Nashville IT Services

Atiba’s Top 10 Holiday Tech Gifts Guide

It’s been a long year but somehow we’re almost at the end of a 2020 none of us expected. As the holidays rapidly approach, everyone is on the hunt for the perfect gifts to end 2020 on a high note. And this year, perhaps more than ever, tech gifts just make a lot of sense. We’ve all come to depend so much on our tech this year. It’s been our bridge to work, family, and friends.

This year, we compiled a list of tech gifts that make the most of tech’s entertainment, work-from-home, and socializing abilities. The entire Atiba team chipped in to help create this year’s Atiba Top 10 Holiday Tech Gifts Guide. From nostalgia to cutting edge, the list has something for everyone.

  1. NVIDIA GeoForce RTX 3080 10GB GDDR6X PCI Express 4.0 Graphics Card

This is a very cool techy gift for the techy gamer in your life. If this were jewelry, it would come in a little blue box. This little powerhouse provides exceptional gaming performance. It drastically improves graphics processing to boost speed, which any real gamer will appreciate. It’s definitely a gift for a real techy but if that’s who you’re shopping for, they’ll be seriously impressed you found this. From the reviews, this gift can be hard to get your hands on so snap it up if you find it in stock and make someone’s holiday!

Buy Here Link

 

2. Unicomp Ultra Classic Model M Black Buckling Spring 104 Key USB Keyboard (AKA World’s Noisiest Keyboard)

This one is a trip down memory lane. This keyboard is modeled after the keyboards designed by IBM over 20 years ago. Remember sitting in class, playing Oregon Trail, and hearing the clickity-clack echoing all over the room as your fellow 5th graders floated across rivers and lost family to dysentery? Well, that clicking you remember wasn’t from wagon wheels, it was from those old keyboards with spring-loaded keys.

And while many of us moved on to quieter, rubber dome models, many folks miss the old style. The old design was intentionally loud and spring-loaded. The design helped improve accuracy and reduce the impact on your fingers as you type. For the techy who knows the history and design intention of these retro keyboards, they’ll appreciate the thoughtful gift. And who doesn’t enjoy a little nostalgia? These can be hard to find in stock so if you’re in the market and find one, snatch it up!

Buy Here Link

3. GALAXYCOVE Projector 

When we’re spending so much time at home these days, it’s nice to have anything that refreshes our space and gives us a little escape from the ordinary. This little gadget can transform a room into a sea of stars and color. It comes preloaded with 6 constellation settings but you can also sync your favorite music to create an absolutely immersive light and sound experience in your own home. It’s a very cool gift for the techie in your life, young or old.

Buy Here Link

4. PlayStation 5 

This one doesn’t need much explaining. We all know what makes a PlayStation 5 an awesome tech gift. It’s fun. It’s powerful. There are games for the whole family to enjoy together or solo. And, added bonus, this console won’t look hideous in your living room. The sleek and modern design is as beautiful as the gameplay graphics. Even the accessories embody sophistication and elegance. We’re all spending a lot of time at home right now. And as temps drop, you’re going to love having this hub of entertainment literally at your fingertips as you snuggle under a blanket on the couch while hunting ogres, racing cars, or whatever you love in a video game. Techie or not, there aren’t many people who wouldn’t love unwrapping this gift. Find it, buy it, love it.

Buy Here Link

 

5. Samsung Space Saving 32-Inch 4K Monitor 

A lot of us have crammed our offices in our homes this year. And if you found that all that work stuff is taking up a lot of valuable home space, you’re going to love this gift. This clever monitor design takes up minimal space and easily adapts to the surroundings. And it does that without satisfying quality.

the monitor has a very usable 32-inch display, rich with 4K graphics. It also has a frameless bezel screen on 3 sides, making the most of space by showing screen, not frame. It looks like work-from-home is going to stay part of our working lives for a long time. For the person in your life who needs a little more home and a little less work, this is a fantastic, thoughtful gift.

Buy Here Link

6. TC-Helicon GO XLR 4-Channel USB Streaming Mixer with Voice FX and Sampler

Whether it’s for work or play, there are a lot of audiophiles who found themselves locked out of their sound booths this year. If you have a creative techie in your life who wants to create high-quality radio, podcasts, or other audio files from home, they’ll absolutely love this gift.

It’s the command center a home streaming audio setup needs. Complete with a mute switch for coughs and a censor button for words not fit for the holidays. Easy to set up, the small but powerful hub integrates with mikes, PC line audio, gaming consoles, and more. It’s the ham radio for the modern creative.

For the techie in your life who wants to sound professional while at home in loungewear, this might be the perfect gift.

Buy Here Link

 

7. Raspberry Pi 400

This gift is as cool as its name is cute. It’s a complete personal computer built into a keyboard. That’s cool, right?! It’s a great gift for anyone who wants a portable but powerful solution for computing. Just plug into a screen or dock and jump in. It’s a thoughtful gift that’s perfect for the whole family. It’s an easy to use, easy to carry, easy to store solution for shared spaces, small enough for your 2nd grader, and powerful enough for your home office, it’s made for many users.

Just plug into your monitor, or with their dual display output your dual monitors, and get to work. It makes sharing desk space easy while also creating a great pc experience. And with its quad-core 64-bit processor, 5GB of RAM, wireless networking, dual-display output, and 4K video playback, it’s loaded with all the bells and whistles we love. You have the option to purchase the kit, complete with mouse, power supply, HDMI to HDMI cable, and SD card. But if you have all that gear already, you can buy just the keyboard. Everything about this cool gift is designed around flexibility and accessibility. It’s thoughtful and cool and we think it’ll make a great gift.

Buy Here Link

 

8. LapGear Designer Lap Desk with Phone Holder and Device Ledge

Good things have a way of sticking around. While the lap desk isn’t a new concept, this design is updated with your tech in mind. Many of us found that working from home really meant working from the couch. And while it’s cozy, it isn’t always functional to work without a desk. This design has thousands of positive reviews for its comfort and durability. It comes in two sizes (15.6 – 17.3″ laptops) and multiple colors and prints. It’s comfortable, it’s classic, it’s functional. It’s a great gift for your tech user.

Buy Here Link

 

9. Chromecast with Google TV

If this year hasn’t made a streamer out of you nothing will. But in case you have someone in your life who hasn’t made the switch yet, a Chromecast with Google TV is the perfect gift. Even those with low tech skills can install and use this streaming device. And with all the cool integrations with Google Home and other Google services, it can turn any home into a smart home.

