Revolution of Traffic Monitoring: How Did ANPR Cameras Evolve Through Time?

Automatic Number Reading has Evolved Significantly in Recent Years

The automatic number plate reading system was introduced at the end of the 90s’. They were in fact some of the first applications of artificial intelligence in the field of Intelligent Transportation Systems. The first of such camera systems could read the license plate of moving vehicles. Their computation capabilities were modest as the hardware and software at the time were basic yet expensive. Though there were cheaper options available, they were not all compatible to be used for access control.

Evolution of ANPR 

Over time as more and more development was done in this sector, both the hardware and software technologies rapidly evolved. Since then the possibility to use commercial processing systems with a normal or good quality video surveillance camera became a norm in many countries. As the cost of installing and acquiring them also reduced substantially, these cameras were used in a number of industries and fields. 

Since then these cameras have only seen a growth in demand. With good ANPR cameras, traffic monitoring has been revolutionized. These can provide access control, parking management, border control, toll payments, speed control, and law violation control. The law enforcers can currently benefit from this application as it provides a spread of geolocation technologies as well as a centralized database option. 

Vehicles can be monitored easily in the traffic through a web page as well as from mobile devices. This helps the traffic police officers to get immediate notification if there has been any violation of law by a vehicle driver like crossing the red light, exceeding the speed limit, or bigger crimes like theft of vehicles or hit and run incidents. 

How Does it Work?

The architecture of these surveillance cameras has pretty much remained the same but the software has been updated continuously. The plate recognition takes place with the help of the use of software that is being run on powerful computers. These back-end computers analyze the video streams and distribute them to the front end for monitoring. These systems are limited only due to the high bandwidth demand as well as an increase in the power needed to process the frames. This is because the frames consist of millions of pixels. The company’s that make these cameras then started to miniaturize and increase the power of the processing unit in order to find a solution. 

In some commercial properties, the ANPR is usually placed at the entrance and exit of car parks. They are used for capturing and processing the details of all the vehicles that enter or exit the building. If there is an unauthorized vehicle entering the building, then the license number of that car is identified and stored. The same goes for if anyone exceeds the speed limit on parking lots or parks their vehicle for a very long time in the parking lot and breeches the stay period. In these cases, the license plate number is recognized and the driver gets a fine via post or on this mobile. For commercial properties, these give them an ideal solution to solve the problem of everyone who is trying to use their parking lot as a free facility. These cameras can not only capture the details of all the vehicles in the daylight but also in the dark at night. 

Furthermore, when you use these cameras for your business property, then you can decrease the cost of installing a manual parking system as well as labor costs. By providing all the employees with a touch screen pay option as well as display machines, their vehicles will easily be identified by the camera and allow them to enter. As the system is fully automated you will eliminate the need for every driver to display a ticket to enter. 

Future of ANPR

As more and more industries make sure of these surveillance cameras to maintain safety and security on their property, the future of ANPR seems to be bright. There is an ever-growing demand for these as businesses and law enforcement try to maintain control over car park control and management, airport security, journey time management, transport and logistics, and traffic surveys.

While these cameras continuously upgrade the use of their technology to be able to make it more smarted, there are still some challenges that need to be overcome. These cameras have given rise to a new kind of criminal activity called car cloning. In such crimes, the number plates are copied so that when they are read by such systems, they will identify fake license plate numbers. However, with the innovation and technology galloping at the fastest pace than it ever hard, it won’t be long before these challenges are overcome as well. 

6 Pro Tips To Avoid Online Scams

Scammers have invaded the online space with fake deals and have defrauded many unsuspecting individuals of their hard-earned money. It’s often said that when the deal is too good to be true, exercise caution before making any financial commitment. Statistical reports reveal that there’s a growing number of individuals who have seen their life savings go down the drain because of online scammers.

Scammers will promise you quick returns if you make ‘investments’ with them. If you’ve never fallen victim to online scammers, lucky you! However, don’t assume that you’ll never find yourself in this situation, as scammers are becoming more creative and elaborate with their schemes.  

Nonetheless, there are many genuine online businesses that you can invest with, such as Amway which has been in business since 1959. There are various resources that you can use to get full Amway reviews and know how you can make money with Amway as an investor.  

There are several kinds of online scams in different industries, including business, health, finance, beauty, and online investments. Read reviews of each kind of scam to ensure that you’re on the safe side and avoid being scammed.  

Strategies To Avoid Being Scammed Online 

If you exercise caution online, it’s possible to avoid being scammed. Some of the strategies you may use include the following: 

1. Keep Your Financial Data A Secret 

Internet phishing is a common fraud method nowadays. Avoid giving out your financial information online to businesses or individuals that you don’t know, whether they reach you through email, phone, or text. Some scammers may get your email or phone contact online and contact you under false pretenses that they’re representatives of a well-known retailer, government agency, or financial institution.  

A common trick that a scammer will use is telling you that your bank account has been compromised and you’re required to update it. Their intention is usually to make you give them your Social Security number, credit card number, or any other crucial financial information.  

Beware that no credit card company or bank will ever call you to ask for your financial data. In case someone calls or emails you asking for your financial information, you may call your bank or credit card company to know the status of your account.  

