The internet provides many opportunities to be successful, andstarting an online business has never been easier. However, the competition can be stiff!
As a business owner, you have to work hard to stay on top of your game and grow your business!
This post will talk about five useful tips for developing an online business into something that will generate sustainable revenue for years (or even decades) to come!
The Basics of Online Business
First, let’s start with the basics and talk about making sure your online business is well-known. If you have a website that no one knows about or never gets any traffic, it won’t matter how hard you work because no one will know about it.
You need to be out there telling people about your business and what you have to offer!
This can be achieved by being active on social media, sending out press releases, and reaching out to local news stations.
You may also want to be sure that the design of your website is professional-looking, clean, and easy to navigate.
If your website is not meeting your expectations, consider hiring a professional web designer and content writer. They can help boost online business growth by creating a site that people want to visit and share.
Once you have a website that gets a fair number of visitors, follow these five tips for online business growth and development.
A business strategy is a formal plan that outlines the goals of an organization and how to achieve them. Business strategies are based on thorough investigation, market research, competitor analysis, and more!
Business strategy is key to online business growth and development! Without a well-defined plan, businesses may fail or won’t be able to meet the needs of their customers.
If you want your small company to succeed long term, then make sure you work on defining:
Clear short and medium-term goals.
Monthly expenses associated with running the company.
The estimated income from sales.
Remember a well-defined business strategy can help you: define critical goals, measure success, and get the support you need from your team.
Do Your Homework! Perform a Competitor Analysis
Competitors are a great source of information. Learn from them!
Here are some important questions to ask and things to keep an eye on when analyzing your competitors:
What sales and marketing strategies do your competitors use?
What products or services are they selling?
What are their strengths and weaknesses?
How they are marketing themselves?
What they are selling more of?
How they are bundling services?
Who they are catering to?
This information is important as you can set yourself apart from the competition by providing something different, having a unique approach, or catering to untapped markets. The business opportunities are endless!
Invest in Customer Service
Customer service can either make you or break a business, particularly a small business.
Make sure you have a well-defined customer service plan that is effective and efficient. This includes:
Hiring the right people.
Finding out if there are any services your customers are not taking advantage of.
Getting customer feedback on their experience with your company and services.
Remember! A happy client who comes back time and time again will keep bringing new business too.
You don’t want to be spamming, but you need people to know what your business is about and how it can help them. Here’s what you can do to promote your brand the right way:
Incorporate a call-to-action into all of the content you produce so that readers are encouraged to take action (e.g., purchase or sign up for something) after reading the content.
Have a social media presence as you can use it to share information on new products/services, upsell existing offerings, etc.
Network with other businesses and groups to establish new business opportunities.
Remember, all these strategies are great, but they won’t work unless your website can convert that traffic into paying clients or sales. Invest in a good website design and a premium web hosting service.
Starting an online business is an exciting endeavor, but starting one the right way can also be daunting. This checklist provides all of the steps you need to take before starting an online business and tips on making your business successful.
This post is designed for those looking to start their own online business, but even experienced business owners can gain insight from this list of helpful tips!
Starting an online business might seem like an easy project, but it often takes more research than you might expect.
To be well prepared when starting your online business you should:
Research the market for your product or service to see if there’s a demand.
Find out how much competition exists in this space.
Do some preliminary financial planning so you can figure out how much starting capital you need.
Determine Your Target Audience
It is essential to define your target audience and understand who they are before starting an online business. This will help you design your website, products, or services in a way that is appealing to your audience.
Create a Business Plan
A business plan is a document that details the steps you will take in starting and running your company. It can include short and mid-term goals you hope to achieve and how much money it will take to do so. A well-crafted and compelling business plan can help you get the necessary funds to start your business or find strategic partnerships.
Find a Company Name
The company name is often the first impression you give a potential customer. Your brand name can resonate with potential clients or give them second thoughts about doing business with you.
When choosing your company name, think of what you want your business to stand for? Take time out now to start brainstorming some company names that will set up an excellent foundation!
Register a Business Entity
Before starting an online business, it’s essential to figure out which legal structure is best for you. Different types of businesses have different tax burdens and benefits associated with them, so research your options carefully before deciding on one.
Once you’ve come up with a good name, it is important to register your trademark for that business or product(s) to prevent other companies from using the same name. In the United States, this can be done through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Set Up Your Bank Account
You’ll want to set up a business bank account before starting your online business so that you can keep business-related expenses/income separate from your personal ones. Your business bank account will also be used for tax purposes.
