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How Foreign Currency Exchange Service Providers Benefit from Hosting Services

exchangeIf your organization provides services related to foreign currency exchange, you will have a deep understanding about the demands on your information management infrastructure in terms of:

  • Security, including protection against DDoS attacks
  • Availability
  • Scalability to respond to elastic demand
  • Backup services
  • The need for geographically redundant services
  • Clearly defined, performance oriented Service Level Agreements

Secure Web Hosting

Due to the sensitive nature of the foreign exchange industry, you want to partner with a service provider with

  • Robust, elastic bandwidth services
  • Highly skilled Network Operations Center management teams,
  • Certifications to comply with financial and technical requirements
  • A variety of database and operating system platforms to manage heavy transaction and traffic loads
  • Multiple layers/options of power, cooling, and/or telecommunications providers
  • Sophisticated digital and physical security safeguards. We protect the infrastructure supporting your data at rest in storage, and data in motion to and from your clients and other stakeholders.

Foreign Exchange Industry Experience You Can Count On

At Server Mania, we understand the vital role data plays for ForEx service providers. Events around the globe can cause sharp increases or drops in currency valuation. Having an infrastructure in place to be able to react to sharp increases in trades requires a strong partnership between your business experts and our hosting team to ensure you have the resources available to support your web applications when there are spikes of load.

Collaborative System Management Processes

Though you can rely on the NOC technical team at Server Mania to monitor your systems based on your contracted SLA, having a dashboard application yourself to monitor and analyze your systems in our data center provides great peace of mind.  Should you need intervention from our technical team, you can open a support ticket from within your Surge control panel on the device of your choice.  You can respond to business or technical trends you see occurring, and you can be sure of rapid response to your service requests.

If there is a natural or man-made disaster in a part of the world where your clients have invested in currency, you want your technical resources to be ready to withstand a sudden steep increase in the volume of traffic and inquiries to your systems. To secure transactions and data, you want the data center housing your data to have systems in place for:

  • Strong encryption
  • Intrusion detection and/or intrusion prevention systems
  • Security event management and logging
  • Backups, firewalls and load balancing

High Availability Services, Around the Clock

Providing reliable services to ForEx service providers isn’t sufficient to optimize technology from 9 to 5. You want your services to be delivering 24/7/365. Our teams across North America will ensure we’re just a phone call, support ticket or mouse click away when you need us.

Third Party Recognition, Your Peace of Mind

Service providers who meet the exhaustive governance and security mandates of industry regulators need to raise their game above and beyond “good enough” to deliver “acceptable” levels. We have achieved the regulatory certifications required by organizations including:

Though adhering to the exhaustive standards and practices required by these organizations is a lot of work, the value of storing your data in our facilities is immeasurable. By contracting for services in our pre-certified data center, your own audit and/or certification process can be expedited a great deal.

Laser Focused on Customer Value Unparalleled 100% Service Level Agreements

By serving leading services providers in the foreign exchange industry, we have honed our service offerings for business priorities common to ForEx companies. Dedicated servers, cloud hosting and other services provide affordable, scalable environments for currency related data. Our dedication to customer service is unrivaled. We are one of a select few hosting services providers confident enough to guarantee one hundred percent up-time SLA’s.

If you are looking for a strategic information management partner for your currency exchange business, contact Server Mania. You won’t find another hosting provider in North America who is more dedicated to customer service, service level excellence, and value for your investment.

 

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Web Proxies and VPNs: How to Browse the Web Anonymously

Anonymous Web BrowsingNo matter what your motivation for browsing the internet, having the option to visit pages on the internet without being “profiled” is your right. Many savvy web browsers use web proxies, proxy servers and VPNs to keep their web surfing activities private. You might want to hire a divorce lawyer, find a new job, or find out why you have that troubling rash. (‘Nuff said)

With many popular commercial websites, you are immediately tracked for attributes like:

  • Your location – both country and city
  • Your browser, operating system and device type
  • The pages you click through
  • Your unique static IP address
  • Your ISP
  • In some cases with corporate IPs, the company you work for

In many cases, this data is gathered for entirely innocent reasons such as marketing demographics or to personalize the content they provide you based on your navigation behavior. Some users of the internet don’t mind being tracked for these reasons, at least on the majority of the sites they visit.

