What to Look for in Cloud Services

When you are going to use cloud services from an IT company, there are various things that you want to look into. While many companies offer access to the cloud, the services can vary dramatically. You want to get as many services as possible to ensure you have all of your needs met – and can tap into all of the technology that is available.
The cloud is a method of storing data online. You will have the opportunity to store any types of files that you want to store. This includes photos, videos, documents, databases, and even programs. By doing this, you ensure that your employees have access to anything they need, wherever they might be.
By looking at what the companies offer for cloud services, you can make sure you get what your company needs.
Amount of Storage
The amount of storage that you have within the cloud needs to be considered. Ultimately, you want to make sure you have as much as you need for all of your files – along with more space to be able to grow. Some providers will provide you with a few gigabytes of storage while others will provide you with unlimited storage.
You will need to calculate the amount of storage you need and compare it to the monthly costs involved. Often, it is best to go with a plan that provides you with significantly more storage than what you need.
Security
Security is another important aspect when you look at cloud services because you want to make sure that all of your data is safe. Encryption is evolving and you need to explore what kind of technology is being used to keep your data safe from prying eyes. The only person that should have access to the data in the cloud is you and anyone you determine should have access.
A combination of a username and password as well as encryption should be used. 128-bit encryption is one of the most common forms of encryption used in cloud technology.
Maintenance
A company should always be maintaining the servers that your data is stored on. When you look at how your information is stored, you want to explore such things as:
– Number of servers
– Location of servers
– Average downtime
– Customer service
These various factors will determine the kind of maintenance being provided to ensure you always have access to the information in the cloud. If a server goes down and you cannot access the files in your cloud, it is of no use to you.
Recovery
Finally, when it comes to cloud services, you want to look at the level of recovery that is in place. For example, will the files be uploaded to the cloud automatically or do you have to place them there? If you lose files on your computer, how easy is the recovery to get them back.
Understanding the answers to these questions is important when you look for a provider.

5 Reasons Why it Makes Sense to Begin IT Outsourcing

IT outsourcing makes sense for a variety of reasons. While you may think you have everything under control with your own IT department, there may be some areas that are severely lacking – or missing entirely. When you find a company to outsource to, it can save you time and provide you with an array of other benefits.

You Save Money

When you take advantage of IT outsourcing, you save money. Many companies believe that it’s an added expense, but you actually save money. This is because the IT company is providing services to more than just you. As a result, the costs are lower. You won’t have all of the services and labor to pay out to manage your IT because another company will be taking on the responsibilities for you.

You Save Time

You can save time with IT outsourcing. Forget about having to check the servers and develop your own website. These can all be done by professionals who are experts in these areas. They know how to do things quickly and efficiently – and you benefit from this. You won’t be the one responsible for these tasks and that means you can allot your time to those other things on your ever-growing to-do list.

You Get Better Services

There are better services waiting for you when you outsource. What you do for yourself cannot be compared to what you get from an IT company. You may be able to get better website design, better cloud services and even better internet and email services. All you have to do is determine what you have now and then contact a company to find out how much you can improve by IT outsourcing.

You Get More Services

When you outsource, you can get more services than you have now. You may have never thought about enhancing your phone system. If you have to put people on hold often or you are doing a lot of call transferring, you may want to look at hosted and VoIP phone solutions. This will automate a lot of your call volume and even provide you with a simplified way of answering calls. You may even be able to eliminate the operator position.

Other services can include managed IT solutions, web solutions, process management as more. When you save money by IT outsourcing, you can suddenly afford the other services you always wanted.

You Improve Productivity

Improving productivity is going to come from more and better IT services. You can talk to an IT company about different ways to improve your productivity. This includes helping your employees when they are on the road with cloud services as well as when they are in the office with managed services. Productivity can also increase by automating some tasks and eliminating the IT management from your payroll – which frees up man hours for your employees to work on other things.

IT outsourcing makes sense. When you want operations to run smoother, look at allowing an IT company to help you.

Why More Companies are IT Outsourcing

You will hear it from a lot of companies. More IT outsourcing is happening each and every day. If your company hasn’t started outsourcing some of your IT projects, it will only be a matter of time. There are significant benefits to outsourcing and you can discover each and every one of them by talking to businesses that have already begun outsourcing or by talking to the companies that are taking on the different IT projects for these companies.

One of the biggest reasons for IT outsourcing is cost. You can save a lot of money by outsourcing your IT responsibilities because you don’t have to pay labor and you don’t have to pay research and development costs. The IT company already knows what to do and they will be able to do it for you.

Additionally, the costs are reduced because the IT company is completing the same types of projects for multiple companies. As a result, the costs are shared between the different companies. For example, if it is costing you $10,000 for managed IT solutions, it may cost another IT company the same $10,000. The only difference is, they are providing the same exact services to four or five or six companies. This means that the costs are reduced to everyone involved – thus driving the overall IT costs down.

