How Cool is Apple’s Spaceship Campus?

Apple Spaceship CampusIn 2011, Steve Jobs, a tech guru and co-founder of Apple Inc., unveiled his plan to build a new Apple campus in Cupertino, California. While Jobs didn’t stick around to see his plan become a reality, his compatriots have achieved what he envisioned: creating the world’s best office building. Called the spaceship campus, Apple’s new headquarters is a spaceship-styled structure that has won praise and admiration from all over. So, how cool is Apple’s spaceship campus and what are its most ‘eye candy’ features? Let’s find out.

A Giant Saucer with Features Galore!

Appearing as a giant saucer, Apple’s new spaceship campus will be home to thirteen thousand employees. Want to be impressed? Pay a visit to Apple’s new campus. Boasting a 300,000-sq. ft. of research space, the spaceship campus encompasses a range of impressive features including jogging and cycling trails, a 1000-seater auditorium and a 360-degree central courtyard. Other notable features include underground parking and low energy LED lighting.

One of the largest solar installations in the world, Apple’s new spaceship campus boasts 100% renewable energy. Additionally, it displays the campus and its design to visitors via an augmented reality experience. There’s also a large retail store from where employees can do their ‘grocery-shopping’.

Impressive Underground Auditorium

A venue where Apple will hold key meetings before product launches, the underground auditorium of the new spaceship campus is camouflaged with a round glass pavilion. Also, as mentioned earlier, the auditorium can host up to 1000 people at a time. In short, the auditorium is spacious and pleasing to the eye.

Opportunity to Flex Some Muscles

While working at the new spaceship campus, Apple’s employees will have a real opportunity to flex their muscles and become fit. That opportunity comes in the shape of the campus’s jogging and cycling trails, with the latter featuring over 1000 bikes on site all times.

Park in the Shade

Apple’s new spaceship campus has an underground parking, with 80% of the site surrounded by trees. So, the staff at the spaceship campus can park their vehicles in the shade, protecting it from any and all damage that the sun’s rays can cause.

Some Interesting Facts about Apple’s Spaceship Campus

The dream envisioned by Steve Jobs five years ago is about to become a reality. Apple’s new spaceship campus is nearing completion and it would be open to employees soon. We’ve already discussed quite a bit about the building’s features and what it will look like as a whole. But, there are some interesting facts about the spaceship campus that we haven’t discussed yet, facts that you most definitely need to know about. So, here you go.

The Biggest Pieces of Curved Glass Will Make Up Its Walls

To allow employees to view the landscape facing the building’s exterior or look into the inner garden, both sides of the building are completely surrounded by curved glass. Once the building is completed, over three thousand curved glass sheets will wrap around it.

80% of the Campus will be Green Space

Once completed, Apple’s new spaceship campus will have over seven thousand trees on site. A great feature of many of these trees is that they can adapt to climate change. According to Dan Whisenhunt, the senior director of real estate and facilities at Apple, the company has selected plants that are native to the plan and can tolerate drought. This will ensure that a minimum amount of water is required to irrigate these plants.

The Campus will run on 100% Renewable Energy

Okay, maybe we did mention this before, but we did not go into the detail of things. Apple’s new spaceship campus will run on completely on renewable energy, including biofuels and solar energy. The campus will feature 700,000-sq. ft. of solar panels. Additionally, it’ll be equipped with low carbon central plant on site. Renewable energy from the grid will be used to supplement energy whenever there’s a surge in demand.

Apple’s Spaceship Campus will have a Natural Ventilation System

For more than half of the year, Apple’s new spaceship campus will not require air conditioning or heating. This is due to the natural ventilation system of the campus. Taking advantage of Northern California’s ideal weather, Apple has decided to use a natural ventilation system at its new spaceship campus. In addition to lowering the company’s operational costs, the natural ventilation system will help Apple to lower its greenhouse emissions, which is a major goal of the company.

The Campus will use Recycled Water to Stay Green

Its looks as if Apple has decided to go completely ‘green’. At least, this is what one deciphers from the company’s plan for its new spaceship campus. According to San Jose Mercury News, over 150,000 gallons of recycled water will flow into the spaceship campus each day. This water will then be used for a variety of purposes including plumbing, cooling towers and landscaping.

