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Computer Viruses are Nothing New

virus2In a break from what is often the norm with these posts, it’s interesting to change tact slightly and look at something that has been revealed quite recently. The fact that computer viruses are not exactly something new.

Now, that in itself is not going to be news to you; there’s a pretty good chance you have come across a virus in the last 10 to 15 years, but we are talking about something more than that.

What has been revealed is that the first computer virus actually appeared 35 years ago, and if you were of the impression that the Mac was pretty much immune, then you might also like to know that this first virus hit an Apple computer. The Apple II to be precise.

However, it was slightly different to how we view a virus or malware today. The only potential similarity was that it was designed by a 15 year old kid, they started them young back then as well, who was merely curious about how things worked with code and programming.

The virus was known as the ‘Elk Cloner’ and it was spread on floppy disk. The basics of it were simple enough to understand. The infected disk would be inserted into the computer, and the virus would copy itself onto the memory of the computer. It could then transfer itself onto another floppy disk that was not infected making it possible for it to be spread from computer to computer.

But it went a bit further.

It seems that when you booted up your infected computer for the 50th time, you were then hit with a poem that basically told you that your computer had been infected with this virus. At this point, it was largely harmless and it is also rather interesting and fun to note that the entire reason for its creation was effectively a prank by a teenager.

Compare it to viruses and malware today. It is very rare that it would be seen as being nothing more than a teenage prank. Indeed, the entire reason for the existence of most of these viruses and malware is to steal data or money and cause as much mayhem and chaos as possible. There is no sense of it just being done for fun any longer.

The Elk Cloner could not even be seen as being the door opener for the entire field of virus creation, but it did perhaps show the potential vulnerability of computers for the first time. This vulnerability has become even more apparent with the way in which these viruses use the Internet and cloaking their real meaning in other files just to get into your computer. It is not exactly done by floppy disk any longer.

There is malice behind the creation of viruses and malware. Often, it is run by huge cybergangs that are looking to make huge sums of money from the spread of the virus and gaining access to computers for whatever reason they have in mind. The innocence, or apparent innocence that should be, has been lost to the world, and it is something that will never return.

Of course, those behind these viruses have to constantly change their approach as we get better at understanding the way in which we have to protect our computers in order to avoid getting that virus in the first place. We have become more switched on at the main ways in which they try to gain access, which is why there is a need for them to think of new methods and new viruses that we just are not expecting.

Think of the list of viruses or malware approaches that have caused chaos. Ransomeware, trojans, worms. They have names, codes, warnings are put out as to what could happen to your machine. They hide in files with names such as ‘I Love You’ and copy themselves to your address book and send them out to your friends. The hope there is that they are fooled into opening it as they trust that it is from you, and then their computer is caught and the virus does its job once again.

Is it any wonder that the anti-virus and anti-malware industry is so big? You can also guarantee that when that first virus was produced all of those years ago that nobody ever dared to dream that it would end up being as bad as this. Nobody was concerned about a virus. Now, everybody is worried and stressed about it even down to our cell phones that can also be hacked and infected through apps and other downloads.

If only we could return to the time of the Elk Cloner. It was certainly a lot easier to handle computers and there’s no doubt that we would have had less to worry about.

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Malware Via Social Media is a Very Real Risk

social media malwareEven though social media is full of fun and huge business, there can be a dark undertone that its users can easily be caught up in if they are not careful. What we are talking about is malware and it is actually more widespread on social media websites than you are perhaps aware.

The problem does not lie in the likes of Facebook or Twitter itself, but rather the links and profiles that appear on there. Often, there can be rather elaborate scams that can lure people in and then take advantage of them before they are even aware of what is going on.

In addition, apps are another source of malware that is overlooked and when you combine the two, then you can begin to see how social media can be a breeding ground for these kinds of problems.

But how can this happen?

It’s all to do with people letting their guard down on social media. We have been taught how to fine tune our safety in other parts of the Internet, but for some reason we think that as we are around friends on social media, then everything is fine.

That is where those individuals behind these scams are going to then be able to take advantage.

Also, we are not just talking about one virus or one scam, the list is pretty impressive and far too long for us to sit and discuss it here.

So, what do you do? How bad can it be?

Let us deal with the second question. The answer is that it can be just as bad as it would be if you downloaded a file from an email or download site as everything else stays the same. It’s just the way in which they try to gain access to your computer that is different. If you think of the destruction caused by a virus, then it is the exact same even if it comes from social media.

Now the first question and how you deal with it.

Of course, you can make sure that your security software is all up to date and is aware of the latest threats. That really should be your first port of call in any eventuality.

However, there’s more and it’s all down to educating people on how to move forward. Remember how you were once told to be aware of those emails from people that you didn’t know and it had an attachment? Well, the same goes for messages from individuals that you have never spoken to before on these websites. Also, be careful of links in posts that appear on groups or pages you may belong to because the individuals behind the malware will play the long waiting game to actually build a reputation before getting that link or download in there. They really can be that patient.

You need to forget that you are surrounded by friends and think of it in this manner. You are sharing a website with 1 billion people. A reasonable percentage of them are going to be there for reasons other than having a great time and connecting with friends. Even if you are looking at less than 1%, it still adds up to something huge and you can understand how you may be caught up in things that you would rather avoid.

Social media is clearly going to be here to stay and even though the companies behind the websites do take the appropriate action wherever possible, it is impossible for them to completely stop the attacks from happening when their sites are so huge. In addition, the people that join and leave is moving constantly and even though they may try their best to monitor this, it is an impossible task that they have to deal with.

The main thing is that it has to come from you and anybody else that uses your accounts or gains access to social media via your connections. You are often going to be careful in other areas, so why would you let things slip in this instance? It just doesn’t make any sense and when you consider what is at risk and what you could lose just by dropping your guard, is it worth it in the end? Of course not.

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The Missing Font Could Be Malware

The Missing Font Could Be Malware

The way in which hackers attempt to gain access to your computer is becoming more elaborate by the day. It seems that they have realized that a large percentage of people are aware of not downloading attachments from people you don’t know and only downloading software or updates from trusted sites.

This means they have had to change tact and, if you are serious about your security, then it’s best for you to be aware of the latest tactics to know what to look out for.

In this instance, it appears that the hackers have come up with what is a rather ingenious way of trying to get you to download their malware. It’s called the ‘missing font’ approach and it comes via a specific Chrome based hack.

The problem here is that we are all aware that we could go to a website and some font that has been used in it is just not recognized. Alternatively, we download a PDF from somewhere we trust and it says the font isn’t there so we can download it or it can be swapped for something else. Also, would you have ever thought that something that appears to come from Google could contain malware?

Of course not, but then that’s why this approach by the hackers could be very successful.

What to Look Out For.

In this instance, it seems that the hackers will target Wordpress websites and play around with the text after they have compromised the entire site. You go to the site, and what looks like a perfectly credible box from Google pops up stating that a certain font is missing.

In this box, there is an update button and, of course, people will feel inclines to click on it especially as it does resemble the button you would click if it was a genuine thing from Google. That is where it catches people out as there is a tendency to just go ahead and do this without even thinking about it.

But here’s where you can pay close attention and avoid getting caught out.

First, you need to question the actual fact that a font is missing. Before you download anything, do yourself a favor and check with Google themselves if it is missing on your browser or computer. If so, then only download it from an official website rather than via a secondary source. It’s just not worth the potential problems that come with it.

Next, if you do click on the update button and download something, then you will see that the file you download doesn’t match the font that you are apparently missing out on. That on its own should set the alarm bells ringing because why wouldn’t they match?

Also, if you look at the popup box, it will state the version of Chrome that you are running. It’s very easy for you to check on Chrome itself which version you are genuinely on because it appears that the hackers have stuck to version 53. However, this in itself is a clever ploy as most people will just completely gloss over these kinds of snippets of information, and that is what they are banking on.

