The need to easily share data, controlling security, and easily manage all the devices on a network are all common among every one of today’s modern business. The best way to meet all of these needs is a server. What is the purpose of a server, you might ask. “Servers perform functions ranging from file storage and managing printers to offering database services. Large companies often maintain individual servers dedicated to one task, such as email,” – Houston Chronicle. A server is a system that runs software designed to accomplish all of these tasks, and more. Sometimes a server will run programs that all the workstations on a network will log into and access. Simply stated, a server is the hub in a business’ day-to-day operations.
In our last article, The Ping: How Does a Network Work?, we explained that a network “….allows all your devices to communicate and share data/resources with each other, either wirelessly or wired in a secure environment.” A Switch is the core of this environment. Switches allow the computers on your network to talk directly to one another. What if you want your computer to get to the internet or another network? You need a router for this. A router “routes” data from within your network to and from outside networks like the internet. If you’ve never heard of a router you’re not alone. Most small to medium sized businesses do not use plain old routers any more. Instead they use the routers more sophisticated cousin, the Firewall, to do the same job.
From outside the IT field, most people would define a network as a combination of all computer devices. That answer is more of a high-level overview. So, what is a network? Simply stated, a network is an infrastructure or an environment which allows all your devices to communicate and share data/resources with each other, either wirelessly or wired in a secure environment.
With kids back to school there are a lot of things to worry about. Getting them to class in time, making sure they have something to eat, and their homework is in their backpack. Unlike in our youth, kids have technology at their fingertips and are quick to explore the cyber world on their phones, but are they staying safe?
Last week we discussed the consequences of allowing your systems to pass their end of life and continuing to use them. One of the larger issues is the increased potential of malware on your machines. Not only can this affect your desktops, but it can spread to the whole network. With malware attacks not slowing down, is this really a chance you can afford to take?
We’ve talked a lot about what you can do on a smaller scale to keep your home and personal IoT (Internet of Things) devices secure, but what about your home network? While it might not seem like it, your home has its own network infrastructure. Most people assume that if their network is up and running and they can connect to the internet, then everything is okay. Like your car, assuming that it is running fine is not the best way to handle it. You need to maintain your network and check up on it regularly. So you are probably asking, what exactly does that entail?
It is probably safe to say that the majority of us carry around some type of smart device. Whether it is an iPhone, Galaxy, Pixel, Note, or Jitterbug, these devices play a huge role in our daily lives. We use these “phones” more for interacting with the internet than to talk, on the phone, to real live people. We routinely access almost all of our personal information including email, social media, and even confidential information such as banking or business from them. Not to mention our phones often act as the “remote control” that gives us the ability to control the smart devices in our IoT (Internet of Things) network (i.e. lightbulbs, garage doors, security systems, etc.). What’s true is that most of us have setup a screen unlock code or pattern to access our devices, apps, and data in an effort to secure our information. We also rarely let it out of our sight in order to feel like the information is safe, but that’s really not the case.
With the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life a personal assistant surely would come in handy, right? While this may not be fiscally responsible, maybe a voice assistant would be. In our last article, The Ping: Voice Assistants, we discussed how a voice assistant can manage a lot of your needs. Things such as the weather for the day, the traffic to work and your grocery list. However, sometimes just managing your house is what you need the most help with. Are you aware that they can do that too and what they are really managing?
We have all seen those commercials with an actor speaking to a voice assistant and making jokes. They seem pretty catchy and entertaining and elude to ultimately resolving all of their day-to-day issues. While that seems like it would be life changing, do we really know how these devices work? What can they do?
How Does Email Work?
Creating and sending an email may seem like a magical process that happens all on its own, but it’s actually a little more complicated than that. So how does it work? To get an email to your intended recipient, you send an email from your server to their server via the internet. This is done using SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). Seems simple, right? It doesn’t stop there. In order to ensure the safety of that email’s contents, your everyday applications use TLS (Transport Layer Security) to send that email securely across the network.