The Importance of Updating Your WordPress Site & How To Do It

There are nearly 1 Billion websites live on the web; of those 1 Billion websites, almost 1 in 5 of them are created and maintained using the WordPress platform – a popular open source Content Management System (CMS).WordPress is beneficial due to its ease of use for those who aren’t particularly familiar with web development. Updating software platforms in general, WordPress in particular, is important for a few reasons, but mainly to improve their core functions and to increase security, the latter being the most important.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins are add-ons to WordPress that build in new functionalities, allowing users to create a new header, embed an Instagram feed, or thousands of other customizable options. These plugins need to be updated consistently to ensure proper security. One thing to note is if you see that your plugin has not been updated in over 6 months, it’s possible the original developer stopped supporting it, and you may want to find a new solution.

Updating your plugins is quite simple – once you visit the Plugins menu you can click “Update Now” on the individual plugin or select all the plugins that need to be updated. It is suggested that you update plugins one by one, this way if something goes wrong or there is a conflict with new updates to certain plugins you can see which plugin is the culprit and deactivate it until you find a solution.

WordPress Themes

Themes have templates, custom CSS, and other functionality to allow you to develop your site the way you want; most importantly, they bring the site to life and also cut down on development time. Just like with plugins, themes need to be updated too.

Again you can often see update messages on your WordPress dashboard. But if you don’t, you can update your site’s theme by going to Appearance->Themes and clicking “Update” on your particular theme.

WordPress Platform Updates

The WordPress platform is sophisticated and needs to be consistently maintained and improved. On average you’ll see a new update every few months. While it’s important to keep everything up to date, making sure WordPress is on the latest version may be the most important; it is running the whole show after all.

WordPress will tell you to update via a message in the upper left hand corner of the homepage that provides the version number and a link to update.

The very obvious theme in this post is to be aware of what updates need to be made to your site and its parts, and why. Each plugin, theme, and WordPress update will provide a version history that allows you to see what will be updated. Not only is this helpful but can help you troubleshoot any issues you may encounter when updating all of your software. More importantly, it is so much easier for malicious attacks to occur on your WordPress site if everything is not updated, or if those updates are outdated. A hacker can easily latch onto vulnerable code and presto! they’ve gained entry into your website and everything you’ve worked so hard to create.

Updating your WordPress site doesn’t take a lot of time or sophistication, but making sure you’re continually updating your plugins, themes, and WordPress itself when updates are available can avoid a lot of headaches down the line.

Neovera Expands National Datacenter Footprint

Neovera, Inc., a leading provider of IT consulting, cloud computing, and cyber security services, today announced the expansion of its national datacenter footprint to include San Jose, California and Secaucus, New Jersey. The new locations will allow Neovera to accommodate the growing demands of its customers and prospects.

“Expanding into these new locations was an obvious next step in our efforts to provide a comprehensive suite of managed services to our customers,” said Phillip Jewell, Vice President of Sales for Neovera. “The ability to accommodate business continuity requirements, craft disaster recovery solutions, and extend our full portfolio of services to customers across these two new strategic locations, on top of our significant existing presence in Ashburn, was a logical progression for us.”

“Whether it’s hybrid cloud, cyber security, or servicing latency-sensitive platforms, we’re committed to delivering meaningful options to our customers as their compute and security requirements continue to evolve. Expanding within the Equinix datacenter ecosystem in these locations allows us to accommodate the needs of our customers and prospects today, and well into the future,” said Jewell.

Such an expansion, combined with the company’s superior customer service and extensive cyber security services portfolio, provides Neovera with unparalleled expertise and capacity to serve clients located anywhere in the U.S. and abroad. As a result, Neovera’s customer base is rapidly growing.

The company provides 24x7x365 dedicated onsite monitoring, management and remediation of client infrastructures, including cyber security monitoring, application management, disaster recovery solutions, backup management, and database administration – ensuring client systems are always operating at peak performance.

