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The Cloud and Big Data

Cloud infrastructure is one of the fastest-growing forms of online technology. As a result, it is vitally important for you to understand how cloud computing services work and the benefits that the cloud can offer. We’ll take a look at big data and how the cloud can enhance big data security solutions. 

What is the Cloud? 

Let’s take a look at what cloud architecture is. Cloud solutions are growing at a fast pace. The growth is widespread. You can’t go a day without using, or at least being affected by, cloud services. However, many of us still don’t have a complete understanding of what the cloud is. We just accept that it’s something vague, existing somewhere, and we unknowingly access it. 

So, the question remains – what is the cloud? How does the cloud work? What makes the cloud such an immense storage solution? 

Modern cloud infrastructure, at its simplest, is an information technology solution that allows you to save data and files online. This might not seem all that impressive, but when you consider how cloud storage providers achieve this, it’s very intriguing. 

Think back to days gone by when saving a file could only be done on the device you were currently working on. If you wanted to share a file between devices or with colleagues, you would need to manually send it to them. Sometimes this meant burning the data onto offline, physical media. When your colleagues were done with the files, they’d return them to you the same way. 

Cloud computing simplifies this process. Instead of dragging and dropping files, or sending files by email, cloud technology allows the files to be saved offsite. This is done through extensive data centers provided by cloud computing companies. These data centers create multiple virtual “devices” that are capable of saving your files. These files can then be retrieved anywhere, anytime, with an ordinary internet connection. 

Cloud Technology Makes Life Easier! 

Cloud technology operates online instead of on an individual device level. This makes online interactions far easier than in the past. Cloud technology ensures that you can share files across the business network to multiple different desktops, tablets, laptops, and the like. Files can be retrieved even when the operator is on the go! 

As such, it’s safe to say that the cloud has opened up a whole world of potential for businesses and individuals alike. And you can use cloud solutions for more than just sharing today’s cafeteria menu with the faculty. Cloud architecture has become immensely powerful in recent times. And the proof of that power is that the cloud can safely and reliably store big data. 

What is Big Data? 

Like everyone else, you’re probably wondering – what is it? We haven’t clarified this yet. However, it is a vitally important concept in our modern world. The cloud stores this data. 

Big data is, surprisingly, exactly what it sounds like. It is a collection of vast amounts of data that needs to be stored. It is called ‘big data’ because, the created data will almost always be too immense for a normal computer or device to store. However, cloud devices that share storage space can allow this information to be stored easily and safely. That data is hosted virtually in data centers, safely and securely. 

Who Creates Big Data? 

Big data isn’t a problem for individuals or small businesses. Our internet browsing history is unlikely to be so substantial in size that we would need to store the information we produce in the cloud. Large, network-based systems that generate bulk amounts of data that need a lot of storage space, are labeled big data. 

The amount of data these network-based systems generate is so great that it would be simply impossible for any off-the-shelf physical device to successfully store it. Moreover, these extensive data sets would take an immense amount of time for our computers to organize and sort. Wed be waiting for a long time before we got any sort of useful information from the big data. 

Growing businesses need a better storage solution with greater capacity for analyzing information. This scenario is where cloud storage solutions come into play. 

How Cloud Computing Can Securely Store Big Data 

Cloud computing technology is state-of-the-art technology that expert and specialist data centers host. By storing big data on the cloud, companies can benefit from safe data storage. It is also a working back-up system in case of a disaster or network breach. This means, even if one virtual drive should go down, your big data will still be readily available from another drive. Moreover, hacking into cloud systems can be far more complicated than hacking into a physical device. This provides superior protection for files. As a final perk, storing vast quantities of big data on a virtual device can also be much more affordable than investing in physical devices for the same end goal. That means it’ll probably save you money! 

Learn More About Cloud Computing and Big Data! 

As a provider of premium quality IT services and solutions, we’re here to help you find the right support for your needs. So, if you want to learn more about big data, contact our IT services team today. From cloud storage solutions to small business computer support, we’re here to help! 

The cloud has become hugely important in our lives. One notable way the cloud is used these days is for virtual (remote) work. This has escalated with the recent Covid-19 lockdowns. Many of us have experienced a disruption in our normal workflow, making virtual working a reality for more of us than ever. The cloud has been pivotal in the success of these remote working plans. As a result of this, you must know how to use the cloud for remote working. Know how to access files stored on the cloud, and how to ensure your cloud use remains safe and secure! Today, we will be covering all of these different points so that your cloud solutions don’t end up making life harder. 

