Alongside Samsung, LG was one of the first major manufacturers to jump on the “bezel-less” bandwagon. Barring some minor niggles about audio quality and storage space, we loved the LG G6 (check out our full impressions in our LG G6 review), so we’re understandably excited about the impending U.S. release of the LG V30. There are plenty of reasons why we’re excited — the V30 is bringing improved audio, a stunning 6-inch bezel-less OLED screen, and the raw power of the Snapdragon 835.
But it’s not just Samsung and LG in the bezel-less game now. Other companies are starting to catch on, and bezel-less concepts are popping up left, right, and center. Apple recently threw its hat into the ring with the iPhone X — its vision of a bezel-free future. With Apple’s newest and most powerful A11 Bionic processor, a 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED screen, and all the usual iOS polish, the iPhone X is a serious contender looking to rule the roost for the Cupertino, California giant. But who has the edge in this battle of the titanic screens? Which phone should you put your money behind? We take a look at both the LG V30 and the iPhone X in this head-to-head, and see how they fare when trading blows.
|iPhone X||LG V30|
|Size||143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm (5.65 x 2.79 x 0.30 inches)||151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4 mm (5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches)|
|Weight||174 grams (6.14 ounces)||158 grams (5.57 ounces)|
|Screen||5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display||6-inch P-OLED display|
|Resolution||2,436 x 1,125 pixels (458 ppi)||2,880 x 1,440 pixels (537 ppi)|
|OS||iOS 11||Android 7.1.2|
|Storage||64GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB (on the V30+)|
|MicroSD card slot||No||Yes, up to 256 GB|
|NFC support||Yes (Apple Pay only)||Yes|
|Processor||A11 Bionic with 64-bit architecture, M11 motion co-processor||Snapdragon 835, with Adreno 540|
|Connectivity||4G LTE, GSM, CDMA, HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi||GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi|
|Camera||Dual 12 MP rear, 7MP FaceTime HD front||Dual 16MP and 13MP wide angle rear, 5MP wide angle front|
|Video||Up to 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps||Up to 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 120fps|
|Bluetooth||Yes, version 5.0||Yes, version 5.0|
|Fingerprint sensor||No, has Face ID instead||Yes|
|Other sensors||Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer||Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity sensor|
|Water resistant||Yes, IP67 rated||Yes, IP68 rated|
21 hours of talk time, 13 hours of internet, 14 hours of video playback, and up to 60 hours of audio playback
Fast charging – 50 percent charge in 30 minutes, wireless charging (Qi standard)
QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging, wireless charging (Qi standard)
|Marketplace||Apple App Store||Google Play Store|
|Colors||Space Gray, Silver||Cloud Silver, Moroccan Blue|
|Availability||AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Apple||AT&T, LG|
|DT review||Hands-on review||Hands-on review|
Apple’s A10 Fusion processor, which powered the iPhone 7, was still capable of showing the door to the Galaxy S8’s Snapdragon 835, so it comes as no surprise that the upgraded A11 Bionic is capable of thoroughly wiping the floor with the competition. The Snapdragon 835 in the LG V30 is going to put up a good fight but, based on tests of the A11, the iPhone X is far superior to the V30 in terms of pure power. That doesn’t mean that the V30 is a slow phone. On the contrary — the Snapdragon 835 is a very respectable processor, packing tons of power and scoring highly on Geekbench’s tests. So, while the iPhone X is the more powerful handset, that should be seen as a salute to the power of the A11 Bionic chip, rather than a black mark against the Snapdragon 835 in the V30.
In terms of RAM, the V30 hosts a whole extra gigabyte of RAM compared to the iPhone X, which is currently rumored to have only 3GB of RAM. That being said, it’s hard to say whether you’ll actually be able to feel the difference between the two. Android and iOS deal with memory management differently, so pure numbers can’t dictate real-life performance when comparing iPhones to Androids.
It’s a similar story when it comes to hard drive capacity. Apple offers models with 64GB and 256GB hard drives, while LG only offers 64GB, with 128GB being available in certain markets with the LG V30+. But, while that’s all you’re ever going to get with the iPhone X, you can boost the LG V30’s available memory by up to 256GB, thanks to a MicroSD slot. While iPhone users may become annoyed with their eventual lack of storage, and be forced to invest in something like a Leef iBridge, or rely on the iCloud for storage, V30 owners will be able to swap out MicroSD cards whenever they run out of storage. That said, both models do offer a significant amount of space, and diligent users are likely to have plenty of storage for some time to come.
