Network Security 101: How Do Firewalls Work?

Many individuals and organizations fall victim to cyberattacks every day. It’s estimated that cyber hackers will steal over 30 billion records in 2023. Firewalls have been regarded as the first line of defense against cyberattacks for the past two decades. The blog will discuss how firewalls work and expand on secure networks that can protect organizations from data breaches.

How Firewalls Monitor Your Network Traffic

According to Cisco, a leader in firewall development, a firewall is a network security barrier that monitors ingoing and outgoing traffic and enforces specific security rules. It scans for any data packets that don’t match the provided security information, flags, and discards it as a security threat. Firewalls can be in software or hardware solutions or a combination of both. Many organizations have hundreds of computers connected to a private network where a few or all have access to the internet. Without a robust firewall, a security threat can access one computer, spread through the connected network and compromise the entire organization.

How Firewalls Protect Your Valuable Data

Viruses

When viruses enter a network system, they can multiply and spread to the devices connected to the network and possibly delete your valuable data. Firewalls feature virus protection to avoid such attacks.

Backdoors and Remote Logins

Backdoors are used by administrators to access a network system remotely. Unfortunately, bugs or skilled hackers can find their way into the system through backdoors and gain access. Firewalls prevent such security risks.

Denial of Service

A hacker can flood a server with session requests which can affect its performance and potentially go offline. Firewalls and other security measures can identify denial of service attacks to prevent the slowdown and shutdown of your server.

Code on a cybercriminal’s laptop

The Types of Firewalls

Packet Filtering

Packet filtering is the most basic form of network traffic monitoring, where a set of security rules create network filters that monitor information packets. The filters allow ‘good’ information packets to pass through and send them to the intended system. The filters flag the bad information ‘packets’ and discard them to prevent any threats.

Proxy Service

A firewall proxy service creates and runs a mirror of the computer on the application layer of the firewall and scans incoming and outgoing information traffic. It acts as an in-between system between the internet and the device to prevent any direct connection between them, enabling it to be a secure firewall.

Stateful Inspection

Stateful inspection is a modern firewall filtration system where it holds states of each connection in its database. It collects and filters a series of packets based on security rules and matches the trusted information rather than scanning each packet.

Axis Business Technologies is a trusted provider of industry-standard hardware and software solutions for businesses in retail, healthcare, education, financial services, government and other industries. Our extensive range of technology solutions includes but is not limited to computers, mobile devices, network solutions, print management solutions, business laser printers and commercial copiers. Check out our products and services to learn more.

How Effective Print Management Software Can Benefit Your Organizations

Woman using a commercial printer

The synergistic collaboration of cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), and reliable commercial printers has paved the way for innovative print management software solutions. A print management software solution offers an intelligent approach to streamline the printing needs of an organization and customize them to cater to specific requirements. Here’s how adopting an effective print management software solution can benefit your organization.

Cut Down On Printing Costs

Printing is a crucial task to carry out core operations like filing paperwork and creating marketing materials. However, statistics show that an employee wastes 17% of printing efforts on average, leading to high printing overheads. Unfortunately, 90% of businesses don’t track their printing costs. Print management systems show monthly cost reports that can help you evaluate printing costs. With print management, you can limit the amount of monthly print volume, reducing unnecessary use of papers, commercial printers and ink/toners. An MPS provider like us can help you decide on a cost-effective print management software solution.

Advanced Document And Device Security

Printers that feature Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity with poor encryption are at a cybersecurity risk. A survey involving 2000 participants revealed that 60% of participants think that network-connect printers can pose a threat to data breaches and understandably so. In 2017, a hacker hijacked over 150,000 printers compromising sensitive data worth millions. A print management software solution offers encrypted and access-only printing to protect your printer and important documents from falling into the wrong hands.

Man waiting for the color laser printer to print

Increased Productivity

A study by Gartner revealed that nearly half of help desk calls are related to printing tasks. Traditional printing is wasting valuable time of your staff, thus lowering the productivity of your firm. Furthermore, long printing queues and printer failures cause printing downtime, leading to wasted labor hours. Print management software solutions and modern commercial printers feature wireless connectivity where one can connect their mobile and computer devices for instant printing. This allows staff to print their documents remotely from their devices to an available printer within seconds which in turn leads to increased productivity.