It’s designed for almost any user but smart enough to customize. It even makes personal recommendations and has a voice-enabled remote. How cool is that?! And you don’t have to worry about switching from app to app to find your favorite content anymore. Chromecast puts everything on one screen making browsing easier and watching faster. Techy or not, they’ll love this gift.

Buy Here Link

 

 

10. Apple Pencil

This might be the coolest Apple accessory out there. The Apple Pencil just doesn’t get enough credit for making apple devices cooler and better to use. Like all Apple products, it’s thoughtful design and beautifully crafted. While touchscreen has changed so many things for the better, for anyone who loves to draw or take notes, the tech was missing that function for a long time. The Apple Pencil feels and works like pencil on paper, taking into account pressure and tilt, with almost imperceptible lag, and impressive precision. It’s also easy to keep up with and charge with it’s magnetic attach and wireless charging.

In short, it’s really cool and makes a great tech gift.

Buy Here Link

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

Well, that’s our list. We think there are some really cool tech gifts out there and these are just a few of our favorites. We’ve been spending a lot of time at home and these gifts should make it a little more fun and functional to work, play, and get through the rest of this crazy year. Whether you’re shopping for a super techy or just someone who needs better tech, these gifts are a great way to show you know them, love them, and want to bring them a little happiness. It’s why giving is better than receiving. That’s what we hear.

As we move out of 2020 and into a new year, we can’t wait for more cool tech. Even when things get tough, tech stays cool and offers new ways to connect, work, and play. We love being part of it and we’re so glad you’re along for the ride!

Why Server Management is Critical for Your Business

why server management is important

As sleek and attractive as tech has become over the years, it’s easy to forget that the backbone of almost all systems, networks, and business IT are non-descript server boxes, humming away on a shelf in a room. Whether that server room is on-site at your business or in a warehouse owned by a hosting service, all server systems require management. It almost goes without saying, but server management is critical for your business.

What is Server Management?

The basic definition of server management is monitoring the components of a server to ensure it functions securely and effectively. In order to that properly, you must focus on four main areas:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Security
  • Backups

These four areas are the core of any server management program and having solid knowledge of these areas will help you maintain your server.

In addition, there are three basic tasks that must be followed when maintaining and managing your servers.  These break down into monitoring, updating, and setup. In reality, there could be more but those services and tasks will vary depending on the needs of your business as well as the capabilities of your server managers.

managing your server

Hardware

Inside the little black boxes humming away on shelves in a server room are some basic components. All servers have processors or CPUs. You can consider those the brains of your server as they do all the computing work. You’ll also have a temporary memory (RAM) and permanent memory (Hard Drive).

All three of these components have limits. Too many processes running at one time can hurt your RAM while a lack of permanent memory can hurt performance.

When those limits are near or at capacity, the performance of the entire server can suffer.

CPU (Central Processing Unit) 

For those of us working from home, distractions may have increased. The TV in the adjacent room, the living room floor in need of sweeping, or kids running around. With so many distractions, it makes it much harder to focus on important tasks. CPUs operate in a similar way.

It’s important to monitor not just how much bandwidth is being used on your CPU but it’s also worth seeing what that volume is composed of. You can probably ignore the TV easier than a curious child shuffling papers on your desk. In a similar manner, some programs are a greater strain on your CPU than others. It’s worth checking how that CPU is being utilized and ensuring it’s the best use.

If you do find that your CPU is near or at capacity and your server performance is suffering, there are always forms of upgrading your CPU. But it might be cheaper, easier, and faster to identify and eliminate unnecessary usage. Running an audit on your usage is vital

There are also physical considerations with your CPU that we’ll discuss in the environment section below.

RAM (Random Access Memory)

RAM is your temporary memory. Your system uses RAM because it’s faster than utilizing permanent storage and not everything needs to be stored permanently, anyway.  How much you need depends on how you use your server. The number of users, the amount of traffic, your security profiles, etc. all determine how much you’ll need.

Like the CPU, being close to or at the limits of your RAM will negatively impact server performance. The most likely symptom of overloaded RAM is sluggish performance. And while systems are designed to add or remove RAM, your software and CPU likely both have minimum and maximum limits. Knowing your system’s limitations ahead of time will help you manage RAM.

Hard Drive (Hard Disk)

hard drives servers

The hard drive is your system’s permanent memory. Data stored in your hard drive is there even when the machine is shut down.

Like RAM and CPU, when you approach or reach capacity, the performance of the server suffers. Creating space by deleting unnecessary data, adding additional hardware, or supplementing with cloud storage are a few options to improve hard drive capacity. Depending on your system, you may also have options to check the general health, reformat, and make repairs to your hard drive.

SSDs or HDDs?

Although SSDs have been around for quite some time, they are still far from the norm. Many businesses find themselves asking which would be better, a hard drive or a solid-state drive?

SSDs have a number of advantages. They are faster, consume less energy, and take up less space. They are, however, more expensive.

HDDs, on the other hand, are slower, consume a bit more energy, and are larger. But, they’re cheaper.

For many, the answer is both.

Many businesses use SSDs for their high-performance applications or boot drives. HDDs can be used for large data storage that doesn’t need a high-performance application to run properly.

Environment

The environment of your servers is important if you choose on-premise servers. Unlike many modern electronics which increasingly are designed to survive all kinds of environments, servers have pretty specific needs.

Servers generate a lot of heat and require a reliable power source. Which means you’ll need a well ventilated, likely air-conditioned space (unless you’re rubbing elbows with polar bears), and a battery backup in case of power outages.

Creating and maintaining an environment where servers are powered and cooled isn’t necessarily complicated but it is important that it’s done correctly. Your whole system likely depends on it. Failure to keep your CPU at the proper temperature, for example, could result in serious and permanent damage. Ouch.

Software

Even if you do everything right with your hardware, failure to maintain your software means you’re just shooting yourself in the foot. Software running on your servers also requires regular maintenance in the form of monitoring performance and completing any updates. All users with admin profiles should be educated on and expected to perform necessary updates.

Assigning oversight and responsibility to an IT administrator or manager can also ensure that sweeps and audits keep software in good shape. A dedicated IT professional can also pair software and hardware that complement each other as not all software and hardware work well together. A knowledgeable and qualified professional can help you find the best software and hardware partnerships.

