Creating a Web Based Enterprise Portal for Companies

Company portals help organizations manage access to corporate apps, data, and resources. Nowadays in the advent of technology, most companies are using web-based technology to house and implement their portal software due to the ease of access and increase in security protocols.

Portals of the Past

old mac
It used to be that companies had their data and programs implemented on an in-house physical server. Most of the portal data and programs back then were connected in their own local area network, which was somewhat cut off from the internet as we know it. This somewhat made portals inherently more secure in that hackers didn’t have an easy way to get in to the server without physical intrusion. The costs to maintain this system though was a lot higher. A lot of times you would need to have in house IT departments or rely on frequent visits from IT experts that could service the network and its portal programs.

Desktop based software was also the norm back then when the internet browser was at its infancy. It was harder to deploy and maintain. To do updates one had to install the update software on each user terminal for example. It was also a slower workflow at times when it came to saving company data. This was due to a lot of factors including slower infrastructure and old protocols of data exchanges. Backups were performed on local physical servers and storage methods, which was more costly to maintain and secure.

The Present

modern laptop
Nowadays most companies use the web 2.0 experience with their portals. Some have gone the full cloud experience, hosting almost all their data on the cloud and all their programs in web based applications.

The reasons for this move are numerous. For one, data storage and network bandwith is now more affordable than ever, and this resulted in a faster way for portals to exchange data. Backups can instantly be configured in the cloud. Terabytes of data are so cheap that creating multiple backups is the norm. SSD flash based storage which are faster than HDD hard disk drives are also increasingly being used for server and data storage solutions. This is standard in some cases, like in Amazon Web Services and other Virtual Private Server (VPS) providers such as Digital Ocean, and Linode for example.

Security protocols have also been heightened. HTTPS/SSL certificates are prevalently being used, and hashing passwords with salts are examples of new technology that is all about making security a priority. Even if portals being accessible in the web have introduced new security risks through the exposure to internet-based hacking, several new security measures have also sprung up. DDOS attacks, brute-force password guessing and the likes have been met with equally effective defense software like ip2ban for Linux based systems or SAAS (Software as a service) like Cloudflare. Procedures such as 2 factor authentication where users have short term access codes texted or emailed to them in order to log in securely have also sprung up.

Beefy and Muscular Browser

internet browsers

Every computer now has an internet browser, and having secure web based portals mean users can use whichever browser they want that is available, be it Safari, Edge, Chrome or Firefox. All of these browsers have established common standards (such as security protocols) with their updated versions and the user can most often use any of them because of that.

JavaScript based front-end user interfaces are now at the bleeding edge of technology. This has propelled browser-based portals to the forefront as now internet browsers are not merely informational instances, but are full fledged applications, capable of handling complex algorithms and programs.

Internet browsers have become legitimate ecosystems of their own, providing tools such as email apps, word processors, spreadsheets and power-point like programs as evidenced by web-based technologies like Gmail, Google Spreadsheets, etc. Browser limits are being pushed everyday with ever increasing capabilities such as Virtual Reality, 3D gaming, Single Page Apps etc. so a natural response by companies is to adopt browsers more and more for their company portals.

The Future

Short of a global apocalypse or communist military takeover, the web will remain the standard for companies to use for their business portals.

Software as a Service (SAAS) like SAP ERP, SalesForce and the like gravitate towards this future, and so have companies’ portals too. Web based applications are here to stay for the better.

We at CRS Consulting can design and implement your vision in this regard. We have decades of experience in creating business portal applications and providing IT solutions. Call or contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss a bright future for your company. 

The Do’s of a WordPress Site

WordPress powers about 30% of the world’s websites, meaning it’s hell-a-popular. As Spiderman’s uncle says though, “With great power comes great resposibility”. Like in the comics there are real-life villains around the world hellbent on taking advantage of your site if it’s WordPress based. Be it hacking, search engine downgrading, etc. if you have a WordPress website, it’s your responsibility to know what your WP site should be doing and not doing.

Do Security Plugins

Like previously mentioned, there are hackers all over the world with nothing better to do than mess with your site.  For nefarious purposes or just trolling, it doesn’t matter, they just want to wreak havoc onto your system. To stop these people on their tracks we encourage the use of security plugins.

