9 of the Biggest Botnets attacks of the 21st century

Botnets are responsible for hacking, spamming, and malware—here are the most significant botnet attacks with the worst consequences.

Botnets

Individual systems, commonly known as zombies, combined with the criminal’s system (from where all other systems are controlled) are known as a master of the zombie network or “bot-network.” A bot-network can deliver a DDoS attack on a large-scale. Botnets target to send millions of spam emails, pull the websites down for ransom, or harm the victim financially or even emotionally.

EarthLink Spammer—2000

EarthLink Spammer is the first botnet to be recognized by the public in 2000. The botnet was created to send phishing emails in large numbers, masked as communications from legitimate websites. Over 1.25 million malicious emails were sent to collect sensitive information, such as credit card details, in the span of a year.

Cutwail—2007

Cutwail, a malware that targets Windows OS through malicious emails, was discovered in 2007. The malware was distributed via the Pushdo Trojan to turn the infected system into a spambot. Message Labs, a security organization, identified that Cutwail had compromised 1.5–2 million infected systems and was capable of sending 74 billion spam emails per day.

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Storm—2007

Storm may not be the most malicious piece of malware in the history of a botnet, but it is on track to be the most successful, with the number of systems infected at more than 1 million. Storm is one of the first peer-to-peer botnets that can be controlled from several different servers.

Grum—2008

Grum is a massive pharmaceutical spammer bot that was identified in 2008. It appeared to be more complex and larger beyond the imagination of the experts. During Grum’s demise in July 2012, it was able to send 18 billion email spams per day.

Kraken—2008

Remember Storm botnet? Now imagine a botnet that is twice as powerful as Storm, and that is how big Kraken is. Damballa, an internet security company, was the first to report Kraken. Unlike, peer-to-peer techniques, Kraken uses command and control servers located in different parts of the world.

Mariposa—2008

Originated in Spain in 2008, Mariposa botnet hijacked around 12.7 million computers around the world in 2 years duration. The word “Mariposa” stands for butterfly in French. The botnet got its name because it was created with a software called Butterfly Flooder, which was written by Skorjanc illegally.

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Methbot—2016

Methbot is the biggest ever digital ad malware that acquired thousands of IP addresses with US-based ISPs. The operators first created more than 6,000 domains and 250,267 distinct URLs that appeared to be from premium publishers, such as ESPN and Vogue.

Mirai—2016

Mirai infects digital smart devices that run on ARC processors and turns them into a botnet, which is often used to launch DDoS attacks. If the default name and password of the device is not changed then, Mirai can log into the device and infect it. In 2016, the authors of Mirai software launched a DDoS attack on a website that belonged to the security service providing company.

3ve—2018

3ve botnet gave rise to three different yet interconnected sub-operations, each of which was able to evade investigation after perpetrating ad fraud skillfully. Google, White Ops, and other tech companies together coordinated to shut down 3ve’s operations. It infected around 1.7 million computers and a large number of servers that could generate fake traffic with bots.

Botnets have been a constant threat to the IT infrastructure of the industry, and dealing with them requires an aggressive, assertive, and skilled cybersecurity approach. If you want to be a pro in combating botnet attacks and other similar cybersecurity attacks, you should be a Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH).

Can You Be A UX Designer Without A Degree?

It’s a common misconception that technology-related qualifications—or at least a solid background in tech—are prerequisites for landing a job in the field. You might even be thinking that employers won’t give the time of day to a candidate without a relevant college degree.

Degree

The truth is, you don’t need a college degree to break into the world of tech. Bootcamps have risen to glory as a cost-effective alternative to get the real-world skills and training you need for a career in tech. In a fraction of the time (and for a fraction of the price) of a college degree, motivated tech-hopefuls are taught the skills necessary to lead successful careers in UX design, UI design, analytics, web development, and more.

1. Bootcamps provide you with real-world experience

When it comes to choosing a candidate, employers look for a healthy balance of hard skills, which usually refers to technical knowledge and ability, and soft skills—such as creativity, adaptability, and teamwork. While the baseline level of technical skills are assessed during the screening phase, employers are also paying close attention to the soft skills that come with real world experience.

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2. Bootcamps take less time than traditional degrees

Whether it’s parenting responsibilities, a complicated living situation, or the need to work full-time in order to pay for your tuition feesdevoting your life to your studies for four years simply isn’t a realistic option for everyone.

3. You’ll get a high return on your investment

The rising student debt has led many students to consider alternatives to traditional education. In many countries, bootcamps are significantly more affordable than a university degree, making it much more viable to finance your studies yourself. Without a hefty loan weighing you down, graduating debt-free is well within your grasp.

4. Bootcamps can quickly adapt to changes in the industry

It’s no secret that the tech industry is quickly and consistently evolving. New software is continuously introduced, existing software is regularly updated, and emerging niche skills are always in high demand. Where a university cannot keep up with tech’s shape-shifting landscape, bootcamps are specifically designed to be adaptable.

