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The author of a book on network security warns that most companies aren’t spending enough money to adequately protect themselves and most IT administrators are out of control of their own networks.
Top HP security architect Donald Pipkin recently released the second edition of his book, “Halting the Hacker: A Practical Guide to Computer Security.” Pipkin’s book looks at threats, tools and responses with a focus on countermeasures to protect HP-UX, Linux or Unix systems.
The man with 15 years of network security experience tells eSecurityPlanet that network and security administrators need to figure out exactly what their data is worth and put that figure in line with how much they’re spending on security. He also says he worries about all those stable old networks that were built before security was a major concern, and that users are adding devices and modems to corporate networks under IT’s radar.
Q: Is there a general profile of today’s corporate network hacker?
The hacker profile has become more diverse than it was a few years ago. Historically, the hacker has been the young, MIT student trying to figure out how things work and somewhat unaware of the consequences. Today, there are more people with malicious intent looking for ways to profit from hacking. Regular criminals have discovered that over the Internet they have greater access to people. A lot of it has to do with the amount of skill necessary. Early on, it required a lot of skill to know what worked. Today it’s more plug-and-play. Hacker tools are exploding on the market. You don’t have to create an exploit by yourself. It’s almost point-and-hack. You really don’t need to know anything but how to run the tools to break into a system.
Q: Are most companies adequately prepared for a network attack?
Most companies are taking basic precautions. There’s a lot of denial and there’s a lot of funding issues. Companies are spending money on viruses and things that have an immediate day-to-day impact. Those things have to be taken care of. But a lot of companies don’t have a good risk understanding of what a disgruntled employee or someone from the inside can have. I don’t think they’ve evaluated those risks. Employees can access porn sites. But they also can really do some damage. There’s more of a need for companies to do a big risk analysis.
Q: What could IT and security administrators do to improve their preparedness?
Do some disaster planning. Know what your data is and what it’s worth. What is the impact if that information is destroyed or disclosed or just taken and misused. It’s not just that my business can’t do business if the information is destroyed. But if it’s taken and misused, you have privacy issues to deal with. What is my level of liability if someone is injured by the information that is stolen and disclosed? With health care, think of the information they have about people. What if someone gets access to those records and misuses it? You have health care providers and insurance companies and all these people who have the right to see some of this information. How do you control that? It’s going to take a lot of time and resources to control that environment.
Q: What are a lot of companies doing wrong?
In the big picture, it’s probably still, boiled all down, the way they budget for security. A lot of companies say they have x million dollars budgeted for computer hardware and 10% of that budgeted for security. Security doesn’t just protect assets, but information. What is information worth? And shouldn’t you be paying some percentage of that for security? Security departments find themselves underfunded for the work they have.
Q: What part of the corporate network is generally the most vulnerable?
Outside hackers are coming in through unsanctioned connections. Users are installing their own modem or their own little wireless connection. Companies have done a good job of securing what they know they need to secure. But sometimes they don’t secure areas because they’re not even aware they exist. The technology is simpler today. The end users don’t have to rely on IT to do everything anymore. If they want to put in a modem and dial out to get their personal mail from somewhere on the Internet, they can do it. IT doesn’t know that these things are going on. Companies need to have a good education program, explaining to people that they need to let IT know what they’re doing so IT can help them do it safely. And companies should have a good scanning and monitoring system so they can tell when something ends up on their network.
Q: What tools are coming down the pike that you are most eagerly anticipating?
Centralized administration. I’ve always been a real big believer in enterprise security and enterprise management. We have such diversified systems scattered everywhere — servers and desktops and email. You have to have a way to control those — all the users and passwords and traffic and privileges. You have all kinds of problems there. Centralized administration will help with security because it will bring in consistency. You’ll be able to standardize — what passwords are changed and how often — you can rapidly assign and remove people from resources…a person’s ID is the same whether theyre on email or the mainframe or a server.
Q: What worries you the most?
My personal concerns have to do with the infrastructures that have been around for a long time. There are a lot of issues about when you have systems out there that are 15 or 20 years old. When you have old air traffic control systems or old systems running the oil pipeline across the country, there are security issues. When they get a system running, they leave it alone. But 15 or 20 years ago, people weren’t concerned about hacking. There are a lot of old systems out there that are vulnerable.
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In a Google Webmaster Central hangout, Google’s John Mueller answered whether it was worth spending time creating author pages.
Mueller downplayed the importance of author pages for ranking. He said that you can’t say author pages really matter.
