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Cloud storage strengthens biz

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Archiving records has been considered an uphill battle for organisations for decades. While the format of these records have changed from paper to pixels, the battle is far from over. Cyber resilience expert at Mimecast, NICK SAUNDERS, provides some benefits of cloud archiving.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way and organisations that have made the switch from an on premise to cloud archive, have found that archiving can actually simplify how they do business, rather than causing unnecessary stress. Good archiving allows you to find specific records as and when needed, and helps you comply with stringent data storage regulations, such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

But organisations need to see an archive as more than just an old storage box that’s an unwanted necessity, and rather as something they can get value out of. Well-organised, easily searchable and secure records are a business competitiveness booster– and here are just four reasons why by Nick Saunders, cyber resilience expert at Mimecast:

  1. Higher Productivity

Huge volumes of unstructured email data are like the proverbial haystack when your employees are looking for a specific needle of information. Easy access and functional searchability are therefore a must for any email archiving solution. With less time spent trawling through records, or waiting for IT departments to locate specific documents, employees are free to draw insights from email histories and apply them to current issues or opportunities. And enabling access to archives via the cloud and mobile devices when employees are on the move, improves day-to-day efficiency.

  1. A Rock-Solid Plan B

Cyber-attacks, natural disasters or unavoidable downtime – there’s no shortage of ways that businesses can lose email for even a few hours and face significant losses.  Having a tamper-proof email archiving system in place insures your business against data loss, should your primary email system be compromised. In the event of an unexpected outage, cloud-archived email records mean your organisation can be up and running again in minutes. Simply put, no disaster recovery or digital business continuity plan is complete without a solid email archiving solution in place.

  1. Regulatory Compliance

POPI has driven organisations to sort out their data practices and avoid hefty penalties from mismanagement of sensitive personal information. And, come May 2018, businesses with customers in the EU will have to be compliant under the EU GDPR. Both regulations require strict adherence to many aspects of data safety, and a complete and reliable archive can help organisations when a compliance issue arises. Furthermore, e-discovery functions of an archive will allow organisations to speedily and accurately sift through terabytes of email threads – significantly strengthening how organisations respond to regulatory queries.

  1. Lower Maintenance Costs

Maintaining traditional archives on site rather than in the cloud is a costly exercise, requiring significant, recurring resources to keep them regularly updated. This could tempt IT departments to skip the tasks of implementing important patches and fixes in their system, which only results in additional maintenance costs further down the line. A cloud-based third-party archiving partner will take the manual work out of the equation, keeping records perfectly up to date, and at a lower cost than if a business had to do it alone.

As the data avalanche continues, email is set to become a bigger and more business-vital repository of information than ever before. Businesses would be wise to begin their email migration to the cloud sooner rather than later, through cloud providers like Mimecast who can do it better, faster, cheaper and more effectively.

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2-in-1 devices may save PCs

Overall PC sales are expected to decline over the next four years, while 2-in-1 PCs are expected to grow over the same period.

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Shipments of personal computing devices (PCDs), inclusive of traditional PCs and tablets, are expected to decline at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of -2.4% over the 2019-2023 forecast period. However, 2-in-1 devices (convertible PCs and detachable tablets) and ultraslim notebook PCs are expected to grow 5% collectively over the same period. According to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, overall PCD shipments will drop below 400 million in 2020, which would be the first time this has happened since 2010, the year the original iPad launched. The bright spots in this challenged category have been thin and light products and detachable tablets, which includes Apple’s iPad Pro devices and Microsoft’s Surface tablets.

“So far in 2019 we’ve seen some unexpected positive trends within the traditional PC market,” says Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “The commercial demand driven by the approaching end of support for Windows 7 was somewhat expected and still leaves room for growth in the second half of 2019. But we’ve also seen some surprising areas of consumer demand. Concerns about whether tariffs will drive consumer costs up has many vendors trying to put product into the channel early, so the real focus will be monitoring sell out for the remainder of the year and into 2020.”

IDC anticipates a splintering of the 2-in-1 category as Apple and Microsoft continue to push forward the detachable form factor while other PC vendors continue to promote convertible PCs. Looking ahead, IDC expects iOS detachables will capture almost one quarter of the 2-in-1 market throughout the forecast.

Jitesh Ubrani research manager for IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers, says: “Apple’s support for a physical keyboard by adding a smart connector to the 2019 iPad and the launch of iPadOS will help to further cement detachables as a viable alternative to modern notebooks and convertibles.”

Outside of the growth from these modern form factors, the introduction of 5G will also play a role in the PCD market, although the ramp is expected to follow smartphones. IDC forecasts that by 2023 10% of detachable tablets will have built in 5G, which is in addition to another 29% running 4G. Meanwhile, the number of ultraslim and convertible notebooks with cellular connectivity is also expected to grow with a double-digit CAGR.

