Cyber Security Tips for Organizations

The benefits of embracing technology in an organization are many, and any organization ignoring the threat is putting itself and customers at a huge risk. Speed, efficiency, effectiveness and accuracy, are some of the benefits that come with integration of technology in an organization.

But there’s nothing that is without challenges when it’s time to implement a new system. As great as technology is, it faces numerous security problems. Hackers spend enormous amounts of time searching for weaknesses in a system(s), meaning that cyber-attacks are always a possibility.

Until 2013 when Yahoo and other companies were attacked, many thought technology was flawless or that attacks would be few and far between. It was hard for one to think that hacking or a data breach could happen. Nowadays, cyber-attack effects are real and very harmful, not to mention costly. And the frequency of attacks is increasing.

Cases of stolen funds and data, embarrassing organization revelations and bad publicity are all too common nowadays. No organization worth its salt would want this to happen. The effects are adverse and far-reaching.

The solution to cyber-attacks is simple; being ahead of the game. Constantly. Organizations must always anticipate where cyber-attacks are likely to happen. In order to do this, they will need to have a clear pathway that they must follow at all times. This pathway will help them identify weaknesses and possible future issues before they become too much to handle.

Cyber Security Tips

  • Write down a cyber security plan

One of the greatest mistakes organizations make is having unwritten plans. Often, organizations will find it not appealing to put their security plan in writing. Yet, writing a security plan becomes on the best security tips one can embrace. Writing a cyber-security plan helps firms to think, analyze, critique and professionalize the plan. Once they’ve written the plan, they should explain to their employees in detail each part of the plan and ensure that terminologies are well understood by everyone.

  • Limited access

Even if it is a company of three people, it is important to limit access to the right people. The more people have access to certain information, the more vulnerable that data becomes. Ensuring that each department can only access information that is vital to its specific role is important. Compartmentalization is one of the best firewalls.

  • Prepare for an attack

Companies must always be ready for cyber-security breaches. It is hard to be 100% secure. But you can have an incident response strategy to help in case of an attack. The strategy might save your company from losing important information to the hackers or complete paralysis of your systems. When creating a strategy, organizations should always remember that critiques are necessary. They need to continually seek areas of vulnerabilities and signs of cyber-attacks in all sections of their systems.

  • Simulate and test your response to cyber attacks

Before an attack happens, one can never truly know the extent of the damage that would be caused. Simulated cyber-attacks are as close as one can get to a real cyber-attack. A company manager should train their employees for the worst, and test them regularly. Owners and managers should think of what they would do if their organization were hacked. In the meantime, it is good to have a group of people trying to solve the simulated cyber-attacks. This will better prepare the company for the attack.

Cyber-attacks can lead to permanent scars, financial damage and a ruined reputation. In some cases, organizations may never recover from the attacks. Having an adequate plan, therefore, is not as expensive as waiting for the fallout after an attack that catches you completely unprepared.

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Why Keeping Your New Business Online Might be a Better Option

As the online community continues to grow—for both social and business purposes—it is evident that a computer and smartphone are indispensable tools to help build your platforms. Companies are steadily veering away from traditional office spaces and moving toward more efficient alternatives that save them money, time, and expand their reach to more than just local clients. With that being said, it’s almost pertinent in this day and age to consider keeping your company strictly online, especially as a new entrepreneur with a budding business.

Whether it’s a retail company or simply a blog that works with sponsors, there is something to be said about honing your skills and taking advantage of the the ever-growing online space. This article will outline a few simple reasons why maybe keeping your new business online is a better option for its early stages, or potentially, forever.  

Staying Efficient & Saving Time

Traditional office hours aren’t exactly relevant when you are trying to extend your client base to overseas. The very structured day-to-day activities of you and your staff can create conflict in communicating with clients or contractors that may be living in a different time zone. This is where the convenience of the internet shines as there are no limits to the level of interaction and connection you can have with just the click of a mouse. Online software such as Skype and email are great tools that facilitate quick and efficient conversations when information needs to be exchanged swiftly. They also make storing this information easy for future retrospection and use.

