Top Ten Tips for: Working from Home with Cloud Computing

More businesses are starting to talk about remote working. Call it working from home, call it being switched on all the time it’s becoming a more attractive possibility for companies and workers thanks to Cloud Computing. It might mean having staff log-in from a home office, switching on and feeding into a report or conversation from a coffee shop or hotel or being able to work with a team or on a project in another city or country. There are real benefits in terms of helping employees create a better work/life balance, helping to increase productivity (no more long chats about telly at the water-cooler) as well as reducing costs.

It is a big step, though, and it promotes a fundamental shift in how we do business as well as how we view working. Gone are the days when “being at work” meant sitting in-front of a computer beavering away from 9 am to 5pm. For many it does still mean this but for others it can include using a smartphone, working flexible hours or checking in via Skype.

So why is it possible? Instead of having data stored in a hardware server in the office that everyone needs to be logged in and connected to the Cloud is removing this geographical tether. Storing business information in the Cloud means you don’t have to be sitting at your desk to work. Instead you can access reports, spreadsheets, documents or images from anywhere using any device. That same information is stored in a server off-site. Whether you opt for a Cloud Server, Virtual or Dedicated Server it means you can access the same information using  a laptop, smartphone or even a tablet, potentially.

If remote working using Cloud Computing is something you want to think about, here are Intrahost’s top tips:

1. The keyword for remote working is flexibility and that’s at the heart of the approach. When you’re looking into the deal you need to think about the kind of connection you’re looking for and what will suit your business best. There might be a lot of documents and data that each staff member needs to access, or it might just need to be communication that you need to consider. Hosted Exchange means you can access email, shared contacts, calendars and tasks with up to ten aliases per mailbox. It’s a simple solution to helping to keep every member of the team connected wherever they are. There is also ‘push’ mobile technology meaning with it can work on smartphones.

2. Don’t feel you have to invest in a whole new kit for every member of the team. If you’re asking staff to work from home then there may need to be a reasonable investment in technology but there’s no need to write a blank cheque. One of the most attractive features of migrating to Cloud Computing is saving money. You don’t have to pay for the upkeep of a vast and bulky server in your office, you don’t need the staff to monitor and maintain it and you don’t need to invest in regular updates. There’s little point spending all of the saved cash on expensive kit for your team to enable them to work from home. Only spend what you really need. Does everyone need a new Blackberry, really?

3. Security is a big issue for those looking into remote working and understandably so. They want to make sure that, while staff can access business data from wherever they are simultaneously there can be no unauthorised network access. Many believe that the Cloud will prompt businesses to think more carefully about how they store their data. Cloud Computing is just as secure as having a hardware based option. Providers like Intrahost employ techniques to ensure both physical and network security. The building where the servers are kept has a range of features like key fob access and CCTV to make sure there are no unauthorised attempts to access data. On the network firewalls are used along with multi-layered authentication to prevent spam, threats and viruses from damaging or accessing information.

4. If you’re a business looking into the possibility of remote working for your staff then you need to think about how you’re going to manage it. It has real benefits for employees in terms of childcare solutions and getting a better balance but you have to think about it from a company perspective. Does every member of staff need to work remotely? It might not suit everyone and there could be individuals who know they won’t be as productive working from home as they would be in an office. Flexibility is about choice. Similarly it may feed in to how you hire new members of staff. Trust is important and you’ll need to think of how you’ll monitor hours and activity. Understanding the difference it will make along with the benefits will help you shape the impact it will have on you and your company. If you’re the kind of manager that simply doesn’t think staff will work out of the office then possibly it’s not for you. But if you do then work out who needs access to what and how it might be implemented.

5. If you’re an individual, say a web designer or a graphic designer then remote working allows you to set-up your own business without the risk of start-up costs. You get low overheads and can work for clients anywhere in the world from your home office or the local coffee shop. It makes it easier for you to collaborate on projects, to grow your business without being limited by geography. Yet you do have things to think about; branding and consistency for one is important, as well as how you manage and report your won hours and when you’re online. Remote working is a relatively new phenomenon so it’s important to manage the process carefully and be able to communicate clearly and effectively to alleviate any concerns.

6. Reporting becomes more important when employees are working remotely. You don’t have the benefit of being able to catch up with colleagues over the top of your computer. You’ll need to set-up a series of communication tools, whether it’s weekly reporting or daily. You need to keep track of where everyone is up to and how a particular project is progressing. There are various applications you can use for this and Hosted SharePoint is just one.

7. Don’t get sold on having every application for your business. The real strength of Cloud Computing is that you pick and choose what you need and the service that suits your business. If remote working allows you to be more flexible and streamlined then don’t be taken in by someone selling you tools that aren’t in your to-do list. It should be an add-on, not completely re-inventing the nuts and bolts of the work you do day to day.

8. Does remote working mean that you don’t need an office? We’ve already discussed that it might not be for everyone. The idea of flexibility could be doing a range of different hours, rather than everyone working from home all the time. Many companies find that they still like having a business address and you might still need a space for meetings or client presentations.

