Author: Ivan Widjaya

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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If it’s your first time to conduct an interactive web conference, it can feel incredibly intimidating thinking about how you’re going to get the attention of so many people, much less keep it. But it doesn’t have to be such a frightening prospect, especially once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

Businesswoman using video conferencing apps

Let’s discuss what you can do to keep your audience engaged during an online video conference.

Smile and Keep Eye Contact with Your Audience

Even if you aren’t looking at your viewers face-to-face, you’re trying to make it feel like you’re right there with them despite the fact that they’re just watching you on a screen. Though you can’t necessarily look directly into your audience’s eyes due to the nature of interactive online conferences, you can simulate the effect quite easily. All you have to do is to look directly into your web camera’s lens instead of staring at your screen, and you’ll be able to make it look like you’re making eye contact with your viewers, according to Inc.

You may want to record a video of yourself speaking in order to see if you’re looking away from the camera too often. Better yet, call up a friend online so that he or she can tell you on the spot if you’re not looking into the camera enough.

Use Professional Language and Gestures

While there is certainly a niche market for people who have strong and somewhat controversial personalities, the best way to retain your viewers during your online conference is to be as professional as possible. Thus, if you have a habit of cursing regularly, you’re going to have to practice until you get rid of that bad habit.

At the same time, though, you’ll have to master the art of body language. Smile at your viewers a lot, but not so much that you’ll start to make them feel uncomfortable. Don’t cross your arms or turn away from your audience or you’ll make them feel like you don’t want to talk to them at all.

Pick the Right Words to Get Your Point Across

Sure, you may look charming, having mastered body language all while wearing a professional outfit. But if you aren’t saying the right words, your audience still won’t care no matter how hard you try to convince them about your idea. So take some time to sit down and create an outline of what you want to say during your interactive conference. What’s your main idea? What are some things that will support this main idea? What is your expected audience like? What sort of voice or tone do they prefer? Once you’ve gotten this written down, you’ll have a better idea of what vocabulary you should use to make a connection with your viewers.

Remember: you don’t necessarily need to use incredibly complicated words in order to look smart. It’s how you use simple words to translate complex ideas into a way that’s easy to digest that will impress your audience.

Use Visual Aids, Whenever Appropriate

Most systems for cloud-based enterprise video meetings such as BlueJeans now come with a feature that allow you to pull up documents on the fly and present them to your audience. Thus, whenever possible, try displaying a simple but powerful visual image to further prove your point. A recent trend has been transforming information into colorful graphics, resulting in images that are referred to as “infographics.” You could easily make one of your own using a variety of free or reasonably-priced apps out on the market today.

Video conferencing infographic
Video conferencing

If you want to go a little old-school, though, there’s no harm in actually using a real-life whiteboard and writing on it as you go. Just make sure you point your video camera toward it, and that your internet connection and camera quality is high enough that everyone can actually see what you’re writing.

Don’t Forget to Get Your Audience Involved

Don’t just jump straight into the agenda. There’s a reason why you chose to hold an interactive video conference instead of just recording the whole thing, after all. Make sure that you give your viewers the opportunity to ask questions about your discussion whenever possible. You might even want to schedule a few minutes after your talk as an official Q&A session, letting everybody know in advance so they can prepare their questions as you speak. Even better, you can encourage them to prepare their questions before the meeting even begins, according to Inc. You can go even further by inviting a guest speaker to your online event and interviewing him or her. Better yet, why not include your guest speaker in your Q&A session, too?

If you follow this guide, you’ll be sure to keep them hooked from start to finish. But don’t cram all of that hard work on the night before the presentation yourself. Success comes from being well prepared, so start looking into all of these weeks ahead of schedule. You and your viewers will be glad you did.

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Email has continued to be one of the most vital tools we have in our online communications and business interactions. They serve us daily and are most often free to use. There must be thousands of email service providers out there, but of course not all of them are cut of the same cloth, that is to say, quality of service is varied.

Gmail hacked

Gmail email provider is by far one of the most popular and trusted of all the cloud-based email providers out there today. It is used by millions of people, worldwide, and has an excellent safety rating, uptime and high quality of service in general.

But as always scammers and hackers aren’t far behind the latest technology. They quite ingeniously find new ways to bypass the newest barriers set by tech giants such as Gmail.

So what do you know when you realise that your Gmail has been hacked?