It’s a tough call between the two phones where pure specs are concerned. While the V30 offers slightly more RAM, and the option of expandable storage, it’s hard to beat the iPhone X in terms of raw power.
Winner: iPhone X
Display, design, and durability
Here’s the big category for both of these smartphones; those who live by the screen, die by the screen. Neither phone has anything to be ashamed of in regards to display fidelity. The LG V30 has an always-on, 18:9, 6-inch P-OLED display with a 2,880 x 1,440-pixel resolution. OLED screens are able to display much deeper blacks than LCD or LED screens, because OLED screens can shut down individual pixels that aren’t needed. Thanks to this, media consumption on the V30 looks amazing, especially on videos that can handle the 18:9 aspect ratio — Daredevil on Netflix looks incredible. However, on videos that don’t support such a weird aspect ratio, you’re stuck with massive black bars on either side of your screen, and as of yet, LG has not included a Samsung-like crop to fit option on YouTube videos.
The iPhone X is also packing a massive screen. It’s 5.8-inches in size, with a resolution of 2,436 x 1,125 pixels. The display fills the whole front of the phone, save the distinctive “notch” at the top. This screen is an AMOLED display (don’t be fooled by the “Super Retina” name), and comes with all the same advantages that the V30’s screen offers, with the ability to show blacker-than-black blacks, and deep, vibrant colors. Apple’s new True Tone technology also shifts the color temperature of the display to match the light in your surrounding area — a plus for activities like reading from the screen, but a nice touch nonetheless. Because of the notch, you’re going to have bars at the sides or a section cut-out if you go full screen with videos and other content.
Long-time iPhone users may be put off by the lack of Apple’s iconic home button, and only time (and the efficiency of FaceID) will tell whether this decision was the right one — though one suspects this will be a minor issue. Perhaps Apple intends the top notch to become the iPhone’s new icon? This small design choice has made waves in the Apple community, with some decrying it as ugly and invasive. It’s hard to disagree — at the moment, the notch is a blight on the front of a very pretty phone, but a necessary one that packs a host of sensors, a speaker, microphone, and the front-facing camera. Will we get used to it? Maybe. But for now, it’s a design choice that certainly makes the iPhone X stand out from the rest of the bezel-less crowd.
It’s a different story in terms of build quality. Both phones are a blend of metal and glass, as expected of flagship phones in 2017. The iPhone X is part of Apple’s first range of glass-backed phones — so Apple can finally introduce wireless charging. It’s a welcome change. The iPhone X is weighty without being cumbersome. After the almost wraith-like weightlessness of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the addition of a little extra heft is welcome.
By contrast, the V30 suffers the opposite problem, feeling too lightweight for a phone in its price range. During our hands-on review of the V30, it also suffered significant damage from a low drop of three feet — not quite the durability you want, even for a glass-covered smartphone. That said, the V30 is also IP68-rated, compared to the iPhone’s IP67 rating. So the LG phone should stand up to more abuse from water and dust than the iPhone, but we wouldn’t recommend putting them to the test.
Otherwise, the V30 looks great, with a similar design to the LG G6 with slight borders at the top and the bottom of the phone, neatly framing the massive display. It has the fingerprint sensor on the back and also supports wireless charging.
As glass-covered phones, you’ll want to consider covering both the V30 and the iPhone X with a protective case (check out our favorite options for V30 cases and iPhone X cases), since neither are likely to fare well with drops. With that said, the iPhone X is significantly smaller, making it easier to use one-handed, yet it feels more substantial. While “hand-feel” isn’t really something to buy a phone for, it certainly helps make you feel better about a purchase. The iPhone X may not be perfect — the jury’s still out on that notch — but Apple has to take it over LG in this category.
Winner: iPhone X
Battery life and charging
In a time where flagship battery numbers always seem to start with a “3”, Apple’s insistence on the oddly numbered 2,716mAh battery on the iPhone X could put a few power users off. However, Apple has stated that the upgraded efficiency of the A11 Bionic core should mean that the 2,716mAh battery lasts for longer than the numbers would suggest — and given Apple’s record with batteries, this isn’t too hard to believe.
