The US Citizenship and Immigration Services today said that it has returned all the petitions of H1-B visas

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services today said that it has returned all the petitions of H1-B visas, popular among Indian IT professionals, that were not selected in the computer-generated lottery system in April.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services today said that it has returned all the petitions of H1-B visas, popular among Indian IT professionals, that were not selected in the computer-generated lottery system in April. The H1-B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. H1B Visa Process Check UT Evaluators

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that it has returned all the unselected H-1B petitions for the fiscal year 2019, beginning October 1 which were submitted to the agency in April. The Congressional-mandated cap of 65,000 H-1B visas and another 20,000 in the advanced degree categories were reached within the first five days after the USCIS started accepting H-1B applications.

As an H-1B non-immigrant, the applicant may be admitted for a period of up to three years. The time period may be extended, but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years. However, there are some exceptions to it. On April 6, around 94,213 H-1B petitions were received in the general category and 95,885 in the advanced degree category, as a result of which the federal agency resorted to a computerised draw of lots to select the successful applicants. Petitions of those not selected have now been returned, the USCIS said. For H1B Visa Evaluation Visit UT Evaluators

The H-1B application process began from April 2 as the top federal agency temporarily suspended the premium processing of all such work visas subject to fiscal cap. The suspension of premium processing of all the H-1B petitions which are subject to the annual caps is expected to last until September 10, 2018.

During this time, the USCIS said it will continue to accept premium processing requests for the H-1B petitions that are not subject to the fiscal 2019 cap. According to the USCIS, between 2007 and 2017, it received the maximum number of 2.2 million H-1B petitions from high-skilled Indians. India was followed by China with 301,000 H-1B petitions during the same period.

Benefits Of Call Routing And Call Forwarding

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One of the most common advanced call routing techniques is time of day routing, which allows you to send calls to different numbers or locations based on the time of day that the call is received. For example, you may choose to create a time of day routing rule that sends all calls to your main office phone number from 8 AM to 5 PM. Then, you may have another rule that sends incoming calls to an outsourced support service that handles your calls outside of normal business hours. This ensures that your business never misses a customer call. 

Being available at all times is a must for any business owner if they want to guarantee customer satisfaction. This is why it is highly beneficial to have a call forwarding feature implemented into a cloud phone system, because this way callers can reach you no matter where you are. “Wait, wasn’t that supposed to be call routing?” you may ask. And your confusion would be totally understandable; indeed, call forwarding and call routing are eerily similar to each other, since they are both intended for connecting the caller to the next available person.However, as much as call forwarding and call routing are confused for one another, there are some slight yet important differences between the two.

Call Forwarding

Also known as follow-me find-me, call forwarding is a set of commands that ensures calls are automatically forwarded to another number or numbers should the initial line be busy or unavailable, such as if your main business phone number is engaged or out of hours.In simpler words, when the phone numbers you have provided to the cloud phone system are called, they will all start ringing simultaneously or sequentially based on the call order settings determined earlier. But if the caller is unable to reach you, the system acts according to your command and the call is either directed to voicemail or is disconnected.

The benefits of call forwarding – aside from being available for anyone connected to your phone system – is that no matter where you are, your clients can reach you during business hours regardless of your availability without even noticing that their calls have been forwarded to another phone number. With call forwarding one phone line is more than enough to keep your business running, since calls can be automatically forwarded to your employees’ cell phones until one of them is connected to the caller.Call forwarding eliminates geographical problems, too: your office can even be in a different state, since with properly programmed call forwarding added into the mix a local number can automatically push calls to your main line. And we haven’t even mentioned that call forwarding is a true lifesaver in cases where the system is down for whatever reason, as the system will continue looking for an answer even if the main number is temporarily disconnected.

Call Routing

Call routing is higher in the ‘hierarchy’ because, unlike call forwarding where the caller is usually put on hold till the right person is reached, call routing is a feature that connects a call to the correct end point immediately or navigates the caller to the right person or extension based on different criteria determined by the phone system’s administrator.With these criteria even the simplest thing can be set up, like what should happen to incoming calls during and after business hours or during holidays. However, thanks to the fully programmable dial paths (better known as answering rules) the system’s admin can create a more complex set of instructions. For instance the system can connect calls directly to you, forward a call to a colleague or switch to voicemail according to individual caller IDs entered into the system’s memory. But there is more: call routing can be programmed in such a way that callers could direct themselves to the right extension via dial commands following the instructions of an auto-attendant.

Virtual Phone System Is a Perfect Phone Solution for Incipient Companies

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With a Virtual PBX Phone System you can avail the functionality of a traditional PBX without the need for buying /installing any equipment. Instead the PBX system will be maintained at the service provider’s site. You can add new features and expand the system with ease.An efficient PBX system is a compelling necessity for a company’s business communication more so for incipient businesses. Any ineffective communication system can cripple an incipient business and retard its growth.A Virtual or Hosted PBX system operates through a service provider. A Virtual PBX service provider caters to a number of companies and hence utilizes multiple PBX systems with redundant components. They have the technical personnel to provide you uninterrupted 24×7 services.

