Hiring for Cybersecurity in the Finance Sector By Jay D’Aprile

Maialisa / Pixabay

Were you one of the 143 million Americans impacted by the 2017 Equifax data breach? How about one of the 4.6 million people affected by the 2015 Scottrade hack? Or the 76 million households impacted by the 2014 cyberattack against JPMorgan Chase? These are just three of hundreds of known cyberattacks on financial institutions, with thousands more affecting the financial data of businesses across every industry.

Cybercrime is reportedly a $445 billion business, and it’s ever-growing, with a 36 percent increase in ransomware attacks across the globe. There’s no surprise, then, that demand for cybersecurity professionals is skyrocketing across every industry. This is especially true in the financial sector. IBM Security Services sees 65 percent more attacks on its financial services clients than any other client. And yet, only 21 percent of IT leaders report being “very well” prepared for these attacks.

Beyond the risk of malware, ransomware, and other cyberattacks, a PwC survey reveals these top five cybersecurity challenges:

  1. Assessing security procedures of vendors
  2. Dealing with complex technologies
  3. Protecting sensitive customer information
  4. Understanding and complying with regulation
  5. Developing and administering employee training

Unfortunately, exponential demand is met by an extremely limited supply of professionals. Analysts forecast as many as 1.5 million cybersecurity positions will go unfilled by 2020. In a field where the unemployment rate is effectively zero, how can organizations hope to stem the risk of cyberattacks and protect against vulnerabilities?

Hiring for a Unique Skill Set

Successful cybersecurity professionals have a unique set of skills. Because it is next to impossible for any company to avoid 100% of human error in every project, let alone one complicated by the nuances of cybersecurity, their soft skills are integral to the role. Not only have these professionals built the necessary technical experience, but they’re also outstanding collaborators who understand the challenge of cybersecurity in the framework of business objectives. They understand risk management, are quick and willing to learn, and choose to really listen before diving in.

Many of these skills and characteristics are unteachable. That means the traditional search for cybersecurity professionals may be somewhat flawed. A more “typical” career path supported by a college degree and appropriate work experience are often the first things a hiring manager looks for when seeking to fill open roles in cybersecurity. But this strategy is unlikely to be successful as the cybersecurity talent shortage continues to grow. Instead, companies need to look for people who are passionate about problem solving and possess a sense of ethics that can’t be taught. From there, training and certification programs can fill in the gaps.

IBM is reportedly using this exact approach, developing “new collar” jobs in areas like cybersecurity. They value skills over degrees, providing training and development programs to build employees’ technical knowledge. It’s a long-term solution that may effectively resolve the cybersecurity skills shortage.

Finally, it’s important to recognize how greater diversity can help address the skills gap challenge. A PwC study reveals that just 11 percent of cybersecurity professionals in the US are women, a statistic that has remained flat over the last two years. Ethnic minorities see similar numbers, with less than 12 percent in the cybersecurity workforce. A focus on diversity in the c-suite and across all areas of an organization would greatly benefit companies who struggle with finding talent. Addressing corporate cultures that lack diversity and adjusting hiring strategies to attract a wider audience are ways that invite greater numbers of talented workers.

Other Considerations When Hiring Cybersecurity Professionals in Finance

There is a myriad of state and federal regulations that already aim to help regulate cybersecurity in financial institutions, including the FCRA and a recent policy enacted by the New York State Department of Financial Services. This is in addition to “voluntary” standards, such as those developed by the National Institution of Standards and Technology in its Cybersecurity Framework and the Data Security Standards set by the Payment Card Industry. Furthermore, there have been several propositions at a federal level for a more comprehensive ruling on cybersecurity for financial institutions. All in all, there is no lack of uncertainty for leaders in finance when it comes to protecting their organizations in a legal sense as well as in a cyberthreat sense. Shifting and overlapping regulations can make it difficult to hire the right cybersecurity professionals. As discussed, these workers must have a foundational sense of ethics as well as a clear understanding of how cybersecurity fits into the big picture of the organization.

Beyond regulations, finance executives must also consider the cost of hiring best-in-class cybersecurity professionals. These workers are some of the most sought-after talent in the workforce. It goes without saying that the competition has led to sky-high salaries and wages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual wage for information security analysts is $92,600. Other cybersecurity roles can see upwards of $160,000 annual salary. Of course, these numbers shift according to region, company size, experience level, industry, and other factors. Companies that are struggling to fill security positions must research and offer market rates for these individuals, or else risk losing talent to the competition. Considering the high risks of leaving cybersecurity positions open, the investment in top talent will be more than worth it.

How is your organization adapting to these trends in cybersecurity?

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Flash Player Malware Found on Equifax.com By John Burcham

JuralMin / Pixabay

What happened?

Equifax can’t catch a break. The company’s most recent security event involved infectious malware placed on its main website, Equifax.com.

