Understanding The New USB

Universal Serial Bus (USB) jacks and ports are tools that allow you to connect computer peripherals to your computers, keyboards, external hard drives, or storage keys.

The numbers following the USB symbol simply correspond to the version of the USB standard concerned, the 3.0 and 3.1 series being the most recent at the time these lines are written.

In addition to the color of their connectors (version 3.0 is usually blue), it is the speed of data transfer that is the main difference between these two standards.

Thus, the USB 2.0 standard, introduced in 2000, made it possible to guarantee a transfer speed much higher than that of the previous standard: from 1.5 MB per second to theoretical 60 MB! USB 3.0, appeared in 2008, has multiplied this transfer rate by 10, reaching the theoretical rate of 625 MB per second!

Be careful, if backward compatibility is supported in the case of USB 3.0 jacks (that is, your device with a USB 3.0 port will work on your computer with USB 2.0 sockets), the speed of transfer will remain blocked to 2.0 standards…
USB standards. As early as 1995, the USB standard was developed for connecting a wide variety of devices.

The USB 1.0 standard offers two modes of communication:
12 Mb / s in high-speed mode.
1.5 Mb / s at low speed.

The USB 1.1 standard provides some clarifications to USB device manufacturers but does not change the bit rate.

The USB 2.0 standard provides speeds up to 480 Mbit / s.

The USB 3.0 standard provides speeds up to 4.8 Gbps.

In the absence of a logo the best way to determine whether these are USB devices at low or high speed is to consult the product documentation as long as the connectors are the same.

Compatibility between USB 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 devices is assured. However, using a USB 2.0 device on a low-speed USB port (i.e. 1.0 or 1.1) will limit the bit rate to 12 Mbps. In addition, the operating system may display a message explaining that the flow will be restricted.

USB port:

There are two types of USB connectors:
The so-called type A connectors, whose shape is rectangular and generally used for devices low in bandwidth (keyboard, mouse, webcam, etc.);
The so-called type B connectors, whose shape is square and used mainly for high-speed devices (external hard drives, etc.).

Description: USB Type A and Type B Connectors

1. Power + 5V (VBUS) 100mA maximum
2. Data (D-)
3. Data (D +)
4. Mass (GND)

USB bus operation

The USB architecture has the characteristic of providing power to the peripherals it connects, up to a maximum of 15 W per device. It uses a cable consisting of four wires (the GND ground, the VBUS power supply and two data wires called D- and D +).

Description: the USB cable

The USB standard allows the chaining of devices, using a bus or star topology. The devices can then either be connected one after the other, or branched.

The branching is done using boxes called “hubs”, with a single input and several outputs. Some are active (providing electrical power), others passive (powered by the computer).

Description: Bus topology of USB ports
Description: Star topology of USB ports

The communication between the host (the computer) and the peripherals is done according to a protocol (communication language) based on the principle of the token ring. This means that the bandwidth is shared temporally between all connected devices. The host (the computer) sends a sequence start signal every millisecond (ms), a time interval during which it will simultaneously give the “speech” to each one of them. When the host wants to communicate with a device, it sends a token (a data packet, containing the device address, encoded on 7 bits) designating a device, so it is the host who decides the “dialogue” with peripherals. If the device recognizes its address in the token, it sends a packet of data (8 to 255 bytes) in response, otherwise, it forwards the packet to other connected devices. The data thus exchanged are coded according to the NRZI coding.
Since the address is 7-bit coded, 128 devices (2 ^ 7) can be simultaneously connected to a port of this type.

I think I have covered all the information related to USB 2.0 & USB 3.0. If you have any question then do comment so that I can clear your thought. Feel free to share your experience about this USB 2.0 & USB 3.0

All About Biometric Hardware

Fingerprint authentication is apparently a rather clear option for now as an alternate to passwords. Multifactor authentication is the procedure of using more than 1 identifier to log-in. Biometric authentication supplies an attractive means of authenticating users into high-risk infrastructure.

Facial recognition
This type of biometric authentication employs the exceptional facial qualities of someone. When it has to do with biometric authentication, the fingerprint sensor is the most trustworthy and convenient. For starters, biometric authentication is considered among the best kinds of authentication currently offered. The worldwide biometric authentication and identification market is predicted to undergo substantial growth over the following five years.

Biometrics provides convenience, simplicity of use, simple scalability and increased cyber security. In addition, they are increasingly sophisticated and proven, including facial recognition as a means of authentication. Biometrics needs to be secure. however, it can’t interrupt somebody’s day-to-day pursuits. For smaller companies, in addition, it supplies a cloud-based solution which delivers fingerprint biometrics and smart cards.

There are a few specific forms of biometrics utilized for some particular purposes. They will also have some impact on the workplace with regards to the need for additional hardware costs such as scanners. Behavioral biometrics is a new type of biometric that gives you the ability to confirm your identity with how you behave, instead of some facet of your physical body.

Biometrics allows an employee to use their fingerprint as identification at any location in the retail shop. They are part of the cutting edge of technology. They are also being used in the automotive industry in the form of biometric vehicle access systems. They are already changing the game, and they will continue to do so. They also offer flexibility to the user different identifiers can be used in different situations. Behavioral biometrics utilize ephemeral data, meaning theft would just be a temporary disability.

