Monthly Archives: July 2017

7 Steps to Implement new Technology

Every business is different and their requirements vary greatly depending on the type of the business, irrespective of that, information technology is one impressive selection for each type of venture. For your business, you may opt to start with a technology and you may be successful in only two cases, either you are well-informed about the technology or you got fortunate with it. It is thereby advised to consult with adept information technology service providers; they would not only assist in selecting and installing the right technology, but also if there is not an existing solution for your business they may as well design felicitous software for your business needs. Below listed are the steps explaining how to start and proceed while going for with a new technology or custom developed software solutions?
1. Know the needs of your business.
You are the best person who knows about your business needs. Document all the requirements in detail, give a clear explanation of existing system, expected solutions, alternative approach to solve problems (if you are aware of any), weight and impact of the problems on your business. If you have this information handy, there would be a checklist that you may be able to compare with while choosing and moving forward with a solution. It is important to get end user involved in the process before the technological solution is identified and implemented.
2. Evaluate all available resources.
For launching any kind of information technology, you need a computer at the least, obviously. And if you have employees working for you, it would be a good idea to be familiar with how far they can go with the new technology. It is utmost important to identify your finances, assets and technical skills of your employees; this information would enable you to choose a solution that fits your business.
3. Budgeting for the new technology.
Now you know your finances, it is time to allocate the available funds. While accounting for a software solution consider following costs; software company consultation, buying required hardware, purchasing the solution from IT vendor, installing the solution, training self as well as employees, maintenance and support costs etc.
4. Talk to information technology expert; explain your business and requirements.
Even if you know there is existing application software to mitigate, it is always better to contact software organizations to know about all available options, you may be able to find a better way. If you have no idea about any technology that will benefit your business, explain them what you would like to do, if possible present the document that you prepared in step 1. If you like to discuss your budget your provider may be able to come up with a solution that’s under your budget. Sometimes custom developed software packages provide better advantages than canned software in the market.
5. Get the solution from your preferred provider.
There may be software applications available that may fit your requirements, you may obtain your piece of software and proceed to installation with the help of your software provider. If there is not existing software solving your business needs, get custom software developed by a reputed custom programming service provider in market.
6. Test software acceptability, provide training to end user.
Once delivered and installed successfully, your software solution (either custom developed software or canned software) is ready for user acceptance testing, involve your staff and enter distinct sets of data, test the software for its functioning and report any modifications required. Organize training sessions for your employees to help them acquaint with the newly installed solution.
7. Always be in touch with your vendor, update your system as and when required.
As your business advances, you might feel the necessity of modifying your information system in order to accommodate new requirements. Also newer technology offerings at that time may prove even more beneficial for your business. You may sometimes have questions about the software, contact your software company and communicate your needs to them. Provide feedback about the software, it enables them to better their offerings and if you are very happy with their service do not forget to write an appreciation noteFind Article, it is that piece of motivation which will oblige them to keep serving you better on your future requests.

How to make the most of New Technology in your Business

Technology is continually advancing allowing us to run our businesses better faster and cheaper than ever before. Quite often technology can be daunting to say the least. Technology is such a huge and diverse area. The following guidelines will help you take advantage of the latest advancements.

Look for ways of implementing new technologies that are relatively low risk. This will allow you to evaluate their effectiveness without tying yourself into a long term commitment and expense. It is quite common for companies to offer their products to you for a free trial period so that you can test and evaluate the product. Make use of this free trial and spend some time to evaluate the product to see if it will meet your requirements.

Don’t be afraid of using Technology, its there as a tool to help you improve the way you do things and should not be thought of as a barrier to getting things done. The best Technology companies will design their products to be as user friendly as possible and will provide support to you as you implement their products.

Make use of internet based technologies. Where possible utilize technologies that do not require you to install and manage complicated software and hardware. This allows you to concentrate on learning and using the technology in your business rather than worrying about installing and maintaining it. The latest version of software is always available to you without requiring any upgrades to your computers. And the software will be accessible to you wherever you are in the world providing you have a computer and an internet connection.

Take the time to learn how to use new technology. Time spent learning and understanding exactly what can be done with new and existing technology will pay off many times over. Most modern software has extensive help documentation and tutorial information. Use this information to get the most out of your investment.

Focus on introducing technologies that will make it easier for your staff to do their jobs and interact together. Don’t get caught up in the hype of the latest and greatest technology. Technology should be viewed as a business tool like any other and should be able to justify its cost with quantifiable results and a return on the investment to your business.

It can also be useful to invest in the services of specialized Technology Consultants who will be able to guide you through the process of identifyingScience Articles, evaluating and implementing new technologies in your business.

