Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Sunday, October 17, 2021
How much can you really save switching between VoIP providers?
At C Networks we give all our clients the ability to negotiate the best rate to suite their individual needs. Now we talking about cents per min so how much can you really save per year?
As a example we will take a small business with average of 6 phones making around 1300 calls a month using 2160 min. So lets start calculating when using a Standard Provider charging you R1,45 per min that's a monthly bill of R 3132 p/m and a annual bill of R37 584 p/a.
and at this point is where C Networks will climb in and start assisting you in getting a even better call rate! Yes with C Networks you too can save more than R24 899 per year on your phone bill. Imagine what can be done with the money being saved, perhaps a bonus for yourself for that holiday you always wanted, a new vehicle for the fleet ?
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
The Dos and Don'ts of Securing Your VoIP Communications
Selecting Your VoIP Provider
DON'T: Neglect the Shared Security Model
DO: Negotiate Security Terms in Your Contract
Implementing VoIP Security
DON'T: Mix Your LANs
DO: Set Up Private VLANs
DON'T: Leave Your VoIP Outside the Firewall
VoIP Service Management
DO: Change Your Default Passwords
DO: Keep Track of Your Usage
DON'T: Have Over-Broad Security Permissions
DON'T: Forget About Patching
DO: Enable Strong Authentication
Sunday, October 10, 2021
As vaccinations are scaling around the world, our country is seeing yet another shift in how we work. Early in the pandemic, many of us have struggled to adapt to remote ways of working (mostly from home). Although remote work has its benefits, many of us have started to experience WFH fatigue, many people are stressed, overworked and generally burnt out
As we move toward reopening, 55% of workers want a different model for how and where they work, and 40% say they would consider quitting their jobs if they weren’t offered some form of remote work flexibility. While this doesn’t represent an insignificant amount of change and effort, forward-looking leadership teams are leaning into this and are willing to adapt to find a new equilibrium. With the right approach, tooling, and data, leadership and employees can work together to achieve a new paradigm that balances employee desires, leadership needs, productivity, and resource allocation.
What do workers want today, actually? A balance — a measure of control over where and how they work. This means that the future is a fluid model offering a combination of remote and in-office work. These approaches can take a number of various shapes, but collectively we call them “hybrid models.” And hybrid models will fundamentally change the way companies operate, how employees experience work, and how business leaders optimize the fixed office footprint. Many employers are even using the promise of the hybrid model as a talent acquisition advantage.
The companies that can figure out the right balance, implementation (using a combination of tech and data) and management of a proper hybrid model will have the edge in talent sourcing and retention over time.
Here are three ways a smart hybrid design creates a better employee experience:
1. Better Work/Life Balance
Work-life balance goes hand-in-hand with an employee’s mental health. Many of us are pretty plugged in, checking email and slack well beyond normal working hours. However, not having to work in the office every day frees employees from being physically tethered to their job at all times. In turn, it enables business leaders to readjust their expectations of employees, especially those that have hit a psychological wall. This rebalancing creates a more sustainable way ahead for both employees and employers. An effective hybrid model shows employers that productivity doesn’t slip; in fact, offering workers autonomy over their time can even boost productivity as well as morale.
Returning to the office also means restoring a sense of normalcy and routine, reminding employees what things were like before the pandemic. At the same time, offering multiple work options can alleviate common stressors like the daily commute, missing family milestones, or lacking personal time. People enjoy having the latitude in choosing their work environment, and switching it up can lead to greater creativity and better quality work.
Perhaps most importantly, hybrid models can prevent people from feeling isolated. One of the biggest losses workers suffered due to the pandemic was not being able to see and emotionally connect with their coworkers on a daily basis. Even while they were able to stay connected through technology, for many, it was not an adequate replacement for face-to-face interactions. Americans report the highest levels of happiness when they spend six to seven hours a day socializing; being able to see and work with teammates is beneficial for mental health. Working from home full-time might even be more productive for some, but the lack of vital interaction is a heavy downside.
