In this day and age of digital dispensation, securing data has become a top priority for many companies and organisations. Cybercriminals are always out to hack systems and steal information that they can use for unethical activities. That is why data breaches are a significant concern, more so given the many ways systems can be compromised and the stored information stolen, deleted, or altered. Based on such statistics, it is wise to highlight some of the ways that your company or organisations can have fall victim to data breaches or cyberattacks. Let’s take a look at how such things can happen. 1. Employee Error Your staff is your weakest link in matters related to the security of your businesses information. Any organisation or company that has a gateway to the internet is but a click away from having its systems hacked and data compromised. Such cases are at times attributed to a lack of adhering to security procedures by the employees, and them leaking sensitive information. For instance, bulk emails are often sent to multiple recipients who are listed under the CC field instead of the BCC one. In such an instance, all recipients will see the email addresses of every other recipient of the same message. It exposes the addresses, which is a terrible thing, and worse still if the message contains sensitive information about the recipients. 2. Cyber Attack Cybercriminals can target an individual, business or organisation in different ways. The tactics they employ can be placed in three categories. The first is the use of exploits to gain access in your data systems and the stored information. It is a method that may include the above example of sending bulk emails. It can also entail the use of brute-force password hacking. In this method, the hackers will go to a long-in page and use a tool to generate millions of possible passwords to find the right one. That is why experts recommend the use of a strong password that such hack tools cannot break. The second is the use of malware to collect sensitive data or to disrupt the individual’s or business’ online activities. Different types of malware are designed for unique purposes. Some can be made to run undetected in the background, where they gather data about browsing habits. They can even be programmed to trigger the computer’s processors to initiate unauthorised tasks on behalf of the hacker. Some malware is destructive, and they include adware, viruses and ransomware that can corrupt data systems and delete files. The third one is a tactic that entails social engineering, which is what we shall address as the next data breach technique that these unscrupulous individuals use. 3. Social Engineering This is an online attack in which the cyber crooks pretend to be legitimate entities offering particular services. They will try and trick you into: Giving our sensitive information • Downloading a malicious file • Granting them access to restricted space (which can be physical access to the organisation’s servers or the login details) The cyber attackers prefer a social engineering tactic known as phishing. It entails sending of emails from a supposedly legitimate entity with a message containing urgent requests for something such as the user’s login details or talking about an issue with the company’s online services delivery. They can use the phishing attack on social media and even in the form of text messages. 4. Malicious Insider As pointed out earlier in this article, employees are the primary reason for data breaches and security vulnerability in most companies and organisations. They may unknowingly help the digital fraudsters to gain access to sensitive information. In some instances, the trusted workers could be the crooks themselves, and this leads to what’s known as malicious insider activity. The motives of such insiders are driven by the same reason that other cybercriminals have. It could be for revenge, where a disgruntled employee seeks to sabotage the company because of being laid off, overworked and underpaid, or feeling unappreciated. The employee may also do such acts for financial gain, whereby they steal data to sell on the dark web. 5. Physical Theft While most data breaches are linked to stealing, deletion or corruptions of stored digital information, that is not always the case. However, such offences can also be executed targeting physical data, which can be in discs, audio/visual tapes, and paper records. If such documentation is not properly disposed of when its no longer needed, it can end up in the hands of unscrupulous individuals who can leverage it against your company or organisation. In some cases, the physical records may fall out of the rubbish bins for people to see. They can also find their way in landfills where anyone can stumble upon them. Therefore, you need to make sure that you dispose of such information securely. The same goes for your decommissioned computers and USB sticks. Such devices need to be wiped clean of the stored data so that dumpster divers and digital fraudsters cannot find any information they can use against you. Digital companies, such as Ideal Health Consultants, have to take data security very seriously indeed.
