When Robert Stephen Consulting set out to create an Integrated Workforce Management System (IWMS) Web Application, they needed a web application hosting solution that was as versatile as the application they created. Since IWMS enables customers to track any and all assets critical to their business (i.e., buildings, equipment, personnel), Todd Forsyth, Chief Technology Officer for Robert Stephen Consulting, decided on a hosting solution that would excel under heavy workloads and scale with the business.
By using Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), RSC has been able to offer development and production environments designed around specific client needs, as well as to have the ability to run a separate demo environment to showcase the capabilities of their powerful application. Robert Stephen Consulting also utilizes VPC for their internal application development, KPI tracking, and other business-critical applications.
The applications and options for Hostway’s VPC seem endless to RSC. Mr. Forsyth stated RSC is “looking forward to the idea of using Virtual Private Cloud to branch out into different technology platforms,” allowing them to remain in front of the competition while remaining agile enough to adapt to what’s ahead.
Check out Robert Stephen Consulting's video (Robert Stephen Consulting Uses Virtual Private Cloud), documenting their experience with Hostway's Virtual Private Cloud hosting environment and the case study for more information regarding how they have utilized VPC to power their web application and business.
Not all cloud hosting environments are created equal. In fact, there are plenty of factors to consider before choosing an environment to host your web application. Depending on the nature of your web app, your specific solution may need to be optimized for security or adherence to certain compliance requirements. Or, maybe you need a highly scalable environment that will allow for rapid provisioning of resources with fluctuating workloads. The takeaway is that every web app will run best in an environment designed around the unique characteristics of the app.
To that end, Hostway’s Hybrid Cloud – powered by Microsoft Azure, can deliver optimized environments for nearly any web app. Hybrid Cloud combines rapid scalability, control and reliability to bring you unparalleled freedom in designing and maintaining your web app’s environment. Hostway’s Hybrid Cloud allows you to run your web apps where they run best: Virtual Private Cloud or Microsoft Azure Public Cloud all working together in an Azure-consistent environment.
When it comes to any business service, let’s face it- It's all support. How do we handle the need for managed support? Hostway brings in Microsoft Azure experts familiar with a broad array of web applications to provide 24/7/365 managed support services, so you can leave the infrastructure to us, while you focus on running your business and building great apps!
If you are searching for the perfect home to host your website application, let us show you how a Hostway Hybrid Cloud powered by Microsoft Azure can be the customizable environment to run your app. See how businesses like Robert Stephen Consulting, LLC harnessed the power of Hostway’s Virtual Private Cloud to power their web app with astonishing results.
You'd be hard-pressed to find an organization today that doesn't utilize email in some capacity. According to a report from Radicati, the global email sector will include more than 2.8 billion users by 2018. From communicating and collaborating with co-workers, to reaching out to customers and boosting brand awareness, email plays a range of indispensable roles.
As email becomes increasingly critical to corporate communications, many enterprises are turning to hosted solutions to ensure accessibility and reliability. When determining which email solution will align with your organization's requirements, your IT budget as well as your specific needs for features and capabilities should be taken into account.
OX App Suite from Open-Xchange is a collection of feature-rich enterprise collaboration applications to support accessibility, usability and overall communication. This open-source offering is among the most affordable packages, allowing decision-makers to select, mix and match the services they'd like to include in their customized platform.
OX features individual user accounts, as well as protected cloud storage space and spam security. In addition, the solution includes a customizable user-facing dashboard, access to an integrated calendar and contacts list and 2GB of storage per mailbox. In addition, OX enables enterprises to create unified inboxes that integrate communications among several accounts. This ensures robust access, communication and collaboration throughout an organization.
Where Open-Xchange may be the new kid on the block, Microsoft Exchange represents the tried-and-true answer. Currently the leading corporate email platform across the globe, Exchange is more than just email: The solution also offers access to mission-critical tools for collaboration, accessibility and security.
Microsoft Exchange features email archiving guarantee.and mobile capabilities, as well as shared access to folders and documents, global address lists and shared notes, tasks and calendaring. In this way, businesses can ensure that collaborating employees have a full view of their co-workers' schedules, projects and initiatives. In addition, users can benefit from daily backup of their content, anti-spam, email encryption and a firewall. Decision-makers can also choose certain compliant-ready packages, depending on their needs, as well as a 100 percent uptime guarantee.
As email continues to play a critical role in corporate communications, enterprises need a service provider that can offer all the leading solutions, and become a partner for mission-critical activity. Hostway provides plans for both Microsoft Exchange and OX App Suite, enabling decision-makers to select the platform that not only suits their unique user needs, but their corporate budget as well.
To find out more about what a hosted email solution can do for your business, as well as the in-depth features of OX Mail or Microsoft Exchange, contact our expert Hostway consultants today.
