Megaventory Blog - Online Inventory Management Software, Order fulfillment and Control System
This is the company blog for megaventory, an online software that helps small businesses that buy, sell and manufacture physical products to manage sales, purchasing, manufacturing and inventory. We blog about new features and updates but also about enterprise software, small businesses, cloud computing and the industry in general.

Monday, February 17, 2020

5 Cyber Security Threats You Might Not Be Aware Of

This is a guest post by Lynne Jeffery, the Head of Public Safety Solutions at NEC New Zealand. Lynne has over 20 years’ experience in the global technology sector with a specific expertise in biometrics and cyber security solutions. 

Cyber security continues to be a hot topic in 2020. Despite advancements in Cyber Security solutions, 2019 has already seen 4 billion records breached, according to Norton. These vary from mega-breaches that grab the headlines and tend to hit large global organisations to the hundreds, possibly thousands of less familiar data hacks that often go unreported in the media.

Over the past months, organisations such as Capital One, Georgia Tech and even the UK Police have been hit with data breaches. Norton reported that there was a 54% increase in the reported number of breaches in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 – a sign that cyber security remains a very real threat for businesses large and small.

Whilst cyber security threats like phishing attacks and Internet of Things (IoT)-related threats are widely reported and combated, it’s often the less well-known cyber security threats that cause the most damage for businesses.

5 lesser-known cyber security threats


There are many reasons why organisations leave themselves open to cyber security threats. Having a robust cyber security policy and investing in cyber security software can help to mitigate against the majority of threats, however it’s sometimes the lesser-known cyber security threats that can fall under the radar of both policies and software solutions.

Here are five of the lesser-known cyber security threats that have caused problems for organisations large and small.

1.      Supply chain


Whilst your own cyber security measures and policy may be extremely robust, other organisations within the supply chain might not have the same level of security and this can lead to issues for you and your business.

With the increase of information sharing and the ways and means we have of sharing data, so too the opportunities for exploitation increase. The best way to mitigate against cyber security threats within the supply chain is to work closely with suppliers or partners in the chain to ensure your cyber security policies and security measures are aligned.

Software is one way of mitigating against cyber security threats, however education plays just as important a role and the opportunity to pull suppliers and partners together can also help to reduce the cost to all businesses in the supply chain when it comes to cyber security education.

2.      Backing up to the cloud


The cloud presents many opportunities for businesses and employees to work remotely and to ensure information is backed up. With the increase in flexibility and functionality, however, comes a variety of threats to cyber security that need to be controlled and managed.

One of the big issues comes when people back up corporate information (such as contacts) to their personal iCloud/Google account. If employees use personal devices to access their work files through the cloud, it becomes more difficult to manage the apps that they are downloading and the permissions they are granting to those apps. Quite innocently, employees can grant third party apps access to your secure data via the cloud and a breach becomes possible.

It’s important for organisations to control any applications that have access to their network through a strict vetting process. Education is also a key part of ensuring that in this day and age of BYOD, employees are aware of the threats of third-party apps and the vetting process you have in place.

3.      Untrusted browser extensions




Browser extensions can be brilliant. They can help us to go about our day to day jobs more efficiently and provide us insights directly in our browser that we may previously have had to work a lot harder to find.

A process that often gets overlooked in cyber security policies is the vetting of these browser extensions. These should be vetted like any other piece of software. At the end of the day, they potentially have the opportunity to see and track everything you are doing online presenting a serious threat to cyber security.

Whether you are vetting them personally or your IT department keeps a closer eye on them for you, all extensions should be vetted like an app or piece of software. Check for the permissions they ask for, check the background of the developers and any other apps/extensions they have developed and look at the reviews left by other users. Keep browser extensions to a minimum – the ones that are essential to your day to day work.

4.      Weak passwords


This might not fall in the lesser-known bracket, however for a lot of people, it falls into the ‘never changed it or haven’t changed it for a long time’ bracket.

In an age where businesses large and small are relying more on more on cloud-based services that require password access, one of the big problems face by organisations is employees selecting passwords that are too weak and easily guessed. Another issue is using the same password for multiple accounts.

There are a number of software solutions out there to help businesses manage more tightly controlled password security including third party sites such as One Password or LastPass. Google also provides its own password management service through the Chrome browser which will help to auto-generate highly secured passwords and store them for you.

Multi-factor authentication is perhaps the most secure way to go. This means that employees will need more than just a password to gain access to business accounts. Steps can include verification texts sent to a mobile device or using authentication applications.

5.      Dodgy USB sticks


The innocent USB stick can be a cause of major cyber security issues if they are not managed correctly. Some of this is done with malicious intent – viruses are pre-loaded to USBs before the even hit the stores and unwittingly, people transfer a virus to their computer thinking they are using a brand new, clean USB.