Would you say that the 4Ps are still important today? What was the impact of digital on the effectiveness of marketing and sales funnels? The 4Ps model relies of four pillars - product, price, place and promotion - to build a viable marketing strategy. This model worked very well for almost one century, since marketers didn't have too many ways to get meaningful feedback from their target audiences. Television, print media and radio were effective, but they didn't offer too much room for direct communication. Potential buyers got their knowledge of products and services from mainstream media channels. The Rise of Customer-Centricity Back in 1990 Advertising Age published an article by Bob Lauterton stating that the 4Ps were outdated and ineffective, hence the need for marketers to find new ways to reach out to their target audiences. Bob's words were true: Due to the increasing competitiveness of developed markets, consumers were becoming extremely picky and less likely to believe everything they were reading or seeing. Big brands started to understand that the long-term viability of their marketing strategies needed to rely on bringing the customers closer and making them part of the dialogue. Agencies like marketing companies Basingstoke helped lead the change here. The 4Ps model was replaced by the 4Cs model, which offered a better representation of new marketing strategy trends. This model places the customer in the centre of marketing communications. Everything focuses on the needs, the buying habits and the problems of the actual customer, as well as on the outcome these people are seeking. Digital Makes the Old Funnel Models Obsolete A marketing funnel is a depiction of the purchasing process and of taking individuals through the steps that turn them into buyers. Potential customers begin their journey as "suspects" (knowing nothing about the brand and its benefits). They become "prospects" (acknowledging your products and their benefits), and then they turn into sales leads and eventually paying customers. The Modern Purchasing Process The changes to the customer journey over the last decade are still not clear or appreciated by brands and customers alike. Just think about the way holidaymakers, gamblers and gamers of the past used to make purchases: Researching, short-listing, comparing, and eventually buying required them to see their local travel agent at least once. Buying the latest video games required discussing with a specialist in a computer games store. Gambling has also evolved into an extremely competitive online battle among the biggest brands in the industry seeking to attract gamblers through special promotions and apparently valuable perks. All these customer journeys, as well as perhaps 99% of all others have been influenced by the internet. Travel seekers now have more control over the research phase of the purchasing process. Brands and travel agents need to adjust their communication and their marketing strategies to cater to this new way of doing research. Although most brands and suppliers are aware of this new way of buying, very few of them have fully adjusted their sales and marketing funnels to reflect this new type of customer journey. Marketing vs. Sales It's not uncommon that marketing people avoid having to be responsible for closing a sale. Having to keep tabs on your ROI at all times may have a negative impact on the effort to create valuable and rewarding experiences for potential customers. The truth is somewhere in the middle. There's great value in human creativity, but digital has brought Marketing and Sales closer than ever before. We can't even imagine one without the other, even though no longer than 15 years ago this would have been impossible to imagine. Marketers Are Also Generators of Sales Leads Digital offers the customer a greater decision power. This led to the ongoing convergence of marketing and sales. Most e-commerce businesses set revenue as their main objective. Effective lead generation and satisfactory conversion rates aren't possible without the careful optimisation of all marketing and lead generation activities. More often than not such activities are not that easy to measure, so marketers must unleash their creativity to devise and implement new methods of keeping tabs on their ROI at any given time. Modern marketing and sales are tightly intertwined.
