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Debunking 3 Misconceptions About Our Online Data Backup

databackup

By Bert Hudson, Internet Solutions Specialist, Comporium

I’m starting this blog with good news. If your business uses Comporium’s High Speed Internet, you are entitled to our online data backup at no extra charge; it’s included in your monthly rate. Tier 1 Standard plans get 10 GB of free storage. Tier 2 Ultra plans get 15 GB of free storage. And Tier 3 Ultra plans get 25 GB of free storage.

Surprisingly, most of our business customers with these High Speed Internet plans are not taking advantage of the value-added service of free online data backup. Why?

The reasons vary, of course. But from my experience talking with business owners, there are common misconceptions that get in the way:

  1. “Comporium’s online data backup is probably expensive.” One of my top goals with this blog in to get the word out that free online data backup is included with our qualifying High Speed Internet plans. Cost is simply not a factor. You can’t get more affordable than free. There will only be a charge if the storage levels are exceeded, and that rarely happens.

  1. “I’m concerned that Comporium’s online data backup would be too difficult and/or time consuming.” This is not true. It takes only about 30 minutes to set up Comporium’s online data backup, and you’re prompted through the entire user-friendly process. There’s no need to hire an IT person to handle it. Once you’ve chosen which folders are to be backed up and the frequency you want it done, the backups will take place automatically.

  1. “My business already uses another form of data backup, so I don’t see the need for Comporium’s online data backup.” Even if your business is already using a data backup system — perhaps a paid online service such as Barracuda Backup, Iron Mountain or Carbonite, or an external device such as a Network Attached Storage drive — there’s a place for Comporium’s free online data backup. It makes an excellent secondary backup for critical data, which is invaluable in case of failure with your primary method.

I started this blog with good news, and I’ll end it the same way. The online data backup that comes with Comporium’s High Speed Internet is safe, secure and easily accessible. If you’d like to start using it, contact your Business Services Representative at 1.866.889.2667 or comporium.business@comporium.com to learn more.

Hosted VoIP Creates Greater Efficiencies

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By Angie Robitaille, Marketing Product Coordinator III, Comporium

In the business world, there’s no time to waste. To be competitive and profitable, your staff needs to make the most of every minute. Little wonder, then, that “efficiency” is one of the top search terms used when people are exploring new business technology.

If your business is still using legacy equipment such as landlines and TDM/PBX phone systems, you may very well be searching for more efficiency. You’ll find it with Comporium’s Hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solutions.

Why is Hosted VoIP more efficient than traditional phone systems? Because it offers an ever-evolving list of advanced features that streamline operations and provide more flexibility in how and where people work:

  • Businesses of all sizes are able to be more efficient because Hosted VoIP consolidates voice and data networks over a single connection, while giving voice calls priority over Internet and data traffic.

  • Business owners and employees need technology that helps them work more efficiently in today’s mobile environment. For example, salespeople who are frequently out of the office can take the many advantages of Hosted VoIP with them while on the road.

  • Broadworks Anywhere, a Hosted VoIP feature, allows employees to configure any device to ring their single office line. This means they can receive calls to that one phone number regardless of where they are — at the office, in a meeting, traveling or at home.

  • Broadworks Anywhere also allows employees to make calls from any device using their single office line. This is especially important for teleworkers, who want the office phone number to display when making business calls so the vendor or customer doesn’t have access to a personal phone number.

  • The Hosted VoIP webportal gives employees the ability to make changes to their office line anytime and anywhere they have Internet access. In addition, the conference bridge for group calls can be easily managed online through this webportal.

  • Offices in different locations, even in different cities or states, can be connected with Hosted VoIP and enjoy the timesaving convenience of four-digit dialing with co-workers.

In the interest of efficiency, next time you’re searching for ways to make your business more efficient, simply go straight to www.comporium.com.

Get Moving on Mobile Optimization

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By David Little, VP, Corporate Media Sales & Service

I want you to read this blog, but there’s something you need to do first.

Go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Site and enter the URL of your company’s website. A few minutes after you click the “Analyze” button, you’ll see a report on whether or not your website has a mobile-friendly design. You’ll find out, for example, if the text is too small to read on a smartphone, or if the content is too wide.

Why is this mobile-friendly information so important to know? Because marketing today is totally different than it was five years ago — both in terms of strategy and the mediums used. In the past, businesses just put an advertising image in front of a potential consumer. Today, the emphasis is on your company’s virtual doorway and how it displays in mobile search; buying decisions are being made based on content that appears on a mobile screen.

The hub of mobile search is your company’s website, so if it’s not designed for mobile optimization, there can be big problems. When customers visit your website using a mobile device and have to pinch the screen to make the content bigger, it means your website is not optimized for mobile. Research shows that 80 percent of people who land on a non-optimized site will not return to the site. But the non-returning visitor isn’t the only problem.

