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Considering the Cloud For Backup

Considering the Cloud for Backup? Many small to medium business (SMB) owners are turning to online backup or remote backup, generally referred to as cloud backup, as a top way to take advantage of cloud computing. According to a recent survey by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), most companies turn to the cloud to cut costs and reduce capital expense. Because of the advancements in internet bandwidth, combined with the economies of scale from the cloud, remote backup can be a reliable, affordable and practical solution for most SMBs. When you evaluate cloud backup, here are a some things to consider: Security and Compliance There are public cloud and private cloud options available to meet your security and compliance requirements. If you need to comply with PCI, HIPPA or other regulatory requirements you may need to rely on a private cloud solution. This means your data is physically separated from other companies storing their data in public cloud alternatives. If you require a private cloud solution expect to pay more. Cost This leads to us to the topic of cost of cloud backup. There are a wide range of affordable options for cloud backup. Most cloud backup solutions charge by the amount of data stored. This makes them easy to compare. Office documents and spreadsheets are easy to compress and take up less space, as compared to, images, photos and data bases. Depending on the amount of data you are backing up in the cloud, you may incur additional charges for bandwidth. You may also need to consider the costs of a network upgrade and additional internet connectivity,...

Cloud Computing: Are you Ready for the Cloud?

Cloud Computing: Are you Ready for the Cloud? Most technology analysts agree Cloud Computing is a fast growing area of technology and is being widely adopted by small, medium and large businesses. According to Gartner Research 2012 forecast Cloud Computing spending will grow from $39.2 billion in 2011 to $45.9 billion in 2012. Gartner expects spending on Cloud Computing and related Cloud Services to reach $207 billion by 2016. Another technology research firm, IDC reported in 2012, that they expect sales of cloud storage to reach $11.7 billion by 2015. In fact, the Computer Technology Industry Association, CompTIA reported in their July 2012 “Third Annual Trends in Cloud Computing“ that 93% of companies report using some form of cloud solution. So why are companies moving to the cloud? According to CompTIA, survey respondents reported the following top three reasons for moving to the Cloud; the desire to cut costs, to reduce capital expense and the cloud is simply a better solution than their current one. With all of these benefits, your business should get ready to take advantage of the cloud. Here are a few things to consider: Network Reliability and Internet Bandwidth Cloud Applications and Cloud Services require high availability of internet connectivity. If your network is outdated or you have limited internet bandwidth outages, these may cause you to lose access to your cloud services. In particular, mission critical applications may require high internet and bandwidth availability. Make sure your firewall, gateway, routers and wifi are in tip top shape. Check your internet bandwidth to ensure it can handle the requirements to access your cloud applications. Compliance...

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Bring your own device (BOYD) is a recent trend where employees use their personal mobile devices including: iPhones, iPads, tablets computers and smartphones to access company information including your network, email, files and critical business applications. This policy can make your employees more productive. BYOD may save you the expense of buying mobile devices for your employees. However, if not managed appropriately, BYOD may open up security risks in your data protection strategy. Due to their mobile nature, these mobile devices are susceptible to theft and loss. Also, mobile devices may infect your network with viruses and malware, if they are not properly maintained. Here are some tips to minimize your exposure to employees who BYOD: Require Passcode to Unlock Device Requiring a passcode will prevent unintended access to your network or application data in case a user’s mobile device is lost or stolen. Keep OS/apps Up To Date To avoid virus and malware attacks on your mobile devices, it is a good policy to keep the operating system up to date with the latest security patches. It is also a good idea to keep your applications up to date to avoid a network security breach. Don’t Allow “Jailbreaking” of Operating Systems Some employees may “jailbreak” their iPhones or iPads so they can install additional applications and extensions that may not be available through the Apple Store. Jailbreaking may expose security breaches on these devices creating a weak link in your data protection plan. Services for Tracking and Wiping Most mobile devices will automatically check in to their geo-location when they are turned on....