Sometimes you might want an entirely “fresh” browsing experience though, and not miss out on content which is offered to new visitors, or generally not want the company you are researching to see track your activities on your site. If you want to get a wake up call on how much you are being tracked, check out the Privacy Analysis site.

There are three great ways to “cloak” your activities while you are browsing. Depending on the frequency you will want to surf in private, the browsing performance requirements you have, and the content you are consuming, you can select the services which best fits your needs.

Web Proxies

Web proxies from companies like HideMyAss.com and Anonymouse offer free services if you are looking to browse static content such as text or image content, and don’t mind your browsing experience being slower for the benefit of anonymity. Web proxies are best suited for desktops and laptops, and don’t really work with mobile devices. Free web proxies also use advertising. These services need to be funded somehow, and ads are much better than bloatware or spyware that some downloads leave behind on your device.

Web proxies are free, fast and cloak/protect your information. The proxy provider retains your IP information, and if subpoenaed by government authorities, they will have to surrender your browsing behaviors. Your browsing isn’t encrypted like with a Virtual Private Network service. Make sure the web proxy you select has a good reputation, as some “black hat” proxy services pop up out of nowhere and prey on unsuspecting, innocent web surfers.

Proxy Servers

Proxy servers from Hide My Ass , Proxynova and similar companies offer higher speeds, SSL encryption in some areas, and a more configurable browsing experience than with your typical web proxy. They don’t necessarily have the advertising web proxies do, but, as with web proxies, you probably won’t want to do any online banking or other private web content activity which might compromise a user ID and password. Proxies are great for content privacy, but there are still inherent risks involved.

The use of proxies is sometimes forbidden by corporate “acceptable use” policies. Check your employer’s policies on using these applications, as if you are caught with them, you may find yourself without a job.

VPN Services

If you want a VPN which offers the ultimate in

  • Encryption
  • Fast content up and down loading speeds
  • Freedom of which device you use to browse the web
  • Protection of the data you consume, as well as your credentials for sensitive data
  • Unblocking websites when you are a corporate network, or in a café/restaurant/airport and not want snoops to see your web activities, UserIDs or passwords
  • A secure “tunnel” between you, your device and the sites and applications you are using in a particular session

PureVPN was a pioneer in the personal VPN provider space, and they offer 256 bit encryption. Further, they switch your IP address frequently, adding an extra layer of protection for you and your data. With the recent news about the activities about the NSA tracking consumer behaviors, identity theft online and global hackers, subscribing to a personal VPN service can pay for itself many times over within your first few days of use. If you are travelling, you might want to consider selecting a VPN provider which has a VPN service offering based in your home country. PureVPN also has a business VPN plan with a broader spectrum of services.

Your activities online can be as innocent as watching a movie, researching a personal health concern, or wanting to log into your bank or insurance provider’s website without compromising your private data. Don’t take a gamble on your privacy and your credit reputation. Protect your confidential information, and browse the web with confidence.

If you travel frequently for business or personal reasons, there are increased risks to accessing private data online without a trusted VPN service, or at the very least a web proxy. Make the investment in a VPN service, or in some cases, a proxy server but don’t gamble with your private identity.

 

 

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6 Ways Cloud Server Hosting Can Help Grow Your Business

Cloud Server HostingThere are many benefits of cloud server hosting, which can have a measurable impact on increasing your profitability, and controlling your bottom line costs. Entrusting the maintenance of your applications, content and data to a reliable, trustworthy provider like Server Mania is a strategic investment you can make in your business, providing six strategic advantages.

1. Accelerate Set Up Time

If you have been using an on-premises server environment for your business server, you will realize the investment of time required to:

  • Rack and stack the hardware
  • Establish the telecommunications connectivity
  • Configure the environment,
  • Install the required web server and database software
  • Deploy your application or content management software

With cloud server hosting services, many of these steps can be provisioned quickly, with next to zero chance of error. Instead of tasking yourself, or your employees with these steps with a dedicated server, you can access web services within minutes, and provide your employees, customers, partners or suppliers the information they need much faster.