But here’s where it gets tricky. At this point, most of the malware detectors, including Windows Defender and even Chrome itself, is missing out on identifying it as a problem even though it has been shown that it clearly is an issue. This will, of course, change in the near future, but don’t be fooled into thinking that your anti-malware will just pick it up and deal with it. That really may not happen.

Clearly, the best approach is to use the same level of common sense with this as you do with downloading files from anywhere else on the Internet. Don’t believe everything you see and never take something at face value especially when you are visiting websites. Obviously, you can trust things that are clearly via the Microsoft or Google website, but third-party sources should be avoided. The potential cost to you just by thinking that you can download anything from anywhere can be massive and who wants to be caught up in all of that hassle?

The only thing left for us to say is to wonder where the hackers will go next. They are always fighting to stay one step ahead and using missing fonts as an option is certainly a clever way to go about their business. However, if we all just up our own game and pay attention to what we are doing online, then hopefully they will not get far at all.

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So Where is Technology Heading?

dura tech networkThe one thing that you can be sure of when it comes to technology is that it is always going to be racing ahead to the next thing. This can especially be noticed in the world of computers where it always seems as if something new and improved comes out on a weekly basis.

So, where is technology heading within this industry? How far is it going to move on this year?

Well, clearly nobody has a crystal ball that can look into the future and give you an accurate idea, but there are a few hints as to what could be possible thanks to advances that have already been made. Also, it’s important that you as a consumer are aware of what is going to likely be happening next as it has a major impact on your decision as to whether or not you will be spending money to upgrade now, or if you should hold on.

  1. Functionality and Usability with Computers. 


A few years ago it was believed that the iPad and other tablets would effectively spell the end of the  humble PC. People predicted that consumers would love the ease with which you could use the iPad and so much was crammed into something so light and so small.

However, that’s something that hasn’t happened. Instead, we have seen a rise in ultrabooks where you still have the various functions of the PC, but in a smaller version which is really putting this in the middle ground between traditional laptop and the tablet computer.

This is something that is going to be improved upon thanks to changes in technology. Ultrabooks will be lighter, faster, and more powerful in order to really compete with tablets. Using them is going to largely be hassle free, which is something that the public are always seeking.

  1. Improvements in Battery Power.

Another key area is battery power as people now expect to get much longer from their battery than ever before. At the same time, they also do not want the battery to weigh too much as everything has to be lightweight as much as possible.

Once again, we can look at tablets as being the source of this inspiration as consumers do look towards the tablet and now expect so many of the features to appear on their laptop. People are fed up of being able to watch their battery die before them as they open some other window or try to complete that bit of work. Computer hardware manufacturers will have to take that into consideration or the run the very real risk of losing more customers to tablets as they too are continually improving their technology.

  1. Wireless Charging.

This ties in with the battery point mentioned above, but the big companies, such as Intel and Apple, are working hard at producing devices that are capable of wireless charging. In short, you put the item down and it starts to charge.

This in itself is an amazing development when you consider the frustration that is felt by everyone as they frantically search for their charger due to their battery draining. How many chargers are lost in a single year is anyone’s guess so this change in technology is certainly going to be used by a huge number of people.

  1. Using Biometric Sensors.

Finally, we have advances in technology related to security as you are going to find that more computers will introduce biometric sensors as a way to access information. This means your fingerprints or even scanning your eyeball as a means to unlock your screen.

This is superior to passwords as it’s not as if your body parts can be hacked and even though this is something that is still relatively new, it is being developed and there is the belief that it will become more mainstream in next to no time.

This does sound like science fiction, but the big companies are all interested in it as they are aware that security is one of the key areas where people tend to feel nervous about things. The fact that they are investing heavily in its development shows that they are taking it serious and we just have to wait and see what they bring out.

Technology is an interesting subject especially when you tie it in with computers thanks to the role they play in our world. It is something that is constantly changing and keeping up to date with it all is not that easy. It may be best to just accept that you will never always be able to have the most technologically advanced items simply because something better is already out there.

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Improved Cloud Conditions Are On The Way

imp cloudConsidering that the cloud industry is expected to be worth in the region of $122 billion by the end of 2017, it’s perhaps no surprise that the major players are looking at how they can improve the cloud for their users. However, some of their improvements have come as the result of various studies that have been conducted into the way that they do business and the technology itself.

At this point, we are talking about Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, although clearly others are going to have to follow their lead and make some key changes to what they offer as well. The main thing is that the end user is going to benefit from it all, so that in itself is not exactly going to be a bad thing.

In addition, their services have been reviewed by competition authorities who have come to the conclusion that their contracts have not exactly been fair to the end user. They have since declared that they will take steps to remedy things, so the customer is then going to be in a better position.

One major problem, which is worrying in itself, was their almost reluctance to inform their users of changes to their services in advance and basically hit them with it without any warning. This included the cancellation of their accounts, the size of their accounts, and also if it was suspended. The fact that the industry in general is being forced into doing this does come as a surprise, but it also shows how it is an industry that is still trying to find its feet and it has been struggling to actually keep up to speed with the rate of expansion. It really is a perfect example of how demand has been capable of outstripping supply, so they need to up their game wherever possible.

The problem was extended to the fact that they muddied the waters when it came to the consumer and their rights to cancel their contract if they were not happy with these alterations. The three companies, as well as others based in different locations, appeared to make life as difficult as possible along with adding charges if they did wish to cancel. This was something else that was seen as being unfair with customers effectively being held to ransom.

All of this regarding the cancellation of services, and for this we are talking about all cloud computing providers, was that it’s not uncommon for small companies to just vanish without a trace. Indeed, there have been several companies already in 2017 that have been guilty of this while at the end of 2016 various providers gave their customers less than 14 days to find another provider and move all of their data elsewhere.

Now, what’s the lesson that you can learn from all of this?

Well, first of all, the chances of the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, Google or Apple vanishing without a trace is non-existent so, from that perspective, you are in safe hands. However, even though they are the major players, the industry is so big that there are literally thousands of companies offering their services and that is where the problem lies.

It’s not exactly a bad thing that they are being forced into more regulations and making changes to improve the customer experience either. It should lead to smoother operations, ease of access, faster  uploading, faster downloading, so it really is a winning situation.

It makes so much sense for the industry to be forced into tightening its rules and regulations to provide the consumer with more protection as there is so much money at stake. Also, we are not just talking about the cost of gaining access, but when you think about the information that businesses have on the cloud, the cost to the company overall could far outstrip the cost of the storage.

Another lesson is to seriously consider avoiding going for the cheap option. There is just too big a risk of something going wrong and often, if it sounds too good to be true, then it will be. Are you willing to take that chance? Is your business and the items you store on the cloud important enough for you to be willing to invest some additional money and go with one of the larger companies or somebody with a better track record?

Think about it all before you take any action.

 

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Is Cloud Computing Spinning Out of Control?

cloud computingRecent studies have indicated that there are a number of individuals within the industry that believe the cloud computing industry is indeed spinning out of control. Now, should this be a concern to you? Well, that can depend on how reliant you are on the technology, but the fact that some are raising doubts as to the potential future of cloud computing is certainly something that is worth investigating.

The problem according to those in the industry is that cloud computing has grown faster than anybody had predicted. Now, we are not talking about it just being slightly ahead of target, but rather things have gone crazy.

But there are problems associated with this if you are more involved in IT rather than running the company overall. The problem is that more and more information and connections are appearing on these networks that it has been reported less than one in three IT managers feel that they are adequately supported to run things.

For them, they are unable to have the correct technology and support on their side of things to make sure that it all runs smoothly. They do not have the level of control that they require to keep things in check and when that happens then there is a very real risk of everything in that network just falling down and how much of a disaster would that be?

