Author: Ivan Widjaya

ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning usually entails a cloud-based modular software solution which integrates the financial aspect of the business and also adds closely woven app modules which address several other areas of a business including CRM, logistics, BI, MRP, POS, project management and fixed asset management. Actually, ERP is a systemic approach to handling your entire company and not only the finances. When all such modules are unified into a cohesive whole, users may gain new insight into creating processes by using separate tools.

ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning

Here are few of the best cloud ERP solutions that are available in the market.

#1: SAP Business One

SAP Business One application is an exclusive ERP solution which lets you manage your business operations from customer relationship to sales to financials. This is designed particularly for small business firms and it lets businesses to coordinate processes, perform tasks in a timely manner and improve profitability growth. SAP Business One lets you stay perfect and offers a unified picture of your company. You can get all updated information about your business with the help of this software.

#2: Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of adaptable, integrated business management solutions which permit your employees to make vital decisions regarding your business with better confidence. Microsoft Dynamic works with software-easing adoption from Microsoft and reduces risks which are inherent with implementing a vital solution. Such solutions streamline and automate customer relationship, financial and supply chain in a way which pushes your business towards achieving success.

#3: pbe3

Experts suggest that pbe3 is among the best ERP software available in the market and if you don’t know what it is, here you go. Pbe3 is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning solution which isn’t like any other that is mentioned above.

PBE3 ERP screenshot

It was created by its creator keeping in mind small and medium sized businesses. As the business hub for your organization, this will definitely be the go-to source of detail for all individuals at different levels of the company as the security settings based on different roles will let you control who is supposed to see which information. Hence, it enhances the security level of a business to some extent.

From sales and lead generation to all the way through processing and invoicing payments, you can accomplish everything in a single place. This won’t make you wander around for information.

#4: Priority Software

Priority Software is one of those single integrated software for enterprise resource management and planning for medium, small and bigger companies. This cloud-based ERP software named Priority business management software has different modules which provide solutions for the operational needs of all types of organization’s ERP. The target solutions for commercial businesses through a broad spectrum of industries make ERP cost-effective than complex. They are also deemed to be cumbersome business alternatives.

#5: OneSoft Connect

This software lets you manage anything and OneSoft matches your business like LEGO! Simplify your commercial life and manage majority of the regular issues from a specific kind of environment. With this you can put an end to spreadsheets, messy documents or apps and you can instead manage tasks, tackle activities with customers, assets, opportunities, contracts and others. You won’t be drowned in documents when you use the software.

Therefore, when you wish to implement enterprise resource planning software to your company, you can definitely use any of the above mentioned ERP software programs listed above.

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Collaboration is one of the most important factors to trade and corporate growth. Regardless of industry, managers are always looking for ways to bring their staff together to share ideas and relay vital information. The workplace meeting is the traditional avenue for this, but what can employers do when their employees are stationed in multiple, remote locations?

Cloud video conferencing

A great solution is the cloud-based video conference. Investopedia explains video conferencing as a platform allowing face-to-face communication between two or more parties without having to unite these parties in a single location. This is a boon for business, because it allows meetings to take place without the cost of travel or time lost from regular workday routine and duties.

Innumerable businesses now utilize online services for communication. According to Open PR, the forecast for continuing growth in the audiovisual communications market is strong through 2025. This has everything to do with the level of availability and accessibility of audio and video technology, as well as the fact that cloud-based telecommunication enables people to stay in touch despite time zones, distance and other factors that might otherwise limit trade and conversation.

Selecting the Right Service

It’s easy to see that digital telecommunications are useful to today’s corporations and small start-ups alike, but the best choices in tools and technology will vary for each. Selecting the right kinds of software and service for your company’s audiovisual needs is part of preparing for successful remote meetings. Having these programs in place and established with participants prior to engaging in the event takes much of the potential stress out of the equation.

For this to happen, will the facilities that host gatherings need to acquire new technological components? Will training be required by employees? Will the current network support the streaming or real-time content, and will the devices currently being used by the staff be able to handle the task? Should the system resides in your company’s cloud or out in the public? These are all things that should be considered when determining a company’s prerequisites for employing a hosting service. Information Age offers some suggestions as to how to figure out other important factors, such as typical usage, how much support might be required to implement a new system and whether the best decision is hard-drive or cloud storage for related information.

