How To Add the Google Calendar App to Your iPhone By Dan Hanson

Buy an iPhone and you get a bunch of pre-installed apps that take up storage space and are just waiting for you to move into a folder that you’ll never open again. You’ll find Stocks and iMovie, iBooks and iTunes U. You’ll find Apple’s own calendar app but what you won’t find is the Google Calendar app.

That’s not too surprising. Apple wants you to use their own calendar app, instead of handing over all your valuable data to their biggest rival. If people want to use Google Calendar, they should have bought an Android.

But while Google Calendar doesn’t come pre-installed, it can be installed on an iPhone. You can find the Google Calendar app in the App store. Once you’ve installed it, you’ll need to log in to your Google Account. You should then find all of your events and other information waiting for you.

Google Calendar App in the App Store

Find the Google Calendar app in the App Store

But they might not work too well. While adding the Google Calendar app to your iPhone is simple enough, a number of iPhone users have complained about the app. Some have found it a bit laggy in iOS devices. The app can take time to sync, sometimes crashes, and has been known to lose events. It’s not a common problem. Google Calendar app still manages to keep a 4.5 star rating from nearly 63,000 reviews. It’s clearly working for most people, but it still might not be the best option for someone who wants to use a calendar on their iPhones. And it means you’ll have one more app consigned to a folder you don’t open.

There is an alternative method that might be a better solution.

How To Add The Google Calendar App To Your iPhone

Instead of bringing Google’s Calendar app to your iPhone, you can bring the events on your Google Calendar to the iPhone’s native calendar app.

Google Calendar iPhone App Screenshots

Google Calendar looks good on the iPhone

The process is fairly straightforward. Open settings, then browse down to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.” Choose “Add Account” then select “Google.” You’ll need to enter your Google registration details but once you’re finished, Apple Calendar will import your events from your Google Calendar to the iPhone’s native calendar app.

You should bear in mind though that what Apple will import will be all of the data on all of your Google calendars. If you don’t want to import all of your calendars, you’ll need to open www.google.com/calendar/iphoneselect in your browser. You’ll then be able to choose which calendars you want to export.

add google calendar

Choose the Google calendars to import.

Apple will expect you to export your main calendar but you’ll be able to uncheck any other calendars, as well as shared calendars like holidays and school calendars. What you should end up with is some of the events you can see on your Google Calendar on your Apple calendar.

When you open your calendar on your iPhone or iPad, you might have to wait a few minutes for syncing to complete, but you should find that all of those events are imported.

On the other hand, you will also have to use the look and feel of Apple’s Calendar app instead of the fun designs you can find in Google Calendar.

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How To Add the Google Calendar App to Your iPhone By Dan Hanson

Buy an iPhone and you get a bunch of pre-installed apps that take up storage space and are just waiting for you to move into a folder that you’ll never open again. You’ll find Stocks and iMovie, iBooks and iTunes U. You’ll find Apple’s own calendar app but what you won’t find is the Google Calendar app.

That’s not too surprising. Apple wants you to use their own calendar app, instead of handing over all your valuable data to their biggest rival. If people want to use Google Calendar, they should have bought an Android.

But while Google Calendar doesn’t come pre-installed, it can be installed on an iPhone. You can find the Google Calendar app in the App store. Once you’ve installed it, you’ll need to log in to your Google Account. You should then find all of your events and other information waiting for you.

Google Calendar App in the App Store

Find the Google Calendar app in the App Store

But they might not work too well. While adding the Google Calendar app to your iPhone is simple enough, a number of iPhone users have complained about the app. Some have found it a bit laggy in iOS devices. The app can take time to sync, sometimes crashes, and has been known to lose events. It’s not a common problem. Google Calendar app still manages to keep a 4.5 star rating from nearly 63,000 reviews. It’s clearly working for most people, but it still might not be the best option for someone who wants to use a calendar on their iPhones. And it means you’ll have one more app consigned to a folder you don’t open.