“Our datacenters provide security and performance. What sets us apart from the competition is our security operations center, which is staffed 24×7 by security experts and analysts, located onsite at our datacenter complex, the largest Internet and Mobile traffic exchange in North America,” said M. Greg Shanton, Vice President of Cyber Security at Neovera. “Our Security Operations Center (SOC) facility is highly secure, equipped with armed guards, biometric access technology, and physical mantraps. Critical information systems are replicated in real-time, ensuring uninterrupted 24x7x365 service delivery uptime under all circumstances.”

The company offers a broad range of managed hosting services that are customized to meet any infrastructure need, regardless of size or complexity. Neovera’s platform allows clients the option to outsource their entire IT environment or simply have Neovera host their applications.

The Neovera Advantage:

  • BUSINESS CONTINUITY – Neovera ensures business critical data and processes are secured with minimal downtime.
  • CUSTOMIZED FLEXIBILITY – Neovera supports multiple DSR options for cloud and physical environments ranging from customer-provided to full turnkey solutions.
  • UNMATCHED EXPERTISE – Neovera has the technical expertise and resources to develop cost-effective solutions that deliver 24x7x365 failover protection.
  • SECURE SCALABILITY – Neovera helps clients architect, implement, and manage their existing IT infrastructure into a secure, scalable configuration that enables future growth.
  • ADVANCED THREAT INTELLIGENCE – Neovera’s security information and event management (SIEM) system aggregates and correlates data from security feeds such as network discovery, vulnerability assessment and intrusion detection systems, creating a ‘single pane of glass’ for security experts to monitor and protect client enterprises.

For more information, please contact Neovera at (866) 636-8372 or sales@neovera.com.

About Neovera, Inc.
Neovera is a trusted provider of complex hosting solutions, leveraging over a decade of unmatched technical expertise in IT consulting, cyber security, and infrastructure management services. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Neovera’s clients range from start-up and non-profit organizations, to global media, healthcare, education, and financial institutions. Our goal? To help our clients achieve the highest return on their IT investment, ensuring convenience, superior support, and security of their mission critical systems. Learn more at http://www.neovera.com.

Read full press release here.

The Amazon Cloud vs. The Dedicated Server

The Amazon EC2 cloud has been a hot topic in the IT world recently. EC2 touts many benefits including scalability and lower costs. With all the hot talk about EC2, the good old dedicated server has been unfairly lost in the shuffle. Of course, both have certain benefits to certain people, but what is right for you? Does the dedicated server still reign supreme, or is the Amazon cloud the next big thing?

Amazon cloud and a dedicated environment may seem similar on the surface, for instance, both can be used in the cloud, meaning a dedicated server doesn’t always have to be physical server at your physical location – it could be a dedicated physical server provided by a hosting company offering dedicated servers. The reality is, though, that they are quite different.

Let’s breakdown some of these differences and find out who comes out on top.

Scalability

One of the main selling points of the Amazon cloud is its simplicity when scaling. This means more computing power can be provisioned quickly and when it’s needed, but what does it mean as far as costs and needs go? Of course, it would be great to be able to scale up or down based on your website’s traffic, but this brings up an often-overlooked conundrum – consistency. When you scale up, your costs go up too, and the Amazon cloud’s scaling levels start fairly low, meaning even a minimal increase in traffic could mean increased costs and needs.

In a dedicated server environment you can generally prepare for increases in traffic by provisioning more computing power at the start. While this may lead to increased costs earlier on, it could save you later, as you don’t have to worry about skyrocketing costs during high traffic times. Instead, you have a fixed cost, and if you are coming close to a specific threshold, you can then scale your dedicated environment accordingly.

Furthermore, while Amazon touts “auto-scaling”, it in fact may need some human interaction, even if it’s minimal. While provisioning a new dedicated server would indeed need human interaction, it is something that can often be prepared in advance and wouldn’t be needed on the spot. Like with any part of business, preparation is often the key to success.

Speed & Performance

Amazon also claims to have significant performance benefits over other environments including dedicated servers, but this may not be the reality. In an article by PrintNet, one of their contributors performed his own speed and overall performance testing pitting a dedicated server versus the amazon cloud. What he found was surprising. The dedicated server improved performance in a number of areas including site speed (2.5x), consistency in response times, better capacity without scaling, reduced support effort, and a nearly 50% savings on server and hosting investment. The interesting part is, the Amazon cloud claims all of these things as benefites to the their environment. Hmm.

