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.

What 5G Means for the Internet of Things

What 5G Means for the Internet of Things

Few technologies in our time have been as anticipated as the fifth generation of wireless communications. 5G, as it is colloquially known, is promising to bring a whole new level of automation to society and business. One place 5G is sure to make big waves is with the Internet of Things, the billions of smart devices and services that are increasingly being leaned on as a new economy emerges. Today, we will take a brief look at 5G’s current state, its capabilities, and what it means for the future of the Internet of Things.

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The IoT Continues to Expand

The IoT Continues to Expand

Whether it’s RFID sensors, mobile devices, or commercial goods, the Internet of Things (IOT) is an exponentially expanding industry. Which makes us think, “What can we expect in the near future for IOT?” Today, we will answer this very question.

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Securing Your Business from the Internet of Things

Securing Your Business from the Internet of Things

Now that the holidays have come and gone, you might have a couple of new gadgets in your home or office that connect to the Internet. Depending on what these gadgets are, you might have a serious security issue sitting right in front of you without realizing it. Some devices that don’t normally connect to the Internet--also known as Internet of Things devices (IoT)--aren’t as secure as you’d like them to be, particularly in a business environment.

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How the IoT Can Be a Security Risk

How the IoT Can Be a Security Risk

The Internet of Things means a lot more than just enhanced connectivity. In particular, you’ll have a considerable security risk associated with the Internet of Things. It’s clear that the more devices accessing a network, the more risk will be associated with that network, which is where the inherent risk of the Internet of Things comes into play. How can you control the number of devices accessing your network, and thus secure your business from the Internet of Things?


Understanding why security is such an issue for Internet of Things devices is critical to keeping your business secure from these devices.

Too Many Devices
The more threats are associated with a particular industry, the more likely you’ll encounter a threat. This is not conjecture--it’s reality. When you consider how many devices now have connectivity compared to the past, you might realize that these fears regarding the Internet of Things aren’t unfounded. You should go about organizing your business’ security by imagining what you would do in a worst-case scenario in which at least one of these devices makes it past your organization’s defenses. All it takes is a single weakness to bring down an entire network.

The issue with these devices is that they are often those that you wouldn’t expect to traditionally have such connectivity. For example, you might not immediately think of cars, kitchen appliances, watches, or thermostats to have such functionality. These can be difficult to plan for if you’re not careful.

Patches and Updates
When there are a lot of devices accessing a network, chances are that at least one of them won’t be up to snuff with its updates and patches. The incredible vastness of the Internet of Things all but guarantees that at least one of these devices is going to be out of date, placing your organization at risk. To make things even worse, some Internet of Things devices are created based off a trend that could very well be obsolete soon afterward, meaning that developers might not see the need to support the device beyond that timeframe. For example, if a device sells poorly and was created only to meet a specific need in the industry at the time, the developer may choose not to support it anymore as the investment simply isn’t worth the return.

Even if you can’t control the devices of others, you can control the ones that access your organization’s sensitive data. You can start by taking a look at the specific permissions of your business’ users and their devices. A good practice is to never give employees access to information that they don’t need to do their jobs properly. After all, the more people who can access data, the more likely that a device could be compromised and expose that data to threats.

The Connection, Inc can help your business manage devices and access control on its network. To learn more, reach out to us at (732) 291-5938.

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3 Industries that Smart Technology is Revolutionizing

3 Industries that Smart Technology is Revolutionizing

Smart technology has been growing rapidly over the past few years. As a result, there have been many different companies popping up, trying to develop the next “big” thing. With technology becoming a hot button issue all around the world, and with a consumer base that increases by the day, today’s smart technology is seemingly just the tip of the iceberg. Today, we will look at three industries in which smart technologies are making a big impact.

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Are You Accidentally Gifting a Security Breach?

Are You Accidentally Gifting a Security Breach?

The holidays are a time filled with good food, visits from dear friends and family, and exchanging gifts with those you care about. However, to keep the season bright and merry, you need to be a little cautious during your next gift exchange, as many gifts can present some unexpected risks to your recipient’s security. Be mindful if you see the following items on someone’s wish list.


