14 Sep

4 Signs That IT Resource Constraints Are Costing Your Business

Are you confident that you have the right skill sets within your IT team? Do you have visibility into your technology expenses? Does your IT department adequately support your company’s vision for growth?

Whether in the form of leaky profits or opportunity cost, chances are the challenges you’re experiencing in your IT department are costing your business.

Overextended Team

Many IT teams within small and medium sized businesses are required to serve in many capacities that make it difficult for them to specialize and focus on innovation or strategic growth. This reactive approach means your team is constantly maintaining the status quo rather than pushing forward.

IT Partner

This approach means your company is burdened by an enormous opportunity cost. Enabling your team members to automate the standard functions, specialize in areas that they are specifically skilled in, and bring on experts to fill in the gaps means that your IT department can serve as a proactive partner in your company’s growth.

Deferred Growth

Do you have projects and initiatives that have been sitting stagnant on the “to-do” list without any progress? For example, have your employees been asking about a work from home policy, but you aren’t sure how to implement a mobile office?

If you find that new projects are a challenge for your team, it may be time to examine the resources you have within your IT department. Certain initiatives require specific skill sets and it’s important to find a partner that supplements your existing team with the experts that can get the job done.

Consider what price you’re paying to wait to implement programs that your competitors are already taking advantage of.

Security Concerns

Hosting security

It seems that every week another data breach is reported that exposes companies to enormous liabilities. Don’t waste another minute wondering if you have the security protocols in place to protect your business. Security concerns are one area that can cost you big time if you don’t have the experts in place to manage your data.

This is especially important for companies that store sensitive information. If you’re collecting personal data, payment information, or even just storing your own sensitive data, it’s imperative that you have a solid data protection and redundancy policy in place.

In some cases, security can feel a bit like a moving target. As regulations are passed and changed, you’ll need to adapt with them. A perfect example is the recent enforcement of the GDPR regulations.

You need the experts on your side to give you the peace of mind you need to get back to what is most important.

Profitability

IT is often an overlooked department when it comes to profitability. Sales and marketing are scrutinized. Operations work within a specific budget. IT, however, is largely seen as a necessary evil rather than a strategic advantage.

Evaluating your infrastructure, personnel resources, and IT assets will allow you to ensure that the department is supporting the business appropriately (and profitably).

SoftSys Review

I have been using hosting service of Softsys for more than a year. Probably it is not the cheapest service, but it worth every cent I spent. Definitely they have one of the best support team. It is fast and intelligent. Read carefully technical stuff provided by the company and if it is ok give it a try – you will not be disappointed.
— Vladimir
CFO

12 Sep

Adoption Of Improved Cloud Solutions Determines Business Success

Cloud based IT solutions have long been the domain of big corporations and enterprise-level integrations. Smaller, tech savvy organizations began adopting cloud services a number of years ago, yet it almost appeared to be a fad disappearing from the business landscape. However, over the last 3 years, cloud computing has seen a resurgence within the small and medium enterprise space.

As the technology matures, experts and business owners alike are finding that the ability to establish a competitive advantage through cloud-based services far outweighs the potential risk or pain of transition. In fact, 56% of cloud users say that their organization has a competitive advantage as a result of using cloud services as reported in research from the Cloud Industry Forum.

Mission critical business software such as Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Relationship Management or Software Development Platforms are installed faster, serviced better, enjoy reduced operational cost and scale much easier with varying business needs.

How can cloud computing positively impact your bottom line? Hosting experts perform these services for a large customer base which means you have dedicated resources with better economies of scale.

Cloud Solutions For Business

Reduce Operational Costs

Struggling with budget constraints and increasing costs within your IT department? Moving your operations to the cloud helps reduce capital expenditures and increase profitability. This means your business has the funds necessary to re-invest and boost innovation.

Taking advantage of cloud computing and storage offers small and medium businesses economies of scale so your IT environment can grow with you. No need for a massive upfront investment in equipment and infrastructure that can paralyze growth. Instead, reduce your spending on software and skilled employees by partnering with a cloud hosting provider that can manage your environment as you grow.

Increase Efficiency – Scale Better

Align your company operations and increase efficiency through cloud-based automation and process management. Setting up workflows, templates, and rules that deploy automatically allows your staff to spend their time most effectively and shortens the time frame from conception to implementation.

