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 If your network is outdated or you have limited internet bandwidth outages, these may cause you to lose access to your cloud services.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

Data Protection and Password Security Update: LinkedIn On June 7, LinkedIn disclosed that “some LinkedIn member passwords were compromised.” Per LinkedIn disclosures on their blog http://blog.linkedin.com/2012/06/07/taking-steps-to-protect-our-members/ ”LinkedIn learned that approximately 6.5 million hashed LinkedIn passwords were posted on a hacker site. Most of the passwords on the list appear to remain hashed and hard to decode, but unfortunately a small subset of the hashed passwords was decoded and published.” They continued, “no email logins associated with the passwords have been published, nor have we received any verified reports of unauthorized access to any member’s account as a result of this event.” There are a few important lessons to pass along given the recent data protection disclosure by LinkedIn: Separate Company from Personal You or your employees may have a variety of social media accounts. It is a good data protection policy to use separate email and password combinations for personal use versus business use. Where possible, use a personal email and password combination to set up and access your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. Discourage employees from using their business credentials on social networks. In the event that an email and password combination is compromised, there is a lower probability that your vital systems will be hacked if your company is not associated with the data leak on a social network. Data Protection Can Lower Exposure When it comes to data protection and backup, the first thoughts are rapid recovery from lost data. These same techniques also apply to hacked data. By having daily backups of your data companies can better pinpoint what data may have been compromised during...

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...
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