IK Multimedia releases iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano for Android (Press Release)

August 27, 2015 – IK Multimedia, the leader in mobile music creation, is pleased to announce that iGrand Piano™ and iLectric Piano™ apps are now available for Android on the Google Play and Samsung Galaxy App stores. Now Android smartphone and tablet users have full access to some of the best concert-quality acoustic and studio-quality electric piano sounds on the planet. Both apps come with all the controls, advanced features and extreme playability that’s made their iOS versions such enduring classics. Now musicians with devices running Android 4.2 or higher can play some of the best sounding piano instruments ever made anywhere, any time.

iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano for Android

Both apps are perfect for use with IK Multimedia’s iRig® KEYS line of portable MIDI keyboard controllers, like iRig KEYS PRO and iRig KEYS. When paired they create the ultimate mobile playing solution for the discerning keyboard player on the go.

Pro quality acoustic and electric realism
iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano both offer an extreme degree of realism in their approach to electric and acoustic piano sounds. They feature world-class instrument sounds that have been painstakingly sampled at multiple velocities from the original sources – the same samples and process used in SampleTank 3, IK’s sound and groove workstation for professional musicians, engineers and producers – providing a supremely realistic playing experience. iGrand Piano comes with 8 instruments (plus 1 after registration) that offer a piano playing experience worthy of a concert hall. iLectric Piano comes with 20 instruments (plus 1 after registration) that are some of the most authentic sounding electric piano, electric grand and clavinet sounds ever made.

Full control
In addition to amazing sounding pianos and electric pianos, players have complete control over each instrument’s sound. Both iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano feature easy-to-use and adjustable controls that allow for intuitive tonal sculpting via the “Edit” panel. Real-time controls on the panel let iGrand Piano users adjust the amount of ambience, the position of the lid (open, closed or anything in between), brightness, envelope release, key transposition and tuning. Likewise, iLectric Piano users can adjust EQ, reverb, overdrive, tuning, transposition and a choice of 5 modulation effects (chorus, flanger, phaser, tremolo and auto pan).

Both feature a convenient “Variation” save system that lets musicians retain their Edit panel settings in up to 4 writeable locations provided for each instrument. This system gives musicians 4 conveniently accessible buttons (found in the Edit Strip of either app) that can be used to store knob positions and tweaks for later use when recording in the studio, on stage performing or just practicing at home.

Sounds, sounds and more sounds
Both apps can also be expanded with additional piano model sound packs that are available for in-app purchase. These packs expand the sonic range of iGrand Piano’s collection of gorgeous acoustic pianos and iLectric Piano’s stunning collection of vintage and modern keyboards by making 22 additional instruments available for each app – in total, that makes for 40 possible instruments in iGrand Piano and 64 possible instruments in iLectric Piano. The additions, titled “Piano Expansion 2” for iGrand Piano and “Electric Piano Expansion 2” for iLectric Piano, unlock an entirely new tonal dimension for mobile keyboard players to explore.

The power of Soundcamp
iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano are both compatible with Soundcamp, Samsung’s free and full-fledged music studio app that lets musicians record and compose entire songs entirely from within their devices. Both apps can be used as plug-ins for Soundcamp, which means that musicians with a Samsung Professional Audio-compatible phone (Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge or the Samsung Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 3 with Android 5 Lollipop installed) can use the full power of iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano in their mobile productions.

Pricing and availability
iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano for Android are available now on the Google Play and Samsung Galaxy Apps stores for an introductory special price of just $/€9.99. The “Piano Expansion 2” for iGrand Piano and “Electric Piano Expansion 2” for iLectric Piano sound packs are available individually for $9.99/€9.99. Free versions of iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano are also available.