The malware was initially discovered by a security analyst attempting to dispute information on his credit reports. According to news sources, he was redirected to a fake page titled “hxxp:centerbluray.info” where he was prompted to download an Adobe Flash player.

In reality, the Flash player download was harmful malware designed to flood Internet Explorer browsers with unsolicited ads.

What’s Flash?

Flash is a browser plug-in that provides streaming animation for various web pages. While security experts agree that it is “powerful” software, Flash has also been criticized by the industry when it comes to its security. Because of Flash’s numerous security holes, hackers have continuously used it in malware development.

The Flash player malware that affected Equifax was intended to convince victims of its legitimacy by using the real Equifax website. As a result, victims were convinced to download the malware, ultimately spreading it to others.

The Equifax run-in with the Flash player malware shows, once again, just how easy it is to be fooled by cybercriminals. Criminals often place malware in high-volume areas of the Internet to reach as many potential victims as possible.

What should you do?

Equifax took immediate action by removing the page from its site. Even though you cannot prevent how hackers use malware, you can take a proactive approach when it comes to online downloads and providing information on the Internet:

  • Investigate all download prompts. Most websites will ask if you’d like to approve a download from the Internet. If you do not recognize the file, do not download it.
  • Avoid files or downloads that contain double extensions (i.e. File.doc.exe). Double extensions often indicate that cybercriminals are trying to disguise a malicious file.
  • Never accept downloads or enter personal information into sites without a secure green lock.

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Cloud-Linked Security Features Announced for Upcoming Microsoft 365 Program By Jimmy Rodela

Cloud-Linked Security Features

Microsoft recently announced the release of multiple new security updates that is to come with its “Microsoft 365” program offerings.

This announcement was made during the Microsoft Ignite 2017 held last September 25-29 in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Ignite is Microsoft’s yearly expo and conference that brings together enterprise users and the IT community to talk about innovations and upcoming technologies in the digital industry.

A common theme that unifies the recently announced updates is its protection services and risk assessments that are run and operated in the cloud.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based program recently released by the company that offers its subscribers access to a variety of tools and services as based on their subscription tier.

Some of the program’s features include access to Windows 10, Office 365, and Microsoft’s enterprise mobility and security services.

One of the recent updates to the program include an enhancement that allows Office 365 users to send encrypted messages to users outside of the program.

Target recipients of these encrypted messages include consumer services, such as Gmail and Outlook, to provide a seamless and secure experience to all its users.

The company also released an update to its “Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection” service that protects emails from potential phishing attacks.

This service operates by covering links and files being transferred through cloud-sharing tools and services, such as SharePoint Online and OneDrive.

Azure Active Directory

Another general security update discussed during the Ignite conference tackled on Microsoft’s Azure Active Directory.

The Azure Directory is the company’s identity management system that is currently responsible for 450 billion monthly authentications that run through the company’s cloud.

This directory — which Microsoft dubs as the “Intelligent Security Graph” — forms the basis of the updates being worked-on and announced by the company.

According to Brad Anderson, Microsoft’s CVP for Enterprise Mobility and Security:

One of the most valuable things that we’ve built ever is the intelligent security graph and that’s where we bring all of this data together. In that graph, every enterprise identity now has a risk score attached to it. Having a lot of data is great, but having the right unique data is incredible.

Microsoft experts relayed that there are currently over 10 terabytes worth of data flowing through this algorithm each day.

An important feature that falls under this directory is the “Cloud App Security” tool.

This tool allows the IT staff of Microsoft 365 subscribers to control and monitor how their employees are allowed to use the company’s cloud-based platform applications.

Breach detection tool

Microsoft’s 365 program also comes with a new security update called the “Azure Advanced Threat Protection” service.

This feature is a service that scans for unusual behavior in cloud platforms and monitors subscriber files being accessed by individuals — recording its corresponding date and time of access.

Also, Microsoft recently launched its new “Azure Security Center” tool for its 365 program.

This tool is tasked to monitor the workloads being run across company clouds and automatically searches for potential threats to security.

What’s next?

How about you? What do you think of the security tools and features being offered by Microsoft’s latest 365 program release?

What security systems are you currently using to protect your online business ventures? And what tips can you offer startups regarding protecting their online assets from cyber attacks?

Do share with us your thoughts and experiences in the comments section down below, as we would love to hear from you.

Stay tuned for more of the latest trends and happenings.

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3 Surefire Ways to Encourage Mobile In-App Purchases By Stefan Bhagwandin

mobile in-app purchases

Source: Freepik

Mobile in-app purchases are the most direct path to revenue. There are several ways to monetize a mobile app, such as advertising within a free app or charging a subscription for the app itself — but none are as simple and effective as in-app purchasing.

Over the years, many different app verticals have found a way to incorporate in-app purchases into their business model. Games sell extra lives, utility apps sell ad removal upgrades, retail apps sell products directly. Mobile in-app purchases are essential to the industry as we know it.