An incipient company can save upfront investment as no purchase of equipment is needed. They also need not the bother about maintenance of hardware. Assured of a reliable PBX service, an incipient company can focus on their core business activities.The scalability of a hosted PBX phone system is a major plus for an incipient company. You can expand the system as your business grows and this means that at any given point in time – you will be paying only for what you use. This can result in huge cost savings as there is no overbuying.By equipping your incipient business with a feature-rich PBX phone system, your customer calls can be handled in a professional manner. This type of PBX will also enhance your company image. This phone system will also improve your employees’ work output and productivity.

To help incipient businesses communicate effectively with their customers, PBX phone systems provide sophisticated features that are found in costly telephone systems used by big corporations. These include auto-attendant, automatic call distribution, call forwarding, voice to email, call conferencing, call waiting, fax to email, music on hold, caller ID and lot more.Incoming calls are attended by the virtual receptionist with recorded business greetings. Callers are presented with options like dial-by-name, dial-by-extension etc. The virtual PBX system adroitly manages several simultaneous incoming calls and performs call routing without sending out connection busy signals. In short, there is no need for you to employ a special receptionist/telephone operator as all these functions are fully automated.

Using the find-me/follow-me call forwarding option, calls to main business numbers can be answered on your cell phone or other landlines assigned as extensions. This feature enables your employees to work from anywhere. Calls that are not answered are instantly transferred to the voicemail system, enabling callers to place voice messages. This feature not only improves the overall communication efficiency but also ensures no incoming customer calls are missed.As stated earlier, to avail in full the capabilities of PBX phone systems Psychology Articles, it is not necessary to set up any expensive premise-based hardware. The service providers maintain the equipment at their site and PBX functionalities are offered through broadband Internet or telephone networks at reasonable monthly rent. The virtual PBX is totally versatile and the features and functionalities can be tailored according to the distinct requirements of a subscriber.

5 Advantages of Having a Intelligent Call Routing

 

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Many types of routing rules can be applied to what bests suit dynamic intelligent call routing the needs of a business. If your organisation has staggered shifts or teams that work in different time zones, time-based routing will direct the incoming calls to the contact centers or agents that are flagged as available for that particular day and time. It can also be adjusted for holidays and other occasions where one team or group may not be working a standard schedule.Geographic routing will take calls and forward to a destination based on the area code of the caller. Automatic Number Identification (ANI) identifies the inbound phone number and uses the set of rules established to send the caller to an agent that is nearest to them. 

If your business is suffering because you are unable to answer your customer’s calls in a timely manner or keeping clients linked to your business, then it may be crucial for you to manage your call routing practices. Currently, there is a variety of call routing software available. With an efficient call routing strategy, you can increase your first contact resolution and thus, create a wonderful customer experience. With the use of an intelligent call routing software, you can identify the caller and then direct them to the respective agent who had helped them previously. To do that, call routing softwares use anarray of information such as Automatic Number Identification (ANI), and other details provided by the caller. One more significant feature of an intelligent call routing software is the automatic call distribution system that deals with first-time callers. Another important feature of this system is phone hour settings that determine what should occur when customers call during nights, weekends, holidays, or non-operating hours. The phone hour settings may include voicemail, call forwarding option, schedule a call option, or automatic hang-up. Calls may also be recorded with a call routing software.

Intelligent Call routing software is a vital component of your business and can be extremely advantageous. Here are the top 5 advantages of intelligent call routing:

Flexibility

With intelligent call routing, your business gets the ability to ensure that customers have the opportunity to speak with a live agent 24 hours a day 365 days a year. This system has been constructed to give access to real-time information about present enterprise situations so that the appropriate support resources are matched with the needs of your customer when he or she calls. Not only are your customers happy about getting their queries resolved, but this system also provides a competitive advantage to your business in delivering resourceful, personalized, and compelling information, in an extremely efficient way.

Scalability

Intelligent call routing software is extremely scalable. It can scale up or down based on your unique business requirements. Businesses can choose from any of the deployment models that can incorporate legacy systems, automatic call distribution, and time division multiplexing IVR systems to allow easy migration and expansion of your call center as per your business needs. This immense scalability grants your business growth at its own pace.

Simplicity

Intelligent call routing eliminates the undue complexities of pre-route and computer telephony integration to develop a solution for routing manifold ACDs, including a multi-vendor platform. By synchronizing the right resources, your callers are directed with the desired outcome with concurrent status matching.

Effective Human Resource Management

With intelligent call routing, your workforce is optimized by utilizing every agent as proficiently as possible. The calls always get routed to an available advisor leading to reduced lost calls and a greater customer experience. By application of modern customer analytics, you can improvise call treatment and routing assessments.

Cost-Efficient

Intelligent call routing can optimize operational costs by ensuring that calls are always routed appropriately rather than being lost or sent to voicemail. This eradicates the revenue losses that occur due to lost calls. Call routing based on skill set can also help capitalize on conversion rates by providing a better customer experience to inbound callers.

