Monthly Web Roundup - August 2017

Posted by: Peta Reardon

The August edition of the Reliance Web Newsletter.

This month we take a look at Google and see exactly what they do as an Internet Search Provider. Facebook now has 2 Billion Monthly users so we see what this means on a global scale. And finally we have 3 common social media myths busted!

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
Peta Simpson
Role: Web Designer
LinkedIn: Connect with me
What does Google do?
How does Google work? What does Google actually do? For many of you this will be fairly old news. But for all the SEO newbies: let me explain (in easy to understand prose) what Google actually does. Understanding Google could really help you create an SEO strategy that works!

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Facebook now has 2 billion monthly users… and responsibility
“We’re getting to a size where it’s worth really taking a careful look at what are all the things that we can do to make social media the most positive force for good possible,” Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox told TechCrunch about the company’s new milestone. Thirteen years after launching and less than five years after hitting 1 billion, Facebook now has 2 billion monthly active users.

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3 common social media marketing myths - busted!
Digital marketing has become a key trend – and with good reason. Around 79% of Australian internet users are active on social media, with 15.48 million Australians logging into Facebook every month – more than 63% of the population.

Those usage stats are even more significant when you consider that people aged 13 and under can’t sign up for Facebook – any way you look at it, social media has become a key communications platform, a huge part of how we connect and interact.

But what you will find when you start investigating social media for your business is that there’s a lot of conflicting advice. Because social media has gained traction so quickly, there’s a lot of misinformation and misunderstandings around that can put you on the wrong path.

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Monthly Web Roundup - May 2017

Posted by: James Hall

The May edition of the Reliance Web Newsletter.

Following on from last month we take a look at the Sensis Social Media Report with some must-know stats from a business perspective. We also take a look at a practical guide on ways to optimize your images, ready to be served on the web. And finally, we take a look at a current web trend of 2017: Microinteractions.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
James Hall
Role: Web Designer
LinkedIn: Connect with me
The 20 must-know stats from the 2016 Sensis Social Media Report
The Sensis Social Media report is an annual survey of 800 consumers, 1,000 SMBs and 100 large businesses on how they use social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Click below to see a graphical overview of their findings or you can also read their indepth report.

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Optimizing Images for Web: A Practical Guide
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is one of the reasons images are so important in ecommerce. Without the customer being able to pick up, touch and inspect a product, they rely heavily on the images to understand the color, the quality, and the story of the product.

So it goes without saying that your images need to be hi-resolution and crisp. But, this comes at a price. Large, high definition images can have huge file sizes. Put a few of these on your site and that snappy experience of navigating your online store can end up feeling more like swimming through molasses.

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Web Design Trends 2017: Microinteractions
Microinteractions are the subtle, but powerful ways to interact with a website. They are often found in hovers, click animations, scrolling effects, etc. While we’ve always had these types of design elements, designers are spending more time on them, making them more informative and more refined.

Probably the most used integration is the hover/rollover, where a visitor can simply move their cursor over parts of the site to see these microinteractions and interact with the site in that way.

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Tech Brief - RansomWare

Posted by: Lucas Bradley

On Friday a wave of cyber-attacks hit 100 countries worldwide. We've seen crypto locker type threats before and this one is no different, here are some key points to remember:

  • Windows security prompts warning you not to run something should not be ignored;
  • Unsolicited emails promising rewards or information you weren't expecting should not be trusted;
  • If you are ever unsure about the authenticity of an email, forward a copy of the email to your IT support company asking them to confirm if the email is safe
  • Networks that are kept up-to-date with the latest security patches, and updates regularly installed under a network management arrangement are not at thereat of being hit with this threat unless a user initiates the virus by manually running it and giving it permission to run;
  • Many Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam products will protect users from inadvertently running a malicious piece of software, however this protection only works if it is regularly maintained and updated.


As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
Lucas Bradley
Role: Director
LinkedIn: Connect with me
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Monthly Web Roundup - April 2017

Posted by: Lucas Bradley

The April edition of the Reliance Web Newsletter.

