Deflating Misconceptions Businesses Have for Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has taken the business world by storm, but despite this, some entrepreneurs aren’t so convinced that migrating their data to the cloud is a good idea. These business owners usually make this decision based off of misconceptions surrounding the cloud, which might be preventing them from making full use of it. Here are two of the most common misconceptions surrounding the cloud.

Business Owners Feel the Cloud Lacks Control
Moving your business’s data to a third-party cloud storage service is certainly a big step for your company with its fair share of risk versus reward. Some business owners might feel as if the cloud takes away their control over their own data and infrastructure, which isn’t necessarily true. Granted, this concern is understandable, especially since almost all organizations deal with sensitive information like financial reports, customer and tax records, etc.

The main reason businesses see cloud computing and think of a lack of control is due to the lack of features available to the primary cloud service contenders, like Google Apps and Dropbox. The reasoning behind this is that these services weren’t designed for the enterprise-level needs of the business world, and were instead designed to be streamlined for the average user. Considering that the average consumer isn’t going to need access to advanced security and control settings, these applications tend to work just fine for the ordinary user.

However, for a business owner, you likely want something with a bit more power. There are several enterprise-level solutions available to the business owner seeking to take advantage of cloud computing, and Michell Consulting Group (MCG) can help you integrate the best cloud solution into your infrastructure. Better yet, most are scalable, so you’ll get exactly what you need for your business. Additionally, you can know that only authorized individuals will have access to your confidential data in the cloud, and you can augment this with advanced reporting and monitoring capabilities.

Business Owners Are Wary of Data Breaches
Another reason why the business owner might avoid cloud computing is that they are nervous that they’ll be the next data breach to make headlines across the country. Last year’s cloud security breaches, including the Dropbox issue, Heartbleed bug, and iCloud hack, don’t exactly foster faith in the security of the public cloud. However, what a lot of businesses don’t understand is that there’s always a risk that hackers will compromise your data, whether it’s hosted on your in-house network or in the cloud.

If you opt for an enterprise-level cloud solution, you won’t have to deal with managing this risk yourself. MCG takes care of the hard work, which saves you time, energy, and resources which are better spent elsewhere. Your data security is our primary concern, and it’s our job to deliver quality results to our clients. Due to the fact that an in-house IT staff can be stretched thin quickly due to their day-to-day responsibilities, they don’t have time for mundane routine tasks like maintaining cloud security. Let us lighten their load so your IT team can focus on more important technology initiatives.

Not only can MCG monitor and maintain your cloud data, but we can also back it up with our Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution. You can know that in the event of a data breach or a natural disaster, your data can be recovered quickly and efficiently, with minimal downtime.

If you have questions concerning cloud computing for your business, our professional tech support team would be happy to answer them. Give us a call at 305.592.5433 ext.2601 to learn more about how to integrate cloud services into your IT infrastructure.

Thursday’s Tip: 4 Android Device Lock Settings

The busy business owner keeps sensitive work-related information stored on their mobile device. If he lost the device, it could have disastrous results, especially if the device were to fall into the hands of an experienced hacker or competitor. Just in case, it’s a best practice to always lock your mobile devices. How do you choose the Android lock feature which is right for your unique needs?

The truth is, there are several ways to lock down your device. Due to these options, choosing to not lock your device seems rather silly, yet some people view unlocking a phone every time it’s used to be a hassle. It might take a few extra steps whenever you need to use your phone, but in today’s harsh reality, you’re turning your device into a security hazard by not locking it. Once you get into the habit of unlocking your phone, before you know it, you’ll be performing the unlock feature so frequently that it will become habitual.

The first step toward locking your Android device is to enable the lock screen. For example, on Samsung’s Galaxy S5, you can access these features by going to Settings > Lock Screen > Screen Lock. You’ll be given several screen lock settings to choose from, depending on what device you are using. We’ll cover four of them: Pattern, PIN, Password, and Fingerprint.

Lockscreen1For today’s tip we tell you how to keep your Android correspondence safe.

As you can see, there are plenty of settings. Any of them are viable, but depending on your security needs and lifestyle, some might provide a better solution than others. Besides, even a simple lock feature is better than no lock feature, right? Here are your choices for an Android lock screen, in order of security.

One of the more simple ways you can lock your device is by using a pattern-unlock. This particular method consists of swiping the screen a couple of times to draw a pattern on a three-by-three grid. The user must then replicate the pattern in order to gain access the the device.


This might seem like a solid way to keep your device secure, but it’s easy to plug in an overly simplistic pattern like a couple of straight lines. Spice it up a little and make a pattern that’s difficult to guess. You want to make it as difficult to access as possible, or else a thief could accidentally find the combination in a few simple strokes.

You’re already familiar with Personal Identification Numbers, so you probably already know how they work. You choose a string of numbers which are used as a pass code to unlock the device when you need to use it.


Of course, if you use a simple PIN that’s easy to guess (like 1,2,3,4), you might as well not even have a lock on your phone. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use a longer PIN with lots of different numbers for maximum security.