Redundancy & Complexity

One of the misnomers about the cloud is that it is totally redundant, and essentially “worry free”. The problem with this notion is that it is, well, simply not the truth. You see, in order to build redundancy in the cloud you have to actually build physical redundancy in the cloud. It doesn’t just automatically provide you with a backup plan. Creating this redundancy can be complicated and complex, causing more problems than it solves.

Bringing our conversation back to the cost factor, building redundancy may also cost more, as a single cloud instance may not be enough and may be less reliable than your typical dedicated server. The truth is, nobody likes higher costs and more complexity.

Costs

Another misconception is that the Amazon cloud offers more bang for your buck – basically tons of neat and useful features all while lowering your overall costs. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, this another instance where the perception is different from reality. In fact, the costs of the Amazon cloud often double (or more) the costs of a dedicated server. A comparison was done by Rackaid (shown below), that shows the costs of the Amazon cloud vs. a dedicated server:

Dedicated Server AWS M3.XLarge
CPU 8 Core 8 vCPU
RAM 16 GB 15 GB
Storage 500GB RAID 1 500GB EBS
IP’s 8 8
Bandwidth 10 TB 1 TB
Panel cPanel None
Cost $195/mth $375/mth

Stats courtesy of Rackaid

As you can see, the dedicated server wins out in this scenario offering just as much or more than the Amazon cloud for almost half the price. Furthermore, costs can often be unpredictable with the Amazon cloud, while dedicated servers comes with fixed prices.

Conclusion

It looks to us that the dedicated server offers more speed, more reliability, more simplicity, and lesser overall costs – all things the amazon cloud claims to offer! This tells us that the good old dedicated server is the winner of this IT battle. Next time you’re thinking of moving to the Amazon cloud and leaving your dedicated server in the dust, consider these points, and really understand what you’re getting into, because odds are you’ll want your dedicated server back before you know it.

5 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Provider

With all the benefits of cloud computing, it has become much easier to justify the decision to migrate to the cloud. But what do you do now that you’ve decided to make the move? The answer is simple: hire a reputable cloud provider.

Hiring a cloud provider, i.e. a managed service provider, allows you to enjoy all the benefits of the cloud while removing the burden of maintenance and repair. Working with a provider affords you with the high performance IT infrastructure you need and want. It becomes their sole responsibility to free up your time and manpower so that you can focus entirely on effectively running and expanding your business. No more IT stress holding your business growth back.

With that said, there are several things to consider when choosing a cloud services provider.
Before you begin your search, you need to compile a list of questions to ask each cloud provider in order to gain a clearer understanding of how they operate so that your decision will be a highly educated one.

Of course, price and storage capacity are important concerns, but perhaps the most critical question is security: How safe is my data in the hands of these cloud providers?

To find this answer you will need to ask the providers these five questions:

  1. Does your organization have formal information security policies? Acceptable use, data classification, incident response, etc. This is essentially a plan outlining what their critical assets are and how they must be protected. Explains how their staff is responsible for protecting information resources.
  2. Do you require any third party services or agreements? This is another organization engaged by their company to provide services for and in the name of the organisation to their clients. Ex: Windows Exchange, Oracle, SQL, etc. licensing and agreements may need to be updated if you migrate to the cloud.
  3. What are your change control processes? This is a systematic approach to manage all changes made to a product or system to ensure that no unnecessary changes are made, that all changes are documented, that services are not unnecessarily disrupted and that resources are used efficiently. With a systematic approach, it provides consistency and manages expectations of your data.
  4. Who has physical access to your data center & equipment? This is necessary to ensure that the provider has controls in place to avoid sending, copying, e-mailing, etc., of your data.
  5. How do you separate my data from other customers? This is important to know because you will have no idea if you’re information is copied so you really need to trust your cloud provider.

Moving to the cloud is a huge decision for your company. Make sure that you are informed on the policies of the cloud provider you choose. If you are already on the cloud then you need to make sure that your current cloud provider can adequately answer all of these questions.  If they can’t, then your data could be at risk.

