With each passing year, cyber-security reaches new levels becoming increasingly sophisticated. But as cyber-security becomes more formidable, cyber-threats and the rate of malicious attacks increase proportionately. This and the many controversial security threats in 2018 subsequently led to wide concerns regarding the volatility in cloud security. Apparently, many organizations still believe cloud security has a lot of exploitable vulnerabilities.

Despite this, cloud spending is at an all-time high according to Gartner. The report from the popular research firm found that public cloud spending in 2018 exceeded $170 billion. A little over $10 billion was spent on cloud security and management. Gartner also predicts that the number will go up by at least 20% this year.

While cloud security professionals are already coming up with great new ways to combat breaches similar to the ones that turned heads in 2018, cloud security still needs more advancements considering that the increasing complexity of cloud environments are bringing forth newer, tougher security challenges.

That said, let’s check out a few such challenges that enterprises may have to beat this year.

Cloud complexity is on a whole another level

The cloud is already a complex technology. With businesses embracing multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments more than before, cloud complexity has reached even greater levels making data storage and transfers much harder.

The benefits of a multi-cloud architecture are enticing more businesses to come forward and adopt it, though only a few of the adopters are thoughtful enough to invest in a multi-cloud management strategy. Even with a strategy in place, a multi-cloud ecosystem presents a lot of data security and data management challenges.

So essentially, businesses will be operating on a highly volatile multi-cloud environment spanning on and off-premises systems, and more than one platform. The challenge is to develop advanced solutions and devise efficient implementation strategies to not only retain some amount of control but also to stabilize the environment.

Data breaches will cost a lot

As more businesses adopt the cloud, it’s safe to assume that more critical and sensitive data will be shifted to the cloud. Hence, any potential breach would be ridiculously expensive.

According to a Cost of Data Breach study by IMB and Ponemon in 2018, the global average cost of data breach went up as high as $3.86 million. This was a 6.4% increase compared to the data breach cost in 2017.

In 2019, the stakes are higher which means the data breach cost figure is likely to go even higher. Adding to the challenge is the rising complexity of how data breach attacks are carried out. It’s not at all easy even to detect a breach.

Threats are smarter now

Modern businesses are smarter thanks to powerful technologies like AI and big data. But they seem to have neglected the fact that technology is a double-edged sword. Thanks to technology, cyber-criminals are now capable of executing smarter attacks as well; even capable of using virtual assistants and chatbots for attacks.

Cyber-criminals can now develop chatbots that can superimpose themselves on websites and bait visitors into clicking malicious links, reveal sensitive information, or download malware-attached files.

Evolving mobility & BYOD

Back in the day, enterprises stored their sensitive data in the company premises on a tightly-guarded internal server. Data management was not that hard. But such a system may sound like a thing of the past now. This is the age of BYOD.

BYOD or Bring Your Own Devices is the norm now, as employees of an organization are no longer confined like enterprise data on on-premise servers. Authorized employees can now access official company data on their personal mobile devices, and from anywhere in the world. This means the likelihood of employees accessing sensitive data over public Wi-Fi or shared networks cannot be neglected.

This in turn means that the cyber-security department of the enterprise must be capable of protecting the data that’s probably getting transferred from one continent to another.

Employees will also be utilizing convenient data transfer techniques like for instance, over Slack or Google Drive or by sharing via DropBox. An enterprise won’t be having control over such platforms, making it difficult for them to remain GDPR and HIPPA-compliant. Making the matter more complex is the looming threat of data breaches.

One approach that’s widely considered to counter such scenarios is to invest in active directories or single sign-on (SSO) identity so that all devices can be brought under one network, enabling companies to instantly shut down all devices if a threat is suspected or identified.

Things to take into account

Smarter tech apparently invites smarter hackers. And while 2019 is widely considered as the year when smarter technologies become more accessible, technology professionals have their work cut out for them. This is of paramount importance to companies that have invested in cloud computing technologies as they will soon be forced to face and overcome a number of difficult security challenges this year.

