08000 433 006 info@cloud-genius.com

What does Cloud working mean in Wales?

Here at Cloud Genius we use our own products… this means that we have a website developed in the way that we would develop one for a client. We use Salesforce in a way that we would set it up for a client. We use the same (excellent value) website hosting that we use for our clients.

Cloud Working, in the Salesforce sense, means that we do it all online. I could be based in Timbuktu or Brazil and I could still work on Salesforce (as long as I had an internet connection). Similarly, I could configure Salesforce for charities and small businesses. I can even offer support through remote-control software. (This is where I temporarily take control of a client’s mouse and keyboard to show them things. They have full control to block me at any time, but it means that I can offer support instantly, rather than visiting their office. This is a lot greener – far fewer travel miles.)

One thing struck me as ironic:

Why is it, when I can do all my work through the web, that most Salesforce consultancies are based in London? (with its inherent sky-high rents and living costs)?

Cloud Genius Ltd is different.

We practise what we preach. We do not ignore the world outside London.

We are proudly based in Wales. (The header picture of rolling hills is from a few miles away from our office.)
We will come to visit you to discuss your needs and deliver training.
The rest of the time we can do everything while in (the rather beautiful surroundings of) Wales.

All our work is cloud-based. We do not need a server room, or expensive air conditioning. Our data is protected in far more ways than if we had it in our office.

If you are in Wales and you have database needs, especially if they are customer relationship based, give us a call.

…and I forgot to mention. The lower running costs of working in Wales can be passed on to you!

Google Gmail reads your email – should you worry?

Google Gmail reads your email Microsoft Outlook.com scans your email. Is there a difference?

When my grandma went away on holidays, she always used to send us postcards. To slow down our post-lady from reading them, she would write the message upside down (compared to the address). An abiding memory is of said postwoman nearly falling off her bike when one of grandma’s postcards arrived. General email security is like that of a postcard. Emails fly around the internet fly around the internet without any form of envelope. They are in plain, open text and can be read by any of the computers that they pass through on their way from sender to recipient. Here is an advert with Microsoft’s (not impartial) take on the matter. http://www.keepyouremailprivate.com

Back in the early 1990’s, when the internet was young, most people had not heard of a computer virus. Then again, the internet was, for most people, very slow – it would have taken too long to download a virus. You would have simply cut the connection.

Now, everything has to be scanned for viruses, trojans, key loggers, ‘bots and countless other malware. Failure to do so would almost guarantee that your computer would become infected. There are also scams and charlatans on the internet who send out massive amounts of spam, hoping that someone will fall for their cons and tricks. We take it for granted that our email will be scanned to put malware in some safe dumpster and scams in our junk email (in case we did want to read about fake Rolexes and a chap who is having difficulty getting unfeasibly large quantities of money out of his bank account). In other words, a computer program reads your email and decides what is good for you and what is bad.

What Google then does is retain that list of words from the scanning and uses it to target adverts at their account holders when using Gmail on the web. Their calculation is that people will not mind a bit of advertising in exchange for free email. Being able to target the adverts to the recipient makes their advertising more likely to result in a sale for their advertisers (so Google sell more adverts). Is that wrong, or unfair?

Now, while that is (possibly) fine for a person who has signed up to Gmail. What about the sender or recipient who has not? If I send an email to someone with a Gmail account Google will read it. If that person sends an email to someone who does not have a Gmail account, Google will still read it.

There is no way to opt out.

An alternative is to download your emails with Outlook or Mac Mail or some other application, so that you do not see Google’s advertising (if you use a Gmail account). The emails will still have been read/scanned, but you will not see the adverts.

For total security, you can go down the Public-key Infrastructure (PKI) route. This encrypts all your traffic so that no-one can read (or scan) it. It will mean that you need the public encryption key of everyone you want to send an encrypted message to. (There are services to do this.) Recipients can then decrypt the message with their private key. You need to distribute your public key to everyone who will send you an email. (The clever bit about PKI is that the ‘public keys’ are truly public – you can distribute them freely or publish them on your web page. Only the private key, which allows the decryption, must remain private.) There are services that will distribute these keys for you. At that point we are heading towards James Bond territory.

