McDonald’s Versus Fine Steakhouse: Commodity or Premium?
Most products and services fall into one of two broad categories: commodity or premium service/product. Let’s look at a few examples that you might be familiar with. Food: McDonald’s is low-priced without much quality and fits squarely into the commodity bucket. Other direct hamburger alternatives: Burger King, Wendy’s, Jack-in-the-box, Checkers; other tangential alternatives: Taco Bell, KFC, insert your favorite fast food. The key here is that the quality of the alternatives, whether they be a hamburger, taco, or piece of fried chicken, are similar. The food, mass-produced and low-quality, is served in a low cost environment, likely by low-cost workers. Are there any phrases that you are starting to see repeat themselves?
Let’s contrast our fast food category with the finest steak house in the nearest city (population > 1,000,000) to your residence, or just pick a big city and a great steak house. Think about that steak house. Think about the décor. Imagine the waiters and greeter. Now think about the food. How is it priced? How does it taste? Appear?
The difference between McDonald’s and a fine steakhouse is obvious. Many commodity and premium products & services are equally as obvious to distinguish between, but not all. Why is it so easy to distinguish between restaurants?
- Visual differences are easy to spot: décor, servers, waitstaff, or lack thereof
- Taste differences are easy to discern: flavor, quality of food, etc.
- Pricing signals help: typically better food is more expensive, but not always
What type of products and services are harder to compare?
Distributed services with little transparency or interaction are difficult to compare
How good is the airplane maintenance crew for your favorite airline? You only hear about the rare airline crashes and have almost no visibility into how effective one airline’s maintenance is versus another. You could use on-time departure, which is reported in the United States as a proxy, but perhaps that is the wrong metric. And with various crews of various levels of effectiveness, how can you be certain that the crew who worked on your plane did a good job?
How effective is your police force? You could try to use anecdotal data, but there is a good chance you would be really wrong, since you could interpret a one-off event as a regular occurrence. Without looking at data collected about aggregate performance, it is hard to know how effective the police force is. What would you ask to answer this: How nice are the police officers you encounter? How present are police? Do you seem to see them around? It is painfully obvious without data you almost can’t even hazard a guess as to the effectiveness of this distributed workforce.
If you infrequently use a service and that service has little transparency, you are almost unable to determine how effective the service is – you just don’t have any data. With the food example, you have TONS of data points, visual, taste, experiential, as well as factual: pricing, external reviews, opinions of others, etc.
Where on the spectrum of commodity to premium services does CodeGuard fit?
We are a premium service, produced by top engineers in the United States, committed to delivering for our customers, with internal and external metrics.
CodeGuard Adheres to Best Security Practices
With annual vulnerability and penetration testing, we take security seriously, and have not had a major breach. This is contrasted with some of our competitors who have been found of atrocious security practices that indicate no 3rd party inspections were taking place, or if those inspections were taking place, that nothing was done to remediate the major issues.
Here are the specifics on how we secure our data, because we do not believe in security through obscurity.
- Server side encryption (SSE)
- 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES-256)
- Reside in Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS)
- One-way salted hashes for CodeGuard customer account passwords
- RSA 2048-bit key encryption for customer server credentials
CodeGuard Offers Most Reliable and Best Storage Available
Some of our competitors don’t offer storage. You will have to store the backups on your own hard drive, a cloud drive that you manage, or another cloud service that you own. What type of guarantee can be provided when there isn’t end-to-end visibility that the service is working?
Not only do we offer storage, we offer the world’s leading storage with a 99.9% SLA.
CodeGuard Offers Most Fully-featured Backup Product
We run git in the cloud. This is not a simple data transfer tool; we expose the full power of the world’s leading version control system to anyone! We have taken an intricate and nuanced tool, only usable by advanced technologists, and added sophistication to make it simple. The sophistication, our “secret sauce”, is the magic that transforms this tool from unusable to the layperson to now quite usable, and easy to use.
Product Performance Tracking
We have competitors who don’t even know if their product works, as they don’t have visibility into what it is doing. With our core agentless service, we track hundreds of thousands of backups every day, from start until finish. In addition to tracking the backups, we also track the restores! Every restore we perform is tracked, and we solicit feedback from each and every one. We are not aware of anything like this with our competitors.
To make sure we don’t let our customers down, we have multiple auxiliary systems to track our core backup technology.
Here are the auxiliary systems we built:
Key Aspects of the Product
The CodeGuard service doesn’t just transfer files to storage servers like a semi-skilled robot. This is the full capability of our service:
- Backups: Daily or on-demand
- Monitoring: Daily with ChangeAlert notifications and custom notification filtering
- Restore: 1-click restore, downloadable zips, individual file restore, test restore
- Client Access: Branded portal, customized subdomain, role assignment
- Visibility: Initial backup tracking, daily backup tracking
- Security: Two-factor authentication, IP logging
- Support: Knowledgebase, 24/7 level 2 & 3 support, standard hours phone support level 1
How It Works
To understand the ease-of-use, simplicity, and power in what CodeGuard has built, here are the five steps needed to get the files for your website setup.
For CodeGuard customers with multiple websites, we provide an easy way to quickly determine how the backups are functioning across all of those sites. We don’t believe in the world of binary backup: where things work or they don’t. We believe in shades of gray, where issues occur that may be on the CodeGuard side or on the website hosting provider’s side. And when those issues arise, we are going to message to customers about them to help provide a means of reconciling.
If a customer wants to explore the specifics of a particular site, they can click on the link for that site and obtain information about the changes for it.
In similar fashion, if customers desire information about their databases, which can be connected via SSH or Direct, they can view the specifics for each database.
Many Options for Simple Restore Process
Backup is meaningless if there is no restore. It is nearly as meaningless if restore isn’t easy to use. Here is a walkthrough of our restore functionality, starting with the Restore Overview screen.
In addition to the test restore, there are three main aspects of the restoration functionality: fully automated restore, individual file restore, and the restore survey.
For individual file restore, you can select from a folder explorer the particular folders and files:
And here is the customer contact information that is requested so that if anything goes wrong, we can reach out and rectify things using manual methods.
Leading Global Companies Partner with CodeGuard
We are the only website backup provider with multiple publicly-traded company partners. What does this mean? This means our technology has been vetted by companies with large engineering departments and expertise in evaluating technology. Companies like this don’t add a single website and see how it performs! They look at data, add hundreds of sites, and carefully track performance.
CodeGuard Revered in the Press
If you are doing something interesting, you should get press. But just because you get press does not mean you are necessarily doing something novel or unique. We are not suggesting that just because we have been featured in many major news outlets that our technology is nuanced and special.
CodeGuard Showered with Awards
CodeGuard has won over ten awards in the last five years, starting with our launch at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York in 2011, where we won the Audience Choice Award.
These are other awards we have won since then. We have the greatest pride in the awards related to our software development process, as software quality is quite opaque to the end customer, and without validation form an outside third party, how can you make any valid truth claims at all?
CodeGuard Provides Full Transparency Into Performance
CodeGuard offers current and prospective customers complete transparency into system performance. While competitors can’t even track performance, let alone share it with the world, this is exactly what CodeGuard does. 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, anyone can see how CodeGuard’s systems are performing.
CodeGuard has a rigorously engineered product, adheres to the best security practices, has the best storage available, the most fully-featured product, auxiliary systems for quality control, leading global companies as partners, and is revered in the press, showered with awards, along with full transparency into product performance.
You determine the answer: are we building commodity or premium products and services? Anyone can put a piece of software out there and make empty promises, accompanied by a low price. Pro tip: that is not our strategy.