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Profile of a WordPress Developer

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Finding the perfect WordPress Developer can be a real struggle, especially if you are looking for the first time or have been let down by a previous WordPress Developer.

The first thing to be aware of is the difference between a WordPress Developer and a WordPress Designer.

Whilst it may seem as though they are one and the same, often they can be, but when working with a bigger web design company or web design agency then you may find that the roles are split completely.

A WordPress designer will typical be a web design expert who exclusively designs WordPress themes and templates. They often do not touch any code at all, they may know HTML will usually just design the master PSD files and pass the designs on to a WordPress Developer who will then do the integration of the designs into WordPress.

A WordPress developer on the other hand will have a completely different skillset. It’s highly likely they will be of the “scientist” persona and feel more comfortable writing line after line of code than they would designing a WordPress layout. A coder is very functional and practical orientated, they typically struggle to make things look nice and are happy as long as it functions as it should.

You can see the contrast in the 2 personalities, so you can see why it’s difficult to find one who does both, however they do exist!

To get the maximum out of your WordPress developer you probably want to go for someone who is just a pure WordPress Developer.

You will need to research locally and maybe even nationally to find someone who meets your level that you can trust and you may not hit upon them first time.

When interviewing your WordPress Developer you might want to ask some questions such as:

What’s your HTML/CSS skill level? Is all your CSS/HTML W3C validated?

Do you code 100% from scratch or do you build on top of an existing template?

How do you handle creating the responsive/mobile friendly elements of the design? (check examples!)

How long have you been working as a WordPress Developer for?

Can I see your WordPress Work?

Can I have 5 references from 5 of your WordPress only projects?

You will be surprised at how many people ignore these basic questions. Having validated code is important for usability, obviously you need to see their WordPress work to understand what they can do and the most important of course is to always get those references from 5 of their WordPress projects.

Do not get general references, you want WordPress Development specific references.

A great WordPress developer will have no issues what so ever with answering the above questions and providing you what you need.

Your WordPress developer will also be able to advise you on things such as web hosting and optimising your website for speed.

Most web hosts these days offer WordPress specific hosting which comes with WordPress already installed or at the very least a 1 click installation button which makes getting started super simple and takes the work load off your developer straight away.

Once your website is complete and live, it’s vital that you get your developer to optimise you WordPress website for speed.

There are lots of plugins available such as TinyPNG and WPCache which help make your WordPress website load super quick.

You will also need to protect your WordPress website from hackers, ask your developer to recommend security plugins such as Sucuri which help protect vulnerable files and folders and keep your website safe from hackers.

 

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After Hours: What You Need To Think About After Everyone’s Gone Home

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Like most business owners, you probably think that you can stop worrying about your business once 5 pm arrives and everyone goes home. After all, the working day is over, and you can get back to your family as well!

Well, actually, there are a few things that you might need to organize for after business hours to help keep your company running smoothly. Some can even help you to increase your business’s security as well. Here are some things that can help your business stay in top shape even once your employees have all gone home.

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24/7 Security

Your company is most at risk when there is no one in the office anymore. Sure, your computers won’t be on so there is no way an online security breach could affect your system, but there are some other security issues to worry about. And the main one is burglars. So, how exactly do you keep your office and property safe when no one is there? The best thing you can do is install a burglar alarm. These are often placed above the main entrances to buildings and are highly visible. Once a burglar notices that a property is alarmed, they probably won’t risk attempting to break in as they might cause the alarm to go off. Other means of after-hours security include CCTV cameras.

Cleaning

Do you think that your office could do with a dusting or hoovering? You can’t ask your employees to sort the cleaning of the office out as they aren’t contracted to do this kind of work, and you probably won’t have time to take care of it either. Because of this, many business owners look for companies who offer services for office cleaning and contract out all their cleaning jobs. You can’t expect the cleaners to clean up through the day while everyone is busy working, so it’s a good idea to schedule them for after hours once everyone has left the office. Alternatively, you might prefer them to come early in the morning before people start work.

