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How to Choose the Best Business ISP?

Know how internet connection affects your businesses

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Online business
No business can survive and function without a proper internet connection. Pixabay

In this modern era, businesses cannot survive for long without an internet connection. Even in companies where the internet is not the primary means of doing business, it holds a lot of importance. For instance, employees use the internet to communicate with one another, supervisors might use it to send important files to their subordinates, etc. The internet also facilitates customers to reach businesses in case they come across any problems. Unlike a phone call, which requires you to be present near the phone at all times, the internet enables you to respond to the messages whenever you get the chance. Apart from that, it can be used for various other tasks like researching, online purchasing, and selling, analyzing competitors, etc. Therefore, it is important to install an internet connection in your company to successfully grow your business. 

When it comes to choosing an internet service, numerous options cross your mind. This means that you need to conduct a thorough analysis in order to get the most out of your investment. So, without further ado, let us dive right into it. 

First of all, you need to understand the types of internet connections that are being offered in the market. In the past few decades, multiple options for internet provision have evolved and these technologies continue to advance every year. The most common types of connection are as follows:

Cable:

In this type, a cable company transmits the internet to the business through cable lines. It is by far the most common type of internet connection because it offers great value for money. 

Business network
Your internet connection/ISP can have a major impact on your business. Pixabay

DSL:

This internet connection is offered by telecommunication companies but it has some limitations. For example, you cannot enjoy the unbelievably fast and stable internet speeds, which are delivered to you by cable internet.   

Fiber Optic:

 This is the fastest internet connection available in the market. Fiber internet speeds go up to 1Gbps, which is exceptionally great. You can literally do anything online without any complications. The biggest problem of fiber internet is its inaccessibility. Fiber internet is not widely available. Only a few areas in the country have access to this lightning-fast connection. 

Satellite:

This internet is delivered directly from a satellite to your dish. It is usually the only connection available in remote areas and can reach speeds up to 25Mbps at most. 

Fixed Wireless:

This type of internet connection relies on radio signals from a tower. It is possible to achieve high-speed internet in this connection. However, sometimes, trees and other solid objects can interfere with the signal quality making the connection weak. 

Many ISPs offer multiple packages to their customers. Getting a bundle deal can significantly reduce your monthly bill. For instance, if you get internet, TV, and business phone service from the same provider, you will be in a better position to bargain and get the deal of your choice. 

Top Three Business Internet Providers:

 

  1. Spectrum
  2. Xfinity
  3. Frontier

Spectrum, Xfinity and Frontier fall in the category of the best internet providers for business because they offer attractive packages, quality services, and exceptional customer support. 

Business internet
Spectrum, Xfinity and Frontier are the top business internet provider. Pixabay
Important Things to Consider:

Static IP Address:

Having a static IP address will help your business enjoy numerous benefits especially if you use a virtual private network. 

Port Access:

Having port access is crucial for businesses that have local servers. Port access should not be limited because they are required for software like browser, email, and skype, etc. 

Third-Party Software:

Some ISPs offer third-party apps to their clients to help them enhance their functionality. These apps include cloud storage and conferencing applications they can be used to increase business productivity.

The Future of Business Internet

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Before finalizing your decision, make sure you know that your ISP is well prepared for changes that are coming in the future. The technology of the internet is evolving on a regular basis and a good provider should tweak its services according to the changing trends of the customers. Another important thing to keep in mind is the quality of customer support. Being a business entity, you cannot afford to lose your clients over a weak internet connection, so make sure that you choose the one that offers the best customer support. Look for the ISPs in your area and choose the one that best suits your needs and requirements. 

 

 

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Find out How Cyborgs, Trolls and Bots Can Fill the Internet with Misinformation

Cyborgs, Trolls and Bots: A Guide to Online Misinformation

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Misinformation
Misinformation is defined as any false information, regardless of intent, including honest mistakes or misunderstandings of the facts. Pixabay

Cyborgs, trolls and bots can fill the internet with lies and half-truths. Understanding them is key to learning how misinformation spreads online.

As the 2016 election showed, social media is increasingly used to amplify false claims and divide Americans over hot-button issues including race and immigration. Researchers who study misinformation predict it will get worse leading up to this year’s presidential vote. Here’s a guide to understanding the problem:

MISINFORMATION VS. DISINFORMATION

Political misinformation has been around since before the printing press, but the internet has allowed falsehoods, conspiracy theories and exaggerations to spread faster and farther than ever.

Misinformation is defined as any false information, regardless of intent, including honest mistakes or misunderstandings of the facts. Disinformation, on the other hand, typically refers to misinformation created and spread intentionally as a way to confuse or mislead.

