For those individuals with limited experience with computer networking, it may prove to be useful to spend a few minutes talking about those different ports that you see on the side of your desktop or laptop. Often, you may look at them and wonder why on earth they exist in the first place as you never seem to use them at any point.
Well, that will often depend on what it is that you are aiming to do with your computer.
The first thing to remember is that those ports are there to make life so much easier when it comes to dealing with both input as well as output interfaces. The ports will then allow your computer to effectively communicate with other devices expanding its capabilities in the process.
However, you should be aware that there are both physical as well as virtual ports, and each one is important in its own right.
If we look at the physical ports, then most people will understand what the USB port is capable of doing. They are easy to identify as they are rectangular in shape, and the device that is then attached to it has the same rectangular shape, so you know that the two go together.
If you look at the ports, you will also see one that is more of a square in shape, and that is for the ethernet cable. This allows you to connect to a router if wireless is not an option. You will also notice that there are circular ports and they are known as serial ports.
We can also move to the concept of virtual ports because clearly Wi-Fi and wireless connectivity does not require anything to be physically attached to anything else. This is achieved through various means, but the capabilities are all contained within your computer, even if you are not aware of it. With Wi-Fi, it uses different channel numbers that are linked to radio bands to get you connected, but this is all going on behind closed doors.
These virtual ports play an integral role in the Internet Protocol networking aspect of your computer. To expand on that, these different ports will allow software and hardware to share resources without it actually interfering with other aspects of your computer and how it operates. This means that several things can be operating at any given time, and yet you would only be aware of it if you checked out the task manager aspect of your computer and looked at all of the different processes that are in action at any given time.
Regarding these virtual ports, you will find that they are given numbers when it comes to this IP networking. These numbers allow things such as your router to work without being negatively affected. It allows the network firewall to monitor the traffic that is being directed to each number as a way to protect you from malware or anything else that is untoward and could cause you issues.
This last point is something that we should expand on just slightly. Attackers will often focus their attention on these gateways in order to try to gain access. They are seen as potential areas to be exploited, which is why firewalls seek to protect these weaker points.
However, firewalls can often be too good at their job resulting in you having traffic restricted that you actually want to provide access to. That is where configuration comes into play, but the problem will generally be that the non-professional is unable to make the changes that are required to allow that flow of information without it opening them up to attacks.
So, as you can see, the ports that are on your laptop or desktop all have specific roles to play. However, it must be said that perhaps the most important ports are those that are hidden from view as they are the ports that are even allowing you to read this blog post. Understanding what they are all capable of, or the mere point of their existence doesn’t even have to be something that you ultimately concern yourself with just as long as it all works as intended. If you have any doubts regarding these ports, then don’t try to figure it out on your own. Instead, seek professional help or you could be opening up a door to a whole host of trouble.
Lately there have been various news stories regarding malware with the main focus being on the WannaCry threat that caused chaos around the world. However, even though it may sound as if we lurch from one threat to another, it is perhaps wise to just pause for a moment and think about the older malware threats. Are they actually over and consigned to history, or are they still as dangerous today?
When you look at the number of infections around the world and see what has caused it, then you will still come across old names that you may have thought had been and gone. The truth of the matter is that old malware never dies, it still sits there in the online world just waiting for someone to walk on by that it can then attach itself to.
To better understand the problem, we can look at a report that was compiled recently by CheckPoint. In their study, they looked at the main causes of disruption to businesses by malware over a set period, and what they found was that several of the top 10 causes were around 5 years old. Two of them were older than five years, and yet there they were still causing chaos and costing businesses money.
The two that were flagged up as being important were the Zeus trojan and the Conficker Worm. You might need to go and Google them to see the chaos that they caused when they were originally introduced to the world, but the fact that you have to search does perhaps show how they faded from our mind.
But then, it does beg the question as to why they still prevail when software producers are always saying how they have brought out patches to help combat these threats.
The reason as to why they still get access to computers is because of several deciding factors. First, even though the patches may be produced, a surprising number of people will not then download and install them, so they are basically leaving the door wide open for them to be attacked. Also, others may not even update their anti-virus software to the latest version, so when you combine that with not dealing with the patch, then you are asking for trouble.
