optimization

There is only one thing that concerns itself with optimizing your social media platforms, and that is using relevant keywords. Search engines, like Google and Bing, use specific keywords and key phrases to conduct quick searches and bring up the list of immediate results. You should, therefore, carry out extensive keyword research to find such keywords to link back to the content you have posted.

4. Present content that is useful

Content is at the heart of social media where businesses are concerned. Therefore, presenting useful content means bringing a sense of purpose to what you post on social media. Basically, the content you publish on your various platforms, should either entertain, educate, or inspire your followers.

People on social networks are in search of solutions they are facing in real life, and thus, having content augmented towards a purpose is beneficial. It, then, means that quality is a must. Having a few, or even just one, useful and quality-driven post on your blog and different social networking accounts will also enhance the value you bring, and hence, your credibility.

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5. Maximize your interactions

It is well-established that the prime intention of social media is to connect with people, and with this, comes with a unique opportunity to get your business to interact personally with its followers. So, when people post on your various platforms, engaging with them is paramount.

You should make it a priority to respond to their posts and the comments they may have regarding the content you have posted. Maximizing your interactions with your followers creates a personal relationship between them and the business, and that will also encourage them to find out more about what it does.

6. Get to know and understand the needs of your audience

When your followers feel that you understand them, the more they will rely on your brand. It also makes your interactions with them inherently easy. Therefore, when you focus on your understanding of their needs, keep in mind certain things, for example, what they want to see and read so that you can post content that is satisfying. Grasping this concept will give you a unique edge and direct traffic to your business.

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7. Add social media icons on your website

Since your website already has valuable traffic, why not use that to make your social media footprint known? Adding icons of your various social networks will do exactly that. For those who visit your website, it lets them know that they can stay in touch with your brand through other channels that are easier and more interesting to use.

The same should apply to your emails. For those followers who have already subscribed to your content through the emails you send on a monthly basis, for example, having relevant icons attached to such emails could persuade them to find additional content you have, resulting to more followers.

8. Add links to your social profiles and website

Apart from adding icons of your social profiles, it is also advisable to add links to the same on your website. This will serve the same purpose as the icons, and make those who visit your site to learn more about what your business does.

9. Create a coherent social network strategy

Social media entails working with various platforms that have a different set of audience, and that work differently from one another. It can, therefore, be daunting and stressful to work on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus, among others, at the same time without having a strategy guiding you through it. Trying to manage all your social networks simultaneously, and without a plan in mind can only go on for so long.

And since every platform has its own set of goals, that makes creating a coherent strategy that much important. You can effectively make sure each one is performing its set tasks by establishing a social network calendar. In it, you can track activities like upcoming events, and blog posts, among others. With such a plan, you can organize and have a good handle on all your social networks.

10. Make maximum use of hashtags that are trending

Hashtags are of absolute importance, especially on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Every time you post something on social media, incorporate hashtags in them so that people can find your other relevant platforms, as well as your website.

11. Adopt the habit of profile sharing

Sharing your profile handles is another critical way of expanding your social media influence, particularly to people you are familiar with. Being strategic in this specific instance is of importance so that you do not come off as pushy. When done right, however, profile sharing enhances awareness pertaining to your brand’s presence on social networks. Concurrently, you may land some important referrals, in turn.

12. Do not restrict yourself; branching out is essential

Here is the thing when it comes to establishing your social media footprint: it is either you go all in, or not at all. Branch out and explore other social networking platforms to widen your approach and multiply your efforts. It’s not just Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, other interesting apps and websites with unique features, like Foursquare, Pinterest, Tumblr, among others, are out there. While you’re at it, registering on social review websites is also recommended. Remember that the goal is to expand your social media influence, so limiting yourself is out of the question.

There is no doubt that it is difficult to expand your social media influence rapidly, but the above-highlighted strategies serve as insider secrets, which the top-ranking brands in the world use to take their social networking game to the next level.