16 Feb

Google Workspace Now Available at SoftSys Hosting

Google Workspace

More employees are working remotely in 2021 than ever before. COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way businesses operate. Our workplace is no longer limited to a business’s physical office. We can work from anywhere using any number of devices from laptops to mobile.

According to the 2020 survey conducted by Gartner on over 4000 employees, 48% of employees will continue to work remotely post COVID-19.

They call it the “new normal”.

In order to continue to work efficiently and maintain productivity, we require tools that can simplify our daily tasks and make it easier to collaborate in a remote world.

This is why we are excited to announce … drum roll please 🥁 … the availability of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) services at SoftSys Hosting. 

What is Google Workspace?

Google Workspace is a suite of integrated apps designed to enhance the productivity, collaboration, and security of your team.

Google Workspace provides you with all the tools you need to communicate and collaborate efficiently, all from a centralized location.

What’s Included With Google Workspace?

Google Workspace includes all the popular applications that you’ve been familiar with, Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Chat, Meet, and more.

Google Workspace Included Applications

  • Gmail – the popular email client on your own custom domain.
  • Meet – secure and reliable video conferencing solution.
  • Chat – direct 1:1 messages or group conversations.
  • Calendar – shareable online calendar.
  • Drive – secure storage and file sharing.
  • Docs – popular online word processor.
  • Sheets – smart, secure spreadsheets.
  • Slides – online presentation app.
  • Forms – custom forms for surveys and questionnaires.
  • Sites – to build internal projects or public websites with no programming or design skills.
  • Keep – note-taking app to quickly capture ideas and brainstorm.
  • Currents – create online communities and improve internal communication (formerly known as Google+).
  • Apps Script – rapid, low-code application development to create apps that integrate with Google.
  • Cloud Search – AI-powered app to search and retrieve information across all your Google apps, including Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar.

In addition to these apps Google Enterprise Plus users also have access to AppSheet PRO. AppsSheet allows users to build apps without the use of code, for rapid application development.

Google Workspace Security and Management

  • Admin – manages your Google Workspace users, devices, and security on the go.
  • Endpoint – enables network managers to keep data secure on end-user devices by managing screen lock, disk encryption, enforces passwords, and more.
  • Vault – data retention and eDiscovery tool, enables users to retain, hold, search and export Google Workspace data.
  • Work Insights – reporting tool that gives you insights on Google Workspace adoption, work patterns, and collaboration within your organization.

Google Workspace Plans and Pricing

Google Workspace starts as low as $5.90 per user per month and it’s available in two editions:

  • Business Edition (up to 300 users) – designed for personal use or SMBs.
  • Enterprise Edition (unlimited users) – geared towards larger organizations.

With multiple plans within each edition, Google Workspace can meet the needs of any user organization.

Google Workspace pricing

SoftSys Hosting Advantage

You might be asking yourself why purchase Google Workspace through SoftSys Hosting. We’ve bundled the flexible and easy-to-use Google Workspace plans with the celestial support offered by SoftSys Hosting.

When you purchase a Google Workspace plan through SoftSys Hosting you get:

  • More time to test the service.
  • 24/7 technical support assistance.
  • Discounted migration assistance.
  • Better pricing per user & more.
SoftSys Hosting Advantage

Get Started With Google Workspace

Experience the full potential of Google Workspace with a free 30-day trial. Click the button below to activate your *trial.

  • Offer limited to one (1) trial per customer.
  • Maximum of 10 users only. For more than 10 users, a paid plain is required.
  • Existing G Suite or Google Workspace subscriptions cannot be moved to trial.
  • No Credit/Debit Card Required.
  • The trial will auto-expire at the end of 30 days unless renewed.

02 Feb

A Step-by-Step Guide To Starting an Online Store

Start an Online Store

If there ever was a great time to launch an online business, it is now. According to etailinsights, there are now 7.1 million online retailers in the world and 1.8 million of them are in the United States.

After 2020, online shopping is growing faster than ever before.

Why Is Online Shopping So Popular?

Traditionally people have turned to online shopping because:

  • They hate waiting in line at the store.
  • They get fast access to a larger variety of products and services, many of which were beyond reach prior to online shopping.
  • They get better deals online.

Today, in a world disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, online shopping is for a lot of us a necessity more so than a convenience.

In this article we’ve aimed to give business owners a step-by-step guide on how to launch an online store.

You have a great idea for a service or product. You feel it in your bones that this is going to be successful and you know that there’s a real need in the market for what you want to sell. But how do you actually start selling your products or services online?

What are all the things that you need to be aware of when selling online and where do you start?

When you are right at the beginning, things can get overwhelming fast.

But don’t worry! We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you get started with your online store.

1. Identify Your Target Market and Buyer Persona

Before you can even set up your online store you need to know who your customers are so that you can market to that niche. You may think that your product or service can appeal to everyone, however that is a difficult way to market your service.

Buyer Persona

Tips To Identify Your Target Market

  • Identify why a customer would buy your service or product. Start by making a list of all the pain points that your service/product can solve.
  • Find out who your competitors are and what markets do they target.
  • Create a buyer persona – this is your ideal customer. Get as specific as possible including location, age, education, financial status, industry, job, skills, interests, frustrations.

Knowing your buyer persona is the BEST way to identify your target market. It will help you optimize your website copy and marketing materials to ensure that your message reaches the right audience.

Keep in mind that you are not limited to a single buyer persona. You can have as many personas as you would like, but at a minimum, you should have at least one.

TIP – If you’re not quite sure where to start when creating your buyer personas, try this fun buyer persona generator, from HubSpot.

2. Buy a Domain Name for Your Online Store

To create your online store, you need both a domain name and an eCommerce platform.

A domain name is what users type in their browser to access your website. In other words, it’s the address of your website.

It is possible to create your online store without owning a domain name. Some web hosts or eCommerce companies will allow you to create your online shop on one of their subdomains.

But keep in mind that your domain represents your identity online and it’s a crucial part of your brand. Even if you start your online shop by using another provider’s subdomain, you will eventually want to have your own domain.

Having your own domain name will give you more control over your website and allow it to build domain authority in Google.

TIP – As a general rule try to choose a domain name that is short and easy to remember.

3. Choose the Best eCommerce Platform for Your Online Store

Now that you have identified your target market and bought your domain name, it’s time to choose the best eCommerce platform for your online store. There are two types of approaches:

Using a Website Builder

Website builders such as Wix or Shopify are turn-key eCommerce solutions, providing users with everything they need to set up an eCommerce store. They are popular solutions when building your first online shop, especially with users that don’t have a lot of technical skills.

However, while website builders are easy to get started with, there are also some disadvantages that might not make them the best choice for your business in the long run.

Things to be aware of when evaluating website builders as an option for your online shop:

  • Costs – although website builders are low budget when starting, they can get expensive fast as your online store grows.
  • Features – website builders are typically more limited in features compared to nopCommerce, and other eCommerce solutions.
  • Transaction Fees – you might incur transaction fees on payments received through website builders. Shopify charges up to 2% in transaction fees when using external payment gateways such as PayPal. Wix also charges a processing fee for every payment you receive through them.
  • Limited Control – website builders such as Wix host your website content exclusively. In other words, you are locked in, you cannot easily export your website code if you want to leave.

Using a Hosted eCommerce Solution

NopCommerce and Magento and two popular eCommerce solutions used by many eCommerce stores today. Both nopCommerce and Magento were released in 2008.

