Thousands of businesses are bought and sold every year. As a matter of fact, small businesses are being bought today at record rates.

The process of buying, selling, and absorbing companies typically falls under the umbrella practice of “mergers and acquisitions”. Anybody that has actually been through a merger or acquisition is well aware of the amount of paperwork that goes into these processes and the importance of keeping information secure.

Just think, if one company was acquiring another, they’d need to attain important information surrounding the acquired company’s customers. This information might include credit card numbers, addresses, and more.

In order to keep all documents related to a company’s inner workings, value, and customers safe, consider leveraging these tried and true secure docs tips.

1. Encrypt Everything

No single shred of data related to your company should ever be transmitted digitally without first encrypting. All it takes is one person emailing Excel sheets with a customer’s information on it to cause a data breach and millions of dollars in damages.

There are many file-by-file encrypting tools out there that you can leverage which will encase data in password-protected shells prior to being sent.

If these files are intercepted in transit, hackers will have no way of reading their contents.

2. Keep Physical Copies

It may be that certain paperwork you transfer doesn’t have a physical copy. If a certain piece of data does have a physical copy though, you’ll want to keep it handy. It may even behoove you to make physical copies of certain digital documents where appropriate.

All physical copies of secure docs should be kept in fire-safe storage that is locked.

3. Send Through Private Mail Servers

Many email clients that the public uses including Gmail, Outlook, and others allow advertisers to gain access to your email data for the purposes of marketing to you. In most cases, this won’t lead to a data breach but allowing email providers to share tidbits of company information could violate consumer privacy rights.

Avoiding this occurrence requires you to use private email servers run by your company or by a reliable 3rd party service.

4. Double Check Mailing Addresses

Here’s an easy secure docs tip that can save you 50% of your mergers and acquisitions security headaches. Double-check to make sure you’re sending documents to the right address before hitting send.

One typo could undermine a whole deal so scan for typos like your financial livelihood depends on it.

5. Limit Logins to Datarooms

Many mergers and acquisitions workflows use dataroom providers to house documents in the cloud. This way, parties can simply log onto a single, secure drive to see documents, sign them and more.

To ensure that nobody accidentally gains access to your data that shouldn’t, set permissions for documents within the dataroom and only give people who absolutely need it access to the room.

Closing Out Our Secure Docs Tips for Mergers and Acquisitions

A lot of data changes hands during mergers and acquisitions. Practicing secure docs best practices will ensure that your business and customers stay safe as a deal is going through.

We wish you the best of luck in your business endeavors and invite you to read more of our content if you’d like to take a deeper dive into business, data-security or related topics!

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4 Web Design Trends That Are Here To Stay

There are times when it seems like the internet is changing more rapidly than anyone can keep up with and as one trend fades another takes its place. Any business looking to stay ahead of the competition should keep up with the latest trends.

As the internet and online marketing become even more important for businesses, having a great site and utilizing the hottest trends can put you above the competition.

However, no matter how often they change, there is one common element to always keep in mind and that is the user. No matter what design trends you employ on your website, User Experience (UX) should always take front and center stage. With that in mind, the following design trends for 2016 are popular because they enhance the UX.

1. Responsive web design

For the past year and a half, there has been a huge amount of focus on responsive web design. In fact, this is so important to the UX that Google implemented new algorithms to ensure that web masters made the appropriate changes.

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If a website is not responsive there is no way for everything on a page to load which means that the user will not get the full benefit nor will they be able to navigate well. In fact, the experience is so degraded that Google will not even list sites that are not responsive in their mobile searches.

Related: The Most Hotly Contested Web Design Concepts of 2016

2. Social media integration

Few people on earth do not belong to a social site and because of this, businesses would do well to pay heed to social media integration as a must have web design trend. Not only can you lead visitors from your website to your Facebook page, for example, but you can invite your Facebook followers to visit your website.

The more followers you get on social media, the higher your chances will be to rank highly with Google and of course that means you should get much more organic traffic. Together with your marketing agency linked search terms can be added to your social pages to direct traffic to your website which will also add to your ranking with the search engines.

3. Minimalist design on landing pages

Once upon a time in website design, people tried to put everything on a landing page, sometimes overwhelming visitors. However, more and more sites now are focusing on a minimalist landing pages that focus more on a core product, rather than trying to sell everything to everyone.

It makes for an easier user experience, especially if they are coming directly from an ad for a product. You can have navigation to the rest of your site, but through using clean graphics and a minimalist design, you focus the attention of the potential customer.

4. Embedded videos

Another design element that Google just loves is embedded videos. This is most likely because of the fact that visitors to your site are more likely to stick around to watch videos than they would if you had none. Videos quickly go viral because people love video – it’s really just that simple.

When seeking increased amounts of traffic, you want to do well with the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and one of the most effective ways of ranking highly is to keep your bounce rate as low as possible. If videos will keep visitors on your page longer, then this is truly a web design trend to employ.

No matter what else you choose to do with the design of your website, these trends are a ‘must have’ if you want to develop a site that is more than competitive.

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