The Biggest Challenge For Cloud Computing In 2012

Cloud computing has become quite the buzzword in the IT world. Whether you prefer to use the term cloud services, cloud hosting, cloud computing, or whatever … you need to be aware of the challenges and what you're getting into before you jump right into it.

Security always appears top of the list, coupled with what I interpret as confusion over how and what is needed to make best use of the cloud. So in short, for me, a lack of understanding remains the challenge. Whilst security is critical, I feel the need to provide some counter points.

Any computer connected to the Internet is at risk from hackers, whether it is in the cloud or in a private data center. Would it be true to say that an SME, with necessarily limited resources, is able to better secure its data than say Amazon? In addition, who says everything needs to be in the cloud? Adopting a cloud computing strategy is not an 'all or nothing' decision. Data can remain within a data center or on promise, while applications that need to access such data can be based in the cloud. That's the whole principle behind the different cloud types – private, public or hybrid.

I think that anyone considering a move to the cloud needs to carefully consider their motivations and objectives for doing so, and to question what data and workflows they and their customers will feel happy placing in the cloud. Most importantly, select a vendor that can accommodate your cloud migration strategy, now and in the future. The challenge in 2012 is not that of cloud computing, the challenge for cloud vendors or providers of Cloud 'services' is that they need to not only promote the benefits of their particular offering, but also educate the market on the benefits of cloud, full stop.

Another major challenge will be Bandwidth. It's probably the case that the majority of SME / Bs have 'plenty' of local network bandwidth with which to conduct their in-house operations / business, however, it's also probably the case that in their pipe (s) into the 'Cloud' and that could be an awkward bottleneck if you swallowed the cloud philosophy without adequate preparation – which, of course, you'd never do.

For the pessimists amongst you, please see Moore's Law and Nielson's Law, there's always Parkinson's Law, which reads: "Usage expends so as to fill all available bandwidth."

Free Advertising Ideas For Online Business

In today's economy it is important for every small business to utilize as many free advertising services as they can get their hands on. These ideas should make the advertising process a little easier.

Host a Contest or Event

This will open up new avenues for free advertising. There are many websites out there dedicated to informing people about contests and events that its members might be interested in. Charge a small entry fee to cover the cost of the prizes and you will get traffic from a group of people who might not otherwise find you.

Local Free Advertising

Call up a local newspaper to do a human interest story or business story for your company. Also, submit your own articles to local papers and magazines for consideration. This method of free advertising works best for non-metropolitan areas but it never hurts to try. The worst thing a person can tell you is no!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Learning SEO techniques is one of the best free advertising techniques. A few tips include using only a couple keyword terms per page, maintaining a .5% -5% keyword density rate, utilizing your meta tags and image tags, creating and submitting XML sitemaps, as well as using keywords in your URL.

Personal Touches

Adding personal touches to your business is a great way to get repeat clientele or a good way to close a sale. Send personalized emails, newsletters about not only your services but also your family or friends, insert gifts with every purchase or even jot a quick thank you note and mail it to tell your customer that they really matter to you.

Free Article Submission

Submitting SEO rich articles to article submission sites can be a great way to advertise your website or services. Do not, however, submit the same articles that are on your website. Search engines penalize duplicate content. Instead you should rewrite a few of your articles first.

Link Building

The more inbound, one-way links your website has the higher it will rank in search engines. These inbound links work best if the websites linking to you are relevant to your main focus. These links are the only ones that search giant Google recognizes. To build links you can post blogs or guest blog for someone, submit articles and press releases for syndication, email webmasters, post in forums and comment on blogs. Remember that these links are not only for the search engines, they can also drive legitimate traffic.

Free Classified Advertising

Submitting a well worded link into a free classified can return decent traffic. Describe your website in an intriguing way and curious people will click your link.

Social Networking

Websites like MySpace and Facebook can be great sites to advertise through. You can build a website just for your business and advertise directly to your "friends". My personal technique for acquiring friends involves seeking out groups with an interest in my topic and requesting friend adds from those members. If you only request 20 -40 friends a day you will not likely be marked as spam. The key to getting friends is to type up a seemingly personal message without any links;

"Hi, I noticed you are a chef. My website is running a recipe contest. You should check it out!"

I've found that notes like this in a friend request results in about 1 of every 3 people I approach adding me as a friend. Once your friend list is established you can blog, email or post announcements about your business.

Social Bookmarking

A new trend in online advertising involves social bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon. See www.AddThis.com for your own social bookmarking button. It is now (practically) mandatory for all websites to allow for social bookmarking. If you have viral content on your website it can really pay off.

Viral Videos

Diet coke and mentos, exploding bathtubs, and bikes playing Guitar hero videos made for close to nothing. If you have a video camera it is worth a shot to try to post a viral video on YouTube. Of course this is no easy task. It is impossible to tell what will become viral. Other video options involve posting information relevant to your site. You can make a simple slideshow with music and text with Microsoft MovieMaker. Place a link to your site on your videos and in your profile. Over time you should reap results.