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5. Bootcamps can offer you a career-focused education

Created initially for career-changers, bootcamps operate with the specific goal of taking individuals from beginners to job-ready in a short amount of time. More rigorous bootcamps offer an optional job preparation course, where students work closely with career specialists to design their online presence, create an award-winning CV, and refine their interview skills. The career specialists are also the first port of call when it comes to seeking out new roles.

Round up

So there we have it: five ways a bootcamp can fast track your tech career. If you’re experiencing a bout of impostor syndrome, or you’re grappling with the notion that you can’t be successful in tech without a university degree, bootcamps are a low-cost and low-risk solution—with a high return on investment. Not only could the prospect of graduating sooner and with less debt than your university-educated peers give you a competitive edge in the job market, you’ll also graduate feeling motivated, empowered, and ready to take on your first role!

Is it secure to hire an offshore software development team?

Offshoring is, no doubt, a lasting trend in global software development. Offshore software development (OSD), i.e. the relocation of software services abroad, put into practice, is changing the business models of many IT companies today. The idea of offshoring seems to be so alluring, for it mitigates the distance factor. However, this mitigation makes us focus on another, very special and important dimension — time. And time is too precious a thing to forfeit.

offshore

In the information technology business, you do not have to meet your overseas partners in person for project updates. The only alleged hindrance to your communication is time zones. The nature of the interaction depends significantly on how far a client and a contractor are from each other. You can go about fixing things in either synchronous or asynchronous mode as part of offshore, nearshore or onshore software development. And the overall situation is stable:

    • synchronous communication — resolving problems when they are small
    • asynchronous communication — delaying and complicating problem resolution

Being stable, it is still not black-and-white. The possibility for the USA and India to work on the same project is the powerful magic of the offshoring, and asynchronicity is a side effect. Of course, working within the same time zone band would be perfect for everyone and bring nothing but benefits to synchronous communication. Yet, the IT is a business, and its bona fide purpose is to increase revenue. Thus, you should be reasonable in estimating budget expenditures. Consequently, why not put your money to good use in low-wage but remote countries?

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What is the difference between offshore, nearshore and onshore?

The software can be developed in three ways: offshore, nearshore, and onshore. They all are not directly connected with the mode of communication. The mode is rather affected by what form the partners have chosen.

    • Offshoring is the relocation of business processes outside the national borders so as to curtail expenses on the production of goods and services.
    • Nearshoring implies that the distance between the country of origin and the one of the producer of goods and services is insignificant.

Onshoring involves processes implemented right in the country of origin.

Outsourcing, which means contracting work outside the company to an external organization and involves trust and obligatory two-way information exchange, is a notion that can comprise any of the three ways at a time. Then, the idea of offshore outsourcing suggests itself. Obviously, IT offshoring occurs either within a single multinational corporation or through an outsourcing contract with an overseas company. Software programming is a service that knows no frontiers and cultural differences. Whether you go offshore or not deals primarily with your willingness to embrace an asynchronous mode of communication or search for other ways to carry out offshore activities with almost no loss in quality of your product.

Advantages of offshore software development — how to do more with less

The recent growth of investment let us assume the risk taken has paid off. What are the reasons that make companies search for external solutions in foreign countries? What are the competitive advantages of the offshore sourcing that enable inter-organizational partnership and make it fruitful?

  • Cost Labor cost savings

In the first place, the offshore model is driving down labor expenses. Major offshore locations (e.g. Eastern Europe, India, Mexico, Brazil, etc.) usually offer staff that costs up to 90 percent cheaper than it does in the Western countries of origin.

  • Low turnover rates

When demand exceeds supply, turnover rates start growing. For this reason, the US-based IT companies had to launch offshoring initiatives yet in the late 1990s. That experiment proved successful having led to the reduction in local demand.

Access to a large high-skilled labor pool

The cost is the main but not the only reason why offshoring of services keeps growing in the global economy. Now that the competitiveness is enhanced and quality is the top priority, tier 1 countries are free to source technical talents overseas where, in fact, a large talent bank resides. Thus, in case a high-quality partnership is established and the selected contractors are being constantly monitored by the headquarters, relocation of knowledge-intensive service activities, conducted by the reliable contractors, may contribute to the overall innovation performance.

– An educated English-speaking workforce

Among the offshore location choice factors, there are factors of education standards, ICT infrastructure, and home country language usage. Differences not only in skills but also in language can hamper the progress. It is common knowledge that English is the universal language of business.

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Threats and troubles of offshore development

Besides the upsites, offshoring of services poses certain security threats to businesses.

  • Data security/ protection

First and foremost, you should always make sure that your future vendors are as much concerned with privacy issues as you are. Handling data, not only when going offshore, will inevitably imply risks. But the problem is especially acute when it comes to the legal side of protecting data.

  • Vendor’s failure to deliver

Entrusting application development to an offshore vendor, businesses can face another danger associated with its failure to bring the project to successful completion. To mitigate such risks, the client should consider either recruiting a skilled manager for an offshore project or appointing an IT executive to lead a team. By making preliminary arrangements and providing adequate control, you may avoid ambiguity, lack of commitment, or employees’ not showing up for work.

