16 Jun

Making Remote Work Secure: Five “Must Do” Steps

Since COVID-19 became a global pandemic and steps were put in place to contain its spread, more and more people have been forced to work from home. This transition requires many changes in how individuals and organizations operate and communicate, especially in terms of using computers, personal devices, and specific software that enables remote work.

At the same time, cybercriminals recognize that attacking home users is much easier as they are typically less secured outside their office, where security policies and measures are enforced (at least at some level). Yet to do their jobs, these remote workers need to connect to various servers and access and create confidential, sensitive documents and data from their less-secure home office environment.

The risk of losing important data or being compromised becomes much greater at home. That is why every remote worker should be prepared to secure his remote workspace. Here are five recommendations for securing a home office.

1. Use a VPN

Whether you are connecting remotely to company resources and services, or you are just browsing web resources and using telecommunication tools, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs encrypt all of your online traffic to prevent hackers from capturing your data in transit.

If your company has a VPN practice, you most likely will get instructions from your admin or MSP technician. If you have to secure your working place yourself, use a well-known, recommended VPN app and service – they are widely available in different software marketplaces or directly from vendors. If you are in need of secure VPN, get in touch with us and we will help you with it.

2. Be wary of phishing attempts

As a topic, COVID-19 is already being widely used in all types of phishing attempts – and the number of such malicious activities will only grow. Every remote worker needs to prepare for the increase in phishing attempts by understanding and recognizing the threat.

Themed phishing and malicious websites appear in large numbers every single day. These typically can be filtered out on a browser level, but if you have a cyber protection solution installed on your work laptop or your company’s MSP delivers that protection with a solution like Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud, you are also secured by dedicated URL filtering. The same functionality is also available in endpoint protection solutions, although in Acronis Cyber Protect we have a special category related to public health which is updated with higher priority. 

Of course, those malicious links have to come from somewhere, and they are typically delivered in instant messages, emails, forum posts, etc. Do not click any links you don’t need to click on, and always avoid those that you did not expect to receive.

These attacks also use malicious attachments to emails, so always check where an email really comes from and ask yourself are you expecting it or not. Before you open any attachment, be sure to scan it with your anti-malware solution, such as Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud.

To be sure that all phishing and malicious websites are blocked by security solution with embedded Web/URL filtering functionality like Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

It also helps to remember that the information you really want regarding COVID-19 or similar pandemics can be found from official sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), your national ministry of health, and state/local government agencies. Refer to those official agencies rather than opening links or emails from unknown sources.

3. Be sure to have good anti-malware up and running properly

Having a good anti-malware solution installed is a must nowadays. With Windows, where the majority of threats are targeted, the built-in Windows Defender makes it easier. It does a good job of stopping threats, although it still cannot match the top anti-malware products from security vendors.

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud delivers many well-balanced and finely tuned security technologies, including several detection engines, so we would recommend it to use instead of an embedded Windows solution.
Simply having an anti-malware defense in place is not enough, however. It should be configured properly, which means:

  • A full scan should be performed at least once a day
  • A product need to get updates daily or hourly, depends how often they are available
  • A product should be connected to its cloud detection mechanisms, in the case of Acronis Cyber Protect to Acronis Cloud Brain. It is active by default but you need to be sure that the internet is available and not accidentally blocked by anti-malware software.
  • On-demand and on-access (real-time) scans should be enabled and adjusted for every new software installed or executed.It is also important that you do not ignore messages coming from your anti-malware solution. Read these carefully and, if you use a paid version from a security vendor, be sure that license is active.

4. Patch your OS and apps

Keeping your operating system (OS) up to date is crucial, as a lot of attacks succeed due to unpatched vulnerabilities. With Acronis Cyber Protect, you’re covered with embedded vulnerability assessment and patch management functionality. We track all identified vulnerabilities and released patches, which allows an admin or technician to easily patch all their endpoints with a flexible configuration and detailed reporting.

Acronis Cyber Protect not only supports all embedded Windows apps, but also more than 40 third-party key popular apps including all telecommunications tools like Zoom or Slack, and a lot of popular VPN clients that are used to work remotely. Be sure to patch high-risk vulnerabilities first and use success reports to confirm that patches were applied properly.

If you don’t have Acronis Cyber Protect and do not use any patch management software, it is much harder. At a minimum, you need to be sure that Windows gets all the updates it needs and they are quickly installed – users tend to ignore system messages, especially when Windows asks for a restart. Ignoring these requests is a big mistake.

Also, be sure that auto-updates to popular software vendors like Adobe are enabled and such apps like PDF Reader are also updated promptly.

Acronis Cyber Protect Patch Management supports all the popular collaboration, conferencing and messaging tools

5. Keep your passwords and workspace to yourself

While this step has been mentioned many times as the top piece of security advice, during the response to COVID-19 it is doubly important to ensure your passwords are strong and known only to you. Never share passwords with anyone, and use different and long passwords for every service you use. Password management software makes this easier. Otherwise, an effective approach is to create a set of long phrases you can remember. And when we say long, we mean long, since the old eight-character passwords are easily opened by brute-force attacks now.

