Tuesday, March 31, 2015

9 Ways to Avoid the Dangers of Mobile Banking


Over 230 million Americans use smartphones everyday but many are unaware of the dangers of using mobile banking. Smartphones have the potential to pose a real security threat. All smartphones should include good security software to allow users to block malware and locate a phone if lost. Users who access personal information or download applications are at greater risk. 

Mobile banking also known as M-banking, mbanking or SMS banking allow customers to check balances, and perform account transactions using their smartphones.  Some experts feel that Wells Fargo and Bank of America’s mobile banking services provide strong security and offer multiple downloadable applications. Mobile banking services vary based on the type of phone you are using, the cell phone plan and technology the bank is using.

There are several advantages to using mobile banking such as:  easy access, many applications for smartphones, easy control of your money, availability 24/7 anywhere, anytime and no fees.  Disadvantages to mobile banking is that mobile banking provides fewer services that internet banking and increases security risks.
Many big cities such as New York and Washington DC using mobile payments to allow drivers to pay for parking meters.  Drivers register online and can pay for the parking and select the time they wish to purchase using an application or text message with the meter number.  Unfortunately mobile payments increases the chances of a driver getting a ticket as soon as the meter expires versus with traditional parking meters drivers may get lucky and get a few extra minutes on an expired parking meter.

BlackBerry software and core applications are digitally signed to ensure integrity preventing the smartphone functionality from being directly accessed by other applications.  However, this does not mean that blackberry is immune to viruses or security risks.

iPhones do not provide security software because the iPhone does not share applications; the risk of spreading a virus from phone to phone is very low.  If an iPhone has been altered or changed in any way this increases the chance of a security risk.  This can cause the iPhone to download and run unauthorized software which can slow your system down and may lead to identity theft. However, this does not mean that iPhones are immune to viruses or security risks.

The Android software has less virus attacks because most of the viruses are written to attack Windows based programs.  However Android is not immune to viruses.  Here are the top 9 virus protection software for smartphones:

1.      ESET Mobile Antivirus is only available for the Windows Mobile platform.
2.      BullGuard Mobile Antivirus is available for pocket PCs and smartphones.
3.      F-Secure Mobile Security Business is available on Windows Mobile and Symbian platforms.
4.      Kapersky Mobile Security provides the same level of protection you would get on a computer.
5.      McAfee Mobile Security for Enterprise antivirus anti-spyware software operates on any Windows Mobile based device.
6.      Trend Micro Mobile Security is a package of Windows Mobile and Symbian antivirus software.
7.      Norton Smartphone Security provides the same level of protection you would get on a computer.  Norton Mobile Security Lite offers virus protection for smartphones and blackberries.
8.      McAfee offer virus protection for smartphones and blackberries.
9.      AVG offers virus protection for Androids.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Being Owner and Employee Can Cost You Money


“The Emyth Revised” author Michael E. Gerber uses the term “Management by Abdication” which requires you to relinquish the business and hire someone to help you run the day-to-day operations of your business thereby passing the accountability to others so you can focus on managing your business.  Being an owner and employee in your business can cost you money, reputation damage, loss revenue or state, federal or legal fees.
Your business should work without you not with you. Unfortunately most entrepreneurs start their business on their own and then decide to seek help later which is a huge mistake. You should commence with staff when starting your business. You can hire college graduates or entry level staff to help you perform the day-to-day operations of your business if you are unable to hire experienced workers.
When starting a business set clear business goals, a company vision, mission and business requirements such as funding, staff, location, and future growth needs. Then determine how your business would need to perform to accomplish these tasks and start running your business accordingly.
Many times entrepreneurs continue to act as employees when running their business instead of acting like business owners. If you want to be a great successful company you have to running your business like one.
Focus more on business development and less on administrative tasks. Focusing on the day-to-day operations of your business keeps you in a narrow-minded focus and makes it difficult to generate sales and revenue.
In addition to having staff assist with the day-to-day operations of your business you need a team of advisors such as: an accountant, lawyer, financial advisor, mentor/business coach and insurance agent. Hiring a team of advisors may cost money upfront but will save you money in the future if an issue arises and you need professional advice. Focusing on the day-to-day operations of your business can also cause you to lose money because you don’t have enough time to acquire new business and can cause you to lose existing customers.
Start your business with the future in mind and then work your way backwards. Don’t focus on how much revenue you want to generate or the work that has to be done. Focus on how to run your business effectively, gain new customers and continually focus on growing the entire business not just one aspect of it. Use these 7 tips to help you stop losing money in your business by being an owner and employee.

Hire a business coach who can mentor you regarding your business. Take classes, read books or articles or watch television shows to learn how to run a successful business. Study other business owners and gain lessons learned from them especially those who were able to turn home-based or small businesses into large businesses.
Provide Service
Stop focusing on how many sales you want to get in a day or how can you sell a product. When you create a great product and focus on the customer experience, customers will follow, sales will increase and your business will grow. Create multiple ways for customers to reach you and consider getting a toll-free phone number. Use various methods to frequently obtain feedback from customers.

You must see your company as a competitor with other businesses and learn how to attract customers in an innovative way.  Focus more on how you do business. Always look for opportunities to grow your business and attract new customers. Use the “SWOT” (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) strategic planning method to help you improve in all areas and develop your business. Constantly ask how will your business stand out, how your business is unique and how customers will view your business.
Reduce Costs
Automate as many of your business systems and processes which will help you save time, money and resources.  Find inexpensive ways to get what you need, hire interns, barter services, and use sites like Fiverr, social media or free or low-cost services.  Continually finds ways to increase your return on investment and save money. Think about future needs and the most effective ways to fulfill those needs without impacting your bottom line.
Use Technology
Use technology as much as possible to remain competitive and to reduce time and effort to track data, engage with customers and address current and future current needs. Innovate by continually thinking of new ways to grow your business. If you are not creative hire someone who can do this for you which will help you stand out from your competition.
Protect your ideas by using copyrights, trademarks or patents. Avoid sharing your ideas with everyone especially other business owners.  Protecting your ideas helps you remain competitive and makes you look more favorable if you decide to sell your company.
Gauge your success and business growth. Create critical success factors, key performance measures, surveys and other feedback methods to measure your business performance. Ensure that work is always performed in alignment with your future business goals and objectives. Focus on where your business is now and where you want your business to go.