Knowing your company’s conference style and requirements can help in deciding between the many varieties of streaming video services. Regardless of what components of the digital conference are most important to your team, there is a program that is best suited to deliver them. Communications companies such as BlueJeans assist modern corporate entities with finding the business video conferencing solutions that fit their needs.

Cloud conferencing

The Real Benefits of Real-Time

The reasons for choosing a real-time audiovisual service or program for conducting business are wide and varied. The Houston Chronicle offers readers a list of excellent motives for hosting and attending conferences, whether they are in person or in real-time via audiovisual means. Some of the reasons they tout the advantages of calls and virtual meet-ups in particular include:

  • The obvious benefit of participation in these sessions, which is the savings involved. Time is saved and money along with other resources is conserved simply by electing to host gatherings over the internet rather than in person.
  • More interested participants. When members of the team can see their presenter and interact directly with one another, they are more likely to pay attention, more likely to be mentally present and retain information, and more likely to contribute to the discussion. This makes forums more productive and keeps employees more informed about what’s happening at work.
  • More immediate results. When a staff or management group can discuss issues in real time, decisions can be made more quickly and with greater confidence. This enables business to move along at a better clip and keeps output high and efficient.
  • Easy to tailor to differing needs. Whether two people or an entire team need to collaborate, video conferencing is an ideal solution. Most programs allow users to add multiple remote parties at any point during the stream, and support a wide range of numbers of participants.
  • Easier and more enjoyable sessions for participants. When people can communicate clearly with sight and sound, it’s easier to add humor, accompaniment like music and more to presentations. This makes the experience more pleasant for everyone involved, and allows participants to relax and focus on learning rather than keeping themselves mentally present.

Ultimately, the biggest reason for bringing live audiovisual platforms into the workplace is the same as the perk that convinces many people to use it in their daily lives. It’s a fast, convenient and fun way to converse, and that is never more welcome than in the workplace. The day’s technology certainly has a place in the modern office, and can help bring people together for industry regardless of location – a real asset to business in the twenty-first century.

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How many of you want to cry after hearing about the recent WannaCry ransomware attack? As so many before it, WannaCry infects and propagates via a Window’s exploit; in this case a Window’s SMB network protocol.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, FedEx, Germany’s railway company Deutch Bahn, and many other businesses had their file systems hijacked, followed by a pop-up demand for sums ranging from $300 – 600 dollars in untraceable Bitcoin currency to unlock each infected file.

Ransomware

While most who have updated their systems since can rest easy that WannaCry can no longer hurt them, the entire issue has highlighted the need for businesses of all sizes to take their business’s cybersecurity prevention into their own hands.

Just because WannaCry isn’t a threat any longer doesn’t mean its little brother, GoldenEye, won’t learn from its software sibling’s mistakes!

There are a number of consequences facing businesses of all sizes due to such attacks:

  • Downtime – all the time it costs to you and your clients.
  • Reduced trust levels from customers after the fallout.
  • Decreases in staff morale following the attack.
  • Costs to eliminate and recover from threats.
  • Lost marketshare due to stolen data being used against you and/or customers leaving after their data is breached.

This is the short list. One thing is for sure, it’s impossible to predict the costs of any threat until the damage is assessed. Businesses can’t be reactionary with their cybersecurity; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Cybersecurity training – a must do

All who work in your company need to be aware of things hackers do to infiltrate your business’s data, and what they can do to help prevent it. It isn’t enough anymore just to have a competent IT department protecting your company – everyone needs to know and understand how to protect the company’s data against tech-related threats.

That’s why Cyber Security Training is a must at all levels.

Cloud security

Top 3 Benefits of Cybersecurity Training:

1. Empowered staff, better culture.

Pretty much 99% of the time, employees have no idea how important their daily actions are at maintaining the integrity of company and client data. They click “trusted” links in their email and while browsing the Internet, and have no idea if malware is being injected into the system by an unscrupulous hacker (those with scruples work for the good guys!)

By empowering staff with cybersecurity training, they’ll gain more awareness as to their role in data security and will also hold their coworkers responsible for their role in protecting valuable data.

2. Competitive advantage.

After online cheat-on-your-spouse dating site, Ashley Madison was breached, the site was just never the same for former customers. This brand and many others, just can’t recover after a serious costly and embarrassing data breach occurs. It’s likely that yours won’t either, unless you take affirmative action now to prevent attacks from happening in the first place.