9. Embrace the idea of innovation. Remote working is all about freeing up time so you have to think about how that extra time could benefit your business. How about having an ideas exchange? Staff can use an extra hour that’s not being spent in the commute to think about different ways to expand, diversify or develop their work and the business.

10. Know when to switch off. Working from home is great in terms of improving a work/life balance but it does mean your office is in your home. Also if you can access all your business information on a smartphone or laptop then it can be easy to start checking emails or finishing reports in the evening or over the weekend. Inevitably there will always be projects that need a bit of overtime but don’t run the risk of working long hours consistently. Know when to turn it off and take some time off.

Work from Home with Cloud Computing and Cloud Servers

5 steps to heaven. Or a cloud. Ok. A Cloud Server.

Technology can feel like something that weighs you down, rather than frees you. It can be expensive, it might not suit what you need and you might feel like you’ve been sold something off the rack that’s working so hard to be applicable to as many people as possible it fundamentally drops the ball.

If this is how you feel about your own IT solution perhaps you should think about a Cloud VPS Server. Here are the steps that might govern whether it is right for you to sign up.

1. Your IT relies on expensive hardware and software devices. It simply isn’t feasible anymore. If this is how you feel then you need to start looking for a more cost-effective and flexible solution. If your IT feels like it doesn’t fit you need to start researching one that does.

2. You work flexibly. Whether a small business or a freelance the strength in your offer means being able to work 24/7 if you need to. So you need a solution that works in the same way. You need to be able to access data around the clock. If you’re looking for a cloud hosting option you need to consider architecture; are you looking for something public, private or hybrid?

3. Not only is the time you need to access data flexible, so is the amount of space you need. If your plans come to fruition then your need a flexible storage solution as well. There is no point hobbling or limiting yourself before you’ve even begun. A Cloud Server usually comes with unlimited storage space. There’s also unlimited metering with Intrahost so if you get a spike in traffic it won’t affect your visibility.

4. You want to get what you need. Cloud Servers are often described as being “scalable”. This essentially means you can pick and choose what you need. You don’t get a one size fits no-one solution. Instead you can work with a provider to mix and match tools to help working easier and collaboration simpler.

5. You need to cut costs. In the same way you should never blindly re-sign with an energy company without looking for cheaper alternatives, the same should be said for IT. You’re increasingly thinking there should be a more cost-effective solution. Cloud Servers would dramatically cut the cost of what you need. You don’t need to host servers and an IT team to manage the service. It is pay as you go in many ways as you’re only paying a monthly fee and don’t have to sign up to a long contract. That makes it more flexible and also cheaper.

If you’ve read through each of these steps and considerations and thought it mimics your own concerns with your IT solution then perhaps you should be thinking about a Cloud Server. Flexible, cost-effective, scalable and with 24/7 support it can be exactly the partner you need to help your business grow.

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Top 5 Creative Uses For Cloud Servers

If you’ve opted to store your work, or even your business data on Cloud Servers then the chances are that you’re currently patting yourself on the back for saving yourself some money. Right now you’re probably thinking about how much it would have cost you to install a physical server into your office and to maintain it day in and day out and you’re congratulating yourself on a creative and cost-effective solution.

And so you should. But your creativity shouldn’t stop there.

Investing in a Cloud Server and Cloud Storage is about more than just saving money. Instead it can fundamentally shift how you work and how you store your data online. It helps you have control over how and where you store your data; how you can share it and have more control over your working practices. It can become the way in which you shape your business.

So here are five creative ways that you can use your Cloud Servers:

  1. Set-up an FTP If you don’t know what an FTP is then click on Windows Explorer. Basically that’s the principle of an FTP (file transfer protocol). If you need to download and upload files, perhaps if you work remotely or produce large files for clients – like video or high-resolution graphics – you can do it much more simply with a Cloud Server. Set-up at FTP and you can drop your files into newly created folders making them as public or as private as you like. Cloud Storage means you’re essentially saving it off-site but it makes it much easier for your clients to be able to access the material in a time that suits them.
  2. Making it easier to work together A Cloud Server allows you to store and organise your business data online in a separate location. The next logical step is to ask other people to join in. If collaboration is a big part of the way your work, if you’re used to bringing different individuals and specialisms into your work practice then a Cloud Server will make that much easier. Allow access, share information and remove the need for working side by side or face to face.
  3. Tidy work, tidy mind We all feel much better when we’re organised. Piles of papers, whether physical or virtual; finding it difficult to source information and files quickly and easily. It’s time-consuming and frustrating. A Cloud Server can help you to remove all of that clutter and streamline your information. A clear, concise organisation of files and data makes everything but easier to find. It also helps improve business communication, internally more importantly than externally. If you have documents, like training material or protocols that everyone needs to be able to read a cloud server can make it easier to access the information. Knowing you can lay your hands on any aspect of your business without a huge amount of stress removes a great deal of time-wasting.
  4. Keep your pictures and video in one placeIncreasingly photos and video are an important part of how we project our business. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re a photographer or video producer but in terms of communications what we’re putting there is becoming more visual. The problem with this is space. High-res video and pictures take up a lot of rom. If you’re, say a PR agency and you have six or seven clients, each with folder after folder of pictures of launches, products and videos you’re going to run out of space fast. A Cloud Server enables you to store all that data offsite, virtually. You can access it quickly and easily but it doesn’t weigh down on your storage space.
  5. Back-up, back-up, back-up! The truth is that hard drives are not what they used to be. If you’re using a computer hard drive and an external hard drive to store all your data you might be worried it makes you more vulnerable to loss. Increasingly people are using Cloud Servers as a new form of storage. Talking to your provider about security becomes even more important than normal but it’s a fundamental part of business to find new ways to back-up all your information. Cloud Servers do that quickly and easily.

