Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Pleth, LLC Joins SWDN

PLETH, LLC is pleased to announce that they have joined the SWsoft Developer Network (SWDN). The SWDN is a resource and community center behind SWsoft’s OPEN FUSION Initiative. SWSOFT manufactures PLESK Control Panel Software that is currently used by PLETH, LLC hosting clients. The SWDN was created specifically for hosting service providers. SWDN provides API documentation and SDK’s needed for in-house customizations and integration with SWsoft software.

Some of the many benefits of SWDN:

  • Development Licenses: for all SWsoft products.

  • Software Developer Kits (SDKs) including API specs, & tech manuals.

  • Product Betas: early access to products before the general public.
  • Forums and Support: to interact and share information with SWsoft engineers

The PLETH, LLC Management Team met with Representatives from SWSOFT, Inc. this year during HostingCon 2006 in Las Vegas.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Launch: Team Caliber Project

Pleth, LLC an Arkansas Based technology firm announced last week that they were preparing to launch a new e-commerce enabled project for Team Caliber, Inc. of Charlotte, North Carolina, a Division of Roush Racing.

“The new project is just getting underway,” said Cotton Rohrscheib, Chief Developer and Partner. “They have put a ton of thought into providing their wholesale customers with this tool and we want to work with them in any way to bring it to fruition.”

The new project consists of various levels of authentication and security built on top of Pleth’s already award-winning e-commerce solution. Only registered and approved wholesale customers are allowed to login and view the 2006 product line. Orders are placed online and transmitted to Team Caliber by email and their staff takes it from there.

“We have taken a lot of things into consideration in putting this product together, basically rebuilding our existing e-commerce solution and making it do things that it normally wouldn’t; changing outputs and the way it displays products and handles orders, right down to the way it generates pick tickets and packing slips,” said Greg Smart, Project Manager for Pleth, LLC.

Team Caliber is the one of the top manufacturers of die-cast cars, fan memorabilia, and clothing for NASCAR.

Thursday, June 1, 2006

What is Web Hosting?

I recently ran across an article at The Whir that did a good job of explaining the basic principles of webhosting.Web hosting is a service that allows users to post Web pages to the Internet.

A Web host, or hosting service provider (HSP), is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for Web sites to be viewed on the Web.

Web hosting is a primary service that consumers can utilize after obtaining either dial-up or broadband access to the Internet. It allows users to disseminate their own information resources to any Internet user that is interested in accessing them. Web hosting utilizes the server/client model to distribute content. A Web hosting provider will offer its clients access to a Web server that will push that client’s content to recipients on request. Recipients use clients, or Web browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator to request content from the Web over their own Internet connection.

Web sites are hosted, or stored, on a special computer called a server. The server, or host computer, allows Internet users connected anywhere to reach your site when they put in your domain address, for example: www.yourcompany.com.

The host computers are set up so that when someone types in your domain name (your Web address), the address will follow a route from computer to computer until it reaches your host computer and your web site. Then the Internet user will be able to browse through your Web site. Hosting companies usually require that you own your own domain name in order to host with them. If you don’t have a domain name, most hosting companies will help you purchase one.

To have a Web site on the Internet you first need to have a Web server. Unfortunately, owning and operating a Web server can be very costly and requires technical expertise that most businesses do not possess. This is where “Web hosts” come in. Web hosts provide the equipment and other technical resources that are required to provide a consumer with their own customized Web site. Hosting companies charge a rental fee for the service of storing your Web site and allowing Web site visitor traffic flow to through their computers to get to the information on your site.

Web hosting services are more advantageous because they are outsourced, meaning that the physical location of the Web server does not reside at the consumer’s premises. Outsourcing your Web presence effectively transfers the responsibility for maintaining your Web site infrastructure from yourself to an organization that is more competent to do so.

Many individuals and small businesses take advantage of Web hosts in order to free themselves from pre-occupying their scarce human and financial resources on Web host issues. Individuals and companies who outsource their Web presence do so in order to achieve the following objectives: reduce and control operating costs; improve their own company focus; gain access to in-depth expertise; free internal resources for core competencies; and obtain access to world-class capabilities to control IT functions which are difficult to manage.

