November 1st, 2013
Cloud computing is rapidly growing in popularity. It’s easy to see why. The cloud allows businesses to have a scalable IT infrastructure with files and applications available from virtually anywhere. As Zuahair Siddiqui writes for Techopedia, however, there are a number of myths that have cast doubt over the cloud’s effectiveness. Here’s a list of some of those myths dispelled.
Security is naturally a concern for cloud users given that their sensitive data is accessible remotely. For public cloud services, like Dropbox or Google Drive, security has been an issue in the past. There have been multiple cases of data being stolen from public clouds, which is why many security experts advise against storing your most important data there. Private clouds managed by a third party provider are much more secure, however. While complete safety is unattainable, a private cloud will often offer more security than even on-site data storage can.
Cloud services are certainly not one size fits all. There are seemingly limitless options of ways to customize your cloud services to fit your needs. Choose from a public, private or hybrid cloud. Then choose operating modules like Platform as a Service, Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service. None of these are dependent on each other, so you choose only what you need in any combination.
- Public versus Private Costs
Many public cloud services offer a pay as you use model, which can seem like a money saver. It can be for short-term needs, but for applications that are vital to your organization and consume a large amount of resources, a private cloud with a monthly fee is a better choice. When it comes to budgeting for cloud computing, be sure to choose the most efficient cloud model on a project to project basis.
One of the selling points of cloud services is that they increase productivity. This is because they make collaboration easier between multiple employees and offer access from virtually anywhere. Processes that previously took a long amount of time are much faster when operating through the cloud.
Cloud computing affords IT options that were never available before. It also allows smaller businesses the opportunity to use similar resources as larger competitors.
To explore all of the ways cloud computing helps your business, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.
October 21st, 2013
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s impossible to be completely secure. Hackers continually adjust their tactics and upgrade their tools to breach any network. Because of this constant evolution, security has to constantly change and be updated as well. Your security infrastructure becomes less effective every day. Debbie Mahler, of the State of Security blog, writes that security is a process. She suggests some tips for how to continually improve your cyber security.
- Identify the weakest link
In order to improve security, you first have to find out where it needs to be improved. Usually, employees are the downfall of any security infrastructure. Unsafe web surfing habits, or human error often result in breaches. It’s important to study their habits in order to put policies in place that will keep your business more secure.
Having a firewall in place, and password protection on routers is a great step towards being more secure. But, too many people fail to utilize the tools they have at their disposal. For example, there have been many instances of security breaches stemming from a failure to change default passwords on routers. If you’ve taken the time to put these measures in place, take the additional time to make sure you’re using them effectively.
This is a common IT security rule. For any file, no one should have access. That’s where you start, then add permissions as necessary. This will keep your most valuable data secure because only a select few will have access to it.
Catastrophic data breaches usually happen after your network has been infiltrated previously. And, each time there’s suspicious behavior on your network, the logs have the evidence. Be sure to regularly review the logs in order to catch potentially harmful situations before they explode into disasters.
Security for your business is a big job that requires constant supervision. For help, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335. We offer security audits and solutions for any breaches in your current security infrastructure.
September 30th, 2013
Running a business involves a seemingly never ending list of tasks that need to be done just to keep the lights on. When you’re inundated with these chores, it’s difficult to find time to create, innovate and improve. That’s why you hire others to do some of these tasks for you.
It’s the same with your IT department. Rather than spend their time on meneal, day-to-day maintenance tasks, consider outsourcing services by using cloud computing and a managed service provider. Patrick Zelten, of Baseline Magazine suggests some things to consider before deciding on outsourcing.
Just because it’s possible to use a managed service to save your company time doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Before making any decisions, think about the day-to-day operations of your business. For any service you’d like to outsource, you need to know how critical it is to you operations. How sensitive is the data shared? Are their advantages to handling this service internally? And, be sure to have a goal for what you hope to accomplish by outsourcing.
- Know your employees capabilities
Another factor in determining what needs to be outsourced is knowing the expertise of your employees. If a system is easily managed by your current staff without being a time burden, then it likely doesn’t need to be managed by a third-party, regardless of other factors. If, however, it will take dedicated time to learning how the system should be run, and keeping up with updates and new functions constantly, then using a managed service provider would save time and money.
