31 Mar

Data Security Best Practices For Business

As per Gartner’s prediction, the number of cloud users will increase at a very rapid pace every year, and is not about to slow down. Today, more people and businesses utilize the cloud services in one or other form without even realizing they are doing so.

Unfortunately, being unaware of using the cloud also means that people aren’t always as protected as they should be. Just because you are using a cloud, be it AWS, Azure or Google, this is no way means that your data and servers are protected from hackers.

Business Data Security

These cloud computing services bring tons of changes to the business workflow, and as a result, companies require a new set of rules and a different way of thinking about its security. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best approaches to secure your information on the cloud.

Install Robust Anti-Malware, Anti-Exploit & Anti-Ransomware

You might have heard of terms like, Spyware, Malware, Ransomware, Keyloggers, Rootkits, Adware, Backdoor shells, Hijackers and what not. The list of threats to server security is long, varied, and pretty scary. Even if you’re the most careful cloud user, malware can find a way to download itself onto your server.

For instance, an innocent looking email from your friend could in fact be a stealth method of exploiting security features, or it could be a widely spread ransomware encrypting entire file system. There are literally hundreds of ways in which your data can be compromised and entire operating system can be hijacked.

While most of the generic anti-virus software will do a good job of removing known threats from your

servers, intruders can still find loopholes to steal data, install backdoors to gain access, spy on your activity, hijack server resources to run malicious applications or encrypt sensitive information.

Difference Between Antivirus & Anti-Malware

Antivirus and anti-malware are two different cybersecurity concepts, and not to be used interchangeably. Of course, they both refer to cybersecurity software, malware is a more generic term while virus is more specific. The conventional antivirus software offers protection against classic computer viruses, but it cannot detect and address all types of infection like anti-malware software does.

To avoid your cloud instances from getting infected, it is necessary that you have an enterprise-class anti-malware, anti-exploit and anti-ransomware engine installed on your server which will provide real-time protection from viruses / malware entering your server.

In addition, you should also setup a full system scan by these engines at once every week so as to ensure that your system is completely secure and safe. We have a number of customers using “MalwareBytes” successfully with complete protection around-the-clock and our technical support staff is well versed to configure it appropriately for our customers. MalwareBytes adds an extra layer of protection to your cloud instances. It not only protects you from known threats, but keeps itself continually evolving for future threats.

Email Security

While you protect your cloud environment against advanced threats, a sophisticated enterprise-grade email protection is also an essential measure to secure emails against a wide array of threats. It’s proven fact that, 91% of hacking attempts are launched through email-based attacks. Taking stats into account, an email security must be the first priority for any organization.

Email Security

On top of your conventional email service, these email security provides protection against routine threats like spam, viruses and malware while also delivering the secure cloud email services. With this solution, your emails route through email gateway which enables you to improve security and system performance by thwarting known and advanced email threats before they reach your network.

It can protect your employee’s emails against advanced threats like spear-phishing, zero-day attacks, malware and spam. It uses keywords, pattern matching, file hashes and dictionaries to actively scan all email communications and attachments to stop data leakage and support compliance.

IDS / IPS – Network Level Security

When your cloud systems are online, this also opens up the possibility of hackers trying to get into them through known exploits or by using brute-force attempts. With growing security vulnerabilities across the web, it’s extremely important to have an external network security system in place which helps to protect your cloud servers. This network security system comprises of the below key components:

External Firewall

With external firewall in place, you can restrict access with fine-tuned rules to allow traffic from known sources or to allowed destination ports only. This also helps in ensuring that your server and website is PCI-DSS compliant to process secure transactions and store sensitive customer’s data including their credit card numbers.

Intrusion Detection System (IDS)

Intrusion Detection is a security management system for servers and networks which analyses each packet passing within a network to identify possible security breaches or intrusions. It can detect patterns typical of attacks or abnormal activity patterns and reports such activities to Intrusion Prevention System to protect it instantly.