Asides from panic, you need to maintain some sort of composure and take control of the situation before things get out of hand.

Your personal information and even reputation may be at stake, depending on what the hackers have in mind with your account. Knowing that you have sent hundreds, maybe even thousands of emails through your now hacked Gmail account, means that you have enough reason to worry.

Step #1: Claim back your account!

First off, if the hackers have changed your password, you must claim back full access to your account. Change your password to something more difficult to access and if need be, keep a note of your password somewhere safe in your desk or better still, in your wallet.

Step #2: Report to Gmail

The next thing you need to do is report the hacking incident to Gmail. Whoever logged probably already deleted the alert notice that your account has been logged in from a new browser/device. So you might not have further proof to offer in your report. However, email providers take hacking attacks very seriously and will aim to resolve the problem as soon as possible. After all, all that they have is their reputation, and they will want to maintain a high level of trust.

Step #3: Check the collateral damage

After you have reported that your Gmail account was hacked, you should check your sent items very carefully, there will likely be emails sent by the hacker to your contact lists. Quickly delete these emails and check your contact lists for new emails that you didn’t add or that look suspicious. Make note of these email addresses and then delete them from your contacts.

Step #4: Clarify what happens

The last step should be the dreaded mass email to all contacts. Here you should BCC (Blind carbon copy) everyone on your contact list and inform them that your Gmail account was hacked. More often than not, there is at least a couple of contacts who click on the links sent by the hackers, and spread the malware even further. They should be warned that they have possibly been sent malware from the hackers, and that they should check their mobile devices and PCS for any threats.

Good news?

Once you have performed these steps to control the damage done to your hacked Gmail account, you should have full control of your account once more. Something worth noting is, that many of us keep personal information in our emails, thinking that our accounts are safe. If you happened to send or save any financial information in your email, such as, credit card numbers, bank accounts, social security, passport numbers etc, you should report this immediately to the authorities.

Call your bank and ask them to freeze your card from any purchases until further notice; or better yet, have it cancelled. This might seem stressful and an unnecessary precaution, but the fact is that if your Gmail has been hacked, then you must take every step to protect yourself from financial loss.

Remember that hackers aren’t just doing this to spread malware, but to absorb as much personal information from each account as possible.

Conclusion

Having your Gmail hacked is scary, so treat your email passwords the way you would your social security numbers, don’t share with anyone and always report the hack to the authorities, to safeguard against identity theft.

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The cloud gives us plenty of opportunity to be more cost efficient with our tech expenses.  Unfortunately, the affordable prices to buy storage space and any other cloud-based services is not followed by the prices of gadgets that we use to access the cloud.  The thing is, the cloud is there, and it keeps getting better with age (e.g. more powerful and comprehensive services for the same price tags); this is not the case with gadgets; whether you like it or not, they will decline in value over time.

Mobile cloud gadget

Recently, the cost of tech gadgets has begun to rise in many parts of the world. The materials needed to make new mobile phones, tablets and laptops have gone up, as has the cost of shipping and labour. As a result, if you need to replace your smartphone you can easily end up having to spend $600 or $750 to have to do so.

The fact that money is tight for a lot of our readers has prompted us to write this short post about getting more out of your old phones, laptops, e-readers and smartphones. There is a lot that you can do with them, so our aim here is only to give you ideas, and inspire you to pause before throwing away your old tech gadgets.

Re-use them

There are many ways to re-purpose your older laptops, e-readers, PCs and smartphones. For example, you can easily turn an old tablet into a recipe book for the kitchen, or use one as a dedicated e-reader. Even old MP3 players can be given a new lease of life, as music repositories.

Give them to others

Perhaps one of the best ways to get more out of your technology is to pass it onto somebody else. Giving your old phone to one of the kids can be a good idea, but they tend to want the latest gadgets too. As a result, giving it to an elderly relative is usually a better idea.

If you do decide to give your older tech gadgets away, remember to de-personalise them. You do not want your old letters, photos and other personal information to be read by other people.

This is important even if you are giving items to people you really trust like friends and relatives. After all, you do not know what they will do with those gadgets when they have finished with them. You have no idea whether they will give them as gifts, to people you do not know. If you are not careful, your private information could end up in the hands of a complete stranger.

You can learn how to clear your gadgets of sensitive data, here.