What You Don’t Know About Biometric Hardware

As per a study by Grand View Research, the international biometric authentication market is predicted to grow significantly over the following five decades. From hardware like smartphones and laptops to software like web applications and services, the demand for biometrics has increased recently and will probably keep doing so as the way of implementing such way of authentication become even cheaper and reliable on an extensive scale. In addition, there are concerns over privacy about the biometric information stored, as it may be used for numerous different applications including health and drug screening and identifying employees outside the workplace. There are, naturally, issues with hardware security tokens. 1 potential issue with biometric factors is they’re not secrets” in the manner that passwords or tokens are.

Ways To Keep Your Data Secure

Data loss is crippling for any business, especially in the age of big data where companies rely on digital information to refine their marketing, contact prospects, and process transactions. Reducing the chances for data loss is a vital part of a data management strategy.

The first goal should be to prevent data loss from occurring in the first place. There are many reasons which could lead to data loss. A few of them are listed below:

1) Hard drive failures

2) Accidental deletions (user error)

3) Computer viruses and malware infections

4) Laptop theft

5) Power failures

6) Damage due to spilled coffee or water; Etc.

However, if a loss does occur, then there are several best practices you can implement to boost your odds of recovery.

Secondly, don’t put all your storage eggs in the cloud basket. The cloud is vital for cost-effective storage, but it does have some pitfalls that shouldn’t be ignored. Many examples of data loss have occurred from an employee simply dropping their computer or hard drive, so talk to staff members about best practices. SD cards are much more fragile and should never be used as a form of longer-term storage.

Here’s a look at top ways you can protect your data from loss and unauthorized access.

Back up early and often

The single most important step in protecting your data from loss is to back it up regularly. How often should you back up? That depends-how much data can you afford to lose if your system crashes completely? A week’s work? A day’s work? An hour’s work?

You can use the backup utility built into Windows (ntbackup.exe) to perform basic backups. You can use Wizard Mode to simplify the process of creating and restoring backups or you can configure the backup settings manually and you can schedule backup jobs to be performed automatically.

There are also numerous third-party backup programs that can offer more sophisticated options. Whatever program you use, it’s important to store a copy of your backup offsite in case of fire, tornado, or other natural disaster that can destroy your backup tapes or discs along with the original data.

Diversify your backups

You always want more than one backup system. The general rule is 3-2-1. You should have 3 backups of anything that’s very important. They should be backed up in at least two different formats, such as in the cloud and on a hard drive. There should always be an off-site backup in the event that there is damage to your physical office.

Use file-level and share-level security

To keep others out of your data, the first step is to set permissions on the data files and folders. If you have data in network shares, you can set share permissions to control what user accounts can and cannot access the files across the network. With Windows 2000/XP, this is done by clicking the Permissions button on the Sharing tab of the file’s or folder’s properties sheet.

However, these share-level permissions won’t apply to someone who is using the local computer on which the data is stored. If you share the computer with someone else, you’ll have to use file-level permissions (also called NTFS permissions, because they’re available only for files/folders stored on NTFS-formatted partitions). File-level permissions are set using the Security tab on the properties sheet and are much more granular than share-level permissions.

In both cases, you can set permissions for either user accounts or groups, and you can allow or deny various levels of access from read-only to full control.

Password-protect documents

Many productivity applications, such as Microsoft Office applications and Adobe Acrobat, will allow you to set passwords on individual documents. To open the document, you must enter the password. To password-protect a document in Microsoft Word 2003, go to Tools | Options and click the Security tab. You can require a password to open the file and/or to make changes to it. You can also set the type of encryption to be used.

Unfortunately, Microsoft’s password protection is relatively easy to crack. There are programs on the market designed to recover Office passwords, such as Elcomsoft’s Advanced Office Password Recovery (AOPR). This type of password protection, like a standard (non-deadbolt) lock on a door, will deter casual would-be intruders but can be fairly easily circumvented by a determined intruder with the right tools.

You can also use zipping software such as WinZip or PKZip to compress and encrypt documents.

Use EFS encryption

Windows 2000, XP Pro, and Server 2003 support the Encrypting File System (EFS). You can use this built-in certificate-based encryption method to protect individual files and folders stored on NTFS-formatted partitions. Encrypting a file or folder is as easy as selecting a check box; just click the Advanced button on the General tab of its properties sheet. Note that you can’t use EFS encryption and NTFS compression at the same time.

EFS uses a combination of asymmetric and symmetric encryption, for both security and performance. To encrypt files with EFS, a user must have an EFS certificate, which can be issued by a Windows certification authority or self-signed if there is no CA on the network. EFS files can be opened by the user whose account encrypted them or by a designated recovery agent. With Windows XP/2003, but not Windows 2000, you can also designate other user accounts that are authorized to access your EFS-encrypted files.

Note that EFS is for protecting data on the disk. If you send an EFS file across the network and someone uses a sniffer to capture the data packets, they’ll be able to read the data in the files.

