One of Mediaura's clients, The Meadows, is a world-renowned Addiction and Trauma treatment facility. For over 35 years, The Meadows has helped more than 45,000 individuals in their struggles with the effects of trauma and addiction.
Aside from the incredible, life-changing work that they do, they are also one of our most favorite clients to work with. Patricia Evans, Gina Woods, and the entire team at The Meadows are innovative, creative, and experts in their field....in other words, the type of client you dream of getting to work with.
A Movie About More Than Just Addiction
The Meadows recently sponsored special events and screening for 'Thanks For Sharing' a new movie starring Mark Ruffalo, Gwenyth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Pink, and an exceptionally talented cast. The team at Mediaura was lucky enough to be invited to sneak preview this movie from the Academy Award nominated co-writer of 'The Kids Are All Right' and we were all blown away by how powerful and heartwarming it was.
'Thanks For Sharing' (out September 20th) is one of those rare movies that is as complex and layered as its subject matter. This movie illustrates the addict and recovery experience from many perspectives. It takes you on a journey through joy, pain, fear, love, anxiety, loneliness, shame and guilt and highlights the hopeful possibilities provided by recovery. It was also quite education as well - covering many facets of addiction and types of addiction. Truly a powerful, brilliantly acted movie that deserves all of its acclaim.
Some The Mediaura Team Reviews
"Thanks for Sharing takes a relatively unknown issue, sex addiction, and creates a witty film that kept me laughing!"
- Lindsay Ramser
"This movie opened my eyes to the struggles people with addiction (of any type) face every day of their lives. I have to admit, I didn't know what to expect, but it really moved me. PHENOMENAL acting by everyone. Cannot recommend it enough."
- Dawn Geary
"It was more than a romantic comedy, it brings a social disorder to public light in a real world atmosphere and is still entertaining."
- Corey Capps
Make sure to check it out and let us know what you think!
We'd also like to thank Patricia Evans and The Meadows team again for inviting us to participate in this wonderful experience.
Designing Before Content Management Systems
Back when websites did not leverage a CMS (Content Management Solution), they typically had each page designed and programmed by hand. Web designers would often quote prices on a per page basis because of this. When people became more familiar with scripting languages such as ASP or PHP, they started to leverage include statements that would allow them to dynamically include headers, footers, and other content from a shared file that would cut down on the amount of work required if you wanted to change a menu item. Now you could change it in one file that would be included in the others.
The introduction of CSS also assisted with this by allowing the designer to place all of the style information, things like fonts, colors, margins, and backgrounds, in a single file that could be linked and shared across the website. This meant that if you wanted to change all of the fonts on your website from Times New Roman to Arial, you could do it with a change to a single file instead of manually updating every page of your website.
Revolution of Content Management Systems
It seems that the majority of websites online today take advantage of CMS architecture, whether they are true content-management-systems or not. No matter if it’s Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, DotNetNuke, Expression Engine, or even a custom CMS, chances are your site is leveraging this type of technology and if it isn’t it more than likely will be in the near future. The reason the CMS has become so popular is because people want the ability to be in control of their own website content.
A CMS simply takes advantage of a scripting language (like PHP), and in some situations it also combines a framework (set of rules) to create an engine. Now all you need to do is load in your content and apply a template or theme. That brings us to original question; What is a template or theme?
Website Templates and Themes
Remember the discussion about CSS at the beginning? A template is basically an organized set of files that you use to define what a site looks like. You’re separating the content (your text and photos) from the programming (the CMS) and the look of the site (the template).
So you can redesign your website without re-doing all of your content simply by replacing the template. In this sense, using a template is not a bad thing.
You may, however, have heard of people speaking poorly about templates. The implication is usually that templates are generic or off-the-shelf solutions. This is both true and false. A theme can be downloaded for free and applied to a WordPress website, but your website will look like other people who use that same theme, and the same is true of Joomla with templates and the other CMS. What people fail to realize is that you can create your own custom template that nobody else will have, just as if you were creating your own custom website 10 years ago. The key is just working with a programming team, like Mediaura, that can address your needs and make them work together seamlessly.
Mediaura specializes in creating beautiful responsive templates for all of the popular Content Management Systems. But if you are on a budget and want to use a canned solution, we can help you with that, and give it your own unique touch as well.
MEDIAURA RECOGNIZED FOR EXEMPLARY WORKPLACE PRACTICES
Receives prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility
LOUISVILLE, KY (August 7, 2013) – Mediaura has been honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for its use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success.
