Tag Archives: digital

A beginner’s guide to VPS hosting for business

Creating a business today often involves having an existing presence in both the physical and digital spaces. This means we’re not just dealing with papers, but data too. We conduct meetings face-to-face but can also use the likes of Skype and Facetime, communicating with anyone around the world in real-time. Our concerns should therefore extend in this direction, too. We must take into account that we’re no longer merely protecting the tangible assets within a business – we also have a responsibility to data that can be stored, moved and utilised in a digital way.

To this end, we should consider how we’ve set up our offices so that they can make use of the digital world effectively. In a world where someone can run an entire business from their smartphone and order groceries without leaving the couch, we need to be more on the ball than ever when it comes to working with digital tools.

Digital workspace

Working in a central location, according to set times, was designed to create a productive environment. Everyone is there, able to collaborate, feed each other information and hopefully produce the highest quality product they can, in the shortest time possible. However, today’s digital workspace shows up a lot of the problems we sometimes didn’t realise we had.

As Forbes notes, tying people to a physical time and space can actually be counter-productive.

“There’s objective evidence to show that greater flexibility for your workforce leads to higher levels of productivity, and digital environments provide that flexibility. Your workers can log on during the hours they feel most productive, engage with others at their leisure (thanks to new systems of communication that allow for delayed responses), and address items when they feel it’s most appropriate.”

If we have questions, we can either leave an email or instant message someone. Even before the many methods of communication available to us today, phonecalls were still a possibility.

A digital workspace also allows for more, not less, accountability. We can track work times, current tasks and a range of other aspects relevant to oversight. We no longer have to only rely on an employee’s word – we have evidence at our fingertips, using management tools.

The world also moves faster than ever before. Today we’re no longer restricted to clients only in our town, city or country. We can run projects, deals and other operations for anyone all over the world. As individuals, we can even freelance for whomever will have us, thanks to internet connectivity.

Of course, as with all things we create, there are dangers. This is where we need to consider the importance of cyber security and VPS hosting.

What is cyber security?  

Just as we have security for office spaces, such as alarms and door locks, so we require security for our digital spaces.. As What Is defines it: “Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.”

Part of cyber security involves considering how to secure the networks and applications we work on. This is why VPS hosting has become incredibly important.

What is VPS hosting?

VPS stands for “virtual private server”. Often when we use online tools, we end up sharing part of a server to access these online tools (for example, people who use the free WordPress site are sharing part of the overall server while running their blog. Their data must be stored somewhere and it’s not only on their computer.) But, for businesses, this can be a mistake, since we need fast, immediate access to tools and services. If the shared server goes down, everyone loses out. A VPS can help. As Techopedia defines it:

“The concept of a virtual private server can be better explained as a virtual machine that caters to the individual needs of a user just as a separate physical computer that is dedicated to a particular user. The virtual dedicated server provides the same functionality and privacy as that of a normal physical computer.”

A VPS can connect shared web hosting services with dedicated hosting services. Because these servers can have their own copy of the OS (operating system), “VPS provides the user with super-user privileges in the operating system.” We have complete freedom when it comes to VPS, thus minimising the dangers of outside interference.

Of course, many wonder how to setup VPS hosting but there are plenty of companies who install and manage it for us. The question we should be asking is what is VPS hosting used for.

Mainly, businesses use them to run websites. They don’t have to rely on the functionality of other servers, maintained by outsiders – this can ruin customer experience, since we are at the mercy of other people if our site has server problems. If we have our own server, we are responsible, making it more likely the problem will be resolved sooner.

As Make Use Of notes: “Provided you don’t overload your VPS, your website will perform much better [than if it was run on an external server]. Plus, once your website grows, you can easily upgrade your VPS to a more powerful one in a matter of minutes – no migration required.”

VPS then is not only about security, but functionality too. Though we are responsible for keeping the data secure, it still means we are not relying on outsiders to do the heavy lifting – indeed, because it is our responsibility, there is a higher chance we will be more aggressive in instituting proper security protocols.

What startups must consider when starting their business in 2016

Startups must consider the world as it stands in 2016. Everything is integrated in ways no one could’ve foreseen. Creating a business no longer means standing by rules or ideas that worked decades ago. Instead, new ways have had to be created just as new businesses begun. What matters to people these days differs dramatically from before, meaning businesses have to had to readjust their priorities in extraordinary ways.

We should therefore consider just what startups should consider as essential in 2016.

The internet is everywhere

If we don’t have a website, we don’t exist. A digital presence is everything. Customers are searching with their phones, using them to find info on everything about shops to products being sold. People forget that the entire continent of Africa is renowned as being the mobile continent, with a large number of phones in use. As Time pointed out, “nearly 70% of Amazon’s customers shopped via mobile devices [the in 2015] holiday season.”

Existing does not just mean having a website – it means having a working, reliable and easy to use site. We need to also be on social media, since this conveys further reliability. Customers don’t like fewer ways to contact businesses and will see absence as a negative.

As part of considering how we’ll exist online, we must consider if we’re opting for Cloud or VPS hosting, the type of site we’ll build and so on.  