Here is something else to consider from the point of view of an IT manager, the more chaos there is and the less control they have then the greater the risk of there being security issues.

You need to remember that those individuals that deal with finding security lapses in order to take advantage of them will love that this industry is in some kind of chaos. They can then use the fact that people are scrambling around to try to take advantage of it wherever possible. This is another nightmare scenario for those already stressed IT managers and they hardly need something else put on their shoulders.

It’s Not All Bad.

This might sound like some kind of cloud doomsday scenario, but that’s not all true. Instead, there is a feeling that even though the industry may very well be struggling at this point that it’s not going to be like this for too long.

The reason why many say that is simply because of the money that is involved. The industry is expected to grow by 17% in the next 12 months and that is huge. It is believed that the industry is now more than $200 billion and that figure is only going to increase.

With money like that, then it makes sense that the companies such as Amazon and Microsoft are going to focus on providing the best service possible. At the same time, those involved in producing hardware and software are in the process of upping their game thanks largely to the shouting and screaming that is coming from those IT managers.

There is so much investment in the infrastructure that companies are really showing their hand and where they want this industry to go. If you look at the private cloud sector, then once again it is estimated that investments will be close to $20 billion this year.

So, what does this mean for you? Why is this important?

Well, it’s quite easy to understand when you stop and think about it. No matter if you are busy freaking out about that lack of control and feeling that the door has been left wide open for people to get in and abuse the system, it’s going to get better.

The companies that provide everything that is required from a technology point of view are aware that businesses have taken to the cloud in a crazy fashion. They know that there are huge sums of money sitting there waiting for them to claim if they can just resolve the issues that IT departments are having. Also, they know that those companies that tend to get in the door first are the ones that are most likely to be successful.

The key thing is that this is just a particular storm that you just have to ride through. Help is indeed at hand and if you are at all concerned about your current cloud solutions, then it is best to not just cancel it and avoid it until later. Instead, we strongly advise that you stick with it because it will be worth it when the providers catch up with an industry that has largely left them behind.

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Are You Still Reluctant to Use Windows 10?

windowsConsidering all of the fanfare that surrounded its launch, not to mention the free upgrades to those individuals with Windows 7 or 8, it’s perhaps slightly surprising to discover that a number of people are still reluctant to use Windows 10. Now, it is generally accepted that this version of Windows is better than those that came before it, but could it be that the relatively poor Windows 8 version has done some damage?

To many, there are still aspects of Windows 10 that they are not happy about. There are a few disgruntled individuals that are fed up of the forced updates that just seem to occur at random times with computers then restarting at what they seem to determine to be the best hours of the day to do so.

But here’s the thing.

Microsoft have claimed that this is the last completely different form of Windows that they are going to produce. From now on it is something that will just be adapted and altered as technology changes, but there will never be another complete overhaul unlike what we have seen before.

This in itself should be a reason as to why you need to upgrade to Windows 10. It will undoubtedly get to a point where you would be left so far behind on the likes of Windows 7 that you will, at some point, be living in the proverbial Dark Ages.

However, Microsoft may have very well created a problem for themselves.

The free update is now over in most areas and that does mean that the majority of people that were going to upgrade have already done so. They need to adopt a different strategy to convince those that were left behind to go ahead and take that plunge, and how are they doing it?

Well, their approach is to produce hardware that is specifically designed to really show off the best parts of Windows 10. The aim is to show you what it is really capable of doing in various formats to then encourage you to go ahead and take that plunge.

Microsoft are actually working in tandem with a number of PC manufacturers to make sure that they produce machines that are capable of showing off Windows 10 to its full glory. This has led to a closer collaboration between the two whereas in the past it was more a case of them working individually and then creating this rather awkward marriage further down the line.

Their intention is to produce hardware that is capable of doing some pretty amazing and cool things so that anybody checking it out feels compelled to go ahead and buy it. This in itself is a bit of a gamble because things such as their Surface machine does tend to be rather pricey and people can be put off giving it a go when they see the price tag that is attached to it.

So, Should You Upgrade?

The question now is whether or not you really should upgrade and, to be honest, the answer has to be yes although when you have to do it is another matter. It all depends on what you want to get out of your system and what you need it to do. Remember, Windows 7 is still the most popular version out there and it is still slightly ahead of Windows 10 when it comes to the number of computers that use it, so there are a number of people in this boat.

There is no doubt that as technology improves you will be forced to upgrade and just have to get used to the various features and how Windows 10 operates. Of course, there is a cost involved for companies that have things built around earlier versions, but it is still best to do this when you are in control of the situation rather than Microsoft forcing you into it leading to a computer nightmare that sends your IT team into a frenzy.

The fact that they have stopped the free upgrade is a bit of a pain. It has always been known that the majority of people that use Windows are rather slow at doing the upgrade and this has been going on since the earliest days. Now, with there feeling like there is some added pressure to do so, it may very well be that more people are reluctant to effectively do as they are being instructed to do by Microsoft.

At the end of the day, your only option will be to eventually upgrade or switch over to either Linux or a Mac. There’s no doubt that Windows 10 is good. It is effective at what it does, but whether or not that is enough to convince you to change is something that only you can decide.

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What is Best for a Server? Linux or Windows

What is Best for a Server? Linux or Windows

If you are looking around for a new server for your network then there is one question that you may want to ask yourself, Linux or Windows?

Now, both have their own advantages although for most people there is no real understanding of what each one brings to the table. In other words, there will be a tendency to go for what appears to be the cheapest option, at least initially, but that is not always going to be the correct way of going about things.

So, what is actually best? Should you opt for Linux or Windows?

The Differences Between the Two.

While both options share some similarities, there are certain conditions where one is substantially superior to the other. For example, the Windows server is clearly going to use their software whereas Linux is open-sourced and this can have its own advantages.

Furthermore, Windows web hosting is seen as being better when languages such as Vbscript and ASP.NET are being used whereas Linux is better with the likes of PHP, Perl and Ruby. You will also see a difference in the control panel aspect with Linux preferring to use the Cpanel option, which is the one you may be most familiar with, whereas Windows goes for the Plesk version.

However, aside from these differences there is also no doubt that each one can be superior than the other in a multitude of ways.

The Advantages of Windows.

If we can start by looking at the advantages of using Windows and the first thing is that people will have a tendency to feel more confident in using this version since they are clearly aware of the name and feel safe in it. There is also the advantage of the way in which things are being updated more regularly and, once again, you know the source.

Another huge advantage is that ASP.NET is often superior to any other language that is being used as its performance is impressive to say the least. The fact that the latest version of it can also be used in Linux is often regarded as being an attempt by Microsoft to slowly move across and take some of the market away from those that have, up until this point, only preferred to use Linux.

Finally, there are certain software packages that are still exclusive to Windows and they are seen as being the best in their field. The main two are called Exchange and SharePoint and they deal in communication and also make working on any project so much easier than it would otherwise be. The fact that you cannot use them on Linux, which does have its own versions even though they are not as popular, is certainly something for certain businesses to keep in mind when making their decision.

The Advantages of Linux.

When it comes to Linux, perhaps the main advantage is that it is more secure than Windows. Thanks to its open-source programming, it is also regarded as being more reliable and efficient at what it does and because of its superior stability it is often seen by many as being the best option when you are looking at choosing a server.

It is also the best one to choose if you plan on using PHP based scripts or the other languages mentioned earlier. These scripts work better on the framework that comes with Linux and when you then match that with the stability and efficiency that we just mentioned, then it begins to make sense as to why you would choose this.

Making Your Decision.

So, how do you make your decision? Well, this is the great debate and it is important that you are not just swayed by the price.