Another useful platform for storing and sharing important information is a data room; vital for any business with confidential data that they don’t want leaked to unwanted third parties. VDRs have become a staple for M&A transactions during the due diligence process, but have also shown their relevance for any company looking to share their data or their client’s data without interception or hacks. The importance of having an impenetrable space for this kind of storage can be overlooked, but the online world can be just as threatening as it can be convenient. Any company minutes, financial information, or intellectual property can be uploaded in your VDR and shared with invited users from all around the world at your discretion and with the utmost safety.

Saving Money In Rent

If starting a new business feels like you’ve cut a hole in your pocket, then saving money wherever you can might make the difference between success and failure. Anyone can attest to the fact that rent is one of the biggest culprits in unnecessary expenses; why not do away with it completely? With the internet as its own office, in a sense, it is much easier to forgo finding prime office real-estate in the city and simply keeping your work online and from home. Any bills you are paying at home can apply to your business expenses and transportation costs can be cut down significantly. The internet provides immense freedom to a variety of individuals and companies, so why not take advantage of it while you can and while your business is still growing?

Building A Convenient Routine

Needless to say, working from the comfort of your home or in an environment that your employees find stimulating can do wonders for mental health and morale. Without the pressure of performing in a traditional office space with traditional 9-5 hours, you and your employees are free to build a daily routine that works in favour of their productivity. Some people thrive in early morning, fast-paced environments, while others require a quiet afternoon to tear through their inbox and complete necessary, yet exhausting tasks. Everyone is different, so opting to forgo conforming to mentalities of big corporations and attempt to construct an atmosphere of understanding and flexibility can make a world of difference to how you and your company perform in the long run.

Like any tool, the internet needs some practice and acquired skill to be able to use it to its full potential. Whether you recognize what it can do to save your business time and money can be the deciding factor of whether you succeed at your endeavours or fall into the trap of unnecessary expenses. It’s okay to consider taking on a less traditional route and carving your own path when it comes to what you envision your career becoming.

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Top recruitment trends to watch out for in 2018

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is a fairly new and upcoming practice in the global BPO market. The idea of an external party taking charge of a company’s recruitment process partially or fully is expanding globally and is expected to peak in the coming years. According to a report released last year, the global RPO market was estimated to be over USD 5 billion and was expected to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 14.4% till 2025. In fact, due to strong industrial activity, RPO is expected to grow nearly four times by 2020 in the Asia-Pacific region.

As more companies are getting on board with this upcoming idea, experts have predicted that the following will be the top five trends in the outsourcing business this year.

Focus on regions with skill shortage

RPO specialists are going to focus on regions/countries that are facing a shortage of talent supply. This attention will specifically stay in Asia in particular. Studies have pointed out that hiring for entry-level jobs remains significantly difficult in APAC which has more than half (55%) of the world’s graduates. Emerging economies with strong industrial growth will also be in the radar of RPO experts.

Integration of technology with the recruitment process

RPO professionals will seek help from big data and AI designs to create a better experience for the candidates and clients alike. All the steps in the process like sourcing talents, assessments, schedule, generating accurate compensation models and follow ups for future opportunities will be streamlined into one window. Other than ease of operation, this engagement will ensure that candidates are meeting the right employers every time.

Demand for soft skills will increase

More companies will expert hiring partners to build a talent pool with greater number of people with recognisable soft skills. More value will be placed on skills such as communication, leadership and team spirit for project success. Recruiters will be looking for much more than just technical expertise on a candidate’s CV even for entry-level roles in IT outsourcing companies.

Greater emphasis on remote hiring

As RPO becomes more prominent, the talent pool will extend beyond geographical boundaries. Be it lack of talent availability or willingness of the desired candidate to relocate, remote workers will be sought after by top companies for various roles. Thanks to the internet and various communication technologies, it is easy to manage virtual teams across the globe. With the definition of recruitment changing, there will also be a change in the way companies define their workspace. Many top companies like Amazon, Dell, Convergys and Hilton Worldwide are already hiring remote workers.

Employer branding

Millenials and their demands have changed the employer-employee relationship dynamics significantly. With social platforms allowing employees to review anonymously the work culture, prospects and quality of management in their company, recruiters are working hard to make sure that their company is perceived well among prospective employees. This marketing will not just focus on potential employers but also on rewarding internal talent. There is expected to be greater emphasis, rewards and value for employee referrals in 2018.

