What can I, Normal Person, do to improve my security?

To get started: Be safer when browsing the Web

Use Google Chrome or Firefox to access browser extensions that can help improve your privacy when browsing the Web.

  • Disrupt online tracking. Advertisers automatically place files — called cookies — onto your browser to keep track of the pages you visit online. You can block tracking cookies with the add on from Disconnect.me on Firefox or Chrome
  • When you connect to the Web, some sites you visit offer both unsecured (HTTP) and secured (HTTPS) versions of the page. Download HTTPS Everywhere on Google Chrome or Firefox to automatically connect to the secured versions of many websites.
  • Advertising is the business model of many parts of the Web, and yet ads can be used to deliver malware to users. Online advertising networks have a hard time detecting bad actors abusing ads to deliver malicious files. Download uBlock Origin for Chrome or Firefox works as well, and uses less memory. You can also keep ads for sites you trust.
  • Protect your Web traffic from eavesdroppers on wi-fi networks with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Open, public wi-fi networks are convenient. You can find them everywhere — at coffee shops, restaurants, and airports. The problem is that open wi-fi networks also allow other users on the network to see your unsecured Web traffic. For example, if you’re browsing products on Amazon, that traffic is usually unencrypted. When connecting to open wi-fi networks, use a VPN. A VPN encrypts and tunnels your Web traffic to a remote location. It can also be helpful for everyday use, especially if you want to access websites that are blocked in your country. It usually costs a few dollars each month. Mac users, consider Cloak. Windows users, consider Disconnect.me (Premium)
  • Of course, use antivirus software like Avast or similar tools.

Next: Encrypt it all

You can scramble your data so that no one, except for you and the people you wish to include, will be able to read it.

  • Encrypt your hard drive. If your device is ever lost or stolen, it’s easy for thieves to take data off your hard disk. Good news: If you have a new password-protected iPhone your disk is already encrypted. If you have an Android Device, it’s pretty easy to encrypt your phone. For your laptop or desktop, you can encrypt your hard drive using your operating system’s native software: FileVault for Mac, or BitLocker on Windows.
  • If you’re concerned about the privacy of your phone calls or text messages, download Signal for iOS or Android to make secure phone calls and send secure text messages to your friends. If you have friends who you text non-stop, have them try Signal as well. Research suggests that half of our texts go to our inner-circle — roughly 5 people. If you and one friend to use Signal, it’s a huge improvement for your privacy and theirs.

More work, but important: Authenticating logins

Passwords are often the only thing standing between attackers and your information. It takes more work to manage your passwords than the previous steps, but it’s worthwhile.

  • Use a password manager. Everyone knows you reuse the same password for everything, because it’s easy to remember. We’re not always great at remembering multiple passwords. A password manager like 1password or KeePassX (free!) can help randomize strong passwords, and store them securely. Use this software to find and copy your long, randomized passwords. As always, be careful about where you paste.
 Two-factor authentication message.
  • Passwords aren’t enough. To make it harder for someone to break into your accounts, many online services allow you to verify your identity when logging in, by sending you a text message with an authentication code, or by using a mobile app. Use two-factor authentication everywhere, but especially for your primary email account. If someone gets your email, they can use it to log into everything else. Gmail users can enable two-factor authentication here. If you use Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, or any number of other services, I’d recommend using two-factor for those services as well.

These tips only scratch the surface, but are some of the simplest and most effective approaches that we have for keeping your data, yours.


Computer Eye Safety Tips – Remember to Blink!

If you work in an office you’ll spend at least 8 hours a day in front of a computer, sometimes even more if you go home and stare at a laptop screen all evening.

Spending such a vast amount of time in front of a screen can damage your posture and have a serious effect on your eyes. Therefore it’s essential that you take a proactive and open-minded approach toward “eye-gonomics” whilst you’re sat at your desk.

If you are experiencing eye strain or neck and shoulder problems, there’s a good chance that you’re doing it wrong at the moment and you need to revisit the way you behave in front of a screen.

The effect a computer screen can have on your eyes

Studies have shown that by spending just two hours on a laptop each day you can significantly increase eye pain and vision problems. So those of us who sit behind a computer everyday to earn a living and then go home and unwind in front of the TV must surely be feeling the strain.

First things first, take a step back and assess whether or not you have a problem with your eyes. Once you have determined that the endless hours in front of a computer screen are taking their toll, there are countless easy steps you can take to protect your eyes.

