IT security spending is set to rocket

It comes as no surprise that IT has become invaluable to many businesses, so hearing that IT spending is on the rise across UK businesses is no shock. However, you may be interested in finding out exactly where this extra money is being spent and what it can do for organisations.

Image Credit

What are the facts?

Gartner, a technology research company, has revealed that spending on IT security will soar to over $86 billion worldwide this year, which is the equivalent of more than £66 billion in today’s financial climate. This huge spend will typically be driven by influences like market growth and GDPR, a new regulation that organisations will have to abide by in the EU. An overview of GDPR can be found at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/.

What are the trends?

This huge figure is a 7% increase in spend within the same area in 2016, which is a positive sign that organisations are preparing for changes in the industry, like those that will become evident when GDPR is in full swing. It is expected that the increase rate will continue through to 2018, with spending being estimated at an impressive $93 billion.

Image Credit

Why the drastic change?

There are a number of factors that have driven companies to spend more on IT security, one of which is the aforementioned GDPR regulation that will, of course, lead to many changes in the way that businesses run. High profile data breaches, like the recent cyber attacks on the NHS for example, have also meant that companies have had to better understand security and put new measures in place to protect their assets.

What will the money be spent on?

Gartner predicts that security services will be the fastest growing segment in IT security spend because of the focus on business impact of security incidents at CEO level. Security testing using new applications and products, like file integrity monitoring (https://www.promisec.com/file-integrity-monitoring-software/) for instance, will, therefore, be at the forefront as well as the increase in outsourced security services.

Does spending more mean that incidents won’t happen?

Introducing advanced security will not stop incidents from happening altogether because companies need to be aware of getting the basics right. Even addressing seemingly unimportant matters like centralised log management, backups, internal network segmentation and system hardening can significantly reduce vulnerability and the likelihood of security threats.

A Bit of Bathroom Bliss

Never underestimate the power of a clean, stylish bathroom. Bathrooms are among the top things that homebuyers judge a property by so whether you’re thinking of selling or not, a chic bathroom could boost your future resale value. Here are some great ideas to get you the bathroom of your dreams:

  • If you don’t have or don’t want tiled walls then try painting the bottom half of the walls a strong, rich colour and leaving the top half neutral. This will provide your bathroom with a fresh look and give the appearance of separation without the need for tiles.
  • Try storing toiletries and bottles in neat storage baskets that co-ordinate with the rest of the décor. Bathrooms tend to get cluttered due to all the products we have lining the shelves and windowsill. Think about storing them out of sight or pouring their contents into stylish bottles instead.

Image credit

  • One easy way to transform the feel of a bathroom is to simply add a statement mirror. If you want to keep the bathroom décor fairly minimalist then a bold mirror will stand out and reflect lots of light back into the room. Alternatively, for a super lavish affair, include an ornate mirror to your luxurious boudoir!
  • Think about installing an ultra-modern sink for clean and crisp lines. White is the perfect and popular choice for its hygienic, bright appearance. With simple, modern lighting and a neutral palette, your bathroom could look sleek and fresh.
  • For something different, why not replace the traditional bath mat with a real luxury rug? Something super soft, thick and absorbent that will feel incredible underfoot as you step out of the bath or shower. For ease, make sure it’s machine washable.

Image credit

  • Replace old radiators will modern, fashionable designs that come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Designer Radiators can make a tired bathroom feel like new and make a great statement in a room which otherwise can become a bit generic. For more information, visit http://apolloradiators.co.uk/Category/3/header/3/radiator-ranges
  • You don’t have to always stick to having a shower curtain either. Whether you want to surround a tub or a shower, you can choose any material you like such as luxury cotton voile or linen. For a free-standing tub, you can use them for decadent privacy and for a shower, you’ll just need to attach a waterproof lining.
  • Want a neutral palette but crave a little bit of unique and unusual too? Think about tiling the floor with co-ordinating but non-matching tiles in a fun and funky pattern. The focal point will be the eclectic look of the flooring meaning you can keep everything else fairly plain.
  • If you’re looking to introduce warmth to your bathroom then consider adding wood, the older and more worn, the better. Wooden shelving or a small wooden stool next to the tub provide a vintage appeal and give you somewhere to display vintage trinkets or place soft, fluffy towels.
  • Play around with mosaic tiling and write a message. Whether it’s a message to your partner or a favourite quote, small mosaic tiles can be incorporated into a larger pattern to personalise your bathroom.

