The Most Common Uses of Cloud Computing Services

Cloud computing is everywhere nowadays, being an integral part of our everyday life. In most cases, the average user does not even realize that he or she is using a service of this type – the infrastructure employed for operating these services is so perfectly “wrapped in a cloud” that the user sees only the interface necessary for using the service. In what follows, we will present a few of the most common uses of cloud services to demonstrate how naturally we use these solutions both as individuals and at the level of corporate operations.

Social Networking

The main idea behind social networking sites is to share information with others by using the infrastructure of the service provider without having to download any kind of large software application on your computer. Social networking sites are in permanent development, attracting more and more users, gaining more and more ground in the corporate field as well – so much so that there is a new profession in development: that of the social media marketing expert.

Online Banking

Financial and banking services are available over the internet for private and corporate customers alike. What lies behind this type of services is also cloud computing: the users are given access to an interface through which they can initiate transactions and manage their bank accounts with no tool required other than the internet.

Creating Backup for Photos, Documents and Other Important Files

There are numerous websites nowadays that offer backup services to protect your files. Keeping your files on your computers without any backup on other carriers can be dangerous: just imagine the loss if your home or work computer suffered any damage or virus attack or some other type of security breach. Online backup services have been developed to safeguard your contents, and they are available for a certain fee or even free of charge. With some of these services, the copies of the files on your computer are kept on a server in the cloud, while others keep these files on synchronized individual computers and in the cloud, too.

Document Hosting

Cloud computing has made it possible to share images and videos as well, revolutionizing not only the world of business, but entertainment as well.

Web-mail

Web-based mailing services make up an important segment of the cloud service industry. Web-mail accounts are easily accessible from anywhere, giving the users the freedom of movement, while also providing enhanced and extended access to their communication tools.

As you see, cloud computing is everywhere indeed, more and more sophisticated each day, making our lives easier while the tools themselves remain almost unnoticed.

About Dolomite

Dolomite Technology is a Managed Service Provider that provides services and consulting on technology services to customers across the nation. A core concept of of Dolomite’s service portfolio is cloud computing services. To learn more about Dolomite services please contact us. You can also learn more about cloud computing on our website.

Fortinet – BYOD – Bring Your Own Device and You Will Not Regret It!

As everybody knows, the business environment is changing every day, bringing personal devices into the business process and slowly erasing the thin line between the personal Smartphone or tablet and the PC at work. Given the circumstances, the BYOD, standing for Bring Your Own Devices, is an abbreviation that we find discussed more and more, both online and offline.

What Is BYOD and What Is Its Purpose?

In order to answer this question, we first have to review the large variety of relations encountered within a company and between two or more companies:

  • Between managers and employees
  • Between employees and partners
  • Between  all of the above and customers
  • Between customers

Often without anyone realizing it, many of these relations happen at the core of the company, using the most popular of the company’s communication environments: the network.

Using the network to connect so many people, all bringing their own devices in the process, the company always exposes itself to inherent threats, many of them making their entrance in the system without being spotted by the people who interact using their devices.

Fortinet BYOD security is a high level, state of the art system developed by Fortinet in order to allow employees, contractors and workers to use their own devices safely in order to communicate on your network and ensure your company’s progress.

What until recently was a constant fight with spam, a continuous investment in firewalls, hardened Wi-Fi technologies, network segmentation and a lot more, is now just a detail in the process meant to turn your business safe and profitable.

With high flexibility and low costs, this Fortinet service encourages you to secure your business network without interfering with any of the Mobile Device Management and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure systems.

Fortinet’s BYOD solution is so flexible that it allows you to deploy the exact amount of protection you need, by combining different levels of familiar concepts, such as the well known and completely configurable firewall.

The intrusion prevention system can also be configured to meet your company’s security and flexibility needs. The already known antimalware/antivirus is now included in the package and no extra fee is required.

Some features developed over the past few years, such as application control and data loss prevention, are also fully integrated in the system, allowing you to decide who has access to what.

To ensure that attacks are not being initiated online, the software is not being seeded and that browsers are not being exploited, Fortinet BYOD solution came up with another great feature – web content filtering.

For the vast majority of companies for which tunneling is one of the great challenges, a VPN solution was added. As if it were not enough, protection was highly increased with the two-factor authentication, which requires more than one attribute in order for one to be able to authenticate on the network. The level at which this feature is integrated is fully customizable and can differ from company to company.

