Why Should Small Businesses Invest in Good Web Hosting Service?

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Many businesses have difficulties surviving as they do not know they are getting hacked. Without web hosting knowledge, you will miss the opportunity to grow your business. Even if you only have a few employees, it does not mean that you should skimp on getting a good web hosting service. It is important to increase your awareness of web hosting so you will know the features and providers that can give you great value for money.

Reasons for investing in good web hosting service:

Downtime means loss of sales. If your website is under attack due to poor levels of security or always experiencing frequent downtime, visitors will not hesitate to close your web page and opt for a better service else where. Having a website which is growth-oriented means you choose a provider that goes the extra mile when it comes to ensuring that your website will always be up and running most of the time.

Choosing the right web host service is a critical decision. Aside from the downtime percentage, it is also important for a web host service to have remote backups. Security is also an important factor to take into consideration. Since cybercrime is becoming prevalent these days, many businesses can lose money each day due to the absence of online backups.

You can protect your business against costly mistakes by ensuring that your web host has the right speed and efficiency. This means that your provider should have advanced features and high levels of security to keep cyber attacks at bay.

You can also reduce cost by making sure that your content management systems are updated. A dedicated server is also the best way to go as it minimises the risk of cyber attack. When backing up your backups, it should be on different servers and different machines. However, every business needs to be aware that these backups are not completely immune to attacks. There are many cases when backups have been hacked. If this happens, you totally lose control of your website. Websites need to be secure to avoid chronic downtime. This way, the risk of web hosting companies losing websites will be prevented or minimised.

Businesses should be aware when their DNS is being controlled. They should know if it is being handled by a third party, hosting company or the registrar. A web hosting company that can detect a problem with your website will also help you avoid any mistakes that can hurt your business in the future.

4 Signs Your Web Hosting Service Is Hurting Your Business

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Your website represents your business and to drive traffic to the site and attract customers, choosing a web hosting service that offers excellent performance is a must. To small businesses, choosing a reliable web hosting service can be a bit of a challenge. Instead of focusing on the features, many businesses give importance to the service cost.

Cutting corners may be an option for start ups, but this is not a valid excuse when your online reputation is suffering. If your website experiences frequent down time, it can result in poor customer experience. There are 4 ways bad web hosting service can affect your business:

Your website makes a bad first impression

On average, a website may take 6 seconds to load. If customers have to wait more than 6 seconds, they will either visit another site or close out your web page. You need to make a good first impression when trying to attract potential customers. If your website is image and video-laden, a strong web hosting service is the best way to go. The wrong web hosting service can deter your customer from doing business with you.

Your website is prone to cyber attack

Being a victim of cyber attack is costly and stressful. You do not only invest your precious time in creating a website but your money as well. Having weak web hosting means your website is vulnerable to any kind of attacks. You will need high levels of security to keep hackers at bay. E-commerce websites choose web hosting providers that have the ability to keep the site secure and protected against cyber intruders. When choosing a web hosting service provider, ask about the steps they will take in the event your website information is compromised.

Your website gets penalised

A server that is frequently down can have a negative effect on your business as search engines impose penalties on websites with frequent web host problems. A web host service provider with high downtime percentage can make your website suffer. If you want to prevent penalties in website search rankings, choose a web host with a high uptime percentage.

You miss out on potential leads

Regardless of implementing an effective ad campaign, blog post, social media campaign and promotional offer, you will miss out ondriving traffic to your site if you have a low-quality web host. An unreliable web host can result in missing out on potential leads. Search for a web host that can steadily handle traffic.

Is Hybrid Cloud The Best Cloud Hosting Option?

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If your business has dynamic business needs, opting for cloud hosting service is the best way to go. The best thing about choosing cloud hosting is that it does not have any infrastructural restrictions as compared to traditional web hosting environment. When the needs of the website change, organisations will find it easier to downscale or upscale server requirement. However, there are three cloud hosting services to choose from: public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud.

When there are flexibility and scalability, many businesses will be driven towards it. If you are still exploring three cloud service options. It is important to have a careful analysis such as weighing the pros and cons of each cloud hosting service.

Public Cloud

This type of cloud hosting service is shared by multiple business owners. Some examples of these services include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Windows Azure Service Platforms and Google AppEngine. These are considered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and each user has specific bandwidth space. For companies searching for inexpensive cloud hosting option, the public cloud fits the bill. Flexibility, inexpensiveness, high performance and pay per usage are some of its notable benefits. However, for organisations who are concerned about storing their sensitive data, public cloud is not a suitable option because it does not provide certain levels of control and security.