Instead, it depends on what you plan on using your server for. If it is to run some kind of content management system then Linux is going to be the best option. However, for more complex issues based on projects and communication in business then most would end up going for Windows. If the price is actually an issue then, once again, we would opt for Linux as the cost is more stable unless you specifically request certain additional applications.

Overall, this is something that you need to get some expert advice on rather than just guessing at which option is going to be the best for you. Talk to an expert regarding what it is that you plan on using the server for and listen to their advice as to which option will serve you best. There is no clear-cut answer as to which option is superior as there are just so many deciding factors that need to be taken into consideration. Remember, having the correct server just makes everything else work better and flow more easily, so it really is worth taking your time to get this decision correct.

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Why Your Computer Really is Getting Slower

slowsnailWhy Your Computer Really is Getting Slower

If you cast your mind back to when you first got your laptop or desktop. The chances are you switched it on and were pretty amazed at how fast everything seemed to be. However, now it is a different story. Your computer appears to be sluggish and you try deleting things off it as you feel that it is carrying too much data and surely that will be causing it all?

Well, even though that can contribute to the overall slowness of your computer, it does not have to be the main issue by any means. Also, you are not even imagining that your computer is slower than it used to be as it has been shown that, over time, things do slow down from those dreamy early days where everything appeared to be working at warp speed.

But why is this the case? The answer could be a lot easier than you were perhaps expecting.

 

1. The Issue of Start-up Applications.

The first point is to do with the number of start-up applications that you tend to pick up from the moment that you fire up your new computer. When it comes to you, it is bare aside from the factory settings and information, so there really are limited things on your hardware.

This changes the more that you use your computer and start to download all kinds of things. In actual fact, it is estimated that the average computer a home is going to try to fire up approximately 80 different programs, but here’s the thing. You don’t actually need all of them.

Look at it from this perspective. Do you actually need iTunes to load automatically every single time you fire up your computer? Do you need Skype to do the same? If you actually look at the list of things that load up then you will see that a number of them can be changed so that they only load when you want them to. As a result, they use up less of the processor power meaning your computer is faster.

 

2. A Build-up of Temporary Files.

Over time, your computer is going to start to save a number of different temporary files and all that they do is take up space and slow things down. It will save files, save your progress on games, things you worked on where you can hit the undo button thanks to a small temporary file having been saved. And then, you have cookies and they too are going to be taking up space and power.

You do not need this. Sure, your computer put all of these snippets of information there for a reason, but at the end of the day they do not directly influence the running of your computer in a positive manner. Instead, they will hinder you, so delete them.

 

 3. Viruses or Malware.

This is the one that everybody opts for immediately and it is easy to understand why this is the case. People will automatically presume that the reason why their computer is going so slow is simply because they are so common. Also, people tend to be aware of the fact that viruses and malware can often be spotted simply because of the speed of your computer.

The reason why this happens is because the virus is using up power, so it slows down everything else in the process. You may then discover that your computer is working at a snails pace and at this point you do not even know what the virus is doing or what it could be corrupting.

It is certainly a good idea to run an updated malware or virus checker simply because of how this can often be the answer to all of your problems.

 

 4. Your Computer Needs a Tune-up.

You may have noticed that software you run is always seeming to have to be updated, but there is a problem that you may not even be aware of. Here’s an example. Windows 10 just appears to be constantly updated and with each update, the program itself is becoming larger and more complex. As a result, this puts pressure on the processor and other hardware because they end up being left behind since you will very rarely think about upgrading them.

What this means is that your computer needs some maintenance, but just running a check is not going to be good enough. Instead, there is a very real need for you to get some expert advice so they can work through the updates and just fine tune what you need and what is actually just wasting space and resources.

The main point that we are making here is that you cannot be surprised that your computer appears to be unable to work as effectively as it once did when it was new. Just as a car gets older and things start to fall apart, so does your computer. The key is to be aware of this and to take steps to rectify things as early as possible, it really will make a huge difference.

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Is Remote Access Secure?

work homeYou may have previous experience of dealing with remote access to your network or server, but have you ever stopped for a moment and thought about just how secure it is? Probably not as a number of companies and individuals just assume that things are going to work out well and do not put the required level of thought into it and this can often be a bit of a problem.

Indeed, a number of companies have actually invested a considerable sum of money into the creation of a remote access system and yet they have not even looked at the security issues that surround it. That is a problem and one that has to be addressed.

If you actually look at a number of the large hacks that have occurred in recent years where data has been stolen, then you will see that remote access servers have been at the root of it. In actual fact, if you cast your mind back to 2012 and the Verizon data breach, then it was discovered that their remote access options were involved 88% of the time, which is a staggering fact all on its own.

One major issue is that a number of companies will allow their employees to access the network from their home computer. This in itself is difficult because there is no guarantee that they will have the correct security software installed and their computer may already be compromised. This then leads to hackers or malware being able to gain access to your network remotely without them even having to do too much work on their part.

To get around this particular issue, some larger organizations will only allow their employees to access their networks using company laptops. This allows them to provide better control over the security aspect and it certainly makes a lot of sense for this approach to be taken when you consider what could be compromised.

But what is you cannot afford to give everybody their own laptop?

Well, there are other solutions and you simply cannot afford to leave everything open to chance since remote access is certainly not as secure as you were perhaps expecting. As an absolute minimum, you should be looking at having the best firewall and security software in place for your network and to make sure that all of the bases are covered. You should also be looking at having intrusion detection software installed and that this is constantly monitored for any unauthorized access.

Another approach is to have various levels of access depending on the staff member. Those at the lower end of the organization may simply not require the same access to every single piece of information that the company has, so their ability to get into those areas should be restricted. This is just an additional security measure, but it is one that is very important and could really safeguard your entire company.

This does mean that you need to have the correct setup within your organization in order to do this, but that is where some specialist help is certainly going to prove to be rather useful.

In addition, there is the option of going ahead and forcing an installation of security monitoring on the computer that belongs to the individual in order to provide an extra level of protection. You may decide to create a Managed Service Plan as a direct result and it is certainly something that is worth considering as it means you can have a better understanding of the potential risks coming from any workstation. This is not to be seen as prying by any means but rather a way to protect the entire network.

The difficult with this is that there is no doubt remote access to a network is fraught with difficulties. Furthermore, it is also going to be a fine line between protecting your network and not interfering with whatever it is that your employees are doing on their home computers if this is indeed what they are using to access the network.

Overall, the main problem is that people fail to really grasp what it means to provide remote access to a server or network. They put too much faith in the software or protection that tends to come with it rather than thinking even just one step further away and wondering what happens if an individual that works for the company ends up compromising everything.

You have to realize that those individuals that seek to gain access will do so in any way possible. Any singular weak link can be exploited. Our advice is to make sure that any precautionary step is taken when it comes to security and, if at all possible, look at trying to provide your own laptops that will drastically reduce the chances of things being exploited. Just remember that when companies such as Sony or Verizon are being exploited that it may not even be possible to completely eliminate the chance of something happening.

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Getting to Grips with the Most Common Networking Issues and Their Solutions

Dura-Tech NetworkingThere’s no doubt that using computer networking is the way forward for a number of companies, but what happens when things go wrong? That in itself is one major issue for technology in that all is fine and well up until that point where something goes awry and then the entire thing can come tumbling down.

With computer networking, there can be a multitude of things that can go wrong, but often the issues will all boil down to the same few things. So, what are those most common issues that you should perhaps be aware of? What are the solutions that you can then expect to come across that will help to get things back on track?

1. Degradation of Performance.

The first issue is often linked to a general degradation of the general performance of the network. This can occur in a number of different ways, and also for various reasons, but it makes sense that as a network and its hardware or software becomes older and larger that things will start to go wrong.

Often, you will become aware of this issue due to the network just not being as efficient as it once was. It will seem slower, will be unable to do as many things as it once could, and to be honest if an employee worked in the same way, then you would probably fire them.