There is an alternative method that might be a better solution.

How To Add The Google Calendar App To Your iPhone

Instead of bringing Google’s Calendar app to your iPhone, you can bring the events on your Google Calendar to the iPhone’s native calendar app.

Google Calendar iPhone App Screenshots

Google Calendar looks good on the iPhone

The process is fairly straightforward. Open settings, then browse down to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.” Choose “Add Account” then select “Google.” You’ll need to enter your Google registration details but once you’re finished, Apple Calendar will import your events from your Google Calendar to the iPhone’s native calendar app.

You should bear in mind though that what Apple will import will be all of the data on all of your Google calendars. If you don’t want to import all of your calendars, you’ll need to open www.google.com/calendar/iphoneselect in your browser. You’ll then be able to choose which calendars you want to export.

add google calendar

Choose the Google calendars to import.

Apple will expect you to export your main calendar but you’ll be able to uncheck any other calendars, as well as shared calendars like holidays and school calendars. What you should end up with is some of the events you can see on your Google Calendar on your Apple calendar.

When you open your calendar on your iPhone or iPad, you might have to wait a few minutes for syncing to complete, but you should find that all of those events are imported.

On the other hand, you will also have to use the look and feel of Apple’s Calendar app instead of the fun designs you can find in Google Calendar.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2BaYiUZ

7 Programming Languages Your Developers Need to Know By Costi Teleman

StockSnap / Pixabay

At the heart of dev work, you’ll see a team of developers who utilize critical thinking, creative approaches, and technical know-how in designing products that can bring your company closer to its end-goals. Thus, it’s crucial that you have a team of developers who are dedicated to updating their skill sets based on current trends, tools, and technologies. That said, here’s a list of programming languages that your developers need to know, so they can stay ahead of the learning curve.

Java

Java, now two decades old, remains one of the most useful programming languages today. For one, it’s what developers use to create apps for Android devices. Statistics say there are more than 2 billion Android devices being used monthly all over the world. Profound expertise in Java can give your software engineers considerable advantage in developing mobile games and applications for Android users.

Apart from Android communities, there are other markets where Java is a good fit, including banks and insurance companies. Through Java, your developers will be able to create back-end solutions for these types of businesses and scale them for your or your clients’ website, software, or IT systems.

Python

The growth of software demand in the fields of artificial intelligence and data science is a good opportunity for devs to branch out into new-generation technologies. Specifically, programmers with knowledge in using Python can transfer their skills in machine learning as well as web or software development.

Python’s popularity has spiked over recent years. In fact, Reddit, DropBox, and NASA are only some of the most popular organizations that are using Python to run their website, projects, or services.

Python also plays nice with Raspberry Pi, which is a line of single-board computers that are used to teach basic computer science skills among children in developing countries.

JavaScript

Not to be confused with Java, JavaScript is commonly known as the grandfather of programming languages. Although JavaScript codes are able to create only browser-based applications, about 70% of software developers and 90% of websites prefer using JavaScript because it uses less memory. This feature makes it ideal for front end web development, which pertains to what people see when they open a browser.

Having front end developers who are adept at JavaScript can help you build interactive websites or applications that have a user-friendly look, design, and functionality. Some of the most notable sites that are built with JavaScript include, Google and Microsoft.

C Programming

C Programming covers the C, C#, and C++ languages. Among these languages, C and C++ are the more well-known syntaxes. The C language is widely used for system programming, with UNIX OS becoming the first operating system to be written in the C language. Equipping your developers with knowledge in C programming language will also make them eligible for creating hardware apps and chip design.

Meanwhile, hardcore developers are known for their ability to use C++ to develop software, gaming apps, and other interactive applications that perform well in terms of speed. C++ programs are also used for networking and server-side applications. Its complexity notwithstanding, the more experienced developers like the versatility of C++ across different platforms, including Mac, Windows, and Linux.