What is nopCommerce?

nopCommerce is a free open-source eCommerce solution running on the popular .NET Core framework.

nopCommerce it’s a robust, stable, and user-friendly solution for your online store. It has many out-of-the-box features to help you get started with your online store, including SEO features, email marketing, product review, and affiliate marketing.

nopCommerce Advantages

  • Rich, modular architecture with out-of-the-box eCommerce functionality.
  • Open source, so highly customizable.
  • Short learning curve and great documentation.
  • Easy to use and develop being based on .NET technology.
  • Growing community with over 250 000 members (about half the population of Wyoming).
  • Responsive customer support and development teams.

nopCommerce makes it easy to build your online store. All you need to do is find a reliable nopCommerce hosting solution to get started.

What is Magento?

Magento is one of the most widely used eCommerce platforms being currently used by 0.7% of all websites worldwide. Unlike nopCommerce which is entirely open-source, Magento comes in two editions:

  • An open-source Community Edition.
  • A paid Magento Commerce Edition (former Magento Enterprise).

Robust and highly scalable Magento is a great solution for large online stores with a high volume of sales.

Magento Advantages

  • Very robust, can support online stores with massive traffic.
  • Supports transactions in multiple countries, multiple currencies and offers access to a network of global shipping carriers.
  • Mobile optimized shopping with an optimal experience across a variety of devices
  • High number of extensions available.
  • Large community of Magento developers.

Magento is one of the most popular eCommerce solutions today. Magento Community Edition offers all the needed functionality to get started with your online store. You can opt for quality Magento hosting, geared towards enterprise companies.

However, if you are looking for rich, out-of-the-box functionality most of it is only available through the paid Magento Commerce Edition.

4. Setup and Launch Your Online Store

Once you have decided on the best eCommerce platform, it’s time to build and launch your online store.

how to launch an online store

Regardless if you work with a web developer or build the online store yourself, you need to ensure that the website looks professional. Here are some key things to consider:

  • Perform an audit of all the products/services that have been created. Ensure they all have the proper name, description, price, and any relevant information.
  • Make sure you have all the products in inventory.
  • Set up your sales tax. Keep in mind, in the US, sales tax is decided at the state level. Each state can have different rules and a different sales tax.
  • Choose your payment gateways.
  • Add information about your business and contact details (About Us & Contact Us pages).
  • Create your Terms and Conditions Agreement.
  • Define your Shipping and Returns Policy.
  • Optimize your website and product description for SEO (define your primary keywords, add meta description, use internal linking, define your site structure).
  • Ensure your website is optimized for mobile.
  • Check the website speed and performance. Users are less likely to purchase from a slow website.
  • Test your checkout before going into production.
  • Build your company’s Social Media channels and integrate them with your website.

TIP – Announce your new online store and build hype before the actual launch. A great way to do this is through Social Media networking. Another way is by building an email list. You can build your email list by using a free lead generation form, like this one from Typeform.

Once your store is live you can start driving traffic to your website. You can drive traffic by creating high-quality, educational content, using email marketing, social media, and affiliates or influencers.

You now have all the steps needed to launch your online store. Happy selling!

25 Jan

Key Features To Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Company | Part II

Last week we’ve provided you with some of our best tips to help you choose a reliable hosting provider

This week, we’re taking it a step further.

We’ve talked to clients, partners, developers, and more to identify the top things to look for when choosing a reliable web hosting provider. 

Based on this we’ve settled on four features that are essential to any good web hosting provider:

  1. Speed
  2. Uptime
  3. Technical Support
  4. Security

1. Speed (Fast Servers/Website)

We’ve recently asked developers and IT professionals across several LinkedIn groups which feature was most critical to their business. 

We’ve got a response from 79 users over three days. Yes, we know that number of respondents is not high enough. Nevertheless, we enjoyed seeing how everyone responded and we want to share the results with you.

These four features were ranked according to the percentage of total votes that we’ve received.  More than half of the respondents said that speed is the most critical feature they were looking for. 

Critical Web Hosting Features

So WHY does speed matter?

A website’s speed or load time is significant for a variety of reasons:

  • It affects your bounce rate – slow pages lose website users fast! In a 2019 report by Unbounce nearly 70% of the respondents admitted they are less likely to make a purchase from a slow website.
  • It affects conversion rate – a 1-second delay in page response can drop your conversion rate by 7%!
  • Has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and as a result, can affect your churn.
  • It affects how your website ranks in search results. In 2010 Google officially introduced speed as one of the ranking factors for desktop and in 2018 they’ve applied this to mobile searches as well. The recommended page load time is under 3 seconds, says Google.

What’s the solution?

While there are many factors that can affect a website’s speed you should verify that your web hosting provider has up to date technology and hardware to ensure that your website runs at a fast speed.

Here are three questions to ask when evaluating the server speed of a hosting provider:

SSD or HDD Storage?

HDD (hard disk drives) use platters that move and spin. Eventually, these platters will wear out and start failing. Unlike HDD, SSDs (Solid State Drives) have no moving parts that can break or fail. SSDs use flash memory-based transistors which offer faster data transfer speeds.  In other words, SSDs are architecturally designed for higher performance, providing faster storage and lower latency than HDD.  If you have a choice always choose a server with SSD.

What Type of RAID Is Used?

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent (or Inexpensive) Disks. It’s a way of storing data across multiple physical disks for increased speed and performance. 

There are different levels of RAID. 

A RAID 10 disk is one of the most efficient and highest performing levels, combining both RAID 1 (mirroring – or writing data on two or more drives) + RAID 0 (striping – or dividing data across multiple areas).

A RAID 10 disk will deliver a fast and redundant solution.

Check out this video from Spiceworks to learn more about RAID and the different levels.

Is There a Content Delivery Network (CDN) Service?

A CDN is a highly distributed network of servers or POPs (Points of Presence) that work together to provide fast delivery of content over the Internet.

This is possible by caching the content of your website and delivering it from a server closest to your website’s users. In most cases, the content cached is only static content, but some providers, such as Cloudflare, also offer options to cache dynamic content, through their Railgun web proxy system.

There are different CDN services out there but the most popular by far is Cloudflare CDN. With POPs in over 200 cities in more than 100 countries, Cloudflare has become the CDN of choice for many website owners today.

Some hosting providers will offer a CDN service as an included or optional service because it is highly effective in increasing a website’s speed.

2. Uptime Guarantee (Availability)

One crucial thing to consider when choosing a web hosting provider is the Uptime Guarantee or service availability. Uptime is important because it ensures your website is available online to your users. Poor uptime will have a direct impact on your business.

Let me start by saying this: no web hosting provider can guarantee 100% uptime all the time! Not unless you have a complex setup with replicated servers across multiple data centers.

There are some things a hosting provider can do to ensure high uptime. 

Here are three things to consider when evaluating a web hosting provider’s uptime:

Redundant Network Devices

Redundant network devices highly reduce the risk of downtime in the event of network failure by swapping network operations to the redundant device in an outage.

ISP Connections

Something that is not often taken into account is the type of ISP connection a web hosting provider uses to connect their routers to the Internet.  The ISP connections can be single-homed, dual-homed, or multi-homed.

  • Single-homed connection – means that you have a single connection to a single ISP. While this highly reduces costs for the hosting provider and for you, the end-user, this is the least reliable connection. If the ISP goes down or if there is any breakage in the connectivity, it will cause downtime.
  • Dual-homed connections – you still connect to a single ISP but with two routers, so you have two separate connections, two circuits. This approach offers some degree of redundancy, since it has two connections. However, it still poses a lot of risk if the ISP goes down, has a maintenance event, or has internal routing issues.
  • Multi-homed connections – also known as multihoming, means you connect to two or more ISPs. This type of connection offers the highest degree of redundancy, performance and stability. Any reliable hosting provider should offer a multi-homed connection.