A beginner’s guide to writing metadata

(Image source: https://pixabay.com/en/laptop-book-information-online-819285/)

Metadata is data about data. Exciting – I know. In this post, we’re talking about meta data in relation to SEO; something which is invisible to the average user, but central to developing a successful website.

The most important forms of meta data for SEO are meta title, meta description and meta keywords. Most of these are used by search engines to understand the meaning of webpages and determine their relevance for specific search queries.

Meta Title

What is it? The main piece of text used to describe a page’s content. With real impact on SEO, it should be user friendly due to its visibility to searchers.

Where does it appear? In your browser, search engine results pages and external page links.

Ideal length: Aim for 60-65 characters.

How to write a page title: Consider where it will be shown – your page title should compel viewers in all circumstances. Ensure it is unique, accurate, concise and is relevant to the keywords of the specific webpage. You should write naturally to allow easy-reading for your potential visitors, keep within character limits and avoid keyword stuffing (using multiple keyword variations which can result in penalties from Google).

It is not recommended to include your brand’s name in the title tag as if the people searching for your products/services are not yet familiar with your brand, they won’t be using your company name in their search and the space could be better optimized using other keywords.

If you did want to include your brand name, you could do so on pages that are not searched as often, such as your “About Us”, “Contact” pages or your legal documents such as your “Terms and Conditions”.

Meta Description

What is it? This provides a brief description of the content on a webpage.

Where does it appear? Search engine results and external page links.

Ideal length: 11-150 characters.

How to write a meta description: This needs to provide an explanation of the webpage’s content and encourage searchers to click through. You should implement carefully researched keywords and create a description that will make a searcher want to click, ensuring that what’s written, relates to the content found on the page. Every webpage should have its own, unique description for maximum SEO benefit. We also recommend that you try to stay within the maximum 150 characters to avoid truncation.

You can monitor click through rates in Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), and can then optimize certain pages based on results. You should always ensure your webpage has a relevant meta description; if it’s missing, Google may try and find what it thinks is a relevant piece of information as an alternative, which may not be as effective and could negatively impact your click-through rate.

Meta Keywords

What are these? These are self-explanatory – words that are relevant to the topic in question, usually separated by commas or spaces. They no longer impact Google search rankings,, but are still relevant to other search engines.

Where do they appear? Only in the webpage’s source code.

Ideal length: There is no set amount for keywords, just ensure that you avoid “keyword stuffing”.

How to write a meta keywords: You should ensure that all key words used are accurate and relevant to the content you are describing. Conduct some brainstorming based on your webpage and write down all the words/phrases that you associate with this particular page. It can sometimes be useful to ask someone outside of the field of expertise what they would search for, to eliminate the use of any ‘jargon’ and highlight those you maybe hadn’t thought of. For example, MA Design are a Cheltenham Based Web Designer. When thinking of their keywords, they may write down terms such as “web design”, “digital marketing” or “graphic design”. A hairdressing business, interested in improving their website, may search “website improvement” or “website builder” – this is a way of finding out key words from the people who may actually be using them.

What you need to know about ADA website compliance

If you want to ensure your website creates a great experience that is accessible to everyone, it must be ADA compliant. What exactly does this mean and how can websites become compliant?

Image Credit

What is ADA compliance?

According to Entrepreneur, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation.

This legislation means that websites need to be just as accessible as other types of user interfaces, such as ATMs, elevators and terminals. In the same way that businesses need to make their premises accessible by using wheelchair ramps or automatic door openers, any company with a website should ensure it is easy to use and legible for anyone with a disability.

Compliance on all devices

With more of us using a wide range of devices to search online, ADA compliance will need to be adhered to on tablets and mobile phones in addition to laptops and desktop computers.

Image Credit

Steps towards achieving compliance

To find out if your website is already ADA compliant, or if there are measures you need to take, consult an experienced design or web agency that understands the prescribed accessibility standards to achieve compliancy.