 

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What's happening in the Cloud?

From data to innovation, how the cloud is affecting hiring and firing as well as life on the farmyard, this latest round-up of Cloud news and trends suggests big developments are on the horizon. How do you store data? Is the Cloud making you braver? Read on for news on how business is changing and the next step for the Cloud Computing industry as its take-up becomes more mainstream and less on the fringe of everyday business. The Cloud and Innovation

The potential for innovation thanks to the Cloud will be explored as businesses gather for a technology conference in Dubai this autumn. The Gitex Technology Week plans to cut through the hype surrounding the adoption of Cloud Computing and examine the impact it has on business.

The conference, which will see leading figures in the industry rub shoulders with some of the biggest firms in the Middle East as well as exhibitors, may seem far off but the effect the technology is having on the working world is becoming increasingly clear. A new study from Bain & Company, The Five Faces of the Cloud, points to a 30% to 40% price advantage from using a public cloud to have a server onsite. In under a decade they predict cloud spending to increase from $30 billion to $150 billion. It will, they claim, represent around 10% of total enterprise technology spending by 2020.

To match this shift the report calls for some changes to the industry, including a more targeted approach for customers and a greater understanding of what they’re looking for. One of the biggest shifts they predict is IT leaders in business looking to replace core legacy systems, that impacts every corner of the company. The focus will move to profitability and a sea-change in behaviour and adoption.

Read more at www.bain.com

Is the Cloud boosting outsourcing?

Many firms, small, medium and otherwise, are looking for increasingly creative ways to help their business expand. Outsourcing is great news for entrepreneurs like web developers, copywriters and designers, as well as IT specialists.

The Cloud could well be the driving force the change. Over a third of businesses, 35%, said in terms of development, hosting and the maintenance of their technology solutions they’ll be looking to outsource. It’s seeing them focus their budgets on applications that help them work more flexibility, streamline their outgoings and help foster collaboration. Big providers like Google and Microsoft obviously benefit, but so do smaller niche operators.

The most attractive factors are the features, functionality and how quickly they can get it up and running. Food for thought for those looking to grow their client list and understand what they need to start selling.

How to make the most out of virtual storage

Say you have a Cloud Server. You use it to host websites and store data. The major selling point is flexibility and the ability to help you access information wherever you are, adopt a more cost-effective solution and not worry about traffic levels. Yet if the move to core legacy transformation is what is on the cards for business then it does leave a bit of a grey area in the middle. How easy is it to move everything, wholesale, into the Cloud?

If legacy is the way to go then you’re looking for a more heterogeneous system that’s still high performance, highly reactive and sits across different departments, specialisms and environment that lifts and supports a new infrastructure, how will the Cloud fit in? It doesn’t need to be separate. Virtual storage is set to become the key adoption tool. It allows you to put data in a central pool using several different servers. It’s a virtualised solution meaning you can be working from several different locations. HP is launching a product along these lines in September.

Intelligence and Big Data

While considering how a business opts to use data and the Cloud, more consideration is being given to Business Intelligence and Big Data. As more people understand the benefits of the Cloud, and its adoption becomes more of the norm and more mainstream, how it is used and how it integrates into existing business practice will become more of interest.

One analyst says that public and virtual cloud adoption will become more of an issue for Business Intelligence in the coming years.

Coinciding with this is the growth in Big Data: more and more information stemming from social media, the growth of the digital sector etc. This analyst argues that Big Data should be parked in the Cloud. If we’re reaching critical mass in terms of Big Data, and only a small percentage of it is useful and pertinent to our businesses, then the Cloud offer the ability to store it and segment it.

The Cloud heads to the country

When we think of IT solutions inevitably we often think of city slickers, fashionable office spaces and urbanites. We rarely think of a farmyard. Yet for many farmers they are turning to the Cloud to help them run their enterprises more effectively. Cloud Computing and Internet services is helping farmers keep track of their assets. They can manage livestock figures, crops, their incomings and outgoings much more simple.

More Cloud start-ups are starting to focus on agriculture and selling in the specific benefits of the technology for the industry. At the moment the trend is limited to America but with any luck it could spread to Britain’s green and pleasant lands in the next year.