PHP

PHP is a scripting language, which has useful applications for server-side website programming. If you have clients that require this type of project, your web developers can use PHP to create dynamic websites for them, referring to how servers produce a customized interface for users. This is possible since PHP can interact with MySQL databases to gain access to users’ personal data. This is in contrast to a static web page, which delivers the same format or content regardless of user identity and other factors.

One of the widely used applications of PHP extend to shopping carts. Shopping carts are designed to show customers what items they can check out later on during their site visit, since they have previously made a request to the website to reserve a particular item for them.

Scala

Some programmers describe Scala as a better alternative to Java because it offers a way for developers to write better codes and improve how a particular program performs. Developers who support Scala say this particular programming language has less restrictions and is less tedious to use, potentially reducing your developers’ frustrations when working on dev projects. Scala is also said to be the programming language of choice among several tech companies, including Apple, LinkedIn, Netflix, and Twitter.

Perl

Perl is a family of script programming languages – including Perl 5 and Perl 6 – both of which are considered high-level, general-purpose types of programming languages. Developers can use Perl in system administration, web development, network programming, and development of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs).

Perl is not officially an acronym, but the term has been used to mean Practical Extraction and Report Language. This makes Perl ideal for synchronizing large sets of data from different sources and compiling them into reports. For example, your developers might need to use components of both the C programming language and UNIX OS, with Perl acting as a language that would glue those parts together.

Final Words

The best developers know that the future of technical support lies in empowering everyone who has a stake in using technology. Thus, developers need to constantly upgrade their knowledge and skills by studying how various programming languages work. Their clear understanding of the programming discipline will ultimately allow them to turn out products or services that are never too complicated or overwhelming for the average user.

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Leveraging Mobile to Meet Changing Consumer Expectations in 2019 By Ford Blakley

The “smartphone revolution” has truly changed the way consumers interact with brands. From discover and search to purchases, the entire buyer journey can take place all in the palm of our hands.

The number of mobile commerce (or m-commerce) transactions is expected to overtake e-commerce transactions globally by 2019. China will lead the way, this year becoming the first country whose online spending exceeds $1 trillion with mobile devices as the primary gateway to digital commerce.

From e-commerce giants to brick-and-mortar-based service businesses, mobile trends should be understood and embraced by all. As we wind down the year, here are some things we can expect to see in 2019 and beyond.

Personalization Will Continue to be King

71% of consumers report feeling frustrated when they have an impersonal experience with a brand. If you’re shocked by this statistic, you haven’t been paying attention to current trends. From Netflix telling us what series we should watch next based on previous viewing habits to Amazon suggesting products based on past purchases, we live in a world where personalization isn’t an option – it’s expected.

To truly know and understand your customer, you need to gather data on demographics and consumer habits, which will allow you to make meaningful offers that will catch their attention. While companies are still using cookies and website analytics, they are also turning to the power of sensor technology, social media profiles and even facial recognition to help further personalize customer experiences.

However, brands should be weary; new restrictions such as GDPR and a few US states that are following suit, call for new compliance and protections for user data. These laws give users the right to request to know what data companies have collected, and the right to delete that data if they feel their privacy has been infringed upon. However, most people don’t mind companies collecting data on them if it means they get something in return. In fact, a recent Oracle Survey found that 55% of consumers said they would willingly exchange personal details for personalized offers or promotions.

With companies having so much information on us, we can expect to see offers getting even more personal and relevant. With Amazon attributing 35% of their revenue to their product recommendations, and 44% of people becoming repeat customers after receiving a personal experience, there’s big money to be made here.

Of course, delivering these experiences in a personalized way is just as important as the experience itself. No device is more personal than our cell phone and no channel is a personal as text messaging. Texting allows customers to connect with brands anytime, anywhere. It’s a powerful tool from both a service and marketing perspective as 82% of text messages are read within 5 minutes.