The bottom line? You don’t have to invest in new hardware for a temporary increase in sales or commit to infrastructure that you only need for a short time. Your team doesn’t need to waste time with mundane administrative and maintenance tasks. You have the agility you need to adjust on the fly.

When your IT operations are optimized through a cloud solutions partner, you free up employees to focus on strategic tasks to serve your customers better.

Improve Productivity + Mobility

Empower your team with cloud-based connectivity and collaboration tools. In today’s world, teams are often spread across miles and time zones making it difficult to move projects forward without the proper infrastructure. Through cloud services, you can make sure your team stays connected with each other and your clients around the world.

According to the Telework Research Network employees working at home use 60 percent of the time they would have spent commuting actually doing work. AT&T says that it gets five hours more work per week from its home workers than those in the office.

If increasing your company’s mobility has been a priority that you’ve avoided due to the complications it presents, cloud services may be the perfect fit to move the initiative forward.

Speed To Market 

With cloud services, IT provisioning no longer takes weeks to organize. You can have systems set up within a matter of hours which gives you the resources you need, whenever you need them. This dynamic scalability ultimately means you have flexibility in bringing new products and services to market. That flexibility means you can compete more confidently and effectively.

 

SoftSys Review

This is the best hosting provider I have found. The support is always quick and helpful. They actually help you troubleshoot issues instead of just redirecting you to their FAQ. I have never noticed any downtime. Control panel is simple to use and not clogged up with advertisements. I have switched all my sites to Softsys and would recommend it to everyone.

— Mark R

17 Aug

What Major Hosting Options To Consider When Launching Your Web Store?

After doing months of planning & research, lots of code work & testing, you’re finally ready to launch your online store. At this stage, you might have a question in your mind – is standard shared hosting plan sufficient to host eCommerce website, or do I need something special?

Web hosting is probably the foundation brick of every web store, so it’s better to invest time and money you need upfront to ensure that you’ve got a solution that’s going to work with you for now and also in future.

You really don’t have to worry much when you’re planning to use hosted solutions like BigCommerce, 3dcart and Shopify. It’s because these hosted solutions use their own Cloud and therefore most of the heavy lifting are being taken care of by themselves.

Web Store Hosting

But if you’re planning to host your own online store, then assessment and selection of web hosting options is critical. Redundant web hosting is a vital factor to ensure your customers would have a super smooth and responsive online shopping experience. What hosting options are you going to choose for your online store? Here are some factors to take into consideration.

Select A Hosting Plan With Sufficient Disk Space And Bandwidth Limits

As we know that, web hosting services store files that build your online store and serve those files for viewing by those who visit website. Needless to mention that your eCommerce site will have hundreds of products, images, videos and a customer database.

Therefore, you’ll need a hosting plan with enough disk space to store all of this, and enough bandwidth for your customers to access your products, including copy, images and other resources.

Hosting Online Store On Shared Hosting

No one wants to spend more money than necessary, and hence shared hosting is the prime choice for most of the websites. Though, shared hosting isn‘t always the best option for an eCommerce store. Mostly, it’s suitable only if you are likely to have limited products, limited traffic and are looking for area specific audience without any plans of expansion. Secondly, if you’re just a startup, then shared hosting would make a lot more sense.

If you happen to choose a shared plan, choose a reliable shared hosting provider that can offer you a good response and round-the-clock customer support. It would be a plus if your web host offers PCI compliant shared plans because many online banks and payment processors require that your hosting is PCI compliant. The PCI compliant shared plans offer a safe and stable environment for your online venture.

Online Store And VPS Hosting

If you’re planning to add a number of products and soon you expect a huge traffic boost then it’s recommended that you opt for a VPS upfront. It is an ideal and more affordable alternative to more expensive dedicated servers while more secure and robust compared to the cheap shared hosting option.

With VPS hosting, you can scale up your hosting resources in no time, at the same time your store will have an isolated and secure hosting environment eliminating the risk of being affected by a bad neighbor as you experience in shared hosting.

The benefits of VPS over shared hosting arise from the fact that the resources are isolated and pre-allocated. For example, other users on same node are misbehaving: this will have little to no impact on your VPS. It does not matter what anyone else is doing on another VPS hosted on the same node – you are guaranteed that your speed and performance won’t be affected.

