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Protecting your Network with a Business Continuity Plan

Where would your business be if disaster struck tomorrow? If the physical servers are destroyed in a fire or other disaster, how would you get your network back up and running? To protect your business in a worst-case scenario, you should have a Business Continuity Plan, or BCP for short. A BCP will make sure that you are prepared to reassemble your network and get things running again when other businesses would be crippled by a major disaster.

When you Might Use a BCP

A BCP is likely to come up in one of two situations. The first is in the case of a major natural disaster. Earthquakes, blackouts, hurricanes, and other issues can cause power surges and physical damage capable of crippling servers and erasing important data. The second is in the case of a particularly malicious attack fr om hackers, viruses, or other information-corrupting problems. Many companies come up with a BCP as a way to protect their physical resources, but backing up the data that makes up your network is just as important if not more so. Your goal in developing a BCP is to make sure that even in the case of a total network failure you will be able to carry on and return to normal quickly.

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Understanding Common Protocols: The OSI Model

How much do you know about your network protocols? One of the most common network protocols you will encounter is the OSI model, which stands for Open System Interconnection. This model uses seven layers to connect multiple systems on the same network. Understanding the different layers of the OSI model is one step on the way to being able to implement this protocol in the most efficient way possible.

The Application Layer

This is actually the last layer of the OSI model, but is the most important to understand. The application layer identifies communication partners and the quality of service. It also handles user authentication and privacy issues. Every function used in this layer is tailored to a specific application and designed to provide the best end user experience possible. Some services provided by this layer include email, file transfers, and network security. Tiered application architectures and FTP processes are also handled by this layer.

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Should you Make the Move to Cloud Computing?

Sometimes, having your company’s head in the clouds can be a good thing. Cloud computing is becoming more and more favored by small businesses thanks to its ability to decrease the amount of on-site paperwork and hardware needed. It can also provide businesses with more resources than their income might suggest. There are potential pitfalls when it comes to cloud computing, though, so the big question is: do you want it for your business?

Getting on the Cloud

Using cloud computing usually involves contacting a third party organization that can provide managed services for your business needs. You will select a service plan, sign a contract, and then provide that third party with the documents and software that you intend to store on the cloud. Small businesses typically choose these services as a way of providing them with the analytics data, storage capacity, and software assistance that larger companies have but which are otherwise not possible due to a lack of financial capital. You do need to be aware that cloud computing isn’t a cure-all solution for small businesses, though. Anytime you involve a third party in your business, there will be complications.

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Common Network Problems and their Solutions

Have you ever run into a situation where your computer just won't work and you don't know why? It's irritating when that happens to your home computer, but it is potentially disastrous if it happens to a business network. Besides, network problems on a business network need to be fixed before you can use remote desktop software such as Remote Utilities.

While your IT team should be able to handle most network problems, you can save a lot of time and money by handling these matters yourself. Presented here are a few of the most common network problems and their possible solutions.

Wireless Network Shows Signal but won't Connect

Wireless networking is a terrific way to make sure that your employees are able to move freely while maintaining access to all their business files. However, some notebooks and computers occasionally show a strong signal from the wireless router but still don't connect. If you encounter this problem, try putting the computer right next to the wireless router and see if it connects then. If it does, then that suggests a problem with the system hardware. A network card occasionally receives a strong signal but doesn't transmit as effectively. Updating the network card's drivers might solve this problem, but it is also possible that you may need to replace the hardware entirely should this occur.

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Customizing your Business for Mobile Users

Is your business network available on any device? With the increased focus on mobile marketing and business on the go, you should make sure to take the extra steps needed to optimize your network for access on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. This can be as simple as revamping your company's website or as complex as overhauling the way you handle your network security. For some tips about moving to a mobile world, read on.

Mobile Access versus Mobile Networking

First of all, it is essential to define the difference between mobile access and mobile networking. Providing mobile access is a matter of making your website mobile-friendly. This means optimizing your business's public site, removing frames that can be cumbersome on mobile devices, and streamlining your overall graphical presentation. By comparison, mobile networking means optimizing your entire business network so your employees, consultants, and other VIPs can easily access their essential files through their mobile devices. This is a much more involved process and requires a comprehensive look at your network. It can cause some security issues, but it can also streamline your business.

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Know Thy Enemy: Common Computer Viruses and how to Avoid Them

Nothing can cripple a network as thoroughly as a computer virus can. Having good firewall and virus protection software can help prevent your network from picking up these viruses, but it also helps to know more about the dangers out there. If you can recognize the behavior of specific types of viruses, that can help you avoid more dangers and find a cure faster in the unfortunate case that you wind up with this type of malware on your computer.

Identifying Trojan Viruses

Perhaps the most common type of virus on the Internet is the Trojan virus. Like the legendary Trojan horse, this virus pretends to be something useful and desirable but is actually designed to either disrupt network processes or harvest information. Trojans can do any number of different things, including tracking keystrokes to gain access to passwords and personal information. These viruses used to be linked to illicit activities like illegal file sharing and pornography sites, but times have changed and they can now be found on reputable websites from time to time. Unfortunately, the only sure way to defeat a Trojan is to make sure it doesn’t infect your computer in the first place.

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