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Ondemand; unlimited & pay as you go!

Ondemand is our new cloud storage subscription product, aside we have created a whole family of similar products that are metered. This is a pay as you go option to the more traditional fixed cloud storage plans. Now, Is this pay as you go product for you? Here in this article you will find the fundamentals to empower you to make a decision. The names of this family of products are; Freemium, Ondemand and StarterPlus, please see them in the prices page for reference.

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Ondemand metered product
Ondemand Product

Ondemand Cloud Storage Highlights

  • First the product gives you freedom and flexibility to design your plan according to your needs. You will know “how” soon if you keep reading.
  • Second you pay for what you really use.
  • Then quantity of users, traffic and storage in your bill go independently from each other. This particular will be very flexible for many use cases with asymmetric consumption.
  • Third there are specifics that apply to all of our products:
    • As our standard you will get resiliency and durability of data with point in time recovery backup. We have 3 copies of every file in 3 different data centers at all times.
    • Too Web office, API , Client software access.
    • Then admin panel for the organization and clear billing dashboard. As well as low latency and speed globally.
    • Nimble VIP customer support as we do for all products and customers.
    • Moreover lower standard prices for larger teams.
    • More, much more!

Those are just some highlights about the Ondemand. Now, this post you will get a full illustration about the Great, the good the bad and the horrible about this new product. Moving on!

Users

As you will appreciate on the picture attached, your users will be billed monthly on fixed amount. Just so you know it will be per month per user according to price tiers. Meaning this product has many price tiers we design to make it very affordable on entry level as well as for organizations with many users or a LOT of users. In fact the more users you have the cheaper the users get. Now entry level is cheap and you also get 20 GB included traffic and storage. Then for the rest you pay as you go (Ondemand). Then for your benefit we will talk about Storage and Traffic respectively.

Users are billed like all other “older” products in NiHao Cloud.

Storage

As a matter of fact the bill will be the amount you have consumed over time along the month. Meaning that periodically the system will measure your storage, and calculate your monthly average consumption. Lets to an example thought exercise about this.

Let say you get the product with 4 users. This would be 8 USD for those 4 users every month plus the storage and traffic they consume. Let talk about traffic now. If those 4 users start exchanging using internal links. Just some office documents, they might work the whole month and not consume more than 20 GB in total. In which case the system will not bill anything.

Now, this is not most cases probably. If the users start using the system to store more data than 20 GB. Then the system will measure the storage every so often and record that measurement. E.g. today 15GB you store, tomorrow 55 and the next day 11GB. What the system does is to average those over 3 days and you pay that average. Notice it will not be the highest value.

Freemium, Ondemand, StarterPlus
The family of metered or pay as you go products

How can your bill go crazy with storage?

Someone from your team would need to upload a LOT. When we say a lot we mean a LOT, remember this is by default unlimited. Now, you can set quotas per users to avoid this if desirable. That way gives you the flexibility of having unlimited. Then at the same time you can control on a user per user basis with quotas.
In case you set a limit for the account on purchase of afterwards in billing dashboard, your storage can NOT surpass said limit. Your bill for storage will never be higher than the limit you have set, but you would need to change it ti store more “things”. Let us move on to traffic now.

Traffic

Currently we are billing traffic on the basis of your uploads and downloads of the user(s) under your organization in the system.

For example, if you are have worries about the traffic bills, be careful with viral content and big files shares sent publicly. E.g.: a 2 GB video that you or your team shares in Facebook and then 20 000 people watch it, that is 40TB of traffic.

Given the above example, if you set a limit, this may cause critical service interruptions that will be inconvenient for you or your business. This means that if any of the user(s) on your plan shares or upload/download. Then the access to the files is many thousands of times a day, you may exceed the limit. Let say you exceed the limit.

What then?

  1. We do not delete your files because of this reason.
  2. If you or your team shares files and folders, they will not be publicly available anymore, the system will unpublish the shares.
  3. The system removes all privileges of the users.
  4. Your bill might be higher than the limit you set as the system runs periodically.

