Author: Ivan Widjaya

In recent years, the cloud has indisputably become more prominent and relied upon in nearly every aspect of technology. By eliminating the need for huge hard drives and introducing the ability to access anything anywhere, it’s a necessary part of life to this day that many people don’t even give a second thought.

But what about e-commerce? Can your online store exist solely in the cloud? Despite fierce competition from on-premise hosting platforms, cloud-based e-commerce is consistently becoming more prominent in the field to this day.

Cloud ecommerce

Here are just five reasons why you should consider employing it yourself.

Everything is in one place

The main benefit of opting to use the cloud to host and run your online store is the fact you have everything in one place. From the web design, all the way through to the very back-end of the site, from invoices to order fulfilment, everything is together. Consider using a provider such as Knovial to ensure this.

The ease-of-use and fluidity that comes with hosting your store in the cloud is simply unparalleled by any on-premise setup. With so many different types of hardware and software being required otherwise, it simply make sense to migrate to the cloud and make everything a lot easier.

You can manage your store anywhere

Another major plus of the cloud is that it isn’t accessible from just one location. Whereas an office may be required for usual e-commerce processes, the cloud can be accessed from just your laptop if need be.

This means you don’t have to worry about being tied down to one strict location. You can manage your store from practically anywhere, whether it be the coffee shop down the street or on holiday in a completely different country. Accessibility is key.

It’s a cheaper alternative

Where with normal e-commerce you may need to purchase an abundance of software and hardware, which will become more and more expensive as your store grows bigger, the cloud won’t rack up the costs at all due to just how little you need.

As previously mentioned, you may need an office depending on just how big your store becomes, and costs become sometimes extortionate when thinking about hardware, dedicated servers and the multitude of software you might require. The cloud will eliminate it all.

Embracing the cloud

Updates are done seamlessly

There’s no denying that, when using so much software in hosting an online store, updates are frequent and often put a hold on any work you need to do. It may require downtime, and could take hours or even days in some cases.

Again, the cloud eliminates this process. Updates are done seamlessly without any input, rolled out in the background whilst you work and keeping your online store running simultaneously. Downtime isn’t a thing in the cloud.

Processes happen much faster

All in all, the cloud lets you work much faster. With everything all together you can easily navigate between wherever you need to be with speed, and the cloud itself is always fast and ready to take on any demand.

If you’re looking to bring your online store into the future and make the process of running it a whole lot easier, the cloud is the way to do it.

More useful tips:

  • Depending on what’s best for you, on-site platforms such as Siteground and other equivalents remain frontrunners in e-commerce considering their reliability and status. Consider what will work best for your desires.
  • Consider combining your hosting provider with other cloud-based services. Zendesk and Freshdesk are two great ways to keep the customers happy – with their support you’ll be able to answer queries, requests and perhaps the occasional complaint. These services are great ways to keep track of it all.
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You may be leery about sending large amounts of money online or even checking your business bank account balance via the web, but there’s a secret that you need to know: Your financial institutions are already using the internet to save your data and push through money transfers. In other words, all banks do their banking online so staying off the web isn’t going to keep your pertinent information off the internet. So, what’s the best route for you?

First thing first: Speak to a finance expert with a bachelors degree in accounting to see if there are other ways to keep your money safe. As a good rule of thumb, you should have your credit monitored so that no new accounts are opened fraudulently and always change your passwords so that crooks aren’t able to rob you blind.

Cloud data protection

Your next step: Find ways to secure your financial information using robust technologies, such as cloud tech.

Cloud Storage Is the Way of the Future

When you want to save important records online, you can keep them on a server that’s hosted by a computer somewhere in the world or you can use cloud based storage. Using cloud computer storage will enable you to save vital data remotely so that it never disappears. Although there is a slight risk of this information being compromised, as with all web based data, it is actually much safer to use than other storage methods. Store your company’s accounts backups in the cloud so you won’t lose vital data if a hard-drive crashes.

If You Bank Your Financial Data Is Already Online

If you have applied for a loan, gone through a background check for a job or even applied for a driver’s license, all of your vital identifying information is already online. Business owners can help to keep client information safer with the use of smart accounting practices but they really need to focus on cyber security more than anything else. Look at how your business website is secured from outside and within and work with your security team on a plan to handle follow-up procedures if a data breach were to occur. Sometimes, preparing for war in a time of peace is truly the best way of keeping financial accounting and bank information safe.

