Identity Theft Protection: A Good Move, Or A Waste Of Time?

It’s a good question, and the answer is yes… but with some caveats.

Identity theft is one of the curses of the internet age. Put simply, it’s a problem that’s only going to grow, as the 21st century marches on.

But if you’re concerned or worried about making sure the only person using your identity and your sensitive financial information is you… you might be wondering about the best way to go about protecting your identity from criminals and hackers.

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Essentially, you have Two Options

The first is to try and look after it all yourself, and the second is to pay for an ID protection service.

The good news is that both work.

The bad news is that taking a DIY approach can be time consuming and frustrating. Yes, you can save yourself some cash and review your credit reports and check all your financial statements with a magnifying glass yourself, but the learning curve is pretty steep, and the chances are you’ll never know what you might be missing…

The second option is of course to pay for a service to take care of all the headaches for you. However, the important thing about using a third-party service, and like the first option above, is to make sure you do your research first.

If you don’t, you could end up paying for a product that not only doesn’t do a good pro-active job of safeguarding your identity, but also makes your valuable personal information even more open and vulnerable than it already is. There’s no point buying an alarm for your house if you never turn it on.

Essentially, when you go out shopping for identity theft protection, you need to compare what these companies will cost, against what they protect. In many ways it’s like shopping for insurance, and while it’s tempting to always just renew with the same guys as before, it always pays to get out there and compare the market.

The most important aspect in choosing identity theft protection is to make sure and choose a reputable company. Take some time, do some research. Don’t just take the company’s website at face value. Read identity theft protection reviews, and look into the small print so that you get a good idea of what the company does and doesn’t protect against.

Of course, it’s also really important that you realize, that no matter what option you choose, you will always be vulnerable to some extent. No service can 100% ever absolutely protect you no matter what option you choose, from becoming an identity theft victim.

But you shouldn’t panic too much if this does happen to you, because a good identity theft protection service can get you back on your feet a whole lot faster than you probably could yourself, depending of course, on who you’ve chosen to protect your identity. A decent service should at least offer a basic level of assistance in resolving issues for you should the worst come to pass.

In conclusion, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from identity theft, is to learn how and why it happens in the first place.

If you know how it all happens, it’s easier to take more effective measures to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. Although this type of theft cannot always be prevented, every pro-active step you take in helping to further protect yourself turns you into a much smaller, and much harder target to hit.

Global Economy In A Recession

After two to three years of stable growth, which was apparently only a veil on a bigger problem, all indicators are not pointing towards a global recession. The 2008 recession changed everything in the world. Just a few years ago, nations started moving back on track with new jobs being created, but the truth is, it was a blanket on a bigger problem, which has got even bigger such that it won’t stay under cover.

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The ongoing warfare in the Middle East, migrant crisis, the EU exit turmoil in the UK and so on. The list keeps going on forever. Keeping this in consideration, economists have changed their predictions for 2016 and now indicate a slowing growth. The IMF also made its forecast public, expecting a 3.1% growth world over in comparison to 3.4% in 2014.

The global markets are in turbulence as China’s weakened economy continues to deflate and cause more problems in the world. Investors are pulling their money out of China and putting them somewhere safe like India. The communist state of China is known for surprises. Investors and economists alike are afraid of the uncertainties and surprises that China might put out to save itself.

China is also involved in debt, which resulted from the aggressive lending it has done in the past few years. Known for the manufacturing hubs in the country, China is now looking to turn into a service-based economy, which is also a reason for the slow down. In drastic movements, China is also ready to lay off 1.8 million coal and steel jobs in the country to reduce the excess workforce. This move will be a very devastating one for its citizens.

Britain’s exit from the European Union is like a bomb hanging over the union. The UK has a lot of money invested in the financial affairs of Europe. Pulling out would result in the loss of huge sums of money and the acceleration to destabilization of the entire European Union. It could also result in trading damage worldwide as the stock markets will be the first to take the hit. Brexit could be the last nail in the coffin to seal the fate of the EU, after that, everything will fall like dominos.

It is not the developing economies causing much of the problem. It is the advanced economies that are responsible for the uncertainties looming over the world. Citigroup says that the global recession is unavoidable, which means we have to be prepared for it. IMF suggests that the advanced economies step up to their plate in this grave situation. The fund also advised that better policies and reforms need to be put in place that emphasize and ease global trade while also serving the domestic needs.

The weakening of the economies is clearly visible in the commodity prices and the stock market. Visit hereto look into the history of stocks. The stock market remains quite volatile, and so does the oil. It is possible that the recession we are going through will continue for some more time and in the process, we might see reforms and policies that will benefit everyone in the long run.

