Website Security

Building Trust in Your eCommerce Company

It’s not easy getting an online store off the ground when you’re a small operation, not least because you don’t have a ready-made reputation to piggyback off and a lot of consumers are hesitant to buy stuff online when the company is not well known to them. That’s why it is so important that you are able to build trust in your eCommerce company. This is something that you should prioritize when you launch your eCommerce store.

Okay, but how do you build trust in my business? Start by doing the following:

Personalize Your Website

People trust other people, not websites. So, when you are launching your eCommerce company, be sure to give it the personal touch, perhaps by writing out your story and how you came to launch your company, and definitely by including your name and a picture of yourself, as well as a company address. This will help visitors feel more at ease when it comes to making a purchase.

 

Make It Simple and Secure

Security

When designing your website you should (or have the person who’s designing your site for you) not only ensure that your website is clean and easy to use, but also that it is secure. If potential customers don’t see that reassuring lock in the address bar when they come to checkout, chances are they won’t be confident enough to make a purchase.

 

Make it Uniform

One very often underlooked way of building trust is consistency. If your website looks professional and it is branded in exactly the same way as your social media site, and if your emails and documents all use the same template, it will paint a more cohesive and professional image of you. The software at https://www.templafy.com/ can help you to achieve consistency in emails, slides and other documents. However, you will need to discuss your style with your web designer to ensure that your eCommerce store and other online accounts all have the same style.

 

Get Feedback

Of course, the best way to build trust in your eCommerce company is to get positive reviews from other people. It might, then, be worth sending out a few free samples to get the ball rolling. Send your products or offer your services to a few of the  social media influencers at https://izea.com/2017/11/01/top-influencers-2017/ in return for a review or mention, focus on giving them a good experience and then watch the positive reviews roll in and the trust in your company grow. Also, allow reviews to be made on your site.

 

Mitigate Against Risk

Since many people are hesitant to buy from a new company online, it makes sense to mitigate against any perceived risks by offering a generous guarantee or no questions asked returns policy. If they know that they have nothing to lose by making a purchase they are more likely to trust you and to actually make a purchase – it’s basic common sense.

Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, but if you are consistent in your efforts and you do all of the above, it won’t be too long until people recognize your brand and associate it with quality, honesty and value.

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Website Off-Site Maintenance

Your ultimate guide while dealing with Program Interface issues!

A Guide for Handling 5 Key Program Interface Development Issues

Introduction

Application Programming Interface, API, is a set of tools, routines, and protocols used to build software applications. It specifies the interaction between software components. You can as well use it to design the elements of GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces). A good API provides all software building blocks. All you have to do is put them together.

APIs have become the primary channel used by large services to reach users. These services include Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Google Maps, and Netflix. The APIs handle more users than the front-ends of these online giants. It is no surprise then that by developing your API, you will significantly improve the quality and deliver-ability of your business’ services.

However, developing APIs can be a daunting task for beginners. This article covers some of the key API development issues you need to keep in mind and how to handle them.

Importance of Quality

Program Interface's quality is crucial to the implementer and clients. High-quality APIs require less training, documentation and easily become popular. Additionally, they experience fewer support calls. To the customer, a poor quality API causes high defective rates and longer product development cycle. Fortunately, there are numerous tools you can utilize for to improve you API’s quality. Akamai for developers is one place where you can find the tools which will enhance your API’s usability.

1. Design

It is hard to use an interface that does not conform to the architecture of the applications for which you are building. If the application already depends on a particular API design approach, use the same design to create a new one.

The design of most program interfaces uses REST or SOAP approaches. SOAP APIs focuses on remote procedures and process while REST is applicable for resources. If you are developing an API for exposing features and utilizes componentization, REST is the best option.

2. Protocols

You need to choose the right protocol for your API.

HTTP/HTTPs

Hypertext Transfer Protocol, HTTP/HTTPs, is a protocol used to connect your program interface with web applications and users. If your application is to connect to a browser, you should use HTTP together with XML (Extensible Markup Language) or Hypertext Markup Language data formats to create a GUI. Alternatively, you can use it with JavaScript or JSON, JavaScript Object Notation, on the client devices.

