What is SSL and how to implement it?

 

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is the standard technology that uses encryption algorithms to scramble data in transit. This aims to keep internet connections secure and safeguards any sensitive data that is being sent between two computers which prevents hackers from modifying and reading any information transferred.

 

SSL Certificate

To implement SSL for your website, first you must get an SSL certificate. SSL Certificates are small data files that digitally bind a cryptographic key to an organization’s detail, or simply it is a paragraph of letters and numbers that only your site knows – like a really “long password”. When installed on a web server, it activates the padlock and the https protocol and allows secure data transfer from a web server to a browser.

 

How to get SSL Certificate

Technically speaking you can create an SSL Certificate by yourself, but the problem is that all the popular browsers check with “Certificate Authorities” (CA’s) which also have a copy of that “long password” and can vouch for you. In order to be recognized by these authorities, you must purchase a certificate through them.

That is why you must pay a Certificate Authority for your SSL certificate. But before rushing up and buying you SSL Certificate, you should check with your web hosting provider because maybe your web hosting package might include a free SSL certificate.

 

Implementing SSL

After getting your SSL certificate, you have to do three more steps to implement SSL on your website:

  1. Activate the SSL certificate (Note: your web host might do this step for you).
  2. Install the certificate (Note: your web host might also do this step for you).
  3. Update your site to use HTTPS.

 

About H.A. Consultancies

H.A. Consultancies is a business, marketing, ISO, and ICT consulting firm based in Bahrain and operates in Saudi, Oman, and the UAE. It has been operating since 2012 and has over 6,000 clients all over the region.

 

H.A.’s ICT Services

  • Customized ERP Solutions
  • Customized CRM Solutions
  • Microsoft Azure Cloud Services
  • Microsoft Office 365 Services
  • Document Management Systems
  • Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Mobile App Development
  • Website Development
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • ICT Infrastructure and Security Services
  • Networking – LAN/WAN and Wireless
  • Integrated Security System Services
  • Linking Multiple Business Locations
  • IP Telephony
  • Backup Solutions
  • Time and Attendance Systems
  • Retail and Hospitality Systems
  • Salon Management Systems
  • POS Systems

WHY HIRE A BUSINESS CONSULTANT?

 

Pondering the idea of whether or not it’s time to ask for professional help for your business. Well, here are the top 5 reasons why you should hire a business consultant.

  1. Consultants are the leading experts

Consultants are often the leading experts in the fields they work in, so they will provide you with the best teaching and implementing practices. They have academic and theoretical expertise, and they’ve also worked directly with leading organizations to implement change. For example, if you want best practices in areas such as marketing and IT, then consultants are the best source available. Why try to invent a best practice when consultants have already implemented some with multiple clients.

  1. Handle critical changes

Consultants are experts at fostering change in organizations, so if your company is diffused with internal spar concerning imminent changes, hiring in a consultant can break the impasse. Consultants know that they’re often brought in for political cover and will shoulder blame for unpopular changes such as reducing head count and other cost-cutting measures.

  1. Different perspective

Consultants have a different perspective on your company, so having an outsider come in and bring new ideas can be extremely helpful. Sometimes your in-house people are too close to your business and don’t have the perspective to examine the larger picture within your market, at the other hand consultants can share valuable insights that enhance your internal creative thinking.

  1. Get high quality training

Consultants are born trainers, so they’re the best choice to do a training course or presentation for your organization. Consultant combine practice and theory, and this can deliver high value to your organization. You can hire a consultant to share knowledge about almost anything.

  1. You don’t have the brains resources

If you don’t have enough brain resources, then you should rent a brain, so hiring a consultant for a project or on a temporary basis can fill the gap until a full-time internal person is hired. Hiring a business consultant won’t make him a full-time employee, so breaking off the relationship is going to be very easy and cost-effective.

We are a leading business consultancy based in Bahrain and providing professional business consultancy services to clients all over the GCC. If after reading this article you discover that you may need help with your business, it would be our pleasure to assist you.

Business Plan

 

Some people believe that business plans are merely guesses made about the future of a business that we know little or nothing about. However, statistics indicate that businesses, activities, and even individual actions have a better chance of succeeding if they start out with a plan.

Each business should have a starting point and a destination through its journey, putting in mind that even the best planned route may require some changes regularly. A business plan is the itinerary.

So let’s start out with the basics and work our way from there.

 

First of all, what is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a document that includes details about the product/service, all the business objectives, milestones, individual responsibilities, dates and deadlines, and budgets to achieve the business’s goals in terms of growth and profit.

A business plan is extremely important for every business whether it’s new or old. It assists the business owner to take informed decisions and paves the way to success while providing interested parties with insights about all aspects of the business. A business plan should include information such as:

  • A detailed description of the product or service,
  • Financial projections or forecasts for the next three to five years,
  • Detailed information about employees, processes, materials, and tools,
  • and a market study covering customer perceptions and preference, competitors’ analysis, threats and opportunities…etc.

