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      Cloud Security Tips for Financial Services: 5 Key Takeaways from an Industry Expert


      Today we are pleased to welcome guest blogger Tony Bradley, Senior Manager of Content Marketing for Alert Logic, INAP’s trusted managed security partner and expert in cloud security for financial services customers.
      – Wendy Williams, Product Manager, INAP

      Show me the money, and I’ll show you a cybercriminal ready to attack.

      The sophistication of digital financial services and mobile banking have greatly expanded the attack surface criminals can exploit. While technology has given us the luxuries of quickly depositing a check via our mobile device or shopping online, it has also created ever evolving security challenges.

      Planning your cloud security strategy? Below are five key takeaways for IT infrastructure pros in the financial services space:

      1. Moving to the cloud changes the entire approach to security. A comprehensive view of your environment is critical, so choose a partner who can provide security monitoring of the environment, as well as network intrusion detection, vulnerability management and log management.

      2. The level of expertise and the amount of people needed to maintain compliance using exclusively in-house services is cost prohibitive for all but the rarest of enterprises. The best options are to evaluate a trusted managed services partner or adopt technology that integrates services as part of the solution.

      3. eCommerce has paved the way to unprecedented growth and revenue but opens doors to exponential compliance and threat risks. Using public cloud providers calls for 24/7 platform security. It is important to understand who has what security responsibility when utilizing cloud platforms and service providers. Furthermore, it pays to spend time evaluating whether or not your solution provider and partner have a deep understanding of your preferred platform. If they don’t, look elsewhere. This approach will ensure hard-to-detect web attacks such as SQL injection, path traversal and cross-site scripting risks are mitigated.

      4. A solution may complement in-house capabilities, however, sometimes getting the right resources becomes a balancing act. As the hottest market today, security experts are scarce. In fact, according to (ISC)2, a non-profit IT security organization, there are an estimated 2.93 million cybersecurity positions open and unfilled around the world. The best advice is to develop a relationship with a service provider and a partner who can truly be an extension of your internal team and who has both the technology and resources to ensure constant surveillance, as well as the ability to stand up to any rigorous compliance audit.

      5. We’ve only just witnessed the beginning of technologies touting AI capabilities. If you’re ready to adopt an AI-based solution for cybersecurity, ensure that it can draw on data sets of wildly different types, allowing the “bigger picture” to become clear from not only static configuration data and historic local logs but global threat landscapes and concurrent event streams, as well.

      It’s more important than ever for businesses in the financial services industry to have the right tools and partners in place. Remember: Any solution you choose should be more than widgets and a slick UI. Too much is on the line. The road to holistic cloud security begins with proper implementation and infrastructure design, detailed, best practice configuration, and a plan for continuous monitoring and threat response. Chat with our partners at INAP today to get started.

       

      About the Author

      Tony Bradley is Senior Manager of Content Marketing for Alert Logic. Tony worked in the trenches as a network administrator and security consultant before shifting to the marketing and writing side of things. He is an 11-time Microsoft MVP in security and cloud and has been a CISSP-ISSAP since 2002. Tony has authored or co-authored a dozen books on IT and IT security topics, and is a prolific contributor to online media sites such as Forbes and DevOps.com.

      Wendy Williams
      • Product Manager, Private Cloud and Security Services


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      Colocation Pricing Guide: Power, Space and Key Questions to Ask Your Provider


      Migration of infrastructure to colocation facilities will continue full force for the next few years, according to a survey put out to 500 IT professionals. Why? Because most on-prem data centers can’t compare to Tier 3-design facilities. The best colocation data centers offer high uptime, power efficiency and redundancy, as well as improve the physical security of infrastructure. With an enterprise colocation solution, companies also have access to greater networking capabilities and public cloud and/or other multi-platform solutions. This flexibility future-proofs your infrastructure for whatever needs may arise over time.