What is the Cloud? 

Cloud solutions are effectively an online replacement for traditional file storage systems. Years ago, when you wanted to save a file on your desktop device, you would only be saving it on that one device. If you wanted to open this file on other business computers, you would need to send it to that computer somehow – the most obvious way being by email. 

However, this process could quickly get tedious, especially if multiple team members worked on the same file. Cloud computing services would serve to change this. With cloud solutions, you save the files directly online, or “in the cloud.” Since the files and data are saved online, you can access them from any internet-enabled device. 

This makes sharing files easier than it used to be. Furthermore, it allows multiple team members to collaborate on files without hassle. Cloud-based systems such as Google Docs can enable a team to work simultaneously on the same file, enhancing business efficiency overall. 

This can have many different benefits for the business. However, it can also be useful from a personal perspective. For example, it allows people to continue working on their files while they’re on the go! 

In short, without access to the cloud for sharing and saving files throughout lockdowns, we probably would have all had a much more difficult time working through the pandemic. 

Where does the Data go? 

When using the cloud, you might wonder where the data is actually stored. This can be a bit of a complex topic, but the easiest way to describe it is as follows. 

When you use the cloud, a “virtual device” stores your data and files. This virtual device, as the name would suggest, doesn’t physically exist. However, it provides a platform on which to view and save your files. Because of this, the virtual device can save a huge number of files with a large amount of storage potential. 

The virtual devices are hosted by data centers. Professional information technology and cloud computing companies manage these data centers and effectively “hire out” their technology for storing information. Cloud computing services hinge entirely on these data centers, as they provide the hardware required to store files. 

A benefit of cloud storage is, your files aren’t just saved on one device, as they are traditionally. Instead, multiple virtual devices store your files. This ensures that your files will always be available. Backups are stored on other virtual devices to guard against malfunctions. These back-up files are easily accessed when they are needed. 

How to Keep Your Files Safe on the Cloud 

The cloud can offer a considerable number of different benefits for businesses looking to save their files. After the ease of access, which is arguably the most crucial benefit, another perk of cloud architecture is the security that cloud computing services can offer. 

The nature of cloud infrastructure means that multiple virtual devices save your files at one time. This is very similar to the adage of “don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” 

With your files saved across multiple virtual devices, you ensure there will always be back-up disaster and recovery options available to you. However, that’s not to say that cloud computing solutions are perfect for security. To make sure you don’t suffer any downtime in case of a disaster or breach, we recommend an on-site BDR. That way you’ll have multiple options when it comes to restoring your lost data. 

Cybersecurity is imperative. While cloud solutions can offer good security for your files, it’s still important that you also follow top tips to keep your data safe. This includes factors such as not sharing personal information and passwords, keeping your device safe from malware, and never leaving your device unattended. Of course, these are just a few cybersecurity tips you should be following. We can check your system and offer professional network security advice. 

Get Professional Computer Help Today! 

If you want to learn more about cloud computing services and how to keep your data safe, our team can provide the advice you need. So, don’t compromise! Contact our team of expert Managed Service gurus help you out! From IT service management to network security improvements and advice on implementing cloud solutions for your business, we can help. 

When you hear talk about the cloud, it can be a little overwhelming to understand this unique technology. Cloud architecture offers a huge number of solutions, and cloud technology’s rapid development has ensured that it is a field with huge potential. However, many people are not aware of what it is. 

As such, our team of IT consultants is on hand to help you understand what the cloud is. In this blog, we’ll tell you how people and companies are using it to enhance modern data management systems. 

 

What is the Cloud? 

Cloud technology and solutions are rapidly developing in our modern world. As such, you must understand what cloud infrastructure is and how the modern business world uses this architecture. 

When it comes to understanding the cloud, many of us don’t know what to think about this unique tech solution. We know that our data is “in the cloud”. However, most of us don’t understand what this infrastructure is and where it is located. 

We largely accept this as being some higher storage solution beyond the realms of our imagination. Many people consider the cloud as little more than an online storage platform. In reality, cloud infrastructure is far more complicated than that. 

This Definition Isn’t Wrong – Just Not Entirely Right Either! 

Assuming that cloud technology is just “storing data online” isn’t necessarily incorrect. However, if we are to have a solid understanding of it, it’s important to clarify what it is. 