Sew what?

Home Economics used to include sewing but it seems that many of our secondary schools are dropping this art from the curriculum. Is sewing a dying art? Do we have any need for it anymore? Any piece of clothing was sewn together but with manufacturing outsourcing so much work, designers are now struggling to find people skilled in using different kinds of sewing machines. It seems that somewhere along the way, sewing became an image of the domestication of women. Career women didn’t have time for making things or mending things. Why bother when clothing was available in mass, cheaper than ever before at the local store?

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Sewing can be a very relaxing and therapeutic activity. If you rip your favourite item of clothing, wouldn’t it be easier to know how to put a stitch in it rather than having to replace it entirely? Imagine the thrill and feeling of accomplishment after designing and making your first craft item. With Christmas fast approaching it’s a perfect time for a new hobby – creating a festive piece of craft using designer Christmas fabrics. A cushion is a good first piece to try and it will look totally unique and bespoke as part of your home decoration. For more information visit http://www.higgsandhiggs.com/fabrics/christmas-fabric/show/all.html.

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Fortunately there are many local sewing classes available across the country and also magazines and online guidance so you never need to feel on your own. Most of the classes will expect you to bring your own sewing machine but you can also take classes in sewing by hand. It would appear that the world of crafting is keeping these skills alive and is becoming very popular.

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There are some great projects that you can achieve with a little sewing knowledge. Turn old bootcut jeans into skinny jeans, Lavender heat packs, bags, cute baby headbands, gift bags, seat cushions, fringe purses, wallet organizers and ruffled hems to update old sweaters. If you have the creative flair, or even if you don’t, you will be able to design completely individual gifts and pieces for your home.

Maybe you are a budding dress designer and want to start creating pieces that are only on paper at the moment or keen to have a career in the fashion industry. As more and more schools drop it from the curriculum, it may have to be an activity that is enjoyed out of hours.

England’s Most Haunted Village

Sitting in the countryside, on the edge of the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire is the pretty little village of Prestbury. With its beautiful houses and picturesque scenery, it looks like any other idyllic Cotswold village – but beneath the charming façade this village is a little different. Legend has it, that this is the most haunted village in England. It is not really surprising, given the age of the village that it has some resident spirits. It is mentioned in the Doomesday Book in 1081 so it has been around a long time! Prestbury became very popular with wealthy visitors to Cheltenham in 18th – 19th century – they visited the Grotto Tea Gardens, an upmarket outdoor tea room with a summerhouse, and came to take in the views from Cleeve Hill. Prestbury is a particularly pretty village, with its chocolate box cottages, with honey coloured walls it is easy to see why it attracts so many visitors. If you aren’t lucky enough to live in one of these pretty cottages, http://reliable-remodeler.com/  has great ideas for home improvements and making the most of the home!

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The Burgage is Prestburys oldest street, and also where the most hauntings are reported. There are many sightings of a charging horseman on a white horse riding down the Burgage. While on his way to fight in the war of the roses it is said that he was killed by an arrow. A skeleton was found in the area in the 20th century, with an arrowhead in it. Many people believe that this is the skeleton of the horseman. He isn’t the only horseman to ride down the Burgage – another unfortunate ghoul who rides along the haunted street is a headless horseman who was knocked from his horse during the Civil War – on his way from the nearby Sudeley Castle to Gloucester. He was beheaded by the Roundheads of Prestbury.

Further along the road, is Sundial Cottage – there are many reports of sightings of the spirit of a young girl here who plays the spinet. A family took refuge in the cottage during the second world war and saw the girl many times, and heard her music in the house.

Prestburys most famous ghostly resident is the Black Abbot. There have been numerous sightings of the Abbot in the churchyard of Saint Mary’s Church. The Abbot also used to be seen in the church itself, until it was exorcised. He always walks the same route – appearing in the churchyard and walking through it before disappearing into a wall! The picture below was taken of the spook in 1990 and is still one of the most famous ghost photographs ever taken.

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Of course, a visit to the village will not guarantee that you see anything paranormal, but if you have an interest in the paranormal, or even want to spend time in quaint English village with a few resident ghosts, Prestbury is well worth a visit.