If you’re alloted with 2 CPUs, then you’ll always have those two CPU’s available to your operations. Similarly, the amount of RAM and disk space you’ve purchased will always be available for your operations, regardless of what else is happening on the physical machine. In a nutshell, your resources are dedicated exclusively to your web store.

Furthermore, if you possess server management skills, you might need root access to install some programs which is impossible with shared hosting. VPS has always been our suggestion for a serious ecommerce startup. Shared hosting is an adequate environment for testing not for production.

Choose the VPS provider that is in business for more than 5 years and capable to offer you longer billing cycles, so you don’t have to switch to a new provider midstream. The good news is that VPS comes in as a happy compromise. VPS initial costs can be as low as $15-$20 per month and you can upgrade it later when your requirements grow.

Ecommerce Store

Dedicated Server Hosting For Online Store

While VPS is an upfront step in the correct direction, and perhaps sufficient solution for relatively smaller storefronts that are just starting out, it’s really a dedicated server that’s probably the best option when it comes to ecommerce sites specifically. If you expect exponential growth in near future (as every business owner hopes) you might as well skip straight to the hosting solution you’re going to eventually need anyway.

Dedicated server hosting is undoubtedly more expensive option compared to sharing and VPS. But when your website is the main driver of your business, dedicated server’s additional

resources are critical for your success. If you’ve ever experienced a slow running ecommerce website hosted on shared or VPS, you’ll see that switching is like getting a supercharge when it comes to loading time, bandwidth, and handling high traffic loads.

In the eCommerce world, shopping cart abandonment is a real issue that can be fixed with more advanced hosting option. Because, approximately 18% of carts abandonment are due to slow loading times, which might cost you thousands of dollars in lost sales.

07 Aug

How Can Microsoft Office 365 Help Your Business?

No matter the size of your business, you need professional, affordable productivity technology to aid in growth and organizational agency.  Accessible from anywhere on almost any device, Microsoft Office 365’s turn-key, modernized products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint software give small and large businesses the edge of on-the-go, collaborative freedom.

Updated features like Editor and Researcher in Word and Designer in PowerPoint enhance creativity and tighten performance, and extra services like Exchange emails, SharePoint and Skype for business are instrumental for increasing workplace demands.

Microsoft Office 365 has endless features to strengthen business practices.  Here are 6 reasons how Office 365 can help your business, and read below to find out how to get Microsoft Office 365 at a discounted rate.

Office For Your Business

Multi-Dimensional Elements

The ability to switch between devices makes Office 365 an invaluable asset for on-the-go employees and entrepreneurs.  Microsoft Office 365 integrates across almost any device, including PC’s, Androids, Macs, tablets, and smartphones.  Each user’s individual license is tethered to them through their accounts instead of stuck to one device.  And the best part?  You’ll be able to log into Microsoft Office and access your data whether you’re online or offline.

Exchange Emails

Businesses that turn to Microsoft Exchange Emails are exceptionally pleased with offerings of stringent email security, diligent anti-spam filters that eliminate threats before they hit inboxes, email encryption with advanced email protection, and much more.  Exchange is praised among employers of all sizes for protecting sensitive data and keeping employees connected with dependable access to emails, calendars, and contacts.  Exchange is now fully customizable, integrating web-based apps through a user-friendly plugin.

Data Control and Cloud Storage

With Office 365, your data is protected by tight security measures.  Data is encrypted when stored locally or while traveling between devices, and files are never scanned or accessed.  Because you have the freedom to choose whether files are stored locally or in the Cloud, you can limit sensitive data to one personal device.  OneDrive Cloud-based storage keeps your files safe in the event of an emergency, so no matter what happens, your valuable business files are still handy.

Flexible Payment Plans

Cloud computing prevents high up-front costs of software and equipment, instead utilizing a scalable, streamlined system free of surprises or hidden charges.  The flexible monthly payment structure offers personal and business users a no-contract plan that doesn’t penalize for continually adding or removing users.  You can alter plans at any time to suit your individual business needs.