A few of our favourites are:

  • Minimsise the amount of glare by cleaning your screen regularly and ensuring that it’s the most brightly glowing thing in the room. Grey backgrounds also tend to be easier on the eyes than white.
  • Always remember to blink. When you are engrossed in a piece of work you can often forget to do it, but regularly blinking cleans the eyes and reduces strain.
  • Now it my be hard not to sit on the edge of your seat as you crack the code that was causing your website to break or when you finally make that killer Excel formula, but it’s extremely important to sit an arm’s length away from your screen. Make sure your screen is positioned right below eye level and not tilted.
  • Regular breaks are vitally important. One of our favourite techniques is what they call a “20-20-20 break.” All you do is that for every 20 minutes you are sat in front of a screen, take 20 seconds to have a look around and see what is going on 20 feet away from you. This is the perfect way to refocus your eyes and give them a quick break before getting back to work.
  • On the topic of breaks, make sure you take a lunch break away from your screen. If you have a big project on and can’t afford to take a long lunch, just take 15 minutes to stretch your legs and make a coffee.
  • If you feel the strain on your eyes, consider purchasing a stylish pair of glasses solely for computer use. If you are unsure about which glasses are right for you from a style perspective, take a look at this interesting guide that will tell you what the best glasses are for your face shape.

Now that you have a stronger idea of exactly what you need to do to improve the health of your eyes and minimise the effects that sitting in front of a screen can have, we challenge you to put them into practice. We are sure that after you make a few slight changes to your approach to working in front of a computer all day you will notice a difference.

If you are experiencing serious issues with your eyes or suffering from regular headaches after prolonged computer sessions, make sure you seek advice from your doctor or optician.

Let us know how you get on with our eye-gonomic tips by leaving a comment below… and don’t forget to blink!

How Do Computers Get Infected with Viruses

Everyone knows the warnings they get about viruses. Don’t open weird emails. Update your software. But those are pretty abstract and don’t explain the real dangers to watch out for.

How do infections really happen?

You get tricked

“But I’m too smart to get tricked.” 
– You

Most infections are by people downloading and running the virus themselves. I’ve seen very smart, seasoned professionals fall for all kinds of schemes. For example:

  • In email attachments that say they’re invoices, parking tickets, or legal judgements
  • A website will say you need to update software in order to use it
  • Part of other programs you download and run from unreputable sites
  • You’re told you have an infection and you need to do something to fix it
  • Trying to use stolen software. This is a huge way people get infected because criminals know that it’s a super easy way to get people to run untrustworthy software
  • Some viruses, when they infect computers, will email themselves to everyone on someone’s address list. You can’t trust even files you get from friends unless you were expecting them and the email makes sense. Feel free to reply back and ask

The first rule is that you don’t download or agree to run software that isn’t something that you were specifically looking for.
The software you do get must be from a link on the original company’s website.
When you do install software, make sure you read every option it gives you. 

Your antivirus saying something isn’t a virus doesn’t mean anything.

You get kit’d

There are specially designed web pages that test your computer for lots of outdated software, and if it finds some, it uses known programming errors in those programs to infect your computer – usually in seconds and without you doing anything. These are called exploit kits and they are big business.

Criminals hack other sites or use malicious advertisements to redirect your browser to them. This happens even on big sites, where it’s called malvertisingYou don’t have to go looking, these infections come to you.

They also send these links in emails and messages on social networking sites.

Usually you are protected if you keep your software up to date. 

You get 0day’d

Hackers will sometimes discover a programming flaw and, rather than report it to the developer of the program, use it against people. This kind of flaw is called a “zero-day” because users of the affected program had zero days to deploy a fix before they got infected.

These are rare, but it’s one way criminals can get in. This is why you don’t open email attachments or office documents you didn’t specifically ask for.

Configuring a Windows computer from the ground up for security and stability Part 1.

This blog will walk you through configuring a Windows computer from the ground up for security and stability. This configuration will make you virtually impervious to viruses you don’t actively try to install yourself, and will help constrain any malicious code that does get on your computer.

Pretty much all of this is free, but any mentions of products in this guide are completely un-compensated.

Section A: The Ground Up

The best thing to do is start from the bare hardware and install Windows 10 from scratch with UEFI, TPM, and SecureBoot turned on. If you don’t want to do that, skip to Section B. Any retail computer purchased with Windows 8.1 onward will already have these turned on.