Security

There’s no overstating the importance of a good security strategy for any business IT system, least of all servers. Since servers are literally where your data is stored in RAM and Hard Drive memory, you can’t do enough to protect it. Ransomware attacks and other security breaches can cause serious damage to your business.

Your server security plan should include antivirus software, firewalls, password policy, access control software, and encryption. Ensure that you also have a system in place to report and record system activities (otherwise known as SIEM – security information and event management). You should always have a way to monitor what’s happening on your servers, by who, when, and where.

Backup

backing up your servers

You’ll likely put a lot of time, money, and effort into creating a server system to support your business. In the event something nefarious or catastrophic happens to your systems, a backup ensures that the irreplaceable data your servers house isn’t lost.

Here are a few things to consider when creating a backup strategy:

  • What is getting backed up?
  • Where is it getting backed up?
  • How often is it getting backed up?

Obviously, the more data, on a more frequent schedule, and the more places all provide the best outcomes if servers ever fail. Another option for backing up your data is to migrate over to the cloud.

And if you keep your servers in-house, don’t forget a battery backup for your power source. A power outage in your server facility can put a serious cramp in business, creating delays, gaps, and even larger system outages.

Creating a Server Management Strategy

Now that you know the basics of what needs to be monitored to manage a server, let’s talk about how to actually put a management strategy together. There are three questions you can ask yourself to create your server management strategy.

  1. Will our servers be in-house?

    • If you choose to have servers in-house you’ll need to ensure you have enough appropriate space to house them. You’ll also need a qualified IT tech to help you buy and install your server systems.
    • You need to plan and budget for equipment upgrades, repairs, and replacement. Most estimates consider server lifespan to be around 5 years. While upgrades and part replacement may extend server life up to 10 years, you may find that it outlives it’s cost-effectiveness long before it quits functioning.
    • If you choose a virtual cloud solution, make sure you find out how often you can upload and download data from your servers, what the cost of uploads and downloads is, and what their options are to grow or shrink your service as your needs change.
    • You should also investigate ways to migrate any existing data and/or services to a cloud solution. You may find that professional help is the best way to accomplish a migration with the fewest complications.
  2. Will we have employees, contractors, or vendors manage our servers?

    • When making this decision, you’ll be weighing your day-to-day needs versus cost. The average salary for a server administrator expert is around $61K a year. For businesses with only monthly and incidental server needs, an in-house server admin might not make sense.  A contractor agreement might provide more flexibility and cost less than you think.
    • You might also consider contracting help to develop your server system and processes with an agreement to take over management after setup.
    • If you choose in-house employees to manage your server system, make sure they’re staying educated on current trends and threats. Tech is a moving target and experts need to stay current to stay, well, experts.
  3. How will we know when we need to change or grow our server system?

    • Server management tools provide ongoing usage reports and alerts for irregularities on servers. Work with a qualified IT tech to find the right server management tool for your system. It’s important to find one that provides root cause identification so that when problems occur you know how to fix them.
    • Set thresholds for when you need to add memory, processing, and even more servers. You might also consider having a plan in place for when to change your server strategy in general, maybe for when it’s time to move from in-house to cloud, or contracting to employee support. Working with an expert will help you identify what those thresholds should look like and what actions to take when you hit them.

The Benefits of Server Management Services

Now that you know what server management is and what questions you should be asking, what are the primary benefits of using this service?

For one, having dedicated experts means you’re going to be getting the most out of your server. Software will be updated accordingly and your server will be taken care of properly.

Having dedicated experts take care of your servers means fewer mistakes and fewer errors, which means more savings for you. Any errors that do occur will be dealt with quickly and you won’t have to worry about long-term effects. Plus, that takes away any worry for you and allows you to focus on other business matters.

Lastly, with a dedicated team taking care of your servers, you’re going to have 24/7 availability and troubleshooting. Emergencies don’t wait until the sun has risen to arise themselves and you need someone available that will solve issues no matter what time it is.

Conclusion

Business IT systems that depend on servers support everything from basic day-to-day activities like word processing and email, to customer services like apps and point of sale platforms. As more businesses depend on reliable, dynamic, and always available systems, effective server management is crucial. Any downtime is going to cost you money and cause a headache that you don’t need.

If you need help creating a server management plan or a partner in ongoing server management, Atiba’s team would love to help. Reach out today for a free quote!

The Essential Guide to Home Network Security

Home Network Security

Protect Your Business – 8 Tips For Home Network Security

Cyber attacks are on the rise, especially in light of COVID-19. Businesses often focus solely on protecting their physical infrastructure, but employees working from home can pose an added security risk to your organization. The tips below can help employees secure their home network and protect your business.

1. Name Wireless Network a Number

Using your name in the name of your wireless network makes it easier for hackers to identify you. Use a number or other anonymous term to avoid linking your network name with your personal information.

2. Change Admin Password

Whether you’re using something standard like a Comcast firewall, an upgraded SOHO firewall, or anything in between, make sure you change the admin login from the default factory setting. Hackers look for devices with untouched default settings.

3. Encrypt with WPA2 or WPA3

When setting up a wireless connection on your firewall, there are typically choices of encryption. Choose either WPA2 or WPA3. Avoid WEP. The WPA options will be the most secure.

4. Turn Off WIFI When Away

It’s pretty simple, but many people overlook this step. Unplug your router when you’re going to be away from home for an extended period of time. It’s not possible to hack a router that is not plugged into power.

5. Check Placement of Router

Physically placing your WIFI router in the middle of your home will not only provide better coverage for more rooms, but it will also help keep the coverage limited to your home.

6. Use a Strong Password

Not only should you change your password from the default admin password, but also use a variety of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters. If you have trouble remembering a random series of characters, try using a full sentence with punctuation. 

7. Disable Remote Admin Access

This is typically turned on by default. Simply uncheck to disable the remote admin access and make it more difficult for hackers to access your network.

8. Patch Your Firewall and All Devices

Just like you update your PC or smartphone, your firewall needs to be updated. Ideally, turn on automatic updates to keep your device secure.

 

Don’t risk your business. If you need help with your home network security, reach out to one of our network specialists today.

