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Tech Terms: CDN

CDN is short for content delivery network. A content delivery network (CDN) is a system of distributed servers (network) that deliver pages and other Web content to a user, based on the geographic locations of the user, the origin of the webpage and the content delivery server.
This service is effective in speeding the delivery of content of websites with high traffic and websites that have global reach. The closer the CDN server is to the user geographically, the faster the content will be delivered to the user. CDNs also provide protection from large surges in traffic.

How CDNs Work
Servers nearest to the website visitor respond to the request. The content delivery network copies the pages of a website to a network of servers that are dispersed at geographically different locations, caching the contents of the page. When a user requests a webpage that is part of a content delivery network, the CDN will redirect the request from the originating site’s server to a server in the CDN that is closest to the user and deliver the cached content. CDNs will also communicate with the originating server to deliver any content that has not been previously cached.

The process of bouncing through CDNs is nearly transparent to the user. The only way a user would know if a CDN has been accessed is if the delivered URL is different than the URL that has been requested.

Many Businesses Use CDNs
When delivering large scale websites to a global audience, CDNs can reduce latency, accelerate site load times, reduce bandwidth consumption secure applications and even block data scrappers and other forms of spammers hitting your server.

Content delivery networks are used for B2B interactions and in serving content to consumers. Today, as more aspects of daily life move online, organizations use content delivery network to accelerate static content, dynamic content, mobile content, e-commerce transactions, video, voice, games and so on.

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Tech Terms: Booter Services

A service offered by cyber criminals that provides paying customers with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack capabilities on demand. According to this article on eWeek, Booter services, or Booters, are “Web-based services that do DDoS for hire at very low prices and are very hard to take down.”

Booters typically present potential customers with a Web front end that enables the end user to specify a Web site that they want the Booter service to target. Detecting and tracing Booters is complicated by the fact that the Internet service provider (ISP) that the Booter service appears to be hosted from is frequently not where the Booter is really located.

Booter services are frequently used by script kiddies and are responsible for many of the recent DDoS attacks that have received mainstream attention in the news.

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Tech Terms: DDoS Attack

DDoS is short for Distributed Denial of Service. DDoS is a type of DOS attack where multiple compromised systems, which are often infected with a Trojan, are used to target a single system causing a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. Victims of a DDoS attack consist of both the end targeted system and all systems maliciously used and controlled by the hacker in the distributed attack.

How DDoS Attacks Work
In a DDoS attack, the incoming traffic flooding the victim originates from many different sources – potentially hundreds of thousands or more. This effectively makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single IP address; plus, it is very difficult to distinguish legitimate user traffic from attack traffic when spread across so many points of origin.

The Difference Between DoS and DDos Attacks
A Denial of Service (DoS) attack is different from a DDoS attack. The DoS attack typically uses one computer and one Internet connection to flood a targeted system or resource. The DDoS attack uses multiple computers and Internet connections to flood the targeted resource. DDoS attacks are often global attacks, distributed via botnets.

Types of DDoS Attacks
There are many types of DDoS attacks. Common attacks include the following:

  • Traffic attacks: Traffic flooding attacks send a huge volume of TCP, UDP and ICPM packets to the target. Legitimate requests get lost and these attacks may be accompanied by malware exploitation.
  • Bandwidth attacks: This DDos attack overloads the target with massive amounts of junk data. This results in a loss of network bandwidth and equipment resources and can lead to a complete denial of service.
  • Application attacks: Application-layer data messages can deplete resources in the application layer, leaving the target’s system services unavailable.

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Tech Terms: IT Degree

An information technology (IT) degree is a degree offered at the associate, bachelor, master and PhD level. The degree focuses on the branch of engineering that pertains to the use of computers to collect, store, and share and protect information.

At the associate’s degree level, typical courses include project-based information systems, Website database implementation, introduction to DHTML and Java Script, as well a mathematics based curriculum. The master’s level of education in Information Technology typically spans two years and offers a more focused and advanced field study. Courses at this level range from principles of software engineering to advanced algorithms and program language. The PhD in IT is the highest degree level offered, and is often focused on research.

An Information technology degree differs from computer science in that one is expected to understand and explore management and information theory.

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Tech Terms: Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K is the latest iteration of the Apple TV digital media receiver device that can play movies from sources like Netflix, TV shows, YouTube and other videos, live sports, and more on a widescreen TV.

