Most people nowadays can no longer do without their laptops, computers, and smartphones. Some people can no longer stand a day without connecting to the internet. While the advent of the internet has brought in loads of perks (especially for freelancers and entrepreneurs), users still need to practice caution since there are a lot of risks if internet security is taken for granted. Here are some of the biggest reasons why you should make your internet security a top priority:
Loss of Privacy and Confidentiality
You definitely don’t want any of your confidential or private information and messages to be viewed, intercepted, or stolen. Government institutions and companies that hold highly sensitive information are more prone to this kind of risk. Thus, there’s a need to update their systems to bring maximum security about.
Identity theft is one of the biggest issues online as most people are now into buying, selling, and exchanging information through the web. If internet security is not prioritized, these online transactions may lead to fraudulent activities like cyber-criminals getting access to your credit card information, social security number, and other personal data. Using these sensitive data, they can make purchases, apply for government benefits, take out loans, or even ruin your private life. The damages of identity theft could be vast, and so caution is a must.
Your photos, videos, documents, and other digital files are also prone to data theft. These data can be distributed or resold illegally. For example, companies may end up losing confidential financial files, important testing data, product blueprints, trade secrets, and many more. Governments are also at risk of losing their sensitive data like research projects, strategies, agent names abroad, lists of military placements, and so on.
There are also some hackers that are more interested in causing damage than embezzling information. They can cause harm to your computer using Trojans, malicious software, and other computer viruses. These can render your computer unworkable. The common targets are corporate and government systems. Hackers attach their computers to disrupt services and communications, resulting in various secondary problems.
Hackers could get into your system and post something that could ruin your reputation online. This includes posting data that are supposed to be private for everyone to see. Bad posts could crumble the public image that you have worked so hard to establish. This is particularly risky for influential people and huge businesses. The challenge is that once something is posted online, it is nearly impossible to totally erase it, especially if the damage is already done.
If your business’ online system is crashed, this could lead to downtime. And downtime means lost revenue. This could also affect your credibility as customers are likely to lose their trust in a business that isn’t totally secure. All your digital money could also go down the drain once the hackers find their way into your accounting and financial system or digital wallets.
How to improve your internet security
With the plethora of risks poor internet security tags along, you need to make sure that you’re doing the right precautions to keep troubles at bay. You could start with the following:
- Have secure passwords for all your accounts
Your passwords should be strong and secure. Use long passwords that have random letters, numbers, and characters.
- Have a working antivirus software on your computer
Use a reliable antivirus software to protect your computer from viruses and other malicious software programs that could steal your data and cause other unwanted damages.
- Do not click on malicious links
Be wary of unknown links from unknown sources. If you are not familiar with the source of an email, just ignore it instead of jumping into the risk.
- Use the latest version of web browsers
Update your web browser from time to time. Use the latest version as much as possible as new versions always come with better security features.
- Screen all downloads
If the website is unfamiliar, do not download or install programs from that source. Also, prior to opening attachments or downloads, scan it with your internet security protocol for an added layer of protection.
As security features get more advanced, hacking strategies also get better. Thus, always update your security features and do whatever you can to equip yourself with the best security measures available.
3 Life Hacks to Help You Survive our Post-Modern World
We currently live in a world that is plagued by regional conflicts, the threat of conflict, trade wars, rising violent crime levels, severe weather events due to climate change as well as the increasing cost of living while our wages stagnate. Therefore, it suffices to say that navigating our way through life is not easy.
However, the challenging geopolitical and socio-economic living conditions are not an excuse to give up. They are a reason to learn coping skills to live as healthy a life as possible.
Ways to live a healthy life in our crazy, modern world
Thus, here are three essential life hacks to help you learn the coping skills you need to live a full, successful, and healthy life:
Helen Keller, one of the USA’s leading educators and humanitarians in the 20th century, stated that “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”
As an aside, it is worth noting that she was left deaf and blind after a devastating illness at two years old. As a result, it would be understandable if she was cynical and bitter throughout her life. However, the opposite is true. She went on to live a life of service to others and, in 1920, she ultimately co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU).