Unfortunately, guiding mobile users to purchase can be a challenge. It’s easy for digital shoppers, especially mobile shoppers, to procrastinate on purchases. On average, 90 percent of mobile shopping carts are abandoned. Even if users show purchase intent, most people never follow through and check out.

There are fortunately a few techniques mobile teams can implement to encourage mobile in-app purchases. Learn about them below.

Trigger Upsells by User Behavior

Not all mobile purchases are one-size-fits-all. Some types of apps, like music apps or games, sell a variety of secondary products that won’t appeal to every user. The value of these products isn’t obvious until later in the user journey.

One way to drive more purchases is by personalizing promotions to individual user behavior. Instead of blasting discounts and new product announcements to your whole user base, wait until people display interest before targeting them.

Games are good at this type of upsell. The base product — the game — is usually free, and many players are happy to deal with ads and other inconveniences at first. It wouldn’t do much good to spam new users with upsells promising more lives, score multipliers, or an ad-free experience. New users just want to get into the game.

But timing is everything. Players will likely be more inclined to purchase extra lives right after losing their last life, for instance. Or, if a player comes close to beating a high score, you can promote purchasable in-game items that would have boosted their score. These upsells are much more tempting when delivered at the right time.

mobile in-app purchase example

Source: Jelly Splash

Music streaming apps can plan similar campaigns to convert free users to paid. By default, music apps are usually free, but subscribers can enjoy an ad-free experience with no listening limits.

Intuitively, it makes sense to promote the paid subscription after the user listens to several songs in a row, giving them enough time to tire of the ads. Otherwise, the person might get annoyed at the upsell message before getting annoyed at the actual ads, making for a poor user experience.

For best results, deliver upsells the moment they promise real value for users. Listeners might appreciate a discount on a paid subscription after 10 ads, but not after one.

in-app notification

Source: Process Street

Behaviorally triggered push notifications scored a 9x higher open rate in an earlier Leanplum study, so there’s statistical justification to this theory. A/B test your next messaging campaign to see the results for yourself.

Promote Products With In-App Messages

mobile in-app promotion

Some apps, like retailers and travel companies, don’t just offer in-app purchases as a secondary feature. Purchases are integral to the app itself. Implicitly, every user of a retail app has some purchase intent. How can mobile marketers convert window shoppers into buyers?

In-app messages are valuable for promoting products. Sales, coupons, and other discounts are a common use case. Most users would be thrilled to launch an app and see a notice for a limited time offer. Just as with brick-and-mortar retail stores, sales must be actively promoted for them to impact conversions.

Having said that, it’s possible for mobile teams to encourage in-app purchases through less common use cases. One approach that’s growing in popularity is personalization. Instead of creating a blanket sale across all products, you can promote sales in select categories to different users. By looking at each person’s browsing and purchase history, you can segment users into different buckets based on their favorite product categories. Then, serve each segment a personalize promotion aimed precisely at their interests.

Another technique is to personalize the copy and content of each message. Even if you’re promoting a store-wide sale, you can still target the message to each user. If a person recently bought an item, you could say something like, “Enjoying your new shoes? Pick up a leather conditioner to keep them shiny & clean — all products are 15 percent off!” Alternatively, if the user hasn’t completed a purchase yet, you could suggest an item from their most browsed category.

One way or another, in-app messages are perfect for drawing attention to sales. They’re one of the best tools for encouraging mobile in-app purchases.

Encourage Checkouts With Push Notifications and Emails

mobile in-app shopping cart abandonment

Unfortunately for mobile marketers, purchase intent isn’t the end of the funnel. The deal isn’t done until users input their payment info and tap the buy button. More often than not, this last mile is the hardest.

Mobile messages are the best way to reduce shopping cart abandonment. Specifically, we suggest focusing on push notifications and emails. Both messaging channels reach users outside the app, so it’s okay if they’re not daily active users. If a user adds an item to their cart but never checks out, you can send an automated follow-up to prompt the purchase.

There are a few ways to personalize these notifications for a better success rate.

  • Mention the name of the item in the copy, instead of just saying, “You left an item in your cart.”
  • If the item’s supply is limited, say that it might go out of stock soon to create a sense of urgency.

Abandoned shopping cart reminders might not generate conversions on their own, but they’re an essential part of any messaging strategy. We’ve seen companies boost conversions by 14 percent with these reminders.

The Universal Way to Lift Mobile In-App Purchases

Purchases are a culmination of many different factors: product selection, app user experience, price, user demographics, and more. But across the board, no matter what type of purchase your app drives toward, there’s a way to leverage mobile messages.

Messaging might not single-handedly deliver customers to your door, but it does tip the scale in favor of purchase. Over time, even a small increase in purchases will lead to a significant amount of revenue. It’s never too late to encourage more mobile in-app purchases. For more great conversion advice, download our just-released Marketing Trends report, In-App Purchases Now: Insights to Driving Mobile Revenue.

