Internet outage in violence-plagued Somalia is extra headache for businesses

Image result for Internet outage in violence-plagued Somalia is extra headache for businessesA severed marine cable has left Somalia without internet for weeks, triggering losses for businesses, residents said, and adding a layer of chaos in a country where Islamist insurgents are carrying out a campaign of bombings and killings.

Abdi Anshuur, Somalia’s minister for posts and telecommunications, told state radio that internet to the Horn of Africa state went down a month ago after a ship cut an undersea cable connecting it to global data networks.

Businesses have had to close or improvise to remain open and university students told Reuters their educational courses had been disrupted.

Anshuur said the outage was costing Somalia the equivalent of about $10 million in economic output.

“The night internet went off marked the end of my daily bread,” Mohamed Nur, 22, told Reuters in the capital Mogadishu.

Nur said he now begged “tea and cigarettes from friends” after the internet cutoff also severed his monthly income of $500 that he took in from ads he developed and placed on the video website, YouTube.

Somalia’s economy is still picking up slowly after a combined force of the army and an African Union peacekeeping force helped drive the Islamist group, al Shabaab, out of Mogadishu and other strongholds.

Al Shabaab wants to topple the western backed government and rule according to its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

The group remains formidable and lethal, with its campaign of frequent bombings and killings a key source of significant security risk for most businesses and regular life.

Now the internet outage potentially compounds the hardships for most firms. Most young people who say they are unable to work because of the outage spend hours idling in front of tea shops.

Mohamed Ahmed Hared, commercial manager of Somali Optical Networks(SOON), a large internet service provider in the country, told Reuters his business was loosing over a million dollars a day. Hared’s clients, he said, had reported a range of crippled services including passport and e-tickets printing and money remittances.

Some students and staff at the University of Somalia in Mogadishu told Reuters their learning had been disrupted because google, which they heavily rely on for research, was now inaccessible.

The absence of especially popular internet sites like Facebook and YouTube and Google was, however, cause for celebration for some in the conservative, Muslim nation.

“My wife used to be (on) YouTube or Facebook every minute,” Mohamud Osman, 45, said, adding the online activity would sometimes distract her from feeding her baby and that the habit had once forced him to try to get a divorce.

“Now I am happy … internet is without doubt a necessary tool of evil.”

(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)


Pinterest Announces Search Ads to Help Businesses Tap Into User Interests

Pinterest Announces Search Ads to Help Businesses Tap Into User Interests | Social Media Today

In their latest effort to transform their platform into a fully-fledged e-commerce machine, Pinterest has announced a new search ads offering, giving marketers the chance to tap into the more than two billion searches conducted on the platform every month.

Pinterest Announces Search Ads to Help Businesses Tap Into User Interests | Social Media TodayOf course, two billion, in the wider scheme of things, is not much – Facebook sees 1.5 billion searches per day – but what’s most interesting to note about Pinterest is the reason why people use it, what inspires people to search for Pins.

You see, what Pinterest lacks in volume, it makes up for in intent. As highlighted by this slide from the 2016 Mary Meeker Internet Trends report, Pinterest has surged ahead of other social platforms in terms of purchase intent and shopping potential.

So while Pinners may not be searching as much, when they do search, they’re doing so with an intent to buy – in fact, Pinterest’s own research has shown that 93% of active Pinners use the platform to plan for purchases, while 87% have purchased something because of Pinterest.

The reach may be smaller, but the potential is still significant.

Pinterest’s search ads function much as you’d expect – when a user conducts a search for a key term (or key terms) you’ve targeted, your Promoted Pins show up, similar to how you would use Google search ads.

The new system will also work in a similar structure to other search offerings:

We’re rolling out a full suite of features, including Keyword and Shopping Campaigns that are shown in search results, along with powerful new targeting and reporting options.” 

Pinterest also notes that the majority of their two billion monthly searches are for products and services, while 97% of their top searches are non-branded, providing expanded opportunity for businesses to reach browsing buyers.

Given user behavior, the addition of search ads is a logical move for Pinterest – though the platform has seen some criticism of late for moving to slow to implement new ad options. Pinterest has been working to improve this, rolling out a range of new tools in the past twelve months, including improved buyable pins, advanced image search capabilities, remarketing and custom audience tools, video Pins and an entirely re-designed mobile app experience.

Documents obtained by TechCrunch in late 2015 showed that Pinterest’s aim is to be generating more than $2.8 billion in revenue by 2018, and they still have some way to go before reaching that goal, with CEO Ben Silberman recently confirming that their 2016 revenue would be in the vicinity of $300 million.

Given their stated goal, the platform will need to roll out a heap more tools and updates this year, though they do have some impressive features in the works, including advanced image recognition and virtual placement tools.

Search is another addition to this, and while it may seem small, it could be a big winner for your business.



