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Improve Business Operations with Virtual Desktops

b2ap3_thumbnail_virtual_desktop_for_business_400.jpgAnything that makes your business more mobile is a good thing, right? This is one of the main goals of virtualization services. These separate the software from the hardware it’s installed on, allowing it to be isolated and installed on a virtual machine where it can be accessed as an individual instance. Many businesses are finding success in their workplace by taking advantage of desktop virtualization services.

According to Processor magazine, “virtualized desktop infrastructure (VDI) technologies give IT administrators more control over their infrastructure and in turn help IT teams deliver operating systems and applications to end users in new ways.” This means that virtualization has the ability to help your business simplify its infrastructure and make it more efficient. In other words, a virtualized desktop system can help your business push above and beyond its current expectations.

There are several benefits that your business can reap from a virtualized desktop infrastructure:

  • Consolidate your infrastructure: Limiting the amount of physical hardware your business needs to run can be one of the best benefits that virtualization offers. Rather than running many different workstations, you have the ability to switch to thin clients. These devices are much more energy-efficient and don’t require the heavy-duty hardware that an ordinary workstation would. The IT administrator has the ability to allocate resources equivelant to the needs of an individual machine, allowing for more versatility and control than an ordinary PC.
  • Virtual desktops can be used remotely: Another great capability of virtual desktops is that they can be used remotely, as well as within the office, provided their devices have been approved. This lets them gain access to the same desktop and applications they would have if they were in the office. This is especially helpful if you have workers across the country, or on business trips.
  • Simple integration and upgrade procedures: While the configuration of a virtual desktop solution can be tricky to implement in the beginning, these complications are nothing compared to the ease of upgrading later on. Instead of applying patches and updates to multiple different machines, the network administrator can dispatch updates to multiple virtual machines at once.

Setting up a virtualized desktop infrastructure doesn’t have to be painful. Contacting a managed IT service provider is your best shot at making sure that virtualization happens smoothly. By outsourcing this responsibility to Total Networks, we can make sure that your virtual machines are kept up to date and functioning properly. Just give us a call at (602)412-5025 to learn more.

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When it’s Hot Outside, Your Servers Are Burning Up Inside

b2ap3_thumbnail_ac_units_cool_servers_400.jpgIf you host your own servers in-house, or in an off-site data center, you know all about the frustrations of keeping your hardware up to date and healthy. This also includes keeping your servers from overheating. These mission-critical pieces of hardware are known to produce incredulous amounts of heat, and keeping them cool only gets more challenging during hot, sticky summer months.

When a server overheats, it can have unexpected (or, well, obvious) results. Too much heat can fry your server’s hardware, effectively disabling it and possibly ruining it for good. This is obviously not a good thing, and it can happen when you least expect it. Therefore, it’s important that you always have a way in which to keep it cool and under control.

Here are three cooling factors you should consider when hosting your own server in-house:

  • Keep your servers in a temperature-controlled climate. Basically, you should store your servers somewhere where you can easily control the temperature. There are cooling racks specifically designed for such a task, but many SMBs simply resort to closets with air-conditioning. However, if your server room consists of a closet with fans blowing directly on your hardware, you might want to consider a cooler solution.
  • Take care of your cooling equipment. If your cooling machines fail, it’s the same as allowing your servers to overheat. Therefore, the upkeep of your cooling system is of the utmost importance. Is the overall atmosphere damp? Is dust accumulating on your fan blades? Set up routine maintenance procedures and stick to them to avoid surprises, like a failing cooling system.
  • Be sure to allocate enough assets from your budget. Air-conditioning can be a costly expense. Even having fans running constantly can add a hefty addition to your electric bill. Therefore, you need to properly assess just how much you have available to allocate toward proper server cooling units.

You might also consider revamping your backup policy to one which constantly takes snapshots of your data. This way, despite your best efforts, if the server does overheat, you have a backup plan that can handle these unexpected problems. Our Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution is perfect for a time like this. It can take the place of your server in a pinch if it were to somehow become inoperable, and allows for a quick and efficient restore once you arrange for a replacement.

As a managed service provider, Total Networks knows how to provide quality technology management services to small and medium-sized business owners like yourself. One of our services is server hosting and management. This lifts the burden of maintaining your server hardware from your shoulders, and places it on ours. As capable technology experts, you’ll have little to worry about in terms of proper upkeep and maintenance. Give us a call at (602)412-5025 to learn more.

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Passwords May Be “Ineffective,” But They’re Still Necessary

b2ap3_thumbnail_security_solution_password_400.jpgIt seems like we can’t go on the Internet without reading about some sort of data breach. Sometimes they’re caused by poor security measures, like lack of data encryption or two-factor authentication; other times, it’s because of lackluster password security. Despite the antiquity of the username and password, they’re staples in the modern office. Thus, it’s important that they’re as secure as possible at all times.

