Enable WordPress Users To Sign Up With Multiple WordPress Sites At Once Using The Same Details

Enable WordPress Users To Sign Up With Multiple WordPress Sites At Once Using The Same Details image wordpresslogo 300x300One Account
Across Multiple Sites

While we can easily enable user/member sharing across sites in a WordPress multi-site network… what about stand alone individual installations?

Recently, a colleague, Steve Woody, raised the question:

“When someone registers a username on website A then can then visit website B and login with the same details.

So effectively I am looking for a plugin or a script that will take the data when someone registers on website A and it will automatically create an account on a different WordPress installation.”

So how can we enable a user to register with multiple WordPress sites at once in a co-registration fashion?

While we can’t enable them to actively log into one and be auto-logged into the other, due to not being able to share cookies across different domains…

We fortunately can keep the user/member list in sync between two sites using…

User Synchronization

While this plugin does come from WPMUDev, it is made for standalone sites that are not in a network configuration.

According to them it, “Allows you to easily synchronize user accounts across multiple single WordPress installs – comes with comprehensive features concerning overwriting or replacing existing users.”

Where might this be useful?

I am in the process of setting up a real membership on a root domain. I will have a second installation of WordPress on /blog/ in order to host our community blog. The community blog will not need membership controls (which is good, since they aren’t sync’able) but it would be nice if members could have the same login accounts and I could just upgrade our guest writers to Author as needed.

Similarly, if you have a current membership site, and want to put the login for your WP self-hosted support desk, within the members area, and not have to prompt the members to re-register, this is also your solution.

How to use “User Synchronization” for WordPress?

Enable WordPress Users To Sign Up With Multiple WordPress Sites At Once Using The Same Details image wordpress user synchronization 550x332

This plugin is super simple to use. Just install it one both/all sites in question and activate it. It adds a left sidebar item called “User Sync”. Visit that. Click to tell the plugin which site is the master and which one is the sub site.

The master is the user list that will always be right – the sub will not sync back into the master. Choose carefully but it should be a pretty obvious choice.

Then the plugin running on the site you set as Master will give you a “Key” to plug into the site running as sub. Set that, give the users a moment to sync, and you’re done!

One word of caution

Any time an individual with permissions beyond subscriber on a blog has the same login on multiple blogs you inherently increase your security risk. This is why we’re told to use different login passwords and usernames for all of our social sites.

It’s likely that you already use the same login for multiple sites you run – but that is a security issue you have to be aware of. It’s just something to note because you need to be aware what security doors are open and which ones you can close by hardening your site’s security.

Still it’s a super cool plugin and, as far as I know, the only plugin that does this so it’s useful when you need it!

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Mobile Payments – Two Major Systems Set To Go In The US

Dueling mobile payment platforms were on display at Money2020 in Las Vegas last week, both Mobile Payments – Two Major Systems Set To Go In The US image 273283 l srgb s gloffering substantial information to merchants and the ability to deliver coupons to consumers in addition to handling transactions. Participants get a secure SIM card to put in their phone and then they can use it at merchants with contactless (NFC) terminals.

Mike Abbott, CEO of Isis, whose Android-based mobile wallet is supported by a partnership of AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon, said Isis will make it easy for customers to load their American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa cards into their phones. CapitalOne, which had been part of the partnership has dropped out and Apple does not support NFC.

It was clear from Abbott’s concise presentation that the company has spent a lot of time thinking about what each participant wants from a payment systems. Merchants want a system that is secure, won’t steal their data, provides a good marketing platform and the lowest possible cost for transaction. Consumers want something that is secure and simple to use. The plastic card has set the bar high, Abbott admitted because it is so easy to use.

To date, easy-to-pay programs have been optimized for a particular part of the payment puzzle, he added. With Isis, a shopper can see her credit card on the screen and swipe to move to other cards behind it. Users can pull up loyalty cards at checkout and set the wallet to follow their favorite brands for offers.

“We brought the brands of our partners forward,” said Abbott. “We have reinvented the back of the card which can show balances and deliver offers at the retail point of purchase.”

Users can pay merchants, top up cards through adding funds, and send money to others. If the phone is lost, the bank can put it out of service and bring it back on if it is recovered.

“This lowers fraud, because every time a phone is opened we deliver a new token to the bank.”

About 95 percent of the POS terminals in the US are provisioned for smart tap, he added. Isis is now in trials in Austin and Salt Lake City and will be ready for introduction at thousands of locations in Q4.

“By the end of next year 30 million Isis devices will be operating at millions of locations across the US and they will be loaded with hundreds of dollars of offers from merchants.”

When Don Kingsborough, vice president of retail and prepaid products at PayPal, took the stage the following day, he said no one had to wait any longer for mobile wallets, or restricts their payments to Austin and Salt Lake City.