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

After a possible security threat is detected by the IDS system, it is necessary to have a solution in place which blocks this access immediately to prevent systems from being exploited. Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) immediately creates rules to block this malicious access and keeps your system safe & secure. Both of these systems (IDS & IPS) work closely with each other to ensure complete security for your server & website. This also ensures that any / all traffic entering your system is scanned and free from any known vulnerabilities.

Web Application Firewall

A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is a firewall for HTTP applications that protects web applications by filtering and monitoring HTTP traffic between a web application and the Internet. It applies a set of rules to protect web applications from common attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS), file inclusion and SQL injection. It may come in the form of an appliance, server plugin, or filter, and may be customized to an application.

Web Application Firewall

By deploying a WAF in front of a web application, a virtual shield is placed between the web application and the Internet. While a proxy server protects the client machine’s identity by using an intermediary, a WAF is a type of reverse-proxy, protecting the server from exposure by having clients pass through the WAF before reaching the server. A WAF runs upon the set of rules often called policies. These policies help to protect against vulnerabilities in the application by filtering out malicious traffic.

Remote Desktop Guard (RDPGUARD)

RDP (Remote Desktop) allows users to connect to a remote server from anywhere. Indeed RDP is a very useful feature, however it also has several security issues. When a malicious user launches the network/port scanners or RDP brute-force attacks on Windows servers, thousands of failed login attempts are generated and pages of events are being logged. Such attacks abuse your dedicated server resources (CPU, RAM, Disk Space and Network Bandwidth) and degrade the overall functionality of the server.

To prevent them, host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS) like RdpGuard is implemented.  This protects servers from brute-force attacks on various protocols and services (RDP, FTP, SMTP, MySQL, MS-SQL, IIS Web Login, etc). It monitors the audit logs and detects failed login attempts. If the number of failed login attempts from a single IP address exceeds the normal limit, the IP address will be blocked immediately.

08 Mar

How To Develop Your Company’s Digital Transformation Strategy

Is your company committed to digital progress in 2019? Digital Transformation is a buzzword that essentially means integrating digital technologies, such as social, mobile, analytics and cloud, in the service of transforming how businesses work. In fact, it’s likely something that you’ve been doing on a smaller scale for several years.

However, until this point, digital change has been largely driven by technology. Companies are put in a reactive position as they are forced to “keep up” with changes in the tech marketplace. This leads to lagging customer experience and, in many cases, loss of market share to more digitally advanced groups.

Digital Transformation With Softsys

If a focus on digital transformation is paramount for your business, it’s important to shift to a proactive approach and begin with a clear strategy.

Involve Stakeholders

Any effective strategy needs buy-in from all stakeholders. This means involved leadership who will guide the direction all the way to team members who will implement the strategy on a day to day basis. Identify everyone who will be impacted by this digital change and work to motivate them to contribute to the strategy in a way that’s most effective for your company.

This could be as formal as a survey or as simple as a conversation. The key is to communicate the outcomes of the strategy in a way that’s meaningful to them. What will this strategy achieve?

Define Scope And Objectives

Once everyone is on board, consider your business goals. This strategy is an opportunity to build a bridge between IT and the business as a whole. Tap into how an intentional and well thought out digital plan can impact each function within your company. How will it affect the bottom line?

When defining the objectives of your strategy, look past your competitors and focus on your customers. Understand the pain points of your consumer and work backwards to identify how digital transformation can address them.

Assess Current Skills and Technology

Now that you have involved stakeholders and clearly defined your objectives, it’s time to consider technology. This process will give you an idea of where you currently stand in terms of technological tools and skills currently within your organization.

From there, you can map out what is necessary to get from your current state to the goal state outlined in the previous step.

List and evaluate your software, technologies, and applications to determine which are necessary to continue to move you forward and should be upgraded or retained and which should be retired or replaced. Match resources to the problems that they solve and prioritize based on the business objectives.

Skills And Technologies

Develop A Timeline And Implementation Plan

A strategy is nothing without implementation. Once you have a clear picture of the necessary steps, map out a timeline and delegate tasks to your internal stakeholders to begin executing the strategy. An actionable plan takes time and resources, and often is implemented in phases.