Another thing to consider with multi-homed connection is the routing. You need to ensure a web hosting provider has an optimized routing process that can analyze traffic and choose the best and fastest path for your traffic.

At SoftSys Hosting we do this by using Noction Intelligent Routing Platform (IRP) to route our traffic through our multi-homed connections. By analyzing traffic at the network edge (WAN edge), Noction identifies congestions and blackouts and reroutes your traffic towards the fastest and best-performing path. This in turn reduces latency by up to 40% and increases performance.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A reliable hosting provider should have a documented SLA publicly available on the website. The SLA will define the level of service that you can expect from your hosting provider. It will also address financial penalties for cases in which the hosting provider fails to meet the level of service that was stated. The SLA should also include the Network SLA which states the uptime guarantee.

3. Technical Support

“It’s the level of support that makes a great host stand out! The others should really be a given.” – says Alex Wells, Website Developer at Simpsons Creative, a full-service creative agency based in the UK.

Technical support is the backbone of any reliable hosting company.

Here are some critical things to consider when evaluating a web hosting company’s support:

Support Staff Available 24/7

best technical support

Issues can occur at any time, and often are beyond your control. A reliable web hosting provider should have staff available 24/7 to support your business. Response time – in a lot of cases the SLA will define the response times based on issue priority. If it’s not stated in the SLA find out what the average response times are so you are not caught off guard.

In-House Support

A support staff that’s available in-house and not outsourced will always provide superior technical support. In-house technicians have excellent knowledge of the company’s services and can respond immediately when issues arise.

Managed Server or Unmanaged Server

Everyone comes from different backgrounds and has different priorities. If you have an in-house IT department or prefer to manage everything yourself you might choose to have an unmanaged server.

However, if you don’t have an IT department, if you don’t have the time to manage a server, or simply prefer to have an additional layer of support you can opt to have your server fully managed by the hosting provider.

Typically, that includes at a minimum system/server administration support, server and application updates and patches, managed backups, and proactive monitoring.

4. Enhanced Security

Every day we read about a new cyberattack taking down well-established businesses. What does this tell us? Security cannot be overlooked these days!

Good security starts at the data center level and goes down up to the individual server level.

A reliable web hosting provider should take and offer a variety of security measures. We’ve got six for you:

SOC compliance

A System and Organization Control audit (SOC) certifies that an organization protects and securely manages a customer’s information. It audits how a service provider complies with one or more of the following principles: security (required), confidentiality, processing integrity, privacy, and availability.

24/7 Network Monitoring

All network infrastructure should be monitored 24/7 to quickly identify any potential issues.

DDoS Protection

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks are growing rapidly in volume and frequency and becoming one of the most. DDoS attacks are anticipated to grow to 15.4 million by 2023. That’s nearly double the number of attacks since 2018. DDoS protection, either at the data center level or the server level is thus a critical security measure to consider when evaluating hosting providers.

Network Security Solutions

Network security solutions such as firewalls, IDS, and IPS are critical for cybersecurity.

A firewall keeps hackers and bad actors out of your server. An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) identifies possible security breaches or intrusions at the network or server level. An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) creates rules to automatically block malicious access identified by the IDS. All of these are critical security solutions that the hosting provider should make available either as part of your plan or as an added service.

Malware and Ransomware Solutions

With the high increase in cyberattacks, you need to pay extra attention to server security. A good web hosting provider should be prepared to offer solutions that can protect your server from malware and ransomware attacks

Ongoing Backup Solutions

Backups are often underrated. But the truth is anything that is not properly backed up could be lost in seconds. A good web hosting provider should offer ongoing backups solutions with multiple retention options that allow for easy restores.

About SoftSys Hosting

At SoftSys Hosting we provide a complete suite of web hosting and related business services from our 4 datacenter locations: Denver, Chicago, London & Singapore.

Our primary goal is to help your business succeed. When you’re doing great, so are we!

We provide high-performance servers with pure SSD RAID 10 disk array. We use 100% redundant Juniper network devices that eliminate single points of failure and can handle more packets with higher throughput.

With a team of 24×7 in-house experienced sysadmins and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, we take care of your entire IT requirements so that you can focus on growing your business.

If you are looking for a reliable web hosting company with stellar technical support, fast SSD servers, great uptime, and enhanced security solutions please get in touch. We’d love to learn more about your business and provide solutions that will empower your team to accelerate growth.

Contact us at [email protected] or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 203).

19 Jan

How To Find a Reliable Web Hosting Company | Part I

Best Web Hosting

So, you’ve decided to bite the bullet and take your business online.

Or perhaps you already have a successful online business and are looking for a reliable hosting provider to partner with as you continue to grow.

But what makes a web hosting provider reliable?

With hundreds of hosting providers out there finding the best one for your website is not an easy task. Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

We’ve rounded up some of our best tips on helping you choose a reliable hosting provider.

What Is a Web Hosting Service and How Does It Work?

For those unfamiliar, a web hosting service is a type of service that stores the files and data of your website or application and serves them, or makes them available, over the Internet. These files can be web pages (text content), images, media content, scripts, and more.

Each website needs a home where it can live.

When you get a web hosting service you basically rent a space on a server for your website. In other words, a web hosting provider is like a digital landlord. Instead of leasing or renting space in a building, it rents space on the Internet.

A web hosting provider, therefore, is a company that leases or rents the technology and resources needed to make your website accessible over the Internet.

What is Web Hosting
When website visitors type your website URL in their browser, the browser requests the website information from the server that stores it, downloads the files, and displays the web content.

To make your website accessible over the Internet you need to:

  • Own a domain name.
  • Purchase a hosting plan.
  • Upload your files into your web server.
  • Point your domain to the server’s IP.

When your website visitors type your website URL in their browser (Google Chrome, Safari, etc.), the browser requests the website information from the server that stores it, downloads the files, and displays the web page.

How Many Types of Web Hosting Services Are There?

Web Hosting Services
The most common types of web hosting services are shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated server hosting.

There are a few different types of web hosting services. The most common types are shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated server hosting.

Shared Hosting

As the name indicates you are sharing your hosting with many other users, sometimes hundreds of users. So, if your web hosting provider is your landlord, shared hosting is like having a small apartment unit in a large apartment complex. You share the complex with hundreds of other tenants.

The advantage of shared hosting is that the prices are lower. The server is also maintained and managed by the hosting provider. All you have to do is upload your website and start growing your business.

The disadvantage of shared hosting is that you get a small allotment of resources and you have less control over the server. You cannot upload custom applications or access the server from the command line.

In some cases, there is not a lot of insulation between the different users. If one tenant overuses their resource allotment it could have a negative impact on your service. This can be significantly reduced if the hosting providers use an Operating System such as CloudLinux OS, which offers better isolation and increased performance.

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

A private server, as the name suggests, is a server where all the resources are dedicated to you. If shared hosting is like renting a small apartment unit, with VPS hosting you get your own condo.

The advantage of VPS hosting is that you get more resources, better insulation, and full control over your server (SSH/RDP).

A VPS server also allows you to scale as needed. You can also choose if you want to manage the server yourself or have the hosting provider manage it for you.

The disadvantage of VPS hosting is that it’s more expensive than shared hosting.

Dedicated Server

A dedicated server is like having your own private house. It provides the highest level of privacy and you don’t share the building with anyone.

