Adobe launches Experience Cloud

Earlier last month, Adobe launched the Adobe Experience Cloud, a comprehensive set of cloud services designed to give enterprises everything they need to deliver great customer experiences. They are broken into three different clouds:

  • Adobe Advertising Cloud
  • Adobe Analytics Cloud
  • Adobe Marketing Cloud

As a result, each of these integrate with Adobe Creative Cloud and Document Cloud, too!

With the new experience cloud, what do the three clouds include?

  • Adobe Advertising Cloud –The advertising cloud is the first end-to-end platform that allows customers to manage and buy its digital and TV ads. With combining capabilities from Adobe Media Optimizer, the advertising cloud simplifies the delivery of display, video and search advertising across different channels and screens.
  • Adobe Analytics Cloud – The new analytics cloud will help business bring exceptional customer service to its business. It enables them to move from insights to action by integrating audience data across all Adobe clouds. Easily allowing brands to better capture and rationalize the amounts of their own disparate data and allow it to be translated into singular profiles of their customers.
  • Adobe Marketing Cloud – With the marketing cloud, it allows an integrated set of world-class solutions that helps marketers to create experiences that allows their brands to stand out, connect and engage with their customers.

Adobe Advertising Cloud, however, will also include specific features with each one, such as:

  • Cross–Channel Planning –  Advertisers can reach audiences from anywhere, whether they are currently searching or on social networks.This allows planning, buy and measuring advertisers across channels.
  • Performance without Compromise – Through certain tools, Adobe Advertising Cloud easily help advertisers achieve their goals without risking brand safety or media quality.
  • Creative Optimization – Which is used to create personalized ads using consumer analytics.
  • Media Activation Across Devices – Whether it is across a device or screen, it allows marketers to reach specific audiences regardless of the device used.

With these new features, it will help create an easier device that be beneficial for advertisers, marketers and for the enjoyment of customers.

How Amazon’s Alexa is changing the system

 

Amazon’s new speaking system Echo, otherwise known as Alexa, has been said by critics to change the game when it comes to new modern technology. After all, Alexa is named after the ancient library of Alexandria for a reason.

Alexa, is the voice service that powers Echo and interacts with customers through the device by using a specific set of designed skills. With Echo’s far-field microphones, the speaker can instantly respond to voice commands from anywhere within earshot. With no button to press, simple say the words ‘Alexa,’ Echo,’ ‘Amazon,’ or ‘Computer’ and it will be ready to assist you. Alexa is able to play music as requested, answer general questions, set an alarm or timer, get local information or the latest news. This also includes controlling any smart home product from anywhere!  The system is already built in the cloud, so it always gets smarter. For example, the more customers use Alexa, the more she quickly adapts to specific speech patterns, vocabulary and every personal preference.

Alexa Voice Service (AVS) has made a new way for technologic advances. It uses intelligent and scalable cloud service that adds voice-enabled experiences to any product that is connected, only needing a microphone and speaker. With this new skill, customers and users can interact with Alexa in a way that feels humanly natural.
The cool new features of Echo now allow developers to build a completely new voice experience by using the completely free AVS and ASK to build or better power your voice experience. It can also be used to reach far more customers than before by using Alexa-enable devices such as Amazon Fire TV and all other devices that can be powered by the Alexa Voice Service. With the use of these features, developers can continue to bring new technological advances to the system through games or even through apps that provide an easier way to do things, all while your phone stays in your pocket.

Amazon Web Services

Many of us enjoy using Amazon on a daily basis when we order products through Amazon Prime or watch movies through the Amazon Stick. But did you know that small and medium sized businesses have been using Amazon Web Services for features such as: computing, storage, database storage, analytics, application, and deployment services that help organizations move faster, lower IT costs, and scale applications. Millions customers are using Amazon Web Services for products and solutions. Let’s take a closer look at this and how it may be a good choice for your business.

 

Whether you are running applications that share photos to millions of mobile users or you’re supporting the critical operations of your business, a cloud services platform provides rapid access to flexible and low cost IT resources. Here are some of the benefits that businesses may procure with the use of Amazon Web Services.

 

  • Ease of Use – The intuitive applications of Amazon allow users to quickly and safely run aspects of business.
  • Affordable – Businesses only pay for the compute power, storage, and other resources used, with no long-term contracts or up-front commitments.
  • Security – Businesses will benefit from a data center and network architecture built to meet the requirements of the most security-sensitive organizations.
  • Flexible – Select the operating system, programming language, web application platform, database, and other services you need. With Amazon Web Services, your business will  receive a virtual environment that lets you load the software and services your application requires.

 

Contact M&H Consulting to find out more about these web services and whether they can be helpful; to your company.

 

Password Management

By now, we all hopefully know that having the password “123456” or “password” may be super convenient but also easy to crack by hackers. For many of us in the business world, we have so many passwords that we have trouble keeping track of them. There are the personal passwords for home and family use, the passwords for financial applications, work access passwords and the list could go on and on ad infinitum. Thankfully, we don’t need to rely on a yellow sticky note any more or the strength of our long term memory. There are password managers that can keep all this information safe a secure until you need to use it again.