Well thought out cloud security strategies and practices, data safety planning, and diligence are probably the most important things that can save enterprises from losing millions in a data breach. Professionals using the cloud will need to exercise caution during exchanges of sensitive data. They will need to figure out stricter password policies and learn about potential phishing techniques.

Conclusion

Data breach is an avoidable scenario of course. But avoiding data breach and overcoming security challenges today will require on-cloud enterprises to invest more money and time into securing their data just in case. They will have to make sure that their employees are aware of what’s at stake with regular security awareness workshops.

Ultimately, they have to realize that ensuring cloud security is not the responsibility of one particular department in an organization. It’s a shared responsibility that demands knowledge, diligence, and dedication. If your organization has already moved to the cloud and is willing to invest in augmenting cloud security, AOT’s cloud expertise could be what you are looking for. We can ensure that your organization gets the best out of its cloud in terms of benefits and security. Get in touch with us.

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Not all digital products become successful. Many websites, mobile applications, and other types of digital solutions fail and are forgotten every year due to a number of reasons. It doesn’t matter if the app maker has the right ideas in place. If the app doesn’t reach the target audience the way it’s supposed to, it will run out of steam. This is why it’s important to devise and execute ideal product strategies that increase the likelihood of the app’s success.

Stuffing the application with features

Developers are often instructed to prioritize building creative features into the app. This way the team can ensure high functionality of the application but that’s about as far as they can get. While the development team prioritizes performance, end-users only need to know how an app helps them and what benefits they get from that app. A feature-rich app won’t cut it if it doesn’t provide value to the target market.

At every step of the app’s design, the value of each of its features should be clear. Everything about the app should add more value to it, which ultimately benefits the end users or at least make things more convenient for them.

Not assessing the competition

Many companies invest in developing applications simply because their competition has one. Apart from this, they generally don’t know more about what the competition is doing with their apps. Making an app simply because other similar businesses have one, could end up as a product strategy mistake with horrible consequences.

Before building an app, the company should know its place in its niche which in turn requires them to have a great understanding about their competition. This should help the company figure out how they are different, the kind of problems they can solve, and what they can do that their competition can’t.

Thinking successful launch and successful product are the same

When companies prioritize timely product launch over everything else, it can brew up trouble down the road. Product launch is something that should be done only after ensuring that a product promotion and marketing strategy is in place. There are companies that make the mistake of launching the product early for faster market penetration at the expense of product quality.

A viable product that delivers value to the company’s customers should be the first priority. Not a publicized premium launch of a half-baked product. The influx of negative reviews will eventually kill the product almost as soon as its launch. The company will lose their credibility as well which is difficult to recover from.

Prioritizing client requests

Even with the flexibility of an Agile development ecosystem, it’s not always wise to take action based on frequent requests from the client. This may be the first app development venture for the client. But their genuine desire to build something that’d be of value to users may come down as requests to the development team.

Prioritizing these requests may drive the project off course. Just because the team can complete a certain request doesn’t mean they should always comply. The project outcome is more important.

Endnote

At AOT, we understand the importance of an effective product strategy which is why we have veteran strategists in product market analysis and project management. We ensure that the digital solutions we build are flawless after brainstorming and implementing feasible product strategies.

Interested to learn more? Get in touch with us.

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The user interface of an app or a website has the power to make or break businesses. It’s true. A great UI design can entice customers to make purchases or it can deter them from ever using the app or website again. To put it in a nutshell, a UI of a business website or app should be designed to attract, convert, and retain visitors. To do this, it has to be engaging and captivating at the same time.

But surprisingly many companies still neglect the impact a UI can have on visitors resulting in mistakes that essentially turn off potential buyers.

Here are a few such common mistakes that are negatively impacting conversion rates of business websites and apps.

Poor responsiveness

At the top of our list is poor responsiveness. People use a wide range of devices to complete tasks or to find information. So it’s imperative that the website is responsive to engage users regardless of the device they use to access the website. Mobile responsiveness is also a major Google ranking requirement. A site that isn’t optimized for mobile or tablet is digging its own grave.

