East Coast Computer, Inc. http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com Wed, 20 May 2015 21:04:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Moving to the Cloud: The Advantages http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/moving-cloud-advantages/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/moving-cloud-advantages/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 21:04:55 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/?p=2297 Advantages of Moving to CloudAccording to the International Data Corporation (IDC), total public IT Cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) spending will reach $127 billion in 2018. Compared to the 4.1% compound annual growth rate the IT market will experience from 2013-2018, the public Cloud will grow at a 22.8% compound annual growth rate. That’s five and a half times more than the total IT market spending! The Cloud is unquestionably the most significant trend ever to hit the IT industry. Understanding these figures warrants a thorough review of the advantages associated with moving your organization to the Cloud.

Cost Savings

The prime advantage of Cloud computing is the ability to pay for what’s being used instead of being compelled to pay for unused services. It’s just smart business sense to cut out unnecessary spending. Large Cloud providers are able to offer more computing power at a lower cost, as they benefit from huge economies from scale. Just make sure Cloud services are not over-provisioned, and only use what you need.

Advantages of Both Public and Private Models

Organizations have a lot of options when it comes to Cloud models, but most people are confused about the difference between the public and private model. Public Cloud services are designed for a market and not a single enterprise. It is open to all potential users and is shared among unrelated consumers, while private Cloud services are shared within an enterprise but have restrictions on access. These Cloud services can be either onsite or offsite and can be managed by either a third party or in-house staff. There are advantages to both models. The public Cloud model offers a pay-per-use model, the speed of access to resources, and the flexibility to add and drop capacity. On the other hand, the private Cloud model offers the highest levels of management visibility, control, security, privacy, and proximity to physical data.

Speed and Flexibility

Speed is perhaps the greatest reason to move to the Cloud. While time to implement services can take weeks, a company can use its Cloud provider to get services up and running within a matter of hours. Long gone are the days of waiting months for an IT department to order and configure a new server; a virtual one can be delivered almost instantly. In addition, the Cloud offers amazing flexibility for you and your employees. Employees can now access company data from a variety of devices and a variety of locations.

Many small to medium sized businesses are migrating to the Cloud because of the backups, better security, and the assurance that your company is always up to date without having to continually invest more time and money. If you are considering moving your business to the Cloud, contact your trusted IT advisor to get more helpful tips on migrating to the Cloud.

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Protect Your Organization from Ransomware http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/protect-organization-ransomware/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/protect-organization-ransomware/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 18:17:49 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/?p=2293 ransomwareIt’s a moment every business owner dreads. A message appears on your organization’s computer screen alerting you that your files have been encrypted and the only way to access them is by paying a ransom. Security threats to computers and mobile phones have grown more sophisticated around the globe in the past few years. The United States in particular saw an increase in “ransomware.”

What is Ransomware?

Cypersecurity experts report that ransomware is one of the fastest growing forms of hacking, and the scary part is that no one is safe. An individual, a small business, a Fortune 500 company, and government agencies can all be infiltrated. It also attacks smartphones. Ransomware is malicious software that hackers use to extort money from individuals or businesses by preventing them from opening their documents, pictures, and other files unless they pay a ransom, usually in the amount of several hundred dollars.

How Ransomware Works

Similar to other hackers’ schemes, ransomware can arrive in emails or attachments with links that, when clicked, encrypt your files. Attacks can also occur during a visit to a website, as cybercriminals can attach computer code to even the most well known websites. It could happen during something as harmless as updating an application or downloading an app on your smartphone.

Protect Your Organization

Cybercriminals are starting to target small businesses more and more, because generally speaking, they are more vulnerable. While big companies have backups and separate computers for their different departments, small to medium sized businesses lack technology teams, sophisticated software, and secure backup systems to protect from ransomware. One of the best investments your organization can make is to make sure all your devices are compliant with the latest operating systems patches and security updates and backup your company’s files in the event of a security breach. If your organization needs guidance on secure backups, contact your trusted IT advisor today.

