Remote Backup Service Providers – What’s the Difference?

Remote or online backup services (RBS) offer a process to transfer electronic files to an alternate location for storage so they are available to you should you experience a business halting event that results in the loss of some or all of your in-house data.There are many benefits to this type of service. However, the individual benefit or degree of its application is dictated by the service itself. Not all remote backup services are the same. They may all seem like it from an initial perspective but when you get right down to it you will find significant differences between them. Please use this as a guide to establish what is important to you, your organization; and make sure you select a service that fits you, the consumer. I hope you will never need to fall back on your investment but if that’s the case, you will be happy you took a little time to investigate. The last thing you need when dealing with a business halting event is to learn that what you thought was taken care of doesn’t meet the needs of your recovery plan. By then it’s too late and the costs to your business add up quickly.Benefits and DifferencesGenerally, an accepted global benefit to RBS is the reduction in operating expenses required to manage and operate more traditional backup solutions. It’s more cost effective. This is of course if your company only relies on RBS to protect its data. Although I feel RBS is more advantageous and reliable from a continuity perspective than other solutions nothing is 100% effective. There are flaws in every process. My recommendation to all my clients is that they use RBS as a second level of protection for their organization. Optical or tape backup is useless when they are consumed in the same fire that destroys your physical presence and let’s face it, few “properly” transport their backups offsite on a regular basis. You’re probably asking yourself; why not just adopt manual transport offsite instead of investing in RBS? Good question. Let’s stick with saying that brings up a whole new set of risks that are out of the scope of this article. I’ll write that one next, I promise. If you can’t wait for it then give me a call and we can talk about it.So, let’s get into the differences you should know about so you can investigate and find an RBS solution that’s right for you.EncryptionThis is a biggie and can be quite confusing. Some RBS providers have it, most don’t. You need encryption if you are going to store protected or critical information on somebody else’s server. Remember, no matter what they say the supplier can see your files on the other side. If they are not encrypted you could be exposed to HIPAA or PIPEDA violations which can result in lawsuits, fines, bad press, loss of customers or even the loss of your business.Some RBS providers state that files are encrypted when in fact your files are sitting on their server in a readable format. What they mean is that your files are only encrypted during transfer between yourself and them. It’s exactly the same as you submitting information via a form through a secure website. You know, the web pages with the little lock in the bottom of the browser? Your online bank would have it. This type of encryption does not protect your files from being viewed by them so be careful.There are also many different kinds of encryption. The strongest algorithm that is publicly available to my knowledge and at the time of writing this is 448bit Blowfish. That’s almost twice the encryption banks use today. Online providers will use all sorts of different encryption technologies. The lower the bit rate the easier it is to crack. Be wary of providers that don’t tell you what they use as they may be using their own proprietary format. If I build my own encryption algorithm it wouldn’t be hard for me to build something in it to universally decrypt files using it. Really think about encryption as the lack of it can expose your company to tremendous risk. Especially if you don’t know the service provider you are dealing with. If you knew them you could at least get them to sign a confidentiality statement to limit your liability.LocationWhere is your data being stored? Is it in a secure data centre or is it in someone’s basement? Is it in Canada or somewhere else? Be careful when dealing with a foreign company that advertises a physical Canadian presence. Most of their offices are focused on marketing and sales while their data centre is elsewhere. You may think your data is on Canadian soil when in fact it’s being backed up to a data centre in New York. There is also rumor of proposed legislation that will limit Canadian data to Canadian storage facilities. The