All posts by Amir Altaf

What it takes to manage backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution?

Data is everything

What does a backup and disaster recovery actually do for you in one line? It bullet proofs your data. The data of your company is irreplaceable, indispensable and extremely invaluable. A company’s computer system tends to be fragile and your data could be all wiped out in seconds. Just imagine for a second what IF that really happens? A tremendously scary thought, isn’t it? With the increased amount of data breaches happening, you could be the next target. It will not only cost you a lot of money and time but it will hamper your day to day business operations. Save yourself from multiple layers of loss and potential data disaster. How can you do that? Simply by performing frequent backups of your data every 25, 30, 40 or 60 minutes. That would basically be determined based on the frequency of activity.

Role of Backup and disaster recovery solution

Backup and disaster recovery is a step up in any MSP portfolio these days as data lies at the heart of decision making processes. Gone are the days when you thought of backup and disaster recovery only as a preventative measure. Cyber threats have become an extremely evolved being making on to the front page of news these days. Security risks and new threats today consist of user error, hardware failure, malware attacks, spear phishing, and many more which have made BDR really complex and hard to manage. Being an MSP, you will have clients that lean on comfortably on your wall knowing that their data is backed up, accessible and secure.

Are you up for completely shielding yourself from the bullets of the threat landscape lurking out there? You will require a technical BDR team to perform activities like troubleshooting failures, monitoring and verifying backups, adjusting retention policies and many other things. The process of hiring, training and retaining these team members can quickly build up a high cost for you. This is where a fully managed BDR platform like Dezine Geek jumps in and keeps you from breaking your bank while offering you efficient managed backup services. Instead of loading your already burdened technical staff with more work or hiring new staff, allow a managed backup service to handle all the work for you round the clock.

So what will the managed BDR team do for you?

Did you know a typical BD technician could cost you $50,000 but let’s just cut down all that cost and let us give you some deep insight into the workings of managed back up service. Here is what they can do for you:

  • They Monitor backup status both onsite and offsite along with tracking offsite storage and bandwidth utilization. All this while, a managed BDR makes sure things are running successful as well as on time with offsite syncs happening.
  • Just in case backup verifications fail and back up processes don’t run or fail, the task of troubleshooting and remediating servers and local appliance is performed.
  • The team of tech smiths monitors the servers and local appliances for hardware, software updates, performance and space.
  • Complete verification and end to end management of backups is done.
  • Exclusive availability of support round the clock via chat or phone.

… and what are the things BDR technicians assist you with?

  • Disaster recovery support is provided that includes complete site rebuilding and full site DR in the cloud.
  • Tests are conducted for offsite virtualized servers, full site disaster recovery and onsite standby server functionality and performance with VPN settings and user access.
  • Ticketing is available for backup related issues like hardware failure.
  • Data recovery consists of mailbox and message level recovery, full bare metal restore, partition restore, and file and folder restores.
  • Just in case backup verifications fail and back up processes don’t run or fail, the task of troubleshooting and remediating servers and local appliance is performed.
  • Real time back up is offered as frequent as every 15minutes.

Something to reflect on!

According to a recent study, among companies that went through disastrous loss of computer records, 51% closed within 2 years of loss, 43% never reopened, and as small as 6% survived. This is enough to say that data is central to your company. Your company breaths and survives on it. Loss of data means loss of company records, patient or client files, client’s legal records, emails, accounting data and much more. Dezine Geek completely understands the importance data holds for you. So have you geared up your company’s data with the armors of BDR before the bullet finds you?

Lesson Learned from the Hack of the Century

With large and medium enterprises equally at risk of being hacked by outsiders, leaders are forced to join and scratch their heads and figure out what is to be done.

There is no denying that security lies at the heart of an organization whether a large business enterprise or a small coffee shop. Organizations now carefully calculate the amount of risk they can take. They put on their thinking caps to figure out all the methods they require in order to keep a check on intrusion along with diminishing and detecting the after effects of a security incident. Just as security lies at the heart of your organization, it lies at the core of Dezine Geek’s services particularly the cloud security services. We understand the importance it holds for your organization. Dezine Geek offers its clients with a fool proof cloud strategy that consists of the latest tools and processes to cater to the open risk of security breach becoming more and more stronger these days.

Fortune magazine labeled the hack attack on Sony as the “Hack of the Century” in an article that was published recently. This well written article gave deep insight into the hack incident of Sony with great details about the events that led to such devastation. 

