Getting Brand Publicity

The basics of setting up a website should be relatively clear if you've been reading this blog. You hire a designer (or go it alone); get a cheap hosting plan (that's reliable) or find a cheap hosting with domain plan; set up a shopping cart; and start marketing. But, how do you gain brand publicity?

news magazines BrandA website is only effective if it actually reaches some readers. For that matter, your brand is only effective if it reaches consumers. As a copywriter, journalist, and writer of all sorts, I've worked with a lot of small business owners. Some of them know how to market the heck out of their own brand. Others are great at grabbing attention. Take a look at these top tips.

1. No publicity is bad publicity. Even if you've made a major mistake, you can always work around it. Acknowledge that mistake, and let people know that you made it. You'll get a lot of respect if you stand behind everything you do – you'll also get a lot of attention.

2. Pull off a stunt or two. Creating a public spectacle still works. Just as magicians create crowds in Times Square, you can let the world know that your business is here to stay. Think outside of the Internet by setting up a publicity stunt in the real world.

3. Create something really odd. Have you seen Coca-Cola's new cans? These cans will have people talking (and buying) all summer long. How about the Coors cans that turn blue when cold? I bet that campaign grabbed your attention when it first arrived!

4. Get some values. I know a small business owner that refuses to lower his product rates to compete with big brands. Why? He stands behind his vow to manufacture solely in the Americas. This stance has gained a lot of positive attention. Get some values and stand behind them.

5. Believe in your brand. You might be laughing at this one (who doesn't believe in their own brand?), but picture this: I once interviewed the founder of a startup that stated “there's nothing original about my company.” That's not the way to go. If you don't love what you are selling, why would anyone else?

6. Comment on current news. You can set up a Google News alert to let you know when a keyword pops up. Choose keywords that are relevant to your brand. When those words show up in your inbox, contact local news stations to let them know that you are available for comment.

How does this work, brand publicity? Here's an example: a bank heist was just pulled off in town. The bags of money stolen were laced with GPS trackers. You run a GPS tracking company. You're now an expert on the topic. Everybody wins.

Publicity isn't a hard thing to pull off, but you have to get past the boring basics of any business (setting up a site, finding a cheap hosting company, comparing domain offers), and step out into the real world. Comments? Suggestions? Weigh in below.

Dropbox Goes Down

Dropbox Goes Down

It's every cloud user's biggest nightmare: what happens when a cloud service goes down? Yet, it can happen at any moment. It happened to Dropbox users yesterday. For one whole hour, Dropbox was down. Smack in the middle of a busy Thursday morning. This caused wide-spread panic amongst Dropbox users – especially those that use the cloud-based management system for work purposes.  clipart cloud Dropbox Goes Down

What happened? That remains to be seen. Dropbox has acknowledged the blackout, but the company has not offered up any explanations. The company did send out an apology note via Twitter. How often do cloud-based site go down? The last time this happened to Dropbox users, it was a brisk January morning. Dropbox isn't alone, though, so many cloud companies shut down unexpectedly.

The Hard Core Data

The website Is It Down Right Now? lets people know what sites are up and running, and which ones are currently off the grid. This site checks all the major cloud-based websites and services that you might use regularly like Dropbox, Facebook, and others. Most of the time, things do run smoothly. If you look at some company stats, most cloud companies do actually run just fine 99% of the time.

Why all the worry and concern about cloud services going down? A lot of these worries seem to be based on rumor and little else. The fact of the matter is that all servers shut down occasionally. The difference is that people store active data in clouds, and not being able to reach this data can be really scary. Should you move completely to the cloud?

Dropbox Goes Down: Things to Consider When Going Cloud

It's always a good idea to have some form of backup data. This way, if a cloud-based company experiences shut down for no reason (as was the case with Dropbox), you still have something to work with. Otherwise, you'll have to wait for that site to be back up and running (and, believe me, site admins work as fast as possible to make sure things are up quickly!).