Digital Assistants and Smart Home Hubs
These little devices have made a splash as a useful household appliance, answering a user’s questions and controlling their various media. However, these nifty gizmos are always listening--literally. These devices rely on microphones that automatically activate, meaning that they hear everything you have to say. Imagine what a cybercriminal could do with the information they extract from them.

What’s worse, many of these devices now also come equipped with cameras, allowing a cybercriminal to effectively invade your privacy from anywhere.

While it may be a neat idea to take control of one’s environment through technology, it provides cybercriminals with the opportunity to take advantage of these devices as they victimize you, along with your family or staff. These devices can be used to spy on you and collect enough information to piece together your daily routine--invaluable intel for the criminal class. It’s important to keep this in mind if you are purchasing these devices for young children. Although Google and Amazon want to be on top of their security, it’s important to consider the lack of security awareness kids might have.

Connected Toys
While many of these devices may seem like they appeal to an older demographic, there are plenty of toys and games for children that are getting smarter. This also increases their creepiness factor, as hackers could use some toys--such as a Toymail Talkie--to communicate directly with children. Other connected playthings could provide hackers with details about a child’s life that are far too intimate. Edwin the Duck, a connected bath toy, could be used to extrapolate how often a child is bathed and when they are put to bed.

Smart Appliances
Of course, adults can have toys of their own in the form of appliances, and they are more and more frequently being built with smart capabilities included. We’re talking about wearables like fitness trackers and Internet of Things devices. Basically anything that connects to the Internet that isn’t a traditional computer or laptop would fall into this category. What isn’t always included is any sufficient security to keep these appliances from being made a part of a botnet. Furthermore, like digital assistants, these devices can easily collect data based on the activity around them.

DNA Testing Kits
This one may come as a surprise to many, but those kits that you send away with a vial of your spit may be the next major cause of privacy issues. After all, the product itself requires the most unique piece of personally identifiable information you have: your DNA. This specific data can quickly become valuable, especially for research purposes.

The agreements that you have to sign in order to use these services often have terms that grant the company permission to do as they will with your genetic data--which includes sharing a digitized version of this data with those who are willing to pay. While the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 forbids the use of genetic data as a justification for discrimination-or firing someone because they have a predisposition to a condition-this kind of discrimination would be awfully hard to prove.

While the holidays should be a time of happiness, few things can put a damper on that happiness quicker than a security breach of your data. Mozilla has helpfully created a list of potentially risky products for consumers to reference as they do their holiday shopping.

So, what do you think? Is getting a good deal on an item for someone special worth risking a data breach? Let us know in the comments!

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Is Productivity a Part Of Your Technology Strategy?

Is Productivity a Part Of Your Technology Strategy?

Every business is searching for ways to improve productivity. There are now quite a few methods being used to boost the amount that each employee can accomplish, many of which revolve around technology. Admittedly, some of these methods may not be attainable for the average SMB… yet. However, as technology advances you may find yourself able to leverage some of these productivity-enhancing tools to improve the look of your bottom line.


Someday, You Could Have Smart Desks
For instance, smart desks. By connecting to the company’s local-area network, these Internet-of-Things workstations can track the behaviors of your employees to help improve their health. We’ve all heard that it is better for the human body to stand up than sit at their desks, but how many people actually do? A smart desk helps to solve this problem by alerting its occupant when to stand. Furthermore, smart desks can serve as a health monitor for an employee, allowing health issues to be caught preventatively, potentially reducing time out of the office and the amount of missed productivity.

On the topic of furniture, offering employees adjustable office furniture to use will reduce the amount of discomfort employees will experience as they attend to their responsibilities.