How did hacker manage to get access to Sony (such a large organization!) in the first place? They did it so through spear phishing that consists of fooling the employee into clicking an email attachment or a nasty link to a website. As soon as they accessed into the company, they freely roamed about the organization’s data base since it lacked security controls like multi-factor authentication. After weeks, the hacker started getting away with pieces of their data and adversely affected their host machines across the entire company using a malware strain known as igfxtrayex.exe. What’s alarming is that the company’s antivirus software was so inefficient that the malware went undetected. As soon as it was installed, the malware manifested its wrath on the company by displaying a red skeletal image and doing the damage it intended to by murdering the affected host in just 2 hours.

(you can display that red skeletal image here. It’s there in the link above)

Let us enlighten you with just few effects of this deadly cyber-attack…

  • The data was stolen before being deleted which consisted of confidential email, salary lists, movie scripts and above 47000 SSNs.
  • Completely wiping out the hard disks on 837 of 1555 global servers and 3262 of 6797 global PCs.
  • Loss of $41 million was reported by March 2015 that excluded the IT repairs and litigation, breach investigation expenses and lost movie revenue. The company has also been known to have lost $177 million in the year 2011 because of the incident of PlayStation  Network hack.
  • Manual processes like paying 7000 employees on paper check had to be employed.
  • The machines were made dead by deleting algorithm that overwrote data in 7 different ways after which it eliminated the startup software of the machine.
  • Outage was experienced by half of Sony’s global network.
  • Apart from other things, it immensely damaged the reputation of such a large organization with criticisms showered on the company by many known sources.

The crucial question now is what should companies do? No matter how much Sony may insist that the cyber-attack was unmatched, unparalleled and too extraordinary for them to repel, the truth is there were many security procedures that weren’t being followed. Only if they were followed, it could have at least neutralized and rebuffed the strong effect it had or if nothing else it could have at least detected the malware earlier and faster. Being a managed service provider, we shield and safeguard the cloud systems of our customers with our managed cloud security. Dezine Geek provides tech smiths that can not only armor but effectively shield your enterprise system and immensely minimize the impact of risk of any likely security breach on the ecosystem of yourinfrastructure.

Here are some few ways we successfully protect organizations…

  • Utilization of Intrusion Detection System (IDS) aids in real-time critical decisions associated with security risk.
  • Using Data Encryption safeguards visibility to backup data and database
  • Utilizing Web Application Firewall (WAF) keeps web based attacks at bay
  • Tracking and managing firewall policies through Firewall and VPN implementation and management guarantees to just the desired open doors for intended sources.
  • Allowing only approved personnel to access the systems like public cloud environment through multi-factor authentication.
  • Introduction of cloud has increased vulnerability to Distributed Denial of Service attacks. DDoS protection enables protection and quick response which helps to avoid service disruption.
  • In order to detect deviation from accepted state, continuous audit is made use of.
  • Responding and tracking of suspicious log activities is done through Log/Event monitoring and management.
  • We give security awareness training to our employees as we understand all it takes for the hacker to access your system is one small mistake from your employee.

If these services were utilized properly, it could have definitely aided in minimizing, combatting and neutralizing the adverse effects of the hacking event Sony had to encounter. Managed cloud security offered by Dezine Geek will meet and shield your organization’s needs. If you are a large enterprise, you have most probably encountered hack attempts. So what are you doing to fully leverage your security?

Reference

How Your Startup Can Benefit From Cloud Computing and Growth Hacking

It’s no joke to compete with already established larger companies using traditional techniques. You need an absolutely creative mind to do the thinking and get your company to grow efficiently, smoothly and quickly. Having limited resources, within 5 years of time half the new businesses tend to fail. Intimidating isn’t it? There are some complimentary ingredients to a successful business like the products that people demand, product that work and perform as they should, efficient team leading, the ability to deliver at the right timings, but there are few anchors that you can throw in the sea of market and utilize it to successfully stabilize the ship of your business.

Anchor 1- Cloud computing

Cloud computing solution can prove to be a very heavy anchor that lets your startups to grow and scale smoothly. It offers freshly charged competitive benefits. Here is how…

Immense flexibility and scalability

Cloud computing seamlessly empowers the workforce by letting you and your employees access a host of powerful applications and corporate network from any device. This way employee can work from anywhere using any device. And guess what? With such a virtualized network you can access Content management systems (CMS), check your work related email, address customer concerns and even tune your products while on the move. You can access your startup WHENEVER you like. Moreover, you can keep your costs low by only adding the services you need.

Business Continuity

Your business has to be built on concrete foundation with reliable and robust business continuity and disaster recovery strategy with its key element. Basing your IT hardware and key data on cloud computing quickens the response needed when anything stumbles. Your business can just get back up whenever it falls and run more smoothly in unlikely and extreme situations.

