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Laptop Buyers See Empty Shelves

As we all know over the past month we have been advised to stay indoors and avoid going out as much as possible this now includes work. If we can work from home, we most definitely should be.

 

Most people weren’t prepared for this step so soon in the process and it clearly shows the increase in sales in a number of goods bought for homes in such a short period of time. Some of these things ranging from home gym equipment, freezers, puzzles, games and the more obvious ones being hand sanitizer with a whopping 300% increase in the past couple weeks and then the most unusual out of them all being toilet roll which has absolutely no correlation with the virus at all.

 

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 All IT equipment is also on the increase and sales have doubled in the UK on most laptops, desktops and headsets as these are the absolute essentials if you’re going to be working from home. In this case, it’s very lucky for us office workers as having this equipment enables us to work remotely very easily from anywhere toy may be.

 

HP and DELL two of the top well-known brands are still struggling to replenish stock as the products are in such high demand, it seems it’s not just supermarkets with empty shelves. Unfortunately they cannot provide a single business laptop until the 1st week of April as all manufactured stock has been sold. Not only the well-known brands have had a large increase but it has had a massive impact on everything involved with IT. It may be frustrating but they are all doing the best they can to produce enough products for the number of buyers.

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Organic Vs Paid Facebook Ads

There are around 1.6 billion people worldwide who may be connected to a business on Facebook and more than two billion actually use Facebook every month. Whoever your target audience it’s highly likely they are active on Facebook. So, if you’re starting up a business or just want to increase advertisement for your brand, find out if paid advertising is the solution for you.

 

What is the difference?

Essentially organic marketing is when the content you post drives your customers to visit your page naturally over time but to achieve the goal you want it could take a while to build up following. On the other hand, you could pay a social media platform for this example being Facebook.

 

Organic is Free

As creating a Facebook account is free, why not take the opportunity to use it and promote your business. However organic reach has a limit, today there is so much content being posted. How will you know if anyone is actually seeing it, the problem is you don’t. So this could be really difficult to gain an audience altogether as your posts could be getting lost on their feed. You will also be competing with others who do pay for their ads which will decrease your chances of being seen, especially if you are a new business and only have a small following to begin with.

 

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Why pay for Facebook advertisement?

 It’s such an easy option for so many companies as it gives you simple ad solutions. You don’t have to be an expert or have much experience in advertising, as Facebook does all the hard work for you. They offer a simple step-by-step guide on how to achieve your advert. Thing you should consider when creating a Facebook advert;

  • Your objective
  • Your Audience
  • Where you want your ad to run
  • How much do you want to spend?
  • Your format; images, videos

 

Boosted posts – This will help interactions with all interactions, it will boost your likes, shares and comments. They also expand your reach to new people who could potentially be interested in your content and services.

Page ad – Promote your page and encourage people to follow.

Website ad – Promote your website to increase website visits.

Promote call-to-action button – This will let people interact with your page and promote your main objective. For example being able to book appointment’s or make purchase and will help drive conversation.

 

Facebook ads are an extremely useful if you want to promote your business, build new connections and potential customers.  All depending on your budget, you need to be realistic and ask yourself if Facebook adds would really benefit your business as usually doesn’t come at a small price. 

 

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3CX Offers Solutions for Crisis

In times like these we discover that it would be useful but almost essential (at the moment anyway) that we are able to work from our home environment but I understand it’s not always that easy. But we may have a solution, 3CX telephone systems if you don’t know, get to know. if you are a business that needs support in this crisis 3CX are providing free software which enables staff to work from home. “With the Covid-19 outbreak, there is an unprecedented need for teams to be able to work remotely. In an effort to assist companies transition to a remote workforce as smoothly and painlessly as possible, we are offering 3CX for free for 3 years. We hope with this small gesture we are able to alleviate some of the financial burdens this virus is posing on businesses and on the economy at large,” announced Stefan Walther, CEO, 3CX.

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What is it?

