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6 Essential Facts About Windows Virtual Private Server Management

Companies have plenty of options today when it comes to managing their servers. They can be dedicated in-house hardware, they can be dedicated but hosted by an outside company, or they can be shared with other firms.

Of course, each option comes at a different cost, with different benefits. Even with a variety of server options available, some companies have clamored that they had needs that weren’t being met by these choices.

This gave rise to another means by which companies could have their servers hosted: Virtual Private Server Hosting. Here are six facts about VPS that everyone should know.

They’re a great option for small businesses

Virtual private servers divide one physical server into multiple virtual servers, which equals more bang for the buck. Since it requires significantly less hardware, the costs are lower. Small businesses also get the perks of a dedicated server in terms of management, performance, and security without the high cost.

They bridge the gap

A blend between sharing a hosted web service and a dedicated hosted service, virtual private servers give customers root-level administrative permissions, which means the benefits of a dedicated hosted service with the lower cost of a shared hosted service.

Sandbox security

Programs are able to operate safely in a virtual private server thanks to sandbox security. This is an environment in which untested programs can be checked to ensure they will run on the actual server.

Personalization

Shared web server hosting may be the least expensive route, but it comes with security risks and the potential for down time on a website during high peak traffic. With the power of a virtual private server, one company can run multiple websites, which equals greater personalization and performance.

Mainframe

The concept of dividing servers isn’t new and in fact has been around since the era of mainframe computers. Thanks to cloud computing and virtualization technology advancements, companies no longer have “either or” choices.

Combining cost savings with the benefits of a dedicated server (whether it’s hosted in the cloud or not) also comes with the security, administration, and personalization most companies expect and indeed require today.

With that said, companies that choose the virtual private server route should have IT administrative know-how or hire a consultant or consulting company to manage it. Since there are many ways to customize a virtual private server environment, getting the most out of it can be accomplished with smart configurations and excellent management.

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The Subtler Details of Technology

There is very little in our lives that technology does not affect or touch. Some may argue that it reaches every facet. After all, with just one device, the smartphone, we are able to research restaurants and movies on the go, find a hiking trail, or get directions.

The technology at our fingertips is astounding; it’s even more so because its capabilities and integration into daily life are now mundane, quotidian as daily life. But go beyond the smartphone, the tablet, and the GPS. It’s easy to see the when technology plays a role in electronic devices.

Instead, let’s explore the less ordinary and obvious ways technology is used in the world around us.

1. Money

Money is exchanged, traded, and deposited electronically today. Very rarely is cash used for monetary transactions anymore. The Internet is global and has made the global marketplace an easy place to conduct business. Thanks to technology, we are able to book travel, purchase clothing, buy a book, or order a dress — all from the comfort of home.

Recently, banks have made mobile applications and online banking even easier. In the event you actually receive a paper check, there’s no need to drive to the bank. Deposit it right there. Paying bills in one fell swoop takes mere minutes. No need to balance a checkbook anymore, on-demand access to bank accounts lets people check their balances on the fly.

The speed and ease of use when we call up our funds and spend money is astounding. Need cash? Technology powers ATMs. No cash? Technology makes the use of credit and debit cards possible.

2. Driving

Today’s vehicles are more brain than muscle. The technology that brings the driver and passengers voice-activated GPS, phone, texting, and the like is still just the tip of the iceberg.

Cars today have incredibly sophisticated computer systems that dramatically improve fuel economy, safety, and the driving experience. From engine to tires, automobiles are getting smarter.

For example, run-flat tires include an external structure that gives a driver an additional 50 miles to drive to a gas station or repair shop to fix a flat tire. No more driving on rims and no more getting stuck on the side of a busy freeway, risking life and limb to change a flat.

Many parents give major kudos to technology for making kids safer with rear-view cameras and entertaining them with “in-flight” videos and games. More efficient vehicles give us the chance to hand over a less-damaged environment to our kids when they are older.

3. Beauty products

The beauty industry is constantly innovating — investing in and developing technologies that will improve the way we look and feel. The more science uncovers the how and why of aging, the more tools we have to fight the good fight against wrinkles, hair loss, and visible skin damage.

