Technology Outlook for 2016

What drivers will shape 2016 technology trends? Businesses using customer facing technology for competitive advantage will fuel demand for Cloud Computing, in particular, Software as a Service.  The Internet of Everything will amplify the number of connected devices in our world leading to additional needs for data protection and CyberSecurity defense. Mobile computing and Cloud Computing adoption will increase the adoption of fast, affordable and secure broadband networking. Here is the short list of what to expect from the biggest trends in technology for 2016. Cloud Computing Adoption Remains Strong Cloud Computing adoption is expected to continue throughout 2016. Software as a Service (SaaS) applications are expected to lead the way. Migration to Cloud based email, sales and customer management applications and other SaaS solutions will drive Cloud growth in 2016. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will continue to grow, however demand will be driven by backup and disaster recovery, single sign on, file sync and sharing, application hosting and other core IT services.  With this increased demand for Cloud Solutions, migration and integration services are expected to also be in high demand. Greater Need for Fast, Affordable and Secure Broadband Mobile Computing and Cloud Computing will put additional demands on network infrastructure. With the additional need for SaaS applications, remote backup and file sync and sharing applications, companies will upgrade business Internet technology for fast and affordable broadband options. Companies will pay particular consideration to available, reliability and security as they adopt broadband network technologies. Internet of Things (IoT):  More Devices, More Security Tablets, Laptops, desktops and smartphones are expected to continue to grow. Now Smart Devices or...

Is Your Business PCI Compliant?

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a common sense standard based on good IT Security policy. The objective is to protect customer credit card information from compromise. With the holiday season upon us, eCommerce and credit card processing activities will ramp through the end of the year. Trillions of dollars are transacted via credit card every year. So what can you do to ensure your business is PCI compliant? PCI Compliance Assessment Determine if your company policies and procedures ensure PCI compliance. In addition to technology considerations, your employees should be trained on how to protect credit card information. If credit cards are taken over the phone, never write down card numbers. If employees are entering credit card information into an order processing system or payment authorization gateway, ensure the data is encrypted when stored. If your business uses a Cloud Based service, check to ensure they are PCI compliant too. PCI Compliance and Network Security Another consideration for PCI Compliance is your network security. In addition to a firewall, you should lock down any unsecure WiFi access. Unauthorized access to your network could leave your business open to exposure of malware, virus and man in the middle threats in which credit card information can be accessed without your knowledge. Network Monitoring for PCI Compliance PCI Compliance is not a one time effort. To stay compliant you should periodically review your policies and monitor your systems. Periodic network monitoring can detect any unauthorized access, network security violations and any other deficiencies that require immediate remediation. Maintaining PCI compliance for your business helps you avoid costly security...

Mobile Hotspots – Is Your Business At Risk?

With almost one billion mobile connections in place, it is easy to understand why these devices are targeted by hackers. Employees connecting at Starbucks, in airports, on planes and in hotels open themselves up to additional security breach risk by accessing information through mobile hotspots. Mobile hotspots can be easy targets for hackers by setting up spoofs to get your employees to unknowingly log into unsecure networks, making them vulnerable to Man in the Middle (MitM) exploits. As an employer, it may be impossible to prevent employees from using hotspots, so it is very important to take steps to protect your business. Below is an example of how hotspot hacking works and how businesses with mobile users can protect themselves. Is Your Mobile Device Hackable? According to research by Gartner, almost half of us will first turn to a mobile device for online tasks. Business users in particular rely on mobile connectivity to be productive. Using a open Wi-Fi hotspot may put you and your business at risk of hacking. Most people are aware of the risks, however it comes down to convenience. Hackers can use software that makes a mobile device appear to be connected to a familiar Wi-Fi network, but in reality, all traffic is routed through an imposter that captures your data (MitM). Many mobile applications attempt to stop this type of proxy attack by ensuring a secure, end-to-end SSL connection refusing to make an unencrypted login. However, mobile applications may not always verify the secure SSL connection is actually secure. Does Your Business Needs a VPN to Protect Mobile Users? A Virtual Private Network  (VPN)...