Then he explained where it can matter.Author Pages on News Sites and YMYL
Some people believe that author pages and “expert authors” are important for ranking.
But that’s not anything that Google has said.
I’ve had numerous companies come to me for help after an update. Many had tried adding author pages but that didn’t solve their problems because author pages are not a ranking factor.
Mueller’s answer confirms that it’s not something you really must do.
Related: How to Use Structured Data to Support E-A-TAre Author Pages Necessary?
This is the the question asked of John Mueller:
“Question about E-A-T and YMYL.
We’re working with news websites. What tips can you give us about indication of content authors?
Is it really necessary to make pages for each author, provide big info with photo, bio links to social networks?
…Does this really matter that there are lots of work to do elsewhere.”John Mueller Comments on Content Author Pages
John’s answer begins by noting that E-A-T and YMYL are terms from the Quality Raters Guidelines (QRG).
“So, E-A-T is Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness. And YMYL is You Money or Your Life content.
These are terms from the Google Raters Guidelines that we put out.”
The QRG is a guide for third party raters to use. The intent of the guide is to help the raters use a consistent standard for rating search results. That’s important because otherwise the raters would use their own subjective opinions.
Google has recommended the use of the QRG to publishers as a way for them to judge their own sites for quality.
Google never said that the QRG reflected Google’s ranking algorithms. The QRG is just a standard for rating websites.
Mueller next downplays the importance of author pages as an absolute necessity:
“I think like with all kinds of content it’s not the case that you can say this really matters and you absolutely must do it.”
Mueller next explains that if you want to build trust with your readers, then using an author page is a good way to do that.
The context of his statement is not about ranking. The context is about building trust with readers.
“I do think with a lot of news websites, especially if you’re providing information that you want people to trust, then this certainly makes sense.”
Mueller downplays the use of author pages as an SEO factor:
“So it’s not something that where I’d say it’s the same as removing a no-index meta tag on a page because that’s like really and on-and-off switch.”
Mueller then remarks on improving content and prioritizing content improvement and adding author bios.
“But if you’re improving the content of your site, that works well for users, that works well for Google.
So it seems like something that could be done.
How to prioritize that versus other things on the website that’s really hard to do. That’s where you almost need to kind of use your experience and figure out what works well on your side.”
Related: Google’s E-A-T: Busting 10 of the Biggest MisconceptionsAre Author Bios Important?
It’s clear that author bios are not ranking factors. The idea that author bios are important comes from the QRG encouragement that the quality raters look for them.
But the reason the QRG says that is to give the raters a common standard for verifying the quality of a site. It’s not because an author bio is a part of Google’s algorithm.
Author bios can be important within the context of building trust with users.
If the author is an expert then it makes sense to make a statement about their expertise. As John Mueller stated, it’s a way to build trust with users.
Can it help your rankings? Only in an indirect way.
Site visitors who trust your site are more likely to recommend your web page, to trust it and to return to it if the author bio builds credibility for the content.
It’s time for publishers and the SEO community to view author bios outside of the context of ranking. It’s more realistic to consider author bios from the context of what it might mean for users.
Watch the Google Office Hours Hangout here:
Also Read: Instagram Creators Admit That They Copied Snapchat’s Stories
In addition, Luckin Coffee ranks 17th, while Apple ranked 39th. ‘Fast Company’ points out that in just two and a half years after launch, Luckin Coffee has become China’s largest coffee chain, surpassing Starbucks, it took the latter more than 20 years to reach this status.
As of the third quarter of 2023, Luckin Coffee’s stores grew by more than 200% year-on-year, the customer base climbed by 413%, the number of customers who returned each month increased by 398%, and the number of products purchased increased by 470%.
In addition, Microsoft is on the list of the most innovative companies with its instant messaging platform Teams. Last year, Teams beat rival Slake as the most popular workplace instant messaging app in 2023. In July last year, its daily users were 13 million, and in January this year, it exceeded 20 million. Currently, 91 of the 100 largest US companies use it.