last thing you need to do is switch providers when you’ve already invested time and money in backing up significant amounts of data to a foreign provider.That brings me to another point on location, how will you get your data back should you need it? When dealing with small amounts of data this doesn’t pose too much of a problem however, large amounts of data can present significant concerns. If you lose your data your likely dealing with other associated issues such as alternate locations, hardware, and software. What good is all that without the data to fuel the business? Depending on the amount of data, it could take a significant amount of time, even weeks to download depending on your connectivity and other variables. Ensure that your RBS provider has some alternate means to get your data to you based on your Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Better yet, choose a local RBS provider that can manually retrieve your data, deliver it to you and manage the data restoration process while your focus is elsewhere. Every second of not being operational can be detrimental to your business.Managed ServicesHow much does the RBS provider help you with? If you’re technically inclined you may have the capability to properly setup your RBS backup processes so a service that presents a downloadable piece of software and a help file may be all you need. However, just because you are successful with getting data to backup doesn’t mean you’re backing up all the right data you will need to recover. In most circumstances you will require more than “working files”. I recommend at least involving your trusted IT Specialist and key personnel just to make sure you’ve got everything covered.On the flipside there are some RBS providers who provide complete managed services. This usually includes some form of risk assessment and needs analysis used to identify all requirements. To top things off they typically setup the service and ensure things are running smoothly. These are usually local services that physically meet with clients although; it’s not unheard of for this to be performed remotely. The key point of all of this is if you don’t know what you’re doing then find a professional that does. If you miss one critical component you may compromise your recovery and fall victim to what you were trying to avoid in the first place.Choose a service that meets your needs and habits. Some RBS services are automated whereas others require manual intervention to start. I usually recommend an automated process as we all forget things or adjust our priorities should things pop up. Additionally, with some services you are required to verify or monitor your own backups. Did it work? Are the files there? It’s all up to you to find out. On the other hand, some RBS providers monitor scheduled backups for you to make sure they are successful. You may receive daily email notices to keep you informed. These types of providers will intervene immediately if something goes wrong to make sure you are protected. It’s all up to you with how much involvement or lack thereof you want with these processes. Ensure that you choose a supplier that fits your needs as the service is less effective if it doesn’t. Of course, with most business services, the less involvement you have the costlier the service. That is why there is such a price range in the market. Although not true in all circumstances, the cheaper it is the less it does for you. There are many variations available so find one that fits you. Many even offer trials so you can test them out before you hang up your hat.SupportFew consider support services until they are needed which can lead to frustrating experiences, especially when your business is at risk. Make sure you are aware of all the means you have to communicate with your provider and test them before committing to their service. We can plan as much as we want but that Murphy guy will always stick his part into the equation. You have to be ready to deal with anything and having support available is critical. Be concerned about providers that only provide e-mail support with no listed means to call them directly. If they do list numbers then try them to see if you can actually get to their support. Some outsource to foreign countries. Protect yourself and ensure you have partnered with an organization that will be there when you need them. Consider time zone differences if support isn’t provided 24/7. Even if it is what are the regular hours of operation and how easy is it to get through in the off hours? How many staff will be available? These are all variables that could mean the difference between your business overcoming and being consumed by a business halting scenario.