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TrackMySubs Helps Customers Track and Manage Their Subscriptions and Save Money

TrackMySubs helps consumers stop wasting money on unwanted subscriptions and know exactly how they are spending their money.

TrackMySubs’ founder and CEO Gabe Alves knows all too well how costly subscriptions can be. After a 30-day trial with Dropbox, he was automatically charged $850 on his credit card for the $70 a month subscription. Alves was frustrated at how easily he had forgotten that payment would be due. He decided to look more at his business finances and found another $215 in spending on subscriptions he had forgotten was being taken out monthly.

Alves’ goal was to create an easy-to-use system that was built to manage subscriptions – one where he could add in each new subscription and set default reminders. Alves is not alone in his challenge to remember the cost of subscriptions and renewals. In the world of “subscribe to everything”, the ability to turn services on and off is incredibly convenient, but it can come at a significant cost.

According to Moneywise, people in Britain waste an estimated 448 million pounds a month on unused subscriptions. Americans are just as bad, spending on average $512 per month on redundant subscriptions, according to an article in CNBC.

Keeping track of wanted subscriptions is hard enough, but for those who simply forget or haven’t gone through the hassle of cancelling, it’s just wasted money. Companies are developing incredibly inventive ways to keep revenue from subscriptions rolling in. In fact, literally hundreds of millions of dollars are being poured into companies like Zuora, Chargify, and Recurly. They have one main goal: manage subscribers for other companies with the clear goal of making more revenue from subscribers.

“It’s not that habit-forming applications are bad – in fact many of them want to help their customers by forming good habits such as meditation and fitness,” says Alves. “But paying customers should be aware of these techniques. They need to understand what is happening, so they can make clear choices instead of being influenced by addictive behaviors and clever tech.”

Alves built TrackMySubs to level the playing field and help consumers know exactly how much they’re spending. His company has the core mission of helping users save money by tracking and taking control of their subscriptions.

It’s not lost on Alves that TrackMySubs is also a subscription-based service. He admits, “The irony of our product being a subscription is not lost on us – a subscription model enables us to be viable. Our position here is not that subscriptions are bad, but they should be provided to the customer in an ethical and transparent manner.”

Until consumers have the tools and knowledge to recognize this, Alves believes consumers will continue to spend millions on services they don’t need.

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How can you protect yourself against cyber attacks?

Cyber attacks are malevolent, and they can end up costing you a lot of money. Hackers can acquire and sell your data, not to mention they can go even further with things like identity theft. As you can see, there are lots of things you need to prepare for, and cyber attacks should definitely be the first on your radar. However, not everyone knows how to tackle this type of security problem. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can focus on to get the best results.

Use a VPN

Hackers won’t be able to access your data if you use an encrypted connection. And that’s where using a VPN comes into play. It doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone VPN or a Windows VPN, the idea is you need to have the best possible protection out there. VPNs make you anonymous in the online world. As a result, you won’t have to worry about anyone else knowing your identity, IP or stealing your data.

Install and use a firewall

Firewalls will notify you about incoming, suspicious connections. If you don’t have a VPN, you won’t be able to see when an attacker tries to take control of your data. But the VPN tools will let you identify any malevolent persons or software in no time.

Update all your software

Software updates tend to include critical security patches. If you want to stay safe and eliminate any potential threats, it’s important to keep all your software up to date. It will help you get the ease of mind you need, plus it’s the best security-oriented approach you can have.

Use anti-malware, anti-trojan and anti-virus solution

Since your personal data and security is very important when you go online, purchase software that helps you in this regard. Anti-malware and anti-virus solutions are very helpful, and they aren’t expensive either. You can also go even further and choose internet security packages that also allow you to make safe payments online.

Disable autorun for USB and CD

Autorun is enabled most of the time, and this means any maleficent software can easily start on its own when you add a CD or USB drive to your computer. Avoid that the best way you can, and scan that drive before you start it.

