Monthly Archives: October 2018

What Is Educational Evaluation?

Educational evaluation is an ongoing process involving the gathering and organization of data collected on a teacher’s academic activities. Peers, administrators or outside observers conduct the evaluations to gauge a teacher’s effectiveness and make recommendations for possible improvements.

Evaluation Process

In educational evaluations, activities are observed and evaluated according to specific evaluation guidelines. Educational evaluations look at the entire educational process from different points of view, including the educator and students. The evaluation can be quantitative, such as tests or quizzes, or qualitative, such as observation of group activities. This process looks at the teaching and motivational methods as well as long-term goals of those being evaluated. Check for Educational Evaluations at UT Evaluators

Evaluation Goals

Educational evaluations aim to improve education and the educational process by giving educators information on the effectiveness of current strategies. The evaluations also provide specific suggestions to help educators improve in areas where they are weak. For example, educational evaluators who observe group activities might provide feedback to teachers on ways to improve participation of students, allowing for better instruction and learning processes. For Educational Evaluations in US visit UT Evaluators

Best 3 Strategies for Creating an Integrated Video Campaign

If you’re familiar with the TV ad scene, you’ve noticed it’s been a rocky year, and budgets have uncomfortably tightened. All this change is not just in your head; according to research from eMarketer, TV ad spending in 2017 dropped for the first time since 2009. However, digital ad spending has reached new heights at $107.3 billion. This dramatic shift is showing a reality that digital marketers have felt for a long time.

Today, TV is demanding more and providing less. Ad-buying agency Magna reports that, in the last four years, TV ratings have dropped an astounding 33% while ad prices have defied these plummeting audience numbers and increased 20%.

In the face of such a disparity between TV ad spending and the return—or lack thereof—on that investment, it’s more important than ever to design integrated video campaigns that use both TV and digital ads in conjunction to produce desirable results and meet business and campaign objectives.

Maintaining Integrity During Integration

Creating an integrated video campaign can be a challenging endeavor because different styles of video cater to specific platforms. Whereas a TV spot generally follows a classic story arc condensed into 30 seconds, a pre-roll ad gives the viewer the option to skip it after just five seconds of viewing. If you want viewers to quit scrolling through their Facebook news feeds and focus on your video, you need to make the first few seconds enticing enough for the viewer to watch the rest. For Digital Marketing Services Check Vivid Digital

How do you create a video that works for all channels? You can’t. With integrated campaigns, marketers all too often try to use one video to fill multiple roles. They create a beautiful TV spot. Then, they attempt to transform it into a direct response channel, such as paid social or pre-roll. To have a truly integrated campaign, repurposing videos won’t cut it anymore.

3 Ways to Create Effective Integrated Video Campaigns

I would love to be proven wrong and find one video that meets all needs and performs on every channel. But until then, here are three strategies that have worked for me to efficiently and effectively create videos that deliver across the entire marketing funnel:

1. Brief Teams According to the Funnel (Not per Channel)

Briefing your teams by stage of the funnel is the easiest way to ensure that the campaign feels cohesive across many different channels. An integrated campaign starts at the top of the funnel, where marketing teams responsible for items such as TV spots and banner displays should be briefed together. Overall, this brief should focus on how to get potential customers intrigued enough to take the next step. This next step might be visiting a website, or it might be learning more on another channel.

Next, mid-funnel methods include everything from paid social to influencers and even landing page content. When customers arrive here, it’s safe to assume that they already have a certain level of intent, so you need a different approach than the one used in the top of the funnel.

Finally, figure out what converting a customer looks like for your company and goals. For example, when a product is in a customer’s virtual shopping cart, you could break out testimonials, referrals, or other campaign components to influence him or her to add more or similar items.

2. Pressure Test Your Tagline

Marketers are often quick to adopt a tagline that seems to embody the brand. This decision should only be made after extensive testing across tactics. The tagline needs to work across every channel, including online and offline. For instance, Lyft’s “It matters how you get there” tagline works in a TV spot, a paid social ad, after an app download, or as part of a referral campaign.

