3 Tips for Keeping Your Smartphone Secure

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Your smartphone may be a small device, but it is a powerful piece of technology that you can use at your disposal to access the Internet, make important phone calls, and a litany of other things to increase your productivity. However, if you are not careful, your information and other pertinent features can be compromised by would-be criminals. Smartphone security is so very important, but not many know how to adequately make sure their phones are secure. Here are the best ways to go about properly securing your phone.

Make your PIN strong

Your smartphone’s PIN number is the first line of defense for security. If you are able to properly make a PIN that no criminal would be able to guess, you can protect your smartphone from infiltration. You have to make sure that your PIN isn’t short or predictable. Avoid making this number a date of graduation or a date of birth. The general rule of thumb is to make a PIN that is at least six digits in length. There are also smartphones that have multi-faceted security checkpoints such as facial ID and touch ID, so take advantage of those as well. The harder it is to unlock your smartphone, the more secure it’s going to be.

Avoid Third Party Stores

While you may have heard the temptation to download apps from third-party stores that are not a part of your smartphone’s main software, this could potentially lead to malware or other viruses being downloaded onto your phone because it is considered foreign material. This issue bodes especially true for iPhones, because the possibility exists to “jailbreak” it, causing it to be exposed to a many more harmful viruses that wouldn’t otherwise have access to it. Stick to your main party’s app store and platform, and do not run the risk of third party apps.

Permissions

By knowing how your phone’s permission system works, you can limit how much data a certain app can collect from your person and who can access it. These limitations can be extremely important, because sometimes the app will request permission to access complementary features on your phone such as the camera and microphone, and that can be used to collect data without your consent, even when you aren’t using the app. Go to your “Settings and permissions” tab to undo anything you do not want to subscribe to.

Follow some of these tips, and increase your smartphone secure today. Avoid having your private information stolen.

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5 Reasons You Need Great Online Customer Service

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Maintaining a quality customer service department is more important than ever before, now that the internet has created greater transparency. There are many reasons your business should focus on providing excellent customer service, but they can generally be factored down into these five areas.

Good customer service builds loyalty

When your company offers good customer service, it builds trust and confidence in the consumer. If they know their concerns are important and will be addressed, they’re likely to return to your business when they need more products that you offer. Most consumers would prefer to stay with a business that has a proven track record of offering quality customer service, rather than take a chance with an unfamiliar company.

Low prices cannot compete

If you still doubt the importance consumers place on customer service, take a look at any recent consumer survey. The majority of consumers will pay more for a product, if they know the company selling it will back-up the purchase with efficient and courteous customer service. Too often, consumers opt for a lower price and end up with a bad product that the company will not handle properly when customer service is contacted. Conversely, a low price won’t attract customers, if they think the customer service department will be difficult if there’s any issues with the product.

It’s a powerful marketing tool

While most people think about customer service as a means of addressing customer complaints, it can be a useful marketing tool as well. Consumers satisfied with the quality of service tell others about their experiences, which helps build a positive reputation for your brand. The happier you can make your clients with customer service, the more likely they are to refer others to you.

Reduce conflict

You will never satisfy every single customer all the time, but how you handle complaints can be as important as the buying experience. When customers feel confident that you will attempt to resolve their problems, they’ll be more willing to return to your business.

Opportunity to connect

Today’s consumers expect a higher level of customization from their favorite brands and they like to feel as though they matter. Creating a quality customer service department, which is capable of addressing each individual concern, goes a long way toward achieving that goal. It’s a way to ensure that every customer can be satisfied and that they return to your company for their future needs.

Creating a quality customer service department may require a process of trial and error, but the effort will be worth it. Your brand’s willingness to put the customer first and address concerns to the best of your ability earns you consumer respect and engenders confidence in your business.

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4 Tips for Keeping Your Smart Home Secure

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The number of smart devices in the average home is growing at an incredible rate, but while these devices make life more convenient, they can also make your home more vulnerable to hackers who manage to make their way onto your network. If you want the best that smart technology has to offer, consider these four tips to keeping your smart home safe and secure.

Keep your gadgets updated

Unlike a computer that updates Windows automatically as long as it is connected to a Wi-Fi network, the software on most of your devices needs to be updated manually. This task might sound like a big hassle, but it helps keep everything more secure and prevent data breaches. Look at the manuals of your devices if you’re not sure how to install new updates.