There will be a Fully-Equipped Wellness Center

We’ve already told you about the cycling and jogging trails of Apple’s new spaceship campus but there’s more—the new campus will have a fully-equipped wellness center where employees can unwind, work out and get completely fit.

Apple’s Spaceship campus will be open to Traffic by the End of this Year

Construction of Apple’s spaceship campus is expected to be completed by the end of this year, after which it’ll be opened for employees and other relevant people. Once completed, the total cost of the project would about half a billion dollars. Looking at these numbers, one can safely say that Apple’s new spaceship campus is going to be something special and all the eyes and attention will be on it once its completed.

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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6 Digital Payment Options every small business should consider

Digital PaymentsToday, it’s extremely important for businesses to offer as many payment options as possible to their customers. By doing this, businesses will give payment choices to customers and capture every sale they make. The payment options that you need to offer your customers include cash, checks, credit cards and online/digital payments. However, in today’s digital age, your focus should be on the digital payment options.

Whether you run small coffee shop or a big retail chain, a digital payment option can ensure the future success of your business. Safe money transfer is what a digital payment option enables. Accepting credit card involves a lot more than a simple payment transaction: you must always keep this in mind. Using a digital payment-processing option is smart way to make money transfer and fulfill all your payment-processing needs. With a digital payment option, you can accommodate all types of customer payment requests. Moreover, you can use the digital payment option to gain real time access to payment related information. Following are some of the benefits of using a digital payment option.

Ability to serve various geographical markets

A digital payment option provides multi-site and multi-currency capabilities. This is turn enables you to serve various geographical markets.

Flexible money transfer

You can accept many different types of credit and debit cards as well as other electronic forms of payment with a digital payment option. Additionally, the digital payment option supports card payments for recurring and installment billing. All of this ensures flexible money transfer.

Minimize or eliminate fraud

Minimizing or eliminating fraud is a major benefit of using a digital payment option. Digital payment options help you to prevent fraud by performing card related encryption, authentication and verification.

Ensure excellent customer serviceDigital Payments

Delivering excellent customer service is one of the foremost reasons to use a digital payment option. Providing ample service and exceeding expectations are two things businesses do to ensure customer loyalty. You can significantly reduce customer wait time by using a digital payment option. Moreover, you can use it to process almost all types of payment methods. Finally, you can use the digital payment option to review transactions immediately in order to reduce or eliminate mistakes. All of these things help you to ensure excellent customer service.

Increase profitability

You can increase your business’s profitability with digital payment options. By allowing you to accept multiple credit card types and even mobile payments almost immediately, a digital payment option helps you to increase customer order size and ultimately profitability!

 

As seen above, there are many benefits of using a digital payment option for your small business. Thanks to the advancement in technology, hundreds of digital payment options for businesses are available today. Since so many digital payment options for businesses are available today, choosing the right digital payment option for your business can be difficult. To make thing easy for you, we’re going to look at the 5 digital payment option every small business should consider.

6 Digital Payment Options Every Small Business Should Consider

As mentioned above, there are hundreds of digital payment options for businesses today. For this reason, choosing the right digital payment option for your small business can be difficult. To make things easy for you, following are the 6 best digital payment options for small businesses.

PayPal

PayPal is a digital payment option that you probably already know about. Today, many small businesses use PayPal as the standard way for accepting payments from customers digitally. Using PayPal, customers can buy an item from your website. When you use PayPal, visitors to your site are directed to a page where they can pay you in a number of ways. Using PayPal, you can create, receive and send payments.

Due

You may or may not have heard about due but this digital payment service is one of the best digital wallets for businesses available today. Using this digital payment service, you can easily transfer money to another business in the United States. Moreover, you can use Due to process credit cards to receive payments. Other benefits of using this digital payment option include charge-back protection, reports and analytics and prevention of fraud.

Square

The number one competitor of PayPal, Square is a website where businesses can list and sell their products and services. Using square, you can send and receive payments on invoices. Finally, your customers can use this digital payment option to complete their transactions.

Paymentech

Property of Chase, Paymentech is a digital payment option that allows businesses to accept payments from customers online, in store and via mobile devices. Paymentech accepts a number of payment methods including electronic checks, PayPal and credit cards. Other benefits of using this digital payment option include online reporting and prevention of fraud. Also, using this digital payment option, you can receive money from virtually anywhere in the world.