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The Cloud: The 3rd Platform of Computing http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/cloud-3rd-platform-computing/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/cloud-3rd-platform-computing/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 17:48:43 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/cloud-3rd-platform-computing/ 3rd-PlatformAround 2008, the IT industry started to experience a massive shift in traditional computing. The International Data Corporation (IDC) began referring to this change as the “3rd platform.” The 3rd platform is built on the four technology pillars for innovation and growth: Cloud, mobile, big data, and social technologies. Within this new era of technology, the Cloud is surely the biggest game changer, because it changes the way companies consume and pay for access to technology. Businesses large and small can now solve problems with the Cloud that were unsolvable before. Cloud technologies have become ubiquitous in business; this is why it is critical to understand what the Cloud is and comprehend its future growth.

Models for Cloud Services: Public and Private

Many people are confused about the difference between public and private Cloud models and what the best option is for their organization. Public Cloud services are designed for a market and not a single enterprise. It is open to all potential users and is shared among unrelated consumers. On the other hand, private Cloud services are shared within an enterprise but have restrictions on access. These Cloud services can be either onsite or offsite and can be managed by either a third party or in-house staff.

Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

These three main Cloud solutions can leverage your IT business substantially. SaaS provides a way to deliver software and technical services that would otherwise be managed on premise. Most small businesses can adopt Cloud computing into their company using only SaaS services for email, sales force automation, accounting and more. PaaS allows businesses to create custom applications, databases, and other business services – all integrated into one platform. And, IaaS allows businesses to purchase infrastructure from providers as virtual resources.

Understanding the Future of the Cloud

Cloud services are a crucial component of the massive shift in IT and its applications. IT experts expect Cloud services to be positively impacted by breakthroughs in the other 3rd platform applications: mobile, big data, and social technologies. Major breakthroughs in these areas will require major investments in Cloud technologies and services. Therefore, those adopting Cloud solutions will continue to benefit from future innovations, which will boost return on investment.

There are several pros and cons to weigh before deciding which Cloud solution(s) to adopt. It is important for your organization to carefully create a roadmap for incorporating the Cloud into your IT infrastructure. If your business needs guidance in deciding which combination of Cloud solutions to adopt, contract your trusted Cloud advisor today.

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Beware of Cryptolocker http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/beware-cryptolocker/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/beware-cryptolocker/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 22:32:17 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/beware-cryptolocker/ cryptolockerImagine you are on your personal or work computer, and you receive a seemingly innocuous email from a trusted source, such as your bank, your tax office, or even a friend. The source asks you to download a file to update important account information. But, when you click on it, your most important files become encrypted and you are threatened you will lose them unless you pay a sizable sum to get them back! This real threat is called cryptolocker.

What is Cryptolocker?

Simply, cryptolocker is malware that encrypts documents and asks for money to unencrypt them. It affects both personal data and company data stored on corporate files. If you’re tricked into downloading the infected file, the virus will target your most important applications and operating systems. Cryptolocker can bypass virus scanners and other security measures to infect your computer, so it’s important to be able to recognize the warning signs.

Typical Warning Signs

Beware of the following suspicious emails:

  • Senders you do not recognize or known senders with unexpected content
  • No recipient listed in the “To” line of the email
  • Links in the email that do not match the title when you scroll your mouse over it
  • “Zip” files you are not expecting

How to Protect Yourself and Your Company

The following tips will help keep your personal and company data free from cryptolocker:

  • Delete suspicious emails right away and empty your trash bin
  • Keep antivirus and anti-malware definitions up to data
  • If you do get infected, remove the machine from the network to protect your organization from further damage
  • Train your employees regularly on IT security measures

If your company needs guidance on the latest antimalware techniques, contact your trusted IT advisor today.

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FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/fcc-approves-net-neutrality-rules/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/fcc-approves-net-neutrality-rules/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:43:54 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/?p=2282 Net-NeutralityAfter a landmark vote on February 26, The Federal Communications Commission officially classified Internet providers as public utilities. The new net neutrality rules were approved 3 to 2 among party lines. The rules ban high-speed Internet providers, such as Verizon, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable, from blocking websites, slowing down content from particular sites, or selling-off faster traffic speeds to the highest bidders. The possible threat to small to medium businesses is the potential restricted access to broadband. If Telcos and carriers are able to charge extra for faster Internet service, smaller businesses could be at risk for paying more for faster speeds. Businesses using broadband for teleconferencing, streaming, collaboration, SaaS applications, and even backup and disaster recovery, could be looking at higher price tags for everyday business needs.