The advantage of dedicated servers is it can include a large number of resources.

The disadvantage of dedicated servers is cost. Dedicated server hosting is typically the most expensive type of hosting. Dedicated servers are also more difficult to manage and maintain.

There are VPS servers that can be just as large or powerful as a dedicated server.  However, some companies might still prefer to use a dedicated server due to the higher degree of privacy offered, or due to various compliance requirements.

How To Find a Web Hosting Provider?

Ask a friend

If you have a friend, colleague, or business partner who has a website, ask for web hosting referrals. This is the BEST way to find a reliable hosting provider. You can learn from someone else’s experience.

But make sure the referrals you are getting are meeting your requirements and expectations.

Everyone has different needs.

Just because your friend/business partner is pleased with his/her Windows hosting provider, it doesn’t mean it will work for you, if you are looking for a Linux provider.

Go through your list and get specific information based on your own requirements.

Do Your Own Research

Another good way to find a good web hosting provider is through old fashion research.

Start with the obvious. Do a Google search and be as specific as possible.

Some examples of popular searches include: “managed vps hosting,” ”linux vps hosting,” “shared windows hosting”.

Check Online Reviews

Once you have identified your requirements and done your research, make a list of all the hosting providers that fit your needs.

Do your due diligence and find user reviews for the providers that match your requirements. Make sure you use reviews from reliable sources such as Trustpilot, Google Reviews, or G2.

Check Blogs and Social Channels

To a lesser extent, check which providers have a social media presence and periodic website updates. This will give you a sense of whether or not the hosting company is actively working on improving its services and communicating with its online community.

Is It Easy To Change Web Hosting Providers?  

Changing web hosting providers can be a daunting task. If you use a Control Panel such as cPanel/WHM or Plesk and the destination provider uses the same Control Panel it’s a matter of copying your data from the old server to the new server using internal migration tools.

If you migrate to a different Control Panel or don’t use one at all, it’s a much more complicated task. In either case, if you’re not a developer yourself you need to make sure you have your developer on standby to test the migration and assist with any possible issues that arise.

A reliable web hosting company should offer you either a free migration or a discounted quote for assisting with the migration.

When choosing your web hosting provider, you should:

  • Have a monthly budget.
  • Estimate your monthly traffic.
  • Understand the different types of web hosting services (Shared, VPS, Dedicated).
  • Estimate your server’s resource requirements.
  • Define the location – where are you and your website visitors are located.
  • Know what application your website is built with (Java, WordPress, Magento, etc.)
  • Get a sense of how much support you expect to require. Do you need a fully managed server, unmanaged, or something in between?

Most of these are pretty straight forward, but identifying the resource requirements often poses a challenge.

If you are completely new to web hosting, your web developer should give you an idea about the resource requirements.

If this is an existing website you can get this information from your current web hosting provider.

Coming Up Next

You are now equipped with all the tips needed to find a reliable web hosting provider.

If you’ve enjoyed this article check out the second part of this blog post series: Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Web Hosting Company

Need assistance choosing the best web hosting plan for your needs?

Get in touch!

We would love to learn more about your business and provide a solution that will accelerate your online growth.

Contact us at [email protected] or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 203). 

22 Dec

The Biggest Online Trends In 2021

Online Trends in 2021

Would you be surprised to learn that eCommerce represents approx. 23%-25% of all commerce in the U.S.? The current state of quarantine has greatly accelerated the move towards “online first” commerce.

With so many retailers making the move to online shopping, we are bound to see innovative online and eCommerce trends emerging in 2021.

 AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality)

Artificial intelligence is one of the most transformative technologies being used today and one that will strongly influence the future of mankind. With substantial amounts of data being collected today, the machine learning algorithms improve every year. Although the concept of “artificial intelligence” has been around since antiquity, the term was brought to life at the 1956th Dartmouth Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference, by a small group of scientists.

Today we can see AI being used everywhere from online retail to chatbots, CRM software, market forecasting, customer behavior analysis, and more. The use of artificial intelligence in the retail market is expected to reach $7.3 billion by 2022. Furthermore, Meticulous Research® estimates it will reach $19.9 billion by 2027.

Augmented Reality (AR) enhances user experience by allowing consumers to preview products online before making a purchase. Today we can see AR being used with virtual dressing rooms, interior design apps, even online marketplaces such as Etsy, which allows consumers to visualize wall art with augmented reality.

But the products that dominated the world of AR and are the most well-known to consumers are AR smart glasses. The concept first made the spotlight with Google Glasses back in 2014. Today, ABI Research estimates that over 120,000 stores around the world will be using AR smart glasses by 2022.

By implementing AI and AR online sellers can greatly enhance the eCommerce experience. This in turn could lower the return rates. Just imagine if you could see how that mid-century walnut dining table, that you had your eyes on for weeks now, fits in your living room before making the actual purchase. Pretty exciting right?

Omnichannel Shopping

Omnichannel shopping has the customer at the center. Omnichannel refers to retailers that have both an online presence and a physical one. In addition, it involves making use of various technologies such as, AI and robotics amongst others, to provide a seamless and unified shopping experience.

That means retailers need to optimize for both an online and offline customer experience. A recent study conducted by BigCommerce on nearly 3000 consumers reveals that when it comes to online shopping, website security concerns and a website’s loading speed are at the top of the mind for most users.

Voice Search Commerce

Hands-free shopping sounds pretty tempting. With the rise of AI and the introduction of smart home assistants, we are starting to see an increase in Voice Search.

As the name implies, Voice Search is a technology that allows users to conduct online searches using their voice. Introduced by Google in 2011, Voice Search is rapidly rising to the forefront of online retail and search marketing.

The popularity of Voice Search has dramatically expanded with Amazon’s launch of its smart speaker Echo and virtual assistant Alexa.

Think about it. How many times in the past month have you used voice messages on your phone, or asked Siri or Alexa for assistance?

In a 2018 study conducted by Hubspot and Lucid, on over 3400 participants across the US, UK, and Canada, 52% of the responders have used voice assistants on either their smartphones or smart speakers. Of those that use a voice assistant, 15% use it to shop online.

Voice Assistants
Source: blog.hubspot.com, 2018

Voice assistant use is predicted to continue to grow in 2021, getting to as much as 8.4 billion voice assistants being used by 2024 according to Statista.

The Rise of Total Experience (TX)

Gartner introduced us last year to the concept of multiexperience (MX) when they made their predictions for 2020. This year they go a step further in their top tech trends for 2021 by bringing up the concept of Total Experience (TX).

This new concept will combine multiexperience (MX), customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), and user experience (UX) to optimize across all processes and create a better overall experience. Gartner says, companies that get behind the concept of Total Experience will gain a “sustainable competitive advantage.”

Directly Shoppable Media

Directly shoppable media such as live streaming, social commerce, virtual consultations, and shoppable ad formats are set to be the future of online advertising in 2021, according to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Companies like YouTube, who earlier this year announced a direct response ad format, are already making the shift towards directly shoppable media. Facebook and Instagram have also rolled out online Shops and Live Shopping earlier this year to enable eCommerce across their apps and make it easier for consumers to shop in real-time.

“This is the biggest step that we’ve taken yet to enable commerce across our family of apps,” said Dan Levy, VP of Ads and Business Platform at Facebook.

Increased Focus on Cybersecurity

Over the past months, we have experienced a high increase in cyberattacks. Ransomware attacks are more complex every day with ransom demands that are in the millions. The number of cyberattacks increases weekly and cybercriminals are finding new ways to compromise the security of physical and digital devices.

