Category Archive : SPECIAL REPORT

Top 10 Ways To Get On The First Page Of Google

For those in the business of trying to drive organic traffic, Google is the all-powerful. It crawls the web, determining which pages are the most useful and relevant for its users for virtually any topic. We don’t just trust Google’s results, we rely on them.

With such immense power and influence, getting your small business on the first page of Google might seem unrealistic, However, it this very power Google holds that makes it more possible than ever for small and local businesses to rank high in search results—for free!

how to get on the first page of google for free

In this post I’m going to cover several tangible actions you can take to help your business rise to the top of the first page, using two free strategies: website optimization and listing optimization. I will first cover the importance of the first page of Google and then get into the tactics, which include:

  • Adding keywords to specific places on your website
  • Creating content for humans, not Google
  • Emphasizing location
  • Regularly updating and maintaining your Google listing
  • And many more

It’s abundantly clear that the first page of Google is a worthwhile (if not essential) goal for any business, but let’s first go over its specific benefits, as this can help you prioritize within your business’s strategy.

Why the first page of Google is important

Google’s search results are getting more robust— with Knowledge Panels, answer boxes, expandable related questions, local results, and more. With so many ways to stand out, working for top ranking is well worth the effort, especially considering that traffic and click-through rate fall off precipitously as one works their way down the search results. 

How to Get on The First Page of Google

Traffic and engagement falls off precipitously after the first few results.

Getting on the first page means significantly higher click-through rate

It’s a known fact that the first page of Google captures the majority of traffic, but did you know that there are significant differences in click-through rates for the top vs bottom results? One study shows the following click-through rates by Google position:

• First result: 36.4% clickthrough rate
• Second result: 12.5% clickthrough rate
• Third result: 9.5% clickthrough rate

How to Get on The First Page of Google

CTR continues to decline, down to 2.2% for the 10th result (there are usually 10 organic results max per page, even less now with local results, ads, answer boxes, and other new features. If you’re not at the top of Google search results, you are missing out on a lot of clicks.

Get immediate exposure

Top results for Google searches now also populate “Position Zero” answer boxes, otherwise known as featured snippets:

Google Featured Snippet

Earning a top spot on Google could lead to getting featured in a featured snippet, granting your business immediate exposure and increasing your credibility.

Top position traffic share

Another study found that the top result on Google captures 33% of search traffic. The closer to the top you can get your website to appear on Google, the better your search presence and brand authority.

How does first page ranking benefit your business?

It’s important to understand the different goals that getting a top ranking on Google can help your business to achieve.

1. Improve your visibility

Let’s say you have a brick and mortar location. If you had the choice between putting your business on the main road that goes through town or a quiet side street, which one would you choose? The main road, of course.

With 167 billion searches per month, getting on the first page of Google is like planting your business on the busiest road in town. The more people that see your website, the greater your brand awareness. The more familiar consumers are with your brand, the more receptive they will be to conversion activities.

2. Generate more leads

Now what if you had to choose between the main street of a diverse town or a town of ideal customers?  There are as many Google first pages as search queries out there. Your goal is to get on the first page for queries that your ideal customers are performing. By doing so, you get discovered by consumers that are searching online with the intent to buy or engage. These people are the most likely to convert into leads and customers for your business.

3. Increase engagement

According to Adweek, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying, and Google is the go-to for this. With answer boxes, the “People also ask” section, and local results showing contact information, maps, reviews, ratings, and descriptions, Google’s search engine results page alone enables consumers to learn about, compare, and engage with your business before even clicking on your result.

How to Get on The First Page of Google People Also Ask

A People Also Ask section.

4. Drive website traffic

Snippets and answer boxes can only provide so much information. While a search engine results page itself can sometimes supply all the information a person needs, there are still a number of queries for which people will inevitably click through to a website. Don’t forget that it often takes several engagements with a business before a person converts into a customer, so interactions with your website are important.

Not only does being on the first page of Google drastically increase traffic to your website; not being on the first page of Google has a huge disadvantage. In fact, the first page of Google captures at least 71% of web traffic (some sources say up to 92%), and the second page is far from a close second: It drops to 6% of website clicks. This steep decline in web traffic is an indicator of just how important the first page of Google is.

4. Increase your industry authority

Getting on the first page of Google requires regularly creating high-quality content that Google recognizes is satisfying the needs of its searchers. This takes time, but the increased traffic and trust that will result is well worth the investment.

