Monitoring

What is the Internet of Things?

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The “Internet Of Things” is the existence of uniquely identifiable devices interconnected via the Internet. The interconnection of these devices is expected to introduce automation in nearly all fields from medicine to your own home.

There is a lot of hype about IoT, and we are at the point of wondering what it will mean for us as individuals, employees, and businesses.

The IoT will change our lives.

One example could be that your toothbrush might have a chip in it and via Bluetooth will communicate with your mobile device to tell you stuff like how long it has been since you started using it or in the case of the kids' tooth brushes, have they been used recently? Technological advances like these have people wondering, is that too invasive? We will be faced with all sorts of questions about what we do and don’t want connected to the internet.

Wearable technology is already beginning to monitor health vitals and offer connected watches that monitor or report on our movements or calories burnt. One day your refrigerator could know what is inside it and your trash can knows what you threw out. Those will work together so the shopping list on your connected fridge door can ask you to confirm the online order for replacing everything you have consumed this week for delivery tomorrow.

IoT will have very practical uses across our infrastructure as well. The ability to monitor how every piece of your internet technology is running and quickly addressing problems will be vital or businesses in the long run. The Internet of Things will also have a big impact on things like street lights and traffic lights. These will soon have sensors, so those in charge of maintenance know where to replace a burned-out bulb. Pipes will be able to detect where a leak is occurring so that water wastage is reduced (today 30% of our water supply is currently lost to leaks). The infrastructure cost savings by this sort of technology in smart-pipes will equate to billions of dollars and save many valleys from being flooded by new dams.

There are plenty more examples of this sort of sensor information making big differences in our personal lives, and when this is tied to big data and data analytics the world will change quickly and significantly. The impact the IoT will have on businesses will be huge.

IoT will affect your business, so be prepared.

Some of the technology is here today and much of it is in development now. Large companies have embarked on ambitious big data projects, and many small-medium organizations have started collecting what data they can. This is leading to a growing need for data storage systems and analytics tools today.

If your business is not paying attention to the current changes in IoT technology and looking at what it means to your industry, whether you are in education, manufacturing, healthcare or consulting services, there are changes coming to technology and the IoT that will change the way your industry thinks and works. The IoT will allow organizations to minimize waste and overall be more efficient.

We will post more updates on how IoT is affecting local businesses, but in the meantime stay alert, not alarmed, and proactively seek out how the IoT changes in your industry.

How can we make the IoT work for you?

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3 Keys to University Network Policies

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Tightening the reigns on your app and internet policies doesn’t mean restricting freedom. It's the only way to protect your institution's valuable research data and to preserve the privacy of staff and students.

Network security isn't only a concern for businesses and government. Recent US research from BitSight revealed that the education sector is a prime target for hackers, with nearly four times as much ransomware in its systems as the healthcare sector, and nearly nine times as much as the financial sector.

Universities and colleges make tempting targets not only because of the unique data they keep, but because misguided concerns over academic openness mean that so many still leave their gates wide open.

It’s time to take control

In a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) environment, you can’t control every potentially infected laptop and device being used around your campus. But you can, and should, control what they access through your servers.

In an academic environment, internet technology decision-makers (ITDMs) can find themselves facing resistance but it’s your responsibility to convince academics and administrators alike that beefing up security won’t compromise their ideals.

From financial information to research data, a university has many of the same assets as a business. So when it comes to security, you need to treat it like one. It’s also your responsibility to protect the personal information and intellectual property of staff and students, who will all be at risk if you don’t have the appropriate safeguards in place.

How to justify these restrictions

Website blocking is routinely justified in the US, Australia and many other countries to prevent malware, investment fraud, copyright infringement, terrorism and other malicious activity, so there’s plenty of precedent.

If you do find yourself needing to justify controlling access to suspicious websites, app downloads or file sharing through torrents or cloud lockers, the risk of malware should be reason enough.

Blocking or limiting the bandwidth available for file sharing will also reduce the illegal consumption of copyrighted materials on campus, which shows that your university respects the creators’ intellectual property.

