11 30 22

What Search Engine is Truly the Best, Part 2

What are the major differences with the search engines, and which search engine should you use? Let’s go over Bing, Duck Duck Go, and Qwant.

Last time, we started our discussion on the best search engines by talking about the behemoth, Google. While Google is, by far, the most popular and commonly used, and arguably the most accurate search engine, it doesn’t mean it’s always the right search engine to use. Let’s talk about some other alternatives and see where they might fit in.

Microsoft Bing – Kind of the Same, but Different

Bing gets the silver medal for being the world’s second most popular general search engine. Even so, it only gets about 3.5 percent of the world’s internet searches.


Bing is also the most similar to Google, at least as far as how it works under the hood. It’s focus is on providing accuracy and uses anonymous information from you and your search history to curate the results.


Whereas Google takes a very minimalistic approach to search, Bing usually has a visual treat for its users everyday. Each day, Bing decorates the background of its search page with a photograph with a little snippet of information about the photo. It might be some event happening somewhere in the world, a rare animal from a rainforest, a historical photo, a beautiful skyline, or literally anything else. No, it’s probably not what you were looking for, but it is kind of neat.


But on top of that, Bing also throws curated headlines, local weather, and sponsored posts right at you too. You’ll either love it, hate it, or have no feelings about it. Either way, the first impression you’ll have with Bing is that it’s busier, even before you do a search.


Something we didn’t mention last time when talking about Google—Google uses a mobile-first approach. That means sites that load well on mobile devices tend to get prioritized on Google. If your website is old and doesn’t scale properly for smartphones and tablets, you’ve probably noticed a drop in traffic over the last several years—this is why.


Bing doesn’t really care about this, but it also indexes a much smaller number of pages than Google, so the results are going to be pretty different. If you are looking for images or videos, Bing also has more options for filtering and displaying information, so it slightly outperforms Google there.


The user experience with Bing isn’t horrible, it’s just different. If you are used to using Google everyday, the transition to Bing will just feel a little strange, but it’s a decent alternative, and making the switch for a week or two is a fun experiment. We’d love to hear what you settle on.

Duck Duck Go – The Private Search Engine

Most popular search engines collect user data to curate search results. For instance, Google uses it to improve the results it gives you. Google also uses that data to help advertisers make informed decisions.


First and foremost, this data collection probably isn’t going to hurt you. It’s definitely a little weird to think about, but in the long run, it’s not necessarily tied to you as a human being. Let’s put it this way:


Let’s say, in the course of a week, three thousand people do a search for “soda,” two thousand people do a search for “pop” and a thousand people do a search for “coke.” Of those six thousand people, you are somewhere in there, looking for a soft drink. Google gathers this level of data to tell advertisers what words people use to look for certain types of products. Those advertisers can then make the decision on how they word their ads and what terms they pay money for. The data is, more or less, anonymous. Not every single company works this way (Facebook and Zoom have had data privacy scandals involving personally identifiable information), but that’s generally the gist of how this information gets used.


It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, however, and some people have just decided to take more steps to be as anonymous as possible online, and Duck Duck Go is a good search engine for those who don’t want Google to know what they are looking for.


Duck Duck Go will give you totally different results from Google and Bing, but it doesn’t use any information about you, anonymous or otherwise. It also does little to warn you when something is fraudulent. Don’t get us wrong, you can run into scams, malware, and other threats from Google results, but Duck Duck Go has fewer layers of protection.


It also means the results aren’t going to be as localized. Looking for a nearby restaurant will only base your location on the location of your Internet Service Provider, so it might not be as accurate.


All that said, Duck Duck Go is a relatively safe option, and if you are uncomfortable with Google knowing what you search for and using that to curate your results, it’s a pretty solid solution.


An alternative to Duck Duck Go that follows a similar privacy philosophy is Qwant, a French search engine that doesn’t collect user data.

Which Search Engine Is Right For You?

It’s pretty unlikely that another search engine is going to topple the big G, but if you are more concerned about your online privacy, Duck Duck Go or Qwant are pretty good solutions. As with anything, you should always be mindful of what information you are giving up, and be careful what you click on. Even if the search engines themselves are safe, the websites they point to might not always be secure.




11 28 22

What Search Engine is Truly the Best, Part 1

What are the major differences with the search engines, and which search engine should you use? First, let’s talk about the world’s most popular search engine by far, Google.

Even if you lived under a rock, you’ve probably done a Google search or two. There are, in fact, other search engines, each with their own pros and cons. We’re going to compare some of the most popular search engines and talk about what makes them different.