In the case of the once massive online dating giant, their forum could no longer promise married promiscuity without the threat of being caught – customers couldn’t trust them anymore. Not to mentioned an inquiry into the matter showed that up to 95% of the female profiles on the site were, in fact, fake!

Once a breach affects your customers, they’ll move on and find a company that hasn’t suffered a threat, and who has the proper cybersecurity protocols in place to protect their information.

3. Improved data security.

Obvious, I know. But, increased data security is the biggest benefit to empowering you and your staff with cybersecurity training. Ignorance of threats and their consequences is no longer an excuse with malware and ransomware threats like Petya, WannaCry and the latest hack, “GoldenEye,” high-jacking big data all over the world.

Takeaway

Data security is up to you. You can’t rely on the NSA and Microsoft to protect you all the time – certainly not to help recover and secure your stolen data after the fact!

Considering we live in the data driven age, and that data is among the most important aspect of modern business, any business with a smartphone and a computer needs to be trained in threat avoidance and detection.

There are many ways to get such training. The B.S. in Information Technology program offered by King University is one of ways to equip you with a much-needed IT foundation to build your expertise upon.

Knowledge is power. Are you ready to get empowered?

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Content marketing is the combination of the content on a website, a blog, and posts on other websites used for backlinking purposes. It’s also often called inbound marketing, and it involves Search Engine Optimization, keywords, and many more technical factors.

Cloud Computing has turned this into a worldwide industry. Many content marketing companies operate with remote workers around the world, and cloud computing helps them do business this way.

Cloud content

Online Tools

There are several online tools that let content marketers analyze sites, manage projects, and keep track of their work for a particular client. These tools include:

  • Domain name search tools, used to find what domain names are available when creating a site from scratch.
  • Tools like MOZ, SEMRush, and Google Analytics that provide deep website analytics about traffic and performance.
  • Project management tools that allow them to track the progress of different projects and the completion of tasks.
  • Chat programs like Slack and Google Hangouts that allow teams to keep in touch at a distance.

Through these tools and others, content marketing teams can collaborate and share work from nearly anywhere.

Document Sharing

Thanks to services like Microsoft OneDrive and Google Docs, two people in different parts of the world can be working on the same document at the same time in real time. This makes the creation of content and the editing of work easy for both writers, editors, web developers, and outreach specialists.

A web developer can let a content writer know through comments in real time whether or not the document they are working on will be the right fit for the space on the site, and the content writer can respond with immediate revisions.

Mobile cloud gadget

Payroll, Human Resources, and Timekeeping Programs

When a company has workers globally, they have to use software to keep track of hours worked, perform human resources tasks, and do payroll in different currencies and complying with different regulations.

There are global payroll solutions offered by several companies that allow them to do all of these things whether within one system or using several tools that communicate well with each other. Managers can:

  • Track where and when employees clock in.
  • See what tasks they are working on at any given time.
  • Allow employees access to benefits and other company information.
  • Issue payroll in a timely manner across many time zones and international borders.

This enables even small businesses and startups to take advantage of remote workers and a global workforce.

Content marketing is a growing global industry, and cloud computing makes using remote workforces and global resources a reality.

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Cloud tech can offer businesses so much, but when it comes to maintaining it, there’s an important decision to make: Should you outsource your tech support or maintain an in-house team? Read on to learn more.

Increasingly, businesses are choosing to outsource their IT support services rather than have an in-house tech support team. There are many advantages to taking this path; here are seven of the best ones.

IT support outsourcing
Young handsome business man in black suit practice yoga and relax at network server room while representing stress control concept

Outsourcing IT support can save a lot of money

The average in-house IT support manager has a salary of £35,000 to £40,000, year after year. There’s also the costs of recruiting a new manager, or other team members, as well as the constant training they’ll need to stay agile.

For the smaller business, this salary is too much, but there’s still the risk of problems causing long spells of downtime while untrained staff struggle to resolve problems.

By outsourcing IT support, maybe to a company like Probrand, there’s a fixed monthly payment which is easy to predict and budget.