For more information, please visit:
www.ikmultimedia.com/products/igrandandroid
www.ikmultimedia.com/products/ilectricandroid

To see the official videos of iGrand Piano and iLectric Piano in action, please visit:
www.ikmultimedia.com/igrandandroid/video
www.ikmultimedia.com/ilectricandroid/video

Get it on Google Play Available on Samsung Galaxy Apps

Pet Pods Solve Lost or Damaged Earbuds Problem (Review)

Pet Pods
Education OutdoorsPetPods
$15.99 – Amazon $5.98

So everyone loses earbuds, right? I’ve lost them. You’ve lost them. Your kids probably have lost more than one pair. It’s frustrating and it gets expensive too. Most often, my earbuds get misplaced to replace ones that have been lost. That’s even more frustrating. Well, Education Outdoors has a pretty good solution for your earbud problem that it calls Pet Pods. They’re cute little animal plush toys with earbuds inside.

The Pet Pods come in six different animal styles: Beaver, Buck, Bear, Fawn, Eagle, and Moose. Your child will love the stuffed animal and you’ll love that he or she will have a place to stash those earbuds. My daughter never knew where her earbuds were from one hour to the next, but now, she stores hers in the animal when they’re not in use.

BeaverEarplugsSmall children (not recommended for children under three years of age due to choking hazard) will love the plush animal as an extra “friend” to play with. Teenagers can carry the plush animal ironically to show how cool they are by carrying a stuffed animal with earbuds inside.

“My wife and I have teenage daughters and between the four of us on any given day, we always used to be at least one pair of earbuds short,” said Education Outdoors CEO Tim Paczesny. “Tired of constantly searching for earbuds, I decided to create a solution and came up with the Pet Pod. America already loves stuffed animals so I figured why not make a mini version that serves dual purposes by storing a pair of headphones inside.”

You can scan the QR code to learn more about your animal.

My daughter, who actually uses the Pet Pod and earbuds told me that the Amazon price is a real value at $5.98, “Because you’ll pay that much or more just for the earbuds alone. Plus, you get the animal that you can put your earbuds into.”

She told me that her earbuds had a “bend” in them that doesn’t affect their sound or functionality now, but might in the future. She also wishes that there was something to wind up the earbuds on instead of just having them loose.

Why it’s Frugal: Earbuds generally cost from $3.00 to $50.00 or more and even at $3.00 per pair, lost ones add up over time. The Pet Pod is a cute storage compartment for your earbuds and anything that prevents lost money is frugal.

The earbuds are quality made. The plush toy is a nice little toy with the added bonus of being storage for the earbuds. In all, Pet Pods make a great gift for birthdays, stocking stuffers, or just because you don’t want to keep replacing earbuds once a month.

About Education Outdoors

EagleEarplugAn avid outdoorsman, Tim Paczesny grew up at his family’s log cabin resort in Northern Michigan. As an adult with children of his own, Tim wanted to create a way to share his knowledge of the outdoors with his children and his “city” friends. He came up with the idea of creating games that would be able to teach families about the outdoors through trivia questions and fun facts. For more information, please visit www.educationoutdoors.net.

Rating: 8/10

Recommendation: Buy it, but not for children under three.

Glow Adds QuadraPop and ParaPop 38″ Portable Softboxes to Light Modifier Line for More Flawless Hard Light Diffusion

ParaPop 38"New York, NY – July 28, 2015 Glow, the award-winning brand of high quality lighting modifiers for professional photography and video production, has just announced two new additions to its softbox collection – the Glow QuadraPop 24”x34” and the Glow ParaPop 38” Portable Softboxes. The perfect solutions for speedlights, studio lights and large portable strobes, Glow’s latest models feature excellent softbox quality, marrying a sleek look with superior, innovative design for the “pop” of innovation needed in every imaging scenario.

Both models are available with speedrings for five popular types of speedlights, monolights and studio strobe heads. The interchangeable speedrings align either light modifier with virtually every brand, allowing creative imagemakers the flexibility and value of using their modifier of choice with any type of lighting and/or brand in their gear kit, simply by changing out the speedring. Because of their durable, easy-to-use and lightweight frames, both the Glow QuadraPop and ParaPop are perfect for mobile portraits, and travel photography and videography in addition to studio work. They are ideal for imaging enthusiasts of all levels, from novice to professional.

