VMware’s Project Goldilocks: what is it?

2016september29_virtualization_aAlmost every day, the virtualization industry takes a giant leap forward. Although this industry has been reserved for only the most technologically advanced of businesses over the years, it’s spreading like wildfire with advances in cloud computing. As engineers create virtual versions of hardware, storage, and even networks, digital architects are coming up with entirely new ways to design your IT framework. Today’s development comes in endpoint security, and we’ve got everything you need to know right here.

A virtual network is a way to connect two or more devices that aren’t physically linked by wires or cables. From the perspective of machines on a virtual network, they’re essentially sitting in the same room — even if they’re on opposite sides of the globe. The advantages of this setup range from ease of management to reduced hardware costs. AT&T and Verizon have begun offering these services, and small- and medium-sized businesses have slowly begun to adopt them.

Meanwhile, another sector of the IT world has been making its own advances. Cutting-edge hardware firewalls are beginning to offer internal segmentation as a method of separating pieces of your internal network to keep them safe from threats that spread internally. The more segments you have, the safer your network is from poorly protected neighbors. But there are limits to how much capacity one of these hardware firewalls has for segmentation.

Virtualization giant VMware has taken notice and developed a prototype to combine these two services. In the hopes of unleashing ‘microsegmentation’ from the limits of physical hardware, Project Goldilocks will essentially create a virtual firewall for every virtualized application. When one of these applications is created or installed, it will come with a ‘birth certificate’ outlining every acceptable function it can perform. When making requests to the operating system, network, or hardware the application is installed on, Goldilocks will cross-reference the request with the birth certificate and deny anything that hasn’t been given permission.

Segmenting virtual networks and applying them to individual applications rather than entire networks or operating systems could revolutionize the market for endpoint security. Not only would it be easier to block malware infections, but those that made it through could be quarantined and terminated immediately because of the virtual nature of their location.

While virtualization may be a complicated state-of-the-art technology, all it really takes is a helping hand. With our full team of specialists, we’re ready to pull you into the next stage of your virtualized infrastructure. All you need to do is reach out us — why not do it today?

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The next big thing in endpoint security

2016september29_virtualization_cAs virtualization becomes a household name for small- and medium-sized business owners, more and more services are being introduced. Hardware virtualization, storage virtualization, and even network virtualization all aim to capitalize on the trend of creating virtual versions of physical technology. With VMware’s most recent announcement, we may soon be able to add virtualized endpoint security to the list. What exactly does it look like? Let’s find out.

A virtual network is a way to connect two or more devices that aren’t physically linked by wires or cables. From the perspective of machines on a virtual network, they’re essentially sitting in the same room — even if they’re on opposite sides of the globe. The advantages of this setup range from ease of management to reduced hardware costs. AT&T and Verizon have begun offering these services, and small- and medium-sized businesses have slowly begun to adopt them.

Meanwhile, another sector of the IT world has been making its own advances. Cutting-edge hardware firewalls are beginning to offer internal segmentation as a method of separating pieces of your internal network to keep them safe from threats that spread internally. The more segments you have, the safer your network is from poorly protected neighbors. But there are limits to how much capacity one of these hardware firewalls has for segmentation.

Virtualization giant VMware has taken notice and developed a prototype to combine these two services. In the hopes of unleashing ‘microsegmentation’ from the limits of physical hardware, Project Goldilocks will essentially create a virtual firewall for every virtualized application. When one of these applications is created or installed, it will come with a ‘birth certificate’ outlining every acceptable function it can perform. When making requests to the operating system, network, or hardware the application is installed on, Goldilocks will cross-reference the request with the birth certificate and deny anything that hasn’t been given permission.

Segmenting virtual networks and applying them to individual applications rather than entire networks or operating systems could revolutionize the market for endpoint security. Not only would it be easier to block malware infections, but those that made it through could be quarantined and terminated immediately because of the virtual nature of their location.

While virtualization may be a complicated state-of-the-art technology, all it really takes is a helping hand. With our full team of specialists, we’re ready to pull you into the next stage of your virtualized infrastructure. All you need to do is reach out us — why not do it today?