Also, there is a sense of people just adopting the principle that they are careful and will never be caught out. This is the wrong way to look at things because so many people are caught out because somebody that they know and trust took their eye off the ball. So many of these trojans will replicate themselves and send themselves off to all of the friends that the person has, so you then think that you have an email from someone you know even though they are not aware it has been sent.
There is one other point to make, and it is a point that takes us into the dark web. There, you will find old malware that has been repackaged and put up for sale with the code all included. What can then happen is that people will purchase the code, use it as the main part of some slightly different malware, and then put it out. The name may be different, but what it does and how it does it remains the same.
We have to accept that we are always going to have problems with malware. It is a battle that will never be won as those that are behind it will always make changes to try to stay ahead of those that set out to protect us. However, the main point that we are making is the very real need for us all to not forget about the things that were left behind, the malware that we mistakenly believe that is no longer a threat.
That malware is a threat. They can still cause absolute chaos if you just ignore the possibility that something may very well happen. You need to do all you can to stop this, and if you are unsure about how to protect your business, then seek professional advice as soon as possible. The cost of doing so will be insignificant in comparison to what it could cost you to rectify what may be a very poor situation.
If you prefer to use Chrome as your browser, then how about being able to make just a few changes behind the scenes to improve its overall performance? This is something that can be easily achieved even by those individuals that are not that technically minded, which means there’s no reason why you should not give it a shot on your own.
At this point, you may have very well upgraded to the version known as Chrome 57, and that is the first step to improving the performance. With this update, Google have made a few changes to cut back on the CPU power that is required to keep a number of tabs open at the same time. This was an issue with previous versions as it would crush the battery on a laptop no matter how powerful your hardware.
So, how do you improve the performance? There are three steps for you to consider checking out.
- Look at Your Tabs and Extensions.
It stands to reason that if you have a number of extensions running and tabs open that Chrome is going to require more power in order to operate. The first thing to do is to open the Task Manager that comes with Chrome. This will allow you to see how much power is being used by the browser and you can also then determine which tabs are using the most power. By doing this, you can then decide which ones need to be closed.
The problem is that some tabs will have aspects on the page that kill your resources by hogging as much power as possible. This will then slow down the other tabs and have a negative impact on the way in which Chrome in general can operate.
- Consider Using Hardware Acceleration.
This is another option even though it is something that most people are unaware of, rather than just ignoring it. Hardware acceleration is not even that complicated, and yet it can make a difference to the way in which Chrome then performs.
The aim here is that you are effectively telling Chrome and your CPU to pass some of the workload off to your GPU.
For this, you need to go to the settings aspect of Chrome which can be found via the three dots menu option in the top right corner. Once you do this, you need to go to the advanced settings part. When you click on this option, you will then come across a system option which is where you will be able to locate the hardware acceleration option. Click to enable this and then go ahead and restart Chrome so that the changes can occur.
Now, we aren’t saying that you will be able to notice a huge difference, but if it can even help just on a small scale, then it is always going to be better than nothing.
Consider Resetting Chrome.
When you use Chrome over an extended period of time, there is often a chance that you have personalized it to a certain extent as well as adding in additional programs that can ultimately slow things down. The other option that is available to you is to go ahead and send Chrome back to the original default settings, otherwise known as the factory settings.
This is going to effectively strip out everything you have done with Chrome up to this point, but as long as you understand that this is the case, then it should not be a problem to you.
The theory behind this approach is that there can often be times where adaptations that we have been responsible for are making life difficult for Chrome. Of course, we want to add our own personal touches to things, but there is no doubt that this can slow it down quite considerably.
The only other thing to mention regarding this is that it may not even be Chrome that is the problem and it could very well be your hardware that is the issue. If you are running a number of programs at the same time as Chrome then there is only so much that your CPU can cope with, so you may need to assess that as well. If you have any doubts or concerns, then it will always be beneficial for you to discuss things with someone that is a specialist in dealing with hardware who can advise you on the best thing for you to do next.
You may or may not have been aware of a certain clamour regarding Google Docs in the news recently. Basically, there was a Google Docs phishing scheme that was doing the rounds that would ultimately lead to individuals having their computers infected with a virus. It literally did go viral, but aside from the obvious problem of trying to resolve this issue, it does open up something else that is worth discussing.