 

 

 

5 savings you could be making with Cloud Computing

To virtualize or not to virtualize, that is the cloud computing question. If you’re thinking about whether to take that first leap into cloud computing then that’s probably the question you’re asking yourself.

But the truth is the Cloud is more multi-layered than either using it or not. There are a range of steps, that start with whether you want it or not and end with how far can you use it to help you grow your business.

The first step is obviously if you’re sitting in an office staring at your physical server. It’s expensive updating to latest technology. It’s expensive having staff fix it and patch it if it crashes. There are higher energy bills to consider, not to mention the space.

But that’s just the start of cloud computing. You might have invested in cloud servers but wonder whether you should be using it across more of your business. Perhaps you only use it for Hosted Exchange, SharePoint or for hosting business data such as shared folders and calendars. But you might be wondering whether you should dip your toes in further.

There are further possibilities like using cloud servers for disaster recovery, streamlining company activity as well as sharing resources amongst offices and staff.

Not every solution will suit each and every business. Why would it? Every business and individual is different after all. There are cost-savings that, whether in real terms or as a knock-on effect, can become the most attractive proposition for the Cloud. Yet if you think about how you work and then begin to think about the technology you might use to suit it, you can consider whether investing more into cloud computing can save you even more.

Here are five areas in which cloud computing will make cost savings

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1. How much is your infrastructure costing you? The flexibility of the Cloud is its most attractive feature. This is where the real savings can occur and it’s about technology mirroring your existing practice. Do you work with staff at various different sites? Does each and every one of those staff need to have access to the same, shared information? If yes and you’re still working with physical servers then alongside your IT costs you’re probably got a fairly lengthy folder of expenses claims. Travelling around the country for face to face meetings, expensive postage fees to send material here and there. Your technology and your infrastructure aren’t marrying up. Start with writing down how you work and how technology might be able to make it easier, and cheaper. SharePoint might be the easiest solution.

2. You work isn’t the same month in and month out. With more and more people becoming their own boss they’re looking to reduce their overheads as much as possible. Relying on freelance and contract work means that your technology requirements might not be the same throughout the year. Pointless, then, to lock yourself into a deal that costs you money for twelve months but that you only need for around a third of that time. What’s the solution? Investing in a Cloud Server, for example, means you can sign up to a month by month deal. It is flexible, allows you to pay for what you will need but to reassess when you no longer need it. The benefit is that, when a project comes to an end, you don’t have the repeat bills for the technology you’re not using.

3. You want to innovate but aren’t looking for more overheads. If you work on your own then coming up with new ideas for business strands is an important part of your day to day work. However you don’t want every new idea or development to come with a hefty price tag. Extending your services to offer web-hosting as well as web-design, for example, or perhaps exploring web applications like perhaps video editing or project management tools to suit fixed term projects or that offer something new to existing clients, this is an important part of growing your business. Innovation might be vital but crippling overheads can nip your idea in the bud before it even starts. A scalable Cloud Computing solution that offers flexibility, meets your needs and could even encourage collaboration with other professionals in the same boat might be the most cost-effective solution.

4. Bring staff and skills in when you need them. Redundancy and unemployment have been the two dark clouds hanging over the jobs market over the last five years. For many SMEs the solution has been to expand and contract organically. It means bringing in the skills and experience you need on a project by project basis, rather than say having a graphic designer employed full-time or a video editor, you bring them in when you need them. If this is the way you want to work, and it has its benefits, you need technology to match. It can mean saving money. Your business data and applications can be stored on a Cloud Server in a central space. You can invest in more email aliases and access requirements as and when you need it. You can manage how much the freelance staff can see and use web applications like Basecamp or Sharepoint to have project goals and off-site project management.

5. Increased stability and the power to plan. No businessman, be they a CEO, entrepreneur or project manager ploughs on into the future without putting down a strategy or plan in place. You might be old school and think you only need to do this using a pad and a piece of paper but if you employ staff or collaborate on projects then you might want to share it with other people. There are web applications you can use, accessed via the Cloud that can help make this process easier. Even if it starts as a shared document and then evolves into a questionnaire or creative, ideas-led strategy then you want to get different views and perspectives. A cloud computing solution will make this easier helping as many people feed in at a time that’s easy for them. It makes it simpler for you to collate responses and it means being able to plan ahead and develop your business without having to spend a lot of money.

Make cost savings with cloud computing

The Olympics is in the Cloud

You think you’ve heard a lot about the Olympics now? Wait until it gets underway. London 2012 will be all dominating in every sphere, news, sport, on social networks, web adverts and blogs much like this. When you think of the logistics of the event, potentially you’re thinking about how your look after the athletes, how you get people to and from venues, how traffic around the capital will flow smoothly. Yet if you think of the global audience, it becomes clear that the digital footprint of the Games is just as important as what’s happening in the real world. A friend of mine works on the BBC website. As the biggest broadcaster and one of the partners, their focus is getting podcasts, video, updates and an ever-changing landscape through their website. It’s a huge undertaking.

