Top 10 Cloud Myths and How They will Impact Your Business

Are you confused how the ‘Cloud’ can benefit your organization? If so, you’re among millions of senior executives who want to known the benefits of moving their IT networking to the Cloud.

A recent Gartner report reveals some of the worst misinformation surrounding Cloud computing, and this high-resolution Top 10 Cloud Myths Infographics will give you a great overview of it!

#10 – The Cloud Will Reduce Your Expenses 

This is not always true. In fact, in some cases, migrating your network over to the Cloud may involve costly integration. It’s wise to speak with authority cloud service providers Long-term, you can reduce your costs. However, it’s important you understand the initial set-up of your IT infrastructure will require a capital investment.

#9 – If You’re Not Using The Cloud You’re Missing Out 

Although the Cloud can enhance how your employees access company files and networks, there’s been enormous advertising efforts by CSPs to make you a convert. We recommend doing a network audit of your system before determining whether or not your company will benefit by migrating over to the Cloud.

#8 –  Is The Gartner Report Pro Cloud?

Yes and no. If you read the Gartner report, you’ll notice it does provide reasons why the Cloud is wise for SMBs. However, the report does advocate some of the challenges companies will need to consider such as mapping out your current business IT needs. Then evaluate if upgrading your resources to the Cloud will enhance employee access to your network.

#7 – Your Cloud Network Isn’t Secure

No network (wired or wireless) is secure unless your IT technicians have properly installed security encryption measures and protocols.

#6 – Security Is Limited With Cloud Networking

Although this has become a controversial issue, many CSPs report very few security breeches with Cloud networks. Despite 2014’s detrimental security breeches by large companies such as Target, Sony and Home Depot, most network infiltrations are still bypassed through poorly-designed firewalls and gateways.

#5 –  Cloud Integration Can Replace Data Centers

This is a widely-accepted misconception about the Cloud. Yes, you can enhance your network but the Cloud will not replace your data center.

#4 – Cloud Migration Will Resolve Expired Windows 2003 Support

This is an issue many companies are facing. According to Insight Enterprises, 24 million servers are still running the expired version of Windows 2003. In July of 2014, Microsoft discontinued support for Win 2003. Therefore, companies hoping an upgrade to the Cloud will resolve their expired Win 2003 OS version may be surprised to find out it’s not the case.

#3 – Outsourcing Your Cloud Migration Is Risky 

Not true. Although, it is vital you work with a trusted provider. Our infographic outlines what you need to know about Cloud management.

#2 – The Gartner Report Is Misleading

Although the Gartner report outlines many of the benefits using the Cloud, it’s important to note any IT upgrade your company considers should be approached with advanced research.

#1 – Get On The Cloud Or Be Left Behind

Some companies may not be ideal candidates to integrate their networks to the Cloud. We recommend analyzing your legacy servers and run a cost-benefit analysis report to determine if reduced expenses moving your network to the Cloud are viable.


Tired of Passwords? These Technologies Aim to Help!


With the average user dealing with at least 40 separate online accounts, it’s no wonder many Americans are feeling password fatigue. To try to make things less complicated, some users have chosen to use the same password and username for every account, but this can pose a security danger to both consumers and businesses. Another alternative is to make a list and keep it locked away somewhere, but there’s no guarantee that list won’t become compromised someday.

Technology is offering several different solutions to the problem, making it easy for users to maintain dozens of passwords without risking a data breach or hacking attempt. Here are a few current technologies that could make password management easy.

Smartphone via NFC

With 74 percent of consumers now owning a smartphone, these devices could provide the answer to the world’s password woes. Using Near Field Communication or SMS messaging, a device owner’s smartphone can communicate with a nearby PC using Google’s tap-to-unlock.

Smartphone via Token

With services like Ping Identity, users are authenticated through a one-time token that is sent to a device. A swipe of the finger unlocks the token and lets the user log into any service or system. The technology is targeted to the enterprise environment.


Using fingerprints or iris scans to authenticate users sounds very sci-fi, but the technology is already in use in some places. Fingerprint technology has taken off, appearing in mobile devices and laptops already, but iris scanners are still slow to take off. Both technologies haven’t been proven to be 100 percent foolproof, but consumers love the ease-of-use of both methods.

