Small Business Technology & Advice

Why You Need a Secure Office Network

Posted by on Jul 30, 2015

data-key-571156_1280            If you need a bad example of office network security, here it comes. The American parliament supervisory committee heard on Tuesday June 16 what Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), had to say about double theft of personal data which it has suffered- the extent of which remains as of yet undetermined. This is why it is so crucial to hire a trustworthy and competent IT support company to manage your business affairs.

For the president of the commission, MP Chaffetz, it is simple- Katherine Archuleta has “totally and completely failed” to achieve any goal of securing the information systems of OPM. Chaffetz emphasized that the warnings were not missed, including those coming from the Inspector General. “Incident after incident” led to the recommendation to close some systems last year, “and you, you’ve made the conscious decision to keep it open, to let vulnerable information be stolen.” To these warning, Archuleta replied that she did not see a concrete risk at the time. When asked if she could see the risk now, Katherine evaded the question, trying to defend herself by noting the age of the system and ensuring that they were “working to the best of our ability.” Unceremoniously Mulvanet answered, “that’s what frightens me, Mrs. Archuleta, that that’s the best of your ability.”

The problem of Obsolescence

The lack of encryption of certain data, starting with the Social Security numbers of US officials, seems to have particularly crystallized tensions. But Katherine Archuleta, SI OPM did not lend itself to the simple and rapid implementation of encryption. In addition, she said, the access rights obtained by the attackers would have allowed them to override this protection.

But the challenge currently facing the OPM, is broader than this single issue. And remember she took office 18 months ago, and although aware of security problems SI OPM, she presented a strategic modernization plan in February 2014. She said the system information, which she described as considerably dilapidated, is covered by 10 million confirmed intrusion attempts each month. Two have clearly succeeded. The fruit of “decades of neglect” has been recognized by some members of the commission.

This provides a more comprehensive look that Michael R. Esser, assistant inspector general, will find it hard to challenge. Indeed, in his statement, he recognized the progress made in the OPM in IT security since 2012. And to emphasize further the existence of an operational security center operating continuously, the OPM since 2014 also showed some improvement. But the office, however, has “not yet implemented a continuous monitoring program.” So for him, the evolution of the IT governance structure of OPM produced positive results, but “it appears that [the OPM office] continues to be negatively affected by years of governance of decentralized security” including the fact that a “technical infrastructure remains fragmented and thus by design difficult to protect.”

A question of Priorities

However negative for Katherine Archuleta, 21 systems out of 47 were to be audited before receiving authorization in 2014. For 11 of them, the final exam could not be finished in time. But they continued to operate without validation. A point at which the boss’s office responded with another priority: pay retirees their pensions, among others. But for Michael R. Esser, another critical point appears: of the 11 systems concerned that “count by the most critical and sensitive applications of the agency”; two of them “are support systems that are home to several major applications; over 65% of all systems operated by OPM rely on one of these two support systems. ” And if the OPM has deployed new security tools for the inspector general, “all these tools are not used to their full capacity.” Configuration flaws that prevent, for example, the analysis of some servers looking for malicious activity.

In addition, the office is equipped with a system of information management and security events (SIEM) “but at the time of our report Fisma 2014, this tool was collecting data on 80% of major IT systems OPM “. Worse, the office seems unable to really know its computer -“we have also determined that the OPM does not maintain a centralized and updated inventory of all servers and databases in its network.”

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Online Training: Convenient? Or a Disaster Waiting to Happen?

Posted by on Jun 12, 2015

With more people turning to the Internet for online education, it’s possible to earn a degree without attending classes physically. The same is now true for most trades such as accounting, law, and even the operation of heavy machinery. This is fantastic as it saves time, money, and allows you the flexibility to learn whenever and wherever. e-learningNow, anybody who wishes to have a career as a forklift operator, for example, can get certified in their pajamas through online training. Some do not believe that this is a good idea for trades where hands-on training is clearly expected and necessary. We’ll focus on forklift training for this article but it applies to other trades as well.

Since the idea of online training for heavy machinery was introduced, a lot of people have questioned its legitimacy. Online forklift training certifications are a real thing, but the question is not whether it is legal or not, but is it as effective as real training? Sadly, the answer is no. So if your company is out to hire forklift operators, or any other type of tradesman that requires hands-on training, it’s understandable if you’re wary about anybody with an online training certificate.


Practical Experience Versus Theories

What online training programs for forklift operations do is give learners all the necessary lectures and modules needed for the job. This means an in-depth lesson on forklift parts, different types of forklifts, uses and other basic information. This is something that online and real training both offer.

