Misconceptions About Web Hosting That Need To Be Dispelled

In times gone by, the world of web hosting was one that was regarded as being mysterious and difficult to navigate, unless you had been provided with the necessary training. This has led to many people, especially those who are not particularly tech-savvy, to be somewhat sceptical of the importance of enlisting the help of a high-quality hosting provider. Unfortunately, it is this line of thinking which often leads to sub-par websites that, in turn, can irreparably damage a company’s reputation and branding.

In case you did not already know, we are catalyst2; formed in 2000, we have spent the last twenty-one years forging our path towards becoming one of the country’s most notorious and efficient web hosting businesses. The exposure that we have had within this rather niche industry has meant that we have the knowledge necessary to dispel the most popular misconceptions surrounding web hosting. If you would like to be privy to this, we suggest that you take a closer look at the list below.

‘All Firms Offering Web Hosting Are The Same’

If you believe that each-and-every one of the web hosting providers that you come across during your research have the same credentials, and are therefore capable of providing the same quality of service, we are here to inform you that you are sorely mistaken. This is a field that is incredibly saturated, yet each firm is entirely different in their approach to the services that they provide. If you are considering investing in this type of option, there are certain things that you need to look out for. These features can indicate whether or not they will be a good fit for your particular firm.

First-and-foremost, you should check to see if they actively publicise their server reliability and uptime. This, for those of you that weren’t aware, relates to the amount of time that their servers have remained active, without any faults or maintenance causing websites to be taken offline. If the percentage is languishing particularly low, you should take this to be a red flag, as it demonstrates that they are incapable of guaranteeing first-class performance levels regularly. As a point of reference, over the past fourteen years, catalyst2 has recorded a 99.997% uptime – this is nothing short of incredible.

A tell-tale sign of a company that takes its web hosting duties serious is the size of its catalogue of services. If you find a single available option, this indicates that they are either trying to specialise in a single area, or they simply lack the equipment and techniques necessary to evolve and grow. However, if you are presented with a vast array of services and packages, you can expect to be able to deal with total professionals that take their work incredibly seriously. Should you discover that you have the choice between, for instance, VPS servers and dedicated servers, as well as management contracts, you can be rest assured that you won’t be left with a feeling of disappointment.

‘VPS Servers Are No Different To Cloud Servers’

Those of you that have ventured into hosting in the past will be well-aware of the differences between cloud hosting, and that which involves virtual private servers. Unfortunately, the uninitiated amongst you may have heard rumours circulating which profess that these services are one and the same. Whilst there are certainly some similarities between the two, there are also numerous differences which allow them to stand apart as separate entities. Depending on the situation that you find yourself in, you may opt to go down one course of action or another.

In the case of virtual private servers, you are effectively sharing a single piece of hardware with various other websites. However, there is software installed which keeps these segregated – the benefit of this is that you are able to subsequently use bespoke programmes on your site, without having to worry about the effect that it will have on other users. Most people regard this to be a cost-effective alternative to a dedicated server, as you are able to split the maintenance costs.

As you may have already deduced, the cloud hosting option revolves around a service which is totally based online. Over the past few years, cloud-based services have seen their popularity soar, and it is not difficult to see why. These are often regarded to be of the highest quality in terms of reliability, simply due to the fact that they do not rely on a single piece of hardware. Being spread across numerous units means that downtime will be a thing of the past, were you to decide to utilise this particular service. Hopefully, you can see that though these services display some of the same traits, there are huge contrasts. Before you make a firm commitment in one direction or another, we suggest that you delve a little deeper beneath the service, and complete an in-depth comparison. – Read more

Can cloud services take your board meeting to new heights?

Can cloud services take your board meeting to new heights?

Mobile-friendly, Zoom-integrated portals can improve security, efficiency and convenience of virtual, hybrid or in-person gatherings

Board management software may not be top of mind for chief executives and their IT departments, what with virtual meeting platforms and association management systems to worry about.

But products are available to take your virtual or hybrid board meetings from simple Zoom affairs to integrated document-sharing, minute-keeping, messaging and vote-recording experiences using secure portals. Many of those advantages apply to in-person meetings, too.

“It’s a tool that could be helpful, especially going forward when it seems like there’s going to be more and more hybrid meetings,” said Duane Capuano, a senior consultant at board consulting firm Tecker International. “Tools like board management software will help make those meetings run much more smoothly.”

Such services are not new, but they are niche products that have not been a high priority when associations have considered enterprise software needs, he said.

