Every organization has a lot of things that could go wrong in the course of doing business. They can run into supply chain issues, employee turnover and poor performance, natural disasters interrupting your “business as usual”, but one of the most unassuming, yet worrisome threats to your business is the cyberattack. This month, we go into a few ways cyberattacks threaten your business and how they play out to give you an idea of how to prepare.
Coleman Technologies Blog
Effective communication often operates behind the scenes, yet it serves as a vital cog in the smooth operational ability of business, lending support to a multitude of functions. Consequently, making judicious investments in the right tools can markedly elevate your business. In the contemporary landscape, one such indispensable tool is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Make no mistake about it, connectivity to the Internet is paramount for any business. A surefire way to gauge this importance is to observe people's reactions when they are informed that the Wi-Fi will be down for a few hours. In such a context, businesses face a crucial decision: should they opt for wired connections or embrace robust Wi-Fi? To make an informed choice, it's essential to understand the benefits associated with both options.
Since its domain was first registered on September 15, 1997, Google has exploded from a relatively simple search engine to the massive assortment of platforms and services that fall under the Alphabet umbrella. That being said, most people tend to think of very specific aspects of Google’s Search function… like the amusing Easter Eggs that the platform has become somewhat famous for.
By now you’ve heard of the Internet of Things. It consists of all of the Internet-connected devices found on a given network. Different types of businesses have different ways that they can use the IoT. This month, we thought we would discuss the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the ways modern manufacturers use it to make big changes to their businesses.
There is no denying that Quick Response codes—better known as QR codes—are a handy little invention. Just a few years ago, many businesses heavily adopted these contactless communication tools, allowing customers with a smartphone to access menus, documents, and more with ease. Having said that, we unfortunately can’t deny that cybercriminals are taking advantage of how handy QR codes are, too.
The Internet is used for a great many things in business nowadays, but some may not realize just how much Internet speeds have changed over time. This week, we thought we would take a brief look at the evolution of Internet speeds and what today’s speeds allow businesses to do.
Last time, we started our discussion on the best search engines by talking about the behemoth, Google. While Google is, by far, the most popular and commonly used, and arguably the most accurate search engine, it doesn’t mean it’s always the right search engine to use. Let’s talk about some other alternatives and see where they might fit in.
Even if you lived under a rock, you’ve probably done a Google search or two. There are, in fact, other search engines, each with their own pros and cons. We’re going to compare some of the most popular search engines and talk about what makes them different.
We often talk about how the Internet of Things can create security issues in businesses if not properly handled. While there are some very real threats that can be posed by the IoT in the workplace, there is no denying that it can also serve some very real utility there as well.
For small businesses, having a fast, reliable Internet connection is needed to run all the digital tools that your staff has come to depend on. If you don’t have the bandwidth in place, you can deal with bottlenecks that can ruin communications, stall productivity, and cause operational issues of all types. Today, we’ll take a look at how to determine the amount of bandwidth you need to support your business’ computing infrastructure.
Introducing Chrome Actions
Chrome Actions take the familiar address bar of the Chrome Internet browser and add some extra utility to it. Rather than specifying a webpage or network location to visit in the address bar (known as the “omnibar” to very few of us), Chrome now accepts very basic commands as input, and will follow these commands when they are entered.
Let’s discuss what this signifies, and how this may shape how users authenticate themselves in the future.
Short for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, CAPTCHA has long been the standard tool used by Google to prevent automated spam from polluting the Internet by requiring (in theory) a human being to interact with content in some way before allowing access or a task to successfully be completed.
Improving Your Google Queries
If you want to tell Google to omit certain potential results from your search, you can use the hyphen/subtraction mark to define what you don’t want considered.
A Look at the Numbers
Before the pandemic hit, it was believed that roughly 5.2 percent of Americans worked out of their home. That’s about 8 million people, and that number is fairly recent, from 2017. By the end of 2019, we can estimate it was maybe between 5.5 percent to 6 percent.
We can simplify this and say one out of every 20 American workers worked from home before the pandemic.
