What the US Government Surveillance Programs Mean for Zoho Customers

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At Zoho we take privacy and security of your data very seriously.

However, privacy is not just a matter of software engineering. A few customers have asked us what the recently leaked US government surveillance programs mean for us as a company and for you, our customers. Our data centers are based in the United States, and we do a sizable chunk of our business here as well. We are, therefore, subject to US law. We do not make the laws, but we are bound by them – whether we agree with them or not.

We would love to be able to guarantee the privacy of your data against any government intervention. However, realistically that is not possible. Companies like Google and Verizon have also found themselves having to comply with over-reaching requests. Choosing not to comply is not an option given the way the current laws and programs work. Customers might want to consider the fact that the US government can do as it pleases – with your data whether it is stored in the cloud, or sitting inside your own company walls.

It is our view that the federal programs that have come to light (and others that we might not know of yet) are too far-reaching. We hope that with the intense pressure that the current administration is facing from media and the general public, these programs will be modified to allow for better due process and increased transparency.

Meanwhile, we continue to focus on the elements of privacy and security that we are able to influence and control. The technical safeguards that we work on are meant to protect you against hacking attempts, and also to keep Zoho itself out of your data. In matters of privacy, it is worth highlighting that Zoho remains the only major email service provider that never displays any ads. In fact, there are no ads inside any of our products. We don’t have an incentive to look inside your data ourselves. While Google has gone on record to say you can’t expect privacy from Google itself, we can assure you that we guarantee your privacy, at least from Zoho itself, if not from the Government.

So far we have not faced any situation that has presented us with these conflicts, but we do not assume we will never face it. This is not a technology issue, this is a political and constitutional issue. We just thought we would let you know about the current environment that companies like us face.

Sridhar

Stress is Part of the Job: Handle it Like a Pro

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iStock_000016076514XSmallWe have a fun and relaxed environment here at the Zoho Austin office. From group lunches to inside jokes and the occasional game of ping pong, we enjoy coming to work each day and enjoy interacting with each other.

But no matter how much fun we have, there comes a time when we all have to get things done. Unfortunately, stress and work go together like pickup trucks at a gun range — especially for salespeople.

More than any other position, sales can be extremely stressful. Talking to clients or potential customers on the phone, meeting monthly or weekly goals and managing your pipeline all contribute to a large amount of stress that can have a negative impact on both your professional and personal life.

How common is stress at work? A reported 8 out of 10 people say they are stressed from their job and another study says 76 percent of all people report the top two causes of stress in the United States are job pressure and money.

One of the biggest problems with stress is how it impacts physical and psychological health. In fact, of people who feel stressed from work, 77 percent reportedly suffer physical symptoms and 73 percent suffer from psychological symptoms. Research has shown that when you suffer from stress, you are unable to utilize previous knowledge or training and instead resort to an automated response of shutting down or convincing yourself you can’t reach your goal. In sales, losing your confidence can be paralyzing. Read more

Celebrating One Year of Zoho Campaigns. With an even better Free Plan!

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It all started with an idea – an idea to make customer engagement and communication easy for businesses. At Zoho, we already had the perfect CRM system to manage customer data. Next, we wanted to make it easy to reach out and engage customers, and also measure the effectiveness of this engagement. This, was the beginning of Zoho Campaigns!
one-year-celeb-blog

Today marks a year since the official launch of Zoho Campaigns. Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time listening to customers, understanding requirements, learning industry trends and making changes wherever required. This approach also helped us gain insights to many email-marketing areas like deliverability, autoresponders and spam prevention.

There’s one behavior that we observed about beginners in email marketing – the small businesses and the startups. They take time to figure out the perfect email marketing plan, the size of a mailing list and the number of emails that’ll be required to attract and retain customers. We understand that email and mailing-list limits should not stop you from trying out an email marketing software.

That’s why we’re increasing the number of emails and contacts in the Free Plan. So now you get 1000 contacts and 5000 emails per month in the Forever Free Plan. If you’re an existing customer in the Free Plan, don’t worry, your email and contact limits get enhanced too. You can check this limit in your Zoho Campaigns dashboard.

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Small Business Stories You Might Have Missed

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iStock_000015589126XSmallWelcome back to our ongoing series geared toward getting you the stories and information you need to improve your small business. As a small business owner, you can never stop reading about the state of the market or learning new ways to improve and expand. That’s where we come in.

So in case you didn’t have a chance to read the tens of thousands of articles or Facebook posts since our last installment, here are some of the most useful and interesting stories we came across.

Getting the Most from Your Blog

Blogs used to be the butt of a number of jokes that usually revolved around an unemployed “writer” in his or her parent’s basement eating Cheetos or Twinkies. However, this is far from the truth. Blogs have since become an essential part of a business’ SEO value and overall online presence.

Getting a blog is no problem. Providing quality, shareable content three to five days a week is the challenge. This article from Search Engine Journal addresses this very issue. From organizing thoughts and ideas in an editorial calendar to simple tips on coming up with blog post ideas, you will immediately improve your company’s blog overnight. Read more

Customer Spotlight: Transforming from a “Hustle” to a Successful Business

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In December 2011, Jamar Jones decided it was time to take his company, Deluxe Signature Collection (DSC), to the next level.  Having been in business for almost five years, he felt that DSC had hit its earnings ceiling based on their current business practices.

“We started six years ago, but over the last year we’ve really tried to transform from a ‘hustle’ to a scalable business by putting systems and processes in place.”

Jones felt that the number one barrier limiting DSC’s growth was that he wasn’t efficient enough in communicating to customers which was therefore limiting his sales volume.  As such, he began the search for tools to assist in organizing his business to increase scalability.

The Business

Deluxe Signature Collection (DSC) specializes in the procurement and sale of quality sports memorabilia and the production of elite, public signing engagements.  DSC is headquartered in Southern California and aims to employ progressive business strategies to deliver intimate customer engagement and high quality events. Read more

Introducing : Timetracking for your bugs

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A typical work day of a team member in a software development team :

You’re a team member in charge of a performance module and currently working on few critical bugs that needs to be delivered for a customer before this weekend.

Here’s how you can effectively use Zoho BugTracker to organize and fix bugs fast :

  • Create a business rule with module as Performance and severity as Critical. All the bugs with this module name and severity gets automatically assigned to you in Zoho BugTracker
  • There needs to be a way to categorize these reported bugs. Our BugTracker allows you to easily categorize them as open, to be analyzed, to be tested and add more Custom Status using Status and Workflow option under Bug Settings
  • Once categorized you can Sort and View bugs based on due or created date in the Bugs View. You can create a new custom field called This Week and use Bulk Update option to select and update the bugs to be fixed for This Week and you’re done. Every day when you login you can see the bugs progress in the Feeds panel under In Progress view.
  • As the weekend approaches, you need to record the entire week’s efforts. For this, make use of Weekly timesheets to record the time spent to fix the bugs for this particular customer and of course you can also Generate Invoices using Zoho Invoice and follow for payments.
  • If you wish to notify your Boss you can do so by adding him or her as Follower to know what you have been working on.
  • Finally, if you want you can deactivate this business rule using Activate or Deactivate option under Business Rules.

timesheet-invoice Read more