FITS & Starts 2010 Newsletter

15 January 2010  - Happy New Year                                                                                    Volume 10, Issue 1

In This Issue

Virtual Servers

Social Engineering

Free Office Software

FITS Web

At less than half the cost of a typical laptop, lightweight and feature rich – here come the Netbooks…


Easy and Inexpensive Backup Solutions (Click Here)

Customers expect to be able to access your business via the web…and why not?  It is an inexpensive sales tool available anytime…



Your Business or Home wireless network should display a ‘lock’ symbol indicating it is secure, if not you may be leaving your data exposed. Contact FITS if you are not sure sales@FileBankIT.com or (416) 640-2874 …

Question of the Month:
What company is involved in the development of openoffice.org?

Send your response to info@FileBankIT.com before Feb. 15, 2010 to be eligible to win a $10 Tim Horton’s Gift Card.

The Small Business Benefits of Virtual Servers

Virtualization is a process whereby multiple servers or workstations are run within a single computer.  Even for smaller businesses the benefits of Virtualization quickly add up.

 

Virtualization moves your business in a leaner, environmentally green direction, as well as providing a disaster recovery component second to none.  If in the future you require your Virtual Server to run additional computer environments, they may be added without additional hardware costs.  Benefits Include:

 

Equipment Consolidation – Reduce hardware costs by consolidating all your existing servers into one single piece of hardware.  Each virtual machine will see its own hardware and can only see the other virtual machines through a Local Area Network (LAN) connection.

 

Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery - Each virtual server/workstation exists as a single large data file. This file can be easily copied onto external media for backup purposes. The image does not require complicated rebuilding and is usable almost immediately.

 

Power and Cooling Savings - You will require power and cooling for only 1 machine instead of the several that exist now.  Welcome to lower operating costs and a reduced (greener) footprint.

 

Safeguarding from Malware/Virus - Should a virtual machine become infected with malware or a virus, simply delete the existing virtual machine files and replace them with a copy from the backup. Downtime is limited to the time it takes to copy the clean backup system over.

 

If your business is looking to upgrade or introduce a server - Contact FITS Sales@FileBankIT.com (416) 640-2874 for a no-obligation consultation

 

Socially Engineered Intrusions - Watchdogs

Social engineering is the art of gaining access to areas (buildings, networks, data etc.) by leveraging human psychology, rather than using brute force.  This can be accomplished in person or using any number of available communication tools (email, telephone, websites etc.).

Human behaviour is always the weakest link in any security program.  Most people aren’t trained to recognize a social engineer's tricks and tend to be polite and helpful when it comes to business dealings (we are trying to look after our customer’s needs after all). 

Examples of intrusions could be someone posing as a service provider (in person, they may be in uniform or appropriate business dress); an email intrusion can appear from your System Administrator (or similar authority) asking for credentials such as passwords to ‘fix’ something, (or from a financial institution, PayPal or eBay asking for your account information).  Social networking sites have opened a host of new avenues, "Have you seen this video/photo of you?”.  ‘Friends’ sites, who have been hacked, can ask for information or money to get them out of trouble, “I’m stranded while on vacation and need you to wire some money”.

A sophisticated intruder will attempt to blend in and look like they belong or they may take on the role of an authority figure whose instruction requires your immediate attention and unquestioning compliance.  These types of intrusions are difficult to defend against as they constantly change in form, however a few basics should be introduced at your company to get you on the right track to better security.

A little bit of paranoia goes a long way regarding security matters. Get all your staff involved in the security process – include training seminars and keep staff up to date or refreshed on the topic. Make good security part of your company culture (a company newsletter or internal website can serve as a reminder) Management should demonstrate good security as an example and reward good security behaviour by the employees – little rewards (a thank-you or chocolate treat) often go a long way.

For more information on security steps to safeguard your business or home computers contact FITS.  (Sales@FileBankIT.com or 416 640-2874)

 

Free Office Suite at OpenOffice.org

For those of you looking for a viable alternative to Microsoft Office for your home or business computer, OpenOffice.org (OOo) offers up an office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more… all at no charge.  Yes really, as in ‘no-strings attached’, free.

What’s more, the software runs on all major computing platforms - Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, Sun Solaris, and Apple Mac. The idea is essentially Sun Microsystems attempt to reduce the dominant market share of Microsoft Office by providing a free and open alternative. As the software is built by the open source software developer’s community, anyone can look at the programs and suggest improvements or fix bugs.

OOo uses the standard OpenDocument Format (ODF) as its default file format, however it allows you to open and save files in many different formats, which means it can open any Microsoft Office file as well as a host of others.  It has the look and feel of Microsoft's Office 2003 and contains most (if not all) of the features you have in your current suite. As an added bonus it also includes a built-in PDF converter… I’m hard pressed to find a feature that this software doesn’t have and there are a multitude of add-ons to download if you so desire.

On the down-side, the program does have occasional problems converting file formats exactly as they appeared in the original (conversions can be tricky), it may be slightly more demanding of your system and produce marginally bigger files however, with a newer version due out this month (updates appear about every 3-months) a lot of the reasons to dismiss this product are fast disappearing.

Whether you are a ‘poor student’, small business trying to reduce your costs or just looking for a product that isn’t Microsoft, OpenOffice.org is a comprehensive product that seems to be continually improving itself and from what I’ve seen, is well worth a look.

Getting your OOo suite is as simple as downloading and installing all components in a single operation.  With over 100,000,000 downloads of this product already I thought you might like to know. For more information on OOo go to http://www.openoffice.org/

When in need of expert computer advice contact FITS at Sales@FileBankIT.com or (416) 640-2874 and stay focused on what your business does best.

 

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