Ransomware is on the rise. In 2014, ransomware was the 22nd most common form of malware. By 2016, it was the 5th. Due to the increased success of ransomware attacks, and the relative ease of distributing it, it has become a favorite of hackers and data thieves. But like all pernicious malware, ransomware is changing. Here, we’ll examine some of the ways ransomware is changing its nature.
Ransomware is Becoming More Profitable
Malware attacks are typically carried out to extract profit, mine information, embarrass the victim, or to cause chaos. A successful ransomware attack encrypts and locks user data.
This means that computers that run business operations are inaccessible and can cause daily actions to grind to a halt.
Many small and medium-sized businesses are unaware of how to remove Ransomware. Without a thorough plan in place, data restoration can be a complex if not impossible process. Because of this, many businesses choose to pay the ransom for restored access. The cost of paying a ransom has only risen. According to the 2017 Internet Security Threat Report, the average profit for ransomware attacks has risen from $294 in 2015 to $1,077 in 2017.
For many small and medium-sized businesses, a one-time payment of around $1,000 can seem like a quick, easy way to end the situation. However, according to managed service security experts, paying the ransom may not restore your access and may not be your best option. In fact, one in five businesses that paid a ransom didn’t receive restored data or access.
The newly mainstream nature of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is beginning to empower ransomware attacks. These transactions methods naturally protect identity; payments made this way are not traceable in the same ways credit card transactions are. If the potential of safe profit remains for propagators of ransomware, the frequency of attacks of this nature will only increase.
Ransomware attacks will begin to use public shaming more often as an element of extortion. Attacks like the one against San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency will become more common in the foreseeable future. This attack displayed a ransom on all Muni station screens, locking out user access and denying riders from purchasing and redeeming tickets. This kind of public shaming attempts to manipulate public opinion in order to secure the demanded ransom.
Eroding consumer trust is one of the most malicious aspects of a public ransomware attack. Organizations that utilize public facing digital screens can expect to face increased attempts to compromise their systems. That includes ATMs, digital advertisements and billboards, self-checkout kiosks, and other outward facing displays that are connected to the main computer system.
If these public shaming styled ransomware attacks prove to be successful, they will only increase in the future. Public shaming demonstrates that ransomware attacks are not always carried out for profit. These attacks are also carried out to damage reputations, decrease public trust, and cause general chaos.
Ransomware As Chaos
Because ransomware attacks enable the author to lock access to data and computer systems, future ransomware attacks may be employed to cause chaos with little regard to extracting ransom payments. As more and more hackers utilize ransomware they will begin to use it for other purposes.
State-sponsored attacks may utilize this malware to disable daily functions of other states. What’s more, ransomware campaigns may focus on voting computers in an attempt to erode confidence in elections. Or worse, to hinder the voting ability of a nation.
Ransomware Evolves to Evade Detection
Ransomware viruses typically attack vulnerabilities in older operating systems and systems without security software in place. However, modern ransomware viruses are being written without an executable file. This allows the malware to bypass some security measures by appearing legitimate.
These new ransomware families can avoid detection by traditional security software. Because they take advantage of scripting language to hijack and encrypt files they may appear legitimate to older, out of date security protocols.
The changing nature of ransomware attacks means security measures must evolve as well.
Most ransomware spam attacks are filtered by email providers—Google, Apple, Microsoft, and so on. However, ransomware authors are looking to write viruses that slip through large-scale spam filters.
As more ransomware spam makes it to email inboxes, employee actions become more important. Ensure your organization utilizes employee practices to avoid downloading or opening malicious emails.
Safeguard Your Organization
If your business is hit with a ransomware attack, your options are somewhat limited. You can pay the ransom and hope you receive restored access, you can contact IT security firms in the hopes that a decryption algorithm exists, or you can count your losses, wipe your system, and start over.
Of course, the best defense against ransomware is a good offense. There are a number of steps you can follow to safeguard your organization from attacks.
