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Best Way to Block Ads in 2019

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You’re enjoying a little downtime from your job, surfing away to your heart’s content when you’re ambushed by all kinds of neon boxes and flashing banners. If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re probably fed up of sharing your screen with ads and accidentally clicking on deals on shoes and exotic Caribbean cruises when all you wanted to do is shut that window down and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. If your web experience is being ruined by ads, the solution of course is to use an ad-blocker!

Ad-Blocker Explained

Not everyone knows what an Ad-blocker is so here’s a layperson’s definition. It is software that stops Adverts from showing when you’re browsing websites. There are free basic features that block some types of ads but not all e.g. pop up ads while more complex software blocks all Ads, the sharing of browser data and a lot more.

In other words not all ad-blockers have been created equal, so while there’s the option that comes with some browsers like Chrome, they don’t actually want to block out ‘all’ ads hence the demand for dedicated ad-blocking software like which offer a lot more features and benefits. See this blog post – AdLock, Why you should Block Ads

Nullify Threats

AdLock for example, is designed to eliminate all adverts irrespective of their format. Therefore you can block popups, flashing banners, text ads, and take the control back. Ads are a security risk so by shutting down ads for Windows and Android, AdBlocker targets flashing and pop-up banners, YouTube and Skype ads, video promotions and text ads nullifying security threats like Malware spyware, trojans and other such malicious software.

Malvertising is a real term and it’s used to describe the use of online advertising to spread malware. It’s a newish concept that doesn’t require the user to click on the advert to be compromised. It travels surreptitiously through the advertising networks and it catches millions of users as it did back in 2012.

Even the most discerning sites are affected by bad Ads hijacking as noted in the fastcompany blog post. Therefore if for no other reason blocking Ads is good for security!

Protect Your Data

Adverts are used by companies and businesses to encourage you to buy their products and services, and they collect data which is used to serve you more targeted Ads. Sounds okay right? Wrong, you don’t want your data collected in the first instance. Plus there’s the issue with page loading speed.

Improve Page Load Speed

Ads slow down the the page loading time and overall browsing experience. With higher spec adblocking software, URLs of potentially hazardous websites are found and eliminated and this speeds up page loading and thus your enjoyment, i.e if you’re on a 15 minute morning tea break you will get through more pages without the intrusion of Ads.

Summary

Little did you know, higher performance adblockers do so much. You can not unlearn what you now know about online adverts and the threat they pose, so think twice about allowing Ads to show, especially on shared systems and devices. Using any adblocker is better than none. A higher spec ad-blocker can go a step further, improving security, browsing performance and prevent the sharing your browsing data.

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Security

Overview of Identity and Access Management Platforms

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The larger the company, the more information systems and staff members it has. This brings the issue of managing employee accounts and their access to enterprise systems to the fore. In a small company, this can be done manually by in-house system administrators.

In a large company, however, this presents a number of challenges: a large and ramified IT infrastructure makes manual management of identification and access a very labor-intensive process. We also need not remind you that the greater the human involvement, the higher the risk of errors, delays, information security incidents, and even intentional sabotage.

History is rife with examples where employees leaked confidential corporate information to competitors or intentionally harmed the employer after losing their job.

To avoid such unfortunate outcomes while maximally automating and streamlining access management, companies resort to identity and access management (IAM) systems. They help manage user accounts and their access to corporate systems, applications, and devices. This solves all of the above-mentioned and many other issues. Such systems are plentiful. Our overview covers some of them.

According to Gartner experts and industry pros, they rank among the best in this segment. You can also choose the one that suits you best using the selection tool we devised. It stands to mention that similar terms exist, such as Identity and Access Governance (IAG), Identity Management (IdM), etc. They actually refer to one and the same thing. For the sake of convenience, we use the term “Identity and Access Management” or its abbreviation “IAM”.

If you dissect the anatomy of IAM systems, you will see that these are integrated solutions comprising many tools. They are responsible for various processes, among which several key ones stand out: single sign-on systems, multi-factor authentication and password management, access control and secure storage of user profile data.

Reliable credential management systems should handle these tasks without too much trouble. They include tools for gathering and logging information about user logins into corporate operating systems and employee access to devices (ranging from printers to servers and data repositories). They also greatly simplify and automate the configuration of accounts and provision of access to employees.

For instance, upon creating a new employee account, the administrator chooses his or her access level. Depending on this setting, the user can immediately use all information systems accessible at this level. The user can do so using his or her account password.

However, this user cannot access a server with confidential information using this account password. It is important to understand that an IAM system is not a solution that can be installed with a few clicks and be up and running immediately. Each company has its own unique IT infrastructure to which any platform has to be customized and integrated.

An IAM platform often comprises several standalone products that can be used collectively or separately. It all depends on the objectives and needs of the company. That’s why technical aspects should be considered first when choosing a platform of this kind.

For instance, you should look at the degree to which a specific platform is compatible with the IT infrastructure: whether it has the appropriate connectors (modules that interact with corporate tools), the extension and scalability opportunities it offers, the number of supported accounts, and the cost of specific products.

It also would not hurt to check how user-friendly the system is. This is not limited to an intuitive interface and level of automation. You should look at how easy it is to add and delete new employee accounts, grant permanent or temporary access, and perform other common procedures. Most products let you evaluate their functionality by running a demo version.

