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Make your business more green with cloud technologies

Cloud technologies are becoming increasingly common in the workplace – here are some ways that your business can go green and sometimes save cash with the cloud.

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cloud technologies

Cloud technologies can help you go green

Whether looking to save the environment or just some cash, cloud technologies have risen in prominence in the business place, and there are hundreds of tools available at your fingertips.

Independent research firm NextAdvisor.com‘s Editor Polina Polishchuk notes there are several fascinating ways to make your business more green through the cloud:

1. Telecommuting:

Letting your employees work from home from time to time helps preserve the environment by saving energy and petroleum consumption, in addition to reducing pollution and highway congestion. And telecommuting is not as inconvenient as it used to be. Here are a couple cloud services that can help your business run smoothly when you and your employees are away from the office:

2. Online meeting software:

Online meeting software is extremely useful for companies that host a lot of meetings, especially those who need employees to travel long distances. In addition to video conferencing, these services provide collaborative tools such as real-time document sharing and editing, white boarding and screen sharing. With an online meeting service, there is no need to come in to the office just to join a meeting – you can join straight from your home computer and, with select services like Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro and Cisco’s WebEx, from your iPhone and iPad.

3. Remote desktop programs:

Another way to help the environment by allowing your employees to occasionally work from home is to use remote desktop programs. This software allows users to access one computer from another, so you can work on your office computer from your laptop, seamlessly, without wasting any energy or gas. Top services include GoToMyPC, which uses your browser and has a very user-friendly interface for PC and Mac, and Radmin, which is inexpensive and feature-filled, but Mac users will need to look elsewhere.

4. Cloud storage services:

Useful in any office, cloud storage is an affordable and helpful tool whether your employees travel or not. If you’re at home or on vacation and need to access a file from your work computer, no problem – cloud storage services sync your files across all of your devices and on the web. This allows you to access and edit important files no matter where you are; all you need is an Internet connection. This is the ultimate telecommuting tool, especially because many of these services, like SugarSync and Mozy Stash, have excellent sharing and collaboration tools so you can work with your colleagues out of the office.

Cloud storage is also a great step towards a paper-less office. You can back up and store files online, instead of printing out hard documents and wasting paper. It is also encrypted, confidential and a great way to get organized.

5. Virtual phone services:

If you need your employees to answer client phone calls while they’re out of the office, virtual phone service is an easy-to-use and professional option for you. Your business will have one phone number with a virtual attendant who will forward calls to the appropriate extension. These calls can be forwarded to you and your employee’s cell phones and home phones. eVoice and RingCentral are both affordable virtual phone services with excellent user interfaces. If you’re looking for an unlimited number of extensions, Phone.com is a great choice as well.

6. Internet Fax:

Faxing uses a lot of paper, and it’s no secret that most of these paper documents are often left around, untouched and wasted. If you’re looking for a solution to cut down paper waste in the office, Internet fax can help. With Internet fax, users can send and receive electronic faxes from their computer or smartphone, all you need is an Internet connection. These services use encryption and are password protected for confidentiality, and because the faxes look just as they would from a traditional fax machine, your clients won’t know the difference. Most Internet fax providers, like MetroFax, allow you to port your current fax number over to the new service, making your green transition seamless.

7. Green Web Hosting:

If you’re looking for a web host for your business’s website, try a green web hosting service. Most people don’t know that web hosting uses a lot of energy. This is because the web hosts’ servers are based in powerful data centers that generate a lot of heat. Because of this, they have to be kept cool and powered to keep the websites up, using large amounts of energy.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Tech News

Zoom banned by Space X? Why?

(TECH NEWS) Just because an app is most used doesn’t mean it is most trustworthy, Zoom has some glaring security faults most people didn’t know about.

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Zoom security

Video conference apps are the glue currently holding large parts of workforce together. If you’re working from home either as a result of the quarantine or business as usual, then you’ve likely heard or used the common go-to app, Zoom. Recently, Zoom has made some troubling headlines regarding privacy concerns so much so that SpaceX employees are now banned from using the app. This comes soon after an announcement by the FBI warning about call hijacking and harassment now aptly named “Zoombombing”.

An earlier report this week by The Intercept shows that Zoom does not provide end-to-end encryption between call participants. The company also has the ability to view call sessions. As SpaceX is a federal contractor whose customers include NASA and the Department of Defense, the company is classified as an essential business. The decision to ban Zoom usage came from a memo from founder and CEO Elon Musk.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has reached out to Zoom addressing security concerns. Other security researchers have discovered flaws in Zoom’s software where hackers can gain access to users’ cameras or microphones.

As if it couldn’t get any dicier, the iOS version of the Zoom app is found to send data to Facebook regardless if a user has a Facebook account. As of March 2020, Zoom’s privacy policy made no mention of the data exchange.