Then there’s the practicality of preserving bandwidth. Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing consumes a lot of network resources, which slows things down for legitimate users. The same applies to streaming services and that other controversial culprit – pornography.

While universities don’t have the same excuse as high schools and public network – that they’re protecting children from seeing inappropriate content – the risk of illegal materials and viruses appearing on these sites is another justification for blocking access altogether.

How to block undesired websites

When choosing the method for restricting access to websites, you need to consider your department’s resources and budget.

Internet Protocol (IP) address blocking – the cheapest method, but also the least effective as IP addresses can be quickly changed.

Domain Name Server (DNS) blocking – permanently blocks access to undesired sites at only slightly more expense, though easily circumvented.

Uniform Resource Locator (URL) blocking – more precise, but requires the greatest investment of time and money to configure correctly.

When you’re surrounded by the best and brightest, there are always going to be people who can circumvent the restrictions you put in place by using a virtual private network (VPN) or more advanced techniques. The important thing is that you’re significantly reducing the risks and encouraging students to break bad habits.

With quality filters in place, you can make sure that legitimate websites and apps won’t be blocked by mistake, while protecting students, faculties and your institution alike.

Need help securing your network?

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Choosing The Right MSP

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What you Should Look for in a Managed Service Provider


IT departments are under pressure to meet user demands, minimize risk, and keep costs under budget. There is also pressure to incorporate new technological innovations, which often require expertise and in-depth knowledge. It isn’t surprising that 70 percent of CIOs partnered with outside experts to plan manageable growth in 2017.

The attraction of taking on a managed services provider (MSP) in IT is evident, but the costs of taking on the wrong partner could be high. So how do you choose the right MSP?

1. What are they Asking you?

This is not a one-way street. The MSP you want to work with is the one asking how they can improve your business. It shows they care. It shows you are a company they want to work with. Most importantly, if they do not ask the right questions, how are they going to get your IT right?

2. How Closely will they be Watching you?

You can have an MSP monitoring your systems remotely 24/7 all year round. So why would you choose anything less? You want to know about problems when and where they happen, not just in business hours and after the weekend.

3. Your Place or Theirs?

You want an MSP that can support you remotely when that works, but that will come to you when it does not. Current Technologies offers remote service within one hour of network emergencies and can also be onsite within four hours to remedy the most severe IT emergency.

4. Support all day Every day

Chances are 9-to-5 is not even a memory for much of your workforce. Your employees need IT support when they need it whether it is during normal business hours or not.

5. Tracking

A good MSP will be able to report on the health of your assets and whether they are being used compliantly. Current Technologies leverages Auvik Network Monitoring to ensure all critical endpoints on your network are being closely monitored. For more information on how Auvik monitoring software can help your business, check out the PDF at the bottom of the article.

6. Thinking Business

Leading MSPs offer a virtual CIO to help with budgeting, analysis of potential business impacts, and reporting on technology performance. Again, why would you not want that if it is available? Current Technologies offers complementary CIO consulting as an added service to all customers.

7. Track Record

This one speaks for itself. Either your MSP has a track record you can check, or they do not. Go with what you can prove. 

8. Deeper and Deeper

You want more than operating system maintenance and availability management. Ask about skills in managing change, cloud, cross-platform integration, mobility, security and anything else that might be on your radar in the next three years.

9. Industry Understanding

Understanding IT is bread and butter to an MSP. The MSP you want is one that understands your industry as well. A great MSP is a partner, and a great partner makes suggestions beyond the scope of day-to-day operations. The best recommendations will come from an MSP that knows your business.

The Current Technologies Advantage

Current Technologies can offer you all of the features listed above and more. For 20 years now our team has been providing regularly scheduled onsite maintenance along with remote monitoring and support for 24/7 coverage of your specific IT needs. Current Technologies will provide your business with a specifically assigned consultant to your account as well as unlimited remote proactive monitoring management services and regularly scheduled technology review, planning, and strategy meetings.

For more information, check out our infrastructure management PDF below

 

The Choice is clear, Contact us now to get Started

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We pride ourselves on having the capabilities of a large firm while still providing the personal attention of a small firm
— Phil Hanson, Project & Service Manager - Current Technologies Corporation

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