In recent years, many Russia hacking groups have emerged as one of the most sophisticated nation-state actors in cyberspace, producing highly specialized hacking techniques and toolkits for cyber espionage.
Cyber Security is based on Prevention, Monitoring, and Incident Response
Associations are part of the fabric of society. We take it seriously. And we also understand there are no “perfect” or “completely secure” systems. Not even air-gapped.
To guard our SaaS AMS clients’s sites we use redundant systems. These include SSL encryption, application isolation, containers, layers of AWS (Amazon Web Services) VPC, Security Groups, ACLs, Route53 DNS, custom AMIs, virus scanners, malware scanners, pentesting, auditing and more. All of these activities generate redundant logs which need to be monitored. To do that we run what is called the “ELK Stack” or now the “Elastic Stack“.
Cyber Security starts with Project Management
A Cyber PM, upon initial completion, never ends. It requires constant vigilance. The process of Cyber Security can be further explained as:
- Architecture – Start with Security In Mind
- Passive Cyber Defense – Systems that are in place
- Active Cyber Defense
- Cyber Intelligence Gathering
** Note: There is a longer explanation on our site at https://www.tendenci.com/security/
There are many resources available for cyber security training. We encourage you to look them up and take an active role in keeping your web site, company, family and country secure from cyber attacks!
For the expanded full version of the basics of cyber security in the Tendenci SaaS cloud, view at https://www.tendenci.com/security
Encryption is a good thing. You should if you don’t already, encrypt your website with SSL.
Excuses? Nope. As usual, we always learn something from Shelly Palmer’s Strategic Advisor newsletter. And today is was some wonderful news! The EFF‘s efforts with Let’s Encrypt is producing some great results.
That means anyone can get a secure site, the ones with the lock in the URL on the top left like your bank, without paying for the certificate itself. Pretty cool accomplishment!
UPDATE: Final Results and Congrats to our Winner Kelly!
Below are the results of the poll!
We picked a random participant using Random.org and the winner is Kelly P.!
The Big Game is on Sunday and whether you’re in it for the football, the commercials, or the real-life drama of two brothers coaching against each other in the Super Bowl for the first time ever… over 100 million of us will be watching (111.3 million last year set a new record!).
In support of our Silicon Valley California Office we are pulling for the San Francisco 49ers in the big game on Sunday – And we want to know who you are rooting for!
Who will you be rooting for in the Super Bowl Sunday?
Vote in our poll and we’ll send one participant something sweet!
Vote before 5 PM Central time on Thursday January 31. We’ll pick a random poll participant and send you something sweet – if you’re in Houston we’ll send you cupcakes from Crave in your team’s colors!
Thanks and happy voting!
It’s the start of a brand new year, and that clean slate has likely got you thinking about goals and projects you want to tackle for your business. Maybe you’re wanting to take on a redesign of your website, or get started with social media to build online community. Maybe you’ve had all these online outposts for the past year but don’t feel you’re getting the most benefit from them. You’ve got questions but aren’t really sure where to go for the answers. Maybe you Googled something along those lines and ended up here. 🙂
Well, for those of you in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, we’ve got a treat for you! Remember back in college when you were totally stumped on that assignment you were given and needed a little extra help? You’d head to the TA’s or professor’s office during office hours and get the individual attention you needed. It was great! Wouldn’t it be great if there were office hours for all your web marketing questions? Yea, we thought so too.
Schipul’ The Web Marketing Company is pleased to kick off the New Year by featuring Office Hours for those in the Bay Area who may be looking for a little free web marketing advice. Our Silicon Valley office director, April Kyle, will be holding office hours every Wednesday this month’ so sign up now! Topics can include anything you have questions about’ non-profit management, association management, web design, event registration services, Drupal, WordPress’ you name it. We want to be clear – this is 100% NOT a sales pitch. This is us at Schipul wanting to meet you, get to know you, and share with you the combined knowledge of 14 years of geeking out playing around on the web. We believe in knowledge sharing so much, it’s officially part of our culture.
There is so much awesomeness on the web these days’ let’s chat about it! Sign up now and bring your burning web questions to us. We can’t wait to meet you!
Judging from the packed house at the San Francisco stop on the Social Media for Nonprofits Conference tour; organizations are still looking for best practices and new ways to connect with volunteers and donors online. And for those Bay Area nonprofits lucky enough to attend the event, they got some fantastic advice that they could put to use right away. I am always delighted to attend an event with concrete steps attendees can use, and so as to not keep all the goodies for myself, here’s three things that really stood out to me for a nonprofit trying to connect via social media.
