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Venmo Goes Down…And Other Small Business Tech News

By January 5, 2020No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

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

1 — The Venmo app went down last Monday.

Reports last week confirmed that Venmo—the popular payment app— went down for several hours this past Monday, and that the software’s desktop version was also impacted during the interruption. Issues with Venmo began on the morning of December 30th and then progressed throughout the day. Several difficulties during this time were reported by thousands of users, such as frustrations regarding cards being declined and rent and bills going unpaid due to the system issues. By 4:40pm Eastern time, Venmo’s services were fully restored, although the company has not disclosed what specifically caused the issues. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your business:

In this world of cloud based applications that are vulnerable to power, security and usage issues, it’s important for small business owners to always have other options. That was a hard lesson learned by those owners and freelancers who only accept Venmo. They were without cash during the service’s outage. They shouldn’t let that happen again.

2 — Tax prep companies can’t hide their free filing software from Google anymore.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced this past week that they will be making changes in an effort to make filing taxes less stressful this upcoming year. It will now be easier for Americans to file their taxes for free, thanks to an addendum to the nearly two-decade old Free File agreement. The addendum forbids Intuit—the maker of TurboTax—and the nine additional companies forming the Free File Alliance, from being involved in any interactions that would keep their free software from appearing in a Google search or any additional search engines, for that matter. The most profound change—however—is that the IRS will be permitted to develop software of their own (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

If you’re paying a fee to file your taxes you really shouldn’t be. There are plenty of free services available to do this for you – and even the IRS plans to get in the game.

3 — A ton of Ruckus wireless routers were vulnerable to hackers.

This past week, multiple vulnerabilities were discovered in several Ruckus wireless routers. The weaknesses were able to be taken advantage of without the password for a router and—when accessed—would allow a hacker to completely take over the impacted router through the internet. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your business:

If you suspect that your routers are made by Ruckus, talk to your IT expert and make sure to get this issue addressed quickly. Ruckus reported that they were able to fix the flaws when they updated its software, but urged customers to regularly update their exposed devices on their own.

4 — Online sales tax ruling challenges small businesses.

Small businesses are still working to handle the changes that have come with the Supreme Court ruling which favored online transactions by small businesses being taxed, a year and a half after the initial decision had been made. (Source: Fox Business)

Why this is important for your business:

Remember that if you’re selling online you’re now required to collect sales tax—regardless of whether or not your business was physically present—through either a store or warehouse, within a given state. According to the decision, businesses must collect sales tax in every state in which they have delivered their product to.

5— Microsoft Outlook for the web will now support sending email as an alias.

Microsoft has announced that they are going to be providing support to Outlook on the web (also known as OWA) to help users choose any alias within their account, negating the need to set up shared mailboxes or creating added POP or IMAP accounts within Office 365. Users will be able to choose the sender using a drop-down list within the composition window. Additionally, e-mail recipients of the messages will see the alias in the FROM and REPLY TO sections. The newest feature is still in the process of being developed, with plans for it to be widely available later in the year. (Source: Bleeping Computer)

Why this is important for your business:

One practical application: your salespeople can send messages to customers and prospects using a more-generic company reply address (such as sales@ or info@) so that their email addresses aren’t compromised.

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