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Todoist vs. Trello, Which is Better? By Brendan Toner

Todoist vs. Trello, which is better? Both offer great task management, but in radically different ways. In this article I look at the key differences for you, the user.

Todoist vs. Trello Introduction

If you happen to stumble upon this article the chances are you are in the market for a new task manager and you have heard good things about two heavy weight task manager apps, Todoist and Trello. But which is better for you, Todoist or Trello? Which would best suit your style of getting things done, your budget and even help you get stuff done on the go? All reasonable questions to ponder upon with your favorite tipple in hand. Well, dear reader you have stumbled upon the right place. In this article I will outline the pros and cons in the Todoist vs. Trello debate to help you decide what is best for you. So, without further ado, let’s crack on with the Todoist vs. Trello review, beginning with the user interface for both.

Todoist vs. Trello User Interface

The first thing to notice between Todoist and Trello for any potential user is the striking difference in the user interfaces. Trello uses a Kanban board style method to manage tasks. This task management style allows you to organize your tasks in vertical columns. Traditionally these columns had been titled, Pending, In Progress and Done or something of that ilk. So, one would work on the tasks in the “In Progress”, column and when complete they would be moved across to the Complete column. Then another task would be moved from the Pending column to become the new “In Progress”, task. It was a simple but effective way of not only having visibility on the current tasks but also limiting the tasks for any given stage. Normally the approach would have been implemented on a physical notice board such as the one shown below.

Todoist vs. Trello : Traditional Kanban Board

Old school Kanban

However, this technique translates very well to the electronic domain – see the Trello interface for comparison to the old school post it notes. If you prefer a visual style of task management or if your tasks usually have a visual aspect to them, such as some picture, then definitely Trello is a good choice.

Todoist vs. Trello : Trello Interface

In contrast to Trello’s imagery, Todoist takes a more traditional approach. As with many other task managers, there is a left side of the screen containing the “Projects”, listing and the right side contains the list of tasks within each project. The tasks and projects can be nested, or in hierarchical form. The format in Todoist is simple and elegant, but make no mistake, for a myriad of clever tools are concealed behind the simple interface – as we will discover shortly!

Todoist vs. Trello : Todoist Interface

Todoist vs. Trello Features

Both Todoist and Trello are established task management apps and so as expected, both tick many of the basic and more advanced features. These include file uploads, reminders, sharing of task lists, task comments, filters/search, task labels (colors for Trello), list templates, reminders, activity logs of list changes, keyboard shortcuts, task change notifications, SMS/email reminders and the ability to email tasks to your lists. This is by no means a complete list of the common features but at least you can see that many of the expected features are available in both Todoist and Trello.

There are a few differentiating features between them though. Let’s start off with features that Todoist has and Trello does not. It has location-based reminders, subtasks (proper subtasks, not an in-card checklist), basic intrinsic reporting – Trello has external options available for this, and smart date recognition. The smart date recognition means that if you type “Doctor appointment on Thursday”, Todoist will recognize “Thursday”, and set a reminder on that day accordingly for you.

Trello has the edge on Todoist with third-party support in the form of “Power-ups”, which can really boost Trello functionality. I will describe this in more detail later.

Todoist & Trello Filtering and Search

Filtering and search is also a bit different between Todoist and Trello. Let’s consider Trello first. Trello has a search field at the top of the window which enables any search terms to be entered. As you type the corresponding task cards that fulfill that search term will be shown. It is a little bit like when you start typing in Google and a list of possible solutions start appearing.

Todoist, on the other hand, takes a different approach in their use of filtering. For large lists, filtering of some sort is a must. The premium version supports this with a comprehensive set of options. The basic filter commands follow natural language. So, for example you can enter “no due dates”, and it will show all tasks with no due dates. Check out the video below for some examples of how it can be used.

Task Organization

Do you have a flat task list or a nested or hierarchical task list? A flat task list will be a simple grocery style list like this,

Task A

Task B

Task C

Whereas, a nested task list will be like this,

Task A

Subtask 1

Subtask 2

Task B

In the latter case, Task A is broken down into smaller, more digestible work packages. This is important when dealing with larger projects which will need some element of Work Breakdown.

How you organize your tasks will influence the choice between Todoist and Trello. Todoist, by far is the better choice if you need to breakdown your tasks into smaller, actionable steps. Both projects and tasks can be nested, so you have multiple levels of nesting.

Trello, on the other hand really only supports one level of task cards. Checklists can be listed within the task cards but this is not really equivalent to proper task nesting.

Trello and Todoist Supported Platforms

Todoist support of platforms is one of the widest available for any task manager. At the time of writing it stands at 12 platforms, including the usual suspects – Windows, iOS, Android and various browsers.