While you should never choose 'going viral' as the main goal of your video marketing campaign, this term has become the latest craze in the digital world. Most of you, digital marketers, may already be familiar with facts like these: billions of YouTube videos are watched every single day; social videos generate heaps more shares than text and images; adding videos to a landing page boosts conversions; and 80% of internet users recall a video commercial they've watched online within the past 30 days. Well, if you also strive to see such impressive results, it's about time that you become familiar with the best practices to help your video get noticed and propelled forward by millions of social media users. Here are a few of our favourite tips to create powerful, inspiring and potentially viral online videos. 1. Make Your Video About the Story Rather than the Sale Hard selling makes people shy away and even reject your communication. Don't allow your brand to become the annoying stuff that makes people hit the 'back' browser button. Rather than trying to sell your stuff, focus on telling a story. As a matter of fact, the rules of written content marketing apply to video marketing as well - the main point is to provide value to your followers and potential customers. By addressing the most stringent needs and the deepest wishes of these viewers, you'll manage to grab their attention and to stir some emotions. If you fear losing leads by using this method, consider adding a strategic call to action by the end of the video. Make sure, though, that it fits naturally into the story. 2. Start Your Video with the Best 10 Seconds Ever About 20% of your followers will stop watching your video within the first 10 seconds. According to video marketing experts, your materials should always be short and to the point. Our advice is to start with the most interesting things, in order to have your viewers hooked on watching your videos to the end. They should perceive its value right off the bat (you only have 5 to 10 seconds to persuade them). Teasers and smart questions can contribute to igniting the curiosity of your audience and to grabbing their attention. Your video should instantly answer the question "what's in this for me?" to keep people hooked. Your video can make them laugh, it can teach them something new, or it can answer one of their biggest questions. 3. Optimise Your Video for Search Engines If you want your video to be successful, you need to make sure it enjoys a good visibility in search. For SEO purposes, you may want to publish your videos to your own domain before uploading them on video sharing websites and social media networks. In addition, remember to enable embedding on your video. This will help others share your video content and spread the word about your business. This is a good method to attract a nice share of inbound links. When you, or your digital marketing agency, optimise a video for search, keep in mind that the description is by far the most important thing that can help it climb to the top positions in the SERPs. SEO can be a tricky thing to understand and stay up to date with, so it's best to appoint experts like Leapfrog Internet Marketing. Google's crawlers rely on descriptions to understand what video materials are about and to rank them accordingly. Make sure you provide Google with exact instructions on what to do with your video after indexing it. 4. Don't Be Dull! Use Humour! Many people in the corporate world believe there's no room for comedy in such environments. However, if you used humour to make your point in an economical and effective manner, why wouldn't you give it a try? Your followers want to laugh. They want to step outside their usual world and let you entertain them. Well-written captions can take you a long way. The more you can relax, the more you'll help your viewers feel at ease and forget about their worries.
A colocation data centre is a type of managed facility that allows organisations to lease the space they need, normally within a dedicated rack or cabinet or within a separate and defined cage. The major difference between colocation and a model of outsourcing to a wholesale data centre is that with wholesale the tenant leases an entire fully built data centre, whereas when colocation is used the client leases a smaller area of space with connectivity, engineering services, security, cooling and power (preferably UPS such as power provided by Source UPS) to meet their individual needs. Why can't I just keep my kit on-site? There isn't anything wrong with keeping kit inside your own dedicated facility or on site. However, as an organisation draws on more computer power and has increased demands for more flexible capacity and resilient connectivity, providing the right type of data centre environment starts to become increasingly complex and therefore more expensive as well. Building, managing, and maintaining an in-house data centre requires a lot of resources both in terms of IT and CapEx. On a more practical level, it also may use up critical office space and generate noise levels that are unacceptable. Why would I want to change the existing arrangements that I have and use a colocation facility instead? Many organisations reach the point where it is not justifiable any longer to invest the effort and risk that is needed to build and then maintain their own in-house data centre. The consideration for outsourcing is often triggered by change - maybe reviewing the current IT delivery model, or perhaps something that is not directly linked to IT such as an acquisition or merger, an office move, a reallocation of costs or growth that is exerting pressure on office space. Are the same services offered by all colocation providers? Although the majority of providers might appear to offer all of the same services - cooling, connectivity, resilience and security - a closer look will reveal some important distinctions between providers. The difference between what they may claim and what you actually receive can make a huge difference to your business. What should I be looking for? Location - Is access easy for you but difficult for intruders? Resilience - Evaluate the level of resilience that is needed by your business and the what level has been built into the data centre design, processes and structure. Security - Consider the actual data centre site, the operational diligence of the operator and its access controls. Power - What about its energy efficiency? Data centres consume significant amounts of energy and that can be a concern both in terms of running costs and environmental responsibility. Connectivity - Having real cloud and connectivity options can help you choose the best combination of services for costs and resilience. Services - What types of services are available to support your business? If anything goes wrong, who can you contact? There are some providers that operate the way that a property company does, with revenue based on leased space, while others operate dark sites with sky-high, out-of-hours costs, and still others like Datum provide fully serviced colocation where client satisfaction is critical to success. Site visits and accreditation - Don't simply assume that the provider does what they claim to do - check third party, official accreditation, visit the site and dig into the way they operate and how the site's security and resilience are maintained. Business growth and flexibility - Are you tied into a fixed contract by the provider that is based on space or will you be able to grow and flex based on your power usage? Can it provide you with access to specialist service providers and a supporting ecosystem with relevant direct connections that can help to ensure that you have the necessary support when you need it for transition, growth and operation? Colocation can potentially provide you with exactly what you need for a hybrid IT setup that supports your business both effectively and at a reasonable cost. To be successful, the key lies in being able to build a trusted relationship with your colocation provider who is able and willing to work with you to fully support your business, both now and into the future.
