Security breach at credit reporting company Equifax

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FROM CNN:
A huge security breach at credit reporting company Equifax has exposed sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers and addresses, of up to 143 million Americans.
Unlike other data breaches, those affected by the breach may not even know they’re customers of the company.

Equifax(EFX) is one of three nationwide credit-reporting agencies that track and rate the financial history of consumers. The company gets its data from credit card companies, banks, retailers and lenders — sometimes without you knowing.

The data breach is among the worst ever because of the amount of people affected and the sensitive type of information exposed…
…read entire story at CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/08/technology/equifax-hack-qa/index.html?iid=EL

A PrivacyMaxx membership provides proactive and comprehensive identity monitoring, alerts and resolution services. Its services go beyond the basic coverage provided to breach victims. Becoming a member ensures that your identity is being monitored, and that you will be notified quickly if any activity is detected. Additionally, if you become aware of any suspicious activity regarding your identity, you can easily contact your PrivacyMaxx Identity Recovery Advocate, who is there to assist you and, if necessary, restore your identity back to pre-theft status. You never know when an organization you trust and rely on will be hacked by thieves. Act now, and secure your future today!

Protect your Privacy with new PureVPN Features!

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Ad Blocking

Every PureVPN app now has built-in server-level protection against annoying & intrusive ads.
Learn more

PureVPN is now the only provider that offers complete protection against ads and online trackers.

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URL Filtering

PureVPN can automatically block rogue websites from loading on your device.

You can also specify websites that you don’t want to open on your device.

Antivirus/Anti-Malware
Get server-level protection from PureVPN against the worst viruses and malware.

PureVPN now has an updated archive of virus and malware signatures and stops them from entering your network.

App Filtering
PureVPN will help you block the apps you don’t want to execute on your device.

Identify apps that you don’t want your children or employees to use on their devices.

IDS and IPS
PureVPN detects and protects you against every incoming intrusion and threat.

Get proactive protection against major threats on the internet with PureVPN.

Learn More about PureVPN

Note – If you purchase a subscription, I will be given a small commission (at no additional cost to you). 

Identity Theft Recovery Service

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Don’t fall prey to ID Theft! Sign up for PrivacyMaxx ID Recovery Service today!

* Covers you and your immediate family (spouse or domestic partner, children at the same address up to age 25, IRS dependents sharing the same address regardless of age, or nursing home/hospice, or deceased 12 months or less)

* Fully-managed ID recovery service

* Covers ID theft with no family fraud or other exclusions

* Unlimited restorations

* No deductible

* Work until credit and identity are restored to pre-theft status

* Includes 12 months of post-recovery monitoring

* $25,000 Expense Reimbursement

Best Backup Data Offsite Services

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Save up to 30% on server backup built just for SMBs. Try it free today!
In our modern world where everything worth saving can be found on a hard drive somewhere, it makes sense that there are countless corporations trying to take advantage of the growing market for backup data offsite services. However, as is the case in so many industries, there are good companies that will backup your data safely and securely, and, shall we say, not so good companies which may treat your data as though it were simply refuse waiting to be disposed of. Finding the right company for your data backup plans can make the difference between your company pulling through after a potential data loss or your business going belly up.

Because businesses are so locked into their data these days, it makes sense that you would want to find the right data backup service for the right job. You will want one that will constantly be backing up your files, because you cannot predict data loss and hard drive failure. You want a company that is willing to backup your files without disrupting your day to day business activities. And you want a backup data offsite service who will treat your data as though it is the most precious cargo they have ever handled.

With all of the competition in the data backup sector, your choice of a company to handle your own business’s data should actually be pretty easy. Choose a company that uses the Internet to backup your data by constantly wiring information over high speed lines directly to their server rooms and banks of hard drives. This type of company will provide you with quick and easy backups that will not disrupt your company’s functioning and a company such as this will be able to provide you with timely backups. All in all though, never choose a company that is offering backup data offsite services without first visiting their server rooms to see how they keep your prized electronic information.

Carbonite gives you secure, automatic & affordable cloud backup for your business, plus access to your files anytime, anywhere. Only $199.99/year! Buy now.

Protect your Computer Data from Disaster

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Backing up the hard drive on your home computer is like going to the Dentist… everyone knows they should do it but few people do so regularly.