However, what online training lacks is sadly the most important part of the training process: practical experience. To get a feel of what it’s like to operate a forklift, you must sit on the cabin and use the controls. Forklift navigation is something that cannot be taught through words alone and the only way to get better at it is to spend as much time as possible with the actual machine.

Another problem with Internet training courses is that there is no final exam, except for a written one. In traditional training programs, trainees go for a test run, and their employer will evaluate them according to their performance. This is how employers see first-hand the results of the training session.

With online certifications, these vital elements are missing and therefore, someone who has finished forklift training through online certification is just as good as someone who has never undergone training. True, they know all the facts related to forklift operations, but they lack practical experience.


What This Means For Your Company

If an applicant has this type of certification on their resume, it doesn’t really mean much for your company. You see, the reason why traditional training works is because most of them are customized to fit with the company’s industry. Training modules are built around what type of business you have, what forklift types are used and what the terrain looks like. An online certification doesn’t give much of an advantage over having none at all.

If your company is planning one for your employees, remember that traditional is always better. Forklifting is a job that benefits from practical experiences, rather than just theories. Beware that money spent on online training certifications is just wasted money. When your employees finish training, there will be little to no change in terms of skill level.

So if you are tempted to join the online forklift training certification bandwagon, don’t. It might be more convenient, but it sacrifices a lot for that convenience. It’s just like driving a car – if drivers can get their licenses online, would you trust one to drive a car for you? Of course most people would rather put their trust in someone who has actually driven a car as part of their driving lessons.

It’s the same with forklifts. In fact, operating a forklift requires more skill than driving a car, and a machine like that should be entrusted to one who has practical experience with the real thing.

Internet training is ideal for many industries and shouldn’t be overlooked. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages in many cases. However for some trades, such as forklift operation, online training is only good when coupled with a real-life In-person hands-on forklift trainer, and shouldn’t be relied on as the only source.

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Apple May Have Accidentally Revealed New iPhone Plans

Posted by on May 26, 2015


With the successful launches of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus and the Apple Watch on their way to becoming old news, everyone who spends even a second of their days thinking about technology and smartphones is wondering what the next step for the famous line of smartphones by the most valuable company in the world is.

Talks of the iPhone 6s, 6c or even 7 have already begun, and some specialized blogs and websites speculate that a new iPhone announcement may be coming soon and that Apple fans may be able to hold a new phone in the hands by late summer/early fall. And judging by this rare slip-up from Apple themselves, they may be on to something.

A new charger model was added to the tech giant’s website and the item’s picture shows a phone on top of the charger – probably simulating the charging process – which many have recognized as a possible prototype for what could be the iPhone 6c, as it looks like a now-outdated iPhone 5c, but bears the TouchID fingerprint scanner, something which only the “6” models have, and which is being added to all the company’s devices, as it is important as a supporting interface for the launch of ApplePay, which should be available across all of Apple’s devices.

Apple’s “C” iPhones are usually a slightly more affordable and more humbly performing version of the current version of the iPhone, so the iPhone 6C isn’t expected to be very innovative or improved when compared to the 6 and 6 Plus. However, the iPhone 5C is still available for purchase, even though it is greatly outdated, thus implying that Apple might not have given up on their entry-level phones, which might mean a new version is on the way.

This probably unintentional revelation from Apple comes at a time when speculation about the launch of a new iPhone is intensifying, with sources saying up to three new models, including the aforementioned 6C, a 6S and a 6S Plus, could be released at the end of the year, with the usual processing power and IOS updates meant to ward off competition until the launch of a new, top of the line model, which would be the iPhone 7.

Other sources, however, seem to think that Apple might actually skip the “S” and “C” models. But whatever happens, case providers all over the world will surely be ready for the new models of iPhones. Cases of all shapes and sizes have sprouted here and there and the plethora of choices can sometimes be overwhelming. A sleek design can always work but if I was going to choose the luxury customizations like this service provided by Gold Status will surely be at the top of my list.

Anyway, got a bit sidetracked there. As for the new phone’s features, it is expected to have the Force Touch technology, which sense how much pressure is being used and performs different tasks accordingly, as well as the TouchID sensor. Although it won’t get any bigger, its build will likely be improved, as will the camera, which will supposedly go from 8MP to 12MP, and the processing chip, which should be updated from the A8 to an A9.

There is also talk of an “edge” display, like that of the latest Samsung Galaxy, but although some would likely appreciate the gimmick, the image “revealed by accident” does not suggest that in the least.

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