Google is By Far the Most Popular Search Engine on the Planet

At the time of writing this, it’s calculated that every single second, a search is performed on Google 99,000 times. That adds up to 8.5 billion searches every day. It’s predicted that more than 92 percent of all internet searches are done on Google, but it’s possible that number is even higher.


Either way, people all over the world are more likely to say “I’ll just Google it” instead of “I’ll just search the web.”


You don’t hear anybody say “We’ll let me just Bing that,” and use Google’s closest search engine competitor, which handles about 3.5 percent of all searches, worldwide.

So what makes Google so special?



Google is extremely good at giving you accurate results based on what you are looking for.


Google uses hundreds of different signals to determine what should and shouldn’t come up when you search for something, and it does it all within half a second or so, while sifting through over 30 trillion web pages to give you the best results possible.


Is it perfect? Of course not.


Can Google be tricked? Eh, sometimes. People are always trying to get their websites to rank for certain terms. This process is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is a legitimate process for businesses trying to compete against their competitors on the search engines, but it can lead to bad, misleading, or undesirable results showing up on the search results page. That being said, Google is good about making it very difficult to manipulate your ranking without actually putting in a lot of hard work, so it’s less likely that inaccurate results will show up compared to the other search engines.


Still, Google tends to get you to the best result, and it gets you there the fastest.


Google Searches are Custom-Tailored to You

Here’s the other really cool thing about Google. Everyone’s search experience is a little bit unique to them. Google takes a lot of context into consideration, including your location, your past search history, the device you are on, and other information that Google knows about you, and provides curated results.


This means when you are traveling, as long as the device you are using knows its location and is letting Google know this info, you can search for a pizza place and get localized results. Google takes a ton of data points into consideration for every single query.


This isn’t always a good thing though.


Studies have been done in the past that show that Google’s search engine can sometimes contribute to a filter bubble. While this is much more common on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the same can apply in some ways to Google searches.


Think of it like this. If you surround yourself with people who, for instance, truly believe that the moon is made out of cheese, you might start to see more and more information about the cheese moon than you did before. Your newfound cheese-moon friends will share news articles about how the moon is cheese. They will share memes and come up with silly nicknames for cheese-moon non-believers (like Non-Brie-lievers). They will get into fights on social media about whether the moon is more like Mozzarella or more like Gorgonzola. They will claim that all the non-brie-lievers are trying to shutter and bury any facts about how the moon is made out of cheese by sharing peer-reviewed articles from “fringe” agencies like NASA.


The point is, this creates sort of a bubble effect based on the way content algorithms work. If a platform like Facebook or Google knows that you’ll spend more time using them by keeping you happy with all the cheese-moon-affirmational content your heart desires, it’s going to be a little less accurate. If you spend a considerable amount of time seeking out results based on any particular filter bubble you are in, platforms like Google will likely curate some results that keep you trapped inside that filter bubble.


The trouble is that you won’t mind, your opinion about the cheese moon isn’t going to change, and everything you use online is helping you affirm this.


So yeah. Google is neat, and generally accurate, but it has been proven that sometimes it can go a little too far for some people. Over the last few years, Google has taken major steps to find a balance, which is actually the main reason Google doesn’t have the 98 percent market share it used to. Many folks have walked away from Google simply because it started to cater less to their fringe beliefs when it comes to hot button issues.

What are the Alternatives?

Now that the Big G is out of the way, in our next blog, we’re going to go over some of the alternatives. Be sure to stay tuned to our blog and social media.


11 25 22

Explaining the Metaverse

The metaverse is a buzzword that many companies have been throwing around in recent years, but what is it, exactly? You might want to sit down for this one, as it is going to get a little complicated and, perhaps, even a bit confusing. We’ll do our best to unpack what the metaverse is, why there is such an emphasis on it these days, and what you might expect to see from a metaverse in the future.

What is the Metaverse?

You might be surprised to find out that the metaverse is certainly not a new concept. It has existed in some form or another for the past 30 years. The term first appeared in the 1992 novel Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, where it was used to describe a virtual world in which users could buy or sell virtual property and waltz around this virtual reality using their own customized avatars. The components which make up this idea of the metaverse are prominent to this day and exist in various capacities.


Thus, we can make a determination that a metaverse is a virtual environment where individuals can interact with one another in a reality much like our own. It is, for all intents and purposes, a place where you can build your own “virtual life” of sorts.

Why Are Businesses Focused on It?

