Always sanitize your device before, putting it in someone else’s hands!

Have you ever received a smart phone from someone and couldn’t do anything because it was locked?  Have you ever had an iphone keep popping up a dialogue asking you to input a password to an icloud account you don’t own?  These are the types of things that happen when you don’t fully sanitize a device.  In this article I will give you the steps to make sure that you never have egg on your face when handing a device off to someone.

History:
Lets start with a little history.  This holds true for most of the phone/tablet operating systems out there whether it be Android, iOS, windows, or blackberry.  When devices were first manufactured like all things in their infancy there is a learning curve, not all problems can be anticipated by the manufacturer.  So smart phones made it to the market and on them we linked many of our accounts things like gmail, icloud, contacts, and password databases.  In fact with the original android platform it was very difficult to use the device unless you input a gmail account.  New to this technology many of us input all the required things and were happy with life.

Within a few revisions, manufacturers like apple realized that doing this was perfectly fine but we really needed to make sure that there was a method to clear all of these settings.  This was done via factory reset.  A factory reset would now clear all data on the phone and make it look like a new phone from the factory.  This was an excellent plan.  Until it was realized this really didn’t protect the consumer against theft.  If a phone was factory reset now all the traces of ownership were erased.
So where we are now recognizing how insecure some of the reset parameters were manufactures added additional security.  In today’s modern smart device you have to enter passwords and/or passcodes to reset devices.  This security is what plagues us from time to time when you receive second hand devices that have not been properly sanitized.  It was a great step against theft and a few other problems, but created a secondary problem.

Security — Why should you factory reset?

Well to summarize you should factory reset any device primarily for security and privacy.  Remember that handing a smart device to anyone and simply giving them your passcode is the same as writing you password publicly on the internet.  The reason for this is that void of a factory reset things like your Netflix, Amazon, Gmail, and app store are all still logged in.  Netflix is not really a big problem, but if you are into privacy well people can see what you have watched.  Amazon and app store, these are an issue because many people will link a credit card setup 1-click purchases.  Again, not really a big issue unless you value your pocket book.

The largest and biggest risk is access to your email services.  In today’s world almost every app requires a verification/reset email to be linked.  So lets picture this example.  You leave your gmail tied to an Android phone.  The person that receives this phone runs out to social media and resets your password.  Now even though you logged out of your favorite social media app, this person now has the capability to take it over.  Before you even know, they now own your facebook and twitter account.  In addition depending on how other app store like things were setup they could have the possibility to take those over.  This is a huge problem as your credit card is linked and they now own all of your past and future digital purchases.

Solutions

So what is the solution:  Well simply put sanitize, sanitize, and sanitize!  This is easy to do on an iPhone and android device.      – iOS: All you need to do is go to Settings —> General —> Reset —> Erase all Content and Settings.  Now remove your sim card and you will be done when the phone reboots.
– Android: Remove your sim card and SD card then navigate to Settings —> Backup & Reset —> Factory Reset.   ***Note: DO NOT install your sim or sd card when the phone reboots.  You must leave these out.
– Windows/Blackberry/Other: Consult your owners manual from the manufacturer.
Now you will be ready to hand the smart device off with reasonable confidence that you didn’t create a security risk for yourself.

Wrapping this up, there is no reason not to hand devices off to someone else.  But we must remember to reset them properly.  A proper reset will not only secure our data, but will reduce any headaches associated with a handoff.

Have you ever received a device that was not reset?  Please leave a comment and tell me your story.

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Why your small business needs Social Media!

In today’s world social media is everywhere.  As business owners we need to be conscience of this and use it to our advantage.  In this post, I will give you 5 reasons why social media should be a vital part of your small business.  Remember all publicity helps!  Only a minimal effort is needed each week to make your business stand out on social media.