What Has Your Backup Done For You Lately?

What Has Your Backup Done For You Lately? Businesses of all sizes rely on their data more than ever before. What’s more, businesses have more data to protect and backups to store than ever. Critical files, customer data, email archives and other application data run our world. It’s not a bad idea to backup that data to a local drive or tape. In the case of a true disaster, such as an earthquake or fire your local backup may not be enough. By using online or remote backup, you can store your data securely in an offsite location and have it available in a disaster recovery scenario. Also, with cloud computing, companies large and small, can now affordably backup data offsite. When you evaluate a remote backup solution here are a few things to consider: Is My Data Secure? When you think about moving your data backup offsite most business owners think about security first. While backup vendors take data security seriously, their approach may vary for how your data is protected. Data storage in a private cloud may add an additional physical layer of security by dedicating hardware to your individual needs. A private cloud solution may drive the cost up and may be more than you need. Public cloud storage may use a virtual environment to store your data, making it more affordable. However, a public cloud solution may not comply with your industry regulations for data security. It is important you understand your security needs and priorities to find the best remote backup solution for your business. How Long Does It Take To Recover? When you...

Data protection and security update LinkedIn

On June 7, LinkedIn disclosed that “some LinkedIn member passwords were compromised.” Per LinkedIn disclosures on their blog, LinkedIn learned that approximately 6.5 million hashed LinkedIn passwords were posted on a hacker site.

PC Repair Tips to Improve Performance

PC Repair Tips to Improve Performance Over time Windows Personal Computers and Laptops need ongoing repair to keep them running smoothly. Why waste time and office productivity when you can proactively repair and maintain your PCs for optimal performance? Here are some tips you may try yourself or ask your IT Professional about for support. Check your Anti-virus Anti-virus programs are designed to protect your PC from security threats that can destroy your important data. Some anti-virus programs have stringent security settings where the anti-virus program scrutinizes every file and program on your PC. This may slow your systems down. Also, if you have had your PC or Laptop for a while, you may have installed multiple anti-virus programs overtime. These programs may be pulling double duty, slowing your systems even more. Inventory which anti-virus programs you have installed and check the security settings to make sure you balance your security needs with performance requirements. Eradicate Malware Malicious software or “Malware” may accumulate on your PC. These programs may run as background tasks without your knowledge. Some programs look for sensitive data, including passwords. They may interrogate every keystroke on your PC. Aside from the security risk, these programs may slow down the performance of your PC or Laptop. Many times anti-Malware security programs are part of an IT-managed service contract from your IT Service Provider. These programs run to detect and eliminate Malware from your PC and protect your system from future Malware intrusions. Remove unused programs Overtime your computer will collect programs you no longer use or need. Some of these programs may start up automatically when...

Cloud Computing: Your Pre Flight Check List

Cloud Computing: Your Pre Flight Checklist Cloud computing is more than a passing trend. Cloud computing is a way for small to medium businesses (SMBs) to tap enterprise class applications and infrastructure that once only large companies could afford. Cloud Computing allows SMBs to share the overhead for data center security, bandwidth, monitoring and management. Small to medium businesses share cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) without having to invest in capital intensive projects. If you are considering a move to the cloud, here is a pre flight checklist to consider. Public Cloud vs. Private Cloud With cloud computing you are moving your data and computer processing to a location other than your own. The cloud location may be shared (i.e. public cloud) or dedicated environment (private cloud). The trade off for private cloud versus public cloud is that the private cloud will be more expensive due to cost for additional security. In most cases the public cloud is more secure than your own office or business. What’s more, by sharing these resources with other companies you also may save money in the long run. While sensitive data, such as, financial records, may be more secure in the cloud, you may have regulatory requirements that prevent you from sharing common resources such as CPUs, racks or cages to store your data in a public cloud If you have compliance issues that require extra physical security, consider a private cloud solution. Cloud Migration Consideration To move to a cloud based application including SaaS, take the time to consider what data you need...