Conclusion

From the above, the offshore model appears to be not as bad a thing as you might think. Besides the significant cost savings in the IT budgets that let offshore grow in size exponentially, you are sure to have other real opportunities to take advantage of (no worries — economic benefits do not necessarily require making a sacrifice of your time, effective synchronous communication can be easily maintained even when going offshore.)

How to create a SaaS accounting solution

SaaS platforms have firmly established their position in our lives. We use cloud services not only in private life but in business as well. Even accounting – the most essential part of any business – has moved to the cloud. But moving sensitive financial information to someone else’s server is a tough choice. In order to gain a client’s trust, your accounting software has to fit every need.

SaaS

So how can you build a SaaS accounting solution? The R&D starts with finding out why companies choose SaaS platforms instead of on-premise solutions.

SaaS accounting app benefits

There are several key benefits that any client wants to gain with SaaS accounting software. While mapping out the architecture and marketing strategy of your application, you should take into account these characteristics:

  • Moderate pricing. A SaaS license has to be cheaper than on-premise software. Any traditional solution requires heavy expenses on software licenses, and critical updates. A low fee for software can be crucial for a startup or small company.
  • Integration with other solutions. In a modern company, all IT solutions create a complex IT ecosystem. This being so, compatibility with other corporate software is a must for SaaS software. You should ensure that your software is well-matched with the most popular CRM, ERP, and supply-chain management (SCM) systems.

Compatibility. One of the main advantages of SaaS technology is the possibility to access users’ data on any platform and device. That’s why you need to test your software’s compatibility with as many browsers and browser versions as you can. Also think about creating a mobile app or mobile web app for Android and iOS.

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Features required for SaaS accounting software

Before designing the capabilities of your app, it’s good practice to define your target audience and think about which features this audience requires. Implementing and maintaining unnecessary services is quite an expensive affair, while lacking some essential functions could mean the death of the product.

Let’s find out the features required for any accounting Software-as-a-Service:

Estimates. Templates allowing customers to easily fill in and send estimates are recommended. Multiple currencies should also be available. Bigger systems should also include multiple languages.

Invoices. Adding an invoice timeline enables clients to easily review open, overdue, and paid invoices. Giving clients the option to brand invoices with their own logos, set up recurring invoices, and customize automated late payment reminders are extra bonuses.

Expenses. Expense tracking (bank payments, out-of-pocket expenses, and receipt reconciliation) is fundamental. The ability to take pictures of receipts and upload them is also a common feature of accounting solutions. Some platforms give employees the ability to record their own expenses and request reimbursements.

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Architecture

Stateless web servers

When developing a web app, one of the first things to consider is that web applications don’t maintain a defined, local state. A shared database, with which the architecture can support no-touch elasticity, is critical. It’s difficult (if not impossible) to make an accounting system when web servers are configured with a local state.

Automation and machine learning

An automated workflow is necessary for an advanced accounting app. Lots of processes in accounting are repetitive and can be performed by a machine. For example, accounts payable, payroll, taxes, and auditing can be done by AI. This saves employees’ time, allowing them to complete more important tasks.

Multi-tenancy

A multi-tenant SaaS accounting software architecture enables the system to build upon a common infrastructure and offer services to a wide customer base. In a multi-tenant environment, data of individual tenants is strictly separated. The system needs to identify each tenant by ID. These IDs are employed at the application and database layer and are linked to individual users, thereby allowing them to access the data that they have permission for.

Best-in-show

These are the nuts and bolts and what to keep in mind when projecting the cost of software development. So now that we’ve laid out the architecture and how to construct the system, who are the vendors that are considered best-in-show and how much does it cost to build systems like theirs?

BillQuick

One of the most popular solutions available today is BillQuick. Offered as a stand-alone enterprise option, self-hosted software, and cloud service, this agile billing and accounting solution provides a range of business accounting, management, and market intelligence functionality.

How Blockchain Tech can stop Future “Nirav Modis”

There are two absolutely polar opinions on the blockchain. The first is that blockchain will significantly save the resources for banks and it’s a panacea for all sorts of cyber threats. The second, absolutely opposite one is that this technology is just one of the possible solution and in general quite doubtful.

Blockchain

Nevertheless, not long ago the life proved, who was right and who was wrong. According to the analysts, if the blockchain would have been used to conduct transaction in the Punjab National Bank, it could save both the money of the investors and the reputation of the bank.

Bitter lesson for banking system

Let’s dive a little bit in the numbers. According to the research conducted by RBI the governmental banks have opened 8,670 loan frauds that cost them approximately Rs 61,260 crore. Wow, that’s actually a lot.

Well the latest crisis faced by PNB clearly shows the banking system needs fast and effective changes, in order not to make the same mistakes again and again. Just imagine the employees were managing to bypass the transactions using fake letters and checks long 7 years without getting caught. Sooner or later the bank has to answer for that by paying back Rs 11,300 crore. It hurts.