Tesla has demonstrated its marketing skills since its inception, but operational execution has been its weakness. Today, Tesla not only achieved record-breaking car deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2023, it also achieved profitability. Last year, Tesla also opened a new plant in China and has begun delivering cars to the world’s largest electric vehicle market.Gizchina News of the week
Join GizChina on TelegramThe 50 most innovative companies in the world in 2023 by Fast Company Top 10
Snap (For Setting The Social Agenda)
Microsoft (For Coalescing Teams)
Tesla (For Earning The Pole Position In The U.S. Ev Sales Race)
Big Hit Entertainment (For Mobilizing (And Monetizing) Music Fans)
Hackerone (For Putting Hackers To Work)
White Claw (For Brewing A Gender-Neutral Phenomenon)
Shopify (For Enabling The Shopkeeper Of The Future)
Canva (For Unleashing Corporate Creativity)
Roblox (For Gamifying Gaming)
Zipline (For Delivering The Most Important Goods—Fast)The Rest
Kaios Technologies (For Outsmarting The Smartphone Market)
Beyond Meat (For Popularizing Meat Alternatives)
Bravado (For Turning Bands Into Brands)
Meesho (For Adding Shopping Carts To Social Posts)
Spotify (For Becoming A Podcasting Powerhouse)
Hello Sunshine (For Flipping A New Page In Entertainment)
Luckin Coffee (For Caffeinating The Data-Driven Chain Restaurant)
Merck (For Vaccinating Against Ebola)
Whoop (For Bringing Pro-Level Science To Everyday Athletes)
Sweetgreen (For Streamlining Delivery)
Sage Therapeutics (For Treating Postpartum Depression Quickly)
Indigo (For Fighting Climate Change With Farmland)
Vimeo (For Successfully Pivoting To Enterprise Video)
Caastle (For Renting Clothiers A New Business)
Thredup (For Weaving The Clothing Industry Into The Circular Economy)
Trove (For Getting More Out Of Clothes Built To Last)
Brex (For Giving Startups Access To Credit)
Hopper (For Eliminating Decision Fatigue In Travel)
Strava (For Using Data To Put Athletes First)
Immuta (For Helping Companies Comply With Evolving Data-Privacy Rules)
Wattpad (For Mainstreaming Niche Stories)
Attabotics (For Packing Warehouses (And Boxes) More Efficiently)
Rothy’s (For Building A Direct-To-Consumer Brand That Stands Apart)
Calm (For Coaching Your Brain)
Twiga Foods (For Upgrading Kenya’s Informal Market Economy)
Color Of Change (For Taking The Law Into Its Hands)
Carta (For Facilitating The Rise Of Equitable Private Markets)
Footprint (For Leading Business Toward Plastic Alternatives, At Scale)
Apple (For Changing The Games)
Truth Initiative (For Clearing The Air About Vaping)
Vertex (For Attacking The Underlying Cause Of Cystic Fibrosis)
Maven Clinic (For Navigating Workers Toward Parental Leave—And Back)
Graphcore (For Processing Ai’s True Potential)
Teachable (For Getting An “A” In Instructor Support)
Bleacher Report (For Being Obsessed With Sports Culture)
Rally (For Selling Collectibles By The Share)
Omaze (For Incentivizing Giving)
Io (For Diagnosing With Smartphones)
Cameo (For Providing Fans The Thrill Of A Lifetime)
Meow Wolf (For Captivating Audiences)
Cut out your pages. Cut sixteen rectangles of ordinary printer paper, measuring 7/8″ (22mm) long by 1.5″ (3.8cm) wide. If you have access to a paper cutter it will help make the pages even, as will stacking or folding the paper before cutting. (Don’t stack too thickly, though, or you’ll have trouble cutting. Two stacks of eight layers each seem to cut reasonably easily, and it doesn’t matter if the pages for one book are slightly different from the other.)
Punch out holes for binding. Line up the centers of the pages with the centers of the cover cardboard. Lay the book open flat with the cover side down on a cutting mat or a spare chunk of scrap cardboard. Use a push pin to poke three holes in the spine, through the center of the pages. Do this for both books.
Cut out your cover. Cut two rectangles of the decorative fabric or paper, 3.25″ (8.25cm) wide by 2″ (5cm) long. If there is a pattern or grain to the fabric or paper, check to make sure that your rectangles run parallel to it. These will become the covers of your books.
Cut out the corners as shown. Cut at a shallow angle from the corners of the score marks to the edge. The exact angle is not important, but try to get it reasonably symmetrical.
Center the book on the cover and cut V-shaped notches as shown around where the spine will be.
Score the decorative material on either side of the spine if you are using paper. The photo shows the cover ready to glue.
Apply a generous (but not sloppy) amount of glue to the center of the decorative material and to the top and bottom flaps. Make sure to put the
It helps to put a piece of scrap paper behind as you apply the glue, to catch any that runs over the edges.
Place the book onto the decorative material and press it firmly against the back, making sure the edges line up with the score marks. Fold the top flaps over and press them firmly. Repeat for the bottom flaps.