Digital Tattoo

In the future, a tattoo could be something more than a way to show your personal taste. A digital tattoo is a sticker that lasts a limited number of days and communicates directly with your mobile device. Motorola’s Digital Tattoo costs $1 and lasts up to five days, but experts wonder if consumers will be willing to wear a sticker all day for the luxury of avoiding passwords.

Password Pill

With the password pill, you actually swallow an electronic device that can send signals through your skin. While the pill can make authentication effortless, it’s unlikely most consumers will be comfortable ingesting a device that communicates with their electronics.

Voice Printing

Through voice recognition, a user can simply speak a passcode and unlock a system. VoiceKeyID from Porticus is available for mobile devices and embedded platforms.


Imagine being logged in by merely thinking your password. That is exactly what brainwave authentication aims to do. The technology was demonstrated at the University of California Berkeley School of Information, but the user has to wear a headset for it to work.

Gartner Announces Leaders in End-User Outsourcing

Leaders In End-user Outsourcing 2013 Leaders In End-user Outsourcing 2013


In its recent Magic Quadrant for End-User Outsourcing Services report, Gartner acknowledged growing interest in the use of service providers to help businesses with IT processes. The report specifically looked at the popularity of outsourcing service desk, desktop, and mobility needs. While Gartner anticipates desktop support outsourcing will hold steady over the next few years, compound growth of 14 percent is expected between now and the year 2018 in the area of mobile device outsourcing.

Through its series of Magic Quadrant reports, Gartner seeks to provide insight into trends in the market. The unbiased report ranks vendors on two major qualities: completeness of vision and ability to execute. Within those two criteria, vendors are grouped into four quadrants based on their levels of innovation and depth of service.


  • CSC: This Virginia IT company provides end-user outsourcing services using MyWorkStyle, which gives businesses five work personas.
  • IBM: With the goal of providing a virtualized workplace, IBM supports approximately 3.5 million end users.
  • Unisys: In 2013, Unisys’s end-user outsourcing business grew 14 percent, with 2,275 desktop technicians supporting users.
  • CompuCom: Based in Dallas, CompuCom has more than 600 defined personas and can pinpoint systems that need to be replaced before they become problematic.
  • HP: Supporting more than 5.4 million users globally, HP offers everything from client virtualization to Context Analytics.
  • Dell: Client solutions are tailored to meet their own specific needs, and the company plans to further customize its offerings by creating plans designed for larger clients.
  • HCL Technologies: The India-based company uses remote delivery and automation to reduce the need for on-site technical support.
  • Atos: This French IT services company provides a low-cost base price that lets clients add on services as needed.


  • Fujitsu: The company’s Workplace Anywhere uses its own cloud and Citrix-based technology to provide support for both mobile and virtualization.
  • Cognizant: With its monthly risk-free subscription, Cognizant has grown significantly.


  • Xerox: The Connecticut company takes a service catalog approach for its document management offerings.
  • Pomeroy: The company has an emphasis on mobile, supporting four mobile devices for every 10 PCs.
  • Wipro: This India-based company is expected to boost its end-user outsourcing performance in the next few years.

Niche Players

  • CGI: The Montreal company hosted a technology trial and 140-day review in order to give customers a chance to try out its hosted virtual desktop service.
  • Stefanini: This Brazilian company encourages performance improvements through rewarding employees for any savings it can bring to clients.
  • Long View Systems: This Calgary-based firm has a focus on mobile technology, rebadging employees to other companies when needed.
  • C3i: C3i focuses on the life science industry, providing support for labs and medical facilities.
  • Maintech: Clients benefit from training through Maintech’s IT Infrastructure Library.


5 Best Antivirus Products for Suppressing Unwanted Programs

5-Best-Antivirus-Products-for-Suppressing-Unwanted-Programs_infographics_v2As a busy professional, you rely heavily on your electronic devices throughout the day. Whether you’re trying to find the best place to take a client for lunch or conducting research for a report, it’s important that your internet browsing experience be as painless as possible. Unfortunately, the web too often has other plans for you, as websites push unwanted programs and applications to your device.

For this reason, every business needs a good antivirus suite. The right program protects against spyware, viruses, and unwanted programs that attach themselves to legitimate downloads. Here are a few of the top antivirus products for keeping unwanted programs off your computer.


One of the best things about this popular antivirus suite is that the basic suite is completely free. The free version protects your computer against viruses and spyware, as well as providing link protection for some social media sites. For $59.99, you can add protection against harmful downloads, prevent spam, and block hackers while shopping.