Your in-house team isn’t present or experienced enough

You don’t need IT help all the time, so even though you rely on your systems to function and be productive, it’s not worth employing a full-time team. However, a part-time team, or just one IT guy, can’t be there all the time and may not be able to cope with a critical problem on his or her own. This means an emergency call-out on top of the salary and this is where it gets expensive.

With an outsourced team, you can call them as much as you need to – there’s no extra charge.

You can give your existing team or techie a back-up

If you only have a small or part-time IT team, using a support service provides you – and them – with back-up. If your sole tech guy is on holiday, or overwhelmed, you can call in the cavalry. You’ll have a large, experienced team ready to come in and help. Plus, you can have your systems monitored to stop problems before they have an impact.

You don’t have to recruit your own staff

Recruiting is expensive. It’s also stressful and if you’re not very IT-savvy yourself you might not have the first idea of what you need to ask for!

If you outsource, all this is done for you and you don’t even have to ask the techs about their hobbies and where they see themselves in five years…

Business cloud management

You can focus on your business

IT problems are a huge sinkhole of time and if they take you away from strategy meetings, trade shows, your accountant and, worst of all, your customers, they can end up costing you a lot of money.

All you and your staff need is a number and you’re good to go.

Outsourcing IT support increases productivity

Asking your staff to be responsible for their own (and colleagues’) IT security might look like a good money saver, but it’s not. There’ll be five or ten minutes here and there sorting out glitches, fiddling with printers, rebooting here, there and everywhere. Being able to call support in to diagnose and fix the irritating little problems saves lots of time day after day, which aids productivity no end.

You’ll have access to all the latest technology and solutions

It’s important for IT support services to stay at the cutting edge of things such as cloud tech, so they do. They constantly train staff and often have partnerships with major technology developers and providers; all of which they bring to you. Your IT support service will also be able to hook you up with other service providers, so if you want to offer remote working, or cut your telecoms spending, you only need to ask.

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There are hundreds of personal finance software solutions available on the market at this moment. From Mint to Personal Capital, cloud-based software can help you keep track of your expenses, income and personal loans.

Personal finance software is a game changer for people who want to take charge of their finances. This is especially true for busy people who find it easier to manage their accounts using a single software solution.

Personal finance cloud software

If you manage your software using a cloud-based system, your primary concern should be security. According to a recent article published by CNBC, approximately 41 million Americans have been the victims of financial theft.

Is Your Cloud-Based Software Secure?

As the incidences of hacking increase throughout the world, people are becoming more vigilant about protecting access to their financial accounts. Unfortunately, there are millions of people who continue to downplay their chances of getting hacked. Take a look at these recent statistics.

  • 42 percent of consumers do not monitor activity on their credit reports.
  • 36 percent of banking customers rely on unsecured Wi-Fi networks to conduct online banking transactions.
  • 25 percent of American consumers use similar account passwords for all of their accounts.

When it comes to protecting the security of your finances, how secure is your cloud-based personal finance software? If you are not sure about your software’s security, it is a great time to get the knowledge you need to protect your finances. Here are a few things you can do to protect your accounts using any personal financial software solution.

1. Research the software before you enroll in the program

One advantage of having access to the internet is you can get real-time information about cloud-based software solutions. Read customer reviews to determine if customers have experienced security problems. There are articles that have been written that can tell you about the pros and cons of the popular types of financial software.

2. Create strong PINS and passwords for your accounts

Use a combination of symbols, letters and numbers for each account. Using the same password might be convenient, but resist the urge to use the same password and PIN for each account. Be sure to change your passwords frequently.

3. Never save your software passwords on your computer

If you are prone to forgetting your passwords, write them on a piece of paper and keep them in a secure place. Hackers use sophisticated malware to gain access to your computer without your knowledge. It is best to protect your password and not leave your security to chance.

4. Log out of your cloud-based personal finance software completely

If you do not log out on a shared computer, another person can have access to your information. Always verify that your session has been terminated.

5. Take precautions when you are using public Wi-Fi connections

Airports, restaurants and hotels offer Wi-Fi connections with reduced security settings. Although this makes it easier for patrons to access the internet, it provides an opportunity for hackers to intercept your financial information.

Conclusion

Your cloud-based personal financial software is only as secure as the actions you take to protect it. Applying these tips will help you increase the security of your personal finance software.