Businesses that leverage text messaging for customer communication have an advantage over their competition as they are able to answer customer questions in real-time to help customers get what they need faster while improving staff efficiency through messaging automation.

The Table Stakes of Multichannel Will Need Extra Dressing

Messaging customers is great, but that alone may not be enough to get your customers to interact with your brand. A recent study found that customers who received outreach in two or more channels had levels of engagement 166% higher than the single-channel rate.

As we move more and more into a mobile dominated world, combining channels such as messaging with the power of social media will become increasingly important. The reach and influence of social media will only continue to grow, and people will increasingly use their mobile device to access social media channels.

In light of this, brands should consider social selling, which is predicted to be a big trend in 2019. Instead of just having regular ads via Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat that direct you to a company’s website, shoppable ads give customers the ability to buy directly from the ad via a link.

Neiman Marcus effortlessly combines social selling on Pinterest with other messaging channels. The company uses the buyable pins on Pinterest in addition to utilizing tools on their website and social media to collect information and track preferences. They then take the information (such as location, past searches on their website, previous purchases, etc.) and use it to tailor marketing campaigns and promotions for customers, which are then sent to them via email and print mail.

A further sign of multichannel continuing to rise in importance is Adobe’s recent acquisition of Marketo to help brands of all sizes automate, coordinate, and integrate their campaigns. This turn towards automation will help create and deliver consistent and frequent messages, crafted to get consumers to interact with the brand in more seamless and engaging ways.

Say Hello to a More Immersive Customer Experience

In 2019 we can expect to see virtual and artificial reality becoming more commonplace as a component of the customer experience. These technologies are going to become crucial for showcasing products and virtual tours for hotels, houses, schools, and more. Finding ways to incorporate AR/VR with your offerings will allow your customers to interact and engage with your brand on a completely different level – without even leaving their house.

Companies like Alibaba Group, the world’s largest e-commerce company, are already implementing this kind of technology. By using headsets paired with a mobile device, Chinese consumers can have the full shopping experience, from “perusal to purchase.” Alibaba allows shoppers to browse at Macy’s, Target, Chemist Warehouse and other virtual stores without ever leaving home.

Expedia is following a similar path. Over the next few years they want to not only offer tours of hotel rooms on their website by using VR headsets, but they’ve also invested in using voice devices such as an Amazon Echo to help assist during the booking process. By giving a voice to a chatbot, Expedia believes that they can improve the way people interact with travel and booking sites. The idea would be that an “agent” would come into your home via an Echo and help answer questions and take you through the booking process on your computer or smartphone.

And of course, we can’t forget about the robots. More and more hotels especially are looking to use robot butlers to cut down costs and help with smaller tasks around the property, such as greeting guests, giving directions, or bringing room service and towels. Hotels like Aloft Cupertino in Silicon Valley, Vdara Hotel and Spa in Las Vegas, plus more throughout the U.S and Asia are embracing the technology, which can be summoned from a tablet or mobile device, to help cut back on labor costs. Hotels aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the robot revolution: banks in China are also using robots to improve their customer experience.

While you might not need to go buy a robot for your company, you do need to prepare for shifting consumer expectations by leveraging the tools and technologies that can help you meet them. With the world now in the palm of our hands, companies can either take action or get left behind.

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Cloud-Based Mobile Device Management Services Holds Greater Significance for SMEs By Abhishek Budholiya

Mobile device management (MDM) allows the controlled management of mobile devices including smartphones, tablet, and personal digital assistants (PDA) in a centralized way by business administrators through the use of specialized hardware and software. With various business enterprises permitting workers carry their own electronic devices to work, the concerns about data security, and cybercrimes is seeing a steady rise.

To find a solution for these problems, businesses are increasingly making use of mobile device management solutions owing to the unique aspects of such systems, which enable security of emails, browser data, and the implementation of company policy. Through the use of mobile device management, businesses are empowered to integrate the devices of their employees into the official system while simultaneously making sure that data security is not compromised and network breaches are completely eliminated.