Also, even working from home, do not forget to lock your laptop or desktop and limit access to it. There are many cases when people can access sensitive information on a non-locked PC from a distance. Don’t assume you are protected simply because you are not inviting anyone you don’t know or trust into your home office.

06 Jun

What Will Change In The Global Business Landscape In 2020?

We are in a healthcare crisis that is also an economic crisis combined with an energy crisis. Add to that a looming humanitarian crisis in some emerging economies and you have a multitude of challenges, all of which are exacerbating geopolitical risks. How will this crisis change the global business landscape in 2020 – and what does it mean for the actions we take today at Softsys Hosting and other business ventures?

Fear And Optimism

Fear and Optimism

The length and depth of the current economic crisis will depend on solving the healthcare crisis with an exit strategy involving a combination of an effective, widely available vaccine and therapeutic drugs. Meanwhile, governments around the world are trying to manage the delicate balance between controlling transmission and returning some people to economic activity. The stakes are high, not only in the obvious health and economic consequences of mis-steps but also in managing public perceptions of risk.

The fears we feel are real. They are reinforced by government messages, the data we read daily on infection rates and the sad reality of the actual numbers of COVID-19 deaths, in particular the data on “excess deaths” that are only now being made public. These have driven public behaviours that have controlled transmission and reduced deaths in many countries, but we now need to cautiously find ways, especially in the business community, of responsibly allowing society to adapt and manage the false dichotomy of public health and economic wellbeing.

Risk Interdependencies

This crisis also highlights the interdependencies of the global risks triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Make no mistake, we are experiencing a historic event that will change many aspects of the world we live in, such as geopolitics, the economic impact on many industry sectors, the competitive business landscape, the long-term societal impacts such as an exacerbation of inequality, consumer behaviours, the nature of work and the role of technology both at work and at home.

In addition to the dangers to public health, the pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and shutdowns could have long-lasting effects on people and societies. High structural unemployment is likely to affect consumer confidence and the speed of economic recovery, as well as exacerbate inequality, mental health problems and lack of societal cohesion.   

Technology

 Companies and governments are trying to manage the on going crisis, it is also challenging the relationship between technology and governance. Mistrust or misuse of technology could have long-lasting effects on society. Borders have returned, as have local communities, but technology is allowing a return to a more global world. Technology is enabling the contact-free economy, through applications such as telemedicine, online retail, and social distancing delivery methods such as click and collect. New business and employment opportunities are being created in these sectors, but a greater dependence on technology has also increased cybersecurity risks.

Business And Policy Considerations

Business and policy considerations

In a time of great uncertainty, decisions are being taken today by governments and businesses that will determine how these risks or opportunities emerge and play out. In particular these include:

· To what extent do we manage the operational trade-offs between a quick return to work, but still protect our employees, clients and society more broadly?

· At a time of change for our business, with changing industry structures and changing competitive positions, how do we not only survive, but also find the silver linings?

· How can we accelerate our commitments to sustainability and drive a low-carbon transition?

· How will consumer behaviour change in our sector – and how will that affect our propositions and the way we deliver them? · Build scenarios into existing risk models to understand the impacts of different recovery rates on business, operational, market risks.

04 Jun

How To Choose The Right Backup Service For Your Business Data?

Business data needs to be protected not only from ransomware or other cyber-attacks, but also from natural disasters. If your business isn’t well-equipped with measures that protect mission-critical data, then a single cyber threat can destroy your business in no time.

If your business falls prey to cyber attacks, loss of revenue can be as high as 20% and more. According to a recent cyber-security survey, 4 out of 10 businesses are certain to suffer huge losses and the number of businesses that are hit by cyber attacks is reported to be 29%.

Business can also suffer heavily in terms of its reputation, because it’s not just the revenue loss, but also the loss of loyal clients. Therefore, businesses need to design a robust strategy for data backup to ensure business continuity in the event of cyber-attacks or any natural disasters. In this blog post, we’ll outline some tips to choose the right backup service for your business needs.

Backup Security

Backup & Disaster Recoery

Needless to say that cybercriminals are becoming more and more sophisticated, so how safe is your business data in the backup server? Ask your backup provider how your crucial business data is protected on the backup storage. You should look for at least 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption in data storage and for Secure Socket Layer (SSL) while data being sent to and from the server. This will greatly minimize the risk that a hacker can intercept and steal the information being transmitted. Additionally, the backups must be taken on off-site data storage.

Backup Storage & Scalability

How much backup storage do you really need? Backup providers offer anywhere from 10 GB to unlimited space, giving businesses a wide range of options based on their requirements. Obviously, the amount of backup space offered is directly related to service costs. Hence, it’s best to determine how much backup space is needed so you can stay within your budget limits.

Also, find a backup service that offers scalability and agility so that your backup can grow as your business grows. While you don’t necessarily have to opt for unlimited space, your options include purchasing more space than you need or signing up with a vendor that offers flexible solutions.

Disaster Recovery

Hosting providers can make all the uptime guarantees they want, but the reality is that unforeseen events, such as cyber-attacks and natural disasters, can shutdown servers and render your data inaccessible. For instance, Amazon’s northern Virginia servers went offline due to severe thunderstorms, taking down major services like Netflix, Instagram and Pinterest. If large institutions like AWS can get hit, so can small businesses. While downtime is not always preventable, what’s important is to make sure the business data backup you choose provides an effective and efficient disaster-recovery plan to get you back online ASAP. This can mean anything from multi-location backups to cyber-attack mitigation.

