Laptop KeyboardYou got your new laptop for its easy portability. But taking it outside your home makes it especially vulnerable to damage or theft. While you can never protect your lap top completely, a few basic precautions will help keep your computer safe and secure for much longer.

Use a Strong and Padded Case

Light and portable, laptops are made to travel. And even though laptops have become stronger over the years, they are not invulnerable to damage. Always carry your laptop in a padded, reinforced bag or backpack designed specifically for protecting your computer. Choose a bag that pads all sides of your laptop, with extra protection on the bottom where the laptop is most likely to strike the ground.

Zippers and closures should be top quality so as not to come undone and spill out the contents. The bag should have extra compartments for carrying chargers, cables and other devices. It should also be made out of water-resistant fabric for added security in poor weather.

Use a Lock

Most laptops have a Kensington slot, a small reinforced hole that can be fitted with a Kensington security lock. The lock secures your laptop to a sturdy piece of furniture with a cable, much like a bicycle lock. Having your computer locked up will deter would-be thieves from attempting to steal your laptop if you leave it unattended.

Keep it in Sight

Even a locked up computer is still vulnerable to vandalism, uninvited users or damage from a robbery attempt. Never leave your laptop unattended in a public place. The small effort of packing it up could save you from the inconvenience of having to replace it entirely.

Use System Passwords

Set up your laptop so that a password is required for all activity. As well, password protect your files. Use simple passwords that you can remember but are not obvious to others, and be sure to use equally suitable passwords for all your accounts. One way to make your passwords memorable is to choose a main system password that you won’t forget, and then to use a variation of that password for each account you have.

Use a VPN

Online banking, shopping and other financial information is generally safe and secure when you are at home with your UK broadband. However using public wireless services can put your information at risk. Consider using a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, to route your data through a secure network.

Install Security Systems

The moment you hit the internet, your laptop becomes vulnerable to malicious software. Be sure to install a firewall, along with anti-spyware and anti-virus software. McAfee offers reputable security software for free. After installing, check your software settings to ensure that they are providing the level of security that you need.

Update Security Software Regularly

Surprisingly, many people diligently install their security software the day they buy their laptop, and then never update the software. Often they don’t even realize their mistake until the computer has become infected by a virus and stopped working properly. Security software is only effective if it’s updated to resist the latest malware. Make sure your software settings allow for automatic updates and check your software regularly to ensure that the updates have occurred.

photo by: DeclanTM

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Thanks to the relative growth and popularity of the Internet, there is now a significantly large proportion of businesses that basically rely on the World Wide Web for the bulk, if not all, of their turnover.

Web designers, digital marketing agencies, and even firms that use the Internet as a means of offering you the ability to sell your old products rely on the Web; if the Web no longer existed, there would be swarms of people without a job and hundreds of thousands of businesses will suddenly cease to exist!

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Credit: ChrisL_AK (via Flickr)

The number of Internet-based businesses is growing at a rapid rate, and, of course, this means existing firms have to do more to compete with the new kids on the block as well as their existing competitors.

If you run an Internet-based business and you are concerned about market stagnation or inefficiency affecting your enterprise, here are some top tips to help your business be as efficient as is reasonably possible.

Don’t forget about your existing customers

All business will have a plethora of existing customers, yet many of them focus most of their efforts on trying to get new ones instead of seeing whether they can help their existing ones further.

Instead of blowing your marketing budget targeting what are often ‘cold’ sales leads, consider getting in touch with your existing customers to find out how they are going and whether there is anything your business can help with. If you offer a great service and have reasonable prices, they are far more likely to do business with you in the future instead of sticking with your competitors.

Keep on top of bad payers

Every business will have some customers that are notoriously late at paying their bills, and will use all sorts of excuses to fob you off until you reach the point of threatening legal action to get your money for products or services provided!

It is worth keeping on top of such customers, and in many cases it can be financially beneficial for you to determine what is the root cause of their payment problems. For example, if you offer short payment terms by default, consider offering longer terms so that they have more time to pay for your invoices. I’d recommend credit checking them first though, just to be on the safe side.

Streamline your logistics

If your Internet-based business involves sending out physical goods to your customers, you should identify and address any issues that could be causing problems such as delays in dispatch, overpriced courier services and so on.

Generally, consumers buying products on the Internet will want to pay as little as possible for delivery costs. You should consider reviewing how much your couriers charge you on a regular basis; there are many websites such as Rapid Parel where you can compare parcel delivery prices so that both you and your customers pay less whilst still receiving a great delivery service!

You might also want to offer your customers tracking facilities for parcels, so that they can determine where in the transit network their goods are.

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