The Argument for Net Neutrality

Proponents of net neutrality argue that a fast, fair, and open Internet is a basic right. Net Neutrality has always been a big platform for President Obama, and in November, he called for the strongest possible regulations over cable and telecom companies. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler explained: “The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules.”

Net Neutrality’s Opposition

On the other hand, some cable companies, telecommunications companies, and lawmakers contend that the move is an overreach of government intervention. They also feel that online companies, such as Netflix and YouTube, who monopolize a lot of web traffic, should have to share in the cost of expanding and maintaining the channels that deliver Internet content to consumers.

The Future of the Internet

Although the vote has taken place, this is not the end to the Net Neutrality debate. As regulations and the precise language of the FCC’s rules become published in the Federal Register and become made to the public, Internet providers will have several weeks to take legal action. Many major companies have already threatened to sue the FCC. In the mean time, consumers should not see any immediate changes to what they see on the Internet, and no added federal taxes or fees will be placed on Internet service providers.

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Bandwidth Bottleneck Coming to an End? http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/bandwidth-bottleneck-coming-to-an-end/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/bandwidth-bottleneck-coming-to-an-end/#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:29:23 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/?p=2278 Telcos Bandwidth BottleneckIt is predicted that by 2017, there will be around 268 billion app downloads. The average person already uses 26 different apps per month. This growth is clearly driven by the younger work force, who use their mobile devices and tablets for both work and play. All of these apps use a lot of data, and so there is a problem on the horizon: all of this data use will lead to pervasive network strain, which will in turn result in performance problems in both apps and network-based services. This data overload creates frustration in both users and providers. App users will simply delete apps that do not perform well. This means fewer customers for Telcos and app providers.

The Data Challenge for Telcos

Therefore, Telcos have a challenge in front of them: invent new ways to improve user experience by making them more data efficient and scalable. The question on a lot of IT experts’ minds is: is it finally time for Telcos and app providers to work together to unclog the bandwidth bottleneck? The answer is still unclear, but intelligent data distribution is one solution everyone can agree on at the moment, i.e. Telcos can optimize their current network assets while app developers work to design more apps that use less data.

The Importance of Wide Area Networks Within Telcos

In order to stay sustainable, Telcos need to offer more in connectivity. A solid Wide Area Network (WAN) is essential in accelerating applications and keeping traffic separate. It is also critical for day to day business operations; it both reduces operating costs and provides a level of predictability for system performance. Wide Area Networks consolidate costly tools, such as printers, phone lines, file storage, bandwidth, and security, because these items do not have to be purchased for each individual computer. Telcos are also learning that not taking advantage of Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) is putting their business at a competitive disadvantage. Telcos need to be able to interconnect multiple locations and ensure the highest level of data connectivity performance between multiple locations. Equally important for Telcos is the advent of Ethernet over Copper (EoC). For small to medium businesses, EoC can gain greater bandwidth and flexibility in order to support various IP-based applications, including disaster recovery, Cloud, and IP voice services.

Users Drive Telco and App Developer Success

Consumers will ultimately drive Telco and app developers’ transformations. If Telcos and app developers do not address the bandwidth bottleneck, app users will quickly become frustrated. The initial shock will fall to the app providers – users will not go to Telco providers when an app does not work to their liking; they will simply delete the problem application(s). But, ultimately, everybody loses if the bottleneck remains. Eventually consumers will be able to see a data rating for each app in the app store. And, if users stop downloading certain apps, both Telcos and app providers will lose revenue. Consequently, users can expect more streamlined apps from providers and more efficient networks from Telcos in the future. For more information on the future of applications, contact your trusted Telco service provider today.

