Global Business Needs a Truly Global Architecture

Google’s announcement emphasizes is the difference in the architecture on which each solution is based. Google offers a true multi-tenant, scalable, grid architecture that was purpose-built for the cloud. This cloud architecture means that Google does not require any planned downtime and does not provide for any downtime in their SLA. On the other hand, Exchange Online is essentially hosted Exchange in a Microsoft datacenter. Microsoft’s “cloud” is built on the same code base that customers can run in their own datacenter and requires regularly scheduled downtime for updates, patches and hotfixes. This hosted architecture is retrofit for the cloud and it requires organizations to choose one primary data center for their system, typically based off of the organization’s corporate “ship to” address. Having to make this decision can cause performance to suffer in offices that are particularly far from the designated data center.

In an ever-growing global economy, organizations need to make informed decisions about which service providers can best meet their needs. In order for CEO’s to make such decisions, they must first understand which provider is best positioned to handle rapid growth and to make a viable uptime commitment. With this in mind, comparing Microsoft and Google side-by-side begs the question: Which service provider is best positioned to meet these needs — one that was born in the older, client-server architecture who is just now retro-fitting to the cloud and obscuring uptime statistics or one that was born in the cloud on a truly global infrastructure and is completely transparent about its availability?

How to talk about Google Apps with your customers?

Some businesses that are part of the Google Apps Referral Programme have been asking for talking points to introduce Google Apps when meeting with their customers. We wanted to share some points they’ve found useful that may help you, too:

  • A custom email address is key to continue building your brand and it’s included when you setup your Gmail account.
  • In addition to Gmail for Work, each user gets 30GB of online storage with Google Drive that works with all file types and syncs with all your devices.
  • Host video meetings with your coworkers and customers using Google Hangouts.
  • Save money and time on travel by connecting from anywhere at any time.
    The admin controls allow you to setup and manage your users easily and safely, so your data always stays safe.

Have additional questions? Don’t hesitate to ask or post your question.

Get Custom Email For Your Business

Just 15 years ago, Google was three employees working out of a garage. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to start and grow a business. In particular, we know how important it is to build a brand and to communicate quickly with customers and employees wherever you are.

Gmail for Work or Office 365 can help build your brand. It provides custom email for your business name (you@yourcompany.com). You can connect with employees or customers reliably and securely from anywhere and on any devices; laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

There’s 24/7 phone support, and we can help you get an online web address (or domain) if you don’t already have one.

Top 10 Business Communication Trends in 2015

With 2015 offering an abundance of new communications technologies and services, it is essential for businesses to be aware of the latest trends and attempt to gain an advantage over the competition.

Shift to Mobile Accelerates

Server based applications are being reconfigured to allow appropriate and useful applications to run on tablets and smartphones. Tablets offer ease of use, portability and convenience when incorporated into the business world. If a mobile application is purpose-built for a specific business and built to cater to the requirements of employees, the results can be impressive. Given the choice, some employees will choose tablets and smartphones over laptops and PC’s making it critical that businesses ensure availability of necessary applications on these mobile devices.

Continued Growth of Cloud Communication Services

As businesses seek to compete more effectively, integrate their workforce and improve client satisfaction, cloud communications technologies have become an effective enabler of this objective. Hosted VoIP is rapidly being adopted by many businesses who seek to avoid the excess costs and complexities of an on premise phone service solution. Issues with set up and installation are avoided while a rich feature set is made available to the end user. Integrating VoIP technology with CRM software further allows customer representatives, agents, sales staff, managers and others to access and utilize client information with ease, to better benefit the productivity of the business. Cost savings are the primary driver here though and industry authority WhichVoIP states that these savings can easily be upwards of 50% and beyond. Strong growth and adoption by businesses of all sizes is expected to continue.

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The Five People You Need In Your Digital Marketing Team

When you first get started in business, you and maybe one or two other people wear all the hats. Not only are you the owner of your business, you’re its accountant, IT manager, customer service representative, and marketing rep all at the same time.

Over time though, as your company grows, you’ll find it necessary to branch out and establish teams of specialists. And when this happens, one of the first teams you’ll want to consider building is your digital marketing team.