The average consumer is becoming more aware and more educated on the several types of cyber threats and looking for ways to protect the security of critical data. As a result, 2021 will bring an increase in cybersecurity solutions and a focus on new practices such as “zero-trust.”

Gartner even goes as far as predicting a cybersecurity mesh that enables a more modular, scalable, and flexible security solution. In essence, the cybersecurity mesh will set a security perimeter around any “person or thing” ensuring thus secure access to any digital asset, regardless of one’s location.

At SoftSys Hosting we offer multiple security solutions including Acronis Cyber Protect for both local devices (laptops, PCs, smartphones) and virtual servers. Acronis Cyber Protect is a complete solution that includes integrated anti-malware, backup & recovery, vulnerability assessments, patch management, and more.

5G Technology

With the sudden increase in the remote workforce, brought by the effects of Covid-19, the need for a fast and reliable Internet connection has become more critical than ever. While 5G is already available in the US with large mobile carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, it is expected that the infrastructure will dramatically scale in 2021.

According to PwC, formerly PriceCoopersWaterhouse, by January 2021, almost 75% of the US population will have 5G coverage.

5G is the 5th level of Internet communications, bringing increased download speeds compared to its 4G predecessor. According to OpenSignal, 5G is five to six times faster than 4G. Not only is it faster but with all the additional cell towers and mesh stations, it will cover a lot more ground than 4G.

5G Download Speed
Source: www.opensignal.com, 2020

Final Thoughts

With everyone being stuck at home during the pandemic, we are seeing an increased shift towards eCommerce. But while offering an online shop has its many advantages, businesses need to ensure they stay competitive and offer consumers a great overall experience.

Start by building a fast, scalable, and secure eCommerce store. Then take it a step further by incorporating new advertising approaches such as live shopping or virtual consultations or optimizing for voice commerce.

If you are looking for a platform to host your eCommerce store, please get in touch. We offer fast, reliable, and secure eCommerce hosting using nopCommerce or Enterprise Magento. Both solutions are optimized for superior performance. We would love to learn more about your business and provide a solution that will accelerate your online growth.

Contact us at [email protected] or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 203).

19 Nov

SoftSys Hosting Black Friday 2020 Deals You Cannot Miss

Black Friday Hosting Deals

This Black Friday we’re going all in! We’re offering a 90% discount on selected VPS servers + 1 Month free on Acronis Backup or Acronis Cyber Protect.

SoftSys Hosting Black Friday – 90% OFF x 1 Month With Self-Managed VPS Servers

Get a high-performance Linux VPS or Windows VPS for less than $1 during your first month of service.

Save 90% on the first month of a monthly based service, when ordering a new VPS server in our US (Denver/Chicago), Singapore, or UK datacenters (Linux).

All our Linux VPS servers include root SSH access.

All Windows VPS servers include full administrative RDP access and a free SolidCP Control Panel.

Get 90% OFF on Your New VPS server. Use coupon code: BF2020

Applicable services:

Terms of Use:

  • New and current customers are eligible for this promotion
  • The promotion code can be applied ONCE per account
  • The promotion code must be entered at the time of placing the order. Discounts will NOT be applied after the purchase
  • The 90% discount will be applied to the FIRST order of a monthly-based service! It is not an ongoing discount. After the promotion ends, the services will renew at the regular price.
  • The discounted price applies only to NEW servers in the listed datacenter locations and cannot be applied retroactively to existing servers or servers in the process of being migrated.
  • Offer expires 12/01/2020 at 11:59PM EST

SoftSys Hosting Black Friday – FREE x 1 Month Enterprise Backup/Data Recovery Service + Cybersecurity Solutions

More often than not you can find yourself in a situation in which you need to restore your data from a backup. Some of the most common situations that we’ve run into over the years are:

  • Human Error (#1 reason) – Human error (accidental deletion of files, overwrites, loss of access, etc.) is the most common situation in which users might require a restore from backup.
  • Corrupt Database – bad updates, file corruption, missing files, etc.
  • Security Incidents – malware, ransomware, brute-force attacks, etc.
  • Software Updates Gone Wrong – updating applications and software can often time break a fast website and a restore from backup will be required.
  • Hardware Failure – incorrect drive information, outages, the drive does not power on, file corruption, etc.
  • Physical Disasters – hurricane, fire, flood, etc.

Any of these situations can result in a permanent loss of data if you don’t have a backup. We have partnered with Acronis to deliver a reliable and easy-to-use backup solution and cybersecurity solution.

Protect Your Critical Data With Acronis Cyber Backup or Acronis Cyber Protect. Activate 1 Month FREE!

Applicable services:

Terms of Use:

  • New and current customers are eligible for this promotion
  • The promotion code can be applied ONCE per account
  • The promotion code must be entered at the time of placing the order. Discounts will NOT be applied after the purchase
  • The promotion applies to the FIRST order of a monthly-based service! It is not an ongoing discount. After the promotion ends, the services will renew at the regular price.
  • The discounted price applies only to newly purchased Acronis services and cannot be applied retroactively to existing services.
  • Offer expires 12/01/2020 at 11:59PM EST

MORE SOFTSYS HOSTING DEALS

50% OFF x 3 Months With Fully Managed Linux and Windows VPS Servers

New customers can save 50% on the first 3 months of service when ordering a new monthly based managed VPS server. Use coupon code: 50OFF_3Mon

Applicable services:

Managed Hosting Benefits

  • Fully Managed Service Level
  • Peace of Mind with 24×7 Proactive Server Monitoring
  • Full Control with RDP/SSH Access
  • Service Flexibility with Custom Software Installation
  • Host Unlimited Websites/Databases

Terms of Use:

  • Only new customers are eligible for this promotion
  • The promotion code can be applied ONCE per account
  • The promotion code must be entered at the time of placing the order. Discounts will NOT be applied after the purchase
  • The 50% discount will be applied to the FIRST 3 MONTHS of monthly-based service! It is not an ongoing discount. After the promotion ends, the services will renew at the regular price.
  • The discounted price applies only to NEW servers in the following datacenter locations: US (5), Canada, UK, Germany, Ireland, France, India, Singapore, Australia, Tokyo & S Korea
  • The discounted price cannot be applied retroactively to existing servers or servers in the process of being migrated.

Secure, High Performance Shared Windows Hosting – Start as Low as $1

Save 90% on the first month of service when ordering a new monthly-based WordPress Hosting server. Use coupon code: WP90OFF

WordPress Hosting Benefits

  • Managed WordPress hosting at very accessible pricing
  • Increased speed and high-performance WordPress with Free LiteSpeed Caching Plugin
  • Advanced protection from DoS and hacking attempts with free IDS/IPS/WAF
  • Protect your WordPress website from hackers with on-demand & real-time malware scanning/quarantine
  • Get peace of mind for your WordPress website with free included backups
  • Expecting higher traffic? Get free on-demand resource increase for up to 24 hours

90% OFF x 1 Month High Performance Shared Linux Hosting

Save 90% on the first month of service when ordering a new monthly-based Linux Cloud Hosting server. Use coupon code: GET90OFF

Linux Cloud Hosting Benefits

  • Increased speed with fast SSD Storage
  • Support for popular apps: WordPress, Magento, Drupal, Joomla, WooCommerce
  • High-performance with Free LiteSpeed Caching Plugin
  • Advanced protection from DoS and hacking attempts with free IDS/IPS/WAF
  • Protect your website from hackers with next-gen on-demand & real-time malware scanning/quarantine
  • Free included backups
  • On-demand resource increase for up to 24 hours

Secure, High Performance Shared Windows Hosting – Start as Low as $1

Get a secure, high-performance Windows Hosting for as low as $1 during your first month of service. Use coupon code: 1DOLLAR

Windows Hosting Benefits

  • Increased speed with fast SSD Storage
  • Support for popular apps: DotNetNuke, nopCommcerce, Umbraco CMS
  • Protect your website from hackers with built-in Ransomware and Malware Protection
  • Free included backups

Do you need help finding the best hosting solution for your needs? Contact [email protected] or call +1-862-214-2255 (x3)

17 Nov

How to Keep Business Data Secure While Working Remotely

We can all agree 2020 has not been the year we had hoped for last December. Far from it!