1.) Update BIOS

For best compatibility and security you should update your computer’s BIOS. A modern BIOS (really UEFI) is a full operating system that runs below and at the same time as Windows, and it needs patches too. People who built computers in the early 2000’s will tell you BIOS updates are risky, and they were, but not anymore. They deliver fixes, features, and security updates you won’t hear about on the news.

Even new computers/motherboards need updates. If you’re starting from scratch, do the BIOS update after installing Windows 10.

You can find the BIOS update tool on your manufacturer’s driver page for your computer model. You will need to reboot for it to take effect. If you have a Surface, BIOS updates are delivered through Windows Update.

2.) Prepare Windows Bootable Media

To get ready to install Windows 10 64bit on the bare hardware, use Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool to create a bootable DVD or USB stick.

Make sure everything is backed up before proceeding. The following changes will wipe your Windows installation.

3.) Configure BIOS

This is important and is something nobody talks about.

From the boot of your computer, press the setup hotkey. It may be F1, F2, F8, F10, Del, or something else to get into SETUP mode.

In the BIOS:

  • Set a setup password. Make it simple, this is only to prevent malicious modification by someone in front of the computer or by a program trying to corrupt it.
  • Change boot to/prioritize UEFI. Disable everything except UEFI DVD, UEFI HDD, and USB UEFI if you plan on using a USB stick to install Windows.
  • Enable the TPM (if available) and SecureBoot (if available) options. This is super important.
  • Disable 1394 (FireWire) and ExpressCard/PCMCIA (if you’re on a laptop) as a layer to further mitigate DMA attacks. This isn’t as important anymore, but if you don’t use them you might as well turn it off.
  • If you want, and if the computer offers it, you can enable a System and HDD password. We will be using BitLocker to protect the disk, but this is an extra layer you can add if you want. I don’t.
  • If you don’t use webcam or microphone, you may be able to turn them off in the BIOS

Save settings and shut down.

4.) Install Windows 10

Insert your DVD/USB. Boot the computer and use the boot menu hotkey to boot to your UEFI DVD or UEFI USB. The hotkey is often F12.

Follow the prompts and install Windows. If it gives you an option of where to install Windows to, and there’s already a partition, delete the partition first.

Keep an eye out for Part 2

For more information on all our services, please visit our website @ http://www.cans.scot

The CANS Guide to Not Getting Hacked


Probably the most important and basic thing you can do to protect yourself is using up-to-date software. That means using an updated version of whatever operating system you’re using, and updating your apps and software. Bear in mind that you don’t necessarily have to use the latest iteration of an operating system, such as, say, Windows 10. (In some cases, even slightly older versions of operating systems get patched. Sorry, that’s not the case with Windows XP, stop using it!) What’s most important is that your OS is still receiving security updates, and that you’re applying them.So if you come away with one lesson from this guide is: update, update, update, or patch, patch, patch.

Many common cyberattacks take advantage of flaws in outdated software such as old browsers or PDF readers. By keeping everything up to date, you have a way lower chance of becoming a victim of ransomware, for example.


We all have too many passwords to remember, which is why people just reuse the same ones over and over. And even though our brains aren’t actually that bad at remembering passwords, it’s almost impossible to remember twenty or more unique and strong passwords.

The good news is that the solution to these problem is already out there: password managers. These are apps that keep track of passwords for you, automatically help you create good passwords, and simplify your online life. If you use a manger, all you have to remember is one password, the one that unlocks the vault of your passwords.

Intuitively, you might think it’s unwise to store your passwords on your computer. What if a hacker gets in? Surely it’s better that I’m keeping them all in my head? Well, not really: for most people’s threat models, the risk of a crook taking advantage of a shared password on a website is far greater than some sophisticated hacker dropping a load of super-fancy malware onto your device. Again, it’s all about understanding your own threat model.

So, please, use one of the many password managers out there, there’s no reason not to do it. It will make you—and the rest of us!—safer, and it’ll even make your life easier.


Having unique, strong passwords is a great first step, but even those can be stolen. So for your most important accounts (think your main email, your Facebook and Twitter accounts) you might want to add an extra layer of protection known as two-factor (or two-step or 2FA) authentication.

By enabling two-factor you’ll need something more than just your password to log into those accounts. Usually, it’s a numerical code sent to your cellphone, or it can be a code created by an ad-hoc app (which is great if your cellphone doesn’t have coverage at the time you’re logging in).