Employee Spotlight – David Callahan

David Callahan

As part of our ongoing series exploring our “Half-Human” side, we recently (virtually) sat down with our Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Legal Counsel, David Callahan.

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role? 

I worked as outside counsel for Atiba for 10 years and have been in-house since July of 2019. I currently serve as the Chief Legal Counsel and the Chief Strategy Officer. 

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba? 

It would have to be the people. It’s hard to work with a company for a long time if it does not have great people. Atiba really does consist of some of the best people I have ever had the privilege of working with. 

What motivates you to wake up and go to work? David Callahan with kids

I left the practice of law because I did not feel challenged in my area of specialty. This made it difficult to get motivated to head into the office every day. Atiba, on the other hand, provides me with diverse challenges on a daily basis. A company with a nearly 30-year track history that still has room to grow is exciting and challenging at the same time. For me personally, that is the combination that I enjoy. 

David Callahan TriathlonWhat is something most people don’t know about you? 

That in July 2013- July 2014 I completed 52 triathlons in 52 weeks for a local charity…all with my wife and newborn first child packed into a small motorhome. 

What’s the best home-cooked meal you can make? 

I make a mean Bananas Foster.

Are you a morning or evening person, why? 

I am definitely a morning person. By about 8:30 PM I am wiped and looking for the bed. I naturally wake up early, so I like to get in my exercise and get the day started. 

Does Your Website Need an ADA Compliance Audit?

ada compliance audit

Those in business are quite familiar with compliance. Whether you are starting a business or have been running your business for a few decades, there are always various forms of compliance that you must adhere to. For those with a website (which should be every business), you’ve probably heard about ADA compliance. If you’re not sure what that is, you may need to look into an ADA compliance audit.

Audits can be scary, but they are necessary to find and resolve potential issues before they develop into real problems.

Today, we’re going to be diving into the specifics of what an ADA compliance audit entails and help you decide if your website needs one.

What is the ADA?

The ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. This piece of legislature was published all the way back in 1990 by the Department of Justice. It is quite lengthy and has been updated regularly since its inception over three decades ago. If you’re interested in reading the full text, you can check out the ADA’s website here.

But what does an old piece of legislation have to do with your website?

In 2010, regulations of the ADA were updated in what was called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. They were updated in 2012, 2014, and most recently in 2018. These standards explicitly state that electronic and information technology must be accessible to persons with disabilities.

These standards apply to all commercial and public entities which, in this case, include your internet properties. Specific guidelines are still being debated but that does not mean that websites can forgo compliance until everything is resolved.

The DOJ states that website discrimination will not be tolerated and those that don’t follow compliance will face legal repercussions, such as fines.

Necessary Tools

What exactly does it mean to make your website accessible to everyone? The ADA covers all people with disabilities and that ranges from those hard of hearing to those with low-vision users.

Broadly speaking, it means having items like screen readers that can voice your content to those with low visibility. Additionally, it means having text-zoom options, keyboard navigation, alt-image tags, and even closed captioning options.

These tools give users with disabilities the ability to easily and effectively navigate your website.

Lawsuits are Real (and expensive) Risks

ada lawsuits expensive

Source: Pexels

You might be thinking that your business is safe from any penalties and lawsuits ‘could never happen’. In fact, the lawsuits related to ADA have increased within the last three years, including a 177% increase from 2017 to 2018.

While the rise has slowly flattened out, there are still plenty of lawsuits out there to make you aware of a potential issue.

Some big-name businesses have been hit with ADA lawsuits, such as Domino’s, Target, Amazon, Apple, Burger King, Nike, Netflix, Rolex, and even the NBA’s official website. While these big corporations bring in millions of dollars every day, can your business afford to be drawn into a lawsuit?

As you can see, the majority of these lawsuits target online retail and eCommerce stores.

Many businesses named in the lawsuits have tried to claim mootness, but the vast majority of those have been denied and the lawsuit has proceeded.

Making a Second Website

Instead of paying a lawsuit, businesses have tried to rapidly design and develop a new website but that also takes time, money, and resources away from other projects. While a lawsuit may be costly, making a new or second website can just be as costly.

Start with an ADA Compliance Audit

So, how do you avoid all of those issues? How do you avoid the lawsuits and the scramble to design a completely new website?

You perform an ADA compliance audit, also known as a web accessibility audit. The overall goal is to make your website an accessible website that not only adheres to all guidelines but gives your users a better overall experience.

While these are difficult to perform manually, a qualified expert can examine your website before presenting their findings. What goes into an audit?

Page-by-Page Analysis

It’s not necessary to go through every single page on a website (some eCommerce sites may take years), but instead, each section will have a few pages presented as samples to verify compliance.

Identify Violations

Through the examination of each page, violations will be listed out. All in all, 38 different levels of criteria must be examined. These range from everything like code reviews to website layout.

Any areas that are violations will be laid out in a report. Any areas where you already comply usually won’t be included in a report.

Reporting

ada reporting is important

Source: Pexels

An ADA compliance audit report can be quite extensive, depending on the number of violations or issues found on your website. What are you likely to find in the report?

Code Recommendations

You might need to update your code or completely rewrite it to meet the necessary guidelines. This may have to be performed in-house or through a third-party provider.

Site Structure

Your site structure may be inhibiting people from clearly navigating around your site. You might need to overhaul your site structure, put your content into silos, or reorganize your primary pages.

Training Measures

You don’t want to have to continuously perform an audit over the course of the year. You want to find the violations, fix the violations, and test to make sure you’re adhering to standards. To protect yourself from further issues, a solid report will have any necessary training or suggestions on how you can maintain ADA compliance in the future.

What are the Benefits of an ADA Website Audit?

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of an audit, what are the actual benefits?

Minimized Legal Risk

As a business, you want to make sure your legal risk is as close to zero as possible. While there are some uncontrollable things out there, you can take control of your website with an audit. Making sure your website is ADA compliant means you won’t have to worry about any lawsuits or legal issues.

Improved SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is optimizing your website so it appears at the top of search results.

The best SEO practices and ADA compliance go hand-in-hand.

  • Header tags assure that page descriptions are easy to recognize and read. They also tell Google what your page is about.
  • Atl-tags on images tell users with disabilities what the image is about. They can also help with image SEO.
  • Closed captions and video transcripts help those hard of hearing understand a video. They will also help with your on-page SEO and video SEO.
  • Link anchor text tells users what the page they’re clicking on is about. Anchor texts are also vital for your in-linking policy.

