You heard about the Heartbleed problem…now what?

News about the awfully-named Heartbleed Bug is all over the place. Over the past two days I received some great questions from friends and clients…only a few of which I could answer. Not only is this security flaw bad (it is) it’s also REALLY hard to explain—even if you fully understand it. Which I don’t. Problem is, I’m not convinced anyone else does either, except those who discovered the problem. What is known for sure is the potential damage is really scary to contemplate.

Rethinking Your Online Security? Keep These 5 Tips in Mind

On a daily basis there are new and scary news reports about huge breaches of data security that happen with large and very well-run companies. Target, Adobe, LinkedIn – those are big examples you no doubt heard of. Of course, this doesn’t include the countless smaller stories you never hear about unless you’re like me and read tech blogs a lot. Add to that the frequent occurrence of run-of-the-mill website hacks – and the impression is inescapable that your information is either vulnerable to theft, hacking – or just being monitored or sold without your consent.

So how do you keep this onslaught in perspective? Develop a personal online security game plan. A few simple updates to your habits, methods and tools can greatly reduce your risk and minimize damage should a compromise occur. One thing is for sure: you have to be willing to do a bit of work and up your game. Here’s a few tips and ideas to consider:

Opting-Out of Google’s New “Shared Endorsements”

As you may have seen in the media – or on the bright blue bar at the top of your Google account login screen – Google has revised its Terms of Service to include a new “Shared Endorsements” setting. Similar to what Facebook does, it uses your data (photo, name and/or comments) to include in product reviews and ads that are displayed to those you are connected with. And no, you aren’t getting a share of the ad money. What’s particularly irritating about it is that you have to actively opt-out of this new default.

Zapier.com Makes Web Integrations Easy

Almost all online businesses are actively using at least a few web management tools to help keep things running smoothly. There aren’t too many “all-in-one” services that do anything that a micro-biz would need. Most of us use email of course, maybe Evernote, perhaps Basecamp, FreshBooks and Mailchimp too—but they are all separate services. But, what if there was a way to automatically move information from one to another? Think of the time it would save…

Enter Zapier. Zapier is similar to IFTTT in concept in that the user and create their own “recipes” (read my previous post about IFTTT here) – but Zapier focuses on user-created connections between web services (“Zaps”) rather than linking actions based on specific types of information. Zapier will create connections between AWeber and Highrise, Twitter and Infusionsoft, or GoToWebinar and Google Contacts… it’s up to you.

Let IFTTT Be Your Digital Info Assistant

IFTTT allows you to create custom connection “recipes” that use event triggers and actions to create a custom outcome, using a simple “if this, then that” statement. IFTTT is a free service that provides an interface to create an endless array of connections between services, triggered by a specific event. In short, IFTTT acts like a digital assistant, seeking out and routing information in almost any way you need. With 49 “channels” featured, just about all your web tools are included.

Differences between the WordPresses… (video)

I’ve posted about this before, but the question recently came up about the differences between the WordPresses (.org and .com), by one of our Online Biz Insiders subscribers (thanks, Katie!). So, Carla & I tackled the question on today’s Google+ Hangout. Be sure to check out David Wilson’s (Carla’s hubby) WordPress site for his band, The New Locals… great music… plus it’s an example of a “DIY” WordPress.COM site… no webmaster required! :-)