Many products of this type are currently available on the market, both those by big-name vendors and lesser-known companies. You can compare the functionality of some of these tools and choose the best option for your business on ROI4CIO’s comparison table of IAM platforms, search for it on their website.

Let us now examine specific solutions.

IAM Platforms

Oracle Identity Management

Oracle’s solution is a comprehensive, integrated platform for managing data and roles both in an enterprise setting and in the cloud. Oracle Identity and Access Management is currently one of the most functionally advanced products on the market. It covers almost all aspects of identity management, access control, and directory services. It features over 20 tools, including solutions for managing privileged accounts, access from mobile devices, passwords, detailed reports, etc.

All basic identity and access management functions are also available through a multi-user cloud platform.

Oracle Identity and Access Management has an advanced analytical system. For example, it can find inactive accounts and detect unauthorized changes to access privileges by administrators of IT systems in an enterprise. It also displays current and historical data of audits of employee access privileges. You can also generate a report on the history of decisions to grant access privileges.

Keeping up with the times, the product developers implemented support of the Social Sign-on authentication mechanism for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn social networks, as well as Google and Yahoo accounts. This lets you logon to corporate resources using these accounts or simply import information from them when creating corporate accounts. This solution is fairly convenient in addition to being a time saver.

Okta Identity and Access Management

Okta offers a number of cloud products for comfortable management of user access and account credentials adapted to web applications. Based entirely in the cloud, this service is compatible with both cloud applications and the corporate IT infrastructure.

Okta offers a total of six products as part of its IAM platform. Worthy of special mention are a single sign-on system and a universal directory that offers access to all users, groups, and devices. It also comes with a multi-factor authentication feature and tools for managing access to the API and the company’s life cycle.

Okta also offers its own APIs and off-the-shelf tools that can be integrated into applications. Okta tools are compatible with various types of directories, including Active Directory and LDAP, and can also be integrated with third-party identity and access management tools.

Okta products give administrators a very high level of control. They allow configuring a number of conditions for user integration into a particular system based on specific criteria, for example, whether or not the user has an existing account.

Administrators can also generate real-time security reports that help identify vulnerabilities or abnormal user behavior. Since the product is entirely cloud-based, its deployment and configuration takes the least possible amount of time. The tools are free to try for 30 days.

SailPoint IdentityIQ

This is an integrated identity and access management solution that uses role-based models, rules, and policies. In addition to access management proper, it offers detailed information about employee interactions with applications and data.

IdentityIQ also offers the essential controls and tools for unauthorized access prevention, as well as access-related risk analysis functionality. The product offers a single sign-on system for business application users. Both cloud and local services are supported.

In addition to IdentityIQ, SailPoint also offers a cloud platform called IdentityNow. Both have similar functionality and a very user-friendly and intuitive interface. Free trial versions of the products are also available.

IBM Security Identity Manager

IBM has been on the Gartner leaderboard for several consecutive years with its IAM platform. Its product, Security Identity Manager, is a role- and policy-based tool. It offers a very high level of automation. If configured properly, the involvement of administrators is minimal and comes down to creating user accounts and monitoring system performance. It is fairly easy to configure Security Identity Manager after the first launch using a Wizard tool.

The platform can be shared across multiple companies and projects at the same time. For example, it offers access to specific resources not only to the company’s own employees, but also to business partners or third-party developers. It also offers an audit feature and detailed reports on user access. This ensures a high level of security and minimizes access-related risks.

The degree of risk is assessed with the help of AI. A great deal of attention is also devoted to management of privileged accounts.

A detailed audit and reporting feature is also available for them. In the event of unauthorized access, safeguards are in place to minimize potential damage caused by intruders. This is accomplished using a standalone tool called IBM Security Secret Server.

The solution can be rolled out both on enterprise hardware and in the cloud. The cloud offers access to many popular SaaS applications.

Microsoft Identity Manager

Microsoft Corporation is renowned for its software and cloud services. It is therefore no surprise that it also has something to offer in the realm of identity management.

Microsoft Identity Manager manages account access to applications, directories, databases, etc. It uses sets of policies, rules, and roles, and also provides user integration between dissimilar systems. This makes them accessible from a single location under one user account.

The product offers powerful tools for managing passwords and multi-factor authentication as well as privileged accounts. It comes with Azure Active Directory. This cloud-based solution enables comfortable interaction with cloud applications and provides a high level of security.

Support of mobile devices is another strong suit of this platform. This is made possible by a standalone tool called Enterprise Mobility + Security, which offers control and identification of mobile device users and provides reliable protection of data and applications on them.

CA Technologies Identity and Access Management

The platform offered by CA Technologies comprises five products. The core product is called CA Identity Suite. As its name suggests, the product is responsible for identity and access management. The product supports local and cloud applications, can be integrated with various IT systems and scaled up or down depending on the current needs and changes in the enterprise infrastructure.

Identity Suite offers convenient reports and risk analysis, making it possible to neutralize or minimize risks on the go. Role- and policy-based management is also supported.

The tools called CA Advanced Authentication and CA Single Sign-On support advanced authentication and single sign-on. Both tools provide a high level of security when used with web and mobile applications, while significantly simplifying access for employees (and customers and partners, if necessary).

