The cloud is firmly established in business, with some of the world’s biggest brand names using cloud-based infrastructure and software. But the cloud is particularly well-suited to the demands of small business, particularly in terms of cost.
When you move computing to the cloud, there’s no need to maintain your own infrastructure, or keep up-to-date with the fast-moving world of technology. That means there’s no need to employ a team of engineers.
Meanwhile, with a simple recurring cost, you only pay for what you need, not the huge capital expense of establishing your own network.
In a small business where resources are limited and liquidity is essential, the cloud is the perfect solution.
You should already know that an effective firewall is essential, protecting your computer while it’s connected to the internet. But did you know that Windows Firewall is a viable solution built into the Windows operating system?
Windows Firewall offers all the functionality you’d expect from a firewall, including application filtering, packet filtering, and circuit-level filtering. While this filtering is mainly designed to deal with incoming connections as opposed to outbound traffic, it’s an effective way to secure your desktop.
In addition, Windows Firewall is an excellent choice for enterprise. You can deploy configurations through your AD Group Policy, login scripts, and unattended setup scripts, enforcing your firewall policies across every Windows PC.
Whatever the nature of your SQL database-driven application, the speed of your SQL queries has a bottom-line impact on performance. To deliver the fastest, most responsive experience to users, SQL Server optimization is essential.
There is a wealth of manual things you can do to keep SQL Server snappy. The fundamentals include proper indexing with primary keys so that data can be found fast, and regularly rebuilding indexes to avoid fragmentation.
Of course, generating database reports, optimizing your database, and clearing data can become a time consuming process. However, with free SQL Server optimization tools like those available from Quest (now owned by Dell), there’s no excuse.
We’re already transferring our data through the cloud, but more and more businesses are moving to cloud phone systems.
From Ring Central to Mitel and Digium, cloud telephony and VoIP give you impressive functionality with a clear recurring cost, often per agent. Unlike traditional fixed line telephony, you can add lines instantly, scale up and down to meet changing demand, and connect to your phone system from anywhere.
Some solutions, like Microsoft Lync, even bring together different types of communication, including email and SMS.
With powerful features available wherever your users go, the growth of cloud phone systems looks set to continue.
While smartphones are smart, they’re not always very safe.
We store masses of confidential data on our devices but, unlike a desktop PC or enterprise server, they’re not stored safely in an office. Instead, they’re on the bus, in the car, or in a jacket pocket.
Fortunately, robust encryption can keep your mobile data safe. Apple has recently expanded its 256-bit AES-based encryption across almost all data stored on the device, while Android platforms – by their open nature less secure – can be encrypted using third-party applications.
Of course, no encryption is flawless and, if your mobile device is lost or stolen, you should always make use of remote wipe functionality.
Using a remote desktop solution makes your desktop follow you wherever in the world you go. Simply use a computer, tablet, or smartphone to connect to your original computer over the internet.
But whenever data travels the internet, it is exposed to numerous security threats. For the most part, protecting data against these threats depends on high quality encryption.
Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services uses the RDP protocol, which is encrypted by default. You can also change the encryption level or implement network level authentication before sessions are created. Similar options are available in every major remote desktop solution.
While transferring data via the internet is by definition less secure that keeping it locally, the right solutions and settings make remote desktops a minimal risk.
Desktop virtualization brings with it some impressive advantages for businesses. With every user desktop running from a centralized server, you can improve security, take control of permissions, and improve system portability.
Citrix offers complete solutions for desktop and application virtualization, with some useful features. Specifically, Citrix’s proprietary HDX protocol is a high-speed transfer method designed to eliminate lag when connecting to virtual desktops.
In addition, Citrix offers wide support for different platforms, including Mac OS X and a Java-based browser client.
Of course, these additional features come with a cost. While Citrix solutions offer quality, it’s worth comparing functionality against your requirements to avoid paying for things you don’t really need.
As more and more enterprises start working with data in the cloud, the number of cloud storage providers can be overwhelming. Two of the most popular are Dropbox and Box. However, despite their similar names, there are some fundamental differences to consider.
Box was developed from the outset with a focus on the needs of businesses. As a result, it remains ahead of Dropbox in terms of detailed reporting, granular permissions, and advanced user management. Dropbox, meanwhile, retains the ease of use and convenience you’d expect from a solution developed for consumers.
Who is better? The answer depends on who you are and how you’ll be using the cloud.
While the world of work goes mobile, it gets harder and harder to maintain control and governance. When an increasingly diverse range of devices go wherever your users do, how do you maintain visibility?
The right mobile phone central management tools are essential. Two of the leading solutions are Good Mobile Device Management (MDM) from Good Technology and MobileIron.
Both solutions give you complete control over mobile devices, from certificate-based security to enforcing your organizational policies. So you can be sure that, wherever users go, the data they access, create, and manipulate is secure.
The Active Directory Sync tool [DirSync] can now be installed on an Active Directory Domain Controller (DC). You must fist have to install version 6553.0002 or newer. The process of installing DirSync on a DC is mostly the same as for deploying it normally. Keep in mind that the administrator installing the tool will need to log-off and log-on again after the Installation Wizard is complete and before the Configuration Wizard is run. This additional step of logging off and logging back in is necessary to ensure that the Directory Sync tool is installed using the least privileges possible on the DC.
If you forget to follow the above process, the Configuration Wizard will return an “Constraint Violation Error” error. If you face this error, simply log off and log in again and you will be able to proceed. Note that the recommendation is still to deploy DirSync on a member server rather than a DC as it will install FIM 2010 R2 SP1 and SQL Server 2012 Express SP1 by default, which can add overhead to your DC.