The best Web hosting services will provide relatively seamless access to IT functions that will allow you to self-publish your Web site. It is important to note that “Web hosting” strictly refers to providing the consumer with the capacity to upload content to a server for immediate transmission for those that request it. Web hosting does not include the authoring of a Web site or the development of database-driven components or code. It is incumbent upon the consumer of Web hosting services to develop this material or have it developed on his or her behalf.

Web hosting is offered to the consumer in multiple formats based upon the user’s requirements. These requirements are incumbent upon cost and infrastructure provided.

Web hosting can be obtained free of cost from content portal sites such as Yahoo! GeoCities. Such content sites invite individual users to establish Web sites on their domain in order to create a critical mass of core content on their online property. The user does not pay for service because it is subsidized by banner advertising. Because such sites do not charge, they offer limited service depth and quality of service. For example, free services will not provide customized hosting services where domain names are personalized (i.e., www.yourdomain.com).

The “paid” class of Web hosting services however does provide such services. Paid services are normally offered by Internet service providers (ISPs) or by hosting service providers (HSPs). Paid services provide a reliable set of offerings that ensure domain name personalization, service depth and high levels of quality of service. The paid class of Web hosting includes shared, dedicated and managed services. Shared is the most basic level of hosting. With shared hosting, numerous Web sites are shared on one server. While an economic solution, they typically cannot handle large amounts of storage or traffic.

If a consumer’s needs are more sophisticated, then they might opt for either dedicated or managed services.

Dedicated hosting allots a Web site its own server. This is more flexible than shared hosting, as webmasters typically have full control over the back end of the server, including choice of OS.
Managed hosting, on the other hand is a dedicated server that is accompanied by a full suite of technical support, maintenance and monitoring services. This differs from dedicated Web hosting, where customers are provided with their own servers but are still responsible for virtually all administrative and maintenance duties.

PCI Compliance & Credit Card Acceptance

I guess that Credit Card Fraud, Chargebacks, etc. finally is getting the best of Credit Card Companies… We learned while we were out in Vegas that PCI compliance would soon become a requirement from any online vendor that is accepting credit cards online by both MasterCard and Visa. I have to say that I am not surprised and sort of glad to see it. It will help to weed through the fly-by-nights that are out there…

What does PCI compliance do? Well, basically it is peace of mind to a shopper that their information is not going to be compromised. Keep in mind that within the last 6 months, the federal government and a branch of the armed forces have both had their information compromised and sensitive information about members of the military and the government were leaked to the general public. In a nutshell, if an online business is a fly-by-night business and do not have their website installed properly on a secure server w/ ssl, pci compliance, etc. they are putting their customers information at risk from being hacked.

At PLETH we have always strived to have the best intrusion detection methods in place at all times for our clients. In fact, we have some big-time clients that will do some heavy sales numbers this year. In our efforts we have learned that you just can’t be on top of everything at all times but you really need to be! With this in mind, we have contracted out with the top Security Auditing Firm in the United States, ScanAlert.

ScanAlert’s signature Hacker-Safe Certification can be found on over 55% of the top 400 e-Commerce websites in the world! We are bringing them to our clients and sparing no expense in doing so. In fact, with our new partnership arrangement that was formed at our meeting in Las Vegas, it is expected that our clients will receive a larger discount than firms that work directly with ScanAlert!

Pleth will soon be launching a co-branded website with ScanAlert that promotes the Hacker Safe Certification program that will ensure that websites meet the criteria for the following:
  • HIPAA Compliance
  • PCI Compliance
Both of these certifications will be in the news a lot in the very near future…

ScanAlert’s services monitors a websites vulnerabilities 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and watches for vulnerabilities, port scanning, and network fingerprinting services that are patent pending.
HackerSafe certification is currently being sought out by the United States Government, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security, and the Marine Corps. We feel that if providing our clients with peace of mind is our number one priority. In doing so, no other security auditing firm in the United States could be brought in as a partner other than ScanAlert, they are simply the best!

If you have questions regarding PCI compliance please contact a member of our team to discuss your immediate needs. Also, stay tuned to our blog for important announcement regarding the co-branded PLETH / ScanAlert Website that will be available for one stop certification shopping.

Cotton Rohrscheib, Partner
PLETH Networks, LLC