Misinformation
An illustration of hacking, speading misinformation and cyberattack. VOA

Misinformation and disinformation can appear in political ads or social media posts. They can include fake news stories or doctored videos. One egregious example of disinformation from last year was a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that was slowed down to make her sound as if she were slurring her words.

Research indicates that false claims spread more easily than accurate ones, possibly because they are crafted to grab attention.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology analyzed more than 126,000 stories, some true and some false, that were tweeted millions of times from 2006 through the end of 2016. Online misinformation has been blamed for deepening America’s political polarization and contributing to distrust in government. The risks were highlighted in 2016 when Russian trolls created fake accounts to spread and amplify social media posts about controversial issues.

WAR OF THE BOTS AND CYBORGS

The disposable foot soldiers in this digital conflict are bots. In the social media context, these autonomous programs can run accounts to spread content without human involvement.

Many are harmless, tweeting out random poems or pet photos. But others are up to no good and designed to resemble actual users.

One study by researchers at the University of Southern California analyzed election-related tweets sent in September and October 2016 and found that 1 in 5 were sent by a bot. The Pew Research Center concluded in a 2018 study that accounts suspected of being bots are responsible for as many as two-thirds of all tweets that link to popular websites.

While flesh-and-blood Twitter users will often post a few times a day, about a variety of subjects, the most obvious bots will tweet hundreds of times a day, day and night, and often only on a specific topic. They are more likely to repost content rather than create something original.

And then there’s the cyborg, a kind of hybrid account that combines a bot’s tirelessness with human subtlety. Cyborg accounts are those in which a human periodically takes over a bot account to respond to other users and to post original content. They are more expensive and time consuming to operate, but they don’t give themselves away as robots.

“You can get a lot from a bot, but maybe it’s not the best quality,” said Emilio Ferrara, a data science researcher at the University of Southern California who co-wrote the study on Twitter bots. “The problem with cyborgs is they are much harder to catch and detect.”

SPOT THE BOTS

Bots can be hard to spot, even for the best researchers.

“We have 12 ways that we spot a bot, and if we hit seven or eight of them we have pretty high confidence,” said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that studies connections between social media, cybersecurity and government.

Nonetheless, Brookie recalled the case of a Twitter account from Brazil that was posting almost constantly — sometimes once per minute — and displayed other bot-like characteristics. And yet, “It was a little grandma, who said, ‘This is me!’”

Their prevalence and the difficulty of identifying them has made bots into a kind of digital bogeyman and transformed the term into an insult, used to dismiss other social media users with different opinions.

Michael Watsey, a 43-year-old New Jersey man who often tweets his support for President Donald Trump, said he has been repeatedly called a Russian bot by people he argues with online. The accusations prompted Twitter to temporarily suspend his account more than once, forcing him to verify he is a human.

“All I’m trying to do is uses my First Amendment right to free speech,” he said. “It’s crazy that it’s come to this.”

TROLLS AND SOCK PUPPETS

The word troll once referred to beasts of Scandinavian mythology who hid under bridges and attacked travelers. Now it also refers to people who post online to provoke others, sometimes for their own amusement and sometimes as part of a coordinated campaign.

Sock puppets are another oddly named denizen of social media, in this case a type of imposter account. While some users may use anonymous accounts simply to avoid identifying themselves, sock-puppet accounts are used by the owner to attack their critics or praise themselves.

Misinformation
Misinformation and disinformation can appear in political ads or social media posts. Pixabay

FAKED VIDEOS: DEEP, CHEAP AND SHALLOW

Deepfakes are videos that have been digitally created with artificial intelligence or machine learning to make it appear something happened that did not. They are seen as an emerging threat, as improvements in video editing software make it possible for tricksters to create increasingly realistic footage of, say, former President Barack Obama delivering a speech he never made, in a setting he never visited. They are expensive and difficult to create — especially in a convincing way.

Facebook announced last month that it would ban deepfake videos — with exceptions for satire. Beginning in March, Twitter will prohibit doctored videos, photography and audio recordings “likely to cause harm.”

By contrast, shallowfakes, cheapfakes or dumbfakes are videos that have been doctored using more basic techniques, such as slowing down or speeding up footage or cutting it.

Because they’re easy and inexpensive to make, cheapfakes can be every bit as dangerous as their fancier cousin, the deepfake.

“Deepfakes are getting more realistic and easier to do,” said John Pavlik, a journalism professor at Rutgers University who studies how technology and the internet are changing communication habits. “But you don’t have to have special software to make these simpler ones.”

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Researchers who study Americans’ changing media habits recommend that people turn to a variety of sources and perspectives for their news, use critical thinking when evaluating information on social media, and think twice about reposting viral claims. Otherwise, they say, misinformation will continue to flow, and users will continue to spread it.

“The only solution,” Ferrara said, “is education.” (VOA)