Ensure you regularly update your security and operating systems, consider weekly or even daily backups on unconnected servers, institute employee education to avoid simple mistakes like opening spam email or visiting suspicious websites, and work with cyber security experts to ensure your system is secure and up to date.
Ransomware is quickly becoming one of the most malicious cyber threats facing small and medium-sized businesses. Strong prevention measures will help your organization stay ahead of ransomware attacks.
How The IoT Takes E-commerce To The Next Level
Before landing your spaceship at IoT enabled e-commerce land, first, understand what is IoT. IoT or Internet of things is a technology which allows data sharing between connected devices over the internet. When this concept is used for the transaction, it is known as E-commerce.
The first thing comes to mind, Is online shopping is a type of E-commerce? Yes, it is. But how its all started. Let’s have a look….
Back in time: Invention, Innovation or mistake
We are talking about history, how the existence of IoT marked into the real life. A person named Phil Brandenberger of Philadelphia was the first human to use a credit card for shopping. It was about 25 years ago when he wants to buy Sting’s “Ten Summoners’ Tales” which cost him around $12.48.
During that time, the moment was known as “true” E-commerce.
After that time, the technology has grown rapidly and now, if we figure out the statistics of retails, it is rising around 23% per year. The lifestyle of today’s generation depends on online shopping, online friendship through social media, e-business, online games etc. It shows the buzz of online internet things, where converting these connected gadgets into a profitable business is the primary concern of an organization. So, IoT with E-commerce has provided a connected platform to the retailers.
Let’s come to the main agenda of this article, How IoT has brought evolution in the field of E-commerce marketing.
IoT helps e-commerce vendors to maintain the inventory record with the use of IoT enabled sensors. It assists in real-time data gathering and analysis while setting up the new goal to accomplish a task. It captures every critical detail of the product without any human hindrance. IoT reduced those factors which may dissatisfy the consumer such as product availability, product expiry dates, batch Id and many more related aspects by generating a prior notification related to the product. In case of product shortage, IoT informs the administration before stock becomes empty by automatically creating an order.
IoT helps to optimize the overall productivity of e-commerce business. It also reduces the probability for over-stock in the warehouses. IoT sensors monitor numerous factors which may affect the quality of product such as temperature, heat etc. It covers a number of the question as well which are arising in your mind right now such as how the order will reach into the warehouse, what are the inventory levels, pick -up timing etcetera. For instance, if we take an example of Amazon, which is the biggest giant in the e-commerce market, uses IoT installed robots which take care of picking, packing and many other jobs which ensure the effectiveness of the product. Amazon in their warehouses uses drones facility to pick up and deliver products.
The primary concern while buying a product online is its condition which means it shouldn’t be broken, delivery timing and quality. This problem is sorted by the IoT sensors which track the product from the very beginning until it is delivered. In Between the process, through GPS(global positioning system) and RFID(Radio Frequency Identification) tag, it ensures the quality of the product, the shortest route such that package arrives on time, misplacement and many more.
This term Dash button may be new for some of us. It is a device which is an IoT enabled operated on the battery and is used for a domestic purpose to acknowledge the order management. Amazon invented dash buttons, it is full of creativeness and innovation. Only by pressing the button it informs the supplier about the shortage of product and gets it delivered.
IoT helps the retailer to make a different identity in front of your consumer. Through this technology, a retailer enables the consumer to present their views regarding the product. It helps them to improve their product quality which ultimately makes them well-known among customers.
IoT targets your specific customers for personalized advertisement. It recognizes the shopping pattern through online browsing which in result help the business retailer to sell their product to the targeted customer. IoT is used by Walmart to track the popular product on social media.
More to go….
IoT has brought a revolution in the field of digital marketing. In this journey, IoT carries E-commerce to the next level as a partner. There are many success stories available which represent the bonding of IoT and e-commerce. We all have heard about Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba, eBay and many more. The next big question which arises is why they are so much successful? The answer is simple, They use IoT and other advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data etc., in such a way as no one thought before. Continuous improvement, creativeness, and customer-centric (3C’s) will be the key factors behind a huge revenue. An enormous amount of data is generated through these platforms every day. These companies leverage the use of machine learning and big data analytics to analyze the collected data for pattern recognition, decision making, prediction and many more useful operations to attract more qualified leads and maintain a prosperous relationship among customers. Hadoop is one such big data analytics framework used for analyzing this information. To become the part of this flow, you can join the Hadoop Training program available over the internet.