Disconnect from the internet

Not all of the smart devices need to be connected to the internet to work, but they often are connected as part of their default setting. As a rule, keep everything that doesn’t require an internet connection offline whenever you can. If something does need to be connected to the internet, check to make sure that you have all the necessary privacy settings in place before doing so.

Buy good quality devices

Buying the most expensive and reputable brands on the market won’t guarantee safety for your home, but it is far better than paying for cheaper off-brand devices that could completely lack security measures. Brands such as Samsung and LG will be quicker to release updates and take care of any vulnerabilities in their devices, so don’t hesitate to spend more on your smart home, in the beginning, to set up a secure network.

Check your router

If there is just one security vulnerability in your smart home, it’s probably in your wireless router. Your router is the gateway to all of your smart devices, so make sure it’s locked down as tightly as possible. Use a secured Wi-Fi network with a strong password, and make sure that you keep it updated with the latest firmware.

As you can see, keeping your smart home secure is relatively simple. All of these tips are easy to follow, and most of them should be common sense in this day and age, but they do require your due diligence. It may be nice to have an automated smart home, but don’t think that it doesn’t require at least a little bit of work if you want it to stay safe.

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3 Pieces of Tech for Your Home

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If you’ve always wanted a futuristic home full of automated controls and robotic features, the future is now. Smart homes are becoming easier to attain and there are plenty of options on the market. Once you upgrade your house, you’ll realize how much more efficient it is to utilize smart technology in your home. It’s also not something you have to do all at once; you can take your time in purchasing smart devices and gradually getting used to them. Converting your home into a digitally automated dream house will be easy and satisfying with these three pieces of smart tech.

Lifx Mini Wi-Fi Smart Bulb

Regular light bulbs are boring. They emit one shade of light and must be controlled manually. Additionally, unless they’re LED, they consume an excessive amount of energy. If you want to try something different and modern, purchase a Lifx Mini light bulb. They fit into any standard size light socket, whether it’s in a light fixture on the wall or a lamp. They can also emit 16 million different colors that are controllable via an application on your smartphone. The Lifx Mini is a smart bulb which means that its various other functions are also controlled digitally. It can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and is fully capable of being integrated into your other smart home devices.

Amazon Echo

The ultimate device for home automation, the Amazon Echo appears to be a simple speaker system at first glance. While this role is one of its most obvious functions, it can do so much more than simply play music. The Amazon Echo connects with Amazon’s smart network, known as Alexa. You can provide Amazon Echo with vocal commands to do internet searches, provide you with sports lineups, answer your questions, give you weather forecasts and updates, control your Amazon Fire TV, and connect to your other compatible automated home devices that control your lights, security system, garage doors, fans, and thermostat. Amazon Echo truly puts every aspect of your home within your reach with simple voice commands.

Nest Hello

You don’t have to wonder who’s ringing your doorbell with the Nest Hello smart doorbell device. This small electronic device is installed as a doorbell button on the front of your home. It possesses a high definition camera and provides you with 24/7 streaming. This streaming can be accessed anytime and anywhere using your smartphone so you can keep an eye on the front of your home remotely. You will have a 160° field of vision from the camera which allows you to see visitors and any packages that may be scheduled to arrive when you aren’t home.

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How Safe are Self-Driving Cars?

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Earlier this year in late March, an Uber controlled by autopilot in Tempe, Arizona, struck and killed a pedestrian who quite literally darted out into the road directly in front of the autonomous vehicle.

The vehicle didn’t have enough time to react to the now-deceased pedestrian; there was a professional Uber driver who was sitting in the driver’s seat, behind the wheel – and she was devoting her entire attention to what was on the road that night.

While this event is tragic, it does not mean that self-driving cars are inherently unsafe. After the unfortunate death, many people questioned whether we should continue pursuing self-driving technology and allow these cars on the streets. However, there is plenty of research that shows self-driving cars are quite safe and can actually decrease the amount of risk associated with driving when compared to human drivers.

Let’s be fair – think about this for a moment

Autonomous cars are slowly being developed, tweaked, and manufactured as we speak. Every day, scientists are running tests and developing new technology to use in self-driving cars in an effort to make these cars as safe and accurate as possible. Thus far, no federal or state government in the United States allows people to ride in fully-autonomous motor vehicles. We’re still taking steps to ensure the safety of all people where self-driving cars are concerned.

Although the technology unarguably exists right now, intellectual property related to self-driving cars won’t be released anytime soon. This information is guarded and only partly shared with test drivers and companies who want to share the technology with interested business parties who helped contribute to the robotic technology.

