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Help Desk, Customer Service, Cloud & Security Insights, with a Side of Altruism!

Three Main Categories of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing

The "Cloud" is everywhere today in technology.  Whether it is data storage, or communicating with colleagues and friends, many apps and devices interact with the cloud.  But what makes up the cloud? Cloud computing can be broken up into three main services: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

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Benefits to Using Hosted Solutions

Call Center Cloud Computing & Devices

In a previous blog post, we discussed how important it is to have a variety of contact options for today's consumers, based on findings from the 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report. However, many companies are finding it difficult to integrate these new options into their contact centers.

As expected, a majority of call centers have the capability to support customers over the phone and through email. These capabilities line up with the previous generation's expectations in a support center, as most customers over the age of 40 prefer support over telephone or email. However, the next generation's first choice of webchat is only supported by 45% of organizations, and 35% of organizations without webchat have no plans of offering it in the future.

According to data from the Report, an average of 79% of companies are afraid that their systems will not meet demands in the future. However, the cost of integrating a new support system can be expensive, and new software may not be compatible with older machines. One solution that the Report proposes is hosting contact centers in the cloud, which can reduce the cost of integrating a brand new system greatly while expanding support options.

In fact, the Report found that 89% of organizations currently using cloud architecture agree that it has reduced costs. Other benefits from cloud technologies noted in the Report include access to new functionality, improved flexibility, and better reliability. Yet half of the organizations surveyed do not even use hosted technologies.

Giva's customizable cloud technologies are easy to use and can save your company time and money. Read about how the Giva Difference has changed the way many companies handle customer contact on Giva's case study page!

Social Media Presence Tips

Social Media Presence Tips

As shown by the 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, businesses having a strong social media presence is important to the next generation of consumers. However, with so many different social media options available, it can be overwhelming to even think about getting your company started with any social networking site.

John Rampton in Forbes suggests identifying your social media goals and objectives before setting up a social media account. He also suggests businesses take the time to learn how their target platforms work and figure what their target audience is. Knowing your audience can help you understand what they need, which will allow you to deliver the content they want to see and make them more interested in your business.

Once you have established a social media account, be sure to post often – but not too often. Make sure your posts are timely and relevant to any current events. For example, if your company attends a local event, post pictures from that event as soon as possible. Using tags and hashtags effectively will also help others find your posts easily.

If you branch out to multiple types of social media, Rampton advises to treat each as its own entity, and post unique content to each. It may seem tedious to update multiple accounts, but followers will feel rewarded and in the know when they see information exclusive to one platform.

As more customers turn to social media for support and help, it is important to respond to and resolve customer complaints on social media pages in a timely and professional manner. When other customers see that you were listening and willing to respond to complaints, they will feel more important and valued.

Each business will use social media in different ways, but outlining your goals, understanding your audience, being active on multiple accounts, and staying professional in all customer interaction can greatly benefit everyone trying to grow their social media presence.

Mobile Devices: Biggest 2015 Trend

Mobile Devices Biggest 2015 Trend

This year, Paul M. Dooley of Optimal Connections reported six trends for customer service and support, particularly that more people than ever are accessing the Internet from a mobile device.

In 2011, the International Data Corporation predicted that mobile internet use would surpass desktop internet use by 2015. However, mobile grew quicker than anticipated, surpassing desktop use for the first time ever in January 2014, and now Americans spend an average of 34 hours a month on their mobile devices. Pew Research reports that nearly two-thirds of American adults own a smartphone, and 46% of smart phone owners say they could not live without one.

Mobile devices are clearly becoming a mainstay in the American lifestyle, so it is worth the time and effort to integrate mobile support in all aspects of business. This integration could be as simple as being active on social media or as complex as creating a new app. However, the Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report notes that 6 in 10 contact centers do not have the capacity for social media, when the industry best-practices indicate that having multiple methods of communication, rather than just phone support, is important to improving the customer service experience.

Equally important is the look and functionality of the mobile version of a business' website. A mobile customer could be deterred by a difficult-to-use website, or choose a competitor whose website is more mobile-friendly. When creating apps for a business, it is also important to make sure the app is available and fully functional on all major smartphone operating systems.

The future of smartphones and other mobile devices is constantly changing, but one thing is very clear: support for mobile devices will be key in making any business more accessible to all customers.

Value in Healthcare Information Technology (HIT)

Healthcare Information Technology

In a digitized world, one of the greatest conveniences is health information technology (HIT). Considering nearly everyone in the US is a consumer of healthcare, there are numerous benefits to adopting electronic health records. The evidence report, Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology, outlines a few. Health information technology is a means of electronically storing, recording, accessing, or transferring a patient's medical records. This includes health and medical history. Not only is this paperless and perhaps more reliable, but it allows for "clinical decision-making and disease management." It also allows for prescription filling, test ordering, and care reminding. For example, the system can provide alerts for necessary patient vaccinations or send a prescription to be filled at a pharmacy convenient to the patient. Overall, health information technology improves the efficiency of healthcare - a highly profitable, nationwide business.

However, adopting HIT is costly and requires change in the organization. It is considered an investment, but perhaps a necessary investment in terms of economic advancement. In non-financially focused studies concerning adoption of HIT, areas of improvement included increased productivity by the healthcare provider, improved patient safety and, subsequently, fewer adverse drug events (ADE) and time spent in hospitals to treat ADEs, and better physician decision-making. For example, the ability to reduce the "ordering of redundant clinical laboratory tests could produce an annual savings of $35,000 in laboratory charges." It is economically beneficial to improve the efficiency of healthcare.