IoT had made a significant impact on E-commerce businesses. Its smart gadgets such as sensors, actuators etc., make the businesses to go at the peak concerning capitalization and revenues.
IoT improves the quality management, data hierarchy, tracking, planning, analysis and many other critical factors which play an essential role in organizational success. There are other countless factors as well which help the business retailers and other sectors to grow and earn. IoT will help around 70% of the retailer from all over the world to improve their customer relations which will enhance their image in the market and make them stand and spread globally. It shows that the businesses related to E-commerce will be the future of the digital market.
Now, it depends on us how we use IoT and make best possible profits from the market. Possibilities of innovation with technology is countless. So, use it precisely and efficiently. This article may have given you at least some insight about IoT and E-commerce and how they are related. If not, then read it twice.
How to Generate Leads More Effectively with CRM Software
CRM software or customer relationship management software refers to the suite of applications that helps organizations in managing all their CRM efforts and channeling them in the right direction. The software helps organizations generate leads faster and more effectively and help them nurture these leads through the different steps in the sales funnel. It comes with a variety of modules and add-on applications designed to make CRM streamlined and efficient. As this post states, the software helps organizations target more accurately and generate leads through social channels; but that is not all it could do. In this post, we will discuss more about the solution and how it can be useful for organizations.
The other major task that CRM software helps with is the sales funnel/pipeline management. The sales funnel is the series of steps that a potential customer is put through till he or she becomes a paying customer. Sales funnels are particularly useful when the sales cycles are long, and the prospects need to be serviced differently at different points in time. Some of the usual levels that prospects go through in the funnel are a prospect, lead, qualified lead, opportunity, and customer.
At each step of the funnel, different kind of actions are needed – the prospects might need to be given a certain amount of information, the lead should be given a chance to offer his or her contact details, the lead should be qualified according to some parameters, the opportunity be offered proposals and discounts, and so on. As such, different people will be managing different parts of the process, and all of them should collaborate with one another for the steps to move on without any hitches.
With the CRM software, you can closely monitor the process across its various steps, and remedy any situation to ensure that the funnel is being implemented smoothly.
Social Media Promotions
Social media promotions or campaigns are one of the most important drivers of leads for businesses. If your social media efforts were good before, CRM software will make them better. You can integrate all your social channels like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on with your CRM system and monitor your work. You can track all your efforts easily from one place, which saves a lot of time and allows users to generate insights more effectively. Often, the results of social media campaigns can be difficult to understand – the CRM solution will help quantify and operationally them. As more and more companies look to step up their Social CRM efforts, an online CRM tool is a must to get the best results from them.
Also integrated can be the survey application, which allows marketers and customer service reps to gather better insights into customer behavior and understand customer satisfaction levels. Surveys can be launched, and results collected and analyzed from within the software itself.
Email Campaigns & Newsletters
Email campaigns and newsletters are an important part of marketing plans in organizations around the world. When you don’t have a CRM solution, running an email campaign would require you to use multiple tools and systems. You need the email addresses from the contact management application, a mass mailing application, and analytics to analyze the responses. However, the CRM software is all of that rolled into one. From the same place, you can manage all your contacts, run email and newsletter campaigns, and analyze the responses to see how effective your campaigns have been, and which aspects are to be changed to make it better. Also, the software will automatically handle subscriptions and allow respondents to unsubscribe if they feel like it.
You can run these campaigns in multiple ways – you can use a coded HTML page or build the campaigns from the scratch in the application.
CRM is one process where lots of decisions need to be taken. Some of the routine questions which demand answers are – what is that segment that I should target, what are the discounts, if any, that I should offer, how should I qualify my leads, which kind of marketing medium gives me the best results, and so on. In the absence of effective data management and analysis techniques, these questions are answered, and decisions are taken, based on gut feelings and trial and error mechanisms.
