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Pros and Cons of Machine Learning

 

Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that is capable of predicting, detecting and prescribing solutions to many equations. It is mainly used by inserting thousands of images or algorithms into the system, which causes it to recognize the data and know the difference between them. This creates an algorithm that can be used for digital chat bots, voice recognition services and spam detection softwares. But what are the pros and cons of machine learning?

Pros 

When it comes to the pros of machine learning, there are many including prediction, detection and prescription. These complex machines are able to conduct data analysis fast and are more effective than any human. They can predict accurate information that can lead to more health and technological advances. Along with predicting information, machines can also detect this information at a faster rate than humans. They can detect data, images, voices and more. Not only can machines predict and detect information, they can also create solutions for certain algorithms. Scientists believe that machine learning devices can create solutions 100 times faster than humans. Machine learning can be used for many different areas of work or study, especially with the amount of tasks it can perform. 

Cons 

On the other hand, machine learning does have some disadvantages including data privacy and security. Machine learning can conduct many solutions including facial and voice recognition, which can be a problem for some people. When the machine does these types of tasks, many people argue that it is taking vital information from people and storing it internally. When the data is stored, almost anyone can access it, leaving a problem of data security. How to Avoid a Spear-Phishing Attack - WesTec Services

The bottom line is that machine learning is extremely useful. Like other technologies, it has its pros and cons. 

WesTec Services is your one-stop-source for all things IT support & consulting in Houston! Does your business require network installation, backup & disaster recovery, managed services, consulting, and more? We’ve got you covered! Contact us today.

Machine Learning Terms You Should Know

It is no secret that understanding technology and their terms can be difficult. Especially with it always changing and evolving, it is hard to keep up with all the lingo. Knowing the basic machine learning terms will help you have a better understanding of the technology. Here are the top terms you should know: 

 

Unsupervised Learning 

Unsupervised learning refers to systems that rely on clustering algorithms. The main goal of this is to allow big systems or computers to a wide variety of information so they can learn and adapt to it. The downside to this is that each system needs to be programmed in order to use the information.  

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) 

This type of automation is simply using bots to carry out certain tasks. RPA’s work best in an environment that repeats certain tasks. 

Linear Regression

Linear regression is a statistical algorithm that uses variables to predict values of dependent variables. The main idea of linear regression is being able to use independent and dependent variables to plot data on a line. 

Deep Learning

Artificial intelligence is becoming more popular in the technology industry, and deep learning is a new approach to AI. Deep learning groups learning algorithms based on hierarchy. For example, the first layer of deep learning can consist of an algorithm based on color and as the layers go up, the level of the algorithm increases due to how important it is to the full algorithm. 

Classification

Classification is grouping objects, ideas or information into categories. This can be useful for any type of algorithm or machine learning. It keeps track of data and allows the user to select certain information or objects to send out or edit. 

Struggling to understand machine learning terms Minimize the downtime spent searching for solutions and outsource IT support with WesTec Services! Interested in learning more? Contact us today! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

VPNs vs Proxies

 

In the new age of technology, everyone is wanting to protect their data, especially for their business. VPNs and Proxies can both be used as a barrier to protect vital information from being stolen or hacked. But which one is better for you and your business? Here is a breakdown of VPNs vs Proxies:

 

VPNs

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network is an established private service that is used when connected to a public internet network. It provides a user with a different IP address before connecting to the service. It creates a secure connection of different destinations that ensures the privacy of data and information. When using a VPN, it will encrypt any information being sent so it can further be protected. People can easily install a VPN through their computer or an app. Not only that, but certain VPNs give the user the ability to change their location of the IP address. 

Pros and Cons of VPNs

Pros of VPNs include:

  • Encryption of all data
  • Filter everything on the website 
  • Higher security coverage

Cons of VPNs include:

  • Can make connection speed slower
  • Some VPN softwares are expensive

Pros and Cons of Proxies

Pros of proxies include:

  • Cheaper than VPNs
  • Can balance traffic loads without slowing down the connection 
  • Can be used with big companies and servers

Cons of Proxies Include:

  • Less secure than VPNs
  • Some proxies can track certain information including passwords

Proxies

Proxies are simply a barrier between the user and the internet. The proxy acts as a filter when entering data on a website, securing any data that may be at risk. There are many different types of proxies including, forward proxy, reverse proxy, transparent proxy and anonymous proxy. All do the same thing but act upon it in a different way.

