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Why Business Cybersecurity Starts With Employee Education

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Why Business Cybersecurity Starts With Employee Education

When we hear the words “cyber crime”, our minds tend to conjure up images straight out of a James Bond film. We picture teams of faceless, enigmatic hackers; masked, black-clad figures destroying firewalls and assaulting online networks from an underground Siberian bunker.

In actuality, though, cyber crime is far less romantic – and starts much closer to home than you’d think. What’s more, cyber criminals don’t always go for your business’s firewalls, or your network. Often, they go for targets that are more fallible, more vulnerable; more human.

Targets like your employees.

As an example, 88% of data breaches, according to Stanford Research, are the result of human error. That could be clicking on a dodgy-looking link, setting a weak password, or simply forgetting to delete an important document from a device. However this slip-up happens, though, the reputational and financial consequences for your organization can be severe.

Below, we’ll provide some tips for arming your employees against the internet’s top threats through using the best form of defense – information. But first, let’s answer the question– why does business cybersecurity start with employee education?

Humans are Your First – and Sometimes Only – Line of Defense

That’s right – with certain types of attack, your employees are your starring, and sometimes your solitary, safeguard against cyber threats: namely, the threat of social engineering.

Social engineering is a form of cyber fraud in which criminals exploit aspects of human psychology to trick, manipulate, or pressure victims into taking an action.

That could be divulging sensitive information, inviting the fraudster into private networks, or giving them access to infect their computer or network with harmful malware, such as ransomware. (That last one is a particularly damaging threat: in one survey of security professionals, almost two-thirds (62%) pointed to ransomware as their C-suite’s chief data security concern in 2023, up from less than half (44%) in 2022.

In these types of schemes, the Big Bad Cyber Crime Wolf doesn’t need to blow your business’s house down with a brute force or Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. They can simply put on grandma’s glasses, flash that sharp, pearly smile, and trick their way inside. For that reason, social engineering attacks are both highly effective and shockingly prevalent, with 98% of cyber attacks relying on some form of social engineering.

That’s not to say your business shouldn’t invest in cybersecurity systems. It absolutely should.

All that technical infrastructure –  antivirus software, VPNs, firewalls, encryption, access controls, incident response plans – is absolutely vital. We’re simply saying that, when it comes to business cybersecurity, employee education should always come first. So with that cleared up, here are three tips for educating your employees around some of 2024’s top cybersecurity threats to your business.

1. Educate your Employees on Phishing, and Run Regular Simulations

One of the best cybersecurity strategies your business can adopt is to educate your employees around the perils of phishing. These schemes – in which fraudsters mask fraudulent links within legitimate-looking emails or SMS messages to harvest data, steal money, or plant malicious software in your organization’s network – were the most common type of cybercrime in the US in 2022, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report.

And, by and large, it’s businesses paying the price. In 2023, 94% of organizations experienced a phishing attack, with an even more overwhelming majority of that group – 96% – attesting to phishing’s negative impacts on their business and brand.

What’s more, research has found that phishing was implicated in over a third (36%) of data breaches (and 91% of all cyber attacks in general). Meaning it’s a particularly pervasive threat.

So to educate your employees around phishing detection, try:

  • Implementing regular training programs and interactive workshops to cover what phishing is, and how to spot a phishing email or SMS. Include real-life phishing examples from your own organization, if possible.
  • Running simulated phishing exercises: sending fake phishing emails to your team to test their ability to recognize and report phishing attempts.
  • Keeping your employees up to data around the latest phishing trends and techniques.

2. Emphasize the Importance of Creating Strong, Unique Passwords

Four in ten Americans (38%) reported having at least one password compromised in 2023. And, fuelled by AI – which, these days, can guess a 12-digit password in just 25 seconds – this number is growing. (There were, for example, two-thirds, or 65%, more passwords compromised in 2022 compared to 2020.)

It’s a problem for businesses, too, with weak passwords contributing to four in five (81%) of data breaches. Fortunately, though. it’s also an issue your organization can mitigate against with the right employee education.

This includes:

  • Developing and communicating clear, concise password policies: laying out the requirements around length, complexity, and the inclusion of special characters.
  • Using password managers: tools to generate and store passwords, and avoid your employees having to keep theirs stowed in an Excel spreadsheet. (Not a good idea!)
  • Remind your employees to regularly update their passwords, and promote the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) for an extra layer of security.

3. Encourage Remote-Working and Data-Privacy Best Practices

With remote work now the norm and employees working from a selection of tablets, smartphones, and computers, fresh threats to data security are emerging; especially if all those devices are wired into your organization’s central network.

To protect your employees’ devices (and, by proxy, your business’s information), try:

  • Educating your employees around remote working best practices, and instilling the importance of maintaining data privacy, handling, and secure disposal standards.
  • Installing antivirus software onto each device. This will prevent malware (such as viruses, worms, trojans, and ransomware) from infecting your employees’ work smartphones and computers – which could compromise your business’s wider network.
  • Encouraging the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) – particularly if your employees may be tapping into public wifi networks when working remotely. These encrypt your employees’ internet traffic, making it inaccessible to prying eyes.

Cybersecurity, Employee Education, and the Human Touch

We live in an era where, thanks to the internet’s myriad threats, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Yet we also occupy a time in which cybersecurity – fuelled by the evolution of ever-smarter, ever-faster AI – is moving further into the realm of artificial intelligence. In the midst of that, it’s easy to forget about the human side of things, too.

But to do so would be a grave misstep. Because humans are your business’s primary (and for some threats, exclusive) bulwark against cyber crime.

So don’t let those humans – your employees – go it alone.

Equip your team with everything they need to understand, identify, and blow the whistle on attempted cyber crime – including phishing, password hacking, and device targeting – before it can sink its claws into your business. They’ll go forward feeling trusted, knowledgeable, and empowered in their roles; you’ll sleep soundly knowing that your business’s first defense against cybersecurity threats is a robust one.

It’s a win win!

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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