According to a study from Dallas-based Parks Associates, a market research and consulting company, more than one-third of consumers don’t back up their digital documents and content at all, putting nearly 30 million households at risk for catastrophic data loss. By postponing the backup of your computer’s hard drive, you may risk the loss of files that represent irreplaceable memories such as baby photos or wedding videos, digital music collections or critical data such as financial records or tax returns.

Hard drives are the computer component most likely to fail. It is not a question of if a hard drive will fail, but when. The cost of recovering a crashed drive is remarkably expensive, typically falling between $600 and $4,000-depending on the extent of work involved and the urgency of turning around the recovery.

M. Fahim Siddiqui, Chief Executive Officer, Sereniti, Inc., a home and small office computer networking and security solutions provider, recommends taking the following steps often to secure files on your computer:

Select a backup system – Files can be backed up by copying them to an external storage device, commonly called Network Attached Storage or NAS, to a CD-ROM, DVD or a USB memory device.

Back up regularly -The more often you download music, photos or video or save documents, the more frequently you should back up the computer.

Back up all your files -Users often back up only a small set of files, without realizing how much valuable information is stored on the entire hard drive; for early backups, users should ensure that the entire hard drive is copied.

Make sure your backup is secure – Users should check their backup device regularly to make sure that their archives are complete and useable. Store them in a secure location such as a fireproof safe.

Use an automated backup Service. Managing backups can get complicated, since it requires managing schedules, file locations and storage; to make backups easy, use an automatic backup service.

System restore – Learn how to do a “system restore” on your computer, which, in the event of a major problem, may enable you to retrieve data on your machine by restoring the programs, settings and files on it to the way they were days or weeks earlier. Windows includes this within the System Tools.

 


How to choose a VPN Service Provider

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A virtual private network or VPN service is the tool that is commonly used these days to protect the privacy of users when surfing the web. They can do this by creating a sort of encrypted tunnel where all the data that you submit on the web can pass through. Because it’s encrypted, it will be impossible for people who intercept the data to read and understand it. There are many VPN service providers around, which makes it hard to choose the best one. I have listed below some of the criteria that you should look for when choosing the perfect service provider for you.

Technical Support – Is it easy to contact them? Are they available 24-7? Are the staffs knowledgeable in technical stuffs? These are just some of the questions you should get the answer for. If you use your VPN connection for work, you cannot afford to lose your VPN connection for a long time.

Reliability. The following questions should be asked by you regarding reliability of service. How many users mentioned the downtime of the provider? Does the VPN connection gets disconnected often?

The VPN Connection’s Speed. Just like your internet connection, you should take into account the speed of the VPN connection. No one wants to wait a long time before web page opens.

The VPN Account Setup process. Because many customers are not familiar with technical matters, the setting-up process of the VPN connection should be simple and easy, and should just take around 5 minutes.

Aside from the three main criteria to check for when choosing a VPN, you should also confirm the following factors below:

Make sure to verify VPN Protocols, especially when you are concerned about data encryption. OpenVPN and SSTP are the most secure VPN protocols around. Restrictive firewalls block VPN connections, and if you have this, then the use of a SSL VPN protocol is needed.
Find out if there’s a limit on the VPN’s bandwidth. You require a big bandwidth limit if you will connect to the web daily, download, or watch videos and movies online.

Ensure that the monthly fee of the VPN connection is affordable, or at least, worth the service it provides. Price range of VPN connections range from $5 to $30 a month.

 

The introduction of VPN to the internet world is such a blessing, especially to people who value their privacy so much. Large companies trust VPN service providers to safeguard their company data, and you should too. A private network that has the ability to hide your IP address, prevent access of unauthorized individuals, secures the private data you store in your computer – what more can you ask for?

Michael Maxstead is a proud contributing author who writes articles on several subjects including VPN and Technology.
You can read more of Michael’s articles and learn about VPN review and VPN reviews located at VPNreviewz.com.

There are affiliate links on this website. If you purchase from them I will be given a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

Jepsen Web Design and Marketing Receives 2016 Best of Sevierville Award

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Sevierville Award

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn.March 31, 2016 –  Sevierville Award Program Honors the Achievement

Sevierville AwardJepsen Web Design and Marketing has been selected for the 2016 Best of Sevierville Award in the Web Design category by the Sevierville Award Program.

