Help with the digital transformation, blocking malware, keeping a respectable social media presence, and other important developments in technology that may affect firms and their clients.

1. Menlo Security raises $40 million to help companies block malware. Cybersecurity startup Menlo Security says, “Customers are demanding more durable approaches to malware prevention, versus a long legacy of solutions that remain perennially vulnerable to the latest attacks.” It recently raised $40 million to help customers with such prevention by continuing to expand globally and deliver on its vision of eliminating phishing, ransomware, and malware risks from e-mail, web, and document downloads. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: I believe this is the next wave of security application. No downloads. Just a layer of protection between you, your employees and the World Wide Web.

2. Box launches new consulting unit to help customers struggling with digital transformation. Software company Box just launched a new consulting organization called Box Transform, designed to help companies understand that transformation requires a new way of working and thinking as an organization, beyond simply adopting new technologies like Box. The company says it wants to help change the entire way people work and interact with the content they use on a daily basis. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: Box is a great alternative to many office and collaboration management applications – but only if it’s implemented the right way. If you’ve chosen to get your group using this excellent collaboration application get some help from their consulting organization. It will be worth it.

3. Facebook will soon demote posts that beg for likes, comments, and shares…and announces a new ‘Snooze’ feature. In an effort to reduce the spread of spammy, sensational, or misleading content, Facebook says it will implement stricter demotions for pages that repeatedly bait engagement. Posts that ask people for help, advice or recommendations like raising money for charity or asking for travel advice won’t be affected by the update. The company also announced a “Snooze” feature that allows users to take a 30-day break from someone in their network, without unfriending them. (Sources: The Verge and Android Police)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: Building an audience on Facebook is very important for many small businesses, entrepreneurs, celebrities, professionals and artists. But be careful how you do it. Begging for likes is frowned upon by the social media giant, particularly if it creates “spammy” messages.

Customers shops in an Apple Inc. store in Sydney, Australia.
Customers shops in an Apple Inc. store in Sydney, Australia. Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg

4. Apple might be slowing down old iPhones to preserve battery life. Reddit users noticed that Apple appeared to be slowing down old iPhones that have low-capacity batteries. It seems Apple is throttling processor speeds when a battery capacity deteriorates over time. The company denies doing this to get people to buy new phones but instead says it’s addressing an issue with devices containing older lithium-ion batteries that results in unexpected shutdowns. (Source: The Verge)
Why this is important for your clients and your firm: The company isn’t doing anything wrong per se, but they could’ve been a bit more transparent, don’t you think? The takeaway for anyone using an iPhone – both personally and professionally – is that the older models will perform slower than newer ones, so if you’re looking to increase your productivity you might want to trade up!

5. Twitter rolls out stricter rules on abusive content. As a sign it’s moving quickly to enforce new rules aimed at reducing ‘abusive content’, Twitter suspended the accounts of well-known white nationalists — starting with the far-right group Britain First, which regularly posts inflammatory videos purporting to show Muslims engaged in acts of violence. Twitter says it looks at many factors, including the post context, cultural and political considerations, and the severity of the violation. (Source: US News)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: Hopefully your company’s Twitter presence is not an abusive one. But if you’re the subject of abusive comments, then report it. It’s a top priority for Twitter to discourage this behavior.

6. Netflix made a funny joke on Twitter and ended up reminding everybody that they can see everything we do. An innocent tweet from a Netflix employee joking about the “53 people who have watched A Christmas Prince every day for 18 days” had an unintended consequence recently. It reminded everyone who read it that — in addition to knowing what programs its viewers watch — Netflix also has private information like the names, addresses, and credit card numbers of those 53 people — and many others. (Source: Decider)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: Why were people so upset about this? Like it’s some kind of a secret that Netflix has this data? So does any good company looking to provide a better experience for their customers – and market to their prospects. Do you?

7. Bitcoin hits bigger stage as exchange giant CME launches futures. Bitcoin futures were not warmly received at their launch on the CME Group Inc. last month, although market experts believed a recent rally in the cryptocurrency may go further. The CME bitcoin front-month futures contract opened higher at $20,650, but dropped 6 percent within the first half hour. A partner at Blockchain Capital LLC explained the drop this way: “This is a brand-new asset class, and I think perhaps a lot of investors want to sit back and see how this plays out before dipping their toes in this market.” (Source: Fox Business)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: I believe Bitcoin and other digital currencies will ultimately be accepted as a mainstream way to make payment. Your business should prepare for this inevitability. But I wouldn’t be messing with this stuff until the market itself loses its extreme volatility.

8. The app that reminds you you’re going to die. WeCroak is a mindfulness app that randomly sends a “Don’t forget, you’re going to die” message along with a quote to encourage contemplation, conscious breathing, or meditation. It and other similar apps aim to turn people’s iPhones, which they check an average of 76 times a day, into a source of clarity and peace — the tech world’s way of helping us disconnect. (Source: The Atlantic)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: Probably the best app you can you download! Why? Because someday you’re going to die. So try not to let things get to you today.

9. Why fermentation is the future of food tech. Geltor, a Bay Area startup, is using a biotech process called fermentation to make animal products — without animals. A shift is taking place in the biotech sector as its associated costs, such as DNA sequencing, have plummeted. So previously expensive biotech processes — like those Geltor uses to make animal-free gelatin — could soon make sense for commodity products like food. (Source: Fortune)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: Fermentation is becoming an important process in the food manufacturing industry and could affect the products many businesses make – and buy – over the next decade.

10. Apple’s iMac Pro arrived December 14, starting at $4,999. Apple’s iMac Pro features some unique internal specs and a big price tag. Starting at $4,999, the new desktop — a form factor once considered an at-home computer starter kit — includes up to an 18-core Xeon processor, 128GB of memory, and 4TB of storage. (Source: TechCrunch)

Why this is important for your clients and your firm: Wow, that’s expensive! But anyone who uses an iMac knows you get what you pay for. So is it worth it?

Some of these stories also appeared on

Gene Marks

Gene Marks

Gene Marks is a columnist, author, and small business owner. His weekly columns and blogs for The New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Philadelphia Magazine are read by thousands of small and midsized business owners around the country.