Computer Repair vs. New Computer?

Are you ready to upgrade your desktop and laptop computers?  Expect lots of exciting new changes to come out later this year. Unless your needs are urgent, you may want to wait until the Fall.  Here is what to expect in the new computer market, along with tips to help you squeeze  the most out of your current computers. Intel Ivy Bridge Intel Corporation leads the market share in computer chips and processors. Today Intel started shipping its’ third generation processors called Ivy Bridge.  Ivy Bridge promises faster graphics and longer battery life for new computers.  This new processor is expected to be widely available in desktops and laptops this Summer. Microsoft Windows 8 Microsoft will be releasing Windows 8.  The release date has yet to be confirmed but many believe it will be available in the Fall of 2012.   While the emphasis of the release is on tablet computers, there will be other benefits, including enhanced security and better remote access.  Consider that many new laptops and desktop computers purchased today may be upgradable to Microsoft Windows 8, they may not take full advantage of some of the new features of the new O/S. What’s New from Apple Apple is expected to release a new operating system called Mountain Lion O/S later this Summer.  Also expect a new lineup of the Macbook Pro and possible upgrades to the  Mac Air.  Insiders suggest the new lineup of laptops will be thinner, lighter and have longer battery life. Looking for a Deal? With all this new technology coming to market, you may be able to deal on older models and...

Is Your Network Safer Than The Titanic?

One hundred years ago the ship, called “unsinkable” had its hull breached by an iceberg and caused the death of over 1500 passengers. You may think your network is “invincible” like the Titanic, however, your network security policies may cause vulnerability putting your IT assets and critical data at risk. Here are several steps you can take to avoid compromising your network security: WiFi Access WiFi technology makes it easy for you to network your computers. Your WiFi signal may broadcast beyond the physical security of your office allowing uninvited visitors to access your network and compromise your network security and compliance policies. Make sure your WiFi network connections are password protected and securely encrypted. Also, consider turning off your WiFi during non business hours. By the way, wireless technology (the telegraph) saved the lives of hundreds of passengers on the Titanic. Thumb Drives and USB Drives Sharing data through thumb drives or USB drives may allow unintended computer viruses and malicious software, also known as malware, transfer from other non secure computers and enter the perimeter of your secure network. For this reason, some network administrators set strict IT policies that prevent thumb drives from being used on any office computer. There are plenty of secure services available for files sharing between computers (e.g. remote backup and remote control software). Ask your IT support professional about your policy for using USB drives and thumb drives and the impact they may have on your network security. Security Patches Operating System and Application Security patches are designed to keep your network secure. Your network security is as vulnerable as its’...

Why you should audit your network.

Do you know what’s connected to your network? If not, you should! Auditing your network and creating an inventory of your IT assets catalogs all devices connected to your network including PCs, laptops, printers, routers and switches. In some cases, assets discovered may even be unauthorized. By scanning and discovering all connected devices, your IT team can quickly perform a hardware and software audit. This helps ensure compliance with network policy, software licensing compliance, and compliance with industry regulatory requirements, such as, HIPPA. What’s more, having asset data cataloged, including hardware and software profiles, helps remote support technicians troubleshoot when things go wrong. What can you do with network audit data? Check your firewall’s security settings to make sure you are protected from the latest hacker attacks, worms, and viruses. Scan and remove spyware that is secretly stealing your company’s bandwidth, jeopardizing the speed of your computer system, and embezzling confidential information about you, your employees, and your business. Check your network’s backup system to ensure it is working properly and accurately backing up all of the critical files and information you never want to lose. Verify that you have the most up-to-date security patches installed properly; miss one critical update and you’re a “sitting duck.” Identify unstable PCs that may operate slowly. Search for all items meeting a criteria in summary and detail. For example, to determine how many machines use windows 7 with 4 megs of RAM to see if they are eligible for an O/S migration. Determine which devices may be out of software license compliance. Summarize warranty information for which devices are covered and which...
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