In addition, writing regularly about your industry and business will require you to stay in tune with what your target audience wants to know as well as what the latest updates are in your industry. Appearing on the first page of Google is important because it facilitates the development and maintenance of a robust knowledge base upon which your business can firmly stand.

5. Earn trust

Google’s algorithm is designed to recognize spammy, suspicious, and low-quality content. If you’re consistently showing up on the first page of Google, it means that Google recognizes you as a trusted source of information, and consumers trust businesses that Google trusts.

How to Get on The First Page of Google

6. Build your audience

As mentioned above, getting on the first page of Google requires creating high-quality, evergreen content. This type of content is the gift that keeps on giving; it can be repurposed and redistributed across a variety of marketing channels including social media, email, and paid ads.

Your content-driven efforts to get on the first page of Google will provide you with more material and more opportunities to engage with your target audience, nurture leads, and stay top of mind.

How many different ways can you get on the first page of Google for free?

Getting on the first page of Google is not only a common goal among small business owners, but also a very feasible one. Google is not focused on quantity, but quality. As a result, a larger company or bigger budget does not equate to top rank. There are several factors behind Google’s algorithm and, thanks to the fact that Google’s results page has many different components, there are also different types of media that can achieve first-page status. They include:

• Blog posts and website pages (in organic results)
• Your Google My Business account (in the local/maps section)

How to Get on The First Page of Google

Optimizing your Google My Business listing ensures your business and its ratings show up for local queries.

• Snippets of your website content (in Google’s many search results page features including “People also ask” and the answer box.

• Your landing pages (This is via the paid ads section, which is not free, but still worth mentioning. For more help with using paid strategies to get on the first page of Google, head to this post on Google Ads tutorials.)

Now let’s get back to the two free mediums by which you can get to the first page.

How to use your website to get on the first page of Google

The practice of aligning your website with search engine ranking factors is called search engine optimization (SEO). You do not necessarily search engine-optimize your whole site at once, but rather each individual page on your site. Here’s how to do so:

1. Determine your keywords

First, determine which search queries you want Google to answer with your website pages. These are known as keywords—which, by the way, can be single words OR phrases.

Examples of keywords include:

• “MA tenant laws”
• “salon near me”
• “brunch Boston”
• “air conditioner repair Brighton”
• “how to plug a leaky roof”
• “how to get on the first page of Google”

Each page on your website should target a different set of keywords so that the pages aren’t competing with each other.

The right keywords for your business are those that your ideal customers are typing in to get the products and services they need. For help choosing keywords for your business, try our Free Keyword Tool

How to Get on The First Page of Google Free Keyword Tool

Use our Free Keyword Tool to find high-volume keywords for your niche. 

2. Tell Google what keywords you’re using

Google works by crawling the web, ranking the millions of pages that exist, and storing them in an index. When a user performs a search, Google can then scan through its more organized index (rather than the whole web) to quickly come up with relevant results.

Therefore, another important step for showing up on the first page of Google is to make it as easy as possible for Google to scan, index, and retrieve your site. Do this by placing keywords in the following places:

Meta title

Every blog post and page of your website has a meta title. This title appears at the top of your page in the form of a header but also as the title of that page’s listing in search results (depending upon your CMS settings).

Meta description

The meta description is the little blurb that shows up underneath the title in Google’s search results.

How to Get on The First Page of Google Meta Description

In addition to telling Google what your page is about, the meta description quickly tells a searcher what they can expect if they click on your page, increasing the relevant clicks to that page. Therefore the meta description helps Google to put your business on the right first page for the right searches and helps Google searchers to keep it there.

URL

Your URL consists of your domain name (such as wordstream.com), followed by a forward slash, followed by text separated by dashes. 

Including keywords in your URL will help Google more quickly identify what your page is about. Also, the URL appears in between the title and meta description in search results. A clean URL that matches the title of the page is more appealing and trustworthy to users, and better suited for first-page appearances.

Alt tags

Google can only see images if the image has a text alternative (aka alt tag). If your alt tag includes keywords, Google can detect further relevancy of that page and feel more comfortable putting you on its first page of search results.

3. Write for humans

Of course, the body of your page’s content is the most important place to include the keywords for which you’re trying to rank. However, it is crucial that these keywords are not systematically and excessively inserted but naturally incorporated. In fact, Google can now detect keyword stuffing and if it does it will place you far, far from the first page of its results.