Electricity

It’s worth making sure that the last person who leaves your office ensures that all of the lights are switched off. This will help you save a whole load of money on your monthly electricity bill! Not only that, though, but it also ensures that your company is a lot more environmentally friendly. Every year companies are wasting a lot of money and using too much energy by leaving their lights on overnight. However, this isn’t necessary anymore even when it comes to your office’s security. Most burglars have now wised up to the fact that there is no one in your office even if the lights are on. And, if you get a top-quality CCTV or burglar alarm system, they will be deterred enough to stay well away from your property!

So, just because there is no one in your office doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about your business. There are all these things to consider and put in place!

 

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5 Ways to Successfully Market Your Private Tutoring Business

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Anyone can start a home tutoring business, and if you are already a qualified teacher, then you are at an advantage. Perhaps you’re in between jobs, looking to earn some extra cash over the weekends and summer break, or maybe you’re looking for a flexible way of making an income whilst studying for an online doctor of education degree. Whatever your reasons for starting your home tutoring business venture, getting the marketing strategies right is essential to your success. We’ve listed some top tips to help you successfully market your private tutoring business.

Use Social Media

Today, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become a hive of information for consumers. Many parents who are looking for private tuition for their children will turn to social media in the hope of recommendations, or even being able to stumble across a good tutor’s social media page. Set up a profile describing your services, prices, and areas covered on Facebook and ask your friends to share it to get started. Keeping your profile active with interesting content updates is important to keep your followers engaged.

Teach Online

Both teachers and students can benefit from online learning today. Perhaps you’ve even studied for and online doctor of higher education leadership yourself, available from Maryville University. Teaching online will give you the flexibility to work from home and allows you to reach a much larger target audience – as a private tutor, you could be teaching somebody close to home one day, and have a student who lives overseas the next. Thanks to instant messaging and VoIP services such as Skype, it’s easier than ever to do this on a budget.

Provide Solutions

Your potential students and their parents will want to see proof of your expertise and knowledge as a tutor when considering your services. One of the best ways to showcase your knowledge online is to start a blog. Updating your blog with informational content, such as how-to guides for self-study, or instructions for parents who want to help their children with homework, will help you to gain more credibility, respect, and new clients online.

Guest Post on Blogs

When it comes to successful digital marketing, good quality content still comes out at the top. With so many blogs and websites aimed at both parents and students readily available today, you’re provided with a huge platform on which to share your knowledge and advertise your services. Writing interesting informational guest posts to place on popular blogs is a great way to gain more exposure for your business, increase traffic to your website and build up your client base. In order to successfully achieve this, it pays off to develop good relationships with successful bloggers.

Offline Marketing

Lastly, don’t ignore tried-and-tested offline marketing techniques for your private tutoring business. Strategically placed leaflets or posters parents and kids’ clubs, handing out business cards or flyers at children’s sporting events or collaborating with local schools and colleges will all lead to better exposure.

Would you like to add to this list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Four Reasons to Back Your Business Laptop Up Regularly

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Whether your laptop is used strictly for work only or you alternate between both business and personal use, it’s likely to be one of your most prized possessions. However, although you may protect it physically from harm by using a laptop case, and use anti-virus software to protect it from malicious malware, failing to back up your business laptop can be a grave mistake. Here are just some of the main reasons why regular back-ups are a must.

Protect from Data Loss

If you have important business information and data stored physically on your laptop, it can be difficult to recover this if needed. Although you may be able to get some or even all of your data back from a broken laptop by going to a professional laptop data recovery company, if your laptop is lost, for example, there is little hope of ever recovering anything. For some small business owners, this could be a devastating event that means they need to start from scratch! The best way to prevent this situation is to regularly back your data up to the cloud, using a service such as iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox, for example.

