Your SMB will enjoy the flexibility provided by hybrid cloud platforms

Hybrid cloud platforms are a great way to improve a business’s agility and flexibility, as they can be used to host business components in an affordable and low-impact manner. But what exactly is the hybrid cloud, and what are its specific advantages for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)? Read on to learn more.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public clouds. In private clouds, data and applications that require tighter controls are hosted either internally or privately on an off-site facility. Meanwhile, public clouds are managed externally by third-party providers with the express purpose of streamlining a company’s IT infrastructure.

Benefits of a hybrid cloud setup

Here are three significant advantages of hybrid cloud environments.

Adaptability
Having the ability to choose between internally or privately hosted cloud servers and public ones lets you pair the right IT solution with the right job. For example, you can use the private cloud to store sensitive files while utilizing more robust computing resources from the public cloud to run resource-intensive applications.

Cost efficiency and scalability
Does your business struggle to meet seasonal demands? With a hybrid cloud solution, you’ll be able to easily handle spikes in demand by migrating workloads from insufficient on-premises servers to scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud servers whenever needed, without incurring extra hardware and maintenance costs.

So if there are last-minute computing demands that your hardware can’t support, or if you’re planning for future expansion, you can easily scale capacity up or down with a hybrid cloud solution.

Security
Last but not least are the security advantages of a hybrid cloud solution. You can host sensitive data such as eCommerce data or an HR platform within the private cloud, where it will be protected by your security systems and kept under close watch. Meanwhile, routine forms and documents can be stored in the public cloud and protected by a trusted third party.

How to set up a hybrid cloud

The following are the different ways to set up a hybrid cloud model based on your SMB’s requirements and the providers available to you:

  • Employ one specialized cloud provider who offers comprehensive hybrid solutions.
  • Integrate the services of a private cloud provider with those of another public cloud provider.
  • Host a private cloud yourself and then incorporate a public cloud service into your infrastructure.

Our experts can help you transition to a hybrid cloud solution without interruption and huge costs. Contact us today to learn more about the business benefits of a hybrid cloud.

This post was originally published on this site

Improve your customer reach with a well-designed website

Most modern businesses build and maintain their own website to reach more customers. It’s good to have an online presence, but know that your competitors are also doing their best to optimize their websites for better brand awareness and profitability. Don’t fall behind — follow these web design trends to increase web traffic and boost your bottom line.

Mobile-friendly layouts

Many websites today are designed to have a mobile version. With around 47.07% of all internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s safe to assume that you are losing a big percentage of your viewership by not having a mobile-friendly website.

Implementing a thumb-friendly mobile web design is also critical, as most people who browse websites on mobile do so with one hand while on the go or doing another task or activity. Putting important navigation features within reach of a mobile user’s thumb on the screen will greatly improve your website’s user experience.

Website load time

One of the most important web design features these days are high-speed website load times. Site visitors seem to be more impatient than ever, and they would most likely close websites that take three or more seconds to load. According to a study conducted by Pinterest, efforts to speed up web page load times reduced perceived wait times by 40%, resulting in a 15% increase in search engine traffic and sign-ups.

One technique for cutting down load times for content-rich sites is to lazy load the page instead of fully loading it before it can be viewed. Lazy loading is when a browser is configured to only load the portion of the page that is currently viewable on the screen. The parts of the page that are currently off-screen won’t be loaded so that they don’t consume too much processing power. This works great for websites that are configured to have infinite scroll, like Pinterest.

Micro-interactions

Micro-interactions are small animations that provide subtle feedback after they complete an action. These are usually found on navigation and tool buttons to further emphasize the purpose of each button. For example, if your cut button is a pair of scissors, you can make it do a couple of snip motions during mouseover. Or if your delete button is a rubbish bin, you can make its lid pop open during mouseover.

These actions will make your website more lively and easy to navigate for site visitors. It’s also a great way to keep them on your site for longer periods of time.

Micro-animations

Although similar to micro-interactions, micro-animations are more for aesthetic purposes. You can use them to make your site more visually appealing, as well as to subtly direct visitors toward certain parts of your site that you would like to gain more attention. For example, if you run a coffee business, your website’s micro-animations can be a pot of coffee brewing for page loads, or a big puff of steam from an espresso machine for page transitions.

Dark mode

Many users appreciate dark mode because it helps them conserve device power and lessens the strain on their eyes when they browse the internet before bedtime. Websites that offer this option may entice visitors to stick around to read articles and learn more about the product offerings, simply because the site is comfortable to use.