Register a Domain
Choose a website name with an easy-to-remember URL. In most cases, your website name will be the same as the company name. Once you have found the right website name, register your domain. You can register your domain for a minimum of one (1) year.
A logo is a vital part of your website and branding strategy. Your logo will help you distinguish your business itself from other businesses in the same industry.
Make sure to find a design that is visually appealing and reflects your company’s identity. If you need assistance in designing a logo, you can hire a freelancer from Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer.
Build Your Website
Once you have your domain name and hosting account, it’s high time to start developing your website. Create a clean and mobile-friendly design for your website that is easy to navigate.
Select the type of website that best suits your business needs – whether eCommerce or a CMS site, like WordPress.
Secure Your Website With an SSL Certificate
Website security is critical when starting an online business. The first step you should take towards securing your website is to get an SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer.
When installed on a server, the SSL certificate will activate an HTTPS protocol and encrypt information between the server and a user’s browser. The SSL certificate
ensures that your website users can safely submit their information without the risk of being hacked or have personal data stolen.
All major browsers will now flag your website as “Not Secured” if you don’t have an SSL certificate set up.
Enable Plugins and Widgets
Add Relevant Plugins and Widgets to Your Website such as SEO tools, social media sharing widgets, Google Analytics, GDPR consent tool, live chat, etc. These plugins and widgets will help you provide a better user experience to your website visitors.
Set up Business Email Accounts
These will be email addresses that your customers, potential clients, and partners can use when reaching out for support or other inquiries about your company.
Once you have a website up and running, you need to add some content relevant to what you are offering. Such content might include service or product descriptions, images, videos, text articles, blog posts.
Relevant content will help your website visitors learn more about your company and help with SEO rankings because search engines will index your content when they crawl your site for updates.
Create a Google Analytics Account
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that helps you track traffic on your website and provides valuable insights into what people are doing on your site. You can learn which are your most popular web pages, which pages have low traffic, how users get to your website, and more.
Use Google Ads to Get More Website Traffic
Google Ads can help get more traffic to your website. This is especially important when you are just getting started with your online business.
With the right keywords in your ad copy, you can get in front of potential customers. You can also use retargeting to stay top of mind for those users that visited your website but didn’t make a purchase/decision right away.
Set up Social Media Accounts for Your Online Business
Social media has become an essential part of starting and running any type of online business. Set up accounts on the major networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc. to follow and engage with your target audience.
Choose accounts on those social networks where you can best engage with potential customers.
Setup Email Marketing
Set up email marketing software like Mailchimp, Constant Contact or ActiveCampaign, to send regular newsletters to subscribers who want updates from you via email rather than social media channels.
Once everything has been set up according to our checklist, go ahead and get those sales rolling in by following marketing strategies and data-driven insights from experts in the field.
It’s no secret that IT infrastructure plays a key role in the success of any business. Can you try picturing a scenario where your IT infrastructure that hosts your business-critical application or website fails? Imagine the time it would take to restore your data and apps. You may be losing thousands of dollars or even be out of business before you have a chance to be back online.
As the digital landscape continues to evolve, businesses need to have a secure and reliable IT infrastructure in place.
Moreover, they need an IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to adapt to their ever-changing business needs, yet robust and resilient enough to withstand potential system disruptions.
What Is IT Infrastructure?
The term IT infrastructure refers to the underlying framework for how technology services are delivered. These technologies include servers, storage devices, routers, operating systems and software applications, and other tools that support business processes.
The purpose of a critical IT infrastructure is to ensure business continuity by ensuring that you can run your business smoothly without any glitches or interruptions.
What Are the Key Components of IT Infrastructure?
Every IT infrastructure has key components that need to work together. The two main groups are hardware and software:
Hardware – includes everything from facilities, data centers, servers, storage devices, network switches, routers, to the physical workstations or laptops.
Software – includes operating systems (OS), web applications such as PHP or Java applications, database systems such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress or Joomla, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) & more.
Types of IT Infrastructure
There are two primary types of IT infrastructure:
Traditional IT Infrastructure
A traditional IT infrastructure consists of physical servers and desktop computers that are typically installed on-premise for a single company or organization.
Benefits of Traditional IT Infrastructure
One of the major benefits of traditional IT infrastructure is increased security. With all hardware being set up on-premise and access being restricted, there are fewer risks for vulnerabilities. Increased data security and compliance requirements are the reasons why some organizations might still opt for this type of infrastructure.
