Business Wire | September 27, 2023
DigitalOcean Holdings, Inc., the cloud for startups and SMBs, today announced the launch of DigitalOcean Managed Kafka, a new, fully managed data streaming platform as a service offering for Apache Kafka. DigitalOcean Managed Kafka helps small and medium-sized businesses across industries, including video streaming, the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, gaming, and eCommerce, access and process data streams in real time while eliminating the complexity associated with the Kafka administration. Through this offering and other enhancements across DigitalOcean’s portfolio, startups and tech entrepreneurs can more easily grow their businesses in the cloud.
“While Kafka is the gold standard for data streaming, it frequently presents technical challenges for smaller businesses with budget and resource limitations. We are excited to introduce a solution that makes this technology more accessible and meets DigitalOcean’s standard for simplicity,” said Megan Wood, Chief Strategy & Product Officer at DigitalOcean. “By reducing the burden of implementing a new platform, companies can shift their focus away from the complexity of managing their data streaming services and get back to building apps that differentiate their business.”
As businesses receive higher amounts of data inputs, the ability to rapidly capture and process this data becomes crucial. Thousands of companies, including over 80% of Fortune 100 companies, rely on Kafka to optimize their data streams and provide leaders with insights that inform decision-making. With DigitalOcean Managed Kafka, startups and SMBs can benefit from the ability to scale up and down clusters with ease while setting up alerts for proactive maintenance. Additionally, DigitalOcean customers can expect end-to-end security via private networking and data encryption along with cost-effective, predictable pricing starting at $147 for a three-node cluster.
“DigitalOcean's Managed Kafka offering has been a game-changer for us at Datacake,” said Lukas Klein, Chief Technical Officer at Datacake. “By taking care of the operational aspects of running our Kafka cluster, we have been able to focus our attention on what really matters – building a great product. With this new service, we were able to migrate seamlessly to an event-based architecture while maintaining the highest levels of operational security.”
Alongside DigitalOcean Managed Kafka, DigitalOcean has been making investments in its product and infrastructure offerings to provide peace of mind, increased productivity, and more affordable solutions to SMBs and startups. Some of those recent updates include:
GPUs with the acquisition of Paperspace-The computing power needed for training AI models and deploying at scale
Premium CPU-Optimized Droplets-Higher outbound network speeds, higher performance, and faster disk writes than standard Droplets
Enhanced memory and storage for Basic Premium Droplets-More flexibility with a wider choice of virtual machines
Low-cost support plans for every size of business-Eight-hour response times for all issues, regardless of severity
Object Storage in the Bangalore data center-Increased performance with compute and storage in one location
In addition, over the coming quarters, DigitalOcean will unveil the following enhancements and capabilities to continue to make DigitalOcean the cloud of choice for SMBs and startups:
More flexible storage offerings -Effortlessly accommodate dynamic storage requirements with Scalable Storage for Managed Databases, a cost-effective solution that helps businesses expand their data footprints with confidence
Faster, frequent, and comprehensive Backups -Ability to create daily Droplet backups that are differential, significantly reducing the time required to create them
Better performance for a range of products -Extending the premium variant to the General Purpose line of Droplets, providing newer generation CPUs, faster NVME drives, and up to 10 Gbps of outbound data transfer speeds making them ideal for running e-commerce, consumer, and SaaS apps
DigitalOcean simplifies cloud computing so builders and businesses can spend more time creating software that changes the world. With its mission-critical infrastructure and fully managed offerings, DigitalOcean helps developers at startups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) rapidly build, deploy and scale, whether creating a digital presence or building digital products. DigitalOcean combines the power of simplicity, security, community and customer support so customers can spend less time managing their infrastructure and more time building innovative applications that drive business growth.
SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS
NEXT Insurance | September 20, 2023
NEXT Insurance, a renowned digital small business insurer, recently unveiled an innovative new offering that will empower agents to tailor coverage quotes precisely to the unique needs of their small business clientele. NEXT's Coverage Builder represents a significant advancement in granting agents the capability to finely customize small business insurance quotes while still retaining NEXT's hallmark instant bind capabilities. Coverage Builder is designed to be swift, user-friendly, and exclusively tailored for agents before purchase, equipping them with the necessary tools to choose suitable limits and maintain complete control over the coverage they're quoting.
With the introduction of Coverage Builder, agents can set their base policy limits, add or remove specific coverage, or adjust limits post-purchase. This functionality, combined with the convenience of instant underwriting and pricing updates, not only saves agents valuable time but also enables them to make adjustments instantly without the need to pick up the phone, eliminating the need for direct communication with an underwriter.
