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A Practical Approach to Data Protection

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Where to start with “A Practical approach to Data Protection”

Customer Data Protection

When someone says data protection people’s eyes glaze over, it’s understandable that the data protection act of 1998 is important not just to businesses but the public in general. The Data Protection Act will however, be replaced in 2018 by GDPR.

Don’t worry, this article is not going to depths on the data protection act, instead we want to focus on what you can do to protect your data and the clients data.

This article applies to everyone in business no matter if you are a one man band with client contact details held on your mobile phone, a shop owner who does or does not have to comply with PCI DSS or a multi-national corporation. If you have data about your business and/or your clients held anywhere (even on paper) then this applies to you!

First Thoughts on Security Considerations

As Microsoft Windows has developed, one of the key issues that Microsoft has tried to resolve is that of security. With Windows 10 they have taken a leap forward in protecting your data.

Many people seem to have focused on the working of the licence for Windows 10 and what it allows Microsoft to do; removing counterfeit software etc. Is this wrong? Of course not. In fact if you are in business and your systems have counterfeit software you are opening yourself up to data loss in a big way.

Pirated software usually has additional code in it that allows hackers to gain access to your system and therefore your data. With Cloud Based services these days, using legitimate software should be easier than ever, after all the monthly cost of a copy of Office 365 is a pittance.

Whilst we are on Cloud Based systems, it is worth remembering that unless you encrypt your data on the cloud then chances are it could end up in the wrong hands no matter how security conscious the vendor is. New hardware is already being developed that will take care of this for you, but it isn’t here yet, so be warned.

We will come back to security a little later after we have looked at the severe fines that you could incur by not taking Data Security seriously.

This is about BIG companies isn’t it?

No, definitely not, your companies data security is the responsibility of everyone in your company. Failing to comply can be costly in more than just monetary terms.

Throughout this article I will drop in a few rulings from the ICO that demonstrate how important it is to take these issues seriously. This is not an attempt to scare you, neither is it a marketing ploy of any sort; many people believe that getting “caught out” will never happen to them, in fact it can happen to anyone who doesn’t take reasonable steps to protect their data.

Here some recent rulings detailing action taken in the United Kingdom by the Information Commissioners Office:

Date 16 April 2015 Type:Prosecutions

A recruitment company has been prosecuted at Ealing Magistrates Court for failing to notify with the ICO. Recruitment company pleaded guilty and was fined £375 and ordered to pay costs of £774.20 and a victim surcharge of £38.

and here’s another:

Date 05 December 2014 Type:Monetary penalties

The company behind Manchester’s annual festival, the Parklife Weekender has been fined £70,000 after sending unsolicited marketing text messages.

The text was sent to 70,000 people who had bought tickets to last year’s event, and appeared on the recipients’ mobile phone to have been sent by “Mum”.

Let’s look at the simplest way in which you can protect your data. Forget expensive pieces of hardware, they can be circumnavigated if the core principles of data protection are not addressed.

Education is by far the easiest way to protect data on your computer’s and therefore in your network. This means taking time to educate the staff and updating them on a regular basis.

Here’s what we discovered – shocking practices

In 2008 we were asked to perform an IT audit on an organisation, nothing unusual, except that a week before the date of the audit I received a phone call from a senior person in that organisation, the call went something like this:-

“We didn’t mention before that we have had our suspicions about a member of staff in a position of authority. He seems to of had a very close relationship with the IT company that currently supports us. We also suspect that he has been completing work not related to our organisation using the computer in his office. When we told him about the up-coming IT audit he became agitated and the more insistant we were that he should comply, the more agitated he became”.

This resulted in this individuals computer being the subject of an all but forensic inspection, apart from an un-licenced game, we found nothing and believing that the information we were looking for may have been deleted we performed a data recovery on the disk drive.

The results caused consternation and required us to contact the ICO. We found a lot of very sensitive data that did not belong on that drive. It looked as though it had been there for some time and most of it was not recoverable suggesting it had been removed a good while ago.

As it turned out the disk drive had been replaced several months before and the IT company had used the drive as a temporary data store for another companies data. They formatted the drive and put the new operating system on thinking nothing of it.

It just goes to show that formatting a drive and then using it for months won’t remove all the previous data. No action was taken other than a slapped wrist for the IT firm for poor practices.

So who should be trained?

