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Embracing BYOD and BYON to Reduce Risks

SysAidBy Sarah Lahav, CEO, SysAid Technologies

The “bring your own device” (BYOD) trend has received a lot of attention in business circles, but BYON – “bring your own network” – is another security risk IT teams should be working proactively to address. In fact, BYON is a far graver threat to corporate security than BYOD, and the best way to counter the risks associated with BYON is to fully embrace BYOD.

Company IT professionals and security officers are right to be concerned about the risks of BYOD and BYON: Lax security practices such as failure to use strong passwords can put sensitive company data at risk when it is stored on employee devices. And the use of unsecured BYON connections can leave confidential data exposed when employees transmit messages or log in to company portals.

 

But trying to address the risks associated with BYOD and BYON by banning the use of personal devices in the workplace will ultimately prove to be a nonstarter. An increasingly mobile workforce is transforming the way business is conducted, and always-on, always-connected mobile devices are driving the change. In fact, industry analyst Gartner predicts that by 2017, half of employers will stop providing devices to employees altogether and require staff to use their personal devices on the job.

The reason many companies are embracing BYOD is that, in theory, it delivers a win-win: Employees win because they get to use the devices they choose that are increasingly an integral part of their daily lives, and employers win because BYOD expands access to employees and increases job satisfaction. But without robust IT support, neither employees nor employers can achieve a clear win. Instead, employees take chances with company data via BYON connections, leaving employers exposed to more liabilities, which transforms a potential win-win into a lose-lose proposition.

BYOD is inevitable. The IT team’s customers – their employer and its employees – are increasingly demanding the flexibility it delivers. So to address the risks, IT needs to embrace BYOD now, while the trend is evolving, and prepare for emerging technologies like wearables, which will affect enterprise security in the future.

IT departments can counter the threat of BYON by providing WiFi access for employee-owned devices, which gives IT professionals greater control over security. IT departments can provide across-the-board support for social platforms and apps, which will give them a chance to review security protocols. In return for enabling IT to gain greater control over device and network security, employees will receive support, creating a win-win scenario.

In a rapidly evolving technology environment, many IT teams are struggling to keep up, looking for ways to protect their companies and provide the services their customers demand. The BYOD and BYON trends pose daunting challenges for IT, and it’s understandable that the first impulse would be to try to keep the risks at bay by banning the use of personal devices on the job. But these trends aren’t a passing fad: BYOD is a sea-change in IT.

Because the use of personal devices in every facet of life is gaining momentum and will be bolstered by emerging technologies, the time is now for IT organizations to embrace and manage the change. As is often the case in business, identifying what the customer demands and shifting strategies to meet their requirements turns out to be a smart move – for the company, for the customer and for those involved in providing support.

Introducing the Microsoft Migration Accelerator for Azure

Announcing the limited preview of the Migration Accelerator (MA), for Azure. Spawned from the technology of Microsoft’s InMage acquisition announced July 11th  the MA is designed to seamlessly migrate physical, VMware, AWS and Hyper-V workloads into Azure.  It automates all aspects of migration including discovery of source workloads, remote agent installation, network adaptation and endpoint configuration. With MA, transitions into Azure can occur in mere minutes!

MA changes the cloud migration paradigm by offering:

  • Heterogeneity:  With MA you can migrate workloads running on a broad range of platforms such as VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, Amazon Web Services and/or Physical servers within your environment. MA can support workloads running on Windows Server 2008 R2 sp1, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 operating systems.
  • Simple, Automated Migration:  The MA portal allows you to automatically discover your enterprise workloads, remotely from the cloud.  With few clicks you can configure end-to-end migration scenarios.  MA allows you to test your workload in the cloud without impacting the existing on premise production workload, offering the ability to validate workload functionality before a cutover is performed.
  • Migrate Multi-tier Applications: MA boasts the unique ability to migrate multi-tier production system with application level consistency, orchestrated across tiers. This ensures multi-tier applications run the same in Azure, as they ran at the source. Application startup order is even honored, without the need for any manual configuration.
  • Continuous Replication, Least Cutover Time: MA for Azure provides full-system replication including the OS and application data.  This continuous replication and in-memory change tracking reduces the cutover time to mere minutes, minimizing impact to production workloads.