We are all familiar with the idea that viruses and malware can be attached to files that are added to emails, but it is amazing to think that so many people are still capable of falling for an attachment. People are still far too quick on the draw when it comes to opening emails without even thinking about where they come from, or even why they are there in the first place.
But here is the crazy thing.
This Google Docs issue would often come from a clearly bogus and crazy email address. However, people were still clicking on the link even though they could see that it did not come from someone that they knew, or somebody they could trust.
Some may even say that those individuals that fell for this kind of thing ended up getting what they deserved, but that would certainly be a bit harsh as we can all make various kinds of mistakes.
This attack does work in the tried and tested way of copying itself in an email and then blasting out to everybody that is on your address book. That way, you might see something from an individual that you know, but then this is still not a good enough reason for you to just open any link without giving it due care and attention.
How to Avoid it.
So, how do you avoid it? This is easy. The answer is to just take a moment and stop jumping in with both feet and opening links without thinking about it first.
Even if you do know the person that the email seems to come from, then does the attachment details itself make sense to you? It’s always best to check with the individual first to make sure that they did mean to send it to you. After all, it could very well come as a surprise to them.
You can still open the email, just the attachment is the part to avoid. Instead, you might want to see who else it has appeared to be sent to because that is where you can get all kinds of emails that just do not make sense at all. This is yet another clue that all is not quite right with this doc and you should not open the link under any circumstances.
But there is something slightly different about this phishing email, and that is the fact it takes you to an actual genuine Google sign-in page. The problem here is that when you add your details, it then triggers another app that is secretly gaining access to your account allowing it to then replicate itself and start that entire cycle again.
Clearly, Google are none best pleased about this, and they are certainly trying to tackle it. Furthermore, these kinds of scams can often be quite short-lived as word gets around that it’s all fake and people then step up their security.
However, if we only step up the way in which we protect ourselves when faced with this kind of issue, then why don’t we do it on a constant basis?
That is a difficult question to answer. Too often, we become lazy with our security leading to us allowing things to slip through the net. We become tired with the very idea of checking each email attachment in advance, or being absolutely certain that the website we are visiting is completely safe to check out.
The people that are behind these kinds of attacks are only too aware of this and that is why they continue to produce malware and viruses on an almost constant basis. They know that they are going to get a percentage of people that will access their files and infect their machines, and that knowledge is good enough for them.
Do yourself a favor while also making life easy for yourself and don’t become lazy with your security. It is all too easy for your computer to end up being corrupted and it literally does just take seconds for it to all go wrong.
The Internet of Things is impressive. It is something that is only going to gain momentum in the coming years as we bring this technology more and more into our daily life.
However, whenever technology becomes popular, it often leads to the development of individuals that wish to cause chaos and mayhem. If you thought that the Internet of Things would be immune, then think again.
Instead, it has been shown by various studies and reports that hacking of these devices has turned into a major issue. Not only that, hackers are using these devices to then attack websites and computer infrastructure resulting in even more chaos than before.
The problem we have here is that as we become more used to having this technology, we seem to be failing to grasp that often these devices are not secure. To be honest, so many of us are still guilty of not protecting our Wi-Fi signal allowing others to access it simply because we have not put the correct security into place.
It is important to look at the potential scale of this problem. Forbes have been quoted as saying that it is anticipated there will be close to 100 billion IoT devices in just 6 or 7 years and if things do not change from a security perspective, then that is a huge number of devices that are vulnerable to attacks.
The Problems and Issues.
Let’s look at how hackers can use IoT devices. First, they can use them as a launch pad for a large-scale DDoS attack with the potential for thousands upon thousands of devices being used in this way. They can harness small levels of power from the different devices to bring down a server or website, and the individuals that own the devices are completely oblivious to it all.
But that is something that is just annoying rather than being more worrying to the owners. There is a method out there that should make you worry about the potential for things going wrong and it is all to do with the way in which we ourselves connect to these devices.
Basically, hackers will use these devices as a springboard for getting access to your network and then work their way down to gain access to your private information. In other words, you should see it as a method by which they will use a device as a door opener, but that is not the end of their hacking attempt.