If you are a small business owner, you know the types of struggles you must face in order to achieve success. In many ways, small businesses have their work cut out for them, especially when it comes to communication and collaboration. Sure, there are numerous solutions out there, but many of these are specifically designed for larger enterprises.
For a small- or mid-size business owner, one compelling answer for alleviating these communications challenges is OX Mail – and its companion OX Collaborate. These two solutions can change the way small business users connect with one another.
"Fear not: Hostway has come to the rescue with a new suite of solutions."
While large organizations often serve as the pacesetters for any new technology, the more than 28 million small businesses operating today in the United States – according to recent research from the Office of Advocacy for the U.S. Small Business Association – cannot be overlooked. These organizations employ over 56 million people, even with the 22 million or so single-owner ventures. Inc. Magazine found that almost half of all U.S. private sector workers are currently employed by small businesses.
"With those numbers, it's no wonder that small businesses have been called the 'backbone' of the U.S. economy," IT Business Edge contributor Kim Mays wrote.
Just like their enterprise counterparts, small- and mid-size businesses have particular needs when it comes to their communication and collaboration – needs specifically addressed by OX Mail and OX Collaborate, powered by the OX App Suite software stack from Open-Xchange. These systems offer a range of professional features and capabilities to help businesses cost-effectively address their unique requirements.
The OX App Suite enables users to unify their email accounts, address books, calendars, files and other elements into a single, easy-to-use dashboard. This significantly streamlines organization, and ensures that appointments, documents and other important information never fall through the cracks.
OX also makes collaboration a cinch, enabling users to easily share their contacts, calendars, attachments and other files with co-workers and business partners. Best of all, each individual action is tracked, and others can review and edit these so that every project stakeholder is on the same page.
In the small business community, cost savings are always a top priority. OX App Suite enables decision-makers to only select the specific services their organization needs. This keeps you connected while driving down the price.
But this only scratches the surface when it comes to OX Mail and OX Collaborate. To find out more about Hostway and the OX App Suite and how it can benefit your business, be sure to contact Hostway today.
Email supports quick communication among those that might be worlds apart, enabling users to attach, transmit, and access messages as well as other assets. However, depending upon the industry in which the organization operates, there may be specific rules that govern the use of email. Healthcare is among the most prominent examples.
Hospitals, doctors, and other practitioners are privy to sensitive patient information that must be kept safe. Healthcare providers are increasingly using email to connect with patients and discuss medical conditions and treatments. These providers must use email in a way that is compliant with industry rules.
"So long as the proper precautions are taken, healthcare providers can leverage email in a safe way that aligns with HIPAA requirements."
For companies in the United States, the most important standard is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, which outlines the proper treatment of sensitive patient details and digital records.
What does HIPAA say about email?
HIPAA guidelines don't prohibit the use of email, but ask that healthcare providers observe certain considerations when transmitting sensitive information. According to the HIPAA FAQs page, "The Privacy Rule allows covered healthcare providers to communicate electronically, such as through email, with their patients, provided they apply reasonable safeguards when doing so. For example, certain precautions may need to be taken when using email to avoid unintentional disclosures, such as checking the email address for accuracy before sending, or sending an email alert to the patient for address confirmation prior to sending the message."
HIPAA also notes that when patients initiate email contact with the provider, the healthcare organization assumes the responsibility for ensuring that messages are acceptable and that the patient understands the potential risks of using an unencrypted platform. The provider can make the patient aware of these possible threats and let him or her decide whether or not to continue communicating in this manner.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule isn't the only standard that applies here, however. The Security Rule can also come into play, particularly when it comes to sending electronically protected health information, or e-PHI. According to HIPAA, "The Security Rule does not expressly prohibit the use of email for sending e-PHI. However, the standards for access control, integrity, and transmission security require covered entities to implement policies and procedures to restrict access to, protect the integrity of, and guard against unauthorized access to e-PHI." This includes not only policies, but encryption as well. Healthcare organizations must use encryption to safely transmit sensitive e-PHI over an open network.
Considerations for compliant email
While much of compliance depends upon usage, the email platform itself must also be compliant. Not all email systems are by default aligned with HIPAA guidelines. In fact, most free services, including Gmail, Yahoo Mail and others, do not have the proper protections in place for sending communications containing e-PHI, either within the body of the email or as an attachment. You should not use these within a healthcare setting.
There are hosted platforms, however, that are HIPAA-compliant. These implement top security measures, including encryption and message expiry to ensure protection of sensitive health information. A message expiry date can be attached to communications that contain e-PHI, allowing them to be remotely deleted after a certain period of time. This prevents protected data from being stored or accessed inappropriately.
But using a compliant email solution isn't just about aligning the organization with HIPAA. This strategy comes with its share of benefits as well, such as streamlined delivery of lab results, enhanced communications among doctors and staff, access to e-PHI while away from the office, and better connections with patients.