From the way we live our daily lives, to the way we shop for groceries or do our jobs, everything has been disrupted. As more and more businesses move their employees towards remote work, online security is becoming an ever-growing concern.

What started out of necessity is turning into a new business model. And this has been the trend for years now.

According to an analysis performed by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), a research and consulting firm based in San Diego, California, between 2005 and 2017, there has been a 159% growth in remote work.

Remote Work Growth
Source: “Remote Work Statistics: Shifting Norms and Expectations”, February 2020, accessed November 9, 2020 at www.flexjobs.com

This trend has accelerated even more as a result of Covid-19.

According to a recent survey by the Global Workplace Analytics (GWA) and Iometrics, a workplace services firm based in Irvine, California, work from home during Covid-19 has increased from 31% to 88%.

Remote Work Growth
Source: Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey, 2020, Accessed November 9, 2020, at www.globalworkplaceanalytics.com © 2020 Iometrics and Global Workplace Analytics

Here at SoftSys Hosting many of our employees work remotely as well. I myself have been working remotely for 10+ years now. While more and more businesses are making the shift towards remote work, we are also seeing concerning increases in online security threats.

With this in mind, we have compiled a list of seven tips you should follow to keep your data secure while working remotely.

7 TIPS TO IMPROVE THE SECURITY OF YOUR DATA WHILE WORKING REMOTELY

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #1: HAVE A CYBERSECURITY POLICY IN PLACE

If you are a business owner, you need to have a data security policy for your organization. Your cybersecurity policy should provide you and your employees’ guidelines on how to keep your data and your customers’ data secure. It should also provide recommendations on how to manage cybersecurity risks.

A good place to start is the National’s Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework which includes best practices to help businesses manage cybersecurity risks. The framework has been used by 30% of US organizations, according to Gartner, and the usage was projected to increase to 50% by 2020.

Cybersecurity Framework
Source: Cybersecurity Framework, NIST 2015, Accessed November 10, 2020, at www.nist.gov | Image Credit: Natasha Hanacek/NIST

The Cybersecurity Framework consists of five high-level functions that are applicable to risk management in general, including cybersecurity risks. The five core functions depicted are: Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover.

Start by assessing your organization’s ability to maintain data security. What data is being collected in your company, how are your data stored by your employees (on local devices, on internal company systems, in the cloud, etc.)?

Ensure that your employees are following workplace security policies. There are some self-evident rules that should be followed in any company (don’t use your work computer to access sites unrelated to your work) but you need to state them in a documented cybersecurity policy.

Once you have documented the policy, share it across your entire organization, and make sure your employees understand and comply with the rules.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #2: SECURE YOUR WEBSITE WITH AN SSL CERTIFICATE

A Secure Socket Layer certificate (SSL certificate) does exactly that! It will encrypt, or conceal if you will, your data from hackers and bad actors. It’s basically a small data file that will digitally bind an encrypted key to a company’s details.  

In addition to encrypting data between your browser and the end server, the SSL certificate will also authenticate the server. In other words, it makes sure that your information is shared with the correct server hosting the website and not with a hacker who tries to steal your information.

While there are some free SSL certificates, such as Let’s Encrypt, we generally recommend a commercial SSL for any website that collects sensitive information. There are several reasons for that, but one good reason is free SSL certificates such as Let’s Encrypt offers no warranty if something goes wrong. All commercial brands will include a warranty. The vetting performed for a commercial SSL is also much more stringent.

At SoftSys Hosting we offer several trusted SSL certificate brands including Comodo, GeoTrust, Symantec and more.

Bottom line, if you collect sensitive information on your website, make sure to protect your customers’ data by using a trusted SSL certificate. By the same token, pay attention what website you and your employees are accessing. These days most browsers will show a warning if a website is not HTTPS secure.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #3: USE STRONG PASSWORDS

Most of us dread setting up a password. We have so many of them and often times, out of convenience, we tend to either use a common word for a password (like our pet’s name) or use the same password for multiple systems.

According to a study performed by Digital Guardian on password security habits, 10.8% of the responders reuse the same password across all their accounts.

Source: Uncovering Password Habits: Are Users’ Password Security Habits Improving? (Infographic), 2020, Accessed November 11, 2020 at digitalguardian.com

However, I’ve heard of numerous cases where online systems were hacked due to weak passwords. According to a 2020 research by PreciseSecurity.com, 30% of ransomware infections in 2019 were caused by weak passwords.

I myself have been the victim of this when a hacker got into my Netflix account and changed my password. I guess the need to binge-watch Netflix can drive people to do strange things??  Luckily, I was able to fix that issue within minutes and none of my data was stolen.

I got lucky that time. Lesson learned!

Both NIST and the FBI recommend using passphrases over passwords for enhanced security.

“A passphrase is a memorized secret consisting of a sequence of words or other text that a claimant uses to authenticate their identity. A passphrase is similar to a password in usage but is generally longer for added security.” NIST Special Publication 800-63 Revision 3, Digital Identity Guidelines

As a business you need to ensure your employees use passphrases or long passwords with at least 8 characters in length, when accessing your systems. And if you have a lot of passwords, like I do, you might want to use a password manager. Some examples of password managers are 1Password, KeePass and BitWarden.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #4: AVOID CONNECTING TO PUBLIC WI-FI

You can work remotely from anywhere if you have a quiet place and a good internet connection. Access to public Wi-Fi has been an enormous aid to remote employees these days. You can find free public Wi-Fi in coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, sometimes even in outdoor public spaces. But the truth is they’re not always secure. Sometimes though you might have to travel for work, and you might not have any other options but to use a public Wi-Fi.

In those cases, try to avoid Wi-Fi networks that don’t require a Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or WPA2 password. Between the two WPA2 is more secure. You should also ensure that you have logged out from your systems when you finish working.

If you regularly use public Wi-Fi you can have a secure connection, even when using public Wi-Fi, by using a VPN service. A VPN can be configured in multiple ways. One popular way to configure a secure VPN service is as a Remote Client VPN (also known as Remote Access VPN).

This type of VPN configuration will encrypt traffic between your local device and the system/business software that you are accessing. Note that a Remote Client VPN won’t encrypt everything that you access through your computer. Only those specific systems for which the VPN has been configured will be secured.

The VPN will create a secure tunnel all the way, regardless of what Wi-Fi connection you are using.

There are multiple popular VPN solutions like SiteLock VPN, VyOS, Vyatta, OPNSense, and more.

SoftSys Hosting customers can activate a high-speed secure VPN with military-grade encryption. Using our high-speed VPN solution you will be able to:

  • hide your IP for secure anonymous browsing.
  • access blocked websites in 40+ countries.
  • protect your data when using public Wi-Fi.
  • watch streaming services anywhere & more.