The cloud is made up of an incredible number of servers. All servers are hosted online, stored in global data centers, and managed by cloud storage providers. These expansive warehouses are full of the servers and computer software. This serves to provide the hardware and technology that runs the cloud. These computing servers are hugely important in our modern society. They make it possible for files to be shared between multiple devices. This feature is incredibly important to modern society. 

How It Allows Businesses to Share Files 

In the past, when a person created a file, they saved it on their device. That meant those files were only accessible from that user’s device. To share the data, it was sent directly to another device via email or file transfer. Not only did this present a potential cybersecurity challenge, but it was a hassle. However, cloud technology solutions have removed this roadblock. 

With modern solutions, people can save files on this infrastructure instead of on a local drive. This means that you can access these files from anywhere. From the library, at your desk, or even on your mobile device – you can pull up the documents you’ve been working on any time you want. 

How do Cloud Technology Solutions Work? 

Cloud computing is an exceptionally complex field of computer science and information technology. Let’s touch on the basics of how it works. 

Cloud computing relies on a process known as virtualization. With virtualization, cloud storage providers effectively create “virtual business computers and devices”. These virtual devices provide storage that anyone with an internet connection can access. 

These are called “virtual machines”. Multiple machines are controlled by the same host. These virtual machines are considered separate devices. This means that data saved on one virtual machine is not immediately available to the other virtual devices on the same host network. 

Backups for Cloud Servers 

When normal devices go down, data will likely be lost. However, cloud computing companies have implemented many different techniques to avoid this with storage solutions. By backing up data on multiple virtual devices, even if one should fail, the others are still there to “pick up the slack” and ensure the files remain hosted on the network. 

This is hugely beneficial for individuals and businesses alike. It provides extra protection for files and means that cloud solutions are more reliable than traditional device storage solutions. These servers not only make file sharing more practical, but they also provide an extra layer of protection. 

Get Technology Support Today! 

If you want to learn more about cloud architecture and the benefits it can offer for you or your business, our team is on hand to help.  Contact us, we specialize in providing premium quality managed IT services for businesses. Our IT Techs are here to help your current computing services excel and meet your business needs. Whatever you need, don’t compromise – we can help! 

Hackers – the word alone can send fear down the spine of anyone who owns an internet enabled device. And for good reasons, too! Yet many people assume that hackers are only an issue for their business computers, desktops, laptops, and portable tablets. This isn’t entirely the truth. In fact, hackers can actually pose a major threat for your or your AI devices, too. As AI devices become core commonplace, this can represent a major security concern for many people. 

As a result of this, it is absolutely essential that you’re are of how hackers can target your artificial intelligence systems. It’s vital that you also know how you can protect yourself against these threats. Fortunately, as your managed service provider, we are on hand to give you the support you need to keep yourself, your business, or your family, safe from the dangers that hackers can pose. 

Can Hackers Access Artificial Intelligence IT Services? 

To start with, we’ll ask the question, “Can hackers really get access to your AI systems?” The answer is, yes. This is becoming increasingly more common. As a result, it’s vital that anyone implementing artificial intelligence systems for their business or home is aware of the protective measures that make breaking in more difficult for hackers. 

How Much of a Threat do AI Hackers Pose for your Desktops, Laptops, and Tablets? 

At first glance, it might not be clear how much of a threat professional hackers can pose for your personal or business computers, desktops, laptops, and tablets. However, it is important that you never underestimate these threats because hackers gaining hold of your personal data can be a major threat for your personal security and safety. Not to mention your bank account. 

Some of the ways in which hackers threaten us include: 

How Hackers Hack AI Systems 

We’ve clarified that hackers can gain access to your personal or business computers, but how do they do this? There are numerous methods that hackers can use to breach systems. These vary depending on the type of AI being used. 

There are two main ways in which hackers may be able to access data through AI: First, by monitoring your activities. This is similar to how personalized cookies work when you login to a website. The second way is by gaining access to your system through weak passwords. In devices like Alexa and Suri, this will allow the hacker to listen in through your AI devices. Hackers can even access cameras if they are attached to your devices, such as Ring doorbells. The implications are, frankly, terrifying. Depending on how many “Smart”, or AI devices you have in your home, there may be no room that is safe from hackers. 

