Hollywood Technology Security

How Hollywood Manages Technology Security

As we’ve seen in the past year, not even Hollywood is immune to online security breaches. We saw it on a personal level, with stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kris Jenner having their clouds hacked into and nude photos being revealed. This was shocking, yet not totally surprising. However, when it happened on a corporate level and Sony Pictures had their system breached, it was alarming. After strong criticisms about not protecting their staff and clients’ privacy, Sony and all of Hollywood realized it better get its act together and implement new measures to secure their confidential data. Here we discuss the issues and some ways that Hollywood technology security is changing and improving.

What Went Wrong With Sony’s Online Security?

At one time, not so long ago, it was simple for Hollywood executives to keep their secrets secure. All one had to do was confiscate a crew member’s computer or cellphone that was issued by the company. Now, employees in Tinsel Town have their own personal smartphones and devices that receive company emails and contain apps with data stored on cloud computers. If your crew isn’t willing to follow the rules, it is difficult for the executives to manage what information is shared. This is why experts believe North Korean hackers were able to expose personal emails and details about Sony last year. Hollywood studios quickly realized they needed to improve how they guard their most sensitive files.

How Hollywood Manages Technology Security Today

Most of Hollywood has turned to the help of managed services for technology security. These companies are able to wrap files individually with passwords, encryption and monitoring systems that keep track of who is accessing and doing what with sensitive files. The service that Sony is using gives the creators of the files the ability to manage who can edit, share, view, scan and print a file and for how long they are able to do these tasks. If hackers swipe the file from someone’s computer, the only thing they can view is a group of encrypted characters. Many Hollywood studios have removed their movie editing software completely off the Internet so hackers have no chance of getting to it.

Updating Old Systems in Hollywood 

Hollywood studios have always had some paranoia about their scripts being stolen. The old way of protecting the scripts was to etch them with watermarks, and print them on colored or mirrored paper so they could not be photocopied. (In some cases, these practices are still used.) At times, plot endings are completely left out and the most precious scripts are locked in briefcases. Unfortunately now watermarks can be lifted and color copiers can duplicate any color script.

In the vain of old-time tricks, the new security companies are developing invisible watermarking to be added to files. There is even a feature that mimics how it looks to hold a bright flashlight over a script in the dark. This feature makes it hard for anyone looking over your shoulder to read the documents, and it will thwart hackers who try to get screen shots of the document or the web browser. While it will take some getting used to, Hollywood is working to embrace these new technology security tactics to protect their most sensitive materials.

Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

The Importance of a Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan for Businesses

Have you established a data backup and disaster recovery plan for your business yet? If not, remember this, the Miami area has officially entered hurricane season. When hurricane season hits, businesses frequently experience power outages, flooding, electrical fires and other destruction that leads to loss of data and the prevention of the company from operating at all. Hurricane season is technically June 1 through November 30, but occasionally severe storms will occur outside of these dates. While we prepare our homes and families, we must prepare our company’s crucial data. Putting a Business Disaster Recovery (BDR) plan in place can protect your business from an eminent shutdown.

 

What is a Business Disaster Recovery Plan?

A BDR is a solution to backup a company’s data so it can be recovered in case of a serious malfunction like a server going down, or a disaster such as a fire or flood. There are different methods of backup. Some companies use a hosted cloud server, while others backup to an external hard drive, USB drive, Network Attached Storage device mirror to another server and more.

 

Consequences of Not Having a BDR Plan

Without a BDR plan, your company is extremely vulnerable when a disaster strikes. Possible and likely consequences are:

  • Loss of confidential data
  • Cost of downtime, by losing days of work while trying to restore data
  • No way no recover data
  • Loss of clients
  • Loss of reputation

Many companies without a BDR plan never fully recover and the others completely go out of business.