TCP and UDP

To separate Web activity and API traffic, you should use User Data Protocol, UDP, or Transmission Control Protocol, TCP, instead of Webport 80. However, this choice comes with firewall limitations which will require specific system configurations to navigate. The settings can expose your APIs to remote access.

3. Data Formats

Deciding on the right data format for your API is crucial for proper information exchange and parameter expression. XML is a general data format that you can use in both SOAP and REST design approaches. But it is best for structure less data. For rigidly defined data elements like in RESTful approach, JSON is the best choice. It is easier to use and provides variable types used widely in API development.

4. Security

Securing your application and its user is a primary concern for developers. When your app is not properly secured, malicious hackers can harm both your business and your clients. They can achieve this by creating a spoof app with malware, compromising your company’s backend network, intercepting sensitive information and much more.

To for complete security, you should understand the real threats then secure your API, backend network, and user data. Below is a quick guide on how to achieve these.

Understanding Threats

The deployment of Program interfaces can be internal or external. Each deployment model has its unique risks. Understanding these threats is necessary for helping you decide on effective security measure to implement.

For example, external deployment exposes sensitive data to untrusted developers through the internet. In this case, you should use encryption or Transport Layer security to protect the data while in transit and at rest.

Additionally, you should use dynamic and static code tools to test your API for OWASP top vulnerabilities. Also, conduct a periodical audit for abnormal behaviors on your API.

API Authorization and Authentication

The best tool for securing your API is the Open Authorization, OAuth framework. OAuth.2 provides authorization constraints for mobile apps, desktop and Web applications and even Internet of Things. It achieves this via a 3-legged flow as follows; after a successful user authentication, the authorization server awards the native app an access token and a refresh token. The access token is used to access protected API resources. The refresh token renews the access token. The approach provides continuous user experience by eliminating the need to sign in repeatedly. When the tokens are compromised, you simply use the safety valve to revoke them.

For sequential user authentication, you should use OpenID Connect. It comes together with the OAuth standard.

Backend Network security

You need to secure the servers and cloud servers accessed by your own API’s applications and third-party apps. Securing the servers prevents unauthorized access consequently protecting sensitive data.

Use database encryption and encrypted connections to secure the network. Encrypted connections include Transport Layer Security, TLS, Secure Socket Layer, SSL and Virtual Private Network, VPN. Storing your documents in encrypted containers, a practice known as containerization, adds extra security. Additionally, you should spread your resources across different server, with separate keys. This measure is known as Federation.

Besides these measures, have an internet specialist conduct a regular vulnerability assessment penetration testing of your network to ensure the integrity of your network security.

Securing User Data

Today most of the user’s data are stored on the local device. Leaky apps can release sensitive user information such as age, location, and device usage behavior. To secure your users, employ file-level encryption, encrypt device databases and eliminate the storage of sensitive information such as credit card details on the local device.

  1. Testing

You probably understand by now that it is important to test your API before releasing it to the market. Unlike many developers, do not focus your test on usability and functionality only. Test your security measures as well. Use device, browser, and operating system emulators to test the behavior of your program interface in a simulated environment.

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Do's and Don'ts Every Web Developer Should Know

Do’s and Don’ts Every Web Developer Should Know

Web design has to be one of the most arduous modern day professions. Seeing your website going live may make up for all the hardships during development, but the result does not erase the fact that to reach it, you had to spend countless hours perfecting the code, troubleshooting, and minding the overall design. We offer several Do's and Don'ts that might cut your checklist shorter by reminding you of the few things you should be aware of at all times during development.

Don’t gamble early on

Don’t immediately go for the latest software or the greatest new build out, if you don’t have a solid plan how to go about working with it. Taking an unnecessary risk, in this case, might not grant you a high reward. By choosing the latest software that you and your colleagues might not be familiar with, you are using up time you do not have and opening up possibilities for bugs and troubleshooting for days on end. Start with a reliable software or platform, and once you have settled in comfortably, take smaller steps to experiment with completely new software. That way, if it even comes to losses, they are minimal.

Don’t access a user database directly with user-supplied information

When a database is accessed directly with the information supplied by the users, you are leaving the door wide open for possible security breaches. This could erase archives with very sensitive data, or give access to confidential information regarding your users. And it can all go into the input box on your website.

This is easily addressed by sanitizing user input: you limit how many characters they can use to input a username or a password, whether they can or cannot contain other symbols, and have the code reject any character input you have not pre-approved.