Ultrasound and laser therapies are proving to be highly effective methods of producing collagen and treating skin damage. While new to the market and relatively high in cost, the results are said by many to be worth the cost.

Technology has also left its mark on the hair industry. Advancements have created hair accessories, wigs, and pieces that cannot be distinguished from natural hair. On top of looking real and providing the style and look that suits the moment, they are now designed to withstand high winds, ventilate to prevent overheating, and give no evidence of being faux.

The implications and uses of technology surround us. It goes into the products we use (big and small), the way we pay for those products, and the methods we use to research those products.

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last update: April 24, 2014

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How Cloud Services Can Help Your Business

In today’s economy, small business owners are more interested in finding ways to increase productivity, save money, and reduce time at the office. The more your business can automate, the less you have to worry about. When you leave the drone work to cloud services, you increase your chances of getting home in time for dinner with the family every night.

Cloud services are beneficial

Cloud services offer a number of benefits to small businesses and their owners. The biggest benefit is that cloud services store all your information in one place. You don’t have to worry about having a number of different software programs that can only be accessed from one computer or another.

With cloud services, you have the ability to use apps that can be accessed by anyone in the company from anywhere in the world, at any time of day or night. This is one of the most important of the many benefits cloud services have to offer.

Apps that make life simple

When it comes to running your business, you’d probably be far more productive if you didn’t have to worry about all the little details of everyday business activities. With an app like DropBox, you and the rest of your employees can have easy access to any of your files at any moment, from any device that has Internet service.

This means you can open and work on that file your coworker was working on in California, from your meeting room in Miami. You can collaborate on projects with this app because anyone working on the project can make changes, additions, and deletions at any time, all of which immediately update on everyone else’s device.

Productivity apps

Microsoft and Google are names you recognize. They’re also names that can help you manage your office productivity. With apps designed to keep track of your time, your calendar, and your appointments, you will also know what’s going on in your office the second a change is made to anything.

Saving money

Another benefit of cloud services is the ability to save your business a significant amount of money. You can save on everything from Internet costs to operating costs to shipping costs. The many different available apps can help you to save money, increase productivity, and become more successful.

Cloud services are imperative for the success of any small business. Their benefits far outweigh any reason you possibly could have not to utilize this service. There’s no time like the present to start saving money and time, and laying the groundwork for greater success.

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Gadgets That Update and Streamline Your Home

 

A rural home doesn’t have to be run down or dependent on old technologies. Refresh your home and enjoy the time you spend there more.

Home improvement guides online can help you install many useful updates that will raise the value of your property. You can easily spruce up your home and reduce your energy costs by installing these four home gadgets.

1. Solar panels

If you live in an area that gets consistently high temperatures, your energy bill can go through the roof with AC and fan costs. Staying cool can get very expensive and drain lots of energy, but installing solar panels on your roof will allow you to harness the power of the sun, a renewable resource that can help power your appliances and keep your home cool.

2. Powerful Wi-Fi router

How is your Wi-Fi connection at home? If you suffer from a poor signal, or you have only a corded connection, consider investing in a newer, robust Wi-Fi router.

Think about the following questions before making your purchase: “How many rooms do I want my Wi-Fi to cover?” and “How many people will be using the Internet at once?” If your home has multiple levels, consider using several Wi-Fi routers to extend your signal.

3. Automatic vacuum

Cleaning robots like the Roomba can be great for homeowners, since these gadgets will tidy up your floors by themselves. Sophisticated motion sensors help these vacuums swerve around obstacles and find dust, trash, and other miscellaneous bits.

These machines are even sophisticated enough to detect stairs and other uneven surfaces, so they can avoid falling and breaking. You’ll never have to worry about sweeping or vacuuming before guests come over if you have one of these automatic vacuums around. They also provide an entertaining distraction for small pets to chase.

4. Motion sensor lights

These lighting solutions are fairly inexpensive and easy to install outside your front door, near an entry gate, and outside a garage. Well-lit environments create safer communities because they deter criminal activity. Property lighting is essential in country residential areas.

