Navigating Innovation Options| By |Michel van Hove

navigating innovation options

Innovation is a core business process

Most executives today would say that innovation is a core activity of their company. They speak about it in public as key to meeting their customers’ needs for new products and services and assert that innovation that keeps ideas flowing from inception to commercialization is key to building a sustainable business.

Resources are allocated, goals defined, responsibility delegated and periodical idea generation sessions organized. Big Data is high on everybody’s radar and used as input to identify opportunities. Processes to prioritize, conceptualize and commercialize ideas are implemented either within NPD or as part of a broader innovation portfolio approach.

Why is it then that so many executives still claim that results are not what they expect and after a few years of trying shut down innovation initiatives? What is different that makes innovation more difficult to embed in an organization than other core business processes? Why aren’t companies getting the results they expect? There are many innovation options to choose from but how do you make the right choices?

The innovation flavor of the month

We frequently see clients asking what to do to innovate and more specifically how to do it before addressing one other critical question: innovation to achieve what? It seems we’re most comfortable with the first two questions because they give us clear answers that we can translate into actions. As a result, many companies end up executing the hottest and latest approach in innovation they have heard of or read about.

Innovation labs, corporate incubators, startup collaboration, radical or breakthrough, open innovation, lean startup, co-creation, crowd funding etc. are all interesting innovation concepts that can potentially be used. But unless you know what you’re trying to achieve and why, it’s very unlikely that the individual innovation tactics you choose will lead to success. And, unfortunately, there is no generic innovation solution that works in every environment.

Navigating the Innovation Options

How do you navigate the increasingly complex landscape of innovation options and make choices that work for you? Here’s a very pragmatic way to get started that we apply when we work with clients on shaping their innovation agenda. It engages a group of senior executives and stakeholders and helps them to align their perspectives and ambitions for innovation, and understand choices and tradeoffs they need to make, before starting an innovation initiative.

This method addresses two overarching questions: “What is our vision of success for innovation in our business?” and “What should our innovation capability look like?”

Step 1 – Perspectives on the world around us

To start addressing this question, we first ask executives to look outside of the company and define what significant changes they see occuring around them now and in the future, what they believe the implications of such changes are for the company, and then to prioritize those that they can and should address with innovation. The outcome of this exercise provides the foundation and should be revisited periodically to assess if it is still valid. This provides a way to monitor whether what the company is doing still makes sense and deal with the inherent uncertainty associated with innovation.

Step 2 – Define the scope of your innovation effort

Next, we explore innovation scope: what types of opportunities at what stages of development will the work address, and how broad should participation be?. An innovation program designed to bring already-identified ideas to market with the most efficient use of employee time looks much different than a broad capability building effort aimed at white space. In many cases the answer lies somewhere in the middle: innovation isn’t an either or decision but a portfolio and resource balancing act. And, the conclusion shouldn’t automatically be that “everybody can and should be participating in innovation.”

Step 3 – Business outcomes

Innovation should be about delivering results and we need to be clear up front what we expect it to contribute. This shouldn’t be just about financial results but equally about other dimensions such as geographic footprint, category leadership, new ways of customer engagement, and/or establishment of new economic models. For example, when we defined the vision of success with the leadership of a Food and Beverage company, the expectation was that innovation should contribute to its market leadership in sustainability, as the senior executives saw that position as key to longer term survival.

At this point, you should give some thought to how you will measure the business outcomes you seek. Consider potential metrics for inputs (resource view), throughputs (productivity view) and outputs (results view) of the innovation system to obtain a complete picture of your innovation performance.

Step 4 – Organizational characteristics

Next, describe the organizational “future state;” what does the organization look and feel like in real terms, to deliver our chosen innovation scope? We ask clients to describe this in terms of transitions from the current state to the future state to identify gaps they must close to develop the cultural and organizational capacity to innovate.

For instance, at one recent client the innovation focus needed to be on commercialization and scaling of opportunities that were outside of their core business. This required a specific set of skills around defining business models and experimentation and less about “front end” discovery techniques.

