Blog

How To Secure Your Passwords in the New Year

With the approaching new year, it might be time to start thinking about ways that you can improve your life. Some common resolutions include losing weight, exercising more and spending less.

Secure Passwords

Have you considered bettering your digital life as well? Why not take steps to make it more secure? One of the easiest ways to do this is by using strong and complex passwords and change them often.

Update Passwords Regularly.

When was the last time you updated your passwords? If the answer to this question is more than 30 days ago, it’s time for a change.

Some people use passwords for years or until a system requires they update them. This could have serious consequences to your privacy. For this reason, it’s essential that you update your passwords frequently. It’s much easier to break a password that’s remained unchanged than it is to crack a password that’s changed each month.

It’s also important that you use different passwords for each one of your accounts. Using the same password for everything is like inviting hackers to steal your information. If you do this, and someone hacks into one of your accounts by figuring out your password, they would also have the password for your email, other social media accounts, online shopping sites, and perhaps even your bank account. By changing passwords across platforms, you’re further protecting your confidential information.

Invest in a Password Bank.

I know—I can hear you now: “I’m too busy to constantly change passwords and keep track of them.”  This is no excuse – especially because there are applications you can use called password banks.  A password bank, like LastPass or DashLane can help you keep track of the passwords you use and what accounts they’re associated with. Both free and upgraded versions are available.

You simply access your password bank with a master password that you create, or with a fingerprint on your smartphone. The password bank automatically keeps track of your passwords and ensures they’re stored securely so they can’t be hacked. Even if a criminal cracks one of your passwords, they won’t be able to break them all.

According to Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, weak passwords are the cause 63% of all data breaches.

Carefully Craft Your Passwords.

If your passwords are simple they’re more likely to be discovered. It’s important that you create long and complex passwords, with a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols when permitted.

Avoid using names or places in your passwords, as people who come to know you may be able to guess them. Don’t use common phrases like “iloveyou” or “1234.”  A good password might be a string of numbers and letters or some other combination of information like a sentence acronym that’s specific to yourself.  For example: My favorite place to eat is La Cucina Italian Restaurant – (MfpteiLCIR)

Use Two-Factor Authentication.

Two-factor authentication also referred to as multi-factor authentication, uses verification in two forms to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing your private information. With two-factor authentication, you use an initial password login and a secondary one. In addition to entering your username and password, you must enter a designated code that’s been sent as a text to your phone.

A token or keycard can also be used for the second authentication. A token might be a device such as a USB drive. The drive generates a one-time password, and after entering the initial password as well as the one-time password, access is granted.

And remember, securing passwords is something you should do year-round, not just for the new year.  Phoenix Technology can help. If you are interested in learning more about password security, contact us today at 1-800-677-7305, or click here to fill out a quick form so we can better assist you.

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Why Is Everything In Tech “As A Service” These Days?

Leading ‘As-A-Service’ Trends In Technology And What They Can Do For Your Business

As A Service

The advent of cloud computing brought with it more than just a place to store data, the cloud could be used for running, as well as building, applications and other software. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the most commonly used of the cloud services model. This is where a third party distributes software over the internet, making them available to everyone. This could be email, customer relationship management, and healthcare-related applications.

  • SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) – A software distribution model where a third-party (MSP) hosts applications over the internet, making them available to customers via the internet. SaaS is one of three main components of cloud computing. The other two are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

There are several important characteristics tied to the SaaS model. These are how they differ from the traditional software model and what makes it ideal for some businesses versus the traditional way of doing things.

  • It’s a uniform platform for delivery. There is no need to pay extra operational overhead for software users to go through different distribution channels. It’s all done in one platform with a single avenue of distribution.
  • It has centralized hosting and delivery. No more different software packages for different operating systems or platforms. With SaaS, it functions on a single platform (the internet) with a uniform interface.
  • It allows for open collaboration and sharing. With SaaS, platform tools like automated user provisioning and self-service account management provide users with the necessary tools to control how and when they share things like tasks, data and information with other users either inside or outside their company.

It’s easy for companies to streamline their support with SaaS because vendors perform all the maintenance and upkeep: updates, runtime, servers, storage, data, etc. SaaS is one of three main components to cloud computing, along with Platform as a Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

  • HaaS (Hardware-as-a-Service) – A procurement (the series of activities and procedures necessary to acquire IT products and services) model similar to leasing or licensing. The hardware belongs to the managed service provider and is installed at a customer’s site, then a service level agreement is signed that fills out what both parties are responsible for.

The Hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) model can be a cost-effective way for a small or mid-sized business provide employees with state-of-the-art hardware in a cost-effective manner. HaaS can be contrasted to infrastructure-as-a-service where the hardware is housed at the MSP’s site.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is for running applications and providing cloud components to software. Basically, the customer is using the provided platform, such as Microsoft Azure, to use libraries, languages, services and other tools supported by the platform provider.

