Cloud

What It Takes to Stay Relevant in a Gamer’s World

gaming infrastructureNobody ever accused game developers of having an easy job. But over the past decade, more powerful and expensive hardware, as well as social games hosted on smartphones, have upped the ante. The gaming world is larger and more competitive than ever, and the market is evolving constantly.

Nowadays, even really good developers will make games that get passed over or lost in a sea of other options. It’s a global arena, and if you’re not making world-class products, you’re not going to last.

Undeniably, making great games that reach a large audience requires some element of luck. But more than luck, it requires commitment. You have to be dedicated to overcoming the challenges you’ll inevitably encounter, whether you’re an indie or AAA developer.

Today’s most successful developers aren’t the ones who spend the most on production, obtain the most funding, or utilize the best engine — they’re the ones who are relentlessly focused on giving gamers the best experience possible and that requires the right gaming infrastructure.

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Protecting Your Business From Increasingly Sophisticated Cyberattacks

cyberattacksWhether you’re leading a Fortune 500 company or your own small business, cybersecurity must be a fundamental business objective. Several high-profile cyberattacks in the first half of 2017 have affected organizations of all sizes all over the world, and these attacks are only going to become more common and more sophisticated.

As a business leader, it’s important to understand that the threat is constant. Even if you’ve never experienced an attack, your servers are perpetually being scanned by hackers for vulnerabilities — and the damage can be fatal to your business. A cyberattack can result in the loss of critical information, putting the reputation of your brand at stake.

If you suffer a cyberattack and are able to react quickly, it’s certainly possible to mitigate the damage to your business and your customers, though containing an attack can get tremendously expensive. If you have a plan in place, however, you can save yourself a lot of time and money — and protect the future of your business.

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The Secret to Shorter Load Times on E-Commerce Sites

shorter load timesE-commerce sales have increased dramatically over the past few years, and the growth continues to accelerate. Between 2015 and 2016, online sales increased almost 16 percent, and e-commerce is expected to continue to grow at rates above 20 percent. For online sellers and developers of e-commerce sites, this means the market will only become more competitive, and shorter load times will become more important.

 

Alongside increased sales, internet speeds continue to rise — and so do consumer expectations for online experiences. A measly four-second wait time causes 25 percent of site visitors to abandon a page, and for a site as large as Amazon, a single second of slowdown could cost $1.6 billion. Those numbers are nothing to sneeze at.

 

If your competitors’ sites load faster than yours, you could see your revenue start shifting to them. The effect is multiplied the longer you ignore your slow website, so why wait? The first step is to identify the mistakes that could be slowing down your website, keeping you from shorter load times, and costing you customers and cash. Next, you can take steps to correct them:

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How to Choose the Right SaaS Hosting Provider

SaaS HostingOver the past decade, SaaS has grown to be the primary service delivery model for companies across all industries, and according to a recent Gartner report, over 70 percent of companies utilize the model. While that same report forecasts slower growth in the SaaS market over the next few years, it predicts that among all global cloud services, only Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will grow more quickly.

There are a number of reasons for the success of the SaaS model, including the flexibility and scalability it offers. The fact that companies can easily offer new integrations and software upgrades to users on an ongoing basis — and test new features and functionality without having to wait for a full release — makes it a more efficient and cost-effective way to provide software.

As the leader of an SaaS company, however, you’ll also be faced with some challenges that are unique to this type of delivery model. SaaS companies often have to process tremendous amounts of data — a challenge that grows as your company also increases in size — and must serve a geographically dispersed user base with demanding security and accessibility requirements. Because of this, finding the right SaaS hosting provider is an important decision.

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What You Need to Know When Choosing a Cloud Solution for SaaS

SaaS hostingUnless you are Oracle, Salesforce, or another enterprise-level company, the cost of opening your own data center can be prohibitive. While this may be true, the benefits of operating in the cloud are clear from both a business and an IT standpoint. You can deploy software quickly, applications are easy to use, and maintenance and upgrade costs are lower than in the traditional model.

If your company doesn’t want to deal with the hassle or expense of managing everything itself, then working with a SaaS hosting company can offer you all the advantages of a cloud solution without blowing through the company’s capital expenditure budget.