Personal Computing Device Forecast, 2019-2023 (shipments in millions)

Product2019 
Shipments*
2019 
Share*
2023 
Shipments*
2023 
Share*
2019-2023 
CAGR*
2-in-140.910.2%47.513.0%3.8%
Desktop + Desktop Workstation92.423.0%77.521.2%-4.3%
Notebook + Mobile Workstation73.018.1%47.713.0%-10.1%
Slate Tablet116.028.8%93.825.6%-5.2%
Ultraslim80.019.9%99.327.1%5.5%
Grand Total402.2100.0%365.7100.0%-2.4%
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, September 11, 2019

Notes:

* All figures represent forecast data.

  • Traditional PCs include Desktop, Notebook, and Workstation.
  • 2-in-1 devices are a category including convertible PCs and detachable tablets. Convertible PCs are notebook computers equipped with an integrated keyboard and display that can be used in either a traditional notebook configuration or a slate configuration. A detachable tablet meets all the criteria of a slate tablet but is designed to operate with a first-party keyboard designed specifically for the device.

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Launching a website? Follow these SEO tips

By KATIE CHODOSH, content consultant at TopLine Comms

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There is an abundance of small businesses in South Africa and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) could be the key to getting them off the ground. SEO isn’t easy, but it’s crucial for company growth. When done right, it can help businesses beat out their competitors (both on a national and global scale) and secure quality leads. As a B2B SEO agency, we spend a lot of time working with clients on their company’s SEO strategy (both in South Africa and the UK) and have seen them reap the benefits. 

Launching a new website provides the perfect excuse to create an SEO strategy. As tempting as it is to get writing straight away, there are many elements to SEO that you need to consider before you put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). We’ve managed plenty of site launches from an SEO perspective (including our own website, TopLine Film, earlier this year) which means that we have a blueprint to work from.Here’s what we’ve learned over the years. 

Get ready to launch

There’s a lot of planning that goes into launching a websiteand you need to have a good understanding of SEO before itgoes live. Google’s resources on how search works and its SEO Starter Guide are good places to start.

Next is your keyword research. Keywords are what your audience are actively searching for and the terms that you want to rank for. The research itself will help you get a better understanding of your target market and might even get you thinking differently about your business. Moz has a good beginners guide to keywords and is also a great tool for carrying out keyword searches.

Once you’ve identified your keywords, you’ll want to sort them by bottom, middle and top of funnel. Those at the bottom are the closest to checking out (i.e. they already want your product). Those in the middle are looking for further information and those at the top are just browsing, generally looking for answers to a problem they’re having (their keywords tend to be questions). From there, you can plan your parent and child pages, as these should be based on bottom funnel keywords. 

Then you can plan your site directory. You need to organise your website in a way that Google deems logical. It’s worth checking out Google’s own resources on site hierarchy to make sure you get it right.

After you’ve completed all these steps, you can think about drafting your website content.

Start writing

Now that you’ve done all the preparation and have all your keywords to hand, you can get writing. The main things to consider are:

  • Your key messages. Make sure relevant key messages are included throughout.
  • Top, middle and bottom funnels. Remember those in the top, middle and bottom funnel, and consider whether your content is catering to them.
  • Consider your target audience and their intent. Try to consider what the searchers are looking for, rather than just giving the information you want them to have. Focus on their pain – if they’re asking a question, answer it before moving on to your key message. You want your audience to feel satisfied with the information they’ve been given, not hoodwinked into purchasing your product.
  • Content length. It’s worth looking at the current page one results for your target keyword to see what the content looks like so that you can write something better.
  • Keywords. Make sure your target and secondary keywords are mentioned throughout (without being too forced – Google will punish you for that).
  • Relevant details. There are certain details that you need for an SEO friendly page, including a title tag, header tagand meta description. All should include the target keyword.
  • Your URL. Ideally, the URL will include the target keyword and be under 60 characters.
  • Images and video. If you’re including images and video, help Google out by giving them descriptive captions, file names and surrounding text.
  • Internal links. Make sure you’re linking to other pages on your website as often as possible. Also make sure to give those links a proper description (i.e. don’t say ‘if you want to see more, click here.’ Instead, say ‘click if you want to learn more about XYZ’.).
  • A content calendar. Google will reward you for quality over quantity, so it’s worth spending time creating a content calendar of about two interesting blog posts a month. 

Once you’ve got your content down, you can find a web agency and produce a brief or get ready to do it yourself. Either way, you’ll need to start tracking your keywords and doing technical spot checks with Search Console. SEO doesn’t stop the moment your website launches – it’s a long-term game that needs constant attention. But it’s all worth it when you start getting some quality leads. Keep at it and it could make a significant difference to your business.

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