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Tip of the Week: 3 Ways to Minimize the Chance of Cloud Migration Failure

b2ap3_thumbnail_three_cloud_steps_400.jpgMoving to the cloud is not an easy task, and it’s certainly not a process that will be the same for every SMB. Therefore, you need to be open to adaptation as the process wears on. Unplanned-for issues might make it difficult to adhere 100 percent to your plans, so if you can’t adapt to that which you can’t predict, your cloud migration is doomed to failure.

InfoWorld discusses this scenario in length: “For example, a large enterprise that migrates 100 applications to an IaaS cloud might discover during testing that the latency is too high for 25 of the applications. The board of directors and leadership were given a plan showing 100 applications migrating to the cloud, and no one wants to communicate a change, so they power through. The result is that those 25 applications don’t function well enough to support the business, and that adds up to a big, costly failure.”

The idea is to acknowledge that your plans may need to be altered and to change them as such before it becomes a major loss for your business. The appropriate response, as indicated by InfoWorld, is to not move those 25 applications to the cloud. Instead, it’s best to not rush this matter and instead focus on moving them so that they can function properly upon virtualization. The only problem is that there’s more to take into account, like your IT budget. This makes implementing new solutions slightly inflexible–just enough that even the slightest mistake can derail implementation.

Provide a Sense of Autonomy
While you may feel the desire to oversee a project one step at a time, it’s best that you don’t. You should entrust the project to whoever’s sole responsibility is to manage your technology solutions. The more hands that are on a project, the more hurdles that the administrator has to go through in order to get the cloud migration finished without incident. You should be able to get IT projects done without having to run every little decision by the chain of command.

Evaluate and Test Accordingly
It’s important to realize that your organization will probably experience problems and that you need to handle them as they occur. Examine how progress is being made and alter your business’s approach to cloud migration based on how well it’s doing. The idea is to address potential problems before they happen, so that you can avoid expensive downtime and delays in the project’s completion.

Make Adaptation an Accepted Practice
Your business needs to see the ability to adapt as an asset. It’s one thing to discover a flaw in a plan, but another entirely to find resolutions and swiftly work toward resolving it. This means that you need to do your part to foster this type of acceptance in the workplace. When something goes wrong, don’t point fingers and try to find the one responsible for it; encourage your team to discover the resolution.

If you need assistance with a cloud migration, Total Networks can help. Our skilled technicians can work alongside your IT staff to guarantee that your cloud project goes off without a hitch. To learn more, reach out to us at (602)412-5025.

Your New Galaxy Note 7 Has a 1 in 42,000 Chance of Exploding

b2ap3_thumbnail_samsung_recall_400.jpgIf you have the most recent addition to Samsung’s growing collection of smartphones, we hope you haven’t grown too attached to it. The company is recalling the Galaxy Note 7 on reports that the batteries explode. This event is largely considered one of the more high-profile recalls in the history of consumer technology.

The main problem with the device is the battery itself. An anonymous source states that Samsung outsourced the batteries from manufacturing plants in China and Korea, though batteries received from Korea seem to be the only ones affected by the issue. These batteries explode when the device charges, and so far there have been at least 35 reports of such an incident. Samsung estimates that 1 in 42,000 devices sold will experience the problem, but the company has chosen to recall every single device… you know, just in case.

You can be sure that Samsung will be reeling from the consequences of this decision for quite some time. Not only does the company have to replace over a million devices, but it also has to deal with the publicity fallout of this recall. There has already been quite a lot of public outcry over the faulty devices–take, for example, this article about a six-year-old whose phone exploded in his hands. Yikes.

Samsung will likely be in damage control mode for the next few months as they move toward resolving the problem and reassuring their consumer base that the problem won’t happen again.

Until Samsung gets its act together, customers are likely to turn their attention toward other smartphone options, like the iPhone 7 (though this model still has to worry about ongoing complaints citing its lack of a headphone jack).

Either way, if you own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and haven’t adhered to the recall, be sure to do so as soon as possible. Samsung has released a page which details the return process, as well as your options based on your mobile carrier.

http://www.samsung.com/us/note7exchange/

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As if Selecting Hardware Wasn’t Tricky Enough, Intel Went and Did This

b2ap3_thumbnail_intel_processor_confusion_400.jpgIntel recently announced their next line of laptop processors, and with that single act, caused no small amount of frustration and confusion among the IT market. After claims that they were breaking from their traditional schedule of releasing a new processor each September and improving upon it later, Intel has gone ahead and released a new processor architecture instead of maintaining their Skylake processor from last year.

Referred to as Kaby Lake, the processor has been better optimized for 4K video handling and editing than its predecessor was, and reportedly improves upon the battery life as well. However, along with the changes made to the architecture were some changes made to the branding, which will almost certainly cause confusion among consumers.