Private Cloud

If storing your sensitive data in public cloud concerns you, the private cloud is a much safer option to consider. It is intended for a single organisation and company. With the private cloud, all the disk space, bandwidth and resources are utilised to store up information. Safety is the primary concern for most organisation and the private cloud is a technical infrastructure that gives you peace of mind. However, it is more expensive than the public cloud. The organisations that are usually using this cloud hosting service are hospitals, research labs and Government agencies. The private cloud is customisable, highly secure and has superior performance.

Hybrid Cloud

This cloud hosting service provides you the best of both worlds. It is a combination of public and private cloud. Hybrid cloud can be incorporated within the organisation’s infrastructure such as engaging two cloud hosting companies for public and private cloud service respectively.  These days, many organisations are moving towards hybrid cloud and they also believe that it is the future of corporate IT infrastructure. Hybrid cloud offers great level of control and security while also letting organisations enjoy flexibility, scalability and affordability.

4 Cyber Security Threats Every Organisation Must Be Aware Of

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Small businesses that hold on to the belief that cyber criminals only target large companies are exposing themselves to great danger. Cyber threats target everyone and with that said, small businesses are no exception. In fact, experts encourage small businesses to create high levels of security to prevent loss of assets.

Falling victim to cyber attacks is costly. For small businesses, it can break the bank. Cyber threats come in various forms. Educating employees about the risk factors can help decrease the possibility of a threat.

So how do you secure your organisation against cyber security threats? It is essential to be aware of the common types of cyber attacks so you can avoid situations which may put your organisation at risk.

Malware

Malware is a broad term and any machine can get infected once it is installed on a machine. How do you protect your machine against spyware, adware, ransomware and Trojans? Businesses should invest in anti-virus technology to prevent these viruses from taking hold. Even operating systems must also have firmware and firewalls. However, organisations should be aware that these services must  be kept up to date. Outdated services cannot protect your machine against threats.

Internal Threats

Small businesses also face one of the largest cyber security threats and these internal threats can seriously affect internal systems. It is important to take safety measures to reduce these risks. For instance, employees that have already resigned should no longer have access to sensitive files. Having tools that have the ability to track privileged accounts can also prevent malicious activity.

Lack cyber security awareness

Human error is also a problem to most small businesses. It is important for employees to obtain basic level of cyber security knowledge. If employees lack knowledge about different types of cyber security threats, they will be easily convinced to provide their user information and password once a spear phishing email is received. Since you are not always present to monitor your employees’ activities, raising their awareness can make a great difference.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Unsecure mobile devices that access or share company data increase the likelihood of data theft. Many small businesses are embracing BYOD technology, but without knowledge about the security policy, unsecured devices may carry malicious applications that will be able to bypass security. As a result, network within the company can be easily accessed. A defined BYOD policy must be put in place so employees’s expectations are set regarding proper use of devices.

Online Security: Why The Old Tricks Are No Longer Working

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The Internet has taught us an important lesson about online security especially with the most recent global attack. Regardless of your preparation to combat these attacks, the Internet is becoming a nightmare as you have to look over your shoulder and wait for the hackers to strike. Even simple online activities such as checking your emails or reading the news have never been made easy because the digital predators are always on the look out.

Are we really prepared for the worst?

When you are greeted by a ransomware demanding money so you can regain access to your device, the steps you take are never enough. As technology continues to show signs of progress, hackers are also going the extra mile to breach online security. Changing passwords on a regular basis ensuring that they are hard to guess is a cliche but it works nevertheless. However, to keep your data secure, you need to think and act fast.

These days, two-factor authentication provides an additional layer of security to online accounts. With its layer of protection, gaining access to your account becomes a challenge to online intruders. Although this is a clever way to keep hackers at bay, this method has been completely busted.

The two-factor authentication sends random codes via SMS to ensure that only account holders can gain access to the account. Unfortunately, hackers have already exploited this method as they have control over redirecting SMS messages to any mobile device they want. This is done via telephone signaling protocols.

Another way in which security can be compromised is when you are using Virtual Private Networks (VPN). How does VPN work? Your online data is encrypted and run through their own server. VPN protects you from hackers as they cannot see what you are doing. Although this idea is appealing to Internet users, there are VPN services that provide a less secure network. The situation even becomes more challenging because it is difficult to tell which VPN is considered legit.

However, this does not mean we should let the attacks happen as we can still do something about it. There is a caveat though: it is no easy task. Fear and paranoia may just save us from hackers. Digital literacy is going to play an important role in providing layers of protection.

The Ransomware Attack That Made You WannaCry

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Paranoia has feasted upon countless organisations because of the prevalence of cyberattack. While extreme security measures have already been taken to protect computers from these malicious attacks, hackers are still exhausting all the resources available to them to access sensitive data. On Monday, a global cyberattack left over 150 countries in shock. WannaCry ransomware is another digital extortion racket plaguing organisations all over the world.