Better User Experience

improve user experience

Source: Pexels

Quite simply, adhering to ADA compliance guidelines means you’re going to be making a better user experience for everyone.

Take the idea of video transcripts. Someone may want to watch your video but is unable or they may not be a native English speaker. Having a transcript at the bottom is going to ensure they understand your video. If they like it, they’re more likely to share it with colleagues or others they know.

If you make sure and put alt-tags on various images, you can show what an image is if it doesn’t load. We’ve all had slow internet connections and sometimes images get left behind. Making sure they have alt-texts is vital for all users.

Increased Audience

Making your website accessible to those with disabilities is going to increase your target audience. You’re giving everyone the ability to use your website and all of its functions. You never know who might visit your website, but poor functionality can immediately turn them away.

We Can Help Make Your Website ADA Compliant

Here at Atiba, we offer ADA compliance audits. We know that for your business to succeed, you need to look and feel as professional as possible. We can help optimize your site for all users while also improving your SEO and overall visibility.

If you’re looking to make your site ADA compliant, reach out to us today for a free quote! We look forward to hearing from you.

SEO Specialist Employee Spotlight

How long have you been with Atiba and what is your role?  Jake Peterson - SEO Specialist and Content Marketing Guru

I joined the Atiba team in May 2020 as the SEO specialist and content marketing virtuoso on the digital marketing team. Web design has been part of the fabric of Atiba for over 20 years, so it only made sense to bring in an SEO specialist to complement the web design side.

Atiba is based in Nashville, but I’ve been in Madrid, Spain for almost seven years now taking remote work to the next level. That makes me, unofficially, the self-appointed King and Emperor of Atiba’s European Division.  

What is your favorite part about working at Atiba?  

Culture is one of those buzzwords that gets tossed around, but you can really tell there’s something special about Atiba’s culture. Everyone is understanding, empathetic, encouraging, and team-oriented. I also love the flexible work hours Atiba offers as it can be challenging to juggle working from home and parenthood. 

What motivates you to wake up and go to work? 

When it comes down to it, I really enjoy what I do. In college, I studied history and have always loved writing and research which is what got me into content writing. On the SEO specialist side, the job borrows a lot of things from many different disciplines. You have to find the right balance between being analytical, technical, and creative while also being very, very patient. 

What makes you a geek? 

I’m a big video game, tech, and fantasy geek. I’ve built my own PC a number of times and always try to optimize it for my favorite games. I listen to a few Dungeons and Dragons podcasts and love listening to data-centric, analytical sports podcasts.  

Jake Peterson - SEO Specialist at AtibaWhat’s the best vacation you ever took? 

My wife and I went to Sardinia for our honeymoon and that was a blast. We had to take a ferry from Barcelona to the island. We took our car and then spent the rest of the week driving around the island, visiting small towns and going to beaches. It’s still the clearest water I’ve ever seen. 

What’s your go-to snack during the day? 

Spain is wonderful for a lot of things, but they severely lack in the snack department. I miss trail mix from back home, so I have to make my own here. Usually, that just involves peanuts, raisins, and smashed up dark chocolate but I’ll sometimes mix other nuts or add some extra flavor. It’s easy to make and decently healthy. 

 

 

Deciding if a Hybrid Mobile App is For You

hybrid mobile app use

While all apps may seem the same from the outside, different types of apps are designed differently depending on the operating system, target audience, and overall function. There are hybrid apps, native mobile apps, web apps, and more.

Today, we’re going to be focusing on just one of those: the hybrid app.

Hybrid apps have slowly become the more popular option amongst developers and businesses alike, according to a 2017 survey. Their flexibility and ease have catapulted them to the top, slightly above native apps.

Even with the growing popularity, are they a good choice for your business? Should you take a journey down the hybrid app road?

We want to cover what a hybrid mobile app is, why it’s becoming so popular, and what benefits they have over other apps.

What is a Hybrid Mobile App?

One of the easiest ways to start is simply going through the definition of a hybrid mobile app.  Here at Atiba, we pride ourselves on being the half geek, half human tech company. It’s important to look at any tech term from both the human and geek point of view.

And to preface these definitions, native apps are apps developed in the code of the device it will be used on. For example, if you want an app that will work on iOS and Android you need two source codes, one developed for iOS and one for Android. Web apps are accessed through the web browser and not found in the app store. That means you only need to write the code once since it’s based on browser language and not device language.

The Geek Definition

Let’s get all nerdy first.

A hybrid mobile app is an application written using a standard web programming format like HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. However, the web elements (also called the WebView) have a native shell specific for either iOS or Android.

What does the shell do? Essentially, it allows the app to access certain mobile phone functions like GPS, camera, sensors, and even provide notifications. We’ve all seen those “allow this app to make changes” pop-up messages.

Hybrid apps are similar to native apps in the sense that they must be installed and updated from the respective app store. They can run offline and cannot update data but can use previously stored data in order to run correctly.

The Human Definition

Putting it in plain language for the rest of us…

A hybrid mobile app is an app that uses one source of code and can be downloaded to multiple devices, like iPhones and Android phones. They are the one-size-fits-all option for many app developers. They need to be downloaded and updated from the respective app store.

Hybrid apps can vary depending on the device they’re being used on and usually lag a bit behind other apps in terms of speed and functionality.

How Does Hybrid App Development Work?

The steps to creating a hybrid app are few but that doesn’t mean creating a hybrid app is simple.

First, the app itself must be designed. Depending on the OS you’re using, this means choosing between various scripting languages as well as different tools.

Once the design is complete, you have to go through the mobile framework process. Once again, this will vary greatly on your app’s goals and the OS you’re going to be using.chrome devtools for hyrbid mobile apps

Next, however, is a pretty standing part of the application work: testing. You can test many of the apps through your local server browser, cutting down development time. If you want, you can also test through a local webserver. Chrome DevTools is also quite handy for testing, allowing you to view everything in your browser.

You’ll have to package your application in a native wrapper. This will act as a connector between any APIs and the app itself.

Now, we’re ready to go ahead and test on a device. The weatherman has to make sure it’s not raining before forecasting a sunny day, right? While you can test the app on your browser, in order to test the app’s functionality with APIs, you’re going to have to use a device.