While there are any number of professionals you could hire at this point, building your digital marketing team will allow you to expand your promotional efforts, bringing in the additional revenue that will enable you to bring on others in the future.

But before you begin hiring these professionals, you’ll want to take a few key steps, including documenting your processes and determining what specialists you’ll need. Once that’s complete, it’s time to get hiring!

Below are the five people you should look for first when building your digital marketing team.

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Top CRM Trends For 2015

CRM is the foundational building block that allows empowered consumers and connected employees to do business in ways we could not imagine just a few years ago. Historically, CRM strategies have focused around operational efficiency gains like reduced marketing costs, increased revenues from salespeople, shorter sales cycles, or better customer service productivity. Its no wonder that CRM is widely deployed in all companies – both big and small.

Today CRM is evolving, and companies are using it to support their customers in their end-to-end journeys. This customer obsession delivers business results that far exceed productivity and efficiency measures.CRM, used the right way, delivers higher levels of revenue and company profitability through winning, serving, and retaining customers.

Here is a snapshot of 4 of our top 10 trends that you should pay attention to in 2015.

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Who Is Sending Email As Your Company?

You might expect that the IT department or security team knows who’s sending email using your company’s domains. But for a variety of reasons these groups are often unaware of many legitimate senders — not to mention all the bad actors. Fortunately you can get a more complete view by using DMARC‘s reporting features.

How does it happen? Product teams managing a new product launch or customer survey hire marketing consultants and Email Service Providers (ESP). Affiliate programs or strategic partnerships lead to new domains or sub-domains being created. Employee benefit programs are outsourced, and the vendor wants to use a sending address in your domain. All too often these things are done quietly as part of a small project, without consulting anybody in another department or division.

And then there are all the bad actors using your domains without asking permission…

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Domain Registrar (Client) & Registry (Server) Status Codes

Certain registrars permit registrants to control one or more registrar (client) status codes. The following status codes, also known as registrar locks, are of particular importance to registrants:

clientTransferProhibited. When set, the registry will not allow a registrar to accept a transfer of the domain name away from the sponsoring registrar. Certain registrars automatically keep the clientTransferProhibited status set on domain names and registrants use a third party authorization process between the “transfer-from” registrar, the “transfer-to” registrars and the registry to protect against unauthorized transfers.

clientUpdateProhibited. When set, the registry will not make changes to the registration details of the domain name. Certain registrars automatically unlock and re-lock this status when a registrant has successfully logged into a domain account. Other registrars allow registrants to unlock and re-lock this status through a domain management interface.

clientDeleteProhibited. When set, the registry will reject requests to delete a domain name from the registry.

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Domain Name Points of Contact Considerations

In all generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and most country code TLDs (ccTLDs), registrants are required to provide three points of contact when registering a domain name. The registrant is the individual or entity on record as having registered the domain. The other contacts are role contacts:

  • A technical contact is responsible for technical matters related to a domain, such as DNS operation;
  • An administrative contact has authority to represent the registrant to the registrar in administrative matters; and
  • A billing contact is responsible for payment and financial matters.

These points of contact are critically important. At most registrars, these points of contact have authority to make certain changes to registration information, including name server information for DNS operations.

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Protection Against Unauthorized Domain Account Access

Protect account credentials. Registrants are encouraged to manage access account credentials for registrar accounts according to a policy based on these common practices:

  • Maintain a list of authorized contacts for each domain registration account;
  • Advise authorized contacts that they are responsible for keeping secret the account credentials for domain registration accounts, and that they must not disclose or share passwords;
  • Identify measures authorized contacts must take should they discover that credentials have been disclosed;
  • Authorized contacts must compose passwords used to access a registration account using applicable organizational policies and commonly recognized best practices for composition (e.g., length and complexity), re-use, and longevity;
  • Alternatively, if the registrar supports a form of multi-factor authentication (e.g., a hardware or software token), authorized contacts must keep the token safe from loss, damage, or unauthorized use;
  • Use different credentials for each account;
  • Partition particularly sensitive or important domain registrations into an account whose credentials are held by more senior personnel;
  • Securely escrow all registration account credentials;
  • Define and implement a recovery process with detailed auditing;
  • Define the circumstances where recovery is permitted, who has authority to recover credentials from escrow, and who is to be notified when escrowed credentials are accessed;
  • Changes in personnel authorized as contacts for a registrar account should cause new credentials to be created and old credentials to be revoked. (This may require coordination with a registrar, i.e., in cases where the registrant intends to change the user account identifier.); and
  • Employee resource management processes such as employee termination and employee transfer should be modified to check if the employee has domain registration account access. The processes could be modeled after similar checks for employee access to other assets, such as financial accounts.