So what happens when your computer falls victim to ransomware attack? Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your computer or keyboard so you will no longer have access to your data. You will need to pay a ransom to regain access. The ransom is usually demanded in Bitcoin.

This kind of cyberattack has been an increasing concern because it does not only attack laptops and desktops but mobile phones as well. Ransomware can be in the guise of an app and once attackers work their way into your phone, they will change your PIN and demand a ranson in exchange for access.

Various types of ransomware are on the rise. The scary part is that everyone can be a victim. Your device can be infected via a malicious website or e-mail.

Can you protect your devices from ransomware?

The good news is, you can still protect yourself from these malicious attacks. According to experts, ransomware  infects machines by getting individuals to download it via email. The malicious code unknowingly travels to a network of computers, which were linked together using Windows file-sharing system. This attack could have been prevented, had people been more vigilant by updating their software.

Staying on top of security updates can prevent your device from being infected by ransomware. As simple as it may seem, this solution can save you from any malicious attacks.

Aside from updating your software, installing antivirus software can also prevent malware attack. However, you should keep your antivirus app up to date to ensure you are regularly blocking the latest malware.

Virus can infect your machines via email attachments. Be wary of suspicious pop-ups and emails. If you receive emails from an unknown sender, never be tempted to click links or open attachments. The email address of the sender will give you clues as well. Grammatical errors and typos are tell-tale signs that there is something fishy going on.

If you are being asked to provide sensitive information such as your credit card number, it is recommended that you ignore these emails.

Creating a back up of your data is also necessary because in the event that a hacker hijacks your machine, you will have a copy of your data. For many businesses a security plan is essential because you will never know when the next cybereattack is. As they always say, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Cyber Security: Is Your Network Compromise Ready?

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Technology continues to be on the rise and experts predict that there will be 200 billion connected things by 2020. It will continue to change the way we work, live, behave and interact. Can you imagine your life without technology?

According to Social Media Week, millennials alone check their phones 157 times a day while average adult checks their phone 30 times a day. This figure no longer comes as a surprise as we are living in the digital age. It is proof that most people heavily rely on their smartphones. This is why it is essential for technology to be always available. However, with cyber hackers on the look out for another hapless victim of their digital schemes, it is also important to have access to secure and protected technology.

High levels of security is needed not only by businesses but by anyone who uses technology. Whether you are an avid online shopper who uses your credit card for every online transaction or an e-commerce website owner, advanced layers of encryption is a need rather than a hype. Unfortunately, technology is vulnerable to hackers. As technology progresses, cybersecurity problems also continue to exist.

As cybersecurity threats  increase, educating people on how security is compromised should be a priority. Hackers, cyber criminals, cyber terrorists, nation states and hacktivists can attack your network at any given time.

Cloud technology provides an easier way for employees to gain access to information regardless of their location. More often than not, people access the database with shared passwords. If users are not properly educated about the risk of using easy-to-guess password or accessing the website through a public network, they are more likely to run the risk of becoming victim to data breach and cyber intrusion. Keep in mind that increasing cyber security is a shared responsibility. Aside from securing devices,  using strong and unique password is also crucial to improving your network’s level of security.

What can you do to protect your data?

Full Encryption: Organisations use portable devices to collaborate. However, when devices are lost or stolen, sensitive information may fall into the wrong hands. Full encryption of portable storage and devices ensures that sensitive information remains protected.

Awareness and Training on Data Security: Human error such as opening a company website on a public network or disposing of devices without removing sensitive data can contribute to the prevalence of cyberattack. Educating employees about the importance of data security teaches them how to handle sensitive information.

Maintain Security Policies and Procedures: Access rights and privileges must also be kept to a minimum to reduce the likelihood for human error and attacks. Organisations should make it a point to monitor users’ privileges to know which information should be accessed.

Common Reasons For Getting Your IP Address Blacklisted

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When your IP address is banned or blacklisted, you are blocked from accessing websites. There can be a number of reason your IP address has been banned and one of which is because of some suspicious activity. If the activity indicates a security breach, the IP address will be blacklisted as a way of protecting your account. However, there are also cases when legitimate activity is also blocked. Here are some common reasons you can get your IP address blacklisted:

Too many failed login attempts

One activity that can get your IP address blacklisted is when you have too many failed login attempts. These days, online intruders use a wide variety of techniques to hack into your account. One technique is by using a program that allows hackers to guess the password. If they get it right, these hackers will work their way into your account. Sophisticated systems have the ability to monitor network activity and when an activity looks suspicious, these patterns of activity will be flagged for review.