However, it’s hard to see how Apple’s iPhone X could stand up against the raw battery power of the LG V30. In our hands-on review, we noted that the V30 had serious staying power thanks to the 3,300mAh non-removable battery. After taking the phone off the charger at 8 a.m., the V30 made it to 7 p.m. with 50 percent battery, after medium usage. Further heavy usage saw that battery fall to 15 percent by around 11:30 p.m., but that still makes it one of the best performing flagships for battery life, by quite a big margin. Apple’s record on battery life is good (with some blips), but it’s hard to see how the Cupertino, California giant could top that performance.
Both smartphones come with fast charging and wireless charging capabilities, and boast some seriously good fast charging numbers (Apple claim that their new iPhones can charge from 0 – 50 percent in 30 minutes). However, you’ll have to pay extra to get the cable and adapter required to fast-charge the iPhone X, whereas LG provides them in the box with the V30. While more rigorous testing will be needed to validate which of the phones is truly better over time, our money is on the LG V30.
Winner: LG V30
The ability to take good snaps has become an increasingly vital part of a flagship over the last few years. Gone are the days when fuzzy, blurred shots were the norm — we now expect so much more from our cameras, and they’re rising to meet the mark. The increase in the number of dual-camera phones is also on the rise, and it’s two of those we’re dealing with here. The LG V30 is packing two lenses on the rear of the phone; a 16-megapixel lens, coupled with a 13-megapixel wide angle lens.
While most manufacturers are now including a telephoto lens as the second in the set-up, LG have instead gone for a wide angle lens. Whether you’d prefer that or the telephoto lens is a purely personal choice, but you can get some stunning photos from the wide angle lens that are completely different from what other smartphone cameras can provide. The images are clear in good lighting, but are let down somewhat by the low light performance. But LG’s real focus isn’t on stills — it’s on video — and it shows. LG’s new Cine Video allows you to shoot in various colored filters, and the Point and Zoom function lets you zoom in on a specific point in the video — rather than always zooming into the center of the frame. It’s a handy little feature, and a nice touch.
The camera on the iPhone X is somewhat harder to grade since we haven’t had much time to play with it properly yet. But the camera on the iPhone X is likely to be a tweaked version of the twin-snappers on the iPhone 8 Plus — which in turn, is a slightly upgraded version of the iPhone 7 Plus’s camera. While it may sound as if Apple is resting on its laurels, it’s worth pointing out that the iPhone 7 Plus had one of the best cameras we’ve ever seen on a smartphone, and the 8 Plus’s camera was similarly impressive in our iPhone 8 Plus review, and won the top spot on our list of the best smartphone cameras. You don’t have to take our word on it, DxOMark has also given the iPhone 8 Plus the highest score ever for a smartphone camera, and since the iPhone X is Apple’s flagship, we think it’s safe to assume that it will be at least as good.
While we have to speculate a bit on the iPhone X’s part, we know that it shoots 4K video at 60 frames-per-second (compared to the V30’s 30fps), and can capture slow-motion 240fps video at 1080p. By comparison, the V30 can shoot slow-motion at 120fps, and only at 720p. Another plus is that the iPhone X also comes with Apple’s new Face ID recognition system, replacing Touch ID. While the LG V30 also comes with face recognition as a unlocking method, Apple’s Face ID takes that so much further with a system of infra-red 3D-sensing cameras that detect depth and can reportedly work in the dark. Add to this Apple’s new ARKit and Portrait Modes, and the iPhone X comes out on top by a country mile.
Winner: iPhone X
Comparing Android and iOS is like comparing apples and oranges — you likely know if you prefer one over the other by now, and swapping between the two isn’t generally something that happens on a whim, and without some major soul-searching. With that in mind, we’re going to take a quick look at the various elements of each smartphone that make them stand out from the usual in their crowd.
