What you can achieve with cloud-computing

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So you’ve just hired a new employee and you have to set them up for their first day. While they’re busy getting acclimated to the office, you’re busy getting your IT guy to set them up with their computer, login, and all the software they’re going to need. Except – hold the phone, for a moment. Do you have enough licenses for this particular software? And then you find out the software is long past it’s “best before” date and needs to be updated. Damn!

There’s an ingenious two word solution to this: cloud computing.

Cloud computing is the alternative to installing a suite of software directly on every computer resting on your network. Instead, users log in to a remote Web service that hosts the suite of programs needed. They can access it simply by connecting to the web-based service through one easily installed application or through their browser on the World Wide Web. Think about it: this is already used in email systems, when logging in, remotely, to systems like Gmail or Hotmail through the web rather than having a program such as Outlook or MacMail on your desktop. But also private cloud-services like owncloud use the concepts of cloud-computing.

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This follows the very basic idea in programming known as the conservation of resources. In essence, the point is to be able to significantly reduce the amount of payout a process takes without affecting the end desired result. In this case, there is a considerable workload shift because it is not local computers that bear the brunt of hosting the software or running applications.
Instead, there exists, remotely, a network of computers whose collective resources form the “cloud” that then do all the heavy lifting. The demands on the user decrease which means an increase in speed and convenience, as long as all conditions are a-go on the side of the cloud, that is to say, the server side.

What you can achieve with cloud-computing

In theory, the cloud can handle anything from basic to complex data processing to high-quality gaming. This is formatted around the basic architecture which entails a front end (or user interface) and back end or the cloud portion of the system. Often times, the middle man handling all requests and administering the system is known as middleware, following its own set of specific protocols. Middleware also allows computers on a server to communicate with each other.

The golden effects of working in the cloud are significant. Streamlined updates, a reduction in hardware costs and space for physical servers and company-wide access to all applications are just a few. But, in some cases, the strengths of cloud computing are also its vulnerabilities. While users can access their data from any web-browser (depending on the interface and an Internet connection) in the world, this also makes their data open to security breaches and attacks since the data is not stored on a local hard drive. However, techniques such as authorization and authentication as well as security firewalls are solutions built into the architecture.

Why Web-Hosting is important – for everybody

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Web Hosting: Compare Plans and Prices

It’s a rare person who gets through the day without using the Internet! Competition for Internet traffic and sales is tough, so if you’re looking for potential markets for your products, or readers for your blog, than attractive, informative and efficient websites are vital. Put simply, without them nothing can survive, or flourish online. Professional Web-hosting lets you get online, but with so many hosting services out there, how do you make an informed choice?

Dedicated web-hosting services

In today’s modern world most of us can navigate around a computer and the Internet, but setting up a server takes time and knowledge that most of us just don’t have. With a reliable web-host you get simple access to the Internet, can customize your web pages and potentially reach millions of readers and customers. The type of host service you need depends on your website’s complexity. Complicated websites with user generated scripts and automated systems need specialized and expensive web-hosting. Look at this as a capital investment in your business. Your own dedicated server gives you total control of your website and an exclusive service without having to share traffic bandwidth. You can select or design your own exclusive operating system and hardware. The more knowledge of web-hosts you have, the easier and more useful this will be to you, especially if you expect your business to grow rapidly.

Web Hosting: Compare Plans and Prices

Web Hosting: Compare Plans and Prices

Shared and free web-hosts

Hosting where the server is shared with other users is perfectly suited for most small businesses and personal use. It can cope with any scripts your website needs and lets you make your own changes to pages. At the bottom end of the scale are free, or very cheap, host servers. These are less commonly used and have limited functionality, but if your website is basic and doesn’t generate much traffic, these might be what you’re looking for. The downside, of course, is that they carry banner or pop-up adverts, which is how the web-host generates its income.

Tip: Compare different Web-Hosting Deals to match your needs.