Yes, Television Can Be More Than a Distraction
If handled correctly, keeping a few televisions in the office can be a benefit to your employee’s productivity. After all, they don't necessarily have to be playing an afternoon soap opera or reality show. Use a television to display important company matters, like upcoming meetings, deadlines, KPIs, sales wins, and other business subjects to keep goals and deadline top-of-mind for employees. In fact, these displays can even help to inspire a little friendly competition in the office, as different departments see each other being more productive and feel the need to measure up.

There’s also a lot to be said about the value of video conferencing. If an employee needs to be two places at once--like in a critical meeting while also across the country attending an important conference--a video conferencing program can allow them to do both.

Work Smarter to Work Harder
Of course, there are plenty of other tools available to make being productive a simpler prospect for your employees. Automation can eliminate manual tasks to free up resources. After all, the more time an employee has to spend initiating a data backup or some other day-to-day. critical, but time-consuming task, the less time they can spend producing some benefit for the company.

It is also crucial that your employees are working with the solutions that will benefit their productivity the most. This means that they aren’t dealing with outdated hardware and software that experiences issues and hang-ups, and are equipped with the means to achieve optimal output. Ensuring that your technology is up-to-date and well-maintained can have a big impact to how well they work, and as a result, how well your workforce can do their jobs.

For help with creating a plan that ensures maximum productivity for your entire office, reach out to The Connection, Inc. We can help you implement the necessary components to ensure your office remains productive. Give us a call today at (732) 291-5938.

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Why a Major Internet of Things Security Breach is Inevitable

Why a Major Internet of Things Security Breach is Inevitable

Whether we’re ready for it or not, the Internet of Things is coming, and soon. You might see all sorts of connected devices on the market today that you would never think to connect to the Internet, but it’s our responsibility to inform you that these new devices could potentially put not just your business infrastructure at risk, but even your own life.


Security experts have long discussed the repercussions that the Internet of Things will have on the world of cyber security. It’s been predicted by Gartner that an average of 5.5 million “things” are added to the Internet of Things every day. This could include anything that connects to the Internet, but usually only refers to consumer goods that wouldn’t normally have any sort of wireless network connection built into them. By the end of this year, there will be approximately 6.4 billion IoT devices on the market.

The real problem here is that these numbers continue to increase by the day, and if the IoT’s growth is any indication, it’s not slowing down anytime soon. There were 3.8 billion in 2014, and 5 billion in 2015, so it’s not a stretch to suggest that the number of “things” connected to the Internet of Things will exceed 20 billion by the time 2020 runs around. Many researchers believe that the first major IoT data breach will happen sometime within the next few years.

The Risks
At first glance, it might seem like many IoT devices are of little consequence and shouldn’t be worried about on a cyber security level. Appliances like blenders and toasters seemingly don’t hold much value to hackers. The problem, however, comes not from the devices themselves, but the networks that they’re connected to. If a hacker can bypass the security features of a smart device, they can potentially gain access to the network, and other devices connected to it.

Of course, the potential for damage extends far beyond the scope of just your own business. When you consider how computerized cars and physical infrastructure components, like dams and power plants, have become, you might realize that there is the potential for disaster, all thanks to the Internet of Things.

For example, what happens when a hacker disables a car’s brakes, or they decide to override a system setting on a dam and flood the surrounding landscape? As the potential for damage increases, so too does the potential for a hacker to grow interested in a target.

Why Vendors Aren’t Doing Anything About It
One of the major reasons why vendors are creating devices with security vulnerabilities is perhaps because of the lack of actual regulation and standards put into place to ensure quality of the device. In part, this is due to organizations refusing to spend money on devices that aren’t guaranteed to turn a profit. Thus, popular devices from different markets--not just consumer electronics, but also appliances and other industries--may wind up being manufactured with major security flaws that can be exploited by hackers.

Then there’s the problem with applying patches or updates to these IoT devices. When you think about it, there are two major ways to resolve a problem with your device; either download the patch, or replace it entirely. Considering how many of these IoT devices are both expensive and difficult to replace, the latter isn’t exactly feasible. Imagine purchasing a smart car with a security vulnerability that cannot be patched. You’d have to purchase a new one in order to keep yourself safe. That’s not just unreasonable--it’s also economically challenging, as this new technology is still quite expensive, and remains as such until demand or competition increases.