On the other hand, it is more expensive to set up and maintain traditional IT infrastructure. It requires large upfront investments and a dedicated IT team within the organization that can maintain the infrastructure. Changes to resources or software upgrades are also not as flexible as with a cloud infrastructure.
A cloud infrastructure, also referred to as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), is an infrastructure that can be provisioned and managed over the internet from anywhere in the world! IaaS it’s one of the three main types of cloud computing service models along with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). In a cloud infrastructure, hosting providers can deliver resources that are typically bound to physical hardware, virtually, in any location around the world that is accessible via the Internet. The process that makes this possible is known as virtualization technology.
Benefits of Cloud Infrastructure
Lower Cost – A cloud infrastructure requires a lower upfront investment since the hosting provider is responsible for acquiring and maintaining the underlying hardware.
Flexible Commitments – Most hosting providers will offer flexible terms of contracts with monthly, quarterly, or annual billing options. Some services might even include a pay-as-you-go billing model.
Improved Agility and Flexibility – Thanks to the cloud, you can now have your software and application up-and-running in no time. That means small businesses and start-ups can remain agile with their IT needs while also being able to use resources at a much lower cost than if they had invested in traditional IT infrastructure. Similarly, businesses can use their time more wisely by being able to quickly set up multiple virtual machines from different locations around the world. In other words, you no longer have to deal with all the heavy lifting that comes with setting up and maintaining your own servers.
More Efficient Resource Scaling – In a cloud infrastructure, you can easily scale your business without having to worry about what type of equipment you’ll be using down the line. You can scale servers vertically (upgrade specific resources) or horizontally (add more servers) as needed. When you need more computing resources for your business, you or your hosting provider can easily upgrade/downgrade resources, typically with just a few clicks.
Minimize Downtime, Maximize Success!
Network availability, or uptime, is one of the critical features to look for when choosing a web hosting provider. A study performed by Gartner in 2014, estimated the average cost of downtime to be $5,600 per minute, well over $300K per hour.
These numbers are reinforced by a 2019 survey by Information Technology Intelligence Consulting (ITIC). In their 2019 Global Server Hardware Server OS Reliability Report, which polled over 1,000 businesses worldwide, 86% of the respondents indicated that one hour of downtime can cost their organization $300.000 or more.
Furthermore, from the 1,000 businesses polled by ITIC, almost 300 indicated the cost of one hour of downtime exceeds $1 million.
Best Practice: To maintain critical business functions or quickly recover in the event of an unplanned downtime all companies and organizations should have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP).
Why Every Business Needs An Effective Business Continuity Plan
A business continuity plan will outline the procedures that you need to follow to be up and running in the event of a major infrastructure disaster or unplanned downtime.
There is a common misconception that natural disasters are unlikely to affect a datacenter. Anyone who has ever lost data due to natural disasters knows it can happen at any time. The recent fire at the OVH datacenter in Strasbourg, France is a clear example of this.
Having a business continuity plan can save your business not only millions of dollars but years’ worth of work.
Tip: Think of a business continuity plan as a checklist that you can follow to bring your website and applications back online in the event of a major natural disaster or cyberattack.
Five Key Services to Improve Website Availability
Along with the business continuity plan you should consider the following key services when thinking of your IT infrastructure:
Service Level Agreement (SLA) – Your web hosting provider should have an SLA of at least 99.9%. Anything less than “three nines” is something to be concerned about.
Redundancy – Verify that the hardware that your IT infrastructure runs on has an additional redundant layer to eliminate single points of failure.
Uptime Monitoring – Having a monitoring system in place will help you track availability and know right away if there’s an issue. SNMP and PING are commonly used at the server or router level while advanced monitoring tools can be set up for HTTP/SMTP/SQL services.
Backup Policy – Make sure you always have at least one automated backup policy with multiple days or even weeks of backup retentions.
Best Practice: In addition to automated backups keep also an additional local copy of your critical data. You can never have too many backups!
Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) – In a major disaster, such as the OVH datacenter fire, or unplanned downtime you will want to have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place. These can vary based on an organization’s requirements.
An effective way to implement a disaster recovery plan is by using replicated servers. With replicated servers, you have an identical copy of your primary server that can be spun up in the event of a disaster. Servers can be replicated:
In the same datacenter – which would ensure that your websites are up and running in the event in which the underlying hardware that hosts your primary server fails.