Intelligent call routing software offers businesses the capacity to make sure that their clients get to speak with a live agent 24 hours a day throughout the year. In certain industries such as banking and finance, selling or offering services around the clock can result in enormous revenue growth that would have otherwise been impossible.

Use Virtual Phone System as Office Internet Requirements

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With a Virtual PBX Phone System you can avail the functionality of a traditional PBX without the need for buying /installing any equipment. Instead the PBX system will be maintained at the service provider’s site. You can add new features and expand the system with ease.An efficient PBX system is a compelling necessity for a company’s business communication more so for incipient businesses. Any ineffective communication system can cripple an incipient business and retard its growth.A Virtual or Hosted PBX system operates through a service provider. A Virtual PBX service provider caters to a number of companies and hence utilizes multiple PBX systems with redundant components. They have the technical personnel to provide you uninterrupted 24×7 services. 

Virtual PBX Phone System, being one of the powerful communications tool, it gives power to small businesses with the similar control and call processing means of a conventional phone system. Adding new features, this will help the entrepreneurs to expand the system with ease. Its efficient functionality turns out to be a compelling necessity for an enterprise’s business communication.In order to help businesses communicate in the most efficient means with their customers, this phone system endows with sophisticated features i.e. found in pricey communication systems. Providing extraordinary features like call forwarding, voice to email, conferencing music on hold, caller ID, there are several other benefits that are mentioned below.

Below mentioned are some of the Virtual PBX services and it includes:

1.Auto Attendant 2.Unified Messaging 3.Advanced Call Routing 4.Call Tracking & Monitoring, and 5.Virtual Faxing

Let us take a look at the pointers indicating how virtual PBX phone system can benefit your business.

In view of the fact that, first impression is the best impression, a virtual PBX phone system can make a huge difference when it comes to closing those business proceeds. Setting the right atmosphere and business pitch for communicating with customers, virtual PBX phone system can keep it professional rigorously. Known for its flexibility, it helps you to easily add or do away with new users to the system.With that said, when you employ a virtual office phone, you can be sure that your business reaches new heights. Particularly this goes well with companies who are short of financial and human resources thereby achieving it at a fraction of a cost.Allowing you to connect to the system even when you are remote of the office by means of a web interface this phone system gives you the authorization to function from anywhere still staying in touch with your employees, clients and customers; being loved for its connectivity system they can toil with extreme conditions. Unlike other systems, there is no chance for you to miss out your important calls from clients and customers because your unanswered calls will be forwarded to voicemails. Another best part is that, you can manage most of the things remotely by means of an intuitive online control panel.

The collective settings for a range of features of the Virtual PBX system, such as call forwarding, can be completed in real time; be it your customer or client, incoming calls can be smartly forwarded to the right departments, such that the caller won’t have to hear the dreaded busy signal.On the other hand, small business VoIP acts as an integral communications solution; its higher speeds and increased flexibility are the added advantage. Overall, to conclude Computer Technology Articles, virtual PBX means a new height to your conventional phone system. Improving your business phone system it can obtain superior employee productivity and put up effective customer bonding conjointly it can also save costs for you and there is no better way than opting for this phone system.

The Free Virtual Receptionist Work And The 7 Issues Of Free VR

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A virtual receptionist should be more than an answering service. Sure, the basic idea is that you have a real person answering calls instead of letting them go to voicemail, but that’s just the start.Depending on whose statistics you believe, as many as three-quarters of first time callers to a business will hang up if they reach voicemail rather than a person. We don’t know how old that figure is, and we suspect people are more comfortable with voicemail now than they were a decade ago. 

Free Virtual Receptionists use specific software’s that is connected to your phone system and computer. You can re-route the calls or mails to the receptionist just as you would to a traditional one. The VRs then sent a prompt reply or message to the right person in the company or outside of it.The power to send calls and messages is completely in your hands. Through this software, getting work done becomes quicker and easier. The jobs can easily be sent to the VR with just a click of a button.

Issues with free VRs

However, it is important to note that since most VRs are paid, a free VR may not be as useful as one on contract. And that is why there are certain cons that are associated when using a free VR to tend to business needs. Some of these are as follows:

1 Reliability

The reason why free virtual assistants are not too reliable is because they are, well, free. And free is often associated with cheap. Therefore, the service may not be as top-notch as one would expect it to be. Plus, most that are available in the market are trial versions. Which means you won’t be entitled to its complete services.

2 Poor response

Most companies that provide free VR services may not be as dedicated to your business as a paid VR. That is because a VR depends on many resources which cost money. And since these resources are more or less reserved for businesses who really need them, a lack of response on their part can be expected. If it is for a trial, then it may be beneficial for you. Otherwise, you may want to spend money and settle for a paid VR service.