Be aware though that some VPN providers might be the target of cyberattacks themselves. That is the case with unpatched Pulse Secure VPN servers who have been the target of malicious attacks.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #5: KEEP YOUR COMPUTER SECURE

In today’s technological world we use our computers, laptops, smart phones every single day. In fact, what are you doing right now?

Most of us store work-related information on our local devices: client proposals, website descriptions, accounting information, login credentials, you name it! Hackers, scammers and other bad actors are becoming more and more clever these days. It’s almost as if their only purpose in life is to find new ways to steal your data.

From malware and ransomware to spyware, hackers will try anything to get their hands on your credit/debit cards, PayPal accounts, and other sensitive information.

According to a survey by Positive Technologies in the last quarter of 2019 credit/debit card information made up 32% of all information stolen. In other words, one-third of the information stolen by hackers was payment card information!

Source: Cybersecurity threatscape: Q4 2019, Figure 1. Attackers’ motives, Accessed November 11, 2020, at www.ptsecurity.com

What can you do to prevent hackers from gaining access to your sensitive data? Start with an antivirus. Some popular antivirus solutions are Malwarebytes, Avast, and Bitdefender.  You should set up regular automatic full system scans using a reliable antivirus solution.

But an antivirus is not enough! It will not protect your computer against malware and other types of malware attacks. You need a solution that’s specifically designed for that.

At SoftSys Hosting we have partnered with Acronis to bring you Acronis Cyber Protect, a security solution that integrates backups, disaster recovery, a next-generation anti-malware and cybersecurity into one single affordable and easy-to-use solution. The Acronis Cyber Protect solution can be enabled on any local computer, mobile device (Android/iOS), Virtual Machine, cPanel/Plesk Web Hosting Servers and more.

Lastly, when thinking about the security of your local computers you should make sure all your software is up to date. Software vendors often time include critical security patches when releasing a new software version. If you use software that’s no longer supported or End of Life (EOL) as it is often called, you are only increasing the risk of getting hacked.

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #6: BEWARE OF SOCIAL ENGINEERING ATTACKS

A social engineering attack is a type of email that aims to manipulate users into giving up sensitive information like passwords or bank account information. It typically aims to create a sense of urgency, fear, or manipulate emotions, and prompts the user to take some sort of action. This action could be clicking on a link or downloading a file on your computer.  

Two common types of social engineering attacks are:

1. Phishing – where the attacker pretends to be a legitimate business, like your bank or a popular retailer.

The term “phishing” was first used on January 2, 1996, and it’s an analogy to the popular sport of “fishing” because the attackers try to “lure” users into disclosing sensitive information. Since Covid-19 phishing emails have been on the rise as well.

In April 2020 Google disclosed that they’ve blocked over 18 million phishing emails and malware per day!

2. Email spoofing – is similar to phishing, except the attacker will “spoof” the email header. The email could appear to be from your bank, except the email domain will not be the bank’s email domain. In other words, the sender’s email will not match the sender’s name.

The Ohio Graydon-Toole Group has a great comparison between the two.

As a rule of thumb, your bank will never ask you to provide sensitive information via email. Most of these bad actors also have a lot of grammar errors, so pay attention! Most importantly you can configure an anti-phishing solution. If you use a commercial email service such as Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) there are multiple solutions available including Microsoft Office Advanced Threat Protection (ATP).

ONLINE SECURITY TIP #7: ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN

You should always have at least one backup of your critical data! I cannot reiterate enough how important this is.

Most of us live hectic lives. There are so many things on our daily to-do lists, we often time forget (or ignore) the really important ones. Having an automated backup solution is not something that should be taken lightly!

But I never had a backup before and nothing happened! Why should I get one now!?

I’ve read about and seen countless cases of people losing their data and they would give ANYTHING to get it back. There are some fortunate cases, where they might find an old backup amongst their files, but I’ve also seen situations where everything has been lost.

If you get so unlucky to fall victim to a ransomware attack you might lose years’ worth of work if you don’t have a backup.

At SoftSys Hosting we offer Acronis Cyber Backup both as a standalone solution or bundled with our managed service package. Acronis Cyber Backup is a trusted backup and recovery solution that allows you to configure automated backups with an hourly/daily/weekly/monthly retention. And because backups are incremental you can take more backups without running the usage/costs high.

If you are interested in a managed backup solution, contact [email protected].

05 Nov

Introducing Customer Support System as a Service: An Enterprise-Grade Customer Service Solution to Fuel Your Business Growth

Customer Support System As a Service

We are thrilled to announce the availability of an affordable, enterprise-grade customer support system with complete data-privacy for your organization.  

As a 24/7 business with customers all over the world, we understand first-hand the importance of a reliable help-desk solution. 

We’ve been using multiple customer support software for the past 14+ years. We know a thing or two about what benefits should it deliver to your business and your customers. 

There’s an extensive list of features a help desk solution should have. But we have found these seven customer support system features to be an absolute must-have: 

  1. It should provide a shared and unified inbox. 
  2. It should allow you to measure customer satisfaction.
  3. It should have good performance reporting. 
  4. It should allow customers to help themselves (aka support a knowledgebase).
  5. It should be easy to set up or migrate to. 
  6. It should provide privacy for your data and your customers’ data.  

With these in mind, we have bundled a reliable customer support software, powered by SupportPal with our scalable and fully managed cloud environment, to address all your needs and more.

Oh! And by the way, we are using this solution ourselves internally.  

That’s right!  

We would not try to preach you anything we haven’t used ourselves first. If you are a SoftSys Hosting customer, you have already seen the customer-facing side of the help desk software.  

HOW YOU CAN GROW YOUR BUSINESS FASTER WITH SOFTSYS HOSTING 

Our Customer Support System as a Service delivers the following benefits:  

  • Enterprise-grade help desk software  
  • Reliable, scalable & fully managed cloud environment  
  • 24/7 Monitoring of your environment’s availability 
  • Daily backups of your cloud environment with multi-day retention period 
  • Affordable pricing 

WHAT MAKES OUR CUSTOMER SUPPORT SOLUTION BETTER THAN OTHERS? 

Three key aspects:

1. Data Privacy – You have complete control over your data. 

2. Private Server – Your help desk system is hosted on a private server, not shared with any other customers. 

3. Transparent Billing – there are no “per user” charges or any other limitations on the number of support requests. Start for as low as $75per month. 

Let’s look at the features included with the help desk software solution. 

HELP DESK SOFTWARE FEATURES & BENEFITS

Keep All Messages in One Place With a Unified Inbox

Deliver excellent customer service across multiple channels with a unified inbox: 

  •  Get requests through Web forms, API, Email, Facebook, Twitter or Help widgets. 
  •  Automatically convert support requests from multiple support channels into tickets. 

Group Tickets Together With Multiple Filters and Tags

Easily organize your tickets with the use of filters, priorities, tags, and more. Recognize important conversations or prospects right away! 

Customer Support System

Enhance Team Collaboration  

  • Create department groups and operator roles for easier communication across departments. 
  • Manage all customer conversations in one place with a shared inbox for each department 
  • Avoid agent collision by seeing in real-time if another agent is looking or replying to a ticket 
  • Add private ticket notes and internal messages. 

Support Multiple Brands With One Installation

  • Increase efficiency by supporting multiple brands with a single help desk installation.  
  • Customize the look (colors, logo) for each brand according to its needs.  
  • Increase brand recognition with custom domains and email signatures. 

Offer Multilingual Support

Support you customers in their own language! 

Create translations for your own text (knowledgebase and email templates). The software will display the correct version will be displayed to the user automatically, based on their selected language. 