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Virtual networks: the future of security

2016september29_virtualization_bFor the average business owner, a virtualized network may not seem groundbreaking. And until recently, even the team at VMware didn’t realize just what they could do with it. Now that they’ve publicly announced what they’re calling “Project Goldilocks,” we finally see how relevant it is. Every small- or medium-sized business is concerned with endpoint security, and that’s why you absolutely must read on to learn about this new form of virtualization.

A virtual network is a way to connect two or more devices that aren’t physically linked by wires or cables. From the perspective of machines on a virtual network, they’re essentially sitting in the same room — even if they’re on opposite sides of the globe. The advantages of this setup range from ease of management to reduced hardware costs. AT&T and Verizon have begun offering these services, and small- and medium-sized businesses have slowly begun to adopt them.

Meanwhile, another sector of the IT world has been making its own advances. Cutting-edge hardware firewalls are beginning to offer internal segmentation as a method of separating pieces of your internal network to keep them safe from threats that spread internally. The more segments you have, the safer your network is from poorly protected neighbors. But there are limits to how much capacity one of these hardware firewalls has for segmentation.

Virtualization giant VMware has taken notice and developed a prototype to combine these two services. In the hopes of unleashing ‘microsegmentation’ from the limits of physical hardware, Project Goldilocks will essentially create a virtual firewall for every virtualized application. When one of these applications is created or installed, it will come with a ‘birth certificate’ outlining every acceptable function it can perform. When making requests to the operating system, network, or hardware the application is installed on, Goldilocks will cross-reference the request with the birth certificate and deny anything that hasn’t been given permission.

Segmenting virtual networks and applying them to individual applications rather than entire networks or operating systems could revolutionize the market for endpoint security. Not only would it be easier to block malware infections, but those that made it through could be quarantined and terminated immediately because of the virtual nature of their location.

While virtualization may be a complicated state-of-the-art technology, all it really takes is a helping hand. With our full team of specialists, we’re ready to pull you into the next stage of your virtualized infrastructure. All you need to do is reach out us — why not do it today?

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Tame Windows 10 notifications in 3 steps

2016september23_microsoftwindowsnewsandtips_cMicrosoft has equipped Windows 10 users with a comprehensive set of tools to get their action center settings under control — even if most users don’t know it. Unfortunately, most desktops are coming with more software and features that result in more notifications, without ever providing users the opportunity to personalize their desktop and get the stream of information under control. If you’ve reached the point of oversaturation, we’ve got all the information you need to manage your action center right here.

Overarching action center settings

The place to start is customizing system-wide notifications settings. To view these, click on the Cortana icon on your taskbar, type ‘Notifications,’ and click ‘Notifications & actions settings.’ From here you can turn off alerts entirely, adjust those on the lock screen, or customize the alerts for core functions such as alarms and incoming calls.

Settings for individual applications

If you’re interested in taking a far more nuanced approach to your notifications, there are options to create rules on an app-by-app basis. At the bottom of the ‘Notifications & actions settings’ screen is a section titled ‘Get notifications from these senders.’ At first glance it may look as though you can only turn alerts completely off or on for these apps, but that’s not the case.

By clicking on any of the items in this list, you can open a new window full of more graded notifications options. From here, users can specify lock screen, sound, and priority settings for individual software.

Closing the blinds

For users who have no interest whatsoever in the Windows 10 action center, there is a way to banish it entirely. Open Cortana again and search ‘Notification area.’ Halfway down the page, click the menu titled ‘Turn system icons on or off.’ Toggling the Action Center option (third from the bottom) allows you to remove the icon from your taskbar altogether.

While you’re at it, why not take this philosophy one step further? Click the back arrow to return to the ‘Notification area’ window and this time choose ‘Select which icons appear on the taskbar.’ Here you can choose which apps to remove from your taskbar entirely, eliminating any annoying icons that change to alert you of distracting notifications.

Everyone is different. If artists have tools unique to their style, why shouldn’t the tools of your trade be tailored to your preferences? Our paintbrush is technology, and we’d love to show you how we work by helping you achieve new levels of productivity and efficiency on your Windows machine. Get in touch with us today to speak with one of our tech-savvy specialists about your technology goals.

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Windows 10: tailoring your notifications

2016september23_microsoftwindowsnewsandtips_bRegardless of the app, platform, or operating system, digital notifications are a tricky business. Our devices are overcrowded with software of varying importance, and without proper customization the stream of information can become overwhelming. Thankfully, Windows 10’s action center is built atop a solid foundation — it just needs a bit of help. If Windows notifications are driving you up a wall, try out the three steps we’ve listed here to get them under your thumb.