If you need help staying on top of website design trends or adapting to an ever-changing digital landscape in general, give us a call.

This post was originally published on this site

Improve your customer reach with a well-designed website

Most modern businesses build and maintain their own website to reach more customers. It’s good to have an online presence, but know that your competitors are also doing their best to optimize their websites for better brand awareness and profitability. Don’t fall behind — follow these web design trends to increase web traffic and boost your bottom line.

Mobile-friendly layouts

Many websites today are designed to have a mobile version. With around 47.07% of all internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s safe to assume that you are losing a big percentage of your viewership by not having a mobile-friendly website.

Implementing a thumb-friendly mobile web design is also critical, as most people who browse websites on mobile do so with one hand while on the go or doing another task or activity. Putting important navigation features within reach of a mobile user’s thumb on the screen will greatly improve your website’s user experience.

Website load time

One of the most important web design features these days are high-speed website load times. Site visitors seem to be more impatient than ever, and they would most likely close websites that take three or more seconds to load. According to a study conducted by Pinterest, efforts to speed up web page load times reduced perceived wait times by 40%, resulting in a 15% increase in search engine traffic and sign-ups.

One technique for cutting down load times for content-rich sites is to lazy load the page instead of fully loading it before it can be viewed. Lazy loading is when a browser is configured to only load the portion of the page that is currently viewable on the screen. The parts of the page that are currently off-screen won’t be loaded so that they don’t consume too much processing power. This works great for websites that are configured to have infinite scroll, like Pinterest.

Micro-interactions

Micro-interactions are small animations that provide subtle feedback after they complete an action. These are usually found on navigation and tool buttons to further emphasize the purpose of each button. For example, if your cut button is a pair of scissors, you can make it do a couple of snip motions during mouseover. Or if your delete button is a rubbish bin, you can make its lid pop open during mouseover.

These actions will make your website more lively and easy to navigate for site visitors. It’s also a great way to keep them on your site for longer periods of time.

Micro-animations

Although similar to micro-interactions, micro-animations are more for aesthetic purposes. You can use them to make your site more visually appealing, as well as to subtly direct visitors toward certain parts of your site that you would like to gain more attention. For example, if you run a coffee business, your website’s micro-animations can be a pot of coffee brewing for page loads, or a big puff of steam from an espresso machine for page transitions.

Dark mode

Many users appreciate dark mode because it helps them conserve device power and lessens the strain on their eyes when they browse the internet before bedtime. Websites that offer this option may entice visitors to stick around to read articles and learn more about the product offerings, simply because the site is comfortable to use.

If you need help staying on top of website design trends or adapting to an ever-changing digital landscape in general, give us a call.

This post was originally published on this site

How do sites with HTTPS make web browsing secure?

If you shop online like many people, you need to make sure that the site’s payment page has HTTPS in its URL. Otherwise, entering your personal and financial information on this page can expose you to risks such as identity theft. Read on to find out why HTTPS makes for a safer online browsing experience.

HTTPS encryption

The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secured.” It was introduced in 1995, so older websites that have been left on their own without regular maintenance usually don’t have it. But even to this day, unsecure websites exist, and fraudsters can easily take advantage of them.

When you visit a site with an HTTP connection, everything you type or click on that website is sent without encryption. This means that anyone who intercepts the data transferred between the website and your computer can view them as is. Cybercriminals know this, and they can exploit this fact to gain access to your Social Security number, credit card information, and other personal data. This puts you at risk of identity theft and other fraudulent activities.

HTTPS certificates

When you visit a website, your computer uses an online directory to translate its alphanumeric name into a numerical address. It then saves that information on your computer so that it doesn’t have to check the online directory every time you visit the same website.

In case your computer gets compromised, it could be manipulated into directing a perfectly safe web address like www.google.com to a malicious website. Most of the time, users are sent to sites that look exactly like the legitimate site but are actually fake copies designed to trick them into divulging their credentials.

To prevent such incidents from happening, the online directories mentioned earlier issue an ecosystem of certificates that turn HTTP into HTTPS, making it impossible for anyone to be redirected to a fraudulent website.

How does this affect our daily browsing habits?

