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Business Gateway offer £1,500 Cyber Resilience grant

Business Gateway, the publicly funded network of offices dedicated to providing free business advice, are now offering the Digital Scotland £1,500 Cyber Resilience grant.

It can’t have escaped your notice that cyber attacks are reaching epidemic levels. High-profile hacks on company networks and web sites continue to make the news. As we wrote in a previous article, motives vary. Hackers may be opportunist, looking for a particular vulnerability in hardware and software to exploit for commercial gain, or targeted with a specific reason to attack your business by any method. Damage isn’t limited to data loss. Web sites can be used to silently distribute malware or be defaced. You might face claims under data protection laws and have your reputation damaged. It is, therefore, vital that companies of all sizes take cyber resilience seriously, and the initiative by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership (DSBEP) aims to help SMEs tackle the problem.
Contact us for more information on the Cyber Resilience Grant
The Cyber Resilience Voucher is available via the network of Business Gateway offices across Scotland. This is an award of up to £1,500 which is an award of up to £1,500 to secure the services of an industry expert to help with cyber security.

“All citizens and businesses are a potential target of an attack, particularly if they do not take some simple precautionary measures to protect themselves. Any company that relies on computerised systems for payroll, marketing via social media or a website, booking systems, databases of customer details including payment details and/or any Intellectual Property or Patent information should treat cyber security as a top priority.”

– Digital Scotland

The Cyber Resilience Voucher is available to any SME sized business based in Scotland and V.A.T registered. It will help you get through Cyber Essentials certification which is a Government and Industry backed initiative to protect a business from the growing threat of Phishing and Hacking attacks. There is a limit of 200 vouchers, so early application is recommended.

Cyber-Essentials

 

It provides sound measures of protection against the main internet threats, and certification to demonstrate to customers, investors, insurers and other stakeholders that you have taken appropriate measures to protect your business from these threats. It is a requirement for all businesses in the Government Defence contract supply chain and this is likely to be expanded to other public sectors.

How to get Cyber Essentials certification

The requirements for CE certification are set out in the Cyber Essentials Requirements document. Most SMEs without in-house technical expertise will need assistance in complying with these requirements which fall into these areas:

  1. Boundary firewalls and internet gateways – preventing unauthorised access to your network.
  2. Secure configuration – out of the box, computers are not configured to be secure. Additional controls “harden” the system against attack.
  3. Access control – ensuring only those who should have access to systems do so and at the appropriate level to limit damage from any attack.
  4. Malware protection – ensuring that virus and malware protection is installed, works in all situations and is up to date.
  5. Patch management – ensuring that every application on every system is up to date and all the necessary patches supplied by the vendor have been applied.

Next steps
Contact us for more information on the Cyber Resilience Grant
We can help you through every stage of your Cyber Essentials certification and grant application. Contact us today.

To access the grant, businesses need to complete this application form and then visit a local Business Gateway branch. If you are outside Scotland, contact us about starting the Cyber Essentials certification process as soon as possible. We’ll visit your office, complete a security audit, help you develop your security policies, improve cyber resilience and complete your Cyber Essentials application.

“There are two types of companies in the world: those that know they’ve been hacked, and those that don’t.”

– Misha Glenny, British journalist, and author specialising in crime and cyber crime.

Contact us for more advice on the scheme or cyber resilience issues.

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Jeremy WebbBusiness Gateway offer £1,500 Cyber Resilience grant
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What is Pokemon Go and why might it be a blessing for local businesses?

 

Pokemon is fast becoming a bit of a phenomenon. In it’s first week, it racked up twice the number of installs of Tinder, double the engagement levels of Snapchat and has more daily active users than Twitter.

So what is Pokemon Go and why might it be of interest for local businesses?

IngressPokemon Go’s origins are with a game called “Ingress” I started experimenting with back in 2012. It was then an experiment created by Google to explore the possibilities of augmented reality and gaming. Since then it was spun out of Google and is now owned by a company called Niantic. Niantic are the brains behind Pokemon Go.

An augmented reality game is one where players explore the real world looking for virtual objects that have significance in the game. By using a smartphone’s GPS and camera these “vobjects” can “appear” in the real world though something similar to a head up display.

Put together a tech savvy crowd, a slick brand and a carefully designed game leveraging intermittent variable reward and you have the digital equivalent of crack cocaine. Hordes of Red Bull fueled youths are, right now, running round the streets looking for their next reward.