Avoid public Wi-Fi

It sounds great at first! But the reality is that free Wi-Fi in public locations doesn’t have any encryption or safety. As a result, people can easily hack into that network and see what sites you use, your credentials and so on. Try to avoid these things the best way you can.

Encrypt your data and create backups

Encrypting important data before you share it is very important. You will also want to create backups and store them somewhere safe. Cloud-based backup solutions can be very good, and they do offer a peace of mind too.

It’s very important to use as many precautions as possible when it comes to handling your personal/company data. The aforementioned ideas are some of the best you can focus on if you want to keep your data safe. Remember, your data is extremely important, so try to protect it the best way you can!

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3 Big Education Innovations for 2018

Innovation is reaching new heights and so is education. Innovation and education are closely associated with each other. Experts and innovators in the education sector are hoping that 2018 will be a big year for education. 

Augmented Reality for Education

What is AR? AR adds digital elements to a live view often by utilizing a camera on a smartphone. It transforms your existing environment by enhancing digital information to your line of sight. AR is integrated and developed into applications and used on smartphones to blend digital components into the real world in such a way that they enhance each other. AR technology is gradually becoming quite common now and soon it will become mainstream. It is used to display score overlays on telecasted sporting events, 3D emails, text messages, photos on smartphones. There are various AR education applications that are in the market, which schools can experiment with.

There have been numerous studies published in the past couple of years, which have proved that Augmented Reality improves classroom participation and learning interactions with students. It allows students to maintain an encouraging attitude towards learning and has proven to motivate students to do well in the classroom. Presently, augmented reality is being used mainly at the University/College level, however primary schools are looking to incorporate it into their syllabus.

Accessibility to Education via Smart phones and other handheld devices

Many schools are experimenting with smartphone and tablet apps to engage the younger generation. In Asia, schools are increasingly seeing the usage of smartphones and handheld tablet apps. Augmented reality and artificial intelligence assisted apps have become predominant in the classrooms. For instance, teachers in Japan have trouble with teaching English to their students, so educators are using these devices for assistance. Many programs and applications such as Kids Academy are providing interactive learning opportunities to help educators and parents in the subjects of English and math.

Another area where applications on mobile devices are being proven beneficial is in computer programming. Coding is projected to become prevalent for elementary school students in the future.

Digital Textbooks

In the past we have been hearing about digital textbooks in elementary schools, some have even been introduced, but it is still not a common practice. However, in 2018 digital textbooks will be rolled out into the classrooms. Having digital textbooks will ensure students are learning the most up-to-date information; digital textbooks are proven to be easy to navigate and read. A digital textbook is not only easy to use but also efficient. For instance children sometimes have difficulty searching for something specific they may be seeking, whereas a digital textbook makes the process much easier for the student – the student can search the exact topic and get the information right away. Once these are rolled out into all classrooms, an instructor will never have to hear “I forgot my textbook at home”.

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Top 5 tech trends to watch out for in 2018 

Until the turn of this century, getting photographs needed you to first buy a roll, load it in a camera, clicking pictures and then taking out the roll and giving it to a photo studio for developing the pictures- a far cry from the point and click pictures that we take on mobile cameras today. As a result, cameras, camera rolls and photo studios all but went out of business.

Thanks to the rate at which technology is evolving, business models are changing with a rapidity that we have never witnessed before. Survival in this era of disruptions requires businesses to be nimble and flexible enough to adapt to technological changes, irrespective of their size. For the immediate future, here are five trends that businesses need to be prepared for.