Dwolla

In many ways, Dwolla is a unique digital payment option. Using this digital payment option, you can send and receive payments through email. It is important for you to know that you cannot accept credit card payments with this payment option. However, you can run the app when using another card reader.

Elavon

The final digital payment option on our list is Elavon. This digital payment option is designed specifically for small businesses. Using this digital payment options, you accept electronic gift cards, electronic checks and debit/credit cards from customers. Moreover, this digital payment option works with Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Apple Pay. Finally, Elavon offers charge-back protection and detailed reports.

To stay competitive, you must offer as many payment options as possible to your customers including digital payment options. The aforementioned digital payments options are 6 digital payment options that every small business should consider.

 

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Percento is a Professional IT Consulting, Implementation and Management firm.  To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation

General Data Protection RegulationLast year, the European Union approved the General Data Protection Regulation, also known as GDPR. Boasted as this century’s most important update to data privacy regulation, this provision is aimed to create a more comprehensive, regulated system by improving Europe’s existing data privacy laws. With the amount of data breaches increasing each day, officials realized the urgency of the need to update the existing data privacy laws that were added in 1995 and guidelines created in 1980. The new regulation was passed in April of 2016 and companies have until May 25, 2018 to prepare for this new regulation.

The original Data Protection Directive addressed the variation in laws across the EU and the transfer of sensitive information to parties outside of the EU. These outside parties were required to have stringent data protection policies in order to receive information. Accountability for this regulation was ensured through Data Protection Authorities that were placed within each state.  However, because this was a directive rather than a law, there were questions on its enforcement.

Recently, two different cases were brought to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding data privacy. The Weltimmo case regarded the ability of data protection regulators to handle matters within organizations outside of the EU. This case involved a Slovakian company who was sued in a Hungarian court. The court ruled that if an outside organization is mainly established in a member state, it is subject to the laws of that state. This prompted a collapse of the “Safe Harbour Agreement,” which regulated the transfer of EU citizen’s data to the US. With differing laws in the two state organizations, it became important to ensure companies were held to the standards the EU set out.

The new laws mandate a simple, legible consent process that clearly outlines the data collected and who it is being transferred to and allows citizens to opt-out of if desired.  Also, if there is a breach, customers and controllers must be notified within 72 hours. Today’s laws will apply not only to governments and businesses within the EU, but also any companies who process the personal data of its citizens. If a breach of core principals is detected, fines will equal either 4% of annual turnover or €20 Million, depending on which is greater.  Smaller fines for things such as failure to notify after a breach or failure to perform risk assessments will only equal to 2% of annual turnover.

This new legislation will be a tremendous improvement to existing laws regarding the privacy and protection of European Union citizens’ data. We look forward to seeing the results it has on each of these countries and learning from their new practices. Stay tuned to our blog for more IT regulation updates, tips and tricks, or company news!

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To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Tackling Post-Disaster IT Recovery

Disaster IT RecoveryThe recent damage that Texans faced after Hurricane Harvey showed businesses across the country the threats that they face. As one of the most expensive storms in US history, this storm affected an economy that was valued at $600 billion. Major industries taking a hit include shipping, oil & gas, chemicals, insurance, and agriculture. Now that the flood waters are slowly receding, business owners will finally be able to enter their businesses and begin the process of recovering and rebuilding.

Recovery

Unfortunately, if the proper steps weren’t taken to prepare for this type of emergency it will be hard to recover. Information that is only stored on-site will be easily lost if these servers come into contact with water, are overheated, lose power, etc. The first step to recovering all other data is taking an inventory of all of the information that survived. This can be found in previous emails, which are often cloud based, and online in software designed for collaboration or sharing. Once all of this information is collected, it will be a priority to organize it and update customers and team members on the status of lost data. Depending on what type of information was stored, there will be unique notification requirements. For example, lost medical data will be governed by different HIPAA regulations than lost payment information. It is best to consult a legal advisor before proceeding with these steps in order to ensure compliance.