ZOOM CEO Eric Yuan announced the company is focusing on solving its privacy and security issues. He’s vowed that over the next 90 days, Zoom will prepare a transparency report showing information related to data requests in addition to diverting all engineering resources to resolve “trust, safety, and privacy issues.”

Considering how many video calls will be made in the near future, and that we don’t know when Zoom will be trustworthy here are some paid and free options. It seems that even your computers aren’t safe during the pandemic.

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Tech News

Will COVID-19 break the internet?

(TECH NEWS) Internet usage is obviously up right now, but what can that do to the infrastructure? Tech companies say it’s the websites and local networks that are slow.

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internet world slow down

With more people staying at home, working from home and doing school from home, the internet is being taxed. You might have noticed your own service running slower or low-quality video streaming. Do we have to worry about the internet crashing? The quick answer is – “It depends.”

Yes, Americans are stressing the internet

The internet is actually pretty resilient when it comes to bandwidth. The network cables that connect people to the internet are built to handle spikes in use. When you stream video, it’s designed to adjust to your connection for the best quality. Even though Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime are reducing the download speeds in the Europe market, there is no reason to suspect that the internet is going to shut down during this crisis.

That being said, Tech Crunch reports that download speeds in the United States are being affected in some markets. New York City, one of the epicenters of the COVID-19 virus had download speeds drop by about 24%. Austin saw a drop of 44%.

Rural markets are struggling. It’s hard to imagine that there are still some places in the United States that don’t have internet access. Other places may get internet, but the service can be unreliable on a good day. With the added stress of people staying home, service can be even spottier.

Traffic might be up on the internet, but the system was built to scale up. Think about how much more data is available today over two decades ago. And consider how many more users there are from even 10 years ago. More Americans are streaming movies and TV shows than ever before.

It’s local networks and websites that may see a problem

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said,
We’re trying to make sure that we can stay in front of this challenge. Right now, this isn’t a massive outbreak in every country around the world, but if it gets there, then we really need to make sure we’re on top of this from an infrastructure perspective and make sure that we can continue to provide the level of service that people need in a time like this.”

Google, Amazon and Facebook have been built for spikes in usage, but even Amazon’s website had a problem in 2018 on Prime Day when their servers couldn’t handle the number of shoppers. Big companies have the infrastructure in place to deal with the kinks of added traffic. There could be some issues that come up, but it’s unlikely to shut down things for too long.

It’s more likely that users will see issues in local websites that aren’t designed for the added traffic. Home networks will be stressed with multiple people trying to manage work and school at the same time. If you’re experiencing problems, check how many devices are trying to access the system within your own home. Go with SD streaming instead of HD.

The Internet was built to withstand a nuclear bomb

One BuzzFeed article believes that the likelihood of the internet breaking down is low. There may be challenges in some areas, especially as more providers lift data caps for its users. But most companies are aware of the problem and are trying to ramp up services to meet demands during this crisis.

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Tech News

Help solve COVID-19 with your home computer

(TECH NEWS) Your home computer can do more than just show you funny cat pictures or get you in trouble with family members, it can help solve COVID-19.

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Folding@Home

Did you know that while you are sitting at home doing your social distancing thing, be that working from home, video games, movies and TV, or making funny videos out of boredom, you can actually be actively helping solve the COVID-19 outbreak?

If you have a computer of almost any quality, or even a specific series of Android phones, you can become part of a huge network of computers that process data from scientists and medical researchers. If the internet is ever going to serve a good purpose, this is it!

Basically you just need to download a small app called Folding@Home, choose the COVID-19 projects and packets of data will be sent to your device and it will process that data in the background of whatever else you use the computer or phone for. It’s free, easy, and practically invisible to your everyday life.

“So what will my computer be processing in the first place?” you may ask, well I’m glad I made you ask. Think of viruses as a robotic manufacturing piece of equipment, you can see what comes up to it, and what leaves it, but what does it actually affect and how? You can’t see its inner mechanical workings or the program running it, this is the information from Folding@Home your computer will help scientists to understand so that they can craft a vaccine.

Now a lot of new technology is helping battle this pandemic, like 3D printed masks and valves, disinfecting robots, along with just keeping the people happy like guaranteeing continued services, and I am not discrediting any of that, they are very important to stop the spread. This on the other hand goes for the jugular as it were, to stop the virus on its own home turf, and costs you almost nothing. (Technically it costs you more power, but hey with a lot of power companies not expecting payment, and not charging late fees and whatnot, maybe they take the brunt of this payment)

If you want to be able to go back into the world you by now miss, this is an easy way to contribute to helping everyone. You can say “I helped solve the COVID-19 crisis!” If doing this makes you feel good or at least interests you, there are dozens of other projects similar to Folding@Home through Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing(BOINC) that you can contribute to such as tracking asteroids, simulating star formation, breaking down data about other viruses and medical needs, even the search for alien radio signals.

In a time when we all need help, take a step forward and BE the help.

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