Surface 3 – Carry with You on Premise or Anywhere with Freedom

It’s remarkable to see how technology devices are changing and improving for the better, whether for business or private use, it gives us more flexibility in our daily activities and at the same time it enables us to conveniently, remotely work anywhere and stay productive.

When you travel, it is troublesome to carry bulky or multiple devices (i.e. tablet, laptop).  If you’re allowed to use your own computing device for work and private it makes your life easier. Business and pleasure can be combined, if permitted. With the Surface 3’s integration with other Smart devices, Programs and Apps are excellent added features to be utilized.

Surface 3 is a light-weight and captivating device to carry with you everywhere. You may multitask with your Surface 3 and it can serve many purposes without distressing about the deadlines while being productive with less complexity.

Stay connected with your co-workers, friends and family thru emails, Instant Messaging, Video Conferencing, work and share your files while traveling with the Surface 3. Roaming around the globe while trying to stay in touch with friends and family while working to meet the deadlines can be a little infuriating…… why not give yourself the flexibility and freedom.

Having instant access to your documents and engaging with your co-workers and not missing appointments is vital.  All it takes is a connection to the internet where you can explore, be productive and meet your deadlines.

Whether you are working in the office or having a lunch/coffee break with a co-worker, bring your Surface 3 with you and use it for a presentation or video conferencing and collaborate with your Team. You may also plug in a USB device in the Surface 3 particularly a hard drive to store more files to watch your favorite movie or video and listen to music while traveling and staying in your destination.

The Surface 3 is affordable, bundled with a year of Office 365 Personal and has all the great features and Apps that are pre-installed. This device is a lot more reasonable than a typical laptop if budget is an issue with you or your employer.

To summarize and as previously stated, whether you are on premise, traveling for work, having a lunch break with a client or sitting in your home’s back yard – Surface 3 is the all-in-one device if you need to multi-task, work on the files securely in the cloud and also meet the deadlines.

Unprotected Mobile Devices and Mobile Theft Epidemic

It is astonishing to know how many people do not password-protect their mobile devices for both business and personal use. There are more than 40% of mobile device users that are not using any passwords or security applications. If your mobile device is lost or stolen and it’s not password protected, your accounts and personal information is 100% accessible.  I wonder if users realize how vulnerable they are if their mobile devices  (Smart Phones or Tablets) are stolen or misplaced.  Cyber criminals are looking for weaknesses especially on Android platforms. My device is a Windows 8 business mobile phone pre-loaded with Microsoft Office, Banking, Public and Work Email Accounts, Cloud Storage (SkyDrive), Banking, Credit Card and Payment Apps requiring a log on. The thought of this information getting into the wrong hands is bothersome and the impact would be devastating.

Mobile theft is a growing issue that also affects businesses and consumers equally. Cell-phone theft in major cities (i.e. San Francisco, New York) has become a national crime epidemic. It will only take a few minutes for someone to steal all sensitive data stored in your mobile device which will be unfortunate and upsetting. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or it is now referred to Bring Your Own Disaster or/and Bring Your Own Apps Smartphones and Tablets are growing, make sure that security protocols are enforced to protect corporate data on all devices. Please read my BYOD Article here for best practices.

 

To prevent potentially embarrassing information falling into the wrong hands, don’t keep private information stored directly on your personal or business phone but store private information, photos or documents remotely or via cloud. Sometimes, storing data via cloud is neither viable option but it is convenient to most of us. It is still a good practice to store files locally and have them on hand in the event you can’t connect to the cloud for any reasons. If that’s the case, the precautionary step you might want to consider is enabling a password lock. Every mobile OS has a password lock feature such as iOS, BlackBerry OS, Windows, Android platforms that will allow you to set a PIN password or a more complex alphanumeric pass-code for the lock screen.

Best Practices to Protect/Secure Your Mobile Devices and Control Theft Epidemic:

  • Password protect all your mobile devices and do not use easy to remember passwords.
  • Never use the “remember me” function on your apps or mobile web browser, and make sure to log out of your accounts.
  • Do not share your PIN/Passwords with anyone, even with a family or close friends.
  • Reading online resources to keep you educated on the latest techniques/means to protect your mobile device is vital.
  • Implement best practices to protect corporate networks and allow consumers to download music, store digital files, bank, shop, surf and search safely.

 

Backup Strategies

Backups are often neglected; do you backup your computer or server, if so, how often? At any moment a computer or server may crash unexpectedly and put your critical data at risk. Are you confident that you will be able to do a full restoration within a minimal downtime? Have you done a full backup test restoration including the hard drive images? How much information do you have stored on your Server’s hard drives? Are you hosting your own email or website? Are you running any SQL databases? These are all very critical and require a good backup strategy to be enforced to be able to recover from a disaster in an efficient and effective way. You must be prepared for any calamities such as fire, earthquakes and floods. Do you have any backup plans in the event of a natural disaster? Backups are a very important factor to consider.  The risk of losing data is often unnecessary and could be avoided by implementing a simple and sometimes cost-effective backup solution.