This phased approach allows you to test and re-align your strategy as you go to ensure its effectiveness.

A timeline also empowers internal stakeholders to begin preparing for change within their departments and proactively develop the skills needed for implementation.

To be successful, a clear strategy must be supported by commitment to change and leadership poised to drive that change and, in today’s climate, supporting digital transformation is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Continued involvement and support from all stakeholders and correct technology partners such as Softsys Hosting is crucial to the long-term success of a digital transformation strategy.

12 Feb

3 Tech Trends To Take Advantage Of In 2019

In the rapidly changing world of technology, “trends” can come and go very quickly. As a business leader, it can be tough to keep up with changing priorities and multiplying options.

Often, this leads to a nagging feeling that there is something you SHOULD be looking into, but you aren’t quite sure what that is and, furthermore, how it could impact your business.

Technology Trends

At Softsys Hosting, we pride ourselves on taking a holistic view of technology and its applications to truly partner with our clients in the pursuit of business success. To that end, here are three initiatives we’re most excited about in the coming year:

Improved 5G Service

Sure, 5G has been around for some time now, but this year it’s going to be more widespread, allowing accelerated connection for businesses around the world.

Take advantage of the increased speeds by empowering your mobile workforce to be more connected than ever before.

However, the benefits of 5G service are not solely operational. As more and more devices are connected (think cars, trains, etc.), we have exponentially more data on the consumers using those devices. With that data comes the ability for hyper-personalization in marketing messages.

This year, 5G networks will bring additional scale and the ability to stimulate innovation across industries. Make sure you’re the part of it!

Connected Clouds or Multi Cloud

As with the 5G service, cloud technology is not a new concept for data storage. However, in the past, companies were faced with a decision. Should they go with a public, shared cloud server? Privatize their data storage and invest in a private service? Or choose a hybrid solution that combined the two options?

Once that choice was made, it was difficult to adjust to changing business needs. That’s where connected cloud services are changing the game in 2019. Through these services, businesses can now utilize a mix of public, private, and hybrid cloud setups to meet their specific needs. This allows you to dynamically create or remove connections between data storage centers and your cloud services in real time.

connected clouds

Ultimately, this gives businesses flexibility and better control as well as the financial benefit of paying as you go to minimize the up-front investment in data storage and management.

Connected cloud infrastructure may be a great solution for companies, which find their data landscape to be inconsistent, fragmented, duplicated, and even siloed. A stronger data foundation gives them the structure they need to compete at a faster rate.

Digital Transformation

According to ZDNet, most organizations believe that half of their revenue will come from digital channels by 2020. In preparing for this shift, businesses must focus on creating an infrastructure that will allow for rapid change when the time comes. That infrastructure relates to both the technology that you have in place (like the cloud services previously discussed). However, more importantly, focus on developing teams and leaders within your organization to manage that transformation.

Empowering people who will be responsible for managing change will ensure that you are able to optimize the processes that matter most within your organization and scale in a way that’s meaningful to business growth.

Preparing now for future digital transformation will give your organization the competitive advantage. At Softsys Hosting, we offer support both in the technological infrastructure as well as expert guidance to help you along the way.

08 Feb

Do You Have Full Control Of Your Data? 4 Reasons To Consider It

While cloud services are widely used and accepted today, most “on cloud” solutions do not offer full control to their end clients. This means that you’re trading flexibility and total customization in exchange for convenience and costs savings.

data flow

There are options which offer the best of both worlds – full control over your data and the ability to keep costs down. Keep your business running smoothly and efficiently with full control over your mission-critical business data.

Peace of Mind

Security concerns around online data storage are not going away anytime soon. Mitigate your risks as much as possible by ensuring that you have full control and visibility into your IT environment. However, full data control does not necessarily mean owning your own data center. Softsys Hosting enterprise solutions are built to offer small and medium businesses the control they need while still offering a cost effective service.