Use disk encryption

There are many third-party products available that will allow you to encrypt an entire disk. Whole disk encryption locks down the entire contents of a disk drive/partition and is transparent to the user. Data is automatically encrypted when it’s written to the hard disk and automatically decrypted before being loaded into memory. Some of these programs can create invisible containers inside a partition that act like a hidden disk within a disk. Other users see only the data in the “outer” disk.

Disk encryption products can be used to encrypt removable USB drives, flash drives, etc. Some allow creation of a master password along with secondary passwords with lower rights you can give to other users. Examples include PGP Whole Disk Encryption and DriveCrypt, among many others.

Make use of a public key infrastructure

A public key infrastructure (PKI) is a system for managing public/private key pairs and digital certificates. Because keys and certificates are issued by a trusted third party (a certification authority, either an internal one installed on a certificate server on your network or a public one, such as Verisign), certificate-based security is stronger.

You can protect data you want to share with someone else by encrypting it with the public key of its intended recipient, which is available to anyone. The only person who will be able to decrypt it is the holder of the private key that corresponds to that public key.

Hide data with steganography

You can use a steganography program to hide data inside other data. For example, you could hide a text message within a.JPG graphics file or an MP3 music file, or even inside another text file (although the latter is difficult because text files don’t contain much redundant data that can be replaced with the hidden message). Steganography does not encrypt the message, so it’s often used in conjunction with encryption software. The data is encrypted first and then hidden inside another file with the steganography software.

Some steganographic techniques require the exchange of a secret key and others use public/private key cryptography. A popular example of steganography software is StegoMagic, a freeware download that will encrypt messages and hide them in.TXT,.WAV, or.BMP files.

Protect data in transit with IP security

Your data can be captured while it’s traveling over the network by a hacker with sniffer software (also called network monitoring or protocol analysis software). To protect your data when it’s in transit, you can use Internet Protocol Security (IPsec)-but both the sending and receiving systems have to support it. Windows 2000 and later Microsoft operating systems have built-in support for IPsec. Applications don’t have to be aware of IPsec because it operates at a lower level of the networking model. Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) is the protocol IPsec uses to encrypt data for confidentiality. It can operate in tunnel mode, for gateway-to-gateway protection, or in transport mode, for end-to-end protection. To use IPsec in Windows, you have to create an IPsec policy and choose the authentication method and IP filters it will use. IPsec settings are configured through the properties sheet for the TCP/IP protocol, on the Options tab of Advanced TCP/IP Settings.

Secure wireless transmissions

Data that you send over a wireless network is even more subject to interception than that sent over an Ethernet network. Hackers don’t need physical access to the network or its devices; anyone with a wireless-enabled portable computer and a high gain antenna can capture data and/or get into the network and access data stored there if the wireless access point isn’t configured securely.

You should send or store data only on wireless networks that use encryption, preferably Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), which is stronger than Wired Equivalent Protocol (WEP).

Use rights management to retain control

If you need to send data to others but are worried about protecting it once it leaves your own system, you can use Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) to control what the recipients are able to do with it. For instance, you can set rights so that the recipient can read the Word document you sent but can’t change, copy, or save it. You can prevent recipients from forwarding e-mail messages you send them and you can even set documents or messages to expire on a certain date/time so that the recipient can no longer access them after that time.

The Importance of Cloud Storage

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing (or cloud storage), is the process of storing data online and it is gaining in popularity for several reasons. It is a secure way to store information, data is password protected, it can be easily shared with others, it can’t get lost, damaged or stolen and it takes up no physical space on your computer.

Until now, data was stored physically on discs, hard drives or flash drives. The downside to this is that it takes up space to store the info, there is always the risk of materials getting lost, damaged or stolen and if you want to share it you have to make copies and somehow safely get it to another person at a different location.

There are many benefits that cloud computing companies offer, including:

Cloud storage offers you as much or as little space as you need-and you only pay the host for what you use. This saves you money and is great for businesses that may require more space, say, at busy times of the year and less space in off-season times.

Any required maintenance is taken care of by the host, so you don’t need a large IT department.

Access your files any time from any device

You may get access to documents, programs, templates and other applications provided by the host company. The main benefit of this is that you don’t have to download anything on your computer… it’s all on the host’s site. This saves space on your PC while everything you need is just a click away.

Password-protect specific files and folders to keep them private and share them with only those you choose to.

How do I get started?

To take advantage of cloud computing, you must first decide on a host. This is the cloud computing company that will build, maintain and protect the ‘cloud’ where your information will be stored. Cloud computing companies offer a wide array of services and can range greatly in price. Some are free, some are as little as $1 a month and still others can charge over $50 a year. It is important to choose the host that is right for your business.

Here are the 3 most popular cloud computing companies:

Google Drive-Google’s service is free for the first 15GB of space. Also, it not only stores your data, but also offers you the option to create, edit, store and share images, music, files and forms. It can be used with Google Docs-easy-to-use templates to help you create the best documents.

DropBox-They have a free and paid version. Dropbox is super secure and you can give password-protected access to specific folders to select people so they see only what they need to see and nothing else. Live chat and phone support take the guesswork out of setting up your site.