Broken smartphone
photo credit: pni / Flickr

Get broken technology repaired

The fact that the cost of a new smartphone is so high means that it is now cost effective to have a broken one repaired rather than buy a new one. It does not matter where you are in the world repairing your old tech gadgets is now a practical option. Whether you are looking for iphone repair in Miami or Cambridge, in the UK, you can find a firm to do the work. Most modern repair companies now offer their services via the mail. Doing so allows them to serve the entire country rather than just residents in the town or city in which they are based.

Trade it in or sell it

Another great option is to sell your old technology on. If you are lucky, you will be able to trade in your old laptop, or smartphone, when you buy the latest model.

Takeaway

So, there you have it – four ways to make the most of your tech gadgets.  The choice is yours, but one thing for sure, make sure that you don’t keep your tech stashed in your closet or storage room, as it adds no value to you or anyone else.

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Cloud computing is huge, but it is used a lot more widely within certain industries than in others. Continue reading to learn about just five of the many industries around the world that are influenced by cloud computing most.

Cloud computing in healthcare

1. The Healthcare Industry

When it comes to keeping track of private patient files and preventing their destruction during a natural disaster, fire, flood, theft etc., the cloud is highly valuable. So it is no wonder that healthcare professionals across all sectors are now embracing the use of cloud computing to collect information about their patients and share that information with other professionals whenever necessary. Students who are attending a school like Boston University for a degree in health communication, such as their online masters of science in health communication, will end up learning about how to use the cloud to not only maintain patient records, but also maintain information that can be used to promote a healthcare company.

2. Marketing Companies

Many businesses are taking advantage of cloud computing capabilities because the cloud lets employees share information easily even when they are located in different parts of the world. If you are working on an assignment at your desk but you need to finish it later, you can upload it to the cloud and retrieve it easily while you are on the go and when you get home. But marketing professionals, in particular, are really taking advantage of the cloud in order to lower their costs of doing business with clients. The cloud allows them to benefit from enhanced security of sensitive data, and they also enjoy multi-device support when they work.

3. Education

Education is huge, and it goes beyond your standard k-12 curriculum. Today, people are taking courses online all over the world, thanks to the cloud. Educational demands can be met, whether employees need to be trained or college students need to earn credits. The cloud allows for open discussions and collaborations, as well as easier registration for courses and the sharing of student information like grades. This is why it is now possible to get just about any degree, such as an online communications masters degree, without having to go to class.

Watching video streaming on smartphone

4. Entertainment

The entertainment industry is also taking advantage of cloud technology by now making it easier than ever for people to find the TV shows and movies that they are looking for while they are online. There are many streaming services that are available, and people can watch entertaining programs on their devices while they are on the go as well.

5. Startup Businesses

Cloud computing can be a really affordable option when it comes to getting a startup off the ground and up and running. Again, businesspeople can use the cloud to upload important files and documents to work on wherever they are, and they can also use the cloud for collaboration, which is especially important when a business is just starting off.

So many industries use cloud computing every single day in order to improve the way that they operate and generate higher profits.

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When cloud computing was first introduced to the masses, companies rejoiced, consumers became curious and industry leaders looked to how this technology could be harnessed to expand their industries. What wasn’t anticipated was how much the cloud would influence education.

Today, students are studying engineering online, prepping for the SAT via their laptops and having video tutoring sessions with teachers on the other side of the continent. Cloud computing has already changed how this generation of students studies, and it’s widely thought that future students will be further influenced as the cloud continues to take shape.

Learning in the cloud

Expanding Online Learning

While students have been using computers to load encyclopedias via disc, and word processors to type up their research papers for years now, most source materials came from outside sources. In other words, computers and technology aided student learning, but it was nowhere near what is now capable of.

Online learning is at the forefront of education, with students completing their masters of engineering online and even earning their PHDs via home computers. With the cloud, online learning has expanded exponentially, enabling students to find all of their source materials in a convenient central location.

Making Education More Affordable

Cloud computing now makes it possible for educators to give their students access to proprietary information at the click of a button. Instead of ordering the latest books and scholarly articles via the mail, materials can be uploaded to the cloud and shared on a selective basis. Students are able to save money on external hard drives and USB sticks by saving their work via the cloud as well.

When schools are no longer required to spend a large part of their budgets on reference materials, they are more free to expand extracurricular activities, hire more educators and invest in students that have the most needs individually.