Before Kaby Lake, Intel essentially had two lines of processors: Core i and Core M. Core i was the stronger of the two options with the i5 and i7 processors, while the Core m5 and m7 were typically put into tablets. However, as Kaby Lake was released, Intel changed the name of their Core M processors so that an m5 is now called… an i5.

Mind you, there has been no change in the capabilities of the processors, just in the name. The only distinguishing feature between Core M and Core i is now the inclusion of Y or U, respectively, in the SKU numbers included in the extended name of the products. What’s worse, when researching components to include as a part of a workstation configuration, many websites will only display that an i7 processor is included–meaning that it is entirely possible for someone to purchase a less-than-adequate solution for their needs because the SKU numbers are buried in the product specifications.

While the average consumer would likely notice little difference between the two, business users will need to be especially cognizant of this name change as they select a solution to suit their business. Of course, that’s assuming a business user has the time to research the solutions they will need to continue their operations in such depth, and the focus to spare on ensuring the SKU numbers match the processor to fit their work needs.

If a business doesn’t have the time to spare digging through minutiae, they could always call Total Networks for assistance. Our expert technicians make sure that solutions are properly devised to meet the expectations any business requires. Call Total Networks at (602)412-5025 today to evaluate your tech to ensure your solutions are adequate.

Tip of the Week: Interviewing for a Remote Position? Ask These 5 Questions

b2ap3_thumbnail_outsourced_worker_interview_400.jpgModern office technology is breaking down office barriers left and right. With the proper tools, workers can perform their daily duties anytime, anywhere. This trend is prompting businesses to hire remote workers in order to find the talent they need without being limited by geographical location. Unfortunately, finding a good candidate for a remote worker is easier said than done.

To help you get the best help for your remote needs, we’ve assembled a list of questions that you should consider asking anyone who you’re considering for a remote position.

“Do You Have Remote Work Experience?”
Sometimes one of the easiest ways to judge whether an employee can perform well remotely is if they have experience doing so. If this is their first attempt at working remotely, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker either. You should consider their qualifications and reliability above all else. Eventually, any remote worker will grow accustomed to the specific demands of their position, and if they can form good remote working habits, it’s likely that they can be counted on to perform with minimal supervision.

“What Tools Do You Have Experience With?”
The remote worker requires a particular skill set in order to succeed. They need to be able to adapt to new technology solutions, and they should have some experience working with online collaboration tools. Solutions like email, cloud computing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and instant messaging should all be first on their list of qualifications.

“What Does Your Home Office Look Like?”
If you’re hiring a remote worker, it’s reasonable to ask them about the environment that they will be working in. After all, you’re responsible for ensuring that it’s cohesive to the overall success of the employee’s remote work experience. The home office should contain minimal distractions, but should include the technology needed to facilitate productivity. You should ask about their Internet connection, minimum technology requirements for the required position, etc.

“Can We Expect Regular Hours From You?”
Remote workers will often be tempted to waste time while out of the office on streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, or they may just get caught up in chores and other everyday occurrences. You should be able to count on remote workers to have a relatively consistent schedule. Ask them about their daily routines, when they take lunch, and what their habits are during the day. You need to ensure that your remote workers will be available when you need them to be.

“How Autonomous Are You in the Face of Conflict?”
If a remote worker runs into trouble somewhere on a project, can they be expected to troubleshoot the issue and properly resolve it? Remote workers don’t have the advantage of being in an office full of people who might have answers for them. Instead, they should have the tools (and be prepared) to contact the person who can help them, whether it’s your in-house IT department or an outsourced IT provider.

If you’re having difficulty managing your remote workers, Total Networks can provide you with the tools necessary to ensure their productivity. To learn more, give us a call at (602)412-5025.

Alert: Android Malware Can Control Your Phone Through Twitter

b2ap3_thumbnail_twitter_botnet_threat_400.jpgHackers continue to innovate and cause trouble for businesses of all industries and sizes. One of the more interesting recent tactics includes utilizing a malicious Twitter account to command a botnet of Android devices to do its bidding. Twitoor is considered to be the first real threat to actively use a social network in this manner, making this a major cause for concern.

Twitoor is an app that, when installed, places a Trojan on the Android device that receives commands from a central Twitter account. Twitoor can download and install malicious applications, steal data, and switch between alternative command-and-control Twitter accounts. Since you can’t find Twitoor on the Google Play store, it’s thought that it spreads through downloading via a malicious link and “side-loading” it onto a device.