3 Does not provide the complete picture

Picture this. You are a new company and would like to hire a Virtual Receptionist for his services. However, you are also short of money and do not really know how a VR works. So, you settle for a free VR or a trial version of an original one and you end up being dissatisfied with what you receive. It can change your perspective and that may not be a good thing. Times are changing, and smart business strategy is the key to growth. But if you get stuck on a particular notion, then your business can take a bad hit.

4 Logistical short comings

Physical collaboration will always have a greater impact than technological interactions because of one simple reason – physical interaction cannot be disrupted during an important meeting. Technology has a tendency to fail, no matter how small the chances might be. But in a physical interaction, the only way something can disrupt the communication is if a major problem occurs.Meetings are based on timings and communication and when both do not take place smoothly, businesses take a hit.

5 Dealing with the language barrier

Free VRs work from a number of countries around the world and sometimes, miscommunications occur due to language barriers. It’s not just restricted to grammar and diction but also includes cultural and social nuances as well.Although the VR cannot be blamed for such shortcomings, these problems do exist and you as a leader must find a way to work around it. Also, keep in mind that free services are often not the best option to entrust communications.

6 Risk of data security

It is possible that a free Virtual receptionist won’t be as dedicated to your campaign as other employees within the organization. And even when he does there is a risk of the data getting leaked out to the public. After all, VRs will be in charge of sensitive information and some of it might be enough to put the company at risk.

7 Research before you Hire

It is always important to do a background check before hiring a free VR. Job experiences and recommendations are a plus. A VR with credible background is easier and safer to work with than a new one.

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Cloud Computing

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Cloud computing is here and virtually every organization is using it in some way, shape, or form. Educating yourself and your people on the opportunities and risks associated with this technology is of the utmost importance. Let’s look at the opportunities presented by cloud computing, managing the risks associated with housing your sensitive data offsite, using virtual computing environments, and vendor management considerations as you explore your cloud options.

Cloud computing, in turn, refers to sharing resources, software, and information via a network, in this case the Internet. The information is stored on physical servers maintained and controlled by a cloud computing provider, such as Apple in regards to iCloud. As a user, you access your stored information on the cloud via the Internet.By using cloud storage, you don’t have to store the information on your own hard drive. Instead, you can access it from any location and download it onto any device of your choice, including laptops, tablets, or smartphones. Moreover, you can also edit files, such as Word documents or PowerPoint presentations, simultaneously with other users, making it easier to work away from the office.There are different types of cloud computing services available to suit different needs. While some cater to individual users who want to store photos, documents, and videos, others are destined for companies that need extensive platforms to develop IT applications, for example.Depending on your needs, the prices will vary. As an individual user, you can get an initial amount of storage for free, such as 5GB with iCloud. If you need additional storage, you will have to pay a fee. Fees are usually set at monthly or yearly rates, depending on the services you are using.

Advantages

1.Worldwide Access. Cloud computing increases mobility, as you can access your documents from any device in any part of the world. For businesses, this means that employees can work from home or on business trips, without having to carry around documents. This increases productivity and allows faster exchange of information. Employees can also work on the same document without having to be in the same place.

2.More Storage. In the past, memory was limited by the particular device in question. If you ran out of memory, you would need a USB drive to backup your current device. Cloud computing provides increased storage, so you won’t have to worry about running out of space on your hard drive.

3.Easy Set-Up. You can set up a cloud computing service in a matter of minutes. Adjusting your individual settings, such as choosing a password or selecting which devices you want to connect to the network, is similarly simple. After that, you can immediately start using the resources, software, or information in question.

4.Automatic Updates. The cloud computing provider is responsible for making sure that updates are available – you just have to download them. This saves you time, and furthermore, you don’t need to be an expert to update your device; the cloud computing provider will automatically notify you and provide you with instructions.

5.Reduced Cost. Cloud computing is often inexpensive. The software is already installed online, so you won’t need to install it yourself. There are numerous cloud computing applications available for free, such as Dropbox, and increasing storage size and memory is affordable. If you need to pay for a cloud computing service, it is paid for incrementally on a monthly or yearly basis. By choosing a plan that has no contract, you can terminate your use of the services at any time; therefore, you only pay for the services when you need them.

Disadvantages

1.Security. When using a cloud computing service, you are essentially handing over your data to a third party. The fact that the entity, as well as users from all over the world, are accessing the same server can cause a security issue. Companies handling confidential information might be particularly concerned about using cloud computing, as data could possibly be harmed by viruses and other malware. That said, some servers like Google Cloud Connect come with customizable spam filtering, email encryption, and SSL enforcement for secure HTTPS access, among other security measures.

2.Privacy. Cloud computing comes with the risk that unauthorized users might access your information. To protect against this happening, cloud computing services offer password protection and operate on secure servers with data encryption technology.

3.Loss of Control. Cloud computing entities control the users. This includes not only how much you have to pay to use the service, but also what information you can store, where you can access it from, and many other factors. You depend on the provider for updates and backups. If for some reason, their server ceases to operate, you run the risk of losing all your information.