Platform Support

A backup service doesn’t do much good if it doesn’t protect the data on all of your business devices, not just on servers or desktop PCs. In a typical environment, Mac and Windows systems comprise the bulk of laptops and workstations. Linux and Microsoft Windows Server are the most popular platforms for servers. Getting access to data from a mobile device is becoming not just popular but increasingly critical as mobile devices become more sophisticated and not only store more data but create it as well. At a bare minimum, Android and iOS devices should be considered as backup targets.

In many cases, organizations host virtualized infrastructure on-site as well as in the cloud and, since this is really just software, it should be backed up along with everything else. Therefore, you’ll need to ensure that your backup provider can support these requirements. Citrix, Microsoft Hyper-V and VMWare VSphere tend to be the most commonly used commercial products for creating and running VMs.

App-Specific Support

It’s equally important to consider app-specific options while choosing backup service. Some back-end business apps might need special capabilities when it comes to backup and restoration, especially complex, database-driven platforms such as big customer relationship management (CRM) apps and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. Popular examples of such business apps include Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, NetApp, and Oracle, which all require special handling. The best options will have native support for backing up and restoring them. Otherwise, you will be left with trying to cobble together a backup solution that only works under the best circumstances.

Customer Support

Backup service providers’ product support varies widely. Customer support should be one of your service provider’s main selling points. By using a data backup service, you are entrusting your business’s operational foundation to a third-party provider. You want to know that they have your back when something goes wrong or you need help. While some offer excellent support, others may as well be nonexistent. Choose a vendor that can be contacted via multiple channels, such as phone, email, chat and even social media. Also, choose a service provider that will treat your data as if it was their own.

Our Recommendation

It takes a whole lot of research to select an appropriate cloud backup service for your business. It needs a balance of availability, configurability, price, security, and usability. In the end, the best cloud backup service will be the one that most closely meets your company’s needs because that’s the best way to ensure it’ll be easily adopted by your users.

Cloud Backup

Our datacenter engineers have tested a number of industry leading backup services and recommended Acronis Cyber Backup and Protection as the best choice among them all.

Acronis is a modern, quality cloud backup service having a number of uncommon features such as blockchain checks and ransomware monitoring. It also offers continuous backup and incremental backup features. It also offers you private, end-to-end encryption that is a very important security feature in this day and age. Unlike it’s rivals like Carbonite or Backblaze, Acronis is easy to set up and use. Here are some streaming features that we liked the most in Acronis:

  •   Multi-service management portal.
  •   Multi-tier cloud architecture.
  •   Comprehensive white-labeling.
  •   Straightforward pay-as-you-go pricing.
  •   12 data centers to choose from*.
  •   Extensive usage reporting.
  •   Feature and quota management.
  •   Single sign-on for multiple services.
  •   Backup operations dashboards and reports.
  •   Integration with RMM and PSA tools: Autotask, ConnectWise (Automate, Manage, Control), Kaseya, SolarWinds (Coming Soon).
  •   Integration with hosting control panels and billing systems: cPanel, Plesk, WHMCS, HostBill.
  •   Integration with marketplace providers: CloudBlue, AppDirect.
  •   A RESTful management API.
  •   User interface in 25 languages.

Key Data Protection Features

  •   Secure cloud backup storage from Acronis, Microsoft and Google.
  •   Flexible local and to-cloud backup options.
  •   Hosted self-service management portal.
  •   Full image and file-level backups.
  •   Data protection on 20+ platforms, including Windows and Linux servers, VMs, eight major hypervisors (vSphere, Hyper-V, Nutanix, Virtuozzo, Citrix XenServer, Linux KVM, RHEV, Oracle VM Server), PCs, Macs, iOS and Android mobile devices, Microsoft on-premises apps, SAP HANA, Oracle Database, Office 365, G Suite and websites.
  •   Initial seeding with physical data shipping.
  •   Customizable policies with backup schedule/frequency and retention rules.
  •   Wide range of recovery options: entire machine, ESXi configuration, single files and folders, databases, office 365 items, etc.
  •   Recovery to dissimilar hardware, including bare-metal, physical, virtual, or cloud environments.
29 Apr

How Softsys Hosting Is Helping Businesses To Overcome COVID-19

How Are We Helping You?

Create New Revenue Stream By Reselling Our Services

In this troubled times with no certainty on when businesses will re-open and get back to their normal levels, it is very important to create an alternative revenue stream. We are helping plenty of freelancers, digital agencies, web development / designing firms, digital marketing agencies, etc. by providing them with an option to resell our cloud hosting services and start making money with zero upfront investment. They are free to (re-)sell our services at their own rates and keep the margin while we take care of setup / cloud management from the backend.