Nirav Modi and his partner in crime Gokulnath Shetty with the support of the fake letter managed to bypass the lender’s system and place the instructions through international payment system SWIFT to seamlessly take crores and crores.

Obviously, what’s done is done, now the police will find the most appropriate steps to restore the justice. I want to talk about the possible technical solution for the banks to prevent this kind of fraudulent activity.

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Blockchain instruction manual

Blockchain is a chain of blocks, yes, as simple as that. Nevertheless, it’s not just a chain. It adheres to a strict sequence, which isn’t possible to change.

What are these blocks and what is the chain? Blocks are data about transfers, transactions and contracts within the system, presented in a cryptographic form. All blocks are lined up and securely connected. To record a new block, you need to consistently read information about the old ones.

All the data in the blockchain is constantly updating database. From this database, nothing can be removed or replaced. The space is “limitless”, so there can be recorded an infinite number of transactions.

The key features of Blockchain:

 Decentralization – there is no server in the chain. Every participant is a server. He supports the work of the whole detachment;

 Transparency – information about transactions, contracts, and so on is kept publicly available. However, these data cannot be changed;

 Theoretical unboundedness – theoretically the block can be supplemented with entries to infinity. Therefore, it is often compared to a supercomputer;

 Reliability – to conserve new data requires consensus of the nodes of the block. This allows you to filter operations and record only legitimate transactions.

To my mind, sounds quite impressive so far. Nevertheless, I would like to point out the use of this emerging technology for the banking system.

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Present and future of blockchain in banking

 After few disasters occurred in the banking sphere, many market players gave a second thought. Few Indian Banks (ICICI, SBI and South Indian Bank) have already started testing the new system based on blockchain. According to the leading financial analysts, the technology will help to improve the tracking system, which in the end will make the transactions safer.

In the Global Financial Market we can see the similar situation. SWIFT is promising to start the deployment of the payment system based on blockchain in 2018. Personally I’m quite curious to see the results.

Blockchain brings Safer World

The banks have a new prospect of moving the main operational and financial systems, as well as risk assessment systems, to a new platform for collective work with data based on blockchain.

The distributed nature of the blockchain databases makes hacking almost impossible. Only if the hackers will simultaneously access the copies of the database on all computers on the network, they can succeed. Frankly, sounds too fantastic to happen.

This will allow them to seriously simplify the processes, abandoning a large number of existing processes and elements of the information infrastructure.

Why your project needs a discovery phase

A discovery phase is a research period which has to mark the beginning of each software project. Thus, it is not prototyping and definitely not illustrating that great design starts with. It should rather begin with the discovery phase. The design is not the art in a proper sense of the word. Not a seamless fusion of creative ideas. Clearly, the design must be all about how the product works from the users’ point of view, what people feel. If an experience is fulfilling, chances are a website or an app is successfully accomplishing business objectives. Therefore, designers should take a critical approach rather than creative.

discovery

Since we are on the subject of solving business and marketing problems by means of UX/UI design, it should be emphasized that there are particular steps to be taken yet before diving deep into the design process. Typically, designers take these measures in the initial discovery phase.

Why do research and go through a discovery phase first?

It is much more preferable to make informed decisions instead of wild ones, especially when it comes to running a business. In fact, there is only one way for a business owner to get a clear understanding of what might be done to make the most of the future project and whether the idea is worth making an effort — to go through a discovery phase.

It is much more preferable to make informed decisions instead of wild ones, especially when it comes to running a business. In fact, there is only one way for a business owner to get a clear understanding of what might be done to make the most of the future project and whether the idea is worth making an effort — to go through a discovery phase.

No doubt, literature, music, and art are creative. And some people may argue that the process of generating ideas by the UX team is an equally creative process. However, we believe UX to be rather a scientific practice. Thus, supposing that UX/UI design is only partially an artistic process, we dare say it is not the imagination of a designer exclusively that generates ideas. A preliminary investigation into the attributes of the future product is a must. Consequently, a software discovery process is becoming very similar to doing scientific research whose aim is to integrate findings into a business.

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Design thinking in a discovery phase of a software project

A human-centric approach is constantly emphasized when it comes to UX/UI design in all its aspects. At this point, we cannot but mention design thinking. Not only is it a scientific way (similarly with a discovery phase) to discover methods of problems resolving by means of design but also it helps to find out what problems people need to solve and how. Eventually, the product should become more customer-centric and collaborative.