Efficient Support & Communication

85% of online businesses, selling their products 24/7, have technical issues that are required to be addressed within 10 minutes to avoid loss of revenue.

With full control of your business data, the ability to access support teams and communicate with cloud service providers becomes paramount. For example, our in-house helpdesk 24/7 web hosting technical support team is ready to help 365 days a year. We guarantee a human response within 30 minutes (average is 5.7 minutes) at any time of a day or night.

Integrated Applications

Business data management is not just about mitigating risk and securing information. The ability to use data to enhance customer and team member experience is a key component to a successful data storage and management system.

Increase the profitability of your business with Enterprise Resource Planning. Utilizing data to access an enterprise-wide snapshot of business processes and employee efficiency allows you to proactively address issues before they become larger problems. Use this insight to streamline business processes across the board.

ERP

Customer Relationship Management

Similar to ERP, a Customer Relationship Management system helps businesses improve efficiency and increase sales. Rather than focusing on the internal processes, CRM systems are built to increase sales and facilitate communication between your team and customers. A better customer experience leads to more consumer loyalty and repeat sales.

How does this relate to your data control and management? The more control you have, the more customized your CRM system can be. Thus, your solution is perfectly suited for your specific business needs.

09 Jan

How To Build Your Technical Expertise And Become Indispensable In 2019

It’s that time of year – everyone is getting back in the office from the holidays, making plans for the new year, and setting resolutions for growth. For many, personal development is high on their priority list for 2019. Specifically within the IT function, the key to growth is continuing your technical education. As companies become more and more dependent on technology, a deep understanding and mastery will ensure that you become indispensable within your company and will set you up for success in the long run.

If one of your goals is to further your technical education and become a key leader within your IT department, here are three ways to get started:

Consume Content

The first step towards becoming an indispensable IT expert in your company is the actual technical expertise. There’s no shortcut to knowledge. That means that you’re going to have to put in the work and consume content related to the areas you’re looking to grow. The good news is that there are infinite sources available to you.

First, start with a list of topics and goals related to your technical background.  Determine what areas are you most interested in, then research the top-rated books that cover those topics.

No time to read? Try online tutorials. They’re easily accessible, timely, and mainly free.

You might also subscribe to technical publications to keep up with trends and newsworthy updates in your industry.

Finally, research local or online classes where you can hone your newfound expertise in a workshop format.

Think Critically

Now that you’re focused on continuing your technical education, it’s time to put that newfound knowledge to use. Be intentional about going above and beyond at your workplace. Think critically about challenges that your team is facing and offer solutions to your leadership team.

This is truly the key to becoming indispensable. There is a huge difference between identifying problems and challenges within your technical environment and proposing solutions. Anyone can point out problems, IT experts solve those problems.

Start proposing improvements, handling problems that are outside your typical job description, and consulting with leadership to help turn your technical environment into a competitive advantage.

Partner With Experts

When all else fails, partner with the experts. Find team members or third party consultants to help implement the solutions you suggested.

A true test of an IT expert is knowing their limitations and when to outsource to others. Keep your company’s growth and goals in mind when determining how to best implement the solutions you’ve proposed. Hiring a third party technical expert to supplement your expertise will ensure your project’s success and cement you as a key leader within your IT team.

At Softsys Hosting, we often partner with internal IT leadership to supplement their teams and offer application-specific technical expertise. Contact us to learn how we can partner with your company today!

10 Dec

3 Ways To Use Data To Inform Business Decisions

It’s no secret that we’re living in a world that is overflowing with DATA. According to a study conducted in 2015, 2.5 Quintillion bytes of data are created every day. Over 63,000 search queries are performed per second on Google alone. In just 5 years the number of smart connected devices in the world will be more than 50 billion – all of which will create data that can be shared, collected and analyzed.

As a business owner, the question is no longer “Should I invest in data analysis”, but “How can I use this wealth of information to my advantage.” From a pure cost perspective, you’re likely investing in data storage for compliance purposes – it’s time to put that data to work!