Collaborative Technology

With one-click screen sharing and the ability for many users to access a single document, spreadsheet, or presentation, Microsoft Office 365’s collaborative technology makes it easier than ever for team-based performance.  Create online documents with a shareable link and control each user’s accessibility level for each document, picking and choosing who gets to see what. Join online meetings and see any user’s availability using Microsoft Lync through almost any device, and utilize HD video conferencing for your most formal web meetings.

Build A Website

Making a website has never been easier with Microsoft Office 365’s ready-to-go templates.  No hosting fees and personalized domain names, along with business-class, professional emails attached to that domain are a perfect way to strengthen and professionalize your online presence.  No web design or coding experience is needed—Office 365 makes it smooth and seamless to construct your own website from the ground up.

Want Microsoft Office 365 at A Discounted Rate?

Softsys Hosting partners with Microsoft to offer small businesses and individual users Microsoft Office 365 services at flat, low rates.  Enjoy all the benefits of MS Office 365, starting at $3.77 per user per month.

05 Aug

How To Choose The Right Web Hosting Platform From The Very First Attempt

Web hosting market is flooded with the thousands of companies, each offering crazy deals you cannot resist. Therefore, choosing the right hosting solution from the very first attempt is a bit tricky. Regardless of whether you’ll run a basic site for your small business, or you’re going to build an enterprise-class portal with a number of pages, the first and foremost step is to decide which web hosting platform will work best for you.

Once you caught up in a wrong hand, it is very difficult to move your business elsewhere. Therefore, it is vital to “get it right the first time” with the perfect hosting platform. In this blog post, we’ll go through a checklist that will help you determine the right web hosting option.

Understanding Your Hosting Needs

Before choosing any web hosting service, you should know what you really need to run your site optimally. To determine the hosting requirements, ask yourself some basic questions like:

  • What technologies have you used to develop a website?
  • What is the estimated traffic on your website?
  • What are your resource requirements like, disk storage, memory, CPU, etc.?
  • Does your website need special software?

Based on these questions, you can create a basic outline in your mind what your hosting requirement would be like. If you’re a hosting newbie, then you can always start small with a good shared hosting account.

A shared hosting account is cheap, easy to maintain, and sufficient for most new sites. With a shared account, you can focus on building your website without having to worry about other server-side tasks such as database maintenance and server security. A typical shared account is sufficient to support a WordPress blog with 30,000 to 40,000 monthly unique visitors.

However, if you expect your website to expand really big within a few months/years then you should consider selecting a web host that allows you to upgrade your existing hosting package to the next bigger option whenever required.

So you need to be able to easily upgrade from shared hosting to a virtual private server or dedicated server account for greater processing power, memory capacity, disk storage, and perhaps even enhanced security features.

Refund & Cancellation Policy

If anything goes wrong with your new hosting, you should be able to cancel your hosting plan within the trial period and get your money back in full. It’s important to know how your web hosting provider manages refund requests so that you don’t lose too much money if you have to cancel it.

Some hosting providers charge very high cancellation fees when customers cancel their accounts during trial periods. You should completely avoid these web hosts so you don’t get trapped.

On the other hand, some hosts offer anytime money-back guarantees where you can ask for a pro-rated refund. Before signing up you should check company’s refund/money-back and cancellation policy. What’s the money-back guarantee period, Is there any cancellation charges under the money-back guarantee period? These are some basic questions you should get the answers to before signing up.

Uptime And Reliability

You’ll require a web host which is stable and reliable, both in terms of their servers as well as network connections. Check how much uptime your web host offers. 99.5% and above is the recommended uptime score, but anything below 99% is unacceptable. You should also check the hosting provider’s past uptime records, reviews on various forums, blogs, and third­ party trustworthy review websites.

There are a number of different ways to obtain web host uptime information yourself. The simplest way to do so is by asking their sales representative or else you can simply track web host’s demo IP address with server monitoring tools.

Check Account Limitations

You won’t find this information explicit on any web hosting provider’s site, and none of the review sites will tell you. If you are using too much server resources (even under unlimited hosting) or violating the rules your web host will simply suspend your account.

You will be told somewhere in the terms and conditions that your account may be suspended or terminated for over-utilization of resources. Therefore, before you sign up on a web host, it is important that you read their terms of service.