 

Why do we need a Business Plan?

Many businesses have shut down because they have jumped directly to starting up their operations without having a proper business plan. Having a business plan is crucial for every business whether they are big or small, new or old. It ensures that business owners do not spend money, time, or resources unnecessarily on businesses or projects by initially checking their viability.

As aforementioned, a business plan is not just for startup businesses, it can also be used by existing businesses. An existing business should update its business plan regularly to increase growth and benefit from anticipated opportunities in the market. Since the only constant in life is change, markets inevitably change as well. Therefore, it is important to have a robust business plan and conduct regularly management meetings to adjust it according to market needs.

 

What does a Business Plan include?

At a minimum, a Business Plan should include the following:

  • Company Overview
  • Product/Service Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Technical Plan (Operating)
  • Tactical Plan (Management)
  • Financial Plan

 

What are the main benefits of a Business Plan?

A Business Plan can provide numerous benefits to a business. These benefits can be summarized as follows:

  • A Business Plan helps business owners to remain focused on business goals, objectives, issues, and opportunities along with resources.
  • It permits business owners to be more adaptive to the market in which they operate as it forces them to research and analyze industry trends, identify current and future challenges, weight competitors, and understand where their business stands in the market.
  • Regularly updating a Business Plan allows a business to become more efficient by eliminating non-value-adding processes.
  • A Business Plan is also crucial to estimate the amount of capital or funds needed to start the business and where the money will be allocated.
  • Finally, a Business Plan ultimately helps mitigate risks of failure.

 

Is a Feasibility Study the same as a Business Plan?

Although a Business Plan might be mistakenly confused with a Feasibility Study, there are subtle differences between the two.

The following table explains the main difference between a Feasibility Study and a Business Plan:

Business Plan

Feasibility Study

It is created after the success of a Feasibility Study.

It is established first to find the workability & profitability of a business.
More of tactics and strategies. More of calculations, analysis and estimations.
Deals with growth plan and sustainability of a business.

Deals with viability of a business.

For more help on developing your Business Plan for your next big venture, feel free to contact us at any time.

Bahrain’s Social Insurance – Part 3: Complete Overhaul

 

In our previous articles, we listed the main reasons behind the deficit being faced by Bahrain’s Social Insurance Organization and we also reviewed the solutions being discussed by the Shura Council and Parliament. In this article, we are going to propose alternatives that could potentially resolve the issues faced by the Pension Fund once and for all.

The alternatives we are going to propose are inspired by experiences of other pension funds from different parts of the world, however, it is important to highlight that these are merely ideas that need to be validated by a detailed actuarial study.

Alternative 1: Contribution Brackets

Currently, contributions are fixed at 18% regardless of the salary, 12% coming from the employer and 8% from the employee. What if contributions were set at different rates according to the employee’s salary? In other words, the higher the salary, the higher the contribution that will have to be paid.

Alternative 2: Copy the Chinese

In China, there is no such thing as a fixed contribution rate for their pension fund. Instead, each year, the pension fund calculates the amount of pension salaries that will have to be paid and a pension contribution rate is calculated accordingly. This ensures that contributions will always cover the pension obligations that the fund has to meet.

Alternative 3: The Benefits Menu

The pension benefits in Bahrain, and indeed in the GCC, are very generous. Pension salaries do not cease by the passing away of the pensioner. In fact, pension payments are still made to widows and widowers, children up to the age of 21, children in full time education to the age of 26, children unable to earn a living, daughters that are unwed, fathers that were dependant on their deceased child, mothers that are divorced or widowed, brothers to the age of 21, sisters if unwed, and even grandchildren if their father is deceased. This adds multiple new dimensions to the pension plan which would make it difficult to forecast a viable contribution rate.

On the other hand, in case the employee was given the option of selecting the benefits that he wishes to extend to his family and in return set a contribution rate for himself according to these benefits, this would take the load off the pension fund and possible even the employee. A participant who is an only child for instance would not need to have the benefit of pension payments made to his brother or sister and conversely, would not need to pay the additional percentage of contribution affiliated with extending such a benefit.

Conclusion

Bahrain’s SIO is in a difficult predicament, however, it is one that can be resolved with a strong will and sound actuarial advice. We find that both the Parliament and the Shura Council are acting with haste, probably too quickly if their intention is to resolve the issues faced by the pension fund from the root cause. Perhaps the best advise that can be extended to the respectable MPs and Shura Council members is to hire actuaries to conduct multiple independent studies and come up with recommendations to help them wade through the difficult decisions that they will need to make. Until then, we can be sure that any recommendation made regarding this matter will only postpone an inevitable crisis or even worse, create a new one in a different segment of the economy.

Written by:
Munther Al-Arayedh, MBA, CPA