The best way to demonstrate the importance of data protection is by using top-down learning sessions where management is trained first, followed by junior management followed by the staff. In this way it’s obvious to management as well as the staff the data protection is not something that one person does it is in fact the duty of every employee within a company.

A data breach will affect everybody within the company not just the person responsible but, those ultimately responsible as well.

The training is not lengthy or difficult, but it should be provided by an expert in the field or a company whose expertise is beyond doubt.

In-house training on this subject is not recommended as it is only an outsider who will be taken seriously and who will have the 3rd party credibility required to enforce the importance of the issue.

Information Security is everyone’s business

Information Security Awareness Training: Here’s what should be covered:

  • Provide an easy-to-use online 40 minutes information security awareness training course for your employees to log on and learn best information security practices from.
  • Provide best practice course content of your compliance requirements.
  • Teach employees in simple non-technical language, how and why hackers hack.
  • Instruct employees in the best methods of protecting your systems and the sensitive information you process.
  • Explain employee inherent responsibilities for protecting your business information and identifying and reporting suspicious activity.
  • Supply this information efficiently and effectively, an information security threats risk assessment should be completed.

A good threats and risk assessment should answer the following questions:

  • What do I need to protect and where is it located?
  • What is the value of this information to the business?
  • What other vulnerabilities are associated with the systems processing or storing this information?
  • What are the security threats to the systems and the probability of their occurrence?
  • What would be the damage the business if this information were compromised?
  • What should be done to minimise and manage the risks?

Answering the questions above, is the first and most crucial step in information security risk management. It identifies exactly what your business needs protect and where it’s located and why you need to protect it in real cost impact terms that everyone should understand.

Don’t end up like these guys:

Date 22 December 2014 Type:Monetary penalties

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a marketing company based in London £90,000 for continually making nuisance calls targeting vulnerable victims. In several cases, the calls resulted in elderly people being tricked into paying for boiler insurance they didn’t need.

In plain English, make it very clear to every employee within the company exactly what their responsibilities are to the data that is within their grasp on an everyday basis, explain how to protect it, explain why we need to protect it and point out the consequences to the business of not doing so.

Most un-trained employees would probably think that data protection has little or nothing to do with them; but, if a data breach occurred the company could lose business when the news hits the press, that may lead to lay offs due to lost business. It really does fall on everyone in the company from cleaning staff to the CEO to take responsibility.

Who should deliver the training?

This topic is not something that any training company can deliver correctly. You really need to work with real security experts, companies that are highly qualified and well experienced.

Unfortunately, in the IT industry many individuals and companies have presented themselves as IT Security Guru’s and most are just scare mongers with an agenda. They want to sell one specific service no matter if you need it or not.

However, there are some very well qualified, genuinely helpful professional companies out there.

In 2011 I was fortunate enough to be at the eCrimes Wales when Richard Hollis from the RISC Factory spoke. His presentation spoke to the audience in a way that few others did that day, it established him in this authors mind as my go to person in the UK on data security issues. I managed to grab a quick word with him during a break and he was really helpful.

Why do I rate Rich so highly? Well his background is interesting to say the least, a background in service for the NSA means he knows what he’s doing and has more knowledge in this area than the average Joe. It also means that where other IT Security experts see an issue, Rich sees a much bigger picture.

Of course many other companies offer similar services and in the current economic climate it is good to shop around if you need to.

Getting started

First of all, watch and re-watch the video (linked below) and find it’s second part on YouTube, watch that as well. Take notes during the video and get those steps planned out in your mind, answer the key questions about your company, data and security.

Next, speak with your IT department if you have one, your IT support company if you don’t and see if they have any cost effective idea’s that you can implement without impacting on your IT budget too heavily.

You can start protecting your company data from outside sources for a couple of hundred GB pounds by installing the right kind of Firewall, with cloud based updates 24/7.

Quality Anti-Virus with built in Anti-Malware doesn’t have to cost the company a fortune either, but again, take advice. Many of these products slow the computer system down so much that they have a negative impact on performance. One of the most famous of these (beginning with N) is often sold in High Street electronics, stationary and consumer goods stores as being “the best”; in fact it is the best profit margin and not the best product, it slows the system down and needs a special piece of software to remove it completely!

Store sensitive data in an encrypted area of a RAID storage drive system with restricted access control. A NAS drive is a cheap and effective way of achieving this.

Don’t store sensitive data on Cloud Based systems like Dropbox, sure it’s cheap and easy to use, so if you are passing none critical data such as graphics, logo’s and promotional material; great! If you are passing your accounts to your accountant, a new product schematic to a machine tooling company etc. – use something else that has better security.