Reasons:Facebook smartphone social media tiles

  1. Social Proof
  2. Build an Audience
  3. Advertising
  4. Reviews
  5. Platform

 

Social Proof

What is social proof you ask?  Simply put it is – someone who has thousands of followers on Twitter will appear more trustworthy then someone that has only 100 followers. Definition of social proof.This may or may not be an accurate assumption but it is how we as humans perceive the situation so lets try to use that to our advantage and build a following.  The second way that social proof can exhibit itself is word of mouth.  Remember people like to talk and social media is their platform to do so, so let them and encourage them.  Be engaged!  Also, remember the more people that like and share your content the more credibility you have and the more chance you have of picking up new followers.

Build an Audience

Social media is our modern word of mouth.  It is the beauty salon of today.  Most people have an internet linked device in their hand for several hours each day, remember this allows us to harness social media’s power and use this word of mouth to build a bigger audience.  Our reach can be endless, but keep in mind that most people have a large portion of their connections on a local level.  Once you have an audience that trusts you, you can make request of them.

Platform

I know most of you have invested plenty of time and money in building a website for your business, social media can be an extension of this.  In addition, some businesses find it easier to post frequently on social media vs their more static website.  This is because social media is expected to be a short and quick read vs a long article on your website.  This allows for plenty of engagement between you and your audience.  Here are some ways you can engage:

  1. Publish community service tips
  2. “How to” documents to maximize the value of services you provide
  3. Links to content on your website
  4. Place for your audience to publish photos and other media to your page
  5. Staff Introductions
  6. Answer customer questions

 

Reviews

Having an audience that trusts you is important.  Social media is a method to build this trust.  Remembering this key idea allows us to make requests of our audience.  These could be writing reviews or sharing our products/services with friends.  Most people, use reviews as a method to determine if they would like to purchase a product or service.  So lets harness this to our benefit!  Keep in mind lack of reviews does not prove anything positive or negative for your business, but several positive reviews are priceless!

Advertising

I know most of us don’t like ads in our faces when we are browsing social media and/or websites.  However, they are a reality and they can direct new customers to our business.  We should investigate what options are available online for advertising.  A good example of these types of ads would be Facebook ads or Snapchat filters.  These can easily target to certain demographics including location, allowing us to get our business name out.  Both of these advertising methods are inexpensive so a large budget is not required.

Search

Probably one of the most important ways social media can help is Google !  Lets not forget social media is indexed by Google.  It is critical when you create your social media accounts that you are fully utilizing the “About” and “Public Profile” pages.  In addition when publishing content to your social media page always do your best to include your business name and/or location in the posts.  Below is an example of a good post and a bad post to demonstrate what I mean.

Bad post — Come see us at the Comal county fair for lots of fun food and games!

Good post — Come see Dannymullen.com at the Comal county fair in New Braunfels, Texas for lots of fun food and games.

Notice in the bad example, I used only the county and not the city.  Also, I used the word “us” vs the business name “dannymullen.com”

Review the tips I have provided and get your social media strategy together.  After fully digesting, you will see that really these methods are simple and can help your business prosper.  To get started I suggest spending 3 hours this week building your strategy and 15 minutes every week after that executing it!

Leave a comment and let me know how these strategies worked for you!  Tip:“Comments are a good way to get a link to your site!”  Please feel free to share any tips that you have.

 

 

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Custom email for $15 or less per year