2. Use Very Strong Passwords 

Your password ought to be difficult to crack. With modern password cracking tools, a hacker can crack your password if it’s a simple name of a person or pet, or if it’s a simple combination of numbers or letters. Avoid committing this common password security mistake. Strong passwords need to be at least eight characters long with a mix of upper-case and lower-case letters, special characters, and numbers. Additionally, use different passwords for the different websites that you visit.  

It’s not easy to remember about ten passwords that are eight characters long each. However, with the use of a password program, you can generate secure passwords, store them, and access them when needed.  

3. Approach Online Deals With Caution 

Scammers may take advantage of special holidays or events like Black Friday to advertise offers on their websites. The sad thing is that after you’ve purchased the product, you’ll probably never get it. To avoid being scammed through this scheme, confirm how legit a website is and research about its reputation. Check reviews of the website whether any issues have been raised by other people that might be a red flag. Moreover, use common sense: a deal that appears too good is usually a fraud trap.  

4. Secure Your Computer With Antivirus Programs

Your computer needs to be securely protected with antivirus, spyware protection, and a firewall. Go to the settings of your antivirus program and turn on the auto-update option to make sure that all updates are installed automatically. Antivirus software can detect any attempt of a malware attack and resolve it. Moreover, an antivirus can detect unsafe websites and warn you so that you can avoid entering such websites.  

5. Shop In Known Websites 

There are well-known websites that you should shop from, both globally and locally. In case the product that you need is from an unfamiliar seller, do some background research first to ensure that the retailer is trustworthy. You may also ask your friends if they’re familiar with the said website or seller.  

6. Avoid Pop-Up Windows 

When you’re browsing online, you may see many pop-up windows that imply that your computer is unsafe. The moment you click on them, it activates malware that may end up damaging the operating system of your computer. If the pop-up requests you to download software, reject the request by closing the window.  

Conclusion  

With the growing number of people falling prey to online scammers, you have to take extra precautions and never let your guard down. The tips in this article are invaluable in saving you from imminent fraud. Always remember to protect your financial information, use strong passwords, install antivirus software on your computer, and purchase products from trusted websites.  

Main Issues a Wildcard SSL Certificate Can Solve

Businesses are continuously focussing on their website as their primary means to gain more leads. They also use the website to collect customer information, i.e., demographics, login information, and even financial information. As a responsible company, they must ensure that the underlying data is in the servers. There is always a risk of attack from hackers, with studies showing a hacking attack every 39 seconds.

You would need to install an SSL certificate that can mitigate the risk of data breaches.

The businesses running multiple first-level subdomains can install comodo wildcard ssl to prevent any untoward incidents. While the features may vary a bit across the Certificate Authorities (CAs), they can help in protecting your website. We will learn more about their benefits through this article.

What is a Wildcard SSL Certificate?

The installation of an SSL certificate ensures that the interaction between the visitor’s browser and the webserver is encrypted. But different types of certificates cater to various use cases. For example, if your business runs multiple sub-domains at the same level, you must choose Wildcard certificates.

They can secure your primary domain and several subdomains at the same level. It is a single certificate with a wildcard character (*). It helps to secure several subdomain hosts under the same base domain. For example, if you choose to secure the subdomains news.example.com, blog.example.com, careers.example.com, etc., with a single certificate, the Wildcard SSL is the option for you.

Benefits of Wildcard Certificates

Securing several sub-domains

What will you do if you must secure multiple sub-domains with the primary domain? Yes, help is at hand through the Wildcard certificates. It will help to secure all the subdomains under a single roof. You may continue to add several subdomains during the entire lifecycle of the certificate.

Improved certificate management

The use of Wildcard SSL certificates emanates from website administrators finding it challenging to manage multiple certificates for several subdomains. They can help to consolidate the requirement onto a single certificate. Moreover, it makes management easier as it requires your team to interact with only one vendor. Managing renewals and dealing with support activities becomes easier too.

They are affordable

Can you imagine the costs associated if you had to install separate certificates for all your subdomains? The Wildcard SSL helps to consolidate and reduce the costs associated with cybersecurity. There would also have been an increase in human resources requirements to handle the multiple certificates. When you buy one from a renowned CA, you also get additional features like the warranty, money-back guarantee, Trust Seal that only adds to the perks of ensuring your website is secure.

Prevents security warnings

Web browsers have been providing emphasis on ensuring a safe browsing experience for the internet. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have been marking non-HTTPS websites as “Not Secure.” This warning was enough to scare visitors from the website and visit the competition. It led to an increase in bounce rate and lower visitor count, which also affected their conversions.

Other benefits

Some of the certificates ensure fast online validation and come relatively cheap too. It will allow you to have a free Trust Seal too. The certificates also ensure that the SEO value of the website is increased. You can choose the Comodo Positive Wildcard SSL for this purpose. Search engines like Google have provided lightweight weightage to HTTPS websites and ranked higher during a keyword search.

You can also choose a Multi-domain Wildcard certificate that will allow the business to secure up to 250 fully qualified domains through a single certificate. They also come with warranties that ensure they can be trusted.

Security risks that will make you think twice

Businesses must secure their website at all costs. If any hacker has access to the domain, they may create malicious sub-domains that would appear valid. The visitors would not be able to distinguish the sub-domains that are smeared and continue to visit them.

The web server may be compromised.