The key to getting on the first page of Google is providing useful, trustworthy, easy-to-read, but informative content that will keep your target audience on your pages and coming back for more. And conversationally sharing the knowledge already in your head is both free and easy. Just remember that if you want to rank on the first page of Google for a particular keyword search, your page needs to provide the information, and not just the keywords, that users are trying to obtain when they type that search into Google.

4. Emphasize location

Another free way to get your website pages on the first page of Google is to target location-based queries. Make sure your website clearly indicates your city and/or geographic area, via your contact page and potentially also through blog posts and services pages. That way, when people search: “your industry” + ”your city”, Google will pick up that information and show your business as a “near me” search result. 

How to Get on The First Page of Google

Even if a user does not search using a specific location, Google will still serve up geographically relevant results based on their IP address, so local SEO is not only free, but always important (even during a pandemic).

5. Optimize for mobile

You will not find a website at the top of a Google search that is not responsive. Consumers now use phones and tablets more than computers and laptops, and the majority of local searches are performed on mobile devices. As a result, Google favors mobile-friendly websites.

Responsive is ideal, as your website will adapt to any size screen and maintain functionality. However, if you don’t have a responsive website, there are adjustments you can make to your site to ensure the most seamless experience for a mobile user.

6. Focus on user experience

Being mobile-friendly isn’t enough for a website. It must also be appealing and user-friendly. A website with intuitive navigation, clear calls to action, and answers to your visitors’ most immediate questions will keep visitors there longer and coming back later—which Google will notice and, in turn, rank you higher. The higher you rank, the more traffic you will get to your site, and the more likely you are to show up on the first page.

How to use your business listings to get on the first page of Google

In addition to your website pages, your online business directory listings can also show up on the first page of a Google search. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Create a Google My Business account

Google My Business is evolving into one of the most powerful (not to mention free) tools for local business owners. Both Google Maps and Search pull from Google My Business to produce local listings (known as Business Profiles). Creating a Google My Business account is a fast and easy way to add more information to your Business Profile, which helps it to to appear on the first page of Google Maps and Search (in the ocal results section)h. Make sure you follow through with claiming and verifying your listing so that you can monitor, maintain, and optimize your listing.

How to Get on The First Page of Google

2. Optimize your Google business listing (Business Profile)

Speaking of optimizing your listing, I consider this strategy a separate entity because while creating a Google listing can help you with your visibility, it can only take you so far in terms of ranking. Rather than creating a bare-bones listing and hoping that it shows up for one or two searches, optimize your Google business listing for maximum visibility. Here’s how:

Complete every section of your profile

The more information you include in your Google My Business listing, the more searches for which it can show up on the first page. In fact, complete Google My Business listings get, on average, 7X more clicks than incomplete listings.

Keep your name consistent

Use the same exact name for your business at all times. Google doesn’t like discrepancies—even those as minor as “Co.” vs “Company”

Update your information

Not being able to find your business, showing up to find it closed, or getting an operator when trying to call can not only deter a customer, but also lead them to distrust your business or write a negative review. Stay on top of your Google listing and make the necessary updates and changes so that it can be trusted enough to be at the top of the list.

Obtain Google reviews

Google searchers love to see what other people think about a business, so it’s no surprise that the businesses with more positive Google reviews show up on the first page. Ask customers in person and create a review shortcut link so you can easily encourage reviews across your online channels.

how to get on the first page of google get reviews local pack

Reviews can land you in the “Local Pack” which shows up at the top of Google’s SERP

Upload photos to your listing

Google My Business strives to equip consumers with as much information about a business as possible, before even encountering that business. This includes what it’s like to be at that business, so be sure to upload photos that depict not only the products and services your business offers but also the atmosphere and people that frequent it.

Try our Google My Business Grader

We have a free tool designed specifically for Google My Business listings. Simply log in with your Google business account and in less than 30 seconds, you’ll get an assessment of your profile and learn what you need to do to get closer to the first page. 

8. List your business on other directories

Google My Business is powerful, but you should still create and optimize listings on other popular directories like Yelp. First, because Yelp has high traffic and is widely trusted by Google, so your business’s Yelp page can very well show up on the first page of Google for relevant searches. Second, because a solid listing with positive reviews improves your online presence in general. Online review and links from other trusted sites send signals to Google that figure into its ranking algorithm.

As with your Google Business Profile, make sure the rest of your online directory listings are complete and accurate, consistent across platforms, updated, and that you are collecting and responding to reviews. Don’t forget to add photos to your online listings as well.

