The Connection, Inc Blog

The Connection, Inc has been serving the New Jersey area since 1992, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Do Google’s New Policies on User Data Privacy Indicate Larger Changes?

Do Google’s New Policies on User Data Privacy Indicate Larger Changes?

Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, online privacy has been highlighted significantly in recent years—in no small part due to the sale of our profiles by the tech giants that provide today’s most (in)famous websites… including and especially Google. Having said this, it is also important to acknowledge that some of Google’s recent policy changes could suggest that this may change at some point.

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Does Your Organization Have Enough Bandwidth?

Does Your Organization Have Enough Bandwidth?

A lot of business is being conducted over the Internet right now, in terms of communication and transactions alike, which makes a business’ capability to remain connected to its clientele even more important. Now is not the time to wonder if your business is as connected as it should be, which means that you need to know how much bandwidth you have available—and that what you do have is sufficient.

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Working with Images on the Web, Part 2 - Resizing Images

Working with Images on the Web, Part 2 - Resizing Images

In a recent post, we talked about the various image formats you should use when sharing images over email or online. The goal is to generate an image (or images) that are the smallest file size possible to make them easy to share and quick to download, without reducing the overall quality of the image.

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Working with Images on the Web, Part 1 - Image File Formats

Working with Images on the Web, Part 1 - Image File Formats

Whether you are sharing them online, emailing them to a colleague, or putting them on your own website, it’s important to understand a few basics when it comes to image files and sizes. This guide will hopefully save you a lot of hassle when trying to email large images, update your website, and use social media, whether it be for your own personal use or for your business.

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Near Miss Teaches an Important Security Lesson

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Near Miss Teaches an Important Security Lesson

To preserve your cybersecurity, you need to have a comprehensive view of everything involved with your technology—and we do mean everything. Let’s consider a recent close call, involving the Democratic Republic of Congo that exemplifies this perfectly that could have potentially exposed millions of Internet users to serious threats.

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Revisiting Net Neutrality

Revisiting Net Neutrality

In the United States, the political scene is extremely divisive. This can be seen in nearly every political arena including the ongoing debate over who should have regulatory power over the Internet. In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted, three votes to two, to repeal the Net Neutrality rules that were implemented by the same regulatory body just two years prior. Today, with a new administration being sworn in in less than a month, we thought we’d revisit the net neutrality rules and see where we stand at present. 

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More Effective for Business: Wireless vs Wired

More Effective for Business: Wireless vs Wired

Businesses’ data needs are rapidly changing. Today, data security is a pressing issue. Unfortunately, the amount of dangerous threats are expanding as well and it is important to ensure that any technology moves you make don’t end up putting your business in harm’s way. This month, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of wiring up your computer network. 

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Tip of the Week: Improving Your Google Searches

Tip of the Week: Improving Your Google Searches

Google is the standard for online searches. It seems to be as simple as can be. Think of a question, type it in, get an answer. However, not many people likely know just how specific you can make these Google searches with just a few details. Let’s go over how to use Google most effectively as you search the Internet.

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How the IoT Can Be Used to Help Your Business Processes

How the IoT Can Be Used to Help Your Business Processes

The Internet of Things has been around for some time now, with devices being given some level of artificial intelligence and Internet connectivity to improve their intended functions since 1982. After some time as a fringe approach to technology, it has now become an invaluable tool for many business functions. Let’s review the ways that the IoT can be harnessed to your advantage.

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Tip of the Week: Searching Google More Specifically

Tip of the Week: Searching Google More Specifically

Everyone knows how to do a Google Search, right? Go to the site, type whatever it is you’re looking for into the search bar, and you’re off to the races. Fewer people are aware, however, of the ways that you can help Google narrow its search a bit. Let’s go over a few handy Google cheat codes that can make your search results more precise.

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What’s the Benefit of Content Filtering?

What’s the Benefit of Content Filtering?

Wasting time is a big concern in any business, and this is one place where the Internet can potentially hurt as much as it helps. Of course, it does still help, as the Internet is where many of today’s business tools are accessed. How can you ensure that your team is spending their time working, rather than on social media or other distracting websites?

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The Pandmeic Era Internet

The Pandmeic Era Internet

The Internet has never been more valuable than it is today. Over the past couple of months tens of millions of students have been introduced to telelearning, millions of businesses have promoted telework, people are meeting with their friends online, and consuming content from their living rooms (or their home offices) at rates never before seen. So what about security? Today we’ll take a look at how all this use is changing the Internet. 


