The Pros And Cons Of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is a term that has been present in mainstream media for a good few years now; it is by no means a modern concept or function though! The early precursors to the concept dates back to the 1950’s, when large-scale mainframe computers became available in corporations and the academic world. These were accessible through terminal computers that only served as a portal and had no processing abilities of their own. This sharing of the mainframe made better use of a large resource so that there weren’t times when it went unused. By the 1990’s, the idea of cloud computing had reached telecommunications companies who started offering virtual private network services rather than the traditional point- to-point data circuits. Today we can do almost anything from app development to complicated ERP procedures in the cloud!

What else can we do in the cloud?

There are different ways of using cloud computing, but they all have one principle in common.  Instead of buying and licensing your own hardware, software or utilities to perform certain functions, you can make use of software or functionalities that are available via the internet on other servers (they might belong to google, amazon, IBM etc).

  • Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS offer computers physical or virtual machines. In addition to that, they often offer storage, firewalls, load balancers, IP addresses and software bundles.

  • Platform as a Service

Here a customer is provided with a computing platform where an operating system, language execution environment, database and web server exists. They can therefore bukd software without the complexities of buying the hardware and software that is normally needed for this.

  • Software as a service

You get access to software on demand and you only pay for what you use. No more licensing and expensive software!

  • Network as a service

Telecommunications companies make use of this. Existing networks are optimised by including other services, this reduces the need to build new infrastructure.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

  • One of the largest benefits of cloud computing is the possibility to save enormously on costs. A business doesn’t have to buy individual hardware and software for each user as these can be created virtually.
  • You also pay for the use of them on a “pay as you use” basis which can save smaller companies a lot of money. You are also free to access your work/desktop/storage remotely from anywhere in the world as long as you have a computer with access to the internet.
  •  The fact that resources are pooled is also beneficial for the environment as less machines are doing more work for more people. This reduces waste.
  • Certain functionalities allow users to build software or virtual hardware without needing the technical skills that would traditionally be required to do so.

Things to watch out for

  • The need to back up your work still exists even in the cloud as damage and disasters can still occur to the remote servers storing your work. This need for extra storage might cancel out the benefits in cost to your company depending on the type of functionality you require cloud computing for. It is worth doing a calculation as to the extent this might cost you extra before committing to shaping your company’s technological architecture in the cloud. It might be that your company is better off outside the cloud with good old back up servers and data restoration experts.
  •  Another issue is privacy. It is expected that the access that government has to information in the cloud will be contested in courts for decades to come. Until then, you need to make sure your work is excellently encrypted so as not to fall prey to hackers or illegal spying.
  • If servers fail or issues with service providers occur, you might lose valuable work time while it is fixed, a procedure you will have no control over. 

is a freelance musician and writer. Her inherent technophobia inspires her to get informed about technology developments

Online Safety: Holiday Scam Edition

The holidays are upon us and with them comes holiday cheer but not far behind is a Grinch. This Grinch is neither green nor fuzzy, nor does this Grinch look and sound like Jim Carrey. This Grinch comes in the form of cyber criminals who have hearts two sizes too small. These cyber criminals distribute scams during the holiday season that are designed to separate victims from their money during the most expensive time of year. There are numerous scams that everyone needs to be on the lookout for, and no doubt there will be new scams this year that we haven’t seen before. Keep the following things in mind this holiday season to avoid holiday scams:

  • Don’t click on links or download attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Be skeptical of all offers that seem “to good to be true.”
  • Only make purchases from reputable vendors.
  • Research companies and organizations before providing personal or payment information. (if at all suspicious, don’t provide any information)
  • Use anti-virus software to protect your device (and your information) when you’re not paying attention.
  • Stay up to date with operating system, application and antivirus updates to help protect your devices from malware.

The following is a list of scams that are proliferated during the holiday season. Knowing what to look for will help you avoid falling victim to these scams and keep your holiday spirit from boiling over into holiday frenzy.

Fake Delivery Scams – During the holidays shipping companies experience a radical spike in business. Ever the clever clogs, scammers are now exploiting this trend and sending out fake emails that spoof major shipping companies such as FedEx. These emails suggest that a delivery company was unable to deliver a package and requests that the recipient download a “shipping receipt” that is attached to the email and take it to the nearest shipping location. Unfortunately, the only package to be delivered is the malicious file attached to the email. The attached file, falsely referred to as a “shipping receipt,” will either download malware to the computer/mobile device or redirect the user to a phishing scam website to harvest personal information. These scams are designed to obtain enough information to steal the victim’s identity. Not in the spirit of the holidays.