Protect Your Personal Data

These days, it’s not just your business data that’s at risk when you fail to back up regularly – your personal data could be in danger, too. For example, even those who only use their laptop for business use may have used the USB port to charge their iPhone, unknowingly copying over all of their personal photographs and other files, for example. Chances are that as a small business owner, you have some personal information stored on your work laptop. Failing to back up your laptop means that it’s more difficult to get this information back in the event of damage or loss.

Protect from Accidental Damage

Accidental damage of your laptop is not usually included in its warranty, and unless you have an insurance plan which would cover the cost of repairing your laptop and recovering the data, it could be more economical for you to simply buy a replacement. But, the problem with this is that unless your data is backed up to the cloud, your new laptop won’t contain any of the important information that you need. Additionally, it’s also worth noting that sometimes, accidental damage could render your laptop beyond repair. For example, a flood or a fire could damage a hard drive to the point where data can no longer be recovered.

Better Business Efficiency

Backing your business laptop up regularly will not only ensure better security, but you’ll also find that it can contribute to your company’s efficiency. If you are using a laptop that’s filled up with various files and documents, this could start to affect how quickly it runs, which in turn will determine your productivity. Regular cloud backups mean that you can clean the physical files from your hard drive, freeing up memory.

No matter what you use your business laptop for, ensuring regular cloud backups will protect both your company and personal data.

 

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Advice For Reaching New Customers

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Every business owner will want to reach as many new customers as possible each year. That is how you increase turnover and create a successful company. However, most people don’t know where to start when they’ve been doing the same things for decades. So, I wanted to offer some fresh information that should help you to keep with the times. Like it or not, we are living in the digital age. That is why you need to make use of the latest technologies and strategies. If you put the tips on this page to good use, your operation should go from strength to strength. Fail to pay attention, and you could lose out to competitors this year.

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Improve your business website

Before you do anything else, you need to make an investment in your business website. Ideally, you should aim to alter your site slightly every twelve months. That helps to keep the design fresh and ensure you look professional. Try to simplify your pages as much as possible. People are going to look elsewhere if they have to work hard to find their desired products. Also, you’ll want to consider the services of an SEO expert. Specialists working in that industry know how to ensure your domain ranks in the best positions within search results. So, you just need to select your keywords and let the professionals take control of the process. You should notice a massive spike in traffic when their work is done.

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Consider innovative marketing techniques

Sometimes you have to think outside of the box when it comes to promoting your brand. TV and radio adverts are not worth the money these days. You’d get much better results by putting your money on social media or something similar. You could even pay a professional to create videos that showcase your products or services. Post them on YouTube, and you’re sure to attract a lot of attention. Some company bosses also like the idea of developing publicity stunts. However, you need to be careful that you don’t get negative press attention. So, be smart, and ensure any tricks you try can’t backfire.

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Pay existing customers to introduce friends

Paying your clients to introduce their friends to your company is a wise move. You just need to offer them a gift card or something similar. Whenever someone makes a purchase and references an existing customer, you reward that person. So, everyone who buys from your brand has an incentive to promote your firm as much as possible. Research shows that word of mouth recommendations are useful. So, design your scheme and push it as soon as possible. It could turn your business around.

You should now have some fantastic ideas about the best ways to reach new customers. As I said at the start of this article, you need to evolve if you want your company to remain profitable. People who continue to use worn out techniques will fail eventually. Technology is everywhere these days, and new advancements reach the market all the time. So, you just have to take advantage of that fact when promoting your brand.

 

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Using Statistics To Improve Sales Tactics

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It can be hard to think of new techniques to improve sales in an ever-complicated business world. The internet opens up more doors, but that means there are far more companies trying to squeeze through these windows of opportunity than ever before. If your business truly wants to succeed, it should be using statistics and data to make more informed decision about its existing and potential customers. Here are some pieces of advice to help your company achieve that.

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See what you’re doing well.