Tip 1: Don’t Try To Be Everywhere
You’ve no doubt run in to this – with so many different social media spaces out there, which ones should your organization be on? All of them, right?! No. It’s just not practical, and it also can make it difficult for your constituents to connect with you online if they’re not entirely sure where to go. A great example of this came from Christina Samala, the online community manager for the Story of Stuff [which, by the way, has a new movie out today – The Story of Broke]. Since most of their community is on Facebook, that’s where they spend most of their social media time. It wouldn’t make sense to take away from that in order to throw time at other outlets that the community isn’t engaged in. As Christina suggested; think of your organization as a person – how would that person talk and where would it hang out? Who would it hang out with? It sounds a little hokey, but it’s a great way to make sure your nonprofit is communicating with the right people and in the right way.
Tip 2: Volunteers are Where It’s At
I know. Sounds like a total “DUH” moment, right? But I was amazed to hear the stats behind volunteers and donations. Did you know that 2/3 of volunteers donate to the organizations they work with, and when they do they donate TEN TIMES that of a non-volunteer? Getting your volunteers engaged can have a huge impact on your organization. The three R’s for volunteer engagement, from Greg Baldwin of VolunteerMatch, are Recruit, Retain, and Recognize. A great way to do all three online is via the Johnson & Johnson &you widget. This is a neat little tool that will allow you to bring in your volunteer opportunities, events, and news and display them on Facebook or your website. (Innov8Social has a list of some other great tools to check out). And social media gives you a great way to recognize your volunteers and donors – you’ll be amazed at what a little shout-out will do for a volunteer’s spirits!
Tip 3: Close the Loop
This is a phrase Schipulites are well familiar with! It’s not just for letting someone know when you’ve completed a task – it’s also for letting your supporters know when you’ve reached a fundraising goal. Everyone wants to be part of a winning team, and when you set realistic and specific goals (like, “We want to raise $2,000 to buy a new computer for our classroom”) you’ll find that people are more likely to get involved and get you there. When you then share with the world your success, you’ll find that those who were a part of it will get hooked on that feeling – and will come back again and again. I think often nonprofits are always moving to the next goal and next event, and we sometimes forget to update on previous efforts. If you put out a call to action for donations or volunteer help, be sure to close the loop with your community and let them know a goal was reached and how it’s impacting others.
The Social Media for Nonprofits Conference may be coming to a city near you – so check it out online! And if not, don’t despair – slides from all the presentations are up online and following the hashtag #sm4np is a great way to virtually attend a future event. And we want to hear from you! If you’re working with a nonprofit – volunteer or staff – tell us, what are some of your favorite ways to connect online?
While Silicon Valley and the Bay Area can at times be a whole world apart from Houston, there are still many things the two areas have in common – tech, geeks, startups, non-profits, and people passionate about changing the world through technology. If you’re in the Houston area, hopefully you’ve made it out to one of the Houston NetSquared meetings that Schipul hosts. They’re always fun and informative – a great way to bounce ideas of others working at the intersection of technology and do-gooding. Ed & Katie started the Houston group back in 2006, and have kept it going strong since.
I was excited to check out the San Francisco NetSquared group when I moved to this part of the world, but unfortunately couldn’t make the meeting that took place right after my move. And then summer hit, which those of us in the Bay Area know, is traditionally a quiet time for groups and activities. At the end of summer, the NetSquared community managers sent out word to group members that the previous organizer was no longer able to run the group, and asked if there was any interest in taking over those duties. Being a NetSquared fan girl, I threw my hat in the ring and offered to take the reins. I was lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic community that offered support, and fortunately two awesome folks – Regina Walton and Dave Theriault – stepped up to serve as co-organizers too. Together, the three of us are totally awesome. And no, I’m not biased at all!
I am super excited to get things kicked off with the November Meetup. Young Han from GoVoluntr will be speaking to the group about how he got started in the technology startup space, and what challenges non-profits have today and how technology can help solve them. Young is an amazing guy; I first met him at a Mountain View Chamber event hosted by our friends at Westminster Promotions. Bonus points went to me for immediately understanding what he was trying to go with GoVoluntr; we hit it off from there and have since had several great conversations surrounding do-gooding in technology. Young’s philosophy with GoVoluntr matched the Schipul Core Values so well; it was clear we’d be friends!
GoVoluntr has had an exciting fall, being asked to join the 500 Startups class. They’ve moved in to the group’s space in Mountain View (bonus to being just down the road from us in Sunnyvale – closer for coffee!) and Young and his team are getting their brains crammed with all sorts of amazing training and knowledge. Check out the recent post about their class from TechCrunch, and if you’re a Bay Area non-profit or do-gooder (yes, that’s totally a word) be sure to check out GoVoluntr!! Young and his team have built an amazing tool for connecting volunteers with those who need them, and giving volunteers a way to share and track their activity.