However, with CRM software, this need not be the case anymore. The software equips CRM specialists with the tools they need to be able to answer these questions after a thorough analysis of the data so that their decisions will be data-driven, and more effective. Since data is already collected and made available for any kind of analysis, all your CRM specialists need to do is click a few buttons to become information experts. Also, sharing these insights and analyses with peers becomes much easier with the CRM solution – reports can be automatically compiled and shared in a matter of minutes.
Say you want to segment your customers based on a parameter like location or the average lifetime value they bring to you. You simply use the analytics tool to query the software to provide you with a list of all those who come under that particular segment. You can then save this segment and tailor strategies for them going forward.
One of the greatest advantages that CRM software offers is mobility. A mobile app gives users the flexibility to organize themselves anywhere, anytime. In preparing themselves to pitch to a customer or in figuring out information that a prospective client wants, mobility is of great help.
Ideally, the different departments involved in CRM must work together and collaborate closely. Each department has different parts of the puzzle, and unless they all share, they will not be able to come up with the complete picture. This kind of close collaboration is very rare in organizations. What is more common is territorial warfare and blame game. Each team blames the others for not doing enough – the sales reps say that they do not have enough leads to work with, and the marketers say that the sales reps are not able to close the leads they generated for them. In the end, the organization suffers.
This also happens due to different teams using different systems to manage their operations without pooling their efforts. This is where the CRM solution is very helpful. It brings all these different departments onto a single platform and allows them to work closely. Since data is collected and stored centrally, it can be called on demand. If marketers collected any data that can help salespeople close deals more easily, they will now automatically have access to this data.
The same way, if salespeople come up with some unique insights, they can automatically share these with the marketers and customer service reps so that they can target and serve customers better. Using in-built communication tools, users can communicate with one another easily. There is also the scope to create groups and workspaces for better teamwork. A CRM solution offers unmatched collaboration opportunities for all the CRM specialists.
Online CRM solutions are not closed systems – they offer integration capabilities that make organizations’ operations seamless and well-coordinated. Also, integrated solutions allow for an automated transfer of data, which saves a lot of time. And since the systems are integrated, there is no problem of incompatibility among systems, which is a big concern when multiple systems are used to manage different parts of the process.
There are many add-on solutions that are good candidates for integration with such as the single sign-on application, which allows people to log into multiple solutions at once and analytics tools for advanced analysis. If you need any capability from your CRM solution that is not already present – you can always integrate a solution and get it.
In CRM, data plays a huge role and is often the line that separates successful and unsuccessful transactions. Data allows CRM specialists to prepare themselves better, and when they are prepared, their efforts will be that much more effective. CRM software helps organizations store and manage all their CRM data from a central interface. With an online CRM solution, employees can access this data from anywhere, equipping them with the capability to work from anywhere, and complete their tasks anytime.
Salespeople, marketers, and customer service reps – all of them will find the software very helpful in managing the data. Since data is digitized and stored on the cloud, it can be accessed on demand. Also, there is a great need for collaboration among these divisions – after all, they all will be working with the customer at different points of time, and if they are to make these interactions more fruitful, they should be aware, and this happens through sharing.
The software offers a centralized secure database and makes data entry easier. There is a lot of automation built into the software – from data entry to storage and retrieval of documents, automation is present everywhere. All in all, you can get rid of all your data management woes if you use CRM software.
Another feature of the software that makes life much easier for CRM specialists is automation. Automation is present in almost all of the tasks in CRM. From data entry to analysis to lead qualification to pipeline management, many tasks can be automated using the software. Say you want to qualify your leads. From the data you collect from your prospects, you can automatically sort them based on their requirements. You can also assign leads automatically – the software can be programmed to route certain kinds of leads to certain people.
This automation makes it very convenient for CRM specialists – they need not worry anymore about the mundane tasks taking up most of their time. They can focus their energies on the tasks that matter most such as closing deals and coming up with better ways to target prospects and turning them into leads.