Cost effective

If you had to name a single greatest advantage of cloud computing solutions, this would be it. You can do so much for so less. You can deploy capital focusing on IT infrastructure and with time you can improve it just by spending little money. With the money you save, you can give your license fees for your business.

Anchor 2- Growth hacking

One of the most difficult tasks for an early startup is getting its name in the jungle of market out there. Growth hacking came into being because of NEED of business to reach out to larger potential audience in shortest time possible. Growth hacking strategy may be different for different businesses but there are some hacks that are applicable to all no matter what service, product or niche your business caters to. Are you an early stage startup? Don’t worry! You don’t need handsome amount of money for this. You can try these tactics and enjoy loyal customers.

Offer for FREE

It’s human nature to absolutely adore stuff that comes free of cost. Who doesn’t! You enhance your popularity by offering something absolutely free. For instance, when Hotmail started off with its browse based email service back in 1996, it offered a free account and quickly made 20,000 users. By marketing itself with “get your free email at Hotmail”, the number mounted up to 1 million in just the first 6 months.

Start a Referral Program

Do you need a chain of customers who actually believe in your service rather than lay customers who aren’t sure about you? Then setting up a referral program can be one of the best methods because it actually works. For instance, when the famous Dropbox first started off, it made an offer of upgraded storage to every referral party whose sign up was still on pending. As soon as both the users signed up, they got an extra 500MB totally free. This made Dropbox’s user base expand to 4 million from a mere 100,000 only in 15 months.

Get Exclusive

It’s human nature to like it when they are given undivided exclusive attention. It makes them feel special. This is the reason exclusive offer and invitations works so well every time. Pinterest was solely invitation in the beginning. However, it enabled users to request for an invitation if they wanted to join. When the invitation was requested, Pinterest sent an email telling the users that although the waiting list is a little long but still there request has been accepted. The need to be a part of the brand was instilled in the users letting them grow to 70 million users from a mere 100,000.

Final word!

Gearing up your business with the right arsenals before you deploy it in the market fighting its way up for your success is imperative. There are many tools available to accelerate the startups even free services. Some managed startup service providers like Dezine Geek facilitate and encourage startups with free tools and infrastructure. To check out further details, take a look at Dezine Geek’s Managed services for startup program.

Healthcare is in Dire Need of HIPAA Compliant MSPs

Did you know that a recent Raytheon/Websense research announced that health care industry goes through 340 percent more security attacks and incidents than any other industry! Just imagine 340 percent! Isn’t the stat just terrifying? Then there is a the oft quoted survey conducted by KPMG recently that states that 81% of the health care executives (223 in number) confess that their organizations have been subjected to cyber threat at least once in the last 2 years. Who knows the other 19% don’t even know that they also fall in the 81%. It doesn’t matter whether you have been hit by a cyber threat yet or not, you eventually will with such alarming stats on the rise. When it does strike your organization, have you planned out your fallout strategy yet?

Attacks and Breaches on health care still peaking up

With 120 million plus health records compromised in the year 2015 alone and the numbers still expected to be on the rise in the year 2016, 2015 is sure to be looked back as a year of colossal damage to health care sector. Compared to all other industrial sectors, Identity Theft Resource Center reports most records to be compromised at health care department alone.  It’s true that financial sector used to be the most hit sector but then they had been paying attention to cyber security for 20 years now.

So why do cyber criminals target health care enterprises? The reason is very simple to understand. Just take a look at your own health care data that’s there either with a health care provider or a doctor. Would you ever want someone else to get hold of that confidential information of yours? Nobody would! Personal health information (PHI) is confidential to everyone. The more confidential it is, the more the hackers would like the access to it. The health care provider retains complete data sets knowing almost everything about you. And guess what makes it even more alluring to hackers? This data even contains sensitive financial information and links to insurance.

What’s more is that for many providers, basic necessary security doesn’t even exist so they could even know they are being attacked. This lack of focus on cyber security has resulted in building a lot of pressure particularly on small enterprises.

What makes cyber-attacks so successful?

Going digital comes with its pros and cons and the health care community seems to be most shaken up with the cons particularly the digital security issue.

Something to be wary of is that several providers are making use of insufficient or outdated electronic medical records (EMR) software. Software vendors are offering products that are not enough for connected and networked environments. Security provided by these providers is mostly very basic and can’t cater to complex security issues.

What further adds to this risk is the growing popularity of internet of things. It has resulted in things becoming more and more integrated and connected. Watches, medical devices, copiers and others have become connected with absolutely no access limitations at times. This in turn is a prime time for hackers to access your servers away.