2. Increased Productivity
At the beginning stages of the pandemic, where work started to go fully remote, there was fear that workers would be less productive with less oversight. In reality, that just has not been the case, as working remotely has, in fact, increased productivity for many organizations. A PwC study shows that employees feel more productive now than they did last year (34% vs. 28%), and more executives agree that productivity has improved (52% vs. 44%).
The key to hybrid work being productive is trust between employers and employees. Those that micromanage or monitor remote workers may actually undermine one of the biggest upsides of enabling remote work. That lack of confidence impacts employee morale, which leads to lower productivity and engagement. But when employees are trusted to work from home with little oversight, their productivity will increase. This same logic holds when it comes to increases in employee engagement, according to Gallup. Teams with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable than companies with less engaged employees.
The hybrid model supports productivity when workers actually do return to the office as well. A physical office is often cited as a better work environment to accomplish certain tasks. That will be the case when people return in-person to work for an employer that has established trust in a flexible model. The confidence that work can be performed well from any location fosters a sense of autonomy and purpose that places less pressure on constant oversight by management. Again, it all comes back to balance.
3. Better Collaboration
One of the biggest changes brought by the move to “home offices” was the impact on collaboration. Physically working together builds trust among colleagues, and occupying the same space fosters a sense of social connection and collaboration. All of these factors are instrumental in building a thriving culture.
During the lockdown period, many colleagues were no longer able to meet face-to-face, which changed or limited how they worked together, especially on tasks requiring multiple participants. However, at the same time, there was more connectivity with coworkers in offices far away, which was a plus for many teams.
When orchestrated with the right system, frameworks, and data, a smart hybrid model can bring out the best in workers, who are more likely to report a positive impact on creativity, relationships, and problem-solving. That’s because it allows a mix of in-person collaboration and autonomous work at home. Additionally, cross-collaboration in a hybrid structure enhances efficiency without any negative impact on the quality of work, as well as an increase in innovation by bringing different perspectives to the table.
Work has irreversibly shifted due to the pandemic. McKinsey reports that 90% of all companies anticipate being some form of hybrid going forward. However, nearly 70% still don’t have a plan or the necessary infrastructure to implement a successful hybrid model. There’s no doubt organizations will have different strategies on how to implement a hybrid; this isn’t going to be a “one size fits all” situation. Instead, the pandemic has shown us both the positives and negatives of remote and in-office work. It will be up to innovative companies to pave the path forward in figuring out how to combine the pros and the cons in the best way possible. Those that do will have a leg up on the competition when it comes to the all-important task of attracting and retaining top talent while at the same time creating productivity, engagement, and ROI advantages.
Sunday, October 3, 2021
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Wednesday, September 29, 2021
While Chromebooks only entered the global market in 2011, their Chrome operating system has quickly risen to become the second most popular operating system today.
The Chrome OS market share grew from 6.4% in 2019 to 10.8% in 2020, and today many businesses are beginning to choose Chromebooks for their enterprise-class speed, simplicity, and security.
And, compared to most other laptops on the market, they’re also a lot more affordable.
So, what is it exactly about these features that makes Chromebooks so good for business?
Business operations are often slowed down by traditional operating systems that suffer from long start-up times, disruptive updates, and the inevitable slow-down that comes from prolonged use.
Chrome OS, on the other hand, is one of the lightest operating systems out there and has a fast boot time of 5-10 seconds.
Chromebooks exhibit virtually no lag or stuttering when being used, and because of their cloud-oriented nature, your employees will always have instant access to all their data, applications, settings, and web extensions whenever they log into any Chromebook device.
Intuitive and simple
Anyone familiar with Google’s suite of applications will be familiar with Chrome OS.
The interface is fast and intuitive, and making the switch to the Chrome operating system is as simple as signing into your Google account and uploading your files to Google Drive.
Provisioning and deploying a network of Chromebook devices for employees is also made simpler than ever for enterprises, which has become especially important with today’s increasingly remote workforce.