Made primarily in Korea, the Glow line is getting noticed by customers from all over for its high quality and variety of offerings. Photographer Wally Kilburg, of The Studio at 46 West, based just outside of Chicago, commented, “Glow products are engineered to compliment other vendors’ products, as in my use of Glow softbox grids. Softbox grids often cost more than the modifier they are used on, so it’s pure joy to find the Glow grids work on the standard sizes listed – and at a way low price! Well-made, priced right, and they work as good as you can find. Pretty much the same can be said of any Glow products I have used.”

QuadraPop 24"x34"“We love the Glow products, especially in studio and on location, for their affordable pricing, great build, quality and beautiful lighting effects,” adds Daniel Marcion of Belle Portwe Photography, a premier fashion, commercial and wedding photography studio located on the island of Saint Lucia. “I can recommend The Glow Line to anyone interested in great quality light modifiers. They have a variety of products that meet our needs and we plan to continue using them in our studio.”

The QuadraPop 24”x34” and ParaPop 38” Portable Softboxes are now available online at Adorama.com and at the Adorama superstore, located at 42 West 18th Street in New York City.

About Glow QuadraPop 24”x34” Portable Softbox
The lightweight, rectangular QuadraPop 24”x34” opens and closes with speed and ease, providing ultimate portability with one snap. It was designed by engineers using UV-A and UV-R diffuser materials, to reduce UV light by up to 98% and make it exceptionally heat and water resistant. With no falloff from edge to edge, it combines the strength of a portrait key light with all of the benefits of a soft wrap, blending perfectly with any additional fill. Its rectangular shape lights evenly and makes it a popular choice for fashion, portrait, child and beauty photography.

The Glow QuadraPop is now available from Adorama for 199.95 USD.

About Glow ParaPop 38” Portable Softbox
Like the QuadraPop, the ParaPop 38” snaps into action with jointed positioning rods that open, close and lock with one click. The ParaPop’s unique 12-sided shape and parabolic profile provides a huge 105-degree light spread. It creates sun-like shadows that are slight and beautifully graduated, giving dimension where it is needed the most. The size and shape of a softbox determines how soft and seamless shadows look on a subject, and the ParaPop 38” is being quickly recognized for creating a gentler, more pleasing final shot. Learn more about softbox sizes from photography expert Gavin Hoey at the Adorama Learning Center: http://www.adorama.com/alc/0015011/article/softbox-size-vs-soft-light.

The Glow ParaPop 38” is now available from Adorama for 249.95 USD.

About Glow
The Glow line of light modifiers for photography and video is comprised of universal lighting accessories that mold and shape light, changing its quality and bringing its function to a whole new level. Fully compatible with all brands of strobes and lights, Glow umbrellas, softboxes, reflectors and beauty dishes are crafted of the highest quality materials for durability and longevity. Innovative designs make our modifiers easier to use, bringing advanced lighting setups and tools within reach of the creative vision – and budget – of every photographer.

Glow’s Grand Softbox was named Best in Show by Professional Photographer magazine in its 2014 Hot Ones Awards. Available exclusively at Adorama, customers can visit the Glow brand store online to buy: http://www.adorama.com/brands/Glow.

TomTom Bandit Action Camera (Review)

TomTom Bandit Action CameraTom Tom Bandit Action Camera
TomTom
$ 399.00 Amazon (Prime)

The TomTom Bandit (Bandit) is an action camera that is for those who are into sports and other high energy activities. It captures moments in time in several formats, from HD to 4k, single to burst photos, slow motion, time-lapse to Cinematic video,  and viewable in normal or wide angle. The options are many. Photo size is from 8 to 16 megapixels. The suggested storage media to use is a Class 10 microSD card on which to store your video and pictures. The Bandit allows you to quickly capture, share, and continue your activities with few interruptions to the action. The TomTom Bandit Action Camera is the ultimate selfie machine. Film yourself in the action and post it. Done.

Bandit Highlight Video

While reviewing this camera, I received many comments and questions from passersby. Because of its unusual appearance, people would approach me for a closer look. Some thought it was a robot at first. Once I told them it was an action camera, they related it to a GoPro, but commented that it looks much nicer. They liked the shape and the overall design, instead of looking like a box.