This represents NEXT's ongoing commitment to supporting its agents, offering them a digitally driven quoting experience that is user-friendly, accessible, and 100% online. Additionally, Coverage Builder will be accessible to all NEXT customers post-purchase, enabling small business owners to tailor their policies with immediate pricing adjustments and seamless policy management.
Cody L Slocum Lammers, Commercial Lines Agent & Broker at Affordable Insurance Solutions, commented,
NEXT's Coverage Builder feature is 100% hassle-free. This new feature sets NEXT Insurance to a new level, above its competitors, as this allows agents the flexibility to customize policies to fit the needs of each individual small business. It's user-friendly and simple to understand- this is truly a game changer for NEXT Insurance agents!
[Source – Cision PR Newswire]
This announcement follows NEXT's recent commercial umbrella/excess liability coverage launch to aid small businesses in their entrepreneurial journey. The digital small business insurer has also made strides by announcing its integration with Ivans Download for General Liability and Workers' Compensation policies and appointing Jack Ramsey as Vice President of Agent Business. These developments underscore NEXT's dedication to its agents and mission to enhance small business clients' insurance purchasing process with a smoother and more intuitive experience.
About NEXT Insurance
NEXT Insurance, a leading digital small business insurer, is spearheading the transformation of small business insurance by offering streamlined, digital, cost-effective, and tailored coverage solutions. With the trust of over 480,000 business proprietors, the company offers policies that are both convenient to purchase and grant uninterrupted access to Live Certificates of Insurance, additional insured, and more. Pioneering an industry historically known for its complexity, NEXT leverages the power of AI and machine learning to simplify the buying process and make affordable coverage accessible. Established in 2016 and headquartered in Palo Alto, the company has garnered a total of $881 million in venture capital funding.
Mastercard | September 25, 2023
Mastercard has introduced new tools to assist small businesses with payment processing, financing, and cybersecurity.
Small businesses are adapting to an increasingly digital business environment, even amid labor shortages, to meet customer expectations.
Mastercard's Digital Doors program offers resources, including a Marketing Hub and cybersecurity toolkit, to help small businesses.
Mastercard has expanded its suite of services catering to small businesses, introducing an array of new tools to assist companies in areas such as payment processing, securing financing, defending against cyber threats, and more.
Ginger Siegel, the North America Small Business Lead at Mastercard International, highlights that this expansion aligns with the efforts of small businesses to adapt to an increasingly digital business landscape.
The ongoing labor shortage has presented challenges for many small enterprises in recruiting essential staff. However, despite these hurdles, companies must continue evolving to meet customer expectations, particularly in terms of digital interaction and seamless payment processing.
A recent survey by PwC Global reveals that 89% of financial technology, banking, and payment businesses polled believe that the continued growth of e-commerce necessitates significant investments in online payment solutions.
In response to these challenges, Mastercard is proactively addressing the needs of small businesses through various services, many of which are integrated into its Mastercard Digital Doors program. This initiative initially emerged as an online resource center during the pandemic, offering an array of tools to assist small businesses in establishing an online presence, facilitating digital payments, enhancing cybersecurity, and streamlining various other digital operations.
One notable addition to the Digital Doors program is the Marketing Hub platform, designed to connect small businesses with select service providers capable of meeting their specific needs. Furthermore, Digital Doors now provides additional resources to aid small business owners in promoting their operations effectively.
According to a Mastercard study, the second most significant challenge for small and medium-sized businesses is acquiring new customers, even though 47% of companies report being in a "growth mode."
The Digital Door Marketing Hub extends valuable savings on supplementary services to support businesses in their marketing and advertising endeavors. This includes discounts of 20% on specific Hootsuite services geared toward enhancing social media marketing, as well as discounts of 40% on selected FedEx Express shipping services and 20% on selected FedEx Ground shipping services.
Another crucial service Mastercard Digital Doors offers is its collaboration with the Global Cyber Alliance. This partnership delivers a Cybersecurity Toolkit for Small Businesses, equipped with scanning tools that identify and assess vulnerabilities in data encryption and website security. This toolkit empowers small businesses to fortify their defenses against online fraud and malicious internet traffic.
Mastercard goes a step further by providing education and coaching initiatives tailored for small firms, including a partnership with Hello Alice, a platform that assists entrepreneurs in navigating financial and operational challenges, further demonstrating Mastercard's commitment to empowering and supporting small businesses in their journey towards growth and success.