Each year, the Sevierville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Sevierville area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Sevierville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Sevierville Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Sevierville Award Program

The Sevierville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Sevierville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Sevierville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Sevierville Award Program

Websites for Small Businesses in Sevierville, TN

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’’Most small businesses in Sevierville understand the importance of having a company website. A website can act as a virtual storefront and information hub, which is valuable because more and more people are turning to the Internet to learn about products, services, and companies before making purchases.

Gone are the days of primarily browsing through paper advertisements or watching television commercials in order to find a new product or service. Instead, consumers would rather get more in-depth information than a 60-second television commercial or newspaper ad will provide them. Therefore, browsing online has now become the #1 way consumers find companies that have what they need.

Not all websites are created equally, however. Some are easier to maintain while others take a lot of time and dedication to manage. Some come with an extremely high price tag, while others are affordable for most small businesses.

WordPress is a budget-friendly content management system (CMS) that’s ideal for local businesses. It’s easy enough for a novice with no knowledge of HTML to use, yet it offers an array of helpful tools that make your website more effective when it comes to generating leads and sales.

When it was created in 2003, WordPress was primarily used by bloggers. Since then, however, it has gone on to attract over 60 million users, which includes local business owners, Fortune 500 companies, celebrities, and much more. In fact, notable businesses such as the New York Times, UPS, and Forbes use WordPress.

WordPress has evolved from a tool to help writers, into a full-service CMS in which businesses can use widgets, tools, themes, plugins, mobile applications, and much more to share their company information.

As a small business owner, you more than likely already know that a quality company website is crucial in today’s technologically-advanced world. WordPress offers small companies an affordable way to have a professional, high-quality website with a variety of added features to help make your website PROFITABLE.

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS)

WordPress is a powerful CMS, which brings several convenient options to you. With a CMS, you have direct control over your business website and can easily add, remove, or change content on the fly without having to learn any complicated software or programming.

This eliminates the hassles and/or wait times of a web developer should you want to make simple changes or publish new content. Instead, you have direct control over the content at all times without worrying about accidentally changing the design of your site, which can cost a hefty amount to have fixed.

With WordPress, your website “design” and your website “content” are completely separate, putting you at ease when it comes to content management.

In addition, you can easily train your employees, colleagues, or anyone else you’d like to publish content or help manage your website. You can give different levels of access to different users, making it easy for you to implement an approval process before content is posted.

WordPress is SEO-friendly

While having a website is important for businesses in Sevierville, it doesn’t do much good if you aren’t driving traffic to it. WordPress is an SEO-friendly platform filled with tools that help you boost your website exposure.

As long as you create unique content with appropriate backlinks, your website has the potential to land high in the rankings of major search engines. Google is especially well-known for placing WordPress sites in the top spots of search results.

With frequent website updates and strategically placed keywords, you have a strong chance of having your own website rank high as well. This is important for businesses as studies have shown that most people select a site from the first page on search engine results.

If your website is buried on the 5th or 6th page, there is a good chance that it will be overlooked.

Simple Social Media Integration Plugins

Social media is another way in which businesses can gain exposure. In combination with a professional website, you can drive even more traffic to your business website and gain new customers. Social Media usage is at an all-time high and is not expected to slow down any time soon

Therefore, businesses are jumping on the social bandwagon in order to build a loyal following of customers and potential customers. WordPress offers an array of plugins associated with the popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and YouTube.

Linking your website to your social media pages is easy when using WordPress; making it pain-free to connect all of your internet properties together, which is powerful for branding as well as ultimate online exposure.

 

WordPress is Easy for Novices

If you don’t know HTML, WordPress makes the process of maintaining your website extremely easy: you don’t need to know HTML to post your content, add images, and make other minor changes to your site.

Years ago, businesses had to call up their web designer just to make minor changes, which usually ended up costing them much more than they wanted to spend.

However, with the invention of WordPress, businesses have more control over their content; and making simple changes is something that any business owner or staff member can handle within minutes.

 

Scheduling Content in Advance

If you have several pieces of written content, yet you don’t want to publish them all at once, WordPress allows you to upload as much as you like, and then create a schedule date for each post.

This saves times as you won’t need to go back each time to post your content. Instead, you can essentially “set-it-and-forget-it” all while keeping your site’s content fresh and updated.