  • Big Data: Thanks to the proliferation of the internet, there is a veritable ocean of data to be analysed out there. As of 2015, the total universe of data accumulated over the history of humankind amounted is expected to witness a tenfold explosion by 2020. Data analytics an help your business derive insights into customer preferences, which can help you not only better respond to your customer, but even anticipate his or her wants and customise your offerings accordingly.
  • Artificial Intelligence: One inevitable fallout of the data explosion that we have just discussed is an exponential leap in machine learning and, consequently, artificial intelligence (AI), because machine learning only increases and improves in accuracy as more and more data is fed. The implication for business is humungous. For instance, retail chains can leverage on AI to optimise inventory levels. Banks and financial institutions expect it to deliver significant gains from business process outsourcing. In fact, customer-facing activities constitute the area of business that is most likely to be impacted by AI.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): IoT, a blanket term used to describe internet-enabled devices connected to a common network, that can be remotely accessed, is expected to bring about a revolution in the way business is done over the years to come. For instance IoT can be used to physically track items assets on a real time basis, so that your business can have accurate details of the value and location of its assets at any given point in time, which means the internal controls will change drastically.
  • Digital Marketing: Promoting your business is a far more complicated business than it was even ten years ago. The combination of offline or online ads, social media postings, YouTube videos, blogs, etc call for considerable investment in terms of time, if not necessarily money. Given the speed at which it is evolving, the ideal approach to digital marketing is to rope in professional support. Let SEO companies manage it for you while you concentrate on your business.
  • Subscription: Businesses are leveraging on the combination of the internet and online payments to switch from a ‘pay-per-use’ to a subscription model. The arrangement works even for customers, who can subscribe for objects of daily use like the newspaper, milk, groceries, etc to be delivered at fixed intervals. More and more businesses are expected to adopt the fixed revenue model in the years to come.

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5 HR Tech Startups to Look Out For

The field of Human Resource (HR) is at present undergoing a massive makeover. Once a lumbering, laborious process, HR today is being sculpted through technology into something faster, stronger and much more efficient.

HR is a vital component of any organization, yet (especially in its traditional form), it has garnered the reputation of being a notoriously difficult chore.

According to analyst Josh Bersin, HR disruptions in 2018 will converge around productivity, design and intelligence in HR tech applications.

Technology has granted an opportunity for gradual automation over time and greater effectiveness among other things. Teams that are involved in HR generally have to spend a huge amount of resources in order to undertake time-consuming tasks related to administration.

The latest trends in HR involve cutting edge tech developments that allow professionals the ability to access the power of Big Data, granting valuable insights and streamlining tasks.

Software companies will be leading the charge this year, with systems and services firmly rooted in the cloud. Here are some of those startups that are making waves in the way businesses manage their most vital asset.

Highground – Offering an agile performance management and employee engagement software that changes the way employees are developed, Highground lets individuals in the organization recognize and reward one another as well as participate in surveys. Everything is managed in real-time, enabling immediate insight and instant adjustments to improve employee performance or engagement.

ClickBoarding – This user-friendly and multifunctional platform offers a solution that streamlines the onboarding process, making it an easy, enjoyable experience. ClickBoarding lets HR departments manage checklists, share tasks and organize federal, state or company forms. It is designed in such a way that everyone involved has access to and visibility into what they need to know, giving them the ability to take action on the things that really matter.

TraitQuest – Aimed at bridging the generation gap between members of an organization and breaking the monotony of HR necessities, Traitquest transforms the dreaded employee appraisal into a fun ongoing process of growth through the power of gamification. Their highly engaging platform provides all the necessary functions needed to help companies establish a well rounded workforce.

Bayzat – Simplicity is the name of the game as Bayzat has so effectively proven. Trusted by clients and able to automate HR processes for over 12,000 employees, Bayzat takes care of the mundane things like organizing employee records, health insurance and time off. By developing easy-to-use HR tools that automate admin work, this innovative solutions provider offers a straightforward means of managing these essential items so that you can spend time (and money) on other aspects of your business.

LifeWorksLifeWorks, named 2016’s Next Great HR Tech Company displays a genuine sense of commitment and its platform excels at delivering a well-rounded, holistic experience. LifeWorks improves employees’ mental, financial and physical wellness through a unified solution. The award-winning company has been providing EAP and Work-Life solutions for some time now, helping companies develop and maintain healthy work environments and improve the health of their people as well as productivity at work and beyond.