The Basics To Know The Technology

Technology is always changing and evolving, but most businesses can’t afford to keep pace with the latest trends. There is always something new in the market that companies can buy to leverage their systems and upgrade them. It is a dilemma but don’t haste on buying new technology right away, if you have built a good foundation of technology you are still on track.

Focus on laying a solid foundation for your business technology, with a plan and a budget for ongoing support, maintenance and replacement.  It’s just as important to get the technology basics right as it is to have a strong financial or marketing plan.  In this article, I share with you a touch on the ten technology basics that should be in place in your business to get it running in soid shape.

1. Hardware & Software – The most obvious technology components.  To reduce problems, ensure that your hardware isn’t too old and always use legally licensed software.

2. Power protection – Often neglected, power protection equipment is an essential investment for protecting your more expensive technology assets from power-related damage.

3. File sharing – Whether using a shared storage device on your network, a ‘hosted’ solution or your own server, save yourself from the tiring and unproductive task of emailing documents around your own team.

4. Backups – Ensure they are functioning, checked daily, tested weekly and stored securely at another location.  It’s not enough to ‘think’ that they are working and that ‘someone’ is looking after them.

5. Internet access – Balance your monthly fee budget with a connection that is reliable and gives you enough speed and data allowance to enable your staff to work effectively.

6. Domain name – The cost is negligible to show people you are serious about your business and you are not just operating with a free email service.  Build your internet presence on this and tap into a great source of new customers.

7. Security – Though network ‘firewalls’ and ‘anti-malware’ software security measures are now considered essential, don’t neglect the physical security of your computers.  Is your server easy to grab during a break-in through your front door?

8. Passwords – Commonly avoided in small business as you trust the people you work with, secure, complex passwords are needed in your defense against hacking attempts and physical theft.

9. Plans & Policies – Technology needs to be managed like any area of your business, not just taken for granted and acted on in an emergency.  Your plans should include budgeting for replacing aging hardware, business continuity processes in case of technology failureFree Articles, and disaster recovery processes.  Policies for staff covering acceptable usage and computer security are also easier implemented before they are needed.

10. Trusted I.T. advisor – Develop a relationship with a technology expert who is willing to learn about your business.  Then you’ll get the best possible support and solutions that fit your current needs and future plans.

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter about the next steps for reinforcing your strong technology foundation.

Linux Programs Secure Your System Bit by Bit

As daunting as securing your Linux system might seem, one thing to remember is that every extra step makes a difference. It’s almost always better to make a modest stride than let uncertainty keep you from starting.

Fortunately, there are a few basic techniques that greatly benefit users at all levels, and knowing how to securely wipe your hard drive in Linux is one of them. Because I adopted Linux primarily with security in mind, this is one of the first things I learned. Once you have absorbed this lesson, you will be able to part with your hard drives safely.

As you might have deduced, the usual way of deleting doesn’t always cut it. The most often-used processes for deleting files — clicking “delete” in the operating system or using the “rm” command — are not secure.

When you use one of these methods, all your hard drive does is mark the area where the deleted file used to be as available for new data to be written there. In other words, the original state of the bits (1s and 0s) of the deleted file are left intact, and forensic tools can recover the files.

This might seem like a bad idea, but it makes sense. Hard drives are designed to optimize hardware integrity, not security. Your hard drive would wear out very quickly if it reset the bits of a deleted file to all 0s every time you deleted a file.

Another process devised with hard drive lifespan in mind is “wear leveling,” a firmware routine that saves each new file in a random location on the drive. This prevents your drive from wearing out data cells, as those near the beginning of the drive would suffer the most wear if it saved data sequentially. However, this means it is unlikely that you ever would naturally overwrite a file just through long-term use of the drive.

So, what does it mean to “securely wipe” a hard drive?

Moving Raw Bits

Secure deletion involves using a program to overwrite the hard drive manually with all 0s (or random data). This useless data overwrites the entire drive, including every bit of every saved and deleted file. It even overwrites the operating system, leaving nothing for a malicious actor to exploit.

Since the command line is usually the simplest way of going about manual operations like this, I will go over this method. The best utility for this is the “dd” command.

The “dd” commamd can be used for many things besides secure deleting, like making exact backups or installing Linux distributions to USB flash drives, but what makes it so versatile is that whereas commands like “mv” and “cp” move around files as file objects, “dd” moves data around as a stream of raw bits. Essentially, while “mv” and “cp” see files, “dd” only sees bits.