However, if you do see a drop in the general performance, then there is some good news. That news is that all you need to do in order to change things in your favor is to do some upgrading. This means getting an expert in to look at each aspect individually and to determine if any of the hardware or software, or both, can be improved upon. In most instances this will be the case.

In other words, seeing a decline in the performance of your network is not the huge issue that you may have worried about. It just means that certain aspects have to be improved upon somewhat and that is something that is easy enough to rectify.

2. Issues with the Host Identification.

Another common issue is linked mainly to there being issues with the host identification. Think of it this way. You go to send a message to someone in the mail. The only way it can reach them is if the correct address is on the message or else it can go nowhere.

The same basic premise applies in this instance as well and the potential problem becomes even more complex the larger the network. If you are working from a small network then it is entirely possible for there to be some manual configuration to make sure that things work smoothly. However, when you are moving up to something that is of a larger scale, then it is not as straightforward.

With the larger networks, you are looking at dealing with DHCP servers as well as issues connected to the domains with both the protocols and addresses having to be 100% correct to avoid problems. One small issue with one aspect can lead to a wide range of complex issues that you then need to go ahead and try to deal with.

The key here is to have everything checked and if there is a security breach, then things have to be changed immediately in order to further secure the network.

3. Security Issues.

This third and final point follows on to what we just spoke about, security issues. To be honest, most people will just automatically turn their attention to this as a potential cause of all of their problems before they even contemplate anything else. This in itself is easy to understand as we are effectively wired to look at being hacked as the first thing to go wrong.

The problem here is that when we are talking about security, we do not necessarily mean that you have been hacked. Instead, we are referring to the overall integrity of the server having been compromised and putting everything at risk. There is also a very real need to look at preventing any denial of service attacks early on.

Now, clearly as the network gets larger then there is more risk of things going wrong. However, that  is simply because of the way in which larger networks tend to have more areas that can be potentially exploited, so it makes sense as to why they are targeted.

Security has to be checked on a regular basis. Things need to be kept up to date and if the security is compromised in some way, then action has to be taken immediately.

We are not saying that these three things are all that can go wrong, but there is no doubt that the majority of attacks and issues with networks are going to be related to one of these three points. Understanding this and taking the appropriate action as early as possible should always be your first port of call.

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How Microsoft Views 2017

Considering the way in which they continue to play such an important role in everything, we can expect individuals at Microsoft to have some kind of an idea as to how computer software and hardware will develop in 2017. MicrosoftNow, even if you are purely an Apple lover, there is no doubt that you should still pay attention as things that Microsoft talk about will still apply in some way, well at least most of the time.

So, let’s begin.

1. An Improvement in Deep Search Results.

By improving the quality of deep search results, it means that individuals will be able to obtain more accurate results and links online. The technology has been developed whereby the search queries can be better understood by the software that runs searches and this, in turn, will lead to those results being far more accurate than they are at this moment in time.

This in itself is a huge leap forward and it is clear to see how this could prove to be rather useful. You should be able to be more confident in your searches actually then showing links that are useful to you rather than just hoping that the search engine has understood what you are asking it.

2. Human Centered Computing.

Even if this does not directly apply to you, it is still impressive enough for us to then want to mention it here.

Microsoft predicts that there will be big advancements in the world of human centered computing. This is going to prove to be extremely useful to those individuals that are disabled in some way, although there is a real focus on those individuals that have sight issues.

The belief is that technology and software developments will lead to a wider use of computing personal assistants that are activated by the voice. This is going to make it easier for different individuals to still access different technology.

3. Advances in Security and Privacy.

Microsoft understand that people are rightfully concerned about security and privacy. This is something that they are constantly working on and 2017 is going to be no different.

There is always this race between trying to bring out new software or technology and making sure that they stay ahead of those individuals or groups that want to compromise it. In 2017, we can expect to see hardware and software producers to focus more on security and also taking into account apps and potential security issues related to their usage.

4. A Change in Apps.

Researchers at Microsoft that specialize in mobile computing are of the opinion that there will be a slight change in the types of apps that people will be using. Now, that is not us saying that the fun things are going to vanish, but just that more companies will end up using apps that are more supportive in some way.

This is going to take the form of apps that are chatbots or personal assistants. Systems are going to have to basically re-configurate themselves to take this into account. You can also expect increased security around apps to also deal with the fact that they will continue to be exploited, or attempts to exploit them, over the next 12 months.

5. The Slowing Down of Moore’s Law.

This may very well be an important development in that Microsoft researchers believe that Moore’s Law is slowing down. This is the way in which processors have been increasing their power and capabilities at a crazy speed and this is something that is not actually as sustainable as it once way.

It is felt that this law and the speed at which it operates has reached its pinnacle. However, processors are still going to be improving just it is going to be at a much reduced speed compared to before. That is not to say that the development of hardware is going to slow down, just it is going to develop in different ways from before and using different approaches and technology.

To be honest, we could go on and on about the different things that researchers from Microsoft believe will occur throughout 2017. The main thing is that there will continue to be clear advances in the development of hardware and software that will be designed to make our life easier and faster. There will be improvements in the speech recognition software and the way in which it will be able to work across languages and with more accuracy. There will be improvements in the way that Artificial Intelligence is going to be used in more and more technology. Look at it this way, there will be major differences in the way that technology plays a role in our lives by the end of 2017. That is one thing that you can be absolutely certain about.

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The Cloud Computing Trends Any Individual Should Be Aware Of

The concept of the cloud has certainly come a long way in a relatively short period of time after a slightly sticky start. However, it is always useful to look at what is expected to occur over the next 12 months with any technology and cloud computing server roomis no different.


So, with that in mind we can look at what a number of experts are saying regarding the cloud and 2017 to help you to decide how best to proceed with your own experiences of this particular computing trend.


1. An Increase in Security.

There will be a real increase in the security aspects of the different packages and services on offer and this should certainly be something of interest to a number of people. There have been various concerns regarding just how secure the cloud is and this is believed to have put some people off using it to its full advantage. The fact that the providers have taken note of this is certainly going to make life a lot easier for those individuals that are thinking about moving their data or connections over to the cloud.

However, it is going to come down to individual providers as to the changes that they make to their security, but anything is going to be better than it is at this moment in time.

2. An Improvement with the Lift and Shift Tools.

One common issue, or cause for concern, is the way in which information and data has to be migrated onto the servers connected to the cloud. It is supposed to be an easy enough process but that is not always the case.

Instead, people will complain that it takes too long or the entire process is too complicated so they do not move over as much information as they would like. This has been picked up by the providers and it is anticipated that there will be a real major improvement in the lift and shift tools that are employed by the providers to make it easier to get the information across.

By improving these tools, it means that any individual should be able to handle the cloud even if they are relatively inexperienced at doing so. As providers become more aware of the potential popularity of their services, it does mean that they are all set to make the process as easy as possible.

3. Enterprises Will Move Away from Private Cloud Options.

Large enterprises have preferred to use their own private cloud options, but they can be expensive and are also rather complex to operate. However, there will be a shift in this over the next 12 months primarily because of the general improvements in the entire cloud network leading to these private cloud options largely becoming redundant.

With the improvements in security and better general access to the cloud, the costs that are involved in these private options no longer becomes necessary.

4. Containing the Costs.

We just mentioned how enterprises are going to largely move away from them having their very own cloud options and instead looking at public services in order to cut costs. However, there will also be a general move away from those companies that use the cloud just not having an idea of the costs or how to contain them.

It is known that there will be options whereby companies can effectively switch off their access to the cloud when it is not in use, such as at weekends, and this will lower the costs. Greater flexibility in what is being provided and how it is being accessed will certainly make a major difference. You will also see an increase in the number of tools that will be provided that specifically deal with cost management.

