[Guest Post] 5 Ways You Benefit From Encryption In Your Daily Life

[Guest Post] 5 Ways You Benefit From Encryption In Your Daily Life

Encryption benefits us all in our day to day lives and perhaps you weren’t even aware of that. However, there is a wide range of different situations in which encryption assists in the security of certain services.

For example, encryption methods are used to safely exchange data between web servers and browsers, withdrawal cash from ATMs, sent secure emails, online data storage (think about files, photos, videos, etc) and also when you send messages to your friends and family through messenger applications such as WhatsApp.

The different types of encryption methods such as symmetric and asymmetric encryption will not be explained in this article but instead, I’ll provide 5 different ways how everyone benefits from encryption in our daily life.

Here’s how:

1. SSL Certificates

Browsing the internet is an activity that most of us do every day. On the internet, encryption comes in the form of Secure Sockets Layers (SSL) certificates. SSL protection is a security technology feature that website owners can buy in order to increase the security of their site.

You can recognize an encryption protected website from the green padlock and the “HTTPS” in the URL.

SSL protection establishes an encrypted communication channel between a browser and a web server.

An active SSL certificate on a web server is especially useful on websites where visitors enter sensitive information such as credit card information, phone numbers, IDs, etc. That means that all the data that is being transferred between a browser and a web server is encrypted for security and privacy reasons.

For example, if you’ve seen awesome shoes on a webshop, you’ll need to enter your shipping details and payment information. On a SSL secured website, this means that all of your sensitive information is encrypted, so that the readable text that you entered will be encrypted into ciphertext (unreadable text). This makes online shopping very safe!

2. Cash Withdrawal From ATMs

Banks use Hardware Security Module (HSM) encryption methods in order to protect your PIN and other banking information while the transaction is in transit in the network.

HSM encryption comes in many different types but, in essence, it’s function is to encrypt the 4 to 6 digit PIN of every person that uses the ATM. Then, the PIN is decrypted at the HSM side in order to execute and validate the transaction or money withdrawal.

This encryption method ensures that hackers won’t be able to get their hands on your PIN in case they intercept the network data in transit.

3. Email

Webmail applications such as Gmail and Hotmail provide the earlier explained SSL encryption (HTTPS) in order to protect the user. However, it’s important to note that SSL encryption does not encrypt the text in emails.

Thus, without going too deep into the technical jibber-jabber, the NSA for example, would still be able to intercept your emails in readable text format.

Privacy-minded users are increasingly more often leaning towards end-to-end encryption email providers such as Protonmail and CounterMail. Millions of users have already made the switch to similar encryption protected email providers.

This email software ensures that every sent and received email is encrypted into ciphertext. So, even when the email is intercepted, it’s unreadable to anyone without the decryption key.

4. File Storage

Popular file storage platforms such as Dropbox and Google Drive, with 500 million and 800 million users respectively, greatly emphasize on the security of the platform.

Obviously, the platform wouldn’t be used by millions of users – individuals and businesses – if it didn’t provide a secure environment to store important files, photos and videos.

That means that every file is encrypted into cipherdata in order to protect the users. Dropbox even stated in their security protocol that they break every piece of data into multiple other pieces and encrypt these smaller pieces of data one by one.

Both platforms protect files in transit between servers and apps, but also at rest (when it’s stored on their server). Which is incredibly helpful for all these millions of users, to be sure all their important data is safely stored online.

5. Messenger Apps (WhatsApp)

According to TechCrunch, the popular messenger application WhatsApp had 1.5 billion active monthly users in Q4, 2017. Which is good for 60 billion messages sent per day.

It comes to no surprise that WhatsApp values the privacy of its users, which is why WhatsApp implemented complete end-to-end encryption in their messenger application. That means that all your messages, photos, videos, voice messages and files are secured.

Only the person you’re communicating with is able to read what you’re sending. End-to-end encryption also means that even WhatsApp is not able to read any messages, because it’s stored on their server in encrypted format.

And the best thing is that WhatsApp automatically encrypts every message by default and there’s no way to turn off the encryption.

 

Bill here from PixelPrivacy.com. My blog is all about making the world of online security accessible to everyone. I pride myself in writing guides that I’m certain even my own mom could read! Be sure to head over to my blog if you’re interested in keeping your private information just that: Private!