We like to talk about the major security problems that could come from using public Wi-Fi networks. Data security can be severely compromised by using some unsecured wireless connections. Then you have the issue of unpredictable (and often unreliable) network speeds and the need to routinely give over your personal information to sign in that can be plenty annoying. In the future, these considerations should dissipate as 5G technologies and new ways of sharing information begin to take hold.
There are three technologies looking to change wireless network access forever. They are Wi-Fi 6, 5G, and Hotspot 2.0.
5G just stands for the fifth generation of wireless technology. 5G, which started rolling out in 2019, is promising gigabit speeds to every user. For reference, gigabit speeds are approaching (and sometimes surpassing) the speeds delivered by fiber optic cable. By being able to broadcast wireless signals at those speeds will allow for an unprecedented level of innovation.
In fact, the capabilities are virtually endless with this type of networking speed. At the very least, it will highlight the capabilities of emerging technologies that require fast data speeds such as augmented reality and autonomous cars/trucks as viable technology for the very first time.
Wi-Fi 6 is the newest version of Wi-Fi. It is said to provide up to 40 percent higher available network speeds as compared to current Wi-Fi. For the vast majority of people, the data caps, data speed throttling, and overage charges are unfortunate realities when purchasing wireless platforms. Wi-Fi, therefore, is needed to bridge the gap to help us all avoid the major costs associated with wireless networking delivery. Wi-Fi 6, like Wi-Fi 5 before it, will be an essential part of doing business in the future.
So unfortunately 5G won’t eliminate the need for Wi-Fi. As a result, Wi-Fi hotspots will continue to be an important part of computing on the go. Hotspot 2.0, also referred to as Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint, removes a lot of the agita from using unsecured wireless networks by improving security and taking the actual connection out of the network deliverer’s hands. Essentially, when your phone comes in contact with a Hotspot 2.0 connection it will connect your phone automatically, using encryption to keep your data and the connection more secure.
Over the next few years you will begin to see public places switching over to Hotspot 2.0. It will become the standard for wireless hotspots, limiting the need for third-party software that often confronts users of today’s hotspots or hospitality visitors.
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One of the first things you should know is what might be a part of your network infrastructure. You’ll likely be working with at least one network switch and at least one router. A network switch allows all the technology on your network to communicate with one another through network cables, while the router provides wireless capabilities and connectivity. Your modem enables you to access the Internet.
Networking Best Practices
As your network is such an important tool to your business’ success, you need to be sure that it is sufficiently prepared for this task. To do so, it will help to keep to the following tips in mind:
- Skip the consumer level. Networking products come in a variety of “grades,” intended for consumer or business use. When equipping your business with these solutions you should only use options made for professional applications. This is because the consumer-based ones are simply not secure enough for business purposes, and likely will not be able to support your business’ needs.
- Incorporate some redundancy. In the event that your business suffers from a disaster, you will want to be sure that your network is reliable enough to make it through and bounce back. Having a data backup and disaster recovery platform will build the redundancy you need to protect your network.
- Plan for future growth. Or in other words, make sure that the network you put in place can be scaled to your business’ future expansion, and that it can incorporate the solutions you will ideally grow into.
Coleman Technologies is here to assist as needed. Our team can help optimize your business’ network to best fit its needs and your professional development. To learn more, reach out to us at (604) 513-9428.
The Wireless Connection
There is one obvious benefit: No wires! Not having to run cable is a massive benefit, but the biggest benefit of this might just be the ability to connect devices to a wireless network inside your business. By giving your team access to network resources wirelessly, you’ll see better collaboration, improved productivity, and produce better products and services.
Additionally, with a strong wireless network, you can promote some strategies that can work to improve your operational effectiveness. One of those strategies is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. Many of your employees bring their smartphones with them when they come to work. By enacting a BYOD strategy, your staff can take advantage of the devices they are most used to advance the goals of the company.
Even many wireless technologies aren’t actually wireless. Even the ones that are, need to be charged regularly, so while expanding your wireless network will provide the ability to compute inside the network’s perimeter, setting up a more collaborative workspace still comes with some drawbacks. Namely speed and security.
