|Server Virtualization for SMBs - Wednesday, November 17, 2010|
While many enterprises have taken advantage of server virtualization, smaller business can now easily make use of such technologies. Why do companies virtualize? Here are some of the reasons:
- Hardware Consolidation: Instead of requiring multiple physical servers that take up more space, user more electricity, generate more heat, require separate management, and often have separate maintenance contracts, a single server or a pair of servers can often be used.
- Quicker Disaster Recovery: Since VHDs (Virtual Hard Drives) are used, which are simply files, they can be relocated to another Virtual Server. Planning to upgrade a server? Then backup the VHD and do the upgrade. If the upgrade doesn't go according the plan, restore the original VHD quickly and easily. A new host virtual server can be deployed very quickly on new hardware.
- Affordable: With Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, for example, built-in Hyper-V services can be easily setup and not require any additional 3rd party solutions.
- Add More Capacity: Deploy a new server quickly, often times remotely and within 1 to 2 hours.
- Simplicity: Allows servers to provide more role based services, thereby keeping them simplier. This helps eliminate the need to install complicated services on a single box. Instead, separate virtual instances (guests) are deployed with their own identity. Essentially, separate servers to separate the various services.
|Passwords to avoid (unless you like being hacked) - Friday, January 22, 2010|
The NYTimes has an article that is very interesting to read about simple passwords that people still use today, and consequently easy targets to get hacked. The most popular? Per the article, it is 12345. And some think they are cleverly making it harder by adding a 6.
One should avoid just using dictionary words put together. Take one of the most commonly used passwords, iloveyou, as an example. This is essentially a three character password even though there are 7 characters. That is because hackers have easy access to dictionaries and with software, can automatically try the various combinations of iloveyou (there are six).
Using words, on the otherhand, makes passwords easier for people to remember. You can use words and mangle them (phonetic misspelling, for example), add punctuation, and numbers, etc. Have a pattern that only makes sense to you. For example, you can look around your home and office to get clues for words that would otherwise make no sense together. If you have a picture of that vacation with a beach ball, a television, and you like 4 cookies before bed, you might try something like Beech^TelebiSion4. You have created a good password and it is something memoriable to only you.
Generally don't share passwords and change them fairly frequently (at least once or twice a year). Avoid using the same password for multiple systems. If one system on the Internet is compromised (and you may not even know about it), then other systems could be more easily attacked with this acquired information. If you have a system for recording passwords, do it in a manner that is not obvious. Don't put it on a piece of paper under the keyboard, in a drawer nearby, or on a post-it on the monitor (very common practices). It is a good idea to record them because this encourages more complicated passwords. Also, if you are compromised, it provides you with a list of passwords to review and change right away. There are software packages that can manage passwords and access them from your computer or portable devices (make sure to use a really good password on the software or you give hackers easy access to your entire collection). Browsers can do it too, although these are more accessible to hackers.
We also have a free password generator online (and there are others on the Internet), under the Tools menu, to make you a really complicated password.
|Office 2010 Beta - Sunday, January 03, 2010|
The new Office 2010 (currently in Beta) offers many new features. Here are some that grabbed our attention right out of the gate:
- A customizable ribbon (should have been there for Office 2007 :-)
- The file menu is back (okay, it is a ribbon tab, but it just like the file menu) -- this replaces the office button. More like returning to an old friend rather than an improvement. Certainly will be easier to explain to users what menu option to select.
- Outlook allows for multiple Exchange server connections concurrently (very useful for transitions or monitoring multiple independent systems)
- Still only three color schemes (silver, black, and blue) - silver is now the default
- Word and PowerPoint incorporate screen capture tools (now built-in via their Ribbons)
- Outlook and Publisher now have ribbons
- Jump lists, when used with Windows 7, from Outlook in the taskbar
- New icons for Office (although I am not sure they are an improvement -- letters are now the key indicators of the apps? Hmmm...):