Posted on February 3rd, 2017
In the past couple of years, the number of data breaches has increased for companies of all sizes. Some of the more well-known breaches in the last couple of years were of Yahoo, where the account information of more than 500 million users was stolen, and Sony who had to pay out $8 million to their employees due to the breach in their data. Now there isn’t a lot you can do to help protect yourself from these large data breaches, apart from changing your password once they occur, however this may be too late. There are however many ways you can protect yourself from an individual data breach.
Let’s go over what are the biggest threats to your personal security and data are at the moment and going forward into 2017.
Now these are just a few of the more common ways that hackers can get access to your data, with specific ways you can protect yourself. There are though many other ways in which your data can be breached, below is a list of generic methods that can protect your data from any incident.
- Firstly, we will look at Ransomware – ransomware is a method where attackers break into your system, freeze your data and applications and demand money to release them. This became a well-used method in 2016 and is most likely going to become more complex in the years to come.
How to protect yourself: Take regular backups of your computer in a separate location (not on the computer itself), this can be on an external hard drive or on your own server or cloud storage.
- Everything is Connected! – Its more and more common nowadays to find that our household products are connected to the internet, from our cars to our toasters. Now I would argue the point of why do you need a toaster or fridge connected to the internet but some people must find it useful. But of course, with these items being connected to the internet there is still a risk of them being hacked, which can be dangerous to your data.
How to protect yourself: I would make sure that the product you are buying are from a reputable manufacturer and supplier as they are going to be much more secure than that of an unknown brand.
- DDoS – Distributed Denial of Service attacks are going to be more commonly targeted at businesses rather than individual users or systems. These attacks flood systems with data to a point where they take them offline, they can also inject corrupt data into systems amongst the flood of data and infect systems.
How to protect yourself: As a business, you can invest in DDoS protection which can help protect your systems from going offline as well as protect from any data being injected into the system.
- Remote Working – it is becoming increasingly common to find that people are working outside of the office at home or at cafes, in doing so you could be making your data vulnerable. Employees might leave documentation or flash drives in public places with confidential information, in addition they might be connecting to open Wi-Fi in cafes and restaurants that are easily corrupted by hackers.
How to protect yourself: First of all, you should set up a Bring Your Own Device plan, outlining the ways in which your employees can use their own devices for work. You should also ensure that all data storage devices are encrypted, in case they are lost people then can’t gain access to the data. Also, outline the dangers of Wi-Fi hotspots, detailing what you should and shouldn’t be accessing whilst connected. You can also set each user up with a VPN enabling them to connect to valuable work documentation without the risk of damaging it. By using a VPN to connect, it also adds a level of encryption making all the data being used unreadable to anyone else. (Find out more here)
- Phishing – lastly we have Phishing, this is a method in which scammers will email you pretending to be from a legitimate source asking in some way for your personal details. These have slowly become more common and more advanced making it harder to tell the difference between the real and the fake.
How to protect yourself: Check to see where the emails have come from as that can be a big give away, also use a link expander to see where the links are actually sending you before you click them.
If you are looking at how to protect your data whilst on the move, you can read our article on the topic here. If you are interested in how VooServers can help you with your security, then call us on 0800 0803 200 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Backups – In case something happens to the entire system, taking regular backups can mean you can revert back to an older version of the system which wasn’t effect by a virus or a hack. Its recommended that these are done incrementally, every day out of hours or every week to make sure the back-up is as recent as possible. The backup should also be separate from the system that you are doing the back-up off to make sure that the back-up itself isn’t affected.
- Password – Making sure that all the passwords you use are unique is very important, but when all the passwords are 10 plus characters long with variants of letters, numbers and symbols it can become hard to remember them all. Password managers can be a big help; they can manage all the passwords you use and keep them encrypted so they can only be seen once logged in.
- 2 Passwords? – 2 Factor Authentication is adding another layer to your login process, this could be for example sending a unique code to your phone every time you log in to gain access to valuable files.