The Rise and Fall (I Hope) of Desperate SEO

The Rise and Fall (I Hope) of Desperate SEO

SEO-image-largeJo and I talk a lot. Well I say talk, but quite often it consists of me moaning and Jo listening. In fact, Jo should probably charge me for her ‘listening time’ but I’m very thankful she doesn’t.

Now you may be wondering what it is that I moan about. The usual day-to-day stuff mostly but, until recently, there was something else quite specific on my list of bug bears; something that I like to call ‘desperate SEO’ – the inspiration behind this post.

As a freelance writer, I can obviously choose which assignments I grab by the horns and which I let slip me by. However, even when times are quiet, I still need to provide for my family and so take any work (within reason) that I can get.

It’s at times like these where I sometimes find myself at the disposal of digital marketing agencies who employ said desperate SEO practices.

The bottom line is that I strongly believe that great content really is king. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a cliché that sounds cringeworthy but I genuinely believe it and I’ll tell you why…

But first I want to elaborate a little further on desperate SEO – something that exploits content to achieve a desired backlink outcome.

So what is this desperate SEO I’m referring to?

Well it comes in the form of carefully crafted blog posts and is used by some SEO companies to simply tick a box on their client order sheet. For example, their client may have paid for x number of backlinks on various websites that have favourable domain authorities and one way to satisfy this is through blog posts.

Now you’re probably familiar with the terms ‘white hat SEO’ and ‘black hat SEO’ – basically ethical and unethical. Desperate SEO comes with a light grey hat. It’s not necessarily bad but – and this is only my opinion – it doesn’t provide any real value for the reader.

And that’s the important thing right – providing value? After all, Google’s sole purpose with its search offering is to provide people with content that’s engaging, useful and relevant to their search.

Now I’ve got nothing against leveraging blogs to boost a brand’s coverage, but some of the posts I’ve seen (and even created in the past) provide very little in the way of value for the reader.

A typical desperate SEO brief may require that you write a post to be published on a travel blog – so far so good. But then you find out that the client you are writing the post for is a company that sells blu-ray DVD players and you have to naturally insert a link back to their website within your post.

Oh and just to make the post look even more natural, you’re asked to put a few other carefully placed links to websites that are non-competitive or in other words, don’t sell blu-ray DVD players also.

The end result is a post that lauds some of Europe’s most beautiful beaches but contains a link back to the DVD retailer. You may be wondering, how do you make that look natural? The answer is with great difficulty and as a writer, it’s a very frustrating task.

That’s why I have made a conscious effort to steer away from such practices and now only focus on creating stuff that I think provides value to the reader.

I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Jo and in-turn be introduced to Neil and Phil at Positive Sparks. The stuff I write for all of them is a breath of fresh air compared to churning out desperate SEO pieces.

Desperate SEO isn’t going to disappear overnight. But Google’s regular algorithm updates should be warning enough that creating fresh, original and high-quality content that engages your audience is the key to SEO success. Furthermore, it will boost your brand’s online presence at the same time – what could be better than that?

Screen-Shot-2014-04-15-at-14.04.26Author Bio:

James Devonshire is a freelance writer who specialises in creating content for social media, SEO and digital marketing purposes for a wide variety of businesses. With a strong knowledge of website monetisation, entrepreneurial practices and optimisation techniques, James has carved out a literary niche for himself from his adopted home in the Philippines.

#MyBestTenList: Tasks to Outsource to Virtual Assistants

One very good thing about the world we live in right now is that the more we grow, the easier our lives get. And this is only made possible by the various advancements we experience, especially in technology and every other aspect of life.

New innovations spring up regularly, previously untapped knowledge forts get unlocked, and revolutions surface at different facets; business, health, education, etc. even governance.

Over the past years, there has been a revolution online, especially in the way and how we get things done. Every business person wants to cut costs – and time – at different levels of their businesses, where possible. This has led to the positive surge of some particular set of people that tend to make work – and ultimately, life – easier.

I’m talking about the ‘Virtual workers’. They’ve come – and keep coming – in different forms. We know some as Virtual Assistants (V.As), and some are simply called Freelancers, among other names.