The Strategies:

  • If you have a Domain Network, having additional Domain Controllers (DC) is something that has to be implemented so that there will be limited network downtime just in case a disaster happens.  Active Directory Users and Computers will replicate to your additional DC(s) and improve the dependability and availability of your network resources if the main DC is not up and running due to a crash or failure.
  • Storing huge amount of files and data on your network can be very risky if you don’t have a well planned and tested backup system.  Local backups can be done if you have enormous or terabytes of files stored in your file server(s).  Losing these files could cause you a major problem that you may not be able to bounce back from.  If your company has a limited IT budget then you can purchase some affordable external USB hard drives to do a local on-site backup.  These can be taken off site by a member of staff. Another affordable option would be to purchase a (Network Attached Storage) NAS Device and use a third parties backup software like Acronis or Symantec to do a full backup image of your Servers hard drives.
  • Do you have (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) RAID configured in any of your Servers? If your Employer can afford and has a budget for a RAID 10 (also known as RAID 1 + 0) system and it requires a minimum of 4 hard drives, I highly recommend this. A server with RAID 10 is amongst the most popular RAID solutions and provides a very high fault tolerance in case of hard drive failures. RAID 10 is very pricey but it is the best RAID option for any perilous applications especially databases.  If you have a limited IT budget then investing in a RAID 1 (Mirrored) solution is also acceptable. It will allow for one of your drives to fail without causing major downtime. Keep at least one spare hard drive for your RAID on site in case of a drive failure.  Newer technology servers have hot swappable drives, so expect limited downtime and rest assured that your data will be safe and intact. Some Users won’t even know if the network was down.
  • Backup as often as you want – There is no such thing as backing up too much! Having a redundancy backup is a must have. A very common backup strategy is to make daily incremental, differential, and a weekly full backup.  Another question you may want to ask is: If my first backup solution fails, what will I do then? Having multiple backups to restore from is a must.  Placing all of your eggs in one basket can be risky. If you are going to use Tapes or External Hard Disks to back up your data it is recommended that you have a daily or weekly rotation between drives.  If you have five External Hard Drives on a daily rotation then even if your most recent backup is not restorable you can fall back onto the day before – Losing 24-hours worth of data is far better than losing it forever!
  • Do not backup to a different partition on the same physical disk. You should be aware that if the disk fails then the entire disk will be corrupted and your backup will be useless!  You may lose everything.
  • The types of restore you can do with a backup are an important factor to consider. How long will it take you to restore an entire hard drive?  Can you restore your server onto other hardware?  Do you have any hard drives in stock in the event your drives fail?
  • A Cloud backup solution can be costly, but if your company can afford it, it’s a great backup solution to consider.  Hosted cloud also known as online backup is very popular nowadays.  If you are going to use a hosted backup solution find out the level of encryption that they support and remember to write down the restoration procedure, in the event of a problem you will want to access the backups quickly.  Cloud backup is safe and a secured way of backing up data on remote data storage, also accessible from anywhere. The only downside is that it requires a higher bandwidth.
  • It is a very good idea to keep your servers in a fire/flood proof location like a Vault, if your Employer can afford this type of Storage.

Backup only important documents – you will be very surprised how many gigabytes worth of Media files such as pictures, music and videos that some employees will store in their roaming profiles and local hard drives. Some are for business use but mostly are for personal use.  It is worth reviewing what you are backing up at least once a month.

Side-by-Side Comparison of Backup Software – Client and Server Operating Systems:

Client Operating Systems – Paid and Free Software:

http://data-backup-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

http://free-backup-software.net/free-backup-software-comparison

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_backup_software

Servers – Paid Software:

http://windows-server-backup-review.toptenreviews.com/

Hosted Online and Cloud Backup Solution:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_online_backup_services

http://enterprisefeatures.com/2010/09/top-25-enterprise-online-backup-solutions-for-business-cloud-data-protection/

***A special ‘Thanks’ to Dave Atkin – co  Author .***

Microsoft’s Office 365 vs Google Apps Cloud Solutions

There’s a battle going on between two great Cloud Solutions – Microsoft Office 365 vs Google Apps. Which side will you choose?
 
If you have a Home or Small Business with less than 25 employees, there’s no need to invest on a Server, additional Computers , Hardware and Software. All you need is a working Broadband connection and a computer to access the internet. Remotely access and work on your files, programs, software anytime and anywhere. A very minimal and basic IT support  is needed, there’s no need to outsource a professional IT Consultant.
 
Two Versatile IT Cloud Solutions that are now available:
 
 
As low as $6 per User per month which is not too bad at all.  The package comes with Email (with anti-spam filtering), web-based Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote  and Lync.
 
 
Google Apps includes a Free Solution (google documents, hosted email, spreadsheet and presentation) for up to 10 Users with Free Website and Email. Upgrade to the Business solution and you will get a lot more out of it including synchronization of emails to your Smart Phones (Android, IPhone and Blackberry).
 
Now, it’s all up to you which one would work better. Will it be the most affordable one but with less attributes? Perhaps spend a little more but you’ll get a lot more goodies.