letters and an eyeglass on table Best Practices

Why That Little Padlock Matters: Understanding SSL Certificates

Have you ever noticed the little green padlock in your browser’s address bar when visiting certain websites? This padlock signifies more than just good looks – it’s a badge of honor representing a secure connection thanks to an SSL certificate. But what exactly is an SSL certificate, and why should you, as an internet user, care?

Think of an SSL certificate as a digital passport for your website. It verifies the website’s identity and ensures that any information you send or receive, like passwords or credit card details, is encrypted and scrambled, making it unreadable to prying eyes. It’s like sending a secret message with a special code that only the intended recipient can decipher.

Here’s why SSL certificates are essential:

  1. Security Matters: In today’s digital world, data breaches are all too common. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to intercept sensitive information, and an unencrypted website is an easy target. An SSL certificate acts as a shield, protecting your data from falling into the wrong hands.
  2. Building Trust: Imagine walking into a store with boarded-up windows and a shady-looking character at the door. Not exactly confidence-inspiring, right? Similarly, websites without SSL certificates raise red flags for users. The padlock symbol, on the other hand, instills trust and assures visitors that their information is safe.
  3. SEO Boost: Search engines like Google reward secure websites with higher rankings in search results. So, having an SSL certificate not only protects your users but also helps your website stand out in the online crowd.
  4. Future-Proofing: SSL certificates are no longer optional; they’re becoming the standard for any website that wants to be taken seriously. By securing your website now, you’re future-proofing your online presence and ensuring a smooth user experience.

Remember: Just like you wouldn’t send a postcard with your credit card number written on it, don’t share sensitive information on websites without the green padlock. Look for the symbol, ask questions, and prioritize your online security.

Bonus Tip: Different types of SSL certificates offer varying levels of validation and security. For websites handling sensitive data like financial transactions, a higher-level certificate is recommended.

So, the next time you see the green padlock, remember, it’s not just a decoration; it’s a symbol of a secure and trustworthy online experience.

green and white male gender rest room signage Social Media

Taking Back Your Data: Exporting Before You Exit Social…

In today’s hyper-connected world, social media platforms hold a treasure trove of our digital lives: photos, messages, memories, and connections. But what happens when you decide to hit the “delete” button on your account? Does your data vanish into the ether, or can you take it with you?

The answer is yes, you can! Most major social media platforms offer data export options, allowing you to download and archive your information before closing your account. This empowers you to control your digital footprint and potentially repurpose your content on other platforms.

So, before you bid farewell to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, follow these steps to export your data:

Downloading Your Facebook Memories:

  • Click the downward arrow on the top right corner and select “Settings & Privacy.”
  • Go to “Your Facebook Information” and choose “Download Your Information.”
  • Select the data you want (posts, messages, photos, etc.) and the date range.
  • Click “Create File” and wait for the export to complete. You’ll receive a notification when it’s ready to download.

Archiving Your Instagram Treasures:

  • Open your profile and tap the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines).
  • Go to “Settings” and then “Security.”
  • Select “Download Data” and choose “Request Download.”
  • Enter your email address and wait for the link (it can take up to 48 hours).
  • Click the link in your email and download the ZIP file containing your photos, videos, stories, and comments.

Capturing Your Twitter Timeline:

  • Click on your profile picture and select “Settings and privacy.”
  • Go to “Your account” and then “Download your data.”
  • Enter your password and click “Request Data.”
  • You’ll receive an email notification when your data is ready. Click the link and download the ZIP file containing your tweets, direct messages, and media.


  • Each platform has its own data export process and timelines. Refer to the specific platform’s help center for detailed instructions.
  • The exported data might be in a specific format (.json, .html). Consider using data converters or online tools to make it more readable.
  • Be mindful of the data you choose to export, especially if it contains sensitive information.

By exporting your data, you reclaim ownership of your digital memories and content. You can use it for personal archiving, create backup copies, or even migrate to alternative platforms. So, go forth, download your data, and delete your accounts with confidence, knowing you’ve secured your digital treasures!

robot pointing on a wall Knowledge Management

How Knowledge Bases Fuel AI’s Rise

In the age of information overload, knowledge is scattered like dust bunnies under the couch. We have it stashed in emails, buried in documents, and trapped in the minds of experts. This fragmented reality impedes progress, especially for our burgeoning AI companions. But what if we could gather this knowledge dust, weave it into a tapestry of understanding, and use it to power AI’s evolution? Enter the knowledge base, a silent hero ready to bridge the gap between human know-how and machine intelligence.