Passwords might have their flaws, but they’re necessary if you want to maximize your business’s security from online threats. It’s not just your organization’s future at stake; it’s also yours as an individual, not to mention your employees and anyone associated with your company. Here are three ways you can improve the security of your passwords in the workplace.

Educate Your Staff About Best Practices
According to Processor magazine, “In establishing a pragmatic password policy, the first step is balancing risk, compliance, and usability needs, followed by education and enforcement.” This means that it’s the responsibility of you, the business owner, to make sure that everyone is exercising precaution and following strict security standards for their passwords. The usernames aren’t so important, so long as they aren’t “admin,” or other similar common denotations.

Passwords should include many different types of characters, including symbols, numbers, lower-case, and upper-case letters. You should avoid using whole words whenever possible, and strive to make them as difficult to replicate as you can; and whatever you do, do NOT use your Social Security number or birthday. Taking these preventative measures will decrease the chances of hackers accessing accounts without permission.

Integrate Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. These measures add an extra layer of security to your online accounts, which require an external credential in order to crack. This could be your mobile device, or it could be a set of credentials emailed to you or sent via SMS. Regardless, this adds another step to a hacker’s process which often requires them to have physical access to your mobile device, which could discourage them. Total Networks can help your business set up a two-factor authentication system that can help your business achieve optimal security.

On the Server-Side, Use Strong Network Security Practices
We all remember how technology supergiant Sony got hacked a few months back. Sony foolishly labeled the folder which held their passwords, “passwords.” This meant that, once hackers got into their infrastructure, they knew exactly where to look to steal passwords from the lax company. This isn’t something you want to experience first-hand, as the fallout from the Sony hack so painfully showed us.

Instead, you should prioritize making sure that hackers can’t get into your network in the first place. A Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution is capable of such a feat. Armed with a firewall, antivirus, spam blocking, and content filtering solution, you’ll have little to fear from both internal and external threats. Still, it never hurts to be prepared for the worst.

Always take precaution when dealing with passwords, especially if they protect sensitive information. For more security advice and to establish two-factor authentication, our UTM, or more, contact us at (602)412-5025.

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Passwords May Be “Ineffective,” But They’re Still Necessary

b2ap3_thumbnail_security_solution_password_400.jpgIt seems like we can’t go on the Internet without reading about some sort of data breach. Sometimes they’re caused by poor security measures, like lack of data encryption or two-factor authentication; other times, it’s because of lackluster password security. Despite the antiquity of the username and password, they’re staples in the modern office. Thus, it’s important that they’re as secure as possible at all times.

Passwords might have their flaws, but they’re necessary if you want to maximize your business’s security from online threats. It’s not just your organization’s future at stake; it’s also yours as an individual, not to mention your employees and anyone associated with your company. Here are three ways you can improve the security of your passwords in the workplace.

Educate Your Staff About Best Practices
According to Processor magazine, “In establishing a pragmatic password policy, the first step is balancing risk, compliance, and usability needs, followed by education and enforcement.” This means that it’s the responsibility of you, the business owner, to make sure that everyone is exercising precaution and following strict security standards for their passwords. The usernames aren’t so important, so long as they aren’t “admin,” or other similar common denotations.

Passwords should include many different types of characters, including symbols, numbers, lower-case, and upper-case letters. You should avoid using whole words whenever possible, and strive to make them as difficult to replicate as you can; and whatever you do, do NOT use your Social Security number or birthday. Taking these preventative measures will decrease the chances of hackers accessing accounts without permission.

Integrate Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is growing in popularity, and it’s easy to see why. These measures add an extra layer of security to your online accounts, which require an external credential in order to crack. This could be your mobile device, or it could be a set of credentials emailed to you or sent via SMS. Regardless, this adds another step to a hacker’s process which often requires them to have physical access to your mobile device, which could discourage them. Total Networks can help your business set up a two-factor authentication system that can help your business achieve optimal security.

On the Server-Side, Use Strong Network Security Practices
We all remember how technology supergiant Sony got hacked a few months back. Sony foolishly labeled the folder which held their passwords, “passwords.” This meant that, once hackers got into their infrastructure, they knew exactly where to look to steal passwords from the lax company. This isn’t something you want to experience first-hand, as the fallout from the Sony hack so painfully showed us.

Instead, you should prioritize making sure that hackers can’t get into your network in the first place. A Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution is capable of such a feat. Armed with a firewall, antivirus, spam blocking, and content filtering solution, you’ll have little to fear from both internal and external threats. Still, it never hurts to be prepared for the worst.

Always take precaution when dealing with passwords, especially if they protect sensitive information. For more security advice and to establish two-factor authentication, our UTM, or more, contact us at (602)412-5025.

Continue Reading →

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