2. Offload Maintenance Responsibilities

Have you ever considered the time it takes to maintain your own network computing infrastructure, relative to the other projects you could be pursuing, clients you could be serving, or business objectives you could be pursuing? Contracting for cloud services provides you with peace of mind that your technology is being monitored around the clock, your data will be available when required, while allowing you to invest your time in addressing strategic, high value business responsibilities.

3. Access a Reliable, Stable Data Infrastructure

Estimating the amount of computing capacity, bandwidth utilization and storage requirements you will need in the future is difficult when you first begin a business or implement a new business system. Cloud server hosting offers growing businesses scalable services, so you can increase capacity as you require them. A clearly worded Service Level Agreement, guaranteeing 100% up-time ensures your data and/or content will be available where and when it is needed. Instead of having to provision your own backup systems, these services are bundled in, providing additional safety for your data.

4. Innovative Data Hosting Platforms, without the Management Overhead

You may have heard about the benefits of hosting your website or business applications on a Linux operating system, the flexibility of an open source web stack, or the innovative technical benefits of running applications on Linux. Despite the many benefits of Linux environments, you might not have the in-house talent to manage Linux servers.

Or, on the other side of the coin, you may company with a need to run Windows applications, but not have IT staff with the means to manage IIS, SQL Server 2012 or related .NET based applications. By contracting cloud servers, you can have fully managed environments, with all of the redundancy and security you would want if you were setting up your own data center infrastructure. If you have a team of remote employees who need access to your data, cloud server hosting provides secure, reliable connectivity with out the high costs of owned servers and the associated connectivity.

5. Collaborate Globally with Devices of Your Choosing

Your business may be small, though the cloud can expand the scope of your customer base exponentially. Deploying applications or content on cloud servers can be mirrored in multiple data centers to reduce latency, or have local redundancy. Cloud applications provide the accessibility to your data via laptops, smartphones and/or tablets, ideally if designed with HTML5 standards in mind, or with other Content Management Systems or languages such as JavaScript or C++.

6. Open Source Applications, Delivered as a Service

As with the Linux operating system, the benefits of open source platforms, such as the Moodle eLearning platform, are out of reach because small businesses don’t always have the skills to manage them. Server Mania provides open source database applications, and other solutions which makes technology work for your business, not the other way around.

Cloud server hosting helps you reap the benefits of the cloud, without all the work associated with running the infrastructure yourself. Instead of wasting hardware capacity, we optimize physical and virtual hardware for:

  • Scalability to respond to elasticity of demand, growing as your business requires more capacity
  • Security and protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks
  • We take care of upgrading infrastructure hardware and software, and provide you intuitive administrative controls for the application layer

Beyond the management of the core technology, businesses need help complying with standards such as PCI, without having to dedicate a l0t of employee hours to understanding what the regulatory requirements are. Beyond the on demand technology services we provide, our consultants can take the leg work out of meeting these compliance mandates, and help you keep your mind on running your business.

The ability of cloud server hosting to make information management a predictable operating cost, without the significant capital expense of on premises hardware and software, provides businesses with a great opportunity for business growth. Instead of restricting your team to a local office, with a limited potential market for your products and/or services, cloud services extend your reach to a broader market.

Your employees can access your data:

  • When they need it
  • Where they need it
  • On their device of choice

Further, as your capacity requirements grow, your business momentum doesn’t have to slow for you to build up technology capacity. You can scale within minutes, and get back to business.

Need more proof that cloud server hosting is right for your evolving business? Contact Server Mania today, and we’ll show you how our affordable service options, and awesome support team can provide your business with growth opportunities you never thought possible.

 

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Mobile Friendly Web Design – How to Survive Mobilegeddon

mobilegeddon_readyAnother Google algorithm update has been rolled out. Has your ranking been impacted? Does Google find your website to be Mobile Friendly? If you aren’t sure, there are a number of ways you can find out if your Google ranking is doing well for smartphone users, or if you have some work to do. Should there be a need to modify the design of your website for smartphones, you’ll find a number of resources here about mobile friendly web design.

April 21st, 2015 was a red letter day in digital marketing circles, after Google announced it would be rewarding websites which it deemed to be mobile friendly. Unlike the Panda, Penguin, Pigeon and Hummingbird updates before it, Google provided some detailed SEO guides about preparing for the date many inbound marketing experts termed “Mobilegeddon”.