Nothing personal against Dropbox and similar products, but like Microsoft OneDrive as it is now both have been hacked in the past. Although the security has been improved dramatically, you should not take the risk.

Finally take advice from real experts when you have any doubts. People like Richard Hollis have dedicated their careers to security. As they park up outside a company for a meeting they have already analysed several security considerations automatically. When they walk through the front door they make a dozen more calculations and risk assessments. All before they even sit down and talk to you about your concerns.

Layers: Security is all about a layered approach. Think of it as an Onion. Here’s an example at a Physical level for a company that I used to work for many years ago.

As you entered the building you could not get past reception unless they “Buzzed you through” the security barriers in the reception area. These were swipe card controlled for staff.

Swipe cards for staff allowed them access only to those areas they were authorised to enter; so for example only IT support staff and some developers had access to the server room. Note here that unlike some companies the cleaner did not have access to the server room or to the developers area of work.

Get the idea?

On an electronic level, all critical systems were duplicated with independent power, backup power from a generator that had backup power from a UPS system.

Firewalls separated the different LANs and the inside from the outside of the company. Each department ran on its own LAN with connections between LANs for only those people who absolutely needed them.

You can carry on to much lower levels of protection like making sure that all USB drives are encoded and encrypted so that they can only be used to move data between the companies own PC’s.

These sorts of security measures are actually very simple to achieve, they are not rocket science, nether do they have to cost you an absolute fortune.

Remember – Plan, Do, Check, Act – repeat as required. But always get advice from professionals. Believe me, the kid next door who builds his own computers and sells them doesn’t know enough about the threats to your company.

If you are in the UK, consider undertaking Cyber Essentials the government scheme to get businesses to a minimum standard to protect data. This is seriously worth while looking at; during the recent NHS attack, none of the NHS Trusts that had completed and been certified Cyber Essentials standard establishments were penetrated.

We trust that you have found this article interesting, please tell your friends.

One final thing, May 28th 2018 will see GDPR replace the data protection act and businesses within the UK will need to be ready for the change, don’t wait. Get started today.

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Here Are The Advantages of Reading Motivational Quotes

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One of the greatest motivational speaker Tony Robbins once said, “In life, you need either inspiration or desperation.”

Just as harsh as it sounds, the truth is that we all are desperate in our lives. Desperate to become happy. Desperate to be at peace. Desperate to succeed.

And has this desperation taken us anywhere good? Don’t think so! Stress, anxiety, depression are common to us. So, if a few words can motivate you to find relief, the question is why not? If a few words can boost your morale, the question is why not? Motivational quotes have an important role to play in our lives.

If you are still not convinced about the power of motivational quotes, here are a few advantages that will convince you otherwise.

Motivational Quotes Simplify Complex Ideas

“Sometimes you have to give yourself pep talks”

No offence to anyone, but hours of lecture on motivation can be boring. Compiling the ideas together into a book that features self-improvement quotes has a greater appeal. One simple quote can express ten different ideas without boring you out. In fact, a single quote can have more positive implications on a person downtrodden with negative thoughts than long lectures and presentations.

It is easy to remember them (and use for daily references)

“Life is a one-time offer, use it well!”

Incantations are extremely powerful. When you keep repeating the same thing again and again, your subconscious mind becomes aware of it. And once you penetrate the deep wall of your subconscious mind, your brain will work according to it. Since encouraging quotes are easy to remember, you can keep reminding yourself of the same to guide you, and get a result that is effectively positive.

These are the most effective inspirational tools

“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous” – Amelia Barr

Whether you are depressed or stressed, feeling low or just blank, a little motivation can never help. While there are different types of inspirational tools, a motivational quotes book is the most effective one out there. Reading those arousing words can help you channel your negative emotions and deal with them constructively.

They help share POVs

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou

You are not alone! Somewhere someone has been experiencing the same problems as you. And a piece of advice from such a person, with whom you will never meet, but share a wonderful connection of hearts is the best gift for you. So, the nest time you fuss and fret over an issue, search for a quote as such. You will be at ease!

You can find them everywhere

We live in a world that is primarily controlled by the internet (and let us not focus on the cons for once; let us use this gift as a source of all things good as well). And the fact is that encouraging life quotes are easier to come across than finding tickets to lectures. They are free of cost and scattered in abundance all over the internet. Be it Facebook or Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, you will find one perfectly suiting your temperament easily available. And you should definitely be taking advantage of that!