The reason that businesses are so fixated on the metaverse is because they see it as the natural progression for technologies such as the smartphone and the Internet, for which the metaverse will effectively replace. They see it as an opportunity to create an interconnected virtual reality that bridges gaps between various apps, games, services, and so on. Major proponents of the metaverse like Matthew Ball and Mark Zuckerberg envision this future where the metaverse can be just as interconnected and functional as the modern Internet.

What Does the Future Hold for the Metaverse?

People are of the belief that technologies which enable the metaverse will allow it to flourish. These technologies—virtual reality, the blockchain, and NFTs—would help to make the metaverse a reality by providing avenues for exchanging goods, products, and properties within this virtual space. Perhaps, however, the excitement surrounding the metaverse is just a result of the post-COVID world, where people are starved for interaction with each other and are used to communication solutions like Zoom and other video conferencing platforms.


The idea of the metaverse, however, is held back by issues of interoperability. There are countless technical difficulties that can prevent individuals from transferring avatars and digital possessions from one application or virtual world to another, making the idea of a truly interconnected virtual world difficult to pull off in the way it was initially envisioned.


What do you think about the idea of a metaverse? Do you think it’s a bit far-fetched to imagine a virtual world where we can all interact in the same ways we might in the real world, or do you think there is some merit to investing in the idea? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.



11 23 22

The Pros and Cons of a Digital Dollar

The United States has seen a push for the digitization of the dollar for some time now, with a few pros and cons to consider from this shift. Let’s go over these pros and cons now, and see if there are any parallels to be found to your business.

To begin our discussion, let’s go over what’s been happening recently in terms of the legislation.

Back in March 2022, There Were a Few Pushes Towards Digitizing Currency

In addition to President Biden signing an executive order which—amongst other calls to action—called for research into a United States Central Bank Digital Currency, or CBDC, lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced a bill—H.R. 7231, or “Electronic Currency and Secure Hardware Act”—to enable the US Treasury to create a digital dollar. This electronic currency, “coined” ECASH, would enable near-instantaneous transactions with a good chance of dramatically reduced processing fees. ECASH would not be a cryptocurrency, mind you, as CBDCs are classified differently.


This all came after the Federal Reserve tested a digital currency system codenamed Project Hamilton in February, after years of research and development by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Digital Currency Initiative. Meant to help explore the feasibility of a CBDC design in a wide-scale implementation, Project Hamilton peaked at about 170,000 transactions per second after bottleneck. While promising, this indicates that there is still a way to go before there’s a full replacement for the reserve currency the United States currently relies on.

What are Some Benefits and Drawbacks of Fully Digital Currency?

The benefits of digital currency are considerable. Not only could transactions—even those that cross borders—be carried out effectively instantaneously, as we mentioned, United States Representative Ayanna Pressley states that it would help create wealth inclusivity for “black, brown, and low-income communities.”


Having said that, a CBDC doesn’t inherently guarantee privacy, even if zero-knowledge proof technology is in place—which allows a system to confirm that knowledge is known without actually revealing the information that is known. Essentially, you have to trust the government backing the digital dollar to keep the protections of a zero-knowledge proof active…and not to arbitrarily change your personal privacy settings. More on this in a moment.


In addition to this, Representative Steven Lynch, the primary sponsor of the ECASH Act, called out some of the infrastructural issues that could get in the way of adopting a fully digital dollar. The lack of reliable Internet service in many areas of the country is a major hurdle that Lynch hopes this bill will help the country clear.


Going back to the privacy concerns, founder and research scientist of the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab, Christian Catalini, shared his own predictions. He foresees ECASH as a system that relies on another plastic card—albeit one with some additional functions to it—that effectively stands in for cash. Basically, by using this card, the only data shared would be the successful transfer of a payment.


However, there are some challenges that need to be addressed. For instance, in order to avoid major criminal activity, full privacy would be impossible so that the financial system isn’t an accessory to crime. In addition to this, as ECASH lacks any form of ledger whatsoever, it would require the government to issue everyone a dedicated piece of hardware to use to handle and exchange ECASH locally—again, with limits as to how much the device could hold at once. It also is yet to be determined how funds would be added to the device, and if some form of identity authentication would be required to do so.


Catalini expects that these challenges will cause ECASH or whatever we ultimately get to be delayed for at least five years, with the various philosophical and technical questions likely pushing this delay out even further.

In the Meantime, We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

Don’t hesitate to comment here and weigh in on the topic. Would you prefer all of your money handling to go digital? What are some of the pros and cons you can think of? Please don’t hesitate to share, and if you have any questions about securing your business’ dollars (or using IT to make more of them) be sure to reach out to us at 651-234-0895!