Connecting Students and Teachers Remotely

Teachers have been taking advantage of the interactive portion of cloud computing in an effort to work with students collaboratively. What would it be like if a student was able to submit their homework to the cloud and receive feedback nearly instantly? With the cloud, this is not only possible, it’s a much more regular occurrence.

Students learning in a cloud education system

Educators that have been adopting cloud computing at lower grade levels have reported improvement both in student effort and results. Time is a major factor in education, and cloud computing has made it much easier for teachers to provide timely feedback, notice problems quicker and employ solutions more effectively.  Interestingly, this is also the case for higher education – proving that the cloud disrupts education at all levels.

Remotely storing documents is a great way to keep them safe in case a computer crashes or becomes compromised. Cloud computing has made it so that students are able to go back in their records and see how much they have progressed during the course of their educational careers.

Takeaway

Although remote learning and cloud computing cannot replace the classroom experience, it can enhance the tools that educators use to help their students advance and feel empowered while learning. Cloud computing will continue to change the way that students tackle the learning experience, aiding them in every way as they work to reach their goals.

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Although the internet has provided customers with an assortment of different options for getting in touch with the companies that they shop with, speaking to a ‘real’ person and hearing a friendly voice on the other end of a telephone is still something that most customers want when it comes to having their questions answered and finding solutions to any problems that they may have. Because of this, call centres are still very much a large part of forming good, long-term relationships with customers and building customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Cloud-based call centre

An increasing number of companies are now depending on cloud-hosted call centres due to the numerous benefits that they offer. Here are some of the top benefits of a cloud-hosted call centre:

Cost Effectiveness

Perhaps the main reason why we’re seeing more companies than ever opt for cloud-based call and contact centres is that they are easy to deploy and don’t often require any upfront expenditure in order to do this.

Many cloud-based call centres are based on a ‘pay as you go’ system, allowing companies to choose only the services that they need, resulting in never paying any more than is necessary. Compared to traditional on-premises call centres, this can often be much more cost effective due to less IT expenditure, resulting in higher returns on investment.

Personalised Customer Services

When your company chooses a cloud-based call centre, you will be able to pick and choose specific features and services in order to ensure that your customers enjoy a personalised and localised experience.

The services offered by cloud-based call centre applications can be customised to keep in mind customer demographics, for example languages, average customer age, or their geographical location. This, along with the integration of various applications into the support ecosystem, for example business reporting and analytics, purchase order management, billing software and more can help to improve operational costs and create more efficiency.

Cloud-Based Feedback

Another advantage of choosing a cloud-based call centre is that customer feedback can easily be stored and accessed in the cloud. Using methods such as customer surveys and polls, which can be taken online, over the telephone or via other methods, cloud-based call centres allow you to create better customer profiles from the feedback. Use this to improve the customer experience and improve call centre efficiency.

Business cloud management

On-Demand Support

The rapid growth of online and mobile service is having a significant impact on the demand for 24/7 customer support, which is now more sought-after than ever before and can often be a deciding factor for many customers and clients when choosing a new product or brand. Because of this, it makes sense to use a cloud-based call centre, which will provide your company with various solutions to allow your company to provide round-the-clock support for your customers anywhere in the world, at any time of the day or night.

Takeaway

For many businesses today, cloud-based call centres are the answer to improving their customer services so that they are equipped to meet growing demands.

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Over the past few years the role of cloud companies has become extremely important. This is because dozens of companies, big and small have starting using the services of cloud companies when it comes to storing of huge amounts of data and retrieving the same as and when required.

Before getting to know more about the various high performing cloud computing companies in 2016, it would be better to have some brief idea about cloud computing from the layman’s point of view. Put in plain and simple words when we talk about cloud companies we are referring to those service providers who help customers to store data and also use software which could be residing outside their computing system.

Easy accessibility from any part of the world, at any point of time is perhaps the biggest advantage as far as cloud computing is concerned. It certainly helps lower the IT infrastructure cost apart from improving the efficiency and productivity of various organizations which avail this facility. Hence there has been a big growth in the number of new entrants into the cloud computing business while existing ones have consolidated their presence.

Here is a look at some top companies which have done well in the field of cloud computing services, cloud technologies, and everything else in between.