3CX Phone System is an award-winning software-based IP PBX that replaces traditional proprietary hardware PBX. It is based on the SIP standard and supports most popular SIP phones, VoIP Gateways, VoIP service providers and PSTN phone lines. It’s an open standards communication solution and a global leader in business. Their services are pretty much suitable for any business type and will accommodate your needs now and in the future but most importantly it will save you money.

How does it work? 

It’s hosted in the cloud or on your premises so where ever you may be it’s just as easy to access as if you were at work. You have full mobility, it has a wide range of features that you will need in the modern day world especially in times like these. It will really change your business forever. You can run this from any of your devices being Android, iOS, Mac or windows, also integrated video conferencing for no charge at all.

Follow the link to find out more - https://www.3cx.com/blog/news/covid-19-remote-working/

 

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WFH – Get the most of out of your day

Coronavirus or not it’s useful for us all to know how to work from home efficiently. There shouldn’t be much difference than when in the office other than lounging around in your pyjamas. It looks like a lot of business’ seem to be shifting towards working from home instead to prevent the virus spreading quicker, but how are you going to see the best results?

The first step to getting the best out of working from home is simple, just to treat it like any other real job. Start off the day with your usual ‘before work’ routine get out of your Pj’s and get yourself into smarter attire, you’ve got to look the part! 

Most of you out there won’t have an office space in your home but that shouldn’t get in the way of you being productive there’s no excuses, create a temporary place in your home or simply set the laptop at your dinner table, instead of lying in bed with it. This also lets the people in your home you are busy with work and respect that you are professional and take your job serious no matter where you may be. 

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We are here to help

It’s always good to be prepared in case the worst does happen. If any of our clients find themselves leaving the office to work from home, we have it covered. It’s simple, we set up a VPN for our clients to work from home this allows them to access their work network so it doesn’t matter where you are!

 

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Travelex – what happened?

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We have all seen it on the news, Travelex were reportedly hacked on New Year’s Eve (2 weeks ago today) and are being held to ransom by a criminal ransomware gang known as ‘Sodinokibi’. The company is still working to get back its systems after 2 weeks, resorting to pen and paper in most of its 1200 branches. It seems clear that Travelex does not intend to pay the ransom and claiming that no customer data has been compromised despite the gang claiming to have downloaded sensitive customer data.

How did this happen?

Most are familiar with Ransomware, essentially it is malware which enters a network and encrypts the files on that network rendering them useless in the hope that a ransom is paid and the decryption key is provided in return, though don’t always bank on an honest transaction! We have seen this many times in particularly the Wannacry cryptoworm of 2017 which attacked Microsoft Operating systems. Microsoft had released a patch to prevent this however most users typically hadn’t installed it and so were at risk of being infected, equally Windows XP was vulnerable as it was no longer supported in much the same way that Windows 7 is no longer supported from today (14th January 2020) and no further patches are available.

How was Travelex Different?

Travelex were warned by a security researcher back on 13th September 2019 that they had insecurities in their Virtual Private Network (VPN) in particularly their Pulse Secure VPN Servers but that appears to have been ignored!  The issue however starts 7 months previous to this when Pulse Secure identified a vulnerability and released a subsequent patch but clearly this was not applied by Travelex. It is reported that the ‘Sodinokibi’ gang have had access into Travelex network for the last 6 months, no doubt watching and gathering data ready for the attack, this was certainly a planned and well executed ransomware attack.

Could it have been avoided?

YES without a shadow of doubt. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but Travelex IT Security didn’t miss a security patch by a few days but by several months! Regular patching of endpoints is essential, IT Security is critical, this is/was a major worldwide financial business.

Will they recover?

Good question! After 2 weeks they haven’t recovered, all servers are unavailable, branches are using pen and paper, it’s a disaster! Perhaps Travelex intend to pay and hopefully get their files back? A company like Travelex should have substantial Disaster Recovery plans and should be able to restore from backup however its likely, given the time that has now passed and the size of the attack that backups are also encrypted. As for company reputation, well its shot!