The V30 will be launching with Android Nougat 7.1.2 at launch, but LG has confirmed that they will be working on getting Android Oreo on the device shortly after launch. LG’s spin on Android is fairly light, and we enjoyed playing with the customization options. Of particular note is the Floating Bar — an expandable bar that sits on the edge of your screen and allows quick access to a few apps, screen capture, audio recording, and more. It’s somewhat similar to the Edge Bar on the Galaxy S8 and the Note 8, and it’s something we appreciated during our time with the V30, but it’s easily switched off if you don’t like it. Also added is the ability to choose a different color theme, and various Smart settings that turn off functions like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth when you leave your house. These are all things that were previously available via third-party apps, but it’s always nice to see a manufacturer embracing customizable options. And if you want more, you can always access third-party customization apps via the Google Play Store. The V30 also supports Google’s new VR standard, Daydream.
The iPhone X will ship with Apple’s new iOS 11, much like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Outside of some small changes to the way that various options are accessed, there isn’t much that the iPhone X does that isn’t also available on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. While this is good for parity, it really does mean that the iPhone X doesn’t have much special going for it outside of its physical changes. With that said, iOS 11 is as smooth and responsive as ever, and if you’re a fan (and even if you’re not), you’ll find a lot to love here regardless of a lack of individuality. One thing it does offer, that the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus don’t, is support for Animoji — cute animal masks that can be animated with your facial expressions via the same camera system that enables FaceID.
As always, picking between the two operating systems is a matter of personal choice. If you’re a fan of one OS or the other, neither phone’s software is going to do much to sway you the other way. In the time we’ve had to play with these phones, both have been fast, responsive, and great to use.
Pricing and availability
Neither phone is currently available, but the LG V30 will be available from October 5 from AT&T, and will be available from T-Mobile from October 13, after pre-orders open on the 5th. We’re not likely to see the iPhone X until November at the earliest, with pre-orders from Apple opening at the end of October. With that sort of small difference between the two, it’s not really enough to insist that prospective upgraders should buy the V30 instead of wait for the iPhone X.
However, only AT&T and T-Mobile have currently confirmed that they will be stocking the LG V30, restricting buyers to those particular networks for LG’s latest. On the other hand, the iPhone X will be coming to every network, with everyone wanting a cut of the newest Apple pie. So if you’re stuck between these two phones, but aren’t on T-Mobile or AT&T (or don’t want to switch), then you’ve really only got one choice.
The iPhone X is likely to cost north of $1,000 for any model other than the base one — which will set you back $999. Not really much of a difference there. Pricing for the LG V30 hasn’t been confirmed, but if history is anything to go by, it’s likely to cost around $750 on launch. The V30 may also come with Google’s Daydream headset when purchased on AT&T. The difference in price between the two is pretty hefty, despite the V30 not exactly being a budget device, so LG’s phone has to win this round.
Winner: LG V30
Overall winner: iPhone X
While the LG V30 put up a great fight with improvements to the camera, video, battery life, and Google’s new VR system, the day could only ever be carried by Apple’s iPhone X. It’s big, it’s expensive, and it’s Apple finally catching up to the status quo, but it’s just that damn good. Despite the notch at the top of the screen, it looks incredible, too.
In this battle between these two titans, your personal answer may not be that simple. In a direct comparison between the two phones, it’s clear that the iPhone X is the superior smartphone. But what does having Android or iOS mean to you? Your personal thoughts and leanings matter a lot, and anyone wedded to the Android ecosystem shouldn’t be put off the LG V30 by this verdict. It’s still a fantastic phone, and looks to be well worth the investment. But if you’re torn between the two, and OS doesn’t really matter to you, then you should definitely hold out for the iPhone X.
If you want to know how the iPhone X holds up against the rest of Apple’s latest, check out our iPhone X vs. iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 8 Plus breakdown.
3 Technologies That Could Win the Battle Against Cybercrime
Considering how fast internet and wireless communication technologies advance, you would think that we’ve beaten cybercrime by now. Instead, the world continues to witness massive breaches after massive breaches that cost businesses and consumers trillions.
According to the Official 2017 Annual Cybercrime Report by the Herjavec Group, the cost of cybercrime is expected to reach $6 trillion annually by 2021 — that’s twice the recorded cost of $3 trillion in 2015. These estimations are based on the most recent year-over-year trends, growth in state-sponsored attacks and other historical cybercrime data.
When it comes to the actual incidences, the many, ugly forms of cybercrime came into full view — from “ransomware” to Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS attacks.