Lower Carbon Footprint

The paper production industry heavily relies on deforestation which has a detrimental impact on the planet. Document management and print management software solutions encourage sustainability by limiting organization staff to only print the necessary files. At the same time, you can save energy consumption and ink/toners by reducing printer usage from time to time. At Axis Business Technologies, we aim to lower carbon footprint by adopting modern technology solutions.

We offer our services in retail, media, educations, financial services, healthcare and other industries in Colorado Springs. We follow a comprehensive guideline to deliver MPS in three organized stages; design, transition and manage. You can choose your level of outsourcing and collaboration of your printing solutions for your business based on your budget and resources. Check out our Managed Print Services for more information.

The Importance of Cloud Computing for Small Businesses

Person using cloud computing for document management

Cloud computing is an on-demand technology solution where data and information can be stored on physical or virtual servers without requiring active management by the user. A whopping 94% of businesses are already adopting at least one cloud service for their business operations. Here’re five key reasons why small businesses should make the transition to the cloud.

Remote Collaboration On The Fly

One of the tried and true advantages of embracing cloud computing is to be able to collaborate with people from across the world. Whether you’re working with a brand designer in Toronto or an accountant in New York, cloud computing allows people to work on key business operations on the fly. Many industries like advertising and banking use cloud computing services, and now with the ongoing pandemic, the education industry has embraced it as well. A technology specialist can set up a cloud-based SaaS for your small business to allow remote workers to carry out business operations during the pandemic.

Data Backup All Year Round

Cloud computing revolutionized document management by introducing cloud storage to the masses. Businesses can digitize hundreds of physical files and back them up on the cloud. This allows small businesses to minimize paper clutter and free up their once occupied office space. On the other hand, businesses must have a solid data backup solution to allow them to access any past files when needed. From old tax receipts to supplier contracts, keeping all business documents on the cloud can prove valuable in due time.

Small business doing data recovery

Data Recovery To The Rescue

Data recovery is an essential part of a business continuity plan in the event of a disaster. Whether a natural calamity has flooded out your office or a cyber hacker wiped out your computers, a data recovery solution can save your businesses from shutting down. In fact, 60% of small businesses shut down within 6 months of data loss and having a disaster recovery plan ensures that your operations keep running in the event of a data disaster. Our technology solutions team can guide you on the right cloud solution for your enterprise.

Axis Business Technologies is one of the leading technology solutions providers in Colorado Springs. We provide innovative hardware and software solutions such as commercial printers, print management solutions, data backup systems, network solutions and more. Contact us now and our team will gladly be of assistance.

4 Educational Technology Innovations You Should Know About

The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped our world and has had far-reaching consequences on every aspect of our lives.

It has also transformed education around the world. With schools, colleges and universities shut down, remote learning quickly became part of the new normal, and students of all ages had to adapt quickly.

Here are some of the ways educational technology, also known as EdTech, has advanced and is continuing to innovate:

1. More Online Materials

In some countries, using online study materials instead of physical books has already been the norm for many years.

However, for most countries, one of the biggest changes brought about by the pandemic is that educational material is being moved online. While this was always considered inevitable, it was expected that this kind of change would occur at some point in the future.

Regardless of expectations, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the timeline considerably. Online study materials make textbooks – infamous for their size as much as their high price –effectively redundant.

2. Digital Whiteboards and Collaboration Tools

Students everywhere and of all ages have been complaining about how difficult it is to focus and remain engaged with what they’re being taught through e-learning and hybrid learning.

The solution for this has come in the form of digital whiteboard tools. Platforms such as Zoom Whiteboard, Google Jamboard, and Limnu are growing more popular by the day.

They enable teachers to liven up their e-teaching with a bit of fun and make collaboration between them and the class really easy.

3. Learning Through VR

No industry has a detailed manual for working effectively during a pandemic, and the same is true for education. The bright side is that, in order to figure out what works best, new methods and approaches are being tried out more enthusiastically.

While virtual reality (VR) is already being used in many other industries for a variety of applications, the usage of VR in education hasn’t been as widespread as it ought to be.

By integrating VR in teaching, students can ‘visit’ places they’ve only read about, take virtual field trips to historical locations anywhere in the world, and experience situations that they’ve only seen in documentaries. This technology adds a fully immersive depth to education.