No matter how small or large your business is, do not think that you cannot be affected by Ransomware, do not ignore IT Security risks, protect your network endpoints

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How to increase your engagement on Instagram

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Around 1 billion people use Instagram every single month

Engage with similar accounts in your industryInstagram page

Before posting content to your Instagram, engage with the content that other accounts are posting especially the accounts that are similar to yours. One rule of Instagram is that engagement feeds engagement, interacting with other accounts will increases your awareness as the more you engage with others the more noticeable your account becomes, therefore, increasing your engagement.

To find new accounts to follow and engage with, you can

  • Find accounts by searching for keywords that can be seen in the accounts bio, ensure your keywords are specific as possible as this will help you get the most relevant matches
  • Search for hashtags that relate to your industry, this will allow you to discover similar accounts and content
  • Engage with your competitor’s followers

 

Engage with content before and after you post your content

Within the first hour of posting your content, you want to get as much engagement as possible. When you get a lot of engagement the algorithm on Instagram will acknowledge your post as appealing to your followers meaning that your post will appear higher up in more of your follower’s pages. By engaging with other content before posting your own this will increase the amount of engagement that you will get, this will increase the number of people visiting your page, liking the most recent post which increases the awareness of your page.

 

HashtagsMalaga Calle Larios Malaga

Using long-tail hashtags on your posts will reflect the context of your post as these are specific and detailed. For example, you post a picture of a place you have travelled to, you can use the hashtag #malaga which has 5.4 million posts or you can use the hashtag #callelariosmalaga which has over 1,000 posts. The long-tail has fewer post associated with it which means that you have a better chance of your content being discovered or being commented on. New posts will be getting added to the Malaga hashtag every minute meaning that your post will be pushed down the page quickly. Post are being added to the #callelariosmalaga hashtag less regularly meaning that your content is more likely to stay near the top of the page.

 

Captions

Posts that have captions create more engagement and encourage followers to spend more time looking at your posts. A good caption will give your post context, engage your audience and show personality. Make your Instagram caption more effective and engaging, include a call to action. You can do this by asking a question or encourage your followers to tag a friend.

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Post more pictures of people 

According to Sprout Social, posts that have people in them get 38% more likes than those without! You can do this by sharing a post of the team you work with, photos of your customers with your product or photos of the people your brand serves. Sharing photos of people will help to humanise your brand, connect with your audience and boost your engagement.

 

Reply to comments

Replying to comments is very important as this helps to push your content to the top of your audiences pages. As more people comment, Instagram sees your post as an interesting piece of content that will be interesting to other people too. Reply to comments straight away making sure to be friendly.

 

Best time to post Instagram Global Engagement

You can find out when the best time to post is by using Instagram insights and testing which post time works the best for your engagement levels. You can also use different social media tools such as Iconosquare which will calculate everything for you and show you the times you should be posting.

Stories 

Stories are a great way to boost your engagement, there are loads of things you can do to keep your audience interested. You can use Instagram stories to draw attention to new content which will boost your engagement, ensure that you encourage your followers to go to your page to find out more.

 

Don’t forget to check out our other latest blog posts on our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we could help your business run smoother!
You can reach us on 0333 444 5353 or email [email protected]

 

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How to increase your engagement on Facebook

If you have a Facebook page for your business but you’re struggling to get engagement on your posts, this blog will help you with some simple but effective tips.

The algorithm changes all the time meaning its hard to stay ahead, here at 7 tips to help you increase your engagement on Facebook.

 

Post times                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Facebook Global Engagement
The more engagement a post receives on Facebook, Facebook’s algorithm is more likely to reward it with reach. This shows the importance of timing your Facebook posts. Posting when your followers are most active you are increasing the chances of your posts receiving likes and comments. Below is a chart that will help you understand what times are best. It is recommended that you use a Facebook scheduling tool or Hootsuite to plan your social media days or weeks in advance.