Some of us are probably already familiar with these guys. But a lot of people do not even know how to use these guys and the benefits attached therein. Some other people are just skeptical about entrusting these guys with their ‘lives’.

It’s normal to feel this way, but I’ll tell you these guys are the best thing that can happen to any business.

How?

Entrepreneurs are already busy enough with doing what they do best; that which their businesses originally require. Yet, there are a lot of ‘other’ activities and tasks incidental to your business’ success, which are sometimes boring, take a lot of quality time doing or require a lot of time learning.

These ‘other tasks’ are the major jobs of some people, and they are out there to help you do them, so that you can spend more time on what you do best and become more creative and productive. These people are, of course, the Virtual Assistants.

Those who use VAs often talk about how good the experience always is. One common thing among these beneficiaries’ testimonials, is that they ultimately experience an increase in income in the long run, which eventually justifies their hiring of a V.A. And most of them say outsourcing to a V.A is something they’d love to do over and over again.

Chris Ducker of @VStaffFinder recommends business owners make a list of the things they hate to do. Then everything they can’t do. Then the things they should not be doing. That grocery list is the to-do-list for outsourcing.

Now all you need is a virtual assistant to do it.

I sometimes feel V.As are omnificent and omniscient, because it seems like there’s no limit to what V.As are capable of.

A V.A can do everything that could possibly be done without his/her physical presence required.

Nina Feldman lists 101 ways to use a Virtual Assistant. Even though I’ve not used a V.A that much –because of the financial side of the story 😉 – I have a list of my best tasks to outsource to a V.A, many of which I’ve done and enjoyed doing. Some I still do.

My best 10 (in no particular order) are:

  1. Reminder: appointments, meetings, calls, emails, tasks, anniversaries, events, ANY other thing you need to remember!
  2. E-mail Services: email screening, sorting, reply, sending, scheduling, autoresponders and newsletters, every other thing related to emails and emailing.
  3. Events planning: meetings, conferences, webinars, teleconferences,
  4. Internet marketing: SEO, marketing strategy, content marketing, guest posting, social media,
  5. Social media: profiles creation and writing, marketing, management and engagement, SEO,
  6. Research: market, competition, information, article content, keywords, data & statistics,
  7. Secretarial & personal assistant services: appointments, making calls, bookings & reservations, payments, accounting and book-keeping, auditing, human resources, public relations, this is really unlimited!
  8. Transcription and translation: audio to written, recording – and later transcription – of calls, interviews, webinars, inter-languages translation,
  9. Writing and Editing: articles writing, eBooks writing, design, editing, proofreading, eBook formatting, keywords research, articles spinning, submission, blogging, PRs, copywriting & SEO copywriting, guest blogging, newsletters and autoresponders,
  10. Websites: design, development, maintenance, marketing, critiquing & auditing, SEO,

These are simply the top 10 tasks I’d always love to outsource, out of the seemingly countless outsource-able tasks.

Talk about keeping the best for the last. Websites (design and maintenance) is something I cannot stop outsourcing. I’ve not had time for my blog in the past and would just be taking it seriously soon, now that I’m through with school. However, it’s not without commendable beauty and smooth functionality.

I only have Jo to thank for this. She has been my omniscient life-saver. And through her, I enjoy the benefits that come along with outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant. I’ve been able to present myself as a professional freelance writer to my clients and earn more as a result.

You can check out her handiwork on my blog Lucrative Pen.

P.S: Which tasks do you outsource most? And which would you love to outsource more in the future? Kindly share with us in the comments section.

Author Bio:

Yomi-Alliyu Oludami is a professional freelance writer and the founder of www.lucrativepen.com, a blog that teaches how to write for money and traffic. You can visit his website to learn more or hire him for your writing projects.

You can also follow him on twitter @oludami_LP.

Using virtual assistants to reduce payroll costs

GUEST POST

As a business grows, it becomes harder and harder to deal with everything in-house.  Taking on more staff might not be an affordable solution, especially when it comes to sourcing specialist skills that are not needed all the time. Hiring a virtual assistant is an increasingly popular solution. When it comes to payroll, it can be a real money saver.