Reduce Your Expenses By Outsourcing Certain Services

Over the last few weeks, we have worked with a few customers to have them outsource some of their internal services and reduce their expenditure dramatically. We have professional in-house IT staff and loyal partners who can help with programming, developing & designing web apps, perform digital marketing activities, etc. in a very professional manner at very affordable rates. Typically, for development / designing activities, average rate is around $15/hr with the option to have full-time dedicated developers in your preferred domain expertise from $2000/month.

Outsourced development and support

If you have trouble with staffing, we can also help to provide outsourced helpdesk services to ensure that your end customers receive continued support based on your SLA’s – this can be for 8 hours, 12 hours or 24 hours a day. Just contact us to discuss your particular case.

Consolidate Services From Other Providers To Softsys Hosting And Reduce Your Cloud Expenses

With severe uncertainty, every business has started reducing its expenses and so should you! We are working with our customers to help them consolidate their cloud services with other providers and move them over to us with custom packages and reduced pricing. We are working with each customer willing to move over to us during this trouble period by ensuring that they are getting their required services and at reduced rates. This also includes AWS & Azure based setup – due to our special partner arrangements with AWS & Azure, we are able to offer discounts over their retail pricing and offer you the most comfortable conditions.

Ensure That Your Business Is Safe While You’re Adapting To The Changing World 

Hackers are taking advantage of this troubled time by attacking and stealing data along with inserting malware / ransomware in critical systems. There have been thousands of reports of such attacks around the world and we are taking security very seriously. We have implemented some security measures on our borders at each data center and are also working individually with our customers & partners to provide additional security measures to protect their systems.

Data Protection

With many people operating from home and outside of office premises, we also have solutions to protect their workstations with regard to your critical data and setup through our all new Acronis Cyber Backup & Protection Cloud – a turnkey product that includes data backup & restoration along with malware / ransomware protection. Learn how do we ensure ultimate network security or opt for Windows Virtual Desktop for business.

Provide Ready To Go Solutions Like WordPress, Magento, nopCommerce & More

We are also preparing to launch some additional ready to go solutions of popular CMS / eCommerce platforms and they are being made live rapidly on our website. Our current offerings are WordPress, nopCommerce, Umbraco, Joomla, Magento and a few more that are going to be added shortly – WooCommerce, SuiteCRM, osCommerce, phpBB, webERP, etc. With a single click setup and platform optimised for these applications, we want to cut down your time on installation / configuring the environment and provide affordable ready to go solutions. We are also offering free migration for all of these platforms!

Negotiate With Microsoft And AWS To Provide Discounts To Our End Customers By Committing Volume Orders With Them

We have negotiated heavily with Microsoft Azure & AWS to allow us to use their platform and provide discounted services to our customers. If you are already using Microsoft Azure, AWS or any Microsoft services (like Office 365, Dynamics 365, etc.), get in touch with us and we can provide you with some savings over their retail pricing.

AWS / Azure / GCP Cloud Management Solution

It is necessary to cut down on your expenses of cloud solutions – we are helping customers by providing AWS / Azure / GCP Cloud Management solution at flat / affordable rates. This also included cloud cost management whereby we will analyze and work on your setup to ensure that your cloud environment is optimised for cost & not overpaid (do you know that 78% of customers pay more than necessary on such services?).

Move Your Expensive Solutions To More Affordable Ones

If you are spending high on expensive solutions, we can help you by moving to Office 365 suite, BizMail, etc. services to ensure that you are saving a fortune for your business.

We are here to help you in all ways possible. Just let us know your requirements and your goals and we will work with you to ensure that you / your business sails through these troubled times.

Stay safe!

10 Apr

Major Trends Transforming The Global Online Landscape

Today, these innovative digital trends are among the top priorities for most business owners in 2020 in accordance with the Softsys Hosting research.

And why wouldn’t they be? After all, if your business has any intention of remaining competitive in today’s online landscape, you must adapt to the rapidly evolving changes in the online field.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence

2020 may be the year that a lot of people wake up to the dominance of artificial intelligence (AI). It’s sure to be at the heart of global business and industry in the future – and it’s already taking over many simple jobs.  It can analyse consumer behaviour and search patterns, and use data from social media platforms and blog posts to help businesses understand how customers interact with their products and services. AI in 2020 will be able to cut staffing costs and accelerate growth, getting a cutting edge over their competitors.

Chatbots

Chatbots will continue to be an important part of the global online landscape in 2020. This AI-based technology uses instant messaging to chat in real-time, day or night, with your customers or site visitors. It is greatly used by banks, transport and eCommerce. These virtual assistants offer outstanding customer service by meeting customers’ expectations and automating repetitive tasks – which means that you can focus more on your core work.

Multi-Cloud Strategy

From a strategic point of view, enterprises are looking at a connected cloud or multi-cloud option that will let them enjoy the benefits of a mix of public cloud, private cloud and data center. Multi-cloud (public, private or hybrid) addresses the growing challenges of cloud adoption, and is continuing to develop to meet the ever-changing needs of companies. With connected cloud, irrespective of where the workload runs, customers will be able to enjoy a secure and seamless experience.

5G Technology

5G Technology

In 2020, 5G will expand the mobile ecosystem to new industries. Next-gen mobile technology leaders have already collaborated with mobile operators and device makers to roll out the new technology to accelerate response times to devices, enabling greater speed and lower latency. 5G is expected to impact most business sectors – from manufacturing to services – and potentially bring unprecedented change to consumers’ lives.