You can probably start to see how this might be of interest to a local business in a major town or city that has a critical mass of Pokemon Go players. This is how to get in on the game…

Find out if your business is, or is close to a “Gym” or “PokeStop”. These two features in the game attract players like moths to a flame. Although there is no official map for the Pokemon game yet, the Ingress map bears an uncanny similarity to the Pokemon Go world. You can check out that map here (you can sign in with a Google account) and see if you are near any potential hot spots.

ingress-map

Create some Lures and attract the players. Pokemon Go has a lot of in app purchases, one of which is a lure. These increase the rate of Pokemon generation, and with the little fellas being quite rare, this is a big deal. Luring is a surprisingly good way to bring people to an area, as evidenced by these comments from Reddit:

“As a manager for a store PoGo is fucking amazing. SO. MUCH. FOOT TRAFFIC. Time to invest in some lures.” – Lord_Cthulhu

“My local library has 5 pokestops inside it, and the librarians keep all of them lured up during the hours that it’s open. I haven’t seen this many people in the library since middle school.” – sleepyplayer

Buying Lures is not expensive. It will work out at around $1.19 per hour to bring players flocking to your location. It would seem like a no brainer.

Leverage being close to a Gym. Pokemon Go Gyms are a special feature that players can “take control” of for their team (one of three Mystic, Valor or Instinct) and as such they attract a lot of foot fall. Put out a sign that you offer a discount to any member of the current “controlling” team.

Go to the crowd. Once you have checked the map understand the basics of game play you can soon find places that players will congregate. If you have a mobile business, go there!

Promote your Pokemon. Even if you are not near a Gym or PokeStop, you’ll have Pokemon. Get on social media and share the Pokemon nearby, especially if they are rare or valuable. You could incentivise players to do this for you, by offering to pay for their Incense (another in app purchase which attracts Pokemon) in exchange for them sharing tagged screenshots of any rare Pokemon that pop up.

I appreciate that this all might seem a bit crazy, and in some ways it is. Maybe it is just a craze. For all the positive stories of Pokemon Go bringing more visitors to businesses, libraries and churches there are a similar number of negative stories of players putting themselves at risk by going into dangerous locations or situations.

However, if you are a local business looking for more visitors you can’t ignore the way this is capturing people’s attention and imagination right now.

 

 

 

 

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Jeremy WebbWhat is Pokemon Go and why might it be a blessing for local businesses?
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Internet Trends 2016 – @KPCB

Code Conference : Mary Meeker, 1st June 2016

The publication of this report was flagged up to me by the less famous Zuckerberg sibling, Arielle. This report from venture capital firm KPCB (@KPCB) is essential reading for anyone involved in the internet ecosystem. We all carry a certain number of assumptions about the world around us, but this report presents the hard facts. There’s a huge amount of information in there, and some deep dive data. Some stand out areas that it tackles include:

  • The slowdown of internet and smartphone use growth. The barriers to moving into low penetration territories such as infrastructure, income and user capability.
  • Global economic trends – the growth drivers that are waning.
  • Online advertising growth accelerating, in the face of challenges like ad blocking software. How Spotify and Furious 7 made video ads work.
  • Consumer mind-set profiles – who are the millennials, what they expect and how they act.
  • The evolving consumer landscape bricks, brands and digital.
  • How Stitch Fix are using data collection, personalisation and feedback to create a new way of shopping.
  • The increasing power of video and how delivery methods affect reach and buzz. How advertisers are using brand filters to great effect.

  • Increasing integration of live streams and social experience. (Head smack – I’ve been amazed this hasn’t happened sooner.)
  • How images can unlock new content, community and commerce experiences – for example Houzz.
  • Messaging – strong user and use growth. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat lead the way.
  • Methods of self-expression becoming more sophisticated as we’ve moved from J to Snapchat lenses.
  • Messaging for business customer service and commerce is increasing. “The magic of the thread” – how a conversation with a business means an easy to access log of previous communication, context, specifics, preferences.
  • Sales lifecycle can begin on messaging, end on-line.
  • Messaging apps increasingly becoming the second home screen.
    messenger-as-home-screen
  • The rise of the voice interface – driven by better computing power, better accuracy, better services to interface with. Google voice searches up x35 since 2008. (Need to solve the problem of background noise.)
  • Computers and the automobile industry. Ride and car sharing, self-driving cars.
  • China – Huge opportunities, high barriers to entry for the Western SME.
  • Internet company financing – some overvaluation but some under valuation. Few winners, but those who win, win big.
  • Data as a platform / opportunity – for example Looker.com, Mapbox, Datadog
  • Data security as a platform – Ionic.
  • Concerns over data security and cyber crime.