JustCloud-Offering free and paid accounts-as little as $3.95 a month-this company offers easy drag and drop customization, bank-grade encryption and the ability to sync multiple computers so you have 100{6f2164f8ff7b5ee2da77719c29729b567c9ab4ebd1e8b209930fd2d4e6097e34} access to your files, all the time.

Things You Need To Know About Data Protection

Where to start with “A Practical approach to Data Protection”

Customer Data Protection

When someone says data protection people’s eyes glaze over, it’s understandable that the data protection act of 1998 is important not just to businesses but the public in general. The Data Protection Act will however, be replaced in 2018 by GDPR.

Don’t worry, this article is not going to depths on the data protection act, instead we want to focus on what you can do to protect your data and the clients data.

This article applies to everyone in business no matter if you are a one man band with client contact details held on your mobile phone, a shop owner who does or does not have to comply with PCI DSS or a multi-national corporation. If you have data about your business and/or your clients held anywhere (even on paper) then this applies to you!

First Thoughts on Security Considerations

As Microsoft Windows has developed, one of the key issues that Microsoft has tried to resolve is that of security. With Windows 10 they have taken a leap forward in protecting your data.

Many people seem to have focused on the working of the licence for Windows 10 and what it allows Microsoft to do; removing counterfeit software etc. Is this wrong? Of course not. In fact if you are in business and your systems have counterfeit software you are opening yourself up to data loss in a big way.

Pirated software usually has additional code in it that allows hackers to gain access to your system and therefore your data. With Cloud Based services these days, using legitimate software should be easier than ever, after all the monthly cost of a copy of Office 365 is a pittance.

Whilst we are on Cloud Based systems, it is worth remembering that unless you encrypt your data on the cloud then chances are it could end up in the wrong hands no matter how security conscious the vendor is. New hardware is already being developed that will take care of this for you, but it isn’t here yet, so be warned.

We will come back to security a little later after we have looked at the severe fines that you could incur by not taking Data Security seriously.

This is about BIG companies isn’t it?

No, definitely not, your companies data security is the responsibility of everyone in your company. Failing to comply can be costly in more than just monetary terms.

Throughout this article I will drop in a few rulings from the ICO that demonstrate how important it is to take these issues seriously. This is not an attempt to scare you, neither is it a marketing ploy of any sort; many people believe that getting “caught out” will never happen to them, in fact it can happen to anyone who doesn’t take reasonable steps to protect their data.

Here some recent rulings detailing action taken in the United Kingdom by the Information Commissioners Office:

Date 16 April 2015 Type:ProsecutionsA recruitment company has been prosecuted at Ealing Magistrates Court for failing to notify with the ICO. Recruitment company pleaded guilty and was fined £375 and ordered to pay costs of £774.20 and a victim surcharge of £38.

and here’s another:

Date 05 December 2014 Type:Monetary penaltiesThe company behind Manchester’s annual festival, the Parklife Weekender has been fined £70,000 after sending unsolicited marketing text messages.

The text was sent to 70,000 people who had bought tickets to last year’s event, and appeared on the recipients’ mobile phone to have been sent by “Mum”.

Let’s look at the simplest way in which you can protect your data. Forget expensive pieces of hardware, they can be circumnavigated if the core principles of data protection are not addressed.

Education is by far the easiest way to protect data on your computer’s and therefore in your network. This means taking time to educate the staff and updating them on a regular basis.

Here’s what we discovered – shocking practices

In 2008 we were asked to perform an IT audit on an organisation, nothing unusual, except that a week before the date of the audit I received a phone call from a senior person in that organisation, the call went something like this:-

“We didn’t mention before that we have had our suspicions about a member of staff in a position of authority. He seems to of had a very close relationship with the IT company that currently supports us. We also suspect that he has been completing work not related to our organisation using the computer in his office. When we told him about the up-coming IT audit he became agitated and the more insistant we were that he should comply, the more agitated he became”.

This resulted in this individuals computer being the subject of an all but forensic inspection, apart from an un-licenced game, we found nothing and believing that the information we were looking for may have been deleted we performed a data recovery on the disk drive.

The results caused consternation and required us to contact the ICO. We found a lot of very sensitive data that did not belong on that drive. It looked as though it had been there for some time and most of it was not recoverable suggesting it had been removed a good while ago.

As it turned out the disk drive had been replaced several months before and the IT company had used the drive as a temporary data store for another companies data. They formatted the drive and put the new operating system on thinking nothing of it.

It just goes to show that formatting a drive and then using it for months won’t remove all the previous data. No action was taken other than a slapped wrist for the IT firm for poor practices.

So who should be trained?

The best way to demonstrate the importance of data protection is by using top-down learning sessions where management is trained first, followed by junior management followed by the staff. In this way it’s obvious to management as well as the staff the data protection is not something that one person does it is in fact the duty of every employee within a company.

A data breach will affect everybody within the company not just the person responsible but, those ultimately responsible as well.

The training is not lengthy or difficult, but it should be provided by an expert in the field or a company whose expertise is beyond doubt.

In-house training on this subject is not recommended as it is only an outsider who will be taken seriously and who will have the 3rd party credibility required to enforce the importance of the issue.

