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April 12th, 2012

Technology has advanced at a rapid pace over the past 30 years, with many devices moving from physical systems to digital versions, including one of the most useful: the telephone. While the use of landlines is still prevalent among some businesses, many have started to turn to the digital version, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP.

VoIP has become the main backbone of voice communication for a growing majority of companies, offering numerous benefits including potentially large cost savings, and decreased maintenance costs. When it was first introduced, the technology needed to run a VoIP system was expensive, limiting it to MNCs and other large organizations. However, over the past few years, the technology has come down in price and is now available for next to nothing, allowing SMEs to make the switch to VoIP. If your company is thinking of ringing the changes, there are some necessary requirements you should meet before you migrate.

Foundation A solid foundation for VoIP is key, as without a good foundation you’ll find that network speed and call quality are poor during heavy use. Most SMEs aim for a VoIP system that can handle around 10 employees on the phone at any given time. Before you start the integration, you should track your current call volume by keeping a note of the number of calls in and out, while paying close attention to call volume during peak hours and days.

You should also investigate the speed and stability of your current Internet connection. While a fast DSL or cable connection is good for browsing, it may not be robust enough to handle VoIP communications, which need a connection that is both quick and stable. Look at your downstream (traffic into your network) and upstream (traffic out of your network) connection speed during a time when the network is experiencing heavy data use. Anything over 1.5 Mbps in both directions should be enough to handle the majority of VoIP systems. Most Internet service providers offer a connection speed well above that, but it’s important to check it out first.

Framing When you have a solid foundation that will support your needs, the next step is building the frame for VoIP. You should determine exactly what’s required from your new system. Some good questions to ask include: Am I going to need to make international calls? How many VoIP connections am I going to need? Am I going to want to make video calls? What’s my budget?

Once you’ve determined your needs you can move on to picking equipment. If you’re a business that typically sticks to local, and some long distance calls, you shouldn’t require much in the way of equipment. The vast majority of companies use a device called a media gateway that allows normal phones to interface with an Internet connection - essentially turning a regular phone into a VoIP phone. If you’re a business that would like to take advantage of the more advanced features of VoIP, like portability, you’ll need more state-of-the-art equipment.

The final issue you need to address is security. On its own, VoIP is not the most secure of connections, as it’s open to all the same types of security breaches that computers and networks can fall prey to. To combat this, many good VoIP service providers will have security measures in place to protect VoIP calls on their network. On your end, it also helps to keep your Internet security up-to-date and conduct regular system scans.

Once you’ve addressed the internal requirements it’s time to start looking for a VoIP service provider. Take your time, shop around, ask competitors and other businesses what service they use. One question to ask a prospective provider is if they will be able to migrate your current number onto their system? While most can switch over your existing numbers, it can take a while, depending on your location and local legislation. So be sure to check if the provider can migrate your numbers and how long it will take.

From there, you should be ready to switch over to VoIP. If you’re still unsure of the process, there are consultants available who can help with the preparation, selection and integration. Good luck, and if you need more information about VoIP, we are here to help you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
April 10th, 2012

Maps have been integrated with great success into many businesses as a way to provide directions to customers. But what happens when a customer is looking at a map, and would like to know more about the businesses in the area? Before, they would have to close the map, open a new window and search. Now, there’s a new solution.

CityMaps is a novel new online map. At first look it appears similar to any other online map: streets, check; transport routes, check; geographic features, check. So, what sets it apart? Well, when you zoom in on a neighbourhood you don’t get a fancy street view, or outlines of buildings, you get a map populated with businesses.

What is CityMaps? Think of those city maps that we’ve all used while on vacation, the ones with restaurants, shops and tourist attractions, and that’s the basic idea of CityMaps. When you zoom in on an area, you will see icons and logos of businesses. Click on one and a popup window will open with the business name, contact information, pictures, related tweets, reviews, and more.

Essentially, it’s a tool to help you plan your next adventure in the city. If you’re out with your friends and looking for a place to go for dinner, you can search for nearby restaurants, look at reviews and deals, and finally: make a reservation, all from the app.

How will this help my business? With social integration, a business like yours can post a special offer on one of the many deal websites, and it will show up in CityMaps as an unobtrusive blinking green dollar sign. If someone tweets about your business, the tweet will show up on the map as well.