Think of a knowledge base as a well-organized library for AI. It stores facts, relationships, and insights in a structured format, like a chef compiling a recipe book. This curated information then becomes the training ground for AI models. Here’s how it works:

  1. Supercharging Supervised Learning: Traditional AI training relies on mountains of labeled data. A knowledge base provides a readily available, pre-organized treasure trove of facts, ready to be tagged and fed into supervised learning algorithms. Imagine training a customer service AI with a meticulously labeled FAQ base—it’ll learn to answer your questions like a seasoned agent in no time!
  2. Enabling Unsupervised Exploration: But what about information that’s unlabeled, the hidden gems buried in unstructured documents? A knowledge base can act as a map, helping AI models navigate and make sense of this data. By identifying relationships and patterns within the structured facts, AI can start to infer meaning from the unstructured, paving the way for unsupervised learning breakthroughs.
  3. Bootstrapping the Bootstrap: Once an AI model learns basic concepts from the knowledge base, it can use its newfound abilities to further enrich the base itself. It can identify missing information, suggest connections between seemingly disparate facts, and even flag inconsistencies. This virtuous cycle of learning and refinement makes the knowledge base a living, breathing entity, constantly evolving alongside the AI it powers.
  4. Fostering Trust and Transparency: With explainable AI gaining traction, knowledge bases become crucial for building trust. By tracing an AI’s reasoning back to its roots in the knowledge base, we can see the logic behind its actions. This transparency fosters a sense of understanding and trust, essential for human-AI collaboration.

Beyond the hype, capturing knowledge in a knowledge base is not just a cool trick; it’s a strategic investment in the future of AI. It unlocks the potential of our data, fuels intelligent machines, and paves the way for a future where AI and humans work in harmony, guided by the collective wisdom housed in these digital libraries of knowledge.

So, the next time you stumble upon a nugget of information, don’t let it vanish into the digital void. Feed it to your knowledge base, and watch it become the fuel that propels AI towards a brighter future. Remember, knowledge is power, and in the age of AI, sharing it is the key to unlocking the true potential of intelligent machines.

Let’s start building smarter AI, one well-stocked knowledge base at a time!

books in black wooden book shelf Knowledge Management

UFFA: The Bedrock of Knowledge-Centered Support

At the heart of Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS) lies a simple yet powerful principle: UFFA. This acronym stands for four key actions support personnel can take when seeking information in your knowledge base: Use it, Fix it, Flag it, Add it.

Use it. When an article perfectly answers the question at hand, your knowledge management tool should provide a way to track its effectiveness. This typically involves linking closed support cases to the article’s ID, effectively “voting” for its quality and completeness. This data can then be used to influence search algorithms, reward content creators, and prioritize content review.

Fix it. If an article contains inaccurate information or lacks detail, support agents should be empowered to fix it readily. The knowledge management system should facilitate easy editing, including peer review and oversight processes to ensure quick and reliable publication of corrections. Remember to acknowledge the value of edits alongside new content creation, as they often contribute significantly to the knowledge base’s accuracy and effectiveness.

Flag it. Sometimes, the answer may be imperfect, but the agent accessing it may not be equipped to fix it. In such cases, a flagging mechanism is crucial. This allows the issue to be escalated to a dedicated team or added to a group discussion for collaborative resolution. Consider allowing public users to flag content if it fails to resolve their specific queries.

Add it. When no existing article addresses the question, adding a new one should be seamless. Incentives, recognition, and rewards encourage content creation, but be cautious of imposing quotas. The easier it is to create new articles, the better. Integrating with the case tracking system to auto-populate certain fields can further streamline the process. Additionally, consider implementing mechanisms to ensure compliance with style and quality guidelines. Efficiently reviewing and publishing new content ensures it reaches those who need it most, just in time.

While modern knowledge management platforms offer various features and enhancements, UFFA remains the cornerstone of a successful KCS implementation. By ensuring your platform effectively supports these four core actions, you empower your support team to leverage knowledge effectively, resolve issues efficiently, and ultimately deliver exceptional customer service.

close up shot of a typewriter Search Engines

Submit all website versions in Google Search Console

To ensure comprehensive visibility into your domain’s performance, Google recommends creating five variations of your domain:

  1. http://example.com
  2. http://www.example.com
  3. https://example.com
  4. https://www.example.com
  5. example.com

While this may appear redundant, it can be beneficial for several reasons. First, Google treats http and https as distinct sites, necessitating monitoring of both variations. Additionally, registering both www and non-www versions enables you to specify your preferred URL format to Google.