- White Hat Testing – This a method by which a white hat hacker is paid to hack into your system look for vulnerabilities and make suggestions on how to improve them. After this is done you can then also set up monitoring to track if there are any minor differences in the system.
- Education – It may seem like a simple thing, but it is becoming increasingly important to make sure that your employees and yourself know what to look out for at a basic level. This can help protect the company and yourself from being vulnerable from the easily avoidable security issues, like phishing or viruses
- Anti-Virus – Finally I would suggest investing money into Anti-Virus software appropriate for the system and its uses, as well as making sure it is being kept up to date.
Posted on October 14th, 2016
Over the past couple of years, Virtual Reality has slowly become more and more realistic for everyone to use in their day to day lives, with its more probable use being in the workplace setting. With there now being a wider range of options when it comes to VR headsets it now gives companies the choice between what headset best suits their needs.
This latest uptake of Virtual Reality was lead forward by Oculus Rift who released their headset back in March 2016. Oculus also released a developer package of their headset, available before the consumer version even hit the shelves. Developers were able to then feed back bugs and improvements to Oculus, further accelerating the pre-release development of the headset. The Oculus Rift is priced between £550-600 which includes the headset, one sensor, remote and one Xbox One controller. Oculus also teamed up with Samsung to produce an entry level headset, the Samsung Gear VR, this makes use of the user’s phone to function as the screen, and costs around £100.
Never one to be late to the party, Google has also come out with its own budget headset, following the release of their new Pixel mobile phones, they quickly announced their Google VR headset that seamlessly pairs with the Pixel phone.
Now Oculus is only one of the three major players in VR. HTC Vive is a headset which has been a joint venture between HTC and the gaming giant Valve. The Headset is definitely geared more toward gaming, being shipped with two motion controllers. This does not limit its uses though. The Vive uses a different type of motion tracking to other headsets available on the market, through the use of “lighthouses” that get set up around the room, it can track the controllers, headset and the user’s body using infrared light pulses. This gives the user a much more interactive and precise experience within the virtual reality setting. The Vive is more expensive than the Oculus Rift, around £760, but does come bundled with two motion controllers and two sensors.
The last of the big players was only released recently, 13th October 2016. The PlayStation VR is the only one out of the big three that is compatible with a games console. This makes it a lot more accessible for the masses, a point that is only bolstered by its price point, just £350 for the headset. It’s also compatible with the pre-existing PlayStation move controllers.
Due to the PlayStation VR being the only headset that is compatible with a games console it does set itself up to be the best all round gaming headset. It also has the advantage over the other 2 headsets in terms of price, undercutting the next best (the Oculus Rift), by nearly £300.
Something to note, VR does require some high spec, and often high cost, computing to run successfully. Shown below is Oculus’s sample spec of what you need to run the Rift comfortably.
Due to the costs of the headsets and associated equipment that you need to be able to run successfully, it does price out many everyday consumers, making the more likely customers businesses. Even with the cost factor being ignored, some companies may wish to avoid VR through lack of technical expertise to configure and upkeep the hardware, something that could be alleviated by purchasing a managed GPU Server off-site that they’d simply connect to and run VR software from remotely. But is this the right type of augmented reality for business?
Microsoft definitely doesn’t think so. This week Microsoft released its HoloLens headset for pre-order to the general public. Compared to the other headsets, the user isn’t enclosed in a purely virtual environment that shuts them out from the real world. HoloLens is a “mixed reality” (or Augmented Reality) headset that projects digital images onto the real world around you. It’s able to do this by projecting images between the surfaces of two pieces of glass that sit in front of each eye. The headset decides where to place these images by using cameras to track your environment as well as to track your eyes. The result is a near seamless mix of virtual overlay atop your vision of the real world, even as you move about.
This headset seems to be a lot more business focused in comparison to any of the Virtual Reality gaming headsets, especially when you see that companies such as Volvo and Nasa have already adopted early and are using the HoloLens in various applications already. In a business environment, I think the fully immersive, gaming style VR isn’t entirely suitable. HoloLens allows the user to interact with both the real and the virtual at the same, enabling them to talk about a digital design with a colleague whilst actually being able to see them in a real setting.