In some cases, IP addresses found to have suspicious activities are immediately blacklisted. Web host providers will monitor if there is an unusually high number of failed login attempts to your email accounts, site builders, control panel, FTP, etc. A hacker might be trying to access your account. Unfortunately, malicious activity, which involves a forgotten password is difficult to decipher.

IP addresses are only blacklisted temporarily. If you have entered incorrect login information causing your IP address to get blacklisted, try again in a few hours. You can also reset your password and make sure it is hard to guess.

Malware attacks

Aside from failed login attempts, your IP address can also be blacklisted because of malware attacks. It is recommended that you avoid logging into your account from a public internet connection as this only increases the likelihood of data breaches and intrusion.

Other reasons your IP address is included in the blacklist database are mail server configuration issues, unsolicited email and operator policies.

What to do if your IP address was blacklisted?

Get into the habit of performing routine virus scan on all of your devices. Aside from performing a virus scan, it is also necessary to secure your router’s access point. You can do this by updating your network password. It is also important to regularly check your software for any update. If you suspect some security problems with your device, contact your manufacturer to resolve the issue.

Is There Such A Thing As 100% Uptime?

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Searching for a web host service provider that is capable of providing 100% uptime is like finding a needle in a haystack. It will be an endless quest that is often the root of frustration for website owners. While keeping your website up and running is essential to regularly drive traffic to your website, 100% uptime is not guaranteed and may even be impossible to achieve. Here’s why:

During the selection process, many hosting sites will offer 98.9% or 99.9% uptime. It is quite rare for hosting companies to provide 100% server uptime. 99.9% uptime seems like a great deal, if you are under the impression that 0.01% is not really a big deal. However, there are instances that in spite of the site being reachable, it does not necessarily mean it works perfectly fine. Even a guarantee of 99.99% uptime does not assure you that your website will be functioning properly all the time.

A web host service provider that can provide 100% uptime is definitely the creme de la creme of all web hosting companies. Unfortunately, not all downtime is counted. This means that 99%, 99.9% and 99.99% are acceptable uptime rates.

Uptime: The Big Picture

Without doing the number crunching, the uptime rates may seem harmless to your website, but when they are translated into hours and minutes, you will realise that you need to be keen on selecting a web host service provider.

1. 99% uptime means your site will experience outage or downtime for 432 minutes per month. This means your website will experience downtime for more than 7 hours.

2. 99.9% uptime is equivalent to 45 minutes of downtime. A website may experience hardware failure per month.

3. 99.99% translates to 5 minutes of downtime per month. However, it will be difficult for website owners to find a provider that guarantees 99.99% and 100% uptime.

Since there are hosts that measure downtime over a quarter or a year, good service will soon outweigh a big outage.  The type of web host service provider you choose will also depend on the rate of downtime you can tolerate.

The downtime that does not count are user error, server maintenance and some rules that the host may have. It is also important to note that in the world of web hosting, resources are limited. If your business is not a common one, some sites may share the same hosting hardware with you. This can result in a server overload. With broken transactions and high loading times, user experience will definitely be affected. Since 100% uptime is not easily attainable, it is necessary to detect problems quickly through application monitoring.

How To Protect Your Website From A Bad Host?

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Before your website goes live, you need to choose a web host that ensures your website’s success. A reliable web host means your site will be up and running with minimal downtime. If you fail to do a thorough research on web host providers, your website will surely suffer as frequent downtime can affect your SEO ranking. Even if you are starting out, choosing a bad web host is no excuse. The good news is, you are in total control of choosing a web host that works for you.

1. Register your domain

In most cases, hosting providers offer a free domain, but this does not mean that you are required to make it your primary domain. Your URL might be hard to remember and this can greatly affect the credibility of your business. If you want your website to establish its own brand and identity, registering your domain is an option to consider.

2. Go with a company that offers a free trial

There are customers that may not be certain about choosing the provider that suits their hosting preferences. If you are unsure whether or not you should commit to choosing a hosting company, going with a web host that offers free trial is a great option because it will help you to uncover any problems associated with the provider. It is also necessary to check if the company also provides money back guarantee.

3. Select your payment method

Before choosing a hosting company, you need to set up a billing method. Some of the most common and more secure payment options are debit cards, credit cards and PayPal. If you choose PayPal, you will be protected both as the customer and the merchant from theft, fraud and many others. Debit cards are also a good option especially for those who are just starting out. Using credit cards are also an option as they  offer built-in protection from unauthorised charges.

4. Avoid choosing blacklisted IPs

Your site stands a great chance of being blocked if your hosting company is still using blacklisted IPs. Always make it a point do a thorough research and read customer reviews so you will know if your web host provider has good reputation.

5. Backup your website

Backing up your website is another best practice that website owners should follow. If anything goes wrong, you can be sure that your website will not be seriously affected due to hacking, data breach or dropped hosting issues.