If businesses do not have proper safeguards, even the Wildcard certificates cannot help.

The certificate can be used across multiple servers that increases the risk. The web servers may be hacked, and the cybercriminals may host malicious elements for their dubious ends.

Security of the private key

Only the authorized person must have access to the private key. But it would be difficult for global teams to access it. It is better to have an audit log of the employees who are accessing the private key. The business must audit the records to trace if there was any unauthorized access.

On-time renewals

The certificates must be renewed on time. The IT team must set up notifications to inform them about upcoming renewals. If the certificate is not renewed on time, there could be errors on the site, and it would be insecure for visitors to visit the site. Notable brands have also faced this that has led to erosion of customer trust. Always keep in mind that updating lapsed certificates could be a severe issue.

Conclusion

There has been an increase in the number of hacking attempts at businesses. Therefore, it is a necessity that companies have robust systems to prevent these attacks. For larger businesses with multiple sub-domains, they must use Wildcard SSL certificates to protect the website. It can help to thwart data breaches and act as a line of defense against cyberattacks.

Industry Best Cyber Security Practices in Enterprise Database Administration

Enterprise database administration allows organizations or companies to manage huge amounts of data in the best possible manner. However, securing enterprise databases from numerous security hassles like hacking, phishing attacks, data theft, and others is not an easy task.

This is because cybersecurity attacks are on the rise due to the coronavirus crisis globally. Therefore, medium or large organizations must apply best enterprise database security practices within their workplaces to safeguard their employees’ communication and other crucial digital assets. 

Continue reading this post to discover how organizations can follow industry best enterprise database security practices in 2021 and beyond. 

Encrypt Sensitive Data

Encryption is one of the best ways by which companies can protect their databases without any hassle. Encryption aside, there is no harm in using other data protection tools that appropriately helps companies secure their sensitive data against several cyber threats.

For instance, they can consider using a cybersecurity tool that comes with a free trial. As a result, they can check its performance in terms of data security as per their preferences without an additional cost. 

Provide Cybersecurity Training to your Employees

When improving database cybersecurity, companies should not overlook the importance of cybersecurity training at any cost. In addition, they should educate all their employees as they are perceived as the first line of defense against cyber threats. 

By doing so, they can securely access the official databases of their companies without jeopardizing their security and perform the required professional tasks trouble-free. 

For that reason, companies should educate their workforce about dangerous email phishing attacks that can harm their privacy by injecting malware into their official systems or devices. 

Thus, they should be instructed not to click any suspicious link or attachment if they receive emails from unknown people in their inboxes. Besides, employees must focus on following different cybersecurity measures themselves such as updating their official devices on a regular basis. 

This way, they can easily remove their weakest security links found in their systems proactively.   

Monitor Database Activity

As far as database monitoring is concerned, companies or organizations should implement database monitoring on their systems or official devices in the first place. Furthermore, the users’ log needs to be maintained at the secure repository accordingly. 

When organizations perform database monitoring tasks regularly, they can reduce the cybersecurity risks to a certain extent. Similarly, they should also concentrate on applying behavior-based monitoring that allows them to identify any unusual or suspicious activity associated with users who have been given administrative access.

Manage or Monitor IoT Security Regularly

Unfortunately, a compromised IoT device or system in a workplace can allow hackers access crucial corporate data or information in a blink of an eye. Therefore, you need to improve its cybersecurity as much as possible using the right and effective cybersecurity approach.

In reality, securing IoT devices from different privacy or security hassles is a prime responsibility of employees and organizations both. Otherwise, they will not be able to protect their enterprises databases in the future because hackers or unwanted people will eventually explore vulnerabilities residing in such devices sooner or later.

In order to improve enterprise database security considerably, companies should not hesitate in hiring a group of ethical hackers. Consequently, they will proactively pinpoint and rectify the possible cybersecurity threats found in organizations’ official databases and networks 

Encourage the Application of Safe Password Practices among Employees

Whether your employees are either remote or office-based, they should start using different password protection tools like LastPass, Dashlane, Digital Vault, etc. 

This way, they can protect their crucial official devices against various cyber risks like hacking, data theft, malware, etc. appropriately. When employees start using password-protected official devices when accessing companies’ databases or official networks, they can securely bypass numerous notorious elements like hackers, identity thieves and other cybercriminals.

Apart from this, employers need to provide awareness to their remote or office-based employees about the prevailing cybersecurity practices throughout the year. 

Moreover, there is no harm in educating your employees on different aspects like latest cybersecurity trends, privacy or security threats, use or application of different cybersecurity tools like, antivirus software, malware detector, data encryption software, firewalls, database monitoring tools, network intrusions detection tools, etc.     

Wrapping Things Up

Companies or organizations need to understand the importance of cybersecurity in the right manner. Otherwise, they will keep facing cybersecurity risks in the future like privacy invasion, data theft, hacking, etc.

That said, they can still safeguard their crucial official data including customers’ information from the prying eyes of hackers and other cyber goons provided they follow the desired cyber hygiene practices accordingly. 

By doing so, they will be in a better position to securely manage their huge enterprise databases using the required cybersecurity approaches or mechanisms. 

That said, companies or organizations should keep in mind that enterprise database protection is a long term activity and should not be assumed as a one-time activity at all. 