How to avoid this scam: Email scams can often be spotted by reviewing the sender’s email address; a real email should be sent from an official email address such as “example@FedEx.com.”A scam email claiming to be FedEx will be sent from an unofficial email address such as “example@myshippingpal.info” or a generic free service such as “fedexshipping@gmail.com”. Major companies never use free email services such as Google, Yahoo, or Hotmail. Never download attachments from an unknown source and avoid clicking links contained in unsolicited emails. Instead visit an organizations official website and search for further information.

Gift Card Scams – Be wary of unpackaged gift cards sold in store on gift card displays. Using cheap, easy to obtain magnetic card readers, scammers are visiting stores and scanning unpackaged gift cards to obtain the gift card number. Then they will simply wait a few days and call the gift card hotline to see if the gift card has been activated and what balance remains. Then using the newly activated gift card they can shop freely online using the hard earned money of others.

How to avoid this scam: Avoid purchasing unpackaged gift cards; preferably purchase a gift card from a customer service agent who has access to gift cards that are not publicly displayed. Gift cards that are sealed in non-clear packaging are safe to purchase as any tampering is clearly evident.

Charity Scams – Truly a low point, even for scammers. Fake telemarketers, emails, and websites can be found requesting charitable donations for specified causes. Currently a popular charity scam is requesting donations to assist with the recovery effort from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Don’t let this stop you from donating to charity, just be vigilant to make sure your donations will reach the desired recipients and not line the pockets of criminals.

How to avoid this scam: Research charities with the Better Business Bureau to check that the charity is both real and trustworthy. You may also find that you’re surprised with the BBB ratings of some of the most well known charities.

Online Coupon Scams – Phishing websites and emails have been spotted offering exclusive coupons and often going as far as offering products for free. These websites are designed to trick users into providing sensitive personal information that can be used to steal the victim’s identity. In exchange these websites advertise that the victim will receive exclusive (but nonexistent) coupons or even free products. Unfortunately, neither the coupons nor the products are likely to exist and the victim can be left repairing their finances after identity theft.

How to avoid this scam: Even during the holiday season when there are so many shopping deals to be had it is important to be cautious. Avoid deals from suspicious websites and only shop on official URL’s of reputable retailers.

Fake Holiday e-Card malware – E-Cards are a popular way to spread holiday cheer to family and friends but sadly cybercriminals are using them to spread holiday malware. These fake e-cards often contain malicious attachments that will deliver malware to the computer, or mobile device, when downloaded.

How to avoid this scam:  These fake e-card emails are generally sent by spam bots. The email used to send these fake e-cards should be unfamiliar to the victims. Never open an attachment in an unsolicited email. Be sure to use antivirus software on all your devices (computers, tablets and smartphones) to help avoid a malware infection.

SMS Scams – Holiday shoppers are always looking for the best deals, so when shoppers receive a text message stating that they could receive exclusive products or even free gift cards they are understandably interested. This scam is very similar to the email and website phishing scams that offer coupons and free products but is instead delivered via SMS messages. This kind of text messaging scam is known as “smishing.” As with the website and email phishing scams, these smishing scams are designed to trick victims into providing personal information that can be used to steal their identity.

How to avoid this scam: Be cautious of all unsolicited text messages. Instead of ignoring these messages respond with a message containing only the word “STOP”. This is a universal cease and desist keyword that must be respected by SMS messaging companies. Keep in mind cyber criminals tend not to follow the rules so you may also want to call your mobile service provider to report the offending phone number and have it blocked.

 

Computer/Mobile Malware – Malware is a year round threat but typically during the holidays there is a malware boom. While there is no way to pinpoint the exact cause of the holiday malware boom it seems quite likely that it is due to electronics as gifts. Malware authors have a larger group of users to target and a larger number of users unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of malware.

How to avoid this scam: Always use anti-virus software on your computer and mobile devices (including smart phones). Also make sure the operating system, applications, and antivirus is up to date to help prevent malware from infecting your device.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned

James Green is a security researcher for Android antivirus company Armor for Android. James has worked in the Android security field for several years and provides privacy and security advice to Android users.

7 Ways Cloud Computing Will Benefit Your Daily Life

Cloud computing is transforming the way that people do business but it can also impact our everyday lives and the way that we use technology. Personal lives can be affected by cloud computing because of its ability to access, analyze, store and share information. Cloud computing has already created changes in the way that people interact with one another.

The use of social media has become important for consumers and also businesses that use data from social media along with cloud-based resources to gain insights on potential services. Cloud computing is predicted to continue growing in the next few years and people will begin to see some the following benefits in their lives.

1. Improve Education

Classrooms are already beginning to realize the advantages of incorporating cloud computing into education. It allows students to access data anywhere and anytime to participate in group activities and makes it easier to enroll for classes online or other organizational programs needed for school. Students and teachers alike will benefit from cloud computing.

2. Fixing Problems

The cloud offers ways to identify problems that need to be resolved like an app alerting drivers when their electric car needs to be recharged or other apps that help to maintain different kinds of equipment. Cloud-based applications can also give technicians access to training modules for repair on the fly.