Businesses in Miami and the surrounding Florida areas always have the threat of hurricanes on their minds, and we have seen the devastating destruction they leave behind. Even a tropical storm will significantly leave its mark on land. If you’re not too concerned about weather, there are other possibilities you should remember. Network problems and computer equipment failures can happen to any company. Let’s not forget data breaches by hackers looking to find financial and personal information belonging to clients and employees.

 

How a BDR Plan Protects Your Company’s Data

With a BDR plan, your business is protected against loss of data, equipment failure or theft. An IT Service like Nerds Support will work with your business to customize a solution that involves planning, prevention and protection in the event of a disaster. Our team works to routinely update the BDR plan if your company expands by adding another branch, new equipment is added or more employees are hired. We will ensure that you can access and fully recover all of your stored data. This will eliminate downtime that hinders your company’s ability to continue working and earn money. The BDR plan will work in conjunction with a Business Continuity plan and the virtualization of your network, so that your business will be up and running again in minutes, as if nothing ever happened.

 

Contact us if you have questions about establishing a Business Disaster Recovery plan for your company, large or small. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to answer all of your inquiries in a timely fashion!

Wearable Tech

How Business Professionals Can Use the Apple SmartWatch

If you haven’t heard about the Apple SmartWatch you must have been living under a rock for the past few months. Apple’s newest gadget had lines around the block, web sites crashing and very long waiting lists. Now that it is becoming more accessible, you might be wondering, what is this gizmo anyway? Sure, we see that you can text, track fitness, e-mail, play music and more, but what if you’re in the professional business world? Let us tell you a little about the Apple Watch and how it is useful for business professionals.

 

About the Apple Watch

Although it is a smartwatch, it is colloquially known as just, the “Apple Watch”. The device obviously tells time and Apple advertises that it can keep time inside 50 milliseconds of definitive global time standard. The Apple Watch does so much more. It is a wearable computing smartphone-type gizmo that is worm on your wrist, but operates like a smartphone. The watch comes with many choices of band colors and cases and can be upgraded to the “Sport” model or 18-karat gold “Edition” model. The watch connects to other iOS devices such as the iPad or iPhone so you can make calls, access visual voicemail, monitor health and heart rate, get map coordinates, check weather and much, much more. The Apple Watch can be equipped with many apps just like your smartphone can.

 

How the Apple Watch is Useful to Business Professionals

There are many ways business pros can benefit by using the Apple Watch. It helps users stay mobile by being able to check e-mails, voice mails, texts and make calls as well as check stock updates. The watch is able to handle apps that will be helpful during and after the workday and here are a just a few:

 

Evernote App

This app has been popular on desktops and mobile devices for awhile now. It allows businesspeople to keep organized, which is key to efficiency. With Evernote you can keep notes, set reminders, share documents and more. You can sync the app across devices and collaborate with colleagues via chat and track your receipts for expenses.

 

Tempo Smart Calendar

This free app lets you get the information you need before meeting with a client or when you’re going into a meeting. Find e-mails and other documents with a few taps and get driving directions if you’re running late or a flight status. The Apple Watch lets you send messages with a quick tap of preset responses, as well as see your day’s agenda. You can see your upcoming events or when you have free time.

 

Invoice2Go

Invoice2Go is a cloud-based service that lets professionals make price estimates, invoices and purchase orders at the same time that it is giving a summary of money owed and paid out. You can track time in the app so you are able to provide the most accurate pricing when it is necessary. Save hours making invoices and get paid faster!

Windows Server 2003 (b)

What You Should Do When Microsoft Server 2003 Ends

July 2015 is quickly approaching and so is the end of the road for Windows Server 2003.The date, July 14 to be exact, is when the Microsoft server will stop extended support. This is serious because it means no more security updates or patches, putting your business and applications at risk for hackers and breaches. Let us break down a few of the side-effects of the end of Windows 2003:

  • End to Compliance: When there is a lack of compliance with a variety of regulations and standards it can be calamitous. This possibly includes several industry and regulatory standards for which compliance will no longer be successful.
  • End to Updates: There will no longer be any more updates for the 37 critical updates that were released for Windows server 2003/R2 in 2013 under extended support. After the end of support, no more updates will be developed.
  • End to Applications Support: Once the operating system they run on is unsupported, many applications will no longer be supported. This will include all Microsoft applications.

