Microsoft Offers Patent Troll Defence for Cloud Customers

Microsoft Offers Patent Troll Defence for Cloud Customers
Microsoft Corp has thought up another way to attract potential customers to its cloud computing service: deterrent against patent trolls.

Companies new to the cloud are vulnerable to non-practicing entities, which do not make any products themselves but use their arsenal of broad technology patents to sue other firms in order to extract royalties or a cash settlement.

The new offering could appeal to companies new to the cloud arena, needing a service such as Microsoft’s Azure to store their data or host their mobile app.

It was not clear that it alone would be enough to draw customers away from the market leader, Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Web Services.

Under a plan unveiled on Wednesday, Microsoft said customers of its cloud service could rely on any of 10,000 Microsoft patents free of charge to deter legal threats against them.
The Redmond, Washington-based company also said it would extend its existing promise to defend any customers sued over Azure to include the freely available or ‘open source’ technology incorporated into its cloud service.

The protection is designed to appeal to an automaker, for instance, which may have car-related patents but has no such cover for its mobile apps and other cloud-based products, making it a target.

“They haven’t had years to build up that patent portfolio,” said Julia White, Microsoft corporate vice president, in an interview. “Cloud innovation is far too important to be stifled by lawsuits.”

© Thomson Reuters 2017

Tags: Microsoft, Microsoft Cloud Services, Cloud Computing, Patent, Azure, Internet, Apps

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Nextdoor Seeks to Bring Neighborhood Businesses and Customers Together

Can you use the local social media network Nextdoor for small business marketing? Here's how to set up your business page and more.

Usefulness
Functionality
Price

Summary


Nextdoor now make it easier for businesses to receive feedback and recommendations from their neighbors.

Nextdoor is a free, private social network that requires users to register with proof of both their address and identity. The network is built around neighborhoods. You can join as a neighbor and once accepted then you officially become part of a neighborhood where you can share news, setup a Neighborhood Watch Group or even a business page.

Noticing that many of the community members exchange recommendations about local business, the platform decided to add business pages for local business.

Launched in 2011, the social network has grown to an audience of “double-digit millions” and claims to reach over 100,000 neighborhoods in the United States.

Nextdoor for Small Business

Who Needs a Business Page?

Business pages are ideal for anyone selling goods or providing services. This could range from offering neighborhood plumbing services to running a local barbecue joint.

What Can Businesses Do on Nextdoor?

Nextdoor helps businesses better understand their neighborhood reputation. Through a color coded map, you will be able to see where your business has been recommended by Nextdoor members. You will also be able to reply to messages and comments that members have shared. Your neighbors can as well send you private messages.

How to Setup a Business Page

Setting up a business page is quite easy. Go to the business section and fill in your business name and address. The page will automatically find your business based on your contact details. Click “claim” and verify it’s your business. You will then be prompted to create your business account.

nextdoor

You can as well claim your business page right from your personal account. Sign into your account and allow the platform to use your personal email to claim your page. However, the downside is that you will have to share your personal details with someone else if you need them to manage the page.

If you own multiple businesses or your business has multiple locations, then you can claim different pages for your respective business. However, at this time, Nextdoor only allows one account per business.

Conclusion

Nextdoor claims that many business recommendations were already taking place and thus there was need to offer the support.

Setting up an account is free and easy.

Setup an account now to start receiving feedback and business recommendations from your neighbors.

Image: Nextdoor.com

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

10 Tips to Protect Your Business and Customers on Data Privacy Day

10 Data Protection Tips for Data Privacy Day 2017

Having information about clients and customers is important, but ensuring that private information remains secure might be just as vital to the health of a small business. That’s according to data professionals and others who are marking this year’s Data Privacy Day on January 28.

Many small businesses are not well prepared for the tricks that hackers use to extract data from their information systems or to deal with the fallout from such an occurrence, according to Bindu Sundaresan, a senior security professional for AT&T.

“They feel like ‘Who’s going to come after me?’ Small businesses don’t want to spend their whole IT budget on cyber security,” Sundaresan said.

In reality, small businesses can offer a more attractive target for hackers than larger companies because they don’t invest as many resources in cyber security, she said. That can be especially true for small businesses that are third-party providers for larger companies.

For example, the hackers who obtained credit and debit card information from 40 million Target customers during the 2013 Christmas shopping season reportedly gained access to the national retailer’s systems targeted a smaller business first. Target’s system was compromised using the network credentials of a Pennsylvania contractor who supplies and maintains refrigerating, heating and air conditioning systems for the company.

It is important for small businesses and their employees to be mindful of what kind of sensitive information they have that a hacker might want, Sundaresan said.

“I find that most small businesses don’t understand the impact of a cyber security breach outside of their business. They’re basically a pawn in a larger game,” she said.

“Think about the importance of this data and what could happen if the hacker got his or her hands on it and how is that going to affect your overall business model,” Sundaresan added.