In addition to these tools, CA Technologies offers a directory management tool called CA Directory and a security tool for applications called CA Rapid App Security. This tool grants access to applications after matching data on the device, the user account, and the application itself. The arsenal of Rapid App Security also features many other tools such as fingerprint or face scanners.

Ping Intelligent Identity Platform

The platform by Ping Identity is an integrated solution that can operate both as a regular corporate application and as a cloud service.

A hybrid usage model is also possible. Intelligent Identity Platform offers plenty of tools for effective identity and access management. They include sign-on and multi-factor authentication, support of policies, detailed reports with risk assessment, etc.

A great deal of attention is also devoted to access security. It is provided using not only standard methods and policies but also the company’s brand-name proxy server (in the case of a cloud-based solution) or a configured corporate proxy.
The Ping cloud offers thousands of pre-configured applications accessible through this cloud.

The platform also offers convenient management of directories, supports all common types of devices, and provides AI-powered security.

NetIQ Identity & Access Management

NetIQ’s versatile platform comes with the tools that cover all basic identity and access management needs of employees. Its policies are equally productive in local, mobile, and cloud environments, and the high level of security makes the workflows reliable and safe.

The NetIQ product supports multi-factor authentication and single sign-on in addition to providing a powerful password management tool. Detailed reports are available to system administrators. A particular focus is on privileged user accounts with a high level of access, since they can be compromised and exploited to harm the company.

All of these tools are available to customers as standalone solutions. Their functionality can be tested during a free trial period.

Brief Summary

We wish to thank contributor: Vladyslav Myronovych.  In summary, he says: IAM platforms do not necessarily fall into the category of essential tools. Still, they can be a big help to the company’s IT department.

Such systems can significantly reduce the time of forced interruptions of workflows, caused by delays in providing access or other similar issues. This in turn boosts the overall productivity of employees.

Keen to read another tech security article recommended by Vladyslav?  Read on: The advantages of Next Generation Firewalls.

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Technology

The 4 Benefits of Outsourced IT Services

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The global outsourced service market is valued at approximately $85.6 billion. Two-thirds of this market is devoted to outsourced IT services.

While it’s evident that companies are spending hugely on IT outsourcing, does it really work for all companies?

What about the risks and costs involved?

If you’re still unsure about outsourced IT services, here are four facts that’ll lead you to the right direction.

1. Outsourced IT Professionals are Experts and Always Available

While an in-house IT team may know the ins and outs of your company, they may not be well-versed with new technological trends.

An IT specialist knows the ins and outs of the latest business technologies. Top IT companies usually provide a professional team, and not a “one-man-band”. Thus, by outsourcing IT, you’ll be harnessing the collective expertise of several specialists.

Additionally, most IT firms offer dedicated 24/7 support plans for uninterrupted operations. In comparison, an in-house team is only available on a “nine-to-five” basis. Some of the members may also go on holidays several times a year.

2. Outsourcing IT is Cost-Effective

While cost may not be the main advantage of outsourcing, it’s an important deciding factor. This is especially true for start-ups businesses on a tight budget.

Hiring an in-house IT team may seem like a more affordable option for many. But if you factor in some volatile costs, outsourcing will prove to be the cheaper option. These costs may include software licenses, maintenance costs, hardware expenses, and cloud service subscriptions.

What’s more, outsourcing allows you to have a more consistent budget.

3. Outsourced IT Services Offer Better Security

Different businesses face different kinds of cybersecurity threats. An in-house team is more likely to make a few security mistakes. This can put your crucial business data at risk.

Hackers will use black hat and social engineering tactics to steal your data. Since IT companies have dealt with many cyber-attacks, there are familiar with these techniques. This puts them in a better position to protect your business against digital threats.

They’ll also use infrastructure that’s compliant with state cyber laws. For instance, if you’re in Houston, IT companies like Marimon IT Solutions, SITSL, and Preactive IT Solutions are well-versed with the do’s and don’ts of cybersecurity in the state.

4. Outsourcing IT Promotes Resource Optimization

Outsourcing IT services will help free your employees to do what they do best. For instance, if your in-house IT team specializes in building mobile apps, you’ll be wasting their potential if you assign them unfamiliar tasks such as repairing hardware problems. And that’s where an outsourced team comes in.

Outsourcing IT will also allow you to pay attention to other sectors of your business.

Leverage the Benefits of Outsourced IT Services

The main purpose of hiring outsourced IT services is to eliminate the stress that comes with managing your business’ IT system. A good IT company will help you grow and give you a competitive advantage. More importantly, your day-to-day business activities will run smoothly.

For more IT security insights for your business, check out this quick guide.

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Technology

3 Benefits of IOT for workforce productivity

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In the past, one of the many snags firms faced in making informed decisions was in timely communication. After all, technology wasn’t as evolved as it is today. Project managers, in particular, felt the pinch of imprecise data, delayed responses, decisions being overruled and their teams’ contributions getting overlooked.

Things have thankfully changed, with the Internet of Things (IoT). An IoT network is quite simply, a web of connected devices that captures, processes and stores information. It further centralizes this data, thus saving precious hours in finding the right and relevant information. After all, when you know where and how things are filed away, your workload becomes considerably lighter, letting you multitask while remaining deadline-driven.