Such a huge and business altering decision requires research and diligence. While we hope that you choose Neovera as your cloud provider, our main goal is to ensure that you choose a provider that will keep your data safe and that your business needs are met. We want you to take these questions that we have given to you and use them to decide for yourself which provider is the best for you.

Is Microsoft Office 365 Taking You For A Ride?

Microsoft Office has been the desktop publishing, word processing, presentation, and spreadsheet tool for most people for a long, long time. Anyone who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s remembers the original Microsoft Word and its predecessors. Of course, who can forget their first foray with Microsoft PowerPoint? A magical beast that transformed your words & images into captivating animated presentations.

Now, fast forward nearly two decades and Microsoft Office still dons the laptops and desktops of almost every user. This is certainly not by mistake, of course. The popular PC makers of the time including Dell, IBM, Gateway, and more struck deals with Microsoft to install their software by default. This meant that almost anyone who purchased a PC would have Microsoft Office for their word processing or presentation needs; among other things. Of course, the Macintosh or Apple products were still several years away from regaining popularity, and even then, they knew it would be impossible to block a Microsoft Office version for their machines, no matter how hard they tried.

If we remember the old methods of installing software, you know, before this thing called the Internet became such a popular tool, we remember dropping a compact disc (CD) into a disc drive. Some may even remember installing software from a floppy disk (gasp!). Well of course, as time has passed technology has made our lives simpler in this regard. No more floppy disks, no more CD’s, just an Internet connection and endless possibilities. Throw in cloud technology and you’ve got yourself a party!

Speaking of the cloud, Microsoft recently began offering a cloud-based subscription service known as Office 365. Ah, Microsoft Office all year ‘round, as if we didn’t already use it almost all the time anyways. All kidding aside, Office 365 was a unique product when it was announced by Microsoft. The diva of office PC’s was moving its business to the cloud.

Of course, the most talked about benefits of Office 365 are its accessibility – being able to access from anywhere, from any computer – and its price. Wait…its price? I mean, Office 365 would have to be cheaper right? Not so fast. In fact, in a recent meeting with Wall Street, Microsoft’s CFO, Amy Hood, explained the difference between the old model and the new.

The old model, of course, was basically a one-time purchase – at least until the updated product was released and your current version was no longer supported. The new model, a subscription based online service allows Microsoft to offer many products on an ongoing basis. Hood explained this in more vague terms, “…the increased reach, the increased frequency in this example, as well as some yield, adding some incremental services, results in a 1.8 times lifetime value of that user…”.

So, what does this mean exactly? This means, that as far as Microsoft is concerned, the user who switches to Office 365 is worth up to 1.8 times what that user was worth before, using the old method. Even when it came to Enterprise clients, who often were required to sign up their Software Assurance program as well, those clients are now worth nearly 1.4 times what they were before.

But, how is this possible? I mean, isn’t one of the selling points that Office 365 is a better investment? That it costs less over time? Perhaps it does, in some cases. However, the main selling point behind Office 365 is convenience. In the past, it was difficult for organizations to stay up to date with new Office versions. Consider a company with 500 employees, each of whom has a company laptop with Office. Getting all those people to bring their computers in for an update is not easy, nor quick. With Office 365, there is no need to worry about updating.

Ultimately, we pay a higher price for convenience. This is certainly not lost among American social or business culture – especially in a growing technological world where convenience and ease reigns.

But, are we really paying more than we were before? If we take a look at this chart below from Microsoft you would think to yourself, “Yes, we are”. However, you have to consider a few factors such as what version of Office were customers using before, and what type of license did they have?

Microsoft-office-365-work-life-experience

While you probably will pay a little more with Office 365 than you did with a traditional Office license, it’s a fair deal because you are also getting more enhanced service and a better user experience. The automatic updates are enough to warrant the cost considering you could make that money back by utilizing your IT resources elsewhere.

So, Microsoft Office 365 isn’t a bad deal in the grand scheme, and while some may think it’s just a plot to get their hands deeper in our pockets it really does provide some benefit when it comes to the bottom line.