Providing better data security doesn’t have to break the budget. A small business can have “the basics in terms of security” for as little as $15 a month.

“Respecting privacy, safeguarding data and enabling trust” is the theme of this year’s Data Privacy Day, which is held every year to build awareness about the importance of privacy and protecting information.

It is the signature project of the National Cyber Security Alliance. First celebrated in the United States in 2008, it marks the anniversary of the 1981 signing of Convention 108. The document became the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.

Data Protection Tips for Data Privacy Day 2017

Here are some suggestions for securing your systems and keeping the information of customers and clients private:

1. If you collect it, protect it. Follow reasonable security measures to ensure that customers’ and employees’ personal information is protected from inappropriate and unauthorized access.

2. Have a strong privacy policy. Customers need to know that you are protecting their information. Make sure you have a policy they can refer to explaining how you are keeping personal information safe. Make sure you are straightforward with customers about the consumer data you collect and what you do with it. Being honest with them will help you build consumer trust and show you value their data and are working to protect it.

3. Know what you are protecting. Be aware of all the personal information you have, where you are storing it, how you are using it and who has access to it. Understand the kind of assets you have and why a hacker might pursue them. “You cannot protect what you don’t know about,” Sundaresan said.

4. Don’t underestimate the threat. In one survey conducted by the Alliance, 85 percent of small business owners believe larger enterprises are more targeted than they are. In reality, there have been cases where small businesses have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to cybercriminals.

5. Don’t collect what you don’t need. The more valuable information you have, the bigger a target you might be. Avoid using social security numbers or other personal information for customer identification. Opt instead for log in identification and passwords. More layers of identification help keep attackers from being able to simulate users. Consider deleting personal information that you don’t really need.

6. Keep a clean machine. Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats. Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.

7. Use multiple layers of security. Spam filters will weed out malware and phishing scams — many of which are aimed directly at businesses — keeping your email safer and easier to use. Employ a firewall to keep criminals out and sensitive data in.

8. Scan all new devices. Be sure to scan all USB and other devices before they are attached to your network.

9. Educate employees. Employees are often the handlers of customer data. They therefore need to be kept up-to-date on how to protect that information to make sure it does not accidentally land in the wrong hands. They should be educated about the newest fraud schemes and urged to employ best practices such as not responding to or opening attachments or clicking suspicious links in unsolicited email messages.

10. Protect against mobile device risks. Smartphones, tablets and laptops can add to employee flexibility and productivity, but they can also be repositories of sensitive information, which, if lost, can harm your customers and your business. Impress upon employees and other partners the importance of keeping these devices secure from loss or theft. At the same time, stress that not reporting such an incident, if it happens, is worse.

For more information, the Alliance and the U.S. Small Business Administration Small Business Technology Coalition have compiled numerous tips.

Data Privacy Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Nextdoor Seeks to Bring Neighborhood Businesses and Customers Together

Can you use the local social media network Nextdoor for small business marketing? Here's how to set up your business page and more.

Usefulness
Functionality
Price

Summary


Nextdoor now make it easier for businesses to receive feedback and recommendations from their neighbors.

Nextdoor is a free, private social network that requires users to register with proof of both their address and identity. The network is built around neighborhoods. You can join as a neighbor and once accepted then you officially become part of a neighborhood where you can share news, setup a Neighborhood Watch Group or even a business page.

Noticing that many of the community members exchange recommendations about local business, the platform decided to add business pages for local business.

Launched in 2011, the social network has grown to an audience of “double-digit millions” and claims to reach over 100,000 neighborhoods in the United States.

Nextdoor for Small Business

Who Needs a Business Page?

Business pages are ideal for anyone selling goods or providing services. This could range from offering neighborhood plumbing services to running a local barbecue joint.

What Can Businesses Do on Nextdoor?

Nextdoor helps businesses better understand their neighborhood reputation. Through a color coded map, you will be able to see where your business has been recommended by Nextdoor members. You will also be able to reply to messages and comments that members have shared. Your neighbors can as well send you private messages.

How to Setup a Business Page

Setting up a business page is quite easy. Go to the business section and fill in your business name and address. The page will automatically find your business based on your contact details. Click “claim” and verify it’s your business. You will then be prompted to create your business account.

nextdoor

You can as well claim your business page right from your personal account. Sign into your account and allow the platform to use your personal email to claim your page. However, the downside is that you will have to share your personal details with someone else if you need them to manage the page.

If you own multiple businesses or your business has multiple locations, then you can claim different pages for your respective business. However, at this time, Nextdoor only allows one account per business.

Conclusion

Nextdoor claims that many business recommendations were already taking place and thus there was need to offer the support.

Setting up an account is free and easy.

Setup an account now to start receiving feedback and business recommendations from your neighbors.

Image: Nextdoor.com

[“source-smallbiztrends”]