The value of such software goes beyond virtual and hybrid meetings, although they include integrated teleconferencing functions. By creating a secure portal where documents are stored in the cloud, printing and mailing costs are reduced, and these documents—collectively known as “board books”—are delivered to board members more quickly, whether they are attending in person or not. Board books might run 150 pages, and the portals provide a way to review the materials on a computer or tablet or smartphone without carrying around a bundle that could end up being misplaced. That would present liability and confidentiality issues.

“It would help the board members in terms of being easy to work with,” Capuano said. “This would definitely make prepping for the meetings a lot easier, in that all the information’s in one place. It’s easier to exchange information and data with fellow board members or with executive staff.”

Full-suite solutions

Among the better-known cloud-based products is OnBoard, from Passageways, which provides both the nonprofit and corporate market with a full suite of services. Others include Diligent Boards, from Diligent, and Boardvantage, from Nasdaq, the stock exchange operator. Boardable, from Boardable, is another, though with less functionality and a lower price point. It was created with smaller nonprofits in mind. Among the functions Boardable does not include is the ability to annotate shared documents. It does integrate with Zoom and has a mobile app.

“OnBoard saves us significant time and money,” said Henry Stoever, CEO of the $14 million-revenue Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. “For example, in pre-portal days, teams spent significant time and money to create and mail printed and bound board books.”

Stoever has experience with board-meeting software going back 15 years, including using some of the most established products.

“One of the features I find really helpful is the ability to conduct analytics on what board members are accepting or declining, their availability to participate in board and committee meetings,” he said.

Executives can see “who has downloaded different materials from the portal. One of the key elements for any board meeting or committee meeting is to ensure that the board members read and review the material prior to the meeting,” Stoever said. “So it gives the board chair insights as to who has done what. And it enables each individual board member to evaluate other board members and the board as a whole, and for committee members to evaluate their own committee’s performance. All of those features are needed to help the board gain efficiencies as they conduct their business.” – Read more

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How cloud communications supports the new hybrid hub-and-spoke model for tech companies

How cloud communications supports the new hybrid hub-and-spoke model for tech companies

Much has been made over the last year about the death of the traditional office. For technology companies, the future is not so simple. Though purely remote work may have advantages—among them, cost savings and productivity gains for some types of tasks—not all of the work of tech companies can be done from employees’ homes. From hardware and software production to sales presentations, many critical functions still tether workers to physical plants and offices.

But instead of considering remote work as an all-or-nothing proposition, many technology businesses are looking at a more nuanced model: hybrid hub and spoke workplaces. The concept is a hybrid work model built around regional hubs, creating a distributed network of physical office locations to anchor in-person tasks, while also maintaining the flexibility of remote work when possible.

As we examined in a recent in-depth dive into hybrid hub-and-spoke workplaces, there can be quite a few advantages to adopting such a model. But the complexity of connecting the full office network creates risks and challenges that must be addressed in order for the adoption of hybrid hub-and-spoke models to pay off.

Why UCaaS is necessary for hybrid hub and spoke to succeed

During the earliest coronavirus lockdowns, when most non-essential workers had to do their jobs from home, many reported challenges performing tasks that require communication and collaboration with colleagues. According to the Global Work-from-Home Experience Survey, conducted by the Global Workplace Analytics, workers reported a 26% decrease in satisfaction with such tasks when working from home compared to the office.

Hybrid hub-and-spoke has the potential to erode communication satisfaction and efficiency even further because the resulting workplace structures will be even more disjointed than in the days when everyone was forced to work from home.

Collaborative communications for the new high-tech workplaceLearn more

The need to enable communications for geographically distributed plants and offices and to provision portable tools for work-from-anywhere employees has the potential to result in a patchwork of systems and processes that can make connecting complicated and costly—two enemies of streamlining.

But RingCentral’s cloud-based UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) platform supports the requirements of hybrid hub-and-spoke companies in ways on-premises and standalone solutions simply can’t.

Supporting expanded workplace networks

For organizations looking to build in the flexibility and resiliency of hybrid hub and spoke, the immediate challenge is enabling communications across their new networks. These are growing pains Mobica, a software services firm based in the U.K., had to overcome as it provisioned sites in the U.K., Poland, and the U.S.

“Due to the phenomenal rate at which Mobica has grown, the communications infrastructure at each of its sites tended to be localized, rather than centralized, so we had different communications hardware at each of our locations and lacked integration across the various solutions,” said Tony Healy, Mobica’s Chief Information Officer.

Relying on individual local solutions can slow the process of bringing new locations on board—due to the need to reinvent the wheel with each new provider—and also make hub and spoke more costly. But switching to RingCentral allowed Mobica to sidestep these pitfalls.

“Where we used to have to do the best we could with a variety of different platforms across our sites, with RingCentral, we now have the total package in a single solution,” said Healy. “The benefits we’re already seeing are enormous.” – Read more

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