All in one, Fortinet BYOD solution is a leading technology that we can expect to see surviving for the following years and turning into the end user experience on any company network.

Cloud Computing Services – Choosing the Most Adequate Provider

When used in a corporate environment, cloud computing services can significantly reduce operational expenses, while also contributing to a more streamlined workflow, allowing large, medium-sized and small enterprises to benefit from outsourcing their needs for hardware, software, applications and storage capacity. However, the service provider chosen must meet a number of requirements, so, in what follows we will present a few aspects to consider when selecting your supplier.

Competence and Reliability

When looking for the right cloud computing service provider, you must make sure the supplier will be able to deliver on all the promises made. You need a provider which is in possession of the right technology and is able to provide the best performance, continuous availability and 24/7 technical support. The supplier must be able to demonstrate all these features before you sign up to any service.

Security

Another feature that makes cloud services attractive is the enhanced security of your contents. Your supplier must provide several different levels of security such as identity management, access control and authorization.

Cost Tracking

One of the major benefits of cloud services is that the consumers can use exactly the amount of resources they need, and they will be billed only for the resources consumed. You must choose service providers that offer a monitoring system of your consumption so that you can have accurate information of the related costs at all times.

Customization

The cloud computing solution you choose must cater to your exact needs. In other words, you must avoid providers that offer one-size-fits-all type of services and, most importantly, you need the terms you negotiate with the supplier to be included into the Service Level Agreement. The agreement must contain the detailed list of the services you sign up to, the metrics used to evaluate the performance of the service provider, the obligations of both the customer and the service supplier, as well as the measures to be taken in case any of the parties fails to fulfill these obligations, and reference to future changes in the contents of the Service Level Agreement.

Choosing the right cloud service provider must be a complex decision making process that involves not only the management, but also the experts working in the IT department. If you are able to define your exact needs and you negotiate your terms with a reputable cloud computing service provider, the results will surely be beneficial for both parties of the agreement, making your operation much smoother and more cost-efficient.

Fortinet Cloud Computing Management – To Keep Your Business Down to Earth

Fortinet Cloud Computing Management, or simply Cloud Management, is a solution offered by Fortinet’s FortiCloud product, an extension of FortiGate, along with a log retention program. Without requiring the installation of additional software or hardware, this feature provides reports and analysis of the traffic on log retention and configuration in real time.

For a better application and for increased traffic visibility, FortiCloud added a tool that simplifies the subscription management process. Part of a compliance and security program, the log retention, it administrates a separate storage system.

This process can be cumbrous, and that is why Cloud Management represents a step ahead, doing everything automatically, storing the information from the logs in the cloud. System events, traffic, web, security events or applications information can be stored too.

Another useful feature of this system is the real-time alert and monitoring. Allowing the monitoring is a way to improve the user’s experience and certify the network’s critical availability.

For the network’s security and health, reports and analyses are vital, which is why FortiCloud came with a reporting and analysis tool for their program.  For any compliance, custom reports are always available, enabling a shortcut in case that similar requirements are made. It can even send an email with different period PDF reports.

In order to maintain the high-level performance and security standards, the devices within the network are kept under the same configuration.  Doing the same for the operating system firmware, Cloud Management counts on the advantages of the latest features.

Additionally, the system’s security is top-level. Any type of information changes between the clouds and the device is encrypted. This way, the data can be seen or retrieved by the owner only.

For a good start, Fortinet’s FortiCloud provides clients with a free 1GB dashboard widget for licensing after registering the device.

Besides the application and traffic visibility, real-time monitoring, log retention hosting, analysis of the log reports and management of the configuration, Cloud Management also provides: a dashboard for real-time monitoring and a widget for system, a log viewer, filtering the download capability, drill down analysis for network and independent users, reports generating  and device management, including back-up for configuration and firmware, history of the configuration, script manager and profile alert for real-time monitor.

Along with this, Cloud Manager has its benefits:

  1. It comes with a central, simplified management system;
  2. It allows individual or aggregated views of the device;
  3. It allows visibility over the applications and traffic;
  4. It offers log retention hosting, expandable if required;
  5. It provides real-time alerts for monitoring;
  6. It delivers customized reports;
  7. It lets the user analyze the traffic;
  8. It allows thorough configuration management, backup and upgrades;
  9. It does not require specific software or hardware;
  10. It does not need any deployment on premise and at least no operation and maintenance costs.