There’s been a lot of attention recently around how mobile phones may not be suitable as 2FA devices. Activist Deray McKesson’s phone number was hijacked, meaning hackers could then have the extra security codes protecting accounts sent straight to them. And the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a part of the US government that writes guidelines on rules and measurements, including security, recently discouraged the use of SMS-based 2FA.

The attack on Deray was low tech: It essentially involved getting his phone company to issue a new SIM card to the attackers. It’s hard to defend against that, and there are other ways to get those codes sent via SMS, as text messages can, in theory, be intercepted by someone leveraging vulnerabilities in the backbone that carries our conversations. There is also the possibility of using an IMSI-catcher, otherwise known as a Stingray, to sweep up your communications, and verification texts too.

But apart from the trick of getting a new SIM card, these are attacks that are not trivial to pull off, not just because they might requires specific hardware like Stingrays, but also because they are relatively expensive.So, realistically, though, for the vast majority of people, SMS 2FA is still a robust security measure that does what it’s designed to do: add an extra layer on top of your password that might get phished or otherwise stolen.

You could, if the website allows it, use another 2FA option that isn’t SMS-based, such as an authentication app on your smartphone (for example, Google Authenticator), or with a physical token like a Yubikey. If that option is available to you, it’s great idea to use it. But it would be foolish to disregard SMS 2FA altogether, especially if you’re not under targeted attack.

2FA is a great way to make it nearly impossible for average cybercriminals to break into your most important accounts. You can check out all the services that offer it and how to turn it on here.

A 2FA token like a Yubikey (pictured) can be a more secure 2FA solution that doesn’t require a cell connection.

DOs & DON’Ts

Don’t use Flash: Flash is historically one of the most insecure pieces of software that’s ever been on your computer. Hackers love Flash because it’s had more holes than Swiss cheese. The good news is that a lot of the web has moved away from Flash so you don’t really need it anymore to still enjoy a fully-featured and rich browsing experience. So consider purging it from your computer, or at least change the settings on your browser so you have to click to run Flash each time.

Do use antivirus: Yes, you’ve heard this before. But it’s still (generally) true. Antiviruses are actually, and ironically, full of security holes, but if you’re not a person who’s at risk of getting targeted by nation-state hackers or pretty advanced criminals, having antivirus is still a good idea. Still, it’s far from a panacea, and in 2016 you need more than that to be secure.

Do use some simple security plugins: Sometimes, all a hacker needs to pwn you is to get you to the right website—one laden with malware. That’s why it’s worth using some simple, install-and-forget-about-it plugins such as adblockers, which protect you from malvertising threats presented by the shadier sites you may wander across on the web. (We’d naturally prefer if you whitelisted Motherboard since web ads help keep our lights on.)

Another useful plugin is HTTPS Everywhere, which forces your connection to be encrypted (when the site supports it). This won’t save you if the website you’re going to has malware on it, but in some cases, it helps prevent hackers from redirecting you to fake versions of that site (if there’s an encrypted one available), and will generally protect against attackers trying to tamper with your connection to the legitimate one.

Do use VPNs: If you’re using the internet in a public space, be it a Starbucks, an airport, or even an Airbnb apartment, you are sharing it with people you don’t know. And if some hacker is on your same network, they can mess up with your connection and potentially your computer.

Don’t overexpose yourself for no reason: People love to share pretty much everything about their lives on social media. But please, we beg you, don’t tweet a picture of your credit card, for example. More generally, it’s a good mindset to realise that a post on social media is often a post to anyone on the internet who can be bothered to check your profile, even if it’s guessing your home address through your running routes on a site like Strava, a social network for runners and cyclists.

Personal information such as your home address or high school (and mascot, which is a Google away) can then be used to find more information via social engineering schemes. The more personal information an attacker has, the more likely they are to gain access to one of your accounts. With that in mind, maybe consider increasing the privacy settings on some of your accounts too.

Don’t open attachments without precautions: For decades, cybercriminals have hidden malware inside attachments such as Word docs or PDFs. Antiviruses sometimes stop those threats, but it’s better to just use commons sense: don’t open attachments (or click on links) from people you don’t know, or that you weren’t expecting. And if you really want to do that, use precautions, like opening the attachments within Chrome (without downloading the files). Even better, save the file to Google Drive, and then open it within Drive, which is even safer because then the file is being opened by Google and not your computer.

Do disable macros: Hackers can use Microsoft Office macros inside documents to spread malware to your computer. It’s an old trick, but it’s back in vogue to spread ransomware. Disable them!