How MA works

MA uses multiple components to orchestrate your migration project as shown below:

MA1

  1. Mobility Service: A light weight (guest based) centrally deployed agent which gets installed on source servers (on-premises physical or virtual) to be migrated to the target virtual machines on Azure.  It is responsible for real time data capture and synchronization of the selected volumes of source servers to target servers.
  2. Process Server (PS): A physical or virtual server that is installed on premise. It facilitates the communication between the Mobility Service and target virtual machines in Azure. It provides caching, queuing, compression, encryption and bandwidth management.
  3. Master Target (MT):  A target for replicating disks of on premises servers. It is installed within a dedicated Azure VM in your Azure subscription.  Disks are attached to the MT to maintain duplicate copies.
  4. Configuration Server (CS): Manages the communication between the Master Target and the MA Portal. It is installed on a dedicated Azure VM in your Azure subscription. Regular synchronization occurs between the CS and MA Portal.
  5. MA Portal: It is a multitenant portal by which you can discover, configure protection and migrate your on premise workloads into Azure.

MA automates all critical processes required to migrate a source workload within an Enterprise into Azure Cloud. It can discover on premise workloads running in ESX/Hyper-V, AWS or physical servers. The workloads are discovered using a Process Server which is connected to MA portal. The discovered instances are listed in MA portal as shown below:

MA2

You can choose particular instance(s) from the discovered list of workload for migration. The next step is to install the Mobility Service (agent) on the source servers. This can be remotely orchestrated from the MA portal by choosing ‘Install Mobility Service’ option as shown below:

MA3

After installing the Mobility Service, you can configure replication for selected servers by choosing the Protect option.  MA uses the configuration details garnered from the discovery process for the protected source servers to determine and provision the most suitable sizing for the environment within Azure. In addition, the target VHDs are provisioned on the Master Target. Once replication is setup, synchronization of the on premise server disk to the target VHD in the Azure cloud begins.

Now, that you have configured the initial sync, wait to ensure the initial replication is complete. After initial replication, select the Migration option from the Cloud Services menu.

MA4

From the list of protected servers that appear under Protected Application, select the “protection plan” or list of assets you wish to migrate.

MA5

Once you choose a protection plan it will appear under Migration > Selected Hosts. Click Migrate to start the migration process.

MA6

You can now monitor the progress of migration under Migration Scenarios > Migration Status.

MA7

After successful migration, Virtual Machines are created in Azure Cloud.  You can now logon to the migrated VMs to validate if the running instances on the cloud is identical to your source.

Summary

In summary, MA offers an unprecedented level of automation to provide seamless migrations of heterogeneous assets, into Azure.

Key Highlights:

  • Automated asset discovery and migration – MA portal orchestrates the discovery and migration of workloads from a single pane of glass.
  • Migration cutovers to Azure in minutes – continuous replication and in-memory change tracking significantly reduce cutover time.
  • Self-provisioned target Azure VM’s – Target VMs are dormant during synchronization saving compute cost and are then automatically provisioned during cutover.
  • Heterogeneous platform support – support for broad range of environments and platforms.
  • Continuous replication – lightweight agents on the source servers continuously replicate all changes to target ensuring near zero downtime during migrations.
  • Multi-tier application support – migrate your multi-tier production system with application level consistency orchestrated across tiers.
  • Target VM Network and Endpoint Adaptation – support for automated network adaptation and endpoint reconfiguration.
  • Integrated compression, encryption and bandwidth management.