Don’t neglect SEO

Many developers have the tendency to leave SEO as the last thing to do for the website when, in fact, it is something that needs to be tackled as you go along. SEO is more than just keywords, content, alt text in images, etc. It also deals with back linking between pages, accounts for load time, gets rid of duplicated content, and keeps the hierarchy of important pages and links refreshed and constantly updated. So, to avoid having to restructure entire sections of your website, later on, take SEO into consideration from the very start.

Do keep users in mind

The safest way to stay on track with the original idea and design is to create a profile of what your typical user would be. When you know the demographic, and the target audience, it is easier to analyze the type of people that will be visiting our website. You can build the website around the given data: their age, occupation, financial standing, and lifestyle. These will dictate the user experience, from font styles to the navigation between pages.

Do focus on multi – platforming

You can decide to optimize your website for PC users only. And in a time when fewer and fewer people sit at their computers for longer periods of time, this would be a big mistake. A lot of e-commerce and browsing nowadays occurs via tablets, smartphones and other devices. To ensure the website is visited as frequently as possible, adapt the website so it can be seen and read clearly across multiple platforms.

Do save the user’s time

The attention span has been in decline over the last twenty years, and new technologies only sped up the process. It is the reality of the modern age and in order to succeed, you will have to adapt to this. Many expert web developers from Sydney advise “trimming the fat” wherever possible. Get rid of excess imagery in your gallery or pages that cause slow loading time; write shorter texts, then blend them with pictures to create quickly scrollable content that will also be informative and useful.

To sum up

Thoroughly plan how to go about the development process of your web page. There are countless factors that can impact not only the final outcome of your work but the process itself as well. As Murphy’s Law says “If anything can go wrong, it will”, so prepare for everything. It is wise to make your own checklist of Do’s and Don’ts upfront and keep them around as a reminder. The best way to stay on track is to create your typical user profile and tailor the design to them. In this way, you ensure that whatever choice is made, it is in the user’s best interest.

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Network Security

The Unbelievable Ways Your Business Benefits From Network Security

To make it in business, you have to look for little things that give you an advantage over your competitors. Most of the time, it’s the simplest of things that have the biggest effect. Sometimes, it’s something that you never even realized would make such a difference.

 

As you can tell from the title, I’m talking about network security. Yes, I believe your business can see some amazing benefits with this simple thing. If you don’t believe me, then that’s fine. But, I’m ready to convince you that I’m right!

 

Read through this post and you’ll find some of the unbelievable ways your business benefits from network security. However, there are a couple of things to get out of the way first.

 

To begin, I’ll tell you what a business network is.

 

wired-networkA Business Network

First things first, let’s make one thing crystal clear. I’m not talking about a business network where you build up a set of contacts. That’s a different type of business network and is used for marketing purposes to grow your brand.

 

What I’m talking about is an IT network, setup for your business. It’s something that connects all the devices in your business to the same network. These devices will also gain access to the internet via this network. Most companies will have one set up, as it can be very valuable for them. Of course, as already stated, I’ll tell you some of the big ways your business benefits later on.

 

For now, think of your network as a spider's web. At the center, you have your network router, and all the other webs leading off it are your devices. You computers, servers, everything, connects to the router.You can set a network up on your own, or get a company to do it for you.

 

Now you know what a business network is, what about network security? Before we run through all of the benefits, you need to understand what it is. So, I’ve written a very short guide to understanding network security. You can find it down below:

Understanding Network Security

Network security may sound like a scary concept, but it’s very easy to follow. It refers to anything that’s done to protect your business network and keep your data secure. Typically, network security uses a variety of software and hardware. Some of which you can buy from any store online. You’ve probably seen antivirus and firewall software out there, right? Well, this is a type of IT cyber security. Firewall software prevents your network from being breached by unknown sources. Only those with access can get through the firewall and connect. Antivirus software is fairly self-explanatory. It prevents your network from getting any harmful viruses that can cause it to go down and lose data. You can also get firewall hardware that you can connect your network too, and it does the same job. The benefit of hardware is that your business doesn’t have to fill up storage space by downloading software on every computer.