We often visit a multitude of websites in a short period of time without checking each one for padlocks and certificates. Unfortunately, we can’t ignore the importance of HTTPS, so here are a few things to consider the next time you browse the internet:

  • If your browser marks a website as “unsafe,” think twice about clicking “Proceed anyway.” Click the prompt only if you are absolutely certain no confidential data will be transmitted.
  • Add web browser extensions such as HTTPS Everywhere that create encrypted connections to unencrypted websites. These extensions encrypt your communication with websites and are compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.
  • Always be vigilant. Some sites may have HTTPS, but it doesn’t mean they’re safe. For example, goog1e.com (with the “l” replaced with a one) could have a certificate, but the misspelling clearly indicates that it’s an untrustworthy site. Cybercriminals use similar spellings of authentic websites to fool people into thinking that they’re on a secure site. This is called typosquatting or URL hijacking.
  • And perhaps, just follow the easiest step of all: avoid sites that don’t use the HTTPS prefix.

If you want to learn more about safer browsing habits and endpoint security, give our office a call.

This post was originally published on this site

How do sites with HTTPS make web browsing secure?

If you shop online like many people, you need to make sure that the site’s payment page has HTTPS in its URL. Otherwise, entering your personal and financial information on this page can expose you to risks such as identity theft. Read on to find out why HTTPS makes for a safer online browsing experience.

HTTPS encryption

The “S” in HTTPS stands for “secured.” It was introduced in 1995, so older websites that have been left on their own without regular maintenance usually don’t have it. But even to this day, unsecure websites exist, and fraudsters can easily take advantage of them.

When you visit a site with an HTTP connection, everything you type or click on that website is sent without encryption. This means that anyone who intercepts the data transferred between the website and your computer can view them as is. Cybercriminals know this, and they can exploit this fact to gain access to your Social Security number, credit card information, and other personal data. This puts you at risk of identity theft and other fraudulent activities.

HTTPS certificates

When you visit a website, your computer uses an online directory to translate its alphanumeric name into a numerical address. It then saves that information on your computer so that it doesn’t have to check the online directory every time you visit the same website.

In case your computer gets compromised, it could be manipulated into directing a perfectly safe web address like www.google.com to a malicious website. Most of the time, users are sent to sites that look exactly like the legitimate site but are actually fake copies designed to trick them into divulging their credentials.

To prevent such incidents from happening, the online directories mentioned earlier issue an ecosystem of certificates that turn HTTP into HTTPS, making it impossible for anyone to be redirected to a fraudulent website.

How does this affect our daily browsing habits?

We often visit a multitude of websites in a short period of time without checking each one for padlocks and certificates. Unfortunately, we can’t ignore the importance of HTTPS, so here are a few things to consider the next time you browse the internet:

  • If your browser marks a website as “unsafe,” think twice about clicking “Proceed anyway.” Click the prompt only if you are absolutely certain no confidential data will be transmitted.
  • Add web browser extensions such as HTTPS Everywhere that create encrypted connections to unencrypted websites. These extensions encrypt your communication with websites and are compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.
  • Always be vigilant. Some sites may have HTTPS, but it doesn’t mean they’re safe. For example, goog1e.com (with the “l” replaced with a one) could have a certificate, but the misspelling clearly indicates that it’s an untrustworthy site. Cybercriminals use similar spellings of authentic websites to fool people into thinking that they’re on a secure site. This is called typosquatting or URL hijacking.
  • And perhaps, just follow the easiest step of all: avoid sites that don’t use the HTTPS prefix.

If you want to learn more about safer browsing habits and endpoint security, give our office a call.

This post was originally published on this site

Tips to avoid common browser security dangers

Being tricked into visiting malicious websites and getting your computer infected with malware is not the only way your business data can get compromised. By browsing the net without using security measures, your computers and data could get into trouble. FYI: your web browser knows a lot about the sites you visit, including the credentials you use to access financial and business accounts. Secure your browsers and your data by following these steps.

Install ad blocking software

Online ads may seem harmless, but they can contain scripts and widgets that send your data to a third party. A decent ad blocking program will stop banner, rollover, and pop-up ads, and prevent you from inadvertently visiting a site that may contain malware.

Many blockers also come with additional features such as the ability to disable cookies and scripts used by third parties on sites, the option to block specific items, and options to “clean up” Facebook and hide YouTube comments.

Prevent browser tracking

If you don’t like the idea of a third party (reputable or otherwise) tracking your browsing habits, enable private browsing using built-in tools in your internet browser such as Chrome’s Incognito mode or Safari’s Private Browsing windows. This offers protection against tracking by blocking third-party cookies as well as malware. Some browser extensions also boast secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization, and can guard against tracking and data collection from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Set up a virtual private network (VPN)

Unfortunately, browser tracking and adware are not the only internet nasties that you need to be concerned about. Hackers can intercept sensitive data between two parties, allowing them to steal and exploit valuable information such as bank details, login credentials, and other personal information. Installing a VPN can help solve this problem. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, effectively shutting out anyone who may be trying to see what you’re browsing.