This is what Cloud Manager offers to its clients together with the pack of benefits that come with using the last hour Fortinet FortiCloud services for networks based on cloud security management.

Cloud Computing – The Types of Cloud Services and Their Field of Usage

The number of the companies understanding the advantages of cloud computing is in permanent growth, and the cloud services available are also in constant evolution. However varied and versatile these services are, they can still be categorized into three major groups. In what follows, you can find a short description of these three categories of service.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

This type of cloud service provides access to software and applications without making the customer pay for expensive licensing and without the necessity to store large program files on local computers. The user is given access to the software applications run by the service provider either free of charge or in return for a fee, and the network used for accessing is usually the internet. The most common examples of SaaS is online banking and e-mail services – the user of these applications is no longer dependent on hardware, the service can be accessed from any place with a connection to the internet.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is primarily used for development environments and platforms. With this type of cloud computing service, the provider undertakes to manage the customer’s data base and operating system so the customer no longer has to manage its own platforms. The service is mainly used in development projects with extended computing needs that would require a very long time to complete if done on individual, local computers; it also shortens time-to-market considerably, while making the complete control of costs possible.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

With this type of service, customers can significantly and consistently reduce capital expenses by outsourcing infrastructure like hardware and storage, eliminating the need to purchase large capacity servers. What the customer gets with this type of cloud computing service is access to storage space and processor usage without using any dedicated software to create such space. The system is very flexible, as it allows the user to increase and decrease the size of the space any time and the provider invoices the client only on the size of storage space and of the resources used for delivering the service.

The growing need for outsourced solutions is setting the quick pace of development for these cloud services and accounts for their popularity among corporate and individual customers alike. The storage space, the networking tools, the applications provided in the form of cloud computing services all serve purposes of cost reduction and enhanced efficiency, enabling competitive functioning in a demanding economic environment.

About Dolomite

Dolomite Technology is a Managed Service Provider that provides services and consulting on technology services to customers across the nation. A core concept of of Dolomite’s service portfolio is cloud computing services. To learn more about Dolomite services please contact us. You can also learn more about cloud computing on our website.

The Fortinet Antivirus – Safe Navigation at All Levels

The Worst Enemies of Nowadays Businesses – Malware Infections

Servers, networks and endpoints are constantly threatened by malware infections and their protection or cleaning costs more and more companies, from government agencies to manufacturers and service providers huge amounts of money. Leaving the financial implications aside, when problems occur, solving them takes valuable time, that could be used for more productive purposes, not to mention that, on most occasions, the process leads to the loss of important data.

The information that is not lost could always leak and be used by your competitors or third parties, and that can be very serious, especially if we are talking about bank accounts or new products designs. To top all these, there are some powerful viruses out there, capable of taking down entire networks and of deleting valuable information from databases and servers.

Excellent Performance

The Antivirus technology developed by Fortinet uses the latest viruses signatures and the highest performing detection engines in order to ensure real time protection on several layers, against old, common, new and rare malware, from viruses to spyware, worms and not only, no matter if they threaten the safety of websites, email systems or file transfer means.

The performance of the Fortinet Antivirus is ensured by the FortiASIC™ Content Processors, a significant part of the FortiWiFI and FortiGate, two important Fortinet products, responsible for accelerating the process of scanning signatures and that of detecting heuristics or anomalies of any kind. The performances delivered make this antivirus perfect for protecting any assets, from entry-level appliances to data center platforms and several gigabits core networks.

Flow-Based Inspection

The security platforms of Fortigate include three antivirus databases that are proxy-based and a flow-based antivirus option. The latter allows the scanning of files of any format or size, without compromising on performance. The inspection option, flow-based, makes possible the scanning of compressed files, all with the purpose of detecting hidden threats. You have the freedom to choose any antivirus engine, but your choice influences the balance between performance and security, so it has to be made responsibly.

Complete Protection against Malware

The common protocols in the tunneling field can benefit from the encryption/decryption performances like L2TP, PPTP, SSL, IPSec and host integrity on-demand verification, allowing the inspection of the encrypted content, like the traffic sent through VPN connections.

Fortinet, through its antivirus, supports SMTP, IMAP, POP3, HTTP, P2P, IM and FTP content inspection, even in compressed files.  In order to provide protection to endpoint devices as well, the FortiClient™ security agents extend their action over remote desktop computers, smartphones and laptops, even if they operate outside the network perimeter.

Fortinet FortiGuard Services

The Fortinet antivirus is regularly activated through the FortiGuard Services. The FortiGuard team in charge of threat research came up with competitive, last hour updates for the antivirus signatures and with easy to implement protection measures against any threats identified at the content level.

To conclude, Fortinet Antivirus is the service that can make the difference between highly performing websites and servers and activity blockages or unnecessary investments.

About Dolomite

Dolomite Technology is a Managed Service Provider that provides services and consulting on technology services to customers across the nation. A core concept of of Dolomite’s service portfolio is security services. To learn more about Dolomite services please contact us. We are more than happy to discuss Fortinet or other security services.

The Benefits of Cloud Computing – Endless Opportunities for Businesses and Individual Customers

Cloud computing is the ultimate IT solution that takes secure data storage to a different level and allows both individual end users and enterprises to use their resources much more efficiently. We use computers for work, for entertainment and communication, and cloud services help us make the most of them. These complex and versatile platforms make communication and collaboration easier, so whatever your objective or your business is, you have only to gain by using cloud services:

  • Secure, yet easy access to your data – Information is power, so the secure storage of your contents in an environment made easily accessible for you anytime and from anywhere is crucial if you are to thrive. With cloud computing solutions, your data is no longer stored on an immovable individual computer, but on remote servers that you can access through a network from mobile devices as well, and your cloud provider will take care of the protection of your data as well
  • Reduced costs and scalability – Cloud solutions eliminate the necessity to invest in either hardware or software, thus eliminating not only the costs of buying the tools in question, but also the expenses of updates, data management and quality control. These cloud services are available for affordable fees, and the users can customize the services they pay for by scaling them up and down any time.
  • Global operation, flexibility and efficiency – Cloud computing allows you to go global with your company’s operations. As people have access to the internet all over the world, you can sit in your office in the US and work with people in India, which makes it easier for you to hire the right people and reduces the costs of running your business, both the capital expenses and the operational expenses. Work will become more efficient as well: employees no longer have to spend time sending emails to each other, and collaboration is also taken to a different level as several employees can work simultaneously on the same file.
  • Complexity and speed – Users no longer need to spend long hours downloading and installing large-size, complicated software on local computers – everything is already there. The IT tools you need are stored on large, high-capacity remote servers, which also means that the speed of data accessing depends only on the bandwidth and the capacity of the end user’s computer or communication device.

As you see, cloud computing is the thing of the future, the ultimate business solution: it turns your computer into a powerful tool with the help of which you can take your business to a whole new level. Dolomite Technology is a Managed Service Provider who can help you leverage the benefits of Cloud Computing. Contact us for more information.

Cyber criminals targeting smart phones

Cyber criminals have long focused on running their cons on PC users. And they’ve been remarkably successful in stealing personal data and stealing funds from countless people. Now these cyber criminals are unleashing their malware attacks on smart phones, tapping into yet another huge potential market of gullible users. This will come as being a big surprise to no one. Smart phones are booming in popularity. And most users treat their smartphones as miniature computers. They surf the Web, send e-mail messages and bank online using their smartphones. Fortunately, you can easily take steps to prevent mobile malware. It mostly requires that you employ good sense when navigating the web using your smart phone.

Scary Numbers

It’s difficult finding data on the frequency of smart phone cyber attacks. But in a recent column, CNN Money writer David Goldman does an excellent job of scaring his readers. For instance, denotes a recent mobile malware hack on Verizon that allowed cyber criminals to steal debit-card numbers. That attack led to a loss of $20 million. That’s just one attack. Goldman cites numbers from Lookout Security that found that four in 10 smartphone users will click or swipe on an unsafe Web link within the next year. Also, he reported that anti-virus giant McAfee reported that mobile malware attacks have jumped by a factor of six. When it comes to protection, smartphone users are lax. Reported by security organization SANS, just one fifth of smart phones are protected by anti-virus software.

The Good News

Smart phone users, though, shouldn’t panic. Malware attacks against mobile devices continue to be relatively rare. And that’s especially so when than the amount of threats levied against PCs. For example, Goldman writes that McAfee as of mid-2012 had identified about 13,000 types of mobile malware. That’s significant. But the company also had detected upwards of 90 million forms of malware aimed instead at PCs. That’s definitely a staggering number. Why have cyber criminals been so focused on PCs? They’ve been successful. They just don’t have an serious incentive to take their malware to smart phones since they’re already swindling so much money from PC users. But as Goldman writes, that will inevitably change.