Fundamental elements of a mobile friendly website include:

Responsive Web Design (RWD)

RWD means a common web experience across smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, where page content expands and contracts to fit the size of the user’s device. This means having adequate open space on your site surrounding your content, collapsible sidebars, dynamic images and graphics and other elements which automatically configure themselves based on the device which calls up your website. Many web Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Sitefinity and Drupal make deploying a responsive website much easier.

Mobile Friendly Navigation and CTA Buttons

Many consumers are making online purchases from smartphones these days, or making their decisions of what to buy in store on their mobile devices. Making it easy for visitors to find the buttons or links to get to the information they want is critical. Having high-contrast, thumb-friendly “Click-to-Call” or “Order Now” buttons is critical to reaching the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or yes, even Blackberry user. If you want to see how your website looks on most of these devices, use a mobile device emulator or, better yet, Google’s Mobile-Friendly testing page.

Robots.txt, Page Loading Speed and Content Overload

Some of the errors you might get from the Google Developers’ Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) include

  • txt blocking the Googlebot from measuring page loading speed
  • Content not fitting the screen,
  • Links being too close together
  • Text being too small to read
  • The mobile viewport (viewing area) is not set

If some of these errors occur on your site, fear not! Google provides you with advice on how to fix your site to resolve these issues. We checked the ServerMania website for mobile friendliness, and you’ll be happy to hear we passed!

If you are using one of the popular web CMS software applications, or e-commerce engines which are available in the marketplace, you are quite possibly already mobile friendly, or there may be quick and easy ways for you to adapt your site for smartphones. If you built your site from the ground up with HTML or a more “development intensive” website builder, you may have more work ahead of you.

One caveat to keep in mind about the Google mobile-friendly web design algorithm is that it really applies to smartphone searches only. It doesn’t apply to searches from tablets, laptops or desktop PCs. Mobile SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are small as it is, so getting on to page one is a challenge in itself. If you don’t have a site which is deemed mobile friendly by Google, no amount of blogging, back linking or social signals are going to get you on to “Page One Jr.”

For further insights on getting ready for Mobile SEO, the web presence optimization wizards at gShift have a great webinar on the topic. Servermania offers a number of Cloud hosting packages for websites and applications, let’s talk!

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Mobile Marketing for Your Business – 2015 Trends

Mobile Advertising StrategiesStatistics show, mobile web browsing and searches have eclipsed that of laptops and desktops. There are nearly 1.9 billion mobile users, compared to about 1.8 billion desktop users. Capturing the hearts, minds and wallets of mobile device users takes deep expertise. Mobile marketing for your business is vastly different than traditional marketing, digital or otherwise.

Not only are your prospects using a smaller screen, you also have to consider:

  • Environmental distractions around the viewer
  • The propensity of the ad to be skipped, ignored or closed mid-stream
  • Rapidly changing user preferences for apps and platforms
  • Declining installation of apps on tablets and smartphones, increased use of mobile friendly browser based websites

Increase Ad Engagement

Getting the attention of a game player, video viewer or other mobile user means getting your “hook” early and sinking it deep. The best mobile ads, just as with other traditional advertising media, include characteristics or attributes like:

  • Videos which tell a compelling story, either focussed on the product being promoted, or explaining key messaging from your brand
  • If you can afford it, connect a celebrity, popular music, or other theme into your ad which incites an emotional response from your viewer. Kate Upton doesn’t work on the  cheap!
  • Interactivity – give the viewer of the advertisement a chance to get into the driver’s seat of your ad. Some mobile ads are allowing the users to choose the outcome of a video sequence. If you can make the simulated use of your product result in a positive outcome, and not using it results in a “not-so-happy ending”, you can win your prospects over.
  • More funny, more money – Mobile ads with an ironic twist, a winning catch phrase or a knee slapper of some kind can help your ad go viral, increase engagement and make your ad more memorable. Instead of mobile ad impressions which get fast forward or ignored, viewers will stick around for a laugh and thank your ad for a little levity in their day.