10 26 22

Innovations in Manufacturing Tech

Manufacturers have long been at the forefront of technology. Today, this trend continues, but with new, innovative tools that are designed to make business more efficient and workers more productive. This technology has helped much of the manufacturing sector despite costs continually rising, supply chain interruptions, and other variables. Let’s take a look at some of the major technology changes that have fueled manufacturers during the past few years.

Enhanced Digitalization

Manufacturers typically take materials and turn them into consumer goods or components for other manufacturers to use in their process. Many manufacturers have begun the process of digitization; meaning that they now are using digital systems to manage their business, interact with customers, and handle all the automation that has been tabbed to make their process more efficient. Most manufacturers have been using digital technology for quite some time, but some of the shifts that make these changes innovative include the leveraging of robots to do collaborative tasks.


Artificial intelligence fuels this trend by using machines that are colloquially called “cobots”. Over 40% of manufacturers use robots and with smarter software the “cobots” can work alongside human workers rather than outright replacing them. This means these robots are much more affordable than traditional robots that typically replace human workers.


Another digital evolution for manufacturers comes from the Internet of Things. These sensors may not be built specifically for manufacturers, but they hold considerable value for them. The biggest benefit comes in the manner of predictive maintenance. Sensors can keep track of components and maintenance schedules, which can cut down on maintenance costs by a whopping 25 percent. If you consider that downtime can cost tens of thousands of dollars an hour, the more you can do to keep systems functioning as intended the better your business will be.

Machine Vision

Another use of AI in manufacturing is called machine vision. It lets companies automate their quality control processes on each end of their business. Basically, it allows a manufacturer to run their operations faster than they would if they relied on humans to run point over their quality control. With machine vision detection, manufacturers can increase production and maintain a level of quality they expect from their process, a win-win for any manufacturer.

Technology can help any type of business, but if you’re a manufacturer that could benefit from innovative new digital tools, reach out to the IT experts at Point North Networks at 651-234-0895 today.

10 24 22

Tips to Help You Determine How Much Bandwidth You Need

How Much Internet Speed is Essential for the Seamless Functioning of Your Business?

For small businesses, having a fast, reliable Internet connection is needed to run all the digital tools that your staff has come to depend on. If you don’t have the bandwidth in place, you can deal with bottlenecks that can ruin communications, stall productivity, and cause operational issues of all types. Today, we’ll take a look at how to determine the amount of bandwidth you need to support your business’ computing infrastructure.

What Exactly Is Bandwidth?

Bandwidth = internet connection speed
Bandwidth = internet connection speed

There is a misconception that bandwidth is the speed of the Internet that you obtain through your chosen service provider. It does play a role, but it is not synonymous with connection speed. Bandwidth is actually the measurement of the amount of data that can be sent over your Internet connection and across your network in general in a designated time frame; typically measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The more bandwidth you have, the more data can be transmitted at one time. With a lot of businesses now leaning quite heavily on digital tools, knowing how much bandwidth your company needs is extremely important.

What You Need to Know to Get the Bandwidth Your Company Needs?

The first thing that you need to get the bandwidth your company needs is to find a reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider). Not all ISPs are created equal and for business purposes having an ISP that can easily scale your bandwidth to your needs is an important factor. You also don’t want to overpay, and waste your operational capital.

What are upload and download speeds?

The bandwidth required by your enterprise largely depends on the upload speed as well as the download speed you need in a bid to carry out your day-to-day operations seamlessly.

Upload Speeds

As suggested by the name, upload speed indicates the time it takes for data such as a file or a video to be sent from a device on your network to another device at some other location, or to a cloud storage system. 5 Mbps is considered to be the average recommended upload speed for the completion of generic business tasks such as voice/video calls. Depending on the heaviness of everyday tasks, higher speeds might be required.

Download Speeds

Download speed refers to the time taken for your computer or other device to receive data. Right from accessing a website, to watching a video, and even uploading files – requires fast download speeds. If you are wondering what download speed do I need for my business, then in the present day scenario of high reliability on internet-connected devices, we recommend choosing an internet service provider that offers speeds of 25 Mbps or higher.

Of course, these are just recommendations based on average usage. Depending on the your specific business needs, the bandwidth and the subsequent internet speed that you need may differ.

Let’s look at the variables you have to consider when choosing the right amount of bandwidth for your business:

The Number of Connected Devices

How many devices are connected simultaneaously
How many devices are connected simultaneaously

This is pretty simple. The more devices that need to be connected to the Internet, the more bandwidth you are going to need; especially if these devices are consistently being used to access Internet-fueled applications. You also need to take into account all the mobile devices that are connected to the network. In many cases they will outnumber workstations and other hardware.