Using data to search for deeper insights into your customers’ purchase journey, psyche, and experience can inform your business decisions and help your company become more customer-focused. This helps you win in your competitive space by identifying new opportunities that enable your company to grow. Ultimately, business data-driven companies are better prepared to compete and respond to market change because they’ve built a foundation of agility based on data.

Organize Existing Data To Improve Customer Experience

Organize data

Analyze your current data and determine how it may be useful for your customers. One company that has provided a great example of this is Delta Air Lines. They check millions of bags for travelers every year and it’s a point of stress for many of their customers. Through their internal tracking system, which they had invested millions of dollars into, Delta employees were able to keep tabs on luggage as it made its way to a final destination.

By taking a fresh look at their data, they realized that they could organize the tracking data that they had available and provide that information to customers to ease their minds as they travelled. As one Delta spokesman, Paul Skrbec, noted, “We’ve had all this tracking data available, but one of the things we realized about two years ago is that customers would benefit from having that information.”

Thus, Delta developed a mobile app that tracks luggage and has since been downloaded more than 11 million times.

Think what data do you collect and use internally that may be beneficial for your customers?

Leverage Data To Increase Marketing Efficiency

One of the most effective ways to utilize data is to improve your marketing efforts. The more you know about your customers, the more you can create campaigns that will provide a return on your marketing spend. Narellan Pools, an Australian-based swimming pool company, experienced this first-hand. After several years in business, they experienced a decline in revenue of about 25% from 2007 to 2013. Determined to understand the reason for the slowing demand, Narellan and their marketing partner, Affinity, turned to the data.

Searching for customer insights, they compiled seven terabytes of data – both internally and externally sourced- to reach a key customer insight. When the current temperature, in a given locale, was higher than the mean rolling monthly average for two days or more, customer leads converted to sales at up to 800% of the norm.

Armed with this information, they launched a digital campaign that engaged only when those criteria were met. This campaign increased sales by 23% in the first year and generated a ration of revenue to expenses of 54:1.

Share Data To Empower Partners

Share Data

Anyone in the retail space knows how crucial presentation and shelf management is to sales. For years, distributors relied on manual measurements in-store or phone conversations to understand how their products were displayed in their retail outlets.

Coca-Cola Amatil is one of the largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products in the Asia Pacific region and they were looking for ways to address retail issues in real-time. So, they sourced image-based technology to empower their sales reps to identify performance gaps and apply corrective actions in store.

Basically, reps were able to take pictures of the store shelves, send them off to be analyzed, and receive actionable reports within minutes.

Not only did the sales reps benefit, management received the data and were able to use it to develop retail strategies and communicate more effectively with store managers. Within 5 months of implementing this data-driven strategy, Coca-Cola Amatil gained 1.3% market share in the region.

As these examples suggest, putting your business data to use is an increasingly important aspect of business growth. Not sure where to start? The experts at Softsys Hosting will help you develop a strategy for collecting and storing the crucial data that will drive your decisions.

19 Nov

How To Sell The Important Technical Features To The CEO

As the technical expert in your company, it may often fall on you to recommend various technological upgrades to your leadership team. However, do you find that your pitches often fall on seemingly deaf ears? It can be difficult to garner support from the CEO without an appropriate approach to introduce recommended change.

Too often, we get bogged down in the technological capabilities and neglect the big picture. While the features and benefits are important, it’s up to you to paint the full picture of the impact your recommendations will have on your company and its employees.

Here are the keys to a successful pitch to your CEO:

Understanding CEO Priorities

The first step to selling key technical features to your leadership team is to understand that their priorities differ from yours. While you may be focused on the features and benefits of a new technology or service, the CEO is often more interested in the strategic aspects of a potential change.

CEOs are often focused on two categories – growth opportunities and risk avoidance. So, for example, autoscaling with a product like ScalElastic Cloud would represent an opportunity to grow and scale for your company. On the other hand, presenting a scenario in which technical features would help avoid downtime or technical issues, would appeal to the risk avoidance factor.