Make no mistake, strides are being taken by the government and cyber security firms to combat these threats. As of now, there are many ways for you to avert most forms of cyber attacks. It’s just that some organizations, like the National Health Service in Britain, fail to observe even the most basic of security practices, including keeping their software applications up-to-date.
And that’s exactly where businesses and individual users can make a difference — by being vigilant and proactive in their cyber security.
The internet is basically filled to the brim with resources that can teach you how to protect against cyber attacks. Better yet, innovators in spaces like blockchain and machine learning also present new opportunities that could potentially put a stop on the never-ending war against cybercrime.
1. Preventing zero-day attacks.
The most dangerous form of cyber attack is the one that you don’t see coming.
It’s reasonable to assume that your business network is already protected by your very own security software. This typically includes an antivirus, anti-malware and a web application firewall. However, these layers of defense depend on software updates that contain threat definitions, which will then enable them to detect and eliminate infections.
A “zero-day attack” is an exploit executed by hackers before these patches are rolled out. For example, if a developer releases an app with an unknown security flaw, hackers can take advantage of this vulnerability before it’s even discovered.
Today, cyber security enterprises and organizations are looking at machine learning as the potential, long-term solution to zero-day attacks. One particular example is the system built by a team at Arizona State University that monitors websites on the “deep web” that markets security exploits as a service. Using machine learning, the researchers were able to capture an average of 305 high-priority threat warnings each week.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence are also known as the underlying technologies behind the Chronicle — a new cybersecurity company launched by Google X. Touted as a “digital immune system” by Google X chief Astro Teller, the platform presumably runs on a detection-based ecosystem that also utilizes the massive infrastructure of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
Although the nitty-gritty of the Chronicle product is still unclear, the product is positioned as a proactive threat prevention, analysis and intelligence platform. These are the kind of functionalities that wouldn’t be possible without some form of machine learning as the backbone.
2. Self-sovereign identities.
The internet is easily one of the most important inventions in the last generation. It propelled us into the future and now permeates every single facet of modern life, including, but not limited to business, education, entertainment and communications.
But as people grow more connected, bigger pieces of their identity are stored online, thanks to businesses, online services and government entities that collect personal and financial information.
Inadvertently, this created opportunities for hackers to commit “identity theft,” which can incur huge losses to consumers. According to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study, consumers lost to the tune of $16 billion in identity fraud damages.
Some of the ways hackers can steal sensitive information is through phishing, website spoofing and card skimming. The most lucrative method, however, is to breach a central repository with a deep pool of identities. One example is the infamous Equifax data breach where over 145 million Americans had their personal information stolen.
With a self-sovereign identity, identity theft can be averted by granting the full control and possession of identities to their rightful owners. A blockchain system like Decentralized.id or DID, for example, allows users to store their personal information on a decentralized, public record. They can then access and verify their identity to avail services via their personal device.
For example, suppose you signed up for a subscription service. Traditionally, your account details will be stored in the company’s own database, leaving you with only your login credentials for access.
A self-sovereign identity, however, is stored in an immutable blockchain that you can access and verify through your own device. It can be a driver’s license, bank account or online account information. Once stored and encrypted in a blockchain, platforms like DID allow you to manage your IDs and use them for various transactions, like logging on to web services or making purchases.
3. DDoS mitigation.
Finally, DDoS attacks are the most common form of cyber attack, and they still present a big problem to businesses in 2018.
The 2017 Worldwide DDoS Attacks & Cyber Insights Report indicates that businesses lose up to $2.5 million per DDoS attack. Apart from revenue losses, it can create a window for further breaches, such as data leaks and malware infections. And as a result, it may also cause irreversible damage to the company’s reputation.
A DDoS attack works by flooding an online service with traffic using a network of computers infected with Trojans, also known as “botnets.” This would consume most, if not all, of the available bandwidth that the server can support, thus, denying access to real users.
Due to their compounding effects, DDoS-as-a-service providers see up to 95 percent in profits in deep web markets, according to Kaspersky Labs. Fortunately, these attacks can now be easily fended off with DDoS protection services like Cloudflare. There are also web hosting services that feature network-level flood protection, screening and blocking traffic from suspicious sources.