Some Internet Stats

Prior to the pandemic, studies showed that only 5.2 percent of Americans worked from home in 2017. That’s roughly eight million people, or one out of every 20.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 29 percent of Americans can do their job from home. All other 71 percent have to physically be in a place to do their work. 

At present, telework has been made available as businesses look to maintain their revenue streams. In fact, it seems that COVID-19 has done something that almost a decade of advocacy has done: made business owners realize the benefits of telework. The question becomes, now that we know that telework is possible (or even preferred), how will this change the Internet?

How is the Internet Holding Up?

The Internet is now hosting roughly a third of workers who are doing their jobs from their homes, most students who spend half of their day online, and millions upon millions of online shoppers who are more apt to use online resources than go out and put themselves in physical risk. That’s not even mentioning the normal use of streaming services and typical online-based services. So the answer is that the Internet is holding up extremely well. 

Most Internet service providers have loosened or eliminated the normal data caps, supposedly saving people billions of dollars, but it is quite curious that these companies claim that the caps were in place to ensure the service works well. We’re led to believe that they are helping people by eliminating data caps, but it looks like the Internet would function fine without them. It will be interesting to see how people react when they are put back in place. 

It’s not perfect for everyone: Rural users with limited access to broadband still struggle to get the bandwidth they need. Larger cities, where infrastructure hasn’t been updated in some time,  are seeing more downtime. Still, tens of thousands of businesses are able to continue operations, giving people hope.

Cybersecurity is Still Crucial

Businesses that have been able to make it through the stay-at-home orders using remote technology are fortunate, but many of them have been targeted by hackers. By allowing remote work, you open your business to a whole list of new threats. Making sure your systems are up-to-date, and that your people understand how they are the first wave of defense, can take you very far in this environment. 

This whole era could change the office forever. Imagine it, productive and happy workers, fewer expenses, sweatpants. Or, we’ll forget this has ever happened and go back to working like we used to. Regardless of how it is going, your business needs to have the comprehensive network security tools in place including:

  • Around-the-clock monitoring
  • Firewalls and intrusion detection
  • Anti-malware
  • Security training
  • Encrypted messaging and file sharing
  • Help desk

And more.

If you would like to talk to one of our IT professionals about network security, telework, or any other technology-based solution used to make business possible during these tough times, call us today at (732) 291-5938.

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For Many Businesses, Working From Home Might Stick

For Many Businesses, Working From Home Might Stick

Skipping the commute, wearing comfortable pants, and foregoing everyday office distractions has become the new norm during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s very likely that the businesses that do well with a remote workforce might continue to keep operating that way even after we’re all able to see each other again.


Work Can Get Done From Home? Who Would Have Guessed?

Before the pandemic, if you were to ask a hundred small business owners what their biggest turn off was when it comes to allowing their staff to work from home, most would tell you that they didn’t have the confidence that their employees would treat their jobs as seriously. Less work would get done. At home, there are pets, television, video games, children, and a number of other distractions that would seemingly fight for the attention of your employees.

At the office, the business owner and managers can march around and make sure everybody is working hard, right?

It reminds me of a Dilbert strip. The exchange goes something like this:

Dilbert: I’d like to work from home so I can be more productive.
Boss: I can’t manage you as easily when you’re out of the office.
Dilbert: That’s why I’d be more productive.
Boss: But you’d be missing out on all of this.

Granted, every manager has their own management style, and every business has their own needs when it comes to keeping things productive, and there are always going to be employees that buck the trends. Still, a lot of employees around the world right now are suddenly discovering the fact that they are able to be as productive, if not more productive, when working from home.

Much of the office workforce is getting very used to wearing those comfy pants, and it’s going to be strange (and a little disappointing) having to go back to the old ways of doing things. 

Some Businesses Figured This Out Years Ago

Telecommuting isn’t anything new, but experts were pretty sure it was going to take a bit longer to catch on. Many organizations have been offering different flavors of remote employment for a while now. Some might have certain departments or employees working from home all the time, or they might offer flexibility to have people work from home a few days every week.