14 Currents Tips for Safe Online Shopping Anywhere

Today, millions of people shop online across the world. There are several reasons why people love shopping online. First, online shopping allows customers to bargain. Second, it is easier to select goods or services online. Third, it is safer. This is especially true during the COVID 19 pandemic. Fourth, online shopping is fast. For most people, online shopping is easier. More importantly, it is convenient.

But online shopping comes with some challenges. According to the FBI, online shopping increases opportunities for cybercrimes. This involves two crimes. First, some people don’t pay for delivered goods. Second, some people don’t deliver the purchased goods or services.

The challenges of online shopping can scare you. But the advantages are more. So, you need to stay calm. With the following tips, you can shop online safely.

14 Tips for Safe Online Shopping

1. Use familiar websites

A search for online shops will give you several results. If you trust any site, you are more likely to be conned. You need to find a familiar website. You can even ask friends for referrals. A familiar site is less likely to rip you off. For example, you may start with Amazon.com. You must be familiar with this website. If not, you must know some other online shops. Ensure that you visit the right site. Some people use similar names with top shops. For example, you may find Amazon.net. If you are not careful, such people can trick you. The fake sites can even offer cheaper prices. But you must avoid these offers. Chances are that they will not deliver what you purchase.

2. Ensure there is a lock

Find a secure online shop. Their website should have a lock. The site should have an installed secure socket layer (SSL) encryption. How can you tell if a site has SSL? First, the URL will start with HTTPS. This is a standard requirement for all sites. Unsecure sites will start with HTTP. Second, you will see an image of a locked pad. Normally, this will appear before the URL. A lack of these two elements should be a red flag. Avoid using your credit card on such sites.

3. Do not overshare personal data

To avoid being conned, keep personal data private. Online shopping does not need your birthday or social security number. If they ask for more details, consider it an alarm. Scammers need more personal data to steal from you. Just give little personal info. Even if you know a site, be careful. Scammers are everywhere. If they ask for more data, pose. Ask yourself why they would need that data.

4. Use Blur

Blur is an online privacy solution. It ensures that you shop online without revealing personal data. For example, Abine’s blur acts as a password manager. For less than $40 a year, you shop online with hidden personal data. This means that you don’t reveal contacts, emails, or credit card numbers.

5. Create strong passwords

Shopping online requires you to create an account. This account will need a password. If you use a weak password, scammers will crack it. Then, they can use this opportunity to steal from you. This is the reason you need a stronger password. This doesn’t mean that they won’t crack it. But at least they will have a harder time. Consider using a password manager. It will help in creating a password that they may not crack.

6. Check your statements often

The risk of fraudulent behaviors online is too high. So, stay alert always. Don’t take too long before checking your online transactions. Keep checking your accounts. Ensure that there are no unknown transactions. Scammers have many tricks to get to your money. You must ensure that they don’t get to steal your hard-earned money. Be alert even if you find charges from sites such as Venmo or PayPal.

It is also advisable that you use a credit card to shop online. A compromised debit card can land you in more trouble. Scammers can use it to access your funds in the back. Also, be alert with sellers that use payment systems like wired money. Such sellers are more likely to con you.

In case you find a problem, call relevant authorities immediately. It is good to solve any issue as soon as possible. For most banks, you only have 30 days to address a problem. After this period, you may have to be liable for the transactions.

7. Install an antivirus program

Thieves are smart. They also know you are smart. They know you may not give them more personal data. This is the reason they will try to out-smart you. They will do something that will help get your data. For example, they can launch phishing attacks. They can also use spam to steal your info. This can do this by copying a message that looks legit. Luckily, an antivirus program can help. Install the program to protect against malware. Keep it up to date. Without regular updates, an antivirus may not be helpful. It may not protect you from new threats. Being safe is better than having to deal with scammers.

8. Protect your WI-FI

You can find many free public hotspots. For example, you can find a free WI-FI at Starbucks. Well, you can use this public hotspot to shop online. Some of these free WI-FI can be trusted. The problem is that most of them cannot be trusted. They make it easy for scammers to access your data. To be safe, consider using a virtual private network (VPN).

9. Avoid online shopping in public

It may be tempting to shop online in public when you have your laptop. But did you know this is not safe! Imagine doing all this in a public café;

  • Entering your credit card number
  • Entering the expiration date
  • Entering your 3-digit code

Doing all this in public is unsafe. It gives a scammer enough time to get your info. If you have to shop in public, find a strategic place. This will reduce the risk of exposing personal data. The best option is doing online shopping at home. This is safer.

10. Think mobile devices

Legit online shop offer apps you can use to do online shopping. When you select an online shop, check the online shopping app. Download and install it on your mobile phone. Use this app to visit the store and shop directly. This reduces the chances of being conned.

11. Pay via your phone

Today, paying for online shopping is easier. You don’t have to use a credit card. You can simply use your smartphone. You just need a mobile payment app. More places are accepting phone-based payments. This means you don’t have to carry your credit card. Apps like Apple Pay offer a safe phone payment system. You can also download and use Google Pay. What are you waiting for? Get yourself a phone payment app. Let’s avoid scammers who are always after our credit cards. You can do online shopping without the fear of losing your money.