“The future is actually now.”

Kingsborough echoed many of Abbott’s points on how a new payment wins adoption in the real world.

But unlike Isis which is in pilot in Utah and Austin, PayPal is live across the US and around the world, Kingsborough said.

PayPal, through its alliance with Discover, has a significant lead, he added, with Discover’s seven million account holders and acceptance at 20 million locations around the world.

“Dozens of players have made announcements and they focus on two cities or only restaurants and they think that is what is going to change consumer behavior. You have to be wherever the consumer already loves to shop, foundational issue is for the technology to work; these are the table stakes for success. You have to be where the consumers already love to shop. Period.”

Anyone rushing out to load PayPal onto a phone might want to stop and read The New York Times Haggler column from Sunday. PayPal apparently generates a huge percentage of The Haggler’s traffic.

“If PayPal isn’t the most reviled online company in the country, which is? The Haggler invites reader suggestions for this unhappy title, but before you write in, consider the sheer quantity of animosity that PayPal inspires. There are anti-PayPal Facebook sites, anti-PayPal YouTube tirades, PayPal-loathing Twitter accounts and more than 550 complaints about PayPal on ConsumerAffairs.com.”

PayPal has direct relationships with 23 merchants and can be used at hundreds of thousands of locations in the US.

‘You have to be everywhere consumers shop. We don’t need new infrastructure, we need to make the infrastructure smarter and fatter.”

Last week PayPal announced PayPal Beacon, a small electronic tool that sits in a store and monitors mobile phone data to see when a shopper, who has opted into sharing information, enters the store.

“This is the critical interface that allows consumers to do the things that they want, they love, and either saves them time or money,” Kingsborough said. The PayPal Payment Code gives consumers an end-to-end shopping experience.”

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To SharePoint or Not to SharePoint?

To SharePoint or Not to SharePoint? image Sharepointalternative4As one of the Product Specialists here at Intranet Connections, I have seen many examples of organizations who implemented a SharePoint platform with high hopes, only to wind up frustrated when confronted with its many unanticipated costs and challenges. When I ask “why did you decide to go with SharePoint in the first place?” The answer I often get is “because everyone else uses it” or “because the initial costs were quite low.”

SharePoint can be a high functioning, beneficial platform for your organization. However, if you jump in with both feet uninformed of the potential challenges, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise down the road. Here are a few ways to tell if SharePoint is not for you:

You are Looking for a Low-cost Solution

SharePoint is free, right? Not so. While Client Access Licenses are often included in Enterprise Agreements, you’ve also got to take into consideration SharePoint Server licenses, SQL Server Licenses and Internet Server Licenses if you’re looking to use SharePoint externally. What can make SharePoint extremely expensive are the consulting fees required for implementation and management – if you do not have the resources in-house to set up and manage your SharePoint platform you may be looking at thousands of dollars per month on SharePoint Architect and Developer fees.

At Intranet Connections we don’t believe in complex fees and we won’t penalize you for company growth. We find that charging a one-time purchase cost with annual maintenance fees is much simpler, and you get an out-of-the-box solution packed neck-deep with solutions to business problems our team has witnessed and encountered over the past 14 years. As your organization evolves, with an average of two major releases per year and a stellar support team we ensure that your intranet evolves as well, and you will never be charged more for extra user licenses or additional applications. Simply put, everything is included, as it should be.

Your IT Team Doesn’t Want to Spend Hours Managing Content

During my time here at Intranet Connections, I have worked with IT teams in organizations across all industries and one thing is very clear: IT teams tend to be understaffed, overworked and manage a to-do list longer than they can probably handle. The last thing an IT team needs is a new platform to implement and manage.

This is by far the number one complaint I hear about SharePoint: It requires a LOT of time, a whole lot of consultants and a ton of custom development to truly leverage its potential as an intranet platform. If you have the in-house capabilities to manage this workload, then SharePoint is a great resource. However, if you are like most organizations and IT resources are thin, you may want to start looking for an alternative solution.

Our Intranet Connections software is geared towards intranet administrators with little to no technical knowledge. The IT team will literally need to provision a server, install the solution using our one-click installer and provide the URL for the application to those who are looking to take care of the implementation. Once given the URL, your users are set to start populating and implementing the intranet solution through the use of their favorite web browser, with no coding required.

You are looking for Quick and Easy Implementation

Again, SharePoint is a very IT-heavy platform. Even on teams with knowledgeable SharePoint users, intranet deployment can take months or even years depending on the size of the project. This leads to the “well we’ve already put this much time into this thing, we may as well see it through” mentality, resulting in the eventual hiring of SharePoint consultants which increases your intranet costs substantially.