Either way, these organizations are using it as both a perk for prospective employees, and as a way to cut down on costs. It’s not cheap to keep and maintain a working area for employees. Keeping the lights on, the A.C. running, and maintaining a cubicle and workstation adds up.

Look at your office space. Add up the rent/lease costs, utilities, and the snack budget. It’s a big chunk of money. Imagine reducing that down to almost nothing - moving your IT to the cloud, finding a shared space for meetings and interviews (if needed), and ditching the expensive office space might look pretty attractive once you discover you don’t really need it.

Whether You Go Back or Stay Remote, We Can Help

The Connection, Inc has worked with a lot of businesses during this pandemic to help get them set up to allow their workforce to be productive from home. We can help your business implement new technologies to make it easier for your staff to collaborate and work from home (or anywhere) for the long term.

Whether you need immediate help or you are looking to plan out strategies to keep things running smoothly for the long run, give us a call at (732) 291-5938 to discuss all the options.

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Tip of the Week: How Bandwidth Works (and Why It Matters)

Tip of the Week: How Bandwidth Works (and Why It Matters)

Businesses require a lot of their Internet connections, especially if they’re using technologies like VoIP, screen-sharing, and/or webinar platforms. If you’re looking to incorporate these features, you need to be sure you have enough bandwidth to support them. We’re looking at a few reasons that your bandwidth matters, and how to tell if you have enough for your needs.


Before we go any further, it is important that you have an idea of how bandwidth functions.

Bandwidth Does Not Equal Speed

This is a common enough misconception that can be cleared up with a relatively simple analogy.

Picture a fast food restaurant, with a school bus filled with hungry student athletes looking for a post-game meal. As this team is very coordinated, they all want the same things, allowing the crew member behind the register to take all of their orders at a consistent rate. While it may take longer, all of the team members will have their order taken. 

Now, imagine that the fast food franchise has a second person at the registers, equally proficient as the first employee. While the speed at which orders can be taken hasn’t technically increased, more orders can be taken at once, so the student athletes will make it through the line faster.

Bandwidth works in effectively the same way as the registers in this scenario. It isn’t that greater bandwidth moves data any faster, it’s that greater bandwidths can move more data at once. 

This means that you can also invest in too much bandwidth. Let’s return to our fast food franchise for a moment. If you have someone ready and waiting on each of three registers, but only one customer, you are over-investing in your franchise’s “bandwidth.”

In other words, you’d be spending more money than you needed to, which is a pretty blatant (and shockingly common) problem for businesses.

The Influence of Bandwidth

The amount of bandwidth that your business has access to can have a considerable impact on your operations, by effectively limiting the amount of tasks that can be performed simultaneously - at least, without issue.

Different common business tasks will use different amounts of bandwidth, and most of them use a minimal amount of bandwidth. Then, there are the heavy hitters - Voice over Internet Protocol usage, webinars, and backup processes - that will use considerably more.

Fortunately, you can take steps to minimize the impact that insufficient bandwidth can have on your business’ operations. For example, you could throttle some of your less-important tasks, thereby saving more bandwidth for more critical ones, or simply scheduling as many of the processes that require a lot of bandwidth to take place after hours. Uploading a backup is a good example of this, as it requires a lot of bandwidth, so performing it after hours means that you won’t be interrupting other tasks.

Of course, one of the most helpful things to do that helps you optimize your available bandwidth is to find out how much bandwidth you actually have available.

Evaluating Your Network

When it comes to evaluating your bandwidth needs, there are a few different routes that you can take. There are speed tests available online that can give you an estimate of your bandwidth by comparing it to your approximate network traffic. One resource worth using is Speedtest.net.

However, if you are considering implementing VoIP or the other processes we mentioned above, there are other considerations you should look into, including:

  • Mean Opinion Score (MOS)
    The MOS was once entirely generated via feedback and opinions from human users. Specifically to VoIP, it is now generated based on an algorithmic analysis of three different metrics (those metrics being listening quality, conversational quality, and transmission quality) to give a score between 0-and-5 (or incoherent-to-excellent). I know I don’t need to tell you that you want your business to have high-quality calls.

  • Quality of Service (QoS)
    Much like the MOS, the QoS of your VoIP solution is an important consideration in how successful you can consider your implementation of VoIP to be. Bandwidth plays a considerable role in defining the QoS.

  • Jitter
    This is the term used to identify delays in data packet delivery to a network, recognizable by sounds that are choppy or lag. You should be aiming for minimal jitter, which translates to consistent packet delivery.