4. Gamification

The concept of gamification has long been applied to business processes, with great success. Now, it seems that it’ll be just as successful in the education sector.

The biggest example is Kahoot!, an audience engagement platform (AEP) that uses gamification techniques to make studies more engaging and enjoyable.

By using its features, students can develop their own learning content, or find and use content created by others. Both of these activities are free. The paid version of the platform is aimed towards the corporate sector. Users can build their own corporate learning materials or use material designed by others.

A boy wearing VR goggles

Besides all-in-one copiers and color laser printers in Colorado Springs, you can also benefit from our document management and print management software solutions.

We provide cutting-edge EdTech solutions in Colorado Springs. Whether you need interactive displays or digital flipboards for the classroom, contact us today to get started.

5 Ways to Ensure Interactive Displays are Safe to Use During the Pandemic

A man using a ticketing machine at a subway station

Even though different vaccines are available – and being administered as we speak – experts still recommend keeping up with safety measures such as wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, and practicing social distancing.

One of the major points of concern ever since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic has been interactive displays and the risk in their usage.

You can find interactive displays on ATMs, self-service kiosks, and self-checkout counters at supermarkets all around you.

Since these displays are in constant use by the public, some measures can be taken to keep them safer for everyone, which are discussed below:

1. Disinfect Regularly

Touchscreens that are installed for public use should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

This process needs to be thorough and should be conducted as frequently as possible. You can decide the frequency of disinfection based on the nature of your business and how frequently the touchscreen is used.

2. Get Your Customers Involved

In addition to regular cleaning and disinfection processes, you can also engage your customers through your safety protocols.

Help put your customers’ minds at ease by providing antibacterial wipes and encouraging them to wipe down the screen before use. They’re likely to feel safer and more comfortable using a display if they know they cleaned it themselves.

3. Out with the Old

Older machines often come with physical buttons that are improperly designed and cannot be thoroughly disinfected as a result.

Instead of leaving them be to collect dirt and germs, replace such machines with newer models that provide full functionality through the display itself. These newer machines eliminate the need for physical buttons, reducing the risk of bacteria accumulation.

4. In with the New

Another advantage of investing in newer displays is that most of them can be operated with gloved hands. Many people are opting to wear gloves in public, in addition to face coverings and other protective equipment.

By creating an additional layer of safety, newer models allow your customers to keep their gloves on for hassle-free usage.

5. Consider Coatings

Along with anti-glare coating, screens with special antimicrobial and antiviral coatings are also available in the market.

Such screens can boost hygiene and make your screens safer for use. Interactive displays are available in a variety of sizes and can be used to perform a wide range of tasks. Working with an interactive display provider, not only can you find the best display for your needs, but also the best ways to keep it safe for you and your customers.

A woman using an older ATM while wearing gloves

Since 1978, our expertise in the field of business technology has empowered companies to achieve better growth and success. In addition to interactive digital solutions in Colorado Springs, we also offer services such as data backup &recovery and document management in Colorado Springs, and products such as digital copy machines and commercial color printers.

Contact us today, and get your organization the top-notch tech it deserves.

3 Digital Presentation Solutions for Your Conference Room

A conference room with digital presentation solutions

A company’s conference room is where the biggest decisions are taken about its work and future. It’s where a company’s various departments and teams come together to brainstorm and come up with ideas.

Your conference room needs to be a blend of functionality, technology, and style.

Fortunately, with the digital presentation solutions we’ve put together for you, that’s easy to do:

1. Projectors

When selecting a projector, you should start by ensuring that its brightness is suitable for your conference room.

For smaller businesses that have conference rooms with a capacity of around 10 people, a business projector with a brightness of 3000-3500 lumens strikes the right balance between cost savings and performance.

For larger conference rooms designed to seat 20-25 people, the brightness can be as high as 6000 to 6500 lumens. To narrow your options further, also look into projection technology, resolution, throw distance, audio, and connectivity.

Keep in mind though, that the effectiveness of a projector also depends on how well you can reduce ambient light from your conference room.

2. Screens

The era of old-school flip boards, whiteboards, and markers is long gone.