 

RSS Feeds

With RSS feeds, your readers will get all of your updates just as soon as they are posted with the RSS feeder tool. They can choose to read your posts via newsletter or by email.
Affordable for Small Businesses in Sevierville

Many times, small companies either forgo a business website completely because they think it’s too expensive, or create a free website that doesn’t provide them enough options to be successful.

WordPress websites are very cost-effective because they are somewhat easier to design and are more easily managed. WordPress web designers generally charge less than HTLM designers due to this fact.

You probably remember years ago that a company website could cost well into the tens of thousands of dollars. However, those days are gone for most small businesses; WordPress allows any developer to create a fresh, professional website with many bells and whistles without having to spend hours and hours to do so; and this saving is passed on to business owners.

 

Easy Blog Integration

Having a blog on your website is crucial for small companies. It not only helps to drive in more traffic, but it lets you show the human and personal side of your business. WordPress, since it started out with bloggers in mind, provides some of the best tools for blogs, which can be incorporated directly into your business website.

Mobile Applications

More and more people are using their cell phones to browse the Internet, and these numbers are expected to grow. WordPress has a mobile application which allows mobile users to also view your site via cell phones.

In fact, WordPress can automatically detect when a user is on a cell phone, and will automatically adjust your website settings for mobile viewing.

Simple Media Options

WordPress makes it easy to upload and add high-quality photos and videos. With just few simple clicks, you can have brand new images and videos on your website ready for the world to see.

Control of Your Community

In the past, a chat board or forum was added to business websites in order for customers to engage with each other and ask relevant questions. This led to problems such as heated arguments, off-topic and/or indecent discussions, and automated advertisements and spam from other businesses.

With WordPress, however, you are in direct control of your community. In other words, you have to power to lead the discussions via blog posts, Q&A sessions, articles, or however you choose.

You can then leave the comment section open for others to engage. Yet, if inappropriate comments are left, you can turn your moderation filters on and screen them out.

This not only helps to keep your website professional at all times, but it also prevents spam, and stops competitors from posting untruthful, negative information about your company.

 

Conclusion

It’s extremely important for your company, regardless of size, to have its own business website. Most people are now looking online for new products and services in Sevierville, and without a proper website, you’ll be overlooked for a business that is more accessible.

Remember, however, that in order to succeed with your website, you’ll need the right tools and options that most free websites can’t provide you.

As previously mentioned, several small companies have given up on running a business website after limited websites didn’t provide the results they were looking for. It’s crucial to find a site that will afford you a professional business website without skimping on the options you need.

WordPress not only provides you with everything you need to have a successful business website, but it’s more affordable than most other web design options.

A business website is indeed a marketing and advertising tool; and it’s one of the most powerful ways to bring in new business. With a high-quality, informative website, people can easily make their buying decisions from the comfort of their homes.

Most consumers don’t rely on radio, billboard, or weekly newspaper advertisements anymore. Instead, they expect to find all the information they need about a company online. WordPress can help you provide this, and more, to your current customers as well as potential customers.

Many studies have shown that a quality website has the potential to boost a company’s customer base significantly.

If you are ready to finally have the professional online representation that your company deserves, contact me  for a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

Top Reasons Every Small Business Must Perform Online Reputation Management

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One of the biggest mistakes any small business owner in Sevierville can make is to believe they don’t need to engage in online reputation management, just because they run a small business. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact the very fact that you run a small business makes it all the more imperative to manage your online brand image for two reasons:

1. Customer referrals are the lifeblood of all small businesses
2. You don’t have the luxury of a large marketing budget to control negative reviews or restore a damaged reputation like a large business can.

Let’s look at the first three reasons why online reputation management matters to Sevierville small business owners:
ONLINE SEARCH The massive growth in online media and the rapid decline in offline media has made it necessary for small and large businesses alike to change direction and focus on their online image. More and more people the world over look for information on just about everything from the web and this applies to information about your local business. Your target market is more apt to look for your business online through a Google, Yahoo or Bing Search rather than leafing through a Yellow Pages Directory book.

SPEED The speed at which online media operates can make or break your business in a matter of minutes or hours. A viral tweet, video, blog post or status update can be viewed by thousands if not millions of people in a span of a day creating a much more powerful effect in a shorter time than any traditional offline media. Even a small local news story can be broadcast across the nation with a YouTube video. If the news story was positive, a small business can get a lot of positive PR and increased sales, but if it was negative, it can literally destroy the business. Plus we all know that bad news spreads faster than good news.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY Online media is largely an equal playing ground for both small and large businesses, so any business no matter its size can get exposure, criticism and accolades on the internet. This means that even small businesses cannot afford to ignore online reputation management because the internet has made the world so much of a smaller place. The emphasis placed on local search by dominant web players such as Google, Facebook, Yelp and others, has given more power and opportunity for small businesses to grow their presence online. Yet this increased awareness has also made it critical for any small business to know how to handle the huge public exposure and scrutiny that is part of the package.