5. Linux Containers Will Be More Readily Available.

When it comes to cloud computing, containers allow developers to deal with software code related to cloud apps. It is anticipated that Linux containers are going to be available on both public and private cloud options in 2017 and this will make it easier for developers to create their own stacks to then power the development of their very own microservices.

The only issue here is the potential security problems and the initial costs involved. However, with the other changes that are due to really come into play during 2017 it does mean that those very same problems are also going to be tackled.

The one thing that is obvious is that the cloud in general is going to continue to grow and just get bigger and better than ever before. It has made huge strides in recent years and that is not going to stop over the next 12 months. With easier access, better security and lower costs it does mean that it will be more affordable and also more people will feel that they can trust what is on offer to them. The chances of you getting to the end of the year and not being involved in the cloud
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Cyber Security Developments Over the Next 12 Months

dura tech cyber securityTime and time again cyber security seems to be able to take center stage, although this is largely due to large scale attacks or hacks that are then capable of hitting the main news channels.

However, there is certainly no point where a business or individual can ever afford to not take some kind of an interest in their security online simply because of what could potentially be lost by them not doing this. In actual fact, you may find it rather interesting to look at the key developments that are expected to occur in the next year to help you to begin to formulate your own plan to combat the potential risks.

1. The Need to Use Unique Passwords.

People will tend to become more aware of the need to use a different password for every single thing that requires a password online. It is known that a large percentage of individuals and businesses use the same passwords over and over again and that then leads to large scale hacks and various accounts being exposed due to this single fact.

It is just habit that people do this, but when you then consider that the likes of Twitter and Yahoo were subjected to major breaches of their security, then there will be a major push to convince people to rethink their passwords.

2. The Internet of Things Made More Secure.

The Internet of Things is, as we know becoming more popular, but it is known that those individuals that are behind attacks are now turning their attention to how they can exploit this new technology.

This is going to lead to the vendors and producers of these items to being forced into taking the security aspect more seriously than before. Previously, there was the mistaken belief that these items were largely immune from these kinds of attacks, but that is no longer the case.

Now, with more large scale attacks taking place within this field, it will become more common for companies to announce when there is some kind of vulnerability. However, it is going to also be up to the buyer to be aware of these issues and take them into account before purchasing.

3. Behavioral Detection Devices.

This is going to be impressive, but it seems to be the case that the likes of Lenovo and Apple are lining up to produce what they refer to as behavioral detection devices.

Basically, they are aware that cyber crime has become far more sophisticated and it means that they need to up their game when it comes to trying to combat the issue at the source, which is you the user. What they are proposing is to produce keyboards that have special detection devices installed in them that will pick up on certain behaviour related to the normal user. This means the typing speed, the pressure that they hit the keys with, and just the way that they tend to act on their computer.

The hope is that by having this kind of data that it will then be harder for outsiders to take control of the computer through the monitoring of keystrokes. However, it stands to reason that as the technology improves then sadly so does the skills of those individuals involved in these kinds of attacks.

4. An Increase in Cloud Attacks.

So many hackers and those behind cyber crime are aware of the importance of the cloud. This has been seen by an increase in the number of attacks that take place with the cloud although it is known that these numbers are set to increase over the next 12 months.

The problem has long been that the companies that offer these cloud services have failed to take their security seriously. However, this has now changed and will continue to do so in 2017. In actual fact, there will be significant pressure put on cloud service providers to really double their efforts with their security since they have often been guilty of being quite lazy and backwards about it all up to this moment in time.

5. Current Vulnerabilities Will Be Attacked Even More.

Current holes in security and software or hardware vulnerabilities have long been the easiest way for hackers to access systems. It is anticipated that this is something that will not change in the future although this also means that there is more pressure on the shoulders of the companies behind the items being exploited to take appropriate action as quickly as possible.

This is going to lead to an increase in the number of patches and much more of an insistence that they are applied as quickly as possible.

There are actually a whole host of things that we could potentially anticipate when it comes to cyber security, but of course as one hole is covered up another new one is opened. All we can be sure of is that both sides will become more determined to win their battle and with you in the middle the best approach is to do what you can to reduce the chances of you running into a problem.

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The Wireless and Computer Networking Developments for 2017

dura-tech networkingTechnology is something that is ever changing. Every single year we see numerous developments that results in technology taking huge leaps and bounds and wireless and computer networking is not exempt from these developments.

2017 is not going to be any different and as with other aspects of technology that could have an impact on your business, it is important to be aware of the developments as early as possible. By doing so, you will then be in a better position to ultimately take advantage of the developments rather than being left in the lurch.

So, what are we going to be able to expect to happen within this sector of the industry?

1. The Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things is not new, but it is certainly something that is expected to grow quite substantially over the next 12 months. You are going to see a real push of wearable gadgets, and the networking industry loves its gadgets, and smartwatches will be more developed and capable of handling a larger number of requests.

Also, do not be surprised if smartglasses also make an appearance with them being connected to the Internet. This may sound like science fiction, but it is actually science fact.

2. Getting Closer to 5G.

Here is something that has crazy potential, 5G. Now, you may be aware that there are vast swathes of the world that are not even able to experience 4G, but it seems that developers are closer and closer to bringing out 5G which is going to make mobile connections absolutely crazy.

However, it is also thought that the actual emergence of it will not happen until 2018, so why are we mentioning it at this point for 2017? Well, that is because we can expect companies to start to bring out technology that is then marketed as being pre-5G and they will also tend to have various claims associated with the technology as to what it can and cannot do. This is something that should be looked at carefully and not to just go ahead and fall for the hype. Instead, even though 5G is going to be amazing, just take the time to prepare yourself for it rather than falling for those companies that make claims that are perhaps not able to be substantiated.

3. IPv6 Continues to be Rolled Out.

2017 is the year when we will notice that the speed of the roll out of IPv6 is going to increase quite dramatically. It has had a relatively slow and steady start to its life, but that is about to change.

What we are going to see is that it will be mentioned more often in relation to business networks and it is a term that you will hear more and more as the month progresses. It is also known that this will improve the security side of things as well, so it is certainly not something that is to be viewed with suspicion or anything of that nature.

At this moment in time, it is certainly going to be more a thing related to the development of those networks rather than something for the home user which is why we have decided to mention this as a trend for the forthcoming year.

4. Multi-Band Routers Could Make a Splash.

Multi-band routers really started to make an appearance throughout 2016, but their success has not been up to the standards that were perhaps expected of it. However, that is not to say that it is something that is going to go away in 2017.

Instead, it is anticipated that having routers capable of handling smaller networks, even for those that work at home and need several ways to access the Internet, will become more popular. It is also believed by many that the price of these routers will crash down as they have been held artificially high for some time. However, with there being more competition out there it stands to reason that the costs will be reduced due to competition.

5. The Emergence of Intelligent Apps.

We all know how useful apps can be, but at the same time there is still room for improvement with them and that is something that is going to happen in 2017.

For many, there is going to be a real emergence of what is being billed as intelligent apps where the app is able to perform some tasks that would have otherwise been done in the past by an assistant who was human. An example of this will be apps that can tell you which emails are the most important and have to be dealt with, organizing your diary automatically for you and other points that will streamline your business.

Technology will only appear to gain speed faster than ever before throughout the forthcoming year and that in itself should not come as a surprise to anybody. It is important that you seek the correct advice from experts as to which changes or developments should apply to you.

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Being Mobile Still has the Potential for Malware

Dura-Tech Being Mobile Still has the Potential for MalwareIf you were of the opinion that because you are using an Android device that you are safe from things such as viruses and malware, then think again. Instead, you could easily find yourself being rather lazy with your protection leading to you leaving yourself wide open to all kinds of issues. Think that this is potentially just a small problem? Well, let us explain something that has just recently been discovered.