Even though Dropbox didn't explain why the service was shut down for an hour, Dropbox users don't seem to be too angry. Today, the service is up and running as usual, and a simple apology from the company has seemed to suffice nicely. If you run a cloud-base service, use this recent Dropbox problem as an example. Sometimes, things just happen.

Need more cloud info? Just ask! Want some help choosing a cheap hosting provider? We're all ears! Looking for help choosing that cheap hosting with domain package? Let us know!

Prolexic Stops Largest DDoS Attack In History

Prolexic Stops Largest DDoS Attack In History

If there's one thing you don't want happening to your cheap hosting provider, it has to be a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. A DDoS attack can cause downtime, leading to customers jumping ship, as well as bringing malicious traffic to your website. Good thing there are companies out there, watching for these attacks in order to stop them in their tracks!

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Prolexic, a leader in the world of DDoS protection, has announced it successfully stopped the biggest DNS reflection attack in its 10-year history. How big? The attack that took place on May 27 peaked at 167 Gbps, aimed at crippling a real-time financial exchange platform.

Prolexic Saves The Day

This time, the DDoS mitigation for the attack was distributed across the company's four scrubbing centers (Hong Kong, London, San Jose, and Ashburn, Virginia), all cloud-based, with the London center taking the brunt of the malicious traffic.

What Is A DNS Reflection DDoS?

This type of DDoS attack takes advantage of different security weaknesses in DNS protocol. The attacker makes a lot of spoofed queries to a variety of public DNS servers. At this point, the source IP address is forged to look as if it is actually the target in the attack. The DNS server gets the fake request and replies, with the reply directed to the spoofed source address, the reflection component.

The targeted server receives replies from every DNS server used, which makes it almost impossible to identify the source. If the spoofed queries produce larger responses, the attack is amplified.

This Attack

In the detected attack, Prolexic conducted digital forensics which revealed that 92 percent of the machines taking part in the attack were open DNS resolvers all sourcing from port 53, representing a “malformed DNS response.”

The company issued a white paper in March of this year regarding DNS reflection attacks, stating that their use is on the rise and demonstrating how DNS protocol can be exploited by attackers. Their Q1 Global DDoS Attack Report also highlighted an in-depth case study about these types of attacks.

What Can You Do?

A recommendation from Prolexic: validate your DDoS mitigation service to minimize downtime with your cheap hosting with domain provider. Do this before an incident occurs to save yourself from an attack. This will save you from downtime due to your hosting provider's sub-par protection.

No matter if you think DDoS won't occur at all or your provider's protection solution is all you'll need to stop attacks, you need to validate this. Otherwise, an attack will occur and your site will be in the dark.

Do you worry about the threat of DDoS attack? Do you know if your hosting provider's protection can handle it?

Vyatta vRouter Solution Coming To Rackspace’s Hybrid Cloud

Vyatta vRouter

Do you rely on Rackspace for your cheap hosting needs? Its hybrid cloud is about to get a boost thanks to an addition to its network and security solutions: the Brocade Vyatta vRouter.  rackspace Vyatta vRouter

This network software gives users an easy-to-configure firewall, allowing a higher level of security, VPN gateway functionality, and a handful of other services like network routing and translation.

Vyatta vRouter: One Piece Of The Puzzle For Brocade

Brocade has been working hard to optimize its routing and network capabilities for some time now, acquiring Foundry Networks to use its Ethernet switching (a $2.6 billion deal in December of 2008) and purchasing Vyatta, for an unknown amount in November 2012, a virtual networking company. Vyatta, founded in 2005, released its first virtual network software in October 2007.

Why Vyatta vRouter?

Vyatta relies on a virtual router, giving it the power to compete with big boys like Cisco Systems' ISR and ASR machines. However, a router isn't the only function it has. It comes with virtual firewall functionality, virtual private networking to securely link up internal and external sites, and network address translation to allow users to provision applications and databases without public interfaces on the Internet while still relying on the Internet to acquire patches and updates.