As revealed in a new market research report by Future Market Insights, the market for mobile device management is anticipated to grow at an exponential CAGR of more than 22 percent, reaching a global value of more than 2430 million US$, by the end of next year.

Mobile Device Management Market Share

Small and Medium Enterprises to Witness Greater MDM Adoption

The growing trend of encouraging employees to bring their own devices to places of work is gaining a relatively faster rate of adoption in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This can largely be attributed to increasing affordability of mobile device management systems, and the widespread usage of smartphones by workers, which provides businesses inherent advantages such as performance optimization and extraction of accurate business insights.

Modern mobile device management frameworks offer functionalities such as support for multiple operating systems, real-time device location tracking, mobile security, device management, compliance management, email management, app distribution, remote device management, and mobile application management among others, at lower prices.

This can not only be used to secure data, but also for boosting workplace productivity through the installation of apps of the business to be uploaded on the employee’s devices. As a result, MDMs are gaining popularity among a wide range of SMEs.

Cloud-Based MDM Remains the Most Preferred Deployment

According to recent studies, the high potential for workflow automation and software solutions for optimized user interfaces, is going to result in cloud based mobile device management systems to capture approximately 70 per cent market share in the near future. This can be attributed to the unique benefits of having software as a service (SaaS) in cloud format while reducing or eliminating the expenses related to purchase and maintenance of relevant hardware and software, along with vast improvements in MDM flexibility.

On the other hand, on-premise mobile management device solutions are significantly more costly as compared to their cloud counterparts. However, since these systems offer better control and security by being integrated to business-owned servers of the datacenters, on-premise mobile device management systems are anticipated to see a relatively higher rate of growth in comparison to cloud based MDM solutions. This is also augmented by the fact that on-premise mobile device management solutions are seeing increased preference by healthcare, government, and financial organizations owing to policy compliance issues.

Product Innovations and Collaborations Gain Significance

Leading mobile device management solution manufacturers are putting great emphasis on collaborations with other relevant businesses to share technology and product knowledge to develop new innovations for improvements in product performance and functionality, and a bigger market presence.

For instance, VMware Inc. and Okta Inc. made an announcement about their intentions to merge VMware’s Workspace ONE MDM solution with Okta’s Identity Cloud platform which will allows customers move their MDM operations to a cloud platform in a more secure and simplified manner by making use of present technology to simplify the process of IT management.

Similarly, Blackberry has joined hands with Novalink to collaboratively build mobile device management solutions with the help of BlackBerry Secure Application platform for solving line of business issues, to expand on the functionality of the MDM platform.

All the insights and numbers have been sourced from a recent research study, in-depth excerpts for which can be found here.

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The 15 Best iOS and Android Push Notification Platforms [2019] By Hannah Levenson

iOS and Android push notifications are capable of improving an app’s retention, open and engagement rates. Plus, when done right, they can notably improve the overall user experience. But when done wrong, they can be interruptive, annoying and hurtful to the UX, achieving the opposite effect: lower engagement, higher churn and abandonment rates.

With every app having its own unique user base, it is vital that these push notifications are tailored to their diverse/specific needs and wants. At the same time, they need to be affordable to the publisher, and offer just the right mix of back-end tools, like real-time data analytics or demographic segmentation.

It is no wonder that the number of iOS and Android Push Notifications platforms grows by the day, and one might get lost trying to find the right one. The (sad) truth is, there’s no *best* one – but there is the right one for you, your app and its unique audience.

Below you will find the list of the best iOS and Android push notification platforms/tools to date, as well as some of their unique selling propositions. We are certain you will find something you like in the list below:

Urban Airship

iOS and android push notifications 2Image Source: Urban Airship

Urban Airship is to iOS and Android Push Notifications, what Volkswagen is to car buyers – always a trusty, viable solution. Among other things, it prides itself on multi-channel messaging, unified customer profiles and predictive insights. Starter pack is free, with other packs being priced from $99 to $349 a month.