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Why the Cloud Isn’t Going Away http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/cloud-isnt-going-away/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/cloud-isnt-going-away/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 17:25:29 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/?p=2274 Cloud Computing is only beginning its growth and progression; more than half of all businesses have already implemented Cloud Computing in some way or another into their day-to-day operations. Whether you need improved security, lowered costs, higher efficiency, a backup plan, or a mixture of these benefits, the Cloud is the answer. There’s no pressure to migrate completely to the Cloud. In fact, if you already use applications like file sharing, website hosting or web based email you already rely on Cloud Computing. Smart IT strategy is researching which parts of the Cloud fit the needs of your business and discussing a flexible solution that can be customized to your organization – that’s why the Cloud already works for so many businesses. If you haven’t yet considered utilizing the Cloud, it’s time to decide if you want to keep up with the latest technology or be left behind. The Cloud is here to stay, and here’s why:

Cloud Computing is Reliable

The majority of companies trust the Cloud enough to make the migration. With the Cloud, companies have constant access to all the information they need, because they can access it from any computing device and from any location. This flexibility in itself makes the Cloud the most reliable solution. Also, with Cloud solutions, data can be backed up to multiple locations and services, which adds another level of protection. You can always add more levels of protection by choosing to use behavior-based key management servers and encryption management keys.

The Cloud is Affordable

Cloud computing is known to reduce IT management costs dramatically. Migrating to the Cloud may come with upfront costs, including installation costs, but in the long run, it will save your organization a lot of money. While using the Cloud, you are sharing resources, which eliminates the costs of making these purchases yourself. Most importantly, most Cloud providers offer pay-as-you-go plans that bills based on your usage. This is a clear-cut way for your organization to save money – only pay for what you need!

The Cloud is Secure

The Cloud not only protects from viruses and theft, but it also ensures recovery of your data. Since your information will be stored virtually and not on office devices or on a network, it cannot be harmed by physical disasters or other such emergencies. The Cloud actually gives you back control of your data. If your organization needs guidance on migrating to the Cloud, contact your trusted IT advisor today.

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How New Technology is Changing the Way Your Business Needs to Think About IT Security http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/new-technology-changing-way-business-needs-think-security-2/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/new-technology-changing-way-business-needs-think-security-2/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 02:02:17 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/new-technology-changing-way-business-needs-think-security-2/ New technology trends pose new security threats to businesses. CompTIA reports that 64% of companies report a “drastic or moderate” change to their security approach. In their survey, more than half of businesses recognize opportunities within their organization for security improvement. IT security priorities are currently focused on developing new corporate policies and educating employees. Businesses are no longer solely relying on annual security reviews; the majority of companies are seeking education that is more ongoing and interactive to avoid future security threats.

Modern Day IT Security

With new and evolving technologies, the overall approach to IT security must be re-evaluated from the top levels of a business. As more cloud solutions and mobile devices are being utilized within the workplace, new security products are attempting to meet the needs of modern day IT security, such as firewalls, Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and Identity Access Management (IAM). When strategizing your organization’s IT security plan, two main areas need to be addressed in order to be prepared in today’s security landscape: risk analysis and end user awareness.

Balancing Risk and Security

Risk analysis is becoming a critical activity as companies decide how to handle corporate data, but only 41% of companies are currently performing this in a formal way. Typical risk analysis includes determining the probability of a risk, estimating the potential impact, and then deciding on mitigation strategies. But, the growing trends of cloud computing and mobility have increased the need for careful risk analysis. Since with public cloud computing and personal smart phones and tablets, data resides outside of your company’s control, companies must re-evaluate which data and systems are the most critical to the business. From there, they must decide which areas need the strongest defenses.

End User Training

CompTIA’s research also reveals that companies are behind the times when it comes to training end users. In today’s consumer-driven IT landscape, it’s more important than ever to invest the time and tools to equip end users with knowledge and responsibility when it comes to protecting company data. Do your employees fully understand your company’s security policy and the importance of acting in the best interest of your organization? If your organization needs help updating your IT security policies, contact your trusted IT advisor today.

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The Growing Importance of Mobile Security http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/growing-importance-mobile-security/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/growing-importance-mobile-security/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:01:27 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/?p=2267 According to a report by CompTia, 28% of businesses view security as a significantly higher priority today compared to two years ago, and an even greater percentage of businesses expect the importance of security to rise in the next two years. The study also revealed that while many companies assumed a satisfactory level of security, they did not fully comprehend their exposure to potential security threats. The rise in security threats is largely due to emerging technologies, causing businesses to take a new approach to security. End users now have access to powerful devices and business class systems, often without the oversight of an IT team. Therefore, investing in mobile security is one the smartest things your small to medium sized business can do to protect your organization.