As with most of the items on this list, education is important. Ensuring all your employees know where the USBs have come from that they are plugging in to their computers is the first step in preventing a cyber security incident.

Company-wide, it’s important to keep operating systems up-to-date and make sure you have effective anti-virus software installed. If you are unsure about a USB device, run a virus scan on it before you open any files.



Summary


Moving more and more into 2020, cyber security is more important than ever. With the number of breaches increasing in 2019 compared to the previous year, cyber criminals are finding more sophisticated ways of breaching cyber security measures. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your cyber security policy is robust and that you have a comprehensive educational program in place to ensure your employees are aware of all the latest threats as well as some of the lesser-known cyber security threats mentioned above.

Image credits: Daniel Frese froPexelsenergepic.com from PexelsKaboompics .com from Pexels

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Getting Started with Magento as your Online Sales Channel

Having gone through the key advantages of adopting Magento as your solution of choice when it comes to e-commerce, we now consider the benefits it brings in more detail and look into how to get started with it. For that, we have invited Syed Muneeb Ul Hasan, the Magento Community Manager at Cloudways, the popular Managed Magento Hosting Platform to provide insights

Magento is a leading Content Management System (CMS) that offers all the standard elements and functions that are essential for a successful web store. It is the premier go-to CMS for web store owners that have thousands of products to offer, deal with a large volume of traffic and provide a comprehensive set of features and designs.

More than 250,000 merchants around the world are currently using Magento to power their e-commerce stores. Henceforth, Magento is a go-to choice for many online businesses. 

Magento doesn’t only support big organizations like Nike, Liverpool Football Club, Coca Cola, Ford, FoxConnect, Warby Parker, Olympus, etc. but it’s also the backbone of many Small and Midsize Businesses (SMBs) and growing startups.

In this post, you will see why an online business should choose Magento for selling its products online, and what factors to consider while building an e-commerce store with Magento.

Benefits of Magento as a Sales Channel



I’m not sugar-coating things about Magento. It’s true, I am a die-hard fan of Magento for e-commerce. It comes down to premium features, user-friendly navigation, a commendable structure that makes the store performance outstanding.  

Many reasons tend to entice big companies and other online merchants to choose Magento e-commerce to sustain their online businesses. Here are some of the essential reasons that developers and store owners tend to prefer Magento over other e-commerce platforms.

Reliability

Magento was already a popular CMS out there, but it got a business boost after acquisition by Adobe in 2018. It further enhanced the brand’s reputation and image in the community. 

Magento is considered as a reliable e-commerce platform because it’s an open-source that offers robust features and flexibility. Following are some of the important points that make Magento a reliable platform for e-commerce businesses.
  • Magento allows you to manage multiple websites from a single admin panel for a particular version.
  • Developers are free to customize themes as per various requirements. 
  • As a store owner, you can leverage with a Magento CMS for the landing page.
  • Moreover, Magento is 100% SEO friendly, offers one-page checkout, various shipping options, secure payment gateways and much more.
Highly Scalable & Flexible

Magento CMS is capable enough to handle more than 80,000 transactions per hour and manage up to half a million products on one site. It’s one of the advantages of using Magento for your online business. 

It means that you can expand your store at any time as your business expands, especially during the peak sales season.  
Security

Security is an important factor for any online business. The developers at Magento are keen to protect every single e-commerce website from vulnerabilities and brute force attacks. Moreover, they try their level best to ensure ironclad security by realizing new updates and security patches regularly.

High-Performance 

Magento brings peace in your life and wiped out all your slow page loading, slow searching, and other speed-related woes. Magento uses modern technology that includes Varnish, Memcached, FPC, Redis, and other optimized database options. All together brings the top-notch e-commerce performance with high user engagement while utilizing minimal server resources.
Better Mobile Experience 

Most of the online buyers prefer smartphones over laptops or personal computers. According to the statistics, 79% of smartphone users had made a purchase online using their smartphones during the last six months of the year 2019.

It’s necessary to consider a responsive store design for your Magento online store that is compatible with any kind of device. Moreover, it offers a better shopping experience and meets the demands of your users, Magento offers HTML5, allows adjusting the image size and support product videos.
Ease of Integration

Third-party extensions and themes play a vital role in the development of a Magento-powered online store. Magento is an e-commerce platform that easily integrates a large number of third-party services including payment gateways, shipping, order tracking features, etc.

Progressive Web Application (PWA)

Magento recently built its own Progressive Web Application (PWA) studio that introduces the new-era of frontend web development. The Magento PWA Studio helps developers build an e-commerce platform that offers high speed, capable to run in offline mode, and is readily responsive to all types of screens, etc. 