Particularly on top of the list for us are the Wordfence and Sucuri plugins. These free plugins offer scanning of site files, checks on your site’s configuration, malicious IP address blocking, login protection and so much more. Oh and did I mention, they are absolutely FREE! Although some features can be accessed only with their “pro”/paid versions, the free versions are robust enough. Of course the paid versions are going to be better, with features such as real-time malware updates, but at the very least one has to have the basic security features.

There’s really no reason not to get a security plugin. On this day and age of increasingly more complicated hacking, where the internet is like the Wild Wild West, you can’t afford to be lax and forget to install this kind of plugin.

Do Backups

Sh*% happens. Sometimes servers fail, sometimes despite your best efforts, your site gets hacked. It’s important to have a Plan B in these cases. It’s important to have backups. And not just one backup, do multiple backups, the more the merrier.

There are plugins for this, two I would recommend are Updraft Plus and All-in-One WP Migration. These plugins have the options to backup to the cloud too, so you can use Google Drive, Dropbox and the likes for backing up your whole system. This is important as some services offer backups onto their own storage systems. It’s best to have the control over to you, which is the case if your plugin backs up to Google Drive or Dropbox.

It’s also important to have the knowledge on how to restore your system, both of these plugins offer easy procedures to do that. There’s no use in having a backup system if you don’t know how to use it in case something does happen.

Do Spam protection

When your site is out there for the whole wide world to see, one of the things to watch out is spam. The definition of spam is unsolicited bulk messages, messages sent to multiple recipients who did not ask for them. Automated bots, and the like spam your inbox to gain the ability to insert malware, do phishing attacks, etc. This happens a lot to the comments section and contact forms.

To fight this you can do various things. Captcha type plugins is one. There are Google Recaptcha based plugins and others that have their own graphic captcha systems. These plugins check if the user using a feature is human by graphical tests. An example of this is identifying text obfuscated by graphics, making it as hard as possible for a bot to pass. Google’s own recaptcha is even more complex.

There are the other kinds of anti-spam plugins such as Anti-Spam Bee, Anti-spam by Cleantalk etc. They defend sites against spam by other means, like IP-blacklist checking and other multiple validation checks on their end.

The common goal of spam protection plugins is to make it hard for machines or crummy spam-making people to pretend to be legitimate site visitors. Don’t forget to install these.

Do Search Engine Optimization

SEO plugins like Yoast and All-in-One SEO make it easier for search engines like Google, Bing and DuckDuck Go to find your site and increase its visibility. Ranking is an important aspect as people usually click search engine result links only on the first pages.

If you have a website, you would want it to be visited as much as possible, so ranking good in search engines is a must. These SEO plugins can improve your site’s visibility by providing you with metric measurements, and give you recommendations regarding your content on how to boost it up.

Do Caching and Optimization

Optimize your site by installing WordPress caching and optimization plugins. Caching lessens your website’s server operations and comes in handy when you’re getting an influx of visitors to your site. Server resources can be strained when you have a large amount of site visitors. Caching creates HTML, CSS and script files which normally the server renders through the backend longer, but since these are all pre-rendered they can be served instantly, thus reducing your server’s load.

Optimizations include minifying HTML, CSS, image and JavaScript files that make up your website. What this does is minimize your site’s file sizes. This results in quicker downloads (especially for mobile phone visitors), which can be beneficial to obtain higher rankings in search engines.

Do Updates

Your site needs maintenance. You can’t just leave it alone by itself while it fights hackers, tries its best to stay relevant, etc.

What we do in our web agency is to be consistent with maintaining versions of a site’s WordPress core, theme and plugins. It’s essential, but we take care not to disrupt the site by creating stage testing versions separately. It’s important to test the site’s whole functionality for every update you make. You want your website to be functioning right the whole time, so if an update breaks functionality you must not follow through with it.

As one can see, there are a lot of things to do in order for a WordPress website to be successful. At CRS Consulting we abide by these WordPress standards. We build gorgeous, secure sites and much more. Feel free to contact us for more information.