The best businesses in any and every industry are using data collected from their influence through the internet to improve their operations. If you’re monitoring and calculating your current influence over your existing client-base or how much engagement your marketing campaigns are getting, then you’ll get a clear look at what’s working for your business and what isn’t. This is a good starting point, as it’ll help your business streamline your sales process so as to keep the elements which are working well for you whilst trimming off all the fat which isn’t doing anything to grow your brand or reel in more customers.

Locate your existing clients.

One important way you should be using statistics to improve your sales tactics is to monitor how far your brand currently reaches. If you offer an online service, your influence might be scattered far and wide, but businesses relying on goods and services delivered on a more localised or national basis might benefit from this kind of data as it tells you where you’re achieving the greatest levels of interest from clients.

If there’s a better opportunity in another town or city to target a greater number of potential customers, based on your data, then perhaps an office relocation could put you in the heart of the hot spot and help your business achieve greater scales. It might seem like a dramatic reaction, but it doesn’t have to become a drastic decision; you could hire movers to help make the relocation smooth. Moving your physical office and employees somewhere new is worth it if you’re running low on steam, as a new location could propel your business to another level if it’s the right location. That’s why data is so helpful towards weighing up important company decisions.

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Give customers what they want.

Whether it’s your existing customers or potential new ones, nothing projects a professional company that stays ahead of the game more than one which can offer solutions to consumer problems before such issues have even been voiced. Using online statistics to offer customers the goods and services they want from your store before they even have to search for anything is a great way to impress them. You’ll be offering consumers a speedy, streamlined service which knows them better than they know themselves.

Essentially, data can be used for the benefit of customers, as well as the internal operations of your company. It doesn’t always have to be a secretive affair. Display what you know about your market, as consumers are always keen to choose a business which offers them exactly what they want before they even open their mouths to speak; it makes the experience more personal, in a sense, and makes things far easier for customers.

Keep up with social media and Google trends.

Your business doesn’t just have to use its personal stock of data to make informed decisions about its future sales tactics. You can look at what customers are saying about your specific brand or brands like yours on social networks, but you can also look at popular, trending topics in a more general sense. It’s good to keep up with the overall market so as to make decisions based on the demands and interests of mass consumers.

 

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Succeeding as a wedding photographer in North Carolina

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I recently interviewed Nick Gillespie from Bluebendphotography. Nick is a wedding photographer in Ashville, North Carolina. Nicke was kind enough to answer some questions about getting into the wedding photography business, and how to succeed in it.

1) How did you get started in wedding photography?

When I was 14, I went to Yosemite with my family and fell in love with the photos in the gift shop. It’s silly, but that’s what got me started down this path. By the time I graduated high school, I had saved up enough money for a very used, but still working Mamiya 645 (professional level, medium format camera). I also had a dark room in my basement and a furious obsession for photography.

Throughout college I worked freelance for different local papers and small publications. When I was 24 I got my first job as a professional wedding photographer. I was lucky enough to apprentice under another photographer who had been photographing weddings for over a decade at that point. I learned how to be a wedding photographer and how to deal with clients. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without that experience.

2) What is the most exciting part of being a wedding photographer?

The most exciting thing for me about photographing weddings is the bride and groom portrait session. During the time that I get to photograph the bride and groom, I get to really exercise the creative part of me. I love all aspects of the day, but it’s during these 30 minutes or so that I really get to “do my thing.”

3) How do you promote your business?

Most of my referrals come from former clients and from other venues. I end up becoming friends with most of my clients and keeping in touch with them. Many of their friends end up seeing our work and then calling when they are getting married.

4) What was the hardest thing about starting?

The hardest thing about starting out was getting your foot in the door. It’s almost impossible to convince clients to let you photograph their wedding if you don’t have any portfolio. Luckily, my former employer was gracious enough to let me use my portfolio when I moved to Asheville, North Carolina and set up Blue Bend Photography.

