Google Beacon – persistent project or privacy predicament?

Just another day at the office when an unexpected parcel from Google drops on the door step… the random gift of a Google Beacon!

The organisation is pushing the initiative once more by sending businesses free Beacons to encourage implementation. Unfortunately, in today’s security conscious environment these deliveries are sparking more privacy questions than implementations.

What is Project Beacon?

Project Beacon provides proximity experiences for customers using Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology to send signals to local smart devices. The device continuously broadcasts an identifier which connects to a user’s device. Once your device has interacted with the Beacon it can then transmit its programmed action to the device.

Google Beacon

What are they and why is Google promoting Beacons?

Google is promoting the advantage of improved offline attribution with Google ads. Since the Beacons can be used to pinpoint a physical location, you can track conversion from online advertising to in store visits.

For example, if someone searches for a winter coat locally and visits a Google advertisement for your store but then clicks off before purchasing it wouldn’t have been classed as a conversion. However, with Google Beacon, the device can be tracked into the store as a physical visit.

For the customer, Beacons enable promotions to be broadcasted to receptive devices in the Beacon range to encourage in-store visits. You can read more about the features and benefits of Google Beacon here.

What does this technology mean for privacy?

The concerns around Beacon privacy and security is not just relevant to Google, but other distributors as well, including Apple. Although many may consider these threats minimal, they are still concerns according to Kontakt.io.

Hijacking

As default, most Beacons do not encrypt the data that’s transferred to them from connected devices. Kontakt.io explains a hacker could change the connected Beacon password and change it so that they have full control of the device, putting the entire IoT infrastructure at risk.

Physical tampering

Unsurprisingly, as a Beacon is a physical box, it is also subject to physical attacks. Although this is extreme and unlikely, someone could physically remove the device, take it apart to access its information.

Cloning and Piggybacking

One of the largest threats is from cloning, where an attacker listens to the device and captures Beacon data, copying the information to an external application without consent. After capturing the data, the hacker may clone it, copying the configuration and contents to another Beacon in order to mislead customers. Using a duplicate Beacon opens up an array of possibilities for the hacker, including triggering in-app payments.

As the latest drive continues and technology gets smarter, so do the hackers and the future of project Beacon is still undecided.

virtualDCS Launches Integrated Apple Failover Protection for Veeam

Leeds-based cloud computing specialists, virtualDCS, has launched Veeam Apple Backup – enabling virtualised Apple Macs to be fully integrated into Veeam Cloud Connect, the world-leading backup and disaster recovery platform, for the first time.

Designed for businesses that use virtualised Apple Macs for graphics-heavy video editing and design work – it enables customers to protect and restore mission critical data at will, without interrupting processing, all from a single, easy to use central portal.

The system seamlessly replicates virtual machines to secure, off-site data centres, providing full and partial failover recovery from the same central platform as existing Veeam backups. It removes the need for separate, dedicated systems and inelegant workarounds for the protection of Apple Mac virtual machines, allowing them to be fully integrated with other data and virtual environments for the first time.   

Veeam Apple Backup

Matt Sharpe and Richard May. Photo credit: Luke Broadhurst

Matt Sharpe, virtualDCS engineer and Veeam Certified Architect, explains:

“Up until now, Apple Mac virtual machine users have had to use Apple’s own cloud backups or a separate system for disaster recovery. For businesses running multiple operating systems and environments, this means additional cost, time and management. Our system does away with all of that – providing complete control over all data, effective protection and flexible backup using Veeam Cloud Connect.”

Veeam is the leader in Intelligent Data Management, providing cloud backup, replication and disaster recover solutions to businesses of all sizes, across the world. virtualDCS is a Gold Veeam partner, with a successful track record in bringing Veeam solutions to business clients across the UK.

Richard May, Managing Director at virtualDCS, explains:

“At virtualDCS, we’re committed to adapting and evolving Veeam solutions to deliver real-world benefits to our clients. We were the first UK provider to offer Veeam Cloud Connect, and will continue to pioneer new services to improve integration, enhance business protection and help customers to generate real commercial benefits through the cloud.”

Greg Bailey, Veeam’s Director Channel & Cloud UKI, said:

“Veeams VCSP community is increasingly offering target verticals with high availability data services using Veeam products. This new Apple replication and failover service from virtualDCS is an example of a new service that many end users are requesting”.   

Based in Leeds, UK, virtualDCS provides innovative, quality cloud computing solutions to businesses worldwide. The company works in partnership with clients across a range of industries to deliver cloud solutions that reshape the way companies work for the better. All services are delivered from its own hosted cloud platforms, in line with the latest ISO 27001 information security standards.

Additional information about Veeam Apple Backup from virtualDCS can be found at virtualDCS.co.uk, by calling virtualDCS on 03453 888 327, or by emailing enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk.

Simple data protection tips for SMEs

Heading into 2019, it’s more important than ever before to protect your data. Data protection doesn’t have to be complicated and there are a few basic changes you can implement starting right… now.

Never leave devices unattended or unprotected

If you were away from the office, perhaps working in a coffee shop, you wouldn’t dream of leaving your laptop unattended on the table while you go to the counter. But what about when you’re in the office? 

A surprising number of security breaches are insider attacks, often carried out by trusted sources. Perhaps someone is secretly setting up a competitor business – or a visitor to the office has an interest in accessing your company’s data.