Choose the right hosting service

Some research and understanding will help you choose the right web-host for your needs. A business oriented website will require extensive scripts for product pictures, customer information forms, payment methods and so on. Plenty of bandwidth is also vital, preventing your website from crashing at busy times. Potential customers appreciate websites that are easy to navigate and quickly get them where they want to be. Think about the long-term picture. How fast is your business going to grow? Should you invest in a dedicated server now, or make do with a shared server and upgrade later? If your website is purely personal, such as a blog, you will only need simple scripts and your choice here is likely to be between shared or free hosting. The question to ask yourself now is whether you want adverts on your page or not, or will find them annoying and intrusive?

Using a DD-Checklist for software projects

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The term due diligence means (see wikipedias definition of it) means that you have exercised the appropriate level of care and caution before a job task is undertaken. It often referred to the process of researching a company prior to purchasing it. Since there are legal implications, it is useful to come up with a checklist of items that should be in place. This will help you to ensure that you haven’t missed any important steps or quality checks. The process of a commercial or operational due diligence usually takes at least 8 weeks of time and can be very much longer depending on the complexity or the size of the companies involved.

Software and due diligence

In the field of software design and electronics, a due diligence involves a thorough assessment of a client’s existing platform or software code. It means asking the right questions of a client and obtaining the necessary information in order to proceed with a project or acquisition. Most corporations develop a due diligence checklist or a simple template that can be used and adapted for a given situation. With regards to software projects there are different questions to be asked compared to corporation acquisitions.

The due diligence checklist itself

The process checklist is designed in order to ensure that you are left with a very good idea of the strength of the software or project prior to taking it on. There are several issues that can be included into a checklist. These will typically begin with basic information about the corporation and then become more specific around the detailed issues at hand. Many of the considerations will fall under the basic category of literally common sense.

Crucial points include processes, the people (e.g. developers) involved, testing, documentation and of course hosting and finally details of how the software is released . Red flag issued items may include considerations such as the absence of a readable documentation or potential incompatibilities with an integrated development system.

With regards to software projects you may also take some time to evaluate the software development process itself and the underlying quality mechanisms. Depending of the maturity of the software it might be also a good idea to check the approach the developer team takes to achieve new releases through milestones. Today many teams use scrum as an agile approach to software development whereas older software might still be implemented with the older waterfall approach.

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How a Document Management Systems can help you

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What is now subsumed under the broader umbrella of a content management system? A document management system entails the collection, storage, curation and version control of documents stored, recorded and tracked. It simply puts into technical terms a paper workflow that has been around for years. In essence, a document management system (short: dms) outlines the need for organizations to be able to control and manage shared documents internally. There are a couple of ways and processes to do so, using software and techniques that are best practices and the body of this forms this system. In a broader way you can see different software approaches as offline dms (where documents are stored inside the customer premises) or modern online document management systems where the files are stored using centralized cloud resources.

Inside your personal DMS

Once a document is created and stored inside a dms, it should be able to be archived and accessed and modified by anyone within a given group and the proper permissions. These modifications should also be stored so that they are later able to be accessed and “audited”. Changes tracked should be displayed in a visual way so that auditing between versions can happen with ease. And, furthermore, the multiple iterations of a document undergoing changes should act like a “backup” that can be restored in the current at any time, upon the user’s determination.

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Using a document management system should be easy

Online Document Management vs offline-DMS

This auditing trail helps to keep a document current and effective but also, essentially, allows a large number of individuals to be coordinated when working simultaneously upon a project. So, besides simply archiving several versions and leaving a “trail”, this also means incorporating such functions as locked editing for when a document is being handled or edited by one user and is thus locked to other users until the changes have been made and saved and the user has exited. Annotations and stamps should exist in order for several users to communicate over the audited changes within the document, remark and mark up for future use as well as version control that demarcates exactly how and where a document differs from its previous incarnation.

Instead of storing critical documents like contracts, proposals, agreements and technical papers on individual USBs, network drives or a local hard drive, a robust document (or content) management system stores the document within software that accounts for all these changes and functions and makes available the document to several users at once. It’s a time-tested way to coordinate content creation and production efforts efficiently.

Today, it’s important to employ a system that is extensible and has features built in that would allow for the coordination of documents and users with each other through the use of wikis and calendars as well as third party APIs that can integrate with existing software (such as CRM or ERP). Running a tight ship successfully is what a well-designed dms can handle.

You’ll find more examples of software vendors for document management in this extensive list.