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Inspiring Your Workforce Through Digital Technology Can Improve Your Business Performance.

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Britain’s economy was almost on its knees as it suffered its biggest annual decline in 300 years in 2020 amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. A small crumb of comfort was that the UK somehow managed to steer clear of a double-dip recession.

The Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 9.9% in 2020, as no sector of the economy was left unscathed by lockdowns and an unprecedented slump in demand during the pandemic. 

Although the economy has avoided a double-dip recession, analysts said it was probably shrinking at the start of the year, with the toughest Covid lockdown restrictions since the first wave weighing down activity.

But it’s not just the coronavirus crisis that impacts business and its ability to produce shareholder value, we live in an age where there has never been so much change. The world is full of disruptive influences, from technology to politics to climate issues.

Business leaders have been battling at the sharp end of this storm to keep the corporate ship afloat while others are drowning in a volatile world economy.

Those at the top are faced with a constant barrage of high-pressure situations from a potential merger or acquisition, upcoming regulatory upheaval, or overhauling the organisational structure to accommodate a new generation of employees.

But whatever specific changes your organisation is going through, you likely share a common aim with many peers, and that’s to deliver better customer experience

Because whether you’re operating in technical legal or accounting services or a new digital sales set-up, delivering better customer experience is a proven way to drive output, profitability, and growth.

We’ve all witnessed the CEO launching that exciting new change programme. 

Excited senior management roll out new sales and service training, inspiring workshops and presentations, a sense of excitement and renewed optimism runs through the company, and the early improvement in results gives the workforce a lift.

However, over the next few weeks and month, old habits creep back in, energy levels drop and before you know it, you’re back where you started.

The bigger issue is that yet another ‘transformation’ has failed to deliver leads to an even more depressed working environment than before.

Businesses need to get to grips with the fundamental issue that the quality of their customer experience, and the success of their business outcomes, is driven by the engagement of their workforce. 

Innovative new ways of instilling a positive culture of change are needed and the use of digital technology to deliver long term improvements are being seen as the way forward.

Even the most sceptical of boards have had to acknowledge that company culture is ultimately the deal breaker when it comes to change. 

Executives need to empower their leadership teams to constantly tweak and refine the way they engage with their staff to understand how they are reacting to change.

Digital tools are intuitive and even fun, but can engage people, and importantly allows businesses to continually monitor behaviours – in what is a volatile world, it’s a powerful and successful way of applying new technology to enable businesses to cope with whatever is thrown at it.

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10 WordPress security best practices you need to implement — right now 

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Lock it down

WordPress is a powerful web application and is used by up to 43% of the internet, to date. But with great popularity comes great threats. With numbers like these, many would-be attackers are constantly on the lookout for weaknesses in your site — a good reason to implement these WordPress security best practices, right now.

WordPress security best practices

Sans the usual best practices — like keeping your core files, theme(s) and plugins up to date — there are also many other factors to take into consideration. File and directory permissions, and more are necessary to keep safe that which you’ve worked hard on and treasure.

1. Update file permissions

The default file permissions for all files on a WordPress site are typically set to 644. The default directory permissions are set at 755. There are scenarios that warrant differences.

For instance, it is a good idea to have your wp-config.php file set to permissions stronger than 644.

I know of folks who set that file’s permissions to 440. This helps make it harder for the riff raff to access the file. Some people set theirs to 600. That’s fine too.

You can change the file and directory’s permissions via File Manager, in your hosting plan. You can also alter these permissions in your favorite FTP program.

2. Disable the xmlrpc.php File

What is this file? Well, simply put, the XMLRPC is a system that allows for remote updates to WordPress from other applications. To make sure your site stays secure, it’s a good idea to disable xmlrpc.php completely.

However, if you need some of the functions necessary for remote publishing and the Jetpack plugin (for instance), you should use a workaround plugin that allows for these features while still fixing all the security gaps.

One plugin that comes to mind is called Disable XML-RPC. This plugin uses the built-in WordPress filter xmlrpc_enabled to simply disable the XML-RPC API on a WordPress site. This renders it unobtainable by someone looking to compromise your site.

Another plugin that comes to mind is the Disable XML-RPC Pingback plugin, which lets you disable just the pingback functionality. This means that you will still have access to other features of XML-RPC if you need happen to need them — for instance, if you’re running Jetpack. There are other plugins that will also disable this file. See below for more details on that plugin.

Both plugins are easy to use. You just have to install and activate them. They do the rest for you.

In the event that you want to have more control over how the XMLRPC plugin works, you can instead install the REST XML-RPC Data Checker plugin. Once installed and activated, you would just need to go to Settings > REST XML-RPC Data Checker, and then click the XML-RPC tab.

Once there, you will be able to navigate through the interface to better control the xmlrpc.php file and what it does.

If you already have a ton of plugins and want to avoid installing yet another, you can control the xmlrpc.php file via the .htaccess file by adding this line to it:

add_filter( ‘xmlrpc_enabled’, ‘__return_false’ );

That will just turn it off altogether.

You can also edit the .htaccess file with this command:

<Files xmlrpc.php>

Order Allow, Deny

Deny from all

</Files>

Or have your hosting provider disable the file itself.

3. Hide your sensitive details

Once you’ve got your site all dialed in and live, hide certain details from the public eye that might lure someone towards wanting to compromise all your arduous work. A nice plugin for this is called Hide My WP Ghost. This plugin is a paid plugin, but it’s worth the coin, and it’s on sale now for a 5-pack license.

This plugin does a fantastic job of hiding your core files, file paths, login page, and more. It performs the following functions, to name just a few:

  • Change the wp-admin and wp-login URLs
  • Change lost password URL
  • Hide /wp-login path
  • Disable XML-RPC access
  • Change URLs using URL Mapping
  • Weekly security checks and reports
  • Email support, and more

4. WAF/CDN protection

A big step towards protection is blocking people you don’t want to have access to your site, altogether. This can be accomplished via a WAF (web application firewall) combined with a CDN (content delivery network).

Fortunately, GoDaddy offers this type of protection through Sucuri. Once purchased and set up, you can go into the firewall settings and enable GeoBlocking, if you so desire, and block entire countries from accessing your site.

The WAF will also help to speed up your site, since it does a wonderful job of blocking the known bad IPs and allowing the good ones to access your site.

5. Combat comment Spam

Another nuisance is comment form spam. There is a great way to limit or prevent this type of problem. The method I like is to utilize the plugin called wpDiscuz.

With this plugin, wpDiscuz will take over your site’s commenting and check against a host of bad actors, filtering out bad or malicious comments by forcing the commenter to enter credentials to comment. You get an email sent to you with each successful comment on your site, so you can then moderate further, if needed.

6. Enable CAPTCHA

It is highly recommended that you also enable CAPTCHA on all forms on your site(s). This will aid in the prevention of form spam. There are several types of CAPTCHA additions out there. Some ask the user to solve a math equation, some have a puzzle to solve, others have you select a series of pictures, and there are more variations.

7. Enable 2-factor authentication (2FA)

A tried-and-true way of keeping out the knuckleheads out there who would seek to do your site harm is to enable 2-factor authentication on every user of your site. If you are on your site all the time, it can be a mild inconvenience to have to enter the 2FA each time you log in. But that is a small price to pay for the security of your site.

A good plugin that can be used to enable 2FA is Wordfence. Just install the plugin and go to this article to see how to enable it.

8. Change the WP-admin URL

The default admin URL has been the same, on WordPress, for years. All bad actors know it and routinely attempt to gain access to your site via said URL. The above mentioned Hide My WP Ghost plugin does a great job of obscuring this URL by simply changing it.

9. Add server-level protection

If your WordPress site is hosted on a server, you can enable other security features that will help keep your site safe. One such feature is in WHM. You can help prevent or limit the possibility of an AnonymousFox compromise by simply turning off Reset Password for cPanel Accounts and Reset Password for Subaccounts.

Simply go to WHM > Tweak Settings > search for password. From there, for the Reset Password for cPanel Accounts and Reset Password for Subaccounts features, select Off. This will help in preventing a bad actor from accessing — and then changing — the cPanel and subaccounts passwords.

The second thing you’ll want to do, if your site is hosted on a server, is to disable shell access to all your cPanel accounts. Just go to WHM > Manage Shell Access > Disable Shell for all cPanel accounts.

10. Strong login credentials

Last among our WordPress security best practices, but certainly not least, always use strong passwords and obscure usernames. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across passwords like Password123!. Another common mistake is making the username something relative to the site itself.

If you want to get compromised, that is a sure-fire way to do it.

Long and randomly generated passwords, in conjunction with usernames that have nothing to do with the site, are always your best combo.

Another great idea is to continually change your passwords. It might seem like a pain, but that pales in comparison to getting hacked. How often you change your passwords is up to your discretion. — just as long as you do. (You’ll be glad you did.)

Closing thoughts on WordPress security best practices

All in all, you have worked so hard for your intellectual property (or your client’s). Why not keep it safe? These few, but helpful, WordPress security best practices can go a long way toward a successful and compromise-free website for years to come.



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Does Your Company Understand Master Data Management?

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Master data management is a critical process for companies that want to ensure the accuracy and integrity of their data. Yet, many businesses do not understand the importance of master data management, or worse, they think they do but don’t have a sound understanding of it.

In this blog post, we will discuss what master data management is and a guide to understanding the capabilities of MDM software. We will also talk about some of the common misconceptions about master data management and how to overcome them.

What Is Master Data Management?

Master data management is critical for any organization that relies on data to drive business decisions. Without a single, accurate, and consistent view of master data, it would be difficult to make informed decisions about customers, products, suppliers, employees, and other vital aspects of the business.

Furthermore, without master data management, it would be easy for different parts of the organization to have different versions of the truth, leading to confusion and conflict. Fortunately, master data management can help avoid these problems by providing a single source of truth for the organization. In addition to reducing confusion and conflict, master data management can also help to improve decision-making, increase efficiency, and optimize resources.

As a result, master data management is an essential process for any organization that wants to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

The Benefits Of MDM

Here are the benefits enjoyed by companies adopting MDM:

  • Improved decision making: When your company has one version of the truth about your master data, everyone from the CEO to the front-line employees can make better decisions because they are all working off the same accurate information.
  • Increased efficiency: Having a centralized system for managing your master data means you will no longer have duplicate records or siloed information. This will lead to increased efficiency and productivity across your organization.
  • Reduced costs: With improved decision-making and increased efficiency comes reduced costs. When your company can make decisions quickly and efficiently, you will save money in the long run.

How To Determine If Your Company Needs MDM

If your company struggles with any of the following, then it is likely that you could benefit from a master data management system:

  • Making decisions based on inaccurate or incomplete data
  • Data is spread across multiple systems and is not consolidated
  • Duplicate records are common
  • Information is siloed within departments or divisions

Master data management

The Steps For Implementing MDM

There are four steps that you need to take to implement a master data management system successfully:

  1. Data discovery: The first step is to identify all the data that needs to be managed. This includes customer data, product data, supplier data, employee data, etc.
  2. Data cleansing: Once you have identified all of the data that needs to be managed, you need to cleanse it. This means removing duplicate records, standardizing formats, and ensuring that the information is accurate and complete.
  3. Data consolidation: The next step is to consolidate your data into a single repository. This will make it easier to manage and maintain your master data.
  4. Data governance: The final step is to put a set of policies and procedures for managing your master data. This includes things like who can access the data, how it can be used, and how it will be maintained.

Tips For Maintaining An MDM System

Here are some tips for maintaining an MDM system:

  • Regularly review your data: You should periodically review your master data to ensure accuracy and up-to-date.
  • Automate your processes: When possible, automate your processes to reduce the chances of human error.
  • Monitor your system: Monitor your system for any changes or anomalies. This will help you catch problems early on and prevent them from becoming more significant issues.

Final Thoughts

You can ensure that your master data management system is effective and efficient by following these tips. Implementing a master data management system can be a big undertaking, but it. Your company will be more efficient, accurate, and productive.

We hope this guide to understanding the capabilities of MDM software was helpful.

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5 Benefits of Dispatch Software to Field Service

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Field services like maintenance and repair require attention to detail on various moving parts to ensure a professional execution. But, sometimes, the overseeing part eats up a lot of time, and managers or team leaders find it challenging to track or delegate tasks better.

The good news is that there are now automation tools available, like dispatch systems, to help those in the field service perform their tasks more efficiently by streamlining their processes. Read on about dispatch programs and how field services can benefit from them.

photo credit: Emmanuel Ikwuegbu / Unsplash

Understanding Dispatch Software

Workplace automation is a popular trend in modern companies today. It’s a concept where a program takes over the most repetitive tasks at work, ultimately allowing employees to focus more on their assignments. Fortunately, an automation program fits every business, like dispatch software.

A service dispatch software enables managers to coordinate better with their technicians using various digital tools. It helps save time by removing the need to meet constantly in the office for project briefing and other admin tasks that technicians must perform before heading out, letting them stay on the field and ready to mobilize. Some notable features include tracking, scheduling, and mapping.

And with that, these are five reasons you should use a field dispatch program:

1. Organized Workflow

A dispatch program will help you create an informed decision, so you won’t have to make blind predictions about your team’s turnaround time before setting additional tasks. You can assign tasks based on realistic timelines with calendar and scheduling features, ensuring that the project goes to the right technician. Doing this will help streamline your process and ensure that your team will take care of all pending projects.

2. Team-Friendly Systems

Dispatch programs offer flexible features that allow users to customize their systems based on their current workflow, like setting up their custom notification messages. With a program that fits the company’s dynamics and languages, you empower your teams to move more efficiently with technology at their desired comfort level.

3. Better Communication

Ineffective communication in the workplace can cost businesses billions of dollars in any industry. Communication is essential, especially if your employees are always on the field and you can’t meet them in one place for instructions.

Team leaders and members can relay important information with a dispatch system even while in the field. Most programs are also built with text and email notifications so you can inform technicians immediately of any changes in the project. Since most dispatch programs are mobile-friendly, your team won’t need to flip open their laptops continuously for information on their way to the next job.

Field service management

4. Reduced Human Error

Human error in repetitive tasks is always likely to happen, and it can impact your business in a big way. An employee could provide the wrong location or overlook a piece of information essential to the project, resulting in unnecessary and costly problems.

Automation helps reduce the human element in most mundane tasks so employees can attend to more pressing work. So, instead of technicians and employees going through a bunch of paperwork for the next project, the system will just notify them with complete and accurate information on their devices.

5. Fast Field Response

Responsiveness is essential for industries with field service employees. The faster your technicians get to your clients, the more satisfied they become and the more you edge out your competitors.

One notable feature of quality dispatch software is a proximity search that allows you to look for available teams nearby the client. Combine that with real-time notification, and you can guarantee that help is only a few minutes away.

Dispatch Your Team Better

As technology progresses, workplaces are becoming more cohesive and organized. Thanks to automation tools like dispatch programs, field services are quick, and your organized workflow makes customers happy. Get one for your team and let the gears of your services run smoothly.

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