Traditional methods were great because old paper records could not be easily stolen and stealing huge amounts of records was almost impossible. What’s more is that ePHI is highly easy to transfer or distribute. It’s no secret that modern world allows you to carry huge amounts of medical records on laptop, tablet, smartphone, USB drive etc making the data exposed to more risk. Data theft EXISTS and can be very easily compromised in small provider’s offices.

What to do with amidst all this chaos?

What is the top cybersecurity threat encountered by the health care industry? A survey revealed 67% to be malware infecting the systems and 57% HIPAA violations. This reveals the potential concern to be MSPs and health care market to be in dire need of efficient and quality HIPAA compliant MSPs. IT solution providers like Dezine Geek offers HIPAA compliant MSPs who cater to all your concerns and vulnerabilities discussed earlier.

Now before you jump into hiring an MSP, you should know that if any medical provider uses the services of an MSP which is not HIPPAA compliant, then they are actually violating HIPAA. If MSPs are to provide security and support to health care organizations, they need to be HIPAA compliant themselves. Another thing that should ring an alarm in your head is when they tell you that you just have use some encryptions, simply sign a business associate agreement and follow the trails of some security practices. HIPAA compliance isn’t just about that. It is charged with so much more. If an MSP is just HIPAA talk and no action, you will have another cost to pay. Dezine Geek understands that and provides you with the upgraded, latest, and most effective managed security service. So are you ready to face the inevitable?

Health Care Industry is Being Targeted by Cyber threats

There was a time when health care was one such sector that was spared from malicious attack and security breaches. Gone are the days when it was mostly the retail and financial sectors that were hit by such nuisance. As noted by FBI, the reason healthcare sector has become a victim to this is its wealth of protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII). When you have got wealth, you will have intruders. The cyber exposure state of health care industry just gets even worse with the various challenges like bring your own device policies, older/ legacy systems, a high payout for protected health information sold on the black market and a transition from paper to electronic medical records. Utilizing managed security services of Dezine Geek at this juncture can prove to bring a secure taste in your recipe of IT infrastructure.

You shouldn’t be complacent thinking that you haven’t been compromised yet. It has become inescapable today. If you haven’t faced such attempts now, you eventually will. It’s better to buck up now because when the information is gone, it’s just gone. You can’t do much when your wealth is tactfully stolen. Do it before having to experience it firsthand.

PHI- The Most Prized Possession of Health Care Industry

According to IBM X-Force Interactive Security Incidents data, the first half of 2015 has seen 100,000,000 health records being compromised with 5 largest security breaches included in last 5 years. The question that instantly ticks is why health care industry? It is the protected health information (PHI).  This priced possession is the diamond of this industry that yields a lot of money when sold in the black market. The term PHI was coined by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to denote a patient’s health information and medical records. Another term often heard of in the realm of health care is electronic health record (EHR) which contains the PHI. Apart from the medical information, EHR retains social security numbers, employment and bank information and email addresses.

The aftermath of Compromised PHI is highly multifaceted. Do you think it is just the breached health care organization that has to pay the costs? It’s a whole lot of other things. It’s not just the organization but also its customers that face a lot of difficulties. When the customer is damaged in any way, automatically the reputation of the health care organization is put at stake. According to a study, no other sector is shaken up so much after its data is breached than the health and pharmaceutical companies in terms of their customers.

Attacks shaping the cyber threat scene

Let us show you the types of attacks that the health care industry is being constantly bombarded by putting so many and so much at risk.

Shellshock

This attacker is malware-less and is on the lookout for taking full advantage of vulnerability in the GNU Bash shell. It poses persistent and significant threat to this industry.

Sphear phishing

This is one of the most successful attack methods in which the victim is duped into either clicking on a link to a website or opening a malicious document. This is how a big enterprise like Sony’s security was compromised. Malicious documents are much more preferred by these hackers than the malicious link.

The trial and error method

The hacker utilizes automated and repetitive technique of trial and error in order to figure out the person’s username and password. Once figured out, they can access the administrator’s applications and accounts that hold all the data on web facing server or web application. As soon as they gain the entry, they plant the malware that lets them further into the network of targeted health care organization. Rest you can imagine for yourself!

Older and Nonsanctioned Applications

Is your hospital organization using the old version of internet explorer? Then beware, older version is vulnerable to attackers. They can use VBScript to run arbitrary code on a weak system. The truth is various health care company employees are using many applications that are not officially sanctioned by the organization making the task of keeping those systems secure harder. Not to mention, providing the attacker a congenial ground to conduct its attack.