Bandit connected to iPhone appNavigating the menus is easy to do by toggling through each section to select your options. There two buttons and one directional pad, which helps you flip though the choices. The main button, with the “star” on it, is your action button, both for capturing events and powering on the unit. While moving through the menus, all you need to do is use the directional pad to traverse the choices. Once you decide in which format you want to capture, you can select the “star” button and begin filming or taking photos. Using a 32 GB Class 10 microSD you can capture several hours of continuous footage.

Item Weight 6.6 ounces
Product Dimensions 3.7 x 1.5 x 2.1 inches
Item model number 1LB0.001.00
Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)
Warranty 1 year limited

Sharing the video can be done in three basic ways. First, you can connect to your cell phone via the wireless network that the Bandit broadcasts. Second, you can connect through the USB. And third, you can remove the microSD card and use a memory reader. If you use the first method you can use the app, Bandit, which is downloadable from play Store for the Android or AppStore for apple phone. At that point you can let the app create a highlight video. There are several ways that can be done as well. First, and the most fun and simple, is to shake the phone. After the quick shake you have 60 to 90 seconds of video ready to play and share on your social media accounts. Second, you can select the high points yourself and lay out the time line. You can add the overlay options with either choice. The first option is your music and the other two options are speed and g-force. See the video above for a demonstration of speed.

Bandit Exploded ViewThere are a few things that this product does lack and documentation is certainly one of them.  What I mean by that is there is limited information about how to use the product and how to get your fun video to the people in your social circles. The menu it is intuitive and easy to use, so a lot of documentation might not be necessary for those who like to dive right in. One of the things that I learned rather quickly by experimentation is that I had to first enable the Wi-Fi broadcast from the Bandit.  You are then able to connect your phone to the Bandit network. Once you establish connectivity between your phone and the Bandit, you have the ability to edit, preview, control, and create videos from previously recorded activities.

“The TomTom Bandit Action Camera is the ultimate selfie machine.”

Bandit Wi-Fi ReadyEven though the documentation on how to use the Bandit is poor as I wrote earlier, the menu is much like a Timex watch from the old school days. You are able to quickly determine what to do and how to get there. We are now in a society of instant gratification in that we all love the quick and easy how to. It’s like your old Timex watch and like the apple IPhone–really did you ever read the instructions on how to use your watch or your iPhone?  No, probably not. Using the Bandit is as simple as the IPhone and the Timex watch are.  The ease of use and built-in instant gratification functionality allows you to share your videos “in the moment” and not hours  or days later, but actually while the action is still fresh.

Why it’s Frugal: The Bandit is frugal because you spend no time creating a highlights video. Just film, shake, and repeat. Time is money and that’s a frugal use of your time. At $399, it’s roughly the same price as the GoPro Hero 4, but does so much more and seems more rugged for your investment. Plus it is water resistant out of the box. 

I have more than 15 years of video editing and production experience and within in a few minutes I produced and posted video of my events to social media. Combining my passion of video/photography and bicycle riding has been a great combination for the TomTom Bandit Action Camera. In the past bringing a bike riding video from filming to editing, to producing, to viewing was a really big deal. Whereas this product allows me to film in the moment and to pass that glimpse of passion to those in my social network, even before my heart stops pounding and the before the sweat has a chance to dry on my face. Before the Bandit, I would have to ingest the video, preview the video, find the high points, edit the video manually, produce the video, and then manually upload the video.

Bandit ProfileThe TomTom Bandit Action Camera is for who want to do something and share it right away. It’s fun and easy to use. What more could you want from the ultimate selfie machine?

Rating: 8/10

Recommendation: Buy it and get ready to have fun.

IK Multimedia and Mesa Engineering announce AmpliTube MESA/Boogie for Mac/PC

July 23, 2015 – IK Multimedia is proud to announce AmpliTube® MESA/Boogie®, a new collaboration with the R&D Team at Mesa Engineering that brings some of the most legendary tones from the original boutique manufacturer’s amplifiers and cabinets to AmpliTube® 3 Custom Shop for Mac and PC.