Ultimately, all it takes is a proactive approach towards cyber security. Throughout the war against cybercrime, there never really was a shortage of security tools that can respond and repair the damage done by cyber-attacks. But with the technologies mentioned above, you can assume a proactive stance and take the battle to the hackers.
3 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats Facing Small Businesses Right Now
Technology has quickly engulfed the world around us. Everything we do, both at a business and personal level, seems to involve technology in one way or another. However, as that happens, small businesses continue to be a top target for hackers, with the number of organizations hit by cybercrime rising each year. According to The Ponemon Institute’s 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-Sized Businesses report, 61 percent of businesses experienced a cyber attack in 2017, signifying a 6 percent increase from the previous year’s 55 percent. Data breaches were up to 54 percent from 50 percent in 2016.
This year promises faster internet, more connectivity, and unfortunately, more cybersecurity threats. Threat Horizon 2018, from the Threat Horizon series by the non-profit association Information Security Forum (ISF), shows that with the growing connectivity, there will be an increase in the information security threat landscape.
1. Internet of Things (IoT) leaks.
As real-time data collection becomes increasingly important, the IoT is growing too. From monitoring traffic and collecting real-time patient information to optimizing the uptime of industrial equipment, organizations are massively acquiring IoT devices. However, these devices aren’t always secure. This creates a potential backdoor into the organization, warns the ISF.
IoT works so great because it’s comprised of dozens of devices that hide in plain sight. Be it alarm systems, GPS, web cameras, HVAC or medical devices, such as pacemakers, it’d be hard to guess which of these devices are even connected to the internet in the first place. But since IoT devices lack built-in security, they are often easy targets by hackers.
Attackers usually use automated programs to locate IoT devices. Once located, attackers attempt to connect to the device using the default admin credentials. And since most users don’t change them, this is usually a success for the attacker. Once in, the hackers can easily install malware, basically taking the system under their control.
Daniel Soderberg, CEO of EyeOnPass, advises changing all passwords immediately when you acquire a new device. “I wouldn’t operate any device with the default password,” he warns. “Default passwords are usually printed and freely available, exposing the user to all manner of cyber dangers.”
2. Opaque algorithms.
The Threat Horizon 2018 report also warns of the increasing using of algorithms. As organizations continue to fully trust algorithms with the operation and decisions concerning critical systems, the report says, they lose the visibility into the functioning and interaction of their systems.
The lack of proper and transparent interactions between algorithms poses a security risk in case unintended interactions between algorithms create incidents — like the U.S. Treasury Bonds “flash crash” of October 2014 that saw bond yields drastically drop briefly before the algorithms corrected themselves.
“We know they’re going to do some quirky stuff from time-to-time,” says Steve Durbin, managing director of the ISF. “You need to understand some of the exposure you have to algorithmic systems. We’re building more and more of our systems on top of algorithms — industrial control, critical infrastructure. There’s an increasing risk in this space we need to be addressing.”
To be able to manage these risks, organizations need to have a human monitoring the execution of operations and decisions often left to algorithms. The report advises organizations to know the risks that come with algorithm-controlled systems and know when to involve a human. Also, they must update their code maintenance policies and identify alternatives to treating algorithm-related incidents, especially when insurance isn’t an option.
3. Security researchers are being silenced.
Security researchers are often the whistleblowers. They impart knowledge about digital vulnerabilities, making sure systems are secure and users’ data remains in the intended hands. When they are silenced, either by the government or private companies, it’s often a loss for all users.
With software replacing hardware in most major sectors, users and businesses depend on researchers to unearth vulnerabilities and make them public as part of ongoing efforts to improve security. However, lately, manufacturers have been responding to such actions by taking legal action instead of working with the research to fix those vulnerabilities. The ISF predicts that this trend will only grow; exposing customers to vulnerabilities that manufacturers have decided to hide rather than fix.
To protect themselves, the ISF advises technology buyers, which include small businesses, to insist on transparency during the procurement process. It advises manufacturers to take it more positively when vulnerabilities are found within their systems by rewarding the researchers rather than attempting to punish them.
Considering that a researcher might find a vulnerability in a tool in 2018 and not report it, it’s imperative for the small business owner to take a step further in protecting themselves, even if it means working with other business in order to come up with an affordable solution.
Transparency is key.