For the same price as AVG’s paid version, Kaspersky offers an online security edition that keeps viruses and other online threats away from your device. The suite’s application control feature blocks dangerous applications that can harm a system and a two-way firewall blocks hacker attacks.


McAfee offers four layers of protection against threats, preventing viruses, spyware, adware, and more from infiltrating your device. The software has built-in controls to detect threats before they make it to a business’s servers or devices.

Norton Security

For a slightly higher price, Symantec’s Norton provides malware and virus protection for all of a user’s devices. If a device is lost or stolen, the software can be used to help locate it, preventing possible data leaks. For $10 more per year, users can access Norton Security with Backup to automatically move up to 25 GB of files over to a secure cloud-based server.


Like AVG, Avast has a free version, but its paid version is slightly cheaper than the competition. For $39.99 a year, your business can add a silent firewall and anti-spam controls. The free basic plan protects devices against spyware and rootkit threats, as well as providing intelligent antivirus protection.

Unwanted software can slow down a device’s performance and cause crashes. By employing the best technology for protecting your sensitive devices, you can prevent downtime and remain productive throughout your day.

Major Software Bug Could Affect Your Business


A vulnerability discovered in some Linux and Apple operating systems could put your business’s computers at risk. The bug was found in a software component called Bash, which is part of many instances of these operating systems. Once exploited, this vulnerability could be used by hackers to gain access to your individual systems.

About Shellshock

Going by the name Shellshock, the bug is found in Bash, a shell command line tool in Unix-based systems. Hackers have been able to remotely control users’ systems, with reports stating that exploits are currently under development to take advantage of the open access to so many systems. These exploits will allow hackers to gain user passwords and install DDoS bots.

While Windows-based PCs aren’t among the list of affected devices, businesses should be concerned about their servers, since many servers use Apache. Apache contains the Bash component. In total, experts estimate 500 million machines could be vulnerable to Shellshock.

What Can You Do?

If your machines are behind a firewall, you already have a major protection in place. Apple has assured its users that the vast majority are safe from the vulnerability, since OS X systems are safeguarded by default. Those users who have configured advanced UNIX servers may be vulnerable, however. Apple is working on a patch to safeguard those systems.

Experts are concerned that as users rush to patch affected systems, hackers will make the most of the short window of opportunity to wreak havoc on systems. The most vulnerable systems are likely those servers and applications that are running Bash without administrators being aware of it. For that reason, server administrators must take the extra effort to protect their servers.

Vendor Patches

The first thing a business can do is check with its vendors to see if a patch is available for their products. In the instances where data is stored with a third-party cloud service, businesses should be proactive in ensuring their data and devices are safe from attack. If you’d like to check to see if your computer is running Bash, this article should help.

As more information becomes available about Shellshock, businesses will be equipped to deal with the issues. For small businesses, turning server operations over to a highly-experienced cloud services provider can be a great way to ensure your systems are safe whenever vulnerabilities like Shellshock emerge. Because applications are often built by vendors, however, many businesses are often left uncertain about what technology their systems is actually running when news about vulnerabilities like this one emerges.

4 Tips on Creating an IT Budget

4 Tips on IT Budget

Information technology is the core of every organization, with a company relying on its equipment, applications, and documents to take care of customers and attract new business. But as time goes on, technology must occasionally be replaced or upgraded. To make sure your business stays on budget each year, it’s important to create an effective, accurate IT budget that keeps your technology current without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips to use when creating your IT budget each year.

Conduct an Inventory

The best way to determine what you’ll need to spend is to inventory what you currently have. Conduct and maintain a thorough inventory of all of your systems, along with the purchase dates. There are many software solutions available that will help you keep up with your equipment, along with reporting features that will extract equipment lists by purchase date.

Track Software Licensing

If any of your software requires licensing, keeping up with those licenses is essential. Businesses can be fined thousands of dollars for installing software without a license on file. Track each software license and budget money each year for software upgrade fees to ensure you’re in compliance. As businesses increasingly go to the cloud for essential tools like word processing and spreadsheets, monthly fees will likely replace renewable software licenses, making budgeting easier.

Set an Equipment Replacement Cycle

As time goes by, it’s easy to put equipment replacement off. Increasingly, businesses are being forced to make the choice between replacing aging equipment or using the opportunity to migrate to the cloud. When a business has a plan in place for making that move, it’s far easier to set a financial plan for the next few years. For PCs, servers, and mobile devices, it’s essential a business set up a replacement cycle to ensure equipment is replaced while it is still functional, rather than waiting until it begins impacting productivity.