This prestigious award, part of the national When Work Works project administered by Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), recognizes employers of all sizes and types across the country.
“We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our workplace practices the third year in a row,” said Andrew Aebersold, CEO of Mediaura “We strive hard to create one of the most innovative workplaces for our team members."
Workplace flexibility — such as flextime, part-time work and compressed workweeks — has been demonstrated to help businesses remain competitive while also benefiting employees. Flexibility in combination with other aspects of an effective workplace—such as learning opportunities and supervisor support for job success—can have a powerful impact on employee engagement and motivation.
“Our research consistently finds that employees in effective and flexible workplaces have greater engagement on the job and greater desire to stay with their organization. In addition, they report lower stress levels and better overall health,” said Ellen Galinsky, FWI president.
The Sloan Awards are unique for their rigorous, two-step selection process, which involves an evaluation of employers’ flexibility programs and practices, and a confidential employee survey on the key ingredients of an effective and flexible workplace. All applicants are measured against national norms from the National Study of Employers.
“As a recipient of the 2013 Sloan Award, Mediaura ranks among the top 20% of employers nationally in terms of its programs, policies and culture for creating an effective and flexible workplace,” Galinsky said. “In addition, what makes this honor so special is that their employees have corroborated this, affirming that it is indeed an effective and flexible workplace.”
When Work Works is a national project to educate the business community on the value of workplace flexibility by sharing research and promising practices, and conducting the annual Sloan Awards. It is an ongoing initiative of FWI and SHRM.
For more information about the When Work Works initiative and the Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility, visit www.whenworkworks.org
A Quick Chat With Mediaura's Newest Team Member!
This week marked the start of a new beginning for Mediaura's latest design, Adam Keller. Originally from Williamsport, Ohio Adam has recently relocated to Louisville, Kentucky to join our design team. He's already shown himself to be a fantastic addition and we are excited to begin showcasing his invaluable skillset through our clients. We thought we'd take a moment to introduce Adam and share some fun insights:
1. You're stranded on a deserted island, what three things do you bring to pass the time?
Paddleball, HackeySack, and Paper.
2. What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I used to show hogs (aka "swine") at the Pickaway County Fair. My pig was named Skeeter. My good friend at home actually raises pigs to market and use for the fair.
3. What song (or album) do you listen to when you want to feel motivated?
Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon III
4. It's your last meal, what do you eat?
Steak, grilled over an open pit with a baked potato, sour cream and cheese...with a tall beer.
5. Favorite Movie?
6. Name one thing you can't live without.
(well played Adam, well played)
7. How do you like to spend your free time?
Music, video games, hanging out, and sports.
8. What sports?
Basketball, football, snowboarding and hockey.
9. What is your favorite thing about Louisville so far?
The atmosphere here.
10. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
11. What made you decide to get into design?
I've always had a passion for being creative with everything I do. Design allows me to get all of that passion out.
12. Ok, final question. If you could have any super power what would it be?
I would have to say, the ability to fly.
Digital technology has been growing by leaps and bounds, especially in the past couple of years. Innovations such as smartphones, 3D printers, mobile tablets, and cloud computing have revolutionized the way we live and work.
Newspaper headlines today read almost like science fiction novels, what with stories about tech implants beneath the skin, smart watches, intelligent advertising, etc. The most recent technology development that is changing the way we see the world is Google Glass.
By now you’ve probably seen the photos of this new techie facewear, but many people still have questions; what Google Glass is and isn’t, what it does, who it’s for, when and where you can buy it, what it’s like to wear and use, and most importantly for technology – what does it mean for our industry?
So what exactly is it?
The answer, for now, is simple: Google Glass is Google on your face.
Google Glass is a wearable technology device that acts as an extension of your smartphone screen to perform a set of simple tasks. It is designed to resemble a pair of glasses. It’s also worth noting that Google Glass is very much an intentional beta product that has been launched to spark a wave of new hardware and software applications. It is conceptware, plain and simple. Google Glass isn't a finished, commercial product -- and it isn't meant to be. It isn't a cell phone or a computer, and you won't find it today on Amazon or in your local Best Buy store.
Made of titanium and plastic,Glass looks like a pair of rimless glasses with a thick, heavy right stem and a cubic rectangle sticking out of the front. It has nosepads and an adjustable arm in the front. There's a power button, a speaker, an indicator light, a Micro-USB charging port, and a camera shutter button. The battery sits behind your right ear, and a touch-sensitive navigation pad is embedded in the right arm near your temple. At the moment the Explorer Edition is available in black, white, grey, sky blue and orange.