Having Other Pertinent Data Safe Can Keep You Protected

Companies that keep their customer information safe don’t always keep all their records online. More specifically, if you have employees who earned an accounting degree online then at least some of your customer’s accounting information can be checked, tabulated, and maintained offline. Use accounting software backups that are not saved online to keep customer account balances and print that information off if you want a hard copy.

The internet is growing safer every day, but there are still risks to using it to maintain financial data, for both personal and business purposes. You can’t get by without using the web if you are a business owner, but you must be selective on what processes are used. Be intelligent about saving and accessing financial information online to keep everyone feeling more secure.

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Did you know that as of 2015, 83 percent of all U.S. businesses have data backed up in a public cloud server? Not surprisingly, 63 percent of all businesses are now using private cloud services and pay big money for the supposed increased security they offer. No two cloud providers are the same though. And some are still using antiquated practices when it comes to keeping your data safe and intact.

business cloud security

Make sure you ask the following 5 questions before handing over your data:

How do you encrypt my data?

Perhaps your teenage daughter or son doesn’t care about whether the selfies their sending to their iCloud account aren’t encrypted. That’s fine for them and all a parent can do is pray something obscene or provocative involving them doesn’t end up spread all over social media some day.

Businesses definitely need to dig a little deeper into this issue before choosing a cloud provider. Some think password protection on your end offers ample security. These types of service providers are lightweights and think encryption is only needed while in transit, which can compromise yours and your customer’s data if your account is hacked.

What to look for:

  • Ensure that data is encrypted using “256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) SSL” while in transit to and from your devices, as well as at rest. This is the only encryption method endorsed by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Who holds the keys and how many are there?

This one’s also about encryption but gets more into detail to ensure your data is NEVER compromised at any time, other than perhaps if you get the attention of a world-class hacker and they decide they want to steal what you’ve got. Who and how many holds the keys to your data on their end should be paramount in the decision-making process. Proper encryption key management comes down to a number of different variables. Near all big cloud management companies will have all the bases completely covered on this end.

What to look for:

  • Prefer that the company houses their encryption across multiple data centers so there’s no single point of compromise or failure. Further, ask about their policy on employee access to data. A top-notch provider will segment employee access to a single data center only. The industry gold standard is for providers to use a “dual-responsibility model” where two employees need to provide verification before access to encryption keys and data are accessible to the provider and their staff at any time.

How durable will my data be once I’ve saved it?

Now that you have a good prospective cloud service provider in your sight and feel strongly that their level of data security meets modern standards, it’s time to delve into just how long they can ensure that data will be “available” to you. The current gold standard of data availability is “five-nines” which means an “average” good cloud provider offers a 99.999% guarantee (hence “five-nines”). This means that you have a 1 in 10,000 chance at losing any data. This might sound good, until you start counting the number of files your company has. Guaranteed it’s way more than this if you’ve been in business for any length of time. A typical five-nines guarantee means you’ll lose 1 out of every 10,000 files each and every year – guaranteed.

What to look for:

  • Preferably, you want at least “ten-nines” in their data availability guarantee. This type of availability can only be achieved if your data is stored (minimum) in triplicate, in well-dispersed data centers, preferably globally-spread data centers. Ten and eleven-nines storage offers such a ridiculous availability rating that mankind is more likely to be extinct by the time a file is lost, than are the chances of you actually being alive long enough to see any data loss!

business cloud

How much control will I have over my data?

It would be impossible to list all the potential scenarios that can take place at the end-user level regarding data access related problems that can come up. There needs to be a defined chain of command in place to handle all data and end-user authorizations. And that chain of command needs to start and end with you. You need to have full control over the entire life cycle of the data, start to finish.

What to look for:

  • Ensure the cloud provider offers your business full control over how data is uploaded, downloaded, filed, shared and who can access what. Further, controls should be in place so you can allow employees, clients and other service providers limited access privileges, including viewing, downloading and editing privileges. These measures will ensure finished files aren’t changed without your consent and that you can remove those privileges immediately if needed, in the case of project completion, along with employee downsizing, terminations and demotions.