What “dd” does is very simple: It takes an input and sends it to an output. Your Linux system has a stream of 0s it can read located at /dev/zero. This is not a normal file — it’s an endless stream of 0s represented as a file.

This will be our input for a wipe operation, for the purpose of this tutorial. The output will be the device to be overwritten. We will not be overwriting an actual running system, as 1) you probably wouldn’t want to; and 2) it actually wouldn’t work, because your system would overwrite the part of the system responsible for performing the overwrite before the overwrite was complete.

Securely erasing external storage devices, like USB flash drives and external hard drives is pretty straightforward, but for wiping your computer’s onboard hard drive, there are some extra steps involved.

The Live-Boot Option

If you can’t use a running system to wipe an onboard drive, how do you perform the operation? The answer is live-booting. Many Linux distributions, including those not explicitly specialized for the purpose, can be loaded and run on a computer from a connected USB drive instead of its onboard drive. When booted this way, the computer’s onboard drive is not accessed at all, since the system’s data is read entirely from the USB drive.

Since you likely installed your system from a bootable USB drive, it is best to use that. To live-boot, we have to change the place where the computer checks to find an operating system to run by entering the BIOS menu.

The BIOS is the firmware code that is loaded before any part of any OS is run, and by hitting the right key at boot time, we can access its menu. This key is different on different computers. It’s usually one of the “F” keys, but it might be something else, so it might take a few tries to figure it out, but the first screen that displays should indicate where to look.

Once you find it, insert the live-boot USB, reboot the computer directly into the BIOS menu, and select the option to change the boot order. You should then see a list of storage devices, including the inserted USB. Select this and the live system should come up.

Locating the Right Address

Before we do any deleting, we have to figure out which address our system assigns to the drive to be deleted (i.e., the target drive). To do that, we will use the “lsblk” command, for “list block devices.” It returns information about attached block devices, which are essentially hard drive-type devices.

Before running the command, take note of the target drive’s storage size, and detach all devices connected to your computer EXCEPT the drive storing the system you are live-booting from. Then, run “lsblk” with no arguments or options.

$ lsblk

The only device that should appear is your onboard hard drive and the live-booted USB. You will notice that “lsblk” returns a name (under “NAME”) beginning with “sd” and then a letter, with branching lines to the same name appended with a number. The name the branches originate from is the name of the “file” serving as the address of the drive in the /dev directory, a special directory that represents devices as files so the system can interact with them.

You should see an entry with the size of the USB drive hosting the live-boot system and a path under “MOUNTPOINT”, and (only) one other entry with the size of your target drive with no mount point listed. This second entry gives you the address for the output of “dd”. For instance, if your target drive corresponds to the name “sdb”, then that means /dev/sdb is the address.

However, to identify the address of an external drive you want to delete, run “lsblk” once with no device attached, check the (single) entry against your onboard drive’s size and make a note of its address, connect your target drive, run “lsblk” again, and check that its size corresponds to that of one of the entries in the output.

The output of the second “lsblk” command should now return two entries instead of one, and one of them should match target’s size. If your system is configured to automatically access inserted drives, you should see a path including “/media” under “MOUNTPOINT”, but otherwise the target drive should list nothing in that column.

As these addresses correspond to hard drives, it is important to be EXTREMELY careful to give the right one, because otherwise you will delete the wrong drive. As I noted earlier, if you accidentally give the address of your running system as the output, the command will immediately start writing zeros until you stop it (by hitting “Ctrl-c”) or your system crashes, resulting in irrecoverable data loss either way.

For example, since the letters are assigned alphabetically starting (usually) with the running system, if a single connected external drive is the target, it probably will be addressed as /dev/sdb. But, again, check this carefully, because it may be different for you.

Foiling Identity Thieves

Now we’re ready to delete. All we do is invoke “dd,” give /dev/zero as the input, and give our target (for this example, /dev/sdb) as the output. “dd” is an old command from the time before Linux, so it has a somewhat odd syntax. Instead of options prepended with dashes (“-“), it uses “if=” for “input file” and “of=” for “output file.” Our command, then, looks like this.

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb

Depending on how big the target drive is, and how fast your processor is, this could take a while. With a powerful processor wiping a 16-GB flash drive, this could take as little as 10 minutes. For an average processor writing over a 1-TB drive, though, it could take a whole day. You can do other things with your computer (though not with that terminal), but they probably will be slower, as this is a comparatively processor-intensive task.

Though this is probably not something you’ll do often, knowing how definitely will serve you well in the rare instances when need to. Identity theft from forensically analyzing discarded drives happens all the time, and this simple procedure will go a long way toward defending against it.