CEO Priorities

 

Going into a meeting with that perspective, you’ll be prepared to listen and understand which will enable you to sell the features that mean the most to your CEO.

Present the Bottom Line

Knowing how your CEO makes business decisions, you can sell the features that are important to both of you by focusing on the bottom line. Recognize that you are the technical expert while they typically focus on the big picture – revenue and profit. To that end, present the impact that the technical features will have on the business as a whole.

Ask yourself how your recommendations will impact each department of your company. Presenting those larger implications will not only help your CEO understand the impacts of your recommendations, but will also help other members of the leadership team advocate on your behalf.

Dig Deeper

Once you’ve identified how your recommendations will affect the bottom line, dig a bit deeper. When presenting to the CEO, connect the dots for them to describe the far-reaching effects of your proposed change. How does this change impact your company in the long-term?

Teamwork

Showcase the vision for your team as well as the company as a whole and use the technology as the building blocks to achieve that vision. You could describe how individuals will work differently in the future. Describe how they will spend more time on value-add vs. non-value-add activities.

13 Nov

4 Reasons to Choose ScalElastic Cloud Services for Growth in 2019

Are you spending the last couple of months of the year preparing for growth in 2019? Don’t overlook your technology and web hosting infrastructure as the building blocks of your expansion.

At Softsys Hosting, we’re here to help ensure that you have the tools you need to achieve all of your goals in the coming year. To that end, we’re offering a 14-day free trial of our BRAND NEW ScalElastic Cloud hosting product.

PaaS Cloud Services

We’re so excited to be able to offer this to our clients as it will allow companies to easily scale and deploy complex environments within minutes while only paying for the computing power they actually use.

Not sure if ScalElastic Cloud is the right fit for your business? Here are 4 reasons to make the switch:

Speed

In business, speed to deployment can mean the difference between winning and losing customers. With ScalElastic Cloud, you can deploy customer applications faster, easier, and even automatically – as needed. We offer standard stacks for commonly used systems that are tried and tested which means they can be spun up at a moment’s notice.

With ScalElastic Cloud, you’ll also have access to over 100 pre-configured applications in a marketplace that offers single click activation.

Flexibility

ScalElastic containers have the ability to scale both vertically and horizontally, automatically. This makes hosting your applications truly flexible and enables you to scale your services easily. Essentially, this means we can set a limit for the maximum number of resources for every instance. Then, the system automatically allocates the necessary amount needed. Not only does this make for an efficient and flexible platform, but also eliminates the need for changes in architecture while scaling legacy applications.

This flexibility is made possible by the smallest ScalElastic component, called the cloudlet. This unit equals 128 MB of RAM and 400 MHz of CPU power simultaneously. Because the system is composed of such granular resources, we are able to allocate the exact capacity for every infrastructure.

Leading to…

Cost Savings

The efficient nature of ScalElastic Cloud computing ensures that you are only charged for the computing power that you utilize.

ScalElastic Cloud Benefits

ScalElastic Cloud also helps reduce costs by optimizing the management and support for your technology. The self-service portal for developers means that you can reduce spending on management and leave the infrastructure support to the experts. When you can save time and money on administration of infrastructure and development, it frees you to invest in future growth.

Reliability

Let’s face it, at the end of the day, the biggest factor in changing technology is reliability. With ScalElastic Cloud, you’ll benefit from a reliable elastic cloud hosting infrastructure. We manage daily backups, recovery containers without downtime, and full server isolation.

ScalElastic Cloud also offers a fault-tolerant infrastructure to give you peace of mind that your servers and applications will be fully functional when you need them most.

Sign up for 14-day Free Trial 
05 Nov

How To Avoid Overage Billing With AWS & Azure?

When you move from standard web hosting to cloud, the cost is the major concern to be considered, especially for the cloud beginners. If you’d have ever seen cloud provider’s pricing table, you’d see the attractive cost of pennies per hour or per IOP or whatnot. The actual cost is revealed only when you receive your monthly bill. In a nutshell, you’ll have no idea what it’s going to cost until you start using it.