What’s your audit policy on my account activity?

What good is having a fully mobile storage platform if you can’t see changes that have been made and access that’s been granted over time? This is relatively easy to do with an office-based server and it should be just as easy to track activity through your cloud provider.

What to look for:

  • Make sure that you’ll have full access to an easy-to-use audit trail detailing any and all changes occurring on your account, and that previous versions of all data are held in storage for a reasonable time frame before they’re purged in case mistakes (intentional or not) are made.

Finding a secure and reliable cloud storage provider doesn’t have to be difficult. Follow the advice given above and never compromise the quality and type of service offered just to save a few dollars.

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ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning usually entails a cloud-based modular software solution which integrates the financial aspect of the business and also adds closely woven app modules which address several other areas of a business including CRM, logistics, BI, MRP, POS, project management and fixed asset management. Actually, ERP is a systemic approach to handling your entire company and not only the finances. When all such modules are unified into a cohesive whole, users may gain new insight into creating processes by using separate tools.

ERP - Enterprise Resource Planning

Here are few of the best cloud ERP solutions that are available in the market.

#1: SAP Business One

SAP Business One application is an exclusive ERP solution which lets you manage your business operations from customer relationship to sales to financials. This is designed particularly for small business firms and it lets businesses to coordinate processes, perform tasks in a timely manner and improve profitability growth. SAP Business One lets you stay perfect and offers a unified picture of your company. You can get all updated information about your business with the help of this software.

#2: Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics is a line of adaptable, integrated business management solutions which permit your employees to make vital decisions regarding your business with better confidence. Microsoft Dynamic works with software-easing adoption from Microsoft and reduces risks which are inherent with implementing a vital solution. Such solutions streamline and automate customer relationship, financial and supply chain in a way which pushes your business towards achieving success.

#3: pbe3

Experts suggest that pbe3 is among the best ERP software available in the market and if you don’t know what it is, here you go. Pbe3 is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning solution which isn’t like any other that is mentioned above.

PBE3 ERP screenshot

It was created by its creator keeping in mind small and medium sized businesses. As the business hub for your organization, this will definitely be the go-to source of detail for all individuals at different levels of the company as the security settings based on different roles will let you control who is supposed to see which information. Hence, it enhances the security level of a business to some extent.

From sales and lead generation to all the way through processing and invoicing payments, you can accomplish everything in a single place. This won’t make you wander around for information.

#4: Priority Software

Priority Software is one of those single integrated software for enterprise resource management and planning for medium, small and bigger companies. This cloud-based ERP software named Priority business management software has different modules which provide solutions for the operational needs of all types of organization’s ERP. The target solutions for commercial businesses through a broad spectrum of industries make ERP cost-effective than complex. They are also deemed to be cumbersome business alternatives.

#5: OneSoft Connect

This software lets you manage anything and OneSoft matches your business like LEGO! Simplify your commercial life and manage majority of the regular issues from a specific kind of environment. With this you can put an end to spreadsheets, messy documents or apps and you can instead manage tasks, tackle activities with customers, assets, opportunities, contracts and others. You won’t be drowned in documents when you use the software.

Therefore, when you wish to implement enterprise resource planning software to your company, you can definitely use any of the above mentioned ERP software programs listed above.

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Collaboration is one of the most important factors to trade and corporate growth. Regardless of industry, managers are always looking for ways to bring their staff together to share ideas and relay vital information. The workplace meeting is the traditional avenue for this, but what can employers do when their employees are stationed in multiple, remote locations?

Cloud video conferencing

A great solution is the cloud-based video conference. Investopedia explains video conferencing as a platform allowing face-to-face communication between two or more parties without having to unite these parties in a single location. This is a boon for business, because it allows meetings to take place without the cost of travel or time lost from regular workday routine and duties.

Innumerable businesses now utilize online services for communication. According to Open PR, the forecast for continuing growth in the audiovisual communications market is strong through 2025. This has everything to do with the level of availability and accessibility of audio and video technology, as well as the fact that cloud-based telecommunication enables people to stay in touch despite time zones, distance and other factors that might otherwise limit trade and conversation.