5) What should new wedding photographers keep in mind when starting a photography business?

The biggest thing about going out on your own and shooting weddings is to remember that photographing the wedding is only one small part of the job. A much, much bigger part of the job is running the business and dealing with clients. If you aren’t business minded, you might want to consider working for another company.

6) What kind of venues do you prefer to shoot in?

We photograph weddings in all kinds of locations and venues. Over the last 7 or 8 years, though, most of our weddings have been in some kind of outdoor setting. Outdoor weddings are becoming more and more popular and Asheville is ideal for it. This area has endless mountain views, waterfalls, and mountain meadows. If you’re going to come to Asheville to get married, you might as well do it with a view!

7) What kind of clients are ideal for you?

Our ideal clients would be people that value the wedding and photography as much as we do.  The wedding is important. It is the start of a new life together and a very sacred bond. We believe that photography is also very important as a way to both relive the day, and also pass a legacy on to future generations. I have very often wondered what my Great Grandparents’ wedding looked like, or what my Great Great Grandparents looked like in general. What a wonderful thing to be able to pass on to future generations.

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Shouting Costs Nothing And Gets People Listening

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Despite what so many believe, starting your own company is easy. It’s getting people to know about it that is the hard part, especially nowadays where there is so much white noise to stand out from.

That is where problem number two comes in: how can you get your company seen and heard without spending huge sums of money to PR agencies to help you boost your marketing strategies?

Well, we have spoken to dozens of small companies that have shared their wisdom, experience, and tips on how to get noticed without spending big.

Know Which Social Media Suits Your Needs

We live in a world dominated by social media platforms, each of which has boosted opportunities for businesses to get themselves noticed. However, it is less about spreading yourself across all of these avenues and more about knowing which ones are going to be beneficial to your exposure. Facebook is pretty much a staple diet because that i the main source of searching for someone these days. After that, though, it depends on whether you offer a service or a product. Services should always have a LinkedIn, and maybe Twitter, whereas products should ensure they have profiles on Instagram and Pinterest.

Go With Paid Searching

Paid search marketing is one of the most effective ways to get yourself noticed, according to the experts. SEOJet teaches what to charge for SEO, and they explain that using avenues such as Google AdWords can be an effective means of testing online marketing strategies by driving traffic to your websites. They also suggest that new companies should test a variation of advertising groups to see which works best for their needs, starting with a budget that doesn’t exceed $10 a day.

Bloggers Are The People To Approach

Another fantastic way to improve your ranking on search engines is to get online influencers – and bloggers – on your side, boosting your brand by getting mentions on their sites. When you are starting out, your biggest challenge is getting the word out. But by sending free samples to popular bloggers in your industry, not only will you see direct traffic emerge from link clicking, but you will see your SEO ranking improve. This is a cheap and effective name to create a buzz around your business and gains the seal of approval from established individuals with an established following.

Get Yourself Associated With Influencers

A lot of the time, influencers will be more than happy to blog about you. But this can be a one time offer. As such, it is worth getting yourself associated with them through persistence. This can be easily done by retweeting and favoriting tweets from influential people within the sector you operate. It could also be that you start to comment on every picture put up by certain Instagram stars. Both of these techniques will see curiosity get the better of their followers and see you start to gain a solid following of people that could be potential customers or clients. What’s more, it will cost you absolutely nothing.

 

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How to Make the Perfect First Impression

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The first impression, in the world of business, is just as important as, say, the guitar is to the world of music. A customer’s first impression of a business is the make-or-break factor when it comes to them deciding if they will in fact be bringing their business, and subsequently their money, your business’s way. A strong first impression on your and your business’s part will indicate to the potential customer that you are going to be strong enough, and capable enough, to deal with the issues or needs that they seek to bring to you. In this day and age, making the perfect first impression extends itself way further than merely having a strong handshake and the gift of the gab — there are a plethora of different platforms that you could, and should be optimising in regards to impression, and you can find a few of them below.