To get started visit Microsoft Migration Accelerator and sign-up for preview.

iRig Mic HD from IK Multimedia now shipping

August 5, 2014 – IK Multimedia, the global technology leader in mobile apps and accessories, today announced it’s shipping iRig® Mic HD, the first mobile digital microphone for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC. The sequel to IK’s popular iRig Mic, iRig Mic HD is the perfect tool for singers, podcasters, online radio broadcasters, journalists, videographers, home studio enthusiasts and anyone else who needs to record high-definition digital audio on the go. iRig Mic HD comes in black and an exclusive silver version is available only from the Apple Store. Powerful, mobile and affordable: iRig Mic HD is the first handheld digital microphone for everyone.

iRig Mic HD

Designed to perform

iRig Mic HD is the only mobile digital condenser microphone designed for live handheld performance and recording. It delivers high-quality digital sound via an electret condenser capsule, a 24-bit audiophile-grade A/D converter (with 44.1/48 kHz sample rate) and a built-in low-noise high-definition preamp. iRig Mic HD sports an easy-to-use gain control that allows for optimum audio capture at any sound pressure level, from the quiet whisper of an ambient room to the full blast of a loud rock concert. A multi-color LED provides at-a-glance monitoring of sound levels.

Professional plug-and-play sound

For superior recording quality on the move, iRig Mic HD plugs directly into the digital input of your iOS device. iRig Mic HD is compatible with the latest generation of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices via its included Lightning cable. An optional 30-pin connector is available for legacy iOS devices. You can also use it for instant plug-and-play compatibility with your computer using the included USB cable to connect to your Mac or PC (driver download required for PC).

Capture high-quality sound on the go with the first mobile digital microphone for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC.

A full spread of apps

For immediate recording, iRig Mic HD comes fully equipped with a suite of powerful IK apps: iRig® Recorder for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is a straightforward audio and editing app for field recording and interviews. VocaLive™ for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is a powerful vocal effects and multi-track recording app with a suite of 12 professional real-time vocal effects. AmpliTube® for iOS, Mac and PC is the industry-standard guitar studio app that features ultra-accurate digital models of some of the world’s most desirable guitar amplifiers and effects. EZ Voice for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is an easy-to-use vocal recording app that lets you sing-along and record with any song in your iTunes music library. iRig Mic HD is also compatible with a wide variety of third party apps, like GarageBand, Cubasis, ProStudio Vocal FX, MultiTrack DAW and more.

The iRig Recorder App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.appstore.com/irigrecorder
The VocaLive App is available from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.appstore.com/vocalive
The EZ Voice App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.appstore.com/ezvoice
The AmpliTube app is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.appstore.com/amplitubefree
Register and download AmpliTube FREE for Mac and PC from the IK Multimedia site or at http://www.ikmultimedia.com/amplitubefree

Pro sound at an affordable price

iRig Mic HD is so affordable that now anyone can capture high-quality digital audio on the go. Whether it’s broadcast interviews in the field, home recording in the studio, memo recording for the office or anywhere else audio needs to be captured.

Pricing and Availability

iRig Mic HD is now available from music and electronics retailers worldwide for $129.99/€99.99 (excluding taxes). An exclusive silver version is also available from the Apple Store.

For more information, please visit www.irigmichd.com

IK Multimedia. Musicians First.

About IK Multimedia: IK Multimedia is a computer music technology company that offers a diverse range of affordable and easy-to-use music production tools with great sound quality and a realistic look and feel. With millions of installations worldwide, the IK range has been adopted by musicians of every level, from beginners to professionals, to gain access to high-end, studio-quality gear from their computers or mobile devices. iRig®, AmpliTube® and VocaLive™ are trademarks property of IK Multimedia Production. iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and GarageBand are trademarks of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPad Air, iPad mini and Lightning are trademarks of Apple, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Acer Chromebook C720 (Review)

2014/07/25 1 comment

Acer C720 ChromebookAcer Chromebook C720
Acer, Inc.
Price varies from $179 to $379 depending on hardware and features.
$199 for the C720-2800 Reviewed model

My Acer Chromebook C720 is just cool. I know that’s not a very good review, but it is in fact, cool. I love it. If there’s one computer that I always grab for writing, Internet browsing, buying stuff online, watching YouTube videos, or connecting to remote server systems to do some heavy work, it’s my trusty, little C720 Chromebook. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written on ZDNet in my Consumerization column, you know that I sort of have a love affair with Acer. Yes, I’m afraid that it’s a one-sided affair, but it’s one that I’ve carried on for years.