One of the reasons IoT enjoys immense popularity is that the host of sensors, barcodes and algorithms within the network render it robust from unlawful data tampering. This way, you’re assured stays safe, and correct. What’s more, when it comes to managing remote teams, a connected workplace makes it easier to coordinate face-time and facilitate team collaborations. Let’s see how and where the benefits of IoT start to show up!

1. Assigns skilled staff to the right projects

No artificial intelligence application works correctly without the right human-driven capabilities, which explains why the search for competent workers never truly ends. But how would you know the work you assign your staff are making use of the right skills?

The answer lies in a resource management tool, which profiles your existing workforce by their availability, capabilities, location and experience. This is critical to feasible projects, because you need to confirm two things before saying yes to new work;

  1. You have the right quality and quantity of staff and
  2. That they have the bandwidth and knowledge to take it up.

The speciality of a resource tracking and planning software is that it syncs electronic employee records into an IoT network, giving you the upper hand in deciding the right fit for work, in terms of the type and quantity of competent staff.

This way, you optimize schedules such that your staff get to be productive without feeling overwhelmed or undervalued. There is the notion that staff who put in more hours or stay back late are more productive but nothing could be further from the truth. What renders true workforce efficiency is a workload smoothened out using an IoT connected network. Besides giving team-based views and acute insights into project demands, an IoT network  gets both sides of the workforce equation right, guaranteeing uncompromised work quality for upcoming projects.

2. Unifies conversations for informed judgment calls

Excellent communication skills is a non-negotiable at work. In fact, communicating and making informed decisions is a package deal when you’re a seasoned manager.  For one, a project is backed financially which requires you to keep investors and clients informed of business activities at all times. And for another, you need to keep both your customers and employees engaged.

This is where the Internet of things come in. While retail stores worldwide are already relying on it to react and respond to changing consumer needs, an IoT connected workplace internally also gives you the opportunity to empower your employees, who are a vital  organizational asset. For starters, a smart office gets people up and moving, and has the potential to influence how employees perceive each other and their work environment.

An IoT network amped up with instant messaging dashboards, for example, lets team members added to the channel pull up relevant conversations concerning actions, decisions and responses.

It saves time by bringing everybody on to the same page, from work done and changes requested to extensions granted and pending tasks. While water-cooler breaks and hallway conversations is a great talking exercise,  what really keeps the lines of communication open is an online forum that digitizes conversations. This way, tasks stay on track with employees who spend their time on the clock productively.

3. Generates accurate effort estimates for project hours

One of the benefits of an IoT network is that it lets you estimate and forecast the supply of employees to foreseeable demand.

The booked versus actuals report is a feature typical of a resource planning tool. It weighs the number of planned hours for work against the actual hours your staff took or would take, to complete it. The intelligence within this report concerns your employees’ billable hours and the efforts invested. You can subsequently adjust your estimates such that

  1. If actual hours exceed originally planned hours, you can find and deploy better qualified staff in the future.
  2. If planned hours turn out to be more than actual hours, you can maximize all hours billed by your staff.

The advantage of embedding this within an IoT connected workplace is that you aren’t forced into a trade-off between skilled staff and complex work. In fact, your ability to generate precise effort and cost estimates actually strengthens, enabling you to stick to the budget when exploring newer work prospects.

The smart office today

A smart office makes it easy to stay organized and time-efficient. For one, it connects technology, people and the environment. Not only do you equip your workforce with the tools that boost their productivity but also give them flexible work options such as remote work and part-time hours.

After all, the option to work from home not only brings down stress levels but also lets remote teams maintain a healthy work-life balance, giving them one more reason to be productive. Corporate offices today are even benefiting from smart assistance, reduced energy bills and increased security,  paving the way to a conducive, flexible and agile work environment .

Thanks, Aakash Gupta, who has several articles on workforce efficiency and enterprise resource management to his credit and you can find him on LinkedIn.

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Security

4 Online Threats to Your Business to Be Aware Of

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Cybercrime has changed criminal activity. No longer are heists solely performed by rogues attempting to break into a building for money or jewelry.

Nowadays, business theft is likely to come in the form of a cyber attack, with a hacker attempting to gain access to their target’s funds or data via a cyber-portal, which they can often do with ease.

Sadly, malicious cyber attacks are a genuine threat to companies of all sizes and in every industry. To ensure your business never becomes a cybercriminal’s latest victim, here are the four online threats to your business to be aware of.

1. Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are one of the most common data security issues many companies face, and they can grant a cybercriminal with access to:

  • Usernames
  • Account passwords
  • Credit card information

Hackers will commonly pass themselves off as a legitimate source to fool their victims and encourage them to provide sensitive data.

The best defense against a phishing scam is cybersecurity training. Your employees often pose the biggest risk to your business when it comes to this hacking tactic, which is why you must educate your staff on the signs of a potential threat and introduce strict cybersecurity policies for them to follow.

2. Docker Exploitation

Many organizations have invested in container authorization tools to deploy their applications successfully.

While these tools are ultimately improving the working lives for many DevOps engineers, they could pose a serious cybersecurity risk if left vulnerable, as a hacker could remotely execute a code on a server and gain full control of a production container cluster.

