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People Technology Vision

Month: October 2015

The Top 3 Mistakes Businesses Make After a Hack

Posted on October 31, 2015  in Better Ways, Coding, Data Management, Hacking, Technology

The Top 3 Mistakes Businesses Make After a Hack

Image credit: Shutterstock

Rajesh De (pronounced Day) knows a thing or two about cybersecurity. Before becoming head of the cybersecurity and data privacy division at law firm Mayer Brown, he served as general counsel for the National Security Agency during the most notorious data breach in history: Edward Snowden’s exposing of the agency’s surveillance programs.

“Back then, nobody knew about the NSA,” he told the audience at the Cyber Security Thought Leadership Forum in New York City on Monday. “[The joke was] the acronym stood for No Such Agency.” Even De’s wife was puzzled by his decision to work for “the agency that sends astronauts into space.”

Having experienced a high-profile data breach firsthand, De imparted some wisdom to the crowd at the forum this week. He explained the top three mistakes that businesses make when responding to a cyber attack.

1. Not recognizing cybersecurity is the responsibility of more than just the tech department.

When thinking about the issue of cybersecurity, organizations must realize that it’s more than a technical issue. “It’s much bigger than that,” De said. “It’s a core business risk, and the consequences of thinking of it as such reaches everything.”

Placing security as a core value means that it impacts prioritization, budget concerns, time management and preparation — both to prevent a breach and to have a response plan at the ready.

2. Share the right amount of information at the right time.

De drew directly from his experience at the NSA when explaining that knee-jerk reactions to share too much and too little information with the public are dangerous. “Generally there’s one faction that will want to be so transparent, to tell everybody in the world anything that is known at any given moment, whether it’s definitive or not,” he said. “Of course there’s value in giving real-time education to customers, but there’s no value in spitting out a lot of info that has to be walked back. That really confuses people more than it enlightens people.”

Going too far in the opposite direction, however, is also ill-advised. “Clearly, that approach runs a huge range of risks, whether they’re reputational or otherwise,” he said.

Finding the right balance depends on a variety of factors — the nature of the attack and how the facts develop, among other details — but striking that middle ground is key.

3. Not having all of the relevant players in the loop ASAP.

While deciding what to explain to the public at what time can be tough to figure out, giving the details to the necessary people on the inside early on is vital. “If you don’t have a communications firm or a law firm built into your crisis response plan, and they have to catch up later, that really does a disservice to the organization,” De said.

Yet ripples from the Snowden hack at the NSA still loom large. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a controversial bill called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). The bill encourages companies to share information about hackers and data breaches with both the government and other businesses in the private sector. Although critics say it infringes on customers’ privacy while also failing to adequately prevent cyber attacks, supporters say the legislation is a positive step to protect data from cyber attacks in the future.

The bill is expected to be sent to President Obama for his signature after it’s been combined with two additional bills passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year that also concerned sharing information.

By Carly Okyle  October 29, 2015



Month: October 2015

The 7 WordPress Plugins Your Site Needs to Succeed

Posted on October 15, 2015  in Better Ways, Coding, Programming, SEO, Technology, Trend Information, Web Developmemt, WordPress

WordPress Plugins

At least one website you visited today is powered by WordPress. In all likelihood, most of your favorite sites utilize the world’s most popular content management system (CMS). Perhaps your business runs on it too.

According to WordPress, across its network of sites, “Over 409 million people view more than 15.8 billion pages each month.” Furthermore, “Users produce about 43.7 million new posts and 58.8 million new comments each month.”

More content is created than audiences can handle. The challenge for entrepreneurs, then, is to find an underserved segment of consumers that would love nothing more than what you have to offer, whether it is blog posts, products or services.

Fortunately, you won’t need to build everything from scratch. In fact, a powerful website is possible even if you are a non-technical founder. To take your business to the next level with WordPress, here are seven outstanding plugins you will want to install immediately.

1. Chartbeat

There is more to your audience than pure page views. Metrics such as engagement time and return rate are now tracked more closely as we enter an age of holistic analytics.

Chartbeat’s real-time analytics suite enables you to better understand reader behavior to make smarter decisions about what you can do to both capture and offer the most value during audience visits. With it, hopefully, you can begin responding to reader activity with solutions to keep them on site longer, visiting more pages and converting more often.