The same way that you would make macros in Microsoft Excel, PaaS allows you to create applications using software built into the PaaS. Applications that use PaaS will inherit cloud capabilities such as scalability, high-availability, SaaS enablement and more. It reduces the amount of coding needed, it automates business policy and it helps migrate apps to a hybrid model.

Some vendors of PaaS use open source platforms while others use more of a proprietary version. Open source might have the advantage of being portable, but a vendor-specific version will probably have a better support model. Your business should take into account these versions before picking their PaaS. Portability is very important because businesses that want to move between cloud versions as their strategy evolves.

  • What are the benefits of PaaS?

One benefit is cost reduction; the other is that you can deliver web apps quickly without installing any tools or software.

  • What costs are associated with PaaS?

PaaS is usually billed using the same model as your utility bill, you pay for only what you use. It eliminates the need to install hardware or software that you don’t need.

  • What type of businesses can benefit from PaaS?

Development teams who want to speed their application’s time to market can benefit from PaaS; businesses looking to put their applications on a common architecture; and organizations who need critical support would also benefit from using PaaS. It reduces IT costs, complexity of operating systems and increases scalability.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud infrastructure service that is a self-service model for accessing, monitoring and managing remote data centers such as compute, storage, networking and networking services such as firewalls. So instead of buying hardware outright, you pay for what you need as you go. It’s consumption based, much like your electricity is now.

Unlike PaaS and SaaS, IaaS users are responsible for managing data, runtime, apps and operating systems on it. The provider still manages networking, visualization and storage. Many providers now offer databases and other services. But the user is responsible for updating if there any updates.

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top 12 Tech Gifts 2017: TCL S405 4K HDR TV

We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Ultra 4K TV

If you’re anything like most Canadians, you want the latest and greatest tech but can’t always afford it. TV’s for instance. You want to experience this new 4K technology that everyone is talking about but there is no way you can afford $3,000 for a TV. Never fear, there is an alternative.

The TCL S405 55” 4K HDR TV proves you don’t need to break the bank to experience 4K. Offering similar picture quality and brightness to the Samsung Q7F, the TCL offers fewer levels of lag than the pricier Samsung and comes with Roku TV! You can play Gears of War 4 in 4K or stream Netflix in stunning 4K resolution. All this will run you $600 for the 55” model.

It doesn’t sport a hub for your HDMI like the Samsung Q7F, but it does have three HDMI ports and a single USB on the rear side. Still, I’d gladly sacrifice a port or two if it meant saving thousands of dollars. Not only does it save you money, but now you have enough to get that new iPhone, right?

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Paradigm Network Solutions!

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top 12 Tech Gifts for 2017: Samsung Galaxy S8

We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Samsung Galaxy s8

If the new iPhone seems a bit pricey for you, don’t worry. The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ offer similar technology but with a cheaper price tag. Much like its competition, the S8 offers a 5.8-inch display, but unlike that other phone, it curves around the edges of the phone producing the first true infinity screen on a smartphone.

The phone does 4K video, has a 12MP rear camera (8MP on the front), uses facial recognition to unlock, is water and dust resistant, and charges wirelessly. All features that the iPhone X sports. But unlike the iPhone, the S8 can expand its memory from 64GB to 256GB via memory cards, allows multiple windows so that you can multitask (text while watching a movie?), and contains a headphone jack. Also, you aren’t restricted to one method of unlocking. There is also a fingerprint scanner and the use of a PIN.

The biggest difference here is that the S8 comes in a bigger model, the Galaxy S8+ which has a 6.2-inch screen for only a few dollars more. Both versions make use of Samsung’s new Bixby AI, their answer to Siri that learns from you and can do things like translate languages and point out landmarks when taking photos.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will run you $750 for 64GB (upgradeable to 256GB via the memory card) while the S8+ runs $840. Both versions come in Arctic Silver, Orchid Gray, and Midnight Black.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Paradigm Network Solutions!

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top 12 Tech Gifts 2017: SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C

We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C

This USB drive has connectors for both USB-A and USB-C, to make it simpler for transferring data between computers and even some newer Android phones with USB-C. Laptops, Android phones, Macs, and PCs are all utilizing the USB-C connection. With this, there’s no need to worry which type of flash drive you have.

The Dual Drive comes in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB sizes. The 32GB can be found for less than $20, while the bigger sizes will run you a bit more money.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Paradigm Network Solutions!

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top 12 Tech Gifts of 2017: Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Galaxy Smartphone

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 has an all-glass design with four speakers and a High Dynamic Range (HDR) ready display. HDR offers better contrast and a better color range than regular HD does, making this the tablet of choice for all your streaming needs. The speakers are positioned in the corners and the sound moves accordingly when the device is rotated.