This program is a great example of good integration across social media and business. If a review is posted online, it’ll show up on the map. This can also be beneficial to your business as you will get near real-time feedback. CityMaps also encourages businesses to develop and maintain an Internet presence, while giving them a practically free way to literally put their name on the map.

Currently, the map is only available for New York, San Francisco and Austin. There’ll be more cities soon, but it’ll be a few years before every city in the US is on the map. So keep your eye on this program if you’re not in the three cities, as you’ll soon be able to take advantage of it.

If you would like to learn more about CityMaps, or other Web trends, please let us know, we are happy to help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web Trends
March 29th, 2012

Most businesses have started to take social media seriously. They are spending time and effort developing their profiles and reaching out to customers. It makes sense for a business to have an online presence beyond their website. Are you taking advantage of all the available options the Internet has to offer? If not, it may be time to start.

Social media, once called a fad, has become the norm and is going to be with us for some time. A large number of companies already have an online presence, and are taking advantage of the benefits that social media can bring. Here are a number of things you can do to get your social media adventures underway.

Be Clear on Social Media It’s important that before you start looking into the different forms of social media that are out there, you are clear on what social media is, and what it isn’t. Social media is a way to meet people, and share content and ideas with them. For companies it’s a form of non-traditional marketing - think of it as soft marketing - it’s not meant to be the place where you flog your products, rather a place to develop interest in your company, so people will want to do business with you. By using social media you can show people who your company is, and connect with them on a more personal level. If you are clear on what social media is from the beginning, there’s a higher chance that you’ll be successful when you develop your online presence.

Before You Launch Into Social Media There are a number of things that your company needs to have either already done, or considered, before you jump in:

  • Have a website: It’s a good idea to have a solid website with information about your company, contact information, products and services. Most potential customers will look at your website after looking searching for you online, and before they choose to do business with you, so your website needs to provide the relevant information they are looking for. If you don’t have a website, or feel yours is lacking, it’s easier than ever to get a professional looking site. With a quick search you will be able to find some competent designers.
  • Get educated: It will be beneficial to educate yourself on current trends regarding social media. This can be done by simply going to social media websites, taking the free introduction tours and reading blogs related to the sites. Beyond that you should also research your competitors’ websites and Internet presence. Observe what content they have online, and more importantly: what they don’t have. It will also help to connect with and observe industry experts, see what they post online, and note the style and tone they use. This will help provide you with a sound knowledge base from which you can then create a more effective online presence.
  • Set goals: As with any step in business, you should have a plan with realistic goals. Aim for results that are achievable for your company. If you’re a small, local IT company that focuses on providing support for banks, don’t expect to have the same massive hype that Microsoft and Apple do. Clearly set objectives and review periodically.
  • Develop a focus: In real life, you can’t be all things to all people. The same goes for social media. You need to develop a focus on what type of online content you would like to share. You should aim to create content that your customers will want to share with people.
  • Stake a claim: You should to go to the main social media websites - Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube - and reserve your personal and business usernames. This is important because it will make you look more professional by having the same username across all sites, and users will be able to find you easier.
  • Ask for help if you need it: While some companies make social media sound easy, it can be deceptively hard to master. If you feel lost, or are having a tough time with it, there are knowledgeable consultants out there who are happy to help.
Time to Get Social When you feel you know what direction you will take, it’s time to start developing your online profiles. It can be tough to decide which social media tools to utilize. Unfortunately there is no right answer. Most small businesses follow the crowd, and this means having pages on Facebook and Linkedin. This does not mean that you should join these networks simply because they have the most users. It is recommended that you follow what similar businesses or direct competitors are doing. If they are on one service but not another, do the same to begin with, but be on the lookout for new social media sites, or features being added to existing sites.

One Thing to Not Forget There is one really important thing we can share with businesses thinking of pursuing social media: it isn’t a turnkey operation. You can’t just, “set it and forget it.” To be successful, you need to be active by posting updates, news, and above all interacting with the people who reach out to you. After all, they are your customers. If you do establish your social presence but forget to keep it up to date, you will be the company that’s forgotten.

If you would like help with your social media strategy, please get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
March 28th, 2012

Many companies are turning to Twitter to increase their online presence. This is a bit of a double-edged sword, as companies can easily reach a large amount of existing and potential clients at the same time. The downside is, if there is a negative tweet about your business, all subscribers can see the complaint. Does your company have a plan to address negative tweets?

