Category Archives: Blog

Show ‘Em You Care: PCI Compliance and Your Small Business

PCI ComplianceIf you’re a business that accepts credit card payments, you’ve become familiar with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard for protecting cardholder information, commonly referred to as “PCI”. As credit card processors, banks, and businesses get more serious about credit card data security, you owe it to your customers to choose compliance every time.

In just the past year, we’ve seen data breach, after data breach, on top of data breaches across all industry sectors. Your customers want to know that you value their security and are serious about protecting their information. Showing your customers and clients that your organization is serious about data security will not only increase the legitimacy of your business, but you will be rewarded with satisfied lifelong customers who will spread the word about your solid business practices.

Show your customers your business is serious about PCI compliance in the following ways:

  • SSL or Nothing – SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server (website) and browser, or a mail server and a mail client (like Outlook). SSL allows sensitive information (login credentials, credit card numbers) to be transmitted securely. Make sure your business is only collecting customer data on a secure webpage; this will be indicated by a little lock icon coupled with “https” in the webpage URL.
  • Be Loud and Proud – Ensure your payment processing system is PCI compliant and take the necessary steps to keep your business certified. Flaunt your compliance standards and make it a prominent part of your marketing approach. You will put your customers at ease, as they know you’re doing everything possible to protect their personal information.
  • Help Develop Good Habits – Although an increasing number of consumers are becoming technically savvy, many people are still naïve about the vulnerabilities of email and other online messaging systems. Assume the mom-role and rebuke your clients for sending card numbers, banking numbers, or passwords via email. They may be put off initially but in the end, they will thank you for the lesson.
  • Don’t forget the CVV – Those three little digits (four for AMEX) on the backs of payment cards are not stored on magnetic strips or chips, meaning – in theory – you must have the hard in hand to know the code. Always ask for the CVV security code when processing a telephone or online payment. You should never store this information, but it will show the buyer you’re taking extra steps to authenticate the transaction.

Elements of Organic Search 2014

organic searchOrganic search elements change often. To stay ahead of your competition, your company and/or digital marketing firm should be staying on top of the newest search guidelines set forth by the search engines.  These guidelines provide you with “best practices” you should adopt right now to increase and improve your visibility within search engines.  Here are the latest elements search engines are targeting; the inclusion of the following (or lack thereof) will have considerable impact on search ranking positions. These elements will also continue to be important moving into 2015.

Introduction to Digital Marketing

digital marketingFor a business to succeed in today’s world, it is important to have a strong digital footprint within the internet. Therefore, when a business is defining its marketing plan, it must incorporate a solid digital strategy. Without a digital marketing strategy in place, new client acquisitions, brand visibility, and impactful revenue generating opportunities will likely be damaged.

Five Important Digital Marketing Elements To Consider

The five most important elements of a digital campaign consist of mobile considerations, organic search, social media marketing, content marketing and lead nurturing. All of these elements combined make up a cohesive digital marketing strategy. How you define these elements have a direct correlation on a successful campaign.

Responsive Design v. Mobile Website: What’s The Difference?

Mobile website_responsive designShould you have a mobile website or a responsive website?

This is a debate among website developers, SEO companies, and business owners alike. As a decision maker within your company, how do you determine which is the best platform for your business?

What is the difference between the two platforms?

A mobile site is a replica of your website, optimized to be viewed on smaller screens such as phones and tablets. In this instance, the server does the work to deliver a page that is smaller, easier to navigate, and loads quickly. It is important to point out that having a dedicated mobile app created for your website is not the same as having a website that is optimized for mobile.

Responsive Design: An Industry Buzz Term or A Necessity For Your Business?

responsiveOver the past year and a half, the concept of responsive design has played a prominent part in discussions regarding website design and development. While there are countless blogs, webinars, etc. discussing this topic, many people are still uncertain of the benefits. Is responsive design an industry buzz term that will fade out, or a necessity you need to consider for your business’ website? There are many reasons why adopting a responsive platform for your website is a progressive business decision. The following provides proof that this web movement is indeed a business necessity:

Mobile Usage Is Increasing

What Happens When OSHA Comes Calling?

osha-hazcom-1110x400_0OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration – is a federal agency charged with creating and enforcing safe and healthy work conditions in businesses across the U.S. OSHA standards focus on emergency communications and response, fire prevention, safety notices, and education. They are charged with upholding the requirement that all employers to keep records of workplace illnesses and injuries. (These records don’t have to be submitted to OSHA but employers must keep them on-site for five years in the event of an OSHA inspection.)

According to “OSHA Fact Sheet: OSHA Inspections,” the agency prioritizes its inspection resources on the most hazardous workplaces in this order:

White House Fence-Jumper More Dangerous Than Previously Thought

Security at the White HouseThe recent security breach at the White House was much more serious than previously reported.

Last week, Omar Gonzalez was charged with unlawfully entering a restricted area while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon. Secret Service officials originally reported that Gonzalez was quickly detained at the main entrance after scaling a wall at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. However, The Washington Post broke the latest details on Monday that Gonzalez actually made it much deeper into the building.

Upon clearing a fence outside the White House, the accused overpowered a Secret Service officer at the front door and barreled along through the 80-foot-long East Room, reaching the door of the Green Room where he was eventually detained, knife in hand.

The iPhone 6 is here!


Apple Inc. Reveals Bigger-Screen iPhones Alongside WearablesIt’s been a week since the release of Apple’s newest baby, or should we say babies: The iPhone 6, iPhone 6+. Meaning regular people (those that don’t have 18 hours to stand in line outside the Apple Store, or thousands of dollars to buy it on Amazon) have easy access to the new hardware.

These two phones are slim and large. The iPhone 6, 4.7 inch screen and the 6 Plus, a 5.5 inch screen, almost as big as Apple’s iPad Mini. But the biggest selling points for this sleek thin new device are not just in its outer shell but its interior.

Email Security – Is Your Information Safe?

email-securitySecuring your email with a strong password is important, but it only protects your local email account. Once your email (and the data within) leaves your network – bouncing from server to server, on its way to the intended recipient – you have no control over its security.

Some common ways email can be hacked or intercepted:

  • Email Headers – Did you know that the headers of your emails are full of information that can be of use to hackers? Even though you usually only see “From”, “To”, and the “Subject”, email headers can be manipulated to show your IP address, local time zone, and even the email software you are using (knowing the software version enables hackers to exploit bugs associated with that particular software).

Improve SEO Through Social Media

Improve SEO with social mediaIt used to be that SEO revolved around only keywords, and inbound links; but social media has changed the game. As new and diverse social media offerings continue to emerge, search engines are increasingly incorporating social signals (likes, +1’s, woots, etc.) to advise their social results.

Here are five best practices for aligning your social media and SEO efforts.

  1. Publish High-Quality Content – you should know this one by now! Content has always been king, but in the last couple of years, providing high-quality, useful, and interesting content has become the single most important thing a business can do to improve their SEO.