Depending on your verification method, you should be able to add all four variations without further verification steps. The DNS entry method is preferred due to its lower likelihood of accidental deletion.

Once created, these views can be consolidated into a single ‘set.’ Simply select ‘Create a set’ on the homepage, add all four URL variations, assign a name, and view consolidated data by selecting the set instead of individual URLs. The relatively newer option to create a domain asset can span all 4 of these variations, but it’s still a good practice to set up the four because it can be used to set some directives and specifically subdivide your traffic for troubleshooting.

Knowledge Management

What are the advantages of knowledge management?

  1. The quality of the information you provide is better. You can give consistent information across different personnel or locations. Once a piece of knowledge is perfect, you will never miss a step or give wrong advice. You give the right answer the first time every time.
  2. You can provide these answers faster. You eliminate the need to research the same problem over and over again. You can walk the customer through the solution in real time with relative ease and confidence that it will work.
  3. Or even better, they can look it up for themselves. If you open up your knowledge base either partially or entirely, you enable self-help. That eliminates the need for one-to-one (expensive) support by enabling online self-help.
  4. You can break down silos in the organization, which is beneficial for everyone. You don’t end up with “The SQL Guy.” That’s the employee who is the only one that can answer questions about SQL, and therefore they always do. When they’re on vacation, you grind to a halt and wait for The SQL Guy to return. It’s not good for the team and it is also not very fun being The SQL Guy either. It’s better if you can share the load.
  5. You don’t lose knowledge when you lose people. As bad as it is when The SQL Guy is on vacation, it’s even worse when they retire. Suddenly you realize nobody is able to take over that subject matter. If they document everything they know before leaving, you can continue to leverage that expertise after they’re gone.
  6. You also retain the ability to service very old or outdated products. You’re not necessarily going to have a new hire ramp up on obsolete products. That’s not fair to them or very useful for you. However, if you’ve documented obsolete products completely, you can rely on that for lingering service needs.
  7. You can upskill new hires much faster. They can often be immediately viable. All they need to do is search for known answers and regurgitate them to the customer. That makes them an immediate asset instead of spending many months shadowing or training before they can help.
  8. If you do this really well, in a Knowledge Centered Support methodology, paired with a CRM, you can use the linkage reports to discover the most pressing problems and actually use it to drive product development. Documenting a problem makes support quick and painless. Fixing the problem eliminates the need entirely.
  9. All of this leads to higher customer satisfaction if they know they can always call and get a complete and consistent answer regardless of who they are connected to. Or better yet, they can just search and solve themselves. Depending on your industry that can be a real differentiator.
  10. And last, and probably my favorite having come from that world, it increases employee satisfaction. Nobody likes being caught on the phone without an answer or back up. It’s isolating and stressful. However, if you know that 80% of the time, you can rely on and contribute to a shared resource, you have a greater sense of purpose and a less stressful job. The result is you can actually get some longevity out of your teams.
woman in beige blazer writing on white paper Knowledge Management

What is Knowledge Centered Support?

Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) is a customer service methodology that focuses on knowledge as a key asset of the organization. It is a way of interacting with knowledge which enables teams to answer questions quickly, deliver answers where people are looking for them, and train new employees faster.

KCS derives from the idea that knowledge is created when people solve problems. When a customer support team member solves a problem, they capture that knowledge in a knowledge base so that it can be reused by others. This knowledge base constantly evolves as new problems are solved and new solutions are discovered.

KCS has a number of benefits, including:

  • Reduced costs: KCS can help organizations reduce costs by reducing the time it takes to resolve customer issues. This is because support team members can quickly and easily find the information they need to solve problems in the knowledge base.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: KCS can help organizations improve customer satisfaction by providing customers with access to self-service knowledge resources. This allows customers to solve their own problems without having to wait for a support team member to help them.
  • Improved support team satisfaction: KCS can help improve support team satisfaction by giving support team members a sense of ownership over their knowledge. Support team members are encouraged to contribute to the knowledge base and share their knowledge with others.
  • Faster training for new employees: KCS can help organizations train new employees faster by providing them with access to a comprehensive knowledge base. This allows new employees to learn from the experience of others and get up to speed quickly.
  • KCS is a powerful methodology that can help organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their customer support operations. It is a good fit for organizations of all sizes, in all industries.