Have the 4Ps been supplanted by the emergence of customer-centric trends? How have the marketing and sales funnels been changed by digital technology? For most of the 20th Century, the 4Ps model of product, price, promotion, and place was the predominant marketing strategy. It made total sense for marketers whose main task was to reach their target audience without having any direct communication channels or ones that provided useful feedback. Radio, television and print media were the predominant marketing channels where 20th-century buyers learned about trends, events, news, services and products. New media may have seemed like just a Stopgap but it became increasingly obvious that these new channels would become the mainstay of marketing activities. The Advent of Customer-Centricity Bob Lauterborn wrote an article in 1990 that was published in Advertising Age that argued that the 4Ps were dated and that actual issues needed to be addressed by modern marketers. Lauterborn was right: Developed markets at that time were starting to become increasingly competitive, with customers becoming more choosy, increasingly knowledgeable and less likely to react in a positive way to anything pushed on them. Corporations and brands started realising that incorporating customers in a more sincere way with their product development and services was a critical aspect of developing a business that provided viability for the long and medium-term. The 4Cs model, in contrast to the 4Ps, evolved to better represent marketing strategy. As indicated by the model, customers these days are at the very heart of modern marketing communications and everything is oriented around their buying habits, their needs and the end results of what they are actually looking for in the "total product offer", as well as the amount of money they are willing to pay. The Funnel Is Being Changed by Digital A marketing funnel describes the customer flow coming into your organisation. It refers to the customer's journey going from being a "suspect" (a potential customer who is not familiar with your organisation and someone you do not have a connection with currently), through to being a "prospect" (a person who is aware of your products now), to a sales lead and then finally a customer. Today's Customer Journey Most people (both customers and suppliers) still do not fully appreciate or understand the extent to which customer journey really has changed over the past 15 years. For example, consider yesterday's customer journeys of a gambler, gamer and holidaymaker: Not too long ago, short-listing, making comparisons and purchasing a holiday involved taking several trips to visit a local travel agent. Until recently, purchasing the most recent video games involved becoming friendly with a specialist at a local computer game store. Gambling moved quickly into a very fierce competitive battle online among the betting brands who were looking to lure in gamblers who search the web seeking out the best combination of perks and odds. The internet has irrevocably changed these and 99% of other customer journeys. It is clear the direction that travel is headed towards: Customers have an increasing amount of control over the product research phase. That is why it is becoming increasingly critical that brands and suppliers know how to respond to these changes. Today, the concept of customers being in control of the research and comparison stages of their buying journey is widely accepted. However, when suppliers or brands ask themselves the honest question, just a minority can really claim they have completely re-engineered all of their "top of the funnel" marketing effort to reflect this continuously evolving and new reality. Sales vs. Marketing Marketing people have traditionally run away from being held responsible for sales. How can marketers be expected to get valuable brand experiences created for customers if they need to worry about ROI constantly? Out in the real world, both sides have a point: There is an enduring value to human creativity (even when it is measured by a commercial yardstick called ROI). However, in many industries digital has driven marketing and sales to be so close that they are often parts of an indivisible whole now (only 15 years ago this concept would have been considered blasphemous in certain economic sectors). Marketers Generate Sales Leads As digital continues to push the influence of customers further down into the funnel, the convergence of marketing and sales continues. In e-commerce business as well as many others, the direct objective is revenue. Sales conversion and lead generation presuppose brand awareness and also that lead generation activities are already optimised. This activity is often a lot harder to measure.