12. Be careful with gift cards

Gift cards create a good opportunity for scammers to steal from you. This is the reason you must be very careful. You will find scammers auctioning off gift cards on different sites. Some gift card exchanges are good. They let you exchange your gift for a better one.  But don’t trust everyone. Some will exchange your card for others with no value.

13. Find out about the seller

Before you do online shopping, find out more about the seller. Try and read reviews. Read as many reviews as possible. See what customers are saying. If you only find positive reviews, be careful. This should be a red flag. At least, you should find some negative reviews. No one can be too perfect.

Apart from online reviews, get some contact info. Find a real address. Also, get a working telephone number. This can help when things go wrong. For example, you can call the seller if you don’t get your order. You can also make a complaint through the physical address.

If you doubt a site, find more about it. If you have ever been tricked you know how it hurts. Just take time before you pay for any product. Some people out there are always ready to cheat others. Don’t fall into their trap. Be smart.

14. Complain and report scammers

What happens if you are scammed? First, don’t be ashamed. We all make mistakes. Take this as an opportunity to know more about online shopping. Second, talk to the seller. Complain about the failed deal. If you are not satisfied, report to the relevant authorities. You can even report to the FBI. This will work better if you do online shopping on US sites. If you are scammed in foreign sites, it may be harder to follow. Good luck.

4 Tips And Advice For Keeping Your Property Safe And Sound

Our homes should be safe and secure places to live in. Home security is a vital concern for virtually all homeowners and their families. Security concerns always come out on top among the priorities for both home buyers and property owners alike. The questions they would usually ask pertain to the crime rates in the area, proximity of fire and police departments, and community safety and reputation rating, among others. 

No matter how safe a community or neighborhood your property is located in, it is not a guarantee that hostile and criminal individuals will not target it. Here, we will share some tips and advice on how to keep your property and the people inside safe and sound.

Install Security Cameras

Who says security cameras are only for malls, convenience stores, banks, and other commercial buildings? Your home needs to have eyes to look out for intruders, burglars, and trespassers. CCTV cameras placed on your property can deter criminals and people with ill-intent from carrying out their devious plans. Older CCTV systems need a separate room from which you can monitor the feeds from the cameras installed on or around your property. Newer systems are connected to your computer or smartphone. Attics or spare bedrooms are excellent CCTV monitoring stations example of locations that can be utilized if you want to hire security guards to protect your property. If you want convenient monitoring of your property premises and interior, you can download a mobile or desktop app that connects your smartphone or PC to the CCTV system. 

Install Alarm or Security Systems

CCTV cameras can be a part of a broader network of security systems you can install in your home. Alarm or security systems can be composed of smart locks, motion sensors, door or window sensors, and surveillance cameras. Home security systems are added layers of defense against aggressive burglars or intruders who manage to get past your fences or other deterrents. Another reason why you should have an alarm or security system is to alert the law enforcement agencies of the incident while the perpetrators are still within your property’s vicinity. New smart security system models would send an alert to the local police immediately and can be set to activate loud alarm sounds or a discreet police notification depending on your preference or situation. 

Secure Your Perimeter

You don’t have to spend much to boost your property’s perimeter security. There are simple yet effective ways of ensuring your property’s safety and the safety of your home’s occupants. Bushes and hedges around your property may serve to give you privacy, but make it a point that they are not tall enough to conceal the approach of burglars. 

Fix damaged fences and cut down overgrown tree branches. These can be exploited by burglars to gain access to your home. Lock your sheds, garages, and other outbuildings at all times when not in use. Burglars may target tools or other valuable items in these structures or may use the tools to enter your home.

Get a Dog

Dogs are more than just pets and companions at home. They are highly territorial animals, so make use of them in protecting your home. Dogs consider your home as their territory, so they will know familiar and unfamiliar scents that cross it. Dogs are effective deterrents for burglars, as they would avoid the trouble of being chased down or bitten. 

There are plenty of ways you can keep your property safe and safeguard the lives of those living with you. It takes vigilance and determination to take measures that can enhance your home or property security. Don’t hesitate to invest in security enhancements, as they can help save you from losses in the long run. Prevention is still better than cure, so don’t wait until your life, family, or property is in danger.  Act now to secure your home.

Why your Business Should Outsource its IT Services

Starting a business is an important idea. In fact, most people are dreaming of starting their own business. Unfortunately, running it is an entirely new thing. With a lot of processes and management issues, most businesses don’t live to see their 8th birthday. Most of them end up crumbling due to poor management. And that’s exactly where IT outsourcing comes in handy.

With an elaborate IT management system, your business will hardly fail. IT is a relatively complex field that requires expertise. Hiring in-house IT experts can be very costly. Fortunately, you have a cost-effective option in outsourcing. Here are the greatest benefits of outsourcing your IT needs.

Increased Efficiency

IT is a vast field. It requires extensive experience and expertise. And because of these complexities, companies usually opt to hire professionals.  But in most cases, these experts will be overburdened with tasks. Plus, they will be tasked with carrying out general duties. This is not only inefficient but also expensive. Outsourcing removes this burden from your side. There are several IT companies out there. These companies have the required expertise, experience, and resources to take your company’s IT needs to the next level. That’s why you shouldn’t do it alone. Outsourcing these services to a reputable company can greatly improve your company’s efficiency.