Trello is primarily browser based but also has apps for Android and iOS.

Both Trello and Todoist can be used offline with the changes being synced when you are back online. I had the experience though with Trello that this offline access does not include embedded images in the task cards. So, if you need offline access to images then Trello would not be appropriate. Instead, have a look at some of the note based productivity solutions such as Evernote or OneNote.

Todoist vs. Trello Mobile Functionality

There was a time, in the not too distant past that I weighed up the differences between Todoist and Wunderlist. In terms of mobile operation, I considered Todoist to be the superior of the two, and for good reason.

Two key things to consider for small screen mobile operation is,

– Quick navigation to find the tasks that can be done given your particular context

– Quick addition of new tasks while on the go

The Todoist mobile apps have the same simple, elegant interface as the desktop equivalent so Projects and Tasks can be easily browsed through. Even browsing through lists or entering new tasks can be too laborious on a small screen while on the go, so anything that can speed this up speed is useful. I have been using Todoist for some months now and I find a couple of Todoist features really helps with this. The first is the smart date recognition, which I described earlier. This works particularly well when you combine it with voice input. So, just say “Doctor appointment on Thursday”, to your phone and the task will be entered and a reminder set. The next mobile friendly feature is that project and date icons are immediately available at the point of task entry so can be quickly selected.

Todoist vs. Trello third party Integration

Both Trello and Todoist support third part integration but the ways and means that each do it differ dramatically.

Let’s start with Todoist which offers a more traditional third part integration support. There is a wide variety of apps that integrate with Todoist but this integration usually takes the form of information exchanged between the apps. For example you can send tasks to Todoist from other apps and vice versa or link to cloud storage and so on. However, the intrinsic functionality of the Todoist app is not changing in the process.

Trello on the other hand does not treat integration as an extrinsic extension. Third party plugins are available which intrinsically alter and enhance the features available in Trello. Trello Power Ups, and this is really an accurate description, as they really do enhance the core functionality of Trello.

If there was a single reason that one would contemplate Trello over any other task manager, it would be this integration. No ifs, no buts, it’s the integration. For many task management apps, integration usually means the transfer of information between the apps. So you can send a task from one app to another or you can sync them in some way.

Trello integration, on the other hand, not only exchanges data but actually modifies the user interface depending on which app you choose to integrate with. These power ups have a very simple one touch switch to activate them – see the screen shot below. Simply enable them and they will then connect with Trello and offer additional functionality. This can radically alter ones workflow. So Trello integration is not only about data exchange but also adding diverse additional features and changing your actual working style. That is profound.

Todoist vs. Trello : Trello Power Up list

Trello power up selection

The range and features of the power ups are radically different between the mobile and Web apps. The power ups for the iOS version is limited to only two, Calendar and user voting. This means all of that stuff I mentioned earlier, including the extensive use of “profound”, is limited to the web version.

The screenshot below shows the integration of the Trello Kanban boards with the Planyway calendar looks like. So you can drag your tasks between the boards and calendar to schedule your tasks. This integration between calendar and task lists is great for people who like to block off time for their tasks.

Integration between Trello and Planyway

If you want to go a bit further in the project management direction you can even add a Gantt chart to the mix as you can see from the video below. It is not a heavy duty PM tool like MS Project but can assist in getting an overview of the task sequencing for your task cards.

There is a huge list of power ups available. But, sorry folks I am not going to be covering all of them in this article. For that I would have to write a book! I can only recommend to check out this list of Trello Power Ups, to see what could fit your needs.

Todoist vs. Trello Price

Both Todoist and Trello offer paid and free versions of their product. Let me start off with the free version for both.

Free Todoist is but a taster of the full product as if you really want to use it seriously the limitations placed on the free version will really hamper your usage. The free version prohibits fairly essential features such as task comments, labels and reminders. So, if you are looking to use Todoist for the long term, expect to pay for it.

Trello in contrast offers a fairly fully featured free version. Paying for either the Gold or business versions will essentially get you more of what you have in the free version whether that be upload size, the number of power-ups or whatever. For most people, the free Trello is perfectly usable.

Now onto the paid versions. Todoist Premium costs $29 and in my opinion this is a pretty reasonable price for what you get. It is a fully featured, well supported task manager and certainly one of the best offerings out there. The extra $29 will get you the aforementioned labels, reminders and comments. Additionally you can upload files and increase the number of active projects and the number of people who work on them.

Trello Gold for individual users comes in at $45 per year. This allows uploads up to 250Mb, up to three power-ups per board and custom backgrounds.

Todoist vs. Trello Summary

Finally we have made it to the Trello vs. Todoist wrap-up. I am not even going to summarize the last two thousand words in a couple of sentences so instead I will give some examples where I think it would make sense to choose Trello as your task manager and likewise for Todoist.