Traditionally, the general rule regarding complaints was that a disgruntled customer or client will tell up to 20 people when they are unhappy, versus 5 when they are happy. When a complaint is made on Twitter, chances are very high it will be seen by more than 20 people. Complaints on Twitter should be taken seriously, even one complaint could damage your online reputation. Here are a few tips on dealing with this new breed of online customer service.

Ensure Team Alignment If you have more than one person looking over your social media accounts, or someone other than you looking over it, you need to be sure that they are experts on your products and services. This is important because it is them who will be responding to questions and complaints. If you don’t have an FAQ section set up, it is a good idea to establish answers to the most commonly asked questions, as well as answers or responses to any frequent complaints. This will provide you and your employees with a way to quickly handle displeased customers.

Prompt Response is Key Oftentimes, a quick response will go a long way in dampening the complaint. As people, we like to be acknowledged and when it is done promptly, we are more likely to be open. Many complaints are made when people are mad, and as such, the complaints tend not to show the whole picture. If you quickly respond, ask for more information or suggestions on what you can do to help, the complainer will often give you valuable feedback to use. If the complaint is serious, it is a good idea to acknowledge the complaint briefly, and then pursue a private dialogue. The average window to respond is 2-3 hours from the time of the complaint, so try to at least acknowledge the complaint within that time.

Personal Responses go a Long Way As with any response to complaints, it is a good idea to personally respond. If you use a company account, the response or apology will be read as insincere, and potentially make the problem worse. Many people feel valued when they are contacted from the owner’s or manager’s personal company account. In small businesses like yours, it is a good idea that someone at the very top replies. This will make it look like you care.

Word Limits, We Don’t Need No Word Limits The 140 character limit is usually not enough to explain yourself, or conduct damage control. So, don’t limit yourself to just the 140 characters. Use the space to acknowledge the complaint, and ask the person who lodged the complaint for their email so you can help them.

Pick Your Battles Remember one of the most important sayings in business: “You can’t please everyone, all the time.” There will always be people who complain simply because they can. In an ideal world, you would be able to personally address and solve each and every complaint, but chances are high you won’t be able to do that. Use your business sense about the complaints, or have a colleague look at the complaint and debate about what you should do.

With careful responses that are prompt and personal, there is a high chance you will turn the complaint into praise, and not only keep your client, but look good while doing it. If you have any questions about Twitter or any other social media tools, please give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 23rd, 2012

It is more or less the end of the first quarter of 2012, many companies have released their annual figures and people are looking to move jobs. Heading into Q2, the quarter in which companies are most likely to hire, chances are you will be doing some hiring in the not so distant future. These days, many companies use VoIP software like Skype or Microsoft Lync to conduct interviews. Do you?

Let’s face it, there are very few people out there who love conducting interviews. The ones that do, are journalists, the rest of us see it as a means to the end. But that doesn’t mean that you should put interviews on the back burner. Remember, the purpose of the interview is to find an employee that meets your needs and is a good fit for your business. Many of us have watched or conducted interviews over VoIP, and have walked away unimpressed, or unsure of the results. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of VoIP while interviewing.

Remember the Rules Many of us have another identity or personality when we are online, it’s common to see people who are usually quiet and reserved in real life become very vocal when placed in front of a computer. This also happens when people conduct interviews online, another personality often comes out during the interview. Remember: even though you are conducting an interview over VoIP, it is still an interview, and as such, you need to follow the same rules and guidelines you would when conducting a face-to-face interview. One of the biggest things interviewers forget when they conduct interviews via VoIP is that you are a representative of your company and its brand, the interviewee will form their own opinion based on what you say and how you act. Adopt your face-to-face interview persona, not the online persona.

Lights, Camera, Office? When conducting the interview it is best to pick a well-lit spot, with minimal to no distractions. Your office may be the one with Nirvana posters on the wall - which is cool - but they’re probably not the best thing to have as your background during the interview. The best spot to conduct face-to-face interviews is in a conference room, so why not conduct the online interview there? If you don’t have a conference room, pick a quiet spot in the office. Wherever you settle, be sure you are comfortable there, as chances are you will be conducting more than one interview.

When you have found a good spot, be sure to turn off your cellphone, or at least put it on silent. Also be sure to turn the various sound alerts on your computer off. Nothing is more annoying to interviewees than being interrupted mid-sentence by a telephone call, or the ubiquitous IM alert.

