Author Archives: Banshee Cloud

We’ve Moved!

For years, we’ve hosted our blog at WordPress.com and we certainly enjoyed our time there. But the time has come to move on…so we’ve moved our main blog to our own hosting account.

The old blog will still be up, but all the updates will now all be at our new blog. If you’ve bookmarked http://blog.bansheecloud.com you already have our new address!

 

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It’s Earth Day and We’re Announcing Our Sustainable Computing Initiative!

April 22, 2015 is Earth Day and we at Banshee Cloud want to congratulate EVERY ONE OF OUR CLIENTS for saving money AND saving the Earth! How? By simply using our computing solutions and online marketing. We call it Sustainable Computing.

Sustainable Computing Saves You Money. A Lot of Money.

It’s no big surprise that many of you are saving often times substantial amounts of money. Because of our obsession with delivering value to small businesses worldwide, some of our clients are saving up to 89% in IT services costs and yet enjoying higher quality service and greater satisfaction, plus more security.

Green is Efficient. Green Saves Money. We Make You Green.

It pays to innovate and it also saves to be GREEN.   Our clients can claim the benefits of Sustainable Computing due to several factors. First and foremost is our commitment to using the most powerful cloud computing vendors in the world. The following video highlights how just one of our vendors (you may have heard of them) saves you money through efficiency AND allows you to use sustainable energy sources…no matter how small your business!

Rebuilding with Sustainable Industry

Many of you know about our disaster relief efforts. Here’s my interview with our Bakersfield NBC affiliate:

Rene Earthquake Relief Poster

But not many of you are aware of our work to rebuild the impacted economy through the creation of a sustainable IT services industry. We’re working closely with local government and institutions of higher learning to create a workforce specially trained to move beyond traditional computing technology. We’re also working to get other businesses and individuals started in greener industries.

Help Us Save the Reefs

The oceans sustain life worldwide.   A coral reef is a key part of the oceanic ecosystem. And reefs are very fragile. We have already seen uncontrolled growth turn pristine white beaches into dying brown coastline.

Here’s just one of the coral reefs that could be impacted if local industry does not aim for sustainability.

And It Helps YOUR Economy

Wall Street may declare economic downturns. But it is a known fact that small businesses drive recovery. Nearly all of our clients have less than 10 employees.   Without our services, some could not afford to maintain their local workforces at current levels.

It is no secret that American businesses are already importing IT services in an effort to save money.   $100 billion dollars goes to South Asia alone. What many don’t realize is that many of these companies outsourcing their computing needs are small businesses. And many of these businesses end up losing money and business on outsourced work because of factors such as communications problems and lack of quality control.

Banshee Cloud is 100% American owned, with all of our current US team being native Californians. English is not a second language for us. And our core overseas team is not only fluent in English…they understand American culture too. Because all of us have roots in what was once American territory. Many of our ancestors fought for freedom as part of American forces. And we will never forget the passion they felt for this country and we honor them by working to empower your business.

You ARE GREEN. And you should be proud.

As of today, we are launching our Sustainable Computing Initiative. As a Banshee Cloud client, you can tell your customers about how you:

  1. Save money
  2. Empower your business
  3. Use Sustainable Computing to protect the environment
  4. Support the development of a sustainable industry

Feel free to focus on one or all of these benefits to your business as you see fit.

We will be providing you with marketing materials, plus work with you to promote your Sustainable Computing on your website. Subscribe to our Newsletter, follow our Blog or Like us on Facebook to see how we will work with you!

Advancing eCommerce for All of Us

Our mission is Business Empowerment and one of most powerful tools is the development of a full range of eCommerce solutions.  With this in mind, we work with any business…from one person, home-based businesses…to large enterprises.

On the high end of the scale, we are about to launch the largest online mall of its kind.   The technologies we are developing for this will truly revolutionize the way people shop.

And on a more personal level, we have observed how many people are selling goods on social media such as Facebook.   As developers, we see how inefficient and risky such a process can be.   So we are creating better ways for ANYONE to sell quickly, easily, and securely on not only Facebook, but all social networks.

Hold on to your shopping carts, because we’re firing up the rockets!!!

Subscribe to our blog, Like Us on Facebook, or visit www.BansheeCloud.com and watch us take shopping online to a whole new level!

 

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Skype for Business Replaces Lync

 

In case you haven’t heard, starting April 14, 2015, Microsoft Lync will become Skype for Business!