If you have a large project coming up, you may not want to hire several IT personnel to your staff. This is going to cost you in salary as well as benefit compensation packages. However, you have to get the project done. Outsourcing your IT responsibilities for the project can ensure the job gets done without spending all of the money in labor.

Another reason that you want to look at IT outsourcing is to enhance productivity. You may be able to do your own IT, but it may take you longer because it is not your specialty. An IT company specializes in IT. It is all that they do. This means that they are going to be able to complete projects faster simply because they know what they are doing and they know how to do things efficiently. If you are not the one responsible for managing all of your information and data, then you can focus your time on other projects.

There are a variety of reasons why companies are IT outsourcing. Some do it purely for cost savings. Others do it because they need to complete projects on a specific deadline while others are focusing more on productivity than anything else. While the reasons may differ, the end result is that outsourcing makes a lot of sense. If you haven’t begun outsourcing, it may be time for you to look into it.

Your company needs to run efficiently from top to bottom. You never want to blow your budget on various projects and you want to maximize your bottom line as much as possible. Turning your IT over to someone else may be the best thing for you on every level.

Cloud Services – Stormy Short Term Forecast!

Several of our clients were affected yesterday and into today by a significant delay in the Google Postini service. Postini is a service provided by Google that pre-filters your incoming mail for spam and viruses. It also provides retention for your email so that if your server, network, connection is down your mail is stored until you are backup and your email is then forwarded to you. Postini by doing the pre-filtering removes the load for this process from your local server. This processing load can be significant. A fairly internet email active firm with 10 users can have something like 20,000 inbound spam messages a day and that becomes a load on the server so this is a nice feature.

However, this is all not so cool when your emails are delayed by hours as happened with the issue yesterday. Apparently no email was lost, but the delay was a real problem and for one of our clients in particular it was a crisis. Of course this Google outage will be all the rage in internet discussions – like this blog post!

This is a major event and Google will do all they can to avoid it in the future –yet they had another major outage back in May of this year. Is this performance level still an improvement over the potential loss of email from internal outages? We think so and we would bet on Google taking the needed steps. On the other hand this outage raises questions about “Cloud Computing” and the risks of putting all your eggs in the cloud so to speak. Microsoft and T-Mobile just last week had another major rain cloud when Sidekick users lost access to lots of personal data.

A factor to consider in this is the chain effect of risks –as you add more elements to the chain of processes for your electronic information your overall risks grows. If you have a main trunk internet service provider with fiber to you office and have your email come through an in-house server to users you have the risk of failure of that fiber line and the major provider, failure of your server and its software and finally failures at the desk top level. If you add another service provider using someone else’s data lines you add another point of potential failure, add in Google and you add several more potential points of failure, add in remote mail/Exchange hosting and you add in all of their points of failure as well as your connection risks.

There are offsets of course – by adding Postini you gain short term email retention, by adding hosting hopefully the hosting service has more system redundancy than your internal systems might have, etc.

Still in considering and moving to cloud computing we need to weigh the multiplicity of risks versus the benefits.

5 Tips for Back Linking Success – The SEO Files

We’ve written quite a bit on Back links here at ERGOS Technology – what they are, why they’re important, what kinds are there and so on.  Now that you know how important back links are, you know you should be finding a way to get them, right?  But how?  As your guide through the SEO jungle, I’ve put together a few tips for back linking strategy and success –

Back Link Campaign Survival Guide

    • Have a Plan – Back linking can seem like a massive undertaking.  You don’t want to be overwhelmed before you even start.  Make a plan and stick to it.  Decide what kind of back links you want to go after and then divvy it up.  Say you want to write and submit articles, you want to guest post on blog and you want to submit your site to local directories.  Submit to 10 articles sites, approach 10 bloggers with unique content and submit your site to 10 local directories.  It may not seem like a lot but if you do it consistently (which you should), the back links will add up.
    • Steer Clear of Content Farms – Yes, some back links are better than others.  Steer clear of content farms – A content farm is a site that has been set up for the sole purpose of providing back links.  There tends to be very little, if any, unique and useful content.  The Google Panda Update has targeted this kind of site as “bad” and back links from content farms won’t help your case.
    • Investigate Your Competitors – This is a great tactic which we learned from Ken McGaffin and our friends over over at Wordtracker.  When you’re not sure where to look for links – check out your competitors.  You can use a tool like Wordtracker’s LinkBuilder or SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer.  These tools will tell you what sites link to your competition – you can then approach those site for a link as well!
    • Make Back Linking Fun – I won’t deny it, back linking can be very tedious and monotonous.  But it doesn’t have to be!  Try to make back linking fun – back linking is really about people and content.  Sharing good content with people around the internet.  So when approaching people for back links, remember that they are, in fact, people.  Through building back links you can also build relationships and a community!
    • Write Interesting Content – It seems we write a lot about back linking here and we do.  But back linking is really about content.  In order for people to want to link back to your site, you need to provide them with something interesting.  You’re an expert on your business – write content that is useful to your customers and let your personality shine through!