3. Hands-Free Computers

The cloud makes it possible for computer software to seem invisible. Interaction with computers is going to be become more hands-free such as the game system Kinect all powered by gestures and movements through an infrared detection system.

4. Easier Store Shopping

Where there might have been problems in the past with finding items in store that were listed online, the cloud will make inventory records more accurate and reliable.

5. Making Smarter Decisions

The cloud can give people access to enough processing power to analyze large amounts of information anywhere. You can combine data and streams of information to inform your decisions even from your mobile phone. You can do research on any topic and make smarter decisions with your analyzed data.

6. Better Health Services

The healthcare industry is beginning to adopt cloud computing and doctors are even able to use mobile devices to access information and records to make decisions anywhere and at any time. It can also help to reduce operational costs for medical practices and make it easier to manage and share patient data.

7. New Markets in Developing Countries

Emerging countries are beginning to embrace the cloud and have access through mobile devices. This can open up huge new markets and also create new opportunities for these countries to become competitors.

There is no doubt that cloud computing has made major changes in our lives and continues to impact the way that we access and use information.

The cloud makes everyday tasks much simpler and keeps us informed with data at all times. Cloud computing opens up opportunities for everyone to utilize and gives us numerous benefits in our business and personal lives. 

Leo Hart is a cloud computing expert who specializes in setting up customizable servers for Custom Cloud.

Is It True That Faster Your Website Loads, The Better It Ranks On Google?

Website developers as well as owners alwaysput their focus on getting higher ranks in Google to ensure their constant web existence. Benefits can only be derived if website management officials abide by the terms and conditions set by Google itself. It has been witnessed that Google put its scanner on the URL, inbound links, domain name,content, title and other related features of a website to justify its authenticity as well as its reliability. In the year 2010, Google included a new thing in the list that was the search engine ranking would be provided to the websites depending upon the ‘speed’ of the website. From that time till today Google is relentlessly discarding websites having low level of performance.

Google have not explained ‘speed’

As soon as Google started following attempting this method, website owners and developers understood the threat of becoming obsolete and they started following every possible way that can ensure their high ranking. This entire problem happens as because Google has not specifically declared what actually they meant by ‘speed’. For this reason, market researchers took their time off and began to find out the probable features, which are responsible to determine the speed of any website.

Page Loading Time is not a Factor

Various results have been produced by the researchers on the basis of some particular elements which were considered tobe the determining points of Google page ranking. It has been noticed that the ranking does not depend on the time of page loading. Whether it is a webpage consisting of minimal number of keywords or maximum number, it does not make any certain difference in case of occurring high page ranking. It is been also guessed by the researchers that the whole image loading session might have a direct relationship with Google’s mentioned ‘speed’. But, consecutive negative results have declined that possibility as well that the image loading speed does not have any impact on ranking.

Positive Results

Interestingly, further research has established the fact that Google is measuring the time or speed of content delivery rate. Formally it is named as TTFB that is time-to-first-byte. Researchers have minutely noticed Google is giving higher ranking to those websites only which are capable enough to produce required web content as fast as possible and declining those which are been not able to perform the same on the other hand. This can indeed be considered a smart approach of Google because with TTFB Google can determine the ‘speed’ as well as ‘performance’ capability of any website.

However, there are some other factors Google has included into the speed measurement policy. First among those is latency of network between server and visitor, second is the load of the server and third is the frequency of the back end of any website in case of generating any content. So, finally it can be said that the websites having a strong server support and fully equipped Content Distribution Network (CDN) can derive high page ranking from Google as well as ensure their long-lived existence over Internet.

William Stark is the author of this informative post. He is a SEO pro and a blogging enthusiast. He shares SEO tips and advice through his articles. He says for some exciting web hosting options, visit UK2 web hosting.

Hosting A Website From Your Linux Box Can Be A Cinch If You Know How To Create Your Own Webserver

In today’s competitive world, the requirement of a website has simply become indispensable. Many people who are from IT or computer background find it easy to develop a website and many who are not also wish to form their own websites in order to give their business an edge and to fit in the present world. Even with the presence of a Linux box, people can host their websites successfully.

Operating system – Windows and Linux

A web hosting usually works on two operating systems i.e. Windows and Linux. Also nowadays Windows has become quite common and many people are using it on a large scale; however, operating web hosting on a Linux operating system will be all the more easier. In case your system does not have an operating system installed, you can always install one. There are many online platforms which offer video tutorials as well as e –books for understanding the installation techniques involved in installing an operating systems.

If you are an amateur in the technical field, then you too can install an operating system proficiently. It’s time to make your website a effective and eye catching.