Plan for Lean Times

Any business will likely go through times when income is lower than other times. By setting money aside when cash flow is positive, a business will have funds in place to handle those lean times. Unfortunately, many companies let equipment replacement and software upgrades slide during those tough times, leading to serious problems later. An office full of outdated equipment can drain productivity and lead to numerous unexpected failures.

IT equipment and applications take up a large part of today’s business budgeting. It’s important that organizations keep track of all hardware and software in order to ensure finances are set aside each year to keep the information technology infrastructure well funded.

3 Reasons Why You Need Human-Touched IT Services

Human-touched IT services_Sep 22, 2014

As businesses increasingly reduce tech support in favor of live chat or knowledge-bases, they’re beginning to realize the value in computer support provided by a real person. Whether that person is a friendly voice on the other end of the phone line or a person who comes to your desk to help, humans have an ability to relate to each other in a way computers never can. Here are three reasons your business still needs to retain the human touch in your IT support.

Technology Lacks Human Reason

When a computer is presented with a problem, that computer is programmed to rely solely on logic for solving it. Humans, on the other hand, have the ability to see the subtle nuances in a problem, using a reasoning ability that is unique to humans. As the user explains the problem, a human has the ability to rule out various possible causes for that problem based on past experience. If the IT support person has worked with that user for a while, he may even be able to narrow down the problem based on knowledge of that user’s daily work activities and technical expertise.

Humans Approach Each User Differently

Even a call center learns to detect a user’s mood and anxiety levels based on the inflection and tone of his voice. With human-touched IT services, a person adjusts his support in response to those clues, tailoring help to match what the user needs. Within seconds of speaking to a user, a technical support person may be able to determine that the user would likely have ruled out the simple things, while a computer would have to require a user to answer a series of questions to arrive at the same conclusion.

Hardware Needs In-Person Support

One of the biggest challenges for companies that are trying to remove the human touch from IT is hardware repair and replacement. Occasionally, an employee will walk in to find a computer, monitor, printer, or copier is suddenly no longer functioning. In-person IT staff will usually keep a spare computer for those instances, getting the user up and running in just minutes while new equipment is ordered or existing hardware goes through extensive troubleshooting. Without the human touch, hardware problems can completely disable a valued team member for a day or longer, with new equipment required to be shipped or purchased locally.

Today’s users are more computer savvy than ever, but they still occasionally need technical support. There will likely never be a replacement for the help an empathetic, experienced IT support person can provide, so businesses should continue to retain it as a supplement to the online and remote desktop support they’re providing.

3 Things You Should Know About Named Data Networking

3 things about NDN

3 Things You Should Know About Named Data Networking

UCLA and Cisco recently joined others in the industry in a consortium to discuss the future of TCP/IP. Since the 70s, the industry has operated under a set of networking standards designed to protect communication as it traveled from one server to another. Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol is a packet-based system that is used both on private and public networks.

As the internet has grown and matured, however, IT experts have questioned the security of the original TCP/IP setup. As Washington University computer science professor Patrick Crowley points out, there is a demand for a system that sends information efficiently while also protecting privacy. TCP/IP was designed during a much earlier time. Named Data Networking (NDN) technology is emerging as a much better solution for today’s internet architecture, giving businesses and consumers a much higher level of security when sending and receiving data.

While NDN is a relatively new concept, the movement to make it the industry standard has been ongoing for some time. Here are three major things you should know about NDN.

NDN Removes Numeric-Based Naming

As IT administrators know, TCP/IP addressing employs a complicated system of naming servers and hosts. These numbers are generally presented as four sets of numbers separated by a period. An example of an IP address is NDN seeks to replace that complicated, difficult-to-remember naming system with a more user-friendly one.

NDN Will Outlast TCP/IP

This naming system is also beneficial because the four-set numbering system has a finite future, while NDN is limitless. If the industry continues on its current course, the numbers available will be exhausted, leaving industry leaders to come up with an alternative anyway.

Work on NDN is Industry-Wide

The consortium attendees are only a sampling of the many organizations backing the switch. In 2010, the National Science Foundation put more than $13.5 million into the project, publicly expressing its belief that NDN is the future. The money went to a variety of organizations who have been hard at work on the project, examining every possible angle of a world in which NDN predominates.