A study showed that IT departments have benefitted from time savings with the help of Chromebook’s Zero-Touch Enrolment, which allows authorised pre-provisioning partners like Acer to send instructions to Google and enrol a Chrome device automatically once it is turned on and connected to the internet.
Similarly, managing a fleet of Chrome devices is easy and simple, as Chromebook Enterprise provides IT teams with access to oversight capabilities and device policies from the easy-to-use, cloud-based Google Admin console or other third-party Unified End Management solutions.
The rapid pace of digitalisation as well as the remote migration of workforces has given cybercriminals a much larger attack surface, and businesses that lack sufficient security measures are becoming prime targets.
Chromebooks were built with this in mind, using the principle of ‘defence in depth’, and Chrome OS is one of the most secure operating systems on the market.
Chromebooks come standard with multiple layers of built-in protection, which means that businesses do not need to allocate additional spending to antivirus software.
Google rolls out automatic updates with the latest security patches in a way that is completely non-disruptive.
Chromebooks are unique because of a security feature called ‘sandboxing’, which runs every program, website, or web application as a separate process in a restricted environment.
If an employee accidentally opens a harmful website, for example, any threat will be contained and would not be able to access any other part of the computer.
When a Chromebook boots up, it also completes a ‘verified boot’ to ensure that the computer has not been corrupted or tampered with, and if it has, it will restore itself automatically to a known and trusted backup.
If a backup isn’t available, employees can simply download one from the cloud and their device will be up and running again – with all their documents readily available on the cloud.
If an employee misplaces their Chromebook, IT can easily disable the device remotely, preventing potential bad actors from accessing sensitive corporate data.
Chromebooks can be set as ‘ephemeral’ so that any user’s data is removed at the end of their session.
All the support businesses need
With the support of Google certified partners like Acer, businesses can have access to support via phone, email, or directly from Google when they need it.
IT managers have the ability to manage all devices remotely, allowing employees to continue working securely and effectively from anywhere.
Along with Google’s extensive ecosystem of cloud and web-based applications, Chromebooks give employees everything they need to be more productive and protected in today’s digital work environment.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
Maintaining a secure small business or home network isn't easy, and even for an old hand in IT, it still takes time and energy to keep things locked down. Here are 10 of the most critical steps you can take to keep your data from ending up elsewhere, and none of them take much time or effort to accomplish.
Get a Firewall
The first step for any attacker is to find network vulnerabilities by scanning for open ports. Ports are the mechanisms by which your small business network opens up and connects to the wider world of the Internet. A hacker sees an open port to as an irresistible invitation for access and exploitation. A network firewall locks down ports that don't need to be open.
A properly configured firewall acts as the first line of defense on any network. The network firewall sets the rules for which ports should be open and which ones should be closed. The only ports that should be open are ports for services that you need to run.
Typically, most small business routers include some kind of firewall functionality, so chances are if you have a router sitting behind your service provider or DSL/cable modem, you likely have a firewall already. To check to see if you already have firewall capabilities at the router level in your network, log into your router and see if there are any settings for Firewall or Security. If you don't know how to log into your router on a Windows PC, find your Network Connection information. The item identified as Default Gateway is likely the IP address for your router.
There are many desktop firewall applications available today as well, but don't mistake those for a substitute for firewall that sits at the primary entry point to your small business network. You should have a firewall sitting right behind where your network connectivity comes into your business to filter out bad traffic before it can reach any desktop or any other network assets.
Password Protect your Firewall
Great you've got a firewall, but it's never enough to simply drop it into your network and turn it on. One of the most common mistakes in configuring network equipment is keeping the default password.
It's a trivial matter in many cases for an attacker to identify the brand and model number of a device on a network. It's equally trivial to simply use Google to obtain the user manual to find the default username and password.
Take the time to make this easy fix. Log into your router/firewall, and you'll get the option to set a password; typically, you'll find it under the Administration menu item.
Update Router Firmware
Outdated router or firewall firmware is another common issue. Small business network equipment, just like applications and operating systems, needs to be updated for security and bug fixes. The firmware that your small business router and/or firewall shipped with is likely out-of-date within a year, so it's critical to make sure you update it.