Unappealing CTAs

CTAs are the most important elements in a UI that entice already impressed users to convert. Not giving enough attention to CTAs to make them appealing is one of the biggest, if not the most common, UI mistakes made by many businesses.

CTAs should be shaped like a clickable button preferably surrounded by white space to appear distinct in a UI. Positioning them strategically is key. Even if these two aspects are covered, CTAs can be made even more appealing by coloring it with one that matches the site’s color scheme. Lastly, CTAs shouldn’t be too big in size.

No social proof

People trust reviews from other people. A 2018 survey by ReviewTrackers found that 6 in 10 consumers rely on Google reviews before putting their trust in a business. This is what many business websites lack. Designers should definitely consider displaying positive customer reviews of their services or products at the right places. Reviews reassure customers of the brand’s credibility while guiding them deeper into the sales funnel.

Cluttered layouts

Some businesses tend to display as much information as they can so the customers will not have to go elsewhere to understand the business. Though this approach is understandable, stuffing too much information or anything else for that matter actually do not help with conversions. Ironically, this may overwhelm visitors who simply don’t want to spend time going through every bit of information.

A good rule of thumb is to go for an uncluttered layout with no more than 2 font layouts and 3 main color schemes supplemented by top quality images that are of relevance to visitors. It’s best to avoid low-resolution illustrations, photos, or videos. One great trend to follow is using UI animations and high-res videos to pique visitors’ interests to discover more about the product or service they are interested in.

Conclusion

The aforementioned mistakes are actually quite common. A UI centered on customer experience (CX) is the way to go to stay ahead of competition in today’s super-competitive business arena. The idea is to keep things simple. We hope this blog relayed the importance of having a fantastic UI in websites as well as apps. If you are interested to know how we design websites and apps at AOT, drop us a message.

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To manage a business effectively, one must first figure out the right way to measure it effectively. This is where business intelligence (BI) steps in. More than quite a lot of things, modern businesses should realize the importance of business intelligence to thrive in today’s competitive world. Making decisions purely based on gut instincts is the old school approach that simply isn’t considered a healthy practice today.

What BI is about

In a nutshell, data is what matters the most for businesses today to remain competent. Those that collect and analyze their data can potentially uncover critical insights with which they can take appropriate and possibly game-changing actions. Statistically speaking, such businesses are more successful than their competitors that neglect the role of business intelligence.

The process of extracting valuable insights and using those insights to make strategic, impactful decisions is what BI is all about. It’s exactly what they need to ‘measure’ their business.

With the right business intelligence software, a business can not only optimize its strategic decisions but also its performance as well.

If you are still not convinced, take a look at the business benefits of investing in a BI solution.

Smarter decision-making

This is practically the most important benefit of having a BI solution. Just because a business has access to a lot of information doesn’t automatically make it smarter especially if all those data are ‘siloed’ in fundamentally distinct parts of that business.

A BI solution essentially converts the company’s data into actionable insights. Data-driven decisions contribute to faster growth and superior performance financially. The solution enables a business to pinpoint hotspots that impact performance both positively and negatively so adjustments can be made accordingly. Decisions will then be made based on facts rather than assumptions.

Boost sales and marketing

A great business intelligence strategy is supplemented by a robust BI solution that delivers in-depth analysis of business data. The results can significantly boost marketing performance and contribute to improving team collaboration for even more benefits.

For instance, BI data can help provide sales personnel with the right tools to measure their activity, understand customer behavior, and strategically exploit sales opportunities, be it upselling or cross-selling.

When it comes to marketing, the team gets more visibility of sales data they can use to fine tune their marketing strategies and campaigns. The solution facilitates efficient tracking and measurement of their marketing campaigns while ensuring that future marketing initiatives are more lucrative at the same time.

Boost customer experience

It’s imperative for modern businesses to invest in understanding their customers so as to deliver an exemplary customer experience. A good BI solution would give the company access to real-time information that pertains to ongoing service cases, purchase histories, and customer interests. This way they can identify profiles of the most profitable customers.