 

In a perfect world we could just remember our long list of passwords or use the same password for everything, but in today’s world of cyber crimes making the nightly news on a regular basis, it has become more important than ever to have secure passwords for each login. According to PC Magazine, a typical password manager can handle these logins and passwords by installing a browser plugin to handle password capture and replay. When you log in to a secure site, it offers to save your credentials. When you return to that site, it offers to automatically fill in those credentials. And if you’ve saved multiple logins for the same site, the password manager offers you multiple account login options. Most also offer a browser toolbar menu of saved logins, so you can go straight to a saved site and log in automatically. In order to avoid duplicating a password or coming up with weak ones, most password manager products include a built-in password generator. In addition, almost all top password managers can sync across all of devices so there is no need to worry about remembering your password on your mobile or laptop.

 

To see a list of the top ranked password managers follow these:

 

PC Magazine Top Ranked 2017 Password Managers

 

Wired Free Password Managers

 

Putting Google to Work for your Business

We all know the Google name and the power behind the well-known search engine. But did you know that just by signing up for a Google email for you and your employees, that you have the power of cloud computing right at your fingertips? Google’s suite of applications seems to cover every angle of computer-based work including: creating presentations, spreadsheets, documents, and calendars all in a collaborative format! This is a great opportunity for start-ups to reduce costs and maintain a superior level of communications among team members.

 

The benefits of using Google’s suite of applications are far reaching especially for companies that are highly mobile and operating on a tight budget. The standard version of Google Docs, which is amazing on its own, can be beefed up for just $50 a year or more. That includes cloud-based file storage and help desk services. In addition to the affordability of this suite, Google is highly mobile, meaning users can access files via mobile phones, even the Apple iPad, and of course from desktop computers and notebooks. If your work takes you out-of-the-office often, this may be a sound choice for your small or medium sized business.

 

Google Docs, spreadsheets, and presentations have other features that are a “must” in today’s collaborative work environment. For example, Google Docs provides automated backup for documents as they are edited. Collaboration is also made simple with Google’s ability of allowing multiple users work simultaneously on the same file. This is critical when a presentation is on a deadline and multiple employees are making changes and additions up to the last minute.

 

Finally, Google takes all the stress off the business owner by taking care of maintenance and security. Google and the secondary service providers worry about power surges, failed hard drives, upgrades, and compatibility while you run your business. Google’s security track record is also excellent. Data stored with Google is probably as safe as it would be in most corporate data centers.

 

Talk to M&H Consulting if you want to put Google to work for your company. We can help train and troubleshoot for your company.

Are you Cyber Aware While Mobile?

As Americans, we love our mobile devices because they are so portable and easy-to-use. Unfortunately, smartphones, tablets, laptops, e-readers and iwatches are just as vulnerable to cyber attacks as desktop machines. With the expansion of capabilities and wider range of uses of mobile devices, there have also been an introduction of new security risks. Let’s look at a few steps you can take to be cyber aware while on your beloved mobile device.

 

  1. Security – Keep your mobile device locked with encryption features such as a pin, password, complex swipe, or other security option should it be lost or stolen.
  2. Monitor Apps – It is always advisable to stick with official marketplaces when installing an app in order to avoid spyware, malicious software or other viruses. Some apps ask for access to a camera or messages. Evaluate whether you really need those. In addition, remove apps that you no longer use.
  3. Consider Anti-Virus Software – An anti-virus package may be your best bet at defending against cyber crimes. You wouldn’t operate your desktop without appropriate protection so don’t do it with your mobile. In addition, make sure your system is regularly updated with the latest security features.
  4. Jailbreaking – This activity, while it may help you gain access to specific apps also strips away some of your mobile security.
  5. Bluetooth and WiFi – Disable both of these features when you are not using them because cyber criminals can track your movements when you are in range.
  6. Hotspots – Sure, doing work at a coffeeshop may sound cozy but it can give criminals access to your device and key accounts such as your email, and financial information. Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) if you need a secure connection on-the-go.
  7. Getting a New Device – Consider wiping the data on your mobile device before disposing of it. Keep in mind if you have used rooting or jailbreaking, your device may not respond to the wiping.

 

Call M&H Consultants for more information on training your employees on how to be “Cyber Aware While Mobile”.

 

Firewall 411

 

A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. This can either be hardware or software based (ideally both) and creates parameters of whether to allow or block specific traffic based on those rules. In short, a firewall acts as a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network.

 

The term “firewall” may sound familiar to you as it has been used in fire prevention for years, and originally referred to a wall intended to confine a fire or potential fire within a building. Now the term means a high-tech wall to protect your system from outside influences that could harm your business data or system in general. Firewalls have been a first line of defense in network security for over 25 years.

 

With the explosion of the internet and the resulting connectivity between users and the rest of the world, firewalls have become a critical part of security for businesses. Firewalls have gone through their own form of evolution and have attempted to keep up with the rapid pace of technology. Here is a quick breakdown from Cisco Systems of the generations of firewalls including next generation firewalls.