- Managed, Co-managed or Cloud
Choosing managed services allows you to retain control. It’s almost like adding additional IT personnel. Applications are divided between you and your managed service provider. The two groups will work closely, which can sometimes lead to problems.
Co-managing is similar, but rather than completely turning over some of your IT tasks, both your staff and the managed service provider work together on the same applications. This provides flexibility, and the ability to easily scale up or down.
Using a cloud system allows you to get started almost immediately and also allows for quick changes in scale. Your cloud provider will handle the set-up and maintenance, so the services you outsource will be continuously updated. This model is less secure than others, however, so what you choose to put in the cloud should be a careful decision.
Outsourcing the right services and applications takes the strain off your company. For help deciding which model is right for you and what the cloud or managed services will do, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.
September 30th, 2013
Creating an adequate, effective security infrastructure for your business is difficult. It becomes impossible, however, if you don’t take the time to consider where your weaknesses are.
Patrick Budmar, of ARN, reports that security experts estimate that 80-percent of IT security spending at an average company is focused on only 30-percent of the problem.
Firewalls, intrusion protection systems and endpoint security are noted as receiving the bulk of most security budgets. However, diverting funds to increase prevention and detection of threats is a more efficient practice.
Regardless of the amount of security software in place, there will be breaches and gaps in your security. That’s why experts recommend focusing more attention on monitoring data and constantly checking for abnormalities within your network. Many times, a security breach goes unnoticed for weeks or months at a time. This allows for an exponentially higher amount of damage than if the breach was detected immediately.
An audit of your company’s cyber security exposes the potential flaws. It also shows where more attention or funding is needed, and where funds can be diverted from. This way, you’re able to upgrade security by spending more intelligently, not necessarily by spending more.
Geek Rescue provides security audits and the tools needed to improve security. Call us at 918-369-4335 before an attack to avoid costly damage and data loss.
September 26th, 2013
Using a cloud system to store and share files has become a common business practice. The cloud makes data available from practically anywhere and makes it easy for employees to collaborate on projects. However, not enough attention is being paid to the security of these clouds and who could potentially have access to valuable information.
Yorghen Edholm writes on his ComputerWorld blog that these security issues are of a particular concern when employees use a public cloud. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox are easy to use and have free options. They present a security risk, however.
It’s not necessarily these public clouds themselves that pose the problem, although they aren’t nearly as secure as private cloud options. The real problem stems from employees using public clouds without supervision from superiors or the IT team. That means others are unaware of potential risks and unprepared to solve problems.
Many employees use a public cloud because it’s convenient. They may be planning to temporarily store a file, or quickly share it with other team members. Usually, they lose track of exactly what is being shared and believe that they’ve only added files to the public cloud that don’t contain any potentially damaging information.
There’s also a concern over who exactly will have access to a public cloud. Recent headlines have enlightened the public about the government being able to snoop on files stored this way. Storing your data more securely doesn’t necessarily restrict the government’s access, but at least you’ll be able to keep track of what they’ve seen.
It may not be possible to keep every piece of data stored privately. But, you should strive to gain oversight of all the data being shared, and how it’s being shared.
For help implementing a cloud computing system at your business, or to enhance security, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.
September 18th, 2013
Cloud computing is vital to business for storage, security, disaster recovery and continuity. As many as 90-percent of companies have adopted some sort of cloud service and many of those use multiple cloud models.
David Deans, of Business Technology Roundtable, explains how the reliance on cloud computing is changing e-commerce business. This change comes with inherent challenges.
This refers to IT and the rest of your business not being connected. Your business may have needs that IT doesn’t yet know about and those needs may be addressed by adopting a new cloud technology before consulting with IT. This results in security concerns, redundancies and incompatibility. With cloud computing, communication across all departments is more vital than ever.
Shockingly, a number of businesses fail to adequately track the cost of their IT usage. Usage costs, training of staff members and upgrades to networks all contribute to a price tag that ends up much higher than expected. When implementing any new technology into your business, cloud systems included, it’s important to budget and track costs closely.
- Transforming Set Practices
A cloud system allows your business to run differently than it ever has before, but sometimes old habits die hard. Many professionals report that altering existing policies is an even greater challenge than integrating the new technology.
There are a number of benefits to adding cloud computing to your IT infrastructure, but as with any change to your business, there are challenges as well.
For help integrating a cloud into your business, contact Geek Rescue at 918-369-4335.