AmpliTube MESA/Boogie

Now guitarists, producers, engineers and anyone needing the power of “in-the-box” professional amplifier software can enjoy modeled versions of several of MESA/Boogie’s most famous high-gain sounds via 5 inspiring amplifiers and cabinets. These exciting new co-developed models deliver everything from gorgeous sparkling clean sounds to the percussive aggression and tight crunch of the Rectifier series to the violin-like sustain of the Mark series to the ultra-flexible mid-gain British leanings of the TransAtlantic TA-30, and everything in between.

This first-ever officially authorized by MESA® line-up includes the classic Boogie® V-Curve EQ’d crunch rhythm and singing lead voice of both the MARK III and MARK IV Series as well as what many refer to as the biggest sound in Rock, the crushing gain of the Dual and Triple Rectifiers – these are amps that have ruled the airwaves for almost two decades. As an added bonus, the TransAtlantic TA-30 (MESA’s upscale tribute to the classic British EL84 legacy) is included as well. It roams the elusive pushed clean and medium gain territories with both finesse and attitude.

And, like all AmpliTube virtual gear, these models have been meticulously crafted to sound, look and perform just like their hardware counterparts. Each model has been meticulously scrutinized, worked, re-worked and approved by the R&D Team at Mesa Engineering. The addition of these inspiring MESA/Boogie amp models to AmpliTube Custom Shop means the world’s biggest library of officially authorized virtual guitar gear just got infinitely more versatile, and certainly more toneful.

High-gain boogie on the desktop/laptop
Nothing says high-gain modern guitar tone like MESA/Boogie. MESA literally invented the concept when the original boutique amp company burst on the scene in the late ’60s with the now legendary MARK I Boogie®. Its innovative “cascading” tube preamp introduced guitarists to a new, never-before-possible world of sustain that was, at long last, separate from volume.

Leap-frogging all existing guitar technologies of the day, that original tone was a defining part of the sound of golden-era greats like Carlos Santana, Pete Townshend, Keith Richards, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Grateful Dead and countless other recording artists throughout the 70s. And that original tone has also helped to set the stage for successive waves of era-defining high-gain tones over the years thanks to amps like the MESA/Boogie MARK II, III and IV and the inimitable Rectifier Series, which again completely re-defined MESA’s impact on the world of Rock. When the percussive, yet perfectly-scooped high-gain aggression of the Recto’s was unleashed on the radio via the music of Limp Bizkit, Korn, Linkin’ Park, Creed and other 90s greats, there was no turning back. Guitar forever more HAD to be menacing. Today the Recto’s continue to widen their footprint in defining Rock and Metal, and, after 21 years, they’re still in constant demand and uninterrupted production.

AmpliTube MESA/Boogie recreates this historic and diverse legacy in virtual form. IK software engineers worked relentlessly with the Mesa Engineering R&D Team to ensure that each amplifier and cabinet has been rendered with the same degree of integrity and attention-to-detail that goes into the company’s physical products – the operation of both the front and the back panel controls has been fully replicated to provide exacting performance and function. The amplifiers and cabinets available in AmpliTube MESA/Boogie include:

MESA/Boogie Dual and Triple Rectifier: THE standard for modern high-gain heavy guitar tone and more. The Rectifier amps are aggressive amplifiers for aggressive players. They’re some of the most recorded and widely visible amps on big-venue stages all across the world. Effectively two different power section versions of the same amp introduced in 1989, these amps deliver maximum tone flexibility and serious rock attitude. Both have played a major role in defining the sound of grunge, metal and countless other forms of hard and heavy music. Each amp offers 3-channel, 8-mode operation and varying levels of tube saturation, plus a virtual switchable tube/solid state rectifier section. Soul, personality and feel: the Rectifiers provide a tremendous range of sounds that can be everything from crushingly percussive to liquid and elastic. These amps provide a high-gain response that can’t be found anywhere else.

MESA/Boogie Mark III: This amp from 1984 is the first original 3-channel “Tri-Modal Amplifier” design. It features an amazing set of sonic sculpting tools; it sports the original three-channel setup: Rhythm, a distinct midrange “Crunch” Rhythm, and a Lead channel with independent gain and master volume controls. Just like on the hardware counterpart, it features a full spread of tone controls plus the vitally important Boogie 5-band Graphic EQ section. When combined, it provides for a huge range of additional tone tweaking options that make it easy for players to easily recreate the sounds they hear in their heads.