A professional web development company in London, such as https://www.redsnapper.net/web-development-services-london, will use specific tools that crawl a website to find areas that meet – or fail – ADA compliancy. This will give you a clear indication of where your website stands and how much work will be involved to make the necessary changes. If your website was developed on a progressive platform using the correct coding practices, there is a good chance that your site will be compliant already, with little extra work required to get it up to scratch.

Changes that you may need to apply to your site could include adding text to images that describes what the image is about. A designer may also suggest adding more contrast to colours on buttons to make them easier to see and understand. Proper labels may also need to be added to forms to increase functionality and interpretation.

Ongoing compliance

Once your website is deemed to be ADA compliant, it is vital that you keep a check on it to ensure that it remains up to date with any changing standards that may come into force over time.

Considerations when buying an AV amplifier

When looking at buying a preamp or audio receiver, the numbers and statistics can be overwhelming; however, for most people, these numbers will not impact your enjoyment. If you are a total audiophile, this is one to skip; for everyone else, here is a breakdown of some of the key features to look for in an AV amplifier to enable you to get the most out of your home theatre.

Image Credit

Number of channels

Probably the most important thing to pay attention to is the number of audio channels the receiver controls. This will typically be 5.1 or 7.1, referring to the number of speakers and number of amplifiers in the setup – five and seven speakers being the most typical home surround sound options. For the most part, this is a matter of preference. 7.1 is objectively better; however, 5.1 is more than enough for the clear majority.

Power and compression

The point of an amplifier is obviously to amplify; therefore, the amount of power it can deliver to the connected speakers is important. Typically, the number you want to pay attention to for ‘loudness’ is gain, which is usually measured in decibels – the more decibels, the louder the output. Again, this is strictly a matter of preference.

The much sneakier thing to pay attention to is compression, which affects how the preamp will handle low volume situations. An amp with poor compression can result in unintelligible dialogue, with action segments still being ‘too loud’. Consider how often will want to keep the volume at a more reasonable level and how often you will really want to crank it up.

Image Credit

Interconnectivity

If you enjoy any sort of online streaming services or have a music library on a computer, some level of wireless connectivity will be desirable. Going one step further, many modern AV systems can work with home automation systems from specialists such as http://digitalinteriors.co.uk/project/home-automation-systems/.

Required setup

More speakers mean more work running wires. More elaborate audio mixing modes, such as Atmos and Dolby DTS, require ceiling mounted speakers. If you are not prepared to put in some serious time, you may want to stick to a more basic setup; even then, you will need to spend some time positioning the speakers to balance the audio. Luckily, most receivers will help you out with this.

Healthy ways to cook beef

We are often told that red meat is bad for us, and we are regularly told to reduce the amount we eat while increasing the amount of vegetables in our diet. While it’s certainly true that too much red meat is not a good thing – and many adults in the UK eat more than the recommended amount – enjoying beef as an occasional treat rather than an everyday staple won’t harm you.

Image Credit

In fact, the BT website explains that beef in moderation can be good for you. Beef does contain many nutrients and vitamins that are essential for good health and strength, and one of the reasons red meat gets such bad press is because it is so often cooked using unhealthy methods or served as part of too-big meals in dishes like huge, cheese-slathered burgers or massive Tex-Mex platters. With a few simple changes to the way you buy and cook beef, however, it can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet.

Choose your cuts wisely

Instead of buying cheap beef in the supermarket, head to your local butcher and ask for a cut with less fat. For example, ask if they have a top round rather than T-bone or rump. You should also opt for organic meat wherever possible as this generally indicates both better welfare standards for the animal and a better standard of meat.

Image Credit

Adapt your cooking methods

Grilling or barbecuing beef on a well-seasoned kebab with tasty vegetables is a great way to get your red meat fix without all the fat and calories of a steak served with a rich, buttery sauce. Beef also lends itself well to healthy stir fries and adds a welcome dose of protein and iron to light-yet-tasty Asian dishes. Browse the internet for interesting-looking beef online recipes at sites such as http://food-tales.com/food-recipes/beef/ and step outside your culinary comfort zone. If you’re guilty of always cooking beef the exact same way and are worried this isn’t a particularly healthy way to eat red meat, investigate other ways of serving it.

Cut any excess fat off

The benefit of preparing your beef at home rather than buying it ready prepared in a packet from a supermarket is that you can trim any excess fat and enjoy a leaner, healthier meal.