Coming from the flat-priced hosting, you’ll find the monthly cloud bills are like some decipher codes. Even the topmost cloud hosting providers follow confusing charging model which is painful to understand.

In addition, these cloud web hosting providers let you deploy complex applications with super ease and within minutes. But for that very reason, it’s a bit too easy to lose track of exactly what you have running at any one time. To avoid this, you must have a proper understanding of how the billing works and where these surprises can come from. In this post, we will outline some suggestions to avoid unexpected charges in your cloud bill.

Contact Sales Support Before Purchase

Approach your favourite cloud vendor and ask for a free trial or some free credits for the test drive. Don’t put your resource thirsty projects upfront, rather run some small-scale projects for 1–3 months to get a sense of the actual bills you can expect. Choose between simple and stable projects where you have more control and stable resource usage.

Track Cloud Usage & Set Alerts

Track Cloud Usage

Keep a watchful eye on your daily usage. Most of the cloud hosting providers offer usage counter (like Billing and Cost Management console in Amazon) where you can check your daily usage. Also, consider employing third-party monitoring tools wherever appropriate to find resource leakages.

Keep track on cloud hosting costs in your spreadsheets to get an understanding of how this all works.  Set up alerts in case anything goes wrong. For instance, if your average daily budget is $100, set an alert for 10% overage. Thus, you can avoid excessive bills immediately after a week later.

Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring service for AWS cloud hosting resources and the applications you run on AWS. This service can be used to collect and track metrics, monitor log files, and set alarms. It allows you to receive notifications or automatically initiate actions like shutting down unused or underused EC2 instances when a metric crosses your specified threshold.

Pay Upfront to Get Discounts

When your monthly usage is estimated, deploy resources permanently to take advantage of committed discounts available. This can save up to 50–90% depending on the resource type and vendor.

Elastic Block Store (EBS) Volumes and Snapshots

Amazon EC2 instances are configured so that their associated Amazon (Elastic Block Store) EBS volumes are deleted when they are terminated, but it is possible to set up an instance that preserves its volume and the data. Check the Volumes pane in the Amazon EC2 console for volumes that you don’t need anymore and remove them when not needed.

If you have stored snapshots of your Amazon EBS volumes and no longer need them, you should delete them as well. If you close your account or unsubscribe from a cloud hosting service, make sure that you take the appropriate steps for every region in which you’ve allocated AWS resources.

Elastic Beanstalk & Elastic Load Balancing (ELB)

Elastic Beanstalk is designed to ensure that all the resources that you need are running, which means that it automatically relaunches any service that you stop. To avoid this, you must terminate your Elastic Beanstalk environment before you terminate resources that Elastic Beanstalk has created.

Similarly, ELB load balancers are designed to keep a minimum number of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances running. You must terminate your load balancer before you delete the Amazon EC2 instances that are registered with it.

Avoid Oversized Instances

Before you spin up the cloud instances know your requirements, determine what size of the instance should you run and how many will you need? Note that instance types that are specifically optimized for computing, memory, or storage are obviously going to cost more than low-tier or generic versions. Ensure that your environment is not over-provisioned as oversized instances will cost you money, using too many instances will cost you money. Even leaving unused instances running, will also cost you money.

Choose the Correct Instance Model

With AWS cloud hosting, you can purchase instance resources in 3 different ways. On-Demand Instances allow you to pay a fixed rate by the hour without commitment.

Reserved Instances provide a capacity reservation, giving you a handsome discount over hourly on-demand prices when you commit to longer-terms.

Spot Instances allows you to bid your own price for instance capacity. Assuming that your applications have flexible start and end times and can survive service interruptions when instances at your bid price aren’t unavailable – this can provide significant savings.

Mostly AWS hosting beginners choose “On-Demand Instances” because it is easy to deploy, but in long run, this option can generate unexpected AWS pricing costs. If you’re planning to deploy a website for more than 12 months, go with a reserved instance.