MESA/Boogie Mark IV:
An improvement on a classic, this amp from 1990 takes everything that made the Mark III the standard for Boogie tone in that era and makes it even better. Three big sounds with individual controls define the tone palette for this powerhouse of a unit. Its three channels allow it deliver an incredibly wide sonic array that stretches from sparkling clean tones to ultra high-gain lead sounds that are rich with harmonics and sustain. It’s the very definition of MESA/Boogie’s signature high-gain sound, and it’s also the ultimate in versatility.

MESA/Boogie TransAtlantic TA-30: A decidedly British MESA/Boogie tribute that jumps back and forth across the sonic pond, this model captures the essence of what, for MESA, was an exercise in simplicity of operation and comprehensive tonal control. It features two-channel operation and 5 distinct “Mode” voicing choices that reference several classic British and American circuits. Throw in the Gain Boost feature, and two high-gain options (HI 1 and HI 2 in Channel 2), and this model covers everything from classic 60s to crushing contemporary, and everything in between. Each channel also features the flexibility of 3 levels of output power. This allows for a full range of power response and character that adds yet another level of accuracy and authenticity to its preamp sounds! This amp may be the most versatile yet simple-to-use MESA amplifier ever made, and it covers anything and everything the other models might miss due to their higher power ranges and gain structures.

Whole lotta gear
In the four years since its release in 2011, AmpliTube Custom Shop has established itself as the largest collection of virtual gear on the market. Its easily browsable selection of amps, stomps, cabinets and more includes officially certified models from the likes of such legendary greats as Fender™, Ampeg®, Orange®, Soldano™, Groove Tubes®, Gallien-Krueger®, Jet City Amplification™, THD® and T-Rex®, Fulltone®, Z.Vex®, Carvin®, Morley®, Wampler Pedals®, Dr. Z®, ENGL® and more. In addition to these well-recognized brands, there’s also signature gear from artists like Slash and Jimi Hendrix™. All told, there are over 280 pieces of professional-grade gear now available for trial and purchase in the AmpliTube Custom Shop!

A one stop tone shop
The AmpliTube Custom Shop for Mac/PC is a free DAW plug-in and standalone software that gives players 24/7 access to some of the most sought-after analog and digital music gear of all time. Once installed, it allows players to browse, audition and purchase collections from the world’s top gear manufacturers à-la-carte. Each model can be tested for free before purchase, just like trying out an amp or effect in a physical guitar shop. Gear models are sold in the Custom Shop using Gear Credits and are priced between 5 and 30 credits each. Gear Credits are sold in packs from a minimum of 20 credits to a maximum of 1,500 credits, with individual gear models starting as low as $/€3 each!

Plugging in to a world of sound
With IK Multimedia’s range of interfaces for mobile devices and Mac and PC, getting tone from AmpliTube is as simple as plugging into an amplifier. iRig 2, iRig HD and iRig PRO are IK’s latest generation of interfaces that allow players to plug in and get pristine, pure sound quality from their Mac or PC (or iPhone or iPad).

Pricing and availability
AmpliTube MESA/Boogie is now open for preorder at a special launch price of just $/€99.99* from the IK Multimedia online store and for just 100 Custom Shop Gear Credits from the AmpliTube Custom Shop.

The new AmpliTube MESA/Boogie bundle will be available from September 1, 2015 for $/€149.99 (150Custom Shop Gear Credits).

*Prices exclude taxes.

For more information, please visit:
www.amplitube.com/mesaboogie

Damage Control: Making what’s visible in Citrix/Terminal Servers invisible

Kurt Mueffelmann, CEO and President, CryptzoneArticle contributed by Kurt Mueffelmann, President and CEO, Cryptzone

The Citrix XenDesktop™ and XenApp™ solutions, and Windows Terminal Servers, are commonly used to provide remote access to network resources. They are typically located between the internet and the internal network, providing an entry point into internal servers—something that makes them an attractive target for hackers.

