Blog

January

Cybersecurity and the New Year

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This year I am determined to shed light on VPNs or Virtual Private Networks for my family and friends. Because not everyone knows what they are and what they do exactly or if they are even necessary as a security tool.

According to Nord VPN a trusted provider of VPNs they explain what it is in clear terms:

“Typically, when you try to access a website on the internet, you start by connecting to your internet service provider (ISP). They redirect you to any websites (or other online resources) that you wish to visit. All your internet traffic passes through your ISP’s servers, which means they can see and log everything you do online. They may even hand your browsing history over to advertisers, government agencies, and other third parties.

Here’s where a VPN comes into play. It redirects your internet traffic through a specially configured remote server. This way, the VPN hides your IP address and encrypts all the data you send or receive. The encrypted data looks like gibberish to anyone who intercepts it — it is impossible to read.” (source NordVPN.com)

So what does a VPN look like? Well imagine a tunnel and that all the data you send and receive is being sent through a tunnel however when its encrypted as in when you use a VPN your data is actually more secure and less available for hackers to access.

Should I use public WIFI? Sure, go ahead but make sure your VPN is turned on as this can protect you, should you be doing any online banking while out and about. This way your data and your IP address is effectively hidden from prying eyes.

If I travel alot do I need a VPN? Probably as it can help you in accessing content abroad.

If i want to shop online should I use a VPN? Your VPN can protect your data from hackers so its always a good idea when entering credit card information to have a VPN turned on.

In short, a VPN lends you a global IP address and hides your true IP address from every website or email you connect with. Your real IP address is a behind-the-scenes number your Internet provider assigns your computer that allows you to go anywhere on the Internet. It’s something similar to the house number on your home.

We just love this easy and short clear video that explains what a VPN is by the BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-35328636/technology-explained-what-is-a-vpn-service

So now you know what a VPN is its time to start your New Year off right and help your family and friends to become more cybersecurity savvy this year.

December

The First Snowman

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As the snowflakes were gently falling from a pearly grey sky on a Sunday afternoon here in Ontario, I wondered when did the First Snowman actually appear and have people always built them?

Well, it turns out that snowmen are a popular Christmas and winter sculpture made of two or three balls of snow. The actual first snowman photo was taken in the 1800’s which seems like a very long time ago. Well known famous artists got in on the snowman popularity and created snowmen sculptures and according to Readers Digest, ” 19-year-old artist Michelangelo, in 1494 was commissioned by the ruler of Florence, Italy, to sculpt a snowman in his mansion’s courtyard. 

Famous snowmen include: the Bonhomme Carnaval, a well known snowman mascot at the Carnaval de Quebec, Frosty the snowman animation, and the lovely animated book The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.

Here are my top five tips for building your own snowman:

Find a fresh snowfall, try rolling a snowball first to see if its the right kind of snow for making a giant snowball. If it rolls well make your first snowball base for the snowman.

Make a second or third ball and stack it onto the first one add handfuls of snow to pack the balls flatter on top of one another.

Choose your very own decorations for the eyes, nose and mouth of the snowman and add a hat or scarf and a pair or branches or mittens for the hands.

Have fun creating your very own snowman sculpture. You could even make him a snowdog for company.

Blog November

How early is too early for Christmas Decorating?

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This is a question I ask myself every year, as the decorating visions of sugar plums and baubles begins in earnest earlier and earlier. For example take this year, as soon as the Halloween decorations were safely tucked away and November the 11th was solemnly remembered, the decorations seemed to pop up in earnest in the neighbourhood and in the city streets. It seems that the Santa parades dashed by and the official tree lighting ceremonies are now all lit up for another festive season.

As November draws to an end the Christmas decorating is in fact everywhere to see from the local retail stores to the homes and offices I can see fully decorated Christmas trees everywhere. While it is I have to admit, pretty to see with the early arrival of the snow this year and so heart warming and joyful to take part in, it does all seem to be at least one month in advance of the said -main event of Christmas. But, who am I to be a little grinch about it and spoil the fun of twinkling fairy lights and sparkling tinsel. I’m going to join in the merriment and get my tree and wreath decorated tomorrow and it’s not even December yet!

So how early is too early for decorating at your place? Let me know in the comments.

Blog November

Going where the People Are

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“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do, then to do it because they want to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Today, It has been said that if you want to go where your customers are then you need to be online these days. More and more customers are buying online according to statistics and so it makes sense that your business requires an online presence in order to compete for your customers time and hard earned spending money. It is a motivating factor to go where the people are if you have a product or service to sell.

But is being online enough? Well, according to the digital marketing institute you also need to be active online in order to reap any benefits. Social Media is important for your business if nothing else for building an online community of people who can trust and promote your brand. Video is also a trend that is big and since we humans like visual images alot it makes sense to use the platforms available to promote your products in video format if you are able.

Going where the customers are is as important today as it has always been for businesses. Knowing your keywords and stages your customer is going to go through before a purchase is also important. As the move to online progresses, we also need to keep up with the online landscape that is constantly changing in order to speak to and reach the people who need your products or services the most. Your company also needs to ensure that security is a factor in your online presence which can increase your customers trust in your brand. People will want to visit your online presence if you have prepared and curated your content for them and built in a secure trust factor.

Blog November

Online Security

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It’s Time for us to be more secure when it comes to our phone security these days. But what can we actually do to protect ourselves as we do our daily banking and check our emails?

There are a few things that you can install on your phone before you attempt to do any banking online on a public Wifi and one of them is called a VPN. But what is a VPN I hear you ask? Well, its a Virtual Private Network and it gives you an added layer of secure protection especially if you were thinking of using a public Wifi network. There are many VPNs to choose from and most have a free option and paid options to choose from. We took a look at Tunnel Bear and Nord VPN, two top VPN providers with good ratings and both were easy to install as an app and had a small free version to start with paid options to choose from.

So next time you use a public wifi and want to to protect yourself from hackers and spying eyes you might want to turn on your VPN. That means hackers will have a harder time stealing your login credentials or redirecting your PC to a phony banking site.