 

Plan for Migrating to Windows 2012

This is a move that should be made sooner than later since it takes on the average 200 days to completely make the changeover. If you do not upgrade your systems you will be vulnerable to data breaches and suffer software compatibility issues on top of the problems we have already mentioned. If you’re worried about the move because of costs, have a plan in place anyway for once it is worked into your budget.

Set a Timeline and Budget

Since it takes 200 days, be sure to set aside time for project scoping. There is much more to migration than copying files. With steps such as implementation, assessment, migration an debugging, you want to find any possible issues early on and not get set back during the migration. When working the move into the budget, consider costs for necessary human resource requirements and possible project risks. Make sure your timeline is realistic because rushing will only create unnecessary issues and cost more money.

Monitor and Restrict Access to 2003 Servers

Once your company is making the move, take into consideration some security measures. Lock down services and place limits to access of the physical server. Be certain that logging on is enabled to monitor for strange activity or access that is unauthorized. Limit user access and permissions as much as possible.

Backup Aggressively

Backup actively and aggressively because of potential compromises, and also because 2003 is not going to be repaired in any way. Therefore an un-patched bug could lead to the loss of data or corruption. Backup regularly and thoroughly.

Whitelist Applications

Whitelist apps for the company. This means you tell the employees what apps can be run. With only trusted software running on the server, malware and zero-day exploits will be locked out.

Cloud Backup

For added security, consider backing up data on the cloud. This does not involve any hardware you have to spend money on. Once you sign up with a provider you can begin uploading in minutes. Shop around for affordable cloud service providers.

 

If you have any questions about migrating from Microsoft server 2003, please contact us. Our knowledgeable staff can handle all your IT needs.

movie releases

Big Movie Releases for June

If you’re looking to go to the movies in June, you couldn’t have picked a better month! There are several hot new releases coming out that will amaze and entertain you.

 

Entourage – June 5

This sequel to the seven-season hit series shows us the return of movie star Vincent Chase as well as that of his boys Eric, Turtle and Johnny. They are back in business with Ari Gold, their agent turned studio head and are getting ready to shoot the movie of a lifetime amid a colorful cast of characters playing…themselves.

 

Spy – June 5

In this comedy, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy, The Heat, Bridesmaids) is an unassuming analyst at the CIA who volunteers for a dangerous mission with global consequences after all “real” agents have failed to complete it.

 

Jurassic World – June 12

Set ten years after the first Jurassic Park film, Isla Nublar is a popular and successful dinosaur theme park. Visitor rates are declining, however, and executives Vincent D’Onofrio (Run All Night, Mail) and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Rec) decide to try something new, which backfires horribly…

 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – June 12

In this independent teen drama, a young aspiring high school filmmaker and his best friend befriend a classmate with leukemia. The story chronicles this tale of hope and sadness in an upbeat tempo that will pluck the audience’s heartstrings.

 

Inside Out – June 19

This Pixar film tells the story of the emotional journey of a young girl as she moves in to a new house, from the perspective of her emotions! See how Riley copes with her new surroundings in San Francisco as she navigates her home and school life.

 

Dope – June 19

Narrated by the soothing sounds of Forest Whitaker’s voice, this story tells the tale of Malcolm, a geek living in the rougher part of Inglewood, a rough part of Los Angeles. Through a series of unfortunate events he and two friends are thrust into a strange adventure that, while dangerous, could prove to Malcolm the kind of man he may eventually become.

 

Manglehorn – June 19

In this drama, Al Pacino (Heat, the Godfather) is Manglehorn, a small-town locksmith who is trying to start his life over. Left heartbroken by a woman decades ago, he makes a new friend and is able to see life differently and in a positive light once again.