Bring your conference room into 2021 with cutting-edge digital flipcharts and interactive displays that will take your meetings to the next level.

The latest digital flipcharts come in different sizes, with 4K video quality and a host of features designed to make meetings more successful.

They allow participants to sync their devices, share content directly and connect their computers remotely. Thanks to instant note distribution features, you no longer need to choose one person as the designated note-taker.

Lastly, compared to projectors, these digital screens work well and maintain visibility regardless of ambient light.

3. AV Tech

Relying solely on basic speakers and the mic you use for day-to-day activities all but guarantees an unsuccessful meeting. Your conference room needs to have a reliable audio set-up to make sure that people can speak and be heard clearly during video conferencing or remote meetings.

Choose a high-quality mic that is specifically designed for video conferencing. When placed in a central location in the room, typically in the middle of the conference table, the high sensitivity of these mics ensures clear communication.

Your speakers should be installed, keeping the size and shape of the conference room in mind. Larger rooms may require as many as 4 speakers. Whereas in smaller rooms, even 2 speakers might suffice.

To elevate your presentations, you can consider alternate display configurations.

Several displays placed side by side, for example, effortlessly command attention. On the other hand, displays placed around the room enable an audience to easily focus on the content, no matter where they’re seated.

Our business technology expertise allows companies to transform their conference rooms for the better. We offer digital signage in Colorado Springs, along with print management software solutions & document management and equipment such as commercial color printers and all-in-one copiers.

For engaging conference room solutions in Colorado Springs, contact us today.

3 Factors to Consider When Buying Pre-Owned Equipment

A woman using a printer in an office

As a business owner, there are times when you might want to use the best equipment money can buy. After all, who doesn’t like the feeling of using a brand-new computer, printer or copier?

However, you also need to balance what you want with the financial situation of your business. The cost of acquiring new tools and equipment for yourself and every person on your team can quickly climb into thousands.

One way of ensuring some serious savings is by opting for a pre-owned printer or commercial copier. The trouble with used equipment arises when people don’t know what to look for.

If you’re considering buying a pre-owned laser color printer in Colorado Springs, here are the things you should consider:

1. Know Your Budget

A lot of people tend to think in extremes. If the newest, top-of-the-line model is too expensive, then surely a different, used model will be too affordable, right?

Not necessarily.

Prices for used printers and copiers vary, and depend on different factors. Often, business owners simply choose the printer with the lowest purchase price, and think that they saved even more than their budgeted amount.

A better approach is to look at not just the upfront price, but also take into account the future maintenance and upkeep costs.

Moreover, find out how much you’d be paying for toner and replacement parts if the need arises. All this information will give you a better idea of the cost and its feasibility for you.

2. Know Your Requirements

Before you set out to buy a used copier, be sure of the requirements of your business. A good place to start is by checking how many pages your team copies in a typical workday, then use that number to get your monthly average.

Why is this important, you ask?

Because you want a copier that can handle your usage. If you buy an all-in-one copy machine that’s designed for lighter use, it’s just a matter of time before you’ll be running to get it repaired.

3. Know the Warranty

There are plenty of places where you can get a used copier or commercial color printer for cheap, but those places typically don’t provide any warranties.

This means that while you might end up saving some money upon purchase, you’ll end up paying the difference anyway when you pay out-of-pocket for repairs.

Make sure that the used equipment you’re buying comes with a warranty, and don’t forget to check the fine print. This will help you know what’s covered and what’s not.

Ideally, you should look for at least a 3-month warranty that should cover parts as well as labor.

A man using a copy machine in an office

We’ve been the business technology partners of companies of every size for the last 40 years. In addition to pre-owned printers and copiers in Colorado Springs, we also provide digital copy machines, document management and print management software solutions.

To benefit from our pre-owned certified digital systems, contact us today!

4 Reasons Why Data Destruction is Important

A person typing on a multiple monitor setup

In this day and age, running a business without depending heavily on technology is impossible. While the omnipresence of technology in every aspect of our lives has its benefits, it also has risks that we need to be mindful of.

Where technology has given us a lot of convenience and ease, it also requires the creation of large amounts of digital data, and digital data is not as secure as we’d like to believe.

Particularly for businesses, negligent handling of digital data can have severe consequences. Personal information of employees can be used for impersonating authorized personnel. From cyber security threats to identity theft, the dangers are very real.