Motivational Quotes help you move forward

“Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.”

Inspirational quotes remind you to move forward in life. That is self-explanatory! When you feel stuck somewhere, stuck in the past, recycling the old memories, one right quote can motivate you to get up and, move past your past regrets and have a fresh approach to life. Motivation quotes are the support you will ever need.

Because motivational quotes push you to take actions

“Thoughts Become Words, Words Become Actions, Actions Become Who You Are”

You think, you plan but fail to take an initiative. An inspirational quote can help you take that action which you were failing to take. These quotes remind you to take action, not just reflect your life with empty words. That should be enough to help you get up and get going.

Motivational Quotes act like a coach

Be it, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins or Nick Vujicic, these people have provided us with ample of inspirational quotes to move forth in life and achieve our dreams. Since they are not available for a session physically, reading their pieces of motivation can act as the perfect guide in your life.

So, stop contemplating and start reading!

This is no time to whine. So what you failed your exam? So what your boss doesn’t appreciate you? So what life is unfair? Pick a motivational quote, get ample of encouragement, put your act together and walk forth. Always remember-

“Never let a stumble be the end of your journey”

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Inspirational Quotes For Graduation Announcements

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Instead of buying mass produced graduation announcements and graduation invitations that look exactly like everyone else’s, go online and add family photographs, personal style, and unique messages to create mementos of this year’s graduate. Of course, high school and college aren’t the only institutions people graduate from: beauty school, law school, police academy, kindergarten, boot camp, and several other occasions warrant recognition from family and friends. Graduation announcements and invitations help ensure that everyone hears the good news, gets to attend the ceremony itself, or is invited to the graduation party.

Certainly, the photographs selected to create memorable graduation announcements and invitations will have a big impact on their appearance. The words used to create the messages can also make or break custom correspondence. Luckily, there are more inspirational quotes available than could be used up in a lifetime. Some are humorous, some are somber, but all of them share the pride and celebration inherent in accomplishing something this big. Recognition is deserved and friends and family will be delighted to share in the good news.

School Pride

Schools nearly always have a special song and a unique slogan used to summarize the dreams and goals held for the students. Portions of these verses can easily be integrated into a graduation announcement. One advantage to using the graduate’s school slogan in the graduation announcement is that the school colors can also be used as the overall color scheme. In the same way as school songs and slogans, popular cheers, books, and even songs can be looked to for inspiration. If the graduate has a special accomplishment, such as sports, academics, or a school club, that fact can also provide inspiration.

Words Of Wisdom

There are countless websites dedicated to famous quotes and words of wisdom. These are just a few ideas that could easily be integrated into a unique graduation announcement:

1. Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. – Milton Berle

3. The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of us is a fuse. -Edward Koch

4. Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. – Anthony J. D’Angelo

5. Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. – William Butler Yeats

6. All our dreams can come true…if we have the courage to pursue them. – Walt Disney

In each case, the quote reminds both the grad and others that this grand accomplishment is really just a beginning, a starting place, from which all things are possible.

Humorous Quips

Using humor to entertain does not necessarily detract from the seriousness of the accomplishment. Unique graduation invitations and announcements can use humor to share this exciting news while still maintaining the academic persona with inspirational, somewhat silly quotes such as these:

1. Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught. – Oscar Wilde

2. Your families are extremely proud of you. You can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be a most opportune time to ask for money. – Gary Bolding

3. The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate. – Doug Larson

4. The tassel’s worth the hassle! – Anonymous

Motivation And Advice

Nearly everyone has advice for new grads. These inspirational quotes, and others like them, can remind us all of the sage wisdom we have been offered.

1. The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future. – Plato

2. Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

3. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. – Beverly Sills

4. You cannot get to the top by sitting on your bottom. – Proverb

5. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. – Robert Louis Stevenson

6. Nothing happens unless first a dream. – Carl Sandburg

7. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. – Nelson Mandela

8. Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. – Judy Garland

9. Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable. – Wendy Wasserstein

Whatever words you choose to integrate into your custom graduation announcements and graduation invitations, your grad is sure to appreciate your efforts and to reap the acclaim they so richly deserve from the family and friends who supported them along the way.

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Starting your Web Hosting Business

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People start a Hosting business for various reasons. Some treat it as a second source of income. Some prefer it as a Run from home type of job. Some choose it for its reasonably low startup costs.