So what are the actual business uses? As mentioned before, HoloLens is already being used by some large companies such as Volvo and Nasa. One of the major uses for the headset is in product design. Designers can use 3D design software and have their design appear in front of them. With hand gestures the user can then interact with their design, rotating, enlarging and even breaking it down into its component layers, seeing individual parts of the design, highly beneficial compared with just interacting with the design on a screen in 2D with traditional mouse and keyboard.
There is also a great opportunity for using augmented reality in training and education. There’s already examples of VR headsets being used in training doctors on how to perform operations, without having to use an actual patient to practice on. With augmented reality headsets, medical students could actually be able to see and use their own hands when practicing operations. They could also be beneficial in actual operations by showing the doctor vital stats and other information, overlaid directly onto the patient in front of him.
Like doctors, this could be translated into other job roles. Mechanics could be diagnosing a problem with a car, he plugs in the fault reader and in front of his eyes the HoloLens renders the cars diagnostics over the car, directing the mechanic to the problem. This could be the same for an electrician, using the device to locate wires in walls or to see wiring plans against a surface.
So to draw this article to a summary, even with the recent leaps in technical advancement, I still feel like there is going to have to be some improvements in the headsets before they gain a huge uptake. Many of the available headsets aren’t the most comfortable, with many people complaining that they are heavy and defiantly not suited for long use times. This makes it hard to see them being used in more active environments, limiting them to more static jobs.
I do believe that over time more people and companies will begin to use VR and AR. The key to this would be the reduction in headset prices and associated hardware required to run one successfully. Over time such methods of visualising and interacting with work may become more industry standard than something new and “buzz word”-like. As well as this, you will probably start to see a wider variety of programmes that you can use, diversifying the uses of the equipment and widening the job sectors that can utilise the technology.
Posted on July 8th, 2016
Microsoft has come out and confirmed that there is a planned update to Windows 10, due to be rolled out on the anniversary of the operating system on 2nd August. This news came after Microsoft posted a blog containing only the headline: “Microsoft announces Windows 10 Anniversary Update available Aug. 2” which was then taken down swiftly afterwards. The update will be free to existing Windows 10 users, with new features such as Windows Ink as well as updates to the Edge browser extensions and Cortana.
This update is set to come out 3 days after the end date to get your free Windows 10 upgrade if you are running Windows 7 or 8.1, you can find out more about the upgrade end date here. After the 29th July users will have to start paying for the upgrade to Windows 10 at a cost of $119/£89.
This does seem to put Microsoft’s goal of 1 billion devices powered by Windows 10 under threat but other devices such as Xbox consoles and Windows phones are planned to start running the OS. “There will be Xbox Ones and mobile devices that will be upgrading for free after July 29th” says Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s head of Windows and Devices in an interview with The Verge.
The promise of an update, 5 days after the end date for your free upgrade might be a further push to get more people to upgrade. They have also promised brand new features and further updates. The first being with Microsoft’s voice-activated assistant Cortana: on Windows 10 powered devices, Cortana is now going to sit above the lock screen, meaning that you will no longer have to unlock your device to interact with Cortana. A feature that is already available on Android and iOS, but still promises to be an easy time saver.
Another feature that promises to do the same is Windows Ink, which aims to revitalize the stylus. This feature is going to allow you to write quick notes or ideas directly onto the screen and, like Cortana, most of Windows Ink’s appeal will be that you don’t need to unlock the device to use it.
Microsoft is also planning on expanding the uses for Hello. Hello, for a while now, has been the way you can log into your devices using your face or fingerprint, but Microsoft is now looking to expand this feature to websites, which is great when considering that passwords are leaked every other week.