      Considering colocation as part of your infrastructure mix? Here’s our colo pricing guide to help you understand power, space and the key questions to ask your provider to decide the best fit for your company.

      What You Need to Know About Colocation Pricing

      Below, you’ll find the common types of billing for power, the spacing options you can choose from and two examples of how power and space are billed together.

      Start with Your Power Needs

      There are four standard ways to bill for power. When you’re working with your colocation provider, ensure they’re gathering your current and future power needs to appropriately size the power circuits. With that information in hand, they should work to offer you the best deal and least costly solution.

      There are four billing types for power:

      1. Per Circuit (Flat Rate) Power Billing

      The bill is a flat monthly fee per circuit provisioned for your solution and is the most common colo pricing structure. With this model, you have price predictability. You’ll pay the same amount whether you use five percent or 80 percent of your capacity. But be warned, there is no ability to burst above 80% of the delivered power without adding additional circuits.

      2. Power Capacity kW (Allocated kW) Billing

      In this model, you make a commitment to use a fixed amount of power (i.e.: 100kW), regardless of the electrical capacity of the circuits installed. Typically, you’ll see savings over flat rate model; however, the penalties for bursting above your committed rate can be quite steep.

      3. Metered Power (Usage Based) Billing

      Your bill will vary in this model. The monthly fee is based on actual usage and is determined on the present rate per kilowatt hour. Colocation providers typically only offer this pricing model on very large deployments and customers will still have to pay for space.

      4. All In Space & Power

      This is a simple calculation of the amount of space and power presented in a per kW number. It’s a very easy way for customers to compare pricing (assuming space and power delivered is equal). A con to this solution is that both the space and power are tied to a single rate per kW so there is a loss of flexibility.  If you ever need to upgrade just the power, you’ll end up paying more for the same amount of space.

      Explore Colocation Space Options

      Colo space is typically sold by:

      Cabinet: A single lockable cabinet on the data center floor. You can purchase contiguous cabinets if they are available in your chosen data center.

      Cage or Private Suite: An enclosed, lockable, segmented cage on the data center floor that provides superior flexibility and control without the capital investments that come with building and maintaining an enterprise-grade facility. A minimum of 5 racks/cabs is standard for cage deployments, assigned at 24 square feet per rack. Private data center suites, on the hand, are built to suit (complete with separate security access points) and are used typically for larger, wholesale colo deployments.

      Remember though, for some colocation pricing models, your bill may not have anything to do with square footage or rack usage. While cabinets or square feet are still required in order to allocate an area within the data center, the price is attached to the power that is being allocated for your use.

      Common Types of Colo Pricing Solutions

      Now that we understand the options for space and power billing, let’s explore how both aspects come together with two examples of popular billing models, relative to the deployment size. Work with your colocation provider to determine your best-fit solution.

      Cabinets with flat rate circuits

      For smaller deployments, typically one to four cabinets, colocation providers will deliver lockable cabinets, each with primary and redundant (optional) power feeds. A single power feed can deliver anywhere from 2kw – 17kw depending on the colocation provider’s power capacity and cooling capabilities. Your bill would consist of line items for the cabinet(s) and circuits delivered.

      Space/kw with Usage-based Power Pricing

      This solution is for larger deployments (100kw+), as providers will typically have minimums for this solution. You’ll be billed based on the number of square feet and a variable monthly fee based on actual power usage. This monthly fee is based on a preset dollar rate per kilowatt hour. Regardless of term, installs should be charged in this model.

      Typically, there is not much of a margin built into usage-based power. You should also expect install fees when adding more circuits.

      Beyond the Price Tag: What Can the Colocation Data Center You Choose Do for You?

      When you decide to move your infrastructure off-prem, there are many other economic and performance-based factors beyond the list price for space and power; however, they are just as important to consider and can even make or break your infrastructure strategy.