I’ve purchased many Acer products and have recommended them (successfully) to my in-laws and others. Someday I’ll provide a full list of the still living models, although I can tell you that I have one, a Linux system living in my personal data center (garage) that has to be ten years old. I digress. But you see my point? I love Acer products. And the C720 hasn’t changed my mind.

The C720 is what Chromebooks aspire (Watch that pun, Acer has a line of Aspire systems) to be. They’re lightweight, powerful, stable, durable, high quality, full of features, and competitively priced. What more can you ask for? Great support, probably. Well, Acer has that. Although I’ve never had any serious problems with any of my Acer products, the two or three times I’ve used Customer Support, the agent has helped me until the issue was resolved. I’ve never disconnected from one of the online chat sessions with anything but satisfaction in my head and a smile on my face.

My Acer C720 surpassed my Acer One Netbook as my favorite computer about a week after I got it. The C720 is so fast and responsive that rivals even the most souped-up computer that I’ve ever used. There’s never any hesitation, freezing, or “Not responding” messages. And I really don’t have the patience for “Not responding” messages.

And say what you will about Google, but the Chrome browser and the Chrome OS are the best things to happen to computers since Linus released Linux back in the mid-1990s. Google aced it, in my humble opinion, with Chrome and Chrome OS.

C720_SideViews

The C720 comes in a variety of models from the most basic to the very elaborate with a touch screen, super fast CPU(s), 4GB RAM, and a larger (32GB) internal SSD. The touch screen is the big bonus feature for the Chromebook. Chrome OS isn’t Windows 8, but the operating system and computing environment is still enhanced by touch screen technology for those of us who have become accustomed to tapping and swiping our phones and tablets. Alas, my C720 doesn’t have a touchscreen, but the trackpad is very good. Sometimes, if I’m working at a desk instead of on my lap, I plug in an external mouse and I’m fine.

  • 11.6’’ (1366×768) display, 16:9 aspect ratio
  • 0.75 inches thin – 2.76 lbs/ 1.25kg
  • Up to 8.5 hours of active use 1
  • New Intel® Celeron™ processor
  • 100 GB Google Drive Cloud Storage2 with 16GB Solid State Drive
  • 30-day free trial with Google Play Music All Access
  • Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • VGA Camera
  • 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
  • Full size HDMI Port
  • Bluetooth®4.0 Compatible

One thing to note about your Chromebook is that its operating system, Chrome OS, has been deemed the “most secure operating system” by Kevin Mitnick, the famous hacker turned security expert. He’s correct. I’ve performed multiple security scans over the network against the Chromebook and I can’t break into it. There’s just no available attack vector. In other words, you can feel safe using your Chromebook out in public because no one can scan your system, break into it, and grab your data.

Why it’s Frugal: The C720 is frugal for many reasons, but the most important one is features per dollar. You get a full, powerful computer for $200 that won’t require you to spend on hardware upgrades because of a newer operating system version every two years. There’s no spinning hard drive to fail on you. There’s very little heat generated from it. It requires very little electricity. It really requires no additional accessories to make it useful. And it’s an Acer product, which means that it will last for years. That’s frugal.