The Type of Applications Used

Your business has a unique profile that is made up of all the tools you use and the processes that govern their use. For basic use, such as online browsing, email, and social media, a company would only need about one Mbps per user. Most businesses nowadays use their Internet connection for much more than this. Activities like VoIP calling, video conferencing, video streaming, and cloud computing can multiply this by up to five times. Hence, how much speed you will need, both in terms of download speeds and upload speed will largely depend on the applications that your employees regularly use. For instance, a business that uses video conferencing often or needs to stream video will need relatively less download speeds than a business wherein the employees need to participate in online gaming.

Type of Internet Connections

In the present day scenario, whether the need for internet bandwidth is ever increasing and streaming video services, hosting multiple users across multiple devices, ultra high definition videos have all become commonplace even in office spaces fiber optic lines are fast becoming the most reliable way to enjoy the best internet speed in the available bandwidth. While fiber optic connections are still not commonly found across the US and may even prove to be slightly heavy on the pocket, when it comes to faster speeds, these connections prove to be ideal.

In most urban and rural areas, however, satellite internet is still the norm. Given that satellite internet users often report slower speeds and finicky connections, satellite internet connections may just offer the bare minimum download speed, which may not be sufficient for your business operations to run smoothly.

Age and ability of devices

While this may sound insignificant, the age, version and type of devices used by your employees, can actually undermine the internet speeds offered by your chosen connection. If the devices are too old or slow, they may not enjoy the seamless internet connectivity that your chosen bandwidth offers. Moreover, old devices with outdated software will also adversely impact how much data is used for the same functions, as compared to newer devices which are designed for more efficient use of data. This is especially true when devices connected to the internet are required to use a streaming service or multiple streaming apps.

Hence, it is crucial that your employees use newer devices, with updated versions.

This is why it is important to get a good read on all the potential uses your business has to build a connection that works to support your business’ computing requirements.

Why Point North Networks?

At Point North Networks, we know how important the Internet is for your business. Our consultants can help you estimate the level of bandwidth you need, and can actively help you acquire that bandwidth so that you can operate as efficiently as possible. Give us a call today at 651-234-0895 to talk to one of our IT professionals to set up an assessment of your Internet connection and applications to give your business the best chance of success.

Frequently Asked Questions About Internet Speed Required by Businesses

How to determine the upload speeds that I need for my enterprise?

For generic business tasks such as sending emails, sharing small files and making calls over the internet, upload speeds of 5 Mbps prove to be ideal. However, if you have upwards of 15 employees who regularly need to undertake heavier tasks such as server hosting, seamless streaming and conferencing then the upload speed you need will go up to 20 Mbps.

How much Mbps does a small business need?

While emails and web browsing can be easily accomplished with a bandwidth ranging from 5Mbps to 10 Mbps. However, if the number of employees is higher, or if applications like video streaming and conferencing are regularly used, you may need a connection speed of at least 25 Mbps. But wait, there is a catch. The internet speed listed by your provider is what you get through a wired connection. Since most devices connected to the internet use a Wi-Fi connection, the actual speed your employees will get will only be 50-60% of the advertised speed. Hence, it is recommended to opt for double the speed you need.

What is the 20 Mbps Rule?

When deciding the minimum speed that your business requires, a good rule of thumb is to factor in 20 Mbps for every device that will be using the internet simultaneously. This will ensure that all users enjoy optimal download and upload speeds, even when using heavier applications such as online games, Youtube TV, etc.


10 19 22

A Router Password Repository Helps Keep Access Secure

What do you do if you have forgotten your wireless router’s password? You could restore the router back to its default settings, of course, but what if you have, like a dummy, never changed the router’s password in the first place? This Internet password repository could be your saving grace.


RouterPasswords.com is a website built to document default usernames and passwords for wireless routers. It’s run by a community of users for a community of users. Essentially, anyone can submit their default username and password for their router to help anyone out who may have forgotten it somewhere down the line. They make a point to highlight that the username and password of the router is not the one set by your Internet service provider–rather, they want the factory-set default credentials. Once the credentials have been reviewed by an administrator, they are added to the online repository.


It’s also worth mentioning that this site can be helpful from a technician’s perspective as well, as identifying the default username and password for a device can mean less work and less time spent troubleshooting an issue, if that is indeed the problem at hand.


In addition to having the largest default router password repository on the Internet (according to them, at least), the website also provides tips and tricks for how to manage router settings, reviews for the latest wireless routing technologies, and news related to wireless technology.