Thankfully, there are ways to detect and prevent Docker exploits with StackRox, as they will test the product against realistic vulnerabilities using algorithmic-based automatic anomaly detection, without the need to configure complex, unreliable rules.

3. Session Hijacking

As millions of online consumers communicate with companies on different servers located across the globe, cybercriminals can potentially listen to a conversation before stealing sensitive data. To do so, they might embark on SQL injections or man-in-the-middle attacks.

Businesses must, therefore, implement various measures to secure future communications and protect both their safety and their customers’ data.

For example, they could incorporate cryptographic protocols, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) to create safe and secure communications between a company’s servers and their client web browsers.

4. Ransomware

Ransomware is a powerful type of malware that attempts to gain access to a computer, before locking out a user and demanding money in exchange for the recovery key to regain access to a network and data.

It is becoming a popular option with cybercriminals due to the invention of cryptocurrency, which can prevent law enforcement from tracking a payment.

The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack is a prime example of the power of the malware, as it led to the infection of approximately 300,000 computers across the world in 150 countries, with the total damages reportedly reaching billions of dollars.

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Technology

Top 20 Best CRM Software in 2019 for Small Business And Startups

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Competition is getting fiercer in the global market. Companies are trying to put their best foot forward for surpassing their competitors. In this highly competitive environment attracting and retaining customers has become a challenging task. Which is why most of the companies are taking the help of a CRM tool to serve the customers in the best possible way.

CRM industry has seen exponential growth in the last few years. New players are constantly entering this market and trying to establish a strong foothold in the industry. Therefore, you’ll see a long list of CRM vendors while searching online. You’ll find everything from expensive tools with dozens of plans to customizable solutions with excellent features. From these ample options available, you need to filter and find the best for your organization.

Tough job- isn’t it?

Fright not, to help you I have listed the best CRM software for 2019. Businesses of all sizes have used these tools.

We will go through the pros, cons and prices of each CRM tool to make the right decision. See which tools are tailored for the enterprises and which you should be using for your small business or startup.

Let’s ponder over the fundamentals first before getting to the CRM software list of 2019.

The basics

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Yes, it is a quite self-explanatory term. It means a software that helps you in managing and optimizing relationships with your valuable customers. It helps in managing your contacts data up-to-date, tracking interactions with prospects and streamlining the entire sales process.

“Corporations invest in sophisticated CRM, or Customer relationship management, programs to effectively oversee their relationship with their customers at every point during the buying process”- Marc Ostrofsky

Why should small business invest in a CRM?

The more knowledge you have about your customers, the better you can serve them. With a specific CRM for small business you can analyze the customer requirements and understand what they exactly need. CRM solution supports you in the journey of converting leads into sales. It is the best way to gain greater insights into customer behavior, buying trends, customer interaction and potential future requirements of the customers.

With a CRM tool you can:

  • Track deals and identify risk in real-time
  • Find out prospect’s needs and expectations
  • Store all customer data and notes in one place
  • Access vital details of the customer from anywhere
  • Create custom fields to gather specific details about your customers
  • Prioritize high-value opportunities
  • Identify satisfied customers and convert them into brand promoters
  • Automate most of the reductant tasks
  • Spot hot deals and convert them quickly

To explore more benefits of this excellent technology, refer the blog” How businesses benefit from CRM system?”

Statistics about CRM

Here are a few crm statistics that you should know:

  • 91% of companies with 10 or more employees have a CRM system.
  • 64.2% of companies, rate CRM tool as impactful or very impactful.
  • 75% of sales honchos said that a CRM could be a beneficial tool in boosting sales figures.
  • CRM offers an average ROI of $8.71 for every dollar spent.
  • A study by Nucleus Research states that CRM increases sales by 29% and sales forecast accuracy by 42%.

Top CRM tools for 2019

Based on the reviews written on various reviewing sites I have compiled these top 20 CRM software for 2019.

1) Salesforce

Pros:

Starting with a price of $25/user, Salesforce is easy to setup and can be placed in the cloud so easy to access. It has a wide spectrum of features and can be integrated with thousands of third-party applications. Salesforce is customizable to fit almost every use case and is secured, having granular security options. This CRM tool also caters multiple industries

Cons:

One of its biggest downfalls is that it requires you to spend extra for advanced features. The tool is also slightly complex and requires specialized resources. The new update changes the tab orders and complicates the dashboard escalating the difficulty level. Finally, the customization toolkits can be challenging to use especially if you’re new to the concept.

Bottom line:

Salesforce is a power-packed solution that shows the quickest way to solve a business problem. However, this high-end CRM can be a little expensive for small businesses; it is an ideal solution for large-scale enterprises.

2. Insightly

Pros

Insightly’s price starts from $29/user. It is easy to use and invite new users. Along with this, its neat dashboard can be used for quick lookups and it also offers training videos to familiarize new users with various functionalities. It has excellent lead and pipeline management. Finally, the tool has a strong support team for instant help and provides wide options to import data making migration hassle-free

Cons:

On the downside, Insightly has limited reporting capabilities and you must pay more to get highly useful features. Moreover, the visual impact is also missing which can effect the effectiveness of the software.

