14 Sep

4 Signs That IT Resource Constraints Are Costing Your Business

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

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

Overextended Team

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

IT Partner

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

Deferred Growth

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

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

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

Security Concerns

Hosting security

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

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

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

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

Profitability

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

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

SoftSys Review

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

12 Sep

Adoption Of Improved Cloud Solutions Determines Business Success

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

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

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

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

Cloud Solutions For Business

Reduce Operational Costs

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

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

Increase Efficiency – Scale Better

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

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

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

Improve Productivity + Mobility

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

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

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

Speed To Market 

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

 

SoftSys Review

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

— Mark R

07 Aug

How Can Microsoft Office 365 Help Your Business?

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

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

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

Office For Your Business

Multi-Dimensional Elements

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

Exchange Emails

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

Data Control and Cloud Storage

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

Flexible Payment Plans

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

Collaborative Technology

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

Build A Website

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

Want Microsoft Office 365 at A Discounted Rate?

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

05 Aug

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

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

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

Understanding Your Hosting Needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Refund & Cancellation Policy

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

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

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

Uptime And Reliability

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

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

Check Account Limitations

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

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

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

24/7 Tech Support

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

15 Jul

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

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

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

CDN Services

CDN, Content Delivery Network

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

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

Antivirus & Anti-Malware Software

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

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

Upgrade to SSD Hosting

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

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

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

Offsite Backups

Server Backup

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

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

Managed DNS Services

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

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

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

28 Jun

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

 

Shared Hosting

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

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

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

Slow Website Performance Especially During Peak Times

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

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

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

Frequent Downtime

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

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

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

Increase In Traffic

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

Poor Load Times

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

You Want To Run Custom Software

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

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

Your Site Needs More Security

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

dedicated server hosting

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

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

22 Jun

5 Building Blocks For Your Business Website

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

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

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

7 Steps To Ensure Your Business Is GDPR Compliant

Have you procrastinated and waited until the last minute (or past the GDPR deadline) to get your company’s data in order? We’ve broken it down into 7 steps to make sure you’re compliant:

Document Existing Data Policy

If you haven’t already, use this as a reason to get organized when it comes to your data. Create a folder on your company’s file system that will house all of the details regarding your data collection, processing, and storage.

We recommend starting with a data map to outline what data is collected by your business and where. From there, separate the data into categories so that you can more easily identify the lawful basis for processing each category of data.

Document diligently, as this could serve as proof in your defense if needed.

Understand The GDPR Requirements

Involve key stakeholders and executive leadership to place a high priority on cyber preparedness. These may include representatives from marketing, finance, sales, operations and any group that collects, analyzes, or makes use of customer data.

Make sure that everyone is on the same page in regards to the requirements of the new regulation and how your business must move to adhere to it.

Some key questions to ask:

  1. How will you have users give consent in accordance with the regulation?
  2. What is the process for deleting data?
  3. How will you ensure that data is truly deleted across all systems?
  4. How will you transfer data if requested by a consumer?
  5. What processes are in place to ensure that the person requesting changes is, in fact, the person they say they are?
  6. What is the outreach plan in the event of a breach?

Hire Or Appoint A DPO

Determine if you can simply add these duties to an existing position or if you’ll need to hire a new team member to do the job. Virtual DPOs are also an option as the regulation allows for a DPO to work for several companies as a consultant.

Identify And Correct Non-Compliant Processes

Compare your data audit to the requirements of the GDPR paying specific attention to privacy, rights and processes, data requests, data processing, and consent.

A large part of the compliance may be setting incident response plans. Under the GDPR requirements, businesses must report a breach within 72 hours of the incident. Make sure your team knows how to respond in the event of a security breach.

Conducting a risk assessment will also allow you to uncover Shadow IT. Matt Fisher, SVP at Snow Software, likens Shadow IT to an iceberg. “The iceberg effect poses a serious risk to organizations’ GDPR compliance as many are focused on the 10 percent of applications holding personal data that are visible at the water’s surface,” he says.

Other internal tasks to take on include:

  • Create a Password Policy.
  • Ensure your website is HTTPS.
  • Create a Data Retention Schedule and Destruction Policy.
  • Contact your contact base to prompt them to “opt in.”
  • Update your website’s Privacy Policy.

Communicate With Partners And Vendors

The risk of Shadow IT makes it critical to communicate with your third-party vendors and partners as well. Under the regulation, both data processors and controllers are liable in the event of a breach. That means, if you use a separate data processor who is not in compliance, your business is on the hook as well.

Report Your GDPR Compliance Progress

In Article 30 of the GDPR, it requires companies to complete the Record of Processing Activities (RoPA). This helps companies take inventory of risky applications and enables them to have a clear picture of how data moves throughout their departments and software.

Ask For Help (If Needed)

Feeling a bit overwhelmed? Ask for help. At Softsys Hosting, we’re fully prepared to help make sure you feel confident in your data storage and protocols.

23 May

The GDPR: Explained

As we near the enforceable date of May 25th, it seems that GDPR is the buzzword of the month. But what is it? And, more importantly, what does it mean for your business?

Doing your research and preparing now will not only help you stay compliant yourself, but also answer any questions your clients have about how you’re handling their personal data.

The Overview

In short, the GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation and is a regulation in the European Union law. Developed in order return the control of data back to consumers, it also serves to simplify the regulatory environment around the world by simplifying and unifying the regulation within the EU.