Mobile Calls To Action

Whether you are looking to get your audience to download your app, click on your landing page link, or call your 800 number, getting a mobile conversions to paid customers means providing clear, simple methods for your audience. A clear “Book Now” or “Click-to-Call” button takes up very little space, but is more effective than providing a phone number or other “passive” invitation for a user to go to your physical or online store to take action. Taking as much of the thought process out of your call to action as possible can increase your conversions. Make the size, colour and wording of “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” buttons bold, unique and concise.

For big ticket items, this “hard sell” approach isn’t as effective. Have your mobile ads invite your audience to learn more about your product on a focused landing page on your website. Have your mobile friendly landing page welcome the user from the source page, and where it makes sense, tailor the content of the landing page based on the content of the website they connected from.

Optimizing on Limited Ad Real Estate

If you are working with a mobile display ad, you want every pixel to count. If your brand isn’t a

household name, focus more on getting users to react to your products or services, and leave your company name off the banner. If you can squeeze in a logo, or match the colouring of the advertisement to your website for continuity. If your brand is a compelling enough trigger for users to take action to find out more, swap out the focus on the CTA to focus on your product or company name.

Create a Sense of Urgency

When you are trying to connect with an audience on a mobile device, create a compelling reason to act now! If your ad contains a “mobile only” discount on a product or service, it can help to move more products, and test the effectiveness of your mobile ad targeting as well. Don’t leave it to fate for your audience to move on to an article or take action – instill the fear of missing out on a great deal or opportunity!

Since mobile users aren’t chained to a desktop, or burdened by a laptop, mobile marketing for your business means making the most of a small space to incite emotion, evoke curiosity, and stimulate excitement about your products or services.

Contracting the services of an effective digital agency is the difference between turning mobile ads into a goldmine for your business, or wasting your time and money on marketing which gets overlooked and can’t convert!

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What Publishers and Ad Networks Can Do To Ensure Mobile Advertising Is Fast and Effective

0073In recent years new development practices and hosting technology have helped websites deal with the performance issues of delivering media-rich online experiences, but the delivery of third-party ads has been something that has consistently affected page load times for years.

Modern websites rely on a patchwork of third-party code to operate ranging from code libraries (like JQuery) to social sharing buttons to external ad networks. Most of these code requests are useful and execute reliably, but they aren’t always necessarily tuned towards performance.

Because many targeted ad networks work on a model where advertisers bid for placement on certain websites, many sites have code that queries multiple ad networks to find the highest paying ad. Between loading a page and actually serving the ad on your page, an ad call can touch as many as 500 different servers.

Mobile devices add further complications to content delivery under this model. For instance, mobile browsers may render content differently, and they also might have to contend with slower or intermittent internet connections.

However, the speed at which full mobile websites and applications are delivered is vitally important because any delay experienced by users will cause them to give up on your website or app. For a content publisher, this means losing out on ad revenue, and even causing site visitors to abandon the site out of frustration. When mobile ad networks cannot deliver ads effectively, they’re not promoting their clients effectively, and causing their publishing partner sites to be less effective as advertising venues.

What Content Publishers Can Do

There are various coding practices that ensure mobile ads have a minimal effect on load speed. A good first step is to eliminate any unnecessary scripts. Another step is to determine what elements (including display ads) can be loaded after the main site content has loaded, and schedule scripts to asynchronously execute the code after the initial load.

Developers can also serve multiple ad placements on a page with a single server request that’s forwarded to a proxy server that handles the request, and also records impressions, clicks and other metrics.

It could be wise to limit the number of ad networks the site calls upon. You might not get the absolute highest payment per ad, but you will gain in latency. It could also be important to avoid certain targeted ad networks which have been known to slow page load times by almost two seconds.

What Ad Networks Can Do

The mobile ad network provider plays a really important role not only in facilitating relationships between content producers and advertisers, but they also deliver the ads that appear on the consumer’s device.

Mobile ad networks should have lean and effective algorithms for finding relevant ads. But on a server side, they should also have enough capacity to deal with spikes in demand, and ensure that requests from sites are delivered with extremely low latency. And ad networks are increasingly incorporating data-intensive media such as video and interactive content.

This means that the ad network doesn’t contribute significantly to end-user load times.

Conclusion

Mobile ads are becoming enormously important for online businesses. When it comes to mobile ads, companies have reported major increases in brand spend, rising cost-per-impression, and more interest in video and rich media ads. Advertisers excited by the potential of mobile ads to reach new audiences, so it’s vitally important that mobile ad networks delivering ads as quickly and efficiently as possible.