Getting on the first page of Google is a tangible goal

Getting to the top of Google, or even just improving your ranking, is very doable, even for small businesses. It takes work and time, but it is one of the most important things you can do for your business. By knowing where and how to make adjustments, you can get your business the visibility it deserves.

Expand Your Network While Working From Home

Maybe you were never comfortable networking at the office or striking up a conversation over a boxed lunch at a convention, but after half a year of working inside your own four walls, wouldn’t you jump at the chance to meet new people?

Pandemic or no, for people who want to accelerate learning about new subjects, strengthen career prospects or meet social goals, “networking is at the heart of finding opportunities and exploring them,” according to Miranda Kalinowski, head of global recruiting for Facebook. Fortunately, while team meetings and industry conventions have moved online, the new normal has opened as many doors as it has closed.

Connections can and should come from every facet of your life, including your civic, school and social groups, Kalinowski said. They can also be discovered in new settings, perhaps on the neighborhood walks you take to break up the work-from-home day. People you reach out to maybe more open to connecting now, Kalinowski said, because they are no longer commuting or taking
business trips, and have more time to talk.

Kalinowski said you could also diversify your network by aiming for more “cognitive friction” — connecting with people who have different ways of approaching problems and getting things done or have different priorities or values.

Go beyond geography

The pandemic has leveled the playing field in some ways, said Tiana S Clark, who has worked as an Air Force intelligence analyst, public school teacher and now in Chicago as a sales director for Microsoft. People aren’t bound by location, personal obligations or financial circumstance that had prevented them from being able to attend conferences or join after-work events.

Networking from home can even offer higher-quality interactions, she said, because “you are reaching out to someone intentionally, someone you’ve done a little research on in advance, not just striking up a conversation with whoever you run into at a conference.”

There are a plethora of professional and interest-based organisations online to join. LinkedIn suggests groups and newsletters that might be of interest based on your profile. Many colleges have local alumni clubs now holding online meetups and lectures.

“Research some options, try one out and see if it’s helpful,” Kalinowski said. If it’s not, try another.

Introductions

The easiest and best way to meet someone is for a mutual connection to give you a warm introduction and highlight what you have in common. If you do need to reach out to someone you’ve never met, Kalinowski recommends engaging that person through some content, like a blog post that he or she has written, to start a conversation, rather than showing up with a request.

When you do ask for something, for example information about a person’s job or industry, do some research on the topic and ask for the person’s opinion on what you’ve learnt, rather than asking them to explain it all to you. “Don’t make them do the heavy lift,” Kalinowski said. And, of course, don’t ask for information that is readily available on the internet.

The way you present yourself can make the difference between receiving a response and being ignored, Clark said, so when she reaches out to someone new, she sends along what she calls a “brand narrative,” a one-slide summary of who she is, her background, her personal attributes and her proudest achievements. It’s a quicker and more holistic view than a résumé that focuses mainly on career, she said.

Go ahead now

Perhaps, you can start with a goal of reaching out to one new person each week, even if you feel satisfied with your existing contacts. In fact, the time to invest in your network is when you least need it, so by the time you do require assistance, you have created a strong support system.

“It’s like building up your credit score so when you need a loan, you’ll be able to get one,” Waninger said.

Even those who are well-established in their fields should take stock. Networks can grow stale, Kalinowski said, and a “fresh take” can be invigorating.

Company With No Ventilator Model Got Rs 373 Cr PM CARES Order To Make 10,000 Ventilators

Trivitron Healthcare told that they began designing the ventilator and procuring the components only after they were given the contract.

In early April, Trivitron Healthcare, a 23-year old Chennai-based medical technology company, got government orders to build 7,000 “basic” and 3,000 “advanced” ventilators, paid for from the PM CARES fund. But when Trivitron got the order, neither of their basic nor advanced ventilator models existed—not even working prototypes.

The total value of Trivitron’s order works out to Rs 373 crore, based on a simple cost-per-unit calculation including Goods and Services Tax.

The “advanced” model was priced at Rs 8,56,800, five times the “basic” model which was priced at Rs 1,66,376, information accessed through RTI requests filed by transparency activist Venkatesh Nayak have revealed. 

These prices for Trivitron models – which were yet to be developed at the time — were based on the costs submitted by its competitors: the cost of the basic model is exactly the same as a competitor product by AgVa; while the advanced model was Rs 8,56,800, just Rs 5,600 cheaper than the bid submitted by Allied Medical Limited. (Prices are inclusive of GST)

But the tender documents contained only one set of qualifying technical specifications, and no stated provisions for procuring two different types of ventilators at such vastly different prices. The tender was issued by HLL Lifecare Limited, a public sector enterprise tasked with procuring Covid-19-related supplies, including ventilators, for the Narendra Modi government.