Use these tips and you’ll be a back linking and SEO pro in no time.  If you have questions regarding back linking or any other SEO elements, call ERGOS Technology at 1.877.99.ERGOS.

To learn more about back linking and SEO, search engine optimization, visit our website.  We have an abundance of information on SEO & Back Linking, SEO & Content Building and much, much more!

What The $18 Mil Investment in SEOmoz Means for The Rest of Us

The SEO community is a dynamic, friendly, active bunch that enjoys a little healthy competition.  We’re also a community that enjoys seeing our fellow SEOs succeed in great ways – competitors or not.  That is what happened this week with one of our industry leaders, SEOmoz.

Just this week it was announced (via this killer meme) that SEOmoz received $18,000,000 in venture capital investment.  You read that right, 18 MILLION DOLLARS.

That’s great for SEOmoz but what does it mean for the rest of us?

This investment, by one of the industry’s most respected and successful venture capital firms no less, shows the world at-large that SEO is important. SEO is valuable and justifiable – and here to stay. For every SEOmoz, there are 10 kick-butt SEOs  that do awesome work and that you’ve probably never heard of (@audette made this great point on Twitter).

An investment like this says that SEO has been accepted into the mainstream.  In today’s business climate, you must have a website.  There just isn’t any way around that anymore.  If you’ve got to have a website, why not make it successful and make it work for you?  This is the point of SEO.  Search engine optimization advances your online presence, drives more people to your website, increase leads and sales and makes you a thought-leader in your industry.

So, are you ready to get started?  Fortunately, you don’t need $18 mil to get really good, effective SEO services from ERGOS Technology.  If you want a partner and guide in advancing your SEO efforts and getting your website to work for you, give us a call! You can reach us at 1-877-99-ERGOS or shoot an email to seo@ergos.com

But Penguins and Pandas Are So Cute! – The SEO Files

If you pay attention to whats happening in the SEO world, you know that there has been a lot of hustle and bustle in the last couple of weeks.  You may recall that just over a year ago, Google made a change to its algorithm called the Panda Update.  Here we’re going to talk a bit about Panda and the new update that rolled out just this week, Penguin.

So, first and foremost, the Google algorithm – you know about it right?  If you’re looking around confused and wondering if you’re the only one, you’re not.  Trust me.  The Google algorithm is the core of what makes Google Search work.  An algorithm is a step-by-step problem solving procedure.  The Google algorithm is what is used to scour the internet whenever anyone performs a search and bring back relevant results.

One of the most exciting or tiresome parts of SEO, depending on your outlook, is that the Google algorithm is always changing.

I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl, so to me, this is fun stuff.

Anyhow, changes in the Google algorithm means that what worked in SEO last year or last week, may not be effective now.  The foundations of SEO are quality, unique, fresh content and back links– those elements will always be good.  There is however, what is called “black hat SEO” – this utilizes tactics that Google sees as cheats.  For instance, back a few years ago people would “keyword stuff” their websites by adding keywords in white text on a white background.  Website visitors couldn’t see this trick but the search engines would recognize a keyword-rich page and reward it accordingly.  Of course, cheap tricks will only get you so far.  Google wised up to this sort of practice and through algorithm changes, was able to penalize sites that employed these kinds of tactics.

So whats all this talk about cute little animals? – It is standard practice for Google to name their official algorithm changes.  The 2 changes or updates that were recently released are Panda 3.4 and Penguin.

If you remember, earlier I mentioned that the Panda update is over a year old now.  The Panda update is an algorithm change that targets what Google deems as “low-quality pages”.  The Penguin update is more strenuous and targets web spam.  If you’ve seen your website traffic dip considerably in the last 2 weeks, you may have been hit by either update.  If that’s the case, its time to re-think your SEO strategy.  Google viewed your content and website as spam or low-quality.  That hurts but you can change it.

If you need help in getting your site back to where it was pre-algorithm changes or if your site has had no SEO work at all, we can help.  Give me a call at 1-877-99-ERGOS or email me at seo@ergos.com!

What To Look For in an SEO Company – The SEO Files

It has been FAR too long since I’ve written here and for that I apologize. I’m glad to be back! There are A LOT of SEO companies out there and each one has its own process, standards, results, etc. If you’re thinking of hiring an SEO company or consultant, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

    • Beware of Promises: There is not an SEO company in the world that can promise you “the number one spot on Google in 10 days!” SEO takes time. It takes time to build up keyword-focused content, backlinks, a social media presence, etc. Sure, with hard work and good content, you may very well be the #1 search result on Google. But your position in the search engines will invariably fluxuate depending on your output, your competition’s SEO efforts, Google’s algorithm changes, etc.