It’s just as big for those looking after the 2012 website itself. An interview with Russ Ede who runs the London 2012 Olympics website in PC Advisor goes into some detail on how they are providing a supporting infrastructure for one of the most watched sports events in the world. The organisers are relying a lot on Cloud Computing and technology to make sure everyone who logs on has a great experience.

There’s no huge server farm, and they use Akamai to stream the thousands of hours of live video people will be logging on to watch during the event. A huge amount of the packages are open source. The website is the hub for all of the live enws, so it’s managing stas feeds from every venue and event.

Clearly the biggest fear is if the site goes down. They’ve been planning for usage, how many will log on as well as contingency plans if it goes down. They need to make sure their infrastructure is robust so have been testing loading systems. They think up to a million people could log on each hour.

Admittedly, it’s unlikely your website, or your client’s website, could ever have to deal with this kind of traffic. But increasingly as businesses consider their digital strategy and want to offer customers as much as they can, the issue over testing, making sure the site is robust and that all eventualities are considered is a good approach for us all.

A Cloud Server uses a physical server and accessing a section of it for yourself. You can define how much memory, how much storage space and the CPU Power you’ll need. Importantly you can also get unmetered monthly traffic. This means that if a lot of people head to your site at the same time, you know it won’t crash or slow down.

Every business is finding that online means there are even more creative tools and techniques we can use to engage with audiences. The last thing any company wants to hear is that while they’re planning a big event with plenty of engagement, their site has gone down. A secure alternative like a Cloud Server which offers a bespoke solution for hosting along with guarantees for security and protecting from hackers and email viruses  means you can ensure that whatever idea is developed for engagement, you can support it online.

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The revolution for web designers

There’s a revolution happening for web designers right now. HTML 5 is one of the most exciting developments for what designers will be able to offer clients. It’s a cross-platform mark-up language that will streamline and simplify the production of web content.

HTML, the web design standard, will usher in a new generation with its fifth incarnation due to drop in the next couple of years. Cross-platform programming, so removing the issue of sites looking different on the web, tablet or mobile, mobile device targeted so a more integrated and interactive offer for users as well as an open architecture making it easy to put your own stamp on the sites you build and an easier code making it feel less bulky will be a huge leap forward in online experience.

If you talk to a web designer right now, one of the big problems is the gap between creativity and delivery. Plug-ins like Flash and unwieldy and don’t work on every platform. You have to approach each job with a different set of tools. Imagine if a mechanic had to bring a different tool box to work on each car. They’d go crazy.

HTML5 will streamline all of this. Expect sites with video and audio integration, read a story, watch the video hear the audio on whatever device you’re using. The web will come alive.

While that revolution is taking place at the front end, another is happening at the back end. Cloud Computing, particularly web hosting using cloud servers for web designers will help them usher in a new mood in terms of online experience. The internet will be more personal. HTML5 will make it easier to interact and carry it with us on mobile device to mobile device with no restrictions on usability.

Using a Cloud Server a web designer can offer not only to design but to host a client’s site. Become a Hosted Exchange reseller and it becomes even easier to offer a client the opportunity to have their website cross-platform and cross-device. It’s personal and it’s bespoke, exactly in the same way HTML 5 is hoping to revolutionise web experience. You can scale the sites up, or you can scale them down meaning that cloud computing offers much more flexibility in terms of what you need.

A Cloud Server is a particularly elastic solution; chose the amount of space, CPU Power, memory depending on need. Security and support come as standard so in truth it will be like offering serviced office space online for your clients.

The developments in computing are creating a sea-change in how we interact with the web. The minute it became easier to have the Internet in our pocket via mobile devices it was inevitable that it would become more personal. HTML 5 will make the life of a web designer much easier and there is no longer any restraint on the creativity and integration they offer clients. At the back end being able to offer a similar approach using Cloud Servers means they can provide an holistic, interactive and bespoke service making the experience of web browsing more attuned to the needs of users.

How a Cloud Server creates a private virtual environment

We all want a bit of space we can call our own. Online you want something flexible, affordable and that is geared to your needs and those of your home or business. The Cloud Server is turning into one of the most popular solutions for those looking for a secure and private virtual space.

Sitting on top of a physical server a Cloud Server allows access to resources like CPU Power, memory and disk space that no one else can access. A Cloud Server is more like a bespoke service, like renting office space online but it is pay-as-you-go is many respects as you get deals to suit how you want to use the technology.

It’s important to know what you’re asking for and what you’re getting. The Cloud industry is growing rapidly. You might want to get it set-up quickly to start reaping the benefits straight away, but in fact if privacy online is what you’re looking for it’s much more important to think strategically and analyse exactly what it is you need before you sign on the dotted line.

Cloud Servers are increasingly being used by consumers as well as businesses. Once a piece of technology makes this jump from the office to the home then not only does it become even more widespread but the service becomes more diverse. Many consumers could find themselves signing up for deals that would suit a multi-national conglomerate, and paying the same amount , when in fact all they want to do is host their own website and the family’s online resources online.

So how do you define what you need?