Ways In Which Technology Is Transforming Finance

Like any other industry, financial services organizations have notably focused on the reduction of costs. However, thanks to the drastic change of the business environment in recent years, this sector is now faced with the double challenge of keeping up with the regulatory demands as well as with the preferences of a tech-savvy generation which actually wants to access banking and other financial services with the help of apps and instantaneous data access. They virtually want to perform all their financial tasks online or through apps. Today, if they are accessing the internet to perform regular banking facilities like checking account balance, transferring funds etc, they don’t hesitate to complete more elaborate functions like applying for loans online as well. Continue reading Ways In Which Technology Is Transforming Finance

What Does The Discontinuation Of Infopath Mean For Users?

When Microsoft announced discontinuation of InfoPath, it was not the end of the story. Your forms did not stop working all of a sudden. It has remained a part of the SharePoint ecosystem. Even when Microsoft made the announcement, it made it clear that like all its Office products, it will also keep getting support for a decade. So you can continue seeing support for the product until 2023. But with limited capabilities, everyone can see why it is important to look out for an infopath replacement.

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Support for InfoPath

According to Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy, the next on-premise release for SharePoint will also include support for the InfoPath Forms Services. You can continue getting support on SharePoint Online until Microsoft has an announcement to make the future.

Microsoft has been promoting its InfoPath users to embrace its new Contextual Process Apps. They have been working on this for some time. The concept behind this is to get the business processes of its users connected just like the users are.

Contextual Process Apps – The Concept

The key points of this new concept are as following:

  • Awareness – The concept intends to keep users aware of all relevant data. It must be available to them where and when they need it. Users should not have to sift through lots of ‘noise’.
  • Analysis – It should help create value from all the process data so that users can interact with it. Microsoft intends to use telemetry from business processes for understanding user actions and making continuous efforts for improving the processes.
  • Capture Data & Output – The system intends to deliver data in the desired formats. Thus, data will be available through the process in formats that is easily usable.
  • Business Process Management – Another aspect of the concept is to maintain balance between effective management of activities, flexibility and versatility for users.
  • Collaboration – The company intends to offer collaborative tools for helping its users create content. It intends to continue with the model within business processes to simplify them further.

Microsoft has pointed out 4 options how Contextual Process Apps will manifest them within the Office Forms product plan. These include Excel surveys, structured documents, list forms, and app forms. While the company is busy providing solutions, there are other infopath replacement options which are available to users.

Even when the company continues to support InfoPath, there are many limitations and it will be best to move onto something that is available without any restrictions.

How WYSI Can Enhance Your Business

Many business leaders like to think in terms of OODA loops. OODA stands for observe, orient, decide, and act. This refers to how quickly you and your business can gather information, decide how to respond to that information, and then actually respond. In the fast-paced business world, you are always competing with someone else to be the fastest and most innovative. In this competitive climate, the business with the fastest OODA loops tends to be the most successful, and when that business is competing with another business, the objective is to disrupt the other’s loops. A robust, cutting-edge internet presence is the best way to accomplish all of these goals. Continue reading How WYSI Can Enhance Your Business

IT Basics: What Every Startup Needs To Know

Information technology plays an essential role in the day-to-day operations of startups. If you are to compete against other market participants, investing in technology is an absolute must. But rather than treat it as a business expense, look at technology as a gateway that opens up new business opportunities.

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Benefits Of IT

It protects vital data. This encompasses customer contact details, inventories, payroll, projected numbers, and so forth. Having reliable IT support allows you to back up gigabytes of crucial data into a secure remote facility. In the past, businesses were limited with physical devices like flash drives and compact discs to save and secure information.

Streamlined operations

A solid IT infrastructure in place yields maximized profits, reduced costs, and increased efficiency. One of the key factors that distinguish workforce productivity is how efficiently employees can collaborate with their coworkers. Modern IT solutions are necessary to enable dispersed teams to communicate without issues.

Reduced costs

Upfront cost of IT services can be somewhat rich. However, consistent implementation of Ottawa managed services can lead to reduced costs. The business can expect to recoup the initial costs via long-term savings. A good example where IT can help cut costs is effective employee training through a dedicated software application, which can be reused by future employees without having to be completely replaced or repaid for. Getting help form a professional company can give you the security your business needs.

How Much IT Do You Need?

You don’t want to skimp on IT services, but at the same time you also don’t want to splurge on them. Spending too much money on tech will force you to overwork the tools to recoup expenses and, as a result, consume more of your time and attention. Spend too little and competitors that have the best tech working for them can easily crush you.

As a startup, your IT goal should be to implement sufficient tech to see a tangible benefit, avoid worst case scenarios, and identify new market opportunities as they unfold. Keep in mind that technology has a cost beyond its dollar value. It will also cost you time to implement, maintain, and to retrain your workforce to use the technology proficiently. Be sure to work with industry experts to get the most benefit.