Another issue is search engine optimization. In May 2015, Google changed its algorithm based on a site being mobile friendly or not. (This move was called “Mobilegeddon” in the industry.) Search results now identify mobile-friendly websites, and those sites are pushed to the top of the list. Webites that do not have a mobile-friendly design end up farther down the list, lowering the chances of being found by prospective customers. Where do you want your company to be?

The good news is that ever since Comporium began focusing on website development seven years ago, we’ve always provided mobile solutions. When Google makes a change in what it wants, Comporium changes our services to accommodate the new algorithm. Whether your company is planning its first website or has one that needs updating, Comporium can help. Our professionals will walk you through the process of creating a mobile-designed site and make sure yours is ready to take full advantage of today’s mobile world.

To get an overall peek into what your company looks like online and how customers see you, go to Free Snapshot Report for an online business analysis report, at no cost to you, from Comporium Media Services.

Investing in Innovation is a Tradition at Comporium

Investing in InnovationBy Russell Cook, Managing Director of Comporium Ventures

After serving as a consultant for Comporium for more than five years, I’m honored to be a member of the team as managing director of Comporium Ventures. A major part of my job is to manage the existing investment portfolio, and to identify and recommend new opportunities to acquire or invest in innovative new businesses. These decisions are guided by four objectives:

  1. To provide access to new products and services to our existing customers. One example of this is Immedion, an enterprise-class, dedicated data center services provider, which recently opened its fifth data center in Rock Hill. Another is ReadyHome — Comporium’s home automation, energy management and security services offering. The platform technology for ReadyHome was developed by iControl Networks, based in Silicon Valley. Comporium was an early investor in this rapidly growing company. Through select investments, Comporium also offers additional home automation, connected vehicle, and state-of-the-art digital signage solutions.

  1. To expand our markets and geographic footprint. Continuing with the above example, Comporium’s investment in iControl Networks enabled us to not only offer ReadyHome services to our customers, but to also develop Comporium SMA Solutions, which is a provider of hosted security, home automation and energy management solutions for the cable industry. SMA Solutions is making it possible for other providers to get into the smart home category and thereby expand their markets.

  1. To leverage Comporium’s existing technology infrastructure, human capital, expertise and network channels. Some of our investments leverage Comporium’s engineering or IT expertise. In addition, we offer financial and legal strategy or marketing resources. There are many ways Comporium can provide value to emerging companies to help them grow and be successful.

  1. To generate a financial return. Like any business, Comporium needs a financial return on our investments in order to continue on our mission. We are not a traditional venture capital firm. We are a strategic investor and invest in companies that serve and leverage our core businesses.

Our portfolio has a heavy emphasis on companies related to the Internet of Things and smart home technology. Many objects in a home, from lighting to thermostats, can be controlled remotely with a phone or tablet. The connectivity of today’s world is exciting, and Comporium is in the connectivity business. I’m humbled to be working with such a talented team, and I can’t wait to see where the path of innovation will lead us.

Transylvania County is Impressive and Progressive

brevardncBy Frank Porter, General Manager, Comporium

As those of us who live here know, Transylvania County offers an abundance of natural beauty, a rich cultural scene and a good quality of life. Yet in today’s world, we need high tech along with high mountains. That’s why I give a “hats off” to the leadership of Comporium. They’ve invested heavily in Transylvania County, which sends the clear message that Comporium is here to stay and dedicated to helping this community become even stronger and more viable.

More specifically, Comporium has started a $5.6 million, two-year project to upgrade the cable infrastructure for most of Transylvania County. This cable infrastructure will replace the current DSL copper system and will offer tremendously faster Internet speeds of up 50 Mbps today with 100 Mbps in the near future. As of July 2015, about 500 of 8,000 cable modems have been installed, and our goal is to complete the project by the end of 2016.

What will this mean for the businesses of Transylvania County? It will, quite literally, put them on fast forward. A great example is Brevard’s lively art community. With the DSL copper system, artists were limited to a top Internet speed of about 12 Mbps. By contrast, the 50 Mbps speed available today through our new cable infrastructure will expedite the sending of large files containing photos and artwork. The same goes for the plans and drawings sent by architecture firms.

Teleconferencing is another area worth mentioning, since this business tool becomes more effective when combined with faster Internet speeds. After all, it’s hard to make a good impression during a teleconference if you’re using slow Internet.

Comporium’s cable infrastructure upgrade will also help attract new businesses to this area, since it contributes — along with things like the new free WiFi on Brevard’s Main Street — to Transylvania County’s reputation as being impressive and progressive.