Enjoy!

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Jeremy WebbInternet Trends 2016 – @KPCB
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Meet the future you. How marketing is using behavioural science to influence your choices.

We are always interested in the smart use of behavioural science and technology, so when we saw the Merrell Edge “Face Retirement” promotion we were impressed.

This web app allows you to take a photo of the current day self, and then it ages and animates it to show you a glimpse of the future self. Scary? Maybe. This is what happened to me…

Now

me

Future me

It could be worse!

But they are doing something clever by trying to allow you to connect with the future you. The reason is that behavioural scientists have discovered that people who can connect in some way with a view of their future selves are more likely to make decisions weighted toward future actions rather than the now. Like investment decisions for your retirement.

You can read the full facinating article “What your future self can teach you” here and listen to the accompanying podcast:

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Jeremy WebbMeet the future you. How marketing is using behavioural science to influence your choices.
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What to do about the PayPal PCI Compliance / TrustWave headache

A few of my clients have recently been requested by PayPal to go through the PCI compliance process, despite their web site not handling or processing any customer or payment details. They all use Checkfront as their booking system which is entirely third party hosted and uses PayPal as the payment processor.

Default-Facebook

In other words, the customer’s web site really takes no part in the booking or payment process. And yet PayPal insist on PCI compliance. I’ve discovered that there is little mileage in explaining this to PayPal – they won’t budge on their position.

So what can you do? Unfortunately, the only option I’ve found to keep PayPal happy is to go through the TrustWave compliance process that PayPal recommend. Be prepared to lose about an hour of your life filling in the form, and should your business not actually meet the standards for PCI compliance then you might have a few DAYS of work to become compliant as you set up firewall rules, write security policy and harden your IT infrastructure against hackers.

Interestingly much of the PCI requirements overlap with the requirements for the new Cyber Essentials Certificate being promoted by the Government so it might be worth seeing if you can get a £1,500 Cyber Essentials grant to help you. Contact us to help you achieve your Cyber Essentials Certification.

What really gets me annoyed is when you start the process of PayPal / TrustWave PCI Compliance, you get to this screen early on:

paypal_bollocks

The field “Other Details” is pre-filled and you can’t change it. It states that “customer do enter credit cards directly on your web site“. In ALL cases this is NOT TRUE for my clients that have been asked to do PCI Compliance by PayPal. So when I phoned TrustWave to ask how I could change this field so I could answer all questions honestly (and have to answer many fewer questions later on!) I was told that PayPal insist the question is “locked” forcing everyone to fill in the full questionaire. Oh, and so pay a full fee to Trustwave.

It all seems a bit like collusion to me, and is certainly an unnecessary burden on SMEs.

What do you think?

 

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Jeremy WebbWhat to do about the PayPal PCI Compliance / TrustWave headache
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Digital Scotland Cyber Essentials Voucher Scheme

It can’t have escaped your notice that cyber attacks are reaching epidemic levels. High profile hacks on company networks and web sites continue to make the news. As we wrote in a previous article, motives vary. Hackers may be opportunist – looking for a particular vulnerability in hardware and software to exploit or targeted – with a specific reason to attack your network by any method.  Damage isn’t limited to data loss. Web sites can be used to silently distribute malware or be defaced, you might face claims under data protection laws and have your reputation damaged.

It is therefore vital that companies of all sizes take cyber resilience seriously, and the final initiative by the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership (DSBEP) aims to help SMEs tackle the problem.

They have made available a Cyber Resilience Voucher which is an award of up to £1,500 to secure the services of an industry expert to help them with their cyber security strategy.

“All citizens and businesses are a potential target of an attack, particularly if they do not take some simple precautionary measures to protect themselves. Any company that relies on computerised systems for payroll, marketing via social media or a website, booking systems, databases of customer details including payment details and/or any Intellectual Property or Patent information that could be of value.”

– Digital Scotland

The Cyber Resiliance Voucher is available to any SME sized business based in Scotland and V.A.T registered. It will help you get through Cyber Essentials certification which is a Government and Industry backed initiative to protect business from the growing threat from Phishing and Hacking attacks.

Cyber-Essentials

 

It provides sound measures of protection against the main internet threats, and certification to demonstrate to customers, investors, insurers and other stakeholders that you have taken appropriate measures to protect your business from these contemporary threats. It is a requirement for all businesses in the Government Defence contract supply chain and this is likely to be expanded to other sectors in 2016.