Cyber security no more an option

The hackers are conducting their attack in a more sophisticated manner leaving your mountainous data records exposed. The first half of 2015 saw a 200% increase in health care data breach than the last year. Cyber security is crucial to lower not only the overall cost but also to minimize or eliminate adverse consequence of data breach. You will have to prepare yourself with the right weapons taking measures like encrypting all sensitive data in motion and rest, securely storing and managing all encryption keys and controlling access with authentication of users. These security measures along with many other can be injected into the IT infrastructure of your company with Dezine Geek’s managed security services that will not only help you avoid becoming a victim of this inescapable cyber threat but also efficiently prepares you for a breach. On the other hand, our Managed cloud security shields and protects your data present in the cloud whether private or public.

Health care organization stands much more insecure and vulnerable than other sectors because of the volume, velocity and sensitivity of data continuously flowing through their networks. This itself is seen as valuable wealth to cybercriminal who make every effort to steal the prized data. Attacker’s ability to harm in a way that yields immediate financial and physical consequence is enough to understand the NEED for health care organization to direct some investment into IT now. Make cyber security a priority not an option!

Gearing up Cloud Security in the Wake of Cyber Threats

They rightly say necessity is the mother of invention and it can’t ring truer for Cloud. With the necessary and timely advances in Cloud and its features, cloud security also keeps developing. Change is the constant in technology and you can only succeed if you tag along with the change just like Amazon did by taking necessary initiatives to enhance its Cloud security with intentions of drawing more customers.  The Cloud Organizations need to realize that the path to success not only involves providing your clients with the products they demand but also shielding the products from potential cyber threat.

Amazon never lags behind with security

There is no questioning as to who is dominating the Cloud market space. Of course! It is the Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS has recently made the announcement of introducing two new products especially made for serving the purpose of supporting, motivating and assisting companies to secure and maintain their data in the AWS cloud.

One is database migration service that enables a simple and quick migration of PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle, and SQL Server database to AWS.  Then there is Amazon inspector which is much like a bot service. It looks for security threats and vulnerabilities and then comes up with a report showing the security status along with suggesting what is to be done. What’s more is that this service also enables companies avoid the problematic loop holes they sometimes fall into when introducing new features into their apps.

Do you know the 8 major cloud security risk categories?

The European Network Information Security Agency revealed 35 Cloud security risk categories and further filtered them to 8 major ones. Here they are…

  • Compliance Risks
  • Data protection
  • Loss of governance
  • Isolation failure
  • Lock-in
  • Malicious insider
  • Insecure of incomplete data deletion
  • Management interface compromise

Let’s take a look at some key trends in cyber threats…

  • As more and more companies move towards cloud computing, threat vectors are coming towards cloud at a rate 3 to 4 times more than it was just a year ago, confirmed Chenxi Wang, vice president of Cloud security and strategy at CipherCloud, San Jose, Calif.

Wang contended that “In the past, the target has been the organization. Now we have seen a lot more sophisticated attacks targeting cloud applications, where they’re using the cloud as a vector to attack the organization.” She further explained with an example saying that an attacker can start off with gaining access to google credentials in the Cloud and then make use of that to get access to the entire organization.

  • The attackers are becoming more and more sophisticated in their kill. Cisco’s Munroe term it as “industrialization of hacking” which in turn is peaking up the demand of security particularly the demand for Cloud security. Munroe believes “The response has to be as fast. The response has to be as pervasive and continuous. This is describing cloud and cloud-delivered solutions.”
  • As data breaches make up to front headlines, more and more Organizations realize the need to build defense strategies by studying the way attackers are infiltrating and approaching their businesses.

What’s new on Cloud Security?

  • News has it that WinMagic has plunged into the enterprise cloud security with their very own tools- SecureDoc  CloudSync . This security software extends its hands to Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. It enables encryption of files before they are synced to enterprise file sync and share services (EFSS) along with simplification of  encryption keys management. What’s more is that there is no need of additional end-user passwords with SecureDoc CloudSync. This solution enables companies to encrypt their file letting the encryption to remain with file in the cloud.
  • You must have probably heard of this over $1 billion IT security company, Startup Zscaler. They have a reputation of digging and throwing out malware and other cyber threat from about 100 global data centers. Now they have diverted all their attention towards the banking and financial sectors out there and teamed up with a former banking executive to its staff in order to attract customers from financial service sector. They have mutually come to the conclusion that “if the future was going to be the cloud, then security and policy management would have to move to the cloud.”

Wrap up!

DezineGeek with its managed cloud security understands all your cloud security concerns and your need for managed security services. We offer just what you need. We implement and formulate cloud security solutions for your organization by encircling ourselves with the latest studies regarding the top threats out to get you. Our tech smiths will drill in and nail down a solution that goes with the particulars of your setup and environment. So have you geared yourself up yet against what’s lurking out there and can get you anytime? Buzz if off with our managed cloud security service.