These policies can be implemented as part of a large organization’s workflow. They can be implemented by an individual or smaller organization using methods as simple as a checklist, ledger or desktop password security application.

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Risk Management and Domain Names

Operationally, domain names are user-friendly identifiers that can be resolved using the DNS to determine the Internet (IP) addresses of hosts that provide services for that domain (e.g., web, mail, social networks, voice, etc.). The operational value of a domain name in use – specifically, the assurance that name resolution is highly available and that names in a domain consistently resolve as intended – is of extreme importance to most registrants. Consequently, domain name registrations should be considered as an asset and therefore included in business processes such as asset management, provisioning and risk management programs.

Models for asset management, provisioning and risk management typically include the following considerations:

  • Identify the value of an asset (tangible or intangible);
  • List the ways in which that value is threatened (loss, theft, misuse);
  • Determine how the threat can be realized, i.e., what makes the domain name vulnerable to attack or exploitation;
  • Determine the probability or risk that each threat poses;
  • Determine how the risk can be mitigated or reduced;
  • Determine the cost of mitigating or reducing the risk to an acceptable level of risk and cost; and
  • Determine the appropriate budget/priority and implement risk mitigation or reduction.

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Shared Domain Name Portfolio Management v/s Dedicated Domain Name Portfolio Management

Shared Domain Name Portfolio Management
Our master registrar account manages all customer domain names in a central place. The most easiest and cost effective way for your domain portfolio management, suitable for small portfolio of domain owners.

Dedicated Domain Name Portfolio Management
We manage your domain names in separate account for each customer. All credentials are transfer to you at the time of registration. Suitable for advanced users and large portfolio of domain owners.

Can I renew my domain name after it expires?

In many cases, yes. It depends upon your domain name’s extension and its registry rules.

If the registry for your domain name extension allows it, we hold your expired domain name for a few days waiting for you to renew it. For many domain name extensions (such as .com, .net, and .org) there is a grace period allowing you to renew the domain name after expiration without penalty. After the grace period for these extensions, you must pay a redemption fee plus the cost of regular renewal if you want to keep the domain name.

For some domain name extensions, primarily country code (ccTLD) extensions, there is no grace period. Once the domain name expires, you must pay a redemption fee plus renewal to keep the domain name. Continue reading “Can I renew my domain name after it expires?”

Reasons: Why You Might Need a CRM System?

CRM

We recently asked a group of small businesses to identify their biggest challenge regarding sales and marketing. 70% of respondents said engaging, qualifying and following up with leads was their biggest challenge and 61% said prioritizing and tracking activities and follow-ups for their sales team was also a problem.

CRM systems are designed to help your small business solve challenges when it comes to following up with leads and managing your sales team’s priorities.

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When Should You Implement CRM into Your Business?

As a small business, you probably use an organizational process that has worked well up to this point. Maybe you’ve used Excel to keep track of new purchases and contact information, or maybe you use several different apps for your data.

Whatever your process has been, you’re looking for something more. (or you wouldn’t be reading this!)

In research conducted by Gartner, it mentions eight essential building blocks of CRM initiatives: vision, strategy, customer experience, organizational collaboration, processes, information, metrics and technology.

CRM systems are a part of these building blocks and can be implemented once vision has been established. CRM Systems are part of your overall strategy and will help with organizational collaboration, processes, customer experience, information and metrics.

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Who Should Use a CRM System?

CRM systems are designed to help your small business solve challenges when it comes to managing your sales and marketing initiatives.

In a recent survey we conducted, CRM users ranked the ways a CRM has helped their business. 67 percent said using a CRM system helped them follow up on opportunities and leads and 56 percent said it helped customer relationships because the interactions were accessible in one place.

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Market research

Market research is the collection and analysis of relevant information to enable you to make informed business decisions.