What I want to know is whether or not some of these new features that Microsoft are releasing are going to be used by the masses or are they just going to be used by the select few. I feel like there has been similar incarnations of Windows Ink and Hello before but they weren’t greatly adopted by users, but this could have been the limitations of the older technologies. Either way we will see in the following months the adoption of these new features.
Posted on June 17th, 2016
The UK is facing a ‘digital skills crisis’ according to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, stating that more than 12 million adults lack digital knowhow. This report also states 1 in 12 Britons have never used the internet. The Committee said ‘systemic problems’ with digital education and training within the work place have led to a lack of digital skills costing the economy an estimated £63 million a year in lost income. They went on to say that only urgent action from Government, industry, schools and universities could prevent any skills shortages from damaging future productivity and competitiveness.
They found that the ‘skills gap’ was evident in all stages of the education and training ‘pipeline’ from the classroom through to the workplace. A survey of school IT equipment found that 22% was ‘ineffective’ while only 35% of computer science teachers had a relevant qualification.
The Committee is calling for some actions to be made, some of these include:
- Apprenticeships should be made to be more digitally focused, instead of it being the main focus in digital apprenticeships
- Industry led vocationally-focused digital careers in universities
- Universities to provide ‘code conversion courses’ to help graduates from non-computer science backgrounds enter the tech sector
- Apprenticeship scheme processes to be simplified to allow SMEs to participate more easily.
As well as this MPs have questioned why it is taking so long for the Government to produce the long-promised ‘Digital Strategy’ and call for it to be published without further delay.
Without any further action this could become a big problem for the UK’s digital industry. It’s the fastest growing industry in the UK, growing 32% faster than the UK’s wider economy. With such rapid growth we could find that there will be a lack of qualified individuals to be hired into the industry – it is estimated that the UK will need a further 745,000 additional workers with additional skills by 2017.
If the changes suggested by the Committee are put in place, I think we shouldn’t have any problem in finding these additional skilled workers.
Posted on May 16th, 2016
July 29th 2015 saw Microsoft release their latest operating system, Windows 10. This new release marked the first time Microsoft had released an operating system with the opportunity for users to upgrade to Windows 10 at no additional cost (so long as a previous license for Windows 7 or 8.1 has been purchased ). This free upgrade incentive was initially touted as being available for 12 months post release date, and therefore as of July 29th 2016 you should be expected to pay when upgrading to Windows 10, but will this actually be the case?
Microsoft’s main goal in providing Windows 10 free to users of Windows 7 and 8.1 is to try and eventually amass more than 1 billion users of their new operating system. This is largely part of the long-term goal being to reduce Windows 7 users as by 2020 the operating system will no longer have extended support. While it is true that many of the PC’s running Windows 7 may simply be retired when extended support is dropped, there are inevitably going to be relatively new PC’s running Windows 7, whether this is due to a loyal user base, or because businesses are wary of upgrading their current systems. Either way this has potential to cause Microsoft issues and they are likely wanting to avoid the same issues faced when Windows XP was retired. The question is what can Microsoft do to avoid facing these issues and ensure a smoother transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10?
There are three notable theories circulating the internet on how Microsoft can help smooth the transition over to the new operating system. The first solution suggests that Microsoft continues to proceed with the July 29th 2016 deadline, and following from this, proceeds to charge users to upgrade to Windows 10. This upgrade charge may even be initially discounted (historically Microsoft has offered reduced cost for both previous Windows 7 and 8.1 operating system upgrades). This option may seem counterproductive as those users who have held back from upgrading to Windows 10 for free during the initial 12 month offer are unlikely to then pay for an upgrade anytime soon. It is possible that in the long run users may feel comfortable upgrading at a later date when they are confident that Windows 10 has dealt with teething issues which most operating system are prone to suffer from in the early stages post release.
The second solution is that Microsoft continue with their free upgrade offer indefinitely. This in turn could set the precedent in which all future Microsoft operating system releases are available for free, however this would obviously pose financial questions for the company going forward and may not be seen as a viable option. It is entirely possible that those users who were reluctant to upgrade to Windows 10 during the free period may be less reluctant to do so for a perpetually free product which they may deem inferior or fear will lack support due to no cost being involved for the license upgrade.