ECOMMERCE Ecommerce has made it so much easier for small business to grow beyond their town or city locale to nationwide or even international market. Online shopping carts and payment processors have made this all possible, meaning that as a small business engaged in ecommerce, managing your online reputation is crucial to protect your online sales. Negative reviews about your products, services and customer service can damage your online sales, which can be certainly be detrimental if your small business makes more money from ecommerce than in-store sales. In addition, when you consider how certain towns, cities and states have had poor growth in the current economic recession, ecommerce can be the lifeblood of a small business trying to survive.
SOCIAL PROOF One of the biggest social phenomenons of ecommerce is social proof. Do you know that an overwhelming majority of surfers do not trust advertisements but instead trust endorsements and reviews from people in their social networks or from ordinary people like themselves? This is what makes consumer review sites so popular and how it is so easy to convince a new client to do business with you once they have read positive reviews about your company. Therefore in order to protect your online reputation, it is important to know what people are saying about your Sevierville business because this is the single most important influencing force behind a potential clients purchasing decision.
ONLINE SEO What many business owners fail to understand is how permanent a footprint bad publicity leaves on the web. Once content has been published on a website, indexed by the search engines and shows up in the search results, it is extremely difficult to have that content removed. It is not as easy as telling Google to remove the offending page because they have no power to do that. It often involves contacting the webmaster of the blog or site where the content was posted and trying to convince them to delete the content, make the page invisible to search engines or to remove the page. This is often quite difficult as they have ownership rights over the site. Even if you resort to legal measures and they eventually remove the content, it is still difficult for that content to get totally off the internet radar especially if the content was widely circulated or went viral. Online content is definitely very sticky and something that happened many years ago can haunt your business reputation for many years to come

Let Jepsen Web Design and Marketing help you with your Online Reputation Management for your Sevierville, Pigeon Forge or Seymour TN Business.

Understanding the Basics of Local Sevierville SEO

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Over the past few years, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become one of the most popular methods of online marketing. This is the process of optimizing your web content to make sure search engines are finding your website and listing your local business information for web searchers.

One of the first and most important rules of SEO that all businesses should be aware of is that there is a difference between getting website traffic and getting the right website traffic. Any person surfing the internet can stumble upon your website, but in order to turn more web surfers into customers, you need to get the right type of local consumer to your site.

The internet is a massive place, and if local businesses want to make sure they are not only reaching customers, but reaching customers in their area, they have to implement ‘local SEO’ efforts. After all, an SEO campaign that attracts customers in Alabama to a local business located in Tennessee, is not utilizing SEO as effectively as possible.

The logic behind this approach is actually quite simple. First, you should figure out what type of keywords your target audience would type into the search engine to find your business.

Next, you have to develop the right keywords to target the actual location of your business. Targeting a local market with keywords consists of adding your city to the front or back of your target keyword.

For example, instead of using the SEO keyword phrase “pediatric dentist” you can use the phrase “Sevierville pediatric dentist.” This way, you will only have to compete with other pediatric dentists in your home town, instead of every other pediatric dentist from around the globe.

This is why developing the right local keyword phrases is so important. Keep in mind, if you are looking to reach customers in an area with multiple small towns, or if you are a suburb of a large city, you should also use the names of neighboring cities in your optimization efforts. For example. Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Seymour TN.

There is more to a local SEO campaign than creating the right keyword phrases. If you oversaturate your online content with keywords, Google and most other search engines, will flag your website as spam, so keep the overall occurrence of these keywords to a low 3-4% of your overall content.

When creating local SEO content, it is also important that you add your keywords in a natural sounding way. Not only does this look better to the search engines, but it also looks better to your potential customers who will be reading this content.

Although Google is the top search engine, it’s not the only search engine. Therefore, be sure to put efforts into developing a strong presence on other top search engines such as Yahoo and Bing as well.

Let us help you get local customers to your business with our Local SEO Service