When it comes to security, transparency has a great role to play. But this part has long been left for the security professionals. If all users reflected some degree of transparency, security in the cyberspace would be easier to achieve. If the non-technical managers and leaders understood the impact of good and poor protection, they would use the cyber assets they have more responsibly. Employees would be more careful about the devices they introduce to the network.
As the business owner, it’s your job to carefully manage the inventory of the connected IoT devices. “Some things have internet capabilities that you didn’t ask for and will never use,” says Leon Adato of SolarWinds adding that any devices that don’t need to be connected to the internet should be disconnected.
The Big 3 Tech Categories That Will Contribute the Most to Your Startup's Success in 2018
Few startups these days can exist — let alone succeed — without technology. In fact, Forrester’s mid-year tech outlook, published in September, predicted that tech spending would increase across multiple sectors in 2018. Theoutlook forecast that 4 percent more would be spent across the board for global purchases of software, hardware and technology services by corporations and government agencies alike.
That’s the kind of growth that will push the tech industry past the $3 trillion mark for the first time in history.
But as each new day seems to herald a new technology that promises to make marketing, communication and creativity ever more dynamic, entrepreneurs may be left wondering which technologies they should invest in — or whether they should invest. Here’s how they should form those decisions:
Embrace the future of technology — it’s already here.
Effectively utilizing a technology is about having a great idea that genuinely deploys that tech platform in an effective way and bolsters a startup’s productivity and execution.
Trying to shoehorn Blockchain or voice recognition into an app that has no use for either technology in the first place is a worthless endeavor. On the other hand, when it comes to Blockchain, you should think about the coded smart contracts it facilitates and how those contracts can execute themselves when the agreed-upon conditions are met.
Blockchain, then, is a useful tool for entrepreneurs working with vendors, because the blockchain network can store these contracts securely and allow both parties to obtain proof of the agreement any time they want.
AI developments are useful tools as well: They’ve streamlined many fundamental office tasks by making devices self-manageable. Examples include printers that can reorder their own paper and ink, and computers that can debug their own software.
As with any product, of course, entrepreneurs must first understand the problem they need to solve by surveying the landscape of technologies out there to understand each one’s benefits, implementation requirements and drawbacks. Next, entrepreneurs must select the tool or tools best suited for their intended application, then consider the existing scenarios in their businesses that each new technology might supplement or improve upon.
Think about these big three technologies shaping startup success in 2018.
In the end, onboarding new technologies is about problem-solving. While the problems you face may feel entirely idiosyncratic, the following three primary technologies that I deem most helpful to startups in the coming year are pretty universal.
1. Communication platforms. Communication is a key for any startup, especially as employees increasingly work remotely, as the New York Times has pointed out. Communication technologies, in fact, offer a host of benefits, from increased productivity to tighter teams and the ability to foster better company cultures. These technologies, further, can help entrepreneurs keep budgets intact, a good enough reason alone why communications platforms can be fruitful.
Messaging services like Slack or HipChat are great for fostering real-time communications when your teams work outside the office. And tools such as Basecamp and other project management solutions streamline operations regardless of your staffers’ location, while LinkedIn and Ripple enhance connect individuals on a more personal level.
2. Artificial intelligence. For computing power that boosts the abilities of your at-home workforce, look no further than AI. AI-driven technology is a must on any tech list for the coming year because the category is expanding so rapidly. As data becomes increasingly unwieldy, deep-learning techniques are evolving to process that data into insights that even remote employees can use.
To this end, Google Home and Amazon Alexa created the virtual assistant. While the ability to interact with devices through the internet has long existed, users needed a shared vernacular (“Hey, Google!”) to make it part of their daily habits. That’s what Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa have provided.
In the same context, research from McKinsey has suggested that 45 percent of work activities can be automated using existing technologies coupled with AI. For example, the same voice-recognition software utilized by smart devices will likely increase productivity and efficiency once users no longer have to learn keyboard controls and command-line prompts, or conduct manual inputs.
3. Blockchain. The latest cryptocurrency crash may have entrepreneurs wondering whether Bitcoin will even make it through the year, but Blockchain itself — which can do much more than financial transactions — isn’t going anywhere. This technology has been around for a while, but it’s having a heyday now. Market Reports Hub forecasts that the market will exceed $2 billion by 2021.