If you are at home, motion-sensor lights can serve as an early visual alarm that someone is near your country home without permission. Motion lights are also great for preventing accidents. Install them in outdoor gardens and on staircases so guests can see their surroundings and avoid falling down.

Since these lights only activate when a sensor detects movement, they use minimal amounts of energy.

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6 Excellent Money Management Apps

“There’s an app for that.” The phrase that Apple sparked with its revolutionary iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc., has taken the world by storm. Developers are working hard to bring an dizzying array of apps to the marketplace.

Games and other media entertainment are just the tip of the iceberg. Today, apps are used to promote weight loss, book travel, and manage finances — among other things. Managing finances through apps? Absolutely.

Developers have created apps that give both high-level and detailed insight into personal finances, in a way that is user-friendly, informative, and easy. Instead of tackling a user’s personal finances by one credit card, loan, or savings account at a time, the following apps gather them under a single umbrella to make managing money all the easier.

Spending and saving habits can be calculated, providing the analytics to make smart money choices and modify counterproductive ones. Instead of sifting through the many available apps out there, here is a “best of” list to narrow down the field.

1. Pageonce Money & Bills

This is the creme de la creme: get a comprehensive financial overview with this app. By connecting bills, credit cards, bank accounts, cellphone minutes, loans, and even travel reward programs, everything money-related in life comes under a single app that boasts bank-level security. On top of valuable insight, Pageonce is making bill payment available at a nominal cost.

2. iAllowance

Kids today are 100% digital. Ditch the 20th-century chore chart for this kid-centric app. Parents act as the bank and the kids are the customers. The latter earn money (or stars) through allowance and performance of chores. When they want to withdraw from the account, parents hand over the cash and note the debit in the iAllowance record.

3. Mint

Getting control of one’s finances usually starts with the basics of budgeting. With this free app, you can get a full picture of finances and create budgets. The latter is pre-populated and determined by spending levels. There is also a cash vs. credit feature that gives a little extra insight into what the total credit card balance is compared to the available cash to pay it off.

4. Expensify

Anyone who has traveled for business holds onto receipts like they are cash. The result? A lot of small bits of paper to sort through when it comes time to submit an expense report. This app simplifies that process beautifully. Snap photos of receipts, link a credit card, and magically find the info transferred to the expense report.

5. PayPal Mobile

Gone are the days where “I don’t carry cash” is an acceptable excuse for not pitching in. With the PayPal app, money can be transferred at no charge. With the payee’s cell phone number or e-mail, payments are made quickly and securely. The recipient receives an alert when the money is transferred and is able to collect the funds through his or her PayPal account. Like the eliminating all those paper receipts, your pockets become lighter with this app: no more IOUs!

6. Chase Mobile

Chase has led the way in integrating technology with money management. Mobile check deposits are available through a number of financial institutions, but Chase is considered the gold standard of remote deposit. Paired with easy bill payment and customizable alerts, Chase has made it a no-brainer to keep tabs on finances.

Different consumers have different needs. A single 20-something is less likely to need iAllowance than Mint to juggle a budget. These apps are affordable — many of them are free — and a no-brainer for anyone who is need of basic finance management or even close oversight of money.

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5 Ways to Kick Out of a Business Plateau

Just like your weight-loss efforts, there will come a time when your business will reach a plateau. You’re going to have to change things up if you want to see any improvements.

Remember the definition of insanity, and start looking for avenues to streamline processes, get better at giving your customers what they want, increase your revenue, and reach new target markets.

When you first drafted your business plan, you had a model that may have been perfect — for a startup. Maybe you got lucky and your firm experienced rapid growth during the first couple of years. Unfortunately, these kinds of endeavors can crash and burn because entrepreneurs don’t prepare for the inevitable plateau.

Here are five ways to get on a new path.

1. Market research

There’s nothing more valuable than actual feedback from potential clients. Have a market research firm conduct interviews and collect data, which can vastly improve your business practices, services, marketing, and delivery in a way no other approach can achieve.