Trello works well when you have fairly simple projects that consist of tasks that require roughly equal efforts. You will get the best Trello experience on a desktop and so it is useful for office or home productivity where you have access to a fully featured browser and reasonable sized monitor. It also does well in sharing these lists with others in small, collaborative teams.

I think Todoist has the edge over Trello in two key areas. The first is mobile productivity. The interface is quick and easy to navigate on small screens, has location based reminders and the smart date recognition works well so you can avoid unnecessary prodding of small screen buttons for calendar dates.

The other advantage I see is that Todoist is better suited for larger tasks and projects that need to be broken down into smaller, more digestible chunks. Todoist’s subtasks make it inherently more suited to breaking down tasks in this way.

If you want to know more about either Todoist or Trello you can read my full Todoist for Windows Review, Todoist for Android review and Trello review 2017.

I hope you have found this article useful in your choice of Todoist vs. Trello and if so, make sure to share it on your choice of social networks using the little buttons on the left side of the screen.

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Todoist vs. Trello, Which is Better? By Brendan Toner

Todoist vs. Trello, which is better? Both offer great task management, but in radically different ways. In this article I look at the key differences for you, the user.

Todoist vs. Trello Introduction

If you happen to stumble upon this article the chances are you are in the market for a new task manager and you have heard good things about two heavy weight task manager apps, Todoist and Trello. But which is better for you, Todoist or Trello? Which would best suit your style of getting things done, your budget and even help you get stuff done on the go? All reasonable questions to ponder upon with your favorite tipple in hand. Well, dear reader you have stumbled upon the right place. In this article I will outline the pros and cons in the Todoist vs. Trello debate to help you decide what is best for you. So, without further ado, let’s crack on with the Todoist vs. Trello review, beginning with the user interface for both.

Todoist vs. Trello User Interface

The first thing to notice between Todoist and Trello for any potential user is the striking difference in the user interfaces. Trello uses a Kanban board style method to manage tasks. This task management style allows you to organize your tasks in vertical columns. Traditionally these columns had been titled, Pending, In Progress and Done or something of that ilk. So, one would work on the tasks in the “In Progress”, column and when complete they would be moved across to the Complete column. Then another task would be moved from the Pending column to become the new “In Progress”, task. It was a simple but effective way of not only having visibility on the current tasks but also limiting the tasks for any given stage. Normally the approach would have been implemented on a physical notice board such as the one shown below.

Todoist vs. Trello : Traditional Kanban Board

Old school Kanban

However, this technique translates very well to the electronic domain – see the Trello interface for comparison to the old school post it notes. If you prefer a visual style of task management or if your tasks usually have a visual aspect to them, such as some picture, then definitely Trello is a good choice.

Todoist vs. Trello : Trello Interface

In contrast to Trello’s imagery, Todoist takes a more traditional approach. As with many other task managers, there is a left side of the screen containing the “Projects”, listing and the right side contains the list of tasks within each project. The tasks and projects can be nested, or in hierarchical form. The format in Todoist is simple and elegant, but make no mistake, for a myriad of clever tools are concealed behind the simple interface – as we will discover shortly!

Todoist vs. Trello : Todoist Interface

Todoist vs. Trello Features

Both Todoist and Trello are established task management apps and so as expected, both tick many of the basic and more advanced features. These include file uploads, reminders, sharing of task lists, task comments, filters/search, task labels (colors for Trello), list templates, reminders, activity logs of list changes, keyboard shortcuts, task change notifications, SMS/email reminders and the ability to email tasks to your lists. This is by no means a complete list of the common features but at least you can see that many of the expected features are available in both Todoist and Trello.

There are a few differentiating features between them though. Let’s start off with features that Todoist has and Trello does not. It has location-based reminders, subtasks (proper subtasks, not an in-card checklist), basic intrinsic reporting – Trello has external options available for this, and smart date recognition. The smart date recognition means that if you type “Doctor appointment on Thursday”, Todoist will recognize “Thursday”, and set a reminder on that day accordingly for you.

Trello has the edge on Todoist with third-party support in the form of “Power-ups”, which can really boost Trello functionality. I will describe this in more detail later.

Todoist & Trello Filtering and Search

Filtering and search is also a bit different between Todoist and Trello. Let’s consider Trello first. Trello has a search field at the top of the window which enables any search terms to be entered. As you type the corresponding task cards that fulfill that search term will be shown. It is a little bit like when you start typing in Google and a list of possible solutions start appearing.

Todoist, on the other hand, takes a different approach in their use of filtering. For large lists, filtering of some sort is a must. The premium version supports this with a comprehensive set of options. The basic filter commands follow natural language. So, for example you can enter “no due dates”, and it will show all tasks with no due dates. Check out the video below for some examples of how it can be used.