Another client wanted to use innovation as the leverage point for cultural changes including a shift in leadership behavior from “telling” to “asking” and the establishment of much deeper empathy for customers’ challenges and desires across the employee population. These goals had direct implications for the design of the innovation program’s leadership learning agenda, skill-building activities, and metrics.

Step 5 – Barriers and Enablers

Identifying barriers and enablers for innovation is important to understand what to amplify, leverage or overcome. Often, the most critical barriers are not tangible processes or resource constraints, but embedded beliefs about how the business should operate. These beliefs in turn influence how the organization is structured, its processes, policies and behaviors and can prevent people from being effective and in the worst cases cause innovations to be stopped altogether.

One of our clients in industrial manufacturing observed that despite their ambition to innovate in areas beyond their core business, none of the ideas they had identified ever made it through to feasibility stage. A quick scan showed that resource allocation decisions were primarily being made on the basis of optimizing asset utilization and so only ideas that fit this agenda were progressed.

By identifying critical barriers and enablers, including belief-based ones, you can address them explicitly in the structure and resourcing of the innovation program.

Innovation Agenda

To complete your innovation agenda, build a migration map that highlights the various activities that need to be deployed, a 30/60/90 day detailed plan and how you will monitor and manage progress.

The result of this very practical exercise is a well defined and detailed agenda for innovation that is focused on results, clear on scope, and actionable in terms of building organizational capabilities that are right for you.

Equally important is that the senior people in your organization have participated in the dialogue, have a shared vision of success for the “why” of innovation, and are far less likely simply to invest in the latest innovation “flavor of the month.”

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Don’t Be Too Keen to Join the Rush to Mobile| By |Graham Jones

Mobile devices are everywhere. There is a good chance you are reading this on some kind of mobile, such as a tablet or smartphone. Most email these days is read on a smartphone, rather than on a desktop computer. And over a year ago, Google insisted that your website had to be mobile-friendly if it was going to get ranked in search results.

Mobile is king.

Or is it?

New research suggests that we are becoming so overloaded with mobile messages that we are shunning our smartphones.

The study found that the more messages people received, the more they were likely to give up using their mobile devices. Some people resorted to having a dual-sim device so that they could separate work from personal. Others changed their phone number, to avoid messaging from services that had their previous one. Some people even said they would give up their phones entirely.

Mobile technology clearly has its benefits, but the more we use them, the more we face “overload”. When you become overwhelmed with information and decisions to make about such information your brain says “forget this, you have better things to do”. Essentially, it is trying to save you the effort of having to deal with all the messages. That is part of a basic survival instinct that is embedded deep within your brain, attempting to ensure you do things with the least amount of effort so that you preserve energy for use in a crisis or threat to you.

The more that our mobiles become cluttered with messages and information, the more your basic survival instincts kick in, moving you away from using your smartphone.

For businesses this is crucial. The study found that people were more likely to give up their smartphones as a result of excess personal messaging than from an increase in commercial messaging. In other words, there is little the business world can do to protect itself from mobile overload because the main factor involved is the extent of personal messaging between friends. The fact that companies may be involved in lower levels of messaging means they end up being “collateral damage” in the fight against overload.

From a psychological perspective, our usage of smartphones is brand new. We may have had them for almost a decade, but our brains are not really used to them. When you compare the amount of time the human brain has had to learn to cope with writing, for instance, the smartphone is spanking brand new. Our brains are still trying to work out what to do.

When our brains don’t know what to do, they resort to basics. Give up; move on.

This new study is showing that happening. People have not yet developed the coping mechanisms to deal with mass mobile messaging, so the only way to handle things is to give up the mobile device. With increasing reliance on the mobile and more people sending more messages it is inevitable that more people will also give up using them. We could be near to the “tipping point” in the usage of mobile devices.

For your business, this means one thing: you need to ensure that your business can cope when fewer of your customers and staff are using mobile devices. What plans do you have up your sleeve to cover the inevitable situation where many of the people you are trying to contact will be limiting their mobile usage?