Selecting the Right Service

It’s easy to see that digital telecommunications are useful to today’s corporations and small start-ups alike, but the best choices in tools and technology will vary for each. Selecting the right kinds of software and service for your company’s audiovisual needs is part of preparing for successful remote meetings. Having these programs in place and established with participants prior to engaging in the event takes much of the potential stress out of the equation.

For this to happen, will the facilities that host gatherings need to acquire new technological components? Will training be required by employees? Will the current network support the streaming or real-time content, and will the devices currently being used by the staff be able to handle the task? Should the system resides in your company’s cloud or out in the public? These are all things that should be considered when determining a company’s prerequisites for employing a hosting service. Information Age offers some suggestions as to how to figure out other important factors, such as typical usage, how much support might be required to implement a new system and whether the best decision is hard-drive or cloud storage for related information.

Knowing your company’s conference style and requirements can help in deciding between the many varieties of streaming video services. Regardless of what components of the digital conference are most important to your team, there is a program that is best suited to deliver them. Communications companies such as BlueJeans assist modern corporate entities with finding the business video conferencing solutions that fit their needs.

Cloud conferencing

The Real Benefits of Real-Time

The reasons for choosing a real-time audiovisual service or program for conducting business are wide and varied. The Houston Chronicle offers readers a list of excellent motives for hosting and attending conferences, whether they are in person or in real-time via audiovisual means. Some of the reasons they tout the advantages of calls and virtual meet-ups in particular include:

  • The obvious benefit of participation in these sessions, which is the savings involved. Time is saved and money along with other resources is conserved simply by electing to host gatherings over the internet rather than in person.
  • More interested participants. When members of the team can see their presenter and interact directly with one another, they are more likely to pay attention, more likely to be mentally present and retain information, and more likely to contribute to the discussion. This makes forums more productive and keeps employees more informed about what’s happening at work.
  • More immediate results. When a staff or management group can discuss issues in real time, decisions can be made more quickly and with greater confidence. This enables business to move along at a better clip and keeps output high and efficient.
  • Easy to tailor to differing needs. Whether two people or an entire team need to collaborate, video conferencing is an ideal solution. Most programs allow users to add multiple remote parties at any point during the stream, and support a wide range of numbers of participants.
  • Easier and more enjoyable sessions for participants. When people can communicate clearly with sight and sound, it’s easier to add humor, accompaniment like music and more to presentations. This makes the experience more pleasant for everyone involved, and allows participants to relax and focus on learning rather than keeping themselves mentally present.

Ultimately, the biggest reason for bringing live audiovisual platforms into the workplace is the same as the perk that convinces many people to use it in their daily lives. It’s a fast, convenient and fun way to converse, and that is never more welcome than in the workplace. The day’s technology certainly has a place in the modern office, and can help bring people together for industry regardless of location – a real asset to business in the twenty-first century.

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How many of you want to cry after hearing about the recent WannaCry ransomware attack? As so many before it, WannaCry infects and propagates via a Window’s exploit; in this case a Window’s SMB network protocol.

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, FedEx, Germany’s railway company Deutch Bahn, and many other businesses had their file systems hijacked, followed by a pop-up demand for sums ranging from $300 – 600 dollars in untraceable Bitcoin currency to unlock each infected file.

Ransomware

While most who have updated their systems since can rest easy that WannaCry can no longer hurt them, the entire issue has highlighted the need for businesses of all sizes to take their business’s cybersecurity prevention into their own hands.

Just because WannaCry isn’t a threat any longer doesn’t mean its little brother, GoldenEye, won’t learn from its software sibling’s mistakes!

There are a number of consequences facing businesses of all sizes due to such attacks:

  • Downtime – all the time it costs to you and your clients.
  • Reduced trust levels from customers after the fallout.
  • Decreases in staff morale following the attack.
  • Costs to eliminate and recover from threats.
  • Lost marketshare due to stolen data being used against you and/or customers leaving after their data is breached.

This is the short list. One thing is for sure, it’s impossible to predict the costs of any threat until the damage is assessed. Businesses can’t be reactionary with their cybersecurity; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Cybersecurity training – a must do

All who work in your company need to be aware of things hackers do to infiltrate your business’s data, and what they can do to help prevent it. It isn’t enough anymore just to have a competent IT department protecting your company – everyone needs to know and understand how to protect the company’s data against tech-related threats.

That’s why Cyber Security Training is a must at all levels.