A private virtual environment that is scaleable and can be altered depending on the amount of space you need, as well as how many domain names you might need is just as important as thinking about how much traffic you’re expecting to your website. These things might all change so instead of just making the decision based on what the your current situation is, you need to think about what your requirements might be in six or ten months’ time. That way you can plan in advance and put resources aside.

Once you have done your research and identified what sort of resources you need you need to think about contracts.

Circumstances do change which is why a monthly contract, instead of locking into a one or two year deal is important. You need to know that if the deal isn’t working for you, or if you want to expand and use more resources, or alternatively you need to us eless, you can make those changes fairly easily.

What’s also important if you’re opting for a Cloud Server is to think about service. If you’re not using it for business then chances are you don’t have an IT team on hand to fix any problems. Admittedly the Cloud Server for a home setup won’t cost the owner billions of pounds if it goes down but it will still cause frustration. You want to opt for a provider that offers 24/7 support and can get in touch with you in a range of ways – like email or telephone – if there is a problem.

Intrahost understands that making a decision about how to set-up your IT needs is a big one. You need to plan and look into exactly what you need and exactly what you’re getting for your money. A Cloud Server is the ideal solution for many looking to develop a private virtual environment but the deals vary greatly and you need to choose one that’s right for you.

What to do if your traffic spikes?*

*Or, what happens when all your dreams come true? Let us be brutally frank. Every scrap of work you do today is about getting people to visit your website. You want people to read something pithy and erudite you’ve written on Twitter or to click a link you’ve posted on LinkedIn to a portfolio piece and you want them to visit your website. There they will read about what you do and, most importantly, how you see yourself. Then, they might want to work with you or hire you.

Whether employed, self-employed, freelance, contracting, or just getting your profile out there for the fun of it, this is why you have a website. If you’re using a cloud server to host websites for your clients then it’s probably the reason they have a website as well.

But what if all your dreams come true and suddenly hundreds and thousands of people flood to your site? Quids in? Probably not, actually, if you have a limit on your monthly traffic allowance.

Picture the scene. Say you’re a designer. You’ve just finished  a video of your work and you post online. A few contacts retweet it and link to the portfolio. Then a trade title picks it up and retweets it to their 3,000 followers. Then it’s picked up by one of the Twitter celebs like Stephen Fry or Derren Brown and retweeted to their millions of followers. The limit on your website means it goes down and no one else can view it. A wasted opportunity.

It could be something on a much smaller scale, but much more serious. Imagine you’ve been invited to talk at a conference. It’s a big opportunity and you want to be able to gain as much mileage as you can. Will your Cloud Server be able to cope with hundreds of people clicking on your url at the same time? If not it can damage your profile and ability to take advantage of these opportunities to extend your job opportunities.

If you want to host your website on a Cloud Server, and want to be able to do the same either for clients or a few websites you maintain then you need to ask the question about monthly traffic figures.

At Intrahost you can pick from a number of different deals and packages to suit your needs. But no matter the CPU Power, the Disk Space or the guaranteed memory you opt for you will always get unmetered monthly traffic.

Whether you blog, tweet, post on Facebook or LinkedIn, write guest articles or simply promote yourself through advertising, your aim is always to push traffic through your website. Why opt for a flexible and bespoke solution like a Cloud Server and then sign up to a deal that doesn’t allow you to grow your profile. Sign up to the wrong deal and you could end up hobbling yourself.

Why it pays to keep things simple

Every industry has it. Every customer or employee has had to fight the urge to adopt it. Jargon. The secret language we use to develop shorthand and help things run quicker, or to show how clever and knowledgeable we are. It might make it easier to get things done quickly in a work environment and when we’re talking to people with the same interests, but when we’re talking to customers it’s usually best to nip it in the bud.

It is something two of the biggest tech giants in the world are finding out about cloud servers.

Look at the back of the computer you’re using right now. There’s a good chance it could have one of these companies logo on the back; HP and Dell. Both firms dominate the PC market as well as server hardware. Yet they’re finding the transition to the cloud a little harder.

What is a Cloud Server? Well, you start with a physical server. On top of that you create a number of standalone cloud servers. Each has its own RAM, CPU power, is completely isolated and independent but, using a process called virtualisation, sits on top of this secure physical server.

It is ideal for people who want to host a number of different websites in one secure space, for whatever reason. Providers, like Intrahost, offer a number of flexible and bespoke deals for you to rent the space and have your own Cloud Server.

You would imagine that HP and Dell would do well out of this new technology. However some claim they are struggling to gain purchase and argue it is because their message is not consistent. A range of products, targeted at different audiences, products launched at different times and then branded together; it makes it harder for customers to figure out which product is right for them.

There might be another reason which often puts customers off; language.

Launching a new technology product should be easy. You see a gap or a need in the market; you sell the product to those who have that need. Market Economics 101. Yet jargon can make that a difficult process. You have to make it clear exactly what it is the new technology does, you have to break it down and keep it simple. Without that, potential customers are just put off.