Task Organization

Do you have a flat task list or a nested or hierarchical task list? A flat task list will be a simple grocery style list like this,

Task A

Task B

Task C

Whereas, a nested task list will be like this,

Task A

Subtask 1

Subtask 2

Task B

In the latter case, Task A is broken down into smaller, more digestible work packages. This is important when dealing with larger projects which will need some element of Work Breakdown.

How you organize your tasks will influence the choice between Todoist and Trello. Todoist, by far is the better choice if you need to breakdown your tasks into smaller, actionable steps. Both projects and tasks can be nested, so you have multiple levels of nesting.

Trello, on the other hand really only supports one level of task cards. Checklists can be listed within the task cards but this is not really equivalent to proper task nesting.

Trello and Todoist Supported Platforms

Todoist support of platforms is one of the widest available for any task manager. At the time of writing it stands at 12 platforms, including the usual suspects – Windows, iOS, Android and various browsers.

Trello is primarily browser based but also has apps for Android and iOS.

Both Trello and Todoist can be used offline with the changes being synced when you are back online. I had the experience though with Trello that this offline access does not include embedded images in the task cards. So, if you need offline access to images then Trello would not be appropriate. Instead, have a look at some of the note based productivity solutions such as Evernote or OneNote.

Todoist vs. Trello Mobile Functionality

There was a time, in the not too distant past that I weighed up the differences between Todoist and Wunderlist. In terms of mobile operation, I considered Todoist to be the superior of the two, and for good reason.

Two key things to consider for small screen mobile operation is,

– Quick navigation to find the tasks that can be done given your particular context

– Quick addition of new tasks while on the go

The Todoist mobile apps have the same simple, elegant interface as the desktop equivalent so Projects and Tasks can be easily browsed through. Even browsing through lists or entering new tasks can be too laborious on a small screen while on the go, so anything that can speed this up speed is useful. I have been using Todoist for some months now and I find a couple of Todoist features really helps with this. The first is the smart date recognition, which I described earlier. This works particularly well when you combine it with voice input. So, just say “Doctor appointment on Thursday”, to your phone and the task will be entered and a reminder set. The next mobile friendly feature is that project and date icons are immediately available at the point of task entry so can be quickly selected.

Todoist vs. Trello third party Integration

Both Trello and Todoist support third part integration but the ways and means that each do it differ dramatically.

Let’s start with Todoist which offers a more traditional third part integration support. There is a wide variety of apps that integrate with Todoist but this integration usually takes the form of information exchanged between the apps. For example you can send tasks to Todoist from other apps and vice versa or link to cloud storage and so on. However, the intrinsic functionality of the Todoist app is not changing in the process.

Trello on the other hand does not treat integration as an extrinsic extension. Third party plugins are available which intrinsically alter and enhance the features available in Trello. Trello Power Ups, and this is really an accurate description, as they really do enhance the core functionality of Trello.

If there was a single reason that one would contemplate Trello over any other task manager, it would be this integration. No ifs, no buts, it’s the integration. For many task management apps, integration usually means the transfer of information between the apps. So you can send a task from one app to another or you can sync them in some way.

Trello integration, on the other hand, not only exchanges data but actually modifies the user interface depending on which app you choose to integrate with. These power ups have a very simple one touch switch to activate them – see the screen shot below. Simply enable them and they will then connect with Trello and offer additional functionality. This can radically alter ones workflow. So Trello integration is not only about data exchange but also adding diverse additional features and changing your actual working style. That is profound.

Todoist vs. Trello : Trello Power Up list

Trello power up selection

The range and features of the power ups are radically different between the mobile and Web apps. The power ups for the iOS version is limited to only two, Calendar and user voting. This means all of that stuff I mentioned earlier, including the extensive use of “profound”, is limited to the web version.

The screenshot below shows the integration of the Trello Kanban boards with the Planyway calendar looks like. So you can drag your tasks between the boards and calendar to schedule your tasks. This integration between calendar and task lists is great for people who like to block off time for their tasks.

Integration between Trello and Planyway

If you want to go a bit further in the project management direction you can even add a Gantt chart to the mix as you can see from the video below. It is not a heavy duty PM tool like MS Project but can assist in getting an overview of the task sequencing for your task cards.

There is a huge list of power ups available. But, sorry folks I am not going to be covering all of them in this article. For that I would have to write a book! I can only recommend to check out this list of Trello Power Ups, to see what could fit your needs.

Todoist vs. Trello Price

Both Todoist and Trello offer paid and free versions of their product. Let me start off with the free version for both.

Free Todoist is but a taster of the full product as if you really want to use it seriously the limitations placed on the free version will really hamper your usage. The free version prohibits fairly essential features such as task comments, labels and reminders. So, if you are looking to use Todoist for the long term, expect to pay for it.

Trello in contrast offers a fairly fully featured free version. Paying for either the Gold or business versions will essentially get you more of what you have in the free version whether that be upload size, the number of power-ups or whatever. For most people, the free Trello is perfectly usable.