Apply glue to the side flaps and fold them in, over the top and bottom flaps. Press firmly.
Thread a string between the top portion of binding and the cardboard you used as the basis for your cover.
Tie a simple knot in the string. Pull it close to the book, then tighten it firmly.
Turn the knot downward and trim off the excess string.
Open the ring on the earring mount, thread it through the loop on the book, and close it again. Use needle-nose pliers or jewelry pliers without teeth. Insert the earring mounts so that the books will both point forward when the earrings are worn.
Let the glue dry thoroughly before trying on the earrings. Rest a heavy book on top of them to hold them closed while the glue dries.
The construction industry is no stranger to occupational hazards, and employee safety is the top priority. When it comes to portable and handheld devices, many construction companies have bypassed modern handheld devices in many work areas to manage employee risk. While protected from electrocution, fire and explosion, however, employees and managers have been forced to live without the business benefits of connectivity.
Help is here in the form of intrinsically safe devices that meet Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) standards and can deliver a multitude of process improvements, making them reliable and beneficial assets in construction risk management.The Need for Intrinsically Safe Devices
Risk looms large in construction. In 2023, slightly more than 20 percent of the 4,674 worker fatalities in the U.S. private industry were in the construction sector, according to OSHA.
OSHA also reports that effective control of hazardous electrical energy is one of the 10 most frequently violated standards in the industry. Electrocutions count as one of the “Fatal Four” factors for worker fatalities and is an important concern in construction risk management.
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Given the high prevalence of unsafe and unpredictable electrical energy fields and conditions that might create danger, industry workers have traditionally worked with materials that are safe and won’t combust in such environments. These include paper blueprints and traditionally ruggedized, clunky computers. Most other equipment in construction falls under the Class I Div 2 category of products that meet OSHA specifications for construction risk management.Compromised Productivity
Reliance on paper while on site constricts workers’ productivity in a variety of ways.
Static information: Blueprints are not updated every day and definitely not in real time. This means workers might not have access to the latest updates to design plans. They have to rely on other employees remembering to record changes accurately and implement them throughout the workflow. Information on paper is also prone to manual error when transcribed and saved over time, as well as to environmental hazards.
Paper trail: Construction supervisors and workers have a long list of tasks to attend to daily. Traditionally, they might be outlined on paper in duplicate copies — one for the road, and one for the corporate office. Repeatedly having to refer to a piece of paper while on site can get cumbersome quickly. What’s more, paper can get damaged under everyday environmental conditions, including rain and wind. Relying on paper checklists means a greater probability of workers forgetting to check things off, which can get especially complicated when two or more workers share the same lists. Under intense field conditions, it might not always be easy to keep track of who is doing which task on a paper list. Using paper for the approval process also makes supervisor and other stakeholder signatures more difficult to procure and track.
Ineffective communication: Traditional technologies on site do not smoothly facilitate communication among field personnel, managers and the corporate office — which can slow productivity or even bring it to a screeching halt. If a worker encounters a maintenance issue they need assistance with, they can use a Class I Div 2 intrinsically safe smartwatch to quickly reach a manager, who can then troubleshoot with an off-site expert using the watch’s voice capabilities. If a video link is needed, the field worker can utilize AR/smart assist technology via an intrinsically safe tablet (Div 1 or Div 2) to reach an offsite expert. Similarly, if a worker comes across a different machine on the field than what they were trained on, they can access corresponding tutorials or information instantly on the tablet.Intrinsically Safe Devices Keep Workers Connected
Mobile tablets also allow augmented reality layered solutions, which means smart assistance for tricky onsite problems is never more than a video call away. Through the tablet’s camera, remote experts can guide the construction worker through complicated procedures so operations are always done right, safely and on time.
Hazardous working conditions in the construction industry have had workers relying on safe but outdated tools of the trade. Intrinsically safe devices are the prescription that can deliver both process efficiencies and approved functionality in high-risk environments.
Read our in-depth white paper to learn how mobile technology is modernizing the industry, and learn about how a rugged tablet can help you solve your toughest business challenges
We are in a recession.
During a recession, companies rethink their budgets.
Every organization is looking for ways to spend less money, and to spend the money they have more efficiently.
History is repeating itself for many in the search engine marketing industry.
As the economy worsens, companies look to search engine marketing as a trackable, efficient, and relatively reliable way to generate revenue.
But there is a dark side to the search engine marketing world.
Unscrupulous and incompetent practitioners are peddling so-called solutions that can actually do more harm than good.
And the way to a struggling business owner’s heart is the promise of great results for little money.