 

To get network security for your business, you have a couple of options. Firstly, you can buy any of the standard software/hardware that’s available. This is probably the cheapest way to go about it if money is an issue for you. If you’re willing to spend more, then you can get a tailored network security service from various companies. They have specific software for businesses, and will monitor your network at all times. It’s a complete security method, but some prefer the cheaper option.

 

So, now you know what a business network is, and what network security is too. Now, we can move on to the bit you’ve all been waiting for! Listed below are some of the incredible benefits of network security for your business:

ball-563972_960_720Keeps Your Network Up And Running & Improves

The obvious benefit of network security is that it keeps your business network up and running. I know this may not sound like an amazing thing, but it is! If your network is always up, then it means your employees can be far more productive. They won’t spend their days doing nothing as their computers struggle to connect to the internet. Without network security, you run the risk of frequent outages. This is normal because too many people are connecting to your network as you don’t have firewall protection. The office above you is connected and using your network as their own. Everyone’s joining in and having a blast! As a result, it becomes overloaded and drops. So, you end up in that situation where your employees can’t do any work, and the office is unproductive.

800px-Zonaspace-coworking-collaboration

Increases Employee Collaboration

Another great benefit is that network security encourages your employees to collaborate. Their devices can communicate with one another thanks to your business network. And, when your network is secure, it means they can collab on projects. Employee collaboration is always a good thing, and let me tell you why. When people work together, they start to form friendships. If your staff are friendly with each other, then it’s good new for your business. It leads to increased levels of employee retention. No one will look to leave a job when they like everyone there and are happy to work. All of this comes from you having a secure network for them to collaborate on. If you didn’t have network security, they wouldn’t be able to do this, and you’d be missing out.

 

4556099850_bcd9318b5b_zBoosts Customer Confidence

Your customer can also benefit from network security. They gain confidence in knowing that you have a secure computer network. If you were running everything through a standard router that you have at home, they wouldn’t be so confident. There’s very little security with that method; they’ll feel like their data is at risk. But, with network security, you ensure that all their private information is locked away safely. No one accesses it unless you allow them too. This builds customer trust, which is essential if you want to do well.

 

If you didn’t believe me at the start of the piece, I bet you do now! Network security brings some amazing benefits to every business.

 

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Protect your domain Name

Are You Doing Enough to Protect Your Domain Name?

Whether you are running a full website or just hoping to capitalize on a future opportunity, protecting your domain name is of paramount importance to anyone who is interested in an online career. You don’t hear too many success stories of people who lost their domain name to a hacker or scammer only to come back twice as strong. When you do hear a success story, they are the exception to the rule, and you can be sure they’d be better off not losing the name in the first place.

Protect your domain Name

Just like any valuable property, your domain name is something worth protecting. This needs to be done on several fronts, and you need to take the steps to protect yourself immediately. The road to victimhood is paved with procrastinated intentions, and getting your domain name back is extremely difficult and/or costly once you’ve lost it. If you have a lot of valuable content associated with the name, it will only be more difficult to get it back.

Here are the main things you need to do to protect your domain name:

Keep Your Basic Computer and Internet Security Strong

Your computer and other online accounts likely have information that could lead to the theft or other loss of your domain name, so you need to make sure that you have great security habits in general. You should be doing the following:

  • Make sure that you have a security suite on any computer or device you use to deal with your domain name. No exceptions.
  • Protect your email using every method you can think of (and even more you can look up). Your email is the main gateway into your other online accounts and is probably the easiest route through which someone can take your domain name.
  • Have a backup copy of all of the data on your computer that you’d miss. That way you’ll be able to recover more easily if your computer falls victim to malware or ransomware.
  • Be wary of most online offers. Scammers are everywhere, and nothing on the internet is truly free or easy. Ask yourself how any offer benefits the giver and how it could negatively impact you.
  • Be careful what you download or what people send you online. You could be clicking right into a trap, and it is very easy for things to become too late.