Additionally, Chad Cooper highlights “the importance of being in service to others for your own success” in his article on Medium.com. The salient point here is that if we serve others, we focus on others and forget about our misfortunes. Thus, we end up stronger people, better able to cope with the challenges that each day throws at us.
Thus, it makes sense to try and emulate Keller’s and Cooper’s example.
Mindfulness: Stay in the present
Mother Theresa, who also spent her life in service to the most impoverished communities in Kolkata, India stated: “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” It is vital to not let past events contaminate the present and the future. Therefore, treat each moment of each day as a separate, isolated event.
Imagine, a moment, raindrops falling on a surface. Each droplet can be equated to a moment in time. Depending on how hard it rains, how big the drops are, and how level the surface is, the individual drops will either run together to form a raging river, or they will dry up when the sun comes out. Thus, in our scenario, it is vital to ensure that the raindrops do not form a raging river, no matter how hard it rains. The trick is to keep our emotional surface as level as possible.
Spend time outdoors
Making a weekly date with nature is vital. It doesn’t matter whether you visit an inner-city green space, walk along the beach, or hike forest and mountain trails. Nature is therapeutic. Exercise is also extremely beneficial for your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Therefore, can you imagine the benefits of combining exercise and spending time outside?
The fact that our modern, crazy life is challenging to say the least. However, as mentioned above, it is possible to thrive by spending time exercising and in nature, living a life of service to others, and by treating each moment of each day as a unique opportunity to do good.
Top Blockchain Applications Making Waves in Commercial Real Estate
The commercial real estate (CRE) industry is comprised of many different types of service providers, including property management, brokerage firms, banks, and other types of lenders. When a CRE transaction takes place, there are various operators involved, requiring extensive sharing of official property documents, and financial information which need to be validated. The requirements for validating all information across all parties slows down the speed of each transaction, which can take weeks and months to complete. Many CRE firms have turned to blockchain to speed up execution times, decrease error and increase transparency in each transaction.
What Is Blockchain?
Blockchain technology is a way to store and transfer information in an encrypted manner by distributing data instead of copying it in a central location. Blockchain does so through a cloud, peer-to-peer network that eliminates the need for a third party, which ultimately reduces transaction fees. A digital ledger is then created and updated with each financial transaction in blocks.
There are plenty of benefits to making transactions and transferring data using blockchain as the technology is not controlled by one central entity, such as a central bank. This means that breaching these blocks is extremely difficult, maintaining the sanctity and transparency of its transactions and data.
Blockchain is the backbone of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which offer speedy and low-cost ways of sending and receiving money.
One of the most exciting ways blockchain is disrupting the CRE world is in the form of smart contracts. The industry currently relies on an inefficient system of old-school verification of property ownership by conducting research to ensure the property belongs to the party who is selling it.
Blockchain can reduce the speed in which the chain of custody regarding CRE properties takes place as a property’s title would be stored on a public ledger. This would remove the need for another central repository, thus reducing transaction, state, city and legal costs. The same principle would apply for leases that would be recorded via blockchain.
More Transparent Deals
Blockchain can also ensure that real estates assets are more liquid and the terms of the agreement are fully understood by both sides as every piece of data regarding a property would be stored publicly. This includes data surrounding former owners, construction done on the property, past maintenance costs and records regarding former inspections.
Having all this information available would give the investor a more comprehensive idea of the property they are investing in. Blockchain essentially ensures that everyone is on the same page and both sides are fully aware of what they’re getting into as every piece of information is out there for anyone to access.
Digital Paper Trail
Another challenge with the CRE industry is the fact that public records can be outdated, unreliable or not available. Following a property’s paper trail can be time-consuming and frustrating as a lot of this information is lost due to poor organizational skills from industry workers and legacy systems that lose data when updated.
With blockchain, every piece of information on a property would be available in the same place rather than in multiple physical and digital domains. Blockchain would also help to eliminate the type of fraud that sometimes exists in the industry as deeds and titles can be counterfeited easily.