The third possibility is that Microsoft updates or changes the free upgrade offer to include a revised version of the operating system which may include additional features. The online community is speculating that this is going to be the probable solution as Microsoft prepares to release the latest version (codenamed ‘Redstone’) which could be available as early as August 2016. This upgrade is essentially what Windows 8.1 was to Windows 8, bringing some much sought after technical changes to Windows 10. Microsoft could potentially release this upgrade a month earlier than the deadline to try and influence more people to upgrade, or alternatively they may release this upgrade after the deadline as a brand new offer.
If the upgrade offer is extended, then there are potentially three dates which it may be extended to. The first would be 31st October 2016 which is the current date Microsoft has designated as the last day PC’s are shipped with Windows 7 Professional operating system. The second potential date would be December 31st 2016 as there may be many users that wish to upgrade over the new year period, and this is also a period when upgrades may be less disruptive to business users. The third – and perhaps most likely extension date would be 27th July 2017. This date is when Microsoft plans to drop support for Windows 7 and 8.1, albeit it only on hardware that is based on Intel’s latest generation of CPU’s (Skylake).
If you are a user of a Microsoft Windows phone but aren’t running the Windows 10 version of their mobile operating system, there is soon to be an upgrade released for Windows Phone Windows 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10, but this applies to limited devices initially. If you are currently running Windows Phone 10 there is an upgrade available for the operating system as of May 11th 2016. Windows Phone 10 makes it easier for all of your Microsoft devices to work with each other. Windows calls this OneCore, which offers compatibility across PC, Mobile, Xbox, HoloLens and more. The main function of OneCore is to work from one device to the other seamlessly without interruption. This feature will potentially be released this year and there is even the chance this will be integrated into the Redstone update for Windows 10
Posted on May 12th, 2016
SQL Server 2016 is set to be generally available on the 1st June 2016, this latest instalment of the software being the first in 2 years. This latest version is packed full with new features that its predecessors didn’t have, and comes in four editions: Enterprise, Standard, Developer and Express with the latter two being free, similar to the 2014 version.
A new Stretch Database function allows users to store some of their data in a database on premises and send infrequently used data to Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. A user connected to the database that is using this feature can still see all the data from different sources whether it be in the datacentre, in their private cloud or on Azure. With this new functionality it allows providers such as VooServers, who specialise in tailored managed service solutions, to offer a variety of hybrid infrastructure designs between our own servers, Microsoft Azure and traditional on-premise SQL servers to achieve a fully customised, flexible and cost effective enterprise database.
A feature implemented in the 2014 version was the concept of in memory tables, this was introduced for high-speed loading of data with no locking issues or high volume session state issues. This was always a great idea but was never executed very well in the 2014 version with many limitations and constraints. In the latest version this feature has been truly upgraded, giving support of foreign keys, checks and unique constraints and parallelism. In addition, the tables have had their max storage size upgraded from 256GB to 2TB.
The 2016 version also comes with an always encrypted function, allowing users to encrypt their data at the column level both at rest and memory. This feature gives clients the ability to encrypt sensitive data inside client applications and never reveal the encryption keys to the Database Engine. This provides a separation between the people who own the data and those who manage the data.
In addition, this latest version comes with Query Store. A problem that many organisations faced when updating from one version of SQL to the next is changes in the query optimiser negatively impacting the performance. What the Query Store does is maintain a history of query execution plans with their performance data, it quickly identifies queries that have become slower, letting the administrators or developer force the use of an older and faster query.
One announcement that has left many people surprised, is the future SQL Server compatibility with Linux, which is not solely Windows based. Unfortunately, SQL Server for Linux isn’t due to come out till mid 2017 and won’t be released with the full array of features like its windows counterpart. When it is released it is set to have a version of SQL Server with relational database support, leaving out the business intelligence side of the software for a later date.