Intrahost only hires staff who know what they are talking about. Industry analysts and experts who have a huge knowledge base and have helped to develop Intrahost’s, well, knowledgebase. It is an online zone designed to answer any questions, provide articles and information about the industry and is ideal for new, potential and existing customers who want to learn more about the technology.

But importantly, customers can suggest ideas for the knowledgebase. What does that mean? It makes it easier for Intrahost to understand what elements of the technology customers are tapping into, what their understanding is and how they want it to work for them. Customer service isn’t just about dealing with problems, instead it is about understanding and providing what the customer needs. The knowledgebase helps to provide that crossover. Also, by staying in touch with our customers regularly we find it easier to track their reactions and ideas in terms of technology.

Providing new technology means keeping it simple. If we know that a technology is going to change how you work or make it easier for you to manage your IT needs it’s up to us to tell you why, but to do that we have to get the message across as clearly and openly as possible. If you're using a cloud server to host client or friend's websites then it's an important lesson to learn and pass on.

Never settle for poor service

Have you ever felt like you’ve been sold something you don’t need? Insurance on a computer that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on; addons that inflate the price; services you’re not convinced you’re ever going to need, let alone use.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

There’s a school of thought that when you’re pocket feels a bit squeezed you want to choose a product and provider that offers good value. You don’t want to be led along, you want to get the benefit of what you pay for.

Intrahost understands the importance of flexibility and packages that are designed for each individual user. It forms part of our customer service policy.

When someone comes to us asking about cloud servers and hosting in general we know it’s likely they’ve already done some research and had even a brief look into what’s on offer. Making a change in how you store your data, or whether you are going to host your own or other websites in a different way involves looking at different deals and weighing up the cost, effectiveness and the impact it will have on you.

Choosing a provider is different. You want them to understand why you’re looking to change and what your requirements are. Customer service feeds into every part of that relationship, from browsing the website for the first time, having an initial chat and getting a quote, as well as the on-going service you receive if you decide to sign up.

So what does Intrahost offer?

There is no compulsory long term contract. Getting tied into a deal that you have to continue to pay for even when you’ve realised it isn’t right for you is just plain bad service. Intrahost offers monthly deals so both sides can continue to monitor the deal and what you get, as well as how it is working out. There is a 30 day money back guarantee so you don’t feel you’re locked into a service.

No technology is foolproof and sometimes things can go wrong. The difference in that situation is how fast it can be fixed. There is nothing worse than looking at a blank screen, knowing your to do list depends on it getting fixed and holding a phone that is ringing and ringing and ringing.

You’re busy and if a problem does occur you want an answer quickly and you want it to be right.

Intrahost offers a range of methods for customers to get in touch from Live Chat on the website, to email support, telephone and a ticketing system that is constantly monitored by staff. Support is 24/7 and critical issues can be dealt with outside of normal working hours, meaning problems can be solved immediately.

The advice is what we describe as fast and friendly. The key to excellent customer service is the people that you hire. They represent your brand and they are the ones on the front line day to day. Intrahost only hires staff with technical qualifications so they know what they’re talking about. They feed into our knowledgebase online which provides tips and advice that you can pore over and find potential solutions. We understand the technology and pass that over to you. The quality of our analysts help us stay one step ahead of the industry and offer you the best service we can.

Hosting, using cloud servers or dedicated servers is designed to save you time and money. It shouldn’t be frustrating and getting a question answered shouldn’t take a long time. Problems and queries should be solved quickly and smoothly.

How secure is secure?

Remember that old test they used to do in team building exercises? You stood with your arms crossed over your chest and a colleague stood behind you. If you really trusted them you would allow yourself to fall back and they would catch you. That is what a cloud server is like.

You get on with what you’re doing; developing your business, working living and playing online; possibly even hosting websites for your customers and clients and we do the rest of the work. That includes making sure you’ve got enough RAM and CPU, that there is capacity in case you get spikes in traffic and need a little extra support. Sometimes a dedicated server just doesn’t cut it and many people feel there is more flexibility in a cloud server, which suits them.

Yet a question often on people’s minds is security. And rightly so.

With a cloud server you can feel as though you are putting your own personal information, and sometimes that of your clients, out there, in the ether. And you’re worried anyone could read it.

That isn’t the case but before you sign up it is right that you should ask any questions and allay any fears about cloud servers.

Each physical server will have a number of different customers on it. Each will have a setup geared for their own requirements and designed especially for them and their needs. Yet each is also exclusive, with exclusive resources.

That means that each hosting server is designed and built to be able to meet the needs for each cloud server it hosts.

Imagine a cul-de sac. There’s no point building a number of houses if the road itself isn’t strong enough to take them. That is why Intrahost focused on the foundation and infrastructure first.

Each server has its own dedicated use of physical resources, like RAM and storage space as well as processing power. No one else can get access to that and while this allows you to take advantage of everything at your fingertips it also makes it more secure.

Often a new technology can make people worry about security. Cloud servers are not only as secure as traditional hardware but they actually offer more scope for protection. Physical and network based security combined with data security help to protect your own personal information as well as the server and the set-up itself.