The C720 comes equipped with a camera (top center of the screen) and a built-in microphone located just above the function keys above the keyboard, so that you can use Google Hangouts with audio or both audio and video. If you’re a videocaster or podcaster, you can use Google Hangouts from your Chromebook and easily upload the finished product to YouTube. And you can perform those casts from anywhere that you have access to Wi-Fi or a wired network.
While your C720 doesn’t come with an Ethernet connection, you can purchase a USB-to-Ethernet network interface for under $20. There are no drivers to install or any issues. Plug it in and it works.
Using a Chromebook is a little different than using a “regular” computer. You don’t typically save anything to your local computer. You save your documents and pictures to Google Drive, Dropbox, or some other cloud-based storage service and you work 100 percent of your time on web-based applications, whether you’re editing photos, writing your memoirs, or listening to music. You’ll get used to it. Plus, if the darn thing dies and can’t be repaired (very rare), you’re only out $200. Go buy another one.
You login to your Chromebook with your Google account, which means that you have Gmail, Hangouts, YouTube, and customized search via Google.com at your fingertips. Other users can login to your Chromebook, if they have a Google account, but they can’t look at or alter any of your settings or data. This means that if you have a friend who needs to check her Gmail, you can let her do that and both of you can feel secure in the fact that both your data and hers are protected from each other’s prying eyes. The same goes for a stranger who wants to login. For this reason, Chromebooks make excellent shared/public kiosk type computers.
The C720 is lightweight at just over two-and-a-half pounds, which makes it very portable. It also features a very long battery life of up to 8+ hours. Under heavy usage conditions, such as audio/video or constant on, I’d figure on four to five hours. As with most laptop/notebook computers, it charges while you work, if plugged in.
You can look at and test the C720 at Office Depot and other stores in sort of a try before you buy fashion. I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed with the C720 regardless of configuration. I love mine. It’s my favorite computer.
Rating: 10/10
Recommendation: Buy it and love it.

Welcome to the Real World (Book Review)

Welcome to the Real WorldWelcome to the Real World
Finding your place, perfecting your work, and turning your job into your dream career.
Lauren Berger
April 2014
240 pages
$16.99 Cover Price, $11.92 Amazon, $10.67 Kindle

Review Rating: 9/10

Lauren Berger is the founder and CEO of InternQueen.com as well as an author, speaker, and internship expert. Her latest book, Welcome to the Real World, is basically a Lauren Berger brain dump of what she’s learned in her years as the Intern Queen.

The book consists of ten chapters that are full of pertinent information yet very easy to read and to comprehend. I enjoyed reading Welcome to the Real World (Real World) and found that it would be helpful to anyone anywhere along the career path continuum, not just those new to the workforce.

Lauren gives you pointers on workplace behavior, appropriate dress, connecting with others, how to manifest your own personal ‘brand,’ how to organize yourself, and how to juggle all those things that you have to do. Her advice is practical and very much worth more than the few dollars of the book’s cost. Particularly valuable is the chapter titled, “Your Money, Your Finances, Your Life.” In my humble opinion, this should be the first chapter instead of ninth.

I have several reasons for stating that Chapter 9 should have come first: It’s by far the most important chapter for a young person (or a person of any age for that matter), it teaches real life lessons, it’s worth the price of the entire book on its own, and directness of the material.

To explain my “directness” reason, Lauren is direct and to the point in this chapter. There are no gray lines when it comes to finances. You must have discipline and you must have a plan. You have to handle money intelligently, no matter how much or how little you make. She gets to the point in each section without mincing words or adding any extra fluff. She tells it like it is. Read and heed her advice.

This chapter should be up front because young people have short attention spans. The phone buzzes with a new text message, a YouTube video distracts you, an email notification pops up, or you notice something happening on television, and you’ve lost your train of thought. If it were the first chapter, it would be read for sure.

So many young people get into financial problems and it takes years to recover from them. If you read and adhere to the advice given, you’ll be fine.

My favorite chapter, perhaps because of where I am in my career, is Chapter 4, How to Work Your Personal Brand. To me, creating, developing, and working your personal brand is the most important way that you can move up in your company or get a different job outside of your company. You should always be aware of how you portray your personal brand and how others perceive you. Wise advice from Lauren. Mark this chapter and reread it often. Some of the people she mentions pay thousands of dollars to ‘coaches’ to help them develop their brands. You don’t necessarily need to do that. Just read the chapter.

Finally, Lauren wraps it up with Chapter 10: Time to Get Personal, which is more or less a ‘care and feeding’ of you discussion.

In all, the book is very good. Lauren has a lot of good advice to give you and she teaches you how to put her advice into practice. I love the practicality of the book. Oftentimes, books written by what I’ll loosely call “motivational” types, don’t really do anything except boost the personal brands of the writer or alleged writer (most are ghost written, in case you didn’t know that).

