Cloud Computing: Pros and Cons

Trying to decide whether cloud computing for your company? Before you make any decisions, consider the pros and cons.

Drawbacks:

  • One issue that many business owners worry about when using cloud computing is security. They figure that as long as their important documents and information are stored locally, their data is safe. While that's not true, as anyone who's been hacked knows, the best way to combat this fear is to ask questions when interviewing cloud companies. Find out what their security measures are to ensure that your financial, personnel, banking and other sensitive information is as secure as if it were in a safe deposit box.
  • Unlike the one-time outlay of capital when purchasing a server, with cloud computing you will have ongoing monthly costs. In addition to subscription fees, paying for your bandwidth can prove a costly enterprise. Doing your homework to find out exactly how much it will cost is essential.
  • You'll be at the mercy of your Internet connection. If the Internet is down, you will not be able to access your data. While stronger and more pervasive Internet connectivity is rapidly rendering this problem obsolete, it's still an issue.

Benefits:

Allows IT department to be more than a server babysitter.

If your IT guys do not have to worry about constant server updates and other computing issues, they'll be free to focus on innovation.

Automated updating.

No longer do IT personnel need to worry about keeping software up to date.

Catastrophe insurance.

If your office burns down, is leased by a tsunami or swept up by aliens, your data is safe, stored in the cloud instead of the server in the broom closet.

Collaboration.

In the olden days, your staff could only collaborate when they were in the same room. Not anymore.

Flexibility.

As long as you have an Internet connection, you can work wherever and whenever you want.

Less expensive to run.

Since you do not have to buy software (and all the subsequent updates and upgrades), you save a bundle. You only pay for what you need, and many cloud computing apps are free. Typically you pay a monthly fee, giving you the opportunity to pay for only what you use, not a bunch of extra stuff that you do not even know what it is.

Level playing field for small companies.

Your startup can use the same tools that Fortune 100 companies on your terms and budget.

Quick and easy to set up and maintain.

How quick and easy? As setting up a Hotmail, LinkedIn or Facebook account.

Scalability. You can scale your usage up or down according to demand. If you have busy and slow seasons, this can really help you manage your finances.

Risks and Benefits of Tax Lien Investing

Tax lien investing is something that every serious investor in real estate should consider. But the last thing you must do is leap into it without considering all that's involved.

What are tax liens?

Most states of the USA have a system for collecting unpaid property taxes and enabling reliable payers to be deposited back on the tax roll. These states use either a "tax deed" system or a "tax lien" system, depending on what rights are sold to the purchaser of the property. Under a tax deed system, county Governments will sell full ownership and possession rights to the investor. In tax lien states, it is only the right to the tax lien or tax claim on the property that is sold.

The tax lien is an encumbrance or enforcement right. It provides the investor with the right to receive interest penalty charges if the lien is paid off by the delinquent owner, or the right to foreclose and take title to the property if the lien is not paid.

So tax liens are a highly attractive investment opportunity. These are just some of the many benefits:

· The tax lien is a high priority lien which takes precedence over judgment liens, mortgage liens, trust deeds etc.

· There is the right to collect interest or foreclose. If the lien is redeemed by the delinquent property owner, you can collect a double-digit return. If not, you can foreclose and obtain full ownership rights.

· It is the responsibility of the county to chase up payment – it is not your problem.

· The tax lien is usually for a small fraction of the property's market value, so the investment is highly secured.

· The investor is not subject to land owner liability. This is clearly an advantage, as there are an increasing number of laws against property owners.

· Interest rates are usually 16-24 percent, according to state law.

· The investment is low risk and low maintenance.

So the temptation is to leap blindly into this seemingly very attractive type of investing. But those who do not take care can get their fingers burned. These are aspects you should attend to:

· Assessing the property. Since you are purchasing the lien, not the property itself, it is tempting to go ahead without bothering to view the property. However, the security and value of the lien are based on the actual property. So you do need to see what sort of property it is.

· Market value of the property. There are all sorts of factors that may affect the value of the property and hence the value of the lien. These include zoning regulations, location, city restrictions, flood plain paths etc. Researching these factors is essential.

· Although property tax liens have a high priority, in some states federal and state tax liens share equal priority. Sometimes people who have failed to research survival liens and encumbrances have received a nasty shock when they find their lien is not number one. This shock can easily be avoided with some simple research.

· One risk factor can be created by the delinquent taxpayer becoming bankrupt after the purchase of a lien. The tax lien holder is usually given high priority in this situation. However there could have been a problem in the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy where payment of the tax lien has to wait until the expenses of administration are paid.

· If a lien is administrated by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) there could be serious delays in the foreclosure process. It is essential to check whether this is so before completing the purchase.

The good news is that most of these risks can be avoided by doing reasonable research before investing. This makes tax liens one of the safest and most profitable forms of investment. And if you as the investor do fall into any of these traps after reading this, you only have yourself to blame!