A tagline must also stay relevant with respect to different stages of the funnel. LinkedIn’s “What are you in it for?” tagline doesn’t just work for creating high-level awareness. It also remains effective when a user has upgraded to a paid account, and it continues to make sense for a business that’s looking to hire new employees. Remember, for an integrated campaign to work no matter where content is placed, it needs a tagline that can go the distance. SEO Company in Hyderabad visit Vivid Digital

3. Think Tactically About TV Spots

When filming assets for an integrated campaign, it’s typical for a marketing team to think about both the TV spot and the corresponding digital videos at the same time. However, other simple steps are often forgotten. Think of it this way: A video shoot is a perfect time to have other members of your team on set who are focused on paid social advertising or website visuals.

Creating a video advertisement results in a huge amount of content that can produce an integrated campaign far beyond the one or two ads being filmed. As customers move further down the funnel, they’ll recognize certain aspects from the TV spot. These moments will result in a much more in-depth experience. Video assets are expensive! Leverage them in a way that produces related content for all of your channels.

Achieving integration is not without its challenges, but the results are well worth the extra effort. In an age where TV ads are becoming simultaneously more expensive and less effective, it’s essential to integrate your video advertising efforts to achieve maximum ROI. Doing away with costly silos in your marketing department is the best place to start. Then, ensuring your tagline can function in any scenario and learning to double (or triple) dip when creating your TV spots. This will prepare you to maintain integration across all channels and at each stage of the sales funnel. Now that you know the steps, it’s time to start integrating!

Web Developer Security Checklist v1

Michael O’Brien

This checklist has been updated at Web Developer Checklist V2. Also available on Medium.

Developing secure, robust web applications in the cloud is hard, very hard. If you think it is easy, you are either a higher form of life or you have a painful awakening ahead of you.

If you have drunk the MVP cool-aid and believe that you can create a product in one month that is both valuable and secure — think twice before you launch your “proto-product”. After you review the checklist below, acknowledge that you are skipping many of these critical security issues. At the very minimum, be honest with your potential users and let them know that you don’t have a complete product yet and are offering a prototype without full security.

This checklist is simple, and by no means complete. I’ve been developing secure web applications for over 14 years and this list contains some of the more important issues that I’ve painfully learned over this period. I hope you will consider them seriously when creating a web application.

Please comment if you have an item I can add to the list.

Database

  • [ ] Use encryption for data identifying users and sensitive data like access tokens, email addresses or billing details if possible (this will restrict queries to exact match lookups).
  • [ ] If your database supports low cost encryption at rest (like AWS Aurora), then enable that to secure data on disk. Make sure all backups are stored encrypted as well.
  • [ ] Use minimal privilege for the database access user account. Don’t use the database root account and check for unused accounts and accounts with bad passwords.
  • [ ] Store and distribute secrets using a key store designed for the purpose such as Vault or AWS Secret Manager. Don’t hard code secrets in your applications and NEVER check secrets into GitHub.
  • [ ] Fully prevent SQL injection by only using SQL prepared statements. For example: if using NPM, don’t use npm-mysql, use npm-mysql2 which supports prepared statements.

Development

  • [ ] Ensure that all components of your software are scanned for vulnerabilities for every version pushed to production. This means O/S, libraries and packages. This should be automated into the CI-CD process.
  • [ ] Secure development systems with equal vigilance to what you use for production systems. Build the software from secured, isolated development systems.
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Authentication

  • [ ] Ensure all passwords are hashed using appropriate crypto such as bcrypt. Never write your own crypto and correctly initialize crypto with good random data.
  • Use best-practices and proven components for login, forgot password and other password reset. Don’t invent your own — it is hard to get it right in all scenarios.
  • [ ] Implement simple but adequate password rules that encourage users to have long, random passwords.
  • [ ] Use multi-factor authentication for your logins to all your service providers.