Enhanced Security

Your company’s security is of paramount importance. Protecting your company’s information should be your first priority. This is the only way through which you can safeguard the future of your business.

Laptops, desktops, servers, operating systems, applications, and browsers all transmit important data. Thus, they require strict security measures. You really don’t want to lose your data or appear in the headline for a high-profile data breach. So, be sure to exercise caution. Always be vigilant.

Outsourcing IT services to an experienced professional can go a long way in keeping your business safe. It will prevent the occurrence of expensive data breaches, as well as, cyber threats. Working with a dedicated IT expert can be highly beneficial in today’s ever-changing technological environment.

Improved Maintenance

With the help of an expert IT partner, you can always rest assured that your IT infrastructure is well-maintained at all times. As the company’s CEO, you probably don’t have the time to go around checking if all the backup systems are functional. And that’s exactly where IT outsourcing comes in handy.

The IT expert will utilize advanced technologies and implement reliable backup-and-disaster recovery solutions.  Plus, he or she will proactively monitor the overall functionality of your IT infrastructure in order to prevent the occurrence of hazardous business issues.

Cost Savings

As a business owner, your ultimate goal is to get the highest value for your money, right? Well, outsourcing IT services will help you achieve exactly that.

Due to the rising costs of their IT departments, most organizations ask their employees to perform technical duties that are outside of their specialty. And this in turn slows down productivity and prevents business growth.

Outsourcing IT services can help you predict your company’s IT costs on a monthly basis. It will give you the peace of mind you need to focus on other important tasks. Besides, it’ll free up more staff to focus on higher-value projects they’re experts at.

Heightened Productivity

IT outsourcing services can play a significant role in maximizing employee productivity. Partnering with an experienced team of outsourced business professionals can help you increase operational efficiencies and reduce employee turnover. If you want high productivity, think 360ict in London

Increased Business Value

Managing an organization’s IT services requires exceptional skills and tools. By outsourcing IT services, you’ll gain access to a wide array of network management tools. Plus, you’ll get the chance to work with a team of highly qualified IT experts.

A strategic IT partner will keep questioning the senior management to ensure that your company is addressing the most important issues while planning the right investments. And this will streamline your business operations while ensuring that your company is headed in the right direction.

Innovative Technology

IT outsourcing services will ensure that your business is on top of the game. It will give you access to a technology stack that delivers true business value. You’ll get to enjoy the benefits of the stack that has been meticulously chosen to cover the required aspects of Information Management, Cloud Infrastructure, as well as, Secure networks.

IT professionals usually conduct extensive research and testing when developing their technology stacks. And this directly benefits your business as they’ll guide you through the best IT products and services. And this will in turn help you get the best value for your money.

Reliable Communication

In today’s tech-driven world, ICT is the core of every business. As technology advances, more innovative communication solutions are introduced. Most organizations are now relying on technology to carry out their business operations.

Outsourcing IT services can significantly increase your company’s production levels, boost customer satisfaction, and enhance business efficiency. Moreover, communications will happen extremely fast. Communication between staff members and the management will be made easier than ever. ICT is quickly accelerating the rate of expansion in both startup and established businesses. So, don’t be left out. Embrace technology and take your business experience to the next level.

Customer Satisfaction

Mobile phones, laptops, as well as PCs are an integral part of your company’s internal and external communications. And they all fall under the umbrella of ICT. With a proactive customer service department, customers can get prompt answers through emails, as well as, live chat. When this happens, fewer items will be returned for refund and your company’s operations will flow smoothly.

The Bottom-Line

Don’t go about it alone. Remember, IT is a complex field. Plus, hiring experts can be extremely challenging. Luckily, you can outsource your services and focus on the core values of your business. Above are some of the benefits you’ll enjoy by outsourcing your IT services.

This has been sighted as one of the reasons why most businesses fail. Management trickles down to information technology. According to experts, companies that leverage IT hardly fails.

Why Backing Up Windows Systems is Essential?

For many, their PC is the beginning and endpoint for important data storage. This creates a treasure trove of information that needs to be protected. Backing up data is an important way that the treasure trove of information can be protected in the event of a cyberattack or disaster. Newer versions of Windows include a backup utility which begs the question, do you need third-party software to facilitate backups?

Windows Backup

Depending on which version of Windows is installed on a particular machine, will determine what backup tools are available to the user. In Windows Vista and 7, the tool is called Backup and Restore. With Windows 8 Backup and Restore was replaced with what became known as File History. Due to a convoluted series of updates, those that upgraded to Windows 8.1 had both features. For a time, Windows 10 had both Backup and Restore and File History. Both are still available, however, in terms of help guides and official documentation Backup and Restore is the favored utility. This is still the case at the time of writing but using Backup and Restore is the preferable option, at least in this writers’ opinion.

Limitations

The utilities offered by Windows, while certainly better than nothing and can still save the day in the event of a data disaster, are limited in terms of functionality when compared to windows backup software options. Some of the limitations include a lack of customizing backups. When dealing with a lot of data this may prove difficult when needing to keep everything organized.

Lack of customization is not the only limitation. Backup and Restore does not allow for single files to be backed up, entire drives need to be selected. Then an image of that drive will be created. Both utilities also lack a native cloud backup option and require a separate service, like OneDrive, to carry out a backup to a cloud. Users are also limited in the types of storage that will be used during the backup process, typically cannot backup hard drives that are FAT formatted.