But don’t worry, there are many simple ways to protect your data and to ensure that your private information stays private. One of the most natural solutions, which is so often forgotten, is to lock your computer, following the instructions on your device. Do be sure to create a memorable password though!

Do you always remember to lock your computer before you leave the room? This is the only foolproof way to ensure no prying eyes are scouring your files for valuable information. You should never risk someone else viewing financial data or other sensitive information you’re in the middle of working on.

Patching and software updates

data protection

Criminals and hackers are constantly evolving and creating new ways to access your data – and you can be sure that 2018 won’t be any different.

One of the most effective ways of protecting your business from any vulnerabilities is by ensuring that your devices are always updated to the latest software versions.

Automatic updates are usually available, so make sure your systems are set up to receive them. That way it’s not a task you have to keep thinking about to make sure your protection is current and secure and there’s no danger of this vital function being overlooked when you’re busy concentrating on core business activities.

Be wary of unknown external devices

Never opening attachments on unsolicited emails is now widely seen as common sense – but the same should be said about opening unfamiliar devices. Malware can be spread through infected external hard drives, smartphones and flash drives.

So if you find a discarded flash drive in the car park, don’t be tempted to plug it in, to try and find out whom it belongs to or uncover what secrets it holds! You don’t know what, or who, you could be inviting onto your laptop.

Monitor your file sharing

When you add an attachment to an email, how can you make sure it stays secure? If you give your banking details to your accountant, you certainly wouldn’t want them to store or forward it to a third party without your knowledge.

Technology is continuously developing, and now some Cloud storage solutions (such as Nimbox) offer encrypted file sharing with password-protected download links and the ability to receive a notification when the recipient downloads or amends a file you own.

That way you know exactly who is reading or making any changes to your files.

For more information on how you can protect the data at the heart of your business take a look at our business continuity services or call 03453 888 327.

New employee joins virtualDCS as it celebrates ten years of success

Michelle Guthrie joins the Cloud Computing Experts as a Business Support Assistant, with the appointment acting as another significant step in the organisation’s growth strategy.

Michelle has over ten years’ experience in administration and customer support, and her new role will utilise these skills, where she will be working directly with customers to complete a range of tasks from managing transactions, to sending invoices and answering account based questions.

virtualDCS

The new position has been driven by the company’s fantastic growth and success in delivering quality cloud solutions, such as Veeam Cloud Connect Backup & Replication, with the team capitalising on its reputation as one of the largest Veeam Cloud Connect providers in Europe.

Emma Cunningham-Booth, Business Support Manager at virtualDCS, said: “when we look to recruit any new employee, we look towards our company values as a guideline.

These are to be dependable, innovative, collaborative and easy to work with. Michelle has all of these qualities and more, so she is a fantastic fit for the company, and we are looking forward to seeing the positive impact she has.”

“I was delighted to be offered the chance to work with virtualDCS as I have always been interested in technology, with my academic career focused around it. Not only is the work rewarding, but it is also a great environment to work in, everyone is accommodating, and everyone cares about the customers, and the quality of service provided” said Michelle.

Interested in joining the team?

The award-winning cloud computing experts are also looking to expand their sales department and are currently searching for a new Business Development Manager to join the team.

If you are driven, enthusiastic and passionate about sales, customer service and cloud computing, then you could become part of the virtualDCS family.

For more information or to apply, view our full job description or contact the team on 03453 888 327.

 

Infographic: 6 reasons to backup Microsoft Office 365

Why backup microsoft office 365?

Accidental deletion

Human error is one of the biggest causes of data loss. The recycle bins and version histories in Microsoft Office 365 only provide limited protection from data loss. This can turn a simple recovery into a big problem after Office 365 has geo-redundantly deleted the data forever.
 

Internal security threats

Security threats don’t just come from outside the
organisation, businesses also experience threats from the inside and it’s happening a lot more than you think.
 
Human error and malice will always pose a threat without safeguards, such as offsite backups in place.
 

Retention policy gaps

Microsoft Office 365 has limited backup and retention policies and is not intended to be an all-encompassing backup solution.
 
A Microsoft Office 365 backup solution offers a longer accessible retention policy to protect and store all data in a single location. Simple, fast & reliable.
 

External security threats

Malware, Phishing attacks and viruses, such as Ransomware are on the rise, doing serious damage
to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
 
It’s not just your data at risk, but also your reputation. Regular backups can help prevent the damage from these attacks.

Managing deployments

Organisations adopting Microsoft Office 365 usually need a window of time for transitioning between on-premise Exchange and Office Exchange online.
 
The right backup solution should be able to handle hybrid email deployments and treat Exchange data the same.

Legal requirements

Legal obligations and compliance requirements vary between industries and countries, but you may be tasked with retrieving mailboxes or historic data, well beyond the retention policy of Microsoft Office 365. With virtualDCS and Veeam you can recover files at your fingertips.

Veeam and virtualDCS

We’ve partnered with Veeam to offer a unique solution, putting Microsoft Office 365 backup and recovery at your fingertips.
 
If you already use Veeam, just enable Veeam Cloud Connect from your console and in the event of a data problem on your site you can access the virtualDCS hosted repositories and retrieve your data at any time.
 

Find out more and access your free trial.

 


 
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