  • Latency (Ping Rate)
    This is the term to describe the milliseconds-long delay that results from information moving from point-to-point. Ideally, this number is small and consistent, but this isn’t always the case. If a ping takes an abnormally long time to reach somewhere on the Internet and come back to your network, you have a MS spike, and potentially, a problem.

  • Codec
    Whatever kind of broadcasting you may be engaged in (including VoIP), some data compression can be helpful, but swiftly becomes an issue if the audio quality is no longer sufficient. For instance, if you were using VoIP, you could compress the call to limit the bandwidth used, but this means the quality would suffer, and make the call harder to understand. Of course, a little compression may not be an issue, so to keep it to a minimum, make sure you have sufficient bandwidth to accommodate peak usage times.

We Can Help with a Network Evaluation!

The Connection, Inc has the skill to not only identify potential bandwidth issues, we can help you to resolve them as well! To learn more about what we can do to help your business function efficiently, give our team a call at (732) 291-5938!

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Building a Secure Wi-Fi Network

Building a Secure Wi-Fi Network

Maintaining network security is always a priority for the security-minded company, but if your organization’s strategy is to fly under the radar, you need a new plan. No business is too small to be a victim of a network breach. What most people who are tasked with coming up with a network security strategy for a small business don’t always realize is that threats are everywhere. Today, we’re going to take a look at planning a secure and reliable Wi-Fi strategy that doesn’t inherently add to your business’ risk. 


It isn’t always the IT department that pushes for wireless network implementation, but it continues to happen at most places of business. Luckily for all parties, today’s wireless internet is easier to install, is faster than ever, and works to protect network security better than ever before, once it is set up correctly. Let’s go step-by-step.

Step #1 - Identify Need

There are very distinct pros and cons to implementing a wireless network for your business. On one hand a wireless network is much more cost effective. It enhances mobility, which can fuel a more flexible and collaborative work environment. These are two very good reasons to implement one, but there are some detriments, especially considering security. It’s true that data sent over a Wi-Fi connection is more susceptible to threat than through a wired connection.  Luckily, wireless is more secure than it was in the past, but knowing you will have to keep a more vigilant eye on wirelessly transmitted data is a consideration you have to account for. 

Step #2 - Coverage Area

Supposing that you do see the benefits in implementing a wireless network, the next step is to identify what area needs to be covered by the wireless network. Do you want your Wi-Fi to reach outside the confines of your building? Ideally, you will want to examine just where you need coverage and come up with a general idea where your access points will be.

Step #3 - Bandwidth

Before you can start building your Wi-Fi network you need to determine how much bandwidth you are going to need to facilitate the users on your new wireless network. Are your users bandwidth-hungry? Are they using cloud platforms or uploading and downloading data constantly? Estimating your organization's bandwidth needs will go a long way toward dictating how many access points are needed. 

Step #4 - Hardware

The hardware you will need to implement your new Wi-Fi network is minimal, but identifying exactly what you need to fuel the platform you’ve planned is a big step. Part of selecting the hardware you need is deciding which wireless standard to follow. Of course, there is some interoperability between standards, but for your business’ benefit, planning on using a single standard is best practice. The most prevalent for high speed wireless transmission are 802.11a and 802.11g. 802.11b delivers slower Internet speeds, but also reduces the prices of the hardware substantially.

Step #5 - Implementation

Setting up the network may be more work than you may think, but it’s true that some places can just put a single wireless router on the wall next to the modem and cover everything the business needs it to cover. If this doesn’t describe your business, you will want to do a site survey to test the Wi-Fi’s reach so you can put the hardware in the right spots.

Step #6 - Security

Before you let anyone access your new Wi-Fi network, you will absolutely want to set up the security you plan on using. At The Connection, Inc, we suggest that you consult an IT expert when implementing security. This is because as much as you can understand the best practices needed to control a system’s security, an expert has the experience needed to set up the network security options properly, and can work to integrate it with your other network security efforts.