In a day and age where nearly everything is digitized, it is only fitting a business as widely used as healthcare should follow suit. Adopting health information technology will improve provider efficiency while increasing consumer centeredness. Electronic health records are more personalized, more organized and more efficient. Although implementation of HIT is an expensive adjustment, benefits for both provider and consumer are apparent. Healthcare efficiency is important to society as a whole.

With efficiency of digital access to healthcare records comes the necessity of increased data security measures. The Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA, was passed to establish a national framework for security standards and protection of confidentiality with regard to health care data and information. Fortunately, Giva makes HIPAA compliance very easy for our customers. The data center, hardware and software infrastructure of Giva's cloud help desk & customer service software meet the very strict HIPAA compliance regulations. See 7 Key Elements of Giva's HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Help Desk Software for Electronic Health & Medical Records.

Report Analyzes Extent of Data Breaches in California

Interesting reading from the NYT this morning:

"The constant drumbeat of data breaches won't cease anytime soon, according to a new report from California's attorney general, Kamala D. Harris.

There were 167 data breaches reported in California last year, an increase of 28 percent from the 131 data breaches reported the previous year. The information of more than 18.5 million California residents was compromised in 2013, a significant jump from the 2.5 million compromised records in 2012.

Those numbers were skewed by two widespread breaches last year. At Target, personal records for 41 million people were compromised, and at LivingSocial, hackers gained access to 50 million records. According to the attorney general, each of these two breaches put 7.5 million California residents' information at risk.

The majority of breaches — 53 percent — were because of malware and hacking, while a smaller number, 26 percent, was attributed to the physical loss of a computer or device. The report reiterates what many already knew: There is much more information to be stolen through hacking than physical loss. The vast majority of the 17 million records compromised in California last year — 93 percent — were attributable to malware or hacking, whereas only 1.15 million records were compromised by the physical loss of an electronic device."

 

Read more at data breach study in California.

Are your cloud applications HIPAA Compliant?

HIPAA Security For Help Desk, Change Management, Customer Service

Long before the commercial success of the Internet, Brian J. Fox invented one of its most widely used tools.

In 1987, Mr. Fox, wrote Bash, short for Bourne-Again Shell, a free piece of software that is now built into more than 70 percent of the machines that connect to the Internet. That includes servers, computers, routers, some mobile phones and even everyday items like refrigerators and cameras.

On Thursday, security experts warned that Bash contained a particularly alarming software bug that could be used to take control of hundreds of millions of machines around the world, potentially including Macintosh computers and smartphones that use the Android operating system.

The bug, named "Shellshock," drew comparisons to the Heartbleed bug that was discovered in a crucial piece of software last spring.

But Shellshock could be a bigger threat. While Heartbleed could be used to do things like steal passwords from a server, Shellshock can be used to take over the entire machine. And Heartbleed went unnoticed for two years and affected an estimated 500,000 machines, but Shellshock was not discovered for 22 years.

Many of the commercial tools that individual users and large corporations depend upon are built on top of programs that are written and maintained by a few unpaid volunteers in what is called the open-source community. That community, along with big companies like Google, adjusts and builds new things on top of older work. 

Sometimes there are flaws in that code. And over the years, the flaw becomes part of all sorts of products.

The mantra of open source was perhaps best articulated by Eric S. Raymond, one of the elders of the open-source movement, who wrote in 1997 that "given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow." But, in this case, Steven M. Bellovin, a computer science professor at Columbia University, said, those eyeballs are more consumed with new features than quality. "Quality takes work, design, review and testing and those are not nearly as much fun as coding," Mr. Bellovin said. "If the open-source community does not develop those skills, it's going to fall further behind in the quality race."*

Giva is a HIPAA compliant cloud provider for IT Service Management, Customer Service and Change Management. We reduce risk for companies by protecting their data and helping them exceed regulatory requirements. Naturally, we address vulnerabilities like Shellshock.

Give us a call to talk to one of our experts about how we address Shellshock and other vulnerabilities. Or, feel free to learn more about Giva HIPAA compliance on your own. 

* Attribution to the NYT

Experts Say 'Bash' Bug Is a Major Vulnerability

You may have heard the news about a vulnerability in Bash called Shellshock. Bash is a command processor that allows a user to conduct actions through a command-line interface for Linux environments. If the Shellshock vulnerability is exploited, a threat actor with access to a Linux server can run arbitrary commands. Many questions are emerging around how companies can protect their employees and customers.

We can help. Giva is a HIPAA compliant cloud provider for IT Service Management, Customer Service and Change Management. We reduce risk for companies by protecting their data and helping them exceed regulatory requirements. Naturally, we address vulnerabilities like Shellshock.

Give us a call to talk to one of our experts about how we address Shellshock and other vulnerabilities. Or, feel free to learn more about Giva HIPAA compliance on your own. We look forward to discussing this matter with you.

We take security seriously.

IT Help Desk + Customer Service in the Cloud

Watch our eHelpDesk and eCustomerService virtual demos and discover the Giva difference for yourself!

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Twenty Tough Questions to Better Qualify Any Cloud Vendor

How can you more quickly qualify and evaluate any cloud vendor?

This white paper is designed to reduce the complexity of the cloud buying process by providing twenty penetrating questions to ask cloud vendors to become a more informed buyer. Customers interested in purchasing any cloud service (for example, IT help desk or customer service) encounter a myriad of problems and obstacles during the purchase process. The white paper provides practical "how to" advice to help avoid mistakes that even the most experienced professionals make that cost a lot of time and money. Use these questions to poke and prod at your list of cloud vendors.

 

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