Information Security is everyone’s business

Information Security Awareness Training: Here’s what should be covered:

  • Provide an easy-to-use online 40 minutes information security awareness training course for your employees to log on and learn best information security practices from.
  • Provide best practice course content of your compliance requirements.
  • Teach employees in simple non-technical language, how and why hackers hack.
  • Instruct employees in the best methods of protecting your systems and the sensitive information you process.
  • Explain employee inherent responsibilities for protecting your business information and identifying and reporting suspicious activity.
  • Supply this information efficiently and effectively, an information security threats risk assessment should be completed.

A good threats and risk assessment should answer the following questions:

  • What do I need to protect and where is it located?
  • What is the value of this information to the business?
  • What other vulnerabilities are associated with the systems processing or storing this information?
  • What are the security threats to the systems and the probability of their occurrence?
  • What would be the damage the business if this information were compromised?
  • What should be done to minimise and manage the risks?

Answering the questions above, is the first and most crucial step in information security risk management. It identifies exactly what your business needs protect and where it’s located and why you need to protect it in real cost impact terms that everyone should understand.Don’t end up like these guys:

Date 22 December 2014 Type:Monetary penaltiesThe Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a marketing company based in London £90,000 for continually making nuisance calls targeting vulnerable victims. In several cases, the calls resulted in elderly people being tricked into paying for boiler insurance they didn’t need.

In plain English, make it very clear to every employee within the company exactly what their responsibilities are to the data that is within their grasp on an everyday basis, explain how to protect it, explain why we need to protect it and point out the consequences to the business of not doing so.

Most un-trained employees would probably think that data protection has little or nothing to do with them; but, if a data breach occurred the company could lose business when the news hits the press, that may lead to lay offs due to lost business. It really does fall on everyone in the company from cleaning staff to the CEO to take responsibility.

Who should deliver the training?

This topic is not something that any training company can deliver correctly. You really need to work with real security experts, companies that are highly qualified and well experienced.

Unfortunately, in the IT industry many individuals and companies have presented themselves as IT Security Guru’s and most are just scare mongers with an agenda. They want to sell one specific service no matter if you need it or not.

However, there are some very well qualified, genuinely helpful professional companies out there.

In 2011 I was fortunate enough to be at the eCrimes Wales when Richard Hollis from the RISC Factory spoke. His presentation spoke to the audience in a way that few others did that day, it established him in this authors mind as my go to person in the UK on data security issues. I managed to grab a quick word with him during a break and he was really helpful.

Why do I rate Rich so highly? Well his background is interesting to say the least, a background in service for the NSA means he knows what he’s doing and has more knowledge in this area than the average Joe. It also means that where other IT Security experts see an issue, Rich sees a much bigger picture.

Of course many other companies offer similar services and in the current economic climate it is good to shop around if you need to.

Getting started

First of all, watch and re-watch the video (linked below) and find it’s second part on YouTube, watch that as well. Take notes during the video and get those steps planned out in your mind, answer the key questions about your company, data and security.

Next, speak with your IT department if you have one, your IT support company if you don’t and see if they have any cost effective idea’s that you can implement without impacting on your IT budget too heavily.

You can start protecting your company data from outside sources for a couple of hundred GB pounds by installing the right kind of Firewall, with cloud based updates 24/7.

Quality Anti-Virus with built in Anti-Malware doesn’t have to cost the company a fortune either, but again, take advice. Many of these products slow the computer system down so much that they have a negative impact on performance. One of the most famous of these (beginning with N) is often sold in High Street electronics, stationary and consumer goods stores as being “the best”; in fact it is the best profit margin and not the best product, it slows the system down and needs a special piece of software to remove it completely!

Store sensitive data in an encrypted area of a RAID storage drive system with restricted access control. A NAS drive is a cheap and effective way of achieving this.

Don’t store sensitive data on Cloud Based systems like Dropbox, sure it’s cheap and easy to use, so if you are passing none critical data such as graphics, logo’s and promotional material; great! If you are passing your accounts to your accountant, a new product schematic to a machine tooling company etc. – use something else that has better security.

Nothing personal against Dropbox and similar products, but like Microsoft OneDrive as it is now both have been hacked in the past. Although the security has been improved dramatically, you should not take the risk.

Finally take advice from real experts when you have any doubts. People like Richard Hollis have dedicated their careers to security. As they park up outside a company for a meeting they have already analysed several security considerations automatically. When they walk through the front door they make a dozen more calculations and risk assessments. All before they even sit down and talk to you about your concerns.

Layers: Security is all about a layered approach. Think of it as an Onion. Here’s an example at a Physical level for a company that I used to work for many years ago.

As you entered the building you could not get past reception unless they “Buzzed you through” the security barriers in the reception area. These were swipe card controlled for staff.

Swipe cards for staff allowed them access only to those areas they were authorised to enter; so for example only IT support staff and some developers had access to the server room. Note here that unlike some companies the cleaner did not have access to the server room or to the developers area of work.

Get the idea?

On an electronic level, all critical systems were duplicated with independent power, backup power from a generator that had backup power from a UPS system.