By hosting in the cloud, you’ll be able to focus on developing software that runs smoothly without having to worry about managing equipment. IT departments will be able to rest easy, knowing that your cloud provider will handle data security, software upgrades, and compliance requirements — all without getting in the way of your business. What’s more, many IaaS providers offer models based on meeting various levels of operating expenditures, making it easier for your business to meet its budgetary needs.

As you explore different cloud providers, it’s important to consider each platform’s performance, reliability, and scalability before you make a final decision. The best cloud platforms are fully redundant, provide state-of-the-art equipment, are built to scale, and are backed by a team that understands the unique needs of different businesses and verticals.

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5 Ways to Protect Your Company from DDoS Attacks

DDoS AttackAs an online business, you have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of your customers’ hard-earned money from DDoS attacks. Unfortunately, hackers are making it harder to fulfill that responsibility. Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report found that the e-commerce industry falls victim to cyberattacks more than any other industry. In some cases, hackers are looking to extort money from your company. In others, they’re coming at your business as a form of industrial sabotage.

One of the most common strategies used to carry out these intrusions is a distributed denial of service attack. Digital Trends reported that the frequency of DDoS attacks increased by threefold in 2016. These attacks typically take on one of three forms: protocol, volume-based, or application layer attacks. Each uses a different method to overload your network, but the results are the same: chaos.

Sizing Up the Threat

To put the threat of DDoS attacks in context, just imagine if the online component of your business were disabled for hours, minutes, or even seconds. Depending on the size of the company, this loss of service could cost as much as $250,000 per hour — maybe more.

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5 Ways to Prepare Your Site for Peaks in Traffic

Peak trafficAs an IT professional, you covet page views and unique visitors to your site. But at times of peak traffic, they can be as much of an obstacle as an asset. The popularity of your website can make it the victim of its own success.

Target experienced this problem firsthand when it introduced its Lilly Pulitzer product line with a torrent of multichannel advertising. Unfortunately, this advertising worked as intended. Customers flooded Target’s website, but it wasn’t quite prepared to handle the stress of that load.

The site never crashed, but it did experience severe lags in performance. At one point, administrators even shut the site down for 15 minutes voluntarily. Worst of all, the customers who did have the patience to wait through slow load times often discovered that products were out of stock or in limited supply. Customers were eager to buy, but Target’s website lacked the resiliency to accommodate peak demand.

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E-commerce Success Requires the Right Partner

e-commerceThere’s a saying in the venture capital community: If you want money, ask for advice; if you want advice, ask for money.

It doesn’t work quite the same way with cloud hosting providers. But it is true that customers who ask us for advice during the pre-sale process are often the ones who end up saving money further down the line. The best approach is to start with an honest conversation about your needs and plans. Using an e-commerce company as an example: Is the business even and steady, or do you see major spikes around big sales? What are your plans for outbound marketing? Are your customers just in the United States or around the world? For what contingencies do we need to plan?

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Launching a New Game? Make Sure to Use These Technologies

cloud computingGame design is like the virtual Wild West, where anyone with a dream and some courage has a chance to build something great. But you can’t grow an indie game studio on dreams alone; you need the right technology to turn your vision into reality.

 

Cloud computing offers game developers a means of quickly and easily spinning up or down, depending on their circumstances. The technology enables them to respond quickly to unexpected performance demand, which is critical to building a thriving user base.

 

Cloud computing becomes an even bigger asset when it’s paired with dedicated servers. A system built on these technologies working in tandem offers flexibility, customization, and raw performance power.

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Buy or Build? How IT Services Firms Can Partner for Cloud Success

Hosting InfrastructureIT services companies – from managed service providers to pure consultants – often face a difficult decision whether to “buy or build” hosting infrastructure to meet client requirements. As the cloud market matures and providers expand their options for partners, services companies now have better options for working with infrastructure that is already there rather starting from scratch. Nevertheless, let’s consider both sides of the fence and look at where it makes sense to buy and build a cloud service.

When buying into the cloud is better

There are many good reasons for IT service providers to engage with an existing cloud provider, including:

  • No data center or hardware infrastructure investments. This might seem obvious, but many IT companies invest in cloud infrastructure only to find the return is less than anticipated. The procurement and management requirements of all the components necessary for a scalable cloud are easily underestimated and require specialist skills.
  • Avoid high maintenance costs. In addition to the capital investments, running a cloud requires ongoing maintenance costs often not anticipated during the build stage. And as a cloud partner you get access to better rates and healthy margins usually associated with equipment reselling, but often overlooked in the cloud.

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