Have you ever received a business card and the contact info has an email that is not personalized?  In my mind this should never happen because of how easy and inexpensive it is to have a custom branded email.  If they can’t invest effort in themselves will they invest their effort in me?
Having a custom email means, you register any domain name that is available at the time and it is personalized to you.  This allows you to have your [email protected].  Once you purchase the domain you own it and no one can take it away.
Here are 5 reasons you should own a domain name:
  • Simple and short
  • Easy to remember
  • Brand recognition
  • Looks professional
  • Limitless potential for growth
Sticking with a generic service like gmail, yahoo, or MSN.  You can only pick what is available as a name as well as it will alway be @yahoo.com or @gmail.com.  Your options become limited and if you are like me, I never remember if the person said @yahoo or @gmail.  Also, in some cases there is yahoo.com and sbc.yahoo.com are they the same or not?  How am I supposed to remember this?  Having this type of email is definitely not always simple and sometimes they can become very long.  An example would be [email protected], in case you are wondering, I have seen this!
For brand recognition, I suggest purchasing a domain name.  The email would simply be [email protected] i.e. [email protected], this is much easier to remember.  Using a domain provides brand recognition that can be tied into your Facebook page or other means of sales communication.  An example would be Facebook.com/yourdomain.  When you encounter someone with an email [email protected], how does one know his Facebook page is Facebook.com/johnslawncare?  Having a domain name can help clarify this confusion and will allow customers to easily find your service.
A tip on looking professional, when given the choice as a consumer to hire johnslawncare.com with an email of [email protected] and a Facebook page Facebook.com/johnslawncare.  Vs  Bills lawn care that had no domain name, the email was [email protected], and the Facebook page was Facebook.com/mowerguy.  Who would you hire, do you see the connection?
The last reason would be limitless growth.  Here is a story about a woman named Susie.  Susie is the owner of Susie’s sugar scrubs.  Now Susie followed my advice and in advance invested a small amount of money in her business.  She purchased a domain name and had business cards printed that cited it.  Her initial goal was to make some extra money selling sugar scrubs to other moms in her town’s mothers with kids group.  She was very successful at this and mothers from around town would gift these to friends and family that were out of town.  Conveniently Susie also put her domain name and branding on the jars of sugar scrubs.   It was not very long before Susie started received orders from out of town.  Before she knew it her business had grown significantly, would this have happened if she had only an email for contact?
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My latest dilemma

Well I have just encountered my latest smart phone problem.  I have googled for hours countlessly and found nothing.  It seems that most peoples solutions are either to live with it or install outlook.  I would like to do neither. I always find it funny how I seem to have problems that eithers others don’t, or problems that others don’t know are problems unitil I fix them.  My latest encounter involves contacts!

Although I say it is my latest encounter it really goes back to my first phone, my first email account, well basically my first digital address book.  You see I have found that going back well as long as 15 years I have collected some contacts many of which have duplicated or changed throughout the years.  The problem is that it was never noticed until recently when I obtained my iPhone.

You see when I got my iPhone I had to sync contacts from many different places. Google, iCloud, yahoo, old phone etc. in addition I wanted to upload a list of contacts on a regular basis that were contained in a vcf file.

Never before had I had such a diverse set of contacts that all needed to be loaded in one ace. The issue I had duplicates across all of the input data.
My first contacts went back to 1995 or further and I had been adding email addresses since then. When mobile phone became the norm I started a collection of phone numbers greater than anything I had seen in the past. Somewhere around 2005 my worlds started colliding as I got my first smart phone. The collision was not that severe due to it really not being that smart, but in my first switch to an android phone an explosion happened. I went many years living fat dumb and happy that all my info transitioned and existed somewhere in cyber space only to wake up today with three iPhones in hand and an uncontrollable mess!

Cloud computing was it a benefit or a downfall for out society!

Basically now I had multiple phones hundreds of contacts and many duplicates. How did this happen? How had I never noticed before? What am I to do?

The answer write a perl script. I find that anytime I get stressed in life hiding in a room and writing a perl script solves the problem. Now in have not written it yet, but it sparked the inspiration for me to write this blog post and I am sure my audience will keep me honest and make sure I finish.

Now that I have expressed my problems off to start coding! Hopefully I surface in time to take a breath.

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Gmail email address tip

Gmail doesn’t offer traditional aliases, but you can receive messages sent to [email protected] For example, messages sent to [email protected] are delivered to [email protected] You can set up filters to automatically direct these messages to Trash, apply a label or star, skip the inbox, or forward to another email account.

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