Firewalls separated the different LANs and the inside from the outside of the company. Each department ran on its own LAN with connections between LANs for only those people who absolutely needed them.

You can carry on to much lower levels of protection like making sure that all USB drives are encoded and encrypted so that they can only be used to move data between the companies own PC’s.

These sorts of security measures are actually very simple to achieve, they are not rocket science, nether do they have to cost you an absolute fortune.

Remember – Plan, Do, Check, Act – repeat as required. But always get advice from professionals. Believe me, the kid next door who builds his own computers and sells them doesn’t know enough about the threats to your company.

If you are in the UK, consider undertaking Cyber Essentials the government scheme to get businesses to a minimum standard to protect data. This is seriously worth while looking at; during the recent NHS attack, none of the NHS Trusts that had completed and been certified Cyber Essentials standard establishments were penetrated.

We trust that you have found this article interesting, please tell your friends.

One final thing, May 28th 2018 will see GDPR replace the data protection act and businesses within the UK will need to be ready for the change, don’t wait. Get started today.

When Your Storage Data Going Failure

Context:
Unfortunately, most home users, and many business users, do not back up their systems. Moreover, many small businesses have older back-up procedures that are often ineffective for recovering files.

Of course, you can run down to your neighborhood electronics store and purchase a replacement drive for your computer, but what about your data on the failed hard drive? How important was it? Did you save it or back it up?

What to do:
If you need to recover data on the hard drive, the first thing to do is avoid trying to reboot or doing anything that involves the drive. Doing so can actually do more damage to your data.

The only irreversible data loss is caused by overwriting bits, physical damage to the drive platters or destruction of the magnetization of the platters, which seldom happens in the real world. In the majority of cases, the malfunction is caused by a damaged circuit board, failure of a mechanical component and crash of internal software system track or firmware.

In the case of actual hard drive failure, only a data recovery professional can get your data back. And the fact that you cannot access your data through your operating system does not necessarily mean that your data is lost.

As a “rule of thumb,” if you hear a clicking sound emitting from your hard drive, or if the computer’s S.M.A.R.T. function indicates an error during the boot process, something is wrong. You should immediately stop using the hard drive in order to avoid causing further damage and, potentially, rendering the information on the hard drive unrecoverable.

After receiving your failed hard drive, a data recovery specialist’s first step will be to try and save an image of the damaged drive onto another drive. This image drive, not the actual damaged drive, is where the data recovery specialist will try to recover the lost data.

The next step in the imaging process is to determine if the hard-drive failure was an actual malfunction, a system corruption or a system track issue.

System corruption and system track issues are normally fixed by using a specialist’s data recovery software. System corruption or system track recoveries do not require processing in a clean room environment.

Conclusion:
Unfortunately, damage to a drive’s circuit board or failure of the head drives is not uncommon. In each of these failures, a data recovery specialist should work on the system only in a clean room environment. There, the specialist can substitute parts such as drive electronics, internal components, read/write arms, writing/reading heads, spindle motors or spindle bearings from a donor drive in order to gain access to the data on the failed hard drive. In most cases, the data recovery specialist is able to retrieve and return the lost data.

Disadvantage of Chatbot

The use of live chat for customer services has grown popular over the past several years, often replacing voice support services. Many companies now recognize the benefits it brings, such as

  • the ability to address customer needs with more clarity
  • increased time and cost efficiency
  • better customer satisfaction

However, with the growth of chat customer support came the creation of AI software that could take over the responsibilities of a human support agent-the chatbot.

For large companies that often handle hundreds if not thousands or even millions of customers in a day, a chatbot can save them a lot of time and allocation of resources. They don’t have to hire big teams of human customer support agents to handle every single customer that comes to them with an inquiry. Another big plus for businesses is that chatbots don’t get tired. They don’t need to work in shifts-they can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for as long as the company uses them.

But as much help as chatbots can be to a big brand, they can also be a huge detriment.

Artificial intelligence is still flawed, as is with anything man-made. Sometimes the AI becomes too good to the point that it appears they have grown sentient, or they can be entirely unable to help a customer in need, as was the case with Telstra, a telecommunication company based in Australia.

Several news sources such as the Sydney Morning Herald, the Daily Mail, and Yahoo! News have reported that many customers have become irate at the quality of Telstra’s customer support chatbot, Codi, which was launched last October. Since then, customers have been posting on social media about their discontent with Codi.

For starters, the chatbot has a lot of trouble processing simple requests, such as when a customer requests that they be handled by a human agent. Codi also had a tendency to repeat itself and is prone to system crashes. There is one memorable anecdote of a man named Paris who requested a human agent and instead was asked if he wanted data roaming. Apparently, Codi mistook his name for the French city.

While this is not the same for every chatbot being used by businesses, Codi is a reminder of the possible trouble that awaits them, no matter how good the algorithm is. These kinds of issues can be a serious factor in a customer’s satisfaction (or lack thereof) with a company, no matter how good their products or services are.

While AI has proven itself to be useful and full of potential, it is wiser to proceed with caution and not completely depend on it, especially when it comes to customer support. Yes, hiring human support teams can mean more expenses than a chatbot program, but while robots can automate the entire process and handle simple queries with more efficiency, they still cannot deal with problems that require a more human touch.