01 Apr

What Cloud Infrastructure You May Require To Run A Business Today?

As recently as a few years ago, setting up a new business was a costly affair. You needed to acquire server hardware and pay various software licensing fees, but now the situation is totally different.

Thanks to the wide availability of cloud services, you can have your business up and running with little more than the device you’re using to read this article. The availability of mature, cloud-based services have changed the picture drastically so that the businesses can access the capabilities they require with little capital outlay.

Why Cloud Hosting?

Cloud Hosting Infrastructure

The conventional IT administration required extensive resource allocation to build internal infrastructure with up-to-date hardware and software. The introduction of cloud computing to the business scenario has drastically reduced the initial cost of IT start-up.

Cloud platforms offer data storage, as well as software as a system (SaaS) for core infrastructure, including computer operating systems architecture. Cloud computing clients are also able to reduce the expense of additional IT staff, converging global administration activities at one site.

Cloud-based services have dramatically reduced the cost & maintenance of IT infrastructure, which has prompted more than half of worldwide businesses to set up cloud hosting.

Cloud-computing services provide the ability to scale elastically – up and down – as needed.  This means delivering the right amount of IT resources: for example, more or less computing power, storage, and bandwidth when it’s needed, without having to “overbuy” in advance for growth.

Most cloud-computing services are architected to provide high-availability, from replicated servers to switches and firewalls that automatically failover when something goes wrong.

Types of Cloud Infrastructure Businesses Use

Below, we have outlined the different types of cloud services and the specific benefits related to each type. Different companies have different requirements. You can choose as per your business need or customize it completely by using a mix of these infrastructure types.

Software As A Service (SaaS)

Emails, calendars, web conferencing tools, project tracking and office tools such as Microsoft Office 365 are all examples of SaaS services. Basically, SaaS are office solutions that allow businesses to work more efficiently and in a more systematic, organized way.

SaaS applications are commonly used for accounting and invoicing, sales tracking, performance monitoring, interoffice communication and overall planning. Customers pay only for the software they use and have access to highly sophisticated applications without the burden or expense of buying and managing them independently.

Platform As A Service (PaaS)

Platform As A Service

PaaS provides an environment that allows users to build internet applications and services, from simple apps to sophisticated enterprise applications. PaaS offers an additional layer of middleware, development tools, business intelligence services and database management and therefore it’s mainly used by software and web developers.

Customers buy the PaaS resources they need from a cloud service provider on an as-needed basis and access them via a secure internet connection. PaaS reduces coding time, gives developers greater flexibility and adaptability, and creates a sense of community among the development team. Typically, developers working on an application work in different locations, and PaaS makes it easier for them to collaborate.

Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS)

IaaS providers offer configured hardware and software through a virtual interface. Servers, storage, networking and security features are the basic services IaaS provides. Your email hosting company is an IaaS provider. Common business applications for IaaS include testing and development, website hosting, backup and recovery, high-performance computing (involving complex and variable calculations) and data analysis.

IaaS is an economical cloud solution for businesses because it eliminates capital expenditure related to on-site hardware or data centers.

Disaster Recovery As A Service (DRaaS)

DRaaS uses cloud resources to safeguard and protect applications from disruption and loss. Data loss and disruption is a major concern for businesses of all sizes because downtime can be costly to the point of ruin. If a system goes down, it’s essential that it gets back up and running again as quickly as possible and that the data within that system is retrievable again. In such a way, DRaaS and premium backup services play a crucial role in ensuring uninterrupted performance of your infrastructure.

Choosing The Right Cloud Services For Your Business

There are countless combinations of cloud services to implement into your business, so it’s important to go into the process with a solid game plan in mind. As more and more IT systems are externalized, choosing the right cloud providers for your business will be critical for seamless growth and long term success. Here are a few must-do steps:

Developing  A Cloud Strategy

Your organization is unique, and therefore has unique needs on the cloud. To ensure a provider meets your requirements, conduct a review of their infrastructure, compliance policies, data protection policies, development practices and data classification procedures. Only then will you know that the provider is a fit.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Inquire about bundling all your services into a single monthly payment, which will shift significant amounts of IT dollars to operations and make it easier to manage your services at optimum levels.

Data Security

Consider the provider’s risk management policies, audit compliance record and vulnerability analysis. Data security is something no business can take lightly.

Service Monitoring

It might be easy to transfer your data to the cloud and forget about it, but if you want to ensure your services do what they’re supposed to, you’ve got to keep a watchful eye. Stay on top of bandwidth issues in particular to keep your services running smoothly and efficiently.

30 Mar

How To Choose The Right Web Hosting For Your Online Store

Congrats! Since you are here, you must be ready to launch your online store. At this stage, you might be wandering – can you just use your existing web hosting, or do you need something special?

Well, the choice of web hosting is critical. Even if you have the best products to offer, a good eCommerce store requires a powerful web hosting provider.

Making an online store is just half of the battle won.You also need to ensure that your eCommerce store is providing a streamlined and convenient customer experience. With the wrong hosting service, your online store can slow down to the extent that your customers will leave and never come back.