If you’re in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley area, we’d love to see you at a NetSquared event! If you can’t join us on November 8th, no worries – we’ve got speakers lined up for December and January, so join us then! And if you’d be interested in presenting to the group, or know someone who might be, please do let me know! We’re always on the look out for new ways to geek out over tech.
Last week Schipul was a proud sponsor of the 2011 AllFacebook Conference in San Francisco. Two days full of awesome brain-candy, all centered around the number one social platform, and how groups and businesses can better use it. The overwhelming theme was “Quality versus Quantity”.
More important than the number of fans you have for your page is how much those fans interact with you. More important than how often you update your page is the kinds of things you’re sharing and questions you’re asking. A few tips to help you get the most from your Facebook page:
- Give people a reason to like and engage with you. Contests, coupons, earn rewards, etc. Social media is an escape, you’ve got to make people smile and make them want to share. People share because it expresses something about who they are. They share if they believe it to be beneficial to their friends. In contrast, people who enter a contest on your page aren’t likely to tell their friends they did so. We’re gamers at heart and we don’t want the competition! Instead, find a social reason for people to share your content. Keep contests simple – let people use content they already have. If you’re making folks create a video or take a photo, that’s a barrier to participation. The easier it is the more engaging it is.
- It’s too early in the social media spectrum to have a guaranteed recipe for what works. You’ve got to watch what others are doing and learn from them. You have to be willing to try things out and make mistakes. Make sure you’re documenting the things you do try, so you’re able to gauge the response and know what your audience responds to.
- Think of Facebook as a cocktail party. You’re not looking to meet someone and have them sign a contract on the spot; you’re looking to start a relationship. A great way to do that is with social context ads. Those are the ads that you’ll see in the sidebar which indicate which of your friends are already fans of the product or service. They improve your ad recall by 68%, and make you 4 times as likely to buy. Crazy stat time: If you’ve got 350,000 fans on your page, you’re then able to reach the entire U.S. population via those social connections. Start those conversations now!
- Social media often gets the leftovers from other campaigns. It’s the “behind the scenes” access and leftover footage. That doesn’t sell the dream of your product. Whether you are marketing to individuals or businesses, your product has a dream to offer; that idea that if I use your service my life will be more glamorous, or that I can accomplish all my goals. Your company needs to become the enabler that allows me to achieve the dream. Your task is to define that dream for your product and make sure that your social media platforms are effectively selling it.
- Get your fans engaged every time. Easier said than done, right? A simple way is to make a very strong statement and then ask for a response. Think along the lines of “Houston is the best city in the entire world, don’t you agree?” Remember that you’re competing with your fan’s friends in their timeline. Your message has to be engaging enough to stand out amongst the talk of new babys, boyfriend drama, and cute bunny photos. Once you get a conversation going, never leave a question unanswered on your wall. It’s the whole point of social. But be careful to not run over the conversation either – you don’t have to comment on every comment made.
Facebook announces group and video chat
This morning in Palo Alto, Facebook announced several new features rolling out today – group chat, a new chat design, and video chat (aka: ‘video calling‘). These are features that you likely already take advantage of using different platforms, but now it’s possible to take part in them via the Facebook application you’re using every day. In his announcement speech, Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly hit on the theme that the next 5 years in tech will be new applications and programs that use existing platforms.
Now that we’re all connected, the future will be about the cool stuff we can build to take advantage of that. He also stated that users are sharing at an exponential rate. And it’s not just a Facebook phenomenon, it’s an internet phenomenon. Users are no longer the metric to watch; it’s the amount of sharing each person is doing. Now go back and re-read the above points on how to make that content that people want to share. And of course, call us at Schipul if you need some help!
4 billion things are shared every day on Facebook, and now you have some new tools to do it. Group chat you’ll use for coordinating a dinner out or movie time with friends. Start a chat with your best friend, then easily add another. The new chat design makes this easier; instead of a small chat window at the bottom of your Facebook window, the new chat design will scale with your browser. You’re also able to easily send a message to anyone offline; you can even include them in a group chat and a full transcript will be sent to them. (So no talking bad about the people who aren’t there!)
Video chat is by far the most powerful new feature. Powered by Skype, you’re now able to start a chat with someone just by clicking a button on their profile or via a chat window. If they don’t have the application already, it will download for them in just 10-20 seconds. There’s no need to open a new program, add a new contact, and schedule a time to talk. It’s all on Facebook, where you already are. As the lead engineer for the product stated “If it was any easier than that one click, it would be reading your mind.” I think this has huge implications for how we communicate, because now even the most non-technical person can be up on video chat in no time. This might be a good time to evaluate having your parents as friends on Facebook!