 

  • Proxy Firewalls – The earliest version of a firewall served as the gateway from one network to another for a specific application. Proxy servers can provide additional functionality such as content caching and security by preventing direct connections from outside the network.
  • Stateful Inspection Firewall – Now thought of as a “traditional” firewall, a stateful inspection firewall allows or blocks traffic based on state, port, and protocol. It monitors all activity from the opening of a connection until it is closed.
  • Unified threat management (UTM) Firewall – UTM device typically combines, in a loosely coupled way, the functions of a stateful inspection firewall with intrusion prevention and antivirus. It may also include additional services and often cloud management. UTMs focus on simplicity and ease of use.
  • Next-generation firewall (NGFW) – A newer class of firewalls, next generation firewall – NGFW, filters network and Internet traffic based upon the applications or traffic types using specific ports. Next Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) blend the features of a standard firewall with quality of service (QoS) functionalities in order to provide smarter and deeper inspection.

What It Means to Have SSL/Benefits of It

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), helps prevent attacks from companies and attackers tampering with the data sent between websites and the users’ browsers. SSL is a necessary tool for protecting sensitive information. And as more attacks and advances that are made on the internet, the better it is to have SSL on websites.

So what are the benefits of SSL? With the solid authenticity of having actual security from website to user browser, there are several advantages to SSL Certificates.

Authentication –  Online users always want to be sure their information or the content on a website, goes to a correct server without it being intercepted. Having an SSL certificate adds another type of protection called a server certificate. The server certificate purpose is to act as a mediator between browsers and SSL servers to show it is and can be trusted.

Encrypts Information –  Encryption helps to keep information read and used between two intended parties. When information has more “stops” to make, the higher chance a third party could access that information. When users are visiting your site, it’ll know that you have encryption in place in several different ways such as ‘http’ with ‘https’. This change shows the site is secure and is backed up by a lock image.

Critical for Payments – To meet with Payment Card Industry compliance regulations, online businesses need an SSL certificate with proper encryption of a least 128-bit. PCI have specific standards such as the SSL certificate is from a trusted source, has the right strength of encryption and provides a private connection for every page that personal information that is used. These standards are then verified, which then allow them to take credit card payments.

Business Proofing – Companies and business are prompted to have advanced security. As companies implement SSL, they are taking a step forward in future-proofing.

SSL Certificate Basics

Not many web users are aware of the purpose of SSL Certificates or what its main purpose is. As the internet continues to grow, it’s important to know every bit of security that must be instilled and learned as you continue to be a web user.

To begin with, what is SSL? SSL Certificate also known as a “digital certificate” in installed on a web server and serves two specific functions:

  1. It encrypts data that’s being transmitted
  2. Authenticates the identity of the website

The purpose of SSL is to guarantee visitors they are on secure and not on a unsecured and harmful sites. In other words, it is an encrypted connection between the web server and the visitors’ web browser. It helps prevent any attack or intrusive companies like ISPs from tampering with the data that is sent between websites and your own browser. Not only is it important to protect from sensitive information, but it also helps protect your site from any malware as well as preventing others from injecting advertisements in your resources.

However, there are several different types of SSL that are based on the number of domain names or subdomains owned such as single, wildcard and multi-domain.

  • Single – secures one fully-qualified domain or subdomain name.
  • Wildcard – covers one domain name and unlimited number of its subdomains.
  • Multi-domain – secures multiple domain names.

Any organization or individual website can use SSL to require, process, receive, collect store or display confidential or their audiences sensitive customer information. For examples ,sites that require use of logins and passwords, client lists, medical records or personal data (e.g. names, social security numbers, birth dates) can all be in need of SSL certificate for encrypted security.
The next time you visit a website, be aware of its SSL Certificates before revealing any personal data information.

Network Basics

IT (Information Technology) can have a lot of information all at once and it can become pretty overwhelming. IT basics range from different points of technology such as computer or web development, Internet, anything that can relate to the computer, IT knows it. However, not many people are aware of the Network basics.

A computer network is a group of computers, specifically two or more, connected to one another through a wire or a cable, or as it is often used today, wirelessly. This allows computers to be able to access and share files easily. The bigger the network, the bigger chance you have to access a large number of computers and then give you the ability to share printers, storage space, and DVD drives among other things.

There are several different types of Networks that are classified on basis of scale. In other words, the area it covers determines on the type of network it is. The most popular ones are:

  • WAN – Wide Area Network is a collection of LAN(Local Access Network) networks and cover a big amount of geographical area. The Internet itself is known as a WAN. They differ from other networks because they’re not owned by one single organization or person. They also use different technology that allows communication over long distances, for example ATM.
  • LAN – As mentioned above, LAN stands for Local Access Networks. It is known as a short-distance network, usually connection computers that are close together the same area, for example in the same room or building.
  • CAN – Campus Area Network that is used amongst Universities and College campuses. Similar to WANs or LANs, they simply just have more restrictions.
  • MAN – A Metropolitan Area Network is commonly used in a metro area. They usually are more limited in scope than WANs.

Being familiar with the various types of networks, allows you to begin learning about the different models and network architecture available.