The tablet also comes packaged with a revamped Samsung S-Pen stylus. If you are one who enjoys taking notes on your tablet or prefer doing a lot with a pen, this stylus writes smoothly and never has to be synced or charged. Besides writing, the S-Pen adds precision to coloring, drawing, and more. There’s also an add-on keyboard ($130) for those who want to use theirs as a word processor or for using the internet.

The Tab S3 uses a USB-C connection for fast charging, has a fingerprint sensor on the home button, and uses an all-glass design, rather than aluminum like most tablets do. Unlike your iPhone, this tablet is equipped with a standard headphone jack, so that you can use your current headphones with it.

The Tab S3 really shines when playing video. The screen is crisp and sharp, and the sound is loud and clear thanks to the four-speaker setup. It is the first and so far, the only, HDR-ready tablet on the market. If the sticker price doesn’t give you pause ($599), then the Galaxy Tab S3 is the tablet to get this Christmas.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Paradigm Network Solutions!

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top 12 Tech Gifts of 2017: Microsoft Surface Book 2

We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Microsoft Surface Book 2

Microsoft’s thin laptop/tablet hybrid two-in-one PC arrived on the market a couple of years ago and became an instant must-have item. This year’s models are no different. The 13-inch model comes in several variations of hard drive space and RAM and starts at $1499. Joining the fray is a 15-inch version with just as many memory options, but starts out at a hefty $2500.

The biggest difference between the two (aside from screen size) is the video graphics card in each one. The 15-inch is equipped with a more powerful video memory card, allowing it to act as a mobile gaming machine. Whether you’re playing Gears of War 4 or Cup Head, the machine isn’t likely to lag or slow down.

Both models come with a detachable screen, USB-C port, 17 hours of battery life, SD card reader, and offer touch screen with surface pen support. The pen allows you to sketch, write, and compose easily with virtually no lag.

Part tablet, part PC, and part gaming machine, the Surface Book 2 stands atop the laptop landscape this holiday season.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Paradigm Network Solutions!

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Microsoft Teams is Optimized & Now LIVE for Office 365

How Microsoft Teams is changing the game and giving Slack a run for its money

Microsoft Teams

News recently broke that Microsoft Teams is officially available to anyone with an Office 365 subscription. The application has been in testing since November, but it’s now fully launched as part of the Office 365 suite. This is great news for professionals because Teams is about to make communication among business teams in Office 365 much easier.

Many tech experts agree that this latest application from Microsoft will change the game for digital communication giants like Slack. While the initial version of Teams is dynamic and fully integrated, we thought it would be beneficial to explore the key differences and capabilities between Teams and Slack to see if Microsoft has really outdone the widely-used, web-based chat solution.

The Team Chat Showdown: Slack vs. Teams   

  • THE BASICS

Slack is the well-liked and long-standing web-based take on old-fashioned digital communication channels that use Internet Relay Chat (IRC) models. This allows for a long ‘relay’ of messages that can be persistently stored and accessed. This provides a constant flow of conversation between team members that can be re-examined or picked up from the most recent point at any time. The framework is line-oriented and text heavy but seeks to mimic the office water-cooler as a place for team members to chat in a conversational style.

Teams mimic Slack’s style but proudly includes a Microsoft twist. Microsoft Teams is a dynamic group messaging application organized around the use of chatrooms. Additionally, unlike Slack, Teams is not a standalone solution – it is fully integrated with all Office 365 applications, which optimizes the consolidation of data and functionality. Full integration means there’s no additional account sign ups or onboarding process. Only one login, using existing Office 365 credentials is required.

  • BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE & INTEGRATION

Furthermore, Teams relies on built-in business intelligence tools to help users better utilize and understand existing groups or teams. This makes it easier than ever to streamline the company communication platform and ensure relevant team members stay connected. This optimization is maximized even further because Teams is also integrated with Skype for Business. This means turning a Teams text conversation into a face-to-face meeting is only a click away, from within the same browser.

Like Slack, Teams can be integrated with a variety of third-party services to offer things like embedded images and videos within chat windows. Teams have even gone further than Slack in the creative department by adding a feature that allows users to choose an image and overlay text on it. Finally, thanks to Office 365 integration, file sharing capabilities are much more streamlined in Teams as opposed to Slack.

  • MESSAGE PRIVACY & LAYOUT

Teams are more private as it utilizes private group chat options instead of a ‘live-stream’ IRC channel like Slack. This means team members can have more private conversation streams that function more like personal messages as opposed to status updates.