Additionally, most of the web hosts won’t allow you to run illegal files and/or services on their servers. In case you intend to run a website with pornographic content or site allowing people to download pirated files, you’ll need probably offshore hosting.

24/7 Tech Support

With a web hosting account, you cannot get everything right by yourself. A web hosting service is pointless if it’s not coming with 24/7 technical support. Your web hosting service must have 24/7 support over live chat and phone along with a most comprehensive knowledgebase so that when you face difficulties with your services in the odd hours, your web host’s technical team will help you fix them.

15 Jul

5 Popular Web Hosting Add-Ons That Will Improve Your Website Performance

When you’re online, you are probably competing with lots of websites within the same niche. If your website does not outperform rival websites, this may have a large impact on traffic, conversions, and hence revenue.

Website performance is one of the vital factors and should not be underestimated. If you don’t believe us, better believe Akamai, a leading CDN provider. According to Akamai, 47% of people expect a web page to load in under 2 seconds, and 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes 3 or more seconds to load. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most popular web hosting add-ons that will take your website performance to the next level.

CDN Services

CDN, Content Delivery Network

A CDN (Content Delivery Network) is a cluster of geographically distributed servers that deliver the static content (images, CSS, Libraries and JavaScript files) quickly to visitors from the nearest server. In more simple words, when visitors browse your site, CDN chooses the nearest server to deliver static content used in the website. Thus, this ensures swift page loads and enhanced user experience.

A soon as you enable the CDN on your website, CDN copies your static contents to geographically dispersed edge servers, and website load is divided among them. Ultimately, your website is highly available to your visitors. CDN is extremely useful for websites with heavy graphics and videos, but struggling with loading speeds.

Antivirus & Anti-Malware Software

Malware is no imaginary problem, especially for the popular CMS like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. Hundreds of new virus definitions are spread daily across the Internet and antivirus labs have to detect them and find solutions. This malware can completely compromise the security of your site or erase sensitive data. So, it is essential to have a good antivirus software to detect & remove viruses before they harm your system.

With traditional hosting service, you get a basic malware scanner that scans the entire home directory of your hosting space, identify the malicious code and quarantine it. If you want to proactively protect your website then you should consider using a more professional solution like SiteLock, Sucuri Security, Wordfence Security, etc. This software periodically scans your website and notifies you of any issues. Some include a Web Application Firewall (WAF) which monitors your site constantly and looks for the top known threats like Cross Scripting (XSS), Injections, and Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF).

Upgrade to SSD Hosting

This is not essentially an add-on to existing hosting, but indeed a hosting upgrade. SSD(Solid State Drive) is the latest computer storage device. The traditional hard drives are effectively mechanical devices, whereas SSDs are completely electronic as there are no moving parts to have to deal with the data. Data is just sent (written) electronically to the storage space or retrieved (read). Therefore, SSDs are significantly faster & more reliable than their SATA or even SAS predecessors.

To measure the speed of a hard drive, a metric called IOPS (Input/Output) is used. It is defined as the speed at which data can be written to or read from the disk. The higher the IOPS, the faster the disk. If IOPS is used as a benchmark then the speed of traditional hard drives like SATA is around 180 IOPS. Whereas the speed of SSD drives is measured between 4,600 to 15,500 depending on disk capacity.

In summary, with SSD hosting, you get the highest performance, faster database queries, faster caching which indeed is the formula for more traffic, more sales, and more revenue. If you have an existing hosting plan, then by upgrading it to SSD hosting, you’re going to see instant performance gains.

Offsite Backups

Server Backup

For frequently updating sites, offsite backups are vital. When your site is hacked, the first thing you would do is to revert to a previous clean version of your website. What if you don’t have a clean, recent backup of your site, probably you’ll be losing information. If you have malware-free backups of your site then restoring would be much easier and quicker process.

A professional automated backup service takes regular ‘snapshots’ of your data. It also allows you to restore the data from different restore points rather than having to use available old backups. With paid backup services, your backups will be sitting on a secure remote server so when the entire server is hacked, you can easily restore it from the offsite backup.

Managed DNS Services

You get only basic functionalities with free DNS services provided by a domain registrar or your own hosted DNS server. All queries will be resolved from a single physical location that makes your site vulnerable to the single point of failure. Thanks to paid DNS services, mostly managed  DNS servers are cloud-based, which gives you a layer of redundancy.