Free Alternate Directory Submissions

There are many online directories aimed at specific interests. These directories look to help consumers find the best websites and information available. To find these directories simply search a relevant term and "directory".

What Type of Fire Alarm Do I Need and Where Should I Put It?

It is probably quite evident that there are a number of fire alarms available, and at vastly varying prices, so it may be very difficult to understand the differences between Optical, Ionisation and Heat alarms. This guide is aimed at taking some of that confusion away.

So what is the difference between the models?

As stated above there are three types of alarm, each with its own uses.

Optical Alarm: This type of smoke alarm typically uses an infrared beam between two points, the alarm being triggered should the beam be disturbed. In much the same way as a criminal might trip an alarm when breaking into a bank vault or museum in the movies, if the beam is broken, the alarm will go off. It detects larger smoke particles best.

Ionisation Alarm: These alarms use 2 small plates (one charged positively, one negatively) and an alpha particle source to create a constant current running across the gap between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber it interferees with this process, interrupting the charge. When the charge drops, the alarm goes off. These alerts are best at detecting smaller smoke particles.

Heat Alarms: A heat alarm will trigger if the room temperature reaches a certain level. They do not detect smoke, and are not to be used as a substitute for a smoke alarm, but should be used in assisting these alerts for greater fire detection.

Why do we need different types of fire alarm?

Different types of alarm exist due to the different types of fire. Believe it or not, fires act in different ways depending on what is burning, and is important to identify the fire as quickly as possible. Different alerts are better at discovering different fires, and choosing the right alarm for the right room could save your life one day.

Fires can be particularly smokey, often caused by the burning of papers or clothing etc, and burn rapidly, producing smaller smoke particles. The Ionisation alerts are better at detecting these fires.

Other fires can be a lot less smokey, often being harder to detect, and are caused by the burning of carpets, sofas or electrical devices. These fires tend to burn less quickly, producing larger smoke particles. Optical alerts will be better at detecting these fires.

Which fire alarm do I need?

This article is meant as a general guide, and for more detailed safety advice it is highly recommended that you contact your local Fire Service. This being said, the information below should help you decide.

  • Optical alarm: Living room, dining room, hallway
  • Ionisation alarm: Bedrooms, walk in wardrobes
  • Heat alarms: Dusty areas such as garages, unconverted lofts etc where the dust could interfere with the other alarm types.

Alarms are available as either battery operated, or mains operated with battery backup. The mains alarms will continue to work for a time after power is lost to the unit, but only as a backup. If this is the case, mains should be restored to the unit right away, or the battery changed.

Some alerts even come with the option of interconnectivity, meaning if one alarm sounds, then all the alarms sound. This is highly useful in larger properties where one alarm may not be heard by everyone. The idea is to raise the alarm to everyone right away – as soon as a fire starts – and having the alarms linked together will achieve this.

Fires are responsible for a large number of deaths each year, as we all know from the adverts broadcast on television or radio. This is a fact, and can be greatly reduced by just checking your alarm to be sure that it works, and that it is the correct alarm for the location it is placed. Be aware that alerts need replacing after a certain amount of time, and it is worth checking on the unit and to note the replace by date. If you are unsure, check with your local Fire Service.

Web Hosting Options for Small Business

It seems that so many times it is hard for the little guy to get a leg up in the business world. Every supplier or service that you talk to is only interested in catching the larger fish and is totally disinterested in you. When it comes to finding a web host for your website it can often times be no different sometimes. Sure they have service plans that you can cut costs with but how do you know just what you need to get by.

There are a few simple rules to follow if you are in the market for a budget web hosting plan that at the same time does not leave you empty handed on the essential services that you will be needing from time to time. If your website is less than one-hundred pages and does not have any data intensive components such as streaming videos than you can get by with the bare minimum amount of bandwidth and gigabytes of memory and that means a basic plan for about $ 5.

If you have more than one-hundred pages and or your pages are heavy laden with text and photos then you may want to take the option of shared web hosting for about $ 10 which is going to give you more bandwidth and memory. That is what you will need for the bare bones basic web hosting service if that is all that you need. You have to bear in mind though that what you are going to be doing with your website also has to be considered.

For instance; if your site is just for reference purposes that is supporting a non Internet business in your community then you can still get by with the low cost basic web hosting service. If however your business is an Internet business that changes the picture considerably. This is because, unless you are marketing a product that only you have and no one can live without, you will be in competition of untold numbers of other people on the Internet.

This then means that you are going to have to engage in some level of website promotion or SEO which stands for search engine optimization. If you do not, then every time that someone types in the keywords to look for what ever it is that your website is selling you will be the last in line with regards to prospective sellers.

SEO can be approached two different ways with regards to a prospective web hosting service. The first way is to just pay them to promote your website and do the SEO for you but it is going to cost you.

The second way is to learn about SEO and then do it yourself. If you are going to do it yourself you will need to learn what basic tools you will be needing your web hosting service to have available. SEO is not overly complex but you do have to know what you are doing or all of your best efforts can be a waste of time.