Why Data Matters

Data, a word when read, seems simple, but in an organization or business, it means a lot. Data has the power to change the whole perspective of your organization; it can make or break the game. It’s a realm of multiple possibilities. Whether the data is, on-premise, edge, or on cloud, it has the capacity to bring new opportunities forward and give detailed insights for your business.

Reinvent your business with these Microsoft Data tools:

SQL Server

The SQL Server gives you the power to innovate faster while you are on-premise. The new Microsoft SQL Server 2017 comes with updated security and intelligence. You get all the extra features without having to pay extra, with performance that is best-in-class, and flexible for your on-premise requirements.

  • Be it Linux, Windows, or Docker containers, you can run SQL Server 2017 on any of your favorite platform.

AzureSpeed-up your move to the cloud today. Now you have the advantage of cloud agility and the efficiency required to migrate to cloud without having to change the code. With azure you can make faster predictions and unlock new insights.

  • Start innovating faster with Azure data services. Microsoft Azure comes with the ability to unlock the data potential.

SolutionsPick the technology of your choice and start developing with, along with open source, which is backed by Microsoft’s innovations. Get easy integration of data in the apps and make use of the updated set of cognitive services for developing intelligence that is human-like across the complete scale of data.

  • Build intelligent apps faster. Choose the tools and platforms of your choice for incorporating intelligence in your applications.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)When it comes to data platform, AI is native-get access to insights quicker from any data that you want, cloud or on-premise. Work with combining your unique data for enterprise and the data from the world to build an organization that is driven by intelligence.

  • Microsoft is using intelligent technology to amplify human ingenuity. With AI, they bring the ability to extend our capabilities to help us achieve more.

Microsoft Data Platform: The SolutionIntelligent

Now get the power of AI with the Microsoft Data Platform right in your data to get a detailed understanding about your customers and business like never before. Microsoft is the only one who brings machine learning to the edge and for the database engines, for increased security and accurate predictions.

Agile and Fast

Microsoft’s flexible data platform that provides an experience that is consistent across the platforms and helps your innovations reach the market sooner. Build and deploy your apps from anywhere and anytime.

Enterprise-ready

Help your business scale when you know that the availability, performance, security requirements are covered-with a cost of ownership that is industry-leading.

Data Platform

With so many advantages and features, Microsoft surely wins the race. Data platform has a lot of potential that can help your business and help it advance in the digital race. Implement data platform and help your business perform better.

Benefit Of Oracle Chain

To respond to uncertain and variable demand you need to ensure that all demand signals are captured at the right level of detail, leverage that demand and its underlying correlations and factors that influence the demand patterns, make sure that all key stakeholders are involved and accountable on a continuous basis, and make that forecast actionable and drive all downstream planning processes. Oracle Demantra Demand Management enables you to arrive at a single, precise consensus forecast.

A consensus plan built from a more accurate forecast aligns all your organizations and users, enabling you to be more demand-driven. Built-in analytics and adaptable business process automation capabilities enable a wide range of day-to-day decision making with real-time demand intelligence.

Oracle Demantra Demand Management enables you to sense demand from multiple data sources including point of sales and syndicated data, and analyze demand data at various levels to understand the detailed behavior of demand. Such detailed understanding of origin and relative contribution of various demands both improves your ability to predict the detailed behavior of you demand and enables demand shaping activities – programs and events designed to stimulate sales and grow market share for individual products or groups of products.

Improve forecast accuracy via advanced analytics and improved consensus

Better real time demand insight is only useful if you can translate it into a more accurate forecast. Oracle Demantra Demand Management and its patented Bayesian analytical forecast engine generates the most accurate forecasts possible. Automated algorithms automatically combine nine industry-standard and proprietary forecasting models, mixed in an infinite number of combinations to handle a wide range of product life cycles and demand patterns including intermittent demand. This produces a forecast that accommodates seasonality, promotions, trends, and other causal factors simultaneously. Causal correlations and other analytic parameters are automatically maintained at appropriate hierarchical levels where statistically relevant and adequate data points are available. Self-learning and self-adapting algorithms combine the different models to maximize predictive accuracy (rather than historic fit) and to respond to changing market conditions. Oracle Demantra Demand Management hides statistical complexity from demand planners (“PhD in a box”) and managers, yet can be extensively modeled by statisticians as required for your business.

Oracle Demantra Demand Management provides a robust workflow driven collaboration paradigm across all constituents. Each participant gets the information tailored to their needs to be able to make key decisions. The system keeps an audit trail of all changes, notes that capture key decisions and assumptions, and generates exceptions to ensure responsiveness.

Integrated with Oracle Demand Signal Repository to leverage POS data

Demantra Demand Management can receive point of sale data directly from Oracle Demand Signal Repository, enabling a real-time demand sensing paradigm that captures demand signals closer to the point of consumption.

Between SaaS and Customized Website

If you are a modestly funded new business startup or a smaller business with not much marketing experience in-house, you are most vulnerable to falling into the trap of thinking that a shiny new website will get your business branded, noticed, and buzzing. It’s tempting to believe that you can just sit back and let the website do its magic, and then presto, the phone rings! But then it doesn’t.