We can assume that there aren’t any autonomously-operating cars out there just driving around putting humans at risk. Even if the cars were dangerous, it’s not a current concern. Companies are taking steps every day to ensure that the cars will be as safe as possible once they are released for business and commercial use. Businesses and governments will not allow self-driving cars on the roads if they haven’t completely proved their safety.

Official statistics from the United States National Transportation Safety Board, the go-to government agency for transportation in the United States, show that about 95 percent of all car crashes result from human error.  That statistic should say it all; self-driving cars are as safe as they get.

When dangerous car crashes do occur, almost always it’s because of a mistake humans made, whether that’s not paying attention to the road, driving in an altered mental state, or moving themselves or their vehicle in front of another vehicle without considering how quickly the other car can stop.

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3 Reasons You Need to Develop a Personal Brand

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Regardless of your career interests, personal branding is vital to success. It has become such an essential part of society that even high school students are working on building their personal brands. No matter what path your career takes, having a personal brand helps you stand out to potential employers. If you’re still not convinced that building your brand will influence your career, look at what building a personal brand does for you.

Branding and success are interrelated

When you build your personal brand, you’re setting yourself up as an authority in a particular area of interest. This identification encourages others who share those interests to turn to you for insight, inspiration, and focus. Eventually, this authority prompts others in the same industry to think of you, when new opportunities arise. By building your personal brand, you’re stepping into a leadership role that opens doors.

You’ll embrace growth and progress

Once you establish your personal brand, your followers will expect a certain level of quality from you. Yet, that won’t compare to the expectations you’ll set for yourself. You’ll strive to improve and grow, finding that your past standards just aren’t good enough any longer. This drive to evolve helps you succeed in your career.

Branding sets you apart

Everyone in your career field has the same education, similar expertise, and comparable work experiences. Simply put, your career doesn’t make you special. However, when you begin a campaign of personal branding, you have an opportunity to set yourself apart from the rest. This is your chance to showcase your hidden talents, share your unique insights, and display what makes you the best choice in your field. It won’t be easy, but if you can exceed expectations, you’ll make a mark that helps launch you on the career fast track.

Personal branding is a way to market yourself and, thanks in part to social media, it can be done at no cost at all. How you present yourself says something about who you are as a professional and, no matter what your career field, people will come to know you as a trusted voice. While this means you can drive more customers and clients to utilize your expertise, it also means more career opportunities will be presented to you. Overall, building your personal brand will help you succeed and will help you grow as a respected authority in your chosen field.

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3 Benefits of Having a Blog, No Matter Your Industry

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Every business needs content marketing; it provides endless benefits. Therefore, every business needs a blog. Simply put, blogs give companies and their brands, regardless of their industry, a way to publish original content that engages audiences and provides the public with useful information. Additionally, companies can enjoy the following benefits of blogging, regardless of their industry.

Expanded reach

Blogging can extend the appeal of a brand to new audiences and market segments. This benefit can happen in more than one way. For example, firms can expand the number of topics addressed by their blog. As a result, more people will find the valuable information they need and, ultimately convert into leads and customers for the business.

By formatting content in different ways, companies can also reach more people. For instance, a brand could produce videos that appeals to their audience members who would rather not read blog posts. Similarly, businesses can publish infographics and interactive blog content that connects with entirely different sets of website visitors.

Public relations

Many businesses practically omit public relations from their operational strategy. However, simply by promoting corporate news, business owners and managers can increase their appeal to media outlets and community leaders. In short, a blog can serve as a do-it-yourself public relations platform and possibly attract third parties who might lead to free advertising opportunities.

In addition to announcing company news, firms can use blogging to introduce new products and services. Also, they can use their blog to introduce team members and give the world a behind-the-scenes look at their internal operations. Of course, businesses can also use their blog to promote events. Letting customers and clients get an inside look at the business’s operations helps the company seem more personable and connects with clients.

Competitive edge

Not every business uses blogging as part of their strategy. For this reason alone, companies can achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In other words, they can easily get found by prospective customers via search engines while competing firms are difficult to find. Still, the benefits of blogging extend beyond search results.

In addition to added visibility for their brand, businesses can use blogging to establish their authority in their industry and the marketplace. As long as companies blog to address real-world problems and provide answers and solutions, they can build a loyal following. As time passes, shoppers will begin recognizing that brand as their go-to source for authoritative information.

In summary, blogging can supply businesses with many benefits, including those mentioned above. Ultimately, blogging provides valuable tools that companies in any industry can use to fuel growth.

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