Money is the reason we do this. We buy goods from wholesalers and sell them to customers for a profit. If our store is closed or we can't take credit cards or the bank isn't being cooperative, we lose money and our kids don't eat. A store that's open on the internet is no different from a store that's open on Main Street. It has to be up and running to make us money. That's where a secure means of taking credit cards and a dependable data center come in. We may worry about our inventory and our advertising; but if we don't have a working store that can show our goods and process credit cards to finalize the sales, we're out of business.
We need to feel secure in our financial transactions. We need to be able to take and process credit cards without fear that we'll go bankrupt because of theft or fraud. We can thank the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Security Standards Council and it's work on transaction security for that security. The PCI Security Standards Council was formed in 2006 by the five biggest credit card companies; Visa, American Express, MasterCard, JCB (Japanese Credit Bureau) and Discover to develop industry standards for banks and merchants who take credit cards. The standards cover the security and construction of networks, protection of card holder data, the use of off-the-shelf payment applications and the protection of personal identification numbers. In the last five years, these standards have shown their value in protecting our online activities.
When it comes to creating and maintaining a website, we've got our choice. We can hire someone to buy the computers and other network equipment, create and fill the inventory and take the credit cards and have all of the expense of salaries and benefits, equipment costs, software to run the website and guard our security and make sure the site is up 24/7/365. Or we could hire someone else to do it. We can find a company that already has the equipment and people and procedures to maintain our site and leave us with nothing more to do that write a check every month, a check that will be a fraction of our cost of doing it in-house. These companies are called data centers and there is a very good one in Australia.
Choosing a data center requires some due diligence. It isn't enough to open the phone book and pick one at random. As in any business, there are the competent and the foolish. Any data center we consider has to be capable of managing a telecommunications network, have applications that our business can use as its own and be able to host our applications, as well. The data center industry has established tiers describing the redundant capabilities of a data center. They describe tier one as a data center having no redundant or backup capabilities, tier two as having site infrastructure redundancy, tier three as having communications and power redundancies and tier four as having an onsite independent power generator.
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