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You’re probably had enough of hearing about big data and its relevance to your business. It’s 2017, if you’re not collecting AND analyzing big data, you’re getting left behind. No, the conversation is no longer about whether or not you should be investing in big data analysis, it’s how.

Let’s talk data storage. The biggest quandary with big data handling is storage. It’s possible that you could be dealing with petabytes of information over the next few years, and at that scale, investment in the right kind of storage is a must. The major battle being fought is between investing in your own servers (on-premise, private cloud,) or ‘renting’ cloud storage space (public cloud.)

Big data cloud

To make it crystal clear, here’s a brief for you: Cloud storage is data storage that’s still on servers. The difference is that it’s remote, meaning it’s accessed via the internet, not internally, and you don’t actually have a physical server to store your data. Other than that, it’s the same old storage you’re used to.

So just how is this simple difference an advantage? Here are the top five reasons to go cloud with your big data storage.

1. Storage Space

Imagine you invest in your own servers, you get a location, get a company in to fit it, hire people to maintain it – what happens when you’ve filled your servers? Easy, you have to get more. With the cloud you don’t get that because let’s just say that it’s someone’s else’s problem. You can reach your limit and simply upgrade to double your storage capacity.

That’s assuming you can afford to set up your own servers in the first place.

Enter cloud storage. The cloud offers an easily expandable storage space – at scale – and you only pay for the resources that you use. Meaning, you only pay more if your big data is getting, well, bigger.

2. Cost

The cost of setting up your own servers is phenomenal. It’s only a really viable option if you’re a large business that requires such a huge amount of storage that the set up cost of company servers is dwarfed by storage rental.

While renting out storage space via the cloud may seem like an exorbitant cost, when you look at how it compares to the alternative, could you afford that amount in one hit? Very doubtful. And set up is not the only cost…

3. Security

Did you know how easy it is to breach your business premise’s security? Things are no better for your cyber security, too.

How much do you pour into your cyber security right now? Imagine having to protect a thousand times more data that might be even more sensitive. There really is a never ending supply of costs that add up when running your own servers.

But again, if you use the cloud, you’re paying a company to take care of security for you. Of course you have to choose a plan that suits the level of protection needed for your data, but you’ll still be saving even if you have to pay a premium.

4. Backups

Imagine, if you will, that you are company working on the development of a new medicine, things are looking good and you’re already being clever about the way you record your findings using your biology ELN. You’ve invested in your technology and even have your own servers to store the data on. You go to look at your finding from the past few months to carry out analysis only to find your servers have crashed. Ouch.

If you’d maybe thought ahead, you’d have backed up your important data on the cloud as well as keeping it on your servers. Because even if you have the budget for your own storage, bad things can happen to good businesses.

When it comes to big data, the cloud is an invaluable asset to your business and the most realistic in terms of cost. So, look after your data and it’ll look after you.

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Are you thinking about starting a cloud based business? If your idea is popular and you have the drive, creating a successful and popular cloud based business is not an impossible challenge. However, there are certain factors you need to consider before you take this step. Below are the main things you need to think about before you start a cloud based system.

Cloud-based startup

Your Skills and Experience

Like any business venture, you need to have certain skills and experience before you decide to start a cloud based company. If you believe you need to improve your technical and business skills, it may be worth your while completing an MBA in information technology or a more business focused online MBA degree. After finishing the appropriate course, you will be in a much better position to enter the business world.

Market Research

The best product in the world won’t sell if there isn’t a demand for it. This is why you need to research your market and find out if there’s a need for the product or service you are thinking about developing and selling. If not, you may need to go back to the drawing board and reconsider your position. This may be deflating for a new entrepreneur, but it could save you a lot of money and trouble in the future.

Raising Finances

Every business needs money to get off the ground. You should find out how much money your intended project will cost and how much it will cost to stay in business until you start generating a profit.

If money is tight, you may need external help. If this is the case, you should consider partnering with another company, so look for investors or even consider crowd funding.

Your Business Model

Different cloud based companies have different business models and you need to choose a model that is the most suitable for the product or service you are providing. Some cloud based companies decide to charge a one-time payment for their products and services, while other organizations use a membership style model where customers pay for a product or service on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Business and Legal Requirements

From the beginning, it’s crucial to understand that you will be running a real business. There is business and legal requirements you should be aware of before you start trading and receiving payments online. In most cases, a new entrepreneur won’t have this knowledge and experience, so you should consult with a legal professional and a financial professional before you move forward.