Now onto the paid versions. Todoist Premium costs $29 and in my opinion this is a pretty reasonable price for what you get. It is a fully featured, well supported task manager and certainly one of the best offerings out there. The extra $29 will get you the aforementioned labels, reminders and comments. Additionally you can upload files and increase the number of active projects and the number of people who work on them.

Trello Gold for individual users comes in at $45 per year. This allows uploads up to 250Mb, up to three power-ups per board and custom backgrounds.

Todoist vs. Trello Summary

Finally we have made it to the Trello vs. Todoist wrap-up. I am not even going to summarize the last two thousand words in a couple of sentences so instead I will give some examples where I think it would make sense to choose Trello as your task manager and likewise for Todoist.

Trello works well when you have fairly simple projects that consist of tasks that require roughly equal efforts. You will get the best Trello experience on a desktop and so it is useful for office or home productivity where you have access to a fully featured browser and reasonable sized monitor. It also does well in sharing these lists with others in small, collaborative teams.

I think Todoist has the edge over Trello in two key areas. The first is mobile productivity. The interface is quick and easy to navigate on small screens, has location based reminders and the smart date recognition works well so you can avoid unnecessary prodding of small screen buttons for calendar dates.

The other advantage I see is that Todoist is better suited for larger tasks and projects that need to be broken down into smaller, more digestible chunks. Todoist’s subtasks make it inherently more suited to breaking down tasks in this way.

If you want to know more about either Todoist or Trello you can read my full Todoist for Windows Review, Todoist for Android review and Trello review 2017.

I hope you have found this article useful in your choice of Todoist vs. Trello and if so, make sure to share it on your choice of social networks using the little buttons on the left side of the screen.

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BI and KPI – Two Acronyms Every Business Should Embrace By Shree Neve

BI and KPI – Two Acronyms Every Business Should Embrace

While many business professionals are trying hard to eliminate acronyms from their vocabulary, it may be a futile battle with new ones popping up every day. Whether you use the acronym or say the words, the fact remains that some of these phrases can be game-changers for your organization.

Business Intelligence (BI)

Take, for instance, Business Intelligence (BI), which is taking the world by storm. In fact, it is changing the world, or at least the way businesses operate within the world. There are limitless use cases for BI. The challenge for each of us is to determine exactly how it can be used to create the most significant impact on our businesses.

There are numerous instances where BI is used to gauge company performance. Tracking sales is one easily identifiable project which can provide you detailed information on everything from regional comparisons, to individual sales reps performance, to the likelihood of a customer to buy an add-on product within a given timeframe after purchasing their initial product. When BI dashboards are deployed to consolidate information from systems across the organization, the data transforms into the exact information your team needs in order to adjust processes and improve your business.

Another effective use of BI is setting up dashboard to help evaluate your marketing efforts. This can be done on a per campaign basis to determine the success rate for each campaign across the continuum of individual activities. For example, you may want to track the open rate of an email, click-thru rate, CTA success, number of leads, number of opportunities, etc. for one campaign, and then compare the effectiveness of that campaign to other campaigns running. This level of detail enables the marketing team to refine their efforts, focus on the most effective campaigns and provide the sales team with valuable information on the behavior and interest level of new opportunities.

The true value of BI becomes apparent when you decide what you need to track for your business. Start with your company goals, or maybe your biggest challenges – whatever is a top priority to improve. If you collect relative data in a system within your business, you can integrate it into a BI tool and pull actionable data.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

This brings us to the second acronym we all should embrace: Key Performance Indicator (KPI). With the ability to track such a vast amount of data, it’s tempting to set up lots of programs and try to improve everything at once. Typically, this doesn’t prove to be the most productive route. There are only so many things you can focus on at a given time within the business. Review your options and consider what areas can make the most impact on success. Choose wisely and set up only a few initial programs to get started.

When setting up your KPIs, start with your end goal in mind. You must know what you want to affect and why before you begin. For instance, what customer satisfaction levels are you striving for across your inbound calls? Is there a specific number of leads you must generate each month, and what is your cost per lead threshold? Don’t limit yourself with traditional thinking based on information you believe you can capture. Instead, think openly about what you want to know and then work backward to figure out how to get it and what systems will need to be connected. Think about how you will evaluate your KPI data and how you will make adjustments based on the results. Choosing a KPI that results only in interesting stats and talking points may indeed be interesting, but if it isn’t something you can act on to impact your business, then it isn’t all that beneficial.

When looking for a BI and KPI dashboarding tool, make sure it integrates with the data sources you need most and is easily customizable to suit your needs. It should offer real-time data and enable you to schedule the frequency of data pulls. Graphical representation with drill-down capabilities provide the most useful results that can easily be discussed and shared with associates at all levels of the organization. This will help ensure your BI and KPI data is being used to impact the changes most critical to the optimizing the health of your organization.

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