 Bottom line:

Insightly is an intuitive tool tailored for multi-level organizations. It has a broad range of features that helps in managing both marketing and sales. Insightly offers a free version, but that doesn’t consist the vital functionalities needed to ease sales and marketing process.

3. Salesmate

Price:

Pros

Salesmate is one of the software with lowest prices with $12/user. It is sasy to use and affordable and can be customized sales pipeline fitting unique sales process. Salesmate also eliminates manual work by providing seamless automation. It also has a built-in virtual phone system. It can also be synced with Google apps(G-Suite) and allows user to create unlimited customer reports.

Salesmate has a great mobile apps that is quick and responsive. The app is also well-designed and customizable dashboard. It provides daily reminder for completing tasks on time and is easy for lead nurturing and management. The app is also having excellent tracking and analytics capabilities. The app also provides extensive visibility into each stage of sales pipeline and integrates with a wide spectrum of third-party apps

Cons:

There aren’t a lot of cons to the salesmate software. The only two are that the outgoing emails sent through system do not create contacts directly and it lacks marketing automation features

Bottom line:

Salesmate is an intelligent CRM software for small business and startups with wide spectrum of vital features to improve your sales process. It amalgamates ease of use with excellent customer relationship management functions. It is affordable and perfectly suits the on-the-go working environment.

4. PipelineDeals

Pros

PipelineDeals software starts from $25/user. The software has a simple interface and powerful sales engagement features. Users can also access and add contracts from anywhere. Another feature that sets it apart is that it offers real time deal status update and allows users to set workflows and automate tasks.

Cons:

The software has limited integrations with third-party applications and lacks click to dial options.

Bottom line-

PipelineDeals is a well-designed tool that helps companies in streamlining operation and standardizing processes. It easy to set up and use. PipelineDeals helps businesses of all types in effectively managing and maintaining strong customer relationships.

5. Hubspot

Price:

Hubspot starts from $50/user (for marketing hub & sales hub – $400 for service hub). It eliminates manual work by providing seamless automation and automatically logs every interaction. The software also provides educational support and allows users to schedule interaction with contacts. It integrates with various applications and platforms and has excellent tracking and analytics capabilities.

Cons:

Hubspot needs a 12-month contract to work. It doesn’t have A/B testing is the basic or pro package. While HubSpot does offer a wide range of tools, most of them are free on other platforms

Bottom line-

Hubspot is renowned for its marketing automation tools. The user can easily generate campaigns and instantly get relevant information about any specific company by just adding the company’s name. It is convenient to use; businesses can find everything they need in one place.

6. Pipedrive

Price:
Pipedrive’s price starts from $12.50/user and it provides clear overview of sales. It can be easily integrated with third-party business systems and aids in picking and focusing on the right deal with an organized timeline. The software also offers customization for unique business needs.

Furthermore, all conversations and related information about a contact is stored in centralized repository. The software also allows users to import data and sync emails and provides timely notification about each event. Finally, it is recommended because it enables projection of sales revenue

Cons:

Pipedrive doesn’t have the necessary features for sales other than pipeline in the basic plan and filtering data becomes cumbersome at times.

Bottom line:

Companies of any size can use Pipedrive. It supports over 100+ apps and integrations. Pipedrive makes work easier and faster. Businesses can easily set up customizable pipelines and manage their leads efficiently.

7. Zoho CRM

Price:

Zoho CRM starts from $12/user. It has a wide spectrum of customization options and offers compelling reports and visualizations. It allows users to customize the look and feel of the page. The CRM tracks customer interactions and allows mass updates. It is also easy to create quotes with this software and integrates well with G-Suite apps.

Cons:

It becomes complicated to integrate the CRM with Zoho’s other suite of software products and additional purchases are essential to make the solution robust.

Bottom line:

Connecting with customers across multiple channels gets easier with Zoho CRM. It is simple yet highly effective CRM. Zoho is fast to deploy. It aids businesses in streaming their marketing, sales and inventory management functions with a bunch of software products.

8. Vtiger

Pros

Vtiger’s price starts from $10/user and it loads faster due to less complicated functionalities. Users can create new workflows by setting up conditions, alerts, and actions and can effortlessly create or edit modules with drag-and-drop tools. The software offers open source add-ons for Microsoft Outlook and the vital data is stored in secured data warehouse. Finally, it offers uninterrupted access to data

Cons:

Vtiger’s installation is a bit tricky and the notifications on mobile app are sometimes delayed

Bottom line:

Vtiger is an open source CRM that aids companies in getting organized and managing sales as well as support for rendering excellent buying experience to their customers. It helps the companies in getting better by providing in-depth analytics.

9. Capsule

Pros

Capsule’s price starts from $18/user/month. The software is flexible and easy to get started. It allows users to categorize data using tags and contact lists can be created and used to send group email. Capsule supports integration with leading small business solutions and allows users to track the progress of their tasks and projects

Cons

There’s a huge gap between free and professional account and the storage limit needs to be increased. Only limited tools can be integrated and customization can be challenging.

Bottom line:

Capsule CRM gives businesses complete control over their contacts and sales. They can easily keep a tab on their customers and related information using this high-end tool. Capsule is a well built and easy to navigate. There is no long-term lock, users can upgrade and cancel as per their requirement.

