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Business Tech Roundup: The Looming TikTok Ban

By March 17, 2024No Comments

This column originally appeared in Forbes


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

1 — Some marketers are not deterred by TikTok’s uncertain future. They better wake up!

This week, TikTok has made headlines for its pending ban in the U.S. after the House of Representatives passed a bill that would bar the video hosting platform from app stores nationwide. Used by over 150 million Americans — this development has triggered disapproval from content creators and small business owners. Advertisers on the other hand aren’t ringing alarm bells just yet. TikTok has proven to be a tremendous marketing vehicle with nearly $4 billion being spent on advertising in 2023 — and by current projections — 2024 is expected to surpass that number. Dana Busick of marketing agency CPB Group said she’s seen an 11 percent increase year-over-year in ad spending. “We’ve seen a lot of clients migrating budget to TikTok from other platforms this year due to increased popularity,” Busick said. (Source: Digiday)

Why this is important for your business:

If I was an advertiser I’d be ringing the alarm bells.

The House voted to ban TikTok. Now the Senate takes it up and reports say it’s going to take a little time because the upper chamber doesn’t move as quick. But President Biden is anxious to sign the bill and — this being an election year — it wouldn’t surprise me to see a ban on TikTok take effect sometime this summer. It would take months for this to roll out but if you’re a creator or advertiser on the platform you should be making alternative plans. The winds are not blowing in TikTok’s favor and you don’t want to be reliant on a platform that could soon disappear.

2 — Fintech and ecommerce companies were the most popular cybercrime targets last year.

Security solutions company Qrator Labs released a report that evidenced an upsurge of cyberattacks in 2023. Fintech and ecommerce were the most targeted of all sectors — comprising of more than half of total incidents. Remote working was cited as one of the causes for the significant increase as well as the “expansion of communication channels.” Victor Zyamzin, global head of business development at Qrator Labs pointed out, “Attackers are now using local traffic sources more often to bypass geo-blocking and get closer to their victims’ regions’.” He underscored the “critical need” for enhanced cybersecurity in the rise of malicious actors who are finding new ways around network protections. (Source: TechRadar)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re company is in financial services or ecommerce security should be your number one priority. As a business owner it’s also critical to make sure your security access to your financial systems is as tight as possible, using multi-factor authentication, complex passwords and security keys.

3 — Salesforce launches ‘Pro Suite’ to capture more of the SMB market.

Salesforce has announced the addition of ‘Pro Suite’ to its Starter CRM plan for small businesses. As VentureBeat reports, the company is offering Pro Suite for $100/month per user. In addition to basic tasks such as tracking sales leads, customer service, and email management, Pro Suite “expands on the capabilities of Starter Suite” offering advanced capabilities such as workflow automation, increased lead generation, sales forecasting and AI-powered tools. It also provides web messaging to address customer questions in real time. This latest addition is an effort to expand its small business client base and keep pace with other CRM companied like Zoho. (Source: VentureBeat)

Why this is important for your business:

My company sells Zoho and also implements Salesforce and I’m not bullish on this move. At $100/month per user, the pricing is still significantly higher than Zoho and other products like it. Salesforce has been trying for years to shake off its stigma as a big company platform and its sales efforts are oftentimes too aggressive. Maybe I’ll write about this separately but my advice for Salesforce is that if the company wants to go after small businesses it should create and re-brand a small business CRM on its own.

4 — The $50 charging accessory this journalist never leaves home without (and how it works).

Writer Jack Wallen featured a handy solution to keep your devices charged when on the go or at home. The Baseus 10-in-1 charging station is Wallen’s pick for both size and price. For $50 dollars, it includes a surge protector, laptop and cell phone charger. An ideal size for travel, it’s available in 35W, 65W or 100W. He uses 35W — “more than adequate,” he affirms. Other standout features noted: the number of ports (6), a digital display that shows charging levels, and fast charging time (an iPad can be fully powered in 30 minutes). The power regulations chart, Wallen says, is the one feature that you’ll need to spend time with, especially when charging multiple devices at once. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

As a frequent business traveler I’m buying this!

5 — Europe approve the world’s first comprehensive AI law.

A repost of the BBC News story, the European Parliament has drafted a law to pull back the reigns on AI outlining parameters to prevent unrestricted applications of the technology that could “cause harm to society.” The Artificial Intelligence Act aims to regulate the use of AI. Restrictions would be enforced based on the degree of risk. Examples of high-risk scenarios include infrastructure, law enforcement, and elections, which already has people on alert given the deepfake material that’s already circulating. “The EU AI Act is the world’s first and only set of binding requirements to mitigate AI risks,” Enza Iannopollo, principal analyst at Forrester, a research company based in MA. Included in the act are provisions around chatbots and other generative AI. Those involved in the law’s momentum are hopeful it will inspire other countries to follow suit and create clearly defined stipulations depending on the scope of application. “The adoption of the AI Act marks the beginning of a new AI era,” Iannopollo said. (Source: Yahoo Tech)

Why this is important for your business:

Given the terrifying risks of AI this is a step in the right direction. But how to enforce?

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