Starting with a look at Dropbox, not only have they recently redesigned their webapp, they have also made some significant changes to their service. In particular the public folder function. We also take a look at some social media predictions from Sensis for 2017. And finally, we take a look at a current web trend of 2017: Duotone Gradient Imagery.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
Lucas Bradley
Role: Director
LinkedIn: Connect with me
4 New Dropbox Public Folder Changes You Need to Know
Are you a Dropbox user? Then you should know that Dropbox’s Public folder feature has received some huge changes, Including the removal of the Public folder on the basic tier and rendering HTML content will no longer be possible starting September 1st. Click the link below to find out what you need to know about the changes to Dropbox’s Public folder.

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3 predictions for social media marketing in 2017
Social media marketing is no different - it seems like almost every week there’s a new advertising option or tool announced that can streamline workflows and maximise results.

Here are three key trends on which we expect to see significant focus over the next 12 months from Sensis.

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Web Design Trends 2017: Duotone gradient imagery
In the pursuit of staying more on brand, more brands are using duotone imagery and graphics for their websites. Spotify is a great example of this with their current Design

Not strictly duotones, but some designs are even experimenting with two or three colors and using the duotone effect. Think Instagram. While flat design helped us get rid of (most) gradients, using duotone imagery that combines a couple of colors together has proven to be a nice update to the old and tired gradients and solid color areas.

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Monthly Web Roundup - March 2017

Posted by: James Hall

The March edition of the Reliance Web Newsletter.

This month we see lots of changes to social media. Starting with Facebook, they have launched an interactive manual to break down their security settings to make it easier for all to understand. We also see Twitter has opened up room to include more content into their 140 character limited platform. And finally, we take a look at an upcoming web trend of 2017: Geometric shapes, lines, and patterns.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
James Hall
Role: Web Designer
LinkedIn: Connect with me
Facebook Makes its Privacy Settings Easier to Grasp With “Privacy Basics”
Ensuring that your Facebook account is only accessible to people you know can be an overwhelming experience as the social network service has a privacy setting menu that is rather extensive.

In an attempt to make these crucial security settings more accessible to everyone, Facebook has launched a new "Privacy Basics" page that breaks down all parts of Facebook’s privacy settings into bite-sized chunks.

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Twitter's new, longer tweets have arrived
Tweets are holding steady at 140 characters, but a variety of additions to your tweets will no longer count against that limit. As The Verge reported Twitter said it was rolling out expanded tweets around the world. Media attachments including images, GIFs, videos, and polls will no longer count against the 140-character limit. Neither will quote tweets, though if include a link to another tweet in your own that will count as normal.

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Web Design Trends 2017: Geometric shapes, lines, and patterns
It seems as though the use of geometric shapes, lines, and patterns have really taken off in the late part of 2016, and I anticipate this continuing through 2017. There are various ways in which geometric shapes have made their way into websites. Be it the use of circles around images, photos that are geometric heavy, or the overall design of the site relies heavily on the use of lines and patterns.

There is nearly infinite amount of ways in which you an integrate geometric shapes, lines, and patterns into your website, and this could be one way in which designers take fat design to a new level (and even add some personality, as mentioned above). Overall, expect to see these types of design styles more throughout 2017.

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Monthly Web Roundup - January 2017

Posted by: James Hall

The January edition of the Reliance Web Newsletter.

In this issue, we take a look at various social media stats from 2016 including user counts in Austalia and some overall observations. We read about LinkedIn, who have finally launched a major redesigned desktop version of their app. And finally, we take a look at an upcoming web trend of 2017: Emphasis on Content.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
Peta Simpson
Role: Web Team Leader
LinkedIn: Connect with me
Social Media Statistics 2016
Today we look at a report showing the most popular social networks in Australia over December 2016. We also recap the year as a whole and highlight the biggest changes to the social media landscape over 2016.

The Australian market is now in a mature phase, we don’t see large growth for all networks as we did a couple years ago, however there are still some significant changes to major services like Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

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LinkedIn Desktop Redesign Puts Conversations and Content at the Center
LinkedIn have completed the largest desktop redesign since its inception. Something they have taken the time and investment to build from the ground up and in concert with their new mobile app, to provide a LinkedIn experience that is more intuitive, faster and creates more value for you.