Prevention

The next step in recovery is to take a proactive approach in order to prevent the same issues from recurring. It is important to consult with an expert in order to ensure the proper steps are taken to protect your business and customers. The following are a few simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risks your business’ IT infrastructure faces:

Offsite Storage

While many companies are comfortable managing their servers, there is no way to guarantee the safety of a single storage space. Storing this information off-site will help your business have a duplicate copy of server information. Additionally, off-site server facilities typically have strict security measDisaster IT Recoveryures in place. This includes not only the proper temperature controls and power sources for the servers, but also strict security measures for the facility itself. Technology such as access control and security cameras will prevent the theft of this information.

Cloud Technology

By implementing a cloud infrastructure before the disaster, your company will have a backup of the stored information securely online. There are many different applications of cloud technology which each store and manage separate parts of the infrastructure. Popular examples include software as a service, which stores software programs and infrastructure as a service, which stores company data much like a server.  After a disaster, this information will be able to be accessed as soon as it can be downloaded from the cloud to a connected device. This means that from a safe location, the information can be accessed and managed during the time of the disaster and shortly after.

Testing

It is critical that not only are these precautions put into place, but also that they are tested frequently. These tests will ensure that the recovery will be quickly accessed and produce full results. These tests can also help businesses ensure that their IT provider is trustworthy and performing adequately. If there are any errors in the backups, this will provide a great opportunity to fix them.

For cities across the “hurricane highway” and across the country that face the threat of natural disasters, it is clear that there are many precautions that can help create a proactive IT system. If natural disasters do occur without the proper preparation, companies will be forced to attempt to recover without their critical information. To learn more about the steps your company should take to protect its future, contact us today.

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To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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It’s gotta be ‘Ruff’ to be a dog… Happy National Dog Day!

National Dog DayWe love our pets at Percento Technologies.  Here are some ways to Celebrate National Dog Day:

The National Dog Day website offers a list of ways to celebrate today, including these:

Adopt a dog from your local shelter or rescue organization.

Alternatives: Volunteer at your local shelter and offer to walk or play with a dog, clean cages, or anything else they need help with. Donate blankets, food, and toys to animal welfare organizations.

– Have a National Dog Day party and invite all your friends and their dogs!

Spend the day taking photos of your dog.

– Assist an ill or elderly neighbor by walking their dog.

– Buy your dog a fun new dog toy… or two… or five.

Or maybe: Buy your dog a fashionable collar and leash.

– Give your dog some fun exercise by taking him or her to a doggy play resort.

– Brush your dog to eliminate excess fur.

– Teach your dog a new trick.


Percento Loves DogsConsidering Adoption? One of These Dogs Would Love to Come Home with You

If you’re thinking about adopting a dog from a shelter or rescue organization as a way to celebrate National Dog Day, I hope you’ll keep in mind that certain kinds of pets – through no fault of their own – have a much harder time finding a new home than others.

By far the pets least likely to find new families to love are older pets, followed by animals with medical problems, dogs suffering from breed prejudice (primarily pit bulls), shy pets, and pets that need to be the only animal in the home.

Large dogs, black dogs, and pets with special needs also tend to languish in shelters much longer, and are euthanized more often, than animals considered more desirable by adoptive families.


10 Reasons to Open Your Heart to a Senior Dog Today

  1. Older dogs have manners. Unlike puppies, many grown-up dogs have spent years living with a family and being socialized to life with humans. They may have received obedience training and respond to commands like Sit, Stay, and Down.

Many are house trained and it takes a matter of hours or a day or two to help them learn the potty rules in their new home.

  1. Senior pets are less destructive. Most older adoptive pets are well past the search-and-destroy phase.

You don’t need to worry so much about finding your favorite pair of shoes or a table leg chewed beyond recognition. Chances are your senior kitty has no urge to overturn your potted plant or shred the handmade quilt your grandma gave you.