One of the hardest parts about testing on a device is debugging on the device itself. Fortunately, we’ve got a number of handy tools for that.

Once testing is finished and everything is given the thumbs up, it’s time to take it to the store. Approval can vary widely, but generally, apps are approved in under a week. That part is completely out of our and your hands and the waiting must begin.

Hybrid Apps vs. Native Apps vs. Web Apps

hybrid vs native vs web app

Source: Pexels

There are three major different types of apps that you will find for your phone: hybrid, native, and web. What are the major differences between all three?

Web Apps

Responsive web design is the process of designing a website to fit the device it’s being used on. For example, web designers want their sites to look great and functional on an iPad, Samsung Galaxy, and a 34-inch desktop. The website will switch its size depending on the device.

Web apps operate with the same principle. These apps will adjust their size depending on the mobile device they’re being used. These are built using popular programming languages such as Java, PHP, and HTML5. They cannot, however, be sold on any app stores or use mobile device hardware.

Native Apps

As their name suggests, native apps can only be used on one device. If the app developer wants to make an app for iOS, then the app will only be available for iOS devices. Native apps do have a few advantages, as they are often more robust than hybrid apps.

Since the app was designed for one platform and one platform only, it can run quicker and operate at a higher level.

Believe it or not, many popular apps are actually native apps. Facebook, Pokemon Go, and Spotify, for example, are all native apps as they had to be developed for different operating systems.

Hybrid Apps

As discussed above, hybrid apps are for multiple systems. Many businesses go the hybrid app route as they are ways to save on resources, time, and money while casting the widest net.

Hybrid App Pros

Let’s talk about why people choose hybrid apps when developing their solutions.

Code that Works Everywhere

That’s a huge advantage. From cost savings to the simplicity of maintenance, there are lots of reasons why having only one code developed is a huge advantage. Since you don’t have to write multiple forms of code, it costs less and takes much less time to write. And when you need to update, you see the same kinds of cost and time savings.

Lower Costs

Generally speaking, hybrid apps are much less expensive than their native app counterparts. Some estimates claim that companies could save up to $100,000 over the development lifecycle of the app.

Plus, the time to create a hybrid app is less than that of a native or web app. If you’re looking to push something onto the app store sooner rather than later, then you’ll definitely want to consider hybrid apps.

Easier Development Languages

What I mean by that is that because hybrid apps are written to run in a web browser they’re written in common code languages like HTML and CSS. That means that you’ll find more developers who can help you create and maintain your app.

Native apps, by comparison, are written in OS-specific language that is less common and therefore less offered by development teams. This means that once you find a developer, you may have to wait in line for their help and you’ll likely pay more for their expertise.

Expanded Reach

Your business may be choosing between publishing your app on Android or iOS. Why not both?

If you’re going after a hybrid app, then you’re able to increase your reach by getting your app on more devices and in front of more eyeballs.

Hybrid App Cons

You get a little, you give a little. There are some things hybrid apps don’t do as well as web and native apps.

Data Collection

As any good marketing team will tell you, you need data and information to know how to better reach your customers. Hybrid apps make this step a bit more difficult than native apps. With a native app, a user already has their information stored and ready on the device.

With a hybrid app, you’re going to have to ask people to create an account if you want accurate data collection. That might turn some users off but it’s a necessary step for usage and performance metrics.

Uneven Performance

It makes sense that the more layers (or steps) you need to go through to perform a task, the longer it’ll take. For some kinds of apps, like gaming apps, that loss of performance may be noticeable. While the performance issue may only affect high-resource apps, it can still come into play with smaller apps.

Many users will note that the app doesn’t have a seamless feel as compared to a native app. User experience is a huge part of any client-facing app and sometimes hybrid apps can diminish performance and experience.

Update Delays

hybrid app delays

Source: Pexels

Your app store and apps need updates. When Apple or Google releases a new update to their respective platform, hybrid app developers often need more time to add the necessary support. This could affect app performance or make it unusable until a proper update comes through.

Deciding You Need a Hybrid Mobile App

Now that you have a basic understanding of hybrid apps, let’s talk about how you decide if it’s the right choice for you. Answering these questions will help you in determining if a hybrid mobile app is a right choice for your business. 

Where will your app be used?

If you know that the only place your app will be used is on one device, then maybe a native app makes more sense. But, if your app is for customers who might use your app on numerous devices, you might not have the bandwidth or budget to create code for all those platforms and devices. In that case, a hybrid app might be the best option for you.

What are your performance requirements?

If the value pull of your app is super fast rendering graphics and gameplay features, you need to seriously consider a web or native app. High-performance and demanding apps tend to be native but that doesn’t mean that you should instantly discount hybrid apps.

Hybrid apps can still work offline, which is a big plus in the eyes of many users.

What’s your budget?

Development is just part of the equation here. If you choose to develop a native app, you’ll spend more time and money just to develop multiple source codes. But you’ll likely also spend more time finding a qualified developer and that developer may charge more for that expertise. And when the time comes to update your app, you’re in the same boat. So think critically about how much time and money is really in your budget for the app.

Hybrid App Frameworks

Here at Atiba, we’ve used plenty of the frameworks necessary to build the ideal hybrid app. Below are some of the main ones that we use.

  • PhoneGap-this web-based framework platform allows your app to access features on your phone like the camera and vibration sensor.
  • Appcelerator Titanium-a mainstay on the market, Titanium is JavaScript-based and roughly 10% of apps run on it.
  • Xamarin-one of the most popular options out there, Xamarin used C# for its hybrid framework.

We also use React Native, Ionic, QT, and more.

Conclusion

If you’re considering a hybrid mobile app, then you’ve come to the right place. Not only are we mobile app development experts, but we’ve been helping businesses making hybrid apps for years. You can read more at our mobile apps page or if you’re looking for more detailed info, reach out and get in touch with us today about your upcoming project.

9 Benefits From a Nashville Managed Services Provider

managed services nashville

There is plenty of research and thought that goes into establishing a business relationship. Deals such as these take place in many different areas. They have taken place on the golf course, in a hotel conference room, or even during a casual encounter.

Nowadays, those meetings have extended virtually and handshakes have been replaced by “can you hear me OK?” messages across Zoom and Skype calls. Even though the setting may have changed, establishing long-lasting business relationships takes plenty of effort.