Just like any desktop or laptop PC, you can use a password to keep your device locked. While a password is much more secure than a PIN or a pattern lock screen, it can be the most time-consuming lock for your device.


When using a password for your Android device, you want to make sure you take into account the same variables that you would for your desktop PC. Use a variety of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols, in order to maximize security.

Fingerprint Scanner
Some new devices, like the Galaxy S5, come equipped with a fingerprint scanner. This is perhaps the most secure way of locking your device. Unless the thief can somehow replicate your fingerprint, they won’t be able to get in. To use this feature, you need to register your fingerprint to the device.


To do this, swipe your finger along the Home button eight times. This lets the device get a good feel for your print. You can then set up an alternative password in the event that your device can’t recognize your fingerprint. There’s also an option on the lock screen for an emergency call, in case you absolutely need to use your phone in a pinch.

Locking your device’s screen might keep petty thieves and crooks out of your device, but in the hands of a seasoned hacker, it’s child’s play. They can potentially bypass the lock screen entirely, or wipe the device’s data completely. If you want a heavy-duty mobile device security management solution that can prevent data loss in the face of disaster, give Michell Consulting Group a call at 305.592.5433 ext.2601.

3 Desirable Network Security Factors for Your Business

There are several factors at work when scoping out your current network security situation. According to a study from 1&1, 67 percent of people confirmed that someone they know has had information stolen from them while online, which means that your business could be next. In order to remain one of the few unaffected by security breaches, consider these three network security features for your business.

Proactive Threat Detection and Management
If your network administrator isn’t scanning your system for issues or security problems, your network could be at serious risk. Security scans are part of keeping your online presence healthy, and are imperative for keeping threats an arms-length away from your system. Even while taking the maximum security precautions, threats can sneak into your system and cause damage. When this occurs, it isn’t your fault; but it’s important to act before it’s too late.

With Michell Consulting Group (MCG)’s Unified Threat Management device, your network can be protected from the many threats lurking on the Internet. Our professional and trusted IT technicians can monitor and maintain your business’s network, and detect malicious activity before it can cause irreparable damage. Additionally, we can update your software when it requires a new patch or license renewal, letting you give your IT a “hands-off” approach.

Quality Data Backup and Restoration
While the UTM is a comprehensive security solution designed to help your business avoid problems, it’s not a perfect solution. Hackers are constantly developing ways to take advantage of minor vulnerabilities, and even with maximum security your business could lose everything it’s worked so hard to achieve. When the worst happens (like the recent Sony hacks, which exposed a ton of confidential data), it’s important to have some sort of backup and recovery solution on hand. This is especially important if your business wants to keep uptime at an all-time high and limit the loss of data.

MCG offers a Backup and Disaster Recovery solution designed to keep data loss and downtime to a minimum. You can know that, be it natural disaster or hacking attack, you’ll be able to restore your data to the point right before the disaster struck. The BDR solution includes a device which acts as the server in the event of unexpected downtime, allowing you to keep operations moving.

Maximum Uptime and Minimal Downtime
Redundancy is a term often used when discussing data storage in the business world. What this means is backing up your server’s data on another identical server. This is one way MCG’s solutions help your business stay afloat in the event of an outage. Additionally, this means that uptime is practically guaranteed, and maintenance can be done after-hours without causing expensive downtime.

MCG understands how important the latest technology is for your business. We can arm your company with cloud-based servers which come with a variety of benefits. These include reduced costs on maintenance, electricity, and general upkeep costs. With fewer operating expenses, your assets can be allocated toward more lucrative venues.

By paying attention to these three network security aspects, you’ll be sure to make the right choices concerning your business’s data security. MCG’s professional IT technicians can provide further consultation and support for your business. Just give us a call at 305.592.5433 ext.2601 to learn more.

Tip of the Week: Try an Ergonomic Workstation Setup

Sometimes you feel exhausted when you get out of work, but you have no idea why. It might be because you’re straining your eyes too much by staring at the computer screen. Or, maybe it’s your back that’s killing you, and even moving slightly is a pain. Perhaps it’s carpal tunnel ravaging the nerves in your wrist. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s safe to say that you could use a workstation overhaul.

Before we delve into the details, here’s a basic overview of how you should be sitting at your desk:

ergo desk

By following these pointers, you’ll be able to lead a healthier and overall more comfortable life while in the office. This, in turn, will increase your productivity levels, allowing you to get more done in the same amount of time. CNet suggests a variety of ways to revamp and improve your workstation ergonomics.

Sit Down, and Take a Load Off Your Feet
You won’t know how to deliver the optimal workstation experience until you find out what your most comfortable sitting position is. Sit down in your chair and relax. You can lean back a bit and even close your eyes (just don’t fall asleep). When your shoulders relax and your hands fall to your lap, you’ll know you hit the sweet spot. Sweet, sweet comfort. Believe it or not, you can work like this all day if you want to.