CRM solutions are a big help to all the stakeholders involved. While the benefits to CRM specialists are obvious, the software also helps senior management keep a close on happenings. Senior management can be automatically kept apprised of all the developments – as soon as a lead is generated or a deal is closed, reports can be sent regarding the same to the pertinent stakeholders.
Online solutions have made business productivity software available to organizations of all sizes – no more does one need huge initial investments or the resources to maintain the software. Online solutions can be deployed in minutes, and organizations can start using them immediately. There are numerous options available in the market today, and all kinds of organizations can get a solution with the exact specifications they need.
Simple Steps To Understand Cloud-Based Badging
Whether it’s being a member of a workplace or another organization, having a badge does not only give a sense of professionalism but also efficiency. Although it may just seem like a more professional name tag, with a badging system such as cloud-based badging, you can make things like attendance and timekeeping much easier. If you’re not sure how you can upgrade your organization with an effective badging system, here is a quick overview of how our system works.
Choosing a Design:
With something that your members are going to carry every single day, there’s no question that you want your badges to be a good representation of your company or organization. With our custom design templates, you can easily choose a premade template that we will customize using your logos and colors. If you have your own layout that you want us to experiment with, we can curate a whole new custom design just for you. With physical and virtual proofs available for verification, you can ensure that your badges are looking sharp before committing to thousands of them.
Importing the Data:
One of the hardest parts of managing things such as badges is the fact that everyone needs to have one. We know it can be hard to input badge information for each and every person, and it can end up being hundreds or even thousands at a time. However, with this in mind, we’ve made it easy for you to import data to your secure cloud-based account. This way, you can simply transfer data such as names, addresses, phone numbers, titles and more in a faster, more efficient way.
Uploading & Editing Photos:
When it comes to the issuance of any type of identification, one of the worst parts is trying to get the perfect picture to represent yourself on the badge you’re going to wear every single day. Even if it’s not perfect, no one likes being stuck with a mid-sneeze photo. Let’s be honest – some photographers are not the most sympathetic when it comes to retaking photos. However, with the CELLfie tool, you’re given the freedom to upload your own photo or snap one right then and there. With the ability to enroll, capture, approve and submit photos from the comfort of your own mobile device, you’re given complete control of your personal badge.
Not only is it easy to upload the actual photo, but it also makes editing easier for authorized users to crop and adjust photos to ensure the perfect fit. With possibly thousands of badges to tend to, there’s no time to do every photo manually. This is why we offer an automatic cropping tool to ensure uniform cropping for all the photos without having to do them one by one.
Getting the Virtual ID:
No matter how good the end product is, nobody likes to wait. One of the coolest things about the Veonics Portal IDaas system is that it allows you to have an instant virtual copy of your ID. This virtual copy not only gives you 24/7 access to your ID when you don’t have your physical copy on hand, but it also allows for a complete set of tools for attendance and tracking.
Able to perform almost all the functions of a physical ID, this innovative technology includes status and authorization by barcodes or other tokenized technologies. This will instantly provide information on the current status of the member with a simple scan. The virtual copy is automatically brought up to the Veonics vID viewer when any mobile barcode scanner is used to scan the physical badge. This system provides a highly secure process for identifying active and inactive members.
Ordering the Physical ID:
Although some may prefer to keep it 100 percent virtual, we understand that sometimes having a physical ID badge can be useful. Our technology integrates all the data that is imported into the cloud-based database to make ordering physical IDs that much easier. With a simple press of a button, the badges will be made & delivered to you within two business days. Now that’s what we call express! However, with a constantly changing workforce, it can be a hassle to try to create new orders every single time there’s a new member. That is why our technology offers prepaid badging credits to manage your on-going badging requests. This way, you can easily add new badge orders to your database.
Although many may see badges as just a way to identify a worker, this simple piece of plastic can be used to monitor activities such as attendance, timekeeping, tracking and other valuable information. Not only is it a nametag, but it’s also a way to verify the identity of each member of your organization. There’s no question that an effective badging system can work wonders for your workplace.