Benefits of Google Encrypted Search

Google launched a new beta service this week--encrypted search using SSL (secure sockets layer) to protect searches from being snooped or intercepted while traversing the Internet. Encrypted Google search is still not entirely private, but it has benefits for individuals and businesses to ensure sensitive information is not exposed to prying eyes.

Google encrypted search ensures that your Web searches aren't intercepted by prying eyes.
The new encrypted Google search is easy enough to use. Simply type "https" at the beginning of the URL rather than "http". Doing so sets up an encrypted pipe between your Web browser and Google so that any search traffic is kept private between you and Google.

It is not completely private because obviously Google still has a record of what you searched for. Google has established its reputation based on the "Do No Evil" mantra, and most businesses and users implicitly trust that Google won't do anything insidious with its omniscient cataloging of every bit and byte that crosses the Web. But, Google has faced privacy challenges again and again, including the recent revelation that it has "accidentally" captured and archived intercepted wireless data with its Google Street View cars for years.

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Why Your Business Should Not Abandon Facebook

Google has taken some of the privacy heat off of Facebook with the discovery that it has "accidentally" been intercepting and archiving wireless network communications around the world with its Google Street View cars, but Facebook isn't off the hook. In fact, new revelations about how Facebook and other social networking sites share information with advertisers enflame the situation further, and the privacy backlash against Facebook could have consequences for your business.

Does your business have a Facebook presence? PCWorld has a Facebook presence, as do I. McDonald's Microsoft, Taco Bell, Adobe, Apple and thousands of other companies have a Facebook presence. Some organizations, like Microsoft, have multiple Facebook profiles broken down by product groups or individual applications like Microsoft Office.

Many companies have online support forums, FAQs and other resources available, but Facebook provides an opportunity to engage customers where they are rather than expecting them to seek out your company. Establishing and maintaining a Facebook presence--or a Twitter account for that matter--allow the company to interact with customers on a more personal level and foster a sense of community and loyalty.

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Does Google Have Wi-Fi Data from Your Company?

Google is facing scrutiny and investigation around the world following revelations that it has been capturing and archiving wi-fi data collected by its Google Street View vehicles that drive around capturing the image data used by the Street View service. It is questionable whether Google should have done that, but what is not questionable is whether or not Google should have any data from your wi-fi network.

Google has been "accidentally" archiving unencrypted wireless data gathered by its Street View cars for years.
France, Italy, and Germany--which has some of the strictest privacy protection--have all launched investigations to find out what data Google has collected, and what, if anything, it has done with it. United States congressmen have asked the Federal Trade Commission to explore whether or not Google has violated any laws.

While it may seem like an invasion of privacy--and in some countries or jurisdictions it may very well be--it is not necessarily against the law here in the United States. Frankly, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy for data that you willingly broadcast unencrypted into public airwaves.

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CRM Revamp Saves Labor, Boosts Productivity

Established in 1999, The Montessori School of Bay Area is a registered non-profit daycare and preschool for 60 children that range in age from 3 months to 5 years, primarily among low-income families. After more than a decade in business, the school's central database was in dire need of an update to better organize the parent community, create stronger relationships with parents and various donors, and do a better job of tracking student activities, immunizations, and other important data.

My team at Acumen Solutions took on this job on a pro-bono basis, volunteering 97 hours of service time to overhaul the school's outdated and inefficient CRM system.

Since the school opened in 1999, it had been using ProCare--a specialized database solution for the child care industry--to manage student records and contacts. Unfortunately, the ProCare implementation lacked the ability to effectively track and link student, teacher, parent, donor, and volunteer contacts, activities, and milestones, so the school also used an ad-hoc system of Excel spreadsheets and paper-based forms to track that critical data.

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Why the 3G iPad is the Ideal Mobile Business Tool

The iPad has been available for a few weeks now, but only the Wi-Fi version. The actual availability of the device has done little to assuage the debate over whether it is a simple consumer toy, or a revolutionary business tool--or some gray area compromise between the two. However, the 3G models of the iPad will soon be here--although Apple has announced that it is delayed until May 7--and the 3G functionality fundamentally shifts the debate in favor of business tool.

Granted, the 3G connectivity will only be available through AT&T--Apple's lone iPhone partner in the United States (at least for now)--and there have been significant complaints about both the availability and reliability of AT&T's 3G network. That said, the 3G iPad still offers a compelling solution for business professionals on the go.

With the right apps, the iPad can fill the role of the notebook for most scenarios. Rather than lugging around a four or five pound notebook with a meager two hours of battery life, mobile business professionals can carry the iPad--slimmer, lighter, and four times the endurance when it comes to battery life.

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How the iPad Will Change Mobile Business Computing

Many media outlets have had the privilege of a sneak-peek, hands-on experience with the Apple iPad, and the initial onslaught of reviews is in. Even those who are not totally hypnotized by Apple's magic still seem to have a healthy respect for what the iPad represents, and many of the reviews highlight why the iPad could change mobile business computing.

Let's take a look at a sampling of the initial reviews:

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal described his iPad experience "After spending hours and hours with it, I believe this beautiful new touch-screen device from Apple has the potential to change portable computing profoundly, and to challenge the primacy of the laptop," going on to add "My verdict is that, while it has compromises and drawbacks, the iPad can indeed replace a laptop for most data communication, content consumption and even limited content creation, a lot of the time. But it all depends on how you use your computer."

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Take Advantage of New Simplified Cisco Wireless Routers

Cisco today unveiled two new wireless router lines aimed at simplifying the process of configuring a wireless network for home, or small and medium office environments. The new wireless routers attempt to provide PC users with a wireless experience mirroring Apple's Airport devices.

New Linksys E-series routers can simplify wireless networking for small and medium businesses.
Cisco is an enterprise-grade company, with enterprise-grade equipment, and its used to working with enterprise partners. Its consumer offerings have left a little to be desired. After acquiring Pure Digital Technologies, makers of the popular Flip digital video cameras, Cisco has learned some new tricks for designing simplified, dummy-proof, almost automatic configuration--and it has applied those lessons to its consumer wireless routers.

The Valet series of devices are aimed primarily at home users, but Cisco also developed the Linksys E-series wireless routers--combining the simplicity of the Valet series with some additional configuration options for more tech savvy customers. The Linksys E-series wireless routers are available as of today from standard retail outlets like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, and others.

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