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Your first port of call in the venture of finding the perfect first impression should be your business’s online presence. A business’s website is this generation’s shop window: everything that a customer wants to see should be displayed on it, and displayed in a way that shows you off in the best light. You should have everything made easily accessible for anybody who visits it without having it become overcrowded. If you provide too many pages, it will become overbearing and confusing, which is why you should stick to the basics when making pages available: Home, Search, About us, Contact us, Privacy, and FAQs; the layout of your website should be simple and solid. Also, you should make sure that the site itself is always accessible. If a customer can’t access it because it has gone down, they are likely to become disgruntled and impatient which could then lead them to the site of your competitor’s, taking the profit that was earmarked for you to them in the process; not only this, but it could result in your business’s brand being tarnished to that customer for the future as well. This is why you should outsource the job of monitoring your site to services such as UptimeRobot, for instance, who will watch your site for any signs of status problems and then alert you to them instantly via SMS or email.

But it’s just all about your online presence, even in this digital age that we are in the midst of. You also have to make sure that you are physically showing yourself to be a business that is not only professional and capable, but also one that is willing to go the extra mile. A innovative way to do so is to provide potential customers with custom gift cards. Doing so shows that you are generous, in regards to the fact that you are willing to offer gift and reward systems; a big business, in regards to the fact that you can afford to make such cards (even though they are very affordable); and creative, in regards to the way in which you are attempting to portray your brand. Also, a gift card with your brand printed all over it is a way to ensure that you stay in a potential customer’s life, for as long as they keep the card, at least. Do your customers know enough about what you do? If they don’t, then providing them with lasting evidence of it is a good way to promote it.

So, if you want to make a good impression with your next customer, remember that it takes more than just a solid handshake: it takes a solid website, an innovative idea, and many other aspects! More suggestions on how to do so can be found here.

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Making Your Business Safe And Secure

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A lot of businesses spend vast resources and time on making sure that their computer systems are as secure as possible. And, despite this effort, a lot of companies still feel the negative side of data loss or theft. A good example of this can be found in the old presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. Leaks of private emails were released because the system that was used to hold them was insecure. Some people would argue that this cost Clinton the election, at least in part. So, it’s plane to see how critical it is that you secure your data. And, this post is going to be going through some of the ways that you can make this easier for yourself.

If you don’t keep your data secure, you are always at risk of it being stolen or lost. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is; anyone can be target. The people that perform these acts are usually opportunists. So, if they find a chance to get into your sensitive data; they’ll just do it. Along with this, the law in most places states that you have to protect certain types of data that you own. For example, information about your employees or customers should always be confidential. Unless they let you share the information.

Ideally, it’s best to have all of the data that your company stores secure. This will ensure that you avoid any threats. And, you won’t lose any of your data. The way that you secure different types of data can vary, though. For some information, it may not matter if someone steals it. But, it would matter if the data was deleted. So, in this case, you’d want to have a backup to secure the information. But, if you wanted to secure your website; you’d need to have it hosted on secure server with the right scripts. This can make it very difficult for everyday business owners to make sure that they get this sort of work done. And, it can make it intimidating, too.

So, the best way to solve this is through getting some help. Usually, when it comes to security, it’s not worth leaving to yourself; if you’re inexperienced. Most people will struggle with this sort of work. And, it will take years to master the skills that you need to make informed decisions. Professional help in the field can come in many forms. First, you’ll want to talk to a consultant. They will be able to help you choose exactly what you do with the data. From there, you may also need help with something like colocation server or backup company. IT services like these should always be researched and chosen carefully. Even if something if more expensive; it doesn’t always mean that it’s better.

Hopefully, this will give you the information you need to inspire you to start working harder on your information security. Business can be a rough line of work. And, it gets harder when you have to deal with issues with the data you use everyday.

 

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