Once Twitoor has been installed on the device, it becomes a part of a botnet. Botnets are commonly used by cyber criminals to spread the influence of their malware across multiple devices. The idea is to infect as many devices as possible by creating “zombie-bots,” or devices that are enslaved and forced to adhere to the hackers’ commands. These networks are capable of performing actions that singular devices cannot, like initiate DDoS attacks. Normally, a typical botnet can leave behind signs of its origins (where it’s receiving commands from), which security professionals can use to find the source of the botnet. They can then shut down the server issuing the commands, but in the case of Twitoor, it’s a bit more complicated.

The problem with Twitoor is that its devices receive commands from a Twitter account that’s always changing. This helps it to avoid detection. ZDNet explains further measures taken by the message to avoid detection: “Those behind the malware have also taken additional steps to safeguard Twitoor, including encrypting messages to further obfuscate their activities.” This makes Twitoor more difficult to destroy at its roots than a typical botnet.

Criminals are adapting their approaches to hacking in an attempt to innovate and explore new opportunities, and Twitoor is the perfect example of this. You always need to be aware of all types of threats, not just traditional ones. We recommend that you reach out to Total Networks for assistance with securing your organization’s network security. This includes mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

In particular, a mobile device management solution can help your organization keep tabs on its mobile devices. You can secure your devices through whitelisting and blacklisting apps, limiting access to sensitive data, and remotely wiping devices that are in danger of being compromised or infection. These preventative measures are designed to mitigate risk, which is an essential part of working with technology solutions.

To learn more, reach out to us at (602)412-5025.

Shining Light on the Mysterious Dark Web

b2ap3_thumbnail_down_into_the_darkweb_400.jpgDuring your time in the business world, you may have heard about the Dark Web. It’s a place that’s filled with illegal activity, with some of the most notable being online marketplaces where credentials and personal records can be sold to the highest bidder. However, there’s much more to the Dark Web than meets the eye.

Here are four things that you may not have known about the Dark Web.

Anyone Can Access It
Accessing the Dark Web is as easy as downloading a couple pieces of software. However, you should consider your reasons for accessing the Dark Web. While it’s mostly known for hosting illegal activity, there are plenty of legitimate ways to use the Dark Web. Many web companies have a large presence on it, and journalists or those who deal with sensitive information use it for sharing this data. In fact, your IT department could use it to find data that’s been stolen from your organization.

Of course, you should also be prepared to deal with some unsavory things while you’re on the Dark Web. Be sure to do everything in your power to back up any important data that you might have, and to always be using the maximum security measures possible.

Anonymity Isn’t Guaranteed
There’s nothing anonymous about being on the Internet, even if you’re connected to the Dark Web. Anonymity might be more likely, but there’s no guarantee that someone isn’t watching your every move. Encrypted sites that utilize the “.onion” domain can only be accessed by using the Tor web browser, but with the right tools you can unmask most anyone using the Dark Web. It’s thought that the FBI has malware that can track IP activity, which wouldn’t surprise us at all.

TechRepublic explains how Tor masks the identity of users while on the Dark Web: “Tor works by creating a secure connection between the user’s web browser and a network of machines, then tossing the originating IP address through several disparate relay points within the network. In theory, these “onion layers” mask the browser’s point of origination.”

The lesson: even with Tor and SSL, nobody is safe and secure on the Dark Web.

The Dark Web is Shockingly Large
Even without Silk Road dominating the illegal black market industry, the Dark Web still houses plenty of small marketplaces that have sprung up to take its place. Illegal eCommerce is a major problem, and now that user interfaces have been streamlined, anybody (more or less) can log onto the Dark Web and purchase stolen financial information or personally identifiable information. This turns wannabe hackers into the real deal, which is a dangerous precedent that fuels the growth of the cybercrime industry. To counter this growth, many organizations and vendors have introduced services that can help their patrons find stolen credentials that have been put up for sale on the Dark Web. Some even offer security services and threat mitigation to help those who want to navigate the Dark Web on their own.

There’s a Surprising Amount of Legal Functionality
You wouldn’t believe it, but the Dark Web has plenty of legal content hidden behind the illegal and sketchy reputation that it’s earned. Facebook’s Dark Web site is quite popular with over 1 million visitors every month. A search engine similar to Google aptly called Not Evil is also popular, and so is the Deep Web Radio, a music streaming service. Another notable one is OnionWallet, which acts like a bitcoin wallet service to convert real-world dollars to cryptocurrency.

Of course, the dangers of the Dark Web are still a cause for concern, so even if it is accessible, it’s advisable not to do it. The average office worker has no business on the Dark Web. A content management system can keep your employees from visiting dangerous websites that could compromise your organization’s infrastructure. To learn more, reach out to us at (602)412-5025.

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