Now suppose a visitor far from your DNS server is trying to access your website, the DNS response can take a while to reach them. With paid service, all zones will be synchronized across all points of presence (POPs) simultaneously.

For more advanced functions and enterprise-class performance, it makes sense to opt for a managed DNS provider, because “Free” DNS services are not built for efficiency and performance. Managed DNS services give you highest uptime, DNS performance, speed, and redundancy.

28 Jun

A Few Signs That You’ve Outgrown Your Web Hosting Account

 

Shared Hosting

Shared hosting is the most common web hosting type. It’s super easy to setup and costs much less compared to VPS or dedicated hosting. No wonder, site owners choose shared hosting services as their first web hosting option and eventually switch to bigger options.

When your website gains the popularity and starts receiving a significant amount of traffic, your hosting plan should also grow with it to accommodate growing business needs. At this stage, it’s vital to track the increasing traffic inflow, evaluate the current resource, and be prepared to take them to the next level.

Sometimes it is difficult to know when it is high time to make this move from one hosting type to another, but there are several indicators that point when this switch becomes inevitable. In this post we will outline several signs that you’ve outgrown your current web hosting account.

Slow Website Performance Especially During Peak Times

Does your site perform slow lately? If yes, it could be that your website exceeds the hosting resource limit and your application is just running out of juice. The fact is that shared hosting is capable to meet  hosting requirements of the basic sites. That being said, when you’re hosted on a shared server, the server resources, such as CPU, RAM, bandwidth, and disk are shared evenly amongst all the websites on that server. It’s quite possible that some resource hungry websites may chew up more resources than others causing the rest to experience slow performance. Obviously, sluggish performance annoys visitors and eventually you may lose their loyalty and sales.

Fortunately, this dilemma can be fixed easily spending only a few dollars extra each month. You can simply upgrade to a VPS hosting plan which enables you to scale up or down depending on your website needs.

Indeed, VPS is a better choice as you don’t need to compete with other clients for resources since allocated resources are dedicated to your VPS only. Additionally, VPS can be customized in terms of server resources allocation. There might be some extra monthly costs, like a control panel license, OS licensing, or managed services in case you don’t have basic server administration skills.

Frequent Downtime

With the shared hosting plan, your server resources (disk space, bandwidth, CPU time, memory) are shared with several hundreds or probably thousands of other websites.

In case one of those websites start acquiring excessive resources, then all of the other websites hosted on the same server will start to run slower or might even crash due to the overload on the server.

If you face frequent downtime with your existing hosting package, you should consider moving to a more stable solution like a VPS or dedicated server.

Increase In Traffic

Your basic hosting package is ideal to cater to websites with relatively low traffic (approximately 2000 visits a day). If you are anticipating more seasonal traffic in coming weeks or your site traffic is increasing day by day you should immediately consider the next hosting option: either VPS or dedicated server. As we know shared hosting always comes with certain limitations, in case your site becomes too huge to get handled it might ending up in a website downtime. So before it gets too late, it’s’ better to switch to the next option.

Poor Load Times

Heavy websites process a number of PHP requests with multiple complex SQL queries running in the background. Such websites demand dedicated resources to run optimally, and when allocated resources are inadequate its loading time increases. If your site’s loading time is high, you should switch to VPS or dedicated hosting where you don’t share, but maintain your own hosting environment.

You Want To Run Custom Software

Sometimes you want to run some custom software on the web server where your website is hosted. Obviously, your web hosts won’t allow you to install that particular software for you only since it may impact other customers as well. Sometimes, you want complete control over your hosting account to perform more advanced actions, such as installing desired software, or setting elevated permissions whenever you want to. Some custom applications require higher privileges compared to that typical shared hosting can offer you.

In this case, you’ll require an advanced hosting alternative where you can get administrative access to your web server. An example of this is when instead of IIS you want Tomcat Apache to run Java web applications.

Your Site Needs More Security

Although shared servers are equipped with firewalls and decent security software, still your project is at risk as your neighbour website may leave some security holes open and yours might get hacked as well.

dedicated server hosting

With a dedicated server account, you get isolated and secure hosting environment along with your own set of resources preventing you from data hacks or getting blacklisted on RBLs.