Keyboard and Mouse Positioning
Begin by picturing your ideal workstation setup in your head. Try sitting down just like you were in the previous step, then attempt to use your keyboard or mouse. Your keyboard shouldn’t be more than two inches above the thighs, and should allow your elbows to fall to your sides during use. If your current desk doesn’t allow for this, you may need a keyboard tray. This minor inconvenience lets you clear off your desk even more by getting all of that clutter off of it.

By the time you’re done getting the right position down, you should notice that your hands are about a shoulders-width apart, and parallel to your thighs. Afterward, it’s all about getting that wrist position down. Using a wrist rest can lead to poor blood circulation and even pinched nerves, resulting in carpal tunnel. To avoid this, arch your wrists slightly, and at all costs avoid laying them flat against the surface. It’s safe to ignore the stands on the bottom of your keyboard, as they don’t offer anything that a better posture doesn’t.

Manage Your Monitors
The next step toward an ergonomic workstation is optimizing your monitor arrangement. When you extend your arm fully, you should only be able to graze the monitor with the tips of your fingers. If you use multiple monitors, they should be set side-by-side at a sight angle. When you pan your arm in an arc, your middle finger should barely graze each screen. In terms of height, your browser search bar should be around eye-level, and you can minimize glare by tilting your screens downward slightly.

Your Workplace Throne
The last part of organizing your ergonomic workspace is choosing whether to get rid of your old chair or keep the one you have. If it’s not offering proper lower back support, you might want to consider an upgrade. However, if it has proper lumbar support, you should be fine. Make sure there’s a bit of space between the back of your legs and the seat of your chair. If your feet are still hanging after your adjustments, pick up a nice comfy footrest to prevent jello-foot syndrome (when your feet go to sleep).

Naturally, people work best under the most comfortable conditions. If discomfort is distracting you or your employees, it can be preventing them from reaching the maximum level of productivity. Do you have any favorite methods to increase comfortability in the workplace? Let us know in the comments.

Will You Make Microsoft’s Spartan Your Default Web-browsing Warrior?

In addition to Microsoft’s upcoming new operating system, Windows 10, the software company has released that there is a new web browser in production. This new browser, code-named “Spartan,” is expected to have similar functionality to Mozilla’s Firefox and Google Chrome, and will be released alongside Windows 10.

In Microsoft’s golden days of yore, its current web browser, Internet Explorer, was an unstoppable juggernaut, holding over 90 percent of the browser market share at one time. Now, the age-old web browser has fallen from grace, and younger, more-robust have overtaken it in terms of overall usage. Here are some recent browser usage statistics provided by W3Schools from 2014:

  • Google Chrome: 60.1 percent.
  • Mozilla Firefox: 23.4 percent.
  • Internet Explorer: 9.8 percent.
  • Apple Safari: 3.7 percent.
  • Opera: 1.6 percent.

recycleAdditionally, Internet Explorer isn’t compatible outside the Windows Phone operating system. This is an issue, especially considering that Android and iOS make up such a significant portion of the market share (47.06 percent and 43.86 percent, respectively). The fact that Internet Explorer isn’t being considered by consumers wanting a more versatile mobile web browser, plus IE’s dwindling desktop usage, has forced Microsoft to reconsider their browser strategy.

As ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reports, Spartan is a versatile web browser which will operate in a similar manner to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Additionally, Foley’s sources (which remain anonymous) have informed her that Spartan is a completely separate browser from Internet Explorer, and that it will take advantage of extensions just like Chrome and Firefox. This can potentially add a whole new level to the web-browsing experience for the end user.


According to the preliminary details released about Windows 10, it will be available on several different devices. Therefore, it’s fairly likely that Spartan will be available on a number of different devices and desktops. There are also rumors floating around that Spartan will be an app available through the Windows Store, allowing for faster updates from Microsoft. This means that it will likely be downloadable on any device running Windows 10, including phones, tablets, and desktops.

Microsoft’s recent decisions have been in favor of expanding its once-exclusive software to other operating systems and devices, so Spartan working on other operating systems doesn’t sound so farfetched. For example, Microsoft made a version of Office available for Apple’s iPad just last March, and they later released versions of the apps for the iPhone. It’s quite possible that Spartan and Windows 10 will be the fresh start that Microsoft so desperately needs.

Other details have also been leaked concerning the new web browser. As previously reported, Spartan will not be killing Internet Explorer; however, Spartan might replace the metro-style Internet Explorer used by the Windows 8 operating system. Users will be able to split their work and personal tabs into groups. Foley explains how this might work:

Spartan may allow users to open multiple sites in grouped tabs together, which would allow users to do things like compare prices of a new phone without having to switch between tabs, my source said.

Web developers will also be happy to hear that Spartan is still utilizing Trident, the same engine which Internet Explorer is built upon. This helps considerably with site compatibility, and will allow Spartan to display websites the same way Internet Explorer would, if the site was designed to work in an older version.

More information concerning both Windows 10 and Spartan will be revealed at the Windows 10 preview event in Redmond, Washington on January 21st. What are your thoughts on Spartan and Windows 10? What kind of features are you looking forward to see in the new web browser? Let us know in the comments.