 

The balance is between how important your privacy is to you, how much inconvenience you are prepared to put up with (e.g. distributing encryption keys) and how much you are prepared to pay.

You decide, please comment (below) and if you want to discuss the encryption options, get in touch.

John

John holds a CompTIA Security+ qualification and still uses Google Apps!
He also has the facility to encrypt emails.

DIY WordPress Websites – Free Guide

Dear reader,

I recognise that not everyone wants to sign up with our website services straight away.

Perhaps you want a free WordPress.com website and do it all yourself – to get going and try it out.

I have been writing a guide to help you do this.

The guide is completely free of charge. Just click the Download button.

Download

This guide will get you started using WordPress on WordPress.com.

With WordPress.com you will notice certain limitations. For instance, you cannot add new plug-ins. (These are extras for your website that add  functionality, like contact gathering, search engine optimisation enhancements, conversion of your WordPress site into a membership site, etc). Where these functions are present in WordPress, they tend to be less powerful than third-party versions. You are stuck with what WordPress lets you have (which, to be fair is pretty awesome).

With our WordPress sites hosted on our high-performance servers you get a lot more flexibility. The other thing you will find is that when you start paying for WordPress.com’s paid-for extras the costs start mounting up, quickly. So, when you are ready to upgrade to our servers, just contact us. We can transfer your pages and posts from your WordPress.com site, put it on a personalised domain. (Compare our cost for a domain name of around £6 per year to WordPress.com’s)

Most important thing is that you get started and Happy Web Publishing!

 

John

Download

PS This guide is a work in progress – as WordPress evolves the guide will need to evolve. You may feel that I have missed out something. Just email me at info@cloud-genius.com (click on the link) and I will get back to you. Your suggestion will help shape newer versions of the guide.

Spreading the Goodness – Community Spirit Partnership CIC

It is not often that I promote a particular client, so there must be a really good reason!

The reason is that they make life better for local communities.

Community Spirit Partnership (CSP) work with communities to bring about Neighbourhood Development Plans. These plans are for the betterment of the local community and they only become a reality if the whole of the local community keeps informed and is in agreement. (Not just the ‘interested few’ who are seeking to make the local area better for themselves.)

http://communityspiritpartnershipcic.orgAs you can imagine, this is quite a shift for many communities. Often there are those who get involved in local planning and ‘the rest’. CSP helps local communities get over these hurdles. It brings communities together. CSP itself is a cross between a company and a charity – a Community Interest Company (CIC), which is a special type of organisation that was created for just this sort of work. I have also known some of the people involved for more years than I care to remember – so I know that they are brilliant.

Throughout the planning and implementation process it is vital for the local community to be kept up-to-date. Part of keeping a community informed is an up-to-date website. One that is easy for the various parties to update, but allows for editorial controls, automatic, consistent formatting, allows for the posting of plans and comments and send out emails alerting people to updates and links in with social media and is rock solid…

Please check out CSP – their work is changing lives and communities. I cannot do them justice in this short article. Go to their website CSP for the full information.

It would also be GREAT if you would leave a comment. Go on – just hit that comment button. I don’t often open comments, but I would really love to know what you think about this.

Cloud Genius gets even better – a new association!

Cloud Genius is very excited to announce a new association.

We are very pleased to have many happy customers.  Now we can offer you even more!

From 1 November 2013 Cloud Genius will be working more closely with Naturally IQ  Ltd. The prime players in this are John Dray of Cloud Genius and Paul Ginsberg of Naturally IQ.

This new association of friends enables us to offer more support options and draw upon a broader range of Salesforce implementation experience.  We will, of course, maintain our ethos of transparency and flexibility that defines Cloud Genius and makes us so proud of our work.