Do back up files: We’re not breaking any news here, but if you’re worried about hackers destroying or locking your files (such as with ransomware), then you need to back them up. Ideally, do it while you’re disconnected to the network to an external hard drive so that even if you get ransomware, the backup won’t get infected.

Your life needn’t be the above-pictured cyberhell. Most hacks are opportunistic, and these basic precautions go a long way toward securing yourself. Image: Shutterstock


That is all for now. Again, this is just meant to be a basic guide for average computer users. So if you’re a human rights activist working in a dangerous country or a war zone, or an organization building IT infrastructure on the fly, this is certainly not enough, and you’ll need more precautions.

But these are common sense essential tips that everyone should know about.

And remember, always be vigilant!

Computer Jargon Explained

Technology advancements are happening far quicker than most of us can keep up with. Ultimately, as technology changes so does the endless amount of terminology and jargon that we have to get to grips with. This guide to computer jargon will help you to understand the difference between a Hard Drive and the cloud, and everything in between.


Hard disk drive – This is essentially the place where your computer stores information on a permanent basis. If you create a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation you’ll save it to your hard disk drive and it will stay there until you delete it.

Random Access Memory (RAM) – Whenever you have a program open on your computer it is running from your RAM. RAM is your computer’s memory that is used for running programmes. Ultimately the greater amount of RAM your computer has, the more programmes it will be able to handle at once.

USB stick – USB sticks work in a similar way to your hard disk drive in that you can save information to them. However, as these can be plugged into any computer with a USB port you’ll be able to access the files from any system that you plug it into. The files will stay on your device until you delete them.

Motherboard – The motherboard is a circuit board that links everything together on your computer or mobile device; consider it the main hub that allows everything to work with each other.


Operating System (OS) – An operating system is a piece of software on your device that is responsible for how things look and behave. There is a wealth of operating systems available on both mobiles and computers and their main difference is appearance. From a functional perspective all these operating systems translate your command into a response from your device, essentially being the thing that allows you to interact with your mobile or computer.

The Internet & Connectivity:

Web browser – A piece of software that displays websites and allows you to search the web. 

Local Area Network – A Local Area Network is any network of devices that are connected to each other to share information. Generally these are used within businesses to share documents, images, videos and more.

Wi-Fi – Wi-Fi is used to connect a wireless device to the Internet through a wireless hotspot.

Bluetooth – Bluetooth is a wireless connection that deals with short-range signals. The latest version of Bluetooth is version 4 and each version indicates a difference in usage, connection speed and compatibility. Devices such as wireless headsets and car kits primarily operate via Bluetooth.

IP-Address – This is a unique number that is assigned to every device that connects to the Internet or a network.

Server – A powerful computer that sends information to other devices ether through the Internet or a network. The most common use of a server is the hosting of websites. As a user connects to a server they will be displayed a webpage.

Proxy – A server that acts as an intermediary from users that are looking to gain access to information held from other servers.

The cloud – The use of networks and remote servers to store information on the Internet rather than on a hard disk drive.

Internet Security:

Malware – Refers to a host of hostile software that are designed to harm your system. These include viruses, worms, spyware, adware and much more.

Anti-virus – A piece of software that is designed specifically to detect and destroy computer viruses before they infect your system.

Firewall – Firewalls are programmes that act to try and protect computers from malware. This is achieved by controlling the inbound and outbound communications of a device to reduce the risk of viewing information that could potentially harm your device.

What is VoIP and How Does it Work?

If you don’t already know what a VoIP is and how it works, get ready to be informed!

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and it is the method of taking analog audio signals and converting them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet. Ultimately VoIP will completely change the way you think about long-distance phone calls.

How is VoIP useful?

The general perception is that long distance phone calls are extremely expensive and if you stay on the line for more than a few minutes you can expect a nasty surprise when your bill drops through the door at the end of the month.

However, VoIP turns a standard Internet connection into a way to place free phone calls. Therefore the advantage is that you can essentially bypass the phone company and their inflated charges and instead use the Internet to make phone calls.

If you want to try out VoIP take a quick look online and you’ll be presented with a wealth of free VoIP software options. You’ll be able to download them in a few minutes and if you get a friend to do the same you’ll be able to start making calls and get a real taste for how VoIP works.

How is VoIP used?

Now that you have a clearer understanding of what VoIP is and how it is useful, the next step is to see exactly how you can use it in your day-to-day life.

The chances are that you are already using VoIP in some capacity each time you place a long-distance call. Many phone companies have started to use VoIP to streamline the networks.