Every Intrahost cloud server is hosted on a server network in a data centre. Each centre is protected by CCTV inside and out as well as pass card entry systems making access strict. An on-site security team monitors and manages who comes in, and goes out, all day, every day, even holidays.

For data security each cloud server sits behind a firewall. This isn’t any firewall but a multi-layered firewall network. That is monitored 24/7 for any attempts to break in. Any attempt at unauthorised entry feeds into our security strategy, meaning it is constantly being adopted and adapted.

There are a variety of authentication systems needed for any access meaning your data is as secure is it can be. It protects not only against any loss but also any potential interruption of service, which could really ruin your day.

There’s no such thing as too much security and Intrahost is committed to ensuring the security it offers each of its customers, both physical security and digital security, protects your data as safely and soundly as possible.

How to make money in 1, 2, 3

What are the steps between designing your client’s site and hosting it? In fact it isn’t that much. Increasingly more and more web designers and creative teams are looking to monetise the service they provide in more diverse ways. If you’re designing the websites, why not host them as well?

It is increasingly an extra income strand that can provide a much needed boost in fund and services. Intrahost provides cloud servers for customers looking to do just that.

So how does it work, and how can you go from an idea to a reality in three steps?

First of all, what do you need?

A cloud server starts with, unsurprisingly, an actual server. It then uses the space to create a number of “virtual machines”. Each Cloud Server has its own allocation of RAM, CPU power. In essence, one computer appears like several. From your machine you can manage and host your client’s websites. It’s cheaper and it’s easy to back up so it’s more secure.

The first thing to do is decide what you need. Agreements are different depending on how much memory you need, how many domains you are planning to look after and for some providers how much traffic you’re expecting each month.

What you are looking for is the most cost-effective plan for your needs. Intrahost has an increasing disk space and guaranteed memory with five different cloud server deals, but it offers the same CPU Power and unmetered monthly traffic no matter how much you’re paying each month. Ask the questions because you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting for your money and where extra costs could come from. This is meant to make you money, remember.

Second step, how long will it take?

There is no point in choosing your deal, arranging the monthly payment and then being told the service won’t begin until the beginning of next month. A frustrating wait for you and your clients. Intrahost sets up all cloud server accounts once the verification process has been done. That usually doesn’t take more than 24 hours.

Third and last step, what are you actually getting?

You’re selling this service to your clients so it’s worth doing the research to understand the benefits for them, and for you. Each server might have several different customers but each customer has an exclusive deal with their own resources linked to it through Intrahost. The deals are designed to meet your requirements, meaning it is more secure and there is less of a chance that your service will be interrupted.

You’ll be signing on a month by month basis which offers more flexibility so you can amend and mould your deal to match on-going requirements. If you or your clients use open source technology you want to know how they will work with the cloud server (fine on Intrahost fyi) as well as commercial applications. Your biggest fear is that a client will have their services reduced because of an application they use. You need to cover those bases and while it’s rare it will impact on the service you are offering.

Hosting various websites through a cloud server is an increasingly popular method to add a new income stream or simply a new, streamlined service for your own online activity or for your clients. However to make sure you’re making money and offering the right service it is always important to talk directly to your provider and ask the difficult questions before you sign up. Knowing what you need and more importantly what you’ll get will impact on what you can offer your clients.

 

Cheap Cloud Server Only £8.97 A Month

Cheap Cloud Server from Intrahost

Get Your Cheap Cloud Server Now!

Intrahost are offering 40% off the Linux Cloud Standard Server. Grab a bargain for only £8.97 per month.

By using our 40% off voucher code you are guaranteed your Linux Cloud Standard Server at £8.97 for the first 12 months.

Cloud Server Features

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  • 10 GB disk space
  • 256MB RAM
  • Unmetered monthly traffic

Cloud Server Benefits

  • Fast and Friendly Support™
  • Intrahost Cloud Servers only use high-specification UK data centres
  • Self-healing cloud technology
  • No long term contracts
  • 99.99% up-time and network guarantee

Get a cheap cloud server now with this voucher code:

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Please note this offer is only valid with the Linux Cloud Standard only and this voucher code is only valid until 30/11/11.

Cheap Cloud Server

 

PC Pro reviews HP ProLiant DL360 G6 server - our virtual dedicated server!

Just as we announce the availability, from July, of our new virtual dedicated servers based on the HP ProLiant DL360 G6 we see that the renowned PC Pro magazine has just released an online review of the 1U web server. The sixth-generation rack server scored an impressive 5 out of 6 stars. PC Pro praised the server as having "an excellent range of features with plenty of storage and expansion potential, plus a keen eye on value and power management ".

When you see the three thousand pound price tag you'll realise why a virtual dedicated server makes so much more financial sense for all but the largest businesses.

Read the PC Pro review of the server we are using for our virtual dedicated server hosting package here at Intrahost in the UK.

Here's our own take on the web server we have purchased for use in our UK data centres.