Don’t give up on the desktop; there is plenty of life in it yet.

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Understanding MU-MIMO Wireless| By |Juan Martinez

If you’re in charge of your company’s IT infrastructure and network monitoring, you’ve likely encountered the term “Multiuser Multiple Input/Multiple Output” (MU-MIMO). But for those who aren’t networking experts, especially if you’ve got those experts asking you to spend some bucks on it, it’s worth understanding MU-MIMO because not only can it radically speed up your wireless networking throughput, but it can potentially decrease the number of routers and access points you need. Put simply, MU-MIMO technology enables the simultaneous transfer and receipt of network data across multiple devices. In this piece, I’ll explain what MU-MIMO is, how it works, and how it benefits you—and I’ll try to put it in terms that don’t require an advanced degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Traditional routers, which operated with “Single User Multiple Input/Multiple Output” (SU-MIMO) technology, helped to propel the wireless data industry by sending information over a network to one device at a time. The routers were able to accept and send data similarly to how humans inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Oxygen comes in and carbon dioxide goes out. Following this metaphor, MU-MIMO technology would enable a human being to inhale and exhale simultaneously, without stopping or slowing either process. In real terms, MU-MIMO helps routers and access points maintain a steady flow of data to multiple devices at once, without stopping.

Here’s another way to look at it: Rather than sending data to devices in bursts (otherwise known as “packets”), MU-MIMO-enabled devices send a steady stream of content to multiple devices within your network, without pause or delay. Each device (up to four devices) receives its own independent stream so it’s not sharing bandwidth with other devices on the network.

With traditional SU-MIMU routers, multiple machines receive packets in shifts, which works well enough when bandwidth requirements are low. But, similar to the I Love Lucy episode in which Lucy and Ethel unsuccessfully gather chocolate balls off of a factory’s conveyor belt as the speed increases, if your bandwidth requirements grow, then your traditional router isn’t able to properly distribute the data fast enough to maintain steady operations.

How to Secure the Internet of Things Inside Your Home

How MU-MIMO Impacts You
MU-MIMO routers and access points distribute bandwidth into separate, steady streams that give each device the priority it needs to properly function. MU-MIMO routers offer 2×2, 3×3, or 4×4 stream varieties, which means you can run two, three, or four different streams for four separate devices without suffering any bandwidth congestion.

If your home or office uses the 802.11ac wireless protocol, then you can pick up a MU-MIMU router or access point for about $75 more than a SU-MIMO device. This is especially useful for spaces with more than three devices running simultaneously where latency issues are a hindrance to work or hardcore gaming.

Two-thirds of households with three or more persons have at least five devices simultaneously connecting to the internet, according to an IDC report. Most of these devices are streaming movies, games, and music—all while gobbling up precious bandwidth. The same report revealed that 42 percent of respondents suffered performance issues when playing video games, and 34 percent struggled to stream movies and TV shows. These issues will continue to worsen as homes adopt smart technology in traditional appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and thermostats.

IDC estimates that MU-MIMO routers can improve performance by 300 percent for all of the devices on your network, even if you’re running more than 2, 3, or 4 devices. That’s because each of the devices is receiving data simultaneously rather than waiting for individual packets to arrive. So, even though they’re not receiving individual bursts of data, they’re never not receiving data from the router.

What’s Next for MU-MIMO?
Today’s MU-MIMO routers don’t allow downlink connections so you’ll only see a difference in network performance when you’re receiving data from the internet as opposed to network uploads. In the future, you’ll likely see standards developed that allow MU-MIMO routers to, at the very least, aid in the upload process to improve uplink speed.

Additionally, MU-MIMO works better on devices such as TVs, desktops, and gaming consoles. That’s because movement befuddles MU-MIMO devices. Your smartphones and smartwatches will likely be relegated to SU-MIMO technology if you’re too active within the network’s boundaries. Don’t be too alarmed by this as most smart devices that have been built since the beginning of 2016 support MU-MIMO, so it’s likely that this issue will be resolved in short order.