While the discussion about NDN is ongoing, its future as the top networking protocol seems inevitable. Since it promises to provide a greater level of security to users, especially businesses, NDN is understandably a preferred choice for many who work in information technology today. As more businesses migrate their important data to the cloud, internet security will be more important than ever.

Mobile Payments Are the Future: How Your Business Should Prepare


The announcement of Apple’s new mobile payment service echoes consumer demand for a way to pay using the same device they use to do everything else. Apple Pay will let owners of iPhones and Apple Watches leave home without their wallets, paying by simply holding the device near a contactless reader in stores and other retail locations. Credit card information will be securely stored in the user’s phone, identified to the reader by a secure code.

This new feature will likely drive demand from owners of Android, BlackBerry, and Windows-based mobile devices for the ability to pay via electronic device, as well. As such, it’s important that retailers in all industries be prepared to make the necessary changes. Here are a couple of things your business will need to do to prepare.

Upgrade Point-of-Sale

Initially, consumers will understand that the service is only available in a limited number of locations. But Apple already lists more than 220,000 locations where Apple Pay is accepted, including McDonald’s, Subway, and Whole Foods. To remain competitive, smaller, local businesses will eventually be expected to adopt the new payment method or risk losing business to nearby national franchises.

Apple Pay uses something called Near Field Communication, which has already been available on competing mobile devices. However, unlike the other devices, Apple has the potential to attract big businesses to accept its payment method. To accept Apple Pay, businesses will first be required to upgrade their point-of-sale systems to EMV, which is a more secure way of accepting payments. Credit card providers are already requiring merchants to upgrade to EMV by 2015, so this part of the process may have already been completed by many businesses.

Near-Field Communication

The second step involves upgrading to Near-Field Communication, which is often by many payment processors. VeriFone and VIVOtech offer both EMV and NFC for systems, with VIVOtech offering an option that adds on to an existing setup. Even if you don’t plan to begin accepting NFC payments right away, having an upgraded system in place will give you the luxury of making the change when you’re ready.

Apple Pay is an exciting, promising addition to the consumer smartphone market. It’s important that businesses realize how quickly the payment landscape will change due to this new offering and make preparations to accommodate both plastic-paying customers and those who wish to pay using a mobile app. For businesses that want a true competitive edge, they should consider making the switch early, since they’ll be able to win customers who are eager to try out life without a wallet.

5 Million Gmail Usernames, Passwords Hacked! What to Do Now?


Gmail Hacker

The news that five million Gmail usernames and passwords were stolen alarmed many in the industry. If Google’s servers aren’t safe, whose are? But Google quickly followed up the news with an announcement that the information was taken from a website not belonging to Google. The company has searched its own systems for signs of a compromise and have found nothing.

What to Do Now

Since Gmail powers many workplace email accounts, it’s important that businesses first protect any email accounts that might contain company data. Even if one employee is using a Gmail account for work duties, that employee should take measures to ensure his account is protected. To be safe, business leaders should send instructions to all employees on safeguarding their Gmail accounts, even if they don’t use them for work purposes.

Protecting your Gmail account is easy. The first step is to change your password, which can be done by clicking the down arrow next to the gear in the top-right corner. Choose Settings, then Accounts and Import. Change Password is at the top. You’ll be prompted to enter your old password and your new one twice. Try to shoot for a “Strong” password rating. Once you’ve changed your password, you’ll be taken to another settings screen. If 2-Step Verification is disabled, click the link to set it up and go through the steps. You’ll be notified via phone call or text message every time someone tries to access your Gmail through an untrusted device.

User Security

To help their own systems remain secure, businesses should urge employees to use passwords that are difficult to guess. Administrators can set this up as a requirement on all applications and file servers, making each employee have a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters in every password.

Another trap business users fall into is that of using password keepers. This is a solution to the many passwords we’re all required to keep up with, letting users remember one strong password to access all sites and applications. While acknowledging the usefulness of such tools, it’s important that businesses explore the encryption being used by the particular password keeper being used. If your administrator is responsible for keeping up with everyone’s master password through a console, the security on the console should be investigated, as well.

The Gmail breach is yet another reminder of how vulnerable electronic systems are. If your business employs the best industry-standard software for security and encourages safe password polices, your users can stay safe during large-scale hacking attempts.