Test the Tech Before you conduct the interview, ensure you are familiar with the program you are using. You don’t want to accidentally mute the interviewee, or even worse, hang up on them. It is a good idea to set up in the place you are going to be conducting the interview, and check that the internet connection is stable, or if you are using WiFi, that the signal is strong. Conduct a test call with a colleague or another person to ensure that your webcam is working correctly, and you can hear the other person. It is best to do this a few days in advance, so you can iron out any glitches or problems with lots of time to spare.

If a technological mishap occurs during the interview, or you lose your connection, don’t give up and walk away, simply call the interviewee back, apologize and carry on. Better still, establish at the outset that if there is a problem, you will definitely call back. This will ensure that the interviewee isn’t calling you when you are calling them.

The Interview Remember that you are using technology for the interview, and this technology has many useful features, the most pertinent being the ability to record. Being able to play the interview back later if you feel you have missed something, or want to know other employees’ opinions, is an excellent perk to using VoIP. Be sure to let the interviewee know that their interview will be recorded, as it could be illegal to record the person without their consent.

One common oversight by both the interviewer and interviewee is time. It may happen that you need to conduct an interview with someone in another timezone. It’s important to be aware of the time difference and ensure that both parties are on the same page. Also, if you’re in an area that has Daylight Savings Time, be aware that some places don’t observe it, and adjust accordingly. If you know the interviewee is in another timezone, clearly state when you are setting up the interview time, if you mean your time or the interviewee’s time.

Finally, when conducting the interview: be aware of where you are looking. Most programs will have the other person in a large image with you in a smaller image. Look at the image of the person when they are speaking, and at the camera when you are speaking. This is the best way to replicate eye-contact in a face-to-face interview.

When you remain professional and can execute a good interview using VoIP software, you can be sure that the interviewee will be impressed and will want to join your company. Good luck! If you would like to know more about using VoIP for interviews, or other business operations give us a call - we are more than happy to hear from you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic VoIP
March 23rd, 2012

In recent years there has been an explosion in the number of Web browsers available to businesses. Among the most popular is a browser that costs nothing and has some very useful plugins and add-ons, that cover a wide variety of needs. That browser is Firefox. Read on to learn some useful add-ons for your business.

At first look, Firefox is a fairly simple browser. Where it really shines though, is in the wealth of add-ons available for all users. If you were to compare different users’ browsers, it is highly doubtful they would look the same. There are some useful add-ons for small business users that can help make your life easier. Here are our top five:

Make Add-ons Compatible With New Versions of Firefox Firefox is on an aggressive update schedule. It feels like only a few weeks pass in between each new rollout, and this can pose a problem if the developers of the add-ons don’t keep their add-ons up to date. To solve this, install the Add-On Compatibility Reporter. This useful add-on will disable version checking, allowing the add-ons to continue working. If you have an add-on that won’t work, you can send a report to the developer. It is recommended that this is one of the first add-ons you install.

Speed Dial Speed Dial is an add-on that allows you to quickly access your favorite, or most visited sites. You set your bookmarks up to show via Speed Dial, which will show current thumbnails of the website. From there you can click on the thumbnail to go to the website. This is particularly useful if you have pages you visit on a regular basis and wish to navigate to them quickly.

OutWit Docs This add-on is for those managers who have a ton of documents on their computer and want to quickly find one without closing or minimizing Firefox. Think of having a version of Google for your docs - you enter a query into the search bar, and up comes the results with thumbnails so you can easily pick and open the document you were looking for.

Google Global An interesting add-on that allows you to see where your website, or any website for that matter, will show up according to the local Google page rankings. This is great for quickly viewing your presence in other regions or countries. However, this add-on will only work when on a Google search results page.

Screengrab If you are preparing a presentation or need to take a screenshot it can be a bit of a chore, especially on a Mac. With Screengrab you can take a screenshot of just the visible part of the browser or the whole page. This will save time from having to take multiple screenshots and then stitching the images together to gain one image.

These five apps are just the tip of the iceberg, there are many more on the Firefox Add-ons page. If you would like to know more about Firefox or other Web browsers, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Browsers
March 21st, 2012

Cloud computing is fairly new, which only means that there are still a lot of good things about it to be discovered and developed. Let’s take a look at some promising trends in the industry that are poised to make cloud computing even better than it is right now.