10. OnePageCRM

Pros

OnepPage CRM’s price starts from $11/user. It captures leads from across the web using web forms and lead clippers and tracks deals in progress. The dashboard provides a neat list of to-do task and is easy to navigate. It also has an excellent interface and extensive learning resources

Cons

The CRM doesn’t have an inbuilt calendar though you can sync it with your own. It’s reporting functions are limited and customization options for large-scale organizations. Moreover, there’s no built-in calling.

Bottom line:

OnePage CRM is a cloud-based CRM that allows business to focus on the next step of action with a clean and systematically organized dashboard. All the important information is available in place making it easier for users to keep tab on things that matter for their business.

11) Nimble

Pros
Nimble’s price starts from $9/user and it easily filters and segments contacts. The software also aids in enhancing communication and automatically adds business and contact information to the leads based on their email signature. It also allows users to track communication history and progress of various tasks and provides timely reminders. Finally, it also has excellent workflow automation.

Cons:

There are no sales reporting under basic plan and no pipeline management under basic plan. It lacks email tracking functionality and doesn’t offer built-in calling or third-party integration.

Bottom line:

Nimble is a social CRM that automatically creates and updates relevant information about the prospect or customer. It seamlessly syncs with all the social media channel and give the users the details they need for converting their leads.

12. Nutshell

Pros:

Nutshell starts from $19/user/month. It offers extensive integration with advanced third-party apps and allows users to keep track on daily follow-ups. Nutshell offers tutorial to acquaint the users with the platform and allows users to create, search and edit contact data easily.

It also offers unlimited online storage and provides multichannel customer supports and integrates with Microsoft office, G suite and office 365.

Cons:

The software has limited integrations and multi-language options and there’s no email automation under basic plan. Furthermore, there’s no product training under basic plan and no sales activity report.

Bottom line:

Nutshell is a simple yet impactful CRM that helps businesses in staying organized and keeps them well-informed about sales opportunities in their database. It is a fully customizable solution that has an attractive interface and is quick to set up.

13. Close.io

Pros

Close.io’s price starts from $59/user and one of its biggest benefits is that it automates follow-up process. It also allows users to create custom fields and reduces data-entry. The software automatically logs calls and emails, captures contact data of customers and is built-in VOIP.

Cons:

Close.io’s price is high as compared to various other competitive CRM for the similar features.

Bottom line:

Close.io is a CRM designed for an inside sales rep. It improves productivity and helps sales reps in making more calls as well as emails instantly. Close.io is very flexible and can be easily tweaked. This cloud-based solution is a perfect fit for small and mid-sized organizations.

14. Copper

Pros

Copper’s price starts from $19/user/month (upto 3 users only). It provides all-round view of the business and allows users to create customized reports. The software offers flexible pipeline management tool and the API is extendable via Zapier integration. Copper also works best with G-suite.

Cons:

There’s lack of customization and it doesn’t offer enough training videos. It also lacks call integrations.

Bottom line:

Copper is a comprehensive tool that eliminates manual entries and increases efficiency. mainly focused on providing G-suite integration, It is an actionable system that allows its users to set multiple targets and gives them complete control over their progress.

15. Zendesk Sell

Pros

Zendesk Sell starts from $19/user/month. It allows users to manage and track tasks as well as activities and users can view progress against contacts. It helps sales team in assigning and managing sales quotes and allows users to analyze and measure sales metrics. It also supports mobile application.

Cons:

It offers limited functionalities and no bulk email functionality. Zendesk Sell Mailchimp integration and Zapier integration. It has no sales forecasting.

Bottom line:

Zendesk Sell is an all-in-one sales solution that aids in generating, nurturing, tracking and converting leads. It provides businesses full visibility into their sales cycle. Sales teams can customize the deals pipeline and use it the way they want.

16. Sugar CRM

Pros

Sugar CRM’s price starts from $40/user. The software has an innovative UI and offers wide deployment options. It allows users to instantly create and manage quotes and supports 30+ languages. The software also allows users to analyze and predict sales growth.

Cons:

Learning Sugarcrm framework is slightly challenging and the framework is vast and time-consuming. There is a lack of native chat functionality and advanced workflows are not covered under basic plan.

Bottom line:

Sugar CRM is an open source platform that is used by several large-scale enterprises. It is a best-in-class solution that offers sales, marketing and supporting capabilities. Sugar CRM helps businesses in driving leads, managing vital data and streamlining sales process.

17.  Freshsales

Freshsales price starts from $15 user/month and it enables projection of sales revenue. It allows users to capture leads and group them based on their engagement with the website. It also allows users to track emails for understanding who clicked and opened the email and allows users to sync email, calendar, and contact tools.

Users can store and retrieve data associated with customer contacts and accounts and view scheduled meetings and appointments in one single view.

Cons:

It lacks robust reporting and has limited integration. It’s advanced customization not available under basic plan and the calling feature provided through Fresh Caller app.

Bottom line:

Freshsales is a powerful system that fits right into daily workflow of various sales teams. It offers built-in phone as well as email integration and allows companies to score and rank leads. Freshsales provides a 360-degree view into customer’s behavior and notifies sales teams for taking timely actions.