With Microsoft releasing SQL Server to Linux it gives them the capability to now compete with other server applications such as Oracle, it could also be an indication that Microsoft are planning on releasing more of its server applications to Linux in the future. To tide over the Linux audience, Microsoft are offering free migrations from Oracle to SQL Server with free licenses, making it pretty clear where they are targeting SQL for Linux. Microsoft publicly proclaimed its love for Linux in late 2014 saying that 20% of Azure Clouds run on Linux and now they are releasing SQL Server for Linux. This could be where Microsoft sees itself in the future of the datacentre, with them predominantly having cloud based services.
Posted on April 6th, 2016
Over the past couple of months, the word encryption has been thrown around a lot in the media, specifically in terms of mobile encryption. With stories of the FBI requesting a back door to Apple phones being headline news, could we be seeing the end of mobile encryption?
Before we get into the events of the past couple of months lets go over what phone encryption actually is. Encryption on your phone works by storing your data in an unreadable form. When you turn your phone on you then enter your password, pin or scan your fingerprint, this then decrypts your phones data for you allowing you to read it. This also occurs on apps, with individual apps encrypting their data
In January of this year, a California state legislator proposed a bill that would ban the retail of smartphones with full-disk encryption, meaning that all the data on the device is encrypted and can be only read by you. This bill was proposed after a similar proposal was announced by a New York State assembly. The intent of both bills was to be able to access the phones of criminals or victims, these bills have become even more prolific after the FBI-Apple dispute.
The dispute started when the FBI asked Apple to unlock the iPhone of one of the 2015 San Bernardino attack perpetrators. Between 2015 and 2016 Apple received at least 11 orders from the FBI “to use its existing capabilities to extract data like contacts, photos and calls from locked iPhones running on operating systems iOS7 and older” for the use in criminal investigation. There were other requests that desired Apple to “design new software to let the government circumvent the device’s security protocols and unlock the phone”. Apple later refused to make a ‘backdoor’ for the iPhone saying that such a thing would leave their phones and customers data vulnerable to hackers, stating:
In late March of 2016 the FBI delayed a court hearing with Apple on the grounds that they had found a third party company to unlock the phone, 5 days later they announced that the third party had helped it unlock the phone and closed their case against Apple. Many tech groups are also expecting the FBI to release how they got into the phone in the weeks to come with an Apple patch to quickly follow.
The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.
The big question is, is this the first step towards unencrypted phones? Well, not entirely. There have been many proposed bills and laws that have stated that they wish to ban certain types of encrypted data on phones but none of them have actually been put into force. In the UK as well there have been proposed bands on encrypted communication services such as WhatsApp and Snapchat. Such laws have probably not come into force due to the large scale and time for them to implemented, with tech companies having to redesign devices and software. WhatsApp have also revealed that they are adding end-to-end encryption to their app meaning that every part of the application is encrypted.
From my research I have come to see that banning encryption is something that governments around the world want, to help them get into the devices of criminals or of victims but software developers, phone manufacturers and consumers still want encryption on their devices to keep their data safe. I feel like the topic of encryption is going to be discussed many times over the following months due to the FBI-Apple case and proposed laws and bills, but I feel like the consumer is going to come out as the winner. Even if tech companies manage to create a back door that authorities can access easily but can’t be hacked then the end user still comes out on top. Some of the big names in tech such as Microsoft also backed Apple in their case against the FBI saying that encryption is a great way of keeping consumers’ data safe, without encryption on certain devices consumers are probably going to be less inclined to buy specific devices. I believe that encryption is going to be around for a while yet as no clear solution has been found on how you can protect users’ data whilst easily giving access to authorities to look at it.
Posted on February 17th, 2016
Not every business or organisation needs a dedicated server from the outset. As businesses grow, so does the amount of data that they require to be stored, their client base, potential customers and staff grows, as well as traffic to the companies, to the website and queries to their database. Even though a virtual server might be capable of running a business’s solution at first, you might find yourself looking at a larger dedicated solution to handle the increasing demands of your company.