If you insist on doing this type of thing yourself, there are a couple of things you need to do. They include:

  1. Change your router’s admin password - The first step in most security practices is changing the password. It is no different here.
  2. Turn off Service Set Identifier (SSID) broadcasting - This doesn’t allow passersby to see that your wireless network is up and available. 
  3. Change default SSID - Since a lot of factory-provided SSID values are available, you can avoid them altogether by changing the SSID login name.
  4. Enable MAC address filtering - This gives you control over which users have access to what access points. 
  5. Add EAP authentication and enable encryption - Requires secure authentication from each user on the network. 
  6. Consider virtual private networking - If you need extra security, a virtual private network connection can provide access to your network when you are out of the WLAN’s reach. 

Step #7 - Deploy

Once your Wi-Fi is properly secured, it is time to start adding your users to it. Again, the technicians at The Connection, Inc can save a lot of time and effort with the management of this process. Our team would be able to properly set up the secure Wi-Fi network using the SSID information and the MAC address filter that was set up earlier, effectively whitelisting the devices you want to allow, instead of blacklisting all the devices you don’t.

If you would like help setting up your business’ Wi-Fi connection call the experts at The Connection, Inc today at (732) 291-5938.

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Tech Terminology: The Dark Web

Tech Terminology: The Dark Web

Deep web and dark web. What’s the difference? Perhaps you’ve been using these words interchangeably. The dark web has a reputation for being the most toxic place on the internet, and for quite a few good reasons. Today we will dive deep into the dark web and why this reputation has been formed.


What Is the Deep Web?

Before we are able to discuss the dark web, we must first glance at what the deep web is. By definition, the deep web is “the portion of the Internet that is hidden from conventional search engines, as by encryption; the aggregate of unindexed websites.” What does this mean to you? The deep web is just hidden information; in general things you want to be hidden. It’s content such as your personal email account, or a corporation’s private database. Essentially, anything you need to log in to see is considered the deep web. The deep web is extremely important for protecting our personal information, and our privacy. 

Shed Some Light on the Dark Web

This is the place where things start to get dark. This is the part of the World Wide Web that is only accessible by means of special software, allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable. The dark web isn’t illegal to access, but the reality of the dark web, anonymity can create a dangerous environment.  

Want to hire a hacker? How about a bounty hunter? Don’t worry, nearly any illicit item or service you could dream up is on the dark web! The dark web is basically a big shopping mall, where you can add things you’d ordinarily get arrested for adding to your basket. Hit-men, drug dealers; it’s all there. You can even pay a fee to buy stolen credit card numbers that were taken in big cybersecurity breaches like we saw with Marriot and Equifax.

Now, we aren’t saying anyone who uses the dark web are thieves or people looking to hire a killer. Some people are just obsessed with anonymity. Others prefer anonymity for business reasons. Journalists use the dark web to protect sources.

Your Business Could Be at Risk

We strongly suggest staying away from the dark web, as it can be a risk to your business. Accessing it via special software leaves you vulnerable to cyber attacks. Do not take the threat to your business that is posed by accessing the dark web lightly. Concerned your business’ data is already accessible via the dark web? The Connection, Inc can help you find out. To learn more, contact our experts at (732) 291-5938.

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Let’s Take a Look at 50 Years of the Internet

Let’s Take a Look at 50 Years of the Internet

Without a doubt, the Internet is one of humanity's most impressive inventions. 50 years ago, the predecessor to the Internet that most of the world depends on, called ARPANET, was launched. Today, we will talk about how that innovation turned into the Internet, and reorganized the way people interacted with computing systems. 


Development of ARPANET

In the mid-1960s the United States was firmly in the throes of the Cold War. The U.S. Department of Defense was attempting to find a way to communicate clandestinely. For this purpose they created the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). A scientist named Joseph Lickliter convinced the DoD to fund a network of connected computers through the country so that engineers and intellectuals from several colleges could collaborate on projects together, effectively making progress a priority. This network was finished in 1969 and was called ARPANET. It is the precursor of the modern-day Internet.

Over the next couple of decades there were major innovations to this network, many of which are the basis for much of the shared computing we have today. One of those innovations is called packet-switching. Packet-switching allows the computer you are using to connect to several other computers at once by sending individual packets of information through the wires. This provides users the ability to quickly get information that would be impossible through circuit switching, the technology that was used prior to the development of ARPANET.

As the network got bigger, the ARPANET engineers had to scrap the system because with packet-switching, each user would have to keep an updated address list in order to properly send and receive messages. This was not feasible with the technology at the time so they decided that Stanford University (who was a founding member of ARPANET) would be the safekeeper for all of the updated addresses on ARPANET in 1973.

