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Website Security And Why It’s Needed For Small Businesses

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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.

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      Featured photo credit: Mobilus in Mobili via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on August 25, 2021

      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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      Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

      As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

      Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

      According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

      “Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

      A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

      What Is Your Personal Brand?

      “Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

      Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

      Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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      I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

      A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

      Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

      Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

      Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

      In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

      According to Castrillon,[2]

      “One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

      The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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      As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

      In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

      “if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

      When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

      The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

      Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

      The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

      5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

      These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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      1. Set Your Personal Goals

      What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

      2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

      Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

      1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
      2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
      3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
      4. What makes you different from others like you?

      The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

      3. Write Your Professional Story

      Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

      4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

      Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

      5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

      A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

      The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

      Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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      As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

      Other People’s Stories

      Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

      Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

      Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

      “your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

      So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

      Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

      Reference

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