When everything works together, advertisers get visibility, publishers get revenue, and end-users get ideal experiences.

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Enact The “Principle of Least Privilege” for More Secure IT

security camera on wall

Image courtesy of Ervins Strauhmanis.

The Principle of Least Privilege is one of the most fundamentally useful security concepts. It basically states that every part of a system must be able to access only the information and resources necessary for its legitimate purpose – but nothing more.

This is extremely important when it comes to securing your organization’s IT environment, and it applies equally to applications as to people.

In short: the fewer people with access the better.

But this blog post will go deeper into this concept. Continue Reading →

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EMC’s VNXe Server Architecture – A Primer

Image Copyright EMC Corporation

Image Copyright EMC Corporation via their Flickr

As I’m sure you all well know by now, EMC is a pretty big name in the hosting space, responsible for producing some of the most acclaimed and often-used products in the industry.

Among their most popular pieces of hardware is the VNX Series – specifically, the recently-developed VNXe3200.

Let’s talk a bit about that, shall we?

Today’s piece is going to be strictly informational.

We’re going to tell you a bit more about the VNXe Series. By the end, you’ll understand how it works, who should use it, how to install it, and how you can take on some of the most common issues you’ll come across. Continue Reading →

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4 Reasons VPNs are Essential for Modern Mobile Businesses

Mobile-business-woman-using-tablet

In order to stay competitive, businesses are being forced to become more flexible and mobile. But allowing certain data and applications to be accessed outside of the office presents a new set of security risks for organizations.

Virtual Private Networks provide a secure tunnel that lets a device connect to corporate resources to make remote interactions more secure. This provides more assurance that corporate resources are only accessed by approved individuals and devices. Traffic is also encrypted end-to-end, making networks less susceptible to attacks ranging from Man-in-the-Middle and message replay attacks designed to get access to a network, to Denial-of-Service tactics aimed at flooding a server with requests to block legitimate connections.

Because they’re often more susceptible to these sorts of attacks, connections to sensitive files and applications made remotely on mobile devices should be done through a VPN tunnel.

VPN tunnels are essential for employees and other individuals to access sensitive files and applications. And if your organization wants to remain secure and competitive, it should adopt a VPN strategy.

Employees Demand Mobile Functionality (and Will Do Risky Things To Get It)

Whether administrators like it or not, employees are likely already using their smartphones and tablets to do their work. They often use mobile devices to access corporate resources simply because it’s more convenient than logging onto an approved PC or laptop.

Further still, in order to access resources like files on mobile devices, employees might “mobilize” corporate content by copying files over to a cloud-based storage service like Dropbox. In this scenario, IT administrators have no idea that corporate data is residing on an unapproved service, so it has no oversight over that data or how it is used. An attacker that gets access to this employee’s Dropbox account will now have access to corporate files.

If organizations don’t provide ways to access corporate data securely, employees can often engage in risky behavior in order to make data available to them on their favorite devices.

Data Breach Risks from Compromised Mobile Devices

The portability and small size of mobile devices make them very convenient, but it also means that they are easily lost or stolen. They can also be hacked or otherwise compromised.

A VPN can ensure that secure connections to corporate resources are no longer possible once it becomes known that an end-point device is compromised. And because a VPN can allow greater monitoring of individual connections, helping detect suspicious behavior from devices, giving IT a chance to revoke privileges and stop a data breach from happening.

Increased Capabilities

Giving employees the capabilities to remotely access corporate information quickly allows them to be truly mobile employees. With secure remote access, they can more quickly respond to business needs even while not in the office. A corporation can offer mobile applications that allow employees to be more productive wherever they happen to be.

Also, by not tethering employees to their workstation, this added flexibility can counteract burnout, and lead to a better work-life balance.

Meeting Compliance Obligations and Avoiding Fines

Especially in highly regulated industries, there are certain cases where secure end-to-end remote connections can be a legal requirement.

In the healthcare industry, for instance, IPsec and SSL VPNs can be used for securing remote users accessing records in compliance with the HIPAA rules that govern U.S. patient health records.