5 Things to Consider when Renovating your Home

Breathing life back into your home is something that many of us dream of. Knowing when it is time to renovate your home may seem pretty obvious, but many people remain unsure of the process. How much will it cost? Is it worth the time, money and effort to carry out? Should I just move house instead of renovating? All of these questions are the most commonly asked amongst homeowners who have decided to give their homes a thorough make-over. Here are five things you may want to consider if you plan to renovate your house:

Image Credit

  1. New Windows and Doors

Windows and doors can become stiffer over time and can often be quite the eye sore. If your doors or windows are damaged, drafty or unstable in any way, it is definitely time for a replacement. Changing the windows of the house and completely transform the area, providing more light into the home and making it appear instantly larger. On top of this, quality doors and windows such as double glazing Leicester windows can help to reduce your energy costs. Get in touch with http://www.absolutewindowsolutions.co.uk to help assist you with your home renovation project, enabling you to choose the best quality windows and doors that are most suitable for you and your home.

  1. Extra living Space

During many renovations, people choose to knock down a few walls in the home to make other rooms larger. This helps to revitalise the area, providing additional space for you to work with. You may even want to connect the kitchen and living area for a more open space.

Image Credit

  1. Re-Paint the Rooms

Before you decide to completely renovate your entire house, you should give the walls a new lick of paint. Sometimes a little paint is all you need to make your house look almost brand new. Fresh paint also helps to hide any unpleasant odours in the house and will help to add an extra touch of colour into the home.

  1. Garden Tidy-Up

One of the first things that people notice about a house is the garden. So make sure you keep your grass well-trimmed and ensure that the garden is uncluttered. You may also want to expand your home by bringing a new room such as a conservatory into the garden. This is quite common during home renovations and if your garden is big enough, there shouldn’t be a problem.

  1. Hallway Make-over

People often forget how important the hall is in a home. According to The Telegraph, installing a mirror on either side of the wall can help make the room appear much bigger. It will also help to bring more light into the area.

Why you need to service your boiler

Having your boiler serviced once a year might seem like an unnecessary expense and a job that gets put on the backburner but is it really important to get your boiler checked regularly? Here we look at the reasons why regular boiler maintenance could actually save you money and keep you safe.

  1. Having your boiler serviced will give you peace of mind that all is working safely and efficiently.
  2. If your boiler is not working efficiently, it could be costing you a lot more to heat your home than it would otherwise.
  3. An appliance that is not properly checked could be emitting harmful levels of carbon monoxide which is extremely dangerous and can even be fatal. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include headaches, nausea, dizziness and loss of consciousness. Installing a carbon monoxide alarm in your home is always advisable.
  4. Small problems or minor faults can be identified early enough to save you from having expensive major repairs at a later date. For Boiler repair in Surrey, visit http://www.rjplumbingandheating.co.uk/boilerServicing.htm

What will an engineer do?

  1. Clean out the oil burner
  2. Strip down and clean the heat exchanger
  3. Identify problems before they become major
  4. Fix a new filter and nozzle if required
  5. Inspect the condition of the oil tank
  6. Re-assemble and run tests for you

When should I have it serviced?

It’s best to have your boiler checked before winter hits. The start of autumn is a good time as your system has been sat idle during the summer. Around the time you want to fire it up again could be when problems occur. You’ll want it looked at and sorted before winter as nobody wants to be without hot water or heating during the coldest months of the year.

Image credit

The importance of efficiency

An annual service will ensure that your boiler is running as well as it can. You could be wasting good money by running an inefficient boiler system. Most modern boilers are highly efficient but any device can develop a minor fault which effects its performance. The recommendation is to have your boiler serviced every year but if you notice any problems in between then always call a registered Gas Safety engineer.

Extra Measures

There are other steps that can be taken to ensure your boiler stays healthy and efficient. When temperatures drop below freezing, it’s a good idea to insulate your pipes. This can help prevent your boiler’s condensate pipes from freezing and leading to boiler breakdown.

Image credit

Taking some time to familiarise yourself with your boiler will also help you to notice when something isn’t right. It might not be a scintillating read but having a look through your boiler’s manual is advisable. You don’t need to know how to fix it but it might enable you to carry out small repairs such as re-pressurising the water level.