Overarching action center settings

The place to start is customizing system-wide notifications settings. To view these, click on the Cortana icon on your taskbar, type ‘Notifications,’ and click ‘Notifications & actions settings.’ From here you can turn off alerts entirely, adjust those on the lock screen, or customize the alerts for core functions such as alarms and incoming calls.

Settings for individual applications

If you’re interested in taking a far more nuanced approach to your notifications, there are options to create rules on an app-by-app basis. At the bottom of the ‘Notifications & actions settings’ screen is a section titled ‘Get notifications from these senders.’ At first glance it may look as though you can only turn alerts completely off or on for these apps, but that’s not the case.

By clicking on any of the items in this list, you can open a new window full of more graded notifications options. From here, users can specify lock screen, sound, and priority settings for individual software.

Closing the blinds

For users who have no interest whatsoever in the Windows 10 action center, there is a way to banish it entirely. Open Cortana again and search ‘Notification area.’ Halfway down the page, click the menu titled ‘Turn system icons on or off.’ Toggling the Action Center option (third from the bottom) allows you to remove the icon from your taskbar altogether.

While you’re at it, why not take this philosophy one step further? Click the back arrow to return to the ‘Notification area’ window and this time choose ‘Select which icons appear on the taskbar.’ Here you can choose which apps to remove from your taskbar entirely, eliminating any annoying icons that change to alert you of distracting notifications.

Everyone is different. If artists have tools unique to their style, why shouldn’t the tools of your trade be tailored to your preferences? Our paintbrush is technology, and we’d love to show you how we work by helping you achieve new levels of productivity and efficiency on your Windows machine. Get in touch with us today to speak with one of our tech-savvy specialists about your technology goals.

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How to customize Windows 10 notifications

2016september23_microsoftwindowsnewsandtips_aWindows 10’s action center has immense potential, but without proper configuration it’s a messy amalgamation of unnecessary notifications and information. That’s not to say the action center is unsalvageable; it just needs to be properly tailored to suit your preferences. In just three quick steps you can limit the scope of your notifications and how they grab your attention. Let’s get started.

Overarching action center settings

The place to start is customizing system-wide notifications settings. To view these, click on the Cortana icon on your taskbar, type ‘Notifications,’ and click ‘Notifications & actions settings.’ From here you can turn off alerts entirely, adjust those on the lock screen, or customize the alerts for core functions such as alarms and incoming calls.

Settings for individual applications

If you’re interested in taking a far more nuanced approach to your notifications, there are options to create rules on an app-by-app basis. At the bottom of the ‘Notifications & actions settings’ screen is a section titled ‘Get notifications from these senders.’ At first glance it may look as though you can only turn alerts completely off or on for these apps, but that’s not the case.

By clicking on any of the items in this list, you can open a new window full of more graded notifications options. From here, users can specify lock screen, sound, and priority settings for individual software.

Closing the blinds

For users who have no interest whatsoever in the Windows 10 action center, there is a way to banish it entirely. Open Cortana again and search ‘Notification area.’ Halfway down the page, click the menu titled ‘Turn system icons on or off.’ Toggling the Action Center option (third from the bottom) allows you to remove the icon from your taskbar altogether.

While you’re at it, why not take this philosophy one step further? Click the back arrow to return to the ‘Notification area’ window and this time choose ‘Select which icons appear on the taskbar.’ Here you can choose which apps to remove from your taskbar entirely, eliminating any annoying icons that change to alert you of distracting notifications.

Everyone is different. If artists have tools unique to their style, why shouldn’t the tools of your trade be tailored to your preferences? Our paintbrush is technology, and we’d love to show you how we work by helping you achieve new levels of productivity and efficiency on your Windows machine. Get in touch with us today to speak with one of our tech-savvy specialists about your technology goals.

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Think your Google history is gone for good?

2016september22_google_aLike breaking up with past lovers, when deleting something from our browsing history, we all have that lingering feeling that it’s never really gone. Some may even suspect that multinational tech giants such as Google might have been keeping tabs on all the searches you’ve made — and they’re right. Unless a genie granted you an invisibility cloak for your deleted search items, they remain visible. Fortunately, that is reversible — here’s how:

It’s estimated that Google currently processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. It begs this question: How does Google manage to keep tabs on such a jaw-dropping amount?

It’s not like Google is a superior being capable of seeing and hearing all. It’s only when you log into your Gmail or Google account that Google will be able to record it all — removed items included. See your very own search history by using the link: history.google.com/history. In that history page, Google even has its own specific audio page as well as meticulous records of every single place you’ve been to on the Internet.

You can even analyze the information with the handy “search my searches” tool. Image searches and watched YouTube videos are also recorded. Previous Google Maps searches can also be reviewed, and if you feel like it, you can download your entire history and browse through it in your spare time.

For those wishing to delete certain files or certain search records, the Independent advises you on exactly how to do it:
“To delete particular files, you can click the checkbox on the left and then move back to the top of the page and select ‘delete.’ To get rid of everything, you can press the ‘More’ button, select ‘Delete options’ and then ‘Advanced’ and click through. The easiest way to stop Google recording everything is to turn off the virtual assistant and never to use voice search. But that solution also gets at the central problem of much privacy and data use today – doing so cuts off one of the most useful things about having an Android phone or using Google search.”

Another method would be to head over to the top left of the screen where you’ll find a drop-down menu that includes the option “Activity Controls.” Select this and then switch off the slider marked “Web & App Activity.”

Keeping records might come in handy when you want to look back for something, but for those who enjoy their privacy, there are ways to prevent Google from going through your search history. For more information, please give us a call or send us an email. We are more than happy to help in any way we can.

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Can others access deleted Google history?

2016september22_google_cThe reason we part ways with certain things is that we don’t wish to see them ever again. But in this modern day and age, is that possible? Imagine that the deleted search history you believed to be dead and gone rose from the IT grave like zombies bent on causing you nothing but embarrassment and awkwardness. Fortunately, not all hope is lost because there are certain things you can do to prevent Google from collecting data.

It’s estimated that Google currently processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. It begs this question: How does Google manage to keep tabs on such a jaw-dropping amount?

It’s not like Google is a superior being capable of seeing and hearing all. It’s only when you log into your Gmail or Google account that Google will be able to record it all — removed items included. See your very own search history by using the link: history.google.com/history. In that history page, Google even has its own specific audio page as well as meticulous records of every single place you’ve been to on the Internet.

You can even analyze the information with the handy “search my searches” tool. Image searches and watched YouTube videos are also recorded. Previous Google Maps searches can also be reviewed, and if you feel like it, you can download your entire history and browse through it in your spare time.

For those wishing to delete certain files or certain search records, the Independent advises you on exactly how to do it:
“To delete particular files, you can click the checkbox on the left and then move back to the top of the page and select ‘delete.’ To get rid of everything, you can press the ‘More’ button, select ‘Delete options’ and then ‘Advanced’ and click through. The easiest way to stop Google recording everything is to turn off the virtual assistant and never to use voice search. But that solution also gets at the central problem of much privacy and data use today – doing so cuts off one of the most useful things about having an Android phone or using Google search.”

Another method would be to head over to the top left of the screen where you’ll find a drop-down menu that includes the option “Activity Controls.” Select this and then switch off the slider marked “Web & App Activity.”

Keeping records might come in handy when you want to look back for something, but for those who enjoy their privacy, there are ways to prevent Google from going through your search history. For more information, please give us a call or send us an email. We are more than happy to help in any way we can.

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Is your Google history 100% gone?

2016september22_google_bIt’s undeniable that we hide skeletons in our closets, your search engine history included. Users might not know this, but Google keeps a full record on EVERY search you have ever made, removed searches as well. If you thought you deleted all your secret searches, think again. Luckily there are things you can do to prohibit Google from collecting more data, ensuring that your most private, My Little Pony-related inquiries aren’t ever brought to light.

It’s estimated that Google currently processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. It begs this question: How does Google manage to keep tabs on such a jaw-dropping amount?

It’s not like Google is a superior being capable of seeing and hearing all. It’s only when you log into your Gmail or Google account that Google will be able to record it all — removed items included. See your very own search history by using the link: history.google.com/history. In that history page, Google even has its own specific audio page as well as meticulous records of every single place you’ve been to on the Internet.

You can even analyze the information with the handy “search my searches” tool. Image searches and watched YouTube videos are also recorded. Previous Google Maps searches can also be reviewed, and if you feel like it, you can download your entire history and browse through it in your spare time.

For those wishing to delete certain files or certain search records, the Independent advises you on exactly how to do it:
“To delete particular files, you can click the checkbox on the left and then move back to the top of the page and select ‘delete.’ To get rid of everything, you can press the ‘More’ button, select ‘Delete options’ and then ‘Advanced’ and click through. The easiest way to stop Google recording everything is to turn off the virtual assistant and never to use voice search. But that solution also gets at the central problem of much privacy and data use today – doing so cuts off one of the most useful things about having an Android phone or using Google search.”

Another method would be to head over to the top left of the screen where you’ll find a drop-down menu that includes the option “Activity Controls.” Select this and then switch off the slider marked “Web & App Activity.”

Keeping records might come in handy when you want to look back for something, but for those who enjoy their privacy, there are ways to prevent Google from going through your search history. For more information, please give us a call or send us an email. We are more than happy to help in any way we can.

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9 essential cybersecurity phrases

2016september21_security_aAs with all technology, trendy phrases come and go with the passing of every IT conference and newly released virus. And when dealing with cybersecurity, keeping up with them all can mean the survival — or demise — of a business. If you’re looking for a list of the industry’s most relevant terms, you’ve come to the right place.

Malware

For a long time, the phrase ‘computer virus’ was misappropriated as a term to define every type of attack that intended to harm or hurt your computers and networks. A virus is actually a specific type of attack, or malware. Whereas a virus is designed to replicate itself, any software created for the purpose of destroying or unfairly accessing networks and data should be referred to as a type of malware.

Ransomware

Don’t let all the other words ending in ‘ware’ confuse you; they are all just subcategories of malware. Currently, one of the most popular of these is ‘ransomware,’ which encrypts valuable data until a ransom is paid for its return.

Intrusion Protection System

There are several ways to safeguard your network from malware, but intrusion protection systems (IPSs) are quickly becoming one of the non-negotiables. IPSs sit inside of your company’s firewall and look for suspicious and malicious activity that can be halted before it can deploy an exploit or take advantage of a known vulnerability.

Social Engineering

Not all types of malware rely solely on fancy computer programming. While the exact statistics are quite difficult to pin down, experts agree that the majority of attacks require some form of what is called ‘social engineering’ to be successful. Social engineering is the act of tricking people, rather than computers, into revealing sensitive or guarded information. Complicated software is totally unnecessary if you can just convince potential victims that you’re a security professional who needs their password to secure their account.

Phishing

Despite often relying on face-to-face interactions, social engineering does occasionally employ more technical methods. Phishing is the act of creating an application or website that impersonates a trustworthy, and often well-known business in an attempt to elicit confidential information. Just because you received an email that says it’s from the IRS doesn’t mean it should be taken at face value — always verify the source of any service requesting your sensitive data.

Anti-virus

Anti-virus software is often misunderstood as a way to comprehensively secure your computers and workstations. These applications are just one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle and can only scan the drives on which they are installed for signs of well known malware variants.

Zero-day attacks

Malware is most dangerous when it has been released but not yet discovered by cybersecurity experts. When a vulnerability is found within a piece of software, vendors will release an update to amend the gap in security. However, if cyber attackers release a piece of malware that has never been seen before, and if that malware exploits one of these holes before the vulnerability is addressed, it is called a zero-day attack.

Patch

When software developers discover a security vulnerability in their programming, they usually release a small file to update and ‘patch’ this gap. Patches are essential to keeping your network secure from the vultures lurking on the internet. By checking for and installing patches as often as possible, you keep your software protected from the latest advances in malware.

Redundant data

When anti-virus software, patches, and intrusion detection fail to keep your information secure, there’s only one thing that will: quarantined off-site storage. Duplicating your data offline and storing it somewhere other than your business’s workspace ensures that if there is a malware infection, you’re equipped with backups.

We aren’t just creating a glossary of cyber security terms; every day, we’re writing a new chapter to the history of this ever-evolving industry. And no matter what you might think, we are available to impart that knowledge on anyone who comes knocking. Get in touch with us today and find out for yourself.

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