Anyone who tells you that the cloud has reached a peak is definitely mistaken. While cloud computing is already a powerful IT service that has made a positive difference in the way businesses operate—especially small and medium sized ones—there are still many aspects of it that are continuously being improved and developed.

Better security One of the major trends in cloud services is improvements in the security aspect. Businesses trust cloud providers with important and sensitive data, and with cyber-attacks becoming more frequent and clever, vendors have to step up their security protocols and keep clients’ data safe.

Wider integration and compatibility As it stands, there are still several issues between clouds (especially public ones) and an enterprise's systems, which limits the connectivity and data exchange between users. The same can be said for the current standards being used, which have the tendency to be very vendor-centric. The trend now is to reverse this, and provide better connectivity and data sharing, as well as less vendor-centric standards for better compatibility and integration.

A more ‘solid’ cloud It’s unfortunate, but expected, that there are service providers who are hitching onto the increasing popularity of cloud computing by offering half-baked cloud services. As time progresses, expect to see a better definition—which will reflect in the service provided—of what cloud computing can and cannot do.

As expected of any emerging technology, cloud computing has a ways to go before it reaches its peak. Expect to hear better things about the cloud in the coming months and years as businesses continue to maximize the potential of cloud computing, and vendors and service providers constantly find ways to improve what is already a fantastic concept.

If you are interested in knowing more about cloud services and what it can do for your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can address your specific inquiries and concerns.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web Trends
March 13th, 2012

The thing about the social media boom is that so many people are thinking of ways to make it better and to put a unique twist on an otherwise used and reused concept. Pinterest is one of the few that have been successful at this – which means, like in any other social media platform, businesses stand to benefit provided they use it the right way.

What is Pinterest? In a nutshell, it's something like a social media scrapbook, album, and bulletin board combined. Each interest / theme has its own 'Pinboard' where you put photos, videos, or other media that interest you.

What makes Pinterest unique is its concept, which has been consistently growing in popularity, especially with female audiences. And while Facebook and Twitter are more open to overt advertising, Pinterest takes a more conservative stance. While advertising isn't exactly prohibited, the marketing should definitely be more subtle and more consistent with a personal Pinterest profile. Here are some basic tips that will help you utilize Pinterest to your advantage.

1. Understand your market. The first question you should ask yourself is if Pinterest is something worth your time investment. Since the majority of Pinterest users are female, ask yourself if your products and services appeal to them directly.

2. Invest time. As in many other social networking sites, you need to put a personal and human touch to your Pinterest profile and in the way you interact with your audience. Log in often, update regularly, and respond quickly to any kind of feedback. Let your audience know that you're there.

3. Use other social media to augment Pinterest. Since Pinterest is less known, use your other social media accounts to point people your way in Pinterest, such as Tweeting or updating your Facebook status with your most recent Pinterest profile update.

4. Talk about what you represent. As mentioned earlier, since Pinterest isn't big on overt advertising, you need to market yourself in a different way. Talk about what your brand is all about. What do you represent? What content can you provide that would inspire your audience to share on their own Pinboards? If you're a furniture company, for example, you can try giving some tips on basic interior design and picking the right furniture pieces for spaces, with pictures or videos. What's good about Pinterest is that it challenges you to be more creative, and thus, more appealing to potential clients.

If Pinterest interests you, give us a call so we can discuss how you can maximize this new social media platform for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
March 11th, 2012

With the integration of business and the Internet, business reputations are built or destroyed online. While you can’t control all of what ends up online about your company, there are many ways to manage how it affects your or your company’s reputation.

Reputation is important to all businesses. If your business does not have a good reputation, it’s almost certain that you are scaring away customers. In the past it was easy to judge the reputation of your business: all you had to do was ask the local population what they thought. With the advent of the Internet and, more specifically, social media, your reputation has gone online, and is easily observed and influenced by many millions.

Your online reputation can be tricky to measure and manage, but it can be done effectively. Here are some tips for getting started.

Be Aware of Your Internet Presence Many companies have pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more. The only problem is that they don’t spend time maintaining them. It’s a well known fact that when a customer wants to find information on your company, they are not going to call you. They will Google you, or check you out on Facebook, Linkedin, or another social media outlet. It’s important that you know exactly where and how your business appears on these websites.