Leanplum

iOS and android push notifications 7Image Source: Leanplum

Leanplum is all about personalization and automation. When it comes to personalization, it’s taking things to a whole new level. The UI can programatically be tailored to specific users. So for example, the default sharing option changes to whatever the user usually goes for.

As for automation, it enables app pros to automatically send personalized messages based on different user attributes or app-related behaviors, such as not opening an app a certain amount of time. It prides itself most on its Lifecycle Engine for automation, which follows the user throughout the entire customer journey.

OneSignal

iOS and android push notifications 3Image Source: OneSignal

You can expect all the standard features here, from custom templates, to automated push notifications, to segmentation targeting and real-time tracking. It is also completely free of charge. The company does offer premium support options, but you’ll have to reach out to them for more info.

Localytics

iOS and android push notifications 8Image Source: Localytics

Localytics is one of those tried and tested companies whose name always pops up when there are discussions around iOS and Android Push Notifications platforms. It is especially regarded for “True Impact”, its product that measures the full impact of push and in-app messaging campaigns on app engagement and consequently, the bottom line. Pricing is available on request.

Taplytics

iOS and android push notifications 11Image Source: Taplytics

Taplytics allows easy integration with existing analytics platforms, as well as visual A/B testing. Campaigns can be tailored with specific goals in mind, such as retention, awareness or engagement. The basic package is free, while pricing for the Enterprise pack are available on demand.

Kahuna

iOS and android push notifications 9Image Source: Kahuna

Among the advantages of Kahuna’s iOS and Android push notification platform is the option to create campaigns based on the user’s current state. So, for example, if the platform identifies a user no longer being active, it can trigger a push notification campaign to try and increase its activity. Also, if it spots a newbie, it will react accordingly. So, as user states change, so does the way Kahuna triggers different campaigns. It also supports ‘extreme personalization’, which it says is achieved by customizing messages for content, not context, and working around demographic segmentation. Pricing is available on demand.

Kumulos

iOS and android push notifications 4Image Source: Kumulos

Kumulos is interesting in that it provides two distinct options: Mobile marketers can sell a Push Notification Service – using the Kumulos dashboard to quickly and easily manage Push campaigns and report on the results. Alternatively, those mobile marketers can offer clients the ability to run their own notification programs – using your own-brand client portal to construct, run and measure campaign results. Some of their noteworthy push features are:

  • Build Channels and Segments to focus push notification messages effectively
  • Geolocation & iBeacon support
  • Deep Linking, emojis and badges to drive greater engagement

You can test their tool for free via a Free Trial.

PushWoosh

iOS and android push notifications 5Image Source: Pushwoosh

PushWoosh allows iOS and Android push notifications with rich media, including images, embedded videos, CTAs and other types of content. It works on 21 different mobile and desktop platforms. It is free to start with. More expensive pricing packs start from $49.95 a month, to $499.95 a month.

PushBots

iOS and android push notifications 6Image Source: Pushbots

With this platform, you can engage your audience through the mobile app, on both Android and iOS, as well as through Google Chrome. It prides itself on quick installation (10 minutes), and offers extremely simple integration. Basic pack is free, with pricing going from $49 a month, to $499 a month.

Swrve

iOS and android push notifications 15Image Source: Swrve

Among the core features Swrve offers are its WYSIWYG mobile screen editor, configurable custom sounds or action categories and alerts. There are also banners, on locked screens, in notification center, as well as setting and tracking of campaign goals. Pricing is hidden but is available on request.

Carnival.io

iOS and android push notifications 1Image Source: Carnival

This platform has been praised by mobile app devs for its Rich Messaging feature, as well as its simple SDK integration Some of its standout features are Behavioral Triggering and Message Personalization. Costs run from $1,000 up to $4,000 a month.