4.Internet Reliance. While Internet access is increasingly widespread, it is not available everywhere just yet. If the area that you are in doesn’t have Internet access, you won’t be able to open any of the documents you have stored in the cloud.

The Main Disadvantages Of Cloud Computing

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Cloud computing, in turn, refers to sharing resources, software, and information via a network, in this case the Internet. The information is stored on physical servers maintained and controlled by a cloud computing provider, such as Apple in regards to iCloud. As a user, you access your stored information on the cloud via the Internet.By using cloud storage, you don’t have to store the information on your own hard drive. Instead, you can access it from any location and download it onto any device of your choice, including laptops, tablets, or smartphones. Moreover, you can also edit files, such as Word documents or PowerPoint presentations, simultaneously with other users, making it easier to work away from the office.There are different types of cloud computing services available to suit different needs. While some cater to individual users who want to store photos, documents, and videos, others are destined for companies that need extensive platforms to develop IT applications, for example.Depending on your needs, the prices will vary. As an individual user, you can get an initial amount of storage for free, such as 5GB with iCloud. If you need additional storage, you will have to pay a fee. Fees are usually set at monthly or yearly rates, depending on the services you are using. 

If you want to deliver digital services of any kind, you’ll need compute resources: CPU, memory, storage, and network connectivity. Which resources you choose for your delivery, cloud-based or local, is up to you. But you’ll definitely want to do your homework first. Cloud computing has certainly benefited many enterprises by reducing costs and allowing them to concentrate on their core business competence rather than IT and infrastructure issues. But, for all the generally well-earned hype, there are still distinct disadvantages of Cloud Computing – especially relating to smaller operations – that you should consider before taking the leap. In this post, I’ll try to offer some key concerns along with strategies for addressing them.

The six main disadvantages of Cloud Computing:

1) Downtime

This may be one of the worst disadvantages of cloud computing. No cloud provider, even the very best, would claim immunity to service outages. Cloud computing systems are internet based, which means your access is fully dependent on your Internet connection. And, like any hardware, cloud platforms themselves can fail for any one of a thousand reasons.Can your business absorb a prolonged bout of frequent outages or slowdowns? And don’t think it doesn’t happen. 2014 saw more than a few incidents where service providers like DropBox faced an outage for as long as two days. Consider these two key points:

Which of your business processes can be delayed or halted if the service provider goes down?

When your internet connection is down, all your applications drop offline.Best Practices for minimizing planned downtime in an SAP environment:Demand a service level agreement (SLA) from your provider guaranteeing uptimes in excess of 99.55% (which equals 1.83 days of downtime a year, or 3.60 hours of downtime a month).

2) Cloud Computing disadvantages: security and privacy

Any discussion involving data must address security and privacy, especially when it comes to managing sensitive data. We mustn’t forget Code Space and what happened to it after its AWS EC2 console was hacked and its data eventually deleted, forcing the company to close doors forever. By leveraging a remote cloud based infrastructure, a company basically outsources everything it has.Of course, your cloud service provider is expected to manage and safeguard the underlying hardware infrastructure of a deployment, however remote access is your responsibility and, in any case, no system is perfectly secure. You’ll have to carefully weigh all the risk scenarios.After the recent leaks of celebrity pictures and countless millions of user login credentials, the privacy of your cloud-based data is another consideration. How much can you trust your provider? Can you face this, which is one of the riskiest disadvantages of cloud computing?

Best practices for minimizing security and privacy risks:

A.Know who is supposed to have access to each resource and service B.Limit data access based on user context C.Take a risk-based approach to securing assets used in the cloud D.Extend security to the device E.Add intelligence to network protection F.Build in the ability to see through the cloud

3) Cloud Computing disadvantages: vulnerability to attack

In cloud computing, every component is potentially accessible from the Internet. Of course, nothing connected to the Internet is perfectly secure and even the best teams suffer severe attacks and security breeches. But since cloud computing is built as a public service and it’s easy to run before you learn to walk. No one at AWS checks your administration skills before granting you an account: all it takes to get started is a valid credit card.

Best practices to help you reduce cloud attacks:

A..Identify threats by correlating real-time alerts with global security intelligence B..Proactively protect information C..Automate security through IT compliance controls D..Prevent data exfiltration E..Integrate prevention and response strategies into security operations F..Discover rogue projects with audits G.Authenticate identities

These practices will help your organization to monitor for the exposure and movement of critical data, defend crucial systems from attack and compromise, and authenticate access to infrastructure and data. And they keep away you from further risks and disadvantages of cloud computing.

4) Limited control and flexibility

To varying degrees (depending on the particular service) cloud users have limited control over the function and execution of their hosting infrastructure. Cloud provider EULAs and management policies might impose limits on what customers can do with their deployments. Customers are also limited to the control and management of their applications, data, and services, but not the backend infrastructure. Of course, none of this will normally be a problem, but it should be taken into account.