Understanding Internet Security – SSL, TLS, and HTTPS

With online and Internet security all over the headlines these days, it’s important to take some time to understand some of the terminology and nuances of online security. What do certain security terms and acronyms mean? Are the current methods of online security actually securing my website properly? What does the future hold for Internet security? How will Internet security affect me?

All of these questions are the pressing ones in boardrooms around the world. Having an online presence is absolutely imperative in today’s economy and digitally-social based society. Your business loses out on a lot of potential customers by not having a website, online store, online subscription, etc. However, where do we draw the line between growth and possible death by Internet attack? There are some methods out there to help protect your website, and your website visitors, from malicious software and attacks.

The most common methods are known as SSL, TLS, and HTTPS. You have probably noticed while browsing online that some websites have a URL structure like this: http://mywebsite.com; while others have one this like: https://mywebsite.com. Facebook is a prime example of this. You may or may not also see a “lock” symbol up in the left hand corner of your browser, right next to the URL.

This is known as HTTPS, or HTTP Secure, or HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS is not standalone protocol, and to understand how it fits into everything, we must first explore SSL and TLS.

SSL – Secure Sockets Layer

SSL is a somewhat complicated term for describing secure communication between websites. In “geek speak”, SSL is a cryptographic protocol that authenticates a counter-party with whom it’s communicating. For instance, SLL is used in web browsers (of course), e-mail, online message, and Voice Over IP communication.

Websites that wish to give their users a secure connection often use an SSL Certificate. This essentially proves that the website is valid, and that any information sent through the website (credit card info, name, email, address, SSN) is encrypted and deemed secure.

TLS – Transfer Layer Security

TLS is very similar to SSL, and is often referred to as “SSL 3.1” due to the similarities between the security protocols. SSL was created by Netscape in the 90’s, and to avoid confusion between the two, or any litigation of course, TLS was created as an “open” secure protocol to be improved over time.

TLS also users a cryptographic protocol to authenticate other parties on the web, most often used in web browsers and e-mail.

Now, this brings us back to HTTPS. How does HTTPS round everything out? Well, we procure an SSL/TLS certificate for our online store, but we need to make our site even more secure. Here comes HTTPS:

HTTPS – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure

HTTPS is defined as a communications protocol for secure communication over a computer network, most often on the Internet. HTTPS is not considered a protocol all its own though. Using HTTPS is in addition to SSL/TLS. This allows the capabilities of SSL/TLS to be pinned with standard HTTP or Internet communication. HTTPS was originally used for secure payment transactions online, but later spread in use to all types of pages on the Internet, so that browsers and other applications could verify their identity and authority.

Think about it like this:

Say you have a perfect looking peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but you won’t get to eat it until lunch time. Between now and then your sandwich has to be carried from home to work and to lunch without it being tampered with. First, you should put a layer of security around it with a sandwich bag (SSL/TLS), then, to make things extra secure, put that sandwich in a tupperware container (HTTPS). See, now you have two layers of security so your sandwich can easily make it from your home to the lunch area in a few hours without any problems.

Now, your sensitive data is not a PB&J, sure, but you see how the example works. Things are very similar on the Internet; you try to get all of your data from one place to another without it being damaged or stolen. You also protect yourself against malicious software (mold for the PB&J, ahh!).

In the end SSL/TLS and HTTPS work together to bring a more secure Internet to the forefront. Are they perfect? No, not by any means. SSL certificates must still be supplied by certain outfits, and those places don’t always have the best intentions. Man in the Middle attacks are still common, and often the result of poor certificates or fake certificates. However, SSL/TLS and HTTPS are what we have, and what we’re working with to create a more secure, and genuinely open Internet. The good thing is we’re understanding more and more about how the Internet works, and how people are using it. This will only breed progress in the online security forum.

Four Things To Keep In Mind When Considering The Cloud

Anytime a new technology is introduced that promises lower costs and higher productivity people flock to it. They ooh and ahh and wonder how they can use the new technology to their advantage. This is certainly true with the cloud. However, while the term “cloud” has been floating around technology and business circles for some time, many people & businesses are still unsure about its potential and whether or not it’s the right move for them. In this case due diligence must be done, and education is your best ammunition when fighting the unknown.