So, when can you tell if its time to upgrade to a dedicated server? Here are some signs to indicate that you may need to upgrade:
- Data: If you are hosting your data on a VPS you may find that over time, as your business grows, so does the amount of data that you require to be stored. Virtual Private Servers can struggle to deal with large amounts of data due to their limitations on disk space and IOPS. This can lead to slow performance of the entire VPS so any other services you have running on the server will also be affected.
- Slow Performance: When your Virtual Server starts to slow down you have to start to consider if this is hindering your company’s workflow. Are you finding that it is taking longer for applications to run tasks, then you should start to weigh up the costs and then see if the costs of upgrading to a dedicated server outweigh those of the virtual server that you already have. Over time this can save your business money and time.
- No Room to Grow: As you grow your business you may find that you need to add new applications or tools to your server. Due to Virtual Private Servers being on a shared environment the amount of RAM and disk space you receive is generally quite low, limiting what software you can run on your VPS and restricting your growth.
- Changing Requirements: Over time you may find that your business requirements change, this could be from business processes to more staff, customers etc. which normally requires additional software or a change in the software used. Some software may include a CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which can cater for businesses with many customers and employees but does require a more dedicated solution.
- Regulatory Requirements: As some businesses grow they sometimes find that they are required to follow some regulatory requirements or they may take on some customers that have these requirements. Regulatory requirements will be a lot easier to adhere to with a Dedicated Server than a VPS.
As you can see from what I have laid out above, the main reason for you to upgrade is due to the growth or expansion of your company. When companies grow they normally adopt new systems and software to cater to their needs. A must for most companies is to have a dedicated email (Hosted Exchange) and shared files solution (Microsoft SharePoint), even though a Virtual Server can provide this to a point, you are still limited in how much data can be stored. Dedicated servers can provide you with more space to host data, capable of hosting more users’ emails and enabling you to run more complex and demanding software.
Software such as Dynamics CRM, Oracle Database and Microsoft SQL Server require large amounts of disk space and memory to be able to run, especially when you need to store large amounts of data and are aiming to have many employees’ and customer information stored on the system. You may also find that your business may require more specialist software such as Potree, software like this is very demanding and couldn’t be run on a simple Virtual Server.
Dedicated servers aren’t shared amongst other clients either. This allows you to completely customize your server to the requirements of your company, letting you to change SSD’s, HDD’s, RAM and operating system. Here at VooServers we can help you customize your dedicated server to your company’s needs giving you the best solution possible. Dedicated servers also provide enhanced security which is particularly important to businesses that are handling sensitive transactions over FTP or SSL.
If you have any Enquiries about upgrading to a Dedicated Server contact us on 0800 0803 200 or email us on email@example.com, you can also look at some of our standard plans here.
Posted on February 2nd, 2016
In December of last year, EU lawmakers agreed on new cyber security laws that are set to be in their final forms by Spring this year. The NIS (Network and Information Security) Directive will “impose new network and information security guidelines on operators of essential services and digital service providers.” The organisations that have to abide by these new guidelines will be required to report certain security incidents to competent authorities or to a Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT).
One thing to note is that not all providers of essential services will be affected by the directive. The final version of the directive acknowledges that some sector-specific companies already deal with information and network security issues. The directive says “Certain sectors of the economy are already regulated or may in the future be regulated by sector-specific Union legal acts.” So in some cases, the NIS directive will not have to be applied even when the company is considered an operator of essential services or a DSP (Digital Services Provider).
Now the question is, what actually is an operator of essential services? The NIS Directive states that “an operator of essential services is considered to be an entity that provides a service that is essential for the maintenance of critical societal and/or economic activities, so long as the provision of that service depends on network and information systems and if an incident to the network or information systems of that service would have significant disruptive effects on the provision of those services.” Only businesses operating within a specified listed annex will be able to qualify as an operator of essential services.