18. Act CRM

Pros

Act CRMs, price starts from $35/user/month. It is highly customizable and offers software-based communication tools. It can be Integrated with Excel, Outlook, MS word as well as has an added web page integration module and enables users to monitor and manage their deals. The software displays the probability to close a deal and gives users the flexibility to automate marketing related tasks,

Cons:

Its Initial set up is complicated and the interface is difficult to navigate. Most of the functionalities are not intuitive and provides marketing automation feature as an add-o and the support is paid.

Bottomline

Act is a high-end CRM that offers ultimate toolset for boosting the growth of a business. It provides impeccable sales and marketing features that connects businesses with lucrative opportunities. Act is solution that can be used by companies in any market.

19. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales

Pros

Microsoft Dynamic’s price is $65/user/month and is very user-friendly. It has wide spectrum of applications that supports iOS, Android and Window phone devices. Users can keep contacts updates in an organized system and it enables customization of programs as per unique sales workflow. It also allows users to automate market-related activities.

Cons:

Learning the system’s functionalities can be challenging and customization need expert resources. Finally the goal management and territory management not covered under basic plan.

Bottom line:

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales is an all-in-one solution that provides integrated solutions for tracking leads, automating processes, generating sales and improving operations. It minimizes duplications and enhances efficiency by integrating with well-known applications like Outlook, Lync, Word and other Microsoft applications.

20 Apptivo

Apptivo’s price starts from $8/user/month and covers major areas of business-like sales, project and invoicing. The email integration makes it easy for users to connect their email boxes renders more transparency into client engagement and enables customizations.

Cons:

The mobile app has limited functionalities and doesn’t have built-in calling functionality.

Bottom line:

Apptivo is a cloud-based suite that offers modules to businesses for managing contacts, leads, customer service tickets, and overall sales. It is a conglomeration of CRM features, project management tools and invoicing features for small and medium-sized businesses.

Wrapping up

Choosing a CRM is a critical decision for your small business. So, take it wisely. There are many things you need to consider while making this decision. Like the price, features, and requirements. So, I researched and covered the main points in this best CRM software list for 2019.

Discuss with your team and find out their requirement to understand what features your company requires. Based on the need analyzation of your company, explore these CRM tools and select the best fit for your organization.

Thanks blogger, Michelle Joe for your contribution. You can find her on twitter: @michellejoe524

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Technology

What is White Label SEO

SEO white label

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, has become a necessity for businesses. Today, a majority of web traffic comes through sites like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, and it is safe to say that their algorithms and guidelines can make or break a business.

If you do not appear in search, you do not get found. And if you do not get found, you can kiss your business goodbye.

These high-stakes circumstances led some businesses to develop so-called “black label” or “black hat” SEO tactics.

Black Label Tactics

Black label tactics go against the guidelines that the large search engines have set down. For example, most search engines scan pages for certain keywords, and index them for their relevance to a certain topic.

If a user searches for “chicken masala recipe,” the search engine will scrape the page for that string of text and return pages where that string frequently appears.

So, one black label technique, known as ‘keyword stuffing,’ involves littering a page with strings in order to boost its appearance in the search results.

Keyword stuffing

Sometimes website owners add the relevant string to their website thousands of times in a hidden text box, and sometimes they add pages and pages of irrelevant text to their website (as in the example linked above). Either way, keyword stuffing is an attempt to draw traffic by misrepresenting the site’s contents.

Though this practice may induce a sort of SEO sugar rush, where your page jumps up several pages in the search results for a short period of time, search engines tend to get wise to this kind of activity, and a keyword-stuffed site has a high likelihood of getting banned from search results.

So how do you get your site noticed, while ensuring that everything that you do is above board?

White Label SEO

The SEO experts at Link Graph recognize that white label SEO involves multi-pronged approaches.

Recent developments, like Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, the growth AI-enabled web crawlers like Applebot, and voice search like Alexa and Google Home, mean that the context in which people search the web has completely transformed in less than a decade.

Many webmasters are accustomed to search crawlers needing HTML to index their pages, but many pages today are developed with JavaScript, or with front-end JavaScript frameworks such as ReactJS.

JavaScript pages

Users, especially people on mobile sites, expect sites to be dynamic. But if the sites is developed in JavaScript, that means the SEO ranking will be low, right? Wrong!

An example of white label SEO in this instance might be testing said pages with a tool such as Fetch as Google, then adding dynamic URLs.

Because Google is able to index dynamically-generated content, a website owner is often better off integrating such content into their website, knowing it will meet both the expectations of the users and the needs of the search engine.

On one hand, this proliferation of search techniques has been advantageous for internet users overall: spam sites are more heavily regulated, and there is a higher chance of finding a site that is relevant to their search.

On the other hand, webmasters must now contend with more rules than they did before. White label SEO requires the mastery of several rulebooks, as it were, by webmasters interested in adapting to these news circumstances. What does that adaptation entail?

Search Results

For a website owner, that probably means partnering with a company with white label SEO expertise, in order to better search results, and thus better business. It may also mean re-development of some aspects of your website, and ditching some old habits and beliefs.

Change is tough, but it can also be rewarding. For anybody with the appetite to seize opportunities, white label SEO offers a path to success.

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