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Yahoo!’s Security Breach And What It Means For Your Email Sending| By |Mylène Blin

Last week, the Internet was shaken by another scandal on data security. Yahoo! announced that the credentials of 500 million of their user accounts had been stolen back in 2014. We know you heard about this and have a million questions. Worry not, Mailjet’s here to make sure you know exactly what’s going on, how it may impact you as a sender and to help you tackle the consequences.

Wait, what happened?

On September 22nd, Yahoo! published an important message on their user security. It revealed a massive security breach going back to 2014. The credentials of 500 million Yahoo account users were stolen and had been put up for sale by a hacker (allegedly, the same hacker who had been involved in the Linkedin and Tumblr’s security scandals).

According to Yahoo!’s announcement, the data that had been stolen included:

  • Names,
  • Email addresses,
  • Hashed passwords,
  • Telephone numbers,
  • Dates of birth,
  • Security questions and answers.

Bank account data and protected passwords don’t seem to be among the stolen data, according to the investigation that is still ongoing.

Potentially affected users have been contacted by Yahoo! and all users are strongly recommended to change their passwords if they still use the same one as they had in 2014.

Does This Impact Me As A Sender?

Such a massive leak is likely to have a lot of consequences, and yes, it could have an impact on you. More precisely, it could have an impact on your deliverability.

Some Email Service Providers have already started reporting a high hard bounce rate linked to Yahoo! accounts. This may be related to Yahoo! deactivating accounts that would have been operated by the hackers who got access.

It is also likely that at least part of Yahoo! users might feel that their data isn’t secure anymore with that address. Imagine that your name, the keys to your place and your address had been out in the open for a year and a half. Some people will just change their lock, but others might even desert their house and move to a new one… Which means that a lot of people might give up their email IDs, close their accounts and move to new ones, resulting in a high number of hard bounces for your campaigns.

Nope, this isn’t the hard bounce we’re talking about.

Hard bounces are responses received from Yahoo! indicating the sender has sent to an invalid or inactive address. Hard bounce rates are part of the criteria Internet Service Providers use to gauge the quality of a sender’s list and reputation, so having a high hard bounce rate could potentially cause a negative effect on your deliverability.

Now you could be wondering: “If the issue is known, ISPs should be more flexible and raise their threshold when it comes to defining a bad level of hard bounce, right?”. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. These filters are operated by complex algorithms hunting phish and fraud, not by real humans. They track your metrics as a sender against what they deem to be “normal” for most legitimate senders.

So here’s what’s likely to happen:

  • If your hard bounce rate raises just a little, but the rest of your metrics are still OK and you’ve had good statistics, the impact will be minimal – perhaps just a few cases of emails landing in the junk folder.
  • If your hard bounce rate raises a lot, it might result in a lot of messages going to the junk folder while it remains high, and maybe for a few days after your rates are back to normal;
  • If you see a peak in your bounce rate, you may see some messages rejected, blocked temporarily by ISPs for several hours, or even several days.

What Can I Do To Limit The Damage?

In order to protect your sender’s reputation, we recommend that you monitor your bounce rate very closely. At Mailjet, we have a 8% bounce threshold within our sending policy. So make sure you keep an eye on it, as anything higher may result in a rate limitation.

We recommend that you remove all the bounce addresses from your contact list after each campaign that you send during the next few weeks. It might seem slightly painful, but it is definitely the quickest and safest way to get your bounce rate back to normal and limit the damage on your deliverability.

capture-decran-2016-09-29-a-16-14-08

If you want to address the Yahoo users who could be tempted to close their account but haven’t done it yet, you could create a segmented list that targets those with Yahoo contacts that have been “active” during the the last three to six months (those who opened/clicked in your recent campaigns). Send a specific campaign to offer them to update their preferences and give them a chance to provide a new email address to proactively ensure that your mail follows them to their new address.

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Are Your App User Acquisition Dollars Going to Waste?| By |Lauren Leonardi

Are you paying for thousands of customers every month, but only keeping hundreds?