Does Your Business Need Network Monitoring?

According to a recent Trends in Information Security report by CompTIA, malware, hacking, privacy and data loss/leakage top the list of serious concerns over security threats. Companies large and small have been victims of these security threats. While large corporate security breaches makes the news, smaller companies may not have the vigilance to detect, and the resilience to survive a network security breach. Hackers have evolved and are now more sophisticated than ever. Network Monitoring can identify security exploits before it is too late.   Network Monitoring is Proactive Just like getting your vital signs checked at the doctor’s office, network monitoring is a proactive way to detect a network security threat. Network Monitoring scans for viruses, malware, patch compliance and any unauthorized access to help determine network health and compliance. By using intrusion detection when a system has been breached, you are immediately notified. It’s important to proactively monitored your network and act swiftly. Network Monitoring Saves You Time and Money By remotely monitoring and managing your network and related IT assets, your IT Service Provider may be able to detect and remediate security issues without ever coming to your office. This will result in an overall reduction of IT costs. Routine IT tasks, including Patch Management will ensure that all Application and Operating System (O/S) patches are up to date thus protecting your business against vulnerabilities. In addition, keeping software up to date may give you productivity features and benefits. Avoiding Downtime and Increasing Security Secure remote support is an important element for delivering an IT Managed Service. In addition to remote support, many IT Service Providers...

Is Network Security Your Priority?

Everyday there are reports of businesses being targeted with security attacks. The list of large companies being hit is long. Small businesses are equally vulnerable to security hackers and may be less resilient. To say that security is a top business concern seems unnecessary. Most companies understand that security is not something to be taken lightly. In a recent CompTIA survey, 74 percent of business leaders said that security is a higher priority today than it was two years ago. Eighty-five percent of firms surveyed reported that IT security will have an even higher priority two years from now. Network Security Versus Human Error Everyone agrees that security is important. Malware and hacking are still the major concerns. Human error has become one of the most recent threats. This is a growing concerns that needs attention. To combat human error, significant education and training of employees is needed. Mitigation strategies for all businesses, whether large or small, are of the utmost importance. With new models of security, there are new loopholes to exploit; with greater technology reliance, there is a greater potential for disruption. Add in escalating privacy concerns and critical regulatory concerns, and it is easy to see how security is becoming much broader than firewalls and anti-virus software. Security Policies and Procedures It is important for your business to establish clear procedures on notification and escalation of a data leak or data breach. Ensure that your team knows how to escalate a concern within the company. It is more important to raise the issues quickly rather than cover up a security breach. Your business must have clear...

Is Your Network Ready for Windows 10?

Since the July release of Windows 10, the tech world has been talking about the latest update from Microsoft. According to Microsoft, within one day of its release, more than 14 million users had downloaded Windows 10. Microsoft is rolling the new product out in phases, so how will you be sure your network is ready for the new Windows? The Good News about Windows 10 What users like about Windows 10 is that it is fast and familiar. Windows 10 includes an improved Start menu and is designed to startup and resume quickly. It also has the Microsoft Edge – an all-new browser. With the latest Windows product all updates are cumulative. Windows 10 should be compatible with the hardware, software and peripherals you already own. The OneDrive online storage can help you easily share files and keep files up to date across all your devices. Windows 10 Bandwidth Requirements Some businesses will wonder if they need more bandwidth for Windows 10. Though Windows 10 was free to download, updating the operating system is costing some dearly. Some updates may use many gigabytes of bandwidth for a typical installation. The new product and the automatic updates may tax some users with data caps. Some users may need to budget for this and make sure they have adequate internet connectivity. New User Interface for Windows 10 New concerns with the way that Windows 10 enforces automatic download and installation of updates is turning a free update into a costly endeavor for some users. Make sure you are up to date on all the security features, so that you do...
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