In addition to losing customer confidence, corporations can face risk penalties and fines if sensitive data is lost or stolen.

Conclusion

Employees are increasingly doing work using mobile devices, which is a desirable trend for organizations that want to be more flexible and agile, but they should also be prepared to deal with the new security risks. To provide secure connections, VPN tunneling should be considered when implementing remote access for mobile devices.

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Doing Page Redirects the Right Way

redirectDoing Page Redirects the Right Way

Redirecting webpage requests is useful when you’ve deleted outdated pages, or when moving your site to a new domain. Rather than give site errors to visitors, and tempt them to leave your site, you should make sure they are redirected to a page on your website.

There are several ways of doing this. We recommend server-side 301 redirects in most cases but there’s also a method that uses HTML that could be used in a pinch, and especially when you don’t have full server access.

HTML Meta Redirect

The HTML meta element can be used to redirect the user to another page after a specified number of seconds.

Place the following in the <header> tags:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”5;URL=’http://www.example.com/newPage‘” />

Within the “content” field, the first number specifies the number of seconds it takes to redirect, with “0” being an immediate redirect. Having a delay could be helpful if you want to let visitors know that a certain page or site has been removed, and that they’re being redirected to another location.

But there are many reasons to avoid HTML meta redirects. They are not particularly good for maintaining search engine ranking. They also often break the “back” button, so when the user tries to go back, it triggers the refresh, sending them back to the original page. Also, it might not work with all user agents such as screen reader software according to W3C.

Server-Side 301 Redirect Scripts

Server-side scripts or configuration file can send an appropriate redirect status code (for instance, “301” means that a page has permanently moved to a new location) and a location header specifies another URL for redirection. When the browser receives this response, the location bar changes and the browser makes a request with the new URL.

There are several ways of doing 301 redirects.

PHP Header Method

In PHP, developers can send a raw HTTP header with the header method. The code below sends a 301 status code and a new location. If no status is explicitly set, it sends a 302 status code, which basically specifies that it’s a temporary redirect and the new path is not cached in a visitor’s browser.

Example Code:

<?php
header(“HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently”);
header(“Location: http://www.example.com/newPage.php“);
?>

It’s important to note that the header() function must be called before any actual output is sent for the redirect to work.

You can also use PHP’s power as a programming language to automatically redirect pages such as pages not found on your website. For that particular situation, SitePoint provides a tutorial on creating a PHP script that sends the site visitor to the correct page or similar content.

The Apache Redirect Method

If you have access to make changes to the .htaccess file on your Apache server, you can do simple Apache redirects. You need to locate the .htaccess file and open it in a text or code editor.

You’ll be making the redirects using the following basic syntax:

Redirect [status] URL-path URL

Example Code:

redirect 301 /oldPage.html http://www.example.com/newPage.html

After “301”, specify the file or the folder to be redirected, and then the destination.

For more elaborate Apache redirection, you might want to look into how to do URL rewrites. Apache also provides a guide to common rewrite scenarios.

Other Languages

W3 describes how to do server redirects in Java Servlets or JavaServer Pages (JSP), and in Active Server Page (ASP) with VBScript in its online documentation. And 301 redirects can be done in other languages such as Ruby on Rails.

A Note on Staying Search Engine-Friendly

In terms of keeping pages optimized for search engines, Google says that 301 redirects are the best way to ensure that users and search engines are directed to the correct page. They capture the intended traffic from that link for the page it redirects to.

According to Google’s Matt Cutts, there is no limit to how many 301 (or permanent) redirects you can do between one page and another. But redirecting multiple times (ie. hopping from page 1 to page 2 to page 3, etc.) can cause the Google crawler to give up after a few hops and also increase the overall page load time. Cutts recommends limiting redirects to a maximum of around 4 or 5 hops.

To redirect people who access your site through several different URLs, for instance, . http://example.com/home, and http://home.example.com to a preferred (or “canonical”) destination, then you would also set your preferred domain in Google Webmaster Tools.

Conclusion

Page redirects can send visitors to the most current resources, but also help when, for instance, someone sent out an incorrect link URL. For these reasons alone, page redirects can be very common. And when it’s necessary to redirect pages, it’s best to use server-side 301 redirects because they’re less likely to confuse users as well as search engine crawlers.

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