Trivitron’s order did not come from HLL. It came from Andhra Pradesh Medtech Zone (AMTZ), a public sector enterprise under the government of AP, which has a 270-acre zone dedicated for medical device manufacturing. HLL gave AMTZ an order to manufacture 13,500 ventilators and AMTZ passed on 10,000 of these to Trivitron. Trivitron told HuffPost India that they got the orders when they responded to a request for procurement put out by AMTZ, at prices set by AMTZ.

Five months later, this opaque two-step contracting process between HLL and AMTZ has unravelled into a shambles even as Trivitron, the private company, says they are stuck in the middle bearing the consequences.

PM CARES ventilator order
PM CARES ventilator order details

Trivitron told HuffPost India that they have manufactured the ventilators at great cost and effort in the midst of a pandemic, but HLL is yet to issue them a dispatch order for their ventilators. As a consequence, Trivitron has not supplied a single ventilator that they say they developed specially for this contract.

“Immediately after we received the order, we started the process of procuring the components and simultaneously designing a ventilator to meet specs given by HLL,” said Satyaki Banerjee, Trivitron’s co-CEO.

“Despite huge exposure of our investments into this project, we have no certainty of supplies, despite following everything which was mentioned in our P.O. given by AMTZ endorsed by HLL,” Banerjee said in an email. “We do hope better sense prevails and a fair and transparent procedure is followed by the Tendering authority and DGHS [Directorate General of Health Services] and they fulfil the purchase order given to us.”

(A “P.O.” is a purchase order)

The strange case of how Trivitron, a company that had never made a ventilator before, won an emergency government contract to make 10,000 ventilators and is now still to receive a delivery dispatch, is illustrative of the Modi government’s opaque, arbitrary and misguided attempts at procuring 58,850 ventilators for a total cost of around Rs 2,000 crore from the PM CARES fund. While defence public sector enterprise Bharat Electronics Limited was directly tasked with making 30,000 ventilators, procurement for the remaining orders was handled by HLL.

As the following account makes clear, every step of the Modi government’s ventilator procurement process has been riddled with anomalies. 

Trivitron, for its part, says it proceeded “honestly and sincerely”, motivated by a desire to help India’s fight against Covid-19.

“Despite being one of India’s largest Medical Technology companies, whose factory was inaugurated by our Hon Prime Minister in 2016, we are being pulled and pushed in different directions in this project,” Banerjee said in the email.  

Other ventilator manufacturers, some of whom also won contracts and some who didn’t, have blamed HLL, the public sector enterprise tasked with procuring the ventilators.

“HLL messed up from day zero,” one ventilator manufacturer who bid for HLL’s contract said on condition of anonymity. “The process was opaque, arbitrary and designed to fail.”

Nayak, the transparency activist who shared information obtained under RTI with HuffPost India, said the botched procurement illustrates just why the PM CARES fund must be under the purview of the Right to Information Act with regular audits and the results made public. 

“In the RTI response, HLL did not provide specific queries related to formation of technical committees, quantities of ventilators which failed to perform or did not meet technical specifications, and details of hospitals where ventilators were supplied,” said Nayak of Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. “Several of these companies do not have a well-established track record of manufacturing crucial medical supplies to be used in critical patients. Withholding such crucial information is problematic.”

HLL, the Union Health Ministry, and AMTZ did not respond to HuffPost India’s requests for comment.  

Tender Surrender

When HLL first announced tenders to procure ventilators, several Indian companies prepared their bids. Some had an established business of manufacturing ventilators, some like Trivitron were medical device companies looking to get into the ventilator business, and some were start-ups.

Ventilator makers told HuffPost India there was no clear-cut procurement process.  

The confusion began with the price at which HLL was willing to buy the devices.

A review of 8 different procurement orders issued by HLL between March 27 and April 17 for a total of 28,963 ventilators reveals that the company agreed to pay a per unit price of between Rs 1.67 lakh for AgVa’s basic-model ventilator to Rs 15.34 lakh for the Elisa 600 model ventilator supplied by BPL.  HuffPost India relied on information obtained by Nayak from CHRI and Anjali Bhardwaj of the Satark Nagrik Sangh under the Right to Information Act.

HuffPost India has reported on the many problems with the AgVa ventilators here and here.