Consider this: A shiny new website with no other marketing efforts is not much different than a shiny new business card that you never give to anyone. That’s right… you keep that box of 500 cards on the shelf just in case you need them. And when you do need one-you cannot find them! This is where most businesses fail to achieve a successful website or e-commerce strategy. They fail to grasp that a shiny new website is only the first step of many that lead to online success.

Let’s dive below the surface and look at the differences that are not so obvious but most likely will have a significant impact on the success of your website, and yes, your businesses go-to-market strategy.

First of all, I totally get the lure of “free” and the appeal of paying “only” $$/mo for a website that gets your business up and running online. These kinds of SaaS website companies have their place in the world. Yes, there are times when I recommend these services to clients.

I noticed recently that a typical marketing message of most SaaS website builders focus around the entrepreneur, characterized as the “get ‘r done” types that pull up their sleeves and chart the waters of website design with a pure passion for their business. Apparently, all these determined entrepreneurs need are some useful online tools that are seemingly smarter than they are, and the Internet is theirs for the taking. No doubt, it’s an appealing message to all those Type-A’s, but unfortunately, it’s not that simple or easy to be successful online for most businesses-small or large.

As a marketing director for 16 years in the high-tech industry, where I helped develop new B2B services designed and implemented as software-as-a-service, I have experience on both sides of the fence. That said, this article is not a rant but an explanation of what separates a reputable digital agency from an online service provider. It’s these differences that can make a difference for your business, and once you know what they are, it will give your fledgling business website a fighting chance for success.

Here’s my message-in-the-bottle to those that have been marooned on a deserted website island, unable to make their SaaS (or template) website successful by any measure, much less turn it into a thriving place to generate sales leads as most business owners want.

The first lesson business owners need to learn about the Internet is that just having a “cool” website design (however you want to define that) is not really going to get you where you want to go. Fortunately, a fumbled website strategy will cost you a lot less than this colossal mistake: Imagine building a beautiful store where no one goes because there are not any roads.

“Preposterous!” you say? Yes indeed, and this is the essence of what is going wrong when you only have a cool website and nothing else to support its purpose.

Of course, good website design is a skill that is an important part of your website strategy, but it’s just one part of a skill matrix that makes for an astounding website strategy. Here’s a sample of just some of the competencies a competent digital agency applies around a typical website project:

• Creative

• Graphic Design

• Logo Design

• Custom Programming

• Branding

• Marketing

• SEO

• Analytics

• Video Integration & Promotion

• Social Media Integration & Promotion

• Hosting, Testing & Troubleshooting

• Security

As you can see, when you hire a reputable website design company, you are in reality getting seasoned marketers, programmers, and creatives who partner with you to not just get you online-that’s the easy part-but to work with you to help build your website into a lead-generating machine, or whatever your purpose may be.

I think we all know the marketing hype around SaaS website services. Some of it is justified-much of it is not. Let’s flip the hype over on its backside and read the small print to learn what a business is not getting from an online website service:

• You are not getting a custom website that looks UNIQUE.

• You are not getting a custom website that DOES exactly what you want it to do.

• You are not getting any unique functions that may be CRITICAL to the success of your online business.

• You are not getting a website development team who has your best interest in mind by working with you as a PARTNER.

• You are not getting a uniquely branded and positioned website developed by MARKETING specialists.

• You are not getting top organic GOOGLE rankings because SaaS-based websites have less than average SEO capability.

On the other hand, with an online SaaS provider, here’s what you are getting:

• An amateurish, template-based website that you will pay on monthly FOREVER!

• A DO-IT-YOURSELF service that requires you to be the expert on everything. How much time do you have to devote to this endeavor?

• OK, since you are going to be the MARKETING EXPERT, who’s going to actually run the company?

• A SaaS website is a proprietary website (typically) STUCK on another host with no easy way to transfer. Professional websites use WordPress or other open-source platforms that give you unlimited hosting options.

• Unless you are paying BIG SaaS BUCKS for digital talent (real people not just algorithms), you will only get a slight amount of technical support and little marketing insight.

So by cutting through the marketing hype, some important questions any business owner needs to ask can be boiled down to… How much is my time worth? And… How much expertise do I have in the major website competencies that will be enough to set my business apart to reach brand objectives?

OK, maybe you are a jack-of-all-trades entrepreneur often portrayed in the SaaS website promotions, and you really do have multiple skills that will create new leads or sales for your business. We wish you only the best. However, before you journey to deeper waters and make hard-to-break commitments of a SaaS/template service, you might consider some additional facts of custom websites vs SaaS that you may not have thought of yet.

A digital agency that develops websites offers a lot more than a faceless DIY website builder service, which is the essence of what SaaS online builders are selling. For example, a digital agency provides expert branding, marketing, SEO, and programming expertise with on-going consulting that will craft the central message of your website into a unique, differentiated customer experience. Digital agencies are commonly found in your region, they understand your local culture, and they have an intrinsic interest in your community because it’s where they live and work, too. Bottom line: Your success is their success.