Choosing a managed service provider is no different. A managed service provider is going to be handling all your tech side things so you can continue to focus on your business. You want someone you can trust, responds quickly to any emergencies and has the necessary qualifications.

Nashville is a growing city which means that your business may need to be servicing more clients and growing quickly. To make sure you’re in complete control, it might be time to turn over the tech reins to a Nashville managed services provider.

Besides not having to worry, what are the main benefits?

Reduced Risk

managed services help reduce risk

No matter what kind of business you run, there is sensitive data about you and your customers that needs to be protected. If someone stole or had access to that data, that could set your business back months, or worse.

You need to make sure your security, firewall, and servers are all protected. If you can’t answer “they’re 100% safe”, then it’s time to think about finding a managed services provider.

A top managed services provider is going to make sure your security measures are not only up to date, but also performing their assigned tasks. They’re going to be familiar with the latest security protocol and measures so that your business is protected 24/7.

With a managed services provider in charge, you can minimize your risk and not have to think about data potentially being exposed.

Increased Efficiency

There’s nothing wrong with DIY. Sure, it may take you a bit longer to fix the sink but at least you can say you did it yourself and think about changing your career to a plumber.

That approach works at home, but not so much in the business world. Decreased efficiency in the business world means you’re missing out on opportunities to reach clients, grow your business, or focus on other tasks.

Plus, a lack of efficiency can raise costs, especially if you’re going to have to repeat tasks numerous times.

Instead, hand it over to the experts. A managed services team can quickly implement new technology, forecast issues, and eliminate downtime. This keeps production running smoothly and allows you to focus on what you know best: your business.

Cost Control

Even if you have a full-time IT staff on hand, they may not always have “enough work” to justify their position. With a managed services provider, they serve only on a necessary basis. That means they’ll be there to handle the important tech items related to your business but also there for emergencies.

That way, your business can save money.

As you can see from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for IT personnel can range from $55,000 all the way to $125,000. If you’re not paying a full-time IT staff, then you can put that money back into different areas of your business.

Experience

In this day and age, the demand for tech-centered jobs is incredibly high, and finding the right talent can be tough. What’s even more difficult is finding the right talent that also has the necessary experience.

A managed services team is going to be full of experience. They’ve worked with numerous clients in numerous businesses and, in a sense, have seen it all. Therefore, they’re going to be more than equipped to handle what your business needs.

Small businesses often struggle more in this department as they are caught in the middle of needing a full-time IT employee but also someone that can grow with their business and the business needs. The IT world is vast and many different areas need to be mastered and you’re setting your hopes a little too high to expect one person to handle them all.

The Jack-of-all-Trades Team

managed services provider

You can’t expect one person to know everything from server migration to email hosting which is why you have a team. A good managed services provider will have experts in different areas.

Let’s say your business has decided to go fully remote but you’re also considering migrating from Microsoft 365 to Google Workspace. You need to set up secure remote connections and consider investing in virtual machines. That’s a tall task for one person. Even if they are able to do everything, the whole process is going to take them a long time.

Plus, they may not get it right the first time.

A managed services team is going to have different experts who take care of each of those processes. This saves you plenty of time and money and you have the comfort of knowing that things have been done right.

Fill in the Gaps

While you may have a roadmap for where you see your business going in the next five or 10 years, no one can accurately predict the future. The IT needs of your business may change drastically and when they do, you need someone to step in and take care of them as fast as they can.

Top managed services providers have scalable plans to grow with you and your needs. You won’t feel shoehorned into one plan with limitations.

You get to determine the level of service that your business needs and not the other way around.

Avoid Downtime

Downtime is one of the scariest things to a business owner (not as scary as a snake infestation, but still scary). Not only is downtime going to frustrate you, your employees, and your clients but it usually comes with serious financial repercussions.

In March of 2019, Facebook lost around $90 million in potential revenue over the course of a 14-hour blackout.

While few businesses are the size of Facebook, projections still look scary. A 2014 study by Gartner says that every minute of downtime can cost a business around $5,600 per minute, and that’s just the average.

Considering that roughly 1/3 of small businesses fail because they run out of cash, many literally can’t afford a minute of downtime.

A managed services team is going to be monitoring your system and provide constant reporting and ensure that your business doesn’t suffer a minute of costly downtime. Your business is protected from potential risk and you don’t have to worry about becoming just another statistic.

Quicker Response Time

We are impatient people, especially in a time where we can get just about anything we want with a click of a button.

A managed services provider is going to be able to provide quick response times and low turnaround. You won’t have to worry about having your messages left on “read” or waiting days to be contacted again.

The best managed services providers offer one-hour response times and 24/7 emergency support so you know you’re taken care of whenever.

Consistent Communication

communication is key

When you have a managed services team in your corner, you can establish regular and consistent communication with them. You won’t be forced to call into customer service or contact other firms for each issue that comes up.

Have a tech emergency pop up? Need help setting up a remote employee? Looking for someone to act as a tech advisor? You can go to the same place for everything. That saves you the headache of searching for additional people to contact and not building a consistent relationship.

Atiba is a Leading Nashville Managed Services Provider

When it comes to the managed services business, we’ve been doing this for quite some time. We have experience working with both large, medium, and small-sized businesses to help them with all of their tech needs.

We are proud to offer the following as part of our managed services package:

  • Same day response
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • Security monitoring
  • Monthly reporting
  • Consulting and strategy
  • Disaster Recovery

Don’t see something on the list? Check out our services page because we can be your one-stop-shop for all things tech-related.

If you have a tech problem and want to solve it or are just looking for more information for a Nashville managed services team, reach out today for a free quote!

Nashville WordPress Developer

wordpress nashville

Nashville’s Leading WordPress Development Company

WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) on Earth for website development and management. It’s estimated that over one-third of websites around the world run on WordPressAtiba is Nashville’s top WordPress development company. We love to work with WordPress and our designers and engineers have such a deep knowledge of the options WordPress presents, we can make your website look and function exactly the way you want.

What Our WordPress Experts Can Do

Plugin Management

One of the best things about WordPress is the number of plugins it has. While phones seem to have an app for everything, WordPress has a plugin for just about everything you can think of.

But, you want to make sure all your plugins are running correctly. That means using plugins that work with your theme, avoiding plugin conflict, and updating plugins at the necessary times. We can also work to remove any plugins that are bloating your system and slowing down your site.