By 1977, ARPANET had over 100 computers connected to it; and, with the age of personal computing right around the corner, major changes were on the horizon. Other computing networks started to pop up, but with no continuity between them, communications became a headache for users. This was remedied early in the 1980s with the standardization of sending packets through the TCP/IP protocol.  TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) is where the modern term Internet first comes up. We still use this protocol today, making the Internet possible. 

ARPANET, realizing that by connecting networks together using TCP/IP they would soon have a problem with too many users to manage. This problem was solved with the establishment of the Domain Name System (DNS). They split the system into domains. The top-level domains (.com, .edu, etc.) established what type of organization you were sending the packet to. Within these domains a second-level domain, provided the organization’s host (such as gmail.com, ucla.edu, etc.) so computers would tell where to specifically send messages. The establishment of the DNS Server would change computing more than any other for decades. 

The Modern Day Internet

In the late 1980s the U.S. Department of Defense was looking to shut down ARPANET as they believed they it had served its purpose. It was handed off to NSFNET in 1990, shortly after the first Internet Service Provider, The World, opened in Boston, Massachusetts, effectively introducing the general public to the Internet. It wasn’t until 1992, when congress passed a law allowing commercial traffic on the Internet when, the boom really started. 

As we all know now, the Internet, which was developed for research and messaging, was soon being used by individuals for those purposes and more. Companies started to look into the applications of selling and advertising products online. Since access was limited at first, the Internet was not looked at as a major commercial hub for companies. This soon changed, however; and, today, every business has some sort of Internet profile. 

Today, the United Nations looks on Internet service as a fundamental human right, which is a long way from four connected computers on a single network in 1969. Would you like to read more stories about the history of technology? Leave your suggestions in the comments section below or call us today at (732) 291-5938 with your recommendations. 

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Are Consumers Really Going to Benefit from 5G in 2019?

Are Consumers Really Going to Benefit from 5G in 2019?

The fourth generation of wireless technology has lingered for a long time, but with the advent of fifth generation wireless technology, it’s becoming apparent that it will be the next big thing. The issue with this idea, however, is that most device manufacturers are using the term as a marketing ploy--one that’s blown out of context to boot.

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Social Media Users Should Consider Their Personal Information

Social Media Users Should Consider Their Personal Information

Social media has completely changed the dynamics of how people communicate with one another. While some users might only keep in touch with friends through it, others--including businesses and brands--use it to promote their products. In an age where a picture can appear on thousands of devices all over the world, privacy has become a major concern for anyone using social media.


Social media was built on the foundation of users sharing parts of themselves through the Internet, and in a world dominated by mobile devices, it’s not surprising that the majority of today’s computing is done through mobile platforms. One study found that in 2018, 69 percent of all American adults over 18-years-old used social media regularly over the subsequent year; this does not include YouTube as a social media platform. This number grows ever larger, particularly in regard to seniors. Nearly 40 percent of them use some form of social media--a number that has increased by about 200 percent since 2012.

Due to this increase, there is also a much larger group of individuals out there to steal money, information, and identities. Privacy concerns are prevalent in today’s social media environment, and users must be aware of how they are putting their data in harm’s way. Most people cite social media as a place where they can share their civil and political views, personal health information, learn scientific information, engage in job, familial, and society-related activities, and where they get most of their news.

Role of Privacy

As always, privacy will depend on how much an individual prioritizes the security of his or her personal information. If someone wants to keep a semblance of themselves private, they have to avoid placing that information in a public space like social media. As social media usage increases, the issue only grows larger. Add in the functionality that a lot of developers integrate into these websites and, before you know it, control over personal data is suddenly a problem.

Obviously, these platforms require you to give over some of your personal information to them in order to use the service, but when you begin to lose control over who has your data, and what data has been shared, negative situations can arise. A 2014 survey suggested that 91 percent of Americans have lost control over their data, and that advertisers and social media companies are taking more of their data than they even know.

Half of Americans know, and largely understand, the problems they face by having their information fall into the wrong hands. This leads them to be more proactive about securing their personal information. An issue everyone runs into, however, is that in order to use social media (or e-commerce for that matter), companies demand access to more personal information than necessary. By mining all this data, they then have carte blanche to do with it as they please, which can become a problem if that data is scraped by odious sources.