So how did HLL justify paying such widely divergent prices for ventilators that corresponded to a common set of specifications?

A ventilator manufacturer who had bid for the HLL tender said the price bands were communicated verbally. 

“These details were not put in the public domain, but shared on a need to know basis,” the manufacturer said. “There was no such differentiation at the specification level. But later on, based on some unknown criteria, HLL categorised some machines as ‘advanced’ and some as ‘basic’.”

“The price was fixed by HLL with two sets of different specifications but the specifications kept on changing as the time progressed,” Trivitron co-CEO Banerjee told HuffPost India, adding that the pricing and specifications discussions were held between HLL and AMTZ.

Eventually, Banerjee said, the procurement committee created two price bands and specified the price HLL was willing to pay for both. “They gave manufacturers this option and let them choose if they wanted to take that,” he said.

Former government officials familiar with how government departments normally go about their procurement expressed surprise at how HLL conducted this tender.

EAS Sarma, a retired former secretary to the Government of India in the power and finance ministries, said the objective of any public tender is to ensure competition, transparent procedure, and obtain a product that conforms to the prior-stipulated technical specifications and is offered at a competitive price.

“The way the tender process has been described in the mail I have received does not appear to comply with the CVC’s guidelines,” Sarma said in an email correspondence, in which HuffPost India shared its findings.

“If the tender issuing PSU wishes to procure two different kinds of ventilators, for the sake of transparency, the tender enquiry should specify not only the two different sets of technical specifications in advance but also the threshold prior-experience criteria,” Sarma said. 

Fluid Timelines

The procurement price wasn’t the only goal post that HLL shifted. Ventilator-makers said HLL initially required that companies deliver their ventilator by June 30. As a consequence, some established companies bid for small orders that they could realistically deliver within the mandated time period.

Yet, the June 30 deadline was subsequently relaxed for companies that won the bids.

Allied Medical Limited (AML), a 40-year-old company that has been selling ventilators for years, bid for and received an order of only 350 ventilators because of HLL’s insistence that all deliveries had to be made by June 30.

“We were given a clear-cut understanding that no supplies will be accepted after 30th June. And the last date of supply had to be 30 June,” Aditya Kohli, the Managing Director of AML, said. “That is the reason why we bid for 350 ventilators. Otherwise we would have also said that we could supply 10,000 or 30,000 or whatever quantities.”

Kohli said the procurement process was handled with “no common bidding ground”, and each company struck individual agreements with HLL. 

Delivery Delays

As of September 7, only 18% of the 28,963 ventilators ordered by HLL from private manufacturers have been delivered. The delay in delivery, companies say, is because HLL is yet to issue a dispatch order for the thousands of ventilators the Modi government has ordered.

“Our dilemma is that we received an order, invested a whole lot of money and efforts in developing a ventilator, and we want to supply them at a time when it’s really meaningful,” Banerjee from Trivitron said in an interview. “The number of Covid-19 cases in India are rising everyday, and we are ready to supply ventilators. All we need is a supply schedule.” 

The controversial healthcare start-up AgVa, which won a contract to make 10,000 low-cost ventilators, has delivered only half its order of 10,000 ventilators, while Jyoti CNC—the company whose ventilators have come under scrutiny for underperformance in Gujarat hospitals—has not delivered a single device.

In an emailed response, AgVa also said it’s awaiting a dispatch order for the next 5,000 machines. 

Thus far, the only company to have delivered a lion’s share of its order is Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), a public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Defence, that was contracted to manufacture 30,000 ventilators by the Health Ministry. As of September 7, BEL had delivered 24,332 ventilators, or 80% of its order. The BEL ventilator has been manufactured in collaboration with Skanray, a Mysuru-based ventilator maker. 

HLL was not involved in the BEL contract.

Cyber Social Distancing Is In Progress

Why this is important?

Cybercriminals have unleashed a high volume of threats to take advantage of inadvertent security gaps in organizational networks

As the world braces for an era of transformed workplaces and lifestyles, organisations confront new challenges as they are compelled to shift to telework practically overnight, and ask their employees to operate from home.

In normal course, transferring entire workforces from offices with secure IT environments to remote setups with scant cybersecurity would require long-term IT planning and preparation. That was, however, not an option in 2020, and cyber criminals have been capitalising on the ensuing opportunities. 

Fortinet, the Sunnyvale-headquartered cybersecurity major, has investigated these cybersecurity challenges that organisations now face and has published its study titled 2020 Remote Workforce Cybersecurity Report. 