If you hadn’t guessed already, I highly recommend Lauren’s book and her website, no matter where you are in your career. There’s something valuable for everyone. The book is a quick read. 240 pages is pretty short and you can manage it in a few evenings. Put down your cell phones and TV remotes and spend a few hours investing in your career.

Categories: Book Review

Considering Crowdfunding? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding

2014/07/23 1 comment

The Ultimate Guide to CrowdfundingIf you haven’t heard of crowdfunding by now, it’s not too late. Even if you have heard of it, you might not really understand it. The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding is your one-stop source for a lot of information on crowdfunding, successful crowdfunding projects, and the best sources/sites for crowdfunding. The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding is an infographic that has hyperlinks to more information about each topic, each source, and each story behind it.

At the top of the infographic, there are links for finding out exactly what crowdfunding is and an analysis of whether it’s right for your business.

On the infographic, you also have a profile of 14 of the top crowdfunding sites with an associated review and a success story.

One thing to note about crowdfunding is that you have to be motivated to raise your funds. It’s not a “set it and forget it” type of thing. And I want to warn you, the results in the success stories are not typical. They are big success stories. For all the projects that get funding, thousands more do not.

Kickstarter, for example, might be the biggest name out there, but in my opinion, it’s the worst of the lot because of its ‘all or nothing’ funding scheme. Again, in my opinion, Indiegogo is a much better site for funding those types of projects. I’ve seen too many good projects go unfunded on Kickstarter that would have benefitted from Indiegogo’s partial funding successes.

In other words, if you setup a $50,000 campaign on Kickstarter and you receive $49,999, you get $0. With Indiegogo, you get $49,999 or however much your contributors pledged toward your campaign. There’s also the problem of non-payment on some of these platforms. Some, like Kickstarter, take the pledges and hold them in escrow until the end of the campaign.

I have yet to use a crowdfunding site for any of my projects, although I’m pondering doing so within the next few months. I have contributed to a number of successful and unsuccessful campaigns on Kickstarter and on Indiegogo.

To setup a crowdfunded project, you have to offer your contributors ‘perks.’ Perks are tokens of your appreciation and incentives for people to contribute to your project. I usually don’t take the perks because I want the artists to receive all the funds I send them without strings and I don’t want them hassled with having to worry about perks when they should focus their energies on the projects that I’m funding.

Crowdfunding can be a great way to get your ideas off the ground, but remember that your contributors will hold you accountable for their earned perks and the project itself, so you’d better be prepared to deliver.

Generally, there’s no payback associated with crowdfunding, although I haven’t checked out all 14 of the sites listed on the infographic. The payback is the project. People like to contribute to something that’s bigger than themselves. Some people, like myself, like to contribute to artists and filmmakers to see just what’s possible through donations. It gives me the power to help people realize their dreams that otherwise they might not have the opportunity to do so.

If I ever win the lottery, I will set aside a portion of the money for artistic projects and endowments. I think that there’s no greater achievement in this world than to create. Whether it’s a mural in the ‘hood’ or a feature-length film, I want to see it happen.

But, this isn’t about me. It’s about the projects and their creators. Crowdfunding is an excellent way to put something into action. If you have the money, go to some of the listed sites, pick some projects, select your perks (if you want them), and fund some hope. If you, on the other hand, are someone who has a project in mind that crowdfunding is a fit for, sign up on one of the sites that’s appropriate for your project and get busy.

Remember that the perks you offer can be very small, such as mention on a website as a contributor. But, as the amount of contribution rises, so do the perk values. Some people offer all expenses paid trips to large contributors, special privileges to the project, part ownership, or some other creative perk. While this is not a review of one particular site/system over another, crowdfunding is a thing and it’s a good thing.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sign up, log on, create your campaign, develop your perks, and get busy on that project. And one of the ancillary requirements of your campaigns is that you let me know about them. No, I’m not kidding. I’ll even help fund some of them.

I’d like to thank Choice Loans for sharing this infographic.

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