Going for web server installations

The next important thing is to install a web server i.e. Apache, PHP, MySQL. There are guides available online which effectively guide you on installing and using these web servers. Usually many systems already have Apache, an HTTP web server, which usually comes configured on various websites.

MySQL is a DBMS open source, this is able to run any server by offering multi –user accesses. PHP is a scripting language and is most widely accepted for developing websites. It can really help produce dynamic websites.

Check the webservers after installing

These web servers can be checked after the installation so that you can be sure of its working. Once installed, you can make your own website. Also if you are having any kind of difficulties with the installation, you should seek the help of experts who can be of real use. They can guide you as to what needs to be done.

Additional requirements

There are many other additional requirements which can be added or installed to give your website a better display so that you get to enhance your user experience. Many people are nowadays making their own blogs. In case of blogs also, making a website becomes quite essential which requires an open source content system i.e. WordPress, Drupal as well as Joomla. WordPress nowadays is gaining a lot of popularity with reference to blogs as it is quite easy to use and people from non –technical background are also able to operate it easily. Many people are nowadays developing blogs with the help of WordPress.

Seeking the help of professionals

There are many companies nowadays which are offering an ‘all –inclusive package’ to customers for developing their web servers and providing hosting services. Moreover these packages are available at a reasonable rate, making it easier for people to purchase it and get some work done by professionals. This also eliminates their hassles of spending time over it and understanding the process of installations etc.

Today’s guest post is contributed by Alan Pitt. He is a tech enthusiast and a serial blogger. He finds Midphase a good place for getting dedicated server hosting and other related products.

Social Media’s Effect On Your Health It’s True And This Is What You Need To Know

In recent years, social media has become one of the foremost reasons why people use the internet. Its prominence and easy access has made it an essential part of our daily lives. Famous celebrities, large multinationals and even pets have their own social media accounts. During these years of its eminence, social media has seen itself grow into a platform where you can connect with your friends, share pictures and videos and do a whole lot of other things.

But as important as it may be, there are now studies that suggest that social media poses different health risks. These health risks are both physical and psychological. You may think this is an elaborative argument but doctors and psychologists have found varying health hazards that are a direct consequence of social media.

This course of writing lists down the different risks that you face once you start using social media excessively. After reading this article you will be better reprised of the facts about the dangers social media poses to your health.

Addiction

The most common health problem that comes with the use of social media is addiction. Many develop a strong compulsion to visit social media websites for varying reasons. Some want to see what their friends are up to while others start to worry how people will respond to their posts and updates. If someone posts negatively on your profile, your self esteem gets shattered since that post is visible to your mutual friends and peers as well. This further increases the need to visit the social media websites and keep a check on your own profile.

Many offices are now banning social media websites due to their potential to affect employees’ interaction. Sexual harassment rules and laws are being moulded so that social media exploitation can be checked. Once someone posts a disturbing or demeaning comment about you online, you will not be able to concentrate on your work and keep thinking about how to tackle the situation.

Addiction can also lead to several other problems. Many people stay up late using social media and don’t get much sleep which leads to less productivity at work and causes them to develop further problems associated with loss of sleep.

You lose sleep

Social media is fun, entertaining and useful. Nevertheless, it is incredibly attractive to its users. Some like to try out new applications on them whereas others try their hand at different games. Social media’s allure is very tempting and therefore easy to succumb to. Users tend to sleep late now since they are using social media watching funny videos, commenting on their own and their acquaintances pictures. This loss of sleep translates into different issues.

When you don’t get much sleep, you start to work less and become ineffective. You even start to appear dumb and make silly mistakes since your brain is not refreshed and the brain cells are not fully regenerated. This can also lead to frustration and anger.

Secondly, a consistent lack of sleep can lead to many dangerous health issues like heart problems, blood pressure, back pain etc. This will only cause you more grievances and costs.

It causes obesity

In many users social media has triggered obesity since exercise and normal routine are being affected by the constant use of social media networks. This has in turn led many to become fat. The time people used to spend on exercising is now being spent on social networks. Doctors are now pointing towards social media as one of the reasons why teenagers are gaining weight. Those who have day jobs are putting on since they spend their free time on social networks instead of any healthy activity.

Anti social and low self esteem

Social media networks are unchecked and have free flow of information. People are free to comment on posts and updates which also means cyber bullying and back lash is becoming common. This has led to many becoming anti social and losing their self esteem. More time on social media means that a person is trying too hard to create a cyber persona that can be liked by others and is more likely to become susceptible to peer pressure easily.

Social media has its uses and benefits but as the old saying goes, ‘too much of a good thing becomes bad’, applies here as well. Social media should be used but not to the extent that it starts harming you.

Peter Woodard is a freelancer based in Sydney who writes about different topics from time to time. He is known mostly for his health articles that include Phentramin-d info, exercises to lose weight and many other topics related to fitness and well being. He talks about the negative effects of social media on your health in this article.