Why Stay on Social Media If They Are Stealing from You?

If you are at the beach and a professional lifeguard were to tell you that you need to get out of the water because there is a good chance you will be bitten by a shark, would you wade around in waist-deep water trying to spot the sharks? No chance. That’s why we scratch our heads when we see companies openly take our client’s personal information, the information they share, and their user histories to create a consumer profiles that will be sold for profit to advertisers. We constantly warn people to protect their personal information, and they consistently don’t.

We understand… maybe you use social media for marketing. Maybe you are one of the ones that are careful what they share with these sites. Maybe, you are comfortable with it and are one of the millions of people that trade their privacy for convenience. Whatever the reason is, if social media has become an important part of your life, you most likely have made some privacy concessions, knowingly-or-not, in order to use it.

Between social media and online commerce, more personally identifiable information is shared with corporations than you would ever knowingly share with your best friends. This speaks to just how oblivious the typical user is about their own personal information. People find value in social media. In fact, there are businesses that provide their staff with regular social media breaks as to not interrupt organizational productivity with social media. When you consider 30 percent of all online time is spent on social media (which only increases when people go mobile), you begin to understand that it carries value for hundreds of millions of people.

Are you concerned about your private information being tracked and shared by Internet-based services? Do you have a good idea about who has your personal information and where it is going? Leave your thoughts about this issue in the comments.

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Tip of the Week: Understanding Bandwidth

Tip of the Week: Understanding Bandwidth

I have a question for you: when did you last examine the bandwidth that your business Internet package provides you? This is a very important consideration to make, for the sake of your productivity. This week, we’ll offer a few tips on how the proper bandwidth can help you get much more out of your IT solutions.


What is Bandwidth?

On a very basic level, bandwidth is simply how quickly you can download content from the Internet, measured in megabits per second, or Mbps. The higher the bandwidth, the faster these downloads will run.

Think about it like this: you’re trying to move water from one bucket to another. You have two tools you can use to do so, a fire hose, or a straw. Which connection will move the water more quickly?

If you answered the hose, you understand how bandwidth works. Just like the fire hose can move more water than a straw can, a larger bandwidth can move more megabits in the same amount of time. Some high-speed connections can even be measured in Gigabits per second.

How Does Bandwidth Translate to Download Speed?

Calculating your projected download speed is fairly simple, as long as you keep in mind that there are 8 bits for every byte. This means that, if you were trying to download 8 megabytes of data on a 1 Mbps connection, it would take approximately 1 second. 512 megabytes would take just over a minute to download on the same connection.

How Do I Know What My Business Needs?

In order to accurately estimate your business’ required bandwidth, a little more math is in order. While other factors, like connection reliability, should also be considered, your approximate bandwidth needs are relatively simple to calculate.

First, you will need to have the estimated traffic that each of your processes take up, as well as the total users that are likely to be engaged in that process. You will want to assume that this is during peak operations, so you don’t inadvertently short-change your business. Naturally, the bandwidth required by different processes will vary, but the following is generally the case:

100Kbps and Under - Low-end, single-line VoIP phones and e-fax machines. Some basic-use computers and laptops may utilize under 100 Kbps, but this isn’t often the case in businesses.

100Kbps to 500Kbps - It is much more common for computers and laptops to fall within this range, as they are more often used for streaming and downloading, emailing, and more rigorous browsing.

500Kbps to 2.0Mbps - If your business utilizes cloud solutions and (standard definition) video conferencing, you’re likely taking up this much bandwidth. This is commonly the range that Enterprise Resource Planning solutions, Customer Resource Management platforms, and Point of Sale devices will bring your bandwidth to as well.

2.0Mbps and Up - This bandwidth is usually called for by a high-definition conferencing solution, a lot of remote access, heavy cloud access, and more.

Now, still keeping peak activities in mind, add up what your staff is likely to need. Let’s say you have a total of 10 users in your business, including yourself. Let’s also say that you’re always on your email, corresponding with your business contacts and using 450Kbps. Six of your employees are engaged with the CRM solution they utilize, each using 2.0Mbps, and the last three are involved in a high-def video conference, each leveraging 2.5Mbps.

Totaling these use cases up, your business can expect to use almost 20Mbps at heaviest use - although it may make the most sense to assume everyone was attending a video conference, totaling 25Mbps, just to be safe.

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