Microsoft also changed the game when it comes to message view and organization. Slack has since copied the feature, but Teams was the first to orient toward threaded messaging. This allows users to cluster replies beneath specific messages. As mentioned, Slack has now included this feature, but many users agree that the threading option just doesn’t suit the Slack, line-by-line, IRC model. The bottom line is, many Slack users chose the solution for this ‘free-for-all’ approach to team communication.

It’s here where Teams parts ways most significantly from Slack. Some critics believe the Teams infrastructure is a little heavy and clunky. Threaded messages take up a lot of space, meaning users don’t have the option of seeing a variety of messages on screen at once. While threaded messaging may work for some companies, most organizations investing in an instant communications platform are looking for something more instantaneous and chat-style.

  • PRICING & USAGE OPTIONS

The final way that Microsoft is distancing itself from the Slack approach, is through tiered pricing models. As it stands, Teams has no free tier and no standalone pricing. Instead, Teams comes included with Office 365 Business Essentials, Business Premium as well as all three Enterprise plans (E1, E3 & E5). This means Teams is offered at no additional cost – Office 365 users pay their regular monthly subscription and have full access to the Teams app. Slack, on the other hand, a free version and a variety of basic, per-user subscription models for their stand-alone chat solution.

The Final Verdict: Microsoft Introduces a Top Contender on Their First Try

When it comes down to it, Microsoft built Teams in about 21 months and it’s already a polished and well-equipped solution. In fact, for a version 1 product, Teams is downright remarkable. So, for Office 365 business users who have been making use of Slack for communication, Teams offers a compelling alternative. Google is on the scene too, pushing Hangouts as an additional communication solution – specifically targeted at G Suite subscribers.

However, when it comes down to it, neither Slack or Hangouts offers the same integration, centralization, and customization potential that Teams offers. While Microsoft may want to rethink the visual infrastructure of Teams to reflect a more appealing and consistent flow of conversation, their solution is already changing the game when it comes to business communication. They may also be wise to consider a free, standalone subscription option to get users hooked on the features and capabilities built-in to Teams. A standalone version could also serve as an effective tool for external collaboration and cross-organizational connection.

Is teamwork in your office delayed or made difficult because of poor communication tools? Wondering about the best solutions for more instant and streamlined chat potential among team members? Reach out to our team of technology professionals any time for guidance.

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top 12 Tech Gifts 2017: Samsung Q7F 4K TV

We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Samsung Q7F 4K TV

You’ve purchased the new Xbox One X or a PS4 Pro, and now you can’t wait to get gaming. Or maybe the console purchase was for a spouse and/or child. Sure, your run-of-the-mill HDMI capable TV that adorns your living room will connect. But you didn’t get all that new and great 4K power just to force it onto a standard high definition television, did you?

Of course not. You have 4K now, so that demands a great 4K experience. The folks over at Samsung hear you and have just the screen in mind. The Samsung Q7F is the perfect TV for your 4K movies or games. It’s great for media consumption, with four HDMI ports and three USB ports. These can be used individually, or you can connect all your devices to the Samsung One Connect Box, which acts as a hub for HDMI connections and feeds into the TV via a single cable. Super convenient when you have multiple systems.

Recommended by the folks over at Xbox, this premium screen will run you minimum $2,800 for the 55” model and as high as $6,000 for the 75” version. Available at most retailers, the best deals are usually hiding on the store’s website.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Paradigm Network Solutions!

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →

Top Tech Gifts 2017: Nintendo Switch

We like tech, it’s what we do. As the holiday shopping season kicks into overdrive, we are bringing you 12 of the most requested, most wanted tech gifts for 2017. Check back each business day between now and December 19th for another must-have tech item and why you should check it out.

Nintendo Switch

Nintendo knows how to get people excited, and excited they are to get the newest Nintendo console, the Nintendo Switch. The biggest draw might be the ability to play on your TV at home then remove it from its docking station and continue playing on the go as a handheld system. The console seamlessly transitions from one mode to the other, allowing you to take the game with you.

Attached to your TV, the Switch docking station connects via HDMI and gives you true HD gameplay. The controller, the Joy-Con, separates into two controllers for multiplayer or the two can be attached to the sides of the console for gaming on the go. The Switch comes with a tiny 32GB of internal storage, but that can be easily upgraded to 2TB with a micro SD card.

Unlike previous Nintendo consoles, or even the Xbox and PlayStation, the Switch doesn’t use discs. Instead, it uses small cartridges, like the games on the 3DS handheld system. At only $299.99 it’s an affordable piece of hardware with a unique array of software already available for it. It doesn’t play DVDs or Blu-rays, but it makes up for it with fun and exciting games such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey.

Nintendo has said that they are doubling their production on the Switch, so it should be in ample supply this holiday.

Happy Holidays and good luck on the tech hunt from all of us here at Paradigm Network Solutions!

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

Leave a Comment (0) →
Page 5 of 26 «...34567...»