Depending on the up-front requirements, implementation of any intranet can vary. However, due to our focus on Smart Delegation and non-IT intranet management, most Intranet Connections implementations are done extremely quickly – I’ve seen implementations of Intranet Connections rolled out in less than two weeks, with extremely positive results.

Not sure if SharePoint is right for your organization? I would be happy to answer any further questions you may have and arrange for a personal demo of our intranet software if you decide that SharePoint is not a great fit. I can be reached at 604-924-9770 ext. 106 or by email at clientservices@intranetconnections.com.

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Rethinking Compliance – Why the Cloud has Changed Everything

It might have been a buzzword within the IT industry for some years now but more recently we’ve seen the mainstream appetite for, and adoption of, cloud computing rise significantly. Whether it’s public, private or hybrid services, the promise of greater flexibility, scalability and cost-effective pricing models has been too enticing for many businesses to ignore.

The flipside, however, is that as a result of the cloud, we’re also seeing a number of companies coming under scrutiny for their data protection and compliance policies. It’s the CIOs that are leading the charge here, as they become increasingly concerned over the security of their mission critical data. There is the perception that many ‘cloud’ vendors (and that’s including those companies that have simply rebranded an existing solution to jump on the bandwagon) are failing to provide a comprehensive view on where data is being stored and the information security management framework that’s in place.

Information, both data and intellectual property, is a greater source of competitive advantage for businesses now than it ever has been. In many sectors, this is driven by consumer expectations, where there is an assumption that systems will be able to perform at optimum levels 24/7. The rise of the ‘I want it now’ culture and increased customer promiscuity (when it comes to where they take their custom), is forcing companies to ensure that every aspect of their organisation and those of key partners perform with near perfect levels of availability.

In support of this, we’ve seen a definite shift over the last 25 years, where businesses across the board have progressed from IT-centric (and reactive) disaster recovery, through the processes of business continuity management and high availability (which encouraged a mind-shift towards proactive and interactive processes) to today’s age of the ‘always-on’ society where continual information availability is not simply an option, but a requirement. The word, ‘recovery’ is thus being rapidly stripped from the corporate IT vocabulary because a company’s key people and critical information must remain connected and available at all times.

Part of the challenge that remains lies in the disconnect that exists between current technology practices and outdated regulations. The public sector has addressed these problems through the introduction of the G-Cloud tender system but a number of other heavily regulated sectors such as finance or healthcare, have found it more difficult to take advantage of the latest technology trends. Although cloud technology has played an increasingly important  role in these sectors the path towards its deployment has not been an easy one: organisations have found themselves forced to jump through numerous hoops in order to satisfy stringent (and often outmoded and inappropriate) regulatory regimes.

Regulation is sometimes perceived as a bureaucratic burden, that is a barrier to doing business and making profit; but where that regulation is right, it can be viewed in a much more positive light as it can provide much needed signposts en-route to the goals of transparency of information security, service and availability that organisations need to achieve as they continue their journey towards cloud and/or hybrid managed ICT.  To this end, as organisations become increasingly reliant on IT for core aspects of their business, it is encouraging to see new approaches towards compliance and industry standards both emerging and continuing to evolve. It is imperative that policies that support, rather than restrict, steps towards enterprise availability become both mainstream and are regarded as an essential business practice. A recent study we commissioned examining the Available Enterprise, showed that 75% of CIOs considered information availability to be of great importance; however  their peers at board level need to value such insights  and view availability in a similar fashion. Without this, the likelihood of creating an organisation that keeps people, process and information connected at all times is compromised.

The answer to this requirement has to be about  businesses engaging with third party cloud and managed services providers that they can trust.  By ‘trust’ I really mean entrust; it is therefore vital that any such provider has an in-depth understanding of their client’s mission critical business processes, as well as their overall IT operation and future technology strategy. While the newer breed of cloud providers has focused on selling the benefits of the cloud, of which there are clearly many, organisations are right to be asking the potentially awkward questions of those providers, about the security and availability of their data and the infrastructure supporting it before they entrust the “family silver”  to such a third party.

Demonstrating a legitimate reputation for having security, resilience and availability baked into solutions is vital to imbuing CIOs with the confidence to ensure that their strategies for optimising technology spend while ensuring their organisations can take advantage of the competitive advantages that information gives them are carried out systematically and effectively.  But, there is a cautionary note for CIOs to heed as well: ultimate responsibility for security lies with the owner of the data, so whilst you may legitimately outsource to take advantage of the world of ‘as a Service’ for greater agility, efficiency and flexibility, NEVER relinquish your control or accountability.  Strangely enough, this is where regulation can help firms both have their data cake and eat it!

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