 

Facebook pageYour most popular posts

Sometimes it is beneficial to have a look over your previous posts to see what was popular with your audience. Looking at your Facebook analytics can help you see this as this will show you what is receiving the most reach, your audience’s activity is key to understand what you post.

 

 

Visual posts

Visual content is important on Facebook, photos take up the majority of content posted to Facebook, which shows people would prefer to engage with a visual post than a link or paragraph. The types of images you post also make a big difference, companies should show the personality behind their business.

 

Comments and replies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Facebook comment 

If someone takes the time to comment on our content, you should return the favour and send them a reply. Audiences want to interact with brands, taking the time to reply to comments shows that you’re listening to them. This encourages more interactions in the future and boosts engagement.

 

Facebook videoVideo content

The recent algorithm update to Facebook shows how well native video performs, some companies post videos to drive discussion among their audience. Companies should upload directly to Facebook, this could be animations, adverts or even going live on Facebook.

 

 

Shorter posts

Make sure to keep your posts as brief as possible, long posts create more opportunities for readers to lose interest and continue scrolling. Some examples of short posts include quick questions to your audience, quotes or stats from an article that would interest your audience to click to read more, short statements followed by a picture. A sentence is all you need to grab someones attention and guide them to click through and interactions on Facebook doesn’t have to be complicated.

Biggest advocates

Lower organic reach means that companies will most likely have to spend more money on Facebook Ads to get their content in front of their target audience. Instead of relying on your companies page to share your content, you can ask your employees. Bambu allows employees to create content and share it to their personal Facebook page, people are 16x more likely to read a post from a friend than from a company

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Is your data safe in the Cloud?

The cloud allows companies to store their data in third-party data centres through a cloud provider. This is becoming increasingly popular each year, however, people are still asking is their data is safe in the cloud?

Many people are apprehensive that cloud computing is less secure than conventional methods of storing data. The main reason for this is since organisations data is stored on servers and systems that they do not own or control. However, cloud computing offers organisations an array of security choices to ensure your data is encrypted and safely stored.

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Cloud storage providers share the responsibility for cloud storage security and implement standard protection for their platforms and the data that they process including authentication, access control and encryption. This is the basic security measures they have in place, most providers offer added security measures to strengthen cloud data protection and reinforce access to sensitive information in the cloud.

To access any files you require an encryption key, without this key files look like random letters and numbers. This key can be stored by the service itself, or by individual users.

The server usually stores at least three copies of each piece of data, in different places meaning it is hard for them to get lost in the cloud. You need to have all three copies disappear at the same time to lose any data, and if this happens, which is unlikely, data can be recovered in a couple of days.

 

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Benefits

The cloud is flexible meaning that clients can scale the service to suit their needs, customise apps and can access cloud services from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

The cloud is also efficient as clients can get applications to market quickly, without thinking about infrastructure costs or maintenance.

The cloud also provides clients with a competitive advantage as they provide users with the most innovative technology that is currently available.

Users of the cloud can choose public, private or hybrid storage options which varies on security needs and other considerations.

If there ever is a hardware failure this does not mean that there will be data loss as with the cloud there are networked backups.

Don’t forget to check out our other latest blog posts on our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we could help your business run smoother!

You can reach us on 0333 444 5353 or email [email protected]

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Hacker Halloween

Monsters may be out of your age range, however, technology can be a scary place, it’s always connected and open for hackers, malware and viruses. Halloween is the scariest time of the year with ghosts, monsters and demons, however, is the horrors found in technology more terrifying?

New devices are being created each year to make your everyday lives smarter and more efficient but it is up to you to ensure your devices are secure. This involves any device that is connected to the internet such as televisions, gaming consoles, home router, Google Home, Alexa, security cameras, baby monitors, smart locks and even smart thermostats, these can all make your home vulnerable.

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These devices are known as the Internet of Things devices or IoT for short, IoT devices have provided cybercriminals with new ways of gaining access to devices and the reason why these devices are targeted is because they have little or no security.