 

Which One is Better? 

When it comes to which one is better for you, there is no definitive answer. They both successfully protect user identity and information. They both have pros and cons and it is important to do research in order to find the perfect option for you. 

WesTec services can assist you with any IT questions or services. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on data security and how to protect yourself. 

How to Develop a Hardware Refresh Cycle

A hardware refresh cycle is when you upgrade you or your company’s hardware and software as needed. Benefits include saving information, increasing efficiency, and improving safety. Here’s how to develop a hardware refresh cycle:

 

1. Assess Your Hardware Needs 

Any hardware refresh should start with a closer look at your systems. This means knowing what kind of hardware it is, how old it is, and how much storage is used. This will better prepare you for the updates. 

2. Future Needs

After knowing what hardware you have or what it is lacking, you will want to conduct some research and decide what routine updates will be required of your hardware in the future. This is also a good time to locate receipts, and know purchase dates and any warranties you may have. 

3. Disposal of Old Hardware

After assessing your current hardware, you may need to upgrade the system completely. In order to do this, you will want to make sure the hardware company has a warranty program. If they do, you may be able to get it replaced at a lower price. If not, this is when you will want to wipe your system and properly dispose of it. 

4. Different Types of Hardware

You may not know that there are many different types of hardware including, personal computers, central processing units, random access memory, hard disks, internal hard drives, mobile devices, and servers. It is important to choose the right one for you or your business. 

5. Purchase

 

Once you have an idea of what software you want, you can choose to either purchase it or lease it. Both have their pros and cons. For more information on buying vs leasing IT equipment, read here

Keeping your hardware up-to-date will not only increase productivity, but it will also improve your business’ safety. It is important to conduct a hardware refresh cycle regularly. 

Not sure what technology is better for your business? Westec Services can help! Feel free to contact us for more information or questions you may have.

 

Data Privacy Laws in the US

 

Today’s technology is constantly changing and evolving, oftentimes leaving our vital personal information at risk of being sold, leaked or taken. But did you know that there are certain laws in place to protect your data? Here is everything you need to know about data privacy laws in the US:

 

US Privacy Act of 1974

The US Privacy Act was passed by congress in 1974. The main purpose of this act is to protect the privacy of individuals and prevent unwanted invasions of their privacy or data from federal companies. This includes the closure of personal information. Some key points of this act include: 

  • All citizens have the right to any data held by the government
  • Citizens can correct or change any data 
  • Sharing information between different federal corporations is prohibited 

FTC Act

The FTC or the Federal Trade Commission Act is another important privacy act in the US. It was first introduced in 1914 and is used to enforce the protection of data and privacy of individuals. This act is also used in court to investigate data violations. Similar to other data privacy laws, the FTC focuses on the use of equality and prevents deceptive acts that may affect commerce. 

HIPAA

Personal medical information is one of the most vital pieces of data that is protected. HIPAA, or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects all forms of medical information. This act sets limits and uses disclosures in order to get medical information private and secure. 

FCRA

Credit scores and anything pertaining to credit card agencies are protected under The Fair Credit Reporting Act. This act’s purpose is to establish fair, equal and private information that credit card agencies might have. This also prevents certain companies from selling your information to other companies. 

 

Having all your information online can be scary, but just know that there are laws in place to protect you and your information. 

Technology can be confusing, and it’s important to know your rights! Have any further questions on internet privacy? Contact WesTec today! And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn



The Most Common Causes of Data Loss

Data loss can happen to anyone or any business. It can be frustrating, especially when you aren’t aware of why or how it happened. Most data loss happens when you least expect it. It is important to know when your data is at risk of being lost. Here are the most common causes of data loss:

 

Human Error

We all make mistakes one way or another. When data is lost, most of the time it is due to accidentally deleting information or not backing it up. When this happens, some information can be restored through recycle bins or the internal software file. This is frustrating, but can easily be solved by setting up an automatic backup system. 

