website maintenance

A Tale Of Two Entrepreneurs: Why A Small Business Should Use Cloud Computing

| Business | No Comments

This is the story of two entrepreneurs, Gus and Stan. Gus is an online retailer and a pretty slick guy who can figure out almost anything with time and the right references. Stan knows what he knows and he knows website design.

Gus decides he’s going to run his online business entirely on his own since he knows he can do it. By doing everything himself, he knows he’ll save money. Stan, however, decides to get some help since he knows he can’t do it all himself. He contacts a cloud hosting company and even though he knows it will cost him, he simply doesn’t have the know-how to do it himself.

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The Set-up

The two entrepreneurs happen to launch their businesses on the same day. Gus spends a few thousand dollars on a server and programs, and spends his first day reading manuals, installing programs, and setting up databases. By the end of the day, his website is up and running, his programs are installed and he’s ready to take orders. Stan spends $150 dollars on a cloud server, gets some help from tech support to get his website up by 10 a.m. and has his first paying client by the end of the day.

The Attack

Two months after Gus and Stan go into business, a virus is unleashed by nefarious hackers. Beware, small businesses, the reports say, the hackers are targeting your websites. Gus desperately figures out what he must do to protect his server. He takes his website offline just to be safe and spends the day installing upgraded antivirus and firewall protection.

Stan? He’s cool. The cloud company sends him an email. “Don’t worry about your data,” it says. “We upgrade our security measures constantly and all safeguards are already in place.”

Business Booms

Six months down the road, Gus and Stan are still in business and doing pretty well. So well, in fact, they need more data storage. For Gus, it’s back to square one, and he spends a day installing another server. Stan simply contacts his cloud hosting company’s website and asks them to add cloud block storage to his plan, increasing the size of his storage server within the day.

The Downfall

A year in, Gus’s business is slipping. He fell behind in answering a few emails and was a bit slow on some shipments, but he got it done. Unfortunately, he ended up with a few dissatisfied customers in the process and word has gotten out. His sales have fallen off, and bill time is a little rough. He wants to repair his reputation, but with everything else he has to do, he simply doesn’t have the time.

A year in, Stan’s business is a verifiable success. He has a reputation for getting jobs done on time consistently and for responding quickly to customers’ questions. A month later, Stan is still in business and Gus wonders what he could have done differently.

Epilogue

As Gus looks for answers on what he did wrong, evidence suggests taking Stan’s small business route might have proven beneficial. In a survey reported in Time Magazine and conducted by Manchester Business School and hosting company Rackspace, 90 percent of small business owners said they saved time and money with cloud services. Half credited the cloud with helping their businesses grow.

The services provided by cloud hosting, including website hosting, application hosting, data storage, and file system backups provide small businesses with everything they need to stay in operation, eliminating the need for equipment and IT. This saves on upfront costs, an important factor in any small business’ success.

With ever-changing storage options, such as cloud block storage, which allows cloud users to add file storage space without increasing server size, many choices are available for storing data on the cloud. The best thing about cloud services for small business owners, though, as Stan discovered, is that it takes unfamiliar tasks out of your hands, freeing you to run your business successfully.

In Case of Emergency: Being Prepared for Web Outages

| Technology, Web Hosting | No Comments

Just like in any emergency it is important for your business to have a back up plan for when your website is out of commission. Being prepared for these type of emergencies will help you survive and make it through the outage.

Even just a few minutes of downtime can cost your company revenue, let alone the cost to get things back up and running. Can you imagine how much it could cost you if you were down for hours, or even days?
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Back up

When your website goes down you run the risk of losing data that is stored on the site. Regularly back up your site and you will be save a lot of important data when this happens. You may still lose some data, but at least you have a starting point when the site comes back up. It is best to conduct these back ups on a daily basis, preferably overnight when traffic is at its lowest. Should the site go down, it should only take approximately 30 minutes for the wbe host to retrieve your data and get you back up and running.

Web Hosting

No web host can guarantee 100 percent that your site will never experience any outages. They all experience this now and then. Find a dependable web hosting company will reduce the chances of the website going down and one that will offer you the customer service you need. Find one that will be accessible, abe and willing to respond to your needs during an outage. Get everything in writing and have a plan that both of your agree on. Make sure the plan meets your needs, as well as your budget limitations.

Static Page

Many web hosting providers offer what is known as a static page option. This is a service that will tell customers a customized message on a dedicated page. This message tells them the site is currently down and to check back at a later time.

Customer Service

Determine how will you contact your customers to inform them of the outage. Send messages through email or text messages. Put notices up on Twitter and Facebook alerting fans and followers that the website is down and you are working on it.

Technical Staff

Hire a technical staff that will be able to work together with the web hosting company to get your site back up and running. This will reduce the length of time you experience the outage and they may even be able to notice the signs an outage is coming, such as programming errors and data overloads.

Should you experience an outage the first thing you need to do is contact your web hosting provider. From there you can contact customers through social media networking sites alerting them of the outage. Be prepared to help customers over the phone place their orders when the site is down. Remain calm and help your customers through the outage.