Delegation

When you start a business, you will probably want to get involved in all aspects of your new business. However, if you have the finances, hire professionals to take care of certain aspects that you may not be an expert in. This will allow you to focus on your strengths and the activities you specialize in.

Starting a cloud based business could be one of the best decisions you ever make. However, you should consider each of the tips above first before you decide to start this type of company.

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Applying for most types of loans used to be a time-consuming process. You had to go in to the lender (usually a bank or credit union), talk to a representative, fill out a loan application, and then wait for a response. If you wanted something faster or your credit wasn’t that great, your only real option was a payday or car title loan.

While many of the loan options are still the same, cloud technology has drastically sped up the process of obtaining a loan. No matter what type of loan you need, you can probably get it faster by starting out online.

Cloud lending
photo credit: Doug Kinnison / Dribbble

Online Applications

The main difference the internet has made in the lending industry is online loan applications. Instead of having to visit the lender in person and fill out a paper application, you can submit all your information on the lender’s website and sometimes even receive a response in just seconds.

Another way cloud technology makes the loan process easier for borrowers is by providing easy access to their credit reports. The law entitles everyone to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies, which are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can now go online to order each of those agencies. There are also a variety of online credit estimate tools that can provide you with an estimate of your credit score. Certain banks even offer this service if you have a credit card account with them. By making it easier for borrowers to access their credit report and credit score, technology has also made it easier for borrowers to understand what their loan options are (since that depends quite a bit on the borrower’s credit score).

Online loan applications are available through most lenders. Considering how many people go on the internet first for everything they need, any lender that doesn’t offer online applications is putting themselves at a disadvantage compared to the competition.

The application process varies for each lender and type of loan. With many online applications, the lender can approve you immediately and then deposit money into your account. Other lenders only offer preapprovals through their applications, and you have to actually visit one of the lender’s locations to complete the application process. This is common with secured loans (loans that have collateral), especially those where the lender need to inspect the collateral first, such as online title loans. The lender can pre approve you based on your application, but you still have to bring your car to them so they can perform a quick inspection.

If the lender only offers preapprovals through its online application, then the application will be shorter and require less information. These pre approval applications often only require a bit of basic personal information, including your name, location, email address, and phone number.

Lenders that allow you to complete the entire loan application process have a much longer application process. You’ll have to enter your personal information and information regarding your financial history, including your current income. The lender will likely run a credit check as part of the application process.

Online lending

Other Online Loan Options

New loan options are also available now thanks to technology, with one of the most prominent and useful being peer to peer lending. These sites have been around since 2005, and they allow you to post an ad requesting a certain amount of money, along with how you plan to use the money. Peer to peer lending sites include your credit score with your ad. Lenders browse through the ads and issue the loans they want as an investment, as they’ll make money when the borrower repays the loan. These sites help streamline the loan process, and if your ad is well-written, you may get a loan from a peer much faster than you would through a financial institution.

There are personal loan websites that don’t require any collateral and can deposit the funds into your bank account the same day that you’re approved. While these websites are among the fastest and most convenient options, make sure you check the interest rate. Often in the lending industry, the loans that are easiest to obtain also have the worst terms and cost you the most in the long run.

Cloud technology has made the loan process faster and more convenient for borrowers. Regardless of the type of loan you need and your financial situation, going online is the best way to start the process.

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If it’s your first time to conduct an interactive web conference, it can feel incredibly intimidating thinking about how you’re going to get the attention of so many people, much less keep it. But it doesn’t have to be such a frightening prospect, especially once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

Businesswoman using video conferencing apps

Let’s discuss what you can do to keep your audience engaged during an online video conference.

Smile and Keep Eye Contact with Your Audience

Even if you aren’t looking at your viewers face-to-face, you’re trying to make it feel like you’re right there with them despite the fact that they’re just watching you on a screen. Though you can’t necessarily look directly into your audience’s eyes due to the nature of interactive online conferences, you can simulate the effect quite easily. All you have to do is to look directly into your web camera’s lens instead of staring at your screen, and you’ll be able to make it look like you’re making eye contact with your viewers, according to Inc.