The one-on-one intimacy is incredibly powerful. No matter how tech-savvy I consider myself, there’s something about being able to see and speak with a friend or loved one across the country that brings an emotional response. Seeing the demo this morning where that connection was made in a matter of seconds was amazing. I’ve got a few friends that I have connected with on Skype already, but now I’m able to chat with ALL of my friends, without having to do anything new. It’s amazing, and really solidifies Facebook’s place in the social spectrum.
So what about Google+?
As expected, there were a few questions about Google+ directed at Zuckerberg, specifically asking if the Facebook video chat would be expanded to allow for group chats, similar to the Hangout feature in Google+. Zuckerberg said that nothing is ruled out, but right now they’re focusing on the one-to-one experience. Personally speaking, I’m excited to see how this develops. And really excited to be able to easily connect with my friends.
Your customers just got a few more reasons to hang out on Facebook all day – make sure you’re there with them! Fortunately, Schipul is here to help.
You can also access a ton of great resources online – the AllFacebook blog being a great place to start! Check out their post on 20 Essential Marketing Tips from the AllFacebook Expo, and search Twitter for the #afexpo hashtag – there was over a million impressions and they’re still going strong!
This past Sunday marked the 4th Annual Silicon Valley Duck Race. It’s a fun event held in Vasona Lake Park in Los Gatos, CA where attendees get to sponsor an iconic rubber ducky as it floats down the lake. Ducks are sponsored for $5 a piece, and sponsors can win great prizes if their duck is picked across the finish line – anything from a Tahoe vacation to a gardening gift basket. There’s even a chance to win a million dollars! Sadly, none of my ducks were the lucky millionaire ones. That’s why I’m still here to write you this blog post.
The Silicon Valley Duck Race is not just an opportunity to have fun, it’s also a chance to do good. The event is coordinated on by the JewishFamily Services of Silicon Valley, but benefits a total of seventeen different non-profits and charities in the area. Typically the race sells out and all 15,000 ducks in the race are sponsored before start, but this year sales were sluggish. Leading up to race day only about 11,000 had been sold – a strong showing but another example for non-profits how overall giving is down. Media attention surrounding the low sales plus a gorgeous Sunday led to a last-minute push for a total of 13,502 ducks sponsored.
It was my first time at the duck race, and I really enjoyed it! I was most surprised to see the giant duck that resides at the top of the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum down at ground level. When I was first exploring downtown San Jose, I noticed this giant duck on top of a building and couldn’t imagine what for. Then it dawned on me – that had to be the Children’s Museum! It was really cool to see it up close. The duck race was such a fun event, and made all the better by the non-profit support. Plus a day in the California sunshine didn’t hurt either. I’m already looking forward to next year! Photos from the Silicon Valley Duck Race are online at Schipul.com and you can watch the duck launch too!
Yesterday was the annual Launch Silicon Valley event, hosted by the Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs. The event took place in Mountain View at the Microsoft campus, and had several big names in tech and startups speaking. At Schipul, we love building websites for entrepreneurs – we are one! – and we get totally geeky and excited about new technologies; so this was a must-attend for us. I took one for the team and made the trip to Mountain View (about five miles from our Sunnyvale office) and braved the 65 degree and sunny weather to check it out. Before you hate on me too much, please note that at one point there was no coffee available. NO. COFFEE.
In the morning, the agenda focused largely on panel discussions on the future of venture capital and entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, as well as the rest of the world. You’ve likely heard it suggested that we’re currently in another “tech bubble”; based off of the recent LinkedIn IPO and a coming IPO from Groupon. While most everyone agreed that yes, we are seeing a bubble again, they felt that things would be different this time since the overall world economy is still struggling. That factor would keep the stock market in check; since no matter how excited you may have personally been to hear about these IPOs it’s highly unlikely that the average American is in a position to wager a big bet on them. For that matter, few companies would be able to either. There’s not a huge worry about throwing the breaks on this bubble, and the overall hope is that entrepreneurs who get large valuations will cash out quick and then reinvest back into the venture capital arena.
The economic talk continued with California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom appearing at the conference to chat about development in Silicon Valley and California as a whole. Newsom mentioned that he had recently been visiting several states to see how the others work with their businesses, and mentioned Texas as one of those stops. Newsom stated that in California, 33% of residents have been unemployed for over a year. 33%. It’s a mindboggling figure, and one that many of us in Silicon Valley are isolated from, as unemployment numbers have actually been decreasing in this area. It speaks to the importance of entrepreneurship and strong technical education; as those new startups who develop new technologies need folks to hire. Newsom’s talk is available on YouTube; I highly recommend you checking it out. He’s a great speaker and I’m excited to see what’s in store with him as Lt. Governor.