  1. What you see is what you get. A senior pet holds no surprises as to how big he might get, what color his adult coat will be, or whether his hips will be healthy. A senior pet comes to you with his own history, which makes his future much more predictable than that of an 8-week old puppy or kitten.
  2. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Adult dogs can focus on the task at hand (unlike many of their much younger counterparts). If your adopted older pet needs to learn a few things in her new life with you, not to worry. Enroll her in an obedience class, contact a trainer, or go the do-it-yourself route. Older dogs are more attentive than puppies, and more eager to please their humans.
  3. You can custom order your senior pet. If you’re looking for a short-haired cat, for example, or a kitty with no history of dental disease, you can search until you find an older pet with exactly those attributes. If you already have a cat and need your adoptive dog to get along with cats, again, you’ll have a much better chance of finding an older adoptive dog who is a perfect companion for your family.
  4. You can adopt a purebred pet if you want. If you really love a certain breed of dog or cat, chances are there’s a breed rescue club that can point you in the direction of older purebred pets in need of homes.
  5. Senior pets are great company for senior citizens. Many elderly people find the calm presence of an older pet very comforting. They appreciate having a companion who is also “getting up there” in age, doesn’t mind hearing the same stories again and again, and is content to move through life at a slower speed.
  6. Older pets are relaxing to hang out with.  Senior dogs and cats have all the basics down and aren’t full of wild energy to burn. Because you’re not constantly chasing around or cleaning up after your older pet, you have a lot more time to spend finding fun things to do or just relaxing together.
  7. Adopted senior pets are grateful for your kindness. Somehow, older pets seem to know you gave them a home when no one else would. Many new owners form a close bond very quickly with their senior dog or cat, because the pet shows them a level of attention and devotion that is unique to older adopted animals.
  8. You can be a hero to a deserving dog or cat. Almost without exception, people who adopt older animals feel a special sense of pride and purpose in opening their heart to a hard-to-place pet. Doing a good thing really does make you feel good!
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How Your Business Will Benefit From Data Analytics

Data analytics refers to both qualitative and quantitative data that is extracted from your business and then categorized. This information can stem from employee productivity, customer satisfaction, machine performance, online engagement, and more. The examination of this data is referred to as data analysis. With so much data being collected these days, it is critical that your business utilizes the information to promote growth. Performing data analysis will give you more insight into the operations of your business, which will prompt more educated actions.

Customer Behavior

In today’s day and age, the purchasing process is more automated than ever before. Gathering multiple contact points from your customer will allow you to have a more complete profile of them, and tracking their behavior and interactions will allow you to better anticipate their needs. You will also be able to more easily group customers and cater your communication and advertisements to their behavior. This will lead to more predictable sales and a better customer experience. Additionally, having detailed transaction histories will help prevent fraud by making suspicious charges more obvious.

Performance

Analytics of operations can help to strengthen both your internal team and your customer experience. This can include the performance of critical systems, such as HVAC and lighting, as well as inventory. Customer demands will be more easily predicted which shortens the sales process and reduces surpluses.  This insight will also help with the research and design of new products, which can be catered around customer demands. Insight into the performance of building operations will help detect minor issues before they become more severe, and potentially more expensive.

Trust

The most important factor of this data is that it is authentic. This means no more digging through trend reports to create your next product and trusting on quarterly reports to analyze your team. Over time, this data will become more encompassing and you will be able to make more educated predictions. You will also be able to better measure the results of new initiatives and ensure the success of your operations.

If you are curious about which analysis tools will benefit your company the most, or are ready to implement an analytics program, contact us today! Our team has the experience and training necessary to help you collect critical data and utilize it to grow your business. Stay tuned to our blog for more IT initiative suggestions, industry highlights, and company achievements!

 

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To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Ransomware attack halted thousands of businesses

Ransomware

Earlier this summer, another ransomware attack halted thousands of businesses around the world. Although there were attacks on a variety of US and European devices, the main focus of this attack was government, bank, and electrical companies in Ukraine. The hackers even went as far as to take down Chernobyl’s radiation monitoring system, forcing employees to manually monitor levels of hazardous radiation. This attack has been referred to as “Petya” across many channels, as it was thought to be a resurgence of an existing attack. In reality, it is a new virus that mimics some of the original attack’s code. And although there is a prompt for payment, the goal of this virus isn’t monetary. This blog is to help you learn more about the computer virus that shut down the national Bank of Ukraine and other critical government agencies.

This assault originated in financial software which used throughout Ukraine and spread first to the clients who were victims of a malicious link claiming to be a software update. Other hacks were carried out through phishing emails with various links that were used to lure victims. Some of these system vulnerabilities, known as EternalBlue, were identified during a rumored leak from NSA documents. Similarly to the code that was used in the “WannaCry” attack, this attack targeted only Microsoft computers. Once the virus was transmitted to a user with administrative capabilities, it gained the opportunity to execute commands on all of the network’s machines. The hackers then carried out an encryption of each machine’s files and restricted access to the windows platform. This way, when the computers were re-started, they would only show the notification of the hack, the monetary demand, and instructions for payment, which users falsely believed would result in their system’s restoration.