Viruses 

Viruses are very common, and are often the culprit of data loss. These pesky viruses can enter your system through unsafe links or downloads. Once they get into your system, they can delete any and all of your information. In order to prevent viruses, there are many guard softwares that will protect your devices. Depending on which guard software you have, it will need to be updated regularly to conduct scans and security checks. Without guard software, you can protect your information by paying close attention to certain emails or downloads that may be sent or presented to you. 

Power Outages 

Power outages can happen anytime, and most outages cause data loss. Similar to human error, it can be prevented by constantly saving your information and backing it up. The trickiest part is that you don’t know when a power outage will happen, so it is important to regularly save your data. However, most of the time when a power outage happens, most systems will automatically save, but you should also take precautions in your own hands. 

Hackers 

Recently, hackers are becoming more common when it comes to data loss. Hackers usually enter your system due to poor quality servers, weak firewalls, or using common passwords. There are many ways to prevent hackers such as strong passwords, safe web searches and guard softwares. Unfortunately, information that is stolen from a hacker cannot be restored, which is why it is important to have effective cybersecurity measures. 

 

Have any questions about the right technology services for you or your business? WesTec services can help. Contact us with any questions you may have and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

 

Cyber Security for Startups

Are you interested in creating your own startup? Are you afraid of any cyber risks? Any business, especially startups, are at risk for cyber attacks. These attacks can be detrimental to a business or online presence. It is vital to know what these attackers are looking for and how to protect yourself. Here are some tips to secure you and your startup from cyber attacks:

Account Admin 

Depending on how big your startup is and how many accounts will be online, it is a good idea to have one admin account. This means the one admin account will have the authority to grant access to fellow accounts and ability to download data and software. This will cut back on online vulnerability as only one person will have access to important data. Along with an admin account, you can also unlock certain data and access to different accounts within the startup. For example, you can grant access to the financial department of bank account statements and billing information. Not only will this limit the risk of cyber threats, it will also cut back on time that the admin would have to grant access every time. 

Strong Passwords

Having strong passwords isn’t a surprise when it comes to cybersecurity. But, the top way hackers get into systems is going through weak passwords. In order to stop this, it is recommended that every password should have a capital letter, special characters and numbers. It is also important to never share passwords. 

Multi-Factor Authentication

No matter how strong passwords can be, hackers can still find a way in. Thankfully, more systems are requiring a multi-factor authentication process when logging into an account. This means that even if someone has your password, it can require a phone number or email to fully login. Most online softwares offer this level of security, you just have to authorize it. 

Knowing how to protect you and your startup from cyber attacks is crucial. With selecting admin accounts, strong passwords and multi-factor authentication process, hackers will have a harder time logging into your accounts.

 

Cyber threats can be irritating and hard to effectively prevent them. WesTec services can help you in any way. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on phishing and how to protect yourself. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dangers of Shadow IT Projects

Cloud computing is one the most beneficial ways for businesses to operate, but still creates online threats. Many threats can appear, but Shadow IT can interfere with devices, technology systems, applications and software. Learn about the dangers of Shadow IT and why is it being used: 

 

What is it?

Shadow IT can be described as projects or networks that are managed by outside providers, without prior approval from the IT department. With cloud database popularity, shadow IT is growing and creates vulnerabilities including data leaks and database violations. 

 

Risks

Now that you know what shadow IT is, what are the risks? The main risk is data leaks. Oftentimes when shadow IT is being used, it prevents certain backups from being performed. This means important data could be lost forever. From sending a document to a personal email, to file sharing on the cloud, this makes it possible for shadow IT to intervene and allow the information to be compromised by outside networks that cannot be monitored by the IT department. 

 

These risks can go beyond simply leaking information. Depending on the network, shadow IT can harm financials, internal communications and errors within the system. When systems have access to this vital information, they can duplicate it and cause harm to your business and result in losing money. 