Amazon.com

Amazon box and a cat
photo credit: Jeffrey / Flickr

Amazon is known as being one of the biggest online retailers. However, if one looks at their growth as reported in reputed online outlets like CMC Markets it would be obvious that they are also making their presence felt strongly in the cloud computation business. They are offering their services under the nomenclature Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The revenues of AWS have grown tremendously and have touched $5 billion mark in 2015 and 2016 looks even more promising. This has resulted in smart rallying of AWS stock prices and the long term outlook is also extremely promising.

The earnings for the year 2016 should show a growth of around 35% which is far higher than the market average of 18%.

Salesforce.com Inc

Salesforce logo
photo credit: Guillaume Maichrzik Muteba / Flickr

This is a corporation which is headquartered in San Francisco and it has become a reputed player in the field of Customer Relationship Management or CRM. They play a big role when it comes to providing end to end solutions in sales for automation, managing of critical operations, customer support and service just to name a few.

The earnings have grown in 2015 by 26% and the current year estimates also look quite encouraging.

Facebook Inc.

Facebook(let)
photo credit: FACEBOOK(LET) / Flickr

Facebook started operations in July 2004 and it has been a powerful driver of growth in the field of cloud computation and storage of data and information. Whether it is fostering and developing social networks, posting of pictures, exchange of messages, listening to music, interact with likeminded people Facebook is the place to be in.

The company has been able to post quite impressive results. It has shown a revenue growth of 27% which is far ahead of the market average. It certainly is a stock worth buying.

Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft
photo credit: Mike Mozart / Flickr

Microsoft is better known as a broad spectrum technology service provider. Though software is the biggest driver of growth over the past many decades, online services and consultation, certification and training also are areas where it has growth quite satisfactorily. Its earnings are quite vibrant and the growth story continues to be robust. All this is reflected in the stock growth rate which has been quite impressive and is expected to remain so for the next few years too.

They are strengthening their online presence quite strongly and the results will be evident in the next few months.

Rackspace Hosting Inc

Rackspace:Solve
photo credit: Garrett Heath / Flickr

Rackspace is the leader in the world as far as web hosting is concerned. They have entered into agreement with AWS – Amazon Web Services which will certainly go a long way in improving their earnings in the year 2016.

The 2015 growth of around 20% is also quite impressive when compared to the market average. Hence there are reasons to believe that the share growth will also get reflected shortly and the process already has started. Hence when all the above factors are taken into account, Rackspace Hosting Inc is a name to watch out in the area of cloud computation and cloud storage.

These are just a few and there are quite a few other companies and incorporations which also will come into the limelight as far as providing of cloud based services are concerned.

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When it comes to businesses in the current age, there are more than enough questions which are constantly asked and many of them revolve around saving money. However, while businesses are currently looking for ways to save money and cut back on their general costs, they also must be comfortable with the idea of continuing to grow and come up with revenue producing strategies.

Cloud meeting

The biggest thing you will want to consider is the following few questions when it comes to holding meetings online in order to potentially save your organization money while also improving production and efficiency.

Costs Of Attendance And Travel

The truth of the matter is, while the entire world is able to actually go anywhere for any reason, the costs of traveling has gotten more and more expensive over time.

According to the US News, you don’t just have to worry about the anticipated costs of travel, but you also have to be aware of the unexpected costs of travel that can creep up as well. Plus, when you start to think about the costs of regular travel, you still aren’t even considering the crazy costs that can happen such as being injured or getting sick when traveling, having delays and effects on meetings, or even the possibility of the meeting being all for nothing in case the plans of the party you are meeting happen to change on short notice.

Basically speaking, traveling can be a pretty big gamble and certain companies will spend a considerable amount of time and effort making travel one of their priorities. By having the ability to connect with people face to face, you can literally look them right in the eye as if they were only a few feet from you and then you can go right back to your life afterwards without any sort of travel costs involved in the process.

Traveling Takes Time

When you think about the fact that traveling costs money, you know it can be a considerable expense. However, there has become an even greater cost on your employees when they are forced to travel and that cost is the time that your employees are robbed of and will never get back.

Just trying to get to the airport will take a considerable amount of time to wake up early, beat traffic, arrive hours before the flight to check in, clear baggage, sit around for layovers, and then try to get to the hotel or motel in a reasonable amount of time. This is all before you even consider the time it will take to actually fly and be in the air or be in the taxi.