Top-level talent, low level cost

One of the reasons entrepreneurs are often headhunted is that they’re known for having a multiplicity of skills. In a small business, everybody has to be able to do a bit of everything. Being able to do everything, however, doesn’t mean being able to do everything well. Having access to a specialist can make a big difference, especially when it comes to finance.

Paying for a specialist as a full time staff member can be very expensive in comparison to what a small business brings in.  It basically means that, much of the time, that business is paying for skills it isn’t using. Salary, tax, expenses, holiday pay, sick pay etc. can quickly add up. Using a virtual assistant means only paying for the hours when they’re actually needed, with none of those subsidiary costs. It can massively reduce the overall cost and can potentially give a business access to a much more talented person than it could afford to keep on staff.

Better payroll management

When it comes to saving money, a skilled payroll handler can make a big difference. The complexity of pay and tax systems can be confusing, especially for an organisation that is in the process of expanding its staff or has a lot of part time workers. It’s easy for a non-specialist to make mistakes and these can be expensive. Where underpayment happens, it can also lead to a loss of staff goodwill.

Taking on a virtual assistant to handle payroll can eliminate these problems and can potentially save a lot of money. It makes it easier to be flexible about staffing issues without the worry that this will further complicate an already difficult job for the business owners.

Finding the right person

To get the most out of hiring a virtual assistant, it is of course important to find the right person. This can be a complicated process as it’s advisable to seek recommendations or get references in order to make the choice with confidence.

One approach is to make use of umbrella companies or agencies that provide virtual assistants to suit a range of different requirements. This is a much safer way to find payroll solutions as it means things like qualifications, experience and general competence will have been pre-assessed. Establishing a good relationship with an organisation of this sort can also make the process easier when you want to hire a virtual assistant for another type of task.

The real beauty of bringing in a virtual assistant to handle payroll is that it frees up existing staff to do other things—that is, to concentrate on the aspects of running this business that they’re really good at.  This in turn can enhance its competitiveness and keep it ahead of the pack.

Free WordPress: The Benefits

Guest Post

What’s so great about FREE WordPress?

Not until very recently did I discover WordPress. I am a new writer and I wanted to get my work out there to the world and fast. With this in mind I was ecstatic to learn that not only is WordPress a wonderful piece of software, but also you can obtain it for absolutely nothing!

However, there is so much more that meets the eye with this product and with this in mind I wanted to share the advantages of obtaining free WordPress for you and your business or blog.

You can use your own Domain Name

Unlike other publishing platforms where you can only use a sub-domain on their server, with WordPress you can use your own domain name as the software is hosted on your own server.

Widgets

By making use of these freely available widgets WordPress let users customise features of their site according to whatever need they have. This is a great feature of WordPress and one of the features I use frequently.

Themes

There are so many themes within WordPress, and most cost less than $50, however there are many that are free.  Themes make your presence known online and can create a look and feel for your site. You can even customise your theme in your own way. For me it’s choosing which one – now that’s the hard bit!

Ease of use

This for me is most important, it’s easy to use! For those who are a little technically challenged the WordPress integrated ‘dashboard’ allows you as the owner to add/edit/delete pages, add blog categories, add widgets and of course add posts! You can upload images, video’s the list goes on and it’s simple to use. I for one love it for that reason and that reason alone.

Social Networking

Using widgets you can connect your site to other social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter without having to do a thing! You can add ‘like’ buttons on your posts too and easily feed your content into a variety of networking sites via RSS.

SEO Friendly

This is very important as it gets more people to your site. Search engines absolutely love WordPress as it comes with an automated ‘pinging’ feature. This will send a signal to various search engines every time your blog is updated. How cool is that?

Constant Development

WordPress is always under constant development too so you never have to worry about it getting stagnant or staying the same. It powers over 20% of the active websites on the web, new widgets are being released all the time, together with new themes and it will always continue to evolve. 

Just what you need I’d say!

I am still learning about how to use WordPress more effectively but with this information I feel I am armed with better knowledge and understanding on how it all works and all for FREE! 

For more information about the features of WordPress, the free option, check out this article The Features You’ll Love.

Author Bio:

I’m Paula and this is my dog Tommy. I run my own small business designing and making accessories from recycled materials, check out my blog PaulasWork here http://paulaswork.com/

You can also follow Paula on twitter @TDailyGrow.