When this happens, you need to either increase the limit, remove the limit or wait until the end of the billing period to be able to use the system features again. Once the limit does not apply anymore, if you need to re-publish(share) the same files and folders. Then you will need to create new shared links manually or via API and send them again to the people who need them, etc.

Ondemand traffic too high!

As you may already know, in our system you can create public links. This is indeed a very useful function. People will be able to access those links by anyone who is given the link. For security they can not be scanned, but they are public. This means that if you make a big file public in social media or if someone malicious get’s hold of your public links, they can inflate your bill. In this case your bill might be very high.

Ondemand Product Afterword

Fists that system notifications and warnings will be sent to you via email about your usage and consumption as you configure it in your account. Now, we recommend you to check your billing dashboard frequently. This will help you monitor your team’s current consumption if you have worries about the bills.

Our recommendation of this product is if ether of the following is your case. Let say you do not know how much you really need to store en traffic. Second in case you have very asymmetric consumption patterns. For instance a website that serves a lot of content, but do not need to store a lot. Other case is when you have very low consumption or very high consumption.

Aside from the Ondemand product you can also use other FIXED price products. Finally here is a detailed description of all of our products.

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IP loss in China

IP (Intellectual Property) loss in China; 6 most common mistakes SMEs & entrepreneurs make.

This article is about IP loss landscape in mainland China. We did a summary analysis of the 6 more common mistakes companies make. here are the results, therefore let’s just get to it.

1. First let’s understanding the IP Legal Landscape and why IP loss happens.

IP landscape
IP landscape.

Many of the “complaints” are made by senior executives who actually do not clearly understand the complexities of IP. Aside they also do not know the mistakes their own companies may have made in protecting it. For example, filling a weak patent application or failing to register their IP at all ( an all-too-common mistake)*

We are interested IP loss because At Sesame Disk by Nihao Cloud one of our main goals is to keep the information safe at all times. Second we have had our selves living in china for many years a lot of experiences with IP protection and theft attempts. As a result we created NiHao Cloud in part because of this.

2. Not preparing the way in advance.

IP theft in action
Who are you?

Well known IPR lawyer in China, Dan Harris, in his article Protect Your IP From China: It Is Possible? He states that your IP has value, and if it can be copied with minimum effort, it will be copied. This means you must, therefore, prepare for this reality in advance.

3. Wrong assumptions about china.

Believing that since the company has done what is necessary to secure its rights in North America and Europe, there is nothing special they need to do in China. This is a BIG mistake.

Companies can win in china
Can you really win in China?

When we asked former lawyer Dan Harris, what’s the most common mistake regarding IP loss in China. Mentioning apart from legal issues, he answered that biggest and most frequent mistake lawyers see. Is on the IT side where foreign companies/start-ups hire a bunch of people in China to write code. These foreign companies do not form a company in China and do not hire coders as employees. In other words, everything these companies do is illegal. Then, years later when the software is done, Chinese partners just walk off with it. At this point there is nothing the foreign company can do about it. This is because the entire operation was illegal in the first place.

4. Not knowing how to keep your trade secrets safe.

Protect you data and intellectual property
Good business are based in secrets – Peter Thiel

A- What is a Trade SECRET?

Be non-public – it must not be known by the general public or by competitors;

B- What is a Trade SECRET?

Have actual or potential commercial value. As in it must give the owner a competitive advantage or be capable of generating economic benefit.

C- What is a Trade SECRET?

It is information that your competitors would want to know and would give them a commercial advantage.

Guarded by confidentiality measures – the owner must take reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality of the information.

Trade secrets may have many forms. include recipes or formulas, know-how, the status of products. Also services under development, valuable business information. This information or data might be in the form of:

  • customer lists
  • cost and price information
  • suppliers and contractors
  • contract terms
  • marketing strategy and plans
  • etc.