It’s not just the phone companies that are using VoIP either; more and more businesses are installing VoIP systems as a way of communicating with contacts from around the world, so the technology is certainly catching on.

VoIP can be used anywhere you have broadband connectivity, which makes it ideal for business travellers who don’t want to have to be wary of making long distance calls whilst they try to close a big deal on the other side of the globe. As long as you have a headset and a microphone you are good to go, so whether it’s from the airport departures lounge, your hotel room or an Internet café you’ll always be able to make long distance calls at an extremely affordable rate.

It’s not just in businesses that you see VoIP being used; it is also becoming increasingly popular in homes as well. With the world being more accessible than ever and people having family scattered across all corners of the globe, there is a high demand for VoIP as people look to keep in touch with their families and friends.

How much does it cost?

The cost of VoIP will vary according to your individual needs. Certain suppliers will have more affordable rates than others, so it is important to shop around.

When selecting a VoIP company make sure you check exactly what is included in your plan. VoIP companies tend to provide features that you would normally have to pay extra for with a normal phone provider, but again this can vary from company to company.

Typically you’d expect VoIP services to include:

  • Caller ID
  • Call waiting
  • Call transfer
  • Repeat dial
  • Return call
  • Call forwarding

Looking to make phone-calls via the internet instead of using the conventional telephone system?

Our VoIP services are probably just what you’re looking for.

What is Virtualization? Because almost every business can leverage the benefits of virtualization

The short answer is, it’s pooling a few resources to accomplish the same tasks you once did with many. To put it a different way think of a company with 6 servers, each in charge of a different task like email, storage, etc. Now instead of these servers being computers think of them as people, each person has a different job, one does marketing, one is in charge of mail, another might be the receptionist, either way; each individual has a task and does only that task. While it might be beneficial to have each person doing there own task, the allocation of work is going to be skewed. If for some reason hundreds of phone calls come in today and only the receptionist can answer the phone (their dedicated task), the receptionist is overworked. Meanwhile, the mail room person has a small amount of mail to sort, so they sit idle.

This is essentially how a company with a few servers works, each with their own set of tasks; none of which intersect. But the problem is, how do we fix the fact that the phone receptionist is doing too much work? Well, you could hire another person to help with the workload, but this is going to increase cost and if this spike in activity is only an once in a while thing then it wouldn’t make much sense to keep a second person on hand at all times. The other problem is what about the employee that is underutilized? They still have a lot of potential tasks they could do, but are waiting for the instructions. This is the problem most companies faced before virtualization, how can we lower the workload of one server and increase the work load of another?

Virtualization fixed this issue by taking all the servers computer power and created what is known as an Hypervisor to help distribute the tasks, evenly. Think of this as having a project manager distribute tasks to each of his employees as equal as possible. If the manger sees one department being overworked, they have someone from a different department step in and help with the workload. I know what your thinking. “Well, of course! Any good business would be structured like this!  You’re right.  And the brilliant software engineers who designed Virtualization agree with you, too.  They successfully took this proven effecient business practice, and wrote software so technology could follow suit: Virtualization.

What the Hypervisor does, is figure out the processing power of the combined servers and allocate each task a portion of this total computing power, just as project manager might allocate a percentage of the employee’s total work hours that day. By doing this, the Hypervisor can change how much computer power each task gets instead of how many servers, just like a project manager can delegate how many hours of work will go to a certain task vs. how many people.

When you start your computer you probably open Outlook, word and maybe an Internet Browser, all from the same computer. It wouldn’t make sense to have three different computers running three different applications when one has the power to run all three. This is what the operating system is for, to let each task run next to each other. Well, a Virtualized Network is the same thing.

IT Services What is Virtualization

This is a basic conceptional way to think about Virtualization.  The practical way is:

Less hardware to manage.

More uptime, less down time.

Disaster Recovery is built in.

You can virtualize one server.

It is beneficial to almost any IT environment.

Less power consumption.

More flexibility.

Your competition is probaby using virtualization.


What is wireless internet (Wi-Fi)?

What is wireless internet (Wi-Fi)?

Wireless networking – which is often just known as Wi-Fi – is a way of getting broadband internet without wires.

Wi-Fi allows you to connect several computers at once, anywhere in the house – or if you have a laptop, to even use your computer in the garden. You don’t need to install extra phone lines or cables.