Protect your domain Name

Protect Your Website

If your domain name has a working website attached to it, you should make every possible to protect that website if you aren’t already. If you lose it, then you lose your domain name as well. You need to make sure you are doing the following:

  • Use the strongest verification methods you can associate with your website. Use complex passwords and security questions that no one but you know (you’d be surprised what people can find out online).
  • Make sure you are updating your platform and plugins if you are using any. Get rid of plugins that aren’t getting updated or could potentially lead to an XSS attack. Make a check of this sort every couple of months.
  • Do use plugins, tools and scripts that are beneficial to the security of your website. Once you find an acclaimed tool, make sure that you have something that can scan your website against vulnerabilities and protect you against brute force attacks. Protections against DDOS attacks and some other threats aren’t necessary to protect your domain name, but will prove helpful regardless.
  • Constantly be on the lookout for new threats, and listen when you hear about potential vulnerabilities on your website. It is better to be needlessly cautious than reckless.

Beware of Public Networks

People who like to manage their websites and business from more than just their homes and offices (a near necessity in today’s fast-paced world) will often have to pay a lot for their data plans or use public networks whenever they can. Yet public networks are extremely dangerous for any internet user, as on them it is possible for hackers to intercept your data without you having the slightest inkling of what is going on. This can easily lead to your email account or domain name getting stolen and sold within a matter of hours.

The best way for you to protect your domain name from this particular threat is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever you are using a public network. A VPN is a service that connects your computer to another server around the world via an encrypted connection. This connection will protect you on public networks and not even let hackers know what you’re up to online. It also will also you to access blocked content anywhere in the world and hide your IP address, keeping you anonymous online.

Lock Down Your Domain Name

Certain domain name providers will have an option to put on additional security onto your domain name, allowing you to lock it down to your account and prevent unwanted transfers. It is likely something you will want to look into so that you can prevent an accidental loss or someone coming into your account and easily taking it away. It might not always be an option, but a quick check right this moment will only take a few minutes and might save you a lot of money and time in the long run. It may even cost a few dollars, but it could still be worth it for the security concerned.

Check In Regularly

It is surprising to see the effectiveness of simply checking in on your website or domain name regularly. It allows you to notice different things that might be out of place and get other notifications. You might be able to check to see if a person has been trying to get into your account depending on your service provider and your timing. Try to set up as many security notifications as possible so you can know if something is up with just an email. It will also get you in the good habit of being more involved with your business.

Renew Early and for Long Periods of Time

If you have a domain name that’s in strong demand, you can bet there will be vultures circling your website via tools ready to tell them the second your domain name is available for purchase. It will only be a matter of minutes (or even seconds) before someone snatches it up, and then they’ll either use it for themselves or be happy to resell it back to you (for a four figure sum).

Don’t let your hold on the name expire. If you have an option to renew your hold for five years and intend to keep it for that long, take the option and save yourself some money in the long run. Don’t wait until the very last minute to extend your hold, and choose to automatically renew from an account if that is an option (and update the card information every few years as your cards expire).

Keep Your Contact Info Current

It is a little known fact that domain name providers can revoke registration if you don’t respond in a proper amount of time to an inquiry about incorrect information (see 3.7.7.2 of ICANN’s Registrar Accreditation Agreement). It isn’t a complex process and is resolved without too many problems most of the time, but your domain name could be in jeopardy if you don’t make the proper contact in time.

The main cause of this kind of domain name loss is the lack of contact information. More times than not you can safely know that your provider will be willing to work with you and reach out, but there’s nothing that can be done if you no longer have the email address and phone number that they have on record. Take a quick look to see if everything is current and make adjustments as necessary. Set a yearly reminder to check in on this. You’ll be thankful when it comes up.

Know Your Options

If your domain name does unfortunately get stolen or otherwise lost, you will need to act quickly and decisively. If the domain is particularly valuable, then you might want to consider legal action, in which case you should know the laws well and any policies your provider has put in place. If your computer is compromised, you should eliminate the threat, then reset passwords and accounts as necessary (be liberal about it). If you think your website is under attack, determine the source of the attack and retaliate as necessary. You need to plan ahead and have a go-to plan for any situation. Ideally, you won’t even have to think about it.

If you take the right steps, your domain name will be perfectly safe. It takes a little bit of time and some of your resources, but protecting your domain name properly should be seen as an investment which more than makes up for its costs. Do not be the weakest link online that will get targeted, and instead show the professional community that you care about every aspect of your online career and business.

Do you have any experience defending your domain name(s) from hackers and other vultures looking to make a quick dollar? Do you have any other tips that might be helpful to your fellow readers? If you do, please leave a comment below so you can keep the conversation going and share your knowledge with everyone.

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