Custom Development 

Developers love the word ”Open Source”. Magento facilitates developers allowing them to make changes in the source code and have full control over custom development. Being a developer, you can customize the online store as per the requirements of the merchants.
Magento Pricing 

Magento has two major variants, one is Magento Community Edition that’s for a developer that doesn’t charge any cost. You just have to download and start developing your e-commerce store right away. The other one is Magento Enterprise Edition that comes with a lot more additional and premium features. Magento Commerce pricing starts from $22,000 and high as $190,000 per year.

Additional Magento-related costs will also come into play. Check out a typical list of estimates in the following pricing table for Magento.

Development with an Agency
From $25/hr
Development with a Freelancer
From $10/hr
Development with own In-house Team
From $60,000/yr
Pricing  of Magento Themes
$0 – $200
Pricing of Magento Extensions
$50 – $500
Graphics/Animation/Videos
$10,000 – $18,000
Domain Registration
$10 – $500
Hosting
From $10/month
Maintenance
$80 – $125/hr

Magento Editions, Installation and Hosting

The Magento Community Edition is the premier choice for many companies that are serious about e-commerce but are only getting started at it. It’s free of cost and it is capable enough to deal with a large number of products as well. It is compatible with Magento 1.x – 2.3.x. Meanwhile, The Magento Enterprise Edition comes with a price tag, which unlocks more exciting features and technical support. 


If you are willing to use Magento, you must understand that different Magento versions have a different set of requirements that you need to fulfill. For instance, if you want to use Magento 2.3 for your online store development, you must ensure that the following technical requirements are fulfilled to get an optimized and flawless store performance:

·         MySQL 5.6, 5.7
·         MariaDB 10.0, 10.1, 10.2
·         Percona 5.7
·         MySQL NDB Cluster 7.4.*
·         PHP versions: 7.1.3, 7.2.0
·         Apache 2.2 or 2.4
·         Varnish version 4.x or 5.2
·         Redis version 3.2, 4.0, 5.0
·         RabbitMQ version 3.7.x
The installation of the above requirements typically isn’t a piece of cake. It takes a lot of effort, time and energy in this time-consuming installation process.

However, if you don’t want to get into the technicalities, then a 
managed Magento hosting solution is one reliable approach that meets all the requirements that Magento supports, and it will enable you to install Magento easily. 

Here’s a quick way to
launch your Magento server with Cloudways and get all the server requirements to streamline your store’s processes.

Final Words

As this post comes to an end, I assume that you are motivated and ready to start the e-commerce aspect of your business with Magento. I hope after reading this, building an e-commerce store with Magento shouldn’t be stressing you and you might have a road map to start your store.

In my opinion, Magento is among the best options to get started with your e-commerce effort and scale it to the new horizons of success. Above all, Magento has a great community and customer support team which is always ready to assist developers and online merchants. 


If you have any point of view or any feedback around this post, don’t forget to use the comment section below.



Megaventory note: Once your Magento version is available in Cloudways you can install the Megaventory extension to start managing your Magento stock too across multiple locations, user permissions and other such configurations.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Considering ecommerce sales? Look into Magento!


Although ecommerce and online purchases have been booming, many businesses hesitate to adopt online sales. Typically companies think that e-commerce brings challegnes like cost, complexity, constant necessary optimizations, and difficulties in coming by support.
Even if there’s a truth in these concerns, it is not as challenging as it used to be in the past. Today, there are solutions like Magento which although fully-featured – or someone could even call them ‘heavy’ – which make the entire venture much more accessible.

Ecommerce hosting and setup

One of the key concerns about e-commerce is setting an eshop up. In the case of Magento, it is really easy to get started now. You don’t even need to have dedicated hardware anymore. For example, website hosting companies like cloudways offer very cost-effective packages with one-click installs of Magento. That way, at a first level you don’t need to worry about your e-shop’s reliability anymore. Support both for the hosting server and for the Magento installation itself can be covered for you at a reasonable price.



Initial eshop improvements

Once the site is up the challenges continue of course. It is expected that the new online presence will attract little traffic at first. That can be addressed, if the business has a physical presence like a store, if it runs promotions to existing customers either online or offline or if it has been around for a bit offline and has brand awareness.

In any case, at the beginning, whatever little traffic comes in must be exploited to the fullest and with a minimum budget (as this new sales channel will not have revenue initially). One smart idea for this is to use Magento extensions to address cart abandonment – these basically attempt using appropriately timed messages with the right content to lure back customers to their cart to compelte purchases. For instance, Optimonk is such a useful tool that can help with cart abandonment, cross-selling and upselling to increase cart value, etc. And, for early days when traffic is low, it's free – so it’s a win-win arrangment for all involved.

Online sales management

As soon as e-commerce sales pick up, it is also important to keep track of orders generated on this channel so you can have online availability at the same time as products are sold in physical stores (or even in other online channels). Megaventory offers a Magento integration which helps online shops running Magento to handle their stock availability better.