4 Tech Predictions to Have a Major Impact In Today’s Times

The shore of technology has been washed with huge waves after waves surfing with the much needed transition and innovations. With technology roaring and splashing at such a fast pace, what are the technological trends that are going to shape the year 2016? Here are 6 tech predictions associated with security, IoT, big data and tech market that are most likely to cause some serious ripples in the sea of technology …

The Device Mesh will grow further

So what is a device mesh? It means the expanding set of endpoints that people utilize to access information and applications to either interact with social communities, businesses, or people in general. Device mesh consists of wearable and consumer home electronic devices, mobile devices, automotive devices, and environmental devices like sensors that constitute the Internet of Things (IoT). The post mobile world is diverting all its attention on the mobile user who sits in the pool of devices and is aiming at taking its usage past the traditional mobile devices.

Devices up till now have mostly operated in isolation from one another connected to back-end system through various networks but as this evolves with the tides of technology going up, we are about to see connection models to further widen up their horizons and surface up with  further facilitation of interaction between devices. Up till now, the IoT applications were considered a good possession without any business oriented focus. Tides of technology are going to change this. With contextual data holding more significance, businesses and governments are going to dig into IoT to bring a substantial change in our everyday lives. Apps, things, and people are just too interweaved into each other with things like security cameras, thermostats, cars getting sewn to each other with the constant yarn of  personalized information right into their devices.

The death of the password

2015 has seen some very serious data breaches including the Sony incident that was labeled as the ‘hack of the century’ rendering the company huge losses. Then there is news about amazon that reveals the hype about the death of password. You cannot offer a high security environment if your security approach consists of analyzing risk when a threat comes knocking your door. You ensure a high security environment when your system constantly evaluates someone’s authenticity simultaneously with easy-to-use quality. This way you can stop the threat even before it reaches your door.

With the advent of Internet of Things meshing up countless devices, apps and services,  constant authentication of users and continuous monitoring in your domain will be of immense importance and advantage to your  business. Developers now have to come up with security solutions that utilize adaptive risk, multifactor authentication and contextual identity. This approach to security will be welcomed with open hands in the market place and ultimately become the new normal. The reason being its ability to monitor the devices, authenticity of users, services and things round the clock along with minimizing risk as soon as any threat is spotted.

Adtech-based display close to its end

The ad blocker issue will continue to gain pace. It’s no secret that consumer is king and consumer will be exposed to advertising when they want it and only when it’s relevant. This will offer a new turn to the industry with lots of opportunities. Social and native advertising will further grow. This will be a blow to advertisers since they will have to invest in new paid channels offering more efficiency with the biggest being ‘Search 2.0”. The increase of search-like channels in virtual assistants like Facebook is going to offer an exhilarating demand driven ride for paid presence. With mountainous surge in progress of artificial intelligence applications and growth of connected devices, the dialogue-based system for facilitating seller and buyer match will have huge opportunities and scope for further growth and innovation.

Device to cloud security protection will be the new standard

The security data chain continues to proliferate with business technology gaining more momentum. This leaves you with more chances of being exposed to a hacker’s attempt to get in. Data chains have now extended to network, cloud, device and chip pricking the organizations to understand that piecemeal approach is no longer effective. This has resulted in a shift towards adopting more ‘chip to cloud’ security strategy right from silicon level to cloud security.

What this model basically does to shield your system is it secures all your objects that can come online right at the moment they go online. In other words, their identity is authenticated instantly without any delay. This is a great plus as it also diminishes chances of window hackers getting in through unsecured objects and putting the entire data chain at risk just through one unsecure object.

3 Things To Remember Before You Buy A WordPress Template

WordPress is the friendliest and the most commonly used content management system. Online Business owners love it because it’s easy to use, easy to maintain & provides great possibilities for you to promote your offerings.

The fact is that all businesses need an affordable website and this is completely understandable. Such a desire of WP owners is fulfilled in the shape of WP templates. In my career, I have seen thousands of businesses purchasing ready-made WP templates. It’s because they are cheap and instantly provide businesses with a decent looking website. However, I believe that there are some things of great importance literally missing in a WP template.

Uniqueness

uniqueness

The two sayings, “stand out from the rest” & “break through the clutter” (or may be more) that you will find on the web are used in quite many scenarios to define uniqueness- but most commonly used when businesses want to differentiate their offerings from their competition. Believe it or not, but these statements in definition is like the holy grail of glory if you want to succeed as a business owner online.