The full range of features offered by Google Glass can now only be accessed with Android smartphones. Glass will work with an iPhone, but the features are much more limited and Google hasn’t rushed to announce any compatibility with other smartphone operating systems. Glass isn’t a smartphone either, but it can connect to one (or your home network) using Bluetooth or Wifi.
The small "screen" (the glass of Glass) measures 0.75-inch deep and 0.375-inch by 0.375 inch wide and tall, and it sits between your eyebrow and upper lid, not in front of your eye. You glance up and to the right to read the active display area, which is half an inch at the diagonal.
Google has been a little dodgy on offering up the digital display resolution, describing Glass' screen as having "a high-resolution display [that is] the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from eight feet away. The display is small -- 0.5-inch -- so it helps if you've got strong natural vision or corrective lenses. Since the display housing is transparent, it's easier to read the screen in front of a darker backdrop rather than, for instance, staring into cloudy, overcast skies.
How do you control it?
There are currently two ways to control the product: there's voice recognition, which you trigger by saying "OK, glass." The device's touch pad (aka right arm) works in tandem with voice controls. You'll tap and swipe forward, backward, or down to scroll and back out of "screens" you see in the display.
Moving your head won't change a thing, but if you look up at the Glass module, the screen should light up so you can verbally command it. Otherwise, you can bobble your eyes and head at will, and navigate Glass through deliberate voice and manual controls.
So what does it do?
- Voice search
- Initiates turn-by-turn driving, walking, or cycling directions
- Captures and shares photos and videos through Google Plus
- Starts a Google Hangout
- Accepts phone calls
- Sends texts
- Delivers search results, including the weather
- Hooks into third-party apps
What does this mean for privacy?
As personal technology becomes increasingly nimble and invisible, Glass is prompting questions of whether it will distract drivers, upend relationships and strip people of what little privacy they still have in public.
Glass has already been pre-emptively banned in a few bars across the US. Large parts of Las Vegas will not welcome wearers. Most recently, West Virginia legislators tried to make it illegal to use the gadget, known as Google Glass, while driving.
Google has put safeguards in place to make it less intrusive to the general public. For instance, you have to look directly at someone to take a photograph or video of them, and the camera makes an audible shutter sound when used. The user also has to speak or touch it to activate it. Among the safeguards to make it less intrusive: you have to speak or touch it to activate it, and you have to look directly at someone to take a photograph or video of them.
Google has often been at the forefront of privacy issues. Like many Silicon Valley companies, Google takes the attitude that people should have nothing to hide from intrusive technology.
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” said Eric Schmidt, then Google’s chief executive, in 2009.
So where can you get a pair?
Google Glass is intended for developers who have purchased the product for $1,500 (more than $1,600 with tax). The product isn't commercially available, and if you didn't buy them as part of a developer program or win them as apart of Google’s “If I Had Glass” social media campaign, you'll need to wait until the first pair becomes commercially available in 2014.
To learn more about Google Glass, click here.
To learn more about how to best leverage technology for your business or organization, contact Mediaura today.
In 1997, there were approximately 1 million websites, and 10 years later, there were 150 million websites.
In 2007, there were about 1 million mobile websites, and the number is supposed to reach 150 million by 2017.
People want information and services, and they want them fast. With the advancement in technology, it is possible for users to access information and the services through their smart phones. Companies that have not yet adapted to mobile technology, either by building mobile website or making their webites mobile-friendly, may miss this opportunity to attract customers.
Within a span of three years, the number of people accessing the internet via mobile will be more than those accessing it via PC. This, more than anything else, should be a clear indication for you to start working on a mobile version of your business or organization's website.
Why You Should Have a Mobile-Friendly Website
Rise Of Smart Phones
The sale of smart phones is increasing exponentially year by year, so it only makes sense for companies to have a site that can be easily viewed on these devices.
Popularity Of Mobile Internet
According to studies, about 40% of the people who have a mobile phone use it for going online, and half of them will go online at least once every day. This presents a huge opportunity for a business to capture or define its place in their given market.
Use Of GPS
GPS is a very useful technology. It is used by many mobile users to find out necessary things or directions. They also use it to find nearby services or businesses. If there is no mobile site available for your business then you are potentially losing a customer right in your own area.