Many apps are. App user acquisition is often a focus of marketing teams, and it’s easy to see why—you can’t gain new users without solid advertising and outreach efforts. But what happens to all those users?

According to our Spring 2016 Mobile Customer Retention Report, on day 14, retention rates land around 10%. By day 90, that figure drops to 4%.

That’s a huge issue for apps trying to continuously build their audience (and who isn’t?). To show how acquisition and retention rates impact growth month over month, and year over year, we’re taking the case of a hypothetical app with a hypothetical (but not uncommon) growth and retention rate, and seeing what happens.

Let’s walk through the math with an example

NoRegretz is the definitive (and entirely fictional) app for preventing drunk texts.

How it works: Users log drinks as they’re consumed, and after that third D’USSE, your phone cuts you off ‘til the following morning. Friends with permissions can also trigger the lock-down. (Don’t worry, customers are still able to access their safe list with names like Uber, Mom, 911, and Roommate.)

Why we care: They launched an acquisition campaign, and we’re going to learn from their mistakes.

In the first 30 days: They saw fantastic traction. Downloads poured in. Pun intended. So many people, it turns out, fear themselves with a few drinks in them enough to download an app that will lock them out of their own phones. The marketing team was excited. Their analytics team projected an acquisition rate of 3,000 users each month, for 36,000 at the end of the year! It looked like they were onto something…

Until month two: NoRegretz had acquired their 3,000, but at the 30-day mark, they realized they’d only kept 900. Each month, they were still acquiring 3,000 or so new users each month, but their total active users were far lower. Here’s what their retention rate looked like for users acquired that first month.

Retention rate

And for the sake of simplicity in this model, let’s say that every month over the course of a year, new users followed this same retention pattern.

Here’s what that looks like in terms of the total number of app users each month.

Total app users

…and so on. From month six and onward, NoRegretz was paying for 3,000 downloads a month and only gaining 150 total app users each month.

Total subscribers

By the end of that year: NoRegretz had a total of just 6,060 active users, and no one was sure what they’d done wrong.

True facts: sobering app retention rates

(…Yes, pun intended again)

It’s one thing for NoRegretz to get a bunch of people to download their app, and maybe use it once, but if that growth has no support, their hard-won users will be gone before they know it.

David Skok serves on the boards of more than seven successful digital businesses and calls himself a serial entrepreneur. In a piece for forentrepreneurs.com, he called high acquisition rates a startup killer.

Even as the number of apps installed on the average smartphone rose to 119, the number of apps that most people regularly use has declined, with the average user spending 80% of their mobile app time in their favorite three apps.

According to our research, early and consistent engagement is the key:

  • Only 55% of individuals who use an app in the first week after download will be retained (i.e. will show further activity over the next three months)
  • 90% of the people who engage weekly for the first month after download are retained, compared to only 23% of people who don’t engage in the second, third and fourth week

Any business, startup or established, needs to measure how much they can spend on acquiring each user against how much that user is likely spend over their lifetime with your service. Getting those eyeballs is key, but keeping them is even more critical. The good news is, keeping them is also less expensive.

Increasing retention by 5% can increase profits by more than 25%

A 1990 Harvard Business School study showed that increasing retention rates in any commerce-centered business could increase profits by 25%-95%. In 2000, the same group applied those findings to the world of ecommerce and “found classic loyalty economics at work.” This means that you can still increase profits in your business by putting the focus on retention.

How to implement long-term relationship efforts

Create an onboarding checklist to make sure you’re getting an early start on retention. Keep an eye out for customers who are beginning to engage less consistently and reach into your mobile messaging tool belt to see if you can draw them back in. Know where your customers are at each stage of their lifecycle, and have a plan to touch them as they move through the lifecycle and the funnel.

NoRegretz might be the smartest service to grace smartphones, but in today’s marketplace, an acquisition plan that excludes retention won’t get them too far. Retention plans and strategies can coexist beside any acquisition or engagement campaign. A bit like closing time, without retention, you might not necessarily have to go home. But you certainly can’t grow.