You may want to record a video of yourself speaking in order to see if you’re looking away from the camera too often. Better yet, call up a friend online so that he or she can tell you on the spot if you’re not looking into the camera enough.

Use Professional Language and Gestures

While there is certainly a niche market for people who have strong and somewhat controversial personalities, the best way to retain your viewers during your online conference is to be as professional as possible. Thus, if you have a habit of cursing regularly, you’re going to have to practice until you get rid of that bad habit.

At the same time, though, you’ll have to master the art of body language. Smile at your viewers a lot, but not so much that you’ll start to make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t cross your arms or turn away from your audience or you’ll make them feel like you don’t want to talk to them at all.

Pick the Right Words to Get Your Point Across

Sure, you may look charming, having mastered body language all while wearing a professional outfit. But if you aren’t saying the right words, your audience still won’t care no matter how hard you try to convince them about your idea. So take some time to sit down and create an outline of what you want to say during your interactive conference. What’s your main idea? What are some things that will support this main idea? What is your expected audience like? What sort of voice or tone do they prefer? Once you’ve gotten this written down, you’ll have a better idea of what vocabulary you should use to make a connection with your viewers.

Remember: you don’t necessarily need to use incredibly complicated words in order to look smart. It’s how you use simple words to translate complex ideas into a way that’s easy to digest that will impress your audience.

Use Visual Aids, Whenever Appropriate

Most systems for cloud-based enterprise video meetings such as BlueJeans now come with a feature that allow you to pull up documents on the fly and present them to your audience. Thus, whenever possible, try displaying a simple but powerful visual image to further prove your point. A recent trend has been transforming information into colorful graphics, resulting in images that are referred to as “infographics.” You could easily make one of your own using a variety of free or reasonably-priced apps out on the market today.

Video conferencing infographic
Video conferencing

If you want to go a little old-school, though, there’s no harm in actually using a real-life whiteboard and writing on it as you go. Just make sure you point your video camera toward it, and that your internet connection and camera quality is high enough that everyone can actually see what you’re writing.

Don’t Forget to Get Your Audience Involved

Don’t just jump straight into the agenda. There’s a reason why you chose to hold an interactive video conference instead of just recording the whole thing, after all. Make sure that you give your viewers the opportunity to ask questions about your discussion whenever possible. You might even want to schedule a few minutes after your talk as an official Q&A session, letting everybody know in advance so they can prepare their questions as you speak. Even better, you can encourage them to prepare their questions before the meeting even begins, according to Inc. You can go even further by inviting a guest speaker to your online event and interviewing him or her. Better yet, why not include your guest speaker in your Q&A session, too?

If you follow this guide, you’ll be sure to keep them hooked from start to finish. But don’t cram all of that hard work on the night before the presentation yourself. Success comes from being well prepared, so start looking into all of these weeks ahead of schedule. You and your viewers will be glad you did.

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Email has continued to be one of the most vital tools we have in our online communications and business interactions. They serve us daily and are most often free to use. There must be thousands of email service providers out there, but of course not all of them are cut of the same cloth, that is to say, quality of service is varied.

Gmail hacked

Gmail email provider is by far one of the most popular and trusted of all the cloud-based email providers out there today. It is used by millions of people, worldwide, and has an excellent safety rating, uptime and high quality of service in general.

But as always scammers and hackers aren’t far behind the latest technology. They quite ingeniously find new ways to bypass the newest barriers set by tech giants such as Gmail.

So what do you know when you realise that your Gmail has been hacked?

Asides from panic, you need to maintain some sort of composure and take control of the situation before things get out of hand.

Your personal information and even reputation may be at stake, depending on what the hackers have in mind with your account. Knowing that you have sent hundreds, maybe even thousands of emails through your now hacked Gmail account, means that you have enough reason to worry.

Step #1: Claim back your account!

First off, if the hackers have changed your password, you must claim back full access to your account. Change your password to something more difficult to access and if need be, keep a note of your password somewhere safe in your desk or better still, in your wallet.

Step #2: Report to Gmail

The next thing you need to do is report the hacking incident to Gmail. Whoever logged probably already deleted the alert notice that your account has been logged in from a new browser/device. So you might not have further proof to offer in your report. However, email providers take hacking attacks very seriously and will aim to resolve the problem as soon as possible. After all, all that they have is their reputation, and they will want to maintain a high level of trust.

