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Making a Comprehensive Network Plan for your Business

Whether you are launching a new business or looking to overhaul your existing business plan, it is very useful to take a look at the way your network is laid out. For many companies, your network is your business. As such, just like you would develop a business plan you should consider making a comprehensive network plan. This plan allows you to identify your network contacts, develop a plan for outages, managing the network on a day to day basis, and much more.


Identify your Applications Early On

If you are starting a new business, you should start by making a list of the applications you need in order to operate on a daily basis. This should include all the software that you use on a regular basis as well as special programs that your specialized employees use. Consider the resources needed to run each of these programs. The amount of resources your software uses will help to determine the hardware you purchase in order to support your operations. It will also help you decide whether or not you should look into setting up a virtual private network, or VPN. It's important to have the software details set before moving forward because that way you don't find yourself scrambling for additional resources.

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How Does Heartbleed Affect your Business Network?

The Heartbleed virus has struck websites across the world and put people's online security at risk. While the phenomenon has created a mass panic, there are still a lot of people who don't know what Heartbleed is or how it might affect them. Here's a quick description of what the virus does, how it might affect your network, and what you can do to make sure your business network remains as safe as possible with a minimum of risk moving forward.


What is Heartbleed?

The Heartbleed virus is an exploit that can affect any website or program using OpenSSL cryptography. The program targets the Transport Layer Security, or TLS, protocol. The virus gets its name fr om the fact that it targets the heartbeat extension. The heartbeat extension is a periodic signal sent to the server sent every few seconds to indicate that the user or connected computer is still there. If the heartbeat isn't received, the machine assumes that the connection has failed. By piggybacking onto this protocol, Heartbleed manages to slip in undetected and then transmits personal data, particularly passwords, to the user who sent the virus. This represents a major security breach for many networks.

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Streamlining File Management for Business Networks

Where are your most important files located? Most employees in a business know where to find what they use on a regular basis, but what if a key employee is out for the week or has left the company when something major comes up? File management is an often overlooked aspect of managing a business network. The larger your company grows, the more important file management becomes. Consider the tips below as a starting point for examining your file management system.


Emphasize Organization

If possible, you should encourage your employees to use a uniform file management system for any files that may be shared on your network. One option you can consider is to create a directory of main folders on your network drive that all other files will go into. These folders would be under the control of management or the IT team, so their names wouldn’t change. This ensures that, for example, all budget information goes into the network folder labeled “Budgets” rather than having one employee putting files into “Budgets,” another into “Budget,” and yet another into “Yearly Accounting.” It’s often very surprising how many seemingly self-evident names people use in their filing systems.

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Evaluating your Cloud Security

So you’ve made the move to cloud computing, but you’re hearing all sorts of rumbles about security issues. What do you do? Because cloud storage involves making access to the information you’re storing easier for employees on the goal and because most people who use cloud computing go through a third-party managed services provider, there is always a concern about data security. To make sure your information is secure, follow these tips when getting onto the cloud.


Create an Evaluation System for your Assets

One common mistake that a lot of people make is placing all their assets on a cloud database or, even worse, making arbitrary decisions as to what gets ported over and what stays on in-house storage devices. The better way of handling this situation is to evaluate your data and place a value on what is absolutely needed and what information should remain carefully guarded for confidentiality reasons. This will allow you to port over the assets that you have a lower value on to cloud storage so you can save space on your business network while also making sure that those items that should absolutely remain under your control do so. It also gives you a guideline to follow in future storage decisions.

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Recent Changes in the Cloud Computing World

The month of March 2014 may well go down as a significant one in the development of cloud technology. Major companies like Amazon, Cisco, and Microsoft made some big announcements, and Amazon.com made some moves as well. Here’s a summary of some of the major changes in the remote computing world that have occurred recently, as well as an in-depth look at what those changes might mean for your business in the present and the future.


Google’s Price Drop

In a bid to compete with Amazon Web Services, Google slashed prices for its cloud storage options across the board. Some of these reductions were as steep as 85%. At the same time, the search engine giant is trying to make its cloud options more appealing to businesses by consolidating their services into one large comprehensive product. The goal of this offering is to allow people to use the cloud for business use, personal entertainment, or simple file storage, depending on their needs and desires. This is a major coup for Google, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time until Amazon responds with a price decrease of its own. The good news is that the consumer wins during such a competition.

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