Install antivirus and anti-malware software

Finally, it goes without saying that having antivirus and anti-malware software installed on your PC, tablet, and smartphone is crucial if you want to ensure your online safety. These software programs are your first defense against malicious parties intent on stealing your data.

Is browsing at your workplace secure? Would you like a more comprehensive security system for your business? We can tell you all about it and help protect your business from online threats. Get in touch with us today.

This post was originally published on this site

Tips to avoid common browser security dangers

Being tricked into visiting malicious websites and getting your computer infected with malware is not the only way your business data can get compromised. By browsing the net without using security measures, your computers and data could get into trouble. FYI: your web browser knows a lot about the sites you visit, including the credentials you use to access financial and business accounts. Secure your browsers and your data by following these steps.

Install ad blocking software

Online ads may seem harmless, but they can contain scripts and widgets that send your data to a third party. A decent ad blocking program will stop banner, rollover, and pop-up ads, and prevent you from inadvertently visiting a site that may contain malware.

Many blockers also come with additional features such as the ability to disable cookies and scripts used by third parties on sites, the option to block specific items, and options to “clean up” Facebook and hide YouTube comments.

Prevent browser tracking

If you don’t like the idea of a third party (reputable or otherwise) tracking your browsing habits, enable private browsing using built-in tools in your internet browser such as Chrome’s Incognito mode or Safari’s Private Browsing windows. This offers protection against tracking by blocking third-party cookies as well as malware. Some browser extensions also boast secure Wi-Fi and bandwidth optimization, and can guard against tracking and data collection from social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Set up a virtual private network (VPN)

Unfortunately, browser tracking and adware are not the only internet nasties that you need to be concerned about. Hackers can intercept sensitive data between two parties, allowing them to steal and exploit valuable information such as bank details, login credentials, and other personal information. Installing a VPN can help solve this problem. VPNs encrypt your internet traffic, effectively shutting out anyone who may be trying to see what you’re browsing.

Install antivirus and anti-malware software

Finally, it goes without saying that having antivirus and anti-malware software installed on your PC, tablet, and smartphone is crucial if you want to ensure your online safety. These software programs are your first defense against malicious parties intent on stealing your data.

Is browsing at your workplace secure? Would you like a more comprehensive security system for your business? We can tell you all about it and help protect your business from online threats. Get in touch with us today.

This post was originally published on this site

How do hybrid clouds make SMBs more flexible?

While small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly adopting cloud solutions, certain concerns such as security and regulatory compliance have made it challenging for some to migrate all of their resources to public cloud servers. The solution is to adopt a hybrid cloud instead.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of private and public clouds. In private clouds, data and applications that require tighter controls are hosted either internally or privately in an off-site facility. Meanwhile, public clouds are managed externally by third-party providers with the express purpose of reducing a company’s IT infrastructure.

Here are three significant advantages of hybrid cloud environments.

Adaptability

Having the ability to choose between on-site or privately hosted cloud servers and public ones let you pair the right IT solution with the right job. For example, you can use the private cloud to store sensitive files while utilizing more robust computing resources from the public cloud to run resource-intensive applications.

Cost efficiency and scalability

Does your business struggle to meet seasonal demands? With a hybrid cloud solution, you’ll be able to easily handle spikes in demand by migrating workloads from insufficient on-premises servers to scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud servers whenever needed, without incurring extra hardware and maintenance costs.

So if there are last-minute computing demands that your hardware can’t support or if you’re planning for future expansion, hybrid cloud solutions allow for on-demand increases or decreases in capacity.

Security

Last but not least are the security advantages of a hybrid cloud solution. You can host sensitive data such as eCommerce details or an HR platform within the private cloud, where it will be protected by your security systems and kept under close watch. Meanwhile, routine forms and documents can be stored in the public cloud and protected by a trusted third-party.

To set up a hybrid cloud model based on your SMB’s requirements and the providers available to you:

  1. Employ one specialized cloud provider who offers comprehensive hybrid solutions.
  2. Integrate the services of a private cloud provider with those of another public cloud provider.
  3. Host a private cloud yourself and then incorporate a public cloud service into your infrastructure.

Our experts can help you transition to a hybrid cloud solution without interruption and huge costs. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits that a hybrid cloud can bring to your SMB.

This post was originally published on this site