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July 18, 2014 Headlines

The Secret to Effective Networking in the 21st Century
Three Tried-and-True Ways to Grow Your Email List
Match Your Disaster Recovery Plan to Your Business Needs
Heartbleed Fallout: Thousands of Systems Still Exposed
Report Shows the Top Priorities for Accounting Firms
Working the Cloud: The Next Steps
Why Your Firm Should Rethink Cloud Security
Your Customers Can Now Direct Message You on Yelp

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The Secret to Effective Networking in the 21st Century

Inc.com (07/16/14); Schein, Michael

Networking in the twenty-first century is radically different than in previous decades. The ubiquity of social media and the evolution of the cloud have led to a transformation of business and client relationships. While networking via physical relationships has generally worked for businesses in the form of attending conferences and seminars, businesses must embrace the new digital world of relationships. Using social media, Web sites, and blogs is a critical part of creating and strengthening a business' digital presence and brand. However, businesses should not abandon in-person networking for online relationships; instead, eliminating the boundary between online and in-person relationships is necessary to overall networking. In-person relationships require much more dedicated time and planning, so these meetings and lunches might be less frequent than online interactions, but developing both components of networking remains an important of sustaining business. Read More


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Three Tried-and-True Ways to Grow Your Email List

Small Business Computing (07/03/14); Popick, Janine

Small businesses can follow three simple steps for growing their email lists. The first tip is providing clients with exclusive offers in the form of advanced information, how-to's, or discounted services. Asking clients to sign up to an email list is another key step in growing a business' email list. Sign-up forms should be simple and not require much information. Sign-up forms should be available via a business' Web site, as well as through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Email signatures should also contain a link to a sign-up page and employees should ensure sign-up lists are available during industry conferences. The final tip is ensuring users can easily spread the word; for example, social media buttons embedded in email are key to gaining new followers and attracting new clients. Read More


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Match Your Disaster Recovery Plan to Your Business Needs

Processor.com (06/27/14)Vol. 36, No. 13, P. 14

Creating a comprehensive disaster recovery (DR) plan is a crucial part of ensuring business continuity. While DR plans are essential to conducting a successful business, IT analysts say many businesses fail to create a sustainable plan before a catastrophe ensues. Analysts say clients, operations, and revenue are among major considerations at-risk in the absence of a DR plan. Analysts recommend updating and maintaining a DR plan as though it was a critical part of operations, noting businesses should project real-time recovery objectives and establish a sound communications plan. Businesses should focus on mission-critical systems, test their DR plans regularly, and adjust their DR plans according to the testing process. Businesses that decide to work with cloud vendors as apart of their DR plans should consider the terms of service level agreements (SLAs) for cloud vendors, as well as the specific backup functions a vendor provides. Read More


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Heartbleed Fallout: Thousands of Systems Still Exposed

NewsFactor Network (06/24/14); LeClaire, Jennifer

A few months ago, over half-a-million computer systems were exposed to the Heartbleed bug security vulnerability. Although organizations released OpenSSL security patches, technology researchers say that over 300,000 systems are still at-risk. Through the bug, anyone on the Internet can read the memory of the vulnerable versions of OpenSSL software. Consequently, hackers are privy to others' communications and data, including passwords. Errata Security reports that IT administrators have stopped patching Heartbleed vulnerabilities, although security experts predict that over time there will be fewer releases for security patches. Security researchers also say the industry must continue to remain vigilant about patching software to protect customers, although many big companies have yet to release patches for the bug. Read More


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Report Shows the Top Priorities for Accounting Firms

CPA Practice Advisor (06/17/14); Prosser, Lauren

According to a new Sageworks survey, specific operational aspects of accounting firms significantly impact their success. While firms have a pre-tax profit margin of greater than 20 percent, qualitative measures of a firm should not be neglected. Sageworks notes that respondents in small to mid-sized accounting firms ranked marketing and business development as top issues. Staffing and client services were also ranked as important issues, followed by service pricing and billing structure. The least popular category was firm member compensation. The survey revealed that there are several priorities among accounting firms, with many factors ranking highly. The survey underscores the need for firms to reevaluate priorities to determine operational points of focus. Read More


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Working the Cloud: The Next Steps

AccountingWEB (06/18/14); Vetter, Amy

Accounting practices considering transitioning to the cloud have many decisions to consider throughout this process. Major questions to consider include determining the type of client desired and areas of expertise offered. Firms should conduct an assessment of the specific type of industries and clients they serve, then select cloud solutions that will improve the quality of accounting according to these specific needs. Through the cloud, firms reap value-added time through several automated features, as well as streamlining of administrative tasks. Specific software features to consider include payroll and bill payments, reporting applications, or donor management software. Automating client delivery processes significantly reduces time needed to complete routine tasks. Finally, evaluating prospective clients will also allow firms to project the future of which cloud applications to use for entering new markets. Read More


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Why Your Firm Should Rethink Cloud Security

CPA Practice Advisor (06/17/14); Reeves, Josh

There are a few reasons firms should rethink cloud security, beginning with the fact that the cloud is not a bulletproof security solution. According to a CPA2Biz survey, over 40 percent of CPAs have reservations about cloud security. Christ Fenster of Propeller Industries says firms should interrogate online security but note that there is no completely secure solution, whether online or offline. Fenster says selecting the right tools is key to leading the change in accounting services. He notes that controlled access is another important part of operational security, particularly since offline security includes human sabotage and errors. Fenster advises firms to inquire about how data is secured and stored by cloud providers, as well as standards for compliance. Read More


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Your Customers Can Now Direct Message You on Yelp

Entrepreneur (06/17/14); Weiss, Geoff

Yelp has launched a new feature that allows businesses to communicate with customers. Yelp, the app commonly used for rating businesses, restaurants, and other merchants, will now allow customers to directly message businesses. Customers will be notified of business' average response time after sending the message. Businesses will receive the messages via email and need not log into Yelp to access the messages. However, the direct message feature is optional for businesses, and the feature can be disabled. Read More


 

LAST UPDATED 7/18/2014