Here are some examples of how KCS can be used in different industries:

  • IT support: IT support teams can use KCS to capture and share knowledge about how to solve common technical problems. This can help them resolve customer issues more quickly and efficiently.
  • Healthcare: Healthcare organizations can use KCS to capture and share knowledge about medical conditions, treatments, and wellness advice. This can help them provide their patients with better care.
  • Education: Educational institutions can use KCS to capture and share knowledge about teaching methods, curriculum, and student assessment. This can help them improve the quality of their educational programs.

If you are interested in learning more about KCS, there are a number of resources available online and through the Consortium for Service Innovation.

Best Practices

Why the bncert-tool Tool is Great for Configuring HTTPS…

The bncert-tool tool is a great way to configure HTTPS on Bitnami stacks. It is a simple, easy-to-use tool that can be used to generate and install Let’s Encrypt certificates, configure automatic renewals, and redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS.

Here are some of the benefits of using the bncert-tool tool:

  • It is simple and easy to use. Even if you are not familiar with command-line tools, you can use the bncert-tool tool to configure HTTPS on your Bitnami stack.
  • It is efficient. The bncert-tool tool can generate and install Let’s Encrypt certificates quickly and easily.
  • It is secure. The bncert-tool tool uses Let’s Encrypt certificates, which are considered to be the most secure certificates available.
  • It is reliable. The bncert-tool tool can automatically renew your certificates, so you don’t have to worry about them expiring.
  • It is flexible. The bncert-tool tool can be used to configure a variety of settings, such as the domain name, the type of certificate, and the automatic renewal period.

If you are looking for a simple, easy-to-use, and secure way to configure HTTPS on your Bitnami stack, then the bncert-tool tool is a great option.

Here are some additional benefits of using the bncert-tool tool:

  • It can be used to configure HTTPS on a variety of Bitnami stacks, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento.
  • It can be used to configure both HTTP and HTTPS redirections.
  • It can be used to configure automatic certificate renewals.
  • It is supported by the Bitnami community, so you can get help if you need it.

If you are looking for a reliable and secure way to configure HTTPS on your Bitnami stack, then the bncert-tool tool is a great option.

Best Practices

What is TechSoup?

TechSoup is a nonprofit organization that provides technology resources to nonprofits and libraries around the world. They offer a variety of services, including:

  • Donated software and hardware: TechSoup partners with technology companies to provide free or discounted software and hardware to nonprofits. This includes popular software like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and Intuit QuickBooks.
  • Training and resources: TechSoup offers a variety of training and resources to help nonprofits use technology effectively. This includes webinars, online courses, and a library of articles and guides.
  • Networking opportunities: TechSoup provides opportunities for nonprofits to connect with each other and share best practices. This includes online forums, in-person events, and a mentorship program.

TechSoup is a valuable resource for nonprofits of all sizes. They offer a wide range of services that can help nonprofits improve their efficiency, reach more people, and achieve their goals.

How does TechSoup work?

TechSoup works by connecting nonprofits with technology companies that have donated software and hardware. Nonprofits can apply for these donations through TechSoup’s website. Once a nonprofit’s application is approved, they will be able to download or purchase the donated software or hardware at a discounted price.

TechSoup also offers a variety of training and resources to help nonprofits use technology effectively. These resources are available online and in-person.

How much does TechSoup cost?

It is free to join TechSoup. However, there is an administrative fee for each donation request that is processed. The fee covers the cost to administer the donation program.

How can I learn more about TechSoup?

To learn more about TechSoup, you can visit their website at www.techsoup.org. You can also sign up for their newsletter to stay up-to-date on their latest news and resources.

Best Practices

DocuSign for Nonprofits: How to Get It for Free

DocuSign is a cloud-based e-signature and transaction management software that can help nonprofits streamline their workflows and save time and money. However, DocuSign can be expensive, especially for small nonprofits.

Fortunately, there is a way for nonprofits to get DocuSign for free through TechSoup. TechSoup is a nonprofit organization that provides technology products and services to nonprofits at discounted prices.

To get DocuSign for free through TechSoup, your nonprofit must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a registered 501(c)(3) organization in the United States
  • Have an annual budget of $1 million or less

Once you have met the eligibility criteria, you can follow these steps to get DocuSign for free through TechSoup:

  1. Go to the TechSoup website and create an account.
  2. Search for DocuSign in the TechSoup catalog.
  3. Click on the “Request” button to start the application process.
  4. Provide the requested information, including your nonprofit’s EIN and budget.
  5. Pay the TechSoup administrative fee.

Once your application is approved, you will receive a DocuSign subscription for free.

If you are a nonprofit that is looking for a way to streamline your workflows and save time and money, DocuSign is a great option. And with the help of TechSoup, you can get DocuSign for free.

Additional Information: