Start Small with IoT

Have been thinking about how to start implementing the internet of things (IoT) for you company, but you don’t know where to start? Well you may want to start small. What I mean by that is, you want to pick a small part of your operation to implement IoT. For example if you have a manufacturing plant, you may want to implement IoT in just one assembly line. IoT can be very beneficial to a company, but also very hard to implement.

The benefits of starting small are numerous and can help you decide in the long run of IoT is something worth implementing fully. With an technology upgrade and implementation you will experience many difficulties. Starting small will allow to see what the challenges are and what bugs need to be fixed. You can measure on a small scale if the implementation of ROI is helping efficiency and you bottom line.

It very easy to think that you need to fully implement something like IoT when you first start to consider it. However; starting small is a great option for every business that wants IoT. This is how you see the cost versus the benefits. You can get a picture of how this can work for your company. If you’re interested in learning about IoT and how to start implementing, you should read this blog from Cisco on how to start small. Click here for the blog.

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Weekly Business Cyber Security Series: Shifting To the Cloud

One of the continuing trends is that businesses are starting to shift their data protection to the cloud for more security. If you own or operate a business and you use your internal network or a data center, you might want to consider this. Now this obviously depends on the size and scope of your business. However, regardless of that, you may want to invest in some cloud backup for important data.

What is the cloud?

It is really hard to explain a cloud in technical detail, but it is essential a virtual storage room for your business that exist separate from your network. What it does, it uses servers to create space on the internet, in order to save all important data and applications. It also allows people to access it from anywhere, with the proper passwords and access level. This tends to be very secure, and good for small business. It also allows them to invest in business applications and other things to improve business. It also allows employees to access vital work from home.

Why is the cloud a good choice?

The cloud is a great choice for businesses because of its affordable, scale-able, and secure. It is an on demand service for companies and you pay for the amount of storage you need. This can grow or shrink depending on your need. Also, if you’re a small business, you don’t have to invest in a massive amount of servers to store data. The security aspect comes from you cloud provider, and that mean they handle most of the hardcore stuff. You have to decide who gets access and how much access they get. This also mitigates the risk for you, because you cloud provider is responsible for anything compromised from your cloud.

What kind of cloud options are there for my business?

There are plenty of options and you have to pick which one is best. The following options tend to be offered the most.

Software as a service (SaaS)- This is licensing software on a subscription bases. Like Microsoft Office 365.

Platform as a service (PaaS)- This is using a cloud to develop applications. If you have something that manages your company’s finances, that is considered an application. PaaS provides back up for it. It also allows you to develop applications on the cloud, for example a mobile app for phones.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)- This is what this blog is mostly about. This allows your cloud to act as storage and backup. This is one of the best cyber security solutions for any business and if you don’t have it, you should look into it. It basically stores your important information in a cloud on or off site depending on your choice.

Public Clouds- Which do each of the other options, but you would be lumping in your stuff with other companies. This tends to come with a subscription to have this provided for you.

Private Clouds- This is a cloud that is solely built and used by you. You decide who gets access and what you want the cloud to be used for. This can be quite expensive and unnecessary depending on the size and scope of your business. This is also done on premises with your network infrastructure.

Hybrid Cloud- It is a mixture of both public and private cloud. You can have some cloud capabilities used by an on site private cloud. Then you can use a public cloud for other things that you choose.

IaaS is great for security

This blogs talks about using cloud solution for security purposes, and IaaS is what would provide you with that security. The new age of cyber hacking mean that all businesses are at risk, and if you don’t use the best security options, you risk losing your business.

St. John’s University Strengthens its Infrastructure Protection

St. John’s University in New York City just finished building a robust data and infrastructure protection system for the university. They worked very close with VMware to build this system and protect all the university’s essential systems. Now this solution was geared towards protecting data in the event of a disaster, and improving the university’s emergency response system.

The first part is that they wanted to protect all the essential information that the university keep on students, faculty, and employees. They have to keep thing like social security numbers, financial information, grades, transcripts and more safe. If a natural or man-made disaster were to affect the school that information is now safe on a cloud. The second aspect is improving their emergency response system.

If a disaster were to ever occur, it could take days even weeks to recover. So if a hurricane blew away St.John’s network and all the information with it, that can be a problem. What the VMware Air Cloud solution gives them, is the ability to access the essential information once the equipment is replaced. So once the network, and computers are up and running, the IT department can take all the essential information and put it into the network from the cloud.  This allows them to resume work, without starting from scratch.

Now on-boarding something like this takes a lot of time, but St. John’s managed to do it in 10 weeks. This can serve as an example for schools, businesses, organizations, and institutions on how to improve your disaster recovery systems. No matter the type organization you run or are a part of, it will grow. Sometimes in the midst of growth, you can forget to grow your backup solutions. Make sure you have scaled you backup systems to meet your needs.

Click here to read about this project at St. John’s here.

Get the 311 from Artificial Intelligence

Imagine calling a 311 hotline that acts like a iPhone’s Siri without the frustrations, artificial intelligence may provide that one day. Cities employ a 311 call system to inform citizens of the standard information they need to know like when is trash day, how to file civic complaints, and how long the local pool is open. Now at The North Carolina Innovation Center, the use artificial intelligence (A.I) to help answer employee’s standard problem like resetting passwords. This allowed the IT department to focus on more time consuming and higher priority task. Now this A.I technology is being considered for cities 311 systems. Now this is still in an experimental phase, but this kind of technology has been developing for years.

Take Siri or Alexa for consideration, you ask a question and they provide answers for you. It is essential the same thing scaled to a city. This would allow the call center to manage calls to the phone operators based on need or complexity. So if you wanted to know something like road closures, an A.I response will be given to you. Essentially you city or town would have its own Alexa.

Aside from the traditional roadblock of government doing something to be more modern. The biggest challenge is making sure the technology would work. There is a lot of complexities to figure out. How the technology would handle a major influx of calls? Sometimes calls spike so  much it could shut down the switchboards. How do you insure it does not crash unexpectedly?

All these questions will be answered one day, but the biggest question is will people like it?

Read more

Using both Cloud and Data Cneters to your Advantage

You can use both a public cloud service and a data center to your advantage in backing up you business. Depending on the size and scope of your business you may have a software application that lets you handle your business. Along with that you use cloud services and/or a data-center to back up the application and all your business data. Now with a cloud plus data center approach you can better leverage and protect you IT assets that your company relies on. It also allows you to mitigate the risk and can be cost effective.

How it works is that you purchase a public cloud service from a company like Amazon Web Services. Then you either have an in house data center or pay for data center services. What this allows you to do is not pay a one size fits all price, and allows you to split the risk. As an example you could back up employee work and non essential files. The data center can back up your essential files information and work applications.

This is very beneficial because you can save you money and will keep the most important information safe. Having everything in one place make it more devastating if there is a breach. Data centers are the most secure option, but the expense can be enormous. You only want to protect the most sensitive data and the most essential applications. A public cloud should protect the everyday non essential work of your employees.

There is a lot more to this to understand, and you you can read more about it by clicking here.

If you already doing this, feel free to tell us how this has worked out for you.  

Compulink Technologies is an MBE Certified Firm that has been bringing top-notch IT Service solutions to businesses and government agencies across the nation since 1986.

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