As an online entrepreneur, you need to ensure that the buyer’s journey is swift and hassle-free. Your choice of a hosting provider will influence your website’s loading speed, uptime and overall performance. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the factors to take into consideration while choosing the right web hosting solution for your online store.

Choose Hosting That Supports Your Shopping Cart Software

There’s a variety of eCommerce software available today. You should go with the software that best meets your needs, then choose a web hosting provider that supports the system requirements of that software.

For instance, Magento is the widely used PHP/MySQL based shopping cart. Similarly, nopCommerce is the most popular .Net/MSSQL based eCommerce software. They are full-featured, and worthy of consideration. We recommend going with a specialized web host because they know shopping cart software in and out. For example, a generic PHP/MySQL web host won’t know the ecosystem of a Magento store. Your web host must be capable of helping you with your shopping cart software when your developer is not around.

So, make a thorough feature comparison of all software and make the right call. Take your time making your decision—it will be a lot of work if you change your mind later on.

Go With A Premium Web Hosting Service

Premium ecommerce hosting

To begin with, your website speed is one of the essentials of eCommerce growth. You need to ensure that each page loads quickly in order to yield higher conversions. However, if you go for a budget-friendly web hosting provider, it will eventually cost you more.

A one second delay in page loading can reduce customer satisfaction by 16% and increase conversion loss by up to 7%. If your website page takes two or three seconds to load, you can tell your success goodbye!

But slow page load time is just one aspect of losing customers. Website crashes, glitches or error reports are even worse. This is precisely why you must spend some money on a premium web hosting provider and avoid dealing with such headaches in the long run. Yes, it’s totally worth the investment!

You Need Hosting That Supports Secure Credit Card Payments

Security is the key factor for any website, especially for an eCommerce site. Processing online payments and storing confidential customer information require special care.

One security feature you need for secure financial and credit card transactions is SSL. An SSL certificate serves as a digital passport, allowing data to be transmitted over secure networks. It authenticates and encrypts all data transferred through the website.

Many online banks and payment processors (including MasterCard, Visa and American Express) require that your hosting is PCI compliant. The PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) ensures a unified approach for safeguarding credit card holder information, preventing credit card fraud, and other security threats. Make sure that your web host offers SSL certificates and they have also high-end hosting solutions that can also be made PCI compliant on demand.

Upgrade Options 

While your eCommerce store grows, you will need a web host that can keep up as well. There is a good chance that you will outgrow your shared host and you might have to move your hosting to the next higher plan or perhaps next hosting option.

You need to ensure that your web host can support these hosting upgrades so you can bump up hosting resources whenever need arises without experiencing a fall in your online store’s performance. Depending on the size and traffic of your online store, you can opt for a VPS, dedicated, cloud or managed server.

Backups

Backups are mandatory for every eCommerce entrepreneur. Imagine waking up one day to find that all your hard work has disappeared. Imagine all your product listings being gone. You will hate yourself for choosing an unreliable hosting provider.

It is a good practice to prepare yourself for data loss or hacking because such incidents do take place. Choose a hosting provider that offers regular, automated website backups. You may depend on your web host for timely backups as part of your hosting plan, however, we recommend creating backups of your own. You can do so via numerous plugins or third-party software.

Tech Support

Premium technical support

Tech support is an essential feature that you must not neglect when choosing a web host for your online store. If your website goes down, tech support is the superhero you will need. You must ensure that you are getting all the assistance you need from your provider. Tech support is a core feature that separates a good web host from mediocre ones.

Your hosting provider should have a dedicated team in place for customer support. When things go south, their customer support will hook you up with a real person who can figure out the problem and educate you on how to fix it. Many times, you won’t even have to blink, and reliable tech support will fix your problems for you. Also, check whether the tech support is staffed 24/7 or if they are being outsourced.

Conclusion

To run your eCommerce business successfully you need to partner with a hosting company which is as committed to the success of your website as you are. A company you can trust and work with for years to come.

In short, you need a reliable host that can run (and preferably install) shopping cart software of your choice, is secure and PCI compliant, and responds promptly and helpfully every time you may have a support request.

13 Feb

How Your Business Can Benefit From Big Data

From humble beginning some years ago as a concept in the minds of scientists, big data has become a mainstream in the business world. As per the report by  Harvard Business Review, 99% of businesses surveyed reported that they intend to implement big data analytics and AI in the near future, in realty only around 30% have actually succeeded in doing that.

That mismatch shows that while many businesses have not acquired the technical capacity to implement big data analytics, most (73%) of the businesses that have are seeing significant ROI, with most of them being large companies.

Whether your business is big or small, big data has benefits for all them. In fact, SMEs would likely grow the most considering their starting point and how they’d be able to move ahead of competitors who delay in implementing big data solutions. If you’re considering taking the plunge into the big data pool, here are a few of the potential benefits of doing so.

It’s Cost Effective

A recent Tech Cocktail article looks at how Twiddy & Company Realtors cut their costs by 15%. The company compared maintenance charges for contractors against the average of its other vendors. Through this process, the company identified and eliminated invoice-processing errors and automated service schedules.