Data destruction should be an integral part of data management protocols for any business.

Here’s why:

1. Required by the Law

There are federal as well as state-level laws that make it the duty of a business to safeguard the personal information of their clients.

When client information ends up compromised as a result of poor data management, it makes the business a target for punitive action from regulators. Moreover, the clients in question can take the business to court.

2. Image Protection

How well a business is able to protect the confidential data of its clients and employees has an impact on how well it can protect its image.

Data breaches, particularly ones that could have been avoided through vigilance and preventive measures, deal a blow to a company’s reputation.

The lesson people derive from such incidents is quite simple: they wouldn’t want to do business with an organization that puts their data at risk.

3. Preventing Misuse

Before storage equipment is disposed of or decommissioned, it should be subjected to data destruction processes. This is how a company can prevent any files or documents from potentially falling into the wrong hands and being misused.

A lot of businesses, particularly smaller ones, believe that simply erasing the files is enough. We’re here to tell you that it isn’t. There are the methods through which erased data can be recovered. However, there is no way to retrieve destroyed data.

4. Working with Professionals

You’d be surprised at how many people try to cut costs by attempting ‘data destruction’ themselves. These amateur techniques typically include damaging the hard drive, or other storage equipment.

The problem is, not only is this method completely ineffective, it’s also hazardous. Trying to dispose of electronic equipment in such extreme ways puts you at risk for injuries.

To ensure personal safety, remember to always seek professional data destruction solutions.

A hard disk next to a precision screwdriver

Since 1978, our team of experts has helped businesses from every industry perfect their data management processes. In addition to professional data destruction solutions in Colorado Springs, our range of services also includes data recovery and document management. Moreover, we offer print management software solutions.

For queries about professional data destruction in Colorado Springs, contact us today.

Small Businesses and Printers: Lease, Purchase or Rent?

A color laser printer in Colorado Springs

For established businesses that have many employees and a great demand for efficient printing solutions, investing in a commercial color printer makes sense.

We use the word ‘investment’ here because that’s exactly what modern printers are.

On the other hand, small businesses that operate with tight budgets often have to think twice before incurring this kind of expense.

Fortunately, there are other options available too. If you’re searching for laser color printers in Colorado Springs, here’s what you should know:

Leasing a Printer – The Details

A printer can be leased just like any other equipment. However, the leasing option for printers has gradually evolved into what is now called managed print services.

Managed print services typically include charges for maintenance, toner, and paper. This way, small businesses can get a comprehensive, all-in-one package suited to their needs.

By opting for leasing, you can save on upfront costs, you won’t have to worry about disposal or resale at the end of use, and you won’t have to worry about buying a specialized printer only for it to become obsolete in a year or two.

On the other hand, when a lease term comes to an end, it’s likely that you’d have paid more than the actual value of the printer. This is because of interest. If a maintenance plan is part of the lease, you’d be paying interest on the printer and on the plan too.

Purchasing a Printer – Right for You?

For starters, buying a printer will be less expensive in the long run. Despite depreciation, a printer can still be sold once you’re done with it. You won’t have that option with a leased printer.

Lastly, in a lease agreement, you’re contractually prohibited from conducting any maintenance yourself as it’s the responsibility of the lessor. For a printer you own outright, though, repairs can be done ASAP.

The downside is that buying printers outright can be prohibitively expensive, as prices climb quickly depending on the make, model and features.

Moreover, disposal and replacement will be your issues to deal with, not the lessor’s.

Renting – How About It?

Many people confuse rental agreements with lease agreements.

Compared to lease agreements, which are long-term and less flexible, rental agreements are generally month-to-month and offer greater flexibility.

This option is perfect for you if your business has different printing requirements each month. If, for example, you’ve taken on a project that requires a lot of printing, you could easily rent a printer to handle it. You can also add maintenance services to your rent agreement. You should remember, though, that renting over a long period of time can rack up the costs, a lot like leasing a printer.

A shelf with a printer and plastic boxes

Since 1978, we’ve helped businesses with the technological solutions they need to thrive. Whether you need print management software solutions or commercial printers in Colorado Springs, count on the most trusted Colorado Springs computers and tech equipment company. Contact us today to get started!