There is a Dark Side to This Website Existing

Of course, there is also the negative consequence of a website like this existing in that, if you can use it, so can anyone else on the Internet—hackers included. Imagine that you are a hacker and you’re trying to find the path of least resistance into a wireless network. You notice that the device’s wireless network name was never changed or set up beyond the factory default, so you assume that the wireless network’s password is also the factory default.


From there, well, you can guess where this story goes.


You should always change your wireless network’s name and password for this very reason. Tools like this exist to make users’ lives easier, but they inadvertently also make the lives of hackers easier, too.

Reinforce Your Wireless Practices with Us!

Point North Networks can of course help you shore up any weaknesses that might exist in your business’ wireless network policies and connections. With us on your side, you’ll have a staunch ally in the fight against cybercrime. To learn more, contact us at 651-2340895 today.


09 30 22

Endpoint Protection – A Crucial Missing Piece from Many Enterprise Network Servers

Almost 20% of Enterprise Windows Servers Lack Endpoint Protection… Does Yours?

What is Endpoint Security?

Endpoint Security, as the name suggests, is the phenomenon of securiting endpoints, i.e. the end user devices including but not limited to computers, laptops and mobile devices against dynamic security incidents, data breaches, file based malware attacks, suspicious behavior as well as cybersecurity threats.

At one point in time, endpoint security simply comprised traditional antivirus software, however, with the changing dynamics and emerging threats, today endpoint protection platforms offer a more comprehensive protection.

Who Needs Endpoint Protection?

While most small-scale businesses believe that only their large-scale counterparts require extensive endpoint protection, the fact of the matter is endpoint protection platforms are a must for organizations of all sizes! After all, hackers, masterminds behind organized crimes and evolving zero day threats are a modern-day bane for one and all. Hence, it can be said without a doubt that it is crucial that all enterprise networks are secured.

And when we emphasize the need for network security, we want to stress that the chosen endpoint security solutions should offer extensive security features as well as automation capabilities to ensure the protection of corporate devices from potential cyber threats.

Why is Endpoint Protection Important?

Endpoint security solutions
Endpoint Security Solutions

There are numerous endpoint protection features that make an EPP an indispensable part of cybersecurity.

In today’s times, data is considered to be an organization’s most valuable asset and a data breach can prove to be an irreaprable loss. Endpoint solutions enable the protection of sensitive data, and ensures that it remains safe, irrespective of the potential cyber threats.

The rise in number of devices that use network access, as well as the types of endpoints, have further highlighted the importance of endpoint protection. Then again, it has become imperative for organizations to offer an endpoint security solution with remote management capabilities to ensure that hackers are unable to gain access to data and other sensitive information from employees who have opted for remote work. Thankfully, sophisticated endpoint security solutions are more than capable of offering such extensive protection, as they are bestowed with unmatched investigation and remediation capabilities.

We’re not shy about sharing how important it is for a business to have comprehensive cybersecurity throughout its entire infrastructure. That’s why we wanted to share what some recent data has shown about the importance of having visibility into your infrastructure.

Spoiler alert: it’s really, really important.

Data Shows that Enterprises Suffer from Considerable Vulnerabilities

Compiled by Sevco Security, the State of the Cybersecurity Attack Surface report took data from over 500,000 IT assets. This data, compiled from enterprise-level businesses, revealed that a substantial number of the assets these businesses rely on are missing critical endpoint protections or aren’t being actively patched.

According to Sevco Security’s research, the businesses they surveyed were lacking endpoint protections at a rate of 12%, while 5% of them were lacking enterprise patch management. Compounding these issues, 19% of Windows servers were missing endpoint protections.

Furthermore, “stale” IT—assets that are present in the security control console and register as installed on a device, but haven’t checked back in for a few weeks—is a small but serious issue for these enterprise organizations. 3% of the IT assets have stale endpoint protections, while 1% have stale patch management. However, since they are supposedly accounted for, these risks are harder to spot and more likely to create issues.

Of course, these findings were all based on research into enterprise-level companies, with enterprise-level capabilities. Now, just consider what that suggests about the small or medium-sized businesses and their comparative capabilities.

Endpoint Security and Antivirus Programs

Endpoint Protection
Endpoint Protection

Traditional antivirus solutions are an important facet of endpoint security. While an antivirus program may not always protect individual devices and servers, when combined with endpoint protection, the network security threats can be curbed to the maximum possible extent. This two-proged approach enables the protection of individual devices, as we as of the network that they are connected to.

Trust Us to Help Prevent These Vulnerabilities from Presenting Themselves in Your Business

Part of our proactive remote monitoring and maintenance services is to catch these kinds of issues before they result in larger problems for your business. To learn more about how we accomplish this, give us a call at 651-234-0895 today and we will help you with the most reliable endpoint protection solution!