Although ideas tend to be fleeting at times, this fleetingness is the gist of what running design thinking sessions can assist in. In order to create a user-centered design, designers have to understand their customers. To understand customers, they have to do relevant research. Besides, the point of the design thinking is, as obvious as it sounds, in thinking. But about what? These are the key design thinking tenets which can also prove useful when deriving benefits of a discovery phase:

  1. Users over stakeholders. Sometimes, it seems not that self-evident but every product that is launched in the IT industry is made by people and for people — a user-centric approach in action.
  2. Practical creativity. Fails are nearly unavoidable. Design thinking means experimentation and active ideation. So, generating as many ideas as possible without expecting them all to be successful is still great.
  3. Learning through making. This principle is not directly applicable during a discovery phase of a project. Anyway, it is good to learn through making something and getting feedback. There is no super ability to predict what good ideas will look like unless designers start testing them relying on the results received after a discovery phase is passed through.
  4. When design thinking is added as a new dimension to the process at every stage of doing design for applications and websites (a discovery phase inclusively), it should be perceived as an innovative mindset. Based on the above principles, it does not bind designers to a particular structure or approach. They can gather information exploring solutions in parallel or in conjunction with existing design activities. Design thinking gives designers a framework allowing them to be more certain even without knowing answers and forecasting an outcome before setting the ball rolling. Moreover, above, we assumed that it is UX design but not a design thinking approach that adds value. Instead, the latter informs about how to validate generated ideas and come closer to the right solution.

Stages of a project discovery phase

Being itself a preparatory step, a discovery phase of a project can be divided into substeps. By taking them, one will receive nearly all the sought-for answers. Knowing what questions are to be answered during the project discovery process is essential, so we suggest clarifying the following issues before diving deep into the design process:

Identify your users.

Understand users.

An understanding phase includes researching into users’ background and characteristics. At this substage, designers should find out what the main traits of future customers are. The aim is to get what problem people would like to solve addressing an alleged application or website. To do so, try to put the ideal user persona into the context of the product use. Then, it must become clearer who these people might be and what their pain points are.

Explore users.

These pain points are referring designers to brainstorming and focusing on a few feasible solutions to each presented challenging issue. Thus a team should think laterally focusing on specific user personas and consequently converging on the ideas that make sense. Exploration, in this case, means learning more about the options which emerged in an understanding phase.

Applying acceptance criteria as descriptions of how end-users might use an app/website, refining ideas so that they look realistic, choosing a target market by thinking back to what designers learned about the user personas — these are the activities to be done in an exploration phase. After that, designers must be able to take a fresh look at their ideas, decide which approaches are the most successful, and to select top one to three ideas in order to continue working to make them workable and practical.

Gather feedback.

The precise users’ identity cannot be generated at the initial stage but being open to dialogue, engaging friends and colleagues that are similar to the users that you have focused on at two previous stages, asking them about what seems wrong and learning much from what they tell you is the correct strategy.

Nevertheless, collecting feedback is only then possible if the initial hypothesis is good, sound, and testable. That idea must have the potential for gaining value in the course of its adjustment. A hypothesis needs to contain the problem that has to be solved. Designers should start from who the future customers are and not from what features they want to incorporate into their product. So, the users are the central point. They are looking to get help from an application or a website when facing some difficulty under certain circumstances and have the unfavorable consequences prevented.

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Who is to benefit from your product? Know your stakeholders.

Having a splendid idea and the right strategy is great as is keeping the users in mind. This idea tends to move from shareholder value to shared value, it is true. Yet, it is a stakeholder who is interested in the outcomes and must be involved in the discovery phase and project planning.

These are business, engineering, and UX representatives from the company of a client or your own. Their opinions reflect what is expected from managers and marketers, development teams, and design teams correspondingly. These people affect and are affected by the outcome. Interviewing them to grasp their point of view is one of the most important parts of the research process.

Size up your competitors.

The next step is competitor analysis. Everybody is to encounter competition for there are too many options for customers to choose from at the global market. Knowing what place you are taking there as well as being aware of your strong and weak points are the key findings of an analysis of this kind. Not only is it commonalities that must be identified, but it is also competitors’ flaws and market gaps you can fill. Then, you are free to analyze and interpret the discovered data for the benefit of the design team and the whole project.

Ensure alignment between user needs and your business goals.

User needs must have been defined at the previous stages. Chances are you have all the relevant information about your future customers in hand by this time. Meanwhile, stakeholders are directly or indirectly pointing at the business goals. It means that now, you should make them meet. There also must be a common understanding among the stakeholders. Sometimes, designers have a vague idea of the business goals. Ensuring that every stakeholder participates in the process starting from the discovery stage is likely to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding to zero.

Journey mapping.

After the research is done, designers can create a model of the user experience as an option. Structured as a so-called prototype of the UX and an experience map, it will make all the findings more vivid and obvious. User journey mapping will be the visualization of all discovered data. It will be a visual overview of the chronological stages of interaction with the product (what users might do, think, feel, and experience) and business opportunities matching business goals (basically, what the business is trying to do.) By creating a journey map, UX/UI designers may assume the discovery phase of a software project completed.

Conclusion

No product owner, software engineer or UX/UI designer wants their job to be useless. Therefore, generating a strong value proposition will help them avoid going in blind. This value is found not while preparing a detailed product design specification. It is defined in a project discovery phase.

How to Build Trust in a Virtual Sales Meeting

Sales A small team of social psychologists at Stanford attempted to answer this question. In doing so, they developed an idea called “swift trust theory.” This theory emerged from their discovery that fast-forming groups can quickly develop the trust that many originally believed was only possible among those with long, shared histories.

However, the researchers explain that this is “a form of trust that has some unusual properties.” These properties are unusual because they are not simply an accelerated version of conventional trust building.

Virtual Sales

Understanding these properties is important for sales professionals engaging customers in a virtual medium because without the theory of swift trust, a sales professional may simply default to an approach more appropriate for in-person interactions. Doing so ignores the different challenges, and therefore different approach, demanded by a virtual environment.

Here, we show how sales professionals can leverage three key principles of swift trust to sell in a virtual setting. With these principles, sales professionals can embrace the new challenge of creating trust over a short period and a long distance.

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Exercise More Effective Preparation With a Role-Based Focus

The Stanford researchers cite that “role-based interaction leads to more rapid development of trust than does person-based interaction.” In other words, trust is more likely to emerge when there is a clear understanding of the roles within the group.

This finding has implications for sales professionals who must engage a team of stakeholders. By understanding the role each decision maker inhabits, the sales professional will be better equipped to speak to individualized concerns.

As the researchers note, placing the focus on each person’s role will help sharpen the contrast between them so that everyone is clear on what is expected of the others.

For example, a sales professional will need to address a procurement professional in a different way than they will a quality control manager. The procurement professional is tuned to factors like cost and ROI. In contrast, the quality control manager will need to see the sustainability of the solution.

By clearly defining the differences between each stakeholder, the sales professional will be in a better position to address each one.

The key is to remember that the “blurring of roles will lead to a slower build of trust,” according to the researchers. This blurring occurs when the sales professional has not taken the necessary steps to prepare for the virtual meeting.

In a virtual setting, it is easy to resort to a cursory review of the stakeholders prior to a call. This tendency is common because a virtual setting provides a “safe distance” that appears to lack the intensity of in-person interactions.

Trust building requires sales professionals to be aware of this inherent tendency and overcome it with more thorough preparation. Doing so means taking the time to understand the different roles and their responsibilities. This approach allows the sales professional to both adjust the messaging to each stakeholder and use valuable call time to ask the deeper questions that cannot be answered with research.

Recognize that Stakeholder Attendance is not Stakeholder Attention

Additional research published in the article The Role of Trust in Global Virtual Teams found data to “support the critical link between communication early in the life of a virtual team and early trust.”

This finding illustrates the importance of communicating with every decision maker when selling over a virtual medium.

Often, it is easy to confuse a stakeholder’s attendance with their attention. The two are not the same. The inclusion of a stakeholder in the call does not signal their buy-in — or interest. In fact, a decision maker facing numerous other responsibilities, many with high priority, may choose to log in and tune out.

It is the sales professional’s job to recognize that just because a customer is on the call does not mean they are aligned with the value proposition of the solution. Overcoming this challenge of selling virtually means that the sales professional must engage each stakeholder.

Doing so means asking questions directed at an individual decision maker rather than to the group because “members’ frequent communication in the team provides reassurance that others are attending to the task,” according to the researchers.

Questions presented to the group may serve a purpose occasionally; however, they often give way to the psychological phenomenon called “diffusion of responsibility.” In such a setting, each individual believes that another will take action. As a result, no one takes action. Research published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience describes this well-documented social norm by explaining that “the presence of other agents can lead to reduced outcome monitoring and a reduction in individual sense of agency.” This environment can result in numerous problems, including social loafing in which a group expends less effort than the sum of their individual efforts.

Sales professionals should ask questions of specific stakeholders. Moreover, those questions should acknowledge the unique needs of the individual based on their responsibilities within the company. This approach keeps each stakeholder engaged throughout the buyer’s journey.

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Structure the Value Proposition Around Interdependent Goals

The Stanford researchers determined that “swift trust is more likely at moderate levels of interdependence.” That is, swift trust will emerge in a setting in which the individuals in the group depend on one another for success.

Sales professionals should adopt this finding by underscoring how the solution not only addresses individual needs but also the larger, overarching needs of the organization.

This finding makes intuitive sense. Trust building will accelerate when there is a shared definition of success and a key role for each stakeholder to play in achieving that success. It is the sales professional’s job to identify that shared definition and speak to it early and often.

Additionally, the sales professional must be aware of the increased difficulty of doing so in a virtual setting. Often, the conversation can become one-dimensional, as extroverted stakeholders vocalize their thoughts while those who are more reserved remain silent. In this environment, the psychological concept of groupthink becomes common.

Groupthink occurs when counterproductive decisions emerge from a group that is more focused on conformity than rationality. This could be thought of as “going along to get along.” In such a setting, the most effusive decision makers may have a disproportionately large influence over the challenges and goals articulated in the virtual meeting. As a result, the sales professional may fall into the trap of positioning the solution in a way that only resonates with these more vocal members of the buying team.

S YOUR DIGITAL VOICE BEING HEARD?

The only constant in digital marketing is that technology is constantly changing and evolving. Ten years ago, if a business had a website, it was good to go. Today, in 2019, businesses HAVE to have a website, social pages, blog and strong SEO. . . and unfortunately, they could still fall behind the competition.

DIGITAL

One of the biggest topics in today’s digital world is voice search. Do you have a virtual assistant in your home or office that you utilize to find information? Do you ever ask your smartphone’s ‘assistant’ for businesses, products or services “near me”? Per Comscore, that is voice search and by 2020 more than 50% of all queries will be entered this way. Voice search allows consumers to search by a much longer entry than typing the inquiry into the search engine. Voice search allows more granular targeting with specifics such as location, reviews, pricing, specials and promotions.

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As of now, there is no way to utilize paid advertising to combat the issue of not displaying when consumers search for relevant keywords associated with your products and or services. How can a business optimize its results with consumers using voice search? It is imperative to claim your Google My Business Listing (GMB). GMB Listings should include plenty of content including images, videos, description of products and services, Google posts, etc. Businesses should also encourage consumers to review them on Google and other top search engines and review sites, as well as social platforms.

GMB Listings should be completed with precision and exact character as other online NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) listings. Optimizing a GMB listing is a science and should be given a great deal of time and attention. Many businesses claim their listing but few do it correctly or to a point that will enhance their listing.

There are other factors involved with populating when a voice search is conducted. Proximity to the user is a huge factor. However, there are ways to overcome only displaying in close proximity to your location. Category and Keyword Match are a couple other factors that assist with displaying when a voice search is conducted.

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We realize all this information can be overwhelming – that’s what Media Venue is here for! Give us a call today to learn more on how these new and evolving technologies can help you improve your business. We will review your website and online presence for efficiencies and areas of improvements, summarize the information and give you a strategic roadmap on how we will improve your businesses digital landscape. Contact me, David Clark, 502-855-4786 david@mediavenue.com and we can help you and your business rise to the top of search and SEO rankings.

Advantages of Offsite Data Storage Facilities

Would your business sustain a power surge, earthquake, or major flood? Believe it or not, your data availability is a major determinant of your survival potential.

Storage

According to a recent survey, 60% of small businesses fail after a major loss of data. That’s why offsite data storage has become an increasingly common solution for archiving documents and backing up crucial files. A well-rounded data protection plan that includes offsite tape storage and online backup will dramatically decrease the amount of downtime you suffer when the unexpected hits you without warning.

If you’re storing the lifeblood of your business onsite, you may be putting your company, customers, and employees’ information at risk. Fortunately, offsite data protection prevents your essential documents from being lost or ending up in the wrong hands. Here are some of its key benefits:

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Top 5 Advantages of Offsite Data Protection

  • Cost-Effectiveness
    • With offsite data backup storage, there is usually very little to no setup costs involved, making it a cost-effective solution. A recurring monthly fee is charged for your data storage space, and the price for records storage is determined by the amount of data space you require.
  • Dependability
    • Offsite backup data facilities supply automated updates, quick data recovery, easy access to data, and real-time edits to information. Additionally, Data Centres provide replication services between data centers for further security and peace of mind. Offsite data protection needs to be reliable, safe, and provide accessibility when you need it. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure you’re working with a storage provider with a good reputation.
  • Encrypted Security
    • The role of encryption is critical when it comes to storing vital information. By storing it offsite with a trusted partner with high protection and security standards, you can guarantee data transfers always include encryption and that your information is never subject to harm.
  • Easy-to-Implement
    • Transferring your information to a data center is extremely convenient; the only requirement necessary for offsite data protection is a means of internet connection.  When you move your confidential data to a trusted offsite backup facility, you can store, manage, and share your data with no hassle involved. Offsite data storage allows ease in performing backup and can be accomplished with only a few clicks.
  • Accessibility
    • There are probably a handful of times that you need access to company documents while you’re working remotely from the office. Offsite data protection provides the ability to access your data from anywhere safely. Information can be obtained remotely on your laptop or cell phone. Who wants to pack a suitcase full of documents anyway?

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Store Your Assets in Offsite Data Storage Facilities

From manufacturers, financial institutions, distributors, to retail businesses, any industry can benefit from the advantages of offsite data protection. Storing data onsite on hard drives isn’t enough when a major disaster hits. However, with the right plan for your records, you’ll be prepared to face the unexpected or when bad luck is thrown your way.  By redirecting data to a safe offsite storage facility, your company can feel confident that their data is protected and accessible for years to come.

Top 10 Core Banking Solutions for 2020

Banking Are you still utilizing traditional core banking solutions? Maybe, you are missing some great opportunities to grow your bank and improve your customer services. With the introduction of digital services in the global market, banks and other financial institutions have transformed the way they used to work. Today, a majority of the institutions are leveraging powerful and advanced fintech solutions to optimize their profits and enhance their customer experience.

Banking

According to Statista, the market capitalization of the global digital banking sector was around 7.2 trillion Euros in the third quarter of 2019. Hence, it is clear that the contemporary banks are fastly transforming their core banking systems, and are widely adopting the modern-day technological banking solutions.

What is Digital Banking?