Millions of Scots already connect to the internet using Wi-Fi. It’s also known as ‘wireless networking’ or ‘wireless fidelity’.

Wi-Fi is widely installed in cafés, airports and many other public buildings. If you have seen someone at your local coffee shop surfing the internet on a laptop computer, they are probably using a Wi-Fi network..

How does Wi-Fi work?

Wi-Fi creates a network in your home or office – a little zone where computers can get broadband internet. It uses radio waves, just like TV or mobile phones. You may sometimes hear this zone referred to as a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network).

A device called a wireless transmitter receives information from the internet via your broadband connection. The transmitter converts the information into a radio signal and sends it.

Think of the transmitter as a mini radio station, broadcasting signals sent from the internet. The ‘audience’ for these transmissions is the computer (or computers, as more than one can connect at the same time) which receives the radio signal via something called a wireless adapter.

The whole process, meanwhile, works in reverse, with the computer sending information to the wireless transmitter. It then converts them and sends them via your broadband connection.

How do I set up Wi-Fi?

To use Wi-Fi you will need certain equipment:

A wireless transmitter, also known as a Wireless Access Point (WAP)
A Wi-Fi adapter on every computer that will use Wi-Fi

You may find that you already have a Wi-Fi network, as many ISPs (internet service providers) set up new customers with Wi-Fi from the outset. However you may find the equipment slow and outdate and this is where we come in.

CANS can set-up your company network with the correct Wi-Fi for your business. We can supply and configure the router and new laptops to get you going with your superfast new Wi-Fi network.


What is Cloud Computing, and what can it do for your business?

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing means that instead of all the computer hardware and software you’re using sitting on your desktop, or somewhere inside your company’s network, it’s provided for you as a service by another company and accessed over the Internet, usually in a completely seamless way. Exactly where the hardware and software is located and how it all works doesn’t matter to you, the user—it’s just somewhere up in the nebulous “cloud” that the Internet represents.

Cloud computing is a buzzword that means different things to different people. For some, it’s just another way of describing IT (information technology) “outsourcing”; others use it to mean any computing service provided over the Internet or a similar network; and some define it as any bought-in computer service you use that sits outside your firewall. However we define cloud computing, there’s no doubt it makes most sense when we stop talking about abstract definitions and look at some simple, real examples—so let’s do just that.

Simple examples of cloud computing

Most of us use cloud computing all day long without realizing it. When you sit at your PC and type a query into Google, the computer on your desk isn’t playing much part in finding the answers you need: it’s no more than a messenger. The words you type are swiftly shuttled over the Net to one of Google’s hundreds of thousandsof clustered PCs, which dig out your results and send them promptly back to you. When you do a Google search, the real work in finding your answers might be done by a computer sitting in California, Dublin, Tokyo, or Beijing; you don’t know—and most likely you don’t care!

The same applies to Web-based email. Once upon a time, email was something you could only send and receive using a program running on your PC (sometimes called a mail client). But then Web-based services such as Hotmail came along and carried email off into the cloud. Now we’re all used to the idea that emails can be stored and processed through a server in some remote part of the world, easily accessible from a Web browser, wherever we happen to be. Pushing email off into the cloud makes it supremely convenient for busy people, constantly on the move.

Preparing documents over the Net is a newer example of cloud computing. Simply log on to a web-based service such as Google Documents and you can create a document, spreadsheet, presentation, or whatever you like using Web-based software. Instead of typing your words into a program like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice, running on your computer, you’re using similar software running on a PC at one of Google’s world-wide data centers. Like an email drafted on Hotmail, the document you produce is stored remotely, on a Web server, so you can access it from any Internet-connected computer, anywhere in the world, any time you like. Do you know where it’s stored? No! Do you care where it’s stored? Again, no! Using a Web-based service like this means you’re “contracting out” or “outsourcing” some of your computing needs to a company such as Google: they pay the cost of developing the software and keeping it up-to-date and they earn back the money to do this through advertising and other paid-for services.

What makes cloud computing different?

It’s managed

Most importantly, the service you use is provided by someone else and managed on your behalf. If you’re using Google Documents, you don’t have to worry about buying umpteen licenses for word-processing software or keeping them up-to-date. Nor do you have to worry about viruses that might affect your computer or about backing up the files you create. Google does all that for you. One basic principle of cloud computing is that you no longer need to worry how the service you’re buying is provided: with Web-based services, you simply concentrate on whatever your job is and leave the problem of providing dependable computing to someone else.