Vyatta vRouter: A Bonus For Rackspace

The chief technology officer for Rackspace, John Engates, knows that customers will love this new addition to their cloud hosting services. Before this point, customers have had to do all sorts of things just to bring this level of functionality to their cloud, whether public or private: using OpenVPN with open source Vyatta or commercial software with extensions not available in the open source version, or using the firewall rules built into Linux.

Vyatta vRouter gives users a decent graphical user interface, Chef integration and Puppet management tools, and CloudStack and OpenStack cloud controller integration which is only available in Vyatta's Network OS Enterprise Edition. In its hybrid cloud environment, Rackspace had to often install firewall, physical VPN, and routing appliances for their customers.

Engates said, “With Vyatta, customers can now get industrial-strength firewall, routing, and VPN into the cloud.” It does this in a way that integrates with the Cloud Networks multi-tiered Layer 2 networking service, part of both the public cloud and the RackConnect service.

Vyatta vRouter: Advancements To The Cloud

Rackspace bases their Cloud Networks service on VMware's NVP OpenFlow controller and Open vSwitch virtual switch, which connects to the Citrix Systems XenServer hypervisor. This is the base of Rackspace's OpenStack-based public cloud.

The Vyatta vRouter software has the capability to link systems within a private data center to the Rackspace Cloud via RackConnect. In the past, RackConnect needed an F5 Big-IP or Cisco ASA hardware appliance, and the vRouter is just one more option customers can choose in order to customize the cloud hosting experience to their needs.

Another bonus, according to Engates: both the Vyatta vRouter service and the Cloud Networks service are IPv6 compliant. No messing with IPv4!

Vyatta vRouter: When Will It Be Available?

As of right now, the Vyatta vRouter is very limited in availability, being in the early adopter stage. Engates says within the next month, Rackspace will fine tune the use of the virtual router, firewall, NAT, and VPN software in order to roll it out to the masses. It will cost you a mere 18 cents more per hour compared with what you are paying now for your cheap hosting in the cloud.

“We are recommending that people start with a 1GB RAM server instances,” said Engates. This will allow roughly 30Mb/sec of bandwidth for firewall traffic. Starting at this point, it will cost about 6 cents per hour. When all is said and done, that's a virtual firewall for about 24 cents per hour, $2,100 per year.

Do you require 100Mb/sec of bandwidth on the firewall? Rackspace suggests a 4GB server instance, costing about 24 cents per hour for the server and an additional 18 cents each hour, about $3,680 per year.

Are you excited for Rackspace's newest cloud offering?

Don’t Make These Cloud Migration Mistakes

Moving to the cloud / cloud migration  is a cost-effective idea. It's also an idea that can go terribly wrong if you aren't careful. Every day, companies make cloud moving mistakes. But, lucky you – you can avoid these mistakes like a really bad cheap hosting company. How? Just read below.

cloud migration1. Lack of Experience: Okay; you're not going to be a cloud guru overnight. It takes time to understand how the cloud works, but it's never good to jump into something without some kind of a knowledge landing pad. You don't have to know everything about the cloud, but it does help to understand how it all works. Need some more information? Check out this cloud hosting tips article.

2. Clear Goals: Remember creating that business plan way back when? Every step that you take your business in should go by a similar plan. Set clear goals. Why will the cloud help you? What do you want to get? Are your expectations realistic?

3. Look Before You Leap: Think you know what the cloud is all about? Make sure you do. Compare packages, find out what's included (and what's not included), and understand what you will be getting with a new cloud host.

4. Make Sure It's Secure: Security is a big concern when moving to a cloud. Find out what kind of security a company offers, if your files are really guarded, and whether or not a competing company offers better options.

5. Is It Really Cloud? Some companies are throwing around the “cloud” term…without any cloud offerings. Brush up on your cloud knowledge, and don't go for the latest buzzword just because you found a cheap hosting company that offers the world when it comes to the cloud.

Need cloud migration help? Ask away! We've placed a simple question and answer box below this page that you can use to gain all the information you need.