How to get Cyber Essentials certification

The requirements for CE certification are set out in the Cyber Essentials Requirements document. Most SMEs without in house technical expertise will need assistance in complying with these requirements which fall into these areas:

  1. Boundary firewalls and internet gateways – preventing unauthorised access to your network.
  2. Secure configuration – out of the box, computers are not configured to be secure. Additional controls “harden” the system against attack.
  3. Access control – ensuring only those who should have access to systems to have access and at the appropriate level to limit damage from any attack.
  4. Malware protection – ensuring that virus and malware protection is installed, works in all situations and is up to date.
  5. Patch management – ensuring that every application on every system is up to date and all the necessary patches supplied by the vendor been applied.

Next steps

If you are in Scotland first speak to your Business Gateway advisor and complete this application form for a Cyber Resiliance grant. If you are outside Scotland, contact us about starting the Cyber Essentials certification process as soon as possible. We’ll visit your office, complete a security audit, help you develop your security policies, improve cyber resiliance and complete your Cyber Essentials application.

“There are two types of companies in the world: those that know they’ve been hacked, and those that don’t.”

– Misha Glenny, British journalist and author, specialising in crime and cyber crime.

Contact us for more advice on the scheme or cyber resilience issues.

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Jeremy WebbDigital Scotland Cyber Essentials Voucher Scheme
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Optimization Fallacies- Five Things People Believe About SEO, and Why They’re Wrong

When it comes to successfully running a business online, ranking at the top of search engines can be critical because higher traffic can lead to more conversions, leads, or sales for a company. Due to this, search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved from a niche marketing skill set to almost an art. Unfortunately this has also led to a rise of SEO snake oil salesmen peddling half-baked solutions or using black hat tactics to move up in the rankings. With so much information coming from so many different types of sources, it can be difficult for people and businesses to separate the wheat from the chaff.

A guest post from Nick Rojas @NickARojas.

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Jeremy WebbOptimization Fallacies- Five Things People Believe About SEO, and Why They’re Wrong
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£5000 Digital Scotland Growth Vouchers

Anything England can do, Scotland can do better?

You might recall that in a previous blog post we wrote about the Marketplace initiative which is distributing around 20,000 match funding growth vouchers to business. A lot of readers were disappointed as this was only open to English businesses.

We’ve now discovered that there is a little known, and under-subscribed equivalent in Scotland – the Digital Scotland Growth Voucher. In many ways it’s better – £5000 not £2000 and up to 75% funding for any project!

The project has not been widely publicised (it’s currently running as a pilot project) and the closing date for applications has been extended to the 30th August 2014. To apply, simply get in touch with your local Business Gateway who will lead you through the process. 

UPDATE! The scheme returned in 2015, but has now closed Contact your local Business Gateway advisor to see if there are any other similar schemes that might help you.

Eligibility seems to be pretty wide – if you are an SME looking for ambitious growth using the web, e-commerce and digital services then you are well placed to use this scheme.

So if you are a Scottish business, now is a really great time to implement that e-commerce / web / digital plan! Contact Jeremy Webb (Call 0131 618 7770 or email jw@webbactivemedia.net) to discuss your requirements and make an appointment at your local Business Gateway to start your funding application.

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Jeremy Webb£5000 Digital Scotland Growth Vouchers
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£2000 Government backed Growth Vouchers

£2000 Growth Vouchers

Match funding for ambitious business

Government backed scheme helps SME’s finance web consultancy

The Marketplace initiative is distributing around 20,000 growth vouchers to business looking for specific business help. One of the areas of help and advice covered by the scheme is “Making the most of digital technology”. If you were thinking about redesigning your web site, optimising your existing site, planning to use social media or get any type of web & IT advice, now is the time.

webbactivemedia have just been awarded authorised provider status for the Marketplace scheme. You can view our profile here. We can provide advice on:

  • Web (re)development
  • E-commerce
  • Search optimisation
  • Social media
  • Conversion rate optimisation
  • Security

Contact Jeremy Webb to talk you through the scheme and discuss your requirements. Call on 0131 618 7770 or email jw@webbactivemedia.net.

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Jeremy Webb£2000 Government backed Growth Vouchers
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Customer reviews – love them, but don’t trust them!

It’s a well known maxim of marketing that you can’t beat “word of mouth” as a way to spread your message. The reason is that we tend to trust the word of another, even when we don’t actually know that person very well.

For this reason, marketers are always trying to leverage this “people power” to disseminate information. Online you see it more and more in the form of Customer Reviews, where you can read comments from people who have purchased a certain product or service you may be interested in.

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Jeremy WebbCustomer reviews – love them, but don’t trust them!
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