Its survey conducted in June, and involving employees of private and public sector industries across 17 countries, reveals that almost 60 per cent of enterprises are each planning to invest more than $250,000 on secure telework over the next two years due to the pandemic. These investments were unplanned, but securing remote work has become a top priority for these companies. 

Besides, nearly half of the respondents have already invested in virtual private network (VPN) and cloud security, and are planning to upgrade network access control (NAC) and endpoint detection and response (EDR). The top areas they are making new investments in, as part of their business continuity plan, are multi-factor authentication (MFA), secure communications, software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) for the enterprise as well as the employee’s home, segmentation, VPN, and secure access service edge (SASE). 

Nearly two-thirds of firms surveyed needed to transition more than half of their workforces to telework, even as they anticipate more of their workforce to continue to work remotely in future.

  • Manky: new challengesManky: new challenges

Fortinet points out that while using VPNs is necessary, it does not address the inherent insecurity of simple username/password logins, with MFA required to access critical information and applications. This would eliminate the risk from stolen or weak passwords, preventing hackers from validating credentials and infiltrating the networks. 
 
Threats galore

During a recent video call with India, Derek Manky, who is Chief of Security Insights & Global Threat Alliances at Fortinet’s Office of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), said that though organisations have completed the initial phase of transitioning their entire workforce to remote telework, CISOs face new challenges in maintaining secure teleworker business models. 

There has been a significant spike in Covid-19 related threats, with cybercriminals unleashing a surprisingly high volume of new threats to take advantage of inadvertent security gaps as organisations scurry to ensure business continuity. 
“An unprecedented number of unprotected users and devices are now online, with one or two people in every home connecting remotely to work through the internet,” mentions Manky. 

“Simultaneously there are children at home engaged in remote learning and the entire family is engaged in multi-player games, chatting with friends as well as streaming music and video.” All this has provoked a surge in phishing attacks, with an average of about 600 new phishing campaigns every day. 

The phishing attacks range from scams related to helping individuals deposit their stimulus for Covid-19 tests, to providing access to chloroquine and other medicines or medical devices, to providing helpdesk support for new teleworkers. Some even target children, with offers of online games and free movies, or even access to credit cards to buy online games or shop online. 

Most of these phishing attacks contain malicious payloads that include ransomware, viruses, remote access trojans (RATs) designed to provide criminals with remote access to endpoint systems, and even remote desktop protocol (RDP) exploits. The first quarter of 2020 has documented a 17, 52 and an alarming 131 per cent increase in viruses for January, February and March respectively, compared to the same period in 2019. This surge is mainly attributed to malicious phishing attachments. Multiple sites that are illegally streaming movies that were still in theatres secretly infect malware to anyone who logs on. 

According to Manky, as users are all connected to the home network, attackers have multiple avenues of attack that can be exploited targeting devices, including computers, tablets, gaming and entertainment systems and even online IoT devices such as digital cameras and smart appliances, with the ultimate goal of finding a way back into a corporate network and its valuable digital resources. “If the device of a remote worker can be compromised, it can become a conduit back into the organisation’s core network, enabling the spread of malware to other remote workers,” he explains. “The resulting business disruption can be just as effective as ransomware targeting internal network systems for taking a business offline.” 

Manky recommends adopting the same strategy for cyber viruses that we are adopting in the real world today, with cyber social distancing all about recognising risks and maintaining distance. “Isolation is all about segmenting networks and quarantining the malware from spreading across the network,” he points out. #innlive

Why Kerala Woman Puts Organs ‘On Sale’?

The 44-year-old said that state health minister KK Shailaja phoned her, promising to do everything possible to take care of her children’s treatment.

Full Matter

Government officials and a lawmaker in Kerala have promised help after a mother of five staged a protest by the side of a busy road in Kochi pledging to sell her organs including her heart in exchange for money to fund medical treatment of her children.

Santhi (44), along with her five children including four sons and a daughter, moved out of her rented house on Sunday night, pitching a tarpaulin tent on one side of the busy Container Road near Mulavukad to begin her protest.

A placard outside the tent announced that Santhi’s organs, including her heart, are available for sale so as to pool money to fund the medical treatment of her children and clear her mounting debt. The six-member family had spent the previous night hunkering under the tent even as it rained

As her protest attracted media attention, officials of the local Varapuzha panchayat and the police arrived at the spot to shift the family to a temporary rehabilitation facility. Initially, Santhi resisted as she believed that promises would not be met but later gave in reluctantly.