Cloud security

Top 3 Benefits of Cybersecurity Training:

1. Empowered staff, better culture.

Pretty much 99% of the time, employees have no idea how important their daily actions are at maintaining the integrity of company and client data. They click “trusted” links in their email and while browsing the Internet, and have no idea if malware is being injected into the system by an unscrupulous hacker (those with scruples work for the good guys!)

By empowering staff with cybersecurity training, they’ll gain more awareness as to their role in data security and will also hold their coworkers responsible for their role in protecting valuable data.

2. Competitive advantage.

After online cheat-on-your-spouse dating site, Ashley Madison was breached, the site was just never the same for former customers. This brand and many others, just can’t recover after a serious costly and embarrassing data breach occurs. It’s likely that yours won’t either, unless you take affirmative action now to prevent attacks from happening in the first place.

In the case of the once massive online dating giant, their forum could no longer promise married promiscuity without the threat of being caught – customers couldn’t trust them anymore. Not to mentioned an inquiry into the matter showed that up to 95% of the female profiles on the site were, in fact, fake!

Once a breach affects your customers, they’ll move on and find a company that hasn’t suffered a threat, and who has the proper cybersecurity protocols in place to protect their information.

3. Improved data security.

Obvious, I know. But, increased data security is the biggest benefit to empowering you and your staff with cybersecurity training. Ignorance of threats and their consequences is no longer an excuse with malware and ransomware threats like Petya, WannaCry and the latest hack, “GoldenEye,” high-jacking big data all over the world.

Takeaway

Data security is up to you. You can’t rely on the NSA and Microsoft to protect you all the time – certainly not to help recover and secure your stolen data after the fact!

Considering we live in the data driven age, and that data is among the most important aspect of modern business, any business with a smartphone and a computer needs to be trained in threat avoidance and detection.

There are many ways to get such training. The B.S. in Information Technology program offered by King University is one of ways to equip you with a much-needed IT foundation to build your expertise upon.

Knowledge is power. Are you ready to get empowered?

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Content marketing is the combination of the content on a website, a blog, and posts on other websites used for backlinking purposes. It’s also often called inbound marketing, and it involves Search Engine Optimization, keywords, and many more technical factors.

Cloud Computing has turned this into a worldwide industry. Many content marketing companies operate with remote workers around the world, and cloud computing helps them do business this way.

Cloud content

Online Tools

There are several online tools that let content marketers analyze sites, manage projects, and keep track of their work for a particular client. These tools include:

  • Domain name search tools, used to find what domain names are available when creating a site from scratch.
  • Tools like MOZ, SEMRush, and Google Analytics that provide deep website analytics about traffic and performance.
  • Project management tools that allow them to track the progress of different projects and the completion of tasks.
  • Chat programs like Slack and Google Hangouts that allow teams to keep in touch at a distance.

Through these tools and others, content marketing teams can collaborate and share work from nearly anywhere.

Document Sharing

Thanks to services like Microsoft OneDrive and Google Docs, two people in different parts of the world can be working on the same document at the same time in real time. This makes the creation of content and the editing of work easy for both writers, editors, web developers, and outreach specialists.

A web developer can let a content writer know through comments in real time whether or not the document they are working on will be the right fit for the space on the site, and the content writer can respond with immediate revisions.

Mobile cloud gadget

Payroll, Human Resources, and Timekeeping Programs

When a company has workers globally, they have to use software to keep track of hours worked, perform human resources tasks, and do payroll in different currencies and complying with different regulations.

There are global payroll solutions offered by several companies that allow them to do all of these things whether within one system or using several tools that communicate well with each other. Managers can:

  • Track where and when employees clock in.
  • See what tasks they are working on at any given time.
  • Allow employees access to benefits and other company information.
  • Issue payroll in a timely manner across many time zones and international borders.

This enables even small businesses and startups to take advantage of remote workers and a global workforce.

Content marketing is a growing global industry, and cloud computing makes using remote workforces and global resources a reality.

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Cloud tech can offer businesses so much, but when it comes to maintaining it, there’s an important decision to make: Should you outsource your tech support or maintain an in-house team? Read on to learn more.

Increasingly, businesses are choosing to outsource their IT support services rather than have an in-house tech support team. There are many advantages to taking this path; here are seven of the best ones.