 

Ted 2 – June 26

Mark Wahlberg (The Departed, Pain & Gain) and his foul-mouthed teddy bear are back in this sequel to the 2012 comedy. In this installment, Ted is happily married but will have to prove his fitness to be a father to a judge. Hilarity ensues.

Colocation Services

The Benefits of Colocation Services

What is colocation?

Colocation involves a facility that houses data and customers can use these buildings to store their servers and computing hardware. Normally the colocation service provides companies with the actual building, the systems that will cool and prevent the servers from overheating, electricity/power, bandwidth or Internet access as well as physical security. In return the customers or businesses provide the servers and the software.

Benefits of colocation:

  1. Cost effective. By using a colocation to house servers, a decrease in costs associated with IT management results. You no longer are responsible for the cooling and security needs of your servers, so as time goes on and maintaining power, a stable environment, and building expenses grow, your monetary output does not.
  2. Power capacity increased. Housing your servers privately would leave you susceptible to the increase and fluctuation of electrical costs which result in power capacity issues, especially when attempting to upgrade to newer IT applications. Colocation provides customers with a higher power bank, or a higher availability when it comes to power-per-square foot. This would allow clients to take part in high density computing without having to worry about being limited due to capacity problems.
  3. Network reliability. Having a stable connection is prudent to the development and success of any business, when storing your servers in a colocation network reliability is guaranteed. Most companies that provide this service have multiple different networking options that customers can choose from, which allow for flexibility and opportunities that would be more costly to establish in the private sector.
  4. Durable and affordable bandwidth. The more complicated the applications are that your company runs, the more bandwidth that you will need in order to conduct business. Using a colocation allows you to maintain freedom in respect to your service providers, further allowing you to receive your bandwidth at a volume price and helping you to avoid dealing with multiple contracts.
  5. Security and protection against data breaches. It is becoming more difficult to ensure that your data and information is safe. As time goes on data breaches increase, and the repercussions of allowing this to occur becomes more severe and more expensive. However, colocations are protected against forced entry, access that is unauthorized, and natural disasters. These places work to safeguard your information in a more efficient manner than would be guaranteed in the private sector of data storage.
  6. Disaster recovery. In addition to making sure your information stays safe from day to day, using an offsite location to house your servers will allow you to hold on to important data in the unfortunate event that your business is victim of a natural disaster. Sites of colocation will ensure that all of your servers and data remain viable, operational and fully functional.

Colocation is an innovation to the field of data storage. It provides customers with an economically feasible option that allows for flexibility, customizability, and expansion without having to worry about security, power capacity, or network reliability. In comparison to private data centers, it is easily apparent that colocation has the potential to benefit your business on a larger scale and broaden the way your company is able to compute.

Colocation services from Nerds Support can help your business realize the benefits associated with colocation, and let you focus on what matters to you – running your business.

social media 2

How Social Media Can Help Your Business Boost Profit

If you are not in all corners of the net, users won’t find you. When prospective clients are in need of services, the first place they go is to a search engine. If your digital footprint doesn’t exist, you will not be on their radar. Think about your own digital habits. When you search, you look for online reviews, maps, pictures, a website, and social media sites. Prospective clients want to feel connected to your business. Social media can dramatically improve your business’s image and boost your profit, and it’s free. How can social media kick start your company’s cash flow?

 

Benefits by the Numbers
Forbes Magazine reports that 92% of marketing professionals said that social media was essential for their business, and 80% said social media increased traffic to their websites. A LinkedIn survey reported almost half of small business use social media to gain knowledge from peers, industry professionals, and company partners. Social media is important for communication, but it also teaches businesses owners about making better marketing decisions.

 

How Social Media Boosts Profits
Some benefits of social media use may be obvious, but others might surprise you.
Businesses can attract new customers in waves. Attracting new customers is one of the most challenging feats for businesses, but social media makes is a little easier without costing a fortune. Many businesses rely solely on social media to drive business to their sites and front doors. Currently, four in five small and midsize businesses are on social media sites, which results in trillions of dollars in revenue.