There are some reasons though, why you shouldn’t get into the Hosting business. Do not come into this business if you want a stress free life. Someone’s site going down is certainly not a piece of cake, especially when the customer is on the phone with you. This business is stressful, if you are a small business or if you have a million dollar hosting business. Web Hosts who have grown big are still stressed out, even if they have employees to take care of things.

Do not come into this business if you have strict time restrictions. This is a 24/7 business. Be prepared to sacrifice your social life if need be. Customers have problems at all times. Servers can go down anytime. Hackers are working on cracking your servers overtime. A Web Host doesn’t sleep easy.

Do not come into this business with visions of making big money in no time. A frighteningly large percentage of Web Hosts go bust or become dormant because they haven’t gotten their Return on Investment (ROI). Many are those who have underestimated the cost or overestimated the ROI. These Web Hosts quietly fold their businesses and suffer the losses. If money is your motivation, then prepare to be demotivated. Money doesn’t come easy in this business and requires a lot of work to get a decent amount.

What should you bring to the table

Ideally a new entrepreneur would bring in some Business experience to the table. If you have run some sort of Technical business such as computer sales, ISP, website design or E-business, it can give you a good start, because you would already know about how to run a Company in your area, accounts, taxes and legalities. If you have every owned a Website and have managed it, that would be pretty useful. If you have been working in a 9-5 job, you may want to brush up on Business basics, before you go further. This link can help you get started http://www.bankrate.com/

Technical knowledge would be a must. The hosting industry is filled with 14 year olds running their hosting companies quite successfully. What they have primarily is Technical knowledge. You should have preferably installed and studied about Linux and Windows. You should have some understanding of the various technical components of a Internet server and control panel software. If you have an idea of HTML and some scripting, it would be very useful.

It goes without saying that you should be a avid Internet surfer and be comfortable with running your business in front of your computer. A stable broadband connection is also needed for you to be online full time.

Choosing your Server

The real estate of the Web Hosting business lies in the servers you lease or own. Space on your server is what you sell. For example if your server has 50G of Disk space, discounting the Operating system and Control panel software, you can resell maybe 30G of it.

When you start your business, you need to get a Server so that you can host websites on it. Many newbies get confused here. Should they lease a server, should they go Colo, or should they start as a basic Reseller.

Your choices centre around Co location hosting (where you put your server in a data-center. The data-center provides bandwidth and physical space.), Dedicated server (lease a managed server from the Data-center) and Reseller hosting ( A reseller is a middle-man who sells web space on somebody else’s server. The most common form of reselling is something like this – Say the actual price of a hosting account is $10, the reseller gets it at $5, and can resell at whatever prices he wants. )

If you are starting on a budget, and have lesser than best Technical knowledge, you would be best taking on Reseller hosting. Its cheap, starting on an investment of under $100 for a reseller account. You would be managing the front end technical support of your clients, but will be spared the high end technical administration of your server. On the flip side though, you have no real control of your and your clients websites. Should the server go down, all you can do is tell your Web Host and patiently wait, all the while fielding calls from your clients.

Once you cross around 100 domains, you could graduate to Dedicated servers or Colo. In case you are getting into Web Hosting big time, it would be advisable to always buy a Web Hosting business. You get a ready clientele and can be spared initial hiccups. The going rate for a web hosting business is generally 1x to 2x times revenue. Make sure to check that the customers are happy, that they are all on monthly or quarterly plans, there is competent technical support in place and the servers are stable.

Remember your entire business plan is based on the Disk space and bandwidth that you are selling. No matter what server you are purchasing, remember a server can hold up to 300-500 accounts. This is the ideal figure. DO NOT base your business model on the premise that you can squeeze in 1000s of accounts into one server. Keep aside about 10% of your disk space and bandwidth for emergencies. The equation for disk space works like this

Saleable disk space = Total server space – 10% free space – Space for Operating system and software

Choosing Software

You need Control panel software, Billing software and Helpdesk software.

Control Panel software helps automate several Administration tasks. A large number of WebHosts use control panel software and customers expect to have a Client side control panel by default. Control panels available are Plesk, cPanel.net, Hsphere.com, Ensim.com and more. http://www.bobcares.com/ has a Cost and Features Comparison available to help you choose. Anyway, expect to spend $500-600 a year per server on your control panel. Of course, if you are a reseller, this cost is borne by your Hosting provider.