Avoid Taking Too Many Snapshots

Backing up data is always a smart thing. You can back up the data stored on Amazon EBS volumes to Amazon S3 by taking snapshots. However, these EBS snapshots should be saved carefully, or it may increase your storage costs. Ensure that you have defined an appropriate snapshot retention strategy.

Release Unallocated Elastic IPs

Release unused cloud resources

AWS provides you with one Elastic IP address (EIP) associated with a running instance free of cost. Each additional EIP that you associate with that instance will be charged at per hour on a pro rata basis. AWS also imposes a small hourly charge when these IP addresses are not associated with any running instance or when they are associated with a stopped instance or an unattached network interface.

So, if you just stop your instance and assume that the IP associated with it will be automatically released, you may end paying hefty AWS cloud hosting cost. Therefore, ensure that you release unused EIPs when an associated instance is no longer in use.

As we mentioned, cloud is a fabulous platform for deploying large applications at prices unimaginable until recently. Careful consideration of the above points will hopefully help you keep your ongoing AWS, Azure and other similar cloud hosting costs down.

03 Oct

Serve Your Customers Better With Managed Hosting

Customer relationships are the driving force behind business growth in today’s market. It’s imperative to build meaningful relationships with your target audience to drive repeat and referral business as well as create advocates for your brand that essentially act as a sales force. While marketing, operations, and leadership are focused on this idea, it falls to the IT department to implement the communication channels, ensure the digital experience is top-notch, and provide data that drives strategic decisions.

In deciding whether to make an infrastructure change, it usually comes down to evaluating whether the internal benefits are worth the investment or the pain of changing hosting providers. Internal benefits like improved efficiency, operations, communication, and even long term costs abound, but have you considered how a managed hosting system could help you better serve your customers?

We’re not just talking faster load times and increased worldwide reach – though those are important benefits to consider. If you look closer, the ways that you can improve your relationships with your customers through managed services are much deeper.

Use Data to Drive Business Decisions

We have access to more data today than any businesses in the history of the world. We can analyze internal efficiency, consumer behavior, market trends, and beyond. With all of this information, the question becomes, “How do you use it?”

Having the right team in place to collect, store, and interpret data allows you to make business decisions based on information rather than instinct. What does that mean for your customers? You can develop new products and services that are built to address their specific challenges before they even know they need them.

With managed services, you have the capability to collect and store relevant data safely and in accordance with regulations. Furthermore, you have the flexibility to spin up new systems when the data suggests it’s necessary.

Improved Tech Support

Is your tech support team spread too thin between client service and internal management? Outsourcing hosting management to the experts enables you to reallocate your internal resources to better serve clients.

Our industry-best managed hosting service includes daily backups, 24/7 monitoring, updates & patch application, support & much more. We also provide free Plesk panel to make things easy for you. With those tasks off of your internal team’s to-do list, they can focus not only on handling client requests, but on developing more solutions to improve your customer experience.

Scale – Serve MORE clients

A period of growth is often synonymous with growing pains. It’s difficult to scale your team, client base, and sales at the exact same time. That typically means that something has to give – customer service declines, quality suffers, or your team is overextended.

With managed hosting, you can scale with ease by utilizing a team of experts to strategize and implement the growth you’re planning. Serving more clients at the same level of service they’re accustomed to.

Reliable Technology

Your customer interaction is reliant upon technology. Whether customers are calling your customer service team, logging in to your website, or leaving a review on your social media pages, technology is the backbone of your customer relationships.

Strengthening that foundation with managed hosting gives you peace of mind and your customers a better experience with your brand or company.

With dedicated managed hosting, you’ll get a fully managed hosting system that enables you to focus on your clients and leave the details to experts.

Softsys Hosting Review

Honestly, I have tried every web hosting business out there, as it took me 4 years to find Softsys Hosting and I have never looked back. Honestly, they have the best service in the world. Over the years, I have sent hundreds of support tickets, and each ticket is answered in record time. If you overlook this company you are losing out! Unbelievable, thank you guys at Softsys Hosting – you have made my life so much easier!

— Michael Ward – Sydney, Australia