People love to browse while traveling or on-the-go. However, when they find that sites that they normally used at their PCs are not mobile-friendly, they might end up switching to a site which provides similar services and is mobile compatible as well.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Having a mobile friendly website also helps in SEO as it helps improve rankings on mobile friendly search engines such as Google or Yahoo.
Compatible With All Platforms, Unlike Mobile Apps
The alternative to a mobile friendly website is producing apps that perform similar functions. This can be a very tedious and costly endeavor. Making an app can be quite expensive and apart from that, you have to develops apps within the parameters of different platforms.
Better User Experience
Earlier, it might not have been possible to make a mobile site and give the user a good enough experience because of the low bandwidth and server speeds. However, in recent times, this has changed and you can be assured that using a good mobile site will be an enriching experience for a user.
Long John Silver's Goes Mobile
Mediaura has recently worked with restaurant chain Long John Silver's to develop a new Mobile-Friendly website. Through embracing this new technology, Long John Silver's has increased their market reach and informational availability for customers looking for details regarding the brand.
Built on a customized mobile-reactive framework, this new website will adjust its "real-estate" parameters based on the type of device it is viewed on. For example, if you were to visit http://www.ljsilvers.com/ on a desktop computer, the landing page would look like this:
Now if you accessed the same website via an iPad or tablet device, the page would automatically appear as:
You can see that the design has shifted so that all of the important information is still captured and accessible to the user, it has just been adjusted for the display area for this device.
Finally, if a users opts to view the same website on their mobile phone, the website would recognize the device and display within the viewable area as:
This is important because users are now able to quickly and easily navigate through the Long John Silver's website no matter how they choose to access the page.
Importance Of Mobile To Consumers
It is important to mention that according to a recent study, 72% of users expect brands to have a mobile-friendly website.
66% of the consumers surveyed said they navigate to mobile sites through a search engine, and 79% said they’ll double back to the search engine if the sites they click on aren’t mobile - despite any brand loyalty present.
55% of respondents said a frustrating mobile experience hurts their opinion of a brand, but it's more than a brand’s consumer sentiment that takes a knock. If the site isn’t mobile-friendly, 61% said they’ll take their attentions—and their wallets—elsewhere.
However, if a site is mobile-friendly, 67% of consumers said they’re more likely to make a purchase.
The New Long John Silver's Website
Long John Silver's website now offers more than just a mobile-friendly experience. Based on user behavior and interaction, the new website is designed to quickly provide information to consumers. The website navigation has been streamlined and organized in such a way that users can now move through the website with the fewest number of possible clicks. This increases the user experience, making whatever information they seek quickly and easily obtainable.
The new menu page categorizes items based on meal type; Baskets, Kid's Meals, Sides & Desserts, etc. This allows the user to "drill down" and view details about products without having to search through an exhaustive menu list.
When a user selects an item type that they wish to obtain more information on (for example, Baskets); the page appears as follows:
A clean, well-organized website is vital for positive user engagement, especially on mobile devices.
The homepage also provides a link that gives viewers information on Long John Silver's Community and Sustainability practices. Illustrating the Long John Silver's commitment to not only their consumers, but the environment and the community as well.
Coupons are also another frequently accessed area of the website, so the new design allows the user to quickly access or sign up for valuable offers. They can also find a store in their area from this page.
Under 600 Calories
Nutrition is important, both to Long John Silver's and consumers. This is why the new website now lists meals available that fall under 600 calories for their dietary needs.
By navigating to the "Food" menu item and selecting "Nutrition", users are provided with two downloadable PDF pages:
Downloadable Nutrition Guide
Downloadable Ingredients List (handy for food allergy information and dietary restrictions)
News & Events
Information about Long John Silver's News & Events is provided on the next navigational tab:
This page also provides downloadable PDFs of press releases if the user would like to print out any information provided on this page.
For those who wish to purchase gift cards, they are taken to an area to find participating locations in their area:
New Store Locator
The Store Locator found on the website provides users with the ability to search for a Long John Silver's restaurant in their area, simply by searching via zip code.
Integrated with Google Maps functionality, the accurate store listings provide both location markers and specific addresses.
If a user selects a location, the map will highlight the information, as well as show the location precisely on the map. This allows users to view locations nearest to them and obtain further directions.
Along with social media links, Long John Silver's also provides users with Family-Friendly entertainment through their Pip & Hobart characters.
Pip & Hobart
Viewers can watch Pip & Hobart animations, found on the Long John Silver's YouTube page:
Or read one of the Pip & Hobart comics found on the website itself:
This allows viewers to be entertained and increases frequency, because new information and entertainment is being constantly added to the website. This creates a new type of interaction with the brand.