Greatly Increases Efficiency

Increase Efficiency

Using digital technology tools boosts your business efficiency. From using tools such as Google Maps, Google Earth, and social media, you can do many tasks right at your desk without having travel expenses. These tools save a great amount of time, too.

Greatly Improves Pricing

Use a business intelligence tool to evaluate your finances, which can give you a clearer picture of where your business stands.

Small Businesses Start To Compete With Big Corporations

Using the same tools that big businesses do allows you to be on the same playing field. Your business becomes more sophisticated by taking advantage of tools that are available for your use.

Allows You To Focus On Local Preferences

Small businesses should focus on the local environment they cater to. Big data allows you to zoom in on your local client’s likes/dislikes and preferences even more. When your business gets to know your customer’s preferences combined with a personal touch, you’ll have an advantage over your competition.

Helps In Increasing Sales And Loyalty

Increase Sales

The digital footprints that we leave behind, reveal a great deal of insight into our shopping preferences, beliefs, etc. This data allows businesses to tailor their products and services to exactly what the customer wants. A digital footprint is left behind when your customers are browsing online and posting to social media channels.

Don’t feel overwhelmed by all the data that’s out there. With the right tools and professional assistance like the one by Softsys Hosting, you can sift through the data to find out what you need to start growing your business today!

15 Jan

When Is The Best Time To Start Your Online Business?

They say “There’s a perfect timing for everything”, but is there the best time to start an online business?

Is there such a thing as the best time of a year to start new business? According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), there are more than 30.2 million small businesses in the United States alone. While these businesses certainly didn’t start up at the exact same time, you’d wonder if there is a certain time where it’s more ideal to launch an online business.

Some would say, January sounds good, since it’s the beginning of the new year. Some say, start as young as you can because entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg did tremendously well in their young days. Perhaps you should wait until you’ve secured financing, or the kids are in school, or you’re vested in your pension at work. Or maybe, in fact, there’s no time like the present?

Successful entrepreneurs describe having an instinctive sense that it’s time to move from thinking about a business to actually launching one. Here are five signs you’re ready to open your online business.

Your Readiness To Become An Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, you can expect to put in long hours at all sorts of tasks, and it may be a while before you get rewarded. You’ll need to convince people to become your customers or invest in your idea. You’ll have doubters, naysayers, setbacks, and rejections.

Entrepreneurial Aspirations

You’ll overcome all of this far better if you are truly passionate about your business idea. Being unemployed isn’t a good enough reason to start a business, but feeling driven to provide a solution to a problem is.

Financial Stability

Your financial situation is a key consideration when determining whether to start a business. How much risk can you tolerate? If you are currently in a stable employment situation and have a family do you really want to strike out on your own? Starting a new online business can also take significant amounts of startup capital if you have to purchase equipment, rent/lease business space, and hire employees.

Your financial starting point is a business plan that shows—among other things—how much money you’ll need to start your business, where it will come from, and how long you expect it to take for your business to become profitable. And there are other financial issues to sort out before you take the leap. Ensure how you’ll keep your personal life afloat, whether that means accumulating a year’s worth of savings or relying on income from a job.

Do you have savings or access to funding from family, or the ability to secure debt financing from a lending institution or equity financing from angel investors?

Prepare Yourself

Not everyone has the required personality traits to thrive as a business owner. Aside from extensive knowledge of the particular industry, to be successful as a business owner requires self-motivation and a variety of organizational, management, and marketing skills, as well as the ability to deal with customers and vendors.

Business Plan

Think if you’re ready for starting a business, but are concerned about whether or not you have the “right” traits and attitudes to become an entrepreneur.

Time & Energy To Establish New Business

The best time to start a new online venture is when your life is otherwise relatively calm. If your current situation includes a new baby, a wedding, a divorce, caregiving for a sick family member, a big move, or any other major life stressors, it may be best to wait until things settle down a bit and you can devote your full attention to launching your new enterprise.

Effect On Family

If you are married, be aware that running a business is a family affair. Aside from the family financial considerations stated above, starting a business generally requires much more of your time than regular employment and will likely continue to do so for many years to come. The time commitment and the associated stresses and uncertainties of running a business can place an undue strain on family relationships. Note, however, that involving family members in your business can also be very beneficial. Aside from providing trusted help, employing your spouse and/or children has great tax advantages.

Your family may have to take financial or personal sacrifices to help your business succeed. Start your business after you’ve talked things through with them and resolved any major concerns.

Trust Your Inner Wisdom

Plenty of would-be entrepreneurs hesitate for months or years, waiting for all the stars to align. There’s a fine line between jumping in without adequate thought and overthinking everything to the point where your business never gets off the ground. Listen to your instincts. If you’ve thought through the practicalities and you feel you’re ready, it’s probably time to go for it.

Starting a business of your own – whether full-time or on the side – can be a great move, provided you do so when the timing is right.

Setting The Right Expectations

The key to running any successful business is to set the right expectations and the right level of commitment. Most people quit their businesses within their first year. If you aren’t willing to devote at least 3-5 years to your business, don’t even bother. Why? Because most of the wealth and the profits are to be had well after your first year. Expecting your business to be vastly profitable within a short time frame is a half assed way to think about your business.