It’s “on-demand”

Cloud services are available on-demand and often bought on a “pay-as-you go” or subscription basis. So you typically buy cloud computing the same way you’d buy electricity, telephone services, or Internet access from a utility company. Sometimes cloud computing is free or paid-for in other ways (Hotmail is subsidized by advertising, for example). Just like electricity, you can buy as much or as little of a cloud computing service as you need from one day to the next. That’s great if your needs vary unpredictably: it means you don’t have to buy your own gigantic computer system and risk have it sitting there doing nothing.

It’s public or private

Now we all have PCs on our desks, we’re used to having complete control over our computer systems—and complete responsibility for them as well. Cloud computing changes all that. It comes in two basic flavors, public and private, which are the cloud equivalents of the Internet and Intranets. Web-based email and free services like the ones Google provides are the most familiar examples of public clouds. The world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon, became the world’s largest provider of public cloud computing in early 2006. When it found it was using only a fraction of its huge, global, computing power, it started renting out its spare capacity over the Net through a new entity called Amazon Web Services. Private cloud computing works in much the same way but you access the resources you use through secure network connections, much like an Intranet. Companies such as Amazon also let you use their publicly accessible cloud to make your own secure private cloud, known as a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), using virtual private network (VPN) connections.

Types of cloud computing

IT people talk about three different kinds of cloud computing, where different services are being provided for you. Note that there’s a certain amount of vagueness about how these things are defined and some overlap between them.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) means you’re buying access to raw computing hardware over the Net, such as servers or storage. Since you buy what you need and pay-as-you-go, this is often referred to as utility computing. Ordinary web hosting is a simple example of IaaS: you pay a monthly subscription or a per-megabyte/gigabyte fee to have a hosting company serve up files for your website from their servers.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) means you use a complete application running on someone else’s system. Web-based email and Google Documents are perhaps the best-known examples. Zoho is another well-known SaaS provider offering a variety of office applications online.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) means you develop applications using Web-based tools so they run on systems software and hardware provided by another company. So, for example, you might develop your own ecommerce website but have the whole thing, including the shopping cart, checkout, and payment mechanism running on a merchant’s server. App Cloud (from salesforce.com) and the Google App Engine are examples of PaaS.

Advantages of cloud computing



The pros of cloud computing are obvious and compelling. If your business is selling books or repairing shoes, why get involved in the nitty gritty of buying and maintaining a complex computer system? If you run an insurance office, do you really want your sales agents wasting time running anti-virus software, upgrading word-processors, or worrying about hard-drive crashes? Do you really want them cluttering your expensive computers with their personal emails, illegally shared MP3 files, and naughty YouTube videos—when you could leave that responsibility to someone else? Cloud computing allows you to buy in only the services you want, when you want them, cutting the upfront capital costs of computers and peripherals. You avoid equipment going out of date and other familiar IT problems like ensuring system security and reliability. You can add extra services (or take them away) at a moment’s notice as your business needs change. It’s really quick and easy to add new applications or services to your business without waiting weeks or months for the new computer (and its software) to arrive.


Instant convenience comes at a price. Instead of purchasing computers and software, cloud computing means you buy services, so one-off, upfront capital costs become ongoing operating costs instead. That might work out much more expensive in the long-term.

If you’re using software as a service (for example, writing a report using an online word processor or sending emails through webmail), you need a reliable, high-speed, broadband Internet connection functioning the whole time you’re working. That’s something we take for granted in countries such as Scotland, but it’s much more of an issue in developing countries or rural areas where broadband is unavailable.

If you’re buying in services, you can buy only what people are providing, so you may be restricted to off-the-peg solutions rather than ones that precisely meet your needs. Not only that, but you’re completely at the mercy of your suppliers if they suddenly decide to stop supporting a product you’ve come to depend on. Critics charge that cloud-computing is a return to the bad-old days of mainframes and proprietary systems, where businesses are locked into unsuitable, long-term arrangements with big, inflexible companies. Instead of using “generative” systems (ones that can be added to and extended in exciting ways the developers never envisaged), you’re effectively using “dumb terminals” whose uses are severely limited by the supplier. Good for convenience and security, perhaps, but what will you lose in flexibility? And is such a restrained approach good for the future of the Internet as a whole?

Think of cloud computing as renting a fully serviced flat instead of buying a home of your own. Clearly there are advantages in terms of convenience, but there are huge restrictions on how you can live and what you can alter. Will it automatically work out better and cheaper for you in the long term?