How to Protect Yourself 

We’ve clarified that hackers can represent a serious problem for your business or personal life. Luckily, there are a few different ways that can help you avoid getting targeted by hackers. Some of these tips include: 

Final Thoughts 

Hackers are a big problem in our modern society, but you can defeat them by taking preventative measures. With AI and Smart Devices becoming more common each day, hackers are finding more ways to break into your Personal life. Take every precaution to secure your accounts at every opportunity! For more advice on how your personal or business computers can make use of IT solutions to protect your data, contact us today. 

 

As business owners, we are all keenly aware of how integral technology is in every industry these days. We have heard countless times how technology helps drive innovation and growth, improves communication in the organization, and increases your advantage over the competition. As a warning, new technology still has vulnerabilities. Recently, new security flaws were discovered on Microsoft Exchange Servers. That’s why we are running this blog: as a warning to anyone running Microsoft Exchange Servers. 

Your Microsoft Exchange Server may be Vulnerable to Attack 

We’re acutely aware of how many small businesses rely on these servers to augment their IT departments. And this means many small businesses are at risk. More than 60,000 companies and organizations have been compromised. This is a world-wide threat. Chinese hackers are confirmed at attacking and exploiting vulnerabilities in on-premise servers. Something to pay attention to is, if you’re running Microsoft Exchange ’13, ’16, or ’19 on-site, these were the servers that were vulnerable to attack. 

Attacks and Hacks 

In January, Microsoft was made aware of what were labeled ‘zero-day’ bugs. These bugs are flaws that we are aware of, but have not yet been addressed. As these weak spots are uncovered, there is a high probability of attacks and breaches. This means they’re highly dangerous for organizations and businesses that hold sensitive data. On March 2nd, Microsoft released updates to repair the zero-day bugs and said that there had only been a limited number of targeted attacks. Despite these fixes and patches, there is still a huge potential for attacks on individual Exchange Servers. This threat is due to the awareness and speed of the patch installation. This means the number of victims grows as more and more hackers continue to target un-patched systems. 

Who is behind these Hacks? 

Microsoft initially reported that their zero-day vulnerabilities were exploited by Hafnium, a Chinese APT group that is state-sponsored. The group achieved the hacks by using zero-day vulnerabilities to gain access to Exchange servers. As a result, hackers can access email accounts and install malware. These attacks create long-term access for future breaches. 

Hafnium has a reputation for targeting US entities in different sectors. Some of these attacks included NGOs, policy think tanks, defense contractors, higher education institutions, law firms, and infectious disease research facilities. Previously, the group compromised victims through the exploitation of internet-facing server vulnerabilities. Hafnium has used open-source frameworks such as Covenant, a legitimate piece of software, for control of the servers. After gaining access to the victim’s network, the group usually uploads the stolen data to a file-sharing site. 

Currently, Hafnium is often unsuccessful in its attempts to compromise customers’ accounts. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make the problem any less serious. You have to be aware that they are trying new attacks every day. Usually, if hackers want to find a way in, they will. 

Other Group Threats  

Since the initial hacking by Hafnium, other groups have exploited the flaws in MS Exchange Servers. A report was published declaring at least 10 groups that are hunting down un-patched servers. 

When Will we be Safe? 

According to DIVD (the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure), there are thought to be at least 46,000 un-patched servers still running that are at risk of being heavily exploited. Current estimates are that up to 40% of Exchange servers in the Netherlands are still open to attack. 

Protect Your Business! 

Check to see if your business uses Microsoft Exchange Servers. If you do, or if you’re not sure, keep reading. If you know you haven’t updated your Exchange Server recently, there are some things you should do immediately. First of all, passwords that are sitting in memory could be vulnerable. You should immediately reset all passwords. Next, run the latest patch for your system. As a safety measure, you might want to change your passwords after you run the patch. What this means is, when breaches like this occur, you can’t be too safe. 

Steps to Secure Your Server 

There are several things you can do to enhance your protection: 

  1. Patch your system with Microsoft updates. 
  1. Reset all passwords and change all credentials. 
  1. Double-check your backup device. Is the repository ok? Have you tested it? 
  1. Verify your router. You should also check your security with your vendor. Ask them when they last updated their signatures. 
  1. Scan for and investigate any malicious activities on your Exchange servers. 
  1. And finally, if you are unsure about your network’s safety, restore your Exchange server to a time before the compromises occurred. 

 

If you are not sure what kind of servers you are using, or you need help running the update patch, that’s what we’re here for. We are happy to help you figure out if you’re at risk from this threat. To help you ease your mind, contact us today!