The truth about cloud computing

How many times have you heard people speak about their systems being cloud based? The concept of cloud computing has become one of high focus because there are many benefits involved – both for the service providers and for the consumers. But as with anything there are risks and a downside involved as well and it is important to understand this concept. Your online cloud could either have a silver lining or the ominous approach of a thunderstorm.

Simply put, cloud computing is about storing and accessing data and programs over the internet, rather than via your computer’s hard drive. When you store data on your computer’s hard drive, this is known as local storage. It’s a quick and easy way to access your data, and this is how we’ve operated for decades.

However, if your premises are damaged by flood or fire, your data and vital documents will be gone for good. Safekeeping that data off site, in the cloud, means that your data is accessible, no matter what physically happens to your office.

Examples of cloud computing include Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive and Apple iCloud. On the down side, outages could potentially affect these services, and this recently occurred. It can also become exceedingly pricy to access your data and retrieve it from the cloud when you’re paying bandwidth fees. Yet another aspect that has arisen around cloud computing is the issue of security. How secure is your data when you entrust it to a global-footprint company that everyone uses?

It is definitely worth while considering a local company with a credible track record, that provides automatic, regular backup. A company that supports various platforms, e.g. Windows, Linux, Mac OS and so on. One that offers local support, using South African-hosted servers.

Other aspects to consider are replication to multiple locations, a simple recovery and restoration process and flexible scheduling for data backup. Data encryption is vital, and should preferably be military grade for optimal security.

RMD Technology is perfectly positioned to offer you all of the above, as well as to courier a drive to you for your initial full backup, for optimal convenience. Would you like us to discuss our cloud computing options with you? Feel free to contact Russell Davis on 011 026 3115, or e-mail support@rmdtechnology.co.za.

Why you should get a professional to handle your IT

Most of us rely heavily on computer systems in our businesses, and we need the best possible maintenance and support of these systems. Modern computer technology may appear to be really simple to the end user, but this is an illusion as the underlying software is extremely complex. So, who should you put in charge of your systems?

Many owners of smaller businesses try to handle the IT function themselves, or get a family or staff member who is ‘good at computers’ to look after their systems. This could be catastrophic as a highly specialised technical infrastructure that is crucial to your business operation really does need to be looked after by someone who is qualified to manage it. Let’s take a look at the advantages of outsourcing your IT function.

Collective expertise: when you ask an IT consulting company to manage your IT portfolio, you have access to a pool of expertise that extends far beyond the services of one person. These consultants keep their knowledge base up to date, and have access to cutting edge technology, thereby helping your company IT to run optimally.

A speedy resolution:  relying on a family member to try and figure out how to fix your IT problem can have devastating consequences if their expertise doesn’t extend to your specific situation. So, too, placing pressure on an employee, whose job description is not IT, even though his knowledge base might include some IT, is not conducive to your arriving at a solution, or to him actually getting his own job done. Putting a dedicated IT consultancy with a good track record in charge of your IT function means a speedy resolution by experts who are already familiar with your company’s needs and infrastructure.

A cost-saving solution: paying for the services of an IT consultancy as and when you need their services, saves you money, while knowing they’re at your beck and call whenever you need them, is priceless.

Would you like your own personal go-to IT specialists on call? For a free consultation in this regard, contact me, Russell Davis at RMD Technology or e-mail support@rmdtechnology.co.za, on 011 026 3115,

How to keep your IT Infrastructure running during load shedding

How to keep your IT Infrastructure running during load shedding

Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong it will – and it will happen at the most inconvenient time. This principle also applies to our company IT infrastructure and we are well advised to create a continuity plan so that we are prepared if something goes wrong. There are many external factors that we cannot control, such as power failures, load shedding, ADSL line faults and so on. Apart from being irritating, these problems could have a serious impact on your business. The good news is that you can implement some simple measures that will see you through the failures of an erratic national power grid.

Switch to Laptops

If you haven’t already done so, switching from desktop to laptop will help avoid any work loss, and enables you to keep working through the power outage. To extend battery life, close any programs you’re not using, turn your screen’s brightness down, and unplug peripherals like your mouse.

Invest in a Good Power Bank

Power banks are business lifesavers in power outages, helping to keep your smart phones and laptops charged. Various options are available. Some versions come with a mini-USB cable, while larger versions are specifically designed to power laptops.

Acquire a 3G Dongle

Should your broadband connection die along with your power, a 3G connection would get you back online. 3G dongles are available from all networks in South Africa, on either contract or on a prepaid data basis.

UPS Batteries Keep the Good Work Up!

An uninterrupted power supply (UPS) device not only affords you protection against power surges; it provides battery backup during an outage or in instances that electricity drops to an unacceptable voltage level. A UPS is typically able to provide power for between 15 and 60 minutes, giving you time to back up your data and shut down your systems properly.

Cloud Computing

The beauty in storing important documents and vital data in a cloud storage service rather than your desktop or local server is the sheer mobility of that data. Power outages strike at the worst times, and thankfully you are able to work from another location thanks to cloud storage. Cloud storage is usually accessible from any smartphone, tablet or laptop with an internet connection.

 

These are just a few of the many ways of keeping your business online when power outages and cable theft could dictate otherwise. If you would like assistance in implementing these types of solutions for your business, we would be more than happy to be of service. Contact RMD Technology on 011 026 3115 , or e-mail support@rmdtechnology.co.za.

SA execs have no real plan for addressing security breaches

A recent survey that was carried out by Arthur Goldstuck of World Wide Worx revealed that as many as 52% of the 103 South African business executives interviewed admitted that they have no plans in place to deal with security breaches. The statistic is surprising as 49% of the 103 IT executives interviewed also said that they actually believed their companies were at risk and particularly vulnerable to cyber-attacks and breaches. The question begs to be answered: if there is an understanding that there is a serious risk, why is there no plan in place to nullify the risk or deal with the potential problem / fallout?

Some of the companies interviewed indicated that there were protocols in place for data breaches but only a select few employees actually understood how to implement them, which is counterproductive to say the least.

The survey did uncover some interesting bits of information into why so many SA businesses are suffering this problem – and perhaps this information can help your business and other’s in the country.

  • The study showed an obvious disconnect between IT decision makers and organisation executives. This simply means that the two parties aren’t communicating! Put simply, this means that the executives who need to implement protocols and ensure that teams are educated, are uninformed and in the dark with regards to potential risks and of course the possible security solutions available to them. This was highly apparent when organisation executives were asked if they agreed with their IT managers that IT security should be one of the companies top concerns – only 5% actually agreed!
  • Disturbingly, the study uncovered the fact that many large corporations in South Africa are cutting back on their security spend due to budget constraints! This could pose a problem for these companies when the Personal Information Act comes into full effect – and we suspect that will be soon. Failure to comply could result in up to R10 million in fines and up to 10 years of jail time!
  • Companies can safeguard themselves by doing regular encrypted backups and ensuring that staff members are making correct and limited use of the network. Be sure that staff know not to open suspicious emails or click on suspicious unknown attachments in emails. Regular training seminars on data security should probably be held to ensure that all staff members are aware of company policies, protocols and of course the Personal Information Act.

This survey and report has brought a great deal to light. At RMD Technology we are always concerned with the data security issues faced by our clients. We strongly urge our clients to ensure that their corporate executives and IT managers are communicating clearly and that the risks of a data breach are understood. To learn more about your data security options, feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience – we would love to assist.