      Consider the following questions:

      1. Does the colo facility have Tier 3-attributes?

      To be a Tier 3-attribute data center, the facility must maintain N+1 fault tolerance, 72-hour protection from power outages and 99.982 percent uptime. Concurrent maintainability also ensures that a single critical component failure—electrical, cooling, power, etc.— will not disrupt service because of the redundant systems in place. How does the data center you are considering stack up?

      2. Does the colo provider offer multi-platform contract flexibility?

      Infrastructure needs can change fast. Make sure your provider gives you flexibility through implementation of different platforms (cloud, bare metal, etc.), as well as spend portability after you deploy so that you can switch up your infrastructure solutions to stay agile and keep pace with you company’s goals and workloads.

      3. Does the colo provider support High Power Density environments?

      With a high-power density configuration, you can fit more gear into a smaller space and reduce your overall footprint. This becomes especially important if you’re looking to deploy any type of hyper-converged solution.

      4. Can I get high-performance, low-latency bandwidth?

      Bandwidth is an essential cost that you cannot overlook when sourcing any data center or cloud solution. If you’re powering any mission-critical applications with your colocation deployment, look for a colocation data center that has quality blend of ISPs and inquire about latency averages.

      5. Does the colo provider offer interconnectivity solutions?

      Ideally, you’ll want a provider who offers a high-capacity private network that allows you to connect across various data centers throughout the country or around the globe. If your colo provider lacks interconnectivity solutions, you’ll need to partner with other vendors for interconnectivity options, which can be a future pain point.

      6. Does your provider offer geographically dispersed data centers for disaster recovery?

      Ultimately, you may require some sort of secondary site for any disaster recovery solution as part of your overall business continuity plan. Look for a provider that either has multiple sites across the a geographically dispersed area or some sort of off-site DRaaS product that works for your company.

      7. What about onsite support?

      Onsite expert support technicians can keep your infrastructure online, secure and always operating at peak efficiency when your own IT staff is unable to. Make sure your colo provider offers remote hands support and don’t leave it out of your colo budgetary considerations. You’ll also want to ensure that your data is protected by 24/7/365 onsite security/personnel.

      For more information on colocation pricing, or to find the best solution for you, chat now.

      Explore INAP Colocation.

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      Jeff Bettencourt
      • Director, Solution Engineering


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      How to Create a Media Kit for Your Website (5 Key Tips)


      You’ve built a great website and spent hours crafting content that’s laser-focused on your target audience. Your traffic is great, the site design is impeccable, and the search engine optimization? You’re hitting every keyword, baby.

      But here’s the unpleasant truth: you can be doing all those things right and still not get the interest from advertisers and media outlets that you want to grow your business.

      You may be wondering what you can do to turn things around and deliver a comprehensive message to prospects about your services.

      Adding your business’ key information to your website can be a way to maintain your brand standards while bringing in new advertisers and collaborators. Collecting these details into a “media kit” can help you provide a convenient place for people to find and use them as needed.

      In this article, we’ll take a look at how media kits coordinate with your other content and why you might want to add one to your site. Along the way, we’ll share some stellar media kit examples. We’ll also go over how to create your own media kit in five easy steps.

      Whether you’re a blogger, influencer, or entrepreneur, creating a media kit for your website is a must. Let’s get you some press coverage!

      Shared Hosting That Powers Your Purpose

      We make sure your website is fast, secure and always up so your visitors trust you. Plans start at $2.59/mo.

      What a Media Kit Typically Provides

      The terms “press kit” and “media kit” are often used interchangeably. A media kit, however, is more specifically geared towards bringing in advertisers or potential clients.

      Arguably, a public relations-driven press kit can also bring in advertisers. For this article, we’re going to use the term “media kit,” however, and focus on how it can help you monetize your website, bring in collaborators, and appeal to advertisers.