Keeping an eye on the central heating system will also help your boiler. If a radiator is playing up, it’s recommended that you bleed it to remove any trapped air in the system. Prevent your pipes from clogging up by turning on your heating a couple of times during the summer months, to keep things running efficiently.

How can parents help to keep children safe online?

Many modern parents are facing the challenges that a fairly new source of worldwide information has to offer. Besides the internet’s ability to shrink the world in terms of communication and literally place information at our fingertips, it is also filled with a world of potential dangers.

What dangers are out there?

The internet is filled with content that is inappropriate for young people. As much as it can be used to enrich the world, it can also be used as a tool to promote negative and discriminatory philosophies. Moreover, the real danger emerges when abusers are able to directly contact young people and easily create opportunities to abuse them. “Cyber bullying” has become a real danger, and chatrooms are not always safe. Unfortunately, we cannot subject every person who makes online contact with our children to a DBS check because predators are skilled in keeping their activities secret.

A parent’s checklist for online safety.

Parent-child transparency is essential. Encourage young people to talk about people they have met or things that they have seen. Don’t make them fearful of telling you what they’ve seen, but explain the dangers that can come their way if they are careless.

Image Credit

Ground rule number one should be that no personal information should be shared under any circumstances. It would be great if one could do an online dbs check on someone you find suspicious, but unfortunately, only employers and licensing bodies can do that. The only alternative is to emphasise the importance of online privacy to your children.

Don’t leave the judgement solely up to your children. Monitor the sites they frequent and let them use the internet in communal spaces where you can hear what is going on.

The NHS wants young people to go onto and advises parents to encourage young people to tell an adult if they come across obscene suggestions or images that make them feel uncomfortable.

There are many great websites that can also help in this regard. You could also have a look at Childline, Net Aware, Childnet’s Kidsmart and Safekids for more guidance on this subject.

Don’t just give your children free reign on their mobile devices. If you know which games they are playing and which sites they are accessing, you can help keep them safe.

Great Wine Based Cocktails to Try This Summer

Everyone loves a refreshing summer cocktail. There’s nothing better than lounging in the sunshine with a chilled glass at your side.

According to The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/06/21/uk-weather-barristers-remove-wigs-gowns-britain-sizzles-hottest), the country recently experienced its hottest day for 40 years – so it’s a good excuse to get the cocktail shaker out of the cupboard!

Image Credit

If you like wine, here are a few refreshing summer cocktails to try out:

Red Splash

Tasty and fruity, this cocktail will wow your guests at any event.

Ingredients:

1½oz silver tequila

1½oz pinot noir

1½oz lime juice

½oz agave nectar

2 oz grapefruit soda

Method: Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, then strain into a glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Apple and Pink Julep

A fantastic fresh and fruity cocktail, this will have you asking for a fill-up.

Ingredients:

10-15 mint leaves

1½oz apple juice

Croft Pink

Method: Place the mint leaves and apple juice in a glass, then gently press the leaves before adding a large measure of Croft Pink Port. Add ice and stir until the cocktail is chilled. Fill with more ice and garnish with mint.

A great way to buy wine is through an online wine merchants in Northern Ireland or elsewhere, such as http://thewinecompanyni.com/. That way, there’s no need to ever run short!

Summer Cup

If you like Pimm’s, you’ll love a Summer Cup. There are several different recipes, some of which include fruit, so why not let your imagination run riot? Here are the basics:

Ingredients:

2 oz sparkling white wine

1 oz ginger or orange liqueur

2 oz lemonade or tonic

2 oz cranberry juice

Method: Combine all the ingredients in a glass with ice, stir and serve. Or multiply the ingredients and make a punchbowl a party.

The Refresher

Does what it says in the name! A cooling, fruity, rather zesty drink which will help you chill even on the hottest of days.

Ingredients:

2 mint sprigs

5 grapes

½oz lemon juice

½oz simple syrup (to make, mix equal parts hot water and sugar until sugar dissolves)

1¼oz vanilla vodka

1 oz Chardonnay

Prosecco

Garnish: 2 grapes

Method: Put the grapes, syrup and mint into a cocktail shaker. Add ice, vodka, lemon juice and wine. Shake and strain, before topping with Prosecco and garnishing with grapes.