Cloud conferencing

As simple as all of this might sound to some, it is a complete and utter waste of the employee’s time. That means it is a waste of the employer’s time, because when they are supposed to be getting work accomplished, they are instead stuck wasting time. Video conferencing small business solutions offered by providers like BlueJeans Network can be used as a real substitute for face-to-face time, saving employer’s money on paying their employees to travel. The only thing employees need to do is boot up their computer and log into the cloud – regardless of their location.

Costs Of Stress On Employees

People are routine and they are creatures of habit. When you take them out of their element they need to spend considerably more amounts of energy and effort just to accomplish the same things. Not only does this mean it can take them longer to get into a routine, it can be more difficult to actually accomplish some of the very things that individuals are able to do without even thinking about on a daily basis.

On top of all of the relative inefficiencies of stress, according to Forbes there are even more potential problems as too much stress on the body from traveling could wind up causing employees to become sick and could cost employers with respect to paid time off, increased insurance costs, and general lost time for work getting done. Instead of dealing with sick employees and the stress that follows with travel, it might make more sense to just log into a computer and have online meetings.

Takeaway

Travel used to be the only way to do business and it used to be the norm specifically because employers and businesses didn’t have any other option. When it comes time to potentially save money and be better at what your company does, however, it certainly makes sense to consider making the switch to cloud-based meetings.

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So your brilliant idea has gone from just that, an idea, to a solid business plan that’s ready to go. For the last couple of months you have done nothing but think about how this idea could turn into something excellent. You have gone through the possible difficulties, but the business idea you have is very solid and can stand as a standalone company.

You moved on to the business plan and laid out every single detail. The business plan is not just a small outline, but you have built out all the pieces to make sure your new business, and company, can grow successfully. If that’s the case, your next step may be to start a company website.

Company website security measures

Now, one major concern that you should be aware of is cyber security.  In essence, building a company website is one thing, but securing it is another thing.  Many businesses focus on the former but neglect the latter.  What gives?

Perhaps what’s important to them is what’s seen by the eyes. But, just like any other thing in life, what’s not seen by the eyes will most likely to give you headaches. In term of website building, cyber security is often neglected.  Not providing adequate protection to your business website will potentially ‘disrupt’ your business – in a negative way.

But how bad can it be? Well, consider this: Did you know that 43 percent of cyber attacks are on small business?  What would be the main reasons, do you think? Well, let me tell you something: It’s because many small business owners don’t realize that cyber attack would be destructive.  Therefore, attack preventions are limited, even non-existent on some small businesses.

Three steps to creating a cloud-secured company website

Cloud-secured website

1. Cover the basics

Craft your brand

If you are going create a new company and want to have a company website, one of the key steps is to make sure your branding is complete and aligned. Once you have set with a logo, colors, and general branding, then you can move ahead with your company website. Your website’s look and feel have to go along with the branding of your company, so that’s why it’s key to have your branding done before you start your website.

Pick a domain name

The next step is to pick a domain. You need to buy a domain to register it as your company website. Head to the many online services, or even use these Groupon Coupons for Namecheap, and pick out your company’s URL. It’ll stay with you for a long time so pick one that you love!

Design and develop the website

The next key step to design and develop the website. You can use services that have templates, and make it simple to get your website up and running. Designing your website can be fun and it should be! Like we mentioned, the branding dictates the overall color, design, and feel of your website. At the same time, you have a lot of room for creativity and expression. At the end of the day it is your own company website so make sure it is personal, you like it, and it makes you as the owner very proud!

2. Host on secure cloud hosting

Today, essentially all web servers are located in the cloud.  However, not all use the best practices in securing hosted data and websites.  That said, it’s better for you to focus true cloud hosting providers: Fully secured, scalable, customizable, and distributed.

Read this for knowing the difference between true cloud hosting and “fake” cloud hosting.

3. Screen your website’s incoming traffic in the cloud

Not only securing your website’s hosted data, but you should also securing the traffic that comes to your website from the “cloud”. Using CDNs like Google Cloud CDN, Cloudflare, Incapsula, MaxCDN, and other top CDN providers can boost your website’s security and speed.

Takeaway

It’s about time that small businesses should focus on both the frontend and backend of their websites.  While branding and design are important, those are rendered useless if you’ve got hacked – just ask these victims.

That said, securing the backend of your company website is very important; don’t let your business becomes yet another statistic.

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