2. LinkPatrol

Spam’s persistence threatens to ruin the web. It is everywhere.

While smart filters and blockers protect you from getting duped by the seemingly honorable Nigerian Prince and his innocent business proposal, you might not even be aware of the spam that lives within your own website.

Built by the team at Search Engine Journal, LinkPatrol aims to help site owners analyze, manage and fix outgoing links to ensure your readers only end up clicking things that add to their reading experience and so you avoid getting on Google’s bad side, which can be pretty ugly.

Related: 7 ways to optimize your WordPress website

3. OptinMonster

Email has always been the ugly stepchild of marketing. It’s not as ego-inflating as public relations, and it’s surely not as novel as social media. That said, email marketing holds a valuable seat at the table due to its very intimate opt-in nature, which makes you confident that your lead is genuinely interested in engaging with your brand further.

A product of Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster allows you to instantly build and deploy compelling opt-in forms for your site. Advanced capabilities include page-specific targeting, A/B testing and built-in analytics.

4. Polldaddy

While a simple (and free) Google form can do you a lot of good, many businesses choose Polldaddy to take advantage of its more powerful and sophisticated survey capabilities.

With it, you can learn a thing or two from your audience when you build engaging surveys which ultimately give you the sorts of responses you need, in an easy-to-manipulate way, to make better informed decisions about product development, customer success and more.

5. Shareaholic

Built by my company, Shareaholic’s fully integrated content marketing suite includes a Related Content app and Social Share Buttons. These tools make it seamless to boost reader engagement and social media traffic.

By algorithmically surfacing contextually relevant articles your audience is most likely to engage with, the Related Content app works to drive targeted traffic to the best content within your website. Those recommendations lead to longer visitor time-on-site and increased page views per visit. Shareaholic’s customizable Share Buttons also stand out, encouraging your users to become active promoters of your content.

6. WooCommerce

For product-based businesses, WooCommerce is perfect. You can take an average WordPress site and turn it into an ecommerce machine.

WooCommerce is developed by the folks at WooThemes, a veteran within the WordPress community. The plugin’s flexibility and expansive extension store allows you to sell anything. Best of all, it helps manage payments, shipping options, inventory management, reporting, marketing and tax, so you can worry about the fun stuff, such as designing your next blockbuster product.

7. WPtouch

In an increasingly mobile world, we all have to remember the importance of responsive design. A report from eMarketer suggests, “4.55 billion people worldwide will use a mobile phone in 2014.” By 2017, 33.8 percent of our global population will be smartphone users.

A significant number of your visitors already spend a large chunk of their time browsing the web on their mobile devices. Fortunately, solutions such as WPtouch help make your site fully responsive, for both smartphone and tablet users. WPtouch also offers a wide variety of extensions so you can further enhance the mobile browsing experience for your visitors and capture more value from your hard-earned traffic.

Contributor – Danny Wong

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Month: October 2015

7 Ways to Optimize Your WordPress Website

Posted on October 15, 2015  in Better Ways, SEO, Technology, Web Developmemt, WordPress

7 Ways to Optimize Your WordPress Website

WordPress is considered an excellent platform for budding entrepreneurs to create websites for their startup or small business. This content management service (CMS) is used by millions of business owners who live in every corner of the world. More than 400 million websites worldwide are powered by WordPress, including more than 100 million in the United States. WordPress sites around the world publish posts every 17 seconds. Most of the top one million websites in the world are powered by WordPress and related to business. These facts clearly show the significance of WordPress as a content management service for businesses of all sizes.

Simplicity, social media integration and the large number of theme options available are key reasons why startups and small businesses prefer WordPress. However, you need to keep several important facts in mind before you think about using WordPress for your business website.

1. The quality of themes.

Thousands of free and premium themes are available for those planning to create a WordPress-based website for their startup. However, you need to be careful in selecting a reliable theme from those available. The theme should be flexible and you need to have the ability to make modifications without much hassle.

2. Hosting.

This is another crucial factor when it comes to creating a website for your startup. You need to look for a managed WordPress hosting service that will help you keep your website up and running at all times. In addition, they should provide regular updates and backups.

Related: The 7 WordPress Plugins Your Site Needs to Succeed

3. Choose your plugins wisely.

Installing too many plugins on your WordPress website will slow its performance. Only add the plugins that you will actively use and delete the rest.

