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The Buzz about Cloud Computing

“Cloud computing” is a major buzzword, and while you may know that it could be a great benefit to your business, you may not be entirely clear on what cloud computing is.  Like most jargon, the actual meaning of this term can be a little fuzzy.  What is this “cloud” and what can it do for you?

To put it simply, “the cloud” really just means “the Internet”.  The image has been a staple in networking diagrams for years, and it has a nice ring to it for marketing.  “Cloud computing” is a fancy way of saying that you’re accessing your data over the Internet instead of keeping all your programs and files on your computer’s local hard drive.  But why would you want to do that?

Businesses have been using “dumb terminals” for years.  These workstations are all connected to a central computer which stores all the data, files, and programs each workstation needs.  Cloud computing is basically the same thing on a larger scale.  This means that you can access your programs and data from anywhere with an Internet connection, which leads to increased productivity and fewer delays, especially for a smaller business.

Cloud computing isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, though.  There’s a whole world of Web-based applications that can make your life easier.  We’re all familiar with Web-based email such as Yahoo and Gmail – that’s just the start.  Dropbox stores your data online and synchronizes files on your local hard drive.  Google Drive, which is available on computers, tablets, and smartphones, has all the apps and storage online; Apple iCloud provides online storage of your mail, calendar, contacts, etc.

Cloud computing can simplify many aspects of your business and reduce your total costs.  For small to medium businesses, the ease of access alone can make a big difference in productivity.  If you want your business to run more smoothly and efficiently, look into some of the many Web-based services that could streamline your daily operations.

Cloud Computing

“Cloud computing” is a major buzzword, and while you may know that it could be a great benefit to your business, you may not be entirely clear on what cloud computing is.  Like most jargon, the actual meaning of this term can be a little fuzzy.  What is this “cloud” and what can it do for you?

To put it simply, “the cloud” really just means “the Internet”.  The image has been a staple in networking diagrams for years, and it has a nice ring to it for marketing.  “Cloud computing” is a fancy way of saying that you’re accessing your data over the Internet instead of keeping all your programs and files on your computer’s local hard drive.  But why would you want to do that?

Businesses have been using “dumb terminals” for years.  These workstations are all connected to a central computer which stores all the data, files, and programs each workstation needs.  Cloud computing is basically the same thing on a larger scale.  This means that you can access your programs and data from anywhere with an Internet connection, which leads to increased productivity and fewer delays, especially for a smaller business.

Cloud computing isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition, though.  There’s a whole world of Web-based applications that can make your life easier.  We’re all familiar with Web-based email such as Yahoo and Gmail – that’s just the start.  Dropbox stores your data online and synchronizes files on your local hard drive.  Google Drive, which is available on computers, tablets, and smartphones, has all the apps and storage online; Apple iCloud provides online storage of your mail, calendar, contacts, etc.

Cloud computing can simplify many aspects of your business and reduce your total costs.  For small to medium businesses, the ease of access alone can make a big difference in productivity.  If you want your business to run more smoothly and efficiently, look into some of the many Web-based services that could streamline your daily operations.

For questions or more information on Cloud Computing and what it can do for your business contact Our IT Department today!

Computer Security, Part 4

Keeping Your Business Computer Safe and Secure

We’re bringing you more ways to stay safe and secure online. So far, we’ve covered antivirus protection, antispyware software, and firewalls and updates. This time, we’re bringing up a very sore point – password security!

Passwords

Pretty much everything you do online will require a password. Between email, Facebook, banking, bill paying, shopping, and everything else, it can be tempting to just use the same password for everything. But what if just one of those accounts is compromised? Say your Facebook account gets hacked; that account on its own is not that big a deal, but if you use the same password for your banking, bill paying, and insurance, you could be looking at losing money, if not full-blown identity theft.

Now that you’re scared, here’s the good news. You don’t have to have a separate password for every single thing you do online. You can stick to two or three strong passwords, and organize them by type of account. You might have one password for vital information (banking, bills, insurance, etc.), another for shopping accounts (Amazon, Etsy, etc.), and another for those accounts that don’t involve any financial or personal information (online communities, games, etc.). Another option is to start with one strong password, and add an abbreviation to the end for each site (for example, add “az” for Amazon, “fb” for Facebook, “em” for email, etc.).

The key point here is that your passwords must be strong. But what exactly does that mean? A strong password is one that is not easily cracked by a computer program that is designed to figure out passwords. At minimum, you’ll want at least eight characters, but longer is better. Include at least one capital letter, one numeral, and a special character like an exclamation point, @ symbol, colon, or pound sign. Special characters make passwords especially strong, but be aware that some sites will only allow certain special characters in passwords, so if you’re using a more obscure character, it might not be accepted.