What You Can Do
Due to the Internet of Things’ incredible reach, it might seem like an intimidating notion to protect your business from the countless threats that could reach your infrastructure. You need to implement enterprise-level security solutions that can keep unapproved devices from connecting to your Internet connection, and you should always be conscious of how and where your data is shared outside of the office environment. Therefore, it becomes necessary to implement solutions with preventative security in mind, that keep threats from entering your network in the first place.

The Connection, Inc can assist your organization with the solutions you need to secure your network. With comprehensive solutions like enterprise-level firewalls, antivirus, spam blocking, and content filtering, you can keep your in-house network locked down nice and tight. Furthermore, you need to implement a solid BYOD policy that helps you manage the devices that connect to your business’s network. This should include a mobile device management solution that allows you to limit device exposure to corporate data, whitelist and blacklist apps, and remotely wipe devices should they be lost or stolen. To learn more, reach out to us at (732) 291-5938.

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The Explosion of Mobile Devices is One Trend Your Business Must Account For

The Explosion of Mobile Devices is One Trend Your Business Must Account For

You may have heard about the Internet of Things in passing, but do you truly understand the nature of these connected devices, and how they will affect your business in the coming years? The Internet of Things is a major trend that needs to be addressed if your business plans on succeeding in the near future.


Gartner reports that by 2020, there will be approximately 21 billion devices connected to the Internet; an astounding number, and one that your business can’t afford to ignore. These devices could range from fitness devices designed to track vital signs like pulse and heart rate, to connected appliances like refrigerators, thermostats, baby monitors, security cameras, and so much more. The sheer utility that the Internet of Things provides, guarantees that it’s only a matter of time before your office has to deal with several similar devices.

In fact, we’d be surprised to hear that your business doesn’t have at least a few of these devices floating around your network, especially considering how most of them are consumer-targeted, and are perhaps in the possession of your employees. Even something as simple as a smart watch could make its way to your business’s infrastructure, and unless you’re monitoring which devices connect to your network, you’d never know (until something goes wrong, of course).

Perhaps the most dangerous part of Internet of Things devices is the fact that they not only connect to the Internet, but that they are also able to communicate with each other. If these devices share your business’s corporate information with unapproved devices, you could have an unintentional data leak that exposes sensitive data to malicious entities.

In order to counter this potentially disastrous occurrence, it’s important that your business understands how to work mobile devices into your network infrastructure. You can’t just let anyone connect their personal devices to your network. What if one of them were infected with malware, spyware, or other threats with malicious intentions?

With a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, you can set up rules that govern how users take advantage of Internet of Things devices in the workplace. You should aim to have only approved devices connecting to your company’s network. The goal is to restrict your business’s network to only devices that won’t compromise its integrity. Users should first inquire about the devices they would like to use in the office, and once they’ve been approved by IT, they can begin to use them; but only if they aren’t a threat to productivity or data security.

Furthermore, some mobile devices, like smartphones, can be used while out of the office to stay productive and connected to the workplace. These devices need to be managed so as to protect the integrity of any data stored on them. This includes whitelisting and blacklisting apps, as well as allowing for remote wiping. Doing so effectively allows you to manage risk and take matters into your own hands, should your policies not be enough.

To learn more about how to manage risk with Internet of Things devices and other mobile technology, call us today at (732) 291-5938.

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Making Sense of How the Internet of Things Applies to Different Industries

Making Sense of How the Internet of Things Applies to Different Industries

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way that businesses approach technology solutions, but its biggest impact might be in the consumer environment. With so many new devices connecting to the Internet and communicating with each other, it can be difficult to slap a label on the Internet of Things and associate it with the countless devices being created every day.


