Bing is Worth Another Look

When it comes to online search engines, Google remains king. Microsoft isn’t happy with this

When it comes to online search engines, Google remains king. Microsoft isn’t happy with this. That is why the company introduced Bing in 2009, its own search engine and a direct competitor with Google. Ever since then, Bing has gone the way of most Google-search competitors: It’s mostly an afterthought when computer users want to search the web. Most searchers still use Google for this task. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that Bing offers nothing for computer users. The truth is, Microsoft did a lot right with Bing, and the search engine delivers plenty of exciting features that users shouldn’t ignore.

Taking Another Look at Bing

When searching on Bing, you get more information about your search results then you do with Google. Bing has a navigation panel on the left that allows users to focus their search easily. In addition, it organizes search results into logical categories, making it easier to get quick answers.

Bing Goes Beyond Search Results

Another great advantage of Bing is that it doesn’t just bring up search results. It also brings up relevant videos, music, and images. Although this is an element of Google as well, Bing makes it easier to use, as the categories are right beneath the search bar. Bing beats Google for travel searches as well. They use something called Farecast Technology in the Bing Travel site; it lets users find the cheapest flights quickly and easily.

Bing Video Search Shines

Bing stands out from Google in terms of searching for videos as well. Bing allows users to specify how long they would like videos to be, what resolution they want, and what screen size they would prefer. In addition, to get a preview of the video, users only have to hover their cursor over the video to play a portion of it without clicking on it.

These are some of the reasons why computer users should not be so quick to discount Bing. Yes, Google remains the go-to player with regards to search engines. But that doesn’t mean that it’s the only choice today.

Will Windows Phone make Microsoft Cool

Microsoft is a household name. And Bill Gates is arguably one of the most important names in the technology field.

Microsoft is a household name. And Bill Gates is arguably one of the most important names in the technology field. But has Microsoft ever been “cool”? Not really, in the eyes of consumers it’s always fell a bit short of hip, but Microsoft’s new software for smartphones may alter the way the organization is viewed.

Microsoft has long fought an industry reputation as a sort of stodgy dullard. There’s a decent list of unsuccessful Microsoft products. Remember the Zune music player? Perhaps not. How about the Kin phone? That flop has long vanished from the minds of most consumers.

Windows Phone software may change this, as it is a success among the technology press and consumers alike. People are saying that overall Windows Phone is probably the best performing operating systems available on the market.

The praise that Windows Phone gets is mainly dues to its bold look and the animated home screen tiles, as opposed to the more static home screen of the iPhone. This OS has people fired up as well as it gives users quick access to their social networks. The social media icons on the home screen come to life when a friend posts an update or image, which means you don’t need to click the Facebook icon to get a glimpse of your activity.

Even with all of these features and praise Windows Phone hasn’t been the biggest seller. This is perhaps due to the phones that come loaded with the OS. Many individuals believe these phones are dull and wireless services providers are still pushing the iPhone and Android in a big way.

The Windows Phone may, however, represent a turn around for Microsoft. Perhaps this is just the start of a line of chic, hip products from them.

Microsoft introduces real-time threat feed

It looks as if Microsoft is ready to do its part to discourage cyber crimes. Microsoft plans to offer real-time feeds that partners can use to examine potential cyber threats and take the proper steps to boost their defenses against these attacks

It looks as if Microsoft is ready to do its part to discourage cyber crimes. Microsoft plans to offer real-time feeds that partners can use to examine potential cyber threats and take the proper steps to boost their defenses against these attacks.

Microsoft currently has a process set up to take down destructive botnets. Microsoft “swallows” the botnets and permits them to infect accounts that are highly controlled by Microsoft’s team. Once the botnets infect the accounts, Microsoft learns how they work and removes them as a threat.

This collected information is now given to ISPs, private and government agencies, & CERTs. While real-time data may not lessen the quantity of attacks by destructive code, the result of sharing this data will in all probability be quite remarkable. IT security companies will be able to respond more quickly to these threats and thus be able to limit the level of damage they can cause.

Even more importantly than a reduction in damage, a live threat feed could mean that the IT security industry overall will begin to share more information.  It’s been a long-standing belief that sharing validated threat data could lead to copycat attacks. However, this is not a valid concern. Cyber criminals have already been sharing secrets and ways to get around security systems. It only makes sense for the IT security industry to be sharing their information about how to battle these cyber criminals.

Microsoft’s real-time feed is an excellent first step toward a change for the better in IT security. Let’s hope this trend continues and that the IT security world will discover that secrecy is not more important than sharing information!

How Secure is the Cloud? Part 2

Businesses that have struggled in these tough economic times are finding some relief in the cloud.

Businesses that have struggled in these tough economic times are finding some relief in the cloud. The cloud can save a company a lot of money. Never the less, the cloud is not perfect for everyone, particularly when it comes to security concerns. There is the risk that documents, presentations, and data can be damaged or destroyed when stored in the cloud.

Password issues

One of the biggest security issues when dealing with the cloud is password protection. This is also one of the biggest security issues outside of the cloud.

Business owners must be careful to select passwords for their cloud projects that are challenging for others to guess. The best option is for owners to include a blend of letters and numbers in their passwords. Owners should also be careful about sharing their passwords with too many people. The more individuals who have access to passwords, the more vulnerable important data and documents are.

Hacker alert

A few serious problems that will not soon go away for anybody who uses a computer are hackers, malware, and spyware. As business owners have little control over how secure the cloud is this part of security can be very frightening indeed. Businesses like Microsoft and Google must create their own security measures to safeguard the data stored in the cloud.

Common sense protection

As with all computing, companies can protect themselves from the loss or theft of data with some common-sense practices.

First, sensitive data is probably not the best thing to store in the cloud. If your data is so sensitive that a compromise on its security could spell the demise of your business, consider saving it on a physical computing system and apply a secure back up protocol that is more controllable.

Secondly, before giving every employee free access to cloud-stored data, think carefully about which employees actually needs access to that information. People are often careful about protecting their laptops and desktop computers from prying eyes; this attitude should be applied to the cloud as well.

>Critical Microsoft Update

>Microsoft has released a patch that affects the following operating systems:

  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2003 with SP2 for Itanium-based Systems
  • Windows Vista, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, and Windows Vista Service Pack 2
  • Windows Vista x64 Edition, Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 1, and Windows Vista x64 Edition Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems and Windows Server 2008 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems and Windows Server 2008 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 2
  • Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-based Systems Service Pack 2

Of these, the last five systems are most severely affected. If you want more details, check out the information in the MS Security bulletin and the Knowledge Base article for the update.

We are recommending that this update be installed as soon as possible for all of our clients.

For those clients with management agreements or network monitoring in place, we will be contacting you in the next few days to schedule the installation of this patch. Please note that this patch will require a reboot of your server.

If your network is not currently being monitored or maintained by us, please contact us to schedule installation of this update immediately. We can also demonstrate how network monitoring can help you stay ahead of the computer vulernabilities that could cost your company time and money.