When users received a notification of the breach, a random string of characters was generated which was meant to mimic other attacks which produced a unique code that users would use to retrieve a correlating encryption code. However, unlike typical ransomware, these numbers didn’t align with an encryption key that could be entered to restore all of the information. With or without the payment, a majority of the data was transformed into an unreadable and unsalvageable format. This makes it clear that those who carried out the attack didn’t have monetary goals and were instead seeking to cause as much damage to these businesses as possible.

So, how do you prevent attacks like these from happening to your business? Implementing the latest software updates, utilizing 24/7 network protection, and monitoring your infrastructure is a start to ensuring your systems aren’t affected. During this preparation, it is also critical that you put a proper backup and disaster recovery plan in place. This will ensure that if your systems are compromised, you will be able to restore the information easily and completely. To learn more about how you can help protect your business from these vicious attacks, contact us today!

 

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To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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Cookies: what are they and how are they affecting you?

Website Cookies In this week’s edition of our May Security Series, we’re going to discuss cookies. No- not that kind! Online cookies are text files that give you a unique ID which is tracked and used to create more customized web experiences. Although these are usually harmless, there has been a lot of skepticism over companies creating these features which are installed without user permission. This blog will teach you more about how cookies affect you and how to manage them.

Positive uses of cookies are those which save the items previously added to the “shopping cart” or store login information such as passwords. This information is stored in your server and when you visit websites your browser will pull up the cookie to customize the experience.  This process does not give any outside parties access to your servers but does allow them to see the personal information you’ve voluntarily entered on the website. Some cookies track activity only during access to a specific website while others last the entire browser session or for a set amount of time.

Many third party advertisers or analytics providers use this information to track your online activity across multiple websites. This raises security concerns because some companies then sell the demographic information and use it to more strategically target users for advertisements.  The more people that access webpages with advertisements, the more money the host website will make.

Flash-based cookies differ from traditional cookies because they are not stored on users’ computers and are harder to track. Institutions such as banks use these to add a second layer of verification for access. This means that when someone who has stolen bank login information tries to access it from a new computer, access won’t be granted. Because of user concerns, most of these types of cookies have been updated to require user authorization.

Thankfully, there are ways for users to manage their device’s cookies. Browsers allow users to completely disable cookies or allow only selected ones. We recommend dealing with these on a case-by-case basis because some websites require cookies for access and some of these features help enhance user experiences. These settings are different for every browser so be vigilant in checking each one. Click for easy to follow instructions are available for:

Overall, cookies are not a threat to your personal information security but they can be used to track your online behavior. It is important to stay aware of how your online activity is being monitored and how to protect yourself from cyber criminals. This month’s security series is complete but stay tuned to our blog for more tips and tricks, industry highlights, and company achievements!

 

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To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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The Safest Web Browsers

Web BrowsersThis blog is kicking off our August security series! Here at Percento, our clients’ security is our top priority and we want to do our part to make users more aware and proactive online. The web browser you use is the platform for all of your online activity and therefore its security is critical. A web browser is the application you use to access websites and load their content. Popular browsers include Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, and Mozilla’s Firefox.  Many users simply use the browser that comes with their operating system but it is important to consider the security risks of insecure or outdated browsers.  Without the proper protection in place, these browsers can leave your computer at risk for spyware, ransomware, and other threats.

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team with the Department of Homeland Security says that people can fall victim to online threats through unknowingly clicking on malicious links and websites, un-updated software, and browsers which sacrifice security for performance. This team also advises that vulnerabilities in your systems allow hackers to steal information, destroy files, and use your computer as a means to attack others. In the end, users are responsible for their own web activity but there are some browsers that will better alert them of and deter them from threats.

Google’s Chrome

Every browser has security flaws, but the difference between browsers is how quickly and thoroughly companies respond to and defend against these threats. Because Google is a mature company, it has had the time and resources to build a strong reputation for security and protection. There are multiple built-in security features and the browser is updated frequently to defend against the latest threats. Besides its general security measures, Chrome also has some of the most powerful methods in place for keeping browser activity from affecting the system itself.