If you have questions about how this cable modem project will impact you, call Comporium at 828.884.9011.

10 Reasons to Use an Off-Site Data Center

RacksBy Frank Mobley, Chief Executive Officer, Immedion

Think back to why you started your business. What were you passionate about? What products did you want to develop and sell? If you own a marketing business, for example, you were probably passionate about producing creative and effective marketing materials. But do you remember dreaming of buying servers, managing your own on-site data center, and handling IT issues? Probably not.

Here’s my list of 10 reasons to get out of the server business and use an off-site data center instead:

  1. Off-site data centers make the capital investment to ensure automated fail-over power and redundancy, which means uninterrupted power for zero downtime.

  1. Off-site data centers provide the proper heating and cooling necessary to protect your servers at your colocation site.

  1. Off-site data centers handle risk management better. They offer enterprise-managed services for disaster recovery, backup, network security and systems management.

  1. Off-site data centers protect your data with all the necessary safeguards to prevent intrusion. This is important for any business, and absolutely essential for ones engaged in healthcare, financial services and manufacturing.

  1. Off-site data centers handle disaster recovery with vendor-neutral systems. They feature sophisticated fire suppression systems to limit potential system loss as well as high-tech Level 3 security with biometric access and video surveillance. They are also equipped and located in areas that are protected and fortified against natural disasters such as floods, tornados, fires and earthquakes.

  1. Off-site data centers can offer cloud strategies and hybrid cloud solutions that grow with your business. This gives you flexibility to integrate both private and public cloud solutions side-by-side to manage workloads more efficiently.

  1. Off-site data centers offer reliable and redundant network connectivity with a full range of options including end-to-end networks to give you the best control and performance to optimize your infrastructure.

  1. Off-site data centers handle your bandwidth requirements and update their protocols as needed for B2B, B2C, system mirroring, backup to disk strategies and VoIP standards.

  1. Off-site data centers take the headaches out of meeting compliance standards.

  1. Off-site data centers save time and money, compared to maintaining your own on-site data center. These resources can then be focused on core competencies and business growth.

To learn even more reasons why an off-site data center could be a smart strategy for your business, visit www.comporium.com and schedule a tour.

What Can You Do With a Gig?

zipstream logo

By Matthew L. Dosch, Executive Vice President of Customer Operations and External Affairs

 

 

In June 2014, Comporium rolled out Zipstream, our Gigabit (Gig) broadband Internet service, in downtown Rock Hill. (As a reminder, one Gigabit is equal to 1,000 Megabits per second of Internet speed. This means that Zipstream is 85 to 100 times faster than the average home broadband service.) We deployed Zipstream in support of Rock Hill’s Knowledge Park economic development initiative, and thought it would primarily be used by software and tech businesses and small companies that download large files or many files – such as photographers, web marketing firms and architects. But we quickly discovered a much broader range of businesses were interested in Zipstream.

Why do businesses want Gigabit speeds? What can you do with a Gig? The simple answer is this: you can do whatever your business is doing now — data transferring, downloading and uploading — but it will get done in seconds instead of minutes, or minutes instead of hours. Gig speeds are a huge timesaver and productivity booster.

But it’s not only about moving files faster. It’s also about enhancing performance. Gigabit service from Comporium improves the quality of streaming video by vastly reducing buffering, and opens the door to the optimal use of real-time collaboration tools and cloud-based applications.

You may be thinking Gig service won’t fit in your budget. Think again. Zipstream provides a huge amount of broadband throughput for an affordable price.

I’ve talked about what businesses can do with a Gig. Now let’s think about what communities can do with a Gig. Attracting new businesses to our community was a driving factor in the launch of Zipstream by Comporium. Currently, Gigabit Internet service is available in relatively few markets across the country. Based upon our research of those other select markets where a Gig is available, we at Comporium are convinced there is a direct correlation between the growth of knowledge economy jobs and the availability of Gigabit Internet. And knowledge economy jobs are exactly what Rock Hill’s Knowledge Park economic development strategy is all about!

Gigabit service is available in Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Lancaster right now. We can’t wait to see what all of you do with a Gig!

To learn more about Comporium’s Zipstream service visit www.zipstreambroadband.com.

Why Winter Warm-Up Still Warms My Heart

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By Paul Kutz, Director of External Relations

One of my responsibilities as Director of External Relations is to channel the many requests for contributions — including vehicles, office equipment, volunteer hours, and money — we receive from the community. Comporium is committed to giving back to the communities we serve, and it’s an honor to be part of these life-changing projects.

I was asked recently if certain contributions were particularly memorable or rewarding for me. Many projects came to mind, but at the top of the list was the Winter Warm-Up coat drive held for the first time in January 2015.