In different datacenters/locations – this adds an additional layer of uptime protection, in case of a major disaster that affects the entire datacenter, as in the case of the OVH fire.
The Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan are both designed with maximum availability in mind in case of a major disaster or cyberattack. The primary difference between them is WHEN they are implemented. A Business Continuity Plan will focus on keeping your business up for as long as possible DURING a major incident while a Disaster Recovery Plan is focused on bringing your website/applications up as soon as possible AFTER a major incident.
Today’s businesses need more than just an IT team, they need a reliable hosting infrastructure and the tools and means to ensure continuous data availability.
Hosting critical websites and applications can often be a burden for businesses, but it doesn’t have to be. By having a Disaster Recovery Plan and Business Continuity Plan plan in place you can ensure that your website is always up and running in the event of a disaster.
About SoftSys Hosting
At SoftSys Hosting 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 high availability and disaster recovery solutions from a reliable web hosting provider, please get in touch. We’d love to learn more about your business and provide solutions that will empower your team to accelerate growth.
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.
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.
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.
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 (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.
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.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
Imagine, hundreds of users are rushing to your website at the same time to purchase products which you actively marketed for this holiday. Your ads are now running, you are getting visitors more than you calculated or more than your server can handle. So what is going to happen with this sudden traffic spike?
Prepare for the Worst or If You Want Peace, Prepare for War
You should be always prepared for the worst (means best for your business) during this holiday shopping fest. Because the year 2020 proved to be one of the toughest years so far. But this might be the good opportunity for your online business because people will hesitate to go out in malls during this Covid-19 pandemic and you may expect getting more online traffic than ever before. In that case you should be prepared to avoid 2 major disasters. So how are you going to be prepared?
Check your Website Performance
You can check the current performance of your website easily with the online tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights. Open PageSpeed Insights, enter the URL of your website and hit the Analyze button. This test will show you result for both mobile and desktop versions of your website. And you will get the detailed audit of your website code and receive suggestions on how to optimize it. But still if you don’t have enough computing power to run your website easily during this traffic spike, you may get time-out errors and your customers will flow away without making any purchases.
Use Content Delivery Network (CDN)
The best way to cope with the traffic load on your website is not follow all traffic to your single web hosting server. CDN can do it very effectively by storing the cached content of your website on multiple CDN servers located around the globe. But you will have to implement CDN before the traffic starts hitting your website because it will be very difficult to implement the CDN once your website is under heavy traffic load.
Opt for the Scalable Hosting Solution
The most straightforward way to deal with increased traffic is to upgrade your hosting account. For example, if you are using shared hosting you can go with VPS which will give you isolated resources like RAM, CPU and storage at a more affordable price if compare to dedicated solutions. You should contact your web hosting provider before your customers start contacting you. And if you are a Softsys Hosting client then you can directly get in touch with our support team and we will provide you the most suitable VPS plans or you can choose on your own from our extensive range of cloud-based Windows VPS, Linux VPS or Special eCommerce (nopCommerce, Magento) and CMS (WordPress, Joomla, Umbraco) hosting solutions.
There was a time when having a website for your business was optional. Today, many businesses can’t afford even a few minutes of downtime when their customers can’t access their site. That means, choosing a reliable web hosting service has become mission critical for most business owners. But that can be easier said than done, given the hundreds of options out there that range from providers , all of which differ in terms of their price and service offerings. But how do you know whether you need to spend $10 a month or $100 when it comes to a web hosting service? We would like to mention here some of the key tips, from business owners and experts alike, about the types of questions and issues you want to think about before deciding where to host your website:
Nobody can guarantee a 100% uptime. Incidents happen and the worst thing for a customer is having their business-critical website down. These are the times when support can truly make a difference. “Support has always been quick with everything and understood what I was asking them meaning they are knowledgeable as well. Never felt like these guys were reading from a script, they are real bonafied human beings and I like that.” says Yves Lacombe a long-time SoftSys customer. That means looking for providers that offer 24/7 support with customer service reps who are available for assistance immediately. SoftSys Hosting support has a stellar background, as we are always willing to go one step ahead in providing a fast and speedy resolution to customer issues.
Most companies buy their .com, .net, .org, etc. versions of their brand name, misspellings, service names, and more. It’s most efficient and convenient for brand management to have these in one control panel and know that you’re not going to lose any traffic. Softsys Hosting offers multiple domain aliases even on basic hosting plans thus allows even the smallest customers to park multiple domains on their plans without any additional charges.