Citrix/Terminal Servers provide highly valuable functionality for session-based access from the server to the network, which must be very open to allow for all the differing user profiles and use cases. The challenge is that all traffic from every user using a Citrix/Terminal Server is seen on the network as coming from a single IP address, which might represent dozens of different user types, all with various levels of clearance.

For a traditional firewall, this means that an access rule is necessary to allow the server to access every resource that any user on that server could need. In practice, these access rules often become a permit all for the Citrix/Terminal Server. This open door to the network represents a significant security risk.

What cyber criminals can’t see, they can’t compromise.

Taking the recent Anthem breach and many other notable breaches that were the result of stolen credentials into account, it’s safe to say that nothing is out of reach. Accepting that Citrix/Terminal Server access will be compromised is the most proactive cybersecurity strategy you could take. Here’s why: hackers are, simply, the best at what they do. Research supports his theory: incident response provider Mandiant recently reported that 97 percent of organizations have been breached at least once.

Citrix/Terminal Server access rules allow users sharing an IP address to access every resource on a network segment. Once inside the network a cyber criminal who possess stolen credentials, can “see” applications and services, whether authorized or not. Enterprises need to move away from IP-centric architectures to a role-based security model, dynamically provisioning access depending on the user’s role and contextual attributes.

Once past denial, and on to acceptance, an organization can fully embrace a practical Citrix/Terminal Server security plan by focusing on minimizing risk. While the majority of cybersecurity spending historically has gone toward building up a perimeter, limiting the amount of damage intruders can do after they’re in is a powerful paradigm shift in a CXO’s strategy.

It’s time to flip cybersecurity strategies on their head.

The focus now becomes about user access and entitlements, including tight user-based controls around network access from virtual desktops. Enterprises must move away from IP-centric architectures to a role-based security model that maintains the distinction between individual users connecting through a Citrix or Windows Terminal, then dynamically provisions access on the network and application level depending on the user’s role and contextual attributes.

Dynamic access control considers factors such as, “Is the user on a laptop at home, or on an unrecognized tablet on an unsecure Wi-Fi network?” “Should access be granted in the latter case to sensitive data?”

Disruptive solutions allow organizations to limit the damage that can be done by cyber attacks (via privileged account and third-party users) by using identity and context to dynamically secure access to individual resources—essentially making the rest of an enterprise’s infrastructure invisible. They prevent the exposure of sensitive and confidential information to only allow an individual to access what they are authorized to access. This not only prevents someone from authenticating into a network if something seems amiss, but can also limit any damage a bad actor can take if they get in with stolen credentials.

This concept is taking hold at places like Coca-Cola, Google and others. It’s IT’s job to ensure that every enterprise, regardless of their size or resources, can reap the same benefits. In order to truly protect corporate data and resources, tighter user-based controls around network access from virtual desktops is critical.

10 Questions to Ask to Make the Most of Your Data Center Investment

FortrustContributed post by Josh Moody, Fortrust Senior VP of Sales and Marketing

While outsourcing your data center services often can be less expensive than maintaining your own in-house data center, it is still a considerable monetary commitment. That’s why most companies want to maximize their ROI by finding the right data center partner.

“Knowing what to ask and what to look for in a data center partner can help companies save valuable time and resources,” explains Josh Moody, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at FORTRUST. “Businesses entrust a large component of their livelihood to their data center, so it’s important to work with someone with integrity and who will follow through.”

Here are 10 questions to help ensure you find a data center that fits your needs and can help you make the most of your data center investment.

1.     Have you considered consolidating data centers?

If your company’s main focus is to prevent downtime and data loss, you may be considering colocation at multiple, lower quality sites. Instead, consider colocating in one or two facilities that have an impeccable uptime record. This solution will remove redundant IT assets, software, maintenance and support, and disaster recovery contracts while maintaining the reliability you require.

2.     Is your hardware rationalized?

Rationalizing your hardware will provide a clear look at your inventory, giving insight into which machines are used effectively and which are not. By paring down your equipment, you can lower maintenance and support charges as well as lower energy costs, freeing up capital to allocate more wisely elsewhere.