But on to the good stuff. The afternoon was full of startup pitches; companies who had been around for a year or more and those that just started last month – all presenting on their product, idea, technology. Presentations were limited to 6 minutes and then a panel was allowed to ask questions. Viewers in the audience then voted on the idea they think has the best chance of making it. You can view a full list of the companies who presented at the SVASE website (bottom of the page). Here’s five companies that I think you should keep an eye on:
1. Steelhouse – Steelhouse combines two things a Schipulite loves – web analytics and eCommerce solutions. Steelhouse enables a eCommerce company to get real data on their customers and then better target their promotions to them. As a company, you’ve got to love the idea of being able to really drill-down on the activity going on in your shopping cart. Who’s buying? What time? What made them click? Where did they travel to on the site? How long were they there? Do they come back late at night? How many people looked at this campaign in the last 30 days? How about the last 30 seconds? Think of it like Google Analytics on steroids. Better yet, check out the site! The President of Steelhouse is Mark Douglas, who used to work for a little website called eHarmony.com. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s okay if you don’t want to tell us how.
2. Take The Interview – The former Operations Manager in me loved this one. Take The Interview is a cloud-based platform that enables employers to better screen job applicants. It’s hard to tell what someone is really like from just a resume. It’s hard for a jobseeker to stand out from all the other resumes, unless you use Comic Sans 16-point font in hot pink. [Please don’t ever do that.] Wouldn’t it be great if you could have applicants submit a little video of themselves answering some of your core interview questions? Wouldn’t you as an applicant love the chance to get your bright smile across right away? This platform makes it possible. I’m excited to see this one develop, and especially curious to see how some of our Tendenci job board users might be able to incorporate it in to their processes.
3. Innovalley – Did you ever see a video about a guy with a hoodie that had the controls for his iPod built right into the sleeve? Yea, that was these guys. They call it “smart apparel” and it can be anything from the aforementioned hoodie to a laptop bag that charges your laptop and sneakers with built-in GPS. I want it all.
4. Oomba – These guys? Well these guys are having some naming troubles, so the name was changed from Waba to Oomba literally the day before Launch 2011. The website doesn’t tell you much; but imagine a company that allowed you to trade those virtual objects you collect in games like FarmVille and World of Warcraft, or even auction them off to the highest bidder. Since you, of course, don’t play FarmVille you may not know much about these items (at least not that you’ll admit, but don’t worry, your secret is safe with us. On the Internet.)
In many games though, you can earn or capture rare items like a sword or talking cow. Maybe you earn two talking cows and decide it’s too much, because they’re arguing all the time. So you want to sell one, because it would be virtually mean to just let one go wander in a virtual field. eBay however banned you from doing that, so where do you go? Oomba is your place. The company is headed up by Michael Williams, a guy who has written many computer games himself and who gave the best presentation I saw. Also on board with him is Nolan Bushnell, who founded Atari and Chuck E. Cheese. [No, really. And I was totally in the room with that guy.] And cause that wasn’t enough, they also brought on the guy who created Magic: the Gathering and Pokemon. I think it’s safe to say this is a team that knows a bit about gaming and collecting. I’m excited about this one.
5. Trutag Technologies – You know that medicine your doctor just prescribed for you? There’s a 10% chance that it is counterfeit. On the surface, 10% isn’t a lot, right? But we’re talking about something that you’re taking to get better, something that if you take the wrong thing, could do you real harm. Now 10% is a massively large number, isn’t it? Trutag looks to fix that with a edible bar code that will authenticate medicine at the dosage level. While they primarily focused on the medical applications at Launch 2011, they detail other possible uses on their website. While I think it’s kinda weird to think that your medicine has been tagged with something that can be read by a scanner but is edible; the technology behind it all is amazing.
Steelhouse, TruTags, and Innovalley were all voted as “Most Likely to Succeed”, along with Sylvatex Biofuels, Warranty Life, and Flyvie (which I know our own Katie Laird will be interested in). It was so interesting to hear from these entrepreneurs and get an idea of some of the technologies being developed today. Innovation is still alive and well! If you’re interested in learning more about the start up culture in Silicon Valley, check out the SVASE website. The group is a great resource for those looking for venture capital funding, and for tips on how to navigate the many challenges of a startup. Maybe we’ll see you at Launch 2012!