Buying Property With Cryptocurrencies
As previously mentioned, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that relies on blockchain to complete financial transactions online in a matter of seconds. Some investors and real estate firms have started adding Bitcoin to the industry, including Ivan Pacheco, who bought a two-bedroom condominium in Florida for $275,000 in Bitcoin.
In the residential space, you can buy a condo on the Lower East Side of Manhattan with Bitcoin. Meanwhile, some apartments in New York City are allowing their tenants to pay for rent using Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies have been historically volatile and they’ve been on the decline since peaking in December 2017, but some investors believe that the future of real estate will be closely tied with Bitcoin and other digital coins.
Nevertheless, blockchain’s role in the CRE industry is becoming more prevalent each day. The technology’s potential to speed up transactions with smart contracts, its ability to add transparency to a deed or title and the fact that it dramatically decreases the chance for fraud suggest that more investors will flock towards firms that use blockchain for CRE transactions.
5 Tips to Help You Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
“High-quality web content that’s useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online.” –
The age-old adage: “Content is King” is more relevant in the global digital media marketing world that it has ever been before. Statistics generated by Newscred.com show the following:
- 71% of consumers are turned away from a brand by direct sales pitches.
- 40% of consumers prefer emails that are content-rich and not promotional.
- 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising.
- 2017 statistics show that 615 million mobile devices have installed adblocker technology.
- 2017 statistics show that 84% of people expect brands to create content.
It should be noted at this juncture that we are talking about high-quality, informative, authoritative content. Publishing run-of-the-mill spun content is counterproductive and can harm your brand’s reputation as a leader in its field.
Finally, 2016 studies have shown that circa 75% of brand marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets to allocate a more significant slice of their overall marketing budgets to content strategy and content marketing.
Implementing a content strategy
From the figures mentioned above, we can see that designing and implementing a content marketing strategy is a vital part of a brand’s digital marketing strategy. And it should not be avoided or downgraded to a very low priority. Therefore, here are five tips to help you with your content strategy:
Work with a reputable agency
It is vital to partner with a digital marketing agency that has years of experience writing high-quality, informative content. Additionally, it’s a good idea for this agency to keep up to date with the changes to Google’s ranking search engine algorithms to ensure that their clients’ brands continue to rank up in the top three to five brands on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Identify your brand’s target audience
Let us assume for this article that you own a business that designs and manufactures Merino wool jackets for the athleisure and casual outdoor market. It is vital to describe each persona-type that will be interested in purchasing this jacket. For example, someone that is interested in only wearing high fashion and is not interested in spending time outdoors hiking is probably not going to wear this jacket. Therefore, there will be very little ROI if you market your brand to this persona.
Identify the type of content that will add value to your brand
Different content types suit different brands. It depends both on the brand’s products and the target audience. Once again, if we look at our Merino wool jacket, we can see that the following content types are suitable:
- Instagram and Pinterest posts with high-quality photos showing how the jacket can be worn.
- Long-form articles that are related to the jacket and how to care for the jacket.
- Informative emails that provide links to the long-form articles as well as links to new products.
Consistency is critical
Consistency is a cornerstone of all content marketing strategies. Regular content gets ranked higher on Google (or other search engines) because of its consistency. It does not matter what the time frame of each post is. What matters is that if the content strategy states that a guest blog post will be published three times a week, the brand marketer must stick to the plan. On the other hand, brands that do not post regular content do not keep on “reminding” Google that they are essential, and they add value to their target audience’s lives.
Content builds trust
High-authority, informative content builds trust. For example, let us go back to our Merino wool jackets. It is natural to assume that the brand’s target audience will ask what temperature can the jacket be worn at, whether the jacket is waterproof or not, how to wash the jacket, and how should the jacket be stored when not in use.
The best way to answer these valid questions is, not only to add this information (in bullet point form) to the jacket’s description but to write and publish an informative article on the value of a Merino wool jacket and how to care for it. As a result, the brand’s target audience will see the brand owners as knowledgeable. Additionally, they will assume that the brand cares about its customers.
This article does not attempt to be a comprehensive guide to the mastery of content strategy. For more information, talk to Firecrab Digital Media.
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