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Invest in Security Using a 4 Point Plan| By |Kevin Durkin

4_Point_Security_Plan_Blog_Bannerv3.jpg

In an earlier blog post I wrote about looking at security as an investment (as opposed to an expense), focusing on the value that an integrated cloud-native security platform can deliver to investors, board members, and C-Level executives. In this post, I’m going to broaden my focus to include some of the other issues you need to include in your “security as an investment” plan.

The Cyber Threat Landscape

But first, just to remind ourselves of the critical need for security, let’s take a look at the reality of today’s cyber threat landscape. The bad news is it’s a level playing field! All businesses are potential targets of cyber crime regardless of size or industry sector. The big companies (e.g., Target, Anthem, Home Depot, etc.) get the headlines, but no one, right down to the smallest entity, is immune.

Potential Consequences

The stakes can be significant. To start, there’s the potential for reduced investor confidence, a drop in share prices, and lower earnings. Because of a damaged reputation and shaken consumer confidence, you also need to factor in the risk of losing business from customers or partners who decide to go elsewhere. On top of this, your ability to attract and retain high calibre employees might be impaired if your reputation is suspect or is, in fact, damaged.

So there’s no way to rationalize away the risks and and possible consequences. You can’t say “We’re too small” or “Our information isn’t valuable enough.” In fact it might not even be your data that the “bad guys” are after. They might just want to hijack the processing power of your servers to carry out other nefarious activities.

A Four Pillar Plan

A proven way of preparing yourself to operate safely (and at cloud speed) in this environment is to use a proactive approach that centers on four areas: 1. Security Strategy; 2. Appropriate Technology; 3. Education; and 4. an Incident Management Plan.

Develop a Security Strategy

Before you do anything else, develop a comprehensive strategy that identifies, among other factors, your current security profile, your security objectives, the right people (in terms of roles and responsibilities as well as skills, knowledge, and abilities), operational processes, and technologies. Being strategic and proactive — conducting an analysis and developing a plan as opposed to jumping in with fire-fighting tactics — helps ensure that you have a complete, end-to-end approach to addressing your organization’s security requirements rather than a piecemeal solution that might contain gaps or unnecessary and expensive overlaps.

If you’re just starting your business, you can integrate a security strategy into your infrastructure and operations from the very outset. If you’re an established business, a security strategy gives you the opportunity to upgrade your security by retrofitting your operations in a calculated manner. Again, if you’re retrofitting your organization, you can look at this as an opportunity to consolidate and perhaps reduce the number of existing point solutions. The result should enable you to reduce CapEx, and by optimizing operations, you should be able to reduce OpEx as well, while obtaining better security intelligence, faster incident response times, and superior remediation solutions.

If you need to hire third-party experts during this phase, you should not hesitate to do so.

Choose Appropriate Technology

At the heart of your security strategy, make sure that you select an integrated, purpose-built, cloud-native security platform that covers all key areas (i.e., workload insights, threat intelligence, infrastructure monitoring, and vulnerability management) so you can quickly identify breaches and anomalies and take swift remedial action.

As a best practice, do not be tempted to deploy (or keep using) a series of point solutions: the result will inevitably be costly, cumbersome, and slow to use, and you’ll risk leaving gaps in your security coverage. Nor is it advisable to attempt building a homegrown solution: to put it bluntly, it’s not likely you’re in the security business and as such, you won’t have the right knowledge or resources. (For more on selecting appropriate technology, take a look at A Blueprint for Selecting Security Technologies Inside the Cloud.)

Educate Your Employees

The best technology in the world can’t protect your organization by itself because human factors have a huge impact on the strength or weakness of security. (Just think of Edward Snowden’s unauthorized use of a USB drive.) With that in mind, you should develop a culture that is informed by a sense of awareness, knowledge, and responsibility, and where all employees have good security habits and behaviors.

To this end, help your employees develop an understanding of the importance of good habits by making security training an ongoing part of your organization from onboarding through to final exit. Make everyone responsible for security, and point out how simple behaviors, such as poor password practices or the improper use of USBs can create critical vulnerabilities. Train your employees to use good security habits, and explain how basic practices, such as the use of password managers and Multi Factor Authentication, can significantly strengthen your organization’s security posture.