Most importantly, this desktop redesign brings conversations and content to the heart of the platform, so you can more easily share ideas, join a discussion, and discover news and topics you care about.

Click the link below to find out more and check it out yourself.

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Web Design Trends 2017: Emphasis on the content
We’ve spent years adding things to our websites such as sidebars, headers, banner ads, sidebar ads, calls to action, comments, popups, social media buttons, signup boxes, etc. All of these things have ended up cluttering our websites and taking up more and more real estate, taking the attention away from the entire point of a web page: the content.

In 2017, websites are likely to start moving back to basics and placing more emphasis on content. Whether that means we remove all of the other distractions we’ve spent years adding, or just making them take up less real estate is yet to be determined. Getting back to the heart of a website — the content — will be prevalent moving forward.

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Monthly Web Roundup - November 2016

Posted by: James Hall

November edition of the Reliance Web Newsletter.

In this issue, we take a look at a new feature that Instagram will be rolling out soon. We find out what Google has been doing with reCAPTCHA to make your webforms/website secure and how we can prevent spam from landing in your inbox. And finally, we take a look at the current design trends for this month on the web.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
Lucas Bradley
Role: Director
LinkedIn: Connect with me
Shopping Coming to Instagram
Mobile has changed the way people shop. You browse products while waiting to be seated for dinner, make purchases on your commute into work, and compare prices online when you’re at a store to see what’s the better deal.

Starting this month, Instagram are testing a way for users to learn more about the items they view within an Instagram post.

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No CAPTCHA reCAPTCHA
So, what is the importance of having a reCAPTCHA on your webform? What does it do or more importantly what does it do for you? Simply put captcha is state of the art spam and abuse protection for your website. It is a free service that is provided by Google that we can attach to your webform and will prevent spammers for sending through false data or even viruses through your webform and into your inbox.

In the past captcha has been a complicated process with the user attempting to decipher a scrambled image of letters and numbers. Google in their brilliance have now simplified it. It's as simple as checking a box. On the surface its simple, however this is fully backed by Google's secure infrastructure & learning engines. Even better it is now fully accessible for the visually impaired AND is mobile responsive.

If you would like to find out about integrating reCaptcha with your webforms please feel free to contact us.
Current Design Trends
Have you noticed a shift in design on the web recently? Bold colours, big buttons and shapes. A prime example is www.theverge.com which recently launched a redesign, stepping into bold colours and gradients and even created their own design language with the use of shapes and lines. Instagram's new branding with its bold colour gradient logo is another great example of this. Click the link below to find out more about the current design trends across the web.

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Monthly Web Roundup - October 2016

Posted by: James Hall

October edition of the Reliance Web Newsletter.

In this issue we take a look at some best practises when it comes to writing content for your website. We hear about a new partnership with Litmus and Microsoft with the intention of improving email compatibility in Outlook. And finally we take a look at some statistics to do with usage of social media networks and answer questions like which are the most popular networks.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
James Hall
Role: Web Designer
LinkedIn: Connect with me
Best Practices for Improving Your Website's Usability
Writing content for web users has its challenges. Chief among them is the ease with which your content is read and understood by your visitors (i.e. its readability).

When your content is highly readable, your audience is able to quickly digest the information you share with them — a worthy goal to have for your website, whether you run a blog, an e-store or your company's domain.

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Litmus and Microsoft Partner to Make Email Better
Litmus and Microsoft are teaming up to make email better for thousands of email marketers — and the hundreds of millions of people who use Microsoft Outlook.

Through the partnership, Litmus will help Microsoft prioritize email rendering bugs in Outlook, identify issues faster, and announce improvements and fixes to the community.

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Latest social media statistics of consumer adoption and usage
Social networks are now so well established, that there are now a core 'top 5' social networks which are most popular which doesn't change from year-to-year. But, as we'll see in this post, the most popular social media sites vary a lot by level of usage in different countries and with demographics. So understanding these differences in popularity of different social networks is really important when targeting specific audiences.