Businesses can gain critical industry insight through the social media lens. Management and marketing teams can identify what it is potential consumers are talking about, the types of content being shared, the needs expressed online, and the frustrations or attractions of certain products and/or businesses. Oversharing can be a dangerous things for users, but when they are using their consumer hats online, companies can gain a tremendous amount of information.

Connecting with current clients and customers is just as important as connecting to new ones. Clients and customers who feel connected to your business will share the information you share with them. Current clients hold a great deal of your company’s image in the palm of their hands, good or bad. You will either gain references and referrals, or you will get bad press from users. How you interact with your consumers and handle situations will directly affect your profit.

Connecting with other industry professionals and service organizations can boost your company’s image online. If you are providing your expertise advice, praising others for their support, and inviting others to rate your company, you are increasing your company’s online presence.

Social media allows you to advertise offers and hold special giveaways. Everyone wants to be a winner, and the best way to gain followers is to hold contests and share interesting information. Make sure you reward current consumers and often as you reward new and prospective business. When you advertise offers and host giveaways, your page gets shared, your name begins to trend, and people your company would not have accessed before will be on your site, checking out what it is you have to offer.

Unified Communications

How Unified Communications Can Save You Time and Improve the Growth of Your Company

Unified Communications is an efficient and affordable way to combine all of your company’s communication needs on one easy-to-use system. An effective communication strategy benefits you, your employees, your vendors, and your clients—which means savings and profit for the company. Remain connected and stay informed with Unified Communications, and you will see your company flourish in many different ways with cloud communication and tools.

 

What is Unified Communications?

Unified Communications is an all-encompassing term used to describe all forms of digital and voice communications. Unified Communications permits users to have real-time contact with one another, across different platforms and from any location.

 

  1. BYOD communication

Your company and its employees come with a hoard of devices. From laptop computers to cell phones and tablets, instant communication is desired by all. The stigma around mobile device use in professional settings is rapidly transforming, and a holistic approach to personal and businesses devices only benefits the company. When employees bring their own devices, it eliminates training and infrastructure overhauls for the company. Businesses can dramatically cut costs and capitalize on the expertise each employee has gained with his/her own personal device and operating system.

 

  1. Improved connection and collaboration among employees

Unified Communications permits employees and partners to interact more frequently without having to bring everyone together in the same room. Whether accessing the cloud system remotely or from an office down the hall, increased communication and collaboration tools makes it easier to get to work at any time of day, from any location, and with any deadline in mind. When your company’s employees remain connected, work increases and profits naturally follow.

 

  1. Industry reach improves

A Unified Communications strategy allows a company to tap into more of its market because communication is not confined to the walls of the locations. Employees can take the company out into the world without compromising accessibility. Mobility is important for many modern businesses, and a company that doesn’t have an effective digital communication strategy will find itself struggling to keep up with modern technology and consumer buying habits. Unified Communications enhances collaboration tools, social media platforms, and instant messaging communications. Phone calls from the office are sent directly to your mobile device, regardless of the location.

 

  1. Instant access to your company

Accessibility across various platforms improves the company’s image locally, domestically, internationally, and perhaps one of the most important—digitally. Modern companies are no longer Monday-thru-Friday, wait until the doors open after the weekend before someone gets back to you operations. Consumers and clients want in-demand access to the services and needs they desire at any particular time. If your company closes up shop when the sun goes does, consumers and clients will turn elsewhere. Unified Communications eliminates inaccessibility, putting companies in touch with each client and prospective consumers.

Twitter Blog

5 Ways to Connect With Customers Using Twitter

Twitter can be a very useful way to help you connect with customers both near and far from your business. Twitter can actually help you to pinpoint people in certain locations, like in your own neighborhood. It provides you with the tools to locate people who tweet or live local to you, including people you know and people you don’t know. This is a great way for you to filter through your neighborhood and the surrounding areas.

