Amazon Will Let You Pay With Your Hands…And Other Small Business Tech News

The wallet of the future

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Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them? 

1 —Amazon introduced the ability to pay with your hands.   

This past week, Amazon announced that they will be rolling out Amazon One, their new palm recognition technology. Amazon One will allow shoppers to be identified by a “palm signature” made up of the ridges, lines, and other details of their palms. The idea is to provide an alternative way to pay or confirm loyalty cards using a scanner at checkout counters. The new technology could potentially be used when scanning into locations such as work or sporting events as well, making entry more efficient. (Source: Fox Business)

Why this is important for your business:

This is not a patent application, this is literally real tech that’s being rolled out this year and I’m expecting other similar security technologies based on biometrics – eye scans, facial recognition – to continue to take hold in the small business world. So yes, besides accepting all other forms of payments from bitcoin to Apple Pay you now have to prepare to accept a wave of the hand.

2 — Facebook overhauled Instagram messaging, enabling cross-app chats with Messenger.  

Facebook detailed a plan last week to replace Instagram’s direct messaging with their own Messenger app as the initial move to combine and streamline their messaging through the apps. The change will allow both Instagram and Facebook users to locate contacts, hold video calls, and message other users, negating the need to have both apps downloaded. Once users choose to update their apps, Instagram’s messaging logo will become the Facebook Messenger icon. (Source: Reuters)

Why this is important for your business:

Facebook is pushing hard to create better integration with its Instagram platform.  The company previously introduced features to allow advertisers to work with both platforms through a combined interface. Facebook is also building more functionality to cross-sell products with Instagram. The bottom line is that if you’re active on Facebook you should be expanding your presence on Instagram as well. You’ll find the two services to be overlapping each other much more in the years to come.

3 —Google Meet won’t limit calls on free plans to 60 minutes until March 2021

Google announced that they do not plan to put a limit on free plans until March 2021. While the tech giant originally planned to limit Google Meet calls for free plan users to 60 minutes beginning October 1st, the decision to extend came after executives took into consideration the upcoming holiday season and other events potentially being modified due to the coronavirus pandemic. However — after September 30th — Google still plans to end free access for certain features in G Suite and G Suite for Education. (Source: The Verge

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re a small business user of Google Meet – as many of my clients are – you now get a temporary break from having to pay for the service. Enjoy it while it lasts.

4 — When Vegas schools declined ransom, hackers took action.

The Clark County School District in Las Vegas fell victim to a ransom attack and faced consequences when refusing to pay. The hacker organization responsible for the attack decided to publish sensitive records and information such as Social Security numbers of employees and grades of district students when the ransom was not met. Attacks on schools are becoming more valuable to hackers due to the move to remote learning during the pandemic, with every industry seeing a 60% increase in ransom payments. (Source: Newser)

Why this is important for your business:

Ransomware is a billion dollar business and look how hackers can bring down an entire school system. That’s a continued warning for the many small businesses that are also attacked. Get training. Keep your operating systems current. Install security software. Get online backups. Implement multi-factor authentication. And…get cyber insurance just in case.

5— Ransomware is your biggest problem on the web. This huge change could be the answer.

A former senior leader in the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is suggesting that laws need to crack down on companies and businesses paying ransoms, even going as far to say it should be made illegal. Law enforcement typically advises against paying hackers the demanded ransoms due to the fact that there is no guarantee that data will be returned after paying up. Experts believe that — if paying ransoms becomes illegal — hackers will get less payouts, potentially slowing or cutting down on the frequency of attacks. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Wait…scratch all that advice I just gave above. Maybe this could be the fix! But, I wouldn’t get your hopes up too soon.

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