Protect Yourself

You can protect your phone from mobile malware attacks. You can begin by downloading anti-virus software from reputable companies. Be cautious, though–cyber criminals could create bogus anti-virus software that doesn’t protect your phone but instead sends these criminals your personal information. Also, be sure to research any app before you download it. You need to be sure that it is provided by a reputable company. Finally, be just as wary of phishing schemes just like you should be while sitting in front of your PC. Never provide your Social Security Number, bank account numbers or any other information in an e-mail. Your bank will never request such numbers in e-mail.

Need a tablet? Think small

If you are a professional writer who also happens to own an iPad, you’re fortunate: Software developers have created some apps to help you do your work better, whether you cover real estate news for a trade magazine, blog about technology or write romance fiction. Here is a closer look at some of the best iPad apps for truly serious writers. For those who earn your living with the written word, these applications are must-haves.

Paper by FiftyThree

This app is ideal for writers in the beginning stages of the creative process. With it, you are able to capture your ideas as sketches, diagrams, notes or drawings.

iA Writer

This app, from Information Architects, doesn’t come with a lot of glitz. A text editor and creator, iA Writer doesn’t let you change fonts or colors. The goal? Eliminate the distractions and force you to write.

Google Drive

If you need to save your writing, articles or videos, try Google Drive. It provides you with 5GB of storage totally free.

Evernote

This particular note-taking app has long earned kudos from tech reviewers. But few fully grasp how useful it is to professional writers. With Evernote, you are able to jot down notes, capture photos, compose to-do lists and record voice reminders.

iThoughtsHD

Few organization programs are as helpful to writers as is iThoughtsHD. You can use this tool to organize your thoughts as task list, project-planning document or brainstorming session. You can also use the program to make meeting notes.

Penultimate

The people behind Evernote have created Penultimate, a nifty app that enables users to jot handwritten notes instantly to their iPads. Users can take notes, draw sketches and make quick outlines with Penultimate.

GoodReader

Good.iWare’s GoodReader is easily the most powerful PDF reader for the iPad. With GoodReader, you can read virtually any document imaginable with your iPad. This is true for everything from books, movies and maps to pictures and PDF files.

Index Card

Looking for a place to keep all of your plot summaries, outlines, character descriptions and deadline dates? Index Card is a fantastic choice. This app generates a virtual corkboard on your iPad, and allows you to pin notes directly to it.

Notably

Notably is really a powerful note-taking app for the iPad. But what genuinely sets it apart is the way it functions with well known cloud storage app Dropbox. Every time you add a note, plot summary or assignment deadline to Notably, your modifications will automatically sync with Dropbox.

Need a tablet? Think small

Looking for that perfect tablet? You’ve got an abundance of choices today, from the classic iPad to the upstart Galaxy tablets. But which device is actually the best to buy? Which gives you top overall performance at a reasonable price? And, this being tablets we’re discussing, which best fits in your purse or book bag? One Web site has a unexpected answer: the iPad Mini.

The Benefits of the Mini

Staffers at the WireCutter blog site advise the iPad Mini for one simple reason: It’s just as powerful as its bigger cousin, however it weighs less. For the staffers at WireCutter, the standard iPad’s heft, as they refer to it, has become a serious issue. As the staffers wrote inside a recent blog post, you can’t support the traditional iPad like a magazine, the ultimate purpose of a tablet. That’s because its weight is a bit more much like a hefty coffee table or perhaps thinner telephone book. The iPad Mini, in contrast? It truly is light.

Function

Best of all, the iPad Mini, although small compared to the iPad, works equally well as its larger cousin. The author of the WireCutter blog wrote about totting both styles of the iPad inside a bag, watching movies on both devices and hauling them around the house. The final outcome was clear: The Mini was much more comfortable to hold. And watching movies, reading books, enjoying music, surfing the Web and playing games wasn’t any less impressive on the scaled-down device.

The right recommendation?

Obviously, the WireCutter’s opinion is simply that, an opinion. You might disagree. The good thing? There are plenty of tablets out there from which you can choose. The ideal way to find the right tablet for you? Do your research. Before you buy a tablet, check out different models displayed in your local electronics store. Read online reviews of the numerous tablets. Determine exactly how you want to make use of your tablet. Are you planning to use it mainly for watching movies and playing music on the run? Maybe you would like your tablet to serve as a business tool? Once you know how you want to use your tablet, it is possible to best go about choosing the best device for your needs.