Luxury Yachts – Nothing But a Class Apart

A very expensive and professionally crewed yacht, luxury yachts are one of the prime symbols of wealth and affluence. These floating machines are a sight to behold owing to their often majestic customs and designs. The popularity of luxury yachts have significantly increased over the past two decades and their warm presence are seen ever so frequently these days, moored across the private and posh harbors or sailing the tranquil waters around the world. Although a yacht is generally registered with one particular port of a country, it does not really have a home port. Some yachts are privately owned and are then only used by their owners; others are handed out for chartered businesses which are used throughout the year.

A luxury yacht can vary greatly is size and can range from 24 meters to over 100 meters. The ones which are over 50 meters in length are also often termed as "super yachts" and usually have 3 decks and can accommodate at least 10-12 guests.

These yachts usually have a lower, main, upper as well as a sun deck. A lower deck consists of a swimming platform as well as some cabins to accommodate guests. Some of these yachts also have "VIP" suits made for special guests. Each of these cabins of course has showers and baths attached with them. The main deck generally consist of a saloon as well dining rooms and galleries. Conventionally the cabin of the owner lies in this particular deck. Next, in the upper decks there are facilities usually present for outdoor dining as well as bar which is often well staffed. Having a gym equipped with it is not unusual either. The sun deck is almost like a special feature and can sometimes include a Jacuzzi. Most modern yachts have multiple flat screen televisions as well as satellite communications facilities throughout the graduation.

The sheer numbers of luxury yachts have significantly increased over the last 20 years and more importantly, it is only the ones which are over 65 meters in length that stands out. Yachts of such tremendous sizes are usually extremely costly and can go up to as high as 10 million dollars. Some yachts can cost their owners more than what they had paid for their luxurious homes – which are usually among the best homes around and are also extravagently priced.

Today, the numbers of the 100 meter ones are still low but constantly moving towards an upward trend curve. Some of the very large ones have started to add more features to their already impressive suite. For one thing, helicopter hangers and indoor swimming pools are also being added while some also have small submarines attached. This growing number of super-yachts has given rise to more colloquial terms such as "mega-yacht" and "giga-yacht" so as differentiate them from the other smaller luxury yachts.

Luxury yachts are a class apart and are a true indication of a person's wealth and are also extremely convenient modes of transportation in water. They make life easy on their users and enable them to spend a leisurely and enjoyable experience.

How To Pick Profitable Affiliate Programs

Although it has been said that affiliate marketing is a simple way of making residual income from the comfort of your home, you should not plunge into any affiliate program without carrying out your due diligence.

You need to ask a lot of questions before you choose which affiliate program to join. This foundational stage is very crucial to your success in affiliate marketing and you should not joke with it. What are the questions you need to be asking? I have a few suggestions below.

Are you going to pay any money to join the affiliate program?

If yes, drop it like hot potato. Almost all affiliate programs are free to join, and rightly so. After all, you will be making money for them; plus you increase the profit turn over the affiliate master will make on his product. It is in the interest of the affiliate master to sign you on free because he does not pay you a red cent until you make sales from your affiliate link.

How much does the product sell for?

It is important that you are not wasting your time promoting products that sell for pennies. As an affiliate, your commission is paid by percentage. That simply means the higher the cost of the product, the more money you make. Do not forget that you will spend valuable time and money promoting the product; hence the commission you get on it must be reasonable enough to pay your bills and give you a comfortable profit.

What percentage of sales price are you getting as commission?

Generally affiliate programs pay at least 50% commission, some even 75%. If the affiliate master knows his onions well, he will give attractive commissions so that the affiliate marketers will be inspired to really promote his products and make him money.

How popular is the product?

Go to related marketing forums and ask about the product. See what people are saying about it and form an opinion. Do a Google search on the product and see how many people are selling it. If it is a product that everybody’s uncle and grandmother is selling, please keep away from it. It will be all over the net and might be difficult to sell.

What type of affiliate program is being offered here?

Is it a one tier affiliate or a two tier affiliate? Of course, the two tier affiliate will make you more money. This is because when you get people on your list to promote the product, you make money from their efforts as you are paid commission on every sale they make. How do you get paid? What are the terms of payment? When do you get your commission check? This is different from program to program. Some programs will pay you once a month, some (very few) will pay your commission weekly while some might even pay quarterly. I don’t like this type of program because it holds on too long to your money.

Who is the creator/owner of the product?

What is his reputation online? Again you can find this out from forums and discussion boards. The gold fish has no hiding place. If he is a credible, reliable person you will know. If otherwise, people will also let you know. If there is any hint of you not getting paid what is due to you, look for another program.

How good is the affiliate track system?

It is quite important that your chosen program should be able to track every single sale made by you so that you get truly paid on your efforts. How long does your referral remain in the system? If they buy 90 days after you sponsored them, will you still get paid your commission?

Although there are a few more questions which you may ask, but the above are the crucial ones. Once you are satisfied with the results you get on the above questions, take immediate action steps to start your business.

As you can see, affiliate marketing is a serious business and should be so handled if you want to make maximum money from it. Sure, it is possible to become extremely wealthy marketing affiliate products and that is why you should be prudent about it.