[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

Microsoft Halts Windows 8.1 Update Rollout for Businesses


Released just last week, Microsoft Windows 8.1 Update brings a plethora of changes aimed to make the mouse/keyboard experience more tolerable. Enhancements in this major update includes pinning Start Screen apps to the taskbar, adding a power icon on the Start Screen and loads more. Unfortunately, Microsoft has halted Windows 8.1 Update for businesses due to a bug.


“There is a known issue which causes some PCs updated with the Windows 8.1 Update (KB 2919355) to stop scanning against Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 2 (WSUS 3.0 SP2 or WSUS 3.2) servers which are configured to use SSL and have not enabled TLS 1.2,” states Microsoft’s Ben Herila in a blog post.

The issue only affects machines running WSUS 3.2 on Windows Server 2003 (SP2, R2 SP2) and Windows Server 2008 (SP2, R2 SP1), which have HTTPS and SSL enabled on the on the WSUS server and TLS 1.2 not enabled.

“Please note, while we do recommend the use of HTTPS on WSUS servers, HTTPS and TLS 1.2 are not enabled by default,” Herila writes.

For customers that are using WSUS 3.2 on Windows Server 2008 R2, and are deploying the Windows 8.1 Update (KB2919355), the scan functionality can be restored by enabling TLS 1.2 or disabling HTTPS on WSUS.

For those that are using WSUS 3.2 on an operating system other than Windows Server 2008 R2, scan functionality can be restored by disabling HTTPS on WSUS. HTTPS on WSUS can be re-enabled once Microsoft releases an update that resolves the issue.

“Microsoft plans to issue an update as soon as possible that will correct the issue and restore the proper behavior for Windows 8.1 Update KB 2919355 scanning against all supported WSUS configurations,” Herila writes. “Until that time, we are delaying the distribution of the Windows 8.1 Update KB 2919355 to WSUS servers.”

Customers can still obtain Windows 8.1 Update from the Windows Update Catalog or MSDN. However Microsoft would rather have customers wait until the company releases an update that resolves the issue. Until then, the workarounds mentioned above could be useful for testing Windows 8.1 Update in an organization.



[Source:- Tomsitpro]

Facebook delivers a better UX for businesses


Every business today seems to have its own Facebook business page, and with good reason; Facebook is a huge force in marketing as the world’s second-most visited website, and no business wants to miss out on potential leads it can pick up from having a Facebook presence.

In the last few days, the company has been finalizing the rollout of its new business page that are characterized by a cleaner look and feel. One of the most prominent changes that users will notice is that the tabs are gone and have been replaced by a left-hand side navigation. Also, the call to action buttons on the page—CTAs like “shop now,” “learn more” and “sign up”—are all more prominent than they ever were.

Facebook began experimenting with these new designs a couple of months ago, but they’re only now being rolled out on a wider basis. The past couple of months has seen a few, different iterations of business pages. For example, at first, business pages sported a bigger Cover photo and removed any display ads that usually showed up on the right-hand side of desktop pages.

The user experience drastically changes thanks to this redesign. The profile picture will not block a page’s cover photo anymore since the latter has been moved to the right. The cover photo after the redesign still retains the same dimensions: 828 X 315 pixels.

The striking, blue call to action button is now at the top right of the page, just beneath the cover photo. Businesses also enjoy more customization, as this call to action button can be configured to show exactly the kind of action the businesses want their customers to take. For instance, shopping at their retail site, watching a video, learning more about their product or service, or booking an appointment.

The theme of this redesign is a cleaner and more minimalist look. The removal of the right-side display ads greatly help with this appearance, as Facebook is attempting to make desktop business pages more consistent with the recent mobile updates for its Facebook pages from earlier this year.

As far as usability goes, the biggest improvement comes from the removal of the page tabs. Without the tabs, a business page now feels like a traditional site, with navigation down the left-hand side of the page. As a result, users should feel like they can navigate the entire page more efficiently as they browse from one section—such as About, Likes, Events and Events—to the next.

In the last several weeks, more and more users have already begun remarking on these changes. Most users should now be able to see the improvements to the redesigned business pages—Last week, a Facebook spokesperson asserted that this redesign rollout is almost finished. On August 3rd, the rollout was expanded; by this week, you should be able to see exactly what the new business page looks like.



[Source: webdesignerdepot]

This security threat has hit almost half of UK businesses and it will get worse

This security threat has hit almost half of UK businesses and it will get worse

A new piece of research has found that approaching half of all businesses have been hit by aransomware attack over the last year.

The study from Malwarebytes questioned over 500 IT leaders from companies across the UK and Germany, as well as Canada and the US, and found that almost 40% said they’d experienced a ransomware attack during the past year.

That’s a pretty staggering figure which shows the amount of cybercriminals now wanting to target companies for online extortion – because obviously enough, demands can be higher when made to a business (particularly a large one) as opposed to an individual user.