The issue that we are talking about here is being called Gooligan and it specifically targeted devices, which means phones or tablets, that used the Android operating system. What researchers have discovered is that this malware infected over 1 million Android devices around the world, but it is what it then managed to do that is the part to be concerned about.

With this malware, hackers are able to effectively steal Gmail accounts and the authentication tokens that go with it. They can then use that to go ahead and install various apps from the Google Play store and then start to rate them. They benefit financially from this but at the same time they also manage to install Adware to the device and they then make even more money from advertising that is then sent to the device.

Now, some people may think that this is not a big deal as they are not being affected financially, but that is certainly not the way to look at things.

You see, people love Android because it is so open allowing people to develop apps and generally improve the user experience that is possible on any device with this operating system. It is obviously used by companies around the world with individuals accessing emails, accounts, and a whole host of other business related issues.

However, the fact that it is so open is also seen as being a weak point. The open nature gives those individuals that have dishonest intentions the opportunity to go ahead and create malware that can take advantage of those potential holes in security. The fact that they often do it in the most simplest of ways, such as infected links in emails and infected downloads from different websites, is also something that should not be overlooked.

Look at it this way. If you rely on some kind of mobile device for your business then any kind of malware runs the possibility of having a negative impact. This particular infection is able to steal your email address and that in itself is a huge problem. Also, if they are then able to install something such as Adware on your device, then it means the door is left wide open for them to install other things as well that could actually be more deadly and lead to all kinds of information being stolen.

But how do you avoid this kind of issue?

The answer is simple. You follow the same rules as you do with your Windows computer. You do not open links in emails from people you do not know or were not expecting, and most importantly of all you only ever download apps from approved stores. Too many people end up downloading apps from free websites as they feel drawn in by the idea of something not costing them anything. The only problem with this is that often the idea of it being free can also mean that there are a few hidden surprises that you simply do not want to encounter.

You are advised to spend time doing research into the app and even waiting for it to have a number of downloads before you go ahead and install it. This may be seen as allowing other people to take the risk of it being infected before you check it out, but it is just being clever.

You also need to think about this one important point. It is now more common for different devices to be connected to networks, so even if malware gets onto your mobile device, it is always possible for it to be able to spread to other parts of your network. This can be a disaster because you can easily end up with other devices becoming infected or just leaving the door open for the hackers to get into the absolute core of your network and cause havoc. Is that something that you can afford to happen to you? Of course not, which is why you have to take appropriate steps to prevent it from happening in the first place.

So, what we are saying is that just because you are using an Android based device, you should not overlook the potential security issues. Malware and viruses are not restricted to machines that operate the Windows system and in actual fact the attacking of phones and tablets in this manner is regarded as being a new shift in the way that these cyber-attacks are going to occur. This is something that is only going to be on the increase so being aware of it at this moment in time is more important than you may realize.

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How to Use Remote Working for your Business

work remote dura techWith the improved specifications of both laptops and tablets as well as the changes in Wi-Fi and connectivity, there is no doubt that using remote working for your business is something that has become more popular than ever before with an estimated 1 in 3 working in this way. However, in order to take full advantage of this it does involve some thought and preparation on your part to make sure that you can use it to its full potential.

The first thing to think about are the reasons as to why you would perhaps want to switch to remote working. Often, the main reason is that it does reduce the costs associated with running staff from an office as they can simply connect from wherever they are saving you money in the process. This is clearly a huge advantage to people, but at the same time it does then bring with it some issues that you need to deal with.

Also, you must think about the software that you are going to require everybody to work with so that this remote working can actually exist without any problems. This is something that is substantially easier than before simply because of the existence of things such as Skype, Dropbox and, of course, the cloud. However, you will understand why there is this need to make sure that everybody is working from the same page since this can then lead to misunderstandings that can be so easily avoided.

This does also expand onto remote workers being able to access your systems and this is where specialist help and knowledge really does come into its own. You have to make sure that they can do so securely and that the connections are reliable enough for them to access your network remotely. However, the security is perhaps the biggest issue which is, once again, why you need to get the correct advice if you are planning on running your business in this fashion.

To be perfectly honest, this is going to become even more problematic if you are allowing individuals to use their own laptops or tablets rather than those supplied by a company. If you supply the equipment, then it is so much easier to include certain software that restricts certain actions so the chances of something going wrong will, of course, be lower. Also, as you are supplying them with the equipment you do know in advance that there is nothing wrong with the computer whereas you can never be sure about that when they are using their own.

So, if you do allow them to use their own equipment you can see how you need to take additional steps to improve the security aspect. It is essential that your side of things is as secure as it can possibly be although clearly it is impossible for things to be 100% secure 100% of the time.

We mentioned earlier the way in which this approach can save money on various business costs, but what options are available to you when it comes to the kind of actions that people can take?

Well, thanks to technology and software it is now possible for individuals to conduct every aspect of your business whether it be paperwork through a connection, attend meetings thanks to group calls on Skype, send documents and files to one another remotely just as if they were sitting across a desk, the list goes on and on. Also, you may be surprised as to the parts of business that can use this kind of approach even if the main core of the company is unable to do so.

After all, why would you need to have an IT individual sitting there in your office on a constant basis if you are able to have them working remotely? Why would sales agents have to be there or come into the office all of the time if they can have an early morning meeting from their own home before they then go and hit the road?

To be honest, you just need to sit down and work through the aspects of your business that could benefit from this approach. Remember, it is not all about saving money but rather stopping wasting as much time and energy in areas of the business that just do not need people to actively be there. If you are in any doubt, then the best thing is to look around other companies to see what they are doing.

So, those are the main things to consider when it comes to using remote working for your business and as you can see there is actually nothing too complex about it at any point. However, as you have seen, it is still important for you to be able to get some expert advice to make sure that everything is able to run smoothly from your side of things or who knows how your business may indeed suffer as a result.

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A Closer Look at a Few of the Cloud Computing Terms

cloud phoneIn a previous post, we looked at a number of the terms that are primarily associated with cloud computing. This time, we are going to examine a few of the terms in more detail basically due to the important role that cloud computing is now playing in various industries. Also, as the future is certainly heading more and more in this direction, it makes so much sense for us to spend more time on this because if you are not already dealing with the cloud in some capacity, then you can pretty much guarantee that you will be in the near future.

Cloud Backup Solutions.


The first term that we will look at more closely is ‘cloud backup solutions’ and it should be pretty obvious as to why this term is so important. Any business should always seek to backup their computer files just in case something goes wrong and that is what this particular term refers to.

The difference between this and other backup solutions is that it does not involve you copying files onto an external hard drive or any other piece of hardware, but rather the files and data are copied onto the cloud. This means that they are stored remotely with the data being encrypted for safety reasons. You are then able to access it remotely whenever you require to do so. The good thing about this approach is that you do not have to worry about hardware running into problems as it has nothing to do with those kinds of things on your end.

Cloud Database.

The cloud database is another term that is pretty self-explanatory. In the simplest of terms, it refers to a database that has been specifically created for the sake of a virtual computer environment. In other words, it is going to be run in pretty much the same way as a database in your computer network, but it will be located in the cloud.

Now, this is going to have a number of advantages over the other database forms that you may be more familiar with. First of all, there is no need for you to worry about software or hardware issues compromising your ability to connect with the database since everything is stored in the cloud. It also means that you are able to access it from locations outwith your network as there is just the necessary passwords that are required in order to then connect with it.

Furthermore, the ability to move the location of the database so that it is not tied down to the one thing is going to be yet another major advantage so if portability is what you are after, then this could very well be the perfect solution.

Cloud Migration.

