Blake Dowling: Technology buzzwords and catch phrases — what does it all mean?

The world of Information Technology throws buzzwords and catch phrases around like Tom Cruise does liquor bottles in the movie “Cocktail.” How in the world was that film a success by the way? Oh man, the ‘80s.

Anyway, in 2015 we’ve heard about The Cloud, Big Data, Corporate Vulnerability, Mobile, Smart, the Internet of Things, Scalable, Wearables, Software as a Service, Seamless, Secure, Gamification, Start-up, Trusted Adviser, and many others over and over.

What does all this mean to you and your business? Nothing or Everything?

We are all vulnerable on some level. If you have an employee who responds to a Boss Phishing email or a staff member who clicks on a fake UPS email and exposes your network to the Crypto Locker virus, you can bet you are vulnerable.

If you recall my columns this year, both threats are extremely ruthless, but also easily avoidable. One of our staff simply advises users to “stop clicking.”

If you don’t know who’s sending you an email, don’t open it.

If they ask for money, verify it.

If you don’t do business with a vendor and they send you an email to verify account info, delete it.

Scammers are working night and day to think of new ways to defraud you so be on the look-out constantly.

Also, take it a step further and get training. We brought the Florida Department of Law Enforcement – Cyber Security division into our office this year to give a two-hour training of do’s and don’ts while on line. If you want their info, shoot me an email and I’ll gladly share it with you.

Use technology to protect you, in order to be Smart, Mobile, Secure, and in the cloud etc.

Deploy technical solutions for your firm that make sense. Don’t go to the cloud just to say you did, this is not high-school we don’t need to do things to be “cool.” But on the flip side, if you are weighing the decision to take your email to the cloud versus buying a new server to host it, take it to the cloud, go subscription-based and save your firm some money.

We help organizations migrate to cloud solutions every day. The cloud, simply defined, is a secure server somewhere that you access via the Internet. Someone else manages it, and that’s a plus.

If you have a wireless set up in your office, make sure it has a private password protected area and a public area for guests. You don’t want anyone visiting your office looking at your network. Criminals troll for unsecured networks to find personal information, credit cards, Social Security numbers and other private particulars.

Don’t forget that national chain Target was hacked through its remotely accessible air conditioning software. The software ran the temperature control systems and integrated with their technical infrastructure. Its IT department could have locked it down, it didn’t. Target was exposed to millions of dollars of liability and its reputation sank like Charlie Sheen’s.

If you don’t have a solid on-site and cloud back-up of your entire infrastructure’ you should, and the same goes for anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall, and password protocol for your staff. Those are your defense mechanisms to stay “scalable,” “secure,” “seamless,” “smart,” and “mobile.”

“Leverage all solutions,” “the internet of things,” “the cloud,” and “software as a service” to make sure you are not “vulnerable,” but prepared for greatness while having fun (“gamification”: seeking to turn work into a game to make it more fun).

So put on your “wearables” while headed to your “startup” to access your “Big Data.” Consult your “trusted adviser” for specifics and keep using those buzzwords.

Blake Dowling is chief business development officer for Aegis Business Technologies in Tallahassee, Florida. His technology column is published monthly and he can be reached at [email protected]. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

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