 

Find People Using Tweets near Your Location

With Twitter, you have the ability to search through current tweets in order to find what you’re looking for. You can find the name of your city, the name of your neighborhood, or even names of specific businesses or landmarks. You can narrow your search down to include only the areas that you are interested in. This is done right through the Twitter search box.

 

Find People with Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter advanced search gives you the ability to add geographical locations to your searches. This can help you find recent tweets within a few miles of your business by using a name or a zip code. It displays current tweets, which will give you different results each time. You can do this by going to the advanced search page and setting your geography range.

 

Find People by the City Name Listed in Their Profile

Twitter gives you the ability to search for people based on what city they have listed in their profile. You can type the name of your city into the search box and Twitter will show you the most recent tweets based on the information. You can also search for your city name in profiles, which will bring up a list of profiles that have your city name in them.

 

Find People with Twitter Grader

Twitter Grader is a tool that is developed by another company. It is designed to help you search through Twitter profiles and streams to find the people you need to help make your business a success. It evaluates Twitter users for you and narrows them down so you can choose who you want to follow.

 

Find People with Twellohood

Twello is a Twitter directory that is public, and Twellohood is a feature that allows you to search people by location. You can pull up the Twellohood map page and then click on your continent, country, state, and then city. You can select your city from the list that will pop up for your state. The list includes the amount of Twitter users in each city. From there, you can choose who you want to follow. Twello will pull up the Twitter profile for each user after you follow them.

Cloud Computing

3 Ways Cloud Computing Can Improve Your Accounting Firm

As an accountant, you deal with a plethora of vital information and data on a daily basis. Clients entrust you with the most important numbers that define them. To assist accounting professionals keep track, control, and acquire accounting data, many are turning to cloud computing. Are you one of them? Cloud computing, at one time, was seen only as an IT buzzword, but the system has become a necessary business partner and strategy for successful accountants and firms. Cloud computing is the singular answer for swift recovery, cost-effective management, and comprehensive data storage. There are three important ways your accounting firm can benefit from a cloud computing strategy.

 

  1. Increases capacity and connectivity without increasing risk

Your accounting firm can take on more clients and increase your reach in the market without having to assume the security risks and financial burdens of doing so. A cloud computing system grows with your firm. From small, independent start-ups to large corporate firms, a cloud computing system can be tailored to accommodate both your immediate size and future capacity. For any business to increase capacity, connectivity is essential. Connectivity among business partners, clients and collaborators will increase your firm’s efficiency and communication. In a modern firm, connectivity occurs on the phone, on mobile devices, on laptops, on desktops, and over text messages. Before cloud computing and mobile technology, work was completed only within the four walls of the establishment. Cloud computing and mobile technology gives each contact agency. Immediately, the risk of intrusion, loss and theft may concern you, but cloud computing ensures everyone can still remain in contact, outside the firm’s walls, while still establishing and maintaining a secure environment. When the hesitation of mobility eases, the firm’s access is limitless.

 

  1. Decreases data loss and enables swift recovery

In our digital world, intrusions and security threats are commonplace. Every business has a plan to prevent and combat security intimidations. Cloud computing is an effective companion to a comprehensive security plan. Cloud computing enables users to securely store data in a remote location so that essential information is not lingering on a device. At any point, the business contact can eliminate or limit access to the cloud system. If the company and/or any of its devices are damaged or lost in a natural disaster, lost, stolen, or hacked, the information stored in device is safe. Business will resume as usual without any interruption in data recovery and operations.

 

  1. Saves the firm money

There is no need to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars, on an expensive system overhaul, software programs, energy costs, and massive in-house IT operations. The cloud computing structure is designed to accommodate various devices with different operating system, and it does so without a massive room and collection of hardwares. Updates in software and hardware are done automatically so the company does not have to worry about maintaining a schedule that is both compliant and secure. The cloud computing company does the work for you. The cloud computing system also fast tracks document access, which enables users to confirm and receive important documents and data; this cuts down on paper usage and book keeping services, while increasing productivity and profit.