5) Cloud Computing platform dependencies

Implicit dependency, also known as “vendor lock-in” is another of the disadvantages of cloud computing. Deep-rooted differences between vendor systems can sometimes make it impossible to migrate from one cloud platform to another. Not only can it be complex and expensive to reconfigure your applications to meet the requirements of a new host, but migration could also expose your data to additional security and privacy vulnerabilities.

Best Practices to decrease dependency:

Properly understanding what your vendors are selling can help avoid lock-in problems in the cloud. In fact, under the hood, many vendors use the same open source components, building proprietary solutions from their own unique recipes. Knowing what’s really going on and planning ahead can make a big difference.

6) Cloud Computing costs

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Cloud computing – especially on a small scale and for short term projects – can be pricey. Though it can allow you to reduce staff and hardware costs, the overall price tag could end up higher than you expected. Until you’re sure of what will work best for you, it’s a good idea to experiment with a variety of offerings. You might also make use of the cost calculators made available by providers like Amazon’s AWS and Google’s GCP.

Best practices to reduce costs:

A..Scale DOWN as well as UP B..Pre-pay if you have a known minimum usage C..Stop your Instances when unused! D..Watch out for waste – Cloud Sprawl E..Set Smart Alerts F..Cost is a proxy for Usage

Travel Is No Cure for the Mind

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It’s just another day… and you’re just doing what you need to do.

You’re getting things done, and the day moves forward in this continuous sequence of checklists, actions, and respites.

But at various moments of your routine, you pause and take a good look at your surroundings.

The scenes of your everyday life. The blur of this all-too-familiar film.

And you can’t help but to wonder…

If there is more to it all.

For some reason — this country, this city, this neighborhood, this particular street — is the place you are living a majority of your life in.

And it is this thought that allows a daydream to seep in.

You start thinking of all the other places you could be in this world.

Or more accurately, all the places you’d rather be in.

Somewhere more exciting. Somewhere new. Somewhere that can provide experiences that are foreign to you.

You dream of going to the beautiful beaches of Thailand:

Or to Paris, where you can eat French food, enjoy delicious wine, and walk around the illuminated streets that you’ve heard so much about:

Or to Peru, where you can finally go to Machu Picchu and see the architectural wonder that an inexplicably high percentage of your friends have in their Facebook profile pictures:

Or to Alaska, where you can witness the glory of the aurora borealis in all its splendor:

The world is your playground, and you are certain that these unexplored areas will become sources of adventure, wonderment, and ultimately, happiness.

Travel is the answer much of us look to when we feel the automation of life. The routine of waking up, getting ready, going to work, eating the same lunch, sitting in meetings, getting off work, going home, eating dinner, relaxing, going to sleep, and then doing it all over again can feel like a never-ending road that is housed within the confines of a mundane box.

This is The Box of Daily Experience, and it is the space we occupy on any given day of the week/month/year in which we live our lives. It is what we consider “normal” in the context of an everyday experience, and is the operating system we run ourselves on when we require a sequence of events to default to.

The boundaries of our box define our present-day situation, so when we dreamingly gaze toward the prospects of an exciting future, we look outside of it to experience emotions like wonderment, amazement, and inspiration. Our current box is okay and livable, but the world outside of its boundaries is where our hope really resides.

Since much of what we desire lives on the outside (i.e. in the future), we make it the mission of our Box of Daily Experience to make contact with the outer world as much as possible. This touch represents the achievement of our goals and validates our aspirations. We hope that this brief contact will change the architecture of our box, but ultimately, the result is fleeting.

For example, let’s say that a friend introduces you to the existence of an awesome new car. You are immediately intrigued by it, and as you read review after review of its astonishing performance, the car quickly becomes an object of intense excitement and desire for you.

The outer world has given you a tangible goal to work towards, and your box will do whatever it can to give you the resources you need to reach it. For Best web development company visit Vivid Designs

So you churn and churn through the cycle of the daily experience.

Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years.

And one day, your hard work pays off. You receive that fat promotion you’ve been working towards, and now you can finally afford that beautiful car!

Excitement froths at the brim of your mind as you purchase it and drive it off the lot. This is what you’ve been working so hard for! Now that you have this car, the structure of your box has fundamentally changed, and your box as you know it will no longer be the same!

You start driving it to and from work, to and from your hang out sessions with friends, to and from everywhere.

But here’s the thing.

While you’re still happy to have the new car, you notice that your excitement about owning it just isn’t as high as that day you drove it off the lot.

Then some months pass, with fewer and fewer people commenting on the novelty of your car.

And even more time passes. You get into your car, drive it to and from work, get stuck in traffic, park it in the same old spot, etc.

Your car is starting to look a little dirty, but you don’t care about washing it too much anymore because your car is just… a car now.

It’s been years since you’ve purchased it, and now it’s simply a vehicle that takes you from Point A to Point B with unremarkable regularity.

And then one day, your box is simply The Box of Daily Experience again, with the same mundane texture and familiar color it possessed in the past.