Long John Silver's takes customer loyalty and feedback seriously. They are committed to providing excellent service and meals. Users who wish to contact the company for any reason are provided with a page to share their feedback with the company.
Check Out The New Website
Don't just take our word for it. The new Long John Silver's website is full of valuable information and entertaining, informative content.
To view the new Long John Silver's website, please click here.
There is no doubt that the mobile-age of the Internet is upon us.
Being mobile-friendly does not just mean that your website can be viewed on mobile devices. A mobile-friendly site should be designed specifically for smaller screens, allowing easy navigation via larger touch-screen buttons, and only display relevant information and content for the users’ needs.
Don't allow your business or organization to fall behind the trend. Contact Mediaura today to learn how we can help you go mobile and remain competitive!
Updating your website can have a massive impact in regards to your business. An impact across many areas and several layers.
When designed correctly, your website can be an incredible tool to communicate your information, or to market your product to a world-wide audience. Like all other methods of mass communication, effective websites will be the product of considerable planning, development and resources.
Websites, like all other types of marketing, must continue to grow and evolve along with your audience and emerging technology. There are a few reasons for this:
- Updating your website helps reinvigorate your brand and brand message to the audience. Bringing your website up-to-date reengages users and helps to elevate your brand.
- An update to your websites affords you the opportunity to take advantage of new tools in the marketplace, ones that most likely did not exist during your initial launch.
- It demonstrates to your audience that you are an active participant and are proactive with your brand. Nothing negatively affects audience perceptions (warranted or not) than a website that is convoluted and out-of-date. Why? Because it makes it appear as if your website has been neglected, you aren't serious about technology, and this makes it difficult for users to navigate your page.
Despite all the time or money you put into its design and hosting, if you neglect your website, it will provide modest or little benefit in return. The success of your web venture relies much on the amount of attention and maintenance you put into it.
Remuda Ranch Treatment Center
For over 20 years Remuda Ranch has been helping people recover from eating disorders. However, their previous website did not do a good job of capturing the level of expertise and professionalism found there. Initially built on Wordpress and designed by a third-party, the website was difficult to navigate, the content was hard to find, and the overall aesthetic did little to enhance the brand.
Old Remuda Ranch Design
Many of the links were redundant and/or required the viewer to "drill down" several layers before they found the information they needed. The design was not developed in such a way that made it easy for viewers to use nor for search engines to properly register. The problem was essentially that the content was there, however it was not organized or displayed in a manner that made it efficient to use. Therefore, the brand suffered overall - their SEO wasn't as strong as it could be due to design, frustrated viewers would frequently "bounce" off of the website, and users who wished to contact Remuda Ranch for more information often found it difficult to do so. The website was also not mobile-friendly, which is crucial to any business.
As you can see from the image above, the navigation of the website could quickly become overwhelming for a users looking for information. With multiple drop-down menus and very little consistency, it made the website problematic for users.
Another problem was that even when users went to a page for information, they were met with very little content and instead more links to select to further view details. From a usability standpoint, this website was not doing the brand many favors. So when Mediaura was approached to improve the website, the first steps we took in our redesign were to:
- Improve content and navigation.
- Enhance the aesthetic, so that the message, branding, and expertise was prominent and immediately conveyed to the viewer.
- Design the website in accordance with SEO guidelines and best practices. This has multiple benefits to both organic and paid search marketing.
As you can see, the contact information is immediately available to viewers, along with the most important aspect of the brand; that they are, The Most Trusted Name In Eating Disorders. We also included an immediate link to begin the admissions process if so desired, allowing our client to capture users within the first few seconds of their visit. The user is no longer required to click multiple links or navigate through pages and pages of information. Everything from resources and articles, information on conditions treated, innovating therapies utilized, testimonials of former patients, etc.. is captured on the main landing page.
We also developed the website on a custom designed mobile-reactive template, so that viewers can see the website easily from whatever device they choose to use.
Instead of multiple drop down menu items, we have streamlined the navigation by organizing the menus in a more intuitive way, along with breadcrumbs to help the user return to a previous page if necessary. Instead of several clicks to get to information, we have reduced the entire navigation down to no more than two clicks to move anywhere within the website.
Our goal was a clean, user-friendly, SEO-compliant interface. We also integrated Google Maps into the website so that the user could see each of Remuda Ranch's locations, along with detailed information about the services provided there.