IT support outsourcing
Young handsome business man in black suit practice yoga and relax at network server room while representing stress control concept

Outsourcing IT support can save a lot of money

The average in-house IT support manager has a salary of £35,000 to £40,000, year after year. There’s also the costs of recruiting a new manager, or other team members, as well as the constant training they’ll need to stay agile.

For the smaller business, this salary is too much, but there’s still the risk of problems causing long spells of downtime while untrained staff struggle to resolve problems.

By outsourcing IT support, maybe to a company like Probrand, there’s a fixed monthly payment which is easy to predict and budget.

Your in-house team isn’t present or experienced enough

You don’t need IT help all the time, so even though you rely on your systems to function and be productive, it’s not worth employing a full-time team. However, a part-time team, or just one IT guy, can’t be there all the time and may not be able to cope with a critical problem on his or her own. This means an emergency call-out on top of the salary and this is where it gets expensive.

With an outsourced team, you can call them as much as you need to – there’s no extra charge.

You can give your existing team or techie a back-up

If you only have a small or part-time IT team, using a support service provides you – and them – with back-up. If your sole tech guy is on holiday, or overwhelmed, you can call in the cavalry. You’ll have a large, experienced team ready to come in and help. Plus, you can have your systems monitored to stop problems before they have an impact.

You don’t have to recruit your own staff

Recruiting is expensive. It’s also stressful and if you’re not very IT-savvy yourself you might not have the first idea of what you need to ask for!

If you outsource, all this is done for you and you don’t even have to ask the techs about their hobbies and where they see themselves in five years…

Business cloud management

You can focus on your business

IT problems are a huge sinkhole of time and if they take you away from strategy meetings, trade shows, your accountant and, worst of all, your customers, they can end up costing you a lot of money.

All you and your staff need is a number and you’re good to go.

Outsourcing IT support increases productivity

Asking your staff to be responsible for their own (and colleagues’) IT security might look like a good money saver, but it’s not. There’ll be five or ten minutes here and there sorting out glitches, fiddling with printers, rebooting here, there and everywhere. Being able to call support in to diagnose and fix the irritating little problems saves lots of time day after day, which aids productivity no end.

You’ll have access to all the latest technology and solutions

It’s important for IT support services to stay at the cutting edge of things such as cloud tech, so they do. They constantly train staff and often have partnerships with major technology developers and providers; all of which they bring to you. Your IT support service will also be able to hook you up with other service providers, so if you want to offer remote working, or cut your telecoms spending, you only need to ask.

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There are hundreds of personal finance software solutions available on the market at this moment. From Mint to Personal Capital, cloud-based software can help you keep track of your expenses, income and personal loans.

Personal finance software is a game changer for people who want to take charge of their finances. This is especially true for busy people who find it easier to manage their accounts using a single software solution.

Personal finance cloud software

If you manage your software using a cloud-based system, your primary concern should be security. According to a recent article published by CNBC, approximately 41 million Americans have been the victims of financial theft.

Is Your Cloud-Based Software Secure?

As the incidences of hacking increase throughout the world, people are becoming more vigilant about protecting access to their financial accounts. Unfortunately, there are millions of people who continue to downplay their chances of getting hacked. Take a look at these recent statistics.

  • 42 percent of consumers do not monitor activity on their credit reports.
  • 36 percent of banking customers rely on unsecured Wi-Fi networks to conduct online banking transactions.
  • 25 percent of American consumers use similar account passwords for all of their accounts.

When it comes to protecting the security of your finances, how secure is your cloud-based personal finance software? If you are not sure about your software’s security, it is a great time to get the knowledge you need to protect your finances. Here are a few things you can do to protect your accounts using any personal financial software solution.

1. Research the software before you enroll in the program

One advantage of having access to the internet is you can get real-time information about cloud-based software solutions. Read customer reviews to determine if customers have experienced security problems. There are articles that have been written that can tell you about the pros and cons of the popular types of financial software.

2. Create strong PINS and passwords for your accounts

Use a combination of symbols, letters and numbers for each account. Using the same password might be convenient, but resist the urge to use the same password and PIN for each account. Be sure to change your passwords frequently.