Increase Productivity With Automated Tools and Tasks

  • Create canned responses to common ticket replies  
  • Run multiple actions on tickets with a one-click or automated macro 
  • Create follow-ups with multiple actions 
  • Set escalation rules on overdue tickets  

Manage Customers Efficiently

  • Create ‘organizations’ for customer accounts. 
  • Add users with multiple email domains to an organization. 
  • View ticket history for your customers individually or at the organization level. 

Support Your Customers the Way They Need It

  • Set priorities for customer tickets  
  • Help your customers find answers easily by creating an online library of information (Knowledgebase, FAQ, Policies, etc.

Always Know What Your Customers Are Thinking 

  • Allow customers to comment on, or rate your articles 
  • Gain insightful feedback from customers with feedback forms on tickets 
Customer Service Software

Use Data to Improve Performance and Customer Service

A powerful reporting dashboard allows you to track staff performance and customer activity, gain insights into customer feedback and ratings, and more. Improve the performance of your staff by knowing: 

  • What are the busiest times, days, or months? Do you need more staff on some days?  
  • What types of requests are more frequent? Create canned responses to improve response time. 
  • Which support channels do your customers use? 
  • Learn which user guides or articles are helpful to customers and which need to be improved.  
  • How are your customers rating your support? What kind of feedback they provide?  
  • And more. 

Make It Your Own! 

Customize the help desk system to match your company’s look and feel. Built your own custom plugins or use our available plugins and integration:  

Available Plugins: Blesta, Slack, Time Tracking, WHMCS, WooCommerce.
Existing Integrations: Blesta, LDAP, SAML, TrackingTime, WHMCS, Zapier.

All things aside, our goal is to help your business succeed!  

You know that saying? Happy clients, happy us! 

A reliable and easy to use customer service software will improve the performance of your staff. But more importantly, it will help improve the relationship with your customers.  

We went through a lot of information, I know!

But if you’re only going to remember a few things from this blog post, remember these five takeaways on how to deliver excellent customer service through your help desk software. 

TOP FIVE TAKEAWAYS TO DELIVER EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE

  1. Manage all your customer conversations from one place with a unified inbox 
  1. Enhance customer service with the use of ticket tags, follow-ups, and priorities 
  1. Help your customers get information or learn about your service on-demand with an external knowledgebase, FAQ, or blog 
  1. Get input from your customers with feedback forms and article comments 
  1. Use built-in reporting tools to improve performance and customer satisfaction  

LET’S TALK MONEY – HOW MUCH DOES IT COST AND WHAT’S INCLUDED 

The service starts for as low as $75 a month. There are no hidden fees, user caps or limitations on the amounts of tickets.  

The $75 fee includes: 

  • Managed cloud environment with complete data privacy 
  • Your SupportPal help desk software license 
  • Installation of your help desk software 
  • Daily managed backups of your cloud environment 
  • 24/7 availability monitoring of your cloud environment 

If you are looking to do a self-migration there’s a migration script included with the help desk software.  

The following migrations are supported with the migration script: 

  • ArcticDesk v1.3.3 
  • Blesta v4 
  • Freshdesk 
  • Kayako v4 
  • Quest K1000 
  • Sirportly v5 
  • WHMCS v7 
  • Zendesk 

Are You Ready for an Affordable, Enterprise-Grade Customer Support Solution with Complete Data-Privacy?

Click to button below to schedule a free consultation and demo today!

ABOUT SOFTSYS HOSTING

SoftSys Hosting was born in 2006 when President Ruchir Shastri, back then a web developer, wanted to help software developers by offering them free of inexpensive hosting.  

Since 2007 we provide a complete suite of web hosting and related business services from our 4 datacenter locations: Denver, Chicago, London & Singapore. 

Our primary goal is to help your business succeed. When you’re doing great, so are we! 

With a team of 24×7 in-house experienced sys admins we can take care of your entire IT requirements so that you can focus on growing your business.  

But don’t just take our word for it! See for yourself what our customers are saying about SoftSys Hosting support and services: 

Customer Testimonial
SoftSys Hosting Review
Customer Feedback

If you are looking for a great customer service software or web hosting services, please get in touch. We’d love to learn more about your business and provide solutions that will empower your team to accelerate growth. 

Contact us at [email protected] or +1-862-214-2255 (Ext 3). 

21 Oct

Increase the Security of Your Linux Servers With BitNinja Server Security

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered with BitNinja to bring you the ultimate server protection against WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal infections. 

The BitNinja server security solution has been around since 2014. It started as an in-house project when its CEO George Egri wanted to protect their own hosting company against malicious threats and cyberattacks. Today the company protects over 20.000 servers worldwide and their WAF has blocked over 40 million HTTP attacks.  

What Is BitNinja and How Can It Take Your Server Security to the Next Level?  

Security breaches can put your business at risk. Stolen databases, password hacks, malware, SQL injections, malicious scripts that can change your user’s passwords and gain access to your user’s accounts, you name it!   

Today’s digital world is full of security threats that can impact your business’ revenue and reputation.   

BitNinja server security helps you maintain a successful business by taking 100% responsibility of keeping your Linux server clean.  

“We were in search of an enterprise-grade security tool to provide all-round protection to our customers’ business servers. BitNinja turned out to be the perfect partner to help us address the ever-growing security vulnerabilities and hacks. We tune and tweak BitNinja based on our customers’ specific requirements and we are happy to say it has provided 100% protection! We are beyond excited to have partnered with BitNinja!” Ruchir Shastri, President & Founder @ SoftSys Hosting 

BitNinja Will Significantly Increase the Security of Your Websites! 

Here’s how BitNinja can help: it’s an all-in-one security solution that provides one of the BEST server security defenses available on the market today!  It’s supported on all popular Linux distributions (CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, etc.) and requires zero changes to your server.  

Backed by machine learning technology that adapts to the latest threats, BitNinja combines a set of integrated defense modules into a single security suite that provides complete protection at the application layer, prevents your server from becoming part of a botnet, and protects you from incoming and outgoing DoS and DDoS attacks.  

Being a layered security system, BitNinja blocks server attacks at any threat level automatically, allowing you to protect your websites from unforeseen security threats and focusing on growing your business.   

Server Security

Easy to install and use BitNinja offers the following benefits:  

  • Improves your server’s load. 
  • Reduces spam. 
  • Protects your web application. 
  • Scans your web files for malware. 
  • Protects yourself from viruses (including email-based viruses). 
  • Detects and blocks port-scans. 
  • Protects yourself from Distributed Blacklists such as DNSBL. 
  • Proactively monitors malicious scripts & more. 

Protect Your Business and Customers from Security Breaches. Get Started with BitNinja Server Security Solution Today!

Achieve system stability and reduce the server load by activating the BitNinja proactive security defense shield and fixing your IP reputation for good.

The BitNinja security solution is available to SoftSys Hosting customers who own a Linux based VPS (fully managed or unmanaged) or a Linux-based dedicated server.  

The service can be added to a new or existing VPS account for as low as $16 USD per month. To help you get started we offer a 7-day free trial with full functionality. During this period, you can test it and see doing its magic. To get started with your free trial, please contact us at [email protected].

Once the service is activated, our team will install BitNinja on your server and provide you access to a dedicated dashboard where you can configure and manage your server’s security.

Secure Linux Server

If you’re not a SoftSys Hosting customer, and want to protect your business from hacks, data theft, IP blacklisting & more get in touch with us as well.

We’d love to help keep your business secure and profitable!