How to Assess Your Presence It’s a good idea to do a web search using keywords pertaining to your business on the major search engines. Simply enter these keywords into the search engine:

  1. Your name
  2. Your company’s name
  3. Your main product or service
  4. High profile employees, past and present
  5. User names
Record the results of each search. It’s important to look for the number of negative responses, indifferent responses, and responses in which your company is not mentioned. If you have a large number of negative responses, especially in the top results, you need to work on improving your reputation. If you have lots of results with no information, it’s time to start getting your name out there.

When searching, take note: Due to the increasing personalization of search engines it’s best to log out of all your accounts, and turn off personalized search. When searching for your company, the majority of users will enter a keyword and normally only look at the first few pages of results, so be sure to review the first three pages of your search results.

Protect yourself You may have the Social Media side covered, but what about your URL? Be sure to buy not only the direct URL of your company’s name, but also any related URLs for your company. For example, if your company has a unique product, buy the URL under that name. This is important not only in helping people find you, but also in preventing a disgruntled customer or employee from buying a similar URL and creating a website to slander you and damage your reputation.

Be Proactive With Your Presence It’s important that once you know your reputation, you are proactive about monitoring and improving it. This doesn’t mean you need to spend hours each week searching for your company online. Tools such as Google Alerts help you automatically track result changes based on keywords, and website such as Technorati allow you to quickly search for keywords across many blogs and set up alerts for new mentions.

You should also be involved in industry blogs, monitoring them regularly and becoming part of the “conversation” in your industry. Try to establish a strong presence in your industry by showing how knowledgeable you are. You can also encourage employees to share company news and act as brand ambassadors by empowering them to be open with their thoughts on the company. With careful management, they can be a powerful brand tool.

Be Accountable If you come across negative reviews or posts about your company, consider objectively what is being said. While some people are simply out there to harm the company, many others will be more than willing to discuss what you have done wrong, or at least provide some feedback. It’s also a good idea to be proactive and set up a FAQ section on your website that covers the most commonly asked questions as well as negative issues, such as: “What do I do if I am unhappy with my product or service?”

Use a Social Media Management Company Small business owners like yourself may not have the time to manage your reputation effectively, or the money to hire a full-time staff member to manage it for you. What you can do is to work with a company that specializes in reputation management, allowing you to concentrate on your business. Online Reputation Management has become big business, and will continue to be a major trend in 2012 and beyond.

It’s important to keep up with your reputation management because the success of your company is directly affected by it. There are many ways to improve and manage your reputation, but positive changes won’t happen overnight. If you have questions about reputation management and would like to learn more, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Web Trends
March 10th, 2012

Google and Apple, two of the biggest — if not the biggest — technological companies in the world have products used by millions of people on a daily basis. But what happens when one of them is caught bypassing the security of the other? This happened recently, when Google was caught circumventing the security settings of Safari, the main browser used by Apple’s products.

As many news sources are reporting, Google was discovered to have bypassed the security settings of Apple’s default browser, Safari. If you are to believe the many news articles, what Google has done is a big issue. But what did Google actually do, and how does this affect your business?

What Did Google Do? Google was caught using software to trick Safari’s security settings into allowing third-party cookies. The cookies placed by Google were used to track users’ internet behavior with the idea of providing personalized ads targeted to the users. Google stressed that no personal data was recorded.

Why would Google do this? Safari is set up to block all third-party cookies — cookies usually used by advertisers placed on a user’s hard drive that don’t have the same URL the user is looking at. Since the majority of Google’s ad services don’t operate under the Google URL, Google needs to use third-party cookies to track users. In other browsers, when a user signs into a Google Account, third-party cookies used by Google’s ad services are automatically placed. With Safari, the cookies are automatically blocked.

To get around the established security, Google took advantage of a known loophole found in 2010 by putting a form in some pages that tricked Safari into thinking the user had agreed to let Google’s Ad services track them.

What Does this Mean to Us? In all honesty, not very much. Google has said that they are removing the forms from the websites and cookies from the browsers. Apple has said they are working to stop all third party cookies, but no updates have been released as of March 1.

What Can We Do? To ensure that third party cookies are blocked in Safari, go to:

  1. Safari - Preferences, or hit “Command” + “,”
  2. Select Privacy
  3. Select which level of cookies you would like to block
You can also set your browser to never allow cookies. The downside to this is you will find yourself having to log into a site each time you go to it in a new window. Another strategy is to clear your cookies regularly. In the same tab you set your cookie preferences, select: Remove All Website Data

If you would like to learn more about protecting your organization, or if you have questions, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Browsers