Mobile is everything

As we’ve noted, mobile is essential. We must create services in a way that welcomes mobile engagement. This could mean either making our site mobile friendly or developing a mobile app. From big to small, all businesses have developed apps that allow users an easy way to engage with the business. Amazon has its own app, as does the local Mr Delivery – making selections easy for the customer and encouraging follow through of sales benefitting the business. The convenience of mobile is the biggest benefit for a business – not catering to it could mean collapse.

Challenge and growth

These days, people from all walks of life are obtaining degrees and education. The barriers restricting people based on their identity have reduced (but aren’t completely gone, unfortunately). This means we’re operating in a world increasingly diverse. We should attempt to look beyond the confines of those we know and associate with, bringing in talent and skills from people we might not meet otherwise. Businesses consistently benefit from diversity, too, since this brings new ideas and considerations from perspectives we’d never consider. Often, values can be challenged but this should be seen as a reason to grow, as a person and business.

Why businesses must get rid of paper

The world has moved so rapidly over the last decade, it’s hard to believe where we are. Businesses everywhere have had to shift in their perspective. The way we promote ourselves, our products and our services has shifted, too. But we also need to look internally and businesses must think hard about how they operate.

One area often overlooked is how businesses are still using paper. Though this might sound initially quite irrelevant, it speaks to wider concerns.

Paper is inefficient

One of the most important areas for a business is improving its efficiency. We don’t only need the right tools for the job, but the best ones. Consider how this applies to issues like reports.

To avoid lawsuits and other negative responses, businesses must keep a detailed record of their activities. Staff must fill in certain paperwork that goes on file, ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice for whomever needs it. Paper, however, is unreliable.

First, people can skip areas they find confusing. They might hand a report in, ready to question it and get guidance. Often, however, they’ll think confusing sections don’t apply. This leaves you with incomplete forms.

Second, getting those forms filled out properly due to errors like this takes time. And time, for others, is a hindrance. As Omadi warns:

“Delayed reporting can damage your relationship with the property manager or owners that you service. They, too, are accustomed to instant access to information. If your reporting process is not timely, then you may lose clients, especially if there is an incident and the property manager or property owner needs information.”

By going digital, you can immediately access filled-out forms. You also can set parameters whereby people can’t ignore sections of a form – for example, they can’t hit the “Submit” button until specific sections are filled out. You can’t write programs into paper, after all.

Data can exist everywhere

As we’ve noted, filling in things digitally is speedy, more reliable and therefore a quicker method than paper. Yet, the other major advantage is you’re not relying on only one source. Captured data can be saved, copied and transferred multiple times.

You don’t need that original piece of paper, since the information exists only as data. You can use advanced software, like electronic signature software, to certify the documents, too.

Digital is greener

Though there is still some debate about how much greener digital is than paper, there’s little doubt it can be. Instead of using endless pages due to errors, we can simply erase on our laptops or tablets. We don’t need to draw with actual brushes, but use digital pens and large monitors.

Digital also allows us to communicate instantly with anyone. We reduce meeting and travel times, because we don’t need to be in the same office to have meetings! Even here, digital shows itself to be greener.

We can see that digital is more efficient, faster and more reliable than paper in the modern office. It’s time for all of us to make that change.

Will the internet destroy traditional forms of information gathering?

Some of the biggest names in the world today emerged as a direct result of the Internet. For example, one of the most popular videos on YouTube “Gangnam Style” has been seen 2,092,676,383; the creator, Psy, has travelled the world and been received with lavish praise. The young popstar Justin Bieber emerged as a direct result of the same site. There’s little doubt it’s aided careers of performers all over the world to break into industries and accelerate their popularity.

The internet has of course changed various dynamics in how we get careers. Aside from world famous celebrities, many people are taking courses in subjects they either couldn’t or would never have thought of; the barriers to knowledge are mostly dropped as vast swathes of information are freely available for consumption. Everything from WikiPedia to the Guardian is available to read online.

Online learning has also taken off. Of course, many are not legitimate enterprises so it’s necessary to take stock of which ones are real and accredited, and which are not.

Many things can be done online, including various kinds of trading as seen with sites like Mirrovest. We can shop for our groceries and have them delivered to our door from accredited stores. We communicate and debate and laugh, we watch films and play games and investigate foreign countries – all from the comfort of monitors.

Many people might think this is detrimental to experiencing life itself. After all, looking at the sea from a monitor versus being at the beach are two different experiences. Falling to earth from outer space versus watching a Go-Pro of someone doing it are two different things.

The question is whether this is a difference in degree or kind.

Degree and not kind

Before the internet, did there exist a format where we experienced adventures, foreign lands, strange people, without ever leaving? Was there a way for us to communicate our opinions and ideas without engaging with them directly? Of course: that’s what books and letters were for.

Newspapers have been around for hundreds of years, conveying information from foreign places and about distant events. Again: people have not been directly involved in events they knew about and had an opinion about for ages.

The Internet does only one thing differently: it conveys things in real time (and notifies you). But being instant is the only way it is different in kind, rather than degree. Otherwise, the Internet is not particularly unique in how we as a species have engaged in information.

This means any concerns about how we learn and think and market, about how we advertise and distribute knowledge isn’t unique to the Internet. People have always had to think about the medium of communication. The Internet is simply the latest medium in a long, ever-growing list of forms we’ve communicated.

(Image credit: Rock1997 / Wikipedia)