Frequently Asked Questions About Endpoint Protection

How can Endpoint Protection Solutions help?

A reliable Endpoint Security Software can offer multiple benefits including the following

  • It can help ensure that only trusted devices can connect to your network
  • It can ensure the safety of endpoints for remote devices accessing the network
  • It can help avert network security threats by continuous monitoring of endpoints
  • It can detect malicious activity and malware, and prevent them from harming your network
  • It can help you gain deep visibility across all your endpoints and their activities

What is EDR?

EDR is short for “Endpoint Detection and Response”. It is essentially an endpoint security solution which enables the continuous monitoring of the devices of the end users, in a bid to detect and repond to online threats in a timely manner. In some cases EDR is also known as “Endpoint Threat Detection and Response”.

What is XDR?

XDR is short for extended detection and response. It is yet another endpoint security solution that enables the collection of data related to security threats from isolated security tools across the technology stack of an organization. It is done to ensure quicker and more extensive investigation, threat hunting, threat prevention as well as response.

What is the difference between EPP and EDR?

EPP refers to ‘Endpoint Protection Platform’. EPP is a proactive endpoint security solution that prevents security threats. On the other hand, EDR refers to ‘Endpoint Detection and Response’. It is a reactive tool for protecting endpoints. It effectively detected and reponds to threats have may have been missed by other security tools deployed within your network security. An advanced endpoint security platform offers an optimal combination of EPP and EDR for enterprise network security.

What are the components of endpoint security?

To provide comprehensive protection across multiple endpoint devices and operating systems, a reliable Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP) software usually comprises of few or all of the essential components listed below-

  • Machine-learning classification
  • Antimalware and antivirus protection
  • Proactive web security
  • Data classification and data loss prevention
  • Integrated firewall
  • Email gateway
  • Actionable threat forensics
  • Insider threat protection
  • Centralized endpoint management
  • Endpoint, email and disk encryption
09 26 22

How to Choose a Smartphone Now that Innovation has Slowed

Mobile devices have changed the world. They’ve definitely changed the way people do business. The prevailing sentiment is smartphone innovation has stagnated a bit over the past few years as most of the flagship smartphones are using extremely fast processors, data storage has moved to the cloud, and many other factors. Just look at the new iPhone, which traditionally looks just like the last iPhone. Today, we’ll take a look at what you need to know when buying your new phone.

The Modern Smartphone

With device reviewers becoming big business on platforms like YouTube, these reviewers have become the audience that smartphone manufacturers play to, even if the general public couldn’t possibly understand the year-over-year improvements that these devices have made. Consider that the biggest change in the smartphone over the past couple of generations is mostly improvements to the camera system while making marginal improvements to processing, data storage, etc. This indicates that most improvements are driven by the marketing benefits to be had.

The fact is that other than the folding phones most devices have very similar form factors. All flagship smartphones have a 5 nm processor or better, 356 GB of flash memory, 8 GB of RAM, and a bezel-less display. That said, savvy consumers are constantly looking for a specification upgrade, so it forces each iteration of a device to make marginal improvements (if only in name). If you think about how much you’ve paid for your current device, and how similar it is to the last device you owned—especially if you haven’t moved to a device with a brand new form factor—you may just feel like you aren’t getting the value for your money that you once did when you upgraded after two years of using a device.

What to Look for In a New Device

Before we get into what you should consider when looking for a new smartphone, we have to talk a little bit about form factor. The form factor of a device is how the device is built. As we stated above, most smartphones have laughably similar form factors. The ones that don’t are using innovative new OLED screens that allow the displays to fold in half. This presents users and app developers with interesting new constructs (with very large price tags), but for the most part, devices adhere to the more familiar form factor.

So what should you look for when buying your new device if you don’t want to pay a premium price for a foldable phone? Let’s go through some considerations:

Build Quality

The build quality of a smartphone may not have a lot to do with its ability to do what you need it to do, but devices that have better build quality will last longer and enhance the user experience. Most of the top-tier smartphones are built on a stainless steel or aluminum frame. These devices are typically draped in some type of tempered glass, such as Corning’s Gorilla Glass. The better materials used to make the smartphone, the more premium it will feel when you are using it.


Today, most flagship smartphones come with impressive displays. For people that use their smartphones for media consumption, you will want a larger display with a higher resolution, but there are plenty of mid-range models manufactured today that have impressive screens that could have been found on a flagship phone only a couple of years ago.