Often, people use default passwords and names for these devices as they perhaps believe that they are just not going to be attacked. What can then happen is that malware is produced that infects computers and then searches out IoT devices and basically tries to gain access by using known default passwords. To hackers, this is easy prey and it shows how a simple oversight can then potentially cause you a whole lot of trouble.
So, what kind of things are vulnerable?
This is where it gets scary, but it’s worth pointing out that some of these things have not actually been hacked and it’s just that vulnerabilities have been discovered. We are talking about digital cameras, DVR players, sound systems, even cardiac devices have been shown to potentially be at risk along with Wi-Fi baby heart monitors.
That is not an extensive list and we have only mentioned the items to allow you to see that anything is at risk of being exploited if the correct security approaches are not taken.
Obviously, there are a number of things that you can do to stop this happening. Never leave the devices with their default password; it’s just not worth it. Also, update firmware and patches from the manufacturer whenever prompted to do so as it can often be the case that a patch is dealing with a vulnerability.
We better become used to the IoT as it is here to stay and will only begin to take more of a key role in the way that we run our lives. The fact that someone sitting at a computer on a different continent can then, in effect, take control of it all is a scary thought. Make sure that it doesn’t happen to you by taking the appropriate security steps, and do so before it’s too late.
Every once in a while, a computer network will encounter some kind of issue that needs to be rectified as quickly as possible. Of course, before you are able to go ahead and fix things, you need to understand what the actual real issue is, and that is where troubleshooting comes into play.
The entire concept of troubleshooting is not new, but it is something that is absolutely essential just as long as it is done correctly. Clearly, not everybody is suited to do this, as it does depend on the level of technical knowledge that you have at your disposal, which is why it can be useful to offer some kind of an explanation as to how things proceed.
First, there has to be the realization that there is an issue. There is no need for anybody to be aware of the steps that should be taken as this is something that may have to be carried out at any point.
So, if we can jump ahead and just accept that you realize that there is a problem. You may not be sure as to what the problem is, but there is some kind of understanding that the network itself is compromised and something has to be rectified.
To begin with, you need expert help. There is a very real need for you to get networking engineers who can come and diagnose the issue, sometimes even remotely, and to point you in the correct direction for the solution that is going to deal with all of your problems. This identification can take some time depending on the size of the network and the complexity of the issue at hand, but then it is also best for it to not be rushed to make sure that the issue is correctly identified.
It is also worth pointing out that there are times where troubleshooting a networking issue can be done either manually or automatically. This depends on the problem at hand, and also the way in which the problem is going to be approached. There are different versions of automated software that can handle a number of issues, but clearly this is something that can only be identified once the actual problem itself has been uncovered.
But what kind of issues could you be facing?
Well, there are several, and they do tend to be graded according to severity. A network issue could be something as simple as software for a router needing to be upgraded which has led to connections being lost or dropped causing all kinds of problems. At the same time, you could be talking of a virus hitting the network which then has to be dealt with due to the way in which it has spread so easily and in such a short period of time.
It may also involve a new piece of hardware having to be correctly installed after a failed attempt. The drivers associated with the hardware may not be configured correctly, so this will then lead to there being a number of issues that affect the entire network. You may even be looking at the installation of new cables or a new Wi-Fi device that is just not working as it should for the entire network.
As you can see, we are not even talking about major issues, and yet the impact that they can have on how the entire network works can be huge. It can disrupt the flow of work. It can restrict the way in which everybody on the network can just get on with things. It can be annoying and frustrating leading to lost business or pressure being added to individuals when it really is something that can be fixed in next to no time.
However, as we said earlier, there is a very real need for you to only ever use an actual engineer rather than making any kind of an attempt to rectify things on your own. This can often lead to matters being made worse, even though you don’t intend to do that, and if this is not your area of expertise, then why take that risk?
Having a network that is running smoothly should be easy. You will run into problems, but there is no need to panic as it is often nothing major and can be solved in next to no time. It is better to down tools for a short period of time and get things rectified rather than getting into a panic and making matters worse. Get help as quickly as possible, so your network can ultimately be back up and running as it should be.
In 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.
Even 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.
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.
The 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Recent 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.
Considering 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.
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.
Why 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.
You 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.
There’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.
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. Now, 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.
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 is 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.
Time 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.