The Third-Party Software Option

Often the discussion surrounding third-party backup solutions tends to focus on enterprise-level protection and how to ensure the best possible data protection policy. For at-home users, these discussions fail to bring across the need to protect personal data. The modern reality is that home users need to treat their data similarly to the way enterprises should. Backing up data is a fundamental pillar of data protection and the Windows utilities mentioned above will help but as has been seen are limited.

Third-party software offerings help negate those limitations by allowing better scheduling and automation of file types. Further, software packages offer far more customization options while still offering an easy-to-use interface. Lastly, software packages will allow for the backing up of several file formats and media file types Windows utilities do not offer.

While Windows’ backup utilities are better than nothing, users will need to supplement these tools with third-party software packages to truly protect their data from a cyberattack or disaster such as hardware failure. The software option is the most logical choice for users as the next step in securing and protecting their important information and memories.

Guide to Big Data and Privacy – How to Ensure You Are Protected

Have you ever just thought of buying a new couch, for example, and suddenly started seeing furniture ads on Facebook, Instagram, everywhere you went online? 

Or perhaps you started a conversation with your friend about your new fitness regime and then suddenly got bombarded with health and fitness sponsored posts on every social media platform? 

While it’s easy to assume that that’s simply your devices listening in on you, that’s not (always) the case. Most commonly, advertisers use the data they have about you to present you with the most relevant products/services you’re most likely to get. 

Your personal data that’s readily available online and that can easily be gathered and analyzed through any data scraping API can be used to determine who you are and to predict your online behavior. 

But that’s not all. Let’s take a closer look at the world of Big Data and see what you can do to take your online privacy up a notch. 

Big Data and Privacy Concerns 

You’ve likely come across the term “Big Data” by now, but do you know what it means? Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about Big Data, and not everyone is aware of just how impactful it can be. 

First and foremost, it’s critical to understand that virtually everyone collects your data, which is just a tiny fragment of Big Data, and that’s not always a bad thing. 

The Impact of Big Data 

You wouldn’t have such a great, personalized experience on e-commerce sites like Shopify or Amazon without Big Data. 

If your favorite local business didn’t build an online community and collect your data, you wouldn’t receive such relevant discounts and offers as you likely do.  

Every single type of business needs data to perform even the simplest of daily tasks. Sales data, consumer data, and more are critical for optimizing processes and pricing, developing better marketing strategies, and delivering a more immersive experience to the customer – to you. 

And you often willingly allow businesses to collect, analyze, and process your data without a second thought. 

Willingness to Share Data 

Over 90% of consumers would share behavioral data to receive benefits like cheaper or simply easier shopping experience. You willingly share your data with “free” social media platforms; you accept tracking cookies and terms of use without even scanning them to learn what they’re about. 

Even if you don’t care about your online anonymity and think that you’ve got nothing to hide, it’s still crucial that you understand that your data is potentially putting you at risk. 

Data breaches, for example, have become larger in number and impact, and a single breach could expose your financial records, medical records, personal online accounts, physical location, and more. 

And it doesn’t even have to be a breach in a company that you interact with directly. 

More and more businesses rely on data scraping API to understand their target market or build their email list. 

They collect your information that’s freely available on the internet. If they have a breach, it’s your information that will be leaked, even if you’ve never heard of the company before, let alone done business with it. 

Steps to Ensure Your Privacy 

While everyone’s always trying to collect your private data, whether it’s a valid or invalid reason, it doesn’t mean that you have no way of protecting yourself. 

Ensuring your privacy is neither a complicated nor an expensive process. A few preemptive steps can help you keep your private data private. 

Forget About Incognito/Private Mode

Many people are under the wrong impression that their browsers’ incognito or private mode keeps them anonymous online and secures their data. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

Incognito mode provides only a false sense of security, and you should avoid it if you want to protect your data. 

Even in incognito mode, sites can still collect your data, monitor your online behavior, see your IP address, and identify you. Even your ISP still knows what you’re doing online. 

Incognito mode is only useful if you don’t want others who have access to your device to see your browsing history. After every session, incognito mode deletes your cookies and history and logs you out of your accounts. That’s it. 

So, only use it if you don’t want your household members to know what you do online. Don’t use it if you want to be anonymous online; it doesn’t work. 

Install Secure Browsers 

Believe it or not, your browser might be your biggest privacy concern. Google and Google Chrome are notorious for collecting every possible piece of information about you. 

And while that can be useful and bring unprecedented browsing convenience, it’s a nightmare if you’re concerned about your privacy. 

Firefox has much better privacy settings than Chrome, but if you want to stay anonymous, it might be in your best interest to use secure browsers like Tor. 

Always Use a VPN

If you want to take your privacy and security up a notch, you’ll need to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). It allows you to browse the internet cloaked in anonymity, even hiding your activity from your Internet Service provider. 

A VPN works by creating a secure, private, almost impenetrable “tunnel” between your device and the network, so you can safely use even public Wi-Fi without privacy concerns. 

It scrambles your IP and provides you with a fake new one, allowing you to browse the internet without a worry. More importantly, it encrypts all your data, so even if your connection’s intercepted, your data will remain unreadable. 