Some would-be SEO practitioners offer packages for a few hundred dollars.
You that you would be better off spending that money on a nice steak dinner – a nice steak dinner will at least get you something, and it doesn’t have the ability to actually destroy your business.Different Strokes for Different Folks
There are different types of SEO.
It takes both competence and experience to be successful.
Lots of SEO agencies are great at what they do.
In many cases, it’s more about finding the right fit than finding an agency that can competently do the work.
Many times, when a company comes to me saying they were “burned” by a reputable agency, I find that the problem was more about the fit than the actual work.
For example, my agency is more aggressive than many others when it comes to getting things done.
We tend to ask for forgiveness instead of permission
This works well for many clients.
That’s why clients who want to micro-manage every aspect of their campaign typically aren’t a good fit for us.
That doesn’t mean companies that want to manage their agencies closely are bad clients.
In fact, we have been successful with them once we understand each other.
But clients that want to know everything we are doing all the time typically don’t last long with our agency.
It’s all about fit.
Regardless of fit, when a company goes cheap, they can run into trouble.Do the Math
I’m going to ask you to do some math.
I promise, it will be relatively painless.
Here are some SEO salary statistics from Glassdoor.
The numbers have been rounded to keep it simple.
Average SEO Salary
(1-3 years experience)
Average SEO Salary
(4-6 years experience)
Average SEO Salary
(7-9 years experience)
Average SEO Salary
(10-15 years experience)
$55,000 $64,000 $76,000 $85,000
After 21 years in the SEO game, I have a pretty good idea of the minimum amount of effort it takes to show success.
I assume a basic SEO effort for a simple site will require about 10 hours of work per month, in most cases.
The 10 hours only apply after one month.
The first month typically requires more than 10 hours as everything – audits, strategy, communication, etc. – is being set up.
Honestly, unless you are just way more efficient than anyone I’ve worked with, you’re going to find that even the most basic site requires 10 hours of work each month unless you are just going to sit on it and not worry about improving the return.
Are there exceptions?
Sites that compete in low competition niches can get away with less than 10 hours of work per month.
But if you want to continue to receive an ROI of 3 times what you are putting into the site, you are going to need to spend 10 hours per month on it.
You might get away with those results without doing the required 10 hours for a couple of months, but eventually, your results will degrade and you’ll end up spending a lot more than 10 hours to get the results back to where they need to be.Cheap SEO Does Not Compute
I’ve shown you the salaries and talked about the time it takes to put together a quality program.
If a person is going to work a standard 40-hour a week schedule, I posture that only about 25 of those weekly hours are billable.
People need time to do administrative tasks, take breaks, research trends – the list goes on and on.
So the majority of those who aren’t willing to work until their fingers bleed (which should be most of us) have around 100 hours per month of actual work available to do SEO on clients.
When you pay someone $500/month to work on your SEO, you are paying for their time, no matter if it’s presented in a list of tasks or a bulk of hours.
Let’s assume a minimum livable wage is around $30,000/year.
In order to make that much, after taxes, an individual would need to have 10 projects at $500 a month to get to that $30,000 annual salary.
With 10 projects and an average of 100 hours per month to work, you are paying your SEO an average of $15/hour to SEO your site.
That doesn’t include tool subscription costs (at least $200-$300 a month if we are honest), overhead like computers, or anyone else to check their work.
The hourly rate starts to drop precipitously once we add in the normal expenses of doing business.
This wage level might work for an intern, or someone outside of the United States, but take a look again at the salaries above for a minute.
If you want someone with experience, you won’t get them for $14 an hour.
At least not in the U.S.
Sure, there are some people who can work faster than others – but they’re definitely making more than $14 an hour if they are good.
Even if they cut the deliverables time in half, they aren’t making what they are worth at $500 per month per client.
Even at $1,000 per month, in most cases, you aren’t getting to the salaries in the tables above with $500/month clients.
Frankly, if someone is good at SEO, someone is going to pay them more than $15 an hour.
Do you want the person who isn’t any good working on one of the most important promotional channels you have?The Bottom Line
If you are shopping SEO costs, you’re costing yourself money.
Cheap SEO is probably not being completed by someone with a lot of experience.
If corners are being cut, you can actually get yourself in trouble.
Bad SEO, or SEO that doesn’t follow the guidelines set forth by the search engines, is usually worse than no SEO at all.
Clearly, a lower-cost program either doesn’t provide adequate results to show an effective return, or someone is working for an incredibly low wage.
Featured Image: Modified by author, August 2023
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