What you need to know about Trade Secrets in Mainland China:

Find it in China
The Asian Red GIANT

China, like most other countries, provides a legal framework for the protection of trade secrets. As such the law provides for remedies in the case that your trade secrets are unlawfully disclosed. This being said you might know some other forms of IP rights such as patents and copyrights that have a finite term. Otherwise trade secrets can theoretically enjoy an infinite term of protection as long as the trade secret remains just that – a secret. However, once the information becomes public information, it no longer enjoys any legal protection. Therefore prevention is the golden rule when it comes to protecting your trade secrets. This is because once the secret is out, there is usually very little that can be done. In addition keeping trade secrets safe involves using a combination of physical, technical and contractual barriers.

Furthermore “Many firms choose to keep their competitive edge by opting not to patent their inventions and trying instead to keep them as trade secrets”

5. Not adopting preventive measures to protect IP loss.

Ip preventive measures
IP Secrets Security

6. Underestimating the importance of proper IT systems to protect IP loss in China.

Bigger companies have their own established IT teams overseas that might be or may not familiar with IT challenges in China. As a matter of fact and especially with the GFW (the Great Firewall of China). Moreover your company should also choose a right IT company in China for services you might need. For example setting up new IT infrastructure in China tends to be complicated as compared to many other places.

According to Niels-Uwe Behrens, an IT expert long established in the Chinese IT sector; underestimating the importance of the role of IT in IP protection is a very common mistake:

“ I have been working in IT in China for more than 20 years. For instance it never stops surprising me how many companies have completely unsecured and open IT systems.”

Also we asked Niels about the current state of IT security awareness in China.

In my experience, I would say that roughly 80% of SMEs in China have at least one or more serious security issues. What’s more in many cases this breaches could be exploited by amateur opportunistic hackers. Not to mention in most cases it is not the hackers to be worried about. Even when 50-80% of the world’s IP hacks are traced back to China.

Mr. Niels

SMEs in China

In my experience, there are 2 types of SMEs in China: The first type take security seriously. This means their IT infrastructure is set up properly and in a secure way. Additionally their corporate culture prevents any IP leaks.

The second type of organization is less concerned and chooses not to pay much attention to a proper IT set-up since it works as it is. These companies usually adopt the attitude of; “real hackers go after big corporations, not small SMEs like us”, or “we don’t have any data of such importance. Therefore there is no need to encrypt and be overly concerned about security”.

When we think of IP theft we all tend to imagine that there must be some secret hacker organizations that go inside servers rooms and steals secret data in an action movie like fashion. But in reality, everything is much more simple than that. In most cases, especially in China, most trade secrets are stolen by the employees, former or current, who have access to corporate emails or even data server on their personal laptops. In most cases these laptops are not encrypted and can be easily stolen or hacked. Once someone has access to your corporate email or access to the main server, all your important data are at risk of getting out in the open.

This kind of data leaks can be used and will be used to publish your trade secrets or even out-compete your business. Eventually, this event will be registered as one of IP theft cases that are growing ever since 2005.

Stats on IP cases
Civil courts IP cases US vs China

Some additional facts of crucial importance about China

In China employee fluctuation can sometimes reach up to 75% annually, therefore, tendency of data leakage is very high. In Chinese mentality, it is very common that once employees get fired, they feel some sort of ownership of the work they have been doing for the company, and sometimes even devices like laptops or computers have been taken from the workspace. It’s is also very common that entire databases are copied to USB flash drives and later on used to start new businesses and compete with a former employer.

For security reasons bigger foreign companies tend not to use Chinese social media, such as Wechat, Baidu Cloud or QQ, for file sharing or chatting, since these are constantly monitored by the Chinese government. It is better to keep your most important IP and communications isolated securely in your own private server, maintained by yourself or a trusted third party.

Take a look
Insider IP theft

To maintain safe and reliable IT systems many SMEs are turning to managed service arrangements. From HR point of view, it is much cheaper and more effective to outsource most of the technology hassles to dedicated foreign IT experts, rather than looking for own IT specialists. For an economical monthly fee, these SMEs get a whole IT team responsible for maintaining and updating their systems with the latest security patches.

Finally

Regardless of your approach to IT security, keep in mind that organizations are increasingly dependent on technology, and it is, therefore, important to be as proactive as possible to keep technologies up to date and secure important data from both external and internal threats that tend to increase every year.

Do you have a story about China IP loss? Please share your experience in the comments below.

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