If you are planning on moving things over to the cloud, then this is a term that you should ultimately become rather familiar with. As you may have anticipated, it refers to the act of moving all of the relevant data and files from your current location over to the cloud, hence the migrating part.

However, it can also refer to more than just transferring files and data over as it can now include apps and the information that is gathered by them. In other words, all of the information that was previously stored on hard drives or disk can now sit on the cloud freeing up space within your own computer network and avoiding slowing it down. Also, if you are not sure as to how to move things over, then there is always the option of getting some professional assistance.

Migration is easy, but at the same time it is also a rather essential part of the process.

Cloud Provider.

The final option that we are going to look at is the cloud provider and this is also rather easy for you to understand. If you think of the company that you use in order to connect to the Internet, then they are the provider for that part. If you then move that idea over to the concept of the cloud, then the company that you use in order to get the space on the cloud is then your provider.

Now, you will quickly notice that a number of the big names in the industry are involved in this such as Amazon, Microsoft and a whole host of others. However, there are also smaller companies that are certainly worth considering as well. The main thing is to work out how fast the connections are, how secure they turn out to be, and how easy it is to access them. All of this information should be available from your potential provider.

So, as we said at the outset, these are just some of the important cloud computing terms that you should really start to get to grips with because of the way in which this approach appears to be taking over the world. We understand that there are aspects of it that are confusing and many more areas that will perhaps never be of concern to you, but at the end of the day a little knowledge on this matter is certainly better than going into it completely blindly.

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The Key Cloud Computing Terms to be Aware of

cloud compThe concept of the cloud is everywhere. However, even though you may be aware of the basic idea of the cloud, it will not come as a surprise to discover that there are a whole host of terms that are used time and time again within the industry and yet you may not be sure as to what they mean.

Considering the way in which cloud computing is really taking over the world, it does make a lot of sense to really study the key terms that you may very well come across thanks to you using this particular technology. Now, this is not an extensive list by any means so there will be a number of terms that are left out but at the same time, this is still going to provide you with a greater insight into the technology.

Amazon EC2.

As the term suggests, this is a service that is offered by Amazon whereby an individual, or company, can effectively hire or rent various computer resources that are delivered via the cloud.

Cloud Application Management for Platforms.

This phrase is also shortened to CAMP and it refers to the management of different applications that  are used across not only public cloud platforms but also private ones. This applies to both the packaging and deployment of the applications.

Cloud Backup Solutions.

This is pretty easy to explain as it refers to the method by which businesses or individuals are able to store various pieces of data as well as a number of files onto the Internet using a storage provider rather than it being put onto an actual physical hard drive. 

Cloud Database.

With the cloud database, it refers to something that is accessible via the cloud by the clients with the information being delivered via the cloud servers owned by the company in question. In other words, information is stored in a database in the cloud and the client accesses it just as normal as it is merely where it is stored that is different.

Cloud Migration.

This term refers to the process of taking all of the data and files of a company and transferring its storage over to the cloud and away from physical hard drives. It also refers to transferring apps and services onto the cloud with the understanding that it is then protected behind a firewall.

Cloud Provider.

This term is relatively straightforward to understand in that it refers to companies that offer cloud services via the Internet. This means that it works along the same lines as and Internet services provider although in this instance they just specialize on the cloud.

Cloud Portability.

With this term, you are looking at the process whereby you are able to move apps and different pieces of data between cloud services. This can be between different providers or, alternatively, between public and private cloud networks.

Cloud Storage.

This is another term that is pretty self-explanatory. It does, of course, refer to the storage space that is available on the cloud for all of the data, applications, and services. The data is then going to be accessible via the different resources that are the main components of the cloud.

Hybrid Cloud Storage.

With this term, what it is referring to is the process by which a company or individual is able to have a mixture of storage solutions with some being in a public domain and others in a private domain. They are able to effectively move between the two determining which data appears on which storage solution.

Mobile Cloud Storage.

This is something that fewer people appear to be aware of, but mobile cloud storage is also quite easy to understand when you stop to think about it all. Basically, this refers to the way in which you are able to store mobile data on the cloud with you then being able to access it from anywhere you wish.

Personal Cloud Storage.

This is clearly pointing towards the ability for an individual to store their own personal data on the cloud with them being given access to it via a provider. Now, there is also the ability to sync things between various devices and you are able to access it from not only your computer but also tablets and mobile phones.

Private Cloud.

With a private cloud, it is hidden behind the firewall of the company and it is controlled by the IT department of the company. 

So, as we said at the outset, this is not a complete list at all, but you will have been able to start to get a grip of just how complex this industry actually is although that is when the company you use to establish the cloud is worth their weight in gold. If you come across other terms that you are not sure of, then just ask because in most cases it is going to be easier to understand than you think.

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Dealing with the Different Protocols

network protocolIn a previous post we looked at different terms related to networking and within that list was reference to something called the Protocol. We also mentioned the fact that this is perhaps a word or term that a number of people will have heard and yet it is also common for them to just not be too aware of what it means or what it involves.

In all honesty, this term refers to something that plays a key role in the entire networking mechanism and because of the important role that it has it is worth examining it in more detail to then offer a better explanation as to what it involves. However, we should note that there is more than one type of protocol so we need to examine each one in order to clear up any confusion that may surround them.

The Basic Description of the Network Protocol.

First, we need to start things off by looking at providing you with a basic description of the protocol so that we know how to then proceed.

The most basic description of this term is that it refers to conventions and rules that exist for reasons of communication between different network devices. In other words, it makes it easier for them to communicate with one another which, as you would expect, is a key point of the entire networking process.

With this, it provides a method by which devices are able to communicate with one another as well as identifying each other to begin with. Also, it deals with essentially formatting a series of rules that determines the way in which data is not only sent but also initially packaged between the devices.

The Basic Description of the Internet Protocol.

This is perhaps the version that is most well known, or at least the one that most people have heard of, although it is also fair to say that people still do not fully understand what is involved in it or what is actually going on.

With the Internet protocol, you have a series of rules that come together in what is often referred to as being like a family. This involves terms such as FTP, HTTP, TCP, UDP and, of course, IP. These are seen as being more high level forms of protocols and they play an integral role in allowing you to connect to web browsers and to see what the Internet has to offer you. However, there are also several low-level protocols in existence.

These low-level protocols include ARP and ICMP and their role is different to those listed above. Rather than dealing with your ability to browse the Internet, these protocols are involved in the creation of connections with network devices and also various pieces of computer hardware. In other words, they allow you to connect to things such as your printer just as a basic example.

The Basic Description of the Wireless Protocol.

The final aspect that we are going to look at is the wireless protocol and considering the way in which we tend to connect to hardware and the Internet without the use of wires you can see how this is rather important.

With this, there are a number of things to look out for including LTE, Wireless, and Bluetooth and they are all examples of protocols that allow you to connect to things remotely. However, these protocols must have specific capabilities that will then allow this to happen.

For example, these types of network protocols must provide the ability to search for, and support, roaming mobile devices while, at the same time, offering network security and also handling data rates that are going to be variable. In other words, these protocols are going to make it easier for you to connect to pre-existing networks although they need to also be aware of the possibility of them being exploited hence the importance of dealing with security.

This is certainly an area that has expanded in recent years due to the way in which we are connecting to both devices and the Internet remotely more and more. People also expect faster connections, faster download speeds, and just for things to work correctly from the get go.

So, as you can see, the protocol does indeed play an integral role in the entire process of networking and you can perhaps begin to understand why there is a need to know what it both refers to and also how it works. Also, at least now you will no longer be as confused although we should finally point out that there is more to it than we have covered here but due to not wanting to confuse the issue it seemed pertinent to not go too far down that particular road.

However, in the future we will focus more on exactly how they work due to the important role that they play because, after all, you would not even be able to read this blog post if it was not for the existence of these protocols. 

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