December 20th, 2008 by Ben Hwang
As of early this morning the equipment that runs Merchant’s Mirror is officially PCI-Compliant according to McAfee Secure, one of the world’s largest PCI Approved Scanning Vendors.
Why is this important? In 2005 the credit card issuers (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) all banded together to get businesses that charged credit cards to adhere to some very basic rules for security.¬† The rules are mostly common sense.¬† Things like you must have a firewall, you must maintain appropriate software patches to your server equipment, and you should never store credit card information.¬† As of today still less than half of all businesses on the Internet are PCI compliant.
McAfee Secure provides a top-of-the-line PCI Compliance scanning service that goes through your web site and performs hack attempts, denial of service attempts, and identification routines all in an effort to simulate a hacker’s attempt to gain access to your equipment.¬† They then report to you any and all vulnerabilities, even if they aren’t really a significant threat, for you to address.¬† In order to be considered “compliant” you must have no current vulnerabilities shown.
These scans will be done at regular intervals throughout the next year to insure that we maintain our compliance.¬† This helps us as we maintain credit card industry requirements and it helps you feel confident that we are providing an appropriate level security for your data at all times.
For more on PCI Compliance please visit the PCI Security Standards Council web site by clicking here.
November 17th, 2008 by Ben Hwang
In this day and age, using the web to accomplish your daily tasks has become the de-facto of many applications and almost the standard for small business building. In fact, my personal experience is that online applications can literally provide a quick and hardened solution at putting together a business in a short amount of time.
Obviously, your usual concerns are there. For instance, offline applications have the single point of it being able to function without an Internet connection. But in this age, who doesn’t have Internet access? Most businesses have at the very least an email address, and it is practically standard that anyone dealing in sales and marketing carries an email-enabled cell phone. The Internet has become so in-tune with our daily lives that you don’t even bat an eyelash when you connect at a coffee shop with WiFi these days while two a decade ago, it would have been laughable for a business to operate out of a coffee shop.
In that case, there really isn’t much of a reason why conducting business primarily only wouldn’t trump an offline application if just for the flexibility of it. Web-based applications are pretty much accessible anywhere, through most browsers, and your data is backed up by the service that you use. What’s not to like? You don’t have to worry about the application crashing, having the latest version, or whether or not the development team even knows you exist. With an online application, you just have to fire up a browser, open an Internet connection and you’re off to the races.
November 10th, 2008 by Ben Hwang
In the recent years, having looked at both personal finance and small business accounting software, I can tell you that the latter has been painstaking for myself. Usually the required features to run an entire business were missing something or other, but even if all the features were there then the interface was overly complicated to use. Begrudgingly, I had to pick and choose one single product to track the finances for my business or hire a bookkeeper.
So when John and I first started discussing what was to become Merchant’s Mirror, I was very excited. I would finally be able to look into what all my accounting woes have been and squash them once and for all. Both of us have owned and managed small businesses in the past and we know the pain that everyone deals with when it comes to accounting tasks.
Day by day, we are looking at ways to include all of the important features an accounting system should include, and at the same time, make it easier for the small business owner to operate. We understand that balancing your check book should accomplished in as short a time as possible because your time could be better spent in business building. While it is not perfect today and we are always working toward our goal of bringing a more dynamic model to the table. We want to let the user’s skill level put it to the test.
And that’s what we’re here to accomplish.
October 27th, 2008 by Ben Hwang
This is one question that I never cease to tire of since it’s a great ice breaker, and believe it or not, it actually does have a lot to do with accounting. First a little history lesson. “A book described as The Merchants Mirrour, or directions for the perfect ordering and keeping of his accounts formed by way of Debitor and Creditor, after the (so termed) Italian manner, by Richard Dafforne, accountant, published in 1635. “
That’s right. Due to Dafforne’s writings being one of the first written words that contemplate the double-entry system and the fact that the name just fit us so well, we decided to adopt the book’s name itself.¬† For obvious reasons, we took a more modern day spelling of “Mirror”.
What was also amazing was the fact that it describes our vision to the letter.¬† The system we set out to build was not just a web-based accounting package, but our goal was to create a system that any small business could use, almost like a “mirror image” of one’s self.
Fun stuff, eh? In any case, that’s why we chose to name our latest SaaS development as such.