As a fundamental part of business planning, market research can assist you to:

  • identify potential customers
  • understand existing customers better
  • set realistic targets
  • develop effective strategies
  • examine and solve business problems
  • prepare for business expansion
  • identify business opportunities

Market research can be an effective tool at any point in the planning process. It may be used in investigating, evaluating, starting, developing, consolidating, diversifying or even reducing the size of your business. Continue reading “Market research”

Marketing Research: A must for businesses

In the present day business world, marketing is all pervasive. We are exposed to marketing of products, services and ideas almost everyday, and in every arena of our lives.

Knowing consumer needs and desires is a road to success for any business, but the question is how ? No one can identify the needs and expectations of consumers just sitting a company’s office. You must carry out research and analysis what customers need, what are their preferences, what they think about your company (your brand image), and what is the effect of your certain advertisements on their minds, etc. In other words, you need to carry out marketing research to understand your consumers; unless you can never be successful to win them.

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Marketing Research? Our 2015’s first post.

  • Ad Tracking: Periodic or continuous in-market research to monitor a brand’s performance using measures such as brand awareness, brand preference, and product usage.
  • Advertising Research: Used to predict copy testing or track the efficacy of advertisements for any medium, measured by the ad’s ability to get attention (measured with Attention Tracking), communicate the message, build the brand’s image, and motivate the consumer to purchase the product or service.
  • Brand Equity Research: How favorably do consumers view the brand?
  • Brand Association Research: What do consumers associate with the brand?
  • Brand Attribute Research: What are the key traits that describe the brand promise?
  • Brand Name Testing: What do consumers feel about the names of the products?
  • Commercial Eye Tracking Research: Examine advertisements, package designs, websites, etc. by analyzing visual behavior of the consumer.
  • Concept Testing: To test the acceptance of a concept by target consumers.
  • Coolhunting: To make observations and predictions in changes of new or existing cultural trends in areas such as fashion, music, films, television, youth culture and lifestyle.
  • Buyer Decision Making Process Research: To determine what motivates people to buy and what decision-making process they use; over the last decade, Neuromarketing emerged from the convergence of neuroscience and marketing, aiming to understand consumer decision making process.
  • Copy Testing: Predicts in-market performance of an ad before it airs by analyzing audience levels of attention, brand linkage, motivation, entertainment, and communication, as well as breaking down the ad’s flow of attention and flow of emotion.
  • Customer Satisfaction Research: Quantitative or qualitative studies that yields an understanding of a customer’s satisfaction with a transaction.
  • Demand Estimation: To determine the approximate level of demand for the product.
  • Distribution Channel Audits: To assess distributors’ and retailers’ attitudes toward a product, brand, or company.
  • Internet Strategic Intelligence: Searching for customer opinions in the Internet: chats, forums, web pages, blogs… where people express freely about their experiences with products, becoming strong opinion formers.
  • Marketing Effectiveness and Analytics: Building models and measuring results to determine the effectiveness of individual marketing activities.
  • Mystery Consumer or Mystery Shopping: An employee or representative of the market research firm anonymously contacts a salesperson and indicates he or she is shopping for a product. The shopper then records the entire experience. This method is often used for quality control or for researching competitors’ products.
  • Positioning Research: How does the target market see the brand relative to competitors? What does the brand stand for?
  • Price Elasticity Testing: To determine how sensitive customers are to price changes.
  • Sales Forecasting: To determine the expected level of sales given the level of demand. With respect to other factors like advertising expenditure, sales promotion etc.
  • Segmentation Research: To determine the demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics of potential buyers.
  • Online Panel: A group of individual who accepted to respond to marketing research online.
  • Store Audit: To measure the sales of a product or product line at a statistically selected store sample in order to determine market share, or to determine whether a retail store provides adequate service.
  • Test Marketing: A small-scale product launch used to determine the likely acceptance of the product when it is introduced into a wider market.
  • Viral Marketing Research: Refers to marketing research designed to estimate the probability that specific communications will be transmitted throughout an individual’s Social Network. Estimates of Social Networking Potential (SNP) are combined with estimates of selling effectiveness to estimate ROI on specific combinations of messages and media.

Continue reading “Marketing Research? Our 2015’s first post.”