The old contact form did not capture as much information as we felt was necessary for the company. Previously, the client was unable to tell what had prompted a user to contact them. Since they were running advertisements on Search Engines, Facebook, employ an "on the ground" sales team, etc. we felt it was a valuable to know what resources were providing the highest ROI. If Facebook advertising was driving more users than traditional media, this information would help when allocating their budget and resources.
We also made sure that the telephone numbers, for both clients and professionals was prominently on display, along with the address of each location.
Since we have launched their new design, we have seen a massive increase in traffic of all types; organic, PPC, direct & referral.
The best part is, is that this redesign was not a massive process for the client. We essentially took the information that was available on their old website, enhanced it for SEO purposes, and organized it in a more efficient manner. Partnered with a fresh clean design, on a mobile template, this client now has a website that has elevated their brand, whilst providing multiple layers of other benefits long term.
Social Media Redesign
Remuda Ranch also has a strong social media presence, but that too wasn't what we felt it should be. With thousands of Facebook fans (and hundreds more added weekly), we wanted to make sure that when an individual came to their page, there was consistency in their branding design and message.
While their previous Facebook Timeline image spoke to the message of Remuda Ranch, it was simply an image taken from somewhere else. Like the previous website, it did not do much in terms of branding or design.
That is why with the updated design, we made sure to tie-in the branding of the new website (driving traffic to the new page), while still displaying the message of hope and recovery offered by services provided at Remuda Ranch.
Their old Twitter page (as seen above) also was not consistent with the website nor their other digital profiles. That is why for the new Twitter design, we incorporated elements of the upgraded website as well:
Consistency across platforms is important, especially from a branding perspective.
What Do We Mean By Hacking?
When we talk about "hacking" in terms of your digital portfolio, we are usually referencing "computer hacking."
Hacking is the practice of modifying the features of a system, in order to accomplish a goal outside of the creator's original purpose. The person who is consistently engaging in hacking activities, and has accepted hacking as a lifestyle and philosophy of their choice, is called a hacker.
Computer hacking pervades global society in the digital age. The act of breaking into a secure computer network serves many purposes, from corporate espionage to blatant theft and political insubordination. Computer hacking affects organizations in a variety of ways -- some universal, others specific to the nature of the reason for hacking and the business in question. The direction of hacking -- whether the organization hacks or gets hacked -- also has an effect.
Hacking Is On The Rise
There is no doubt that attacks of all kinds are on the rise. The Department of Homeland Security has been responding to intrusions on oil pipelines and electric power organizations at “an alarming rate,” according to an agency report last December. Some 198 attacks on the nation’s critical infrastructure systems were reported to the agency last year, a 52 percent increase from the number of attacks in 2011.
However, Internet security isn't a question of probability, it's something you should be prepared for no mater how secure you think your website is. Let's just take a look at a timeline of January 2013 to give you an example of the variety and types of major websites that were compromised:
Important Things To Keep In Mind
- This is just a sample list of major websites that were successfully hacked.
- This list is comprised of submissions by hackers. In other words, there were a lot of other hacking attempts/successes that were not reported.
- This is a very small fraction of websites hacked just within January 2013. One month.
- 50 million people's data and personal information were compromised in just one attack alone.
Common Ways Individuals Compromise Their Security
In order to prevent mistakes, you need to know what they are. While there are a variety of things individuals can do to create multiple layers of protection against security breaches, here are some common mistakes that are made:
Accessing An Account via An Email Link
The most common Internet security mistake is accessing a personal account via an e-mail link. Targeted phishing scams have become increasingly sophisticated and rely on URL cloaking software to make malicious links look legitimate. Any time someone receives an e-mail directing them to access an online account, it is important to enter the URL manually. This will ensure the user knows exactly where they are going and will eliminate one of the most prominent Internet security risks.
Using A Single Password For Every Account
Another common Internet security mistake is using the same password for every account. While the number of online accounts the average person signs up for is larger each year, it is important to create a different password for each account. Using the same password over and over is a mistake because if one account becomes compromised, the hacker then gains access to every other account. An easy way to avoid this mistake is by using a password generator.
Assuming Internet Security Software Is Perfect
The most understandable Internet security mistake is assuming Internet security software is perfect. Internet security companies spend a great deal of time and money advertising their services. At a glance, it seems like today's Internet security software suites protect users from every conceivable threat. Unfortunately, much of this software is reactive rather than proactive. This means, the software cannot protect users until the threat has been identified. While using this type of software is incredibly important, it shouldn't be considered a cure-all.