To recap, security is a highly specialized area, but it should never be handled by the “security group” alone. To be effective, it must be the combined responsibility of everyone in the organization from the boardroom on down.

Develop a Crisis Response Plan

After all is said and done, things happen. As Robert Burns put it (more or less), “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” and in spite of your strategic security plan, choice of technology, and employee training, breaches will occur. With that in mind, you need to develop a Crisis Response Plan that will let you manage a cyber security crisis in a structured and thorough manner.

The exact makeup of the plan will vary depending on the size of your company, the nature of your business, laws that govern your industry, etc., but it should, at a minimum, define the objectives of your response, the makeup of your response team, roles and responsibilities, key activities, a timeline, key contacts, and contact information. You can start by preparing a basic plan that you can then scale as your organization grows and becomes more complex. Of course, the internet is a great source for guidance and templates, as the following resources indicate:

A Final Word

Does all of this sound familiar? Probably — because there’s nothing new in what I’ve said. But the question is: Have you acted on it in your organization?

Most people know they need life insurance and a will, but how many procrastinate on putting these in place? Remember: none of the rationalizations (“It’ll never happen to us,” “We’re too small,” etc.) are legitimate. To make your investment in security pay off, you need to be proactive. You need to act now!

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5 Reasons to Turn Off Your Cloud Servers When You’re Not Using Them| By |Jay Chapel

When you spin up a cloud computing server, the easiest thing to do is to leave it running. In fact, it’s easy to forget it’s running at all.

Don’t do this!

Non-production servers – those used for development, staging, testing, etc. – are generally only needed during the regular workday. That means that for upward of 65% of hours of the week, they’re running when no one is using them.

You should absolutely turn those servers off at those times. Here are five reasons why.

1. To Save Money

turn your servers off, save money!

The core cloud computing services offered by every major provider are charged by the hour (or minute). It’s like a utility: if you leave the lights on, you’ll be charged for the electricity, whether you’re in the room or not.

Simply by turning servers off on nights and weekends (leaving them running only 40 hours of a 168 hour week), you can save about 75% of their cost. Depending on the size of your infrastructure, that can mean thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars per year. This alone is a huge motivator for many companies to put off-time policies in place.

2. To Improve Security

It’s pretty simple: if your servers are turned off, they are much harder to hack. It also simplifies the surrounding active security measures that are necessary when your servers are running. They don’t need to be monitored by the network operations center; they don’t need to be virus scanned; there is less traffic for the packet sniffers to have to process; and you don’t have to worry about unauthorized login attempts after hours.

3. To Reduce Environmental Impact

green-data-centerIn aggregate, cloud computing customers have enormous potential in their hands to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions. If you turn off your instances when they’re not being used, you free that space for other, active instances. Together, this helps create the cloud ideal: efficient data centers. And the more efficient each data center is, the fewer data centers are needed.

While AWS and other cloud service providers are making efforts to use more renewable energy sources and reduce carbon emissions, today they are still a huge drain of non-renewable resources – which makes efficient use of current infrastructure all the more important.

4. Because Werner Said So

At the recent NYC AWS Summit, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels really did tell his users to turn off their instances when they go home for the night. Werner cites cost savings and eliminating waste. “Waste is anything that doesn’t benefit your customers.”

What better endorsement do you need?

NYCsummitwerner

5. For Peace of Mind

When you turn your servers off when you don’t need them, you’ll be able to rest with a smile on your face, knowing that you’re doing your part to protect the environment, stay secure, and save money.

Finally, let’s address how you can turn your resources off when you don’t need them at night and on weekends. You could do this manually, by logging into your cloud service provider every afternoon to turn them off, but inevitably, you will forget – not to mention how much work this is.

In fact, the easiest way is with an automatic schedule. Just set and forget! Try ParkMyCloud’s automatic on/off schedules now with a free 30-day trial. Get started now.

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