You can think of the Internet of Things as a group of mostly consumer-related devices that wouldn’t ordinarily have Internet access, which have been granted connectivity and the ability to communicate with one-another. Gartner predicts that there will be approximately 26 billion IoT devices by 2020, with other aggregates putting the figure as high as 30 billion. In many cases, these devices are small and relatively inconsequential, like fitness-related wearable devices designed to monitor someone’s heart rate or physical progress.

Other, more complicated Internet of Things devices could range from small household appliances, to computerized motor vehicles. Items like thermostats and refrigerators are commonly seen connecting to the Internet so that they can be controlled or monitored through a connected smartphone app, regardless of where the user is. Even in various industries, the Internet of Things is a tool that helps keep operations moving forward without a hitch. Take, for instance, these examples of how the IoT has been applied to specific industries:

  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing plants use IoT devices to not only monitor progress of product assembly, but also for automating process controls, safety features, and security measures. In other words, the IoT devices used by manufacturers are mainly used to optimize the functionality of the plant.
  • Energy management: Some manufacturers are using IoT devices to monitor energy-consuming devices, and control these devices to ensure the maximum amount of energy is saved. Many of these devices are either set up to allow for remote control, or for access via a cloud-like interface.
  • Medical and healthcare: On the medical front, IoT devices are capable of remotely monitoring medical equipment for information like blood pressure, heart rate, and other vitals. There are even pacemakers, insulin pumps, and other medical devices that are capable of connecting to the Internet and can be controlled remotely.
  • Building and home automation: Some of the great IoT devices in the home automation industry include the aforementioned thermostats, garage doors, security cameras, lighting systems, air conditioning, and any other minor appliances that can be controlled remotely via a smartphone.

Security Issues and Discrepancies
With so much connectivity, security is a major issue and something to be considered when using any IoT device. Indeed, IoT devices present a unique challenge in keeping your network as free of them as possible, or at least minimizing your data’s risk of being accessed by one of them. Since these devices communicate with each other, if even one of them is compromised, you could be looking at a potential data breach. This is why it’s so important to both enforce a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy in the workplace, as well as to manage the permissions and restrictions of devices on your network.

If your business is having trouble managing the threat that the Internet of Things presents, The Connection, Inc can help your organization sharpen its focus on them. To learn more, give us a call at (732) 291-5938.

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Should We Be Scared, Skeptical, or Hopeful about the Near Future of Technology?

b2ap3_thumbnail_internet_of_things_ubiquity_400.jpgThe introduction of new and exciting technologies keeps changing the ways people interact. Innovations such as email, instant messaging, and the development of mobile devices are now turning out to be just fundamental steps to a more connected planet. The Internet of Things is set to turn human civilization on its head. What does this shift mean for the immediate future?

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Your Network Should Grow Alongside Your Business

b2ap3_thumbnail_a_plan_for_growth_400.jpgBusinesses invest a significant amount of time and energy into growing their business, but what some organizations don’t understand is that this growth comes with what we like to call “growing pains.” When an organization grows, there are all sorts of problems that must be addressed in order to maintain optimal operations. Among these is your network. Is it ready to handle your organization’s growth?

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The Internet of Things Will Only Continue to Grow More Popular For Businesses

b2ap3_thumbnail_internet_of_things_400.jpgIn the near future, there will be many new devices connecting to the Internet. Some will be useful, while others will be… not so much. Either way, the fact remains that, according to IDC, the Global Internet of Things (IoT) spending is expected to reach around $1.3 trillion by 2020. That’s a pretty huge number, and we’ll tell you why your organization needs to keep the IoT in mind when putting thought into your technology strategy.

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Professional Sports Add The Internet of Things to the Playbook

b2ap3_thumbnail_nfl_iot_400.jpgThere are those in the technology world that argue that professional sports are of marginal importance. Grown men and women, getting paid vast sums of money by fat-cats that make the average successful business owner look like a pauper, to play games that millions of children play everyday. However, according to a poll taken by CNN/USA Today/Gallup, nearly two-thirds of American respondents admitted to being sports fans. In other nations around the world, the sports that fans follow may differ, but percentages are similar to, or exceed those in the U.S.

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