Processing Power

This is where smartphones vary wildly. Most of the top-end smartphones have a multi-core 5 nm processor or better nowadays. This means that the top smartphones have the computing power of pretty powerful workstations that can fit in your pocket. The better the processor, the better the phone will be.


A lot of manufacturers will point to a high number of megapixels in their marketing, but the effectiveness of a camera is contingent on many other factors. Obviously, the features of the camera system: number of lenses and their focal length, ISO levels, pixel size, and autofocus ability have to be taken into account. Each year the camera systems on devices do improve, however, some substantially.


An often overlooked feature when buying new hardware is the battery life. For the smartphone, it is one of the most important considerations. After all, if a device has to be plugged in, it isn’t really “mobile”. Most phones that have upwards of 3,500 mAh batteries should do, but the foldable phones will use more juice than devices with the traditional smartphone form factor, so be mindful.

Operating System

Most phones typically have one of two mobile operating systems: Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android OS. The majority of phones will come with some semblance of Android on them, but not all versions of Android are created equal, so knowing what version of the OS your handset is on is pretty important considering it will dictate what apps you can run, how your device’s security is handled, and many other factors important to a clean and productive smartphone experience.


Probably the most important factor in the purchase of a new device is the cost it presents to you. If you are planning on buying one of the top smartphones on the market, you will likely be paying about $500 or more per year of use for the device alone (and that is if you don’t have to have it repaired). Mobile service providers mostly work with users to finance smartphones, but it can add a lot of money to your monthly bill.

Other Considerations

All other factors are basically the icing on the proverbial cake. There are devices with larger displays. There are smartphones built for gaming. There are ones that have huge batteries so they don’t need to be charged every day. Some users like to have a 3.5mm headphone jack, but most flagship phones have done away with them long ago.

Finding the phone for you may come down to these small features, but chances are that they won’t have as big of a role on the reliability of the device as the variables listed above.

Have you recently bought a new smartphone? What are the features that got you to buy the model you chose? Leave your comments below and stop back soon for more great technology content.

07 11 22

How Does Streaming Technology Work?

It feels like streaming is everywhere these days, from video content to music to video games. Coincidentally, it also happens that innovations in cloud streaming have allowed these entertainment mediums to flourish in “as-a-service” type offerings. Just how have the innovations in technology allowed streaming services to grow and expand? Let’s investigate.


What is Streaming?

Remember the good old days when you couldn’t stream video without it being a massive time sink or spending loads of time waiting for the video to buffer? Gone are those days. Streaming is the continuous transmission of video or audio content over the Internet. It’s what powers services like YouTube, Spotify, and other music and video streaming services. Even some games can be streamed over the Internet now. Essentially, the data for these files are stored on a server somewhere, then get sent a little bit at a time to the user.

The Difference Between Downloading and Streaming

It used to be the case that you would have to download the entire file before you could use it on your PC, but streaming offers a better approach. Rather than saving a copy of the file to your hard drive, streaming allows users to simply play them from their web browser through an Internet connection.


All that said, a big difference between downloading and streaming is that, well, it requires an Internet connection. Without a good one, your connection will not be stable, creating problems for whatever you are trying to stream. For example, a video might need to buffer if your Internet connection cannot keep up with the rate of download. In a lot of ways, you can compare it to the way that many companies rely on the cloud for their computing. While it is great to have the content ready and available locally, sometimes accessing it through the Internet is easier and more efficient. However, without that connection, access is cut off.

The Technology

When you stream something from the Internet, the file is split into data packets containing video and audio. These data packets are essentially compressed files that are designed to be sent and unpacked at their destination. Ultimately, how the streaming provider goes about doing this is up to them, and it is largely based on the purpose of the streaming and what value it provides to their customers.


For example, when streaming video content from Netflix, the quality of the video and audio is a pretty big deal. In comparison, a video conference with multiple attendees might prioritize connection with others for real-time interaction over the quality of video and audio.


Two of the more common transfer protocols used by streaming services are user datagram protocol (UDP) and transmission control protocol (TCP). They are typically used for two different types of streaming. TCP provides a dedicated connection between the server and the client to ensure that all of the content is received properly. UDP, on the other hand, cuts some corners, so to speak. The result is that TCP makes for a more reliable connection compared to UDP, but UDP offers a faster and more efficient connection.


In the aforementioned example, you might see how the two can be used for two different purposes. TCP is better when the content delivered needs to be lossless, while UDP is better in situations when some loss is acceptable. In the end, streaming providers go with the option that allows them to provide the best services possible to their clients based on the goods and services they are rendering.


We hope you learned something interesting and new about the technology behind streaming services with today’s blog.