New Streaming Video Revolution

The video online is rapidly evolving and more resembles to model of internet television. In this emerging landscape and with the use of its new strategies to the traditional mass media process are emerging. Video to be used on the Internet should be information and communication focused while video to be used on television should be focused on entertainment.Today we can see Streaming Video providers with a free and up-to-date streaming video Websites that covers a large variety of subjects such as Sports, New Age, Extreme, Travel and more.The advantage of the video streaming Websites is its relative simplicity and functionality. It offers a click and play solution which allows the user to view video with audio functionality directly in their browser. No additional installations are required. The process conveniently eliminates all technical know-how and makes video sharing a simple and easy process.The market power of internet video streaming advertising is also grown in a way that is not matched by any other media. The market power that the web offers direct results of the technology section. The opening of this type communication is still gaining steam, consumer confidence in the web as an information portal will occur as the secondary market of mobile devices grows.Cached or streaming video on a specific destination site offers the best chance of interesting consumers in brand messages, but it is not likely to reach a large audience unless it generates a viral outcome. The main feature is providing free video information, users should get a great internet experience by using streaming video websites communities.

Managing Asthma Effectively

If you have asthma, managing it is an important part of your life. Controlling your asthma means staying away from things that bother your airways and taking medicines as directed by your doctor. If you have asthma, it is important to learn how to take care of yourself.MAKE AN ACTION PLAN WITH YOUR DOCTORIt is important that you work with your doctor to make an action plan that you are both happy with. As part of this, you will need to:* Tell your doctor about all other medications and drugs you are taking, in case one of them affects your asthma.* Follow your asthma action plan and have regular checkups.* Learn to use your medication correctly. Ask your doctor to teach you how to use your inhaler. This is very important. If inhalers are not used correctly, less medication gets into the airways.* If you are having problems taking your asthma medicine, seek your doctor’s advice immediately.IDENTIFY YOUR ASTHMA TRIGGERSYou also need to learn to identify and avoid the things that can worsen or trigger your asthma symptoms.* If animal dander is a problem for you, keep your pet out of the house and/or at least out of your bedroom and wash your pet often – or even find it a new home.* Do not smoke or allow smoking in your home.* If pollen is a problem for you, stay indoors with the air conditioner on when the pollen count is high.* To control dust mites, wash your sheets, blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys once a week in hot water. You can get special dust proof covers for your mattress and pillows.* To prevent colds and flu, wash your hands often and get a flu shot every year. Children with asthma should get flu shots, too.* If cold air bothers you, wear a scarf over your mouth and nose in the winter.* If you get asthma when you exercise or do routine physical activities like climbing stairs, work with your doctor to find ways to be active without having asthma symptoms. Physical activity is important.* If you are allergic to sulphites, avoid foods (like dried fruit) or beverages (like wine) that contain them. For example, sodium metabisulphite (E220-227) may also trigger asthma, but not via an allergic reaction. It can be found in wine, home-brewed beer, fizzy drinks, prepared meats and prepared salads.* Do not allow smoking indoors unless there is a room reserved for smokers and which has a separate ventilation system to exhaust smoke outside. Never allow smoking around anyone with asthma.* Try to keep humidity levels in the home between 30 and 50 percent. High humidity can promote growth of biological agents that may trigger asthma episodes. Use exhaust fans or open windows in the kitchen or bathroom areas when cooking, using the dishwasher, or taking showers. Make sure clothes dryers are vented to the outdoors, and use a dehumidifier in the basement if necessary.* Avoid using humidifiers. If it cannot be avoided, clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Refill it daily with fresh water to prevent the growth of harmful microbes.* Minimize exposure to combustion particles and gases that can cause breathing difficulties for people with asthma. Have combustion-powered furnaces, stoves, or heaters checked yearly to make sure they are operating properly. Change furnace filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or every month or two during periods of use. Consider installing higher efficiency filters to reduce the number of particles in the air. Never use a gas stove to heat the home, and always use the exhaust fan when cooking on a gas stove.* Avoid sprays like deodorants, perfumes, or air fresheners, odours from paint, and strong smelling cleaners may start a child’s asthma attack.* Keep the house clean to reduce allergens like microscopic dust mites, pollen, and animal dander. Use an allergen-proof comforter and encase mattresses and box springs in vinyl covers. Wash bedding frequently in hot (130°F) water. Avoid furnishings that collect dust.MONITOR YOUR ASTHMAIf your asthma is not under control, there will be signs that you should not ignore. The following are some signs that your asthma is getting worse:* Your asthma symptoms happen more often.* Your asthma symptoms are worse than they used to be.* Your asthma symptoms are bothering you a lot at night and making you lose sleep.* You are missing school or work because of your asthma.* Your peak flow number is low or varies a lot from morning to evening.* Your asthma medications do not seem to be working very well anymore.* You have to use your short-acting “quick relief” or “rescue” inhaler more often. (Using quick relief medicine every day, or using more than one inhaler a month is too much)* You have to go to the emergency room or doctor because of an asthma attack.* You end up in the hospital because of your asthma.If your asthma seems to be getting worse, see your doctor. You may need to change your medication or take other actions to get your asthma under control.

Finding Great Home Entertainment Centers

It is not that hard to find a great home entertainment center for your home. You can decide what space you have available in your room and then narrow your search to that size units. Measure your TV and electronic components and look for units in the size you have space for that have places for your equipment. Once you have decided on size and options for storage you need, you can begin your search for the perfect home entertainment unit.There are many good furniture retailers and electronics stores that carry a variety of home entertainment units. If they don’t have what you need in stock, many will special order it for you. Now, you can even shop on line for entertainment units and have them shipped direct to you. There are sites that have consumer reviews on different companies and models of entertainment units, so you can avoid the poor quality or performing ones. You will want to look for good quality and a unit strong enough to hold all those heavy electronic components.Any entertainment center you purchase should have places designed for each of your components and plenty of storage for music and movies. Great home entertainment centers will also look great in your home and show case your TV to best advantage. Don’t buy the first thing you see, keep looking until you find the right unit for you and your home at the price you can afford. Rather than settling for a unit at the right price, but not the options you need, wait for the unit you really want to go on clearance, or see if the supplier will be willing to reduce the price to make the sale to you. It never hurts to ask.To make the most of a great home entertainment center, design the whole room for movie viewing and listening to music. Get the proper lighting and seating for a media room. Make sure you have window coverings that will allow the room to be darkened for movie viewing. Make a space to have beverages and snacks handy while watching a favorite TV program or movie.