The initial up-front investment is well worth it, especially if you haven’t seen any client growth in the past few quarters. You can try to do this yourself, but the natural bias will show through, so it’s best to have a third party do it.

You can be as deeply involved in the process as you like, though. There are options to watch the focus groups through a one-sided glass, send in additional questions for moderators to ask, and opt for as many (or as few) focus groups you’d like around the country.

Not sure which upcoming campaign is best? Let your customers tell you.

2. Get social (seriously)

Sure, you signed up for a business Facebook page and Twitter handle. But then what? If you’re like many startups, you’ve let your social media management slide and your blog hasn’t been updated in weeks. A neglected social media presence is worse than none at all.

However, if your target demographic is social, it’s crucial that you get on that bandwagon properly. Posts should be made once per day and follow best practices. In other words, have something truly interesting and useful to say. Build relationships with your followers. Social media requires being social.

3. Start an internship or volunteer program

Could you use some “new blood” in the mix, but your existing staff members are already extraordinary and there’s no room in the budget for another employee? Consider partnering with a nearby college and kickstart an internship or volunteer program.

You may be able to offer college credit in exchange for work. However, you also have to make sure the experience is rewarding for the student.

There’s a variety of social media management, graphic design, writing, marketing, and foreign language talent on a local campus. If you simply don’t have time to manage the company Facebook page, a college student might be the perfect fit.

4. Check your SOP

Take a close look at the daily functioning of your business and make sure the SOP reflects how you want things to run. Would some of your employees be happier and equally productive with a telecommuting option? How is the company morale? Do you value an enjoyable day’s work as much as generating revenue?

Poor morale and needlessly strict rules can poison a business. It’s fairly common for new startups to go above and beyond to seem professional, but that can backfire.

5. Get a business coach

Maybe you know everything there is to know about local SEO, which is why your SEO boutique is blossoming. However, if you haven’t managed a successful business before, you can’t be expected to do it flawlessly the first time around.

Just like in sports or academics, a business coach can help you get up to speed. Everyone depends on you as the manager and owner; shouldn’t you have someone to count on?

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Small Business, Big Opportunity

For the first time in history, Intuit will give one small business a huge opportunity. Get featured in a tv spot during football’s biggest game. One small business will be seen by millions, which is guaranteed to grow that business exponentially. Own a small business? Don’t miss this once in a lifetime shot. Visit www.SmallBusinessBigGame.com and see how to enter to win.

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A Checklist for Your Home Business

Planning on launching your own home-based business? It’s a great way to make a bit of extra money, and possibly even support yourself and your family while doing something you love, but it will be a challenge to say the least.

If you’re going to start your own home business, make sure you have all the following things:

1. An idea

What’s going to make your new business different from all the others out there on the market? If you are going to succeed in the world of home-based businesses, you’ll need a creative new idea that will set your company apart.

Whether it’s repairing car windshields at home, selling your home-made cookies, or being an exotic animal walker, an idea is the first step in the process!

2. A business plan

You may think that coming up with a business plan and model is unnecessary if you’re going to start a home business, but it’s still important.

You’ll need the business plan to guide your company through the steps that will lead you to success. Without a plan of how to reach your target market, promote your product, and organize operations, your company is going to struggle to stay afloat.

3. Personnel

Most home-based businesses start out with just one person running everything, but how long will it take you to realize that you’re in over your head?

If you have to do accounting, shipping and handling, sales, invoicing, and all the other business functions, you may not be able to do a good job at any of them. Bring in people that will help you to succeed.

4. Capital

Perhaps you only need $5,000 to open your home bakery, or $50,000 to get your home car shop up and running. It doesn’t matter how much you need; what matters is that you have it!

You need to be sure you have enough capital to get your company up and running, because you’ll need to keep food on your table for the first few months of your company’s operations (there’s little if any profit for the first few months, and possibly even years).

5. The necessary tools

Do you need to set up a workshop in your home, or to install a pizza oven for your home-based pizza joint? Do you need to get managed hosting for your company website, or could you work through your Facebook or Twitter account?

You’re doomed to failure without the right tools, but having what you need will increase your chances of success!

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