      A comprehensive media kit generally includes the following:

      • An introduction. You can use this as an opportunity to present a very targeted message about your business. Alternatively, you can produce an approved bio for anyone to use.
      • Site statistics. There’s no need to be humble here — it’s smart to put your best numbers out in front. For example, you can let everyone know what a great opportunity your site presents due to the volume of traffic it receives.
      • Advertising opportunities. You can use your media kit to spell out precisely what kind of advertising you have available on your site. Your media kit is a good place to outline what you can’t accommodate as well.
      • Audience data. The demographics of your site’s audience might not be right for every advertiser or collaborator. Supplying that information in your media kit can help eliminate any confusion.

      Let’s look at an online-only media outlet as an example. The popular website, BuzzFeed, has a global audience of over 650 million. It showcases its media kit information in a clean and scrollable format for potential advertisers. The kit clearly displays the most critical information and allows for opportunities to click through and learn more.

      Alternatively, Catherine Summers is a style blogger with a media kit that ticks off all the best practices boxes. Summers immediately jumps in and addresses why anyone would want to work with her and then lays out all the options.

      Catherine Summers’ media kit page featuring her headshot.

      These examples showcase a wide variety of different approaches you might consider for your own media kit.

      Why You Might Want to Consider Adding a Media Kit to Your Website

      As we mentioned before, media kits are prime real estate for showcasing the best of what you have to offer. Plus, you can plainly state how interested advertisers or other potential clients can work with you.

      That said, there are are two main audiences to think about when deciding whether you should create a media kit for your website. They include:

      • Advertisers. If you are hoping to bring in revenue by offering up space on your website, you’ll want to consider crafting your media kit with an appeal to potential advertisers. Highlighting your audience demographics and the number of views they might get on your site are important metrics to consider.
      • Clients. If your primary goal is to bring in new clients or fill out your speaking engagement calendar, there might be other aspects to highlight in your kit as well. For instance, showcasing previous high-profile engagements can heighten your appeal to potential clients.

      Understanding the primary goal of creating a media kit for your website can help you prioritize your content and focus your efforts. Of course, your media kit might also have a combination of advertiser and client appeal. As we saw in the examples above, being comprehensive with your media kit is definitely a valid approach.

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      How to Create a Media Kit for Your Website (5 Key Tips)

      Now that you have some idea of what a media kit might include, let’s discuss how you can start building your own. In the following sections, we’ll cover five essential steps that will get you on the path to building an attention-grabbing kit.

      1. Establish Your Brand

      When it comes to marketing, brand and brand strategy are vital. Your media kit is one opportunity to really solidify your brand and make sure it’s represented correctly. There are several ways you can help to establish your brand with your media kit.

      Providing downloadable documents, press releases, images, and logos or graphics is one approach. Offering these can help encourage site visitors to use your products and establish a friendly atmosphere. Visitors will know it’s OK to use the materials, and you control their quality.

      A downloadable biography and images in Brene Brown’s media kit.

      Another element you might consider including in your media kit is a style guide. This guide may take some investment of time to create but can pay off in the long run. A style guide makes it very clear how your brand can and should be used both on- and offline.

      2. Provide Relevant Statistics

      We mentioned earlier that one element of a media kit to consider is statistics about your site and business. Depending on your level of experience with tracking analytics, this might seem challenging at first.

      If you’re using a managed web host for your website, you might want to see if it provides easily-accessible statistics. For example, here at DreamHost, all of our hosting accounts include user statistics functionality. This can help you track visitor numbers, traffic to your domain, and even referring URLs.

      BuzzFeed’s advertiser information page featuring audience statistics.

      To maximize the benefit of providing your stats, you’ll want to keep in mind who they’re relevant to. In the case of media kits, you’re not really providing these numbers for your readers, but rather for potential advertisers or clients. Therefore, you’ll want to focus on the figures that illustrate the benefits of working with you and your audience. Don’t forget to include follower demographics and engagement data from your social media platforms too!

