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Month: January 2014

How Computer Firewall Works

January 30, 2014

Put simply, a firewall is a wall that surrounds your computer, protecting it from online threats like hacking attempts. This robust protection is essential, when you consider the high security risk that the present-day internet poses. Firewalls can be used to protect computers in an office network, as well as to protect one’s home network and family from malicious websites. The mechanism of how a firewall works is relatively simple, with a firewall basically being a hardware device or program which works as a filter, barring suspicious packets of information from entering into a network.

Companies typically place firewalls at every internet connection in their network, making it impossible for any unauthorized user to gain access to the network. In addition to this, firewalls also make it possible for companies to control the websites that their employees can visit, and which files can leave the network. The three methods used by firewalls to control inbound and outbound data to the network are packet filtering, proxy service, and stateful inspection.

In packet filters, packets of data are subjected to a set of filters, through which they are either accepted or rejected. Proxy service makes use of a requesting system for data traveling in either direction. Stateful inspection is the latest firewall technology, in which packets of data are compared to a database of trusted information on the basis of certain attributes, based on which it is either rejected or accepted.
Users can customize firewalls on the basis of various conditions such as IP addresses, domain names, ports, and specific words/ phrases.

Here is a look at some of the key benefits offered by a computer firewall:

  • A major benefit of firewalls is that their protection is not limited to a single computer, but can be used to protect multiple systems in a single network as well.
  • A firewall can be configured to provide a high amount of security from a wide range of internet bots, hence protecting the data on a local PC or network. These include remote login, backdoors, OS bugs, service denial, email bombs, macros, viruses, spam, source routing, and redirect bombs.
  • A firewall can keep a log of multiple attempts of invasion from a single source, establishing alarms to alert you when such attempts are made in the future.
  • Certain firewalls are also capable of maintaining a log of all outbound data traffic from your computer, and restricting access to suspicious networks.

Centex Technologies provide IT support and office computer networking solutions to corporates. For more information, call us at – (855) 375-9654

Introduction To Tablet Commerce

January 27, 2014

Commonly referred to as T-Commerce, Tablet commerce is without doubt the next big thing in the e-commerce landscape, catering to the ever-growing number of tablet users worldwide. With tablet shoppers accounting for 21% of all mobile traffic to retail websites, and this number expected to grow significantly over the coming year, it is understandable why e-commerce experts are viewing tablet commerce as a key aspect of their online marketing strategies. It is interesting to note that research shows that most of the aforementioned tablet users also own smart phones and PCs, but still preferred to shop using their tablets.

The high customer preference towards tablets can be attributed to their user-friendly interface, portability and accessibility, which explains why users are likely to reach out to their tablets to respond to a television advertizement. It is thus important for retailers to create tablet-friendly websites, and ensure a consistent experience for their users across multiple devices and screen sizes. Tablet-optimized websites need to leverage touch-screen technology, making for a smoother web-browsing experience for users.

Retailers who aim at trumping their competitors when it comes to tablet commerce, need to focus on providing richer content for tablet users, through apps that are engaging, unique, and innovative. The aim is to be able to make the most of all that tablets have to offer, right from audio recognition and page flipping to horizontal scrolling and gyroscope. The good news is that you do not necessarily have to modify the entire content on your website to cater to tablet users, but can just focus on ensuring an inspiring and interactive shopping experience on your website.

As a retailer targeting tablet users, you need to make the most of the unique opportunities that tablets offer for consumer interaction. These include videos, surveys, quizzes, and other interactive media that make it possible for users to connect with the products and services being offered. This goes a long way in inspiring users to buy, and also making them want to share their experiences with other users. The fact that tablets are constantly proliferating in size and features makes this an even more lucrative marketing venture for retailers with a futuristic perspective.

Tablet commerce is being viewed as a more effective marketing technique than social media and mobile commerce for retailers. The engaging commerce experience that tablets offers by far bypasses other platforms, making it the go-to option for successful retailers looking for new and compelling ways to engage potential customers.

Google Acquires NEST

January 17, 2014

Search giant Google has left the online world in frenzy with its acquisition of NEST labs, which manufactures the Nest Learning Thermostat and the smart smoke detector, Protect; both of which have redefined what thermostats are capable of. The company, which was founded by two former Apple executives, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, is popular for its intuitive products, which learn user behaviors and are capable of adjusting the temperature autonomously. The sale, which is expected to close within a few months, has been slated at $3.2 billion in cash.

Speculations are rife about how exactly Google intends to use NEST, as it seems that this move, when combined with Google’s language recognition abilities, could be Google’s way to enter the homes of the general public. This move is being seen as a “rocket ship” to the future, one that has the potential of transporting us into a future that we could only imagine so far. This could be a major step into realizing the vision of “conscious homes”, which could completely change the face of the world.

This is not the first time that Google has attempted to gain access to similar systems, the most recent being its own energy monitoring service. Sources reveal that Apple also showed interest in purchasing NEST, as a part of its wearable technology to counter Google Glass. However, Fadell was apparently only interested in a partnership with Google, or in remaining independent. Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, and now NEST, goes to show the belief that the company has in Apple’s vision.

Post acquisition Representatives for NEST maintain that privacy and user security has always been a prime consideration for NEST, and that is not expected to change. However, skeptics have a different view, as it is believed that with this move, Google, which has a history of compromising customer privacy for product sales, will get a closer view than ever into the activities going on behind closed doors of its users. This is a critical consideration for customers who use NEST’s products, since the company collects a wide range of information about their living habits. It remains to be seen if these users will continue to trust the company after its partnership with Google.

Tips on Computer Networking For Small Office

December 10, 2013

Small office computing differs from enterprise networks, in having modest computing and networking requirements. A typical small office network consists of about a dozen computers and a few printers or scanners. The key requirement of such a network is that it should allow the users to share information and peripherals. A small office network usually requires a single LAN with one or two servers, which can be managed by a single person with technical expertise.

Enlisted below are some basic tips for networking for a small office:

  • The most important step to establish a small office network is to ensure as strong foundation for the network. This includes investing in business-grade switches and routers for the network.
  • You will also need to ensure scalability for the network. This will make it possible to easily add or remove computers from the network, as per the changing needs of your company, as well as additional features and functionality as required.
  • It is a good idea to have built-in redundancy for your network, to ensure a good backup system for your network.
  • Opting for wireless access could enable a great deal of freedom for your small office network, through the use of devices like Wireless Laptops, P.D.A’s, printers, and cameras. It could also be useful in the event of having to set up a temporary office, where network access was not originally planned. The decreased use of cables also makes the office environment safer. However, wired networks offer the advantages of being more reliable, having a lower cost and offering faster connection speeds.
  • Some essential features that you should opt for include Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video surveillance, integrated messaging, and wireless applications.
  • It is advisable to use switches with inlet power, which will make them easier to install, use, and manage. While choosing features for your network, you should take into account their reliability and redundancy.
  • You can ensure prime security for your small office network by keeping the server room under lock and key, and ensuring that the VPN is administered internally. All the equipment and network gear should be password protected.
  • It is also advisable to use VLANs, which are LANs connected with a router. Public websites can be on a separate LAN secured by a firewall, and the servers can be on an individual LAN.

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