Some router vendors have a simple dialogue box that lets you check for new firmware versions from within the router's administration menu. For routers that don't have automated firmware version checking, find the version number in your router admin screen, and then go to the vendor's support site to see if you have the latest version.
Most router and firewalls include multiple settings that help to determine how visible your router and/or firewall will be to the outside world. One of the simplest methods that a hacker uses to find a network is by sending a ping request, which is just a network request to see if something will respond. The idea being if a network device responds, there is something there that the hacker can then explore further and potentially exploit. You can make it harder for attackers by simply setting your network router or firewall so that it won't respond to network pings. Typically, the option to block network pings can be found on the administration menu for a firewall and/or router as a configuration option.
One of the best ways to see if you have open ports or visible network vulnerabilities is to do the same thing that an attacker would do - scan your network. By scanning your network with the same tools that security researchers (and attackers) use, you'll see what they see. Among the most popular network scanning tools is the open source nmap tool). For Windows users, the Nmap download now includes a graphical user interface, so it's now easier than ever to scan your network with industry standard tools, for free. Scan your network to see what ports are open (that shouldn't be), and then go back to your firewall to make the necessary changes.
Lock Down IP Addresses
By default, most small business routers use something called DHCP, which automatically allocates IP addresses to computers that connect to the network. DHCP makes it easy for you to let users connect to you network, but if your network is exploited it also makes it easy for attackers to connect to your network. If your small business only has a set number of users, and you don't routinely have guest users plugging into your network, you might want to consider locking down IP addresses.
The benefit of assigning an IP is that when you check your router logs, you'll know which IP is associated with a specific PC and/or user. With DHCP, the same PC could potentially have different IPs over a period of time as machines are turned on or off. By knowing what's on your network, you'll know where problems are coming from when they do arise.
Not everyone in your small business necessarily needs access to the same network assets. While you can determine and set access with passwords and permissions on applications, you can also segment your network with VLAN or virtual LANs. VLANs are almost always part of any business class router and let you segment a network based on needs and risks as well as quality of service requirements. For example, with a VLAN setup you could have the finance department on one VLAN, while sales is on another. In another scenario, you could have a VLAN for your employees and then setup another one for contract or guest workers. Mitigating risk is all about providing access to network resources to the people who are authorized and restricting access to those who aren't.
Get an IPS
A firewall isn't always enough to protect a small business network. Today's reality is that the bulk of all network traffic goes over Port 80 for HTTP or Web traffic. So if you leave that port open, you're still at risk from attacks that target port 80. In addition to the firewall, Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) technology can play a key network security role. An IPS does more than simply monitor ports; it monitors the traffic flow for anomalies that could indicate malicious activity. IPS technology can sometimes be bundled in on a router as part of a Unified Threat Management (UTM) device. Depending on the size of your small business network, you might want to consider a separate physical box.
Another option is to leverage open source technologies running on your own servers (or as virtual instances if you are virtualized). On the IPS side, one of the leading open source technologies is called SNORT (which is backed by commercial vendor Sourcefire.
Get a WAF
A Web Application Firewall (WAF) is specifically tasked with helping to protect against attacks that are specifically targeted against applications. If you're not hosting applications within your small business network, the risks that a WAF helps to mitigate are not as pronounced. If you are hosting applications, WAF in front of (or as part of) your Web server is a key technology that you need to look at. Multiple vendors including Barracuda have network WAF boxes. Another option is the open source ModSecurity project, which is backed by security vendor Trustwave.
If you've gone through all the trouble of protecting your small business network, it makes sense to extend that protection to your mobile and remotely connected employees as well. A VPN or Virtual Private Network lets your remote workers log into your network with an encrypted tunnel. That tunnel can then be used to effectively shield your remote employees with the same firewall, IPS and WAF technologies that local users benefit from. A VPN also protects your network by not letting users who may be coming in from risky mobile environments connect in an insecure fashion.
Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Saumya_Sinha/2370732
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9825564
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