      3. Describe How to Collaborate With You

      Your media kit is also a place where you can specifically outline what opportunities you are looking for when it comes to collaboration, such as:

      • Affiliate Marketing Opportunities
      • Book Deal
      • Event Appearances
      • Giveaways
      • Guest Posting
      • Podcast Sponsorships
      • Product Reviews
      • Site Ads
      • Social Media Promotions
      • Sponsored Blog Posts

      Being specific can help increase the number of quality leads you get. For example, if you are primarily looking for guest posting or social media opportunities, outline the specifics in your media kit.

      The LadyBossBlogger website has an excellent example of how to present your collaboration suggestions and opportunities transparently.

      LadyBossBlogger’s media kit page featuring collaboration information

      Alternatively, you can create forms that allow potential collaborators to give information and outline their inquiries. You’ll also want to consider whether you want to list your prices upfront or encourage prospects to contact you for more details.

      4. Share What Others Have to Say About You

      Testimonials are used in marketing all the time and for good reason. Your media kit can leverage the power of these as well. As a form of word-of-mouth marketing, collecting strong testimonials (or just creating a list of past media coverage) is often a worthwhile investment of time.

      Whether you’re citing past media mentions from publications or sharing sound bites from social media followers, It’s always advisable to note in your media kit exactly where your testimonials are coming from. You can help build trust through transparency in this way.

      One useful example to check out is cookbook author Ren Behan’s press site. There, she displays comments and testimonials in a variety of ways.

      Testimonials from Ren Behan’s media kit page.

      There are several methods for collecting testimonials. You can use online reviews and LinkedIn recommendations, for example. However you decide to obtain them, you’ll want to make sure it is evident in your media kit whether it is acceptable for others (such as reporters) to use them.

      5. Provide Your Contact Information

      It may seem like a simple thing, but providing your contact information is extremely vital. In fact, the contact page is often the most-visited page on any website. You can link to this page in your media kit or simply include contact information and methods within it.

      Either way, providing multiple contact options is always a smart approach. Some web users prefer forms, while others will just want to know what your email address is. One good example of combining both methods comes from (not surprisingly) a UX designer’s website.

      The contact information on Ekkrit Design’s website.

      The simple approach here makes critical information very clear and gives the visitor options. Your contact information is probably not where you want to implement an online scavenger hunt. Also, it’s essential to always keep this information up-to-date, with all links and forms functioning optimally.

      Essential Tools and Resources for Building Your Media Kit

      Now that you’re armed with some great ideas for your media kit, you might be wondering how to create yours. You can do this entirely from scratch, of course. However, there are also quite a few free and premium resources that can make the process easier.

      These include:

      • Canva. This is an online design tool with beautiful pre-made templates and graphic elements. You can get a free template with limited access or pay to get a variety of upgrades at reasonable prices.
      • Creative Market. An online exchange for creative work, Creative Market is like Etsy for marketing materials. You can commission a custom font, or browse other original work to find the perfect fit for your brand.
      • WordPress. There are many options out there for building websites, but at DreamHost, we’re partial to WordPress. As a free, open-source tool, it offers immense flexibility. Plus, you’ll find many useful plugins for creating portfolios, displaying contact information, and developing contact forms.

      Ultimately, how you create your media kit is less important than what it includes. So you should feel free to use whatever tools you’re most comfortable with and focus on ensuring that your kit is comprehensive, easy to understand, and user-friendly.

      Get Those Media Contacts

      Bloggers, influencers, small business owners — regardless of your focus, you want to solidify your brand, bring in more work, and attract advertisers. For all those goals, a media kit is the key.

      Now that we’ve covered the ins and outs of media kits and shared some industry-standard examples, you should be ready to launch your electronic press kit.

      Creating a wow-inducing media kit can take time. Here at DreamHost, we want you to be able to focus on the task at hand, and not get sidetracked by website maintenance and troubleshooting. That’s why we offer complete hosting solutions with reliable support, so you can focus on growing your business!



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