4. Configuring your website.

After you finalize WordPress installation, you need to configure it accordingly. For example, you should think about how the comments are moderated, permalinks are set up, and other best practices. This is easily accomplished in WordPress settings and should be done during your initial setup.

5. Mobile Interface.

Many website visitors will access your site through their mobile devices, so your WordPress-based website needs a responsive mobile interface that will provide a smooth experience for users. Users won’t tolerate much irritation from pinching and pulling.

Adam Farra, CEO of HostGator says, “It can be a bit of a chore to make certain that your site is mobile-friendly. But it’s worth the effort. Doing so will help to assure that your site ranks as highly as possible in search engine results.”

6. Security.

WordPress comes with decent security features but consider implementing more advanced security measures using plugins and other best practices to deter potential threats. Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of High-Tech Bridge says, “I would say that a popular CMS, such as WordPress or Joomla may be considered secure in default installation if they are properly configured, don’t have third-party code and are up to date.”

7. Search engine optimization.

Consider search engine optimization (SEO) to enhance the visibility of your website on Google and other search engines. Using SEO best practices along with WordPress plugins like WordPress SEO by Yoast you’ll be headed in the right direction. In addition to search engine optimization, it’s important to use the new SEO (Social Engine Optimization) as well. Establish an active presence on the social media networks where your customers spend the most time and you’ll quickly build a brand people trust.

Contributor – Brett Relander


Month: October 2015

AI Machine Has Same IQ As Four-Year-Old Child

Posted on October 8, 2015  in Artificial Intelligence, Better Ways, Coding, Ideas, New Developments, Programming, Technology


Artificial Intelligence (AI) machines can already do several remarkable things: they are far better than humans at performing complex calculations, and they’re pretty good at playing chess. Researchers have once again tested the limits of AI by putting one of the world’s most intelligent AI machines through its paces with an IQ test, and the results are in: it has the same IQ as an average four-year-old child, as reported by MIT Technology Review.

Measuring intelligence through an IQ test is thought to be the best way to determine the intellectual capacity of people from a huge range of human cultures. A team of researchers, led by Stellan Ohlsson at the University of Illinois, decided to apply this concept to an intelligence outside of any normal human culture: an AI machine developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The intelligent machine, dubbed ConceptNet 4, was given a verbal reasoning examination calibrated for four-year-old children. Known as the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, it calculates a child’s IQ by asking a selection of questions from five categories.

The vocabulary category contains questions such as “What is a cat?”. The information category asks questions such as “Where can you find a tiger?”, and the word reasoning section asks the child to identify an object after being given three clues as to its identity. The comprehension category tests the child’s ability to understand the motivation behind actions, such as querying why people say hello or shake hands. Finally, the similarities category asks the child to understand the link between two objects, such as “Rain and snow are both made of _ ?”

After modifying ConceptNet 4’s programming to be able to deal with the questions it was going to be asked, the researchers gave it the same IQ test. The answers it gave were strongly linked to how it dealt with the language in the question, so more straightforward, concrete questions were handled well. Consequently, it did very well in the vocabulary and similarities segments, while doing averagely in the information question.

When concepts with inherent meaning or intent had to be handled, however, it dropped the ball. For example, when asked “why do people shake hands?” it interpreted the question as asking “what is the reason people’s hands shake?”. As a result, it decided that people shake hands because they are having an epileptic fit. As you can imagine, the AI scored poorly on the comprehension questions.

It also fared disastrously in the word reasoning category, giving truly bizarre answers unlike any child would ever use. When given the clues “This animal has a mane if it is male, it lives in Africa, and it is a yellowish-brown cat,” its five most common answers were “dog,” “cat,” “home,” “creature,” and “farm.”

As Ohlsson told MIT Technology Review, “if the clues say it is a cat, then types of cat are the only alternatives to be considered,” so this kind of misstep is currently inexplicable.

All categories considered, the AI’s measured verbal IQ was indeed that of an intellectually-average four-year-old child taking the same test. Stephen Hawking recently told BBC News he thought that artificial intelligence (AI) could lead to the extinction of humankind. Although this is entirely plausible, AI clearly has a long way to go to get to the point where it can stage a robot uprising.

by Robin Andrews - October 7, 2015