Wireless connections are more vulnerable than wired ones. It’s easier for unauthorized individuals to hijack the signal of a wireless connection and can provide a third-party that is looking to gain access, more of it to the critical information that is transmitted wirelessly.
The Wired Connection
When dealing with wired networks, IT admins have more control over what devices can connect to the network. This presents values several ways. First, there is more control over the security protocols on those devices, making contracting malware and other negative outcomes less likely.
Wired connections also enhance an organization’s ability to keep their devices free from security threats. Controls have improved to the point where it is actually more difficult for attackers to break into a wired network.
Additionally, it may go without saying, but wired networks are overall faster than wireless networks. This speed boost is magnified if there are walls, floors, ceilings, or any other potential interference to seeing optimal speeds over Wi-Fi.
The biggest setback to a wired Internet network is the act of wiring the network. Initial setup is a pain, as you need to hide cables and find ways to run cable as to not hinder the thoroughfares around your business. It is also a hindrance for maintenance if a cable fails or hardware has to be moved around due to business growth or restructuring.
Another detriment to the business is that a wired connection doesn’t allow for the type of mobility many businesses are looking for nowadays. With a wireless connection meetings are faster, more to the point, and collaborative work can be fluid.
You have a business decision to make; and, while it may not be the most crucial one you will make, it can have an effect on how your business functions. For help networking your business, call the professionals at Coleman Technologies today at (604) 513-9428.
Bandwidth is one of those terms that you think you understand until you try to explain it to someone else. Basically, bandwidth is how fast data can be transferred through a medium. In the case of the Internet, millions of bits need to be transferred from the web to network attached devices every second. The more bandwidth you have access to, the more data can be transferred.
Speed vs Throughput
Network speed--that is, how fast you are able to send and receive data--is typically a combination of available bandwidth and a measure called latency. The higher a network’s latency, the slower the network is going to be, even on high-bandwidth network connections. Latency can come from many parts of the network connection: slow hardware, inefficient data packing, wireless connections, and others.
Throughput is the measure of the amount of data that is transmitted through a connection. Also called payload rate, this is the effective ability for any data to be transmitted through a connection. So, while bandwidth is the presumed amount of data any connection can transfer, throughput is the amount of data that is actually transferred through the connection. The disparity in the two factors can come from several places, but typically the latency of the transmitting sources results in throughput being quite a bit less than the bandwidth.
What Do You Need Bandwidth For?
The best way to describe this is to first consider how much data your business sends and receives. How many devices are transferring data? Is it just text files? Are there graphics and videos? Do you stream media? Do you host your website? Do you use any cloud-based platforms? Do you use video conferencing or any other hosted communications platform? All of these questions (and a few not mentioned) have to be asked so that your business can operate as intended.
First, you need to calculate how many devices will connect to your network at the same time. Next, you need to consider the services that are being used. These can include:
- Data backup
- Cloud services
- File Sharing
- Online browsing
- Social Media
- Streaming audio
- Streaming video
- Interactive webinars
- Uploads (files, images, video)
- Video conferencing
- Voice over Internet Protocol
- Wi-Fi demands
After considering all the uses, you then need to take a hard look at what required bandwidth is needed for all of those tasks. Obviously, if you lean on your VoIP system, or you are constantly doing video webinars, you will need to factor those operational decisions into your bandwidth decision making.
Finally, once you’ve pinpointed all the devices and tasks, the bandwidth each task takes, and how many people on your network do those tasks, you total up the traffic estimate. Can you make a realistic estimate with this information? Depending on your business’ size and network traffic, you may not be able to get a workable figure.
Too Much or Not Enough
Paying for too little bandwidth is a major problem, but so is paying for too much. Bandwidth, while more affordable than ever before, is still pretty expensive, and if you pay for too much bandwidth, you are wasting capital that you can never get back.
That’s where the professionals come in. Coleman Technologies has knowledgeable technicians that can assess your bandwidth usage and work with your ISP to get you the right amount for your business’ usage. If you would like more information about bandwidth, its role in your business, or how to get the right amount for your needs, call us today at (604) 513-9428.