What you are offering on the web, there can be thousands offering the same. There needs to be some uniqueness, which can garner you the expected results and beats them. This is where you need to stand out and break through. But if you use an “on-sale” WP template on your website (which is going to be your first expression to new visitors), then forget that they’ll ever remember you, let alone become customers. Worst is when one of your competition is already using the same template. This is more likely, because no matter how premium, that template is up for sale. I can’t even tell you how many websites I have come across using the exact same templates and there is nothing memorable or unique about them.

However, when you invest on your business and pay to create custom look, you get to “stand out “and make a memorable website which your visitors are going to remember. In custom design, you are the boss. You get to choose aspects of design that will reflect the needs of your customers and appeal to them.

Remember, being unique is the best thing in life and also in the online realm!

Clean Code

clean_code

Keep in mind that every developer is a different person in life and in code. They have different levels of maturity, different experience/expertise and especially the understanding of best practices. Considering that every template is made by a different designer/developer solely for the purpose to appeal & getting sold as many times as possible, so expect messy coding. Most of the times, templates can produce worst code ever, so choose carefully if you really want to buy one.

The reason why coding is important is 1. It has a huge impact on the speed and functionality of your website & 2. Speed is what google now keeps in view while ranking you in search results. Right now, there are standards of coding that designers and developers religiously follow while coding a website. Coding by the books not only takes time and effort, but at the end of the day, bears great results. This practice is very rare in templates.

Another issue that commonly comes with templates is that they create problems with certain plugins. So, if you choose a good designer/developer to make a custom website, the code will be a lot cleaner and there will be a lot less worry regarding plugins which is what you really want. Did we mention that clean code is also critical for a site to work on all browsers and also on mobile?

Your preference

your_preference

If you have an eye for detail and you want things to be in certain way that you like then keep in mind that WP templates often don’t give you that type of control. A website with WP template doesn’t give you the ability to make decisions about its design elements.

Here are some things we believe a website owner needs to have the control of all the time:

  • How the images are displayed in the website
  • Ability to customize the sidebars
  • Ability to play with font sizes and colors
  • Change the way how home page displays, change its layout
  • Ability to change the layout of all the pages
  • Display control of Blog excerpts
  • Ability to change the layout of entire blog page
  • Layout of the website footer
  • Control of the slider- its height, width, images, text, speed control, linking from images
  • Contact form options

You should have the control to each and every aspect of your website just as you do with your business. Leveraging the above mentioned features, you will be able to make strategic decisions regarding your website, which will have a direct impact on your visitors, your customers and your sales. Plus, you can always experiment new ways to make your website more interactive given that you have control. This is exactly what a custom website design offers. It lets you choose what you want, how and when.

Bottom-line

I understand that some people don’t want to spend money on a custom WordPress design, but I really don’t see how you can avoid doing that if you are serious about your online business. For every type of business, success in web is success overall and for this all businesses need to have a strong web presence which is unique, functional and marks your territory.

But you cannot have this with a cheap or (worse), a Free WP template. Remember, that you get what you pay for so don’t put all at stake with this choice. Invest in a quality Custom WordPress design and it will pay off in the end. And BTW, a lot of Premium-special WP templates (the good ones) are priced somewhat near to what a WP developer will charge you for custom site development- but then again an overpriced template will not be unique, a custom job will be!

Need A Great Website On Time & Within Budget – Contact us for a FREE

25 Best Freebies For Design Geeks

One of the best things about web is that there is just so much stuff available for free. Thanks to the very generous members of web design community, development mentors and experts, these freebies which are offered to make our tasks a lot easier, can easily make us designers spoilt for choice.

At Dezine Geek, we believe that gathering freebies is the best way for designers to build up their design stash and library. This is also one of the most practised habits of some very successful designers.

In this regard, Dezine Geek has put together the coolest of all freebies for web designers.

Among them you will find various tools, fonts, icons, scripts, applications and much more- All absolutely free to download.

Fonts

Promesh Two

A retro type athletic font free to download.

25_best_freebies_01

Focus

A special soft font best to be used for Headlines.

25_best_freebies_02

Miletra

A slim font which looks as if written by hand.

25_best_freebies_03

Bierunt

Here is one highly readable and multipurpose font for you to download for free.

25_best_freebies_04

Enyo

Enyo is a unique hand drawn font in three weights.

25_best_freebies_05

Graphics

Galaxy S5 Mockup

A very realistic mockup of Samsung’s most recent smart phone.

25_best_freebies_06

Facebook Covers

Some Classic Timeline Cover pictures for you or your Facebook pages.

25_best_freebies_07

Vector Flourishes

These cool graphics include about 20 hand drawn vector flourishes.

25_best_freebies_08

Layer Exporter

Layer Exporter is a very handy plugin for Adobe illustrator. 

25_best_freebies_09

Flat Devices

Want to showcase something on a flat mobile device, here you go, these are 8 pure CSS mobile devices for free.