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  Quick Tech Tip

A sharp rise in the number of "brute force attacks" is causing widespread data and productivity losses to businesses and organisations all over Australia. A brute force attack is an attempt to gain access to a network by attempting as many username and password combinations against a system until one is found to work. This makes users with simplistic passwords such as Password1 very susceptible to being compromised.

Test the strength of your current password by going to: https://howsecureismypassword.net/ and see how long it would take for your password to be cracked.
 
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Tech Alert - Password Integrity & Disaster Planning

Posted by: Reliance Technology

ATT: PASSWORD INTEGRITY AND DISASTER RECOVERY PLANNING

As a follow up on last week's email on brute force attacks using Crysis ransomware which hopefully explained the dangers of using simplistic passwords. I'd like to go further and encourage everyone to test the strength of their current network password by test it at : https://howsecureismypassword.net/

The above site will not capture your password and is a safe and secure utility that will give you the estimated time it would take hackers to brute force crack your password.

More often than not, network security is only as strong as the weakest password used on the system.


In the ACCC's annual Small Business in Focus report is states it has received 7,600 enquiries and complaints from small businesses in the first half of 2016. The report shows Ransomware is one of the biggest problems faced by small businesses with a reported loss of $1.6 million in scam activities recorded in the past six months.

The best security strategy is to avoid Ransomware altogether, however this requires planning, work and for there to be no such thing as human error, before it hits your network. To that end our strategy for SLA clients is to ensure a best practice disaster recovery plan is in place.
  • What can you do safeguard your business against Ransomware?
  • What are the best practice strategies for protecting your business?
There are a number of critical components of any ransomware security strategy, firstly a robust Anti-Virus / Threat Protection package is a must. Secondly, regular backups of your files, systems, and application data is vital. Having a clean copy of your mission-critical data will minimise the impact of the ransomware infection. In addition, scheduling regular restore tests will ensure that your backup plan is working and identify any kinks that need to be worked out before the attack hits. For our SLA clients, we automatically implement a Disaster Recovery Plan which we continually refine to meet and improve on industry best practice.

If backups and restore testing are done regularly, a ransomware infection won’t have a devastating impact; you’ll have a safe, recent and clean restore point.


As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
Lucas Bradley
Role: Director
LinkedIn: Connect with me
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Tech Alert - Ransomeware and Brute Force Attacks on the Rise

Posted by: Reliance Technology

ATT: Ransomware 'Crysis' and "Brute Force Attacks" on the rise

A sharp rise in the number of "brute force attacks" and instances of a new variant of ransomware called Crysis is combining to cause widespread data and productivity losses to businesses and organisations all over Australia.

A brute force attack is an attempt to gain access to a network by attempting as many username and password combinations against a system until one is found to work. This makes users with simplistic passwords such as ABC123, or Password1 or 123345 very susceptible to being compromised.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brute-force_attack

Once an account is compromised using a brute force attack, the third party is then able to deploy malware such as 'Crysis' to encrypt data that the compromised account has access to on the network thereby denying legitimate users from being able to access their files and software. Holding the organisation ransom to unlock their data or forcing them to restore from their backup system.

The Crysis ransomware has quickly become the scourge of cyber security experts everywhere. The way in which it can quickly destroy network data makes it a frightening threat. It's only a threat however if an account is compromised, or if a user is duped into downloading it from the internet and executing it.
http://blog.trendmicro.com/the-ransomware-crysis-continues-a-new-strain-is-on-the-rise/

Our recommendation to protect our clients against brute force attacks from compromising user accounts on their network is to implement a minimum password complexity policy and to lockout users for a short period of time after a number of consecutive unsuccessful login attempts. Wherever a ransomware attack has been successfully initiated, the only safeguard is a robust disaster recovery plan that includes on premises backup sets that are replicated offsite, for example to the cloud.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to send an email to support@relianceit.com.au or give us a call. We'd be happy to hear from you.
Until next time,
Lucas Bradley
Role: Director
LinkedIn: Connect with me
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