The idea for Winter Warm-Up came from Stefanie Stacks, Marketing Product Coordinator at Comporium. She asked me if Comporium would be willing to match the coat donations received from the community. I agreed, and together we estimated about 100 coats might be collected (if we were lucky).

Comporium partnered with local TV news station CN2, Long’s Cleaners and United Way to hold the coat drive for new and gently used coats of all sizes. The drive took place in York and Lancaster Counties and in the Brevard community. Our timing was excellent, as these areas were experiencing some of the most miserably cold temperatures ever.

Holy cow! The community really responded to Winter Warm-Up! We reached 200 coats, then 300 coats, then 400 coats, and the numbers just kept rising. Stefanie took Comporium’s matching donation to Sam’s Club to buy more new coats, and the manager there got tears in his eyes about Winter Warm-Up. The store deeply discounted some of the coats and gave others to us for free.

After all the winter coats were collected and counted, the grand total came to 1,333.  United Way was astounded by how many coats we had and gratefully got to work distributing them to those in need.

The overwhelming success of Winter Warm-Up was such a pleasant surprise to me. Many community agencies, residents and businesses came together and bent over backwards for this new project. We were doing high fives at the end, excited about what we’d accomplished as a team. I want to thank everyone again for giving generously to Winter Warm-Up. It still warms my heart.

Technology is Key to Success of Remote Workers

Mobile Worker2By Gene Knight, Sales/Account Representative

 

Businesses with remote workers — people working from home all or part of the week — are more common than most folks realize. I’ve worked with all kinds of businesses in Comporium’s service area that use remote workers, including ones in the medical, financial, service, and manufacturing industries. Since office space square footage is often a big expense, using remote workers (and reducing these space requirements) saves these businesses money and boosts their bottom lines. In addition, offering work-from-home options has been shown to expand the talent pool, increase productivity, and improve employee retention.

I’ll share a first-hand example related to employee retention. I work with a local manufacturer that subscribes to our Internet service and Hosted VoIP Solution. This company had a valuable employee who lived in another city and wanted to work from home two or three days a week in order to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Management didn’t want this woman to leave and knew allowing her to work from home would help retain her. Because of Comporium’s communications technology, she now works with a configured VoIP phone that plugs into her home router; this enables her to answer and transfer calls while at home just as if she was at the office.

As an aside, it’s important to note that not all employees have the self-discipline to be successful remote workers. Businesses know this, and typically won’t offer a remote position to a “goof off around the office” type of employee.

Once you’ve identified the right people to work from home, you’ll need the right technology. Comporium has a long list of services to help remote workers maintain the same high level of professionalism while enjoying the flexibility of the home environment. Some of the most popular ones are:

  • Unified Messaging – It eases the management of messaging and workflow by having your voice mails forwarded to your email account.

  • Broadworks Anywhere – This service enables an employee to use his or her personal cell phone to call a customer without that cell phone number being displayed. Instead, the customer’s phone display will show the office number.

  • Meet Me Conference – Comporium’s conference bridge service is a powerful tool for businesses, particularly those with remote workers. Training or collaborative meetings can be held between in-office and remote workers without the expense of travel.

As communications technology advances, I suspect an increasing number of people will become remote workers. After all, it’s not about where you work; it’s about how well you work.

“A Few Bad Apples” Led to Open Internet Rules

NetNeutrality

By Greg Lunsford, Director – Revenue & Regulatory Affairs

On February 26, 2015, the FCC adopted Open Internet (also called Net Neutrality) rules designed to protect free expression and innovation on the Internet and promote investment in the nation’s broadband networks. When customers ask me about this issue, I tell them the new Open Internet rules are anti-climactic for Comporium; they will not really impact us. Why? Because Comporium never engaged in any of the banned activities in the first place. The FCC has said there will be:

  • No Blocking: Broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services or non-harmful devices.
  • No Throttling: Broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services or non-harmful devices.
  • No Paid Prioritization: Broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind — in other words, no “fast lanes.” This rule also bans ISPs (Internet service providers) from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.

At Comporium, we view these Open Internet rules as essentially unnecessary. Our entire industry is having rules applied to them because of “a few bad apples.” The fact of the matter is that occurrences of blocking, throttling and paid prioritization by unscrupulous ISPs have been extremely rare. Comporium would have preferred these occurrences be handled on a case-by-case basis. That said, we will recognize and respect the FCC’s order.

What I want the customers of Comporium to clearly understand is that Open Internet rules will in no way change the Internet service we bring to you. You will not notice anything different in the way your connection performs in terms of content access or speed. Comporium always has, and always will, run a high-quality, customer-focused network. We’re committed to bringing you a great customer experience, and that will never change.

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