Denial of Service Protection

  • [ ] Make sure that DOS attacks on your APIs won’t cripple your site. At a minimum, have rate limiters on your slower API paths and authentication related APIs like login and token generation routines. Consider CAPTCHA on front-end APIs to protect back-end services against DOS.
  • [ ] Enforce sanity limits on the size and structure of user submitted data and requests.
  • [ ] Consider using Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) mitigation via a global caching proxy service like CloudFlare. This can be turned on if you suffer a DDOS attack and otherwise function as your DNS lookup.

Web Traffic

  • [ ] Use TLS for the entire site, not just login forms and responses. Never use TLS for just the login form. Transitionally, use the strict-transport-security header to force HTTPS on all requests.
  • [ ] Cookies must be httpOnly and secure and be scoped by path and domain.
  • [ ] Use CSP without allowing unsafe-* backdoors. It is a pain to configure, but worthwhile. Use CSP Subresource Integrity for CDN content.
  • [ ] Use X-Frame-Option, X-XSS-Protection headers in client responses. Use https://observatory.mozilla.org to score your site.
  • [ ] Use HSTS responses to force TLS only access. Redirect all HTTP request to HTTPS on the server as backup.
  • [ ] Use CSRF tokens in all forms and use the new SameSite Cookieresponse header which fixes CSRF once and for all newer browsers.

APIs

  • [ ] Ensure that no resources are enumerable in your public APIs.
  • [ ] Ensure that users are fully authenticated and authorized appropriately when using your APIs.
  • [ ] Use canary checks in APIs to detect illegal or abnormal requests that indicate attacks.

Validation and Encoding

  • [ ] Do client-side input validation for quick user feedback, but never trust it. Always validate and encode user input before displaying.
  • [ ] Validate every last bit of user input using white lists on the server. Never directly inject user content into responses. Never use untrusted user input in SQL statements or other server-side logic.

Cloud Configuration

  • [ ] Ensure all services have minimum ports open. While security through obscurity is no protection, using non-standard ports will make it a little bit harder for attackers.
  • [ ] Host backend database and services on private VPCs that are not visible on any public network. Be very careful when configuring AWS security groups and peering VPCs which can inadvertently make services visible to the public.
  • [ ] Isolate logical services in separate VPCs and peer VPCs to provide inter-service communication.
  • [ ] Ensure all services only accept data from a minimal set of IP addresses.
  • [ ] Restrict outgoing IP and port traffic to minimize APTs and “botification”.
  • [ ] Always use AWS IAM users and roles and not root credentials. Invest in learning to use IAM effectively.
  • [ ] Use minimal access privilege for all ops and developer staff. Give IAM users and roles the minimum capabilities required to complete the task.
  • [ ] Regularly rotate passwords and access keys according to a schedule.
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Infrastructure

  • [ ] Ensure you can do upgrades without downtime. Ensure you can quickly update software in a fully automated manner.
  • [ ] Create all infrastructure using a tool such as Terraform, and not via the cloud console. Infrastructure should be defined as “code” and be able to be recreated at the push of a button. Have zero tolerance for any resource created in the cloud by hand — Terraform can then audit your configuration.
  • [ ] Use centralized logging for all services. You should never need SSH to access or retrieve logs.
  • [ ] Don’t SSH into services except for one-off diagnosis. Using SSH regularly, typically means you have not automated an important task.
  • [ ] Don’t keep port 22 open on any AWS service groups on a permanent basis. If you must use SSH, only use public key authentication and not passwords.
  • [ ] Create immutable hosts instead of long-lived servers that you patch and upgrade. (See Immutable Infrastructure Can Be More Secure).
  • [ ] Use an Intrusion Detection System to minimize APTs.

Operation

  • [ ] Power off unused services and servers. The most secure server is one that is powered down. Schedule dev servers to be powered down after hours when not required.

Test

  • [ ] Audit your design and implementation.
  • [ ] Do penetration testing — hack yourself, but also have someone other than you pen testing as well.

Train

  • [ ] Train staff (especially senior staff) as to the dangers and techniques used in security social engineering.

Finally, have a plan

  • [ ] Have a threat model that describes what you are defending against. It should list and prioritize the possible threats and actors.
  • [ ] Have a practiced security incident plan. One day, you will need it.