With a significant change in the competitive market of the banking sector, and due to the fast-changing needs of the customer, the banks felt the need for a more modern and efficient banking system. That’s where the digital banking solutions came into play! The involvement of online services, and the introduction of more digital platforms, encouraged the banking customers to engage with their banks efficiently and enabled the banks to deliver a more personalized experience.

Digital banking, a modern-day banking approach, has enabled many banks and other financial institutions to upgrade their services more efficiently continually. Not only that, but digital banking also offers promising banking operations, and even helps the managers to make effective banking decisions. Additionally, the latest trends of digital banking, like that of anytime banking has brought a wave of transformation in the core banking sector. All in all, we can say that digital banking is a customer-centric approach that helps marketers to save costs and efficiently meets the changing needs of the modern banking environment.

Here are some of the significant features that make digital banking a hit in the global environment.

  • Real-time Accounting
  • Mobile Banking
  • Digital Coupons and Cash Backs
  • Dedicated Customer Portal
  • Investment Banking
  • Multi-Currency Support
  • Funds Management
  • Personal Finance Planning
  • Secured Database
  • Risk Management
  • Loan Management
  • Online Retail Banking
  • Compliance Tracking

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Top Ten Core Digital Banking Solutions for 2020

So, here we are at the most awaited section of our article, the top ten most trending banking software applications for 2020. Now, without wasting any further, let’s quickly dive into the list of top banking solutions that you can leverage in 2020 to optimize profits for your bank.

1. EBANQ

EBANQ tops our list of the most trending banking solutions for 2020. It has user-friendly functionalities not only for the customers but also for the admins and other bank employees. Ideal for small and medium-sized banks, it offers all the features needed to build success for your bank in the global market. From digital payments and funds management to loan processing and customer support, it offers all the vital features and functionalities. The mobile apps for this software are available for both the Android and iOS users.

2. Finacle

Finacle is yet again a powerful banking solution that efficiently addresses the core problems of the core banking, retail sector, and corporate sector of the global world. It offers an extensive range of comprehensive tools and web solutions to efficiently cater to every need of the users and power digital transformation strategies. You can seamlessly choose any dedicated banking solutions from its extensive range that best fits your business needs.

3. CorePlus

CorePlus can be considered as a complete banking solution that is available in the global market. It is one of the most affordable banking solutions designed especially for large banks and other critical financial institutions. Core plus encompasses all the critical features that your bank can leverage to optimize the customer service and streamline your banking operations.

4. Mambu

Mambu is a Saas banking solution, meaning, it is offered as software as a Service to all the banks and other financial institutes. It is a helping financial tool that readily delivers business values in a constantly changing environment. It is a cloud-based banking software that scales efficiently with the growth of the banks and other financial organizations.

5. Moneyspire

If you want to control your financial operations completely, then Moneyspire is the perfect solution for doing it. Moneyspire is an efficient and cost-effective personal finance software and accounting tool that can be seamlessly used by small and medium scale organizations. It is available in two versions, viz. Windows and macOS and efficiently tracks all your dues, bills, accounts, and budgets to help your organization grow seamlessly. Moreover, it also helps to streamline your investment process to help you in the decision making process.

6. Holvi

Holvi is a modern digital banking solution specially designed for freelancers and entrepreneurs. It is a robust banking solution that offers tools like invoicing, bookkeeping, auto-expensing, etc. to help your bank to grow efficiently. You can manage all your expenses, access your current account, invest your money in online business, and can even collect money from your customers using this software. What’s more? you can store all your documents in a centralized position!

7. Mifos X

Mifos is an extended banking platform that helps banks and other financial institutions to deliver the complete range of financial services. It is a robust banking solution that includes a client portal, a customer portal, and a centralized platform to carry out all the financial operations. The best part, it is flexible enough to support any type of organization, and any sort of product, service, or methodology. It is available as a mobile app, on-premise solution, and as a cloud-based solution too!

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8. MyBanco

If you are someone who is looking for an open-source banking software solution, then MyBanco is a perfect software for you. Having open-source software implies that you can change the codes of MyBanco seamlessly to make it apt for your business. Not only that, but the code is of high quality and is secure enough to pass through all the regulations of ASIC and FDIC. However, you need to be sure that you efficiently change the code to eliminate all the loopholes and errors from it, possibly.

9. OpenCBS

OpenCBS is a web-based banking software solution that enables your clients to seamlessly access the banking services while sitting in a remote location. It not only delivers high performance, but it’s PostgreSQL database also makes it faster and more responsive. The interface of this software is user-friendly, and its cloud-based version incorporates all the essential features that are required by a user. In addition to that, the tablet version is also available that encompasses risk management and loan processing functionalities.

10. Cobis

Last but not least is Cobis. Cobis is a tech-friendly banking software solution that seamlessly meets all the changing needs of your customers by quickly analyzing the latest market trends. It considers current market realities and helps you prepare efficient plans to help you effectively grow business with time. Online payments, remittances, withdrawals, and seamless digital transactions are some of the robust features of the Cobis software.

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