Clicking An Internet Security Related Pop-Up
To complicate matters, many cyber criminals leverage the threat of Internet security issues to promote malicious software. Any time someone receives an advertisement or pop-up related to Internet security, especially if it offers a free security scan, it is important to ignore it. If someone is interested in a free security scan, there are a variety of free trials from legitimate companies which can be accessed directly from the company website.
Assuming Online Shopping Is Always Safe
There is no doubt e-commerce websites go to great lengths to protect their customers’ personal information. With so much emphasis placed on protecting customers, many people assume that all online shopping is safe. The truth is, new fake e-commerce websites pop up every day. Data can be stolen when it is transferred between the user's device and a legitimate e-commerce store.
Downloading Free Software
While free Internet security software can be particularly dangerous, downloading any type or free software poses an Internet security threat. It is important to only download free software from reputable sites and always do a few minutes of research to ensure the free software does not have a history of causing problems. All of these Internet security mistakes can easily be avoided by implementing safe browsing practices and taking the prospect of online protection seriously.
Not Keeping Software Up-To-Date
If you are running old versions of software chances are it’s insecure, make sure you upgrade to the latest release. Most updates to software are security or functionality related, which means if you aren’t running the latest version you are likely to have missed a few security fixes.
Using The Wrong Browser
During a 2011 hacker conference, Pwn2Own, hackers attacked four popular browsers:
- Internet Explorer
- Apple Safari
- Mozilla Firefox
- Google Chrome
The hackers were able to quickly compromise Internet Explorer and Safari. In fact, these hackers were able to hack the browsers so thoroughly that they managed to write files on the hard drive of the computer they were attacking. Interestingly, Chrome and Firefox both resisted hacking attacks during the exercise. Regardless of the browser, manufacturers are always working to ensure users can enjoy surfing the web safely and securely—and that’s the good news. The bad news, as the Pwn2Own conference revealed, is that cybercriminals worldwide are also working hard to figure out new ways to hack your browser.
Third-Party Scripts And Code
Plugins, widgets or any other code (including free templates and themes) you install are written by other people under unknown circumstances. Some may be great, some may be full of holes. Be sure to research any code you want to use that you didn’t write yourself. Even a few Google searches should help you find out how secure the code you are using is.
Your Website Is On Wordpress
I won't get into too much detail for the purposes of this blog entry, but Wordpress is notorious for being hacked due to gaps in the structure of its environment. In fact, there are over 5 million results in Google for "Prevent Wordpress Attack."
I deal with potential clients every day who have a website that exists on Wordpress and love it. I'll admit, Wordpress is extremely user friendly, easy-to-update, and with the right designer can look fantastic on the front end. However, here are some hard truths about Wordpress.
WordPress has either no, or severely limited:
- Document management
- Workflow management
- Digital asset management
- Link management
- User management
- ESI Caching / CDN ability.
- WYSIWYG editing
- Single Sign-on
- Multi-side Admin
- Publishing options
- Access Management
- n-to-n content sharing
Whenever a client comes to us requesting their website be built on Wordpress, the first recommendation we make is that they opt for a true CMS. Although Wordpress has been taking steps to upgrade their user authentication system, it's by no means perfect; and while no system may ever truly be "perfect" Wordpress is just a magnet for hackers. For example, in April 2013, a massive botnet of tens of thousands of machines hacked in to weak password protected "admin" accounts of the popular blogging platform - compromising thousands of users and their websites.
I run into programmers all of the time who are Wordpress advocates, but from a security standpoint? It's a BLOGGING PLATFORM, not a TRUE CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.
Mediaura Makes Security Our #1 Priority
There are just some examples and tips. You do not have to spend thousands of dollars a month on your internet security, but you do have to make an investment. Cheap, budget website platforms and hosting solutions may seem attractive at first, but trust me, those savings won't seem so spectacular after you've damaged your bottomline and the future of your business because your website and/or database have been compromised.
When your website is down, even for mere moment, it compromises a lot more than your website. It negatively affects your brand identity, consumer confidence, it attracts MORE hackers (because trust me, they share information), etc. Don't put your business at risk.
Mediaura takes your security very seriously, because we don't want to see your reputation and hard work get destroyed due to a targeted attack on your system.
We built our own virtual private cloud with enterprise level hardware and cutting edge technology. Housed at Peak10, our solution includes multiple levels of redundancy and security that are typically only available to large enterprise clients, packaged as an affordable SMB offering.