The interesting thing is that you can replace the object of desire (car) with any other noun (a new house, a new job, a new relationship, etc.), and the same pattern will emerge. Shifting and swapping the contents of your box may briefly alter the shape of it in the form of excitement, but in the end, these things will become just another part of normal life.

So if moving around the contents of the box doesn’t work, you look to the supposed root of the problem:

The box itself.

You decide that the box known as your environment needs to be left behind because it is the source of perpetual discontentment to begin with. You need to rip open the box and jettison yourself into an unfamiliar territory that holds the key to true novelty and sustained wonderment.

And you determine that the best way to do this is through the avenue of travel.

So you save up some money, take some time off work, pack up your bags, and head off to a country you’ve never been to. You can now revel in the beauty of the unfamiliar and immerse yourself in a boundless expanse of culture, cuisine, and life that your box has never known.

The drawback to this is that for most of us, traveling happens in the form of vacations. A vacation is designed to be an exciting respite we take to keep us incentivized to return back to The Box of Daily Experience upon its conclusion. In a way, it’s absurdly paradoxical — churning the gears of the box is what provides us with the fiscal resources to break out of it, but the wonderful memories of our vacations are what brings us squarely back to the box once again.

As a result, if you’re traveling as a form of vacation, you know you will be back in your box very, very shortly. This tends to provoke the behavior of “experience maximization,” in which you’re running around in a flurry of fatiguing excitement to experience every moment possible in your travels.

And inevitably, you’re back in the box, counting down the days in which you can do it again.

It’s times like these when you begin to dream of getting out of The Box of Daily Experience for good. You realize that a vacation only serves as a dopamine hit of cultural experience, as the built-in time constraints don’t allow you to truly understand the tapestry of a foreign place.

And one day, you firmly decide that the answer does not reside in the box you live in now.

It’s elsewhere, in a faraway place that you once visited and enjoyed.

But this time, you’ll be gone for a really, really long time.

Surely, what you’re looking for must be there. Not here.

Once you arrive in your new environment, the excitement is palpable. Not only have you have immersed yourself in a completely new part of the world, but you also have the time to explore every crevice of it.

You are introduced to some new friends that live in this foreign land, and you guys make your way downtown to check out all that awesome food you’ve heard about.

Next thing you know, you have a new crew of people to hang out with! They are fun, entertaining, and exciting, which were some elements that were missing from the people back home. These new folks have a deep understanding of a culture you’re eager to learn more about, so every hang out session with them is an opportunity to do things you’ve never done before.

You can also see things you’ve never seen before too, and it’s fantastic.

Wow.

If someone asks you how life is going, you can emphatically say that it’s simply amazing.

But remember, since you are going to be staying here for a while, having fun with interesting people and seeing new sights are not reliable roadmaps for financial sustainability. And plus, all of your friends are busy in the daytime with work, and being a lone wanderer in the early afternoon is only fun for so long.

So yup, it’s time to get yourself a job.

The nature of the work is pretty similar to what you were doing in the past — it’s not ideal, but it supports your dream of traveling and breaking out of the old box, so it’s good enough.

All right. Everything is set. You now have a resource-producing engine that can power your stay in your new home, and you can continue having great experiences in this land as time progresses.

But here’s the thing about time. No matter where you are, it moves in one direction.

Forward.

And this linear movement of time is nature’s way of testing what we have labeled as meaningful. Only time can reveal whether a certain pursuit is driven by fleeting novelty, or if it is motivated by a strong sense of enduring purpose.

And when it comes to travel, the test of time reveals a pursuit driven by novelty very, very quickly.

As the days in this foreign country turn into weeks, the experiences begin to occur with a familiar sense of regularity.

The food that you excitedly ate when you first arrived has now become your weekday dinner spot:

The friends that showed you all those cool cultural things when you first arrived are now people you see every week. On top of that, you often hang out at the same places all the time as well: Top web development company in Chennai

The sights you initially paid to go see simply become buildings you pass by on the way to work:

The job you have here feels just like your job back home again. And speaking of home, you begin to wonder how your friends are doing, as these are the folks that have been with you through years of shared experiences, and not through weeks of short-lived moments.

And without consciously realizing it yet, your life events are sequencing themselves into a familiar order… One that you tried so desperately to escape not too long ago.

And as the weeks turn into months, the stark reality of it all hits you. The boundaries of an all-too-familiar shape have taken hold.

Uh-oh.

The Box of Daily Experience has contained you once again.

Oh no! What the hell is this box doing here again?! How has it followed you all the way over here?!

Perhaps it’s time to find another place to go to?! Somewhere even further away?! A whole other continent maybe? Since The Box of Daily Experience has returned, the subsequent urge to break out of it has come back as well.

But here’s the thing. Regardless of what you do to break out of the box, it won’t work. You can change your external environment all you want, but you will continue to travel with the one box that will always accompany you.

The box known as your mind.

When we are obsessed with travel, we are intently focused on changing and revising our external venue while neglecting the one constant we all travel with: our minds.