 

Not all networks who use shadow IT are purposely doing it to cause harm, and most of the time big companies use this to increase productivity. Companies who use this include Google Drive, Dropbox and Microsoft Office. It is important to know that even though shadow IT can be beneficial, it still makes companies vulnerable to internal harm and should be dealt with. 

 

Prevention

It can be determined that shadow IT will not be going away soon, which is why educating employees on this issue will be the best prevention plan. Along with knowing the risks, routinely checking your data will help manage and determine if shadow IT is affecting your business. 

Want to know more about shadow IT? WesTec services can help! Feel free to contact us and check out our services to see how we can assist you. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for updates.

Smart Shopping

 

Shopping online has many risks that some shoppers fall victim to. Whether it be personal information stolen, wifi breach or virtual viruses, it is important to know how to become a smart shopper and prevent these risks from becoming a reality. Here are some tips to be a smart shopper: 

 

Know What You’re Buying

Popular smart devices can easily help us and make our lives easier, but it is important to know exactly what you want and what risks might be present. Things to know are: 

 

  • Who makes it?
  • What is its purpose?
  • Do you trust the company?
  • Have you read the reviews?

 

All of these things can prevent negative things from happening and make you more aware of what devices you are potentially bringing into your life or home. 

 

Buy Familiar Brands 

To limit the risks of buying alone, it is a good idea to buy from familiar or well known brands. These top brands are more likely to have stronger security on devices that hackers will have a hard time getting into and less likely to have any security breaches. Also, top brands are constantly updating their system and creating a safer place for the devices. Rarely hackers get into the system but when they do, these big companies are quick to fix it and will most likely send out a message to customers making them aware of the threat. It is important to be able to trust the brand or company and feel confident is how they handle these risks. 

 

 Are you having issues with becoming a smart shopper and protecting your information? Westec services can help!  Schedule a call with one of our professionals today!

 

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Phishing Scams During the Holiday Season

With holiday’s right around the corner, this makes for a scammer’s perfect opportunity to conduct phishing scams. Researchers have stated that this year, phishing scams are going to increase significantly. More phishing scams are done via mobile devices, making it easier than ever to have your information stolen. But how do we protect ourselves during this vulnerable time? 

 

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are intensified during the holiday season due to the high traffic of online shoppers and the urge for people to look for deals. One popular way scammers do this is by sending emails or text messages about an offer that is too good to be passed up. For example, they list a popular technology device for cheap. Most people would just look at the price and proceed with the scam. Another scam is when they mimic bigger companies online to get credit card information or being able to log onto the device when a certain URL is clicked. These mainly happen through emails. They might send an email about a recent fake purchase to get you to click on the URL. These scams are going unnoticed and can do lots of harm. It is important to know how to prevent these scams and protect your information. 

 

Prevention 

It is inevitable that these scams will make their way to you. One way to identify a scam is to check the grammar of the message. Usually scams will be misspelled or the message came from a third party source. This is the easiest way to quickly identify the scam. 

 

Be cautious about providing personal information such as phone numbers or credit card numbers. Make sure before you provide information that it is a reliable and trustworthy source. 

 

If a phishing scam is sent to you, it is best to not respond. A response to these scams lets the scammer know you are a ‘real’ person and will likely be targeted again. If this does happen, there is an option to report the scam to the Spam Reporting Service. 

 

Holidays make for a great time to buy gifts for loved ones, but this also means it is more likely to come across a phishing scam. It is important to know how to identify the scam and how to prevent and protect yourself. 

 

Scams can be irritating and hard to effectively prevent them. WesTec services can help you in any way. We offer skilled expertise in all technologies and are ready to help. Contact us for any further information on phishing and how to protect yourself. 

Mission: WesTec will be a “turn-key” solution for all of its clients’ business connectivity needs. It will offer efficient and effective solutions, directly and with strategic partners, that create tangible value for its clients at every point of contact. Westec will serve all people and entities with a servant’s heart.

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