While it may seem to be a recent focus for businesses and in the press, it was actually adopted over two years ago – in April of 2016. The renewed exposure is due to the fact that the regulation becomes enforceable on May 25th, 2018, after a two-year transition period.

The Details

The GDPR protects consumers’ personal data, which could be a wide-ranging list depending on how the governing body chooses to enforce it. In general, the GDPR aims to guard basic identity information (name, address, ID numbers), web data, biometric data, health and genetic data, racial or ethnic data, sexual orientation, and political opinions.

In order to protect that data, the regulation outlines the lawful basis for processing, definition of consent, guidelines to follow in the event of a data breach, among other requirements for compliance.

One example of a GDPR requirement is the right to be forgotten. This compels companies to erase personal data upon consumer request. The regulation also requires that data be stored “in a form which permits identification of data subjects for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which the personal data are processed.”

Additionally, some companies are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer to oversee GDPR compliance and data security. The International Association for Privacy Professionals estimates that nearly 30,000 companies will need to hire a DPO.

Potentially the biggest area for concern lies in Articles 25 and 32. Here, the GDPR outlines the expectation of companies to be able to provide a “reasonable” level of data protection. However, the definition of “reasonable” is open to interpretation by the GDPR governing body.

The Impact

You may be thinking, “Whew – I’m not based in the EU, glad I don’t have to worry about compliance.” You may be right. However, if you have a presence in an EU country, process personal data of European residents, or have more than 250 employees, you are required to comply.

Furthermore, the GDPR holds both data controllers and data processors liable for compliance. That means that if you’re using a third-party processing service that is not in compliance, your business is not in compliance.

Ultimately, the goal of the GDPR is to force companies to change the way they process, store, and protect personal data. As a result of these requirements and fines, nearly 85% of US based companies believe that the GDPR will put them at a disadvantage to European companies, according to a study by Ovum.

The Enforcement

Governed by a group of Supervisory Authorities (one for each member nation), the GDPR gives these representatives the ability to conduct audits, review certifications, issue warnings, impose limitations, suspend data flow that is found non-compliant, and impose administrative fines.

Those administrative fines can be extremely high – in some cases as much as 4% of a business’ global revenue or $20 million, whichever is higher.

Management consulting firm Oliver Wyman predicts that the EU could collect as much as $6 billion in fines and penalties in the first year. Don’t let your company be among them!

25 Apr

How To Migrate Data Seamlessly To A New Host

One of the reasons that we hear businesses give for staying with their current hosting providers (even if they’re not happy with the service) is because they are unsure about how to make the transition from one host to another. We get it! Transferring all of your business’ important data to a server that may be thousands of miles away can be intimidating.

The good news is that we’re here to help. Because making the switch to a new hosting provider doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as you’re organized!

When deciding whether to take the plunge, consider the strategic advantages a new hosting provider might offer your company. Many hosts will also help you transition to their servers to make sure you’re up and running smoothly!

Still a little nervous? Follow these steps to make sure your transition goes off without a hitch!

Get Organized

Make a plan to ensure that you have as little downtime as possible throughout the transition. Consider moving your files over the weekend so that there is little disruption for your clients and employees. Determine who will be responsible for what tasks during the migration. Evaluate how much of the process your new host will be handling.

When you have a plan in place, inform your clients and followers that you are going to be making the switch ahead of time so that you can reduce the number of website visitors during the transition period.

Choose A New Host

Not sure where to start? Here are the key things to consider when choosing a new host.

Backup Your Data

The goal here is to make sure that you don’t lose any data or functionality while you’re making the switch. If you backup appropriately, you can move to the next step with peace of mind knowing that you can fall back on your existing host, if necessary.

Depending on the structure and format of your website, there are several ways to DIY your backup. However, we recommend checking with your existing host to see if they provide backup services and can send you everything to give to your new host.

Copy Files To New Host

Most web hosting providers offer easy transfer functionality or assistance in making the switch. If they don’t offer personalized assistance, they will likely have applications to help upload your site and files. This is especially true for sites that use common CMS such as WordPress.

Ultimately, you’ll need to load all of your site’s files to the new IP address.

Test, Test, Test

Confirm that everything is working properly and is organized correctly before you begin sending visitors to the site on the new server. Some hosting companies can provide a staging platform that allows you to test your website while still technically in “development mode.” This is helpful in allowing you to preview your newly hosted site and remedy any problems before the site goes “live”.

If you have email addresses associated with your domain, this is the time to test and confirm that they are functioning properly, as well.

Update DNS Information

Contact your domain registrar to update your site’s DNS record to the new host’s servers. Essentially, this is what tells your domain where to point visitors to when they type in your domain name. You’ll first need to identify the new server’s address. Then, update the DNS records within your registrar’s settings. Most registrars like Godaddy and Domain.com have guides for how to do this yourself listed on their sites.

Monitor

Check your 404 logs consistently to make sure that assets like images or files weren’t left behind in the transition. If you notice an uptick, this will allow you to replace any non-working links to restore your site to full functionality.

Transitioning to a new web hosting provider doesn’t have to bring headaches. However, if this sounds like a bit too much for you, consider a host that will handle the transition for you and confirm that everything is working as it should.

Don’t hang around with a hosting provider that’s not working for you any longer. Make a switch that will support your business long-term, today!