Coming Soon…A Revolutionary New Way To Decorate Your Home!

Coming-Soon-Street-Facebook-Wall-Photo

Want to get details and Early Bird Specials?  Join our Decorate Your Home Mailing List!

Sign Up Now

WE HATE SPAM!

Visit http://privacy.bansheecloud.com for details!

The Official Banshee Cloud Business Empowerment Newsletter, Issue Number Zero One

We’ve launched the inaugural issue of our newsletter!  On a regular basis, we’ll be sending out updates and useful business empowerment tips!

You can view this issue and subscribe here:  http://conta.cc/1H2P0Ih

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Banshee Cloud Partners with Constant Contact

Banshee Cloud is now a Solution Provider with Constant Contact—the leader in online marketing.  We decided to work with Constant Contact as part of our ongoing commitment to help small businesses of all sizes in conducting responsible email (and other forms of) marketing.

sp_logo_medOver time, we’ve amassed a great deal of knowledge regarding the common pitfalls of promoting a business online and have always realized that Constant Contact is the leader the field of doing email the right way!   Through our expertise in creating cloud-based solutions, we can quickly create from scratch the infrastructure needed and implement email campaigns…but why reinvent the wheel?  Through Constant Contact, we can assist any business setting up spam free email promotion in no time at all!

And as with everything else we do, it’s done at an amazingly affordable price.

We can provide you with an unprecedented level of service and expertise for all of your marketing campaigns like email and social media marketing, event management, along with the ability to create offers and local deals for your business.

We are equipped with easy-to-use, state-of-the-art tools designed to help you build meaningful relationships with your customers through all of the different campaigns found within Constant Contact.

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Learn more at our Constant Contact page:  http://t2d.la/constant

Online Threat: Replying to Spam Email

You could have the best spam email filtering in the world and occasionally, some junk mail goes through. Under the CAN-SPAM Act, businesses are required to provide an unsubscribe link on ALL commercial email. Heavy fines can be levied if a business does not honor your request to unsubscribe.

In spite of this, many of those who send out the millions of pieces of spam every day will simply disregard this law.   In fact, if you unsubscribe or even hit reply to many of these messages, you are only confirming that your address is valid and probably will get it sold to even more mailing lists.

Now please don’t get us wrong. Most of the large online companies, like Amazon and eBay comply with not only CAN-SPAM, but even higher standards of ethics and online privacy. So do many smaller companies, because they realize how important a good online reputation is. We at Banshee Cloud even take an Oath of Privacy.

But there are many companies that even aren’t aware of these requirements and who simply look at the ease of hitting a send button. So many messages are sent to millions of people worldwide by businesses that are completely unaware of the law and ethics of email marketing.

And of course, there are those that simply flaunt the rules with the hope of not getting caught and indiscriminately sending mail out to as many people as they can.

If would like to unsubscribe to a commercial email message via a link in the message, here’s a safer way of doing it:

  1. Right click on the link and select Copy Address/Link/Shortcut or whichever variation your email program or webmail uses.
  2. Go to your favorite major (and well-known) search engine, such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing and paste the link into the search box. If anyone has complained about it, you’ll see it in the search results.
  3. If you followed our previous post and installed WOT, you’ll see the safety of the search results. In fact, if you have WOT installed and you’re already reading your mail in your browser, the links will be rated automatically.
  4. If the unsubscribe link looks safe…don’t open the link yet! First find their domain in the link and go to the company’s web page and find their Privacy Statement. You probably will find a link to it at the bottom of their home page. Sure a company can still lie on its privacy statement, but at least the presence of one is a good indicator.
  5. Finally, with WOT installed, check the reputation of the site. WOT users are pretty vocal about letting people know that a site sends out spam.
  6. If everything seems in order, it’s probably a safe bet that you can safely unsubscribe with the link!

This seems like a lot of work to unsubscribe, but with quality spam filters, the number of messages getting through should be fairly low.   And an ethical business that takes the time to provide a legitimate unsubscribe link should be allowed to continue to conduct email marketing.

 

Stay safe!

#OnlineThreats is an ongoing series of social media posts with the aim of informing everyone using the internet about common dangers. The net is a wonderful place and many threats can be avoided with just a few precautions. Think of it as going into a city. There are cool sights, fun things to do, and great places to eat. But if you’re not careful, you can get into serious trouble. Still, that doesn’t stop you from going there. Otherwise, the bad guys will have won. Same with the internet!

Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list of online threats by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security

 

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Online Threat: Downloading Unsafe Files

Seems pretty obvious, but it clearly happens all the time.   One step you can take is to be very very careful of the pop windows and dialog boxes asking for confirmation to install software.

So apply a little common sense. If you are not installing anything, don’t say yes to prompts like this:

UAC Prompt

And like you see in the prompt above, this is from Microsoft. So beware of publishers you don’t recognize too.

And only download software from sites that are trusted and have an https URL. More on that later.

If you’re not sure where to find legitimate software, look it up at CNET’s Download.com:

https://download.cnet.com

Download.com Home Page

Beware of other sites. CNET actually owns the domain download.com but there are sites that spoof them, as anyone can a subdomain called “download”. For example, look out for something like download.unknownsite.com

Once you are on Download.com, you can search for the software in question. CNET does a good job of scanning for viruses and spyware.

And we also recommend that you look at the reviews. Of course, understand that one person saying it doesn’t work is not a sign that the software is bad. There are a number of reasons why software installs fail. But if a significant number of people complain about the software, you can pretty much know to be careful about installing it.

For reference, here’s the listing for Google Chrome:

http://download.cnet.com/Google-Chrome/3000-2356_4-10881381.html

download.com Google Chrome

25 million downloads (just from CNET alone) is a pretty good indication that the software is popular. 5 stars from the Editors is also a great sign. Plus 3100 votes averaging nearly 4 stars is also a good sign.   And it’s no surprise that Chrome has an Editor’s Review.

Finally, while some download pages instruct you to Run or Open the download file, as much as possible Save the file to your computer. Then scan it. If you want to be careful, update your antimalware software, before scanning it. Arguably, if you really want to be cautious, wait a day or two for your antimalware software developer to push the latest malware definitions to their updates…and then scan it.

At any rate, we hope these tips keep you safe!

#OnlineThreats is an ongoing series of social media posts with the aim of informing everyone using the internet about common dangers. The net is a wonderful place and many threats can be avoided with just a few precautions. Think of it as going into a city. There are cool sights, fun things to do, and great places to eat. But if you’re not careful, you can get into serious trouble. Still, that doesn’t stop you from going there. Otherwise, the bad guys will have won. Same with the internet!

Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list of online threats by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security

 

Online Threat: Clicking on the wrong links.

According to Symantec, incidents of spam email with links to malware increased by 41% in just one month from November to December 2014. http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/malicious-links-spammers-change-malware-delivery-tactics

But that’s just email. We see an increase in the ever-present malware in social media links. It only makes sense, with the increased amount of time people spend on social media.

So what do you do about it? First of all, here’s Symantec’s suggestions:

  • Exercise caution when receiving unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
  • Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
  • Avoid opening attachments in unsolicited, unexpected, or suspicious emails
  • Keep security software up-to-date

And we recommend installing the WOT plugin from www.mywot.com on ALL your browsers. Not only will it provide reputation-based ratings for every website you visit, it will also rate the links in your social media when your use your browser.

Here’s an example of WOT warning about an actual ad’s links on Facebook, with the WOT legend behind it

(you can click on the photo to see it full size):

Red-Link-on-Facebook

And if you click on the links, WOT will even redirect you to a warning page before you go there.

We will be actively working with advocating using WOT to report threats and even bad experiences you may encounter. We love their concept. With over 130 million downloads, this crowdsourced approach to security is the perfect supplement to your antimalware software.

There are of course other alternatives to monitoring links. Many of the commercial antimalware and security products will also warn you. Please be careful about what you download and install. It is unfortunate, but there is a lot of software available that claims to protect you, but further infects your devices. That will be another subject that we will address very soon!

 

 

#OnlineThreats is an ongoing series of social media posts with the aim of informing everyone using the internet about common dangers. The net is a wonderful place and many threats can be avoided with just a few precautions. Think of it as going into a city. There are cool sights, fun things to do, and great places to eat. But if you’re not careful, you can get into serious trouble. Still, that doesn’t stop you from going there. Otherwise, the bad guys will have won. Same with the internet!

Over time, you’ll be able to check on the entire list of online threats by going to our blog and clicking on the category, Computing Security. You can always find a shortcut here: http://t2d.la/security

 

 

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