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Shopping intelligently on Ecommerce Sites

The holiday season is upon us and although we want to use it as an excuse to shop to our heart’s content, we must realize that spending hard-earned money unwisely is a bad idea and will only land us into unnecessary debts. You want enough in your bank account to pay your bills, take care of expected expenses and still have something left for unexpected emergencies. So, while you are bombarded with flash sales and limited-time deals on products you have wanted for a long time, take a moment to ask yourself if it is a smart decision to swipe your card for that product. To become a smart shopper and avoid depressing credit card debts, here are top ten tricks that you could use this holiday season:

  1. Make a list of products you really want to purchase. It will stop you from shopping on impulse, and your shopping cart will only have items that you really need.
  2. Before you head out with your list, browse the internet for product reviews and rates. You will have good idea on whether the item is worth your money. You can find product reviews in sites like Lodlois.com.
  3. Go shopping with someone who stops you from making impulsive decisions. If your shopping companions are shopaholics themselves, your indulgence will only make them feel better about their own bad decisions.
  4. Have a good meal before going for shopping. If you starve yourself, you will not only be tempted to spend extra on overpriced junk food, but also have terrible mood swings that will make you cranky, impulsive and emotional.
  5. Do not shop whenever you are stressed or anxious about something. You will end up buying things that you really won’t need or would ever use.
  6. Many people refuse to take a credit card at all from their banks. It would be a good idea to swap a credit card with a debit card because shopping on a debit card means that you will spend only what you really have in your bank account.
  7. When you see something that you really like, try postponing your decision to buy it for a week. At the end of the week, if you are really convinced that you need it, go for it.
  8. Look at the best months for buying things when you can get them for affordable rates. For example, stores often put woollen clothes on heavy discount at the end of the winter to make way for their spring collection. Air coolers are always cheaper in winters because nobody wants them, and the seller wants to free up the precious shelf space that they take up. These off-season discounts can save you a lot of money.
  9. Focus on value-for-money. You want to buy things that are high on utility and quality. Buy things as if you were investing in them. Buying cheap is not the same as buying smart. For example, if you need a running shoe, look for one that will last long and take care of your feet, even if it means that you must spend a little extra. What is the point in buying a cheap shoe that will rip open after a short run?
  10. Above all, don’t buy anything to seek validation or out of peer pressure. That is the worst way to manage your personal finances.

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How online dating is changing romance

Online dating is an exciting and yet tricky prospect for a lot of people. In the absence of any help in finding a like-minded partner, we often turn to friends for advice. The problem here is, dating is all about matching personalities and what works for your friend may not work for you. Then there is the problem of building an online profile. You may have a great personality but how do you make an impression when you are not good with words? Admittedly, there is no one rule that works all the time for everyone but there are some broad guidelines that can help you navigate through the confusing world of online dating and meet like-minded singles.

Have realistic expectations

Understand that you will not find a person who exactly matches all your preferences and personality. Besides, where is the fun in meeting a personality twin? Focus on what kind of relationship you want and what qualities you admire the most in people. Adding these details to your profile will also save you from bad dates. Also, avoid personality claims like “I am fun/ I love hanging out with friends/ I am an optimist”. Who doesn’t like to think of themselves that way?

Remember, do not agree to meet someone just by looking at their photos. Some people do not photograph well and still they have a good personality while others just photograph well. The same rule applies to you. Remove those photos where you have sunglasses on, delete group photos taken during fraternity night parties and pick one where you look pleasant in regular light.

Keep it simple

Nobody enjoys reading a 500-word bio on what you think about yourself. Keep a short and simple bio on your dating profile. If you still aren’t sure about how to do that, read it out to yourself and decide honestly if that description should go up on the profile. Also, do not use sentences like “I am not good at writing this kind of stuff, so my friend is doing this for me”. What it really says that you are not serious about dating and probably do not have a lot of confidence in yourself.

Keep it positive

Whether you are writing a profile or meeting someone on a date, try to maintain positive conversations. Recalling any negative experience with your ex or previous dates is a strict no-no. Also, while modesty is a virtue, continuous self-criticism is a bad idea during a date. It reflects poorly on your personality and bores the date. Show that you are truly interested in meeting someone interesting and are confident enough to wait for the right person.

Give people time to respond

When you send an interest to someone on a dating website, wait for at least 24 hours for them to respond. If they don’t, do not take it as a comment on your personality. Similarly, if you have gone out with someone, it is polite to call/ text them the next day to decide if you both want to see each other again. If they haven’t responded, give them a day before moving on.

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