The Technical Details
We utilize DELL Enterprise servers, switches, and SANs to create our own virtual cloud with VMWARE. The system has been built with redundancy, security, and speed as key priorities. There is no single point of failure, each system is isolated from others within our cloud for security, and our systems are not over-booked. Because of this, you get the uptime and speed you need, without the hassle of managing it yourself or hiring a full time IT person to manage it for you. This is a turn-key solution, which means there never be any finger pointing when your online reputation is at stake!
The Mediaura Difference
Other hosting providers expect you to manage your own system on their hardware, including backups and security. If there is an equipment failure you are likely to be offline for hours or more. With our managed hosting solution, all failovers are resolved within 30 seconds and backups are handled automatically. We have 24/7 monitoring of our equipment, software, and network traffic.
Secure, hardware firewall access is enabled on all of our solutions. We support OpenVPN and IPSEC for remote access.
At Mediaura we understand that Internet Security can seem overwhelming. That's why partnering with a digital agency that not only understands the industry, but also places your security at the top is a smart decision.
Contact Us, so we can price out an affordable and reliable package for your website, mobile app, web application, or intranet file system today.
Your customers are ready for mobile - but are you?
Sources: Gartner, 2010; Google Mobile Optimization Webinar, 2011; Cisco, 2011
Users also expect their mobile experience to be as good as their desktop experience.
Sources: Compuware, “What Users Want from Mobile,” 2011
A Bad Experience Can Cost Your Customers
Sources: Compuware, “What Users Want from Mobile,” 2011
Mobile Users Want to Connect With Businesses In Their Area
Sources: Google “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” 2011
Many Prefer Apps for Shopping
Sources: Adobe Systems “Adobe Mobile Experience Survey,” 2011; eMarketer, 2011
Business Can Drive Purchases With Mobile Friendly Websites
Sources: Lightspeed Research; Google “The Mobile Movement: Understanding Smartphone Users,” 2011
Community of Sport
Mediaura recently worked with our client Active Ankle to give their website a fresh look with an upgraded e-commerce system.
Active Ankle had its start in an athletic training room of a Southern Indiana high school as part of a college class project by a student teacher of Glen Snow's, the athletic trainer at the time. The first semi-rigid hinged ankle support was conceived using parts of a McDonald's food tray along with various materials found in a standard athletic training room. Recognized as a unique product idea, a local businessman helped launch what is known today as Active Ankle Systems, Inc. in 1989. The company has become a worldwide leader in the development of high value, high function foot and ankle products and owns or has rights to over 20 U.S. and Foreign Patents.
Active Ankle's previous website had been designed by a third-party and programmed by Mediaura, and we were happy they were satisfied with our high-quality service and wanted to bring everything to Mediaura for this revision.
The Upgraded Design
Active Ankle is known for their loyal customers and excellent products. We wanted to design a website that showcased the full Active Ankle story, while simultaneously streamlining the process for online purchases.
The online store is organized by product type: Athletic Products: Rigid, Lace Up and Medical Products.
Our goal was to provide the user with as much information as possible so that they could make an informed purchase, yet without overwhelming them with more verbiage than necessary. Since the fit of the Active Ankle product is so important, when a user selects a product they are given the full scope of details regarding the item. There is also a listing that advises users on which sport that product is best designed to be used in.
The Fitting Instructions page has both videos and downloadable .pdfs that demonstrate to the user how to properly wear the product. There are a wide variety of videos available to view, including testimonial videos from satisfied clients.
The .pdfs allow the user to download and save the instructions. Some users prefer to print out the .pdf and keep a copy with their product to reference when putting it on for wear.
Active Ankle is very engaged in the athletic community, so we've provided areas where they can update their news and upload photos from events.
The store locator page provides an area for shoppers to input their zipcode to find the nearest stockists. Once a zip-code is entered, the map populates the nearest store locations, along with the store details and contact information. Since fit is so important, some users want to be able to try on a few products before decided on which brace and size is best for them.
We made the "About Us" page a little more engaging with added video to enhance the story. This allows users to truly "see" what it is about Active Ankle that makes the company passionate about their products.
But don't take our word for it! The "Who's Wearing Us" page lists some of the elite clubs and athletes who rely on Active Ankle to keep them in the game.
Visit the Website
You can see all of the exciting new features by visiting www.activeankle.com and taking a tour.
If you or someone you know would like more information on a custom website, content management systems, or e-commerce - have them contact Mediaura today.