So, for example when an online sale takes place, our Magento extension enables the staff in the warehouse to automatically (and without potential errors in data entry) to get all the necessary information to ship it. Furthermore, when offline sales take place site visitors will see reduced availability and that way it is ensured that the same product isn’t sold twice!



Advanced ecommerce features

Once early challenges have been addressed, more advanced problems can be sorted too. Optimization is constantly necessary to generate more sales, achieve better performance and enjoy higher security. The Magento marketplace is full of extensions which can supercharge an ecommerce effort. For example, the onestepcheckout extension of Magento, which is extremely modular, allows merchants to shape the checkout and create a superior theme design of their preference with minimum resources and development skills. That way they can enjoy improved conversion rates and better sales figures.

Conclusion

Magento enables you to sort things out with the technical implementation of putting together an ecommerce channel. Certainly, it is not at ease of use levels of 'point and click' but it is much more approachable even by non-technical people too – even with only a bit of help by a part-time developer for example. 

Also, services such as Zapier can allow for connectivity of Magento with other apps without any development work. Yes, for a wide array for other things, a specialized Magento development company or a similar professional on retainer may be needed. In any case, putting together, maintaining and expanding an online sales presence is not out of reach with Magento these days.




Are you considering a Magento setup?
Let us know and we can offer advice!




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Monday, July 22, 2019

How to find the best order management software

Regardless of your exact business type, if you are handling orders from suppliers and to clients, it is most likely that the competition is constantly growing. As such, it is important to be as efficient as possible while you try to grow your business. The appropriate business software is is one of the solutions you need to be looking for, if you don’t already have a satisfactory solution. It is the best way to optimize your processes and grow your profits. 




The benefits of order tracking software

The implementation of such an order management system is crucial. You will be able to manage every order with more simplicity. The structure in the steps you will be taking during these procedures will help you to reduce your errors and have a better knowledge of your order details.In fact, you are not only going to reduce your possible faults but also the cost and the time you spend for every order. You will not need to worry about unnecessary paperwork again. Storing the information of every order will help you create a valuable database and have more qualitative customer support.

Start by creating a list of requirements

However, each business has a different structure and handles its procedures in a different way. Before you make the final decision of the most suitable order management software, try to consider some important factors. Take into account the size of your business, the range of your products and the features that are needed for a typical order, for example. It is helpful to create such a list with all your requirements. In addition to this, if your list is extensive, it makes sense to split the features you need into ‘must-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ ones.

Look into business software directories

An effective way to find the best solution is to visit sites that their main feature is the promotion of software and its comparison. A well known site for this purpose is getapp.com. In this site you can have a look on every feature of all the software applications that you are interested in and compare these features side by side. For example, you can check how Megaventory's features compare with other solutions using getapp. With such a tool you can compare all order management software solutions that seem relevant according to your list of requirements and find the ones that are the best fit to your company. 

Go over user reviews

The best way though to really understand the quality of a software solution software is to go through the opinions of those people that have interacted with it in person. Sites such as fitsmallbusiness.com reviews extensively software with people who have spent time with the app - you can see an example of the Megaventory fitsmallbusiness.com review here. Similarly, sites like capterra.com contain lists of products along side the review opinions of various customers of these products. Again, as an example, you can check the Megaventory reviews to get an idea about the useful insights available from our actual customers.

Trial the software yourself

It is very helpful if the software you are evaluating provides a free trial and gives you the ability to have a close look on every aspect of the system. Following this method you can check out the features of the software in detail. 

In Megaventory in particular we have put a lot of effort to make this step as helpful as possible. As such, you can use in-app step by step guides which can take you through all the important information, be notified by pop-ups at relevant times and benefit from a live chat with an expert who can answer your questions. of course. If you have any questions you should also be able address them through the software's knowledge base. For instance, Megaventory's knowledge base contains more than 250 articles to help its customers to find answers.

Receive a demo by the vendor

In cases where your business model has many components, your shortlisted features are many and not so straightforward or if simply you need a bit of a personal touch to understand how things work, you can always book a demo with the company providing the software. So, feel free to schedule a demo when you believe you've found the software that offers the right solution.

During such a session, typically provided over screen-sharing, you can get answers to questions you haven’t been able to clarify in previous steps. You can also get a feel of the type of support and how knowledgeable the vendor is. Hopefully, by the end of one (or perhaps two) demo sessions, you will have confirmed that the application is a good fit for your company. To illustrate, you can book a Megaventory demo by using this link.




An order management software is not only a useful tool, but a crucial part of your business. Choosing the right system to organize your orders is the key for the success of your company. Make sure to take stock of all your needs and you can start to find the right software that fulfills all your requirements using the above steps.




Are you ready to optimize how you manage your orders?
Manage your sales and purchases with Megaventory now
Sign up now for a free trial



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