3. Never save your software passwords on your computer

If you are prone to forgetting your passwords, write them on a piece of paper and keep them in a secure place. Hackers use sophisticated malware to gain access to your computer without your knowledge. It is best to protect your password and not leave your security to chance.

4. Log out of your cloud-based personal finance software completely

If you do not log out on a shared computer, another person can have access to your information. Always verify that your session has been terminated.

5. Take precautions when you are using public Wi-Fi connections

Airports, restaurants and hotels offer Wi-Fi connections with reduced security settings. Although this makes it easier for patrons to access the internet, it provides an opportunity for hackers to intercept your financial information.

Conclusion

Your cloud-based personal financial software is only as secure as the actions you take to protect it. Applying these tips will help you increase the security of your personal finance software.

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You’re probably had enough of hearing about big data and its relevance to your business. It’s 2017, if you’re not collecting AND analyzing big data, you’re getting left behind. No, the conversation is no longer about whether or not you should be investing in big data analysis, it’s how.

Let’s talk data storage. The biggest quandary with big data handling is storage. It’s possible that you could be dealing with petabytes of information over the next few years, and at that scale, investment in the right kind of storage is a must. The major battle being fought is between investing in your own servers (on-premise, private cloud,) or ‘renting’ cloud storage space (public cloud.)

Big data cloud

To make it crystal clear, here’s a brief for you: Cloud storage is data storage that’s still on servers. The difference is that it’s remote, meaning it’s accessed via the internet, not internally, and you don’t actually have a physical server to store your data. Other than that, it’s the same old storage you’re used to.

So just how is this simple difference an advantage? Here are the top five reasons to go cloud with your big data storage.

1. Storage Space

Imagine you invest in your own servers, you get a location, get a company in to fit it, hire people to maintain it – what happens when you’ve filled your servers? Easy, you have to get more. With the cloud you don’t get that because let’s just say that it’s someone’s else’s problem. You can reach your limit and simply upgrade to double your storage capacity.

That’s assuming you can afford to set up your own servers in the first place.

Enter cloud storage. The cloud offers an easily expandable storage space – at scale – and you only pay for the resources that you use. Meaning, you only pay more if your big data is getting, well, bigger.

2. Cost

The cost of setting up your own servers is phenomenal. It’s only a really viable option if you’re a large business that requires such a huge amount of storage that the set up cost of company servers is dwarfed by storage rental.

While renting out storage space via the cloud may seem like an exorbitant cost, when you look at how it compares to the alternative, could you afford that amount in one hit? Very doubtful. And set up is not the only cost…

3. Security

Did you know how easy it is to breach your business premise’s security? Things are no better for your cyber security, too.

How much do you pour into your cyber security right now? Imagine having to protect a thousand times more data that might be even more sensitive. There really is a never ending supply of costs that add up when running your own servers.

But again, if you use the cloud, you’re paying a company to take care of security for you. Of course you have to choose a plan that suits the level of protection needed for your data, but you’ll still be saving even if you have to pay a premium.

4. Backups

Imagine, if you will, that you are company working on the development of a new medicine, things are looking good and you’re already being clever about the way you record your findings using your biology ELN. You’ve invested in your technology and even have your own servers to store the data on. You go to look at your finding from the past few months to carry out analysis only to find your servers have crashed. Ouch.

If you’d maybe thought ahead, you’d have backed up your important data on the cloud as well as keeping it on your servers. Because even if you have the budget for your own storage, bad things can happen to good businesses.

When it comes to big data, the cloud is an invaluable asset to your business and the most realistic in terms of cost. So, look after your data and it’ll look after you.

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Are you thinking about starting a cloud based business? If your idea is popular and you have the drive, creating a successful and popular cloud based business is not an impossible challenge. However, there are certain factors you need to consider before you take this step. Below are the main things you need to think about before you start a cloud based system.

Cloud-based startup

Your Skills and Experience

Like any business venture, you need to have certain skills and experience before you decide to start a cloud based company. If you believe you need to improve your technical and business skills, it may be worth your while completing an MBA in information technology or a more business focused online MBA degree. After finishing the appropriate course, you will be in a much better position to enter the business world.