One of the best ways to ensure compliance is to leverage the services of a hosting provider. Hostway, for instance, allows healthcare providers to have granular management control, view daily reviews of security event log files, and deploy a robust firewall and intrusion detection and prevention system.
To learn how you can migrate your email platform to a compliant environment that’s monitored 24/7/365 for security risks, contact Hostway for a free assessment today.
Today's businesses rely on their email and scheduling solutions to be accessible from anywhere. While there are numerous solutions currently on the market that can offer baseline capabilities for communication, calendars and online portals, not all of these platforms can meet the needs of every business.
One powerful provider of enterprise-level solutions is Microsoft – a name that everyone in technology knows. Today, we'll take an in-depth look at two of their top solutions, Exchange and SharePoint, analyzing their most important features. How do companies benefit from their usage, particularly when hosted by an industry-leading provider?
Microsoft Exchange: What capabilities and advantages does it offer?
Microsoft Exchange, a platform providing scheduling and mail server capabilities, is a customizable system that can be accessed from any mobile device. The solution includes email, calendars and contact lists, as well as features for productivity and security.
This platform enables users to create as many email addresses as they need, and includes a considerable amount of disk space per mailbox to help prevent users from having to delete important messages. Users can also share and collaborate with the ability to send files up to 1GB through email.
In addition, the calendars and contacts sections enable the creation of both shared contact lists and calendars, ensuring that everyone in the organization stays on the same page. Its task management feature can help streamline activities with the creation, assignment and delegation of specific tasks through the platform.
Microsoft noted that users are able to adjust the solution so that it specifically aligns with the needs of the organization. The system can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment. Some helpful features include a web-based admin center, role-based access controls and archiving.
Exchange also includes built-in security measures, such as protection against viruses, spam, phishing attacks and other malicious activities. In addition, data loss prevention capabilities help keep an eye on particularly sensitive data, informing key stakeholders of any policy violations before they take place.
Overall, this solution provides a number of the key functions a business needs to support its brand and remain productive. Valuable features including email, calendars, contact lists, access controls and the ability to delegate specific tasks make this platform an excellent tool in nearly any industry.
Windows SharePoint: What features and benefits are included?
Another beneficial solution is Microsoft SharePoint, which enables the creation of websites or online portals while also facilitating collaboration among varying stakeholders. SharePoint Services 3.0 allows users to completely customize their online portal in order to establish a secure platform for an array of purposes.
SharePoint comes with discussion boards to reduce long, difficult-to-follow email chains, as well as the ability to create custom spaces for each department within the business. In addition, the solution also has document versioning and check-in/check-out features that allow all changes to the platform to be made in a single place, keeping everyone on the same page.
"While these platforms are valuable on their own, they're even more beneficial when hosted by a leading provider like Hostway."
SharePoint can also boost efficiency within an organization by providing a single location for large files. As opposed to sharing these via email – which can consume considerable bandwidth – employees can simply access these important items via the SharePoint platform.
This solution also includes security features, including access levels, permissions and privileges.
The Hostway difference
While these platforms are valuable on their own, they're even more beneficial when hosted by a leading provider like Hostway. A hosted solution shifts much of the responsibilities – including maintenance and upkeep – onto the provider, allowing the business's internal IT team to focus on other mission-critical initiatives. This is particularly helpful for smaller enterprises that may not have a dedicated IT team.
Hostway also provides a secure, reliable infrastructure from which these platforms are hosted. Our 99.99 percent uptime guarantee ensures that the business will always have access to the critical materials and platforms provided by Exchange and SharePoint.
To find out more about how your business can benefit from a hosted Exchange or SharePoint solution, contact Hostway today.
Companies of all sizes benefit from application hosting. Removing the complications of on-site equipment and infrastructure management is attractive to even large enterprises with robust IT teams. However, the sector helped most by this approach is small businesses.
Small businesses tend to have one common hurdle to overcome as they grow and develop: the lack of support resources. When it comes to application hosting, many small businesses need an easy solution to help them with time-consuming tasks such as patching software or upgrading hardware.
The needs of small businesses don't stop there, and neither do the benefits of application hosting.
The software-as-a-service industry has grown considerably in recent years, particularly as business managers become more comfortable with cloud technologies. Now, SaaS companies have a full range of offerings, including a variety of popular applications that can be hosted in the vendor's data centers. This means small business administrators don't have to look far to find the hosted application services they need.
When comparing IT resources, small businesses typically have a long way to go before they catch up with larger enterprise that have larger IT budgets and can devote more time and effort to their technology. However, smaller companies don't have to stay in the dark ages.