Heres how to keep your devices safe not just on Halloween but all year round.

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How to become secure 

Equip your home router with strong passwords as this is the key element in connecting all of your devices and make them operable.

Rename your router, don’t keep the name that it comes with as this may distinguish the make or model. Give your router an unusual name that doesn’t relate to you or your address, as you don’t want to give away any personal information.

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Set up a guest network that visitors or friends and relatives can use and doesn’t link with your IoT devices.

Change any default username and passwords that come with your devices as some hackers may already know the default passwords for some IoT devices which makes it easier to access them.

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Also, use strong passwords and avoid the common words, use more complex passwords which you can do by mixing up letters, numbers and symbols. You may want to consider a password manager.

Keep software up to date, if you get notified of a software update don’t ignore it. These updates could include security patches, make sure that you are downloading the updates to ensure that you are secure.

Two-factor authentication, you can receive one time codes that get sent to your phone as well as entering a password which helps you become more secure if this is offered it is beneficial to use it.

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Can it be stopped?

It is very unlikely as hackers find new ways each day, you can stay one step ahead of hackers by following the steps provided above.

Don’t forget to check out our other latest blog posts on our website and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you think we could help your business run smoother!
You can reach us on 0333 444 5353 or email [email protected]

 

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Benefits of Cloud Computing

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What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the distribution of a service which is hosted over the internet and can be divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

This can include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence which are completed over the internet providing innovation, flexibility and scalability.

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Top benefits of cloud computing

Cost

Relocating to cloud computing may lower the cost of running and maintaining your IT systems. You can reduce costs by using the resources of cloud computing such as Cloud53’s Cloud Desktop service – this removes the expense of purchasing expensive server equipment and software as well as setting up and running data centres or computer rooms on-site. More ways costs can be reduced involve the cost of upgrading systems, hardware and software may be included in your contract, energy intake costs may be reduced, there are fewer time delays and you do not need to pay for experts managing the infrastructure as it is all included in a monthly cost usually in a ‘pay as you grow’ model which allows for flexibility and scalability whilst delivering a clear monthly cost.


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Speed

Cloud computing services are usually provided as a self-service and are on-demand meaning that a large amount of computing resources can be supplied within minutes. Businesses can also get applications to market swiftly, without thinking about capital costs or technical delivery or maintenance. Cloud computing services usually run on a global network of secure data centres and these data centres are updated and maintained regularly to ensure fast and efficient computing hardware. For example, Cloud53’s datacentres are situated on the Internet backbone of the UK providing blazing speeds for clients.

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Productivity

Cloud computing also allows for a business to be more productive as it delivers the ability to access any data from any location, worldwide. This allows businesses to offer employees the ability to work from home with exactly the same resources as they would have in the office. This saves staff commuting to and from the office which results in the employees being more productive. Similarly, the “office” is never closed – you are free to work from wherever, whenever. Giving staff freedom to manage their own workload.
Cloud computing also removes the need to deal with hardware. Whether it be setup time and costs, server racking and stacking, hardware set-up, software patching and other IT tasks that can be time-consuming. This allows for more time satisfying customers, achieving goals and concentrating on the business.

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Security

Many cloud service suppliers offer a wide range of policies, technologies and controls that reinforce your security overall which helps protect data, apps and infrastructure from potential threats. 94% of business saw an improvement in security after switching to the cloud found a survey conducted by RapidScale.

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Reliability

Cloud computing makes it easier for business continuity, disaster recovery and data backup, as well as making it less expensive as data can be mirrored at multiple sites on the cloud providers network. This avoids human error as all documents are stored in one place and in a single format meaning consistency in data can be maintained and this provides you with a clear record of any revisions or updates.

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Scalability

Another benefit of cloud computing involves the ability to scale up or scale down your operation and storage requirements quickly providing businesses with flexibility. It is for this reason that Cloud computing is often referred to as elastic computing.
Using the cloud will free up your time allowing you to concentrate on growing and running your business.

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