Market Research

The best product in the world won’t sell if there isn’t a demand for it. This is why you need to research your market and find out if there’s a need for the product or service you are thinking about developing and selling. If not, you may need to go back to the drawing board and reconsider your position. This may be deflating for a new entrepreneur, but it could save you a lot of money and trouble in the future.

Raising Finances

Every business needs money to get off the ground. You should find out how much money your intended project will cost and how much it will cost to stay in business until you start generating a profit.

If money is tight, you may need external help. If this is the case, you should consider partnering with another company, so look for investors or even consider crowd funding.

Your Business Model

Different cloud based companies have different business models and you need to choose a model that is the most suitable for the product or service you are providing. Some cloud based companies decide to charge a one-time payment for their products and services, while other organizations use a membership style model where customers pay for a product or service on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Business and Legal Requirements

From the beginning, it’s crucial to understand that you will be running a real business. There is business and legal requirements you should be aware of before you start trading and receiving payments online. In most cases, a new entrepreneur won’t have this knowledge and experience, so you should consult with a legal professional and a financial professional before you move forward.

Delegation

When you start a business, you will probably want to get involved in all aspects of your new business. However, if you have the finances, hire professionals to take care of certain aspects that you may not be an expert in. This will allow you to focus on your strengths and the activities you specialize in.

Starting a cloud based business could be one of the best decisions you ever make. However, you should consider each of the tips above first before you decide to start this type of company.

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Applying for most types of loans used to be a time-consuming process. You had to go in to the lender (usually a bank or credit union), talk to a representative, fill out a loan application, and then wait for a response. If you wanted something faster or your credit wasn’t that great, your only real option was a payday or car title loan.

While many of the loan options are still the same, cloud technology has drastically sped up the process of obtaining a loan. No matter what type of loan you need, you can probably get it faster by starting out online.

Cloud lending
photo credit: Doug Kinnison / Dribbble

Online Applications

The main difference the internet has made in the lending industry is online loan applications. Instead of having to visit the lender in person and fill out a paper application, you can submit all your information on the lender’s website and sometimes even receive a response in just seconds.

Another way cloud technology makes the loan process easier for borrowers is by providing easy access to their credit reports. The law entitles everyone to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies, which are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can now go online to order each of those agencies. There are also a variety of online credit estimate tools that can provide you with an estimate of your credit score. Certain banks even offer this service if you have a credit card account with them. By making it easier for borrowers to access their credit report and credit score, technology has also made it easier for borrowers to understand what their loan options are (since that depends quite a bit on the borrower’s credit score).

Online loan applications are available through most lenders. Considering how many people go on the internet first for everything they need, any lender that doesn’t offer online applications is putting themselves at a disadvantage compared to the competition.

The application process varies for each lender and type of loan. With many online applications, the lender can approve you immediately and then deposit money into your account. Other lenders only offer preapprovals through their applications, and you have to actually visit one of the lender’s locations to complete the application process. This is common with secured loans (loans that have collateral), especially those where the lender need to inspect the collateral first, such as online title loans. The lender can pre approve you based on your application, but you still have to bring your car to them so they can perform a quick inspection.

If the lender only offers preapprovals through its online application, then the application will be shorter and require less information. These pre approval applications often only require a bit of basic personal information, including your name, location, email address, and phone number.

Lenders that allow you to complete the entire loan application process have a much longer application process. You’ll have to enter your personal information and information regarding your financial history, including your current income. The lender will likely run a credit check as part of the application process.

Online lending

Other Online Loan Options

New loan options are also available now thanks to technology, with one of the most prominent and useful being peer to peer lending. These sites have been around since 2005, and they allow you to post an ad requesting a certain amount of money, along with how you plan to use the money. Peer to peer lending sites include your credit score with your ad. Lenders browse through the ads and issue the loans they want as an investment, as they’ll make money when the borrower repays the loan. These sites help streamline the loan process, and if your ad is well-written, you may get a loan from a peer much faster than you would through a financial institution.

There are personal loan websites that don’t require any collateral and can deposit the funds into your bank account the same day that you’re approved. While these websites are among the fastest and most convenient options, make sure you check the interest rate. Often in the lending industry, the loans that are easiest to obtain also have the worst terms and cost you the most in the long run.

Cloud technology has made the loan process faster and more convenient for borrowers. Regardless of the type of loan you need and your financial situation, going online is the best way to start the process.

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