Ongoing Maintenance

Everything may be going well now, but what happens when your site slows to a crawl or is broken? We work to find the problems before they happen and make sure you stay running smoothly.

Emergency Support

Downtime on your site is not only frustrating for you, but it’s incredibly frustrating for your users. Plus, it can cost you valuable revenue with every minute that passes. That’s why our developers are available for emergency situations to make sure you don’t lose out on valuable opportunities.

Expert Design

The back-end is incredibly important to any WordPress site, but all of that may go to waste if you don’t have an outstanding looking site.

When it comes to designing a beautiful, one-of-a-kind site, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of designers will make sure you have a site that won’t only put a smile on your face, but will wow any users who visit.

SEO Help

Although not part of the development team, our SEO experts know how to get your site ranked on Google and help bring in valuable leads. Using a number of tools both in and outside of WordPress, they work with our team of developers to make the ultimate team.

You don’t have to go anywhere else, Atiba is your one-stop-shop.

Tell Us About Your Website Project

Our Favorite Things About WordPress

wordpress web developmentFlexible and Customizable

WordPress is an open-source platform which means that thousands of developers around the world are continually creating, testing, and refining updates and plugins. At last count, there were more than 50,000 plugins available for use. Because of that, what started as a simple, free blogging platform has evolved into a full-fledged website design and management system that we can use to build your website exactly the way you want it.

Ease Of Use

Very few websites remain static, meaning the content never changes. Businesses evolve and you want your website to change to reflect that evolution. With a WordPress website, you don’t have to come back to Atiba for support to make changes or post to a blog. When we handoff the website, we’ll walk you through the simple steps for making changes. Also, when those plugins have updates available, you can usually do that with one click of a button. There is no programming knowledge required.

Safe and Secure

While WordPress was developed for ease and user-friendliness, it was definitely made with security in mind. The internet is a crazy place and attacks can happen when you least expect them. WordPress not only has taken plenty of active measures to improve security, but they offer plenty of resources to help ensure that you are following the most secure steps.

A Large Community

With WordPress being the most popular CMS in the world, there is a large community of users and developers. That allows both us and you to tap into the power of the people, so to speak. Those who make WordPress plugins respond quickly, there are always new tips and tricks, and it helps to have great support as well.

nashville wordpress developmentMultiMedia Friendly

WordPress makes adding any type of media to your website simple. The days of needing help to post anything but text are gone. Now WordPress can easily handle audio, images, and video content. Want to embed a video you just posted to YouTube or Vimeo? It’s as simple as pasting in the web address URL, and WordPress does the rest.

Choose Atiba for Your WordPress Developers

We work with a wide range of CMS and we consider ourselves pretty agnostic when it comes to technology, but we do have to say that we love WordPress. Its ease of use, popularity around the globe, and a bundle of features definitely knock it up the rankings in our book.

If you’re looking for a WordPress developer in Nashville, then we are your go-to team. We’ve been working with WordPress as long as it has been around and would love to help you get your site up and running or take your current site to the next level. Reach out to us today, we can’t wait to talk!

 

Nashville PHP Programming Services

nashville php developer

One of the most popular open-source scripting languages in the world is PHP. Primarily used for web development, it can easily be embedded into HTML. Atiba has been working with PHP since 1994 and we are Nashville’s leading PHP programming company.

We take the Half Geek Half Human approach helping clients on both the technical side and business side to meet their goals. We’re geeky enough to stay around and code all night but we know that your business deserves a personal approach.

Reach out to us today for a free quote!

Computer Consultants Nashville

Have a Tech Problem? Solve It

As Nashville’s leading PHP programming company, we’ve run into our fair share of issues. But, our combined experience and intimate knowledge of PHP make us your go-to for all things PHP-related. We’ve built some of Nashville’s largest PHP and MySQL-based sites and we can do the same for your business.

How Have We Become Nashville’s Custom PHP Programming Leader?

Same-Day Response Times

We know that things move quickly in the business world. When it comes to making a decision, you often don’t have time to wait around. That’s why we guarantee we’ll respond to your doubt or inquiry within one business day. Our goal is to match your pace and make sure we’re keeping up with you.

Proven Experience

Atiba was founded in 1992 and PHP came around in 1995. Even though we’re three years older than PHP, we think of it as the scripting language we grew up with. Since we’ve been around so long, we can reminisce about the good old days of the original version of PHP yet still know to complete a project in the latest version.

We’re ready to take on any project you’re got in store for us.

Continued Support

In case you haven’t noticed, tech things tend to run into bugs every now and then. With Atiba, we’re going to be with you from the development stage and onwards. Our proactive approach means we’ll be on the lookout for errors and try to squash them before they become a problem.

Plus, we’ll be there for any advising and consulting as your business grows.

Scalable Options

We’ve grown from a one-man-band to a small business to a medium-sized business. We know that every business has unique needs and goals. That’s why we pride ourselves on being scalable and flexible. If you have a rapidly growing business, we’ll match your pace. If you’re just starting out, we’ll change our approach.

We’re a client-centered business that knows you don’t need a cookie-cutter option when it comes to your business solutions.

Our Favorite Things About PHP

nashville php developer

Since we’re so familiar with PHP, it’s not hard for us to list out some of our favorite things/

Increased Loading Speed

Studies have shown that consumers are likely to leave your site and head to a competitor if it takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s not a lot of wiggle room. PHP has shown to provide faster loading times than similar web development technologies. Keep your customers coming back to your site and keep them happy.

Top-Notch Compatibility with HTML

A match made in heaven, HTML and PHP are like the peanut butter and jelly of the development world. They are easily integrated and don’t interfere with each other, making projects simpler and more coherent.

Cloud Services Compatability

We’re big fans of the cloud here at Atiba and PHP applications are supported by numerous cloud services, such as the ever-popular AWS. It is incredibly easy to implement or deploy a PHP application into the cloud.

 

PHP Programming Services at Atiba

  • PHP programming
  • Symfony
  • Laravel
  • PHP Troubleshooting and Debugging
  • PHP  Performance Optimization
  • Security Audits
  • 24/7 Technical Support
  • Emergency Support
  • WordPress Development and Custom Plugins
  • Drupal Development

 

If you’re looking for a Nashville PHP developer or just have some questions, please reach out and contact us today for a free quote. We can’t wait to hear from you!