“My eldest son, who is the sole breadwinner of the family, was involved in an accident in July last year. He was waiting at a traffic signal when a bike crashed into him, splitting his head into two and injuring his leg. I incurred a lot of debt to fund his treatment. He’s still not completely fit. My daughter needs surgeries for her head and eyes due to an accident she suffered in 2013,” Shanthi told the news anchor.

She continued, “My second son has been mentally ill since his birth. He had swelling inside his stomach for which he was operated at the age of 7. He’s now 23, unable to work. Only two of my sons are healthy. One dropped out of studies to do part-time work and the other is in class XI.”

Santhi, who hails from Malappuram district, also said that she was abandoned by her husband when she was pregnant with her youngest child. She said she had initially worked as a driver, but gave up her job to take care of her children.

Expenses of the medical treatment of her eldest son and her daughter pushed the family toward mounting debt, she claimed. They don’t have a house or a piece of property of their own.

The 44-year-old said state health minister KK Shailaja phoned her, promising to do everything possible to take care of her children’s treatment. Congress MLA from Paravur VD Satheeshan, who has helped the family in the past and is acquainted with their problems also said he would look into the matter.

On Monday afternoon, the family was brought back to their rented accommodation with locals promising to manage their rent for the time being.

How ‘Touch-Screens’ Works?

If you are reading this article then most probably you have a touchscreen device. The experience of using devices has been changed since the invention of the touchscreen. The burden of using the keypad even for the purpose of scrolling was a tough task to be able to operate the devices. But after this invention, everything has been changed. You just have to tap on things that you are looking on the screen and with the help of some gesture, this task has become easier and more efficient. But have you ever thought that how the touch screen actually works? if the answer is yes, then today in this article we will tell you the answer to this interesting question.

1. Resistive

These are the most basic and common touch screens, the ones used at ATMs and supermarkets, that require an electronic signature with that small grey pen. These screens literally “resist” your touch; if you press hard enough you can feel the screen bend slightly. This is what makes resistive screens work – two electrically conductive layers bending to touch one another, as in this picture:

One of those thin yellow layers is resistive and the other is conductive, separated by a gap of tiny dots called spacers to keep the two layers apart until you touch it. (A thin, scratch-resistant blue layer on top completes the package.) An electrical current runs through those yellow layers at all times, but when your finger hits the screen the two are pressed together and the electrical current changes at the point of contact. The software recognizes a change in the current at these coordinates and carries out the function that corresponds with that spot.

Resistive touch screens are durable and consistent, but they’re harder to read because the multiple layers reflect more ambient light. They also can only handle one touch at a time – ruling out, for example, the two-finger zoom on an iPhone. That’s why high-end devices are much more likely to use capacitive touchscreens that detect anything that conducts electricity.

2. Capacitive 

Unlike resistive touch screens, capacitive screens do not use the pressure of your finger to create a change in the flow of electricity. Instead, they work with anything that holds an electrical charge – including human skin. (Yes, we are comprised of atoms with positive and negative charges!) Capacitive touch screens are constructed from materials like copper or indium tin oxide that store electrical charges in an electrostatic grid of tiny wires, each smaller than a human hair.

There are two main types of capacitive touch screens – surface and projective. Surface capacitive uses sensors at the corners and a thin evenly distributed film across the surface (as pictured above) whereas projective capacitive uses a grid of rows and columns with a separate chip for sensing, explained Matt Rosenthal, an embedded project manager at Touch Revolution. In both instances, when a finger hits the screen a tiny electrical charge is transferred to the finger to complete the circuit, creating a voltage drop on that point of the screen. (This is why capacitive screens don’t work when you wear gloves; cloth does not  conduct electricity, unless it is fitted with conductive thread.) The software processes the location of  this voltage drop and orders the ensuing action. (If you’re still confused, watch this video.)

3. What’s next? Sizing Up 

Newer touch screen technologies are under development, but capacitive touch remains the industry standard for now. The biggest challenge with touch screens is developing them for larger surfaces  –  the electrical fields of larger screens often interfere with its sensing capability.

Software engineers from Perceptive Pixel, which designs multi-touch screens, is using a technology called frustrated total internal reflection (FTRI) for their larger screens, which are as big as 82-inches. When you touch an FTRI screen you scatter light – and several cameras on the back of the screen detect this light as an optical change, just as a capacitive touch screen detects a change in electrical current.

82 inches? That’s the perfect size for a swipeable coffee table.