Some control panels, do not come with a good Billing software . If so you need to buy or lease Billing software. ModernBill and Ubersmith are some well known Billing softwares which can be integrated with popular control panels.

You may need Helpdesk software if your control panel doesn’t have them. Cerberus, Kayako, Ubersmith and Perldesk are some good Helpdesk software. Helpdesk software help you track and solve issues that your customers send.

Technical support and maintenance

Once you start your Web Hosting biz, you will get customers calling with complaints like “my email is not working”, “the website has gone down” or Requests for help like “How do I get my PHP script up and running”, “How do I use Frontpage and ftp to upload my website”. The kind of questions you can expect to get can range from the absurd to the most complex.

Make no mistake about this. If you don’t know Internet server troubleshooting and Linux/Windows in detail, DO NOT go about playing on the server. It can cause unacceptable Service downtime and worse.. Loss of Precious Customer data. Many Web host owners learn tech skills on their servers and customers(This is a scary thought). Such people actually play with the trust that their customers place on them.

If you are not a trained and Experienced Sysadmin, you can either hire local Sysadmins to help you, or you can outsource at a relatively cheaper cost to Outsourced Tech support companies like Bobcares.com. These companies have trained Engineers (Bachelors in Computer Science) who will take 10 mins to do something an untrained person may take over an hour.

24/7 Technical support with average response times of 1 hour or less is the expected Industry standard. In the dog eat dog world of Web Hosting, the only way you can differentiate yourself is through your customer support. If you choose to Outsource your support, take a good long look at the Testimonials and Plans of the provider. Cost shouldn’t be the only criteria when you choose to outsource. To save a few dollars, you may push your unsuspecting customers into Tech support nightmare. To check for Quality, look for company certifications like the ISO 9001:2000 standard which ensure that you get what you are told.

Credit card charges

If your clientele is global, expect to get paid via Credit cards online. Web Hosting providers generally use 3rdparty Payment Gateways like WorldPay.com, Authorize.net, Paypal.com and 2Checkout.com to accept credit cards. These Gateways provide an interface for your customers to securely enter the credit card information. In many cases, as a merchant, you won’t even see the credit card numbers, which makes it safer.

If you are a US business, your credit card fees should be around 2-3% of your transaction volumes plus a per sale value(like $0.50 cents a transaction). Some have monthly fees as well. International business will typically face a higher transaction value of around 5%-6%. However as your volumes go up, the rates come down.

Marketing your website

Once you put up your site, you need to effectively market it, if you need to be seen anywhere above the millions of hosts who are already out there.

Submit your site to dmoz.org, Yahoo and hundreds of Hosting directories like http://www.websitehostdirectory.com , hostreview.com, thewhir.com (there are many more).

If your site is the same every time Google comes to your site, It’s going to crawl it a lot less frequently – because it realizes you don’t update it as often – and there is no need to come a lot. So Make sure your site has a lot of relevant information, a lot of links and information has to be added and changed at least once a week. Adding a news section shows that your site is regularly updated.

Another way to promote your website is to use Pay Per click programs like Google ad words and Overture. Hosting is an expensive keyword and expect to pay $2 or more per click.

One interesting method that Web Hosts can inexpensively use is giving away Free Web Hosting to Popular websites in return of them displaying your link on their main page. This is a great way to generate Back links from popular pages, and is an easy way to push you up the Google ranks. Popular websites rarely pay for their Hosting charges, because Web Hosts line up to sponsor hosting for them.

If your client base is local, you could give away free hosting to locally popular institutions like Churches or schools.

Minding the Competition

There are thousands of Web Hosts out there and too many of them play the Cheapest host card. If this is your business plan, then stay away from Web Hosting. You’ll get your fingers burnt real quick. One Web Host famously said that he went from being the cheapest web host to the most expensive web host in One year without even changing his plan prices. Thats how bad things are.

The best way would be to identify Niche areas of hosting and be the masters of that niche. For example, Web Hosts provide Application hosting, like Oracle hosting.

Others provide Service hosting like Email or Data hosting.

Some others provide Hosting to certain Special needs customers. For example, Speciality hosting for Churches, Hosting for educational institutions.

The best thing about Niche Hosting is that you can establish your brand faster, and spend lesser on marketing. Many web hosts have different websites for various Niches areas. for example nicheareaoracle.com or nicheareaemail.com or whatever. Always find a way where you are special and different and be the best in that niche.

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