Catapush

iOS and android push notifications 10Image Source: Catapush

One thing that sets Catapush apart from other players in the iOS and Android Push Notifications game is the fact that it allows replies to push messages through its 2-Way Service. It also lets app pros interact with their customers via chat. More details about the feature can be found on this link. It is free for 100 devices, with prices going from $21.14 a month for 1,000 devices, up to $338.18 a month for 20,000 devices.

Amazon SNS

iOS and android push notifications 12Image Source : Amazon

Amazon Simple Notification Service, or SNS, is always a viable choice, if nothing else than due to the fact that it is compatible with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This allows for easy scalability of any platform, and is paired up with the ability to send push notifications directly from the cloud. Pricing is organized per million messages, with the first million being free, and all others costing $0.50 per million.

Streethawk

iOS and android push notifications 13Image Source: Streethawk

Streethawk’s slogan is “Automate Actions for Mobile Growth”, meaning growth automation is at its core. It easily integrates with Mixpanel, Flurry, Twilio and Webhooks, to name a few. It also supports multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, PhoneGap, Xamarin and the web.

Those that have up to 10,000 users will be happy to see the service is free. Those with more users will have to contact the platform directly and ask for prices.

Mixpanel

OS and android push notifications 14Image Source: Mixpanel

Established in 2009, Mixpanel has been a regular player in the push notifications field. With its retroactive funnel reporting features, precision segmentation and real-time data analytics,it makes sure your push notifications are fully optimized. Core features also include targeted messaging and A/B testing, as well as notification scheduling. Its most basic features are free to use, with the ‘Start-up’ pack going for $999 a year. The ‘Enterprise’ pack, loaded with features, offers pricing on demand.

Wrap-up

No two apps are created equal. Even though push notifications can improve mobile app KPIs, such as retention rates or open rates, these KPIs can only be improved if the idea of push notifications is approached with the audience in mind.

And keeping the audience in mind means enhancing the UX flow both on the inside and on the outside of an app.

So it makes sense that the number of platforms offering various approaches to iOS and Android push notifications grows every day, and that all of them, with their unique offerings, can find an audience of their own. We are certain that on this comprehensive list, you will be able to find that perfect platform, striking the right balance between unique features and affordable pricing.

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Ransomware’s Importance to Small and Midsized Businesses (SMBs) By Joshua Davidson

Pexels / Pixabay

Ransomware is something that many small and midsized businesses (SMBs) need to watch out for. It’s not just for the big companies anymore. Many smart SMBs know that data is the new oil. Since data (like oil) is a precious resource, it must be protected like any other asset. As data is an invaluable resource of information, many hackers are looking to breach it.

Therefore companies must make an effort to protect their data at all costs. The good news is that there are some easy ways to fortify your business so that you are not the low hanging fruit for hackers. One of these low-hanging vulnerabilities that hackers can take advantage of is by sending you malware. Sometimes this can take the form of ransomware.

What is the Layman’s Definition of Ransomware?

According to United States-Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, designed to deny access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. Let me translate that; it is software controlling your data until some form of currency is paid. Ransomware is most commonly spread by email or through an infected website. There are more types of ransomware that you should be wary of, and I’ve highlighted some of the most common ones.

Different types of Ransomware to keep an eye out for:

