AusTech

Business and Technology Articles Contributed by UWA Students

Month: January 2018

Public Wifi connection security, is your data secured?

The first thing anyone does upon reaching a new destination is hunt for a free wireless connection to connect to, or seek out someone who is able to provide the password. We do this at our friend’s house, when we are at our relatives but most of all, we do it when we are out in public. Airports, cafes and hotels, all of which are hotspots for hackers and snoopers. Here’s how to keep yourself safe.

  1. Secure your connection

Before you connect to the first available network, check to make sure that it is legitimate. You can do that by clarifying the name of the network with the host and this is done to dissuade from falling into ‘honeypots’. Generally set up by data thieves or hijackers who hack into your internet session and steals your cookies which, allows them to pass off as you on various websites.

  1. Connect through a VPN

Unless you are only planning to read the news and not intending to key in any sensitive information whilst connected to a public wifi, use a VPN. Virtual Private Networks encrypt your data much like putting a two-way mirror up between you and the world. You being behind the clear side. Even if a hacker manages to get into your open session, the data they steal would be encrypted and scrambled.

  1. Use encrypted websites

Regardless whether you are able to ascertain your wifi security, always connect through encrypted websites especially when sending sensitive data. Login information and other such data. To check whether the website is encrypted, look at the URL bar of the browser and there should be ‘https’ rather than just ‘http’.

However, be wary that there are website which look extremely similar to verified sites such as ‘bankfamerica.com’ that has managed to obtain the certificate. Therefore, always make sure the URL in your web browser is spelt accurately.

  1. Be cautious

Don’t ever think that it will not happen to you, as what a journalist onboard a plane thought when his emails were hacked and the details repeated to him verbally after the flight. The hacker told the journalist, Steven Petrow, that he has hacked into the emails of everyone onboard but wanted relay this information to him as he gleaned that he is a journalist. His parting words being, “That’s why this story is so important to everyone. It’s about everyone’s privacy.”

  1. Turn no two-way authentication

Wherever possible, take the extra precaution of having a two-way authentication. This way, even if some hacker managed to obtain your login credentials, they would not be able to log on without access to the secondary code usually sent to your phone number or email.

Bear in mind that no matter how well you keep yourself invulnerable, do not assume for one moment that if someone really wanted to steal your data that they are on a fool’s errand, for that is the day you stop being careful. Always keep your security measures updated and constant vigilance.

Top 5 reasons why startups fail even when they are well-funded

If you are aspiring to be an entrepreneur, the most important thing you have to know is that only a few startups are successful. The internet is flooded with postmortem commentaries on failed startups that include entrepreneurs recalling mistakes that proved fatal to the company. You may have heard that failures are the stepping stones to success but isn’t is preferable to learn from other’s mistakes than make your own?

Although lack of funds are responsible for shut-downs, it is not the only reason. The following are the top five reasons why startups fail even when they are well-funded. The good news is, knowing is half the battle.

  1. Lack of demand for the product

According to a research, the top reason why a startup is unable to succeed is because there is lack of need for the product/service in the market. Even a great marketing plan cannot force people to buy a product they have no use for. The best way to get around the problem is to have a realistic understanding and judgement about market conditions before launching the product. If market research is not your forte, then outsource the task to professionals who can take care of the whole process, right from survey design to data analysis.

  1. Absence of the right team

The second biggest reason for unsuccessful startups is the inability of the founder to bring together the right people for the job. It is not enough to just hire a bunch of smart people with fancy alma mater. Members of a good team should be able to balance each other’s strengths and weaknesses, while pursuing a clear common objective. Correspondingly, even a good team can fail to deliver in absence of efficient leadership.

  1. Not gauging the competition properly

This is another area where a good market research plan can save a budding company. Many startups fail because they don’t have a good answer to the question-What are we doing so differently that we can win the market? It is important to monitor your competition, not only for valuable inputs about the market, but also to identify holes in your own business model that can be plugged before it is too late.

  1. Pricing

You may have developed a great product, but it is important to know how much the market is willing to pay for the product and to what extent that pricing will sustain your business. Whether you price it too high or too low, you will struggle to generate revenue in both cases. Also keep in mind that when the company fails to live upto the expectations of paying customers, it constitutes to charging a high price for an average product. Bad pricing strategy doesn’t take long to sink a company.

  1. Ignoring customer feedback

Being unmindful of feedback can only lead to failure of the product and company. In this digital era, when collecting user data has become so easy, hearing what the customer has to say is as important as rolling out a great product. Customer feedback will help you in adapting to demand and stay competitive.

How Product Reviews Are Defining Ecommerce

 

Data suggests most consumers read online reviews before making a purchase online, even if it is an “impulse” purchase; a consumer will still dive into reading reviews. A study reveals, most consumers actually give the reviews the same weight as the recommendations of friends or family. Personally, I am big on product reviews and take them very seriously before buying a specific product or using a service.

The setback of a negative review can be profound for business owners. Researchers at the Harvard Business School found that an extra star on Yelp is usually an increase in sales by 5 to 9 percent.

“Product reviews have become a part of our everyday life, as many of us are constantly shopping online”, says Matt Stathis of product review site Lodlois.com. These reviews can vary from a tangible product such as a book or a service such as AirBnb.

When consumers browse and read through reviews, most of the time they look for consensus. Naturally if you find a group of people saying the same thing, it probably indicates they are onto something. When you are on an unfamiliar website, with few reviews to read from, it might be harder to trust the product and the website itself – is it trustworthy and reliable?

I believe as a consumer it is important to write your own review for the product. Reviews should not take up too much of your time; they should be designed to be helpful for other consumers. Even if you did not like the service you received or the product you received, your review should not be a banter, that is not the purpose of the review – take your complaints to customer service feedback instead, which should be better equipped to resolve your problem. Your job is not to humiliate the seller or service provider; your job is merely to help other consumers.

When writing your review, try to be precise specific. Remember you are trying to be helpful to your fellow consumers. Tell them the length of the pants was longer than you expected or described, or if a colour of a shoe was slightly brighter than the image posted. Include information that will be relevant to other shoppers.

If you disliked the running shoe you purchased from Puma and realized you should have purchased a Nike shoe instead and you write that as banter for your review, most likely that information will be unhelpful detail for the next shopper who really just wants a decent pair Puma shoes.

I am a frequent traveller so I am always on travel hotel websites; I read many reviews all the time. Many times people will write things such as; “The Street facing the hotel was very loud, many drunk people walking around do not stay at this establishment.” This review is not really useful for the consumer and it is negatively impacting the hotels image for absolute no reason. Instead you can write that the location of the hotel was not suitable for you, instead of negatively stating irrelevant facts that have nothing to do with the establishment itself.

Online reviews will never be flawless; either they will be fake or there will always be people who will rant about the product or service. At the same time, we can be honest and relevant with our reviews and persuasive enough to steer consumers toward the good things in life, reputable businesses that try to make the best product or experience.

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