Let’s be realistic as we at Softsys Hosting. During the first year of any online business, your website is probably not going to have superior search engine placement. Your business probably won’t have a large customer base. Your business probably won’t have much name recognition. It takes time for word of mouth to spread. It takes time for things to snowball. Be patient and results will come.

12 Jan

Major Web Hosting Trends Of 2020

There are lot of obstacles that a web hosting company has to overcome to become a reputable and reliable business. Most important among them is security as around 30,000 websites got hacked every single day. Offering 99% uptime level is good, but not enough in today’s world, especially with the big and leading players who are always ahead of competitors.

The ease of doing a business online, especially e-commerce one, is among important factors driving the growth of web hosting industry. E-commerce market needs reliable and always live website operations, maintenance of data on a regular basis, ultimate security, and these are some aspects where web hosting providers focus their product developments.

The growth of web hosting industry is not without issues.  The biggest threat today in web hosting is the changing user attitudes toward hosting. According to the Google Trends, the search term “web hosting” dropped by 60%. Apart from that, the gap between DIY and professional website creation continues to widen as many small business owners look for the ways to start a website without any decent IT skills. With so many advanced DIY applications covering a wide range of operations, it has become easy for small business owners to design and manage their own websites.

That being said, let’s take a closer look on the major web hosting trends of 2020.

Green Web Hosting

The Internet’s annual CO2 output is equal to 31 million cars driving around the world all at once.

How does it generate so much CO2?

Websites are stored on servers that are kept in facilities called data centers. Servers are expected to work 24/7 and like our daily gadgets such as phones and laptops, they get hot. Therefore, the hardware in data centers are stored in a cool and controlled environment. This, however, requires an incredibly energy-intensive cooling systems. End result is a significant increase of CO2 output.

Fortunately, as the concern for Global Warming are increasing every year, web hosting companies are now investing in carbon offsetting schemes. In green web hosting, web hosts actively participate in eco-friendly initiatives to reduce negative impacts on the environment. They do this by gaining renewable energy certificates (REC) or carbon offset certificates (VER).

RECs certify that a hosting company helped in generating renewable energy. Companies which specialize in creating renewable energy generate these RECs and sell them to a hosting provider. The money from this purchase then finances the operational costs for green energy initiatives. VERs, however, certify that a hosting company helped in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that the certificate states.

Cloud Hosting

Ultimate cloud hosting is the future of web hosting. It has gained immense popularity in recent years with the range of services offered by companies like AWS, Google Cloud, Azure and many smaller companies like Jelastic which are ever evolving with lots of new services added every year.  Cloud hosting is a concept utilized in many areas of technology, and it has now entered the arena of web hosting. The cloud has no physical equivalent, and it doesn’t have a physical server. Instead, it stores data across multiple computers, which then provide access via network connection like the Internet. Unlike a single physical computer, it has endless processing power and storage space.

Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a game-changer for many online businesses. Unlike the typical dedicated server configurations, cloud hosting is more affordable as it eliminates the constraints of physical servers. Much like cloud management software solutions, cloud hosting provides a more efficient platform for your data. In cloud hosting, your site’s resources can be pulled from multiple different virtual servers. It provides a hosting solution that is both scalable and reliable and has multiple payment options such as pay as you go, etc.

HTTPs As The Standard

Since July 2018, Google Chrome started to mark non-HTTPs websites as “not secure.” To understand this better, Chrome which is a cross platform browser from Google, has a 71% worldwide market share. To encourage sites to shift into HTTPs, Google Search even promised a fair rankings boost. This started offering of free HTTPs the norm in the web hosting arena with all major control panels having built in options to install free SSL certificates on the website.

There are many benefits of using HTTPs. It helps a website rank higher on search engines and protects sensitive data at the same time. This ensures that all information gathered on a website is secured and safe from most Internet thieves. For web hosting providers, offering customers HTTPs is not just something that’s nice to have but also a must-have these days. Not doing so can make you lag in the race, especially now that there are many web hosting companies offering free HTTPs.

Fewer Data Centers

A study by Gartner reports that worldwide spending on data centers will see a decline of 2.8 percent in the year 2019. This is the largest spending decline that data centers will experience, according to the Gartner research.

Cloud offering is also eliminating some of the data center roles. It is one of the main factors behind the declining number of data centers. With the number of enterprises now opting for cloud does not need infrastructures set up, which in turn affects the number of people needed to manage servers, storage, and networks.

Managed Web Hosting Services 

Managed web hosting has gained immense popularity in the hosting arena. It is also the main reason why customers stick with a hosting company for a long time. For growing websites or online businesses, managed hosting trends have become a great solution, especially if you don’t have much technical know-how in the aspects of performance optimization and security. With the increased complexities and regulatory requirements, it has become a norm even with companies that use cloud platforms to outsource their web hosting management needs.

Managed Hosting

Targeting Markets

Web hosting companies, like other businesses, run on continuous hard work and efforts of retaining old clients and attracting new ones. Nonetheless, not all market segments can be covered by a single web hosting provider. While large hosting companies rely on numbers through their marketing, smaller one’s may focus on a specific niche and offer a more personal service level.