Of course, the only way to make absolutely sure that your password or other information stays completely private is to keep it in your own head, but by putting some thought in your passwords and how you use them, you can safely enjoy all the convenience the web has to offer.

Our IT Department believes in giving our businesses the tools to keep their computers safe and the business operational. If you are need of Disaster Recovery and Back up Services contact Our IT Department in Leland and Jackson, Mississippi today! Stay tuned; our next post will help you with safe surfing habits!

 

How Do I Choose the Best Local ISP

How Do I Choose the Best Local ISP?

When shopping around for local Internet service, it often means that a customer will compare several different companies.  Initially, it is wise for the customer to decide if they want a dial-up connection or broadband services. When comparing local ISP’s, some contributing factors in a customer’s decision will likely be the connection speeds offered, price, and location.  In the end, a customer will make their final choice by selecting a local ISP that offers the best type of services that they are looking for.

A customer’s first step in selecting the best local ISP is to research and learn about the options available to them. A customer may find that they may acquire DSL, dial-up service, broadband, or satellite depending on where they live. Once a customer has learned what types of services they may enlist, their preferences are then determined.

The majority of people prefer broadband service to dial-up Internet, as broadband is a constant connection. Considering that going online with broadband Internet is as simple as perhaps opening a web browser, it makes it a more desirable Internet solution.  With dial-up services, customers must have a local-access number and they must allow their computer’s modem to dial into the connection—this takes a few moments, and in comparison to a broadband solution, it may seem like it even takes too long.  With broadband services, a customer is also able to talk on the phone and use the Internet at the same time.

The speed of a connection is also a critical determiner for when a customer is choosing a local ISP. In general, broadband services provide the fastest Internet speeds—though speed can differ from service provider to service provider. A customer would be wise to compare the speeds between services when looking for a local ISP. This way, they are able to gauge who provides the type of service and the Internet speed that they are looking for. If a customer is only using the Internet on occasion, or if they aren’t concerned with connection speed, they may select a dial-up service that meets their needs.

Local ISP’s also differ in their pricing structures. For instance, a dial-up service will typically be cheaper than a broadband solution. For a customer to select the very best local ISP for their Internet solution, it is wise for them to research and compare companies that provide what they are looking for. Often times, local ISP’s will offer introductory benefits for new customers that make services more affordable.

Make the Most of Your Internet Connection

One of the biggest annoyances of this day and age when it comes to modern technology is an Internet connection that is not being maximized to its full ability. Nothing gets us tapping our fingers out of our own impatience more than slow download times and sluggish page loads. There is hope, though! With a little inquiry, it is easy to manage your own bandwidth and use it to its full capacity (without even having to call your Internet service provider!).

One of the easiest ways to make sure your connection is running at its optimum speed is to make sure you have an up-to-date malware protection program installed on your computer. Malware eats up bandwidth and thus slows download time. Ensure that your device is protected against malware.  It is also wise to avoid off-brand free-share and download sites. Always check sites that may contain unwanted add-ons (viruses) that may damage your computer or disrupt your software.  Keeping current and updated anti-spyware and firewall programs on your computer is a good tactic in keeping your internet speed running at its largest capacity, but having too many programs blocking the same sites can slow down your speed as well, so it is smart to keep one comprehensive program that can perform all of those tasks at once.

The browser you use is also an important factor in the speed of your download time. A proficient tool in increasing your Internet speed is Internet Cyclone, and loband.org may be used as a browser inside of a browser that disables pages from loading with images, decreasing the time it takes to download the page. If you are using Internet Explorer or Firefox as your browser of choice, downloading Google Web Accelerator is a useful tool that is meant to speed up broadband connections, it may also slow the connection, though, so testing it on your device would be a good option to see what works best for you. If you are using Firefox specifically, the Fasterfox extension and Firetune are great accelerators for maximizing your download speed. Google Chrome has also proven itself to be an efficient browser, with quick download times and concise connections.

Among all of the tricks of the trade, making sure that you are operating with updated software is probably the best tactic you can use when optimizing your broadband connection. Having up-to-date software that is created to run at quicker speeds while taking up less space optimize your connectivity while not fully occupying your system. All in all, system maintenance and upkeep is the best bet when troubleshooting Internet connectivity.

Our IT Department presents a new way of managing your computer systems. We offer a single point of contact for consulting, network management, systems integration, disaster recovery and repair of your infrastructure. Gone are the days of having a rolodex full of technical consultants to call when something goes wrong. Our IT Department offers data center and colocation services as well as backup, recovery and cloud computing.

Our IT Department offers a full range of network management and computer services from computer maintenance to computer repair. Servicing all of Mississippi, including Greenville, Jackson, Cleveland, Oxford, Tupelo & Greenwood. We are committed to keeping your company up to date, secure, and running at peak performance. Contact us today for a network design, evaluation, or update.