However, not all VPNs are made the same, and some can be more harmful than beneficial. Take a look at Cooltechzone VPN reviews to find an effective VPN that meets your needs and ensures your privacy. 

Update Your Software 

A simple yet easily neglected step in ensuring your privacy is updating your software. It’s more important than you may think. 

Software updates are rarely about introducing new features or bringing more functionality. In most cases, they contain important bug fixes and security patches that can help keep you safe. 

If you’re using an outdated piece of software with known security flaws, you’re exposing yourself to immense risk and data breaches. 

So, stop ignoring software updates on both your PC and your phone. 

Additionally, you might want to revise program and app permissions across your devices. Some programs on your PC and apps on your smartphone collect more information than they need to operate normally, so you should try and tighten up your permissions. 

Final Thoughts 

Unfortunately, achieving complete anonymity online is virtually impossible, but there are many steps you can take to regain some privacy and keep your data safe. 

VPNs, software updates, and secure browsers are just some of the things you should rely on if you want to keep your private data private.

3 Reasons Not to Use Facial and Fingerprint Recognition Lock on Your Phone

Our phones keep a lot of our personal information. It includes our contacts, accounts, photos, locations, financial information, to name but a few. Therefore, you cannot be too careful when it comes to data protection.

Smartphone security awareness becomes crucial today as most organizations and educational institutions have switched to technological solutions. This exposes people to cyberattacks and different kinds of online fraud. DoMyEssay has been providing online writing help for years, observing the highest security standards. Their experts have shared a few tips on smartphone security that can benefit not only students and their parents but anyone who uses mobile devices. Here are the top 5 recommendations: 

  1. Create unique passwords for all your mobile devices.
  2. Use security settings to protect your identity and location data. 
  3. Use only trusted services and stores.
  4. Update the OS on your device regularly. 
  5. Use a secure method to lock your phone. 

The last point requires particular attention. There are several ways to lock your phone, but biometric identification is probably the most popular. Many people believe that facial and fingerprint recognition gives us security that is impossible to crack. Unfortunately, it is far from being true. Yes, biometric identification is a fast and convenient way to lock your phone, but it is not completely secure. Here is why. 

1. A Lot Depends On Your Device

Some phones appear to be more secure than others. An experiment conducted by Consumentenbond, a non-profit organization from the Netherlands, tested facial recognition on 110 mobile devices. 38% of the smartphones failed the test. Holding a photo of the owner in front of the device was enough for the 42 of the examined phones to unlock. It means that to hack one’s phone, attackers need nothing more but to get a photo from the owner’s social media. They do not even need 3D printed masks or sophisticated software solutions. 

This test made a lot of people worried about the security of their phones. The study results showed that Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, and a few other devices had stronger facial recognition features. Yet, a lot of phones from Sony, BlackBerry, Nokia, Xiaomi, and older models of Huawei, Lenovo, and LG failed the test. Thus, be careful if you use older phone models, and do not forget to install security updates. 

As you can see, there is no silver bullet when it comes to security. If you want to protect your personal data, find out more about the vulnerabilities of a particular phone model. Unfortunately, a lot of people ignore this step. To make matters worse, this issue is not properly addressed at school. Students grow up knowing how to write an essay and improve it with the EssayEditor service. Yet, educators do not teach them about mobile security issues even though they raise major concerns globally. 

2. Biometrics Can Be Hacked as Well

It seems that our fingerprints and facial features cannot be artificially recreated. Yet, hackers can lift fingertips and trick cameras. This makes facial and fingerprint recognition vulnerable to attacks. 

A few days after the release of the iPhone X, Vietnamese researchers at Bkav managed to trick Face ID with a 3D-printed mask placed at a very specific angle. Obviously, the procedure of cracking Apple’s technology required much effort, special equipment, and knowledge in the field. Yet, this incident has shown that facial recognition cannot be called completely secure. 

Is fingerprint lock more secure? No. We leave our fingerprints everywhere. So there are a lot of places where attackers can find your biometric data and use it to unlock your phone. It is possible to recreate fingerprints using latex and even school supplies like playdough and Elmer’s glue. Besides, hackers can even steal fingerprints virtually, cracking the scanner itself. 

3. Biometric Identification Is Still a Work in Progress

Biometric recognition, in particular facial identification, is still a new technology. Although developers continue to improve it, today, it is neither completely secure nor accurate. Facial recognition might not work if a person wears sunglasses or a mask. Additionally, camera angle and lighting matter as well. Fingerprint identification does not function properly with glows or when the user’s fingers are wet or dirty. It is also not an option for people with damaged skin. 

Furthermore, scanning one’s face or fingertips makes an individual’s sensitive data exposed. This can pose a significant risk to privacy. Our two previous points show that any scanners can be hacked. Users cannot be completely sure that their data is safe. What is even worse, people cannot change their fingerprints or facial features in case of a security breach like they can change a password. 

In Sum

Do the advantages of biometric locks outweigh their disadvantages? It is up to you to decide. The one thing is clear: the technology is still far from being perfect. It is important to know the vulnerabilities of our mobile devices to become more aware and take some extra measures to protect our personal data. Thus, the only fact that you are reading about the risks of biometric identification is a step towards the stronger security of your phone.