 

    • Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! SEOs are nice and we certainly don’t bite, in fact, we love when people are interested and want to understand what we do. When hiring an SEO consultant, you need to make sure that you’re comfortable with them, as they’ll have access to your website, hosting info., etc. If you’re unable to ask questions or don’t like the way they are answered, keep looking.

 

    • Ask for Results: Again, no SEO company can guarantee you the top spot in the search engines but that doesn’t mean you won’t get there if they know what they’re doing. Before hiring any SEO consultants, ask to see results from some of their current clients. Ask for client references, as well. The good guys will be more than happy to supply you with satisfied client referrals. You can see one of our client’s results with the graph below – this graph measures the website visitor’s per week.

 

SEO Client 2 Data

The above are just a few pointers to keep in mind when you’re shopping about for an SEO consultant. If you have questions about SEO or ERGOS IT Solutions’ SEO services, give us a call at 1-877-99-ERGOS. It’s time to put your website to work for your business! Feel free to shoot us an email too.

Blogs for Everyone! – The SEO Files

We’ve been writing a lot lately about search engine optimization/ SEO and we figured, why not keep the good times rollin’?

Blogs are a huge part of today’s internet culture and everyone has their favorite, whether its a gossip blog, photo blog, professional blog, you’re best friend’s online journal, etc.  Blogs are not only a great avenue for procrastination at work (don’t worry, I won’t tell your boss…) but they can also be utilized in your search engine optimization, SEO efforts.

The great thing about blogs is their democratic nature – all businesses, no matter their industry, can have a  blog.  Whether you’re a marketing firm, titanium bar manufacturer, IT services company or law firm there is an audience interested in your area of business. You might be saying “Ok, I’ll buy that, but how is my manufacturing blog going to help my SEO efforts and my business?” – Well, since you asked!  Blogs can help in your SEO efforts because they are a great source of new, fresh content. Additionally, your blog is another source of back links to your website – when you blog about something interesting that relates to your website, add a link back to it!

Another thing to keep in mind is the social nature of blogs and the blogging community.  When you produce unique and interesting content, the chances that another blogger will read it and share it with their followers is pretty good.  Blogging, like all social media, is about building relationships with your followers, customers and the blogging community.  By employing search engine optimization, SEO principles within your blog posts (keyword-focus, fresh content, back links), you’ll help your SEO efforts while building up a following.

Aside from all the SEO goodness of blogs, blogging is just plain fun.  So go on, give it a try!  If you have questions about blogging and SEO, check out our Blogging and SEO information or give us a call at 1-877-99-ERGOS.  Don’t forget you can always shoot us an email, as well.

Let’s Link Up Sometime – The SEO Files

A few weeks ago we started talking about the pieces of the SEO puzzle.  We talked about the Keyword and content building – keyword-focused and keyword-rich website content is sort of the “bread and butter” of search engine optimization, SEO.  By building content that is interesting, factual, keyword-focused and keyword-relevant, you’re giving the search engines exactly what they want! (Bonus – interesting, unique content is highly share-able, thus the power of social media.  It all comes together!)

Another very important piece of the search engine optimization puzzle is the back link.  A “back link” is when another website has a link on their website that points back to yours.  A good way to think about back links is as “votes” – search engines see back links to your site as “votes” for your site.  Say, for example, that you are a manufacturing company.  Suppose that you’ve written an article about a new manufacturing process that is more efficient, better for the environment and cost effective.  Now suppose that the Manufacturers Club of America (fictional club, at least I just made it up) sees your article and uses it as a reference source with a link back to your website.  This is a back link , and a QUALITY one at that.  An organization like the MCA would be seen as something of an expert on manufacturing – if they linked back to your site, the search engines would say “Oh hey, this MCA knows what they’re talking about, if MCA links back to your website, this other website must be something special.”

While associations, clubs, organization, governing bodies, etc. make for great back links,  a back link can really come from anywhere.  From blog posting, blog commenting, articles you’ve written, social media shares, etc.  There are back links that are better than others but they can all work together to help in your search engine optimization, SEO efforts. 

On tap for next time – We’ll talk a little bit more about the different kinds and sources of back links.  If you want to learn a bit more about back links and how to use back linking as part of your search engine optimization, SEO, game plan head over to ERGOS Technology and give our page Link Building & SEO a read.  Also, you can  give us a call at 1-877-ERGOS, our SEO team is always excited and ready to answer any questions you may have!  Don’t want to call us but still have questions – that’s OK too!  Just shoot us an email.