This allows the company to identify where potential buyers are in the sales cycle and what they expect to know before making purchases. Additionally, this information also allows the company to tailor customer service responses and appropriately handle or even avoid customer service failure scenarios.

Conclusion

Many businesses have already started shifting their focus from department-specific solutions to those that positively impact enterprise-wide deployments – like a BI solution. To conclude, BI solutions enable them to strategically align their business activities with their objectives. Leverage the power of a top-notch, bespoke BI solution from AOT to make your business smarter and more competent. Contact our experts today for deeper insights.

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As you may have realized by now, desktop internet users have dwindled over the years. People now use their mobile devices to quickly and conveniently get information on something they are interested in. This has important implications for businesses as well as web design and development teams. Welcoming a mobile user to a business website that delivers only a desktop experience can have dire consequences for the brand.

To serve mobile users better, a business should invest in designing and developing a responsive website or app. A responsive website or application has certain characteristics that make it a worthy investment for enterprises.

Here are a few things that should tell you whether your website or app is responsive or not.

Uncluttered design

This doesn’t make a website any more responsive, and has more to do with user experience. The idea is to not design the website or app to have a lot of options or buttons as they can overwhelm visitors. An uncluttered design would have streamlined content i.e. the content will only have the most necessary information that is presented in a logical manner. In addition, only those buttons are included in the design that users are most likely to interact with.

Convenient tasks

The tasks that websites or apps require visitors to do should be made more convenient for them considering the fact that they are browsing via their mobile devices. For instance, if visitors of a website are required to fill and submit a form, the form shouldn’t be too long. People used to fill long forms back in the day when they relied on desktops to browse the internet.

But today, the whole point of using mobile devices to access the internet is convenience and ease of use. If tasks like form-filling or making payments for a purchase are tedious, it’d defeat the purpose of using mobile devices for convenience. On the other hand, if there is an ‘autocomplete’ feature when it comes to filling forms, users are more likely to convert. People don’t like to wait. A responsive website or app won’t force people to wait.

Mindful of errors

One way or the other something will always go wrong at some point. This applies to response websites and apps as well. Mobile users might tap on certain combinations of elements in the app that would mess up the system, they might lose their internet connection while updating a database or something else may occur that can result in an error. Any type of error can annoy mobile users but if they are informed that the developers are aware of it and are diligently working to prevent it from ever occurring again, they may let the incident pass.

The key is to provide as much as information as possible when an error occurs so mobile users can easily get back on track. It’s also important to let the users know what went wrong and how the problem can be fixed.

Video content are mostly avoided

Video content is of course the type of content that’s most consumed by internet users. It has the greatest conversion potential as well. However, it may not always be the best option for a responsive website or app. Many mobile devices may fail to play videos in a mobile-responsive website. Even if the device is capable of handling the video, the internet connection may not be enough.

It’s best to go for a more mobile-friendly alternative like an image that conveys the same thing as the video it replaces to ensure a better overall experience. Videos should be included only if they are absolutely necessary or specifically requested by the mobile user.

Buttons look like buttons

With UX being prioritized by many designers, it’s not surprising if the designers actively attempt to create a fresh, creative element for a website or app. For instance, they may modify the looks of a button that users can tap to something big or eye-catching.

The intention is understandable but reinvention may not be a good idea every time especially in a responsive website or app. Buttons should look like buttons because if they don’t, it may force mobile users to think and understand what it is while interacting with the app. When the app or website wants them to think about how they engage with it, they are likely to not engage at all and move on to a more convenient option where things look and perform in ways familiar to them.

Endnote

Responsive websites and apps are meant to make things much easier for people while making good use of their mobile devices’ features and functionalities. But they should still work the same way across different devices. Consistent design is the key. At AOT, we believe in building digital solutions that serve a purpose while providing the best possible experience to end-users regardless of the platform they are built on. Give us a ring to understand how we make responsive websites and apps.

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