That being said, if you are processing any sort of sensitive information like credit cards you may not want to share a server with anyone.

22 Jun

Know The Warning Signs That Your Business Could Benefit From Managed Hosting

In the lifecycle of any business, there are certain stages, rites of passage, or turning points that enable further growth. Remember when you started out and you wore 150 different hats from sales to HR? As your business grows, you have the luxury of specializing tasks – both for yourself and your team.

One of the most beneficial points in your business’ growth is the ability to turn over your technology support to the professionals. Whether you’ve managed your IT personally or tasked your HR manager to take care of it, there comes a point when your business has scaled enough that IT becomes more than just a necessary headache – it can become a strategic advantage to fuel further growth.

How do you know if your business could benefit from managed hosting?

IT projects sit on the to-do list for weeks.

Updating your website, technology, or adding systems get pushed to the back burner because you don’t have time to research how to do it, then try to implement it. Plus, what if you accidentally break something? Without a dedicated professional to manage your online assets, it’s difficult to make necessary improvements.

You know your technology could better support your business.

Do you have the same hosting provider, support team, and infrastructure as you did when you started your business? Maybe your team, client base, and revenue has grown but your technology hasn’t grown with it? Finding a hosting provider that can scale with you and provide services above and beyond your current needs is crucial to businesses who are looking to maintain a steady growth.

New employees throw a wrench in your process.

New employees mean new email addresses and phone numbers, not to mention new hardware. If you’ve ever had a new employee show up on their first day without their computer ready for them to use and their phone set up, it may be time to seek out some help.

You dread change because you’re not sure how it will affect your IT systems.

Above and beyond new employees, an acquisition, software upgrade, or even new data regulations all could have major impacts on your infrastructure. Take the recent changes to information and data storage with the GDPR. Wouldn’t it have been nice not to stress about what that meant for your business and simply rely on professionals to ensure your compliance?

When you experience technical issues, it feels like you have to go around in circles to find an answer.

Sick of trying to track down the person or support team who can handle your issue? Feel like your issues get passed from person to person with no one taking responsibility? With managed hosting services from Softsys Hosting, we know that the buck stops with us. Our support team is available around the clock to make sure your issues are solved ASAP.

Think your business is ready to turn your IT into a strategic advantage? Contact Softsys Hosting today to learn more about how we can help.

22 Jun

5 Building Blocks For Your Business Website

When the time comes to take your business online, the process can be overwhelming. For many, web design and hosting seem like a foreign language. Others start building their website, only to get stuck and let it languish for months due to frustration and time constraints.

Here at Softsys Hosting, we like to think of building a website like building a house. There are 5 essential components that every business – large or small – must have to be successful.

  1. Domain: The first step to building your business’ online presence is choosing a domain name. In our house analogy, the domain name that you choose is equivalent to your address. Where people will look to find information about your business. Make sure to choose a name that represents your business, is easy to spell, and is available. Purchasing and registering a domain name for your business will allow you to begin promoting your upcoming site ASAP.
  2. Hosting: Once you’ve chosen your address, it’s time to determine where you will build your site. The hosting provider that you choose will essentially provide the “land” on which you’ll build your business’ online home. As with real estate, there are many variables when it comes to hosting. Do you need a dedicated server or will shared hosting be sufficient? How much data storage will your business require? What are the support requirements that your team will need. We’ve put together a guide to help you determine what hosting provider is right for you!
  3. Strategy: The strategy for your site is like the architectural design of a house – it’s tough to begin building without it! Before starting to build, identify the goals for your site as well as its’ necessary functionality. What pages will you need? What do you want site visitors to do when they come to your site? How do you want them to move through the information?
  4. Platform: When it comes to choosing a website platform, it’s important to evaluate the purpose of your website. Will it be a simple blog? An ecommerce store? An online portfolio? Also consider how user-friendly your site needs to be on the back end. Think of your website platform as the material that you’d use to build a house. There are many options – all depending on the landscape, climate, and needs of the house. WordPress is the most popular web platform for businesses, but Squarespace, Shopify, and Wix all have their advantages as well.
  5. Content: The address has been chosen, walls put up, and now it’s time to fill your house with your belongings – the things that make you uniquely YOU. The same is true for your website. The images, content, and design of the site are what set you apart from your competitors. Consider carefully how you want to position your business, products, or services. As with interior design, you want to encourage readers to “flow” through your website by inviting them to visit the next page, submit a questionnaire, or contact you for more information.
13 Jun

How To Ensure That You Choose Secure Web Hosting?