What will happen in 2018 most likely is an explosion of companies trying to roll Blockchain into their products, or have it be their product. By the end of the year, we’ll also likely witness a major fallout because only a few of those companies will survive, as is the case with anything that’s investment-friendly.
Still, where Blockchain really shines is its ability to foster trust between organizations. The secure nature of the Blockchain ledger means that transactions that formerly required intermediaries no longer do. Instead, “ownership” can now be tokenized, and its digital life cycle instantly tracked. And that opens up big security opportunities for intrepreneurial individuals and businesses. The result: Blockchain portends far-reaching implications extending well beyond the monetary transactions so talked about in the news cycle.
Overall, all this forward-looking technology may seem like a daunting undertaking for startups and entrepreneurs already trying to navigate marketing, sales, communication, finances and creativity. But whatever your own industry and its journey, understanding the tech landscape and capitalizing on these three most important technologies during 2018 will help you make this the year of new and refined success.
Why Just Having a Website Isn’t Enough Anymore
As a small business owner, you’re probably aware by this point that you need a website to succeed and build your business. Sure, there are a few businesses out there who can get by without them, like successful independent restaurants that thrive on word-of-mouth, but these tend to be the exceptions, rather than the rule.
In 2017, 71% of small businesses have a website, and 92% of those without a website say they will have one before 2019. With numbers like those, small businesses can’t expect that just having a website will give them a competitive edge. Now, small business websites need to accomplish more than just being a placeholder—they need to provide value to customers. If you’re looking to up your website game, here’s what successful small business websites are doing to rise above the competition.
Focus on design and speed
A beautiful website that loads quickly will make a good first impression on visitors and will put you ahead of the business owners who last had their websites designed in the 90s. It’s not difficult to create a modern, beautiful website thanks to pre-designed themes on sites like Squarespace and WordPress, and you can always hire someone to help you if you’re not confident in your own skills.
Ensuring every page of your website loads quickly may seem insignificant, but people have very short attention spans, and a few seconds of wait time can turn visitors away. 40% of people will click away from a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load—and 47% expect it to load in 2 seconds or less. Load times matter!
Speak to a specific audience
Knowing who your ideal customers are is key to creating an effective website. Your messaging can’t possibly speak to everyone at once, so you need to know who makes up your target audience before you create (or redesign) your site. Major League Baseball, for example, noticed that they weren’t attracting many young fans, so they began to focus on their website, making it more attractive to younger generations.
They started to offer streaming, making it easier for fans to watch and engage, and ultimately making mlb.com the second-most viewed sports site in 2015. Knowing and catering to their target audience made the difference for the organization. They may not be a small business, but these principles apply to organizations big and small.
Just as many small businesses are getting used to the idea of having an online presence, many users are shifting from desktops and laptops to mobile devices much of the time. Basekit reports that 91% of small business websites are not optimized for mobile devices, which indicates a huge gap between what users want and what businesses are offering. Small businesses can get a competitive edge by ensuring that they have a responsive design that works just as well on mobile as on a desktop.
Offering new options
Small businesses can give customers even more convenient options by thinking about the future. Offering mobile wallet options for payment in-store is a great way to make payment convenient, but there are even more purchasing options that customers are interested in.
For example, have you ever considered selling used online? If you’re older, that may not sound interesting yet the younger generations have formed what is now called the sharing economy, with 50% purchasing used or second-hand goods online. If you’re looking to get a competitive advantage, you should consider embracing such emerging trends early.
Integrated with marketing efforts
Sure, the sandwich board is an effective marketing tool for bringing in customers walking by your store. But what about customers who might only find you online? They’re not likely to find your site if you don’t do any digital marketing or local SEO (search engine optimization). If no one can find your site, they’re not going to buy from you—and the only way to lead them to your site is by using marketing techniques like social media, email and content marketing. Most people now use the Internet like a giant phone book, so your visibility online is very important.
An ever-changing landscape
If you’ve only just gotten your first website, it may seem frustrating that it won’t be enough on its own to bring in significant new business. The world of digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape that rewards innovation and early adoption. The good news is that there is a lot of information out there, and if you put in a little effort, you can easily rise above the competition and create a successful digital presence for your business.
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