Step #3: Check the collateral damage

After you have reported that your Gmail account was hacked, you should check your sent items very carefully, there will likely be emails sent by the hacker to your contact lists. Quickly delete these emails and check your contact lists for new emails that you didn’t add or that look suspicious. Make note of these email addresses and then delete them from your contacts.

Step #4: Clarify what happens

The last step should be the dreaded mass email to all contacts. Here you should BCC (Blind carbon copy) everyone on your contact list and inform them that your Gmail account was hacked. More often than not, there is at least a couple of contacts who click on the links sent by the hackers, and spread the malware even further. They should be warned that they have possibly been sent malware from the hackers, and that they should check their mobile devices and PCS for any threats.

Good news?

Once you have performed these steps to control the damage done to your hacked Gmail account, you should have full control of your account once more. Something worth noting is, that many of us keep personal information in our emails, thinking that our accounts are safe. If you happened to send or save any financial information in your email, such as, credit card numbers, bank accounts, social security, passport numbers etc, you should report this immediately to the authorities.

Call your bank and ask them to freeze your card from any purchases until further notice; or better yet, have it cancelled. This might seem stressful and an unnecessary precaution, but the fact is that if your Gmail has been hacked, then you must take every step to protect yourself from financial loss.

Remember that hackers aren’t just doing this to spread malware, but to absorb as much personal information from each account as possible.

Conclusion

Having your Gmail hacked is scary, so treat your email passwords the way you would your social security numbers, don’t share with anyone and always report the hack to the authorities, to safeguard against identity theft.

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The cloud gives us plenty of opportunity to be more cost efficient with our tech expenses.  Unfortunately, the affordable prices to buy storage space and any other cloud-based services is not followed by the prices of gadgets that we use to access the cloud.  The thing is, the cloud is there, and it keeps getting better with age (e.g. more powerful and comprehensive services for the same price tags); this is not the case with gadgets; whether you like it or not, they will decline in value over time.

Mobile cloud gadget

Recently, the cost of tech gadgets has begun to rise in many parts of the world. The materials needed to make new mobile phones, tablets and laptops have gone up, as has the cost of shipping and labour. As a result, if you need to replace your smartphone you can easily end up having to spend $600 or $750 to have to do so.

The fact that money is tight for a lot of our readers has prompted us to write this short post about getting more out of your old phones, laptops, e-readers and smartphones. There is a lot that you can do with them, so our aim here is only to give you ideas, and inspire you to pause before throwing away your old tech gadgets.

Re-use them

There are many ways to re-purpose your older laptops, e-readers, PCs and smartphones. For example, you can easily turn an old tablet into a recipe book for the kitchen, or use one as a dedicated e-reader. Even old MP3 players can be given a new lease of life, as music repositories.

Give them to others

Perhaps one of the best ways to get more out of your technology is to pass it onto somebody else. Giving your old phone to one of the kids can be a good idea, but they tend to want the latest gadgets too. As a result, giving it to an elderly relative is usually a better idea.

If you do decide to give your older tech gadgets away, remember to de-personalise them. You do not want your old letters, photos and other personal information to be read by other people.

This is important even if you are giving items to people you really trust like friends and relatives. After all, you do not know what they will do with those gadgets when they have finished with them. You have no idea whether they will give them as gifts, to people you do not know. If you are not careful, your private information could end up in the hands of a complete stranger.

You can learn how to clear your gadgets of sensitive data, here.

Broken smartphone
photo credit: pni / Flickr

Get broken technology repaired

The fact that the cost of a new smartphone is so high means that it is now cost effective to have a broken one repaired rather than buy a new one. It does not matter where you are in the world repairing your old tech gadgets is now a practical option. Whether you are looking for iphone repair in Miami or Cambridge, in the UK, you can find a firm to do the work. Most modern repair companies now offer their services via the mail. Doing so allows them to serve the entire country rather than just residents in the town or city in which they are based.

Trade it in or sell it

Another great option is to sell your old technology on. If you are lucky, you will be able to trade in your old laptop, or smartphone, when you buy the latest model.

Takeaway

So, there you have it – four ways to make the most of your tech gadgets.  The choice is yours, but one thing for sure, make sure that you don’t keep your tech stashed in your closet or storage room, as it adds no value to you or anyone else.

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