Wednesday, November 11, 2015

8 Common Small Business Website Mistakes

November 10, 2015 Carianne King

When it comes to marketing small businesses online, it’s all about credibility. You may still be ironing out some of the details of your start up, but if you have a slick, useful website, you already have what you need to start spreading the word. However, given time and budgetary restraints, many small business owners make are prone to make mistakes when designing and launching their websites. With just a little extra know-how, however, any small business owner with any budget can market themselves online.
This infographic from Column Five Media for MyCase names some of the most common website mistakes among small businesses. The good news is: all are easily remedied.
  • No call to action! 93% of small businesses don’t even post an email address where customers can write with queries.
  • No mobile design! 60% of small businesses websites don’t work on smartphones and are unable to capture drive-by customers.
  • No designated IT person! Ah, the big kahuna. Maybe the reason your website is inefficient is this: you haven’t hired someone to take care of it.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Transforming Government: Presenting a cloud policy framework for innovation, security, and resilience

Transforming Government: Presenting a cloud policy framework for innovation, security, and resilience

Around the world, organizations big and small are moving to the cloud to achieve more, faster. Cloud computing is no longer considered solely a transformative new generation of technology but a platform to enable ever greater efficiencies, deliver big data analytics, and empower the Internet of Things. As KPMG recently put it: “The question is no longer: ‘How do I move to the cloud?’ Instead, it’s ‘Now that I’m in the cloud, how do I make sure I’ve optimized my investment and risk exposure?’”.
While the first wave of cloud adopters has largely been from the private sector, in recent years, governments are increasingly and incrementally adopting a cloud-first approach – instructing their ministries, departments and agencies to choose cloud services whenever possible. Those countries have understood that cloud computing provides a secure, efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional on-premises systems. In addition, they are recognizing the innovative potential that cloud computing brings, allowing them to work more closely with their citizens and deliver more intuitive e-government services.
However, the fundamentally different nature of cloud computing has meant that governments are uncertain about how to best adjust to and optimize for the distinct challenges and opportunities that cloud services introduce. Understanding how to make the right policy, operational, and procurement decisions can be difficult with any new technology, and doing so can seem especially daunting with cloud computing because it has the potential to alter the paradigm of how business is done.
To support governments as they think through their approaches to information and communication technology (ICT) policy and transition to cloud services, Microsoft has developed Transforming Government: A cloud policy framework for innovation, security, and resilience. This white paper is the first in our series of cloud security policy publications, advancing ideas and cloud security concepts about which later papers will provide more detail.
The paper presents and describes six policy principles, which seek to help government ICT decision-makers develop a framework for secure cloud computing adoption. The principles are designed to support governments as they develop cloud policies that strategically advance innovation, enable flexibility in cloud architecture choice, and demonstrate data awareness to ensure security of critical data. With the principles, we also seek to help governments evaluate risks, leverage global standards to manage those risks, and establish transparent processes for developing requirements and evaluating cloud service providers. Each principle is accompanied by what we perceive as a best practice implementation, often by governments around the world, which highlights how the principles can be practically realized.
Later papers will go into more detail on relevant international standards and best practices for data governance, mitigating cloud security risks, and structuring government policy decisions and responsibilities – building on the framework provided today and focusing on the questions that we frequently hear from government customers. Ultimately, this series of papers seeks to enable governments to take advantage of cloud computing, unlock innovation potential in their countries, and improve the security and resiliency of their services. We look forward to continuing to partner with governments as they achieve these and other ICT goals.
About the Author
Paul Nicholas

Senior Director, Trustworthy Computing
Paul Nicholas leads Microsoft’s Global Security Strategy and Diplomacy Team, which focuses on driving strategic change, both within Microsoft and externally, to advance infrastructure security and resiliency. His team addresses global challenges related to risk management, incident response, emergency communications, Read more »

Top 7 most common uses of cloud computing

Cloud computing has been credited with increasing competitiveness through cost reduction, greater flexibility, elasticity and optimal resource utilization. Here are a few situations where cloud computing is used to enhance the ability to achieve business goals.

When it comes to IaaS, using an existing infrastructure on a pay-per-use scheme seems to be an obvious choice for companies saving on the cost of investing to acquire, manage and maintain an IT infrastructure. There are also instances where organizations turn to PaaS for the same reasons while also seeking to increase the speed of development on a ready-to-use platform to deploy applications.
Among the many incentives for using cloud, there are two situations where organizations are looking into ways to assess some of the applications they intend to deploy into their environment through the use of a cloud (specifically a public cloud). While in the case of test and development it may be limited in time, adopting a hybrid cloud approach allows for testing application workloads, therefore providing the comfort of an environment without the initial investment that might have been rendered useless should the workload testing fail.
Another use of hybrid cloud is also the ability to expand during periods of limited peak usage, which is often preferable to hosting a large infrastructure that might seldom be of use. An organization would seek to have the additional capacity and availability of an environment when needed on a pay-as you-go basis.
3. Test and development
Probably the best scenario for the use of a cloud is a test and development environment. This entails securing a budget, setting up your environment through physical assets, significant manpower and time. Then comes the installation and configuration of your platform. All this can often extend the time it takes for a project to be completed and stretch your milestones.
With cloud computing, there are now readily available environments tailored for your needs at your fingertips. This often combines, but is not limited to, automated provisioning of physical and virtualized resources.
One of the aspects offered by leveraging cloud computing is the ability to tap into vast quantities of both structured and unstructured data to harness the benefit of extracting business value.
Retailers and suppliers are now extracting information derived from consumers’ buying patterns to target their advertising and marketing campaigns to a particular segment of the population. Social networking platforms are now providing the basis for analytics on behavioral patterns that organizations are using to derive meaningful information.
5. File storage
Cloud can offer you the possibility of storing your files and accessing, storing and retrieving them from any web-enabled interface. The web services interfaces are usually simple. At any time and place you have high availability, speed, scalability and security for your environment. In this scenario, organizations are only paying for the amount of storage they are actually consuming, and do so without the worries of overseeing the daily maintenance of the storage infrastructure.
There is also the possibility to store the data either on or off premises depending on the regulatory compliance requirements. Data is stored in virtualized pools of storage hosted by a third party based on the customer specification requirements.
6. Disaster recovery
This is yet another benefit derived from using cloud based on the cost effectiveness of a disaster recovery (DR) solution that provides for a faster recovery from a mesh of different physical locations at a much lower cost that the traditional DR site with fixed assets, rigid procedures and a much higher cost.
7. Backup
Backing up data has always been a complex and time-consuming operation. This included maintaining a set of tapes or drives, manually collecting them and dispatching them to a backup facility with all the inherent problems that might happen in between the originating and the backup site. This way of ensuring a backup is performed is not immune to problems such as running out of backup media , and there is also time to load the backup devices for a restore operation, which takes time and is prone to malfunctions and human errors.
Cloud-based backup, while not being the panacea, is certainly a far cry from what it used to be. You can now automatically dispatch data to any location across the wire with the assurance that neither security, availability nor capacity are issues.
While the list of the above uses of cloud computing is not exhaustive, it certainly give an incentive to use the cloud when comparing to more traditional alternatives to increase IT infrastructure flexibility , as well as leverage on big data analytics and mobile computing.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Office 2016 for Mac is here!

Office 2016 for Mac is here!: Today we are taking a big step forward for Mac users—Office 2016 for Mac is now available in 139 countries and 16 languages. Based on feedback from the great Mac Office community, we’ve made major updates to each of the apps, and we couldn’t be more pleased to deliver it first to our Office 365 customers.

Contact Us To Get Started!