Cisco Revamps Its Small Business Network Gear Offerings

Cisco today announced a refresh of its small business networking line, including routers and access points that (finally) support the current generation of Wi-Fi. The products are available immediately.

While many small businesses use consumer-grade networking gear, the Cisco products announced today cater to those who demand greater support and security for both remote and local users, voice-over-IP phone systems, and cloud applications. The products may not be as inexpensive as their consumer counterparts, but they aren't outrageously costly either.

Cisco RV180 router
Cisco RV180 small business router
They include two new routers, one with and one without Wi-Fi. The RV180 offers 4 gigabit ethernet LAN ports, 10 VPN tunnels (meaning 10 remote users can connect simultaneously), gigabit WAN connectivity, virtual LAN support (so you can manage which devices can access others on the same LAN), and VoIP support. It costs $180.

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Keep Your Website Off of Google's Naughty List

Google will soon penalize 'overly optimized' websites. How can your website remain on the search giant's good side?
Google’s principal engineer, Matt Cutts, dropped serious hints in March about an imminent change to Google's algorithm that will penalize websites for being "overly optimized". Unfortunately, he didn't specify exactly what "overly optimized" means, or when this big shift will come--but you'd be wise to prepare your website now.

I contacted an industry expert to sort out exactly what you should and should not fear about Google's upcoming algorithm change. Judith Lewis is head of search at Beyond, which handles search engine optimization and digital marketing for clients including Facebook, IBM, and the Hilton hotel chain.

Google Takes Aim at Trashy Search Results

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How to Make Sure That Digital Signature Is Legit

Make sure your digital signature is legit.
Digital signatures enable paperless contracts and can speed up business transactions. The 2001 E-Sign Act was meant to ease the adoption of electronic signatures, yet the mechanics of what makes up an e-signature were left deliberately wide open. Eleven years later, there is still widespread mistrust of e-signatures, even though they contain more evidence that a particular person signed a document at a particular time than a traditional pen-and-ink contract does.

How can you be certain that your e-signed documents will hold up in a court of law? Which best practices should you follow when using digital signatures in your business?

For answers, I talked with Dallas copyright attorney Bhaveeni Parmar, who uses e-signatures in her practice and in frequent applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I also spoke with Ken Moyle, chief legal counsel of digital signature company DocuSign, as well as its founder Tom Gonser.

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Chrome OS Gets a Desktop Feel with New 'Aura' Interface

Google's Linux-based Chrome OS may have started out as a pared-down operating system focused heavily on the browser, but a new interface that debuted on Monday is starting to feel a lot more traditional.

Chrome OS
Just added to the developer channel for Acer AC700 and Samsung Series 5 Chromebooks, version 19.0.1048.17 of Chrome OS includes a number of new features as well as improvements to security and stability, according to Google Chrome blogger Orit Mazor, who made the announcement on Monday.

Included among those new features are new modes for handling multiple monitors, an updated Scratchpad app, updates to the software's local audio and video player, and support for tar, gz, bzip2 files.

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Chrome: Fastest on Macs, Favorite on Weekends?

Browser statistics are not unlike weather forecasts on TV: If you don't like what you hear, change the channel--or wait a day--and the story will likely change.

chrome
Case in point: Hard on the heels of Net Applications' report earlier this week suggesting that Microsoft's Internet Explorer has finally reversed its recent downward market-share trend--and that Google's Chrome is now losing ground--rival StatCounter presents a very different picture.

In fact, continuing on Chrome's one-day reign as market-share leader one Sunday last month, StatCounter's data now suggests that Chrome is emerging as something of a weekend favorite, while Internet Explorer continues to dominate during the week--albeit less markedly than before.

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PayPal Payments Keeps Shoppers on Your Website

PayPal Announces Small Business Payment Systems
PayPal's major drawback for small businesses has been that customers need to leave the website they're shopping on to process a payment. Starting today, however, the new PayPal Payments system will let you keep customers on your website while they're completing a purchase.

PayPal Payments includes three tiers of service: Standard for free; Advanced at $5 per month; and Pro for $30 per month. Each paid tier offers new features that PayPal hasn't previously offered to small businesses at entry level pricing.

With PayPal Payments' Advanced tier at $5 per month, you can enable customers to complete transactions on your own website. This used to be available only through PayPal's Website Payments Pro service, which kicked in at 100 transactions per month.

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RIM Opens the Gates for the Trojan Horse

RIM Opens the Gates for the Trojan Horse
Someday we’ll look back on BlackBerry maker RIM's announcement to handle mobile device management for its competitors and say, "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

The new program, dubbed Mobile Fusion, allows companies to “manage a mixed environment of devices in the most secure, simple, and cost efficient manner possible,” according to a RIM statement.

By downloading a RIM app onto Android or iOS devices, enterprise techs can use their current BlackBerry device management and security infrastructure tools to manage a variety of areas, including:

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