Make sure your web hosting service provides adequate backup. There have been instances when customers mistakenly delete the entire directory of their website. Some have their websites compromised, while some got their account terminated and removed from the server due to payment glitches and came back later expected their account worked as before after making the payment. A regular backup is always able to save from these losses. Softsys Hosting provides multiple backup options including R1Soft and Acronis that offer the ability to restore backups with just a click and bring the website back up within no time. Support also plays a critical role in this time in assisting customer in faster recovery and restoring services with minimal downtime.
The last thing you want your customers to experience is a blank/error message when they type in your URL, so a hosting service with a strong reputation for uptime and redundancy is the one you should be looking for Opt for an uptime guarantee of 99 percent or more.
You might find that some hosting services make it difficult to make changes to your site. If so, avoid them. Make sure the host you choose gives you access to the server so that you can easily create new email accounts, make changes to server settings, etc. Softsys Hosting uses Plesk, cPanel, etc. which provides customers with the ability to have complete control over their hosting account. Almost all the features are available so customers are able to manage hosting themselves without the need to contact support frequently.
Shared Or VPS
For small websites and on a limited budget, customers prefer a shared hosting service, which basically means that your site is being hosted along with dozens of other sites which is why you might pay as little as $7 a month for hosting fees. The downside, though, can be that troubles with one of those sites could lead to problems for all the sites hosted on that . Having a fast website response time is crucial so that your visitors don’t grow impatient and click away and that Google uses page load speed as one of its many factors in determining whether your page will be shown high in search results. That’s why some customers prefer to pay more for access to a Virtual Private Server (VPS). VPS is a bit more complicated to set up, but from as low as $8 a month, customers have a much higher quality web server and faster performance.
While you might be shopping for a hosting service for your small business, you should consider partnering with a service that can scale with you as you get bigger. That can mean that the service offers different tiers of service based on the number of expected visitors you receive each month where, as your business takes off, you can easily upgrade your plan. You must make sure that your service provider – or at least your service plan – are capable of dealing with spikes.
Even if you’re excited about everything your new web hosting service has to offer, make sure you read the fine print about what they will say if you decide to take your business elsewhere. Softsys Hosting offers such services when most of customers are able to cancel their service simply by submitting a cancellation request.
You can often get into surprise elements when moving into the cloud. If you don’t feel confident, find a vendor that you can trust. A good way to evaluate a vendor is getting recommendations. Going through reviews or asking for client recommendations are also a good way to proceed. Once you’re there, ask for a detailed bid – you’re less likely to run into surprise costs.
Dividing The Overall Tasks
Cloud migration is a daunting task involving almost every business function and not everything can be stopped in case any issues come up during the migration process. Therefore the best approach for a business is to build in milestones where it would be possible to temporarily stop the migration for whatever reason.
Everybody will agree here that cloud is considered a reliable and secure place to store data, but contrary to this, the migration process isn’t easy if you don’t have the right kind of developers/experts to channel you through the process. Every service provider offers a certain set of tools to guide you through the process so that you can do it manually, however finding the right team will save you both time and money.
By migrating your business to the cloud, you open it up to anyone with online access. One should carefully plan and place necessary tools to enhance the security aspect of the cloud platform specially from the user devices.
Know How It Works First
It is important that you know the platform inside out. Don’t move or use the cloud until you fully understand what is involved and how it works. It’s better to have a clear picture before you put your business into something you are not fully aware how it works, including how your information can be secured.
Consider The Application You Want To Use
Not every cloud application fits all. Depending on your cloud strategy and business objectives, the application might only solve certain parts of your migration or needs and not be flexible enough to transfer all of your intended data. Compare cloud applications. Weigh the costs, security, flexibility, storage, and the efficiency of the application before you decide to go with a specific solution.
Manage Every Step Of The Process
Migrating to the cloud is a big step and one that can have some positive effects on your business. However, such a major change also carries some risks with it. Do not think of it as flipping a switch and making the change all at once. Nor should you put all the responsibility on the shoulders of the cloud vendor. Take steps of your own to stay organized and maintain security.
Make Multiple Backups
We cannot stress this enough. Always copy your critical applications to cloud backups drives. The best strategy is to set up automated backups to multiple locations. These backups can and will save your business one day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.