Of those organisations which were victimised, over 40% ended up paying the ransom. The typical demand was over $1,000 (around £750, AU$1,320) in 60% of cases, but one in five demanded over $10,000 (around £7,500, AU$13,200) to unlock data.

Ground to a halt

Over a third of companies hit by ransomware said they lost revenue due to the incident, and 20% had their business stopped entirely for a time. Over 60% of incidents took longer than nine hours to deal with, Malwarebytes found.

As for how the attacks were delivered, the largest amount – 46% – were initiated via an email. No surprises there – although email was less prevalent as an attack vector in the UK, where it accounted for only 39% of attacks. In the US, it was responsible for 59%.

Nathan Scott, Senior Security Researcher at Malwarebytes , commented: “Over the last four years, ransomware has evolved into one of the biggest cyber security threats in the wild, with instances of ransomware in exploit kits increasing 259% in the last five months alone.”

As ever, staff members need to be educated on avoiding malware and have security policies to follow, but if your business is unfortunate enough to fall victim to a scam, check out our feature discussing whether or not you should ever pay up to ransomware criminals.


[Source: Techradar]

5 Useful Social Media and Content Marketing Tools for Small Businesses

5 Useful Social Media and Content Marketing Tools for Small Businesses | Social Media Today

Social Media is moving at a faster pace than ever before. Facebook now has well over 60 million business Pages, accumulating some 2.5 billion comments each month.

Amidst increasing competition, commanding your social audience’s attention has become even harder – and while larger businesses can afford to proportionally raise their investments to beat this content deluge, small businesses are often left struggling to capture any significant market share.

However, there are various tools and resources that can help, and can make a significant impact in your online marketing efforts.

Here are a five such tools to consider.

1. Advanced Marketing Institute’s headline analyzer 

5 Useful Social Media and Content Marketing Tools for Small Businesses | Social Media Today

A recent study conducted by The French National Institute and Columbia University found that 59% of the links on Twitter have never been clicked on. The data suggests that most people share and retweet news without actually reading it.

As such, earning clicks on social media could be harder than originally thought – considering that most people have attention spans of less than 6 seconds it’s important to have article headlines that generate curiosity.

If your headline stirs emotion in your audience, you’re more likely to get that click. Test your headline’s Emotional Marketing Value with Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer.

2. DrumUp – Fresh curated content 

5 Useful Social Media and Content Marketing Tools for Small Businesses | Social Media Today

Social media engagement is a quality and consistency game. If you can’t produce content that consistently engages and holds your audience, they’re likely to switch, because it’s easy for them to find alternate sources.

Creating content on a daily basis, and quality content at that, is no easy task, which is why curation can also play an important role. But curating content isn’t easy either – every 24 hours another 2 million blogs are uploaded on the internet. If you had to dig through all that to find your key content, you’d struggle to make much progress.

The alternative is to use a content curation engine like DrumUp to source fresh social media content to post on your accounts daily.

3. Quora – Content research 

5 Useful Social Media and Content Marketing Tools for Small Businesses | Social Media Today

Phone surveys cost between $5000 and $15000 to conduct, on average, while interviews could cost around $40 per interview. Research via those means can play a significant role in your success, but conducting such research every time you have to run a social media campaign is costly, and likely not an affordable option for most small businesses.

Instead, you can use question hubs, like Quora, to assess the problems/questions that your target audience has and figure out if your product answers those questions (or if you might be able to create content that answers those questions while also helping your audience).

People love companies that solve their problems, and you’d do well to do that rather than simply marketing your products and features.

4. Piktochart – Data to infographics 

5 Useful Social Media and Content Marketing Tools for Small Businesses | Social Media Today

Infographics are a great way to covey information – in fact, research sows that 40% of people are more responsive when information is shared in infographic form.

Creating a high-quality infographic from scratch can be time consuming, but with the advent of infographics and their growing appeal, several companies have now set out to make apps to simplify and streamline the infographic creation process.

Piktochart is one such app. You can choose from pre-designed templates and simply plug your content into it to make your infographics.

5. Google Analytics – Traffic analytics 

Many businesses still continue to run their social media marketing efforts without paying any mind to analytics. Often, for small businesses, this is because they’re pressed for time, but analyzing your social efforts is critical to achieving real success.

Unless you have some idea of what content your creating is most popular, which sites are sending you the most traffic and which social media platforms are generating most referrals to your business, you can’t optimize your social media strategy. Google Analytics is easy to use and helps you find relevant insights which can play a crucial role in your strategic decision making.

There are several free apps on the internet that can make a significant difference in your social media marketing efforts. It takes time to explore them all and find what suits your business best, but doing so can definitely deliver increased efficiencies down the line and help you succeed in your social media marketing efforts. In the meantime, hopefully these five apps will help.



[Source: Socialmediatoday]