3.     How secure is your data center?

Security is one of the biggest concerns for businesses looking to outsource their datacenter services. Your data center partner should deploy a combination of multi-layered and progressive security measures to control personnel access with multiple points and types of 2-factor authentication, including card readers and biometric scanners, dual mantraps, security identification points, CCTV, and 24-hour onsite security guards combined with offsite security monitoring. Your data center should be doing all they can to protect your business’s assets from attack.

4.     Does your data center provide constant customer support?

In addition to security teams and a skilled operations team, your data center should provide a professional, highly available customer support team. A problem, question, or a need to alter your services or environment could come up at any moment. A live support staff should be made available to you 24/7/365 to handle any questions, concerns, or requests for assistance quickly and with competence.

5.     Can your data center accommodate you now and in the future?

It’s important to select a data center that can accommodate your legacy hardware, extend its lifetime, and yet allow for future growth when customer computing demands or technology increase. A typical data center traditionally over-provisions, but a datacenter that provides a fit-for-purpose solution to match your requirements now and in the future optimizes your data center investment.

6.     Have you considered data modules?

In terms of energy consumption, security, and design, data modules offer some of themost efficient methods of colocation. Modules segregate hot and cold aisle containment and adjust cooling parameters based on the customer’s real time IT load. Their effective method of cooling allows for higher density computing, which maximizes space and efficient energy utilization, thus reducing operation costs by as much as 18.5 percent. By providing the infrastructure to perform high density computing, as well as savings from the energy efficient design and an extra layer of security due to its containerized architecture, modules are an effective colocation solution.

7.     How efficient is your data center?

Consider storing your infrastructure at a facility that maximizes operational efficiency. A highly efficient data center will have lower operations costs, which results in lower rates for the customer. Efficiency also speaks to how well a data center is run and maintained. Look for features that keep the data center’s IT equipment running longer and at peak operating efficiency like seismic enhancements, custom air filtration systems, closed loop cooling systems, a comprehensive Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM).

8.     Can you be sure your IT environment is optimized and your SLA is being met?

Most data centers today use a DCIM system that allows them to monitor the datacenter’s critical infrastructure, but a few progressive facilities are now offering their customers a real-time view into their data center environment as well. This virtual window offers insight into how and where your resources are being expended without speculation. This visibility ensures your SLA is being met, and informs you of any adjustments that need to be made.

9.     Does your data center provide ample connectivity?

Internet and WAN connectivity is vital to maintaining normal business operations in a connected world. Be sure your data center has a robust network infrastructure and employs several carriers with intelligent route optimization capabilities and regional peering points. Diversified connectivity, high redundancy, and intelligent load balancing ensure you experience low latency and a lower risk of uninterrupted service, which can be costly to your company.

10.  What is your data center’s uptime record?

Recent reports show that the average length of an outage was 86 minutes. When you factor in the average cost per minute of downtime — $7,900 — that means the average total cost of an outage was a whopping $690,200. With that in mind, smart IT organizations need a data center that does everything it can to prevent a costly unplanned outage. To minimize the chance of an interruption of services, choose adata center with risk mitigation features, a resilient critical systems design, a thorough DCIM, a well-trained operations team, and frequently tested redundant components and critical systems infrastructure. Be sure to ask for the data center’s uptime record, as well as the frequency of critical systems infrastructure (Electrical and Mechanical distribution) maintenance windows, which are the true measuring stick for any datacenter provider.

Every data center is different and will offer varying levels of service. Invest in a facility that offers all of the above to ensure that your organization receives the benefits and protection it needs. At the end of the day, your data center should be more than just another expense; it should serve as a valuable business partner to make your job easier.

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FORTRUST is one of the most progressive high-availability data center services providers in North America, serving clients across the globe who depend on colocation services for a critical lifeline of their business. FORTRUST Denver is the largest data center in the region with over 300,000 square feet and 34 megawatts ofdata center capacity. FORTRUST offers agile, reliable, sustainable and secure raised floor and modular data center capacity for any-size enterprise supported by optimal power infrastructure and connectivity to safeguard mission-critical business services. In addition to the national headquarters in Denver, FORTRUST has data centerlocations in Phoenix, Arizona and Edison, New Jersey. www.ftdc.com

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Phoenix Republic - The Lone Star Gambit / Sovereign's Journey

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