If your mind is not at ease, then the same angst and restlessness you feel today will inevitably make itself known as you travel. That point can be delayed through novel experiences, but regardless of where you are, an uneasy mind will always unveil itself in the end.

That feeling of restlessness underlying all the unresolved issues you have at home will follow you wherever you go. A strained relationship with your family, a sense of purposelessness in work, a low self-worth, a strong tension with your partner, a lurking depression — the answer to any of these things does not lie in a one-way ticket to a faraway place.

Socrates said it best:

We tend to grossly overestimate the pleasure brought forth by new experiences and underestimate the power of finding meaning in current ones. While travel is a fantastic way to gain insight into unfamiliar cultures and illuminating ways of life, it is not a cure for discontentment of the mind.

Who we are inside a venue matters far more than the venue itself. Instead of having the wanderlust of travel guide our search for meaning, we have to look within and embrace the only thing that is present now. The only thing that actually exists today.

The Box of Daily Experience.

Instead of viewing this box as a problem to escape, we have to realize that it is indeed the only thing that we can truly hold onto.

When you view life as a continuous cycle in this box, it can be easy to take its components for granted and view everything as a mundane blur of familiar events. However, when you take the time to actually inspect the box with mindful awareness of its contents, you will discover the true amazement that lives within them. And the best tool one can use to magnify these great discoveries is the practice of gratitude.

Gratitude is what allows you to feel that same sense of wonderment about your day-to-day life as you would if you were walking the streets of a faraway city.

Gratitude is what illuminates the fact that you are a collection of (billions of) atoms that have come together to create this amazing combination of cells, neurons, and organs that allow you to touch things, taste delicious food, go hiking, laugh at funny jokes, and view the stars in a nighttime sky.

Gratitude is what allows you to realize that everyone you know and love also happens to be this collection of atoms that have assembled themselves at this precise point in time, when they could have been born thousands of years earlier or hundreds of years later. The alignment of our personal ancestries, the fact that all our forebears were healthy (and attractive) enough to reproduce, and the crazy timing of us being birthed into this world at roughly the same time is an astounding coincidence that we can’t help but to be utterly amazed about and grateful for.

Being grateful about our existence and its relation to others allows for a blossoming of meaning and purpose in our exploration of this life. It is the starting point for an endless list of awesome things we have going for us, and we don’t need to change our physical location one bit to witness this list grow.

If gratitude is the tool we use to highlight the innate beauty existing within our boxes, then practices such as mindfulness meditation allows these realizations to actually become a part of our daily outlook. One of the difficult things about the routines embedded in our daily experience is that they tend to congeal into one giant, uniform blob that we label as “life.” And this blob can harden over time to create an impenetrable barrier that prevents us from absorbing helpful advice and realizations that come to light.

What meditation helps to do is soften the texture of this blob by removing our hardened egos and neurotic thoughts from the inner core of our consciousness. What we are left with is clarity and openness to see The Box of Daily Experience for what it really is: a reflection of life that can be eased into fluidity with the proper attention and care.

While clarity of experience is a direct path to the calming of the mind, there is another beautiful quality to our consciousness that is often overlooked.

The ability to find fascination in the minds of others.

One source of constant wonderment and adventure comes in the form of books. Instead of searching for inspiring experiences in faraway places, these awesome things are abundantly available to us at all times.

I particularly enjoy reading works of non-fiction, but any form of good literature is utterly captivating. Keep in mind that whenever you pick up a good book to read, you are taking an extensive journey into the mind of the author. It’s amazing to me that as an ordinary person, I have immediate access to the greatest minds of the past and present, and can absorb years and years of their toiling research in just a matter of days or weeks.

I can place myself in the mind of a renowned philosopher pondering the mystery of consciousness, or I can take a seat in the mind of a historian detailing the Mongol conquest under Genghis Khan. I can learn about anything I so desire, and that is an adventure that can always be brought to where I am now.

This ability to be captivated by the minds of others is also widely available in the form of our loved ones and friends. However, it’s the people closest to us that we often take for granted. We tend to think we know everything there is to know about them, and our inquisitive nature is often reserved for strangers and small talk.

But when we genuinely become curious about our relationships, we discover that we have only touched the surface with many of the people we hold dear to us. I find this to be a recurring pattern with many of my own friends. Simply asking a question at the right moment has often led to interesting stories and perspectives that were previously veiled from my view.

This sharing of stories is one of the great joys I’ve experienced over and over again with people. There is always an interesting story behind every mind — and hearing it widens the health of our own.

While travel does expand and stretch the horizons of what we know about the world, it is not the answer we’re looking for in times of unrest. To strengthen the health of the mind, the venue to do that in is the one we are in now.

It is location-independent, and always will be.

The key is not to discard The Box of Daily Experience and find a new one — it’s to warmly embrace the one that we have now — with its joys, its flaws, and everything in between.

Note: This post is my adaptation of Seneca’s awesome letter to Lucilius on the subject of travel. I highly recommend that you check it out — along with all of Seneca’s other wonderful letters as well.

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