Latest blog entries | West Virginia | Netranom https://www.netranom.com/blog Thu, 19 Jul 2018 11:00:12 -0400 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Facebook Makes Two-Factor Authentication Easier https://www.netranom.com/blog/facebook-makes-two-factor-authentication-easier https://www.netranom.com/blog/facebook-makes-two-factor-authentication-easier

If you use Facebook, you likely have a lot of personal information stored there. If you use it for your business, then your professional reputation also partially relies on what you put into the social network. If you aren’t protecting your Facebook account, you could be at risk for identity theft or worse. That’s why using two-factor authentication on your social media accounts is becoming more important than ever.

Facebook has had two-factor authentication available for a long time, but before recent changes, it required the user to provide a phone number. This made a lot of people not want to use the system. Moreover, the update comes months after Facebook admitted that they had a bug in their previous two-factor system, that was sending users who set up the security protocol SMS notifications. Users were getting their Facebook notifications from 362-65, the 2FA number they used. If a user replied, it would be posted to their profile page.

Now the social media giant will accept apps like Google Authenticator and Duo Security, and has refined the setup process making it much simpler for the average user to set up. This change comes at a great time, as SMS has been at the center of a good number of two-factor hacks. In other words, try to avoid using text messages for your two-factor authentication. Sure, it’s better than not having the additional layer of security, but a lot of recent cases have found that it’s not impossible for hackers to intercept your 2fa codes and use them to gain access to your accounts.

To set up 2FA for Facebook, follow these instructions:

  • Go to Settings
  • Click on “Security and Login”
  • Navigate to “Use two-factor authentication”
  • Select type of account you want to use to authenticate.

Two-factor authentication sets up an extra layer of security to protect your sensitive information against infiltration and theft. If you would like to learn more about two-factor authentication for your business, call Netranom today at (304) 562-4700.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) How To Wed, 18 Jul 2018 08:30:40 -0400
How To Get Rid of Those Pesky Extra Cables https://www.netranom.com/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-those-pesky-extra-cables https://www.netranom.com/blog/how-to-get-rid-of-those-pesky-extra-cables

Do you have cords, wires, and adapters just sitting in a cupboard or drawer, with no purpose other than taking up space? Of course you do. The average person will replace old or broken devices, and find the new devices aren’t compatible with the old cables, leaving them stuffed in a junk drawer or in a random box that they’ve kept “just in case.” Every home or business has the same scenario going on: lots of wires and cables left over from all the e-waste they have discarded over the years. If you want to get rid of your unwanted cables, here are a couple of tips on how to do so properly.

Inventory
The first thing you’ll want to do is take inventory of all of the cables, wires, and adapters you have to ensure that you aren’t going to toss something that will have value to you. The notion you had when you didn’t throw them out earlier could be the right one. For chargers and other adapters, you may want to keep some around that still have use. Smartphone chargers with USB Type-A and Type-C cords can be of use if you have guests since most smartphone adapters will work to charge other devices in common areas.

Discarding Unwanted Cables
Once you’ve assessed the practical usability of the cords, wires, and adapters you’ve collected, and removed the ones that have some function, contact the people around you to see if they could use them. Some people would love an extra charger to put in their gym or computer bag, or just to have around the house. This could go a long way toward getting rid of a majority of your older cables.

As for those cables, wires, and adapters that no one wants, and have no practical use for you, you should recycle them. At Netranom, we recycle all types of hardware and connectors. If you can’t make it to us, and would like to know where the closest recycling center to you is, you can call 1-800-Recycling or visit the National Center for Electronics Recycling website.

If you are looking at recycling your technology, give us a call at (304) 562-4700 and one of our technicians can help you get your old technology go where it needs to go.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Best Practices Mon, 16 Jul 2018 08:30:48 -0400
Understanding the Importance of .Net Framework https://www.netranom.com/blog/understanding-the-importance-of-net-framework https://www.netranom.com/blog/understanding-the-importance-of-net-framework

If you’re a habitual user of the Microsoft Windows operating system, there’s a relatively good chance that you’ve been prompted to install something called “.NET framework.” Pronounced “dot-net,” this framework is most commonly used for Windows. In this blog, we’ll go over what a software framework is and is for, as well as examine what makes .NET stand out.

What a Software Framework Is
In software programming, it is much easier to build code based on something that is already written than it is to write something from scratch. A framework is a collected abstraction of editable code that can be used to make software for a specific application. A framework is essentially a collection of APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces.

Wait, Abstraction?
An abstraction can be loosely defined as the process of removing pieces and elements of something to condense it into its most basic version. When applied to software, an abstraction provides developers with a kind of blank canvas to work on.

.NET Framework
The .NET framework makes a library (called the Framework Class Library, or FCL) available to developers to utilize. The FCL holds tens of thousands of shared code examples, all ready to be used to build software much more easily. Another benefit of .NET framework software is that it results in a standardization between software's built through .NET.

.NET also provides a runtime environment for applications created using it, allowing developers to virtually test their creations. While development platforms frequently feature runtime environments, .NET’s is different in that its Common Language Runtime (CLR) environment offers developers increased functionality. In addition to providing a sandbox environment to test applications, developers are also able to create software with confidence in its security, manage memory and processor threads, and handle program exceptions.

These features add quite a bit of benefit to software titles created through the .NET framework, especially where portability is concerned. Allowing freedom to developers in choosing a programming language to base their applications on, including those that aren’t usually run on hardware systems, the CLR makes it so that code can be run on any hardware system, as long as the .NET framework is also installed. This has the added benefit of allowing a developer within an organization to code in whatever language they prefer. This ability to code comfortably provides no small benefit to an organization, as developers are more able to create a superior software, often for a reduced cost than otherwise.