Also, Chrome has received recognition from multiple organizations. Browserscope, a community-driven project which tests features within multiple browsers, gave Chrome the highest rating in general as well as in security. The Pwn2Own annual competition aims to exploit widely used software and competitors had the hardest time attacking this browser.

However, there are some down sides to using Chrome.  Chrome stores all of your information within the browser and uses it to target you for advertisements. To some users this can seem invasive, but to those who use the company’s search, mail, drive, and video platforms it creates a more tailored experience.

Opera

As one of the oldest browsers still in use, Opera has had time to build its security measures.  The browser runs on the open-sourced Google Chromium system without enabling add-ons which can make browsers more vulnerable. Security features include malware and phishing blockers, advanced encryption which erases all private data, and customizable security settings. Other features include tab stacking which allows for vertical and horizontally organized tabs, multi-modal interaction which boasts both keyboard and mouse controls, and competitive launch and load times. The biggest downside to this browser is the fact that many outdated sites can’t be formatted by the browser and might block its access.

Epic Privacy Browser

Another browser using the open-sourced Chromium platform is Epic, which has stringent default security measures. This browser blocks all plug-in additions, keeps no records of user history, hides IP addresses, and blocks all third-party cookies. Ads & other trackers are blocked so your data will never be collected or sold. Also, because it blocks your location it allows you to access blocked websites (for example, accessing Pandora radio from other countries). With all of these additional blocks, the browser itself still runs up to 25% faster than other browsers. One downside to this browser is that because it keeps no history, it doesn’t auto-fill in the address of your favorite websites or your search terms.

Overall, it is important that you are aware of and proactively defending your browser from the various threats, trackers, cookies, and more that you will encounter on each website you visit. Having secure browsers is the first step in protecting your computer, but it is also important to use the proper security measures. Stay tuned to our blog for parts 2 & 3 of the May security series where we will discuss how user activity is tracked online and how to manage cookies.

Contact Us

To find out how we can help your organization, please contact one of our friendly sales representatives for a review of your system and a comprehensive (No Obligation) proposal of services. Call today toll-free at 800.614-7886 [Austin | Houston | Dallas | San Antonio] or email us at sales@percentotech.com.

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The Future of User Interface (UI) – Check it out!

User Interface (UI)User interface, also known as UI, is the presentation and interactivity of a brand. This is a broad term which encompasses the product’s many factors into the user experience to make it attractive and responsive to (potential) customers. This differs from user experience, or UX, which is the more analytical and technical design process. Both of these designs must work together in order to create a successful user experience. As today’s users are becoming more dependent on technology, there will be many changes in the way UI is designed and received.

  • Hapnotic feedback is the user’s sense of touch when using the interface. Brands will begin to create more engaging tactile experiences to persuade a person to buy a product or dissuade them from exiting the screen. Companies use electro vibrations to create pulses and vibrations for the user which can mimic different textures and depths. Other companies achieve this effect through the use of ultrasound speakers.
  • In previous years, user experiences were designed to be linear and simple. Now, advancing technology is giving users multiple ways of interacting and achieving a goal. The process of giving users more control is known as de-linearity. This includes being able to go back by pressing the traditional back button or by swiping left. However, designers must be careful to not overwhelm or confuse users.
  • Age responsiveness is the ability of websites to adapt to the age and interests of its users. All of this information is likely being tracked from your computer usage so it should be no surprise that not only will ads fit your lifestyle but other websites will as well. Customization will include smaller text and more bright colors for teens and adults and a more simple design for pre-teen and younger users.
  • Microinteractions are the animations which communicate status, provide feedback, and help users visualize their actions. Common examples of these include a notification that an item has been added to a cart, a pull-to-refresh option, and a toggle button. When these are designed stylistically similar, they create a more user friendly experience which can help shape the behavior of users.

Advancing technology is bringing more capabilities every day that enhance the interactions users have with brands. With these additional abilities, it will be important for brands to keep a consistent look and to not overwhelm users. Our team is excited to learn more about the process of creating a successful UI and incorporating those skills into our website design services. For more information on our design capabilities, visit our website.

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