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Best practice for formatting and sending business (not email marketing) emails.

Something that comes up fairly often is the issue of false positives (FP's) for business email. This is where an organisations own spam filters block email on the way out, OR, the recipients spam filter blocks the email on the way in. Best practice for business (not email marketing) emails is fairly easy to define. For example, the following will get you started.

- Use a sensible subject line and properly address the body content
- Don't write the message in the subject line, this isn't instant messaging!
- Always use plain text, or avoid lots of formatting
- Avoid linking to remote images 
- Avoid links within the body
- Use one size, colour and type of font 
- Don't use 'spammy' text like &... continue reading

Published: February 18th 2016 at 3:59pm

What do companies usually start with in terms of a data classification schema.

That's a good question that we see often when talking to potential clients for janusNET's janusSEAL range of products. UK Government agencies use the new (from April, 2014) schema;

OFFICIAL
OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE
SECRET
TOP SECRET

https://www.janusnet.com/solution/uk/hmgspf

Private sector is more likely to use something like;

UNCLASSIFIED
PUBLIC
(COMPANY) CONFIDENTIAL

Possibly adding;

SECRET or RESTRICTED

Then sometimes there will be secondary classifications, as with the OFFICIAL-SENSITVE of the UK Gov schema.  We would recommend keeping the number of classifications to 3/4 max because as you say it won't get used correctly if it's difficult to choose.  

... continue reading

Published: February 15th 2016 at 4:02pm

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

In March 2014 the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new EU Data Protection Regulation. This new regulation focusses on protecting personal data and carries heavy fines of up to 2% of worldwide annual turnover, or up to €100 million!

If you or your customers customers are individual persons, for example in legal or accounting and work for them on professional matters then this could apply to them. If there is electronic collaboration, perhaps using consumer services like Dropbox or Skype then it's time the use of these was reviewed to bring this collaboration within the new regulations.

The tech space is wide, so email, document sharing, instant messaging and USB drives will all fall into the scope of the GDPR which is scheduled to come ... continue reading

Published: January 13th 2016 at 3:03pm

Email Best Practice notes for IT services companies

Whilst helping one of our partners resolve some email deliverability issues this week we made some notes which I thought I'd share. The assumption here is that your business email platform should only really be used for person to person email, not process to person (e.g. marketing), or process to process (e.g. invoicing).

  1. Audit your customers to find any outbound transactional or marketing email systems and configure them to use either;
    1. SendGrid, MailGun or similar for transactional (wages, invoice  batches etc) which will improve delivery ratios to recipients
    2. Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp etc for marketing email, as above improves delivery, especially to 'free' email addresses, plus adds campaign reporting
    3. ... continue reading

      Published: August 28th 2015 at 11:31am

It’s only email, or is it? Your email reputation.

Having worked in IT security for many years, and in the anti-spam sector for a many of those it never ceases to amaze me how companies (people), especially smaller firms abuse their business email accounts by using them to send marketing email and systems notifications.  Even worse, leave themselves open to the internet for direct receipt of email, that's a bit like painting a target on your mail server. Outbound email You're probably wondering what I'm talking about, that's what email is for isn't it?  

Well to be frank, no it isn't.  If you're using email for general business communications then you are fine, if however you're using it for mail blasts and systems emails (payment, booking not... continue reading

Published: June 11th 2014 at 3:41pm

The DNS (Domain Name System) for Beginners

There's one area of ICT that still seems to baffle many IT people, managers and directors alike and that's DNS.  I must admit that it was one area I struggled with until about 1996 and I'm still no expert but I'm happy giving advice to clients on the basics that they should already know because without the DNS the internet just won't work. It's the phone book of the internet. The easy parts are the common DNS records like A, CNAME and MX.  

Some of the newer additions like SRV and SPF are what they call text records and not so common, the former is essential if you're deploying XMPP (Jabber IM) or VoIP (voice over IP) services but the latter is also important if you&#... continue reading

Published: March 7th 2014 at 3:50pm

Timekeeping & Accounts in the Cloud

Harvest & Xero are popular software as a service platforms that anyone running a small business should take a serious look at if you think your spending too much time book keeping and recording hourly time.  Harvest is a web-based time tracking and invoicing application, Xero is online accounting software ideal for small to medium businesses. Nicely integrated, both have web and mobile apps and are a delight to use.

We've been using Xero for over a year now and it's transformed the way we view doing the accounts in my business, it's no longer painful. In fact it's such a transformation that I have to call out MYOB the platform we used for 5 years as the cause of much angst, grey hair and to be frank cost a small fortune to use in t... continue reading

Published: August 6th 2013 at 11:13am

Find local people & companies via Twitter

I occasionally come across people in my Twitter stream that are obviously looking for someone or something in a certain geographic area, a town for example.  For a while now I've used Twitters advanced search to find people and potential clients in my local area. Twitter have a good article up on their support site, go have a read and you'll soon be filling your Twitter stream with relevant local tweets which you can use to start to build local networks, great for retail and local service providers.... continue reading

Published: October 25th 2012 at 12:11pm

ICT and Carbon Pollution Reduction.

I firmly believe that your goal should be to eliminate or dramatically reduce the burning of fossil fuels by restructuring your business and supply chain. Taking the easy option of buying credits is in my mind a short term goal whilst you're heading down the reduction path.

What follows is our own story on carbon pollution reduction.

Where do you start?

In 2006 we realised we could do more to reduce our carbon pollution footprint when one of our clients, Carbon Planet, offered to do a part contra deal, carbon reduction services for email filtering services.&nbsp That sounded like a sensible deal!

Carbon Planet conducted a comprehensive audit of the greenhouse gas emissions accountable to Cleartext for the 2006/07 financial year a... continue reading

Published: May 1st 2012 at 2:40pm

IT Managers Guide to Business Instant Messaging

Employees of most companies use instant messaging, either at home or at work. These systems are often provided free of charge by companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Google and as such there are a few issues that IT Managers need to be aware of if they are used in the workplace. These issues revolve, not surprisingly, around IT security and compliance. These free of charge solutions are only free because they are supported by advertising so you have to ask yourself if the business owners are OK with these vendors running advertising campaigns through to their staff. On the security issue there are various threats, for example, the pushing down to users of links to phishing and spam web sites, spin (IM spam) and links to trojans or viruses. These are issues you may have und... continue reading

Published: July 11th 2011 at 10:02pm

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