The Internet is full of exciting web hosting offers, all having their own set of features and pricing options. The main reason behind varying prices is the cost of latest hardware, server maintenance, and security. Some web hosting providers can offer hosting services at dirt cheap prices because they keep using outdated server hardware with no to little maintenance following poor security standards. That being said it’s important for you to choose the most secure web hosting available.

Web Hosting & Server Security

 

When you think of website security, the recent security breaches of major companies would come to your mind. Your site might not be that large, but whether large or small, secure web hosting environment is equally important for all. In this post, we’ll cover some key security features to look for in a prospective web hosting company.

Backups And Restore Points

While you look for web hosting services, a redundant backup is a mission-critical security feature you should check for. Simply, you can ask a potential web host about their backup/restore policy, backups retention, available backup set, etc.

Here are some of the questions you can shoot to a sales guy — How frequently backups are being taken, daily, weekly, or monthly? How many backup sets are available on any given point of time? How many backup restorations are allowed? Will the support reps help you restore your site from backup files? Do you provide account level backups or file/directory level backups?

Many web hosting providers include the daily backup service with the hosting plan, taking backup of your data on the daily basis. Whereas some web hosts offer weekly and monthly backups for free, but daily backup as an add-on service. Obviously, daily backups are the best option which allows you to restore the latest version of your website in case of data corruption or any other form of data loss.

An option of “manual backup” option is also offered, whereby you can take the backup yourself every time you have something updated on the website. It’s important to go through all the backup conditions before purchasing the hosting service. It would be good if backups are taken on secure offsite location rather in the server itself so you can always have trusted repository for the latest copies of data.

Antivirus And Malware Scanning & Removal

When sites are online, in a way there are exposed to online threats like hacks, malware, PHP shells, backdoors, spyware, viruses, and whatnot. There are fair chances your site also could get infected if sufficient security measures not taken by your web hosting provider. Sometimes, websites got hacked because of poor code, bugs, script/plugin loopholes or software vulnerability.

While you choose  web host, you should understand which protective actions they will perform to protect the site from these threats.  Ask the sales guy if their hosting server is installed with anti-malware, anti-virus software? Does the server run regular scans on the web files? Can customer run the scan itself from the control panel? In case your account is infected, can support help in identifying and removing the malware?

Most of the hosts provide real-time malware protection that can detect and quarantine the threat as soon as it is uploaded to hosting space. Real-time scanning keeps the sites secure and helps prevent site from being blacklisted in search engines.

High Uptime And Disaster Recovery

Uptime can be defined as the time a website stays online. Select a web hosting provider that can provide you with at least 99.9% (43 minutes and 12 seconds per 30 days) uptime or better. Note that a small outage is fine as long as you are just a start-up without many visitors. Typically, when web hosts fail to keep uptime promise, they pay you reimbursement for the downtime. Some host claim providing 100% uptime, which is not true in most cases.

Additionally, web servers must be equipped with the redundancy to protect against downtime caused by hardware, networking or power failures. In this setup, each device, server hardware, server cooling equipment, power supply matrix and networking devices run in pairs, with each one ready to take over the full load in case the other one fails.

Firewalls And DDoS Protection

Firewall & DDoS Prevention

 

Mostly of big and lucrative sites become the target of DDoS attacks. Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks take place when a huge amount of traffic is sent to your site using cumulative resources of a number of zombie computers (online hacked systems). When this attack happens it renders the site useless to visitors. DDoS attacks can be prevented if web server is equipped with the hardware firewall at the edge of the network. However, there are limits to how well a firewall stops DDoS attacks.

Can your provider give you full DDoS protection? If yes what’s the capacity? Is it a hardware firewall or software firewall? At what stage will the network monitoring staff will inform you of potential problems that might affect your website?

If your web host offers all the features mentioned in this post, then you’re probably in good hands and they’re taking your network security seriously.