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Website Security And Why It’s Needed For Small Businesses

Website Security And Why It’s Needed For Small Businesses

There was a time when ordinary websites need not have any worry about hackers as it seemed like they mostly focused on vulnerabilities in network and operating systems. Those did some major damages and they still happen this day, but we also have hacking attacks on ordinary websites now as they’ve realized how much they can get, even on the simplest of website.

Even if you think that there’s nothing valuable on your website, it doesn’t make you an exception. WordPress hacking has become common, so it needs to be secured. Hacking can result in a range of problems, from being quite an annoyance to identity theft and businesses that are dependent on their online presence being destroyed. A lot of personal and financial information get transferred online. That is why online security is something you can’t ignore for long.

Spam, Bots, and Viruses

Most people take it for granted due to not being aware of the risks and consequences, as well as thinking that hackers wouldn’t waste their time on small fry when there’s bigger fish out there. With automated tools and advanced techniques, hackers can indeed waste more time finding vulnerable sites like yours and it’ll take no time to break. Therefore, website security is nothing to be lazy about.

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Spam, bots, and viruses are just some of the ways hackers use to attack various targets. These are automated tools that hackers prefer to use as it saves them time and lets them get more done. It gives them a better return on investment by letting them cover more ground and taking on less risks. Most attacks don’t target specific individuals, but picking vulnerabilities from the masses through a general selection criteria.

Identity Theft and SQL Injections

    Stealing personal data is one of the most common objectives among hackers as it can contain some valuable stuff, including financial information. To that end, one of the most common types of attack is what’s called an SQL injection. Through such an attack, one can get access to both financial information like credit card numbers and administrative rights to websites, the latter of which can help them gain access to more information.

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    SQL injections can lead to some very costly mishaps for websites. Large organizations have been victims of them, leading to millions of dollars in losses. If they can do that to the big fish, then they can destry the small businesses as well, enough to shatter dreams and dash aspirations.

    Business Sabotage and Legal Troubles

    You have to understand that a lot of these attacks are after businesses that make a good bit of their revenue from their online presence. They are gold mines when it comes to personal information, so they aim for vulnerabilities in websites of businesses that don’t know any better. Business logic attacks are a big part of that, looking rather inconspicuous to the untrained eye but actually yield serious ramifications for businesses when it’s too late to stop them.

    Some of the most common forms of such attacks are comment spam. Do you think those peculiar looking comments with the suspicious links in them are benign and slightly annoying? Think again, because they can lead people to bogus sites that install malware in machines. When your website gets marked for leading visitors to malware, it’ll take a big hit in the rankings or even completely removed from search results, thus rendering the website a dead weight in your business.

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    There’s also the dreaded Distributed Denial of Service attack, or DDoS. This one is serious business and can take down websites like how artillery can bombard a designated target. It’s basically an attack wherein multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a target like your website, thus crashing it and leaving it vulnerable to further attack. These are commonly done to high profile web servers such as that of banks, credit card companies, and so on. However, they can also be done against smaller websites for various reasons, including revenge, blackmail, or so on.

    If an attack got a customer’s data compromised, your business can be plunged in more hot water. A lawsuit can come out of such a misfortune, giving you and your business more problems. Being able to protect your customers’ data is your responsibility, which is why the security of your website is not to be ignored at all.

    The Importance of Updating Your Software

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      Software such as content management systems like WordPress are regularly updated for security and bug fixes, thus making them more secure while adding more features to make them even better and easier to use. It’s important that you update the software you use for your website as it can help you prevent a good number of attacks just by doing so. It also helps to read the notes on updates to be aware of what it can change in your website, including the security side of things.

      The Bottom Line on Protecting Your Data

      No matter how small and insignificant you think you are as a startup or small business, don’t think that hackers have nothing to gain by attacking your website. They don’t discriminate when it comes to their targets as they know they can gain something from just about any active websites. Therefore, you may not want to lower your guard just because your business is a ma-and-pa store that happens to have a website. If that website is of any use to customers, it’ll have a use for hackers as well.

      Conclusion

      If you had been a skeptic before, hopefully you’re a believer now when it comes to what hackers want. Website security is a very important consideration that must not be taken lightly. Prevention is always better than cure, and it’s indeed what can be the difference between you not having to worry and wallowing in sorrow due to adopting a “worry about it only when hacked” mentality.

      Featured photo credit: Mobilus in Mobili via flickr.com

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      Published on June 5, 2018

      Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

      Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

      Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

      Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

      Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance . Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to make it happen for a more fulfilling life.

      Signs that you need a career change

      The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

      You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

      Physical signs

      Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

      It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

      In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

      Mental signs

      One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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      I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

      Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

      • The tension in your neck
      • Difficulties with sleeping
      • Unable to concentrate
      • High anxiety
      • Depression

      If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

      Why a career change is good for you

      I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

      One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

      It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

      A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

      You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

      • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
      • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
      • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

      Common mistakes of people making a career change

      Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. What is your situation?

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      • Desire for an increase of salary: The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time. At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.
      • Overnight decision: Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.
      • Rejected for a promotion: I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.
      • Bored at work: Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

      A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

      • How long have you worked in your career?
      • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
      • Do you receive recognition?
      • Can you consider working in a new department?

      The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization. Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

      Now that you had a chance to review your work situation and none of these recommendations can help, it is time to take the next step.

      How to make the change for a successful career (Step-by-step)

      The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

      1. Write a career plan

      A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

      You can learn how to set your career plan here.

      2. Weigh your options

      If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

      You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job, in the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

      3. Be real about the pros and cons

      It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are impacting the current situation.

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      A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:

      • Economic factors
      • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
      • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
      • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
      • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

      A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

      4. Find a mentor

      A mentor that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

      • What is required to be successful in the role?
      • What certification or educational development is needed?
      • What are the challenges of the role?
      • Is there potential for career advancement?

      A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

      Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: A Good Mentor Is Hard to Find: What to Look for in a Mentor

      5. Research salary

      Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

      It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

      6. Be realistic

      If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

      For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

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      Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

      7. Volunteer first

      A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

      Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

      Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

      8. Prepare your career tools

      I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

      • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
      • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
      • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.

      Final thoughts

      It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will discover the role that is the best fit with your skillsets.

      Master these action steps and changing careers will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Reference

      [1]Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
      [2]MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan

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