Delivering .NET
Like any other computing platform, there have been multiple versions of .NET framework, the newest being made backward-compatible. While this allowed older software to be changed, other titles simply wouldn’t function. This created no small problems for both independent developers and organizations. As a result, older Windows operating systems will have numerous versions of .NET framework installed.

If you have a newer system that doesn’t have the framework installed on it, you can anticipate that it will show up soon enough. There are three ways that it can be introduced to your system:

  1. It is included with Windows OS.
  2. An application requires a version of .NET to run and prompts the user to install it.
  3. A piece of software directs the user to a website to download a compatible version of the framework.

Fortunately, even software that was designed on past versions of .NET will continue to work with the Windows 10 version.

Software development is huge, which only makes sense when you consider how much of our day-to-day life now relies on software of some kind. To learn more about the technology that you use every day, reach out to us at (304) 562-4700, or keep checking back here on our blog.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Fri, 13 Jul 2018 08:30:07 -0400
Tech Term: Protocol https://www.netranom.com/blog/tech-term-protocol https://www.netranom.com/blog/tech-term-protocol

Computers use quite a lot of different types of protocol to function. In particular, the Internet takes advantage of protocol to a great degree. You might recognize terms like Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, File Transfer Protocol, Internet Message Protocol, and Post Office Protocol. But what exactly is protocol, and why is it important?

Basically, it’s a Rule
While you’re reading this blog, turn your glance upward to the address bar. You’ll see the website’s name and the world wide web (www) at the front, but before all of that, you’ll see the protocol in the form of letters with a colon and backslashes. This indicates the way that the information you’re viewing on your webpage was sent to your device.

The two most notable website protocols to consider are HTTP and HTTPS. These stand for Hypertext Transfer Protocol and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, respectively. Both of these are used to show that a hypertext page was used to transmit the information from its source to your web browser. As you might have guessed, however, HTTPS has an additional layer of security that keeps prying eyes away from seeing the data as it’s in transit.

Why Do We Use Protocols?
To understand how protocol works, we’ll use the example of two children; one of them throws a baseball, while the other is prepared to catch a frisbee. Of course, the two are incredibly different things, which complicates the actual act of catching it. The situation is quite similar for a computer. If a device is only preparing to receive 8-bit packets whereas the data sent is in 16-bit packets, things aren’t going to work according to plan.

By thinking about it in this sense, it’s easy to see that the protocol is designed to give the device an idea of the data it’s about to receive so that it can be both sent and retrieved successfully.

How Important is Protocol for the Average User?
If you’re not the one responsible for programming or network administration within your organization, then it’s likely that you won’t need to know much about protocol. However, it doesn’t hurt to remember that you should only enter data into a web form (particularly sensitive information) if the device is using a secure connection through HTTPS. For other questions or concerns you might have about protocol, be sure to reach out to us at (304) 562-4700.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Wed, 11 Jul 2018 08:30:06 -0400
Some Providers are Offering Blockchain as a Service https://www.netranom.com/blog/some-providers-are-offering-blockchain-as-a-service https://www.netranom.com/blog/some-providers-are-offering-blockchain-as-a-service

There’s a big risk associated with implementing any new technology solution for your organization. For one, it’s difficult to know how a specific solution will run without first implementing it. This leads many businesses to avoid implementing a new solution for fear that it won’t be worth the investment. On the other hand, if they fail to implement a new solution, they could potentially lose out on valuable new tools they could use to succeed. How can you get around this issue?

One of the most relevant examples is blockchain technology. There are quite a number of great uses for the blockchain in a modern business environment, but the most practical among these might warrant at least a little bit of hesitation on the business owner’s side of things.

It makes sense that a lot of organizations might be skeptical about implementing blockchain without taking a closer look at the numbers. Blockchain is still new enough that there will be second thoughts before any organization implements it. According to the 2018 CIO Survey by Gartner, only one percent of CIOs have adopted blockchain technology for business purposes, whereas about eight percent of them have plans to do so in the future. Similarly, 77 percent say that there is no interest whatsoever in implementing blockchain technology.

Those who do plan on adopting blockchain technology soon have found that it will likely not be a simple task. 13 percent of organizations with plans to do so say that in order to implement blockchain technology, they would have to make significant changes to their IT department, whereas 14 percent believe that a culture shift is necessary to accommodate this. 18 percent also found that it was difficult to find staff who were capable of working with blockchain technology, and 23 percent found that blockchain demanded the newest skill development out of any other new technology solution they could implement.

Some service providers have taken advantage of this deficit in use by offering Blockchain as a Service. This type of business model actually saves organizations the pain of adopting blockchain technology by making it so your employees don’t have to have specific blockchain-related skills in order to take advantage of it. Since there is little to no investment in blockchain involved on your end, you can take full advantage of services like these through providers like Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and more.

There are considerable challenges for this approach, but it’s a much more attractive option for organizations that have limited budgets or workforces. What this accomplishes is that you can take advantage of blockchain without making any huge investment. Of course, this also means that there will be issues related to compliance and regulation to deal with, but it’s easier to think about these when you know you have a solid way of implementing and affording the service in the first place.

How would your business utilize Blockchain as a Service? Let us know in the comments.

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aanderson@netranom.com (Aaron Anderson) Netranom Blog Mon, 09 Jul 2018 08:30:31 -0400