The Human Element to BYOD

According to the study, the factors in security breaches fall 45% to technology error and 55% to human error. With the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend, more and more employees are bringing their own mobile devices to work, and end users typically do not have the background knowledge of security that allows them to recognize potential threats. The desire for productivity and flexibility is driving many businesses to adopt a “use first, secure later” attitude when it comes to mobile security, but this approach puts your business in danger.

Most Common Mobile Security Incidents

Mobility forces businesses to consider data leaving the company in the hands of its employees. The top three reasons for mobile security incidents include: lost/stolen devices, mobile malware, and employees disabling security features. Mobile malware is quickly becoming a growing concern, up 19% from 2012. Since there is a much stronger personal connection to mobile devices, employees are apt to want to use their device however they want to. And, since mobile devices are more closed than laptops, IT departments are not able to place the same safeguards on smartphones and tablets as they are on many other devices.

How to Develop a Mobile Security Plan

The biggest goal with mobile security becomes one of education rather than technical improvement. Companies are quickly realizing that their mobile device security education must be interactive, ongoing, and measurable in order to raise awareness about mobile security. Organizations that have made mobile security education a priority indicate that appropriate and effective training has provided a “relatively high value” or “very high value.” In addition to educating your employees, it’s important to encrypt data on mobile devices, keep OS and apps up to date, and prevent jailbreaking on smartphones. Also make sure that your employees keep passcodes on their devices; while this measure has limited security potential, it at least provides some protection against amateur attackers. If your organization needs guidance learning more about mobile security, contact your trusted IT advisor today.

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Is Cloud Computing Secure? http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/cloud-computing-secure/ http://www.eastcoastcomputer.com/cloud-computing-secure/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 02:16:22 +0000 clikcloud http://clikcloud.com/ecc/cloud-computing-secure/ In the early days of Cloud computing, the common perception was that the Cloud automatically opens systems to new, catastrophic risks. When weighing the pros and cons of moving to the Cloud, business owners assumed they were sacrificing security for the business agility that comes with using Cloud systems. Yet, as Cloud adoption becomes more universal, these high levels of adoption are actually seeing an increased level of trust in Cloud computing systems, which begs the question: Can the Cloud lead to more secure computing?

Traditional Network Security

Traditionally, organizations have used on-premises security solutions or contracted with network security experts to protect their network, data, and applications. Data centers imbue a sense of security and control for businesses – feeling more secure is likened to locking down a warehouse and visualizing that anything within the walls of the organization is safe. There’s no question, then that businesses feel an inherent unease with the Cloud concept, because the approach itself seems insecure; your data is stored on servers and systems you don’t own or control. Yet, does control necessarily equate to security?

The Cloud is Just as Safe as On-Premises Security

IT security experts are claiming that fears of the Cloud being unsafe can largely be put to rest. In fact, the Cloud may actually be able to improve the state of IT security. Many Cloud  security experts dispel the Cloud insecurity myth. Many believe the Cloud is  more secure than traditional systems. So, can your business trust your Cloud Service Provider (CSP) to also handle network security?

Which Platform is Right for Your Business?

The answer depends on your needs as a business. Cloud providers can give end users a flexible infrastructure hosted from reliable systems, but your network can become compromised just as quickly by bad policy decisions as an on-premises environment. Speed of incident response and depth of forensics are just as important in preventing security attacks in the first place – the Cloud shows advantages in both of these areas. If you choose to go with the Cloud, make sure you are communicating with your Cloud provider to ensure they are meeting security standards.

In conclusion, IT security experts have agreed that Cloud systems are not inherently unsafe, but businesses still must exercise good judgment when it comes to developing a plan for network security. The best course of action is to focus on a well-defined and executed security strategy with the right technology with whichever platform you choose. If your organization needs guidance learning more about network security, contact your trusted IT advisor today.

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