25_best_freebies_10

Retro Logos

Want to make a retro logo; here are 10 retro logo badges in PSD.

25_best_freebies_11

Mini set icons

Here are 21 unique and beautifully created icons for your projects.

25_best_freebies_12

Development tools

ngxtop

This tool lets you see Real time metrics for nginx.

25_best_freebies_25

Stylish

Google code prettify CSS and JS code experiment which lets you integrate cross support browsing and inter language support in your website.

25_best_freebies_14

Slate

Slate is a modern day IRC client built with sophisticated web technologies.

25_best_freebies_15

Avgrund

Avgrund is a great Modal UI concept. 

25_best_freebies_16

Side sliding menu

Here are code experiments for side sliding menus you can add to your website.

25_best_freebies_17

FastClick

Here is an amazing tool that will help you remove click delays on browsers with touch UIs.

25_best_freebies_13

CutJS

CutJS is a rendering engine for game development.

25_best_freebies_18

CSS 3D flip box

Add flipping content boxes to your website with this awesome CSS and JS code experiment. 

25_best_freebies_19

Curved Text

Curved text us a cool JQuery plugin that aligns your text into a curve.

25_best_freebies_20B

Purple UI kit

Purple is a responsive HTML user interface kit.

25_best_freebies_21

Densia Sans

This is an Economic plus space saving sans serif for tough situation and designed for small sizes use.

25_best_freebies_22

jqGrid

Here is a great tool that lets you create and jQuery grids.

25_best_freebies_23

Spinning Wheel

Want to include that spinning wheel to your website, here is a free CSS and JS experiment for the useful spinning wheel function.

25_best_freebies_24


Please feel free to add your favorite freebies from web designing and development realm in the comments below.

Another Batch Of 25 Great Freebies From Around The Web

Once again, we put at the disposal of Design geeks and Web Developers some great freebies that can not only be an asset to your library but can also give heightened features & functionality to your website, or project.

Don’t forget to tell what your favorite freebies are in the comments below.

Fonts

Intro Condensed

Here is an all caps font that contains the basic Latin and numerals.

25_great_freebies_01

Kocoon

This here is a free downloadable experimental font that has been created with Nodebox.

25_great_freebies_02

Amsterdam Superstar

Amsterdam Superstar is also an all caps display font.

25_great_freebies_03

Johny Strocker

Here is a unique font that displays content in All caps.

25_great_freebies_04

Kirvy

Kirvy is a Simple Sans Serif font in 4 weights.

25_great_freebies_05

Moderne sans

A clean & bold sans serif typeface for developers.

25_great_freebies_18

Graphics

Animated Clay Typography

Here is an amazing PSD and AE animated Clay typography.

25_great_freebies_06

Mabur

This is a high quality flat PSD template that you can use to showcase your projects and portfolios.

25_great_freebies_07

Business newsletter

This is an awesome InDesign template of 4 beautiful pages.

25_great_freebies_08

Leather texture set

This is a huge package of seamless textures with sources you can use for your projects.

25_great_freebies_09

Awesomekit.me

Want to create awesome wire templates for iOS 7, do it with Awesomekit.me.

25_great_freebies_10

Centro Carnes

Here is a nice set of neon style cooking icons that you can use and download for free.

25_great_freebies_11

Mobile Icons

Accept a Huge bundle of more than 10000 icons to download for free.

25_great_freebies_12

zEnigma

zEnigma is a Responsive HTML5 theme best for beauty salons.

25_great_freebies_13

Blurred backgrounds

Beautiful backgrounds in jpg format and in high resolution for all of your projects.

25_great_freebies_14

Pttrns

Pttrns is a huge library of iPad and iPhone interface patterns.

25_great_freebies_15

Sign in / up flow

A cool Login template which is styled to look as if it’s in iOS. Format is in PSD. 

25_great_freebies_20

Development tools

Pint

A small but efficient grunt.js Runner

25_great_freebies_16

Velositey

A cool layout builder for websites

25_great_freebies_17

Bourbon neat

A light grid framework built for Sass and Bourbon

25_great_freebies_19

Dribbbox

An instant, way to showcase your self-hosted Dribbble portfolio.

25_great_freebies_21

Flight indicators

A jQuery plugin that displays high quality indicators in real time.

25_great_freebies_26

Sliding Image Divider

A cool way to code experiment image sliders.

25_great_freebies_23

FlightTracker

A Nice and modern widget for tracking commercial flights. Best for online travel agencies and flight dealers.

25_great_freebies_24

Lossy Gif Compressor

A file compressor, but unlike others, this one compresses gifs.

25_great_freebies_25