First, let’s get one thing clear. The cloud is not to be feared. It’s not the beginning of the zombie apocalypse or the death of your traditional IT infrastructure. What it is – is a tool – a tool to be used for the betterment of your business. Here are four things to know when you’re considering the cloud for your business.

You Don’t Have To “Start Over” With The Cloud

What many people believe is that when you transition some or most of your IT infrastructure to the cloud that you are starting from scratch. This is certainly not the case. In fact, the cloud is more of an addition than a reboot. It can be time consuming, expensive, and a drain on resources when you try to host critical applications in-house.

This doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but the cloud is your friend in this regard. Many companies choose the cloud to handle critical application because of the ability to scale and more easily manage application peaks and valleys. Furthermore, you can procure more or less computing power from the cloud when you need it, sometimes at just the click of a button. Don’t think of the cloud as a brand new IT infrastructure, yet another valuable member of the team.

Security Is The Standard

Everyone worries about security. In this day in age security keeps IT managers and CEO’s awake at night, and for good reason. With major security breaches occurring at well-known organizations in the past couple years it certainly warrants a worry or two. However, this is where cloud providers excel – most of the time. The best cloud computing providers and managed service entities will strictly adhere to security standards. These include:

  • SAS-70 II (Statement on Auditing Standards 70 Type II)
  • SSAE-16 II (Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements 16 Type II)
  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 Privacy and Security Rules)
  • HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act)
  • PCI (Payment Card Industry)
  • SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act)
  • CIS (Center for Internet Security)

Most companies seeking the cloud will understand what compliance standards need to met. Asking the right questions can ease concerns about whether or not a cloud provider adheres to common security standards. The fact is cloud providers are experts in cyber security.

The Cloud Is Growing

Every year the adoption of the cloud continues to rise. It is estimated that the cloud market will exceed $180 Billion in 2015. That number is sure to increase a year later. So, what can be take away from this number? It helps us understand that more and more people are procuring cloud services every day. Now, it wouldn’t make sense that more businesses are choosing the cloud if the cloud didn’t provide great benefits, right? As cloud services continue to innovate and become more cost-effective it allows more and more businesses the opportunity to take advantage of what it has to offer.

You DO Need To Have A Plan

Implementations of the cloud usually go one of two ways. They are extremely smooth, or extremely bumpy. The bumpiness often occurs when organizations do not outline a plan for moving their critical applications to the cloud, or don’t ask the right questions or procure the right services from cloud providers. Let’s remember that cloud providers are experts in the space, they know what is best when it comes to application deployment and critical systems. Sure, they may not “know your business better than you do”, but if you work together so the cloud provider can better understand your business needs, you can outline a more solid plan. This will ultimately lead to a smooth transition and success in the cloud.

 

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Is Information Technology an Expense or an Investment?

The idea is often thrown around that Information Technology (IT) is a cash guzzler. This suggests that money is put into IT with little return, while putting money into other aspects of the business such as marketing or sales is considered an investment in the company’s future. This notion has hung around in the minds of executives for far too long. Thankfully, minds are changing around the globe, and businesses are beginning to realize that funding a strong IT infrastructure is a better investment than ever.

When we describe business today we think of words like lean, innovative, or agile. If you really think about it, this also describes current technology trends. New technology is created to accomplish things faster and more efficiently. This is also what we want for our businesses in an increasingly competitive market. The business needs to be able to adapt and change – and do it before the competition. It’s a difficult feat all on its own but investing in your company’s future through IT can be one of the smartest ways to be the best in your niche. In short, technology has changed business, and it’s time for business to use technology to change the way they operate.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways technology has changed our lives, and how it can or has changed the way we do business.

Mobile

Ah, the ever popular smartphone. Our favorite selfie-shooting, Facebook checking, never leave home without it device. Mobile phones changed the social and business landscape in unimaginable ways. We can now have “face to face” meetings, check email, see sales reports, take conference calls, and update databases straight from our mobile devices. In essence, you could run a small business straight from your mobile device.

Businesses today have struggled with how to implement mobile into their current landscape, but I assure you it is essential. Sure, depending on what business you’re in not every employee needs a company phone or device to do his or her job efficiently. On the other hand, many employees do need this access, and providing them with the proper mobile technology can help them and your business excel.

The Cloud

We’re not talking about the type that produces rain or snow, but the Internet “cloud”. The cloud was first marketed as a consumer product mainly for additional storage and the like. The cloud has now made its way into the business world and is changing things rapidly. Companies can now use the cloud to run critical applications or for additional computing power in heavy traffic times. The uses for the cloud are effectively endless and innovation in this space shows little sign of slowing down. In fact, in a recent post we talked about the consistent growth of cloud usage and the predictions for cloud adoption in the near future.

Data

Data is fast becoming one of the most important aspects of business today. Businesses now thrive or die based on their data collection, visualization, and use of data to make decisions. In business we now have tools that can tell us, in real time, how our business is doing and why. This includes tools like Business Intelligence and social media. We can hear from our customers instantly and know exactly how they feel about a product or service. Data driven business is how companies stay agile and innovative.

These are just a few of the ways technology has changed the way we do business. Now, it is easy to see why putting time, effort, and money into IT is a great investment and is no longer considered and expense. Investing in the right technology, and the right people to use it, can scale a business nicely – all while staying willing to adapt to change based on the business landscape.

Are You Using The Right CMS?

Content creation and marketing is at an all time high. Marketing content to current and potential customers is not only cost-effective it is also one of the best ways to engage your customers. Aside from coming up with effective content one of the primary problems facing web development and marketing teams is managing and storing the content created. Luckily, there are some very friendly content management systems out there making things easier for everyone.

WordPress

Perhaps the most well known CMS is WordPress. WordPress came on to the scene in 2003 as an open-source CMS primarily used for blogs. In the last decade WordPress has become the CMS of choice for bloggers and full blown websites. Currently, WordPress is used in more than 60 Million websites and is one of the more user-friendly CMS platforms available. WordPress is a free platform, requiring only that you have your own hosting to use WordPress with your own custom domain. There is a very active community around WordPress with many developers creating WordPress themes and plugins for advanced functionality.

WordPress is based on PHP and MySQL, and is used to create dynamic content quickly and easily. The built in blogging and post creation makes it easy for almost anyone to create new content and make it look great. It also helps those without coding skills to simply manager their own website. While some more advanced features and functions of WordPress do require knowledge of PHP, CSS, and HTML WordPress is widely regarded as the best CMS in the marketplace.

Drupal

Drupal is another popular PHP-based CMS used by a number of individuals and businesses. Drupal is also open-source and boasts a highly active community that assists with development of themes and add-ons as well as basic support. One of the shortcomings of Drupal, however, is that the theme system is more complicated than other CMS’s and Drupal can be difficult for those unfamiliar with web development or CMS usage.

Drupal does have its advantages tough, with over 6,000 modules (add-ons) allowing for high extensibility. The Drupal community is also very active and it’s easy to find educational and learning materials for beginners of those looking to hone their Drupal skills. Drupal is used by organizations such as The Economist, Examiner.com, and The White House.

Joomla!

Joomla! is an extremely popular CMS used for front-end websites and back-end networks. The Joomla! development community is highly active and users can find over 7,000 extensions for Joomla!. Joomla! is free and PHP-based, yet one thing about Joomla! is it lacks high quality themes that other CMS’s have, including WordPress. In a world where visual appeal is just as important as the written content on the page Joomla! falls behind a bit. Joomla! does allow for authentication OpenID, Google, and LDAP along with several other platforms.

Some of the websites run with Joomla! include Harvard University and MTV.

Others

The CMS platforms mentioned above are the most widely used and well known. However, there are many others out there that are worth a look including:

Employing a solid content management system can make content creation that much easier, even for those unfamiliar with web development or design. It’s important to choose a content management system that fits your needs the best as far as cost, ease of use, and learning curve. If you’re looking to create a new website, move your website to a new platform, or are looking for simpler way to manage and promote your content definitely keep these CMS platforms in mind.