Application hosting removes the worry of building out an IT department. Because the service provider makes the required applications accessible via its own infrastructure, users are able to utilize these resources in the same manner as a large enterprise.
"[B]ecause many small businesses don't have an on-site IT team, web hosting services provide technical support that can help get a site up and running should any problems occur," BusinessNewsDaily contributor Chad Brooks pointed out.
In this way, the small business has a partner in place to assist with the establishment of services, as well as resources to fall back on should any problems or concerns arise.
Service providers can also ensure that small businesses have the proper security protocols in place. Data protection is often a main concern for this industry, as many smaller organizations don't have the robust safeguarding resources needed. This is where a partnership with a SaaS vendor can become valuable. Instead of scurrying to guard against the latest threat, small business owners can rest easy knowing their sensitive data is protected by the service provider.
Establishing and hosting the infrastructure required for today's business processes is an expensive endeavor. This makes managed application hosting even more attractive for smaller companies that may not have the capital needed for such an undertaking. SaaS can help a small company save considerable time and resources, enabling administrators to devote this money and effort to other important areas of the organization.
Overall, managed application hosting is often the most beneficial for small businesses with less IT resources as it allows administrators to focus on mission-critical projects and initiatives while still ensuring that application needs are met. This approach not only helps fill resource gaps and save funds, it can also boost operational efficiency and guarantee that employees have all the tools they need to complete important tasks. In today's business environment, the ability to arm staff with robust, affordable technologies is paramount.
With a managed hosting partner like Hostway by its side, a small business can devote its attention to growing itself without having to worry about maintaining or managing its application infrastructure. To find out more, contact Hostway today.
Last week, we announced the arrival of a new and improved email platform from Open-Xchange. Many of you have already logged into your new email system and are enjoying the intuitive user interface and improved performance. What you may not know is that this new cloud email solution is more than just email.
OX Collaborate offers some key features designed to help your business be more efficient, productive and professional. Collaborate introduces shared calendars and contacts, file versioning and sharing, and seamless integration with the social media activities.
Remote Collaboration: Obtain teamwork nirvana when you give employees the following abilities:
Many of our customers are still getting use to Open-Xchange’s App Suite. Along with this introductory video and our upcoming live product demonstration, we’d like to provide you another five tips for using your new email and collaboration tool.
Check out these additional tools.
Did you know? You can use Halo view to get a complete overview of your correspondence with a contact. From Halo view, within the email section, you can click on any contact and it will bring up recent conversations, shared appointments; if you are connected via social media, you'll learn more. You can also click on any meeting to get all of its details, and click on files to preview the file.
Plan your team’s huddle time.
Did you know? You can see when your co-workers are available for a meeting. In the Calendar tab, click "New" and the "Create Appointment" box will appear. Enter the desired participants into an appointment, then click “Find a free time.” This will bring up a calendar with all of the participants you added. Pick the ideal time and your appointment will be updated. Then click “Create” and your appointment will be sent to all of the participants.
Stay on top of important projects and be more productive.
Did you know? With OX App Suite you can set an automatic out-of-office response by clicking on the gear at the top right of your screen and selecting “Settings.” There, on the left menu section, select “Autoresponder.” Enter the subject and the body text of your out-of-office response e-mail. Click on “Enabled” to start sending out of office replies. Don’t forget to un-tick the “Enabled” box when you do no want to send out-of-office replies.
This week, many of our customers are working with Open-Xchange’s App Suite for the first time. Along with this introductory video and our upcoming live product demonstration, we’d like to provide you five quick tips for getting your feet underneath you on your new email and collaboration tool.
Getting started is simple.
Did you know? You can access your email by simply typing https://webmail.hostway.com/appsuite/signin into your browser.
Get a single view of all of your important emails, appointments, social media profiles and more.
Did you know? You can access your email real-time on your smartphone with Active Sync. Active Sync is included in the “Sync” and “Collaborate” packages. You can upgrade to the Collaborate package within SiteControl.
Nothing complicated about sending messages here.
Did you know? You can add manage all of your email accounts from one convenient location. When logged into your email, click “Add mail account” under the “Mail” tab, then add the new email address and your password and click “Add” to include it with your OX account.
Give your outgoing emails a professional look.
Did you know? You can add contacts from LinkedIn and many other applications. Click the “Address Book” tab, right-click “Contacts” and select “New Subscription,” then select a source for importing contacts. Follow the instructions, then click “Subscribe” to add a new folder for those contacts.
Never lose track of those crucial communications.
Did you know? You can add calendars from Google and other applications. Manage your meetings and events in one place. Click the “Calendar” tab, right-click on “Calendar” and pick “New Subscription” to select an imported calendar source. Follow the instructions, then click “Subscribe” to see both your work and personal calendars in the same place.
Stay tuned for our next five tips as we move beyond the basics of OX App Suite.