  1. WannaCry Ransomware dealt a lot of damage to businesses back in 2017 with its ability to spread itself across their networks by exploiting critical vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities were specific to Windows computers, which were patched by Microsoft in March 2017. While Microsoft addressed this, it’s a good idea to be wary of its capabilities because there will be more ransomware in the future like this. The WannaCry ransomware attack, which targeted thousands of computers around the world, encrypted 176 different file types and added “WCRY” to the end of each file name. The ransom specifically asked each person to pay $300 in bitcoins to get rid of the WannaCry. If not paid, the files would all be deleted.
  2. Lockers are known for infecting your operating system and files, and the purpose is to lock you out. Until you pay the ransom (typically $150-$300) you can’t access anything that is infected. You may be infected so much by this ransomware that it can completely lock you out of your computer. Locker ransom is actually a variant of a nasty form of ransomware called CryptoLocker. Locker scours your computer and encrypts the files with something called AES, which is impenetrable for anyone who isn’t extremely experienced.
  3. Scareware a cloaked program that acts like an antivirus or a cleaning tool. Often making claims to have found issues on your computer, demanding money to resolve the issues. It takes advantage of people through social engineering, making them fear they have a problem when they really don’t. In some cases, users are told they need to download some fake antivirus software for the antidote.
  4. Doxware (leakware) threatens to publish your stolen information online if you don’t pay the ransom. As more people store sensitive files and personal photos on their computers, it’s understandable that many individuals panic and pay the ransom when their files have been hijacked. Doxware has seen increased popularity since businesses have found other ways to protect themselves from ransomware. Doxware ups the stakes since a business can’t just keep backups of their files, they now need to worry about their compromising information being published.
  5. RaaS (Ransomware as a Service) is a type of malware hosted anonymously by a hacker. These criminals handle everything from distributing the ransomware and collecting payments to managing decryptors — software that restores data access — in exchange for their cut of the ransom. I’m writing about this because you need to know how much hackers are now organizing and scaling their ransomware operations.

As a Business Owner, You Want To Make Life More Difficult For Hackers

Think about owning a bike without any locks. That is a bicycle that is easy to steal. But put two locks on the tires and frame, and suddenly it becomes a whole lot harder to take. So much that a thief may even decide not to. The purpose of protecting yourself is so that you are not low hanging fruit for hackers. SMBs can make it hard enough that hackers may find it pointless or not worthwhile to attempt tampering with their data.

Here are some simple ways to not be the low-hanging fruit:

  1. DO use security software
  2. DO keep your security software up to date.
  3. DO update your operating system and other software
  4. DON’T automatically open email attachments
  5. DO back up important data to an external hard drive/ use cloud services
  6. DON’T pay the ransom

Now that you know the do’s and don’ts for data protection from ransomware let’s dig deeper. First off, by using an effective security software, you put yourself in a defensive position against hackers. Software such as Avast Anti-Ransomware Tools and Malwarebytes (just to name a couple) allow your computer to detect, block, and remove threats. Not only are you protecting yourself, but you are also protecting your clients’ information. This leads us to number 2, keeping the software up-to-date. I can’t stress this one enough. Malware and viruses change, so should the programs defending against the attacks.

Next, you want to make sure that everything on your computer is up to date. The reason behind this is to patch up any vulnerabilities and strengthen your computer’s ecosystem at the same time. Now that your computer is a tightly defended fort ready to rage war against hackers, you must do your part by not clicking any “phishy” emails. Email phishing’s end goal is to get you to give out your personal information. If it smells “phishy” it probably is someone phishing for your data!

A significant step to securing your business is to back up any data that is of any importance constantly. Hackers try to take your own personal information and manipulate you to repurchase it, but if you have it stored already on a backup device, why would you pay for it? Checkmate, you wouldn’t!

Lastly, I have one piece of advice that may be a shocker. When ransomware strikes emotions are high, and while most would desperately settle for paying, DON’T. I repeat DON’T pay the ransom. No agreement says the hacker won’t try to squeeze you dry for money or even return the data they stole. Which again stresses the importance of backing up your data.

This Is The Data Age

Data is everywhere emails, payment info, personal info, social security, you name it. The internet is the highly favored method of digital transportation for data in the form of 1’s and 0’s. My business, Chop Dawg, prides itself in developing high-quality applications and digital products that are built on security. It’s essential for companies to keep their data secure, especially when handling hundreds of clients’ personal information. Now that you know, make sure to protect yourself and spread the word.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2QINWph