Facilities that enable companies to lease space are typically known as managed colocation centres. The colocation data centres are often within a defined cage, or dedicated rack or cabinet. The primary difference between colocation and outsourcing wholesale data centres is that wholesalers (tenants that will lease fully built data centres entirely) are larger than the colocation option. An individual colocation is fully developed with power, heating facilities, connectivity and engineering services available. It is also much smaller than the wholesale alternative. Is It Problematic to Keep Kit on Site? While there is no dispute against leaving kit on site (wholesale or individual), it can reduce the office space. The average colocation site uses computer power, demanding increased resilience in connectivity and capacity. The right type of data centre setting can be quite complex and, therefore, a costly option. The building, managing and maintaining of an in-house data centre can be an invaluable resource for organisations, particularly regarding information technology (IT) and CapEx. On a less critical note, colocation spaces can reduce the level of office space (as is mentioned) and increase noise levels. Why Would I Want to Alter My Existing Facility and Use a Colocation Space? For the majority of businesses, there comes the point when it is impossible to justify any investments to build external data spaces. To remove the effort and risk of building outside centres, it is possible to maintain in-house data centres. Typically, the consideration of outsourcing centres is triggered by a change in the organisation, such as something being linked to the IT department or a negative review of the IT delivery approach. Some of the most common reasons companies use data centres include mergers, acquisitions, office relocation, reallocation of costs or placing pressure on the existing office space. Do All Colocation Centres Provide the Same Service? While the majority of colocation space providers appear to provide the same services, such as resilience, security, cooling systems and connectivity, there are some significant differences between them. Many users purport that what they claim you will receive when using a centre and what you actually receive can be an enormous feature when choosing the data centre. What Features Should I Consider When Choosing a Colocation Space? #1: The Location The first consideration to make is the ease of access regarding the data centre. Can you access the area easily? Moreover, ask yourself how difficult it would be for intruders to reach the space. #2: The Security Level Security is vital in all areas of business including colocation data centres. When looking at security features, the issue of access controls and operator diligence should be considered. #3: Level of Resilience You must consider the level of resilience of the space regarding the company’s needs, as well as whether or not the controls are built in. The ideal data centre design is one that has built-in controls, flexible processes and a sturdy structure with a UPS, from somewhere such as the UPS Battery Shop. #4: The Services Available When hiring a colocation data space, it is necessary to consider the services made available to you. For instance, who would you speak with if you experience some problems? Certain providers operate similarly to property companies where revenue is based mostly on the leased space, the location of the centre (some are dark and make out of hours in the winter a risk) and the increased costs of the area. However, some companies, such as Datum, provide full-service centres where customer satisfaction is essential for success. #5: The Power The ideal data centre is one where energy access is environmentally friendly, efficient and available at a reduced cost. #6: The Connectivity To ensure positive operations, it is essential that there are several options for cloud and connectivity access. By having various options available, you can receive a plethora of services with reasonable costs and increased resilience. #7: Site Visits and Accreditation Never take a provider’s word regarding the operations of a data centre. Before spending any money, it is recommended that you check official third-party accreditation, identify how they operate and determine the level of security and resilience. #8: Business Growth and Flexibility Business growth and flexibility involves the information placed in fixed contracts. Always check whether or not the agreement allows access to specialist service providers, availability to direct connections and external support if required.