All the sectors that are affected, are those that deliver main services to people:
The Energy Sector:
- Suppliers of electricity and gas, as well as distribution or transmission system operators
- Gas storage system operators, liquefied gas system operators
- Companies responsible for the production, transmission, distribution, supply, purchase or storage of natural gas
- Operators of natural gas refining and treatment facilities are also deemed to be operators of essential services too.
- This also applies to operators of oil transmission pipelines and operators of oil production, refining and treatment facilities, storage and transmission
The Transport Sector:
- Air transport sector, airlines, airport managing bodies, as well as companies that perform installations within airports and air traffic control service providers.
- The same applies to the respective roles within the rail industry
- As well as this, operators of ferries and freight water transport companies are also affected.
- The directive also states that it apply to banks and other credit institutions
- The directive will also apply to trading venues such as regulated markets like the London Stock Exchange.
- Health care providers such as Hospitals and GP surgeries and potentially private sector health care businesses are considered to be operators of essential services
- Operators of essential services in the digital sector include internet exchange points, domain system service providers and top level domain name registries.
Digital service providers face less strict obligations than operators of essential services but they still need to report security incidents they experience where the incident has “a substantial impact of a service… they offer within the Union.” Digital service providers are described by the NIS Directive as being providers of an online marketplace, online search engine or cloud computing service while “hardware manufacturers and software developers” are not digital service providers. The NIS Directive also effects digital service providers outside of the EU as well, requiring companies to have an EU representative based in the EU to act on the company’s behalf.
This new legislation will require some smaller companies to implement better security. Which in the short term can be very costly, implementing reporting software, staff and cyber security strategy. Over time though these costs will lead to long term goals saving time and money.
After the final version of the legislation is agreed in Spring, member states are expecting to have the directive in national legislation within 21 months and a further 6 months to identify the operators of their essential services, with the directive coming into full force in mid-2018.
Posted on December 29th, 2015
Over the past year there has been a big buzz about wearable tech such as the Apple Watch and Google Glass; but do these products have any place in the work place or will they just impede your work flow and end up costing you money.
Some of these products may seem like they are completely consumer based without any intent for business. Wearable’s such as smartwatches can be seen as un-necessary for office workers that tend to sit at their desk all day as they can gain the same information from their computer as they would a smartwatch. They can though be very usable and beneficial to people that work in the emergency services. Doctors and nurses still rely heavily on pagers which is a slow very outdated technology. Smart watches and other wearable’s can provide a much faster and a greater depth of information which can be a big difference. This type of technology can also be very useful for an on the go businessman, allowing him to receive notifications for meetings and get a quick insight to his emails.
In terms of smartwatches there are many devices that have been made by different companies, the main ones being Apples iWatch and Samsung Gear both compatible with their respective OS. Some of the designs can be a bit bulky and not flashy for some businessman but traditional watch companies Tag Heuer and Rolex have released images of their own smartwatches, with a big price tag included. Even if you don’t have the cash to splash on a smart watch but still have a traditional watch then there are platforms such as Chronos that allow you to turn your watch into a smartwatch. I think many people and many companies see wearable tech as very expensive but there are many options out there that can achieve the same thing but for a much lower cost.
Due to wearable devices allowing the user to go hands-free, I can see many other implementations of them into work places. For instance, smart glasses can allow the user to simultaneously look at two different things at once, this would be very useful for mechanics or engineers allowing to them to look at manuals or schematics as they work. More advanced wearable eye wear such as Microsoft’s HoloLens is most likely going to have a big impact on the design and engineering industry allowing workers to actually see their creations.
Some companies have also gone one step further than wearable’s. A Swedish company have gone to one extreme and have implanted all of its staff with microchips allowing them to gain access to security controlled doors, the photocopier and to pay for their lunch. This does get rid of the need to have some sort of device on you all the time but this could have been easily done with a plastic card and personally I’m not a fan of needles.
So can you see yourself using some kind of wearable tech for work? or do you think this is just a fad that will all be gone in a couple of months time?