Apple TV 4K improves upon earlier Apple TV releases that offered a max of 1920×1080 pixels of detail (high definition) by supporting the ultra-high-definition 3840×2160 picture format. Apple TV 4K adds high dynamic range (4K HDR) support as well as the premium quality Dolby Vision format.

Apple TV 4K is powered by Apple’s tvOS, an operating system originally developed for the Apple TV 4th generation (not to be confused with the Apple TV 4K) and announced on September 9, 2015. tvOS includes support for Siri, which can be accessed by a button on the Siri Remote that comes with the Apple TV 4K to help users quickly and easily find content from a variety of multimedia sources.

Pricing and Competition for the Apple TV 4K
The higher quality and other improvements offered by AppleTV 4K do come at an increased cost. While the original Apple TV device retailed for $99 and the 32GB fourth generation Apple TV remains available for $149, the AppleTV 4K costs $179 with 32GB of storage and $199 with 64GB of storage.

Apple TV 4K is priced considerably higher than competing models like the Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast Ultra and Roku Streaming Stick+, all of which offer 4K HDR support and do so for at least $100 less than the Apple TV 4K.

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Tech Terms: MIS

MIS is short for management information system or management information services.
Management information system, or MIS, broadly refers to a computer-based system that provides managers with the tools to organize, evaluate and efficiently manage departments within an organization. In order to provide past, present and prediction information, a management information system can include software that helps in decision making, data resources such as databases, the hardware resources of a system, decision support systems, people management and project management applications, and any computerized processes that enable the department to run efficiently.

Management Information System Managers
The role of the management information system (MIS) manager is to focus on the organization’s information and technology systems. The MIS manager typically analyzes business problems and then designs and maintains computer applications to solve the organization’s problems.

Within companies and large organizations, the department responsible for computer systems is sometimes called the MIS department. Other names for MIS include information systems (IS) and information technology (IT).

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Tech Terms: two tier enterprise resource planning

Organizations use two-tier enterprise resource planning (ERP) to run two integrated ERP systems simultaneously. One system, the legacy application, also called the the Tier-1 system, is typically deployed at the corporate level and the other is managed at the subsidiary level. Two-tier ERP software is often used by large corporations with multiple sites or by an organization that’s based in multiple geographic locations.

The Benefits of Two-Tier ERP
Two-tier ERP enables an organization to optimize regional back office processes at a site that operates under a business model that is separate from the main company. At some locations the ERP requires special considerations — including translations or regionalized business models — and organizations my look to maintain a legacy ERP at headquarters with two-tier ERP solutions to support specific needs at the subsidiary level that fully integrates with the corporate system.
Master data management is one of the biggest concerns for organizations deploying two tiers of ERP. There should be no duplication of effort between the two ERP systems. Consistency is required at the second tier to ensure the corporate first-tier ERP achieves a single source of information for financials, orders and other business.

When Do Organizations Use Two-Tier ERP?
Often a Two-tier ERP system is implemented when the legacy, Tier-1 system, becomes very large and costly to customize, maintain and upgrade or when mergers and acquisitions leave an organization with multiple ERP solutions that they are unable to consolidate to a single ERP system.

According to EnterpriseAppsToday, the following scenarios are common in organization that use two tiers of ERP:

  • A business with a very specific local focus – single-site or multi-site within a single country or region.
  • A business with operations geared strongly toward a specific industry that doesn’t feature strongly at corporate headquarters.
  • A newly-acquired operation with a mismatch of multiple outdated, unsupported ERPs.
  • A small subsidiary with no formal ERP in place.
  • A small operation at the second-tier which doesn’t warrant the use of enterprise ERP software, but may be brought into the corporate fold as operations grow.

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Tech Terms: ERP

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.
ERP software typically integrates all facets of an operation — including product planning, development, manufacturing, sales and marketing — in a single database, application and user interface.

ERP is an Enterprise Application
ERP software is considered to be a type of enterprise application, that is software designed to be used by larger businesses and often requires dedicated teams to customize and analyze the data and to handle upgrades and deployment. In contrast, Small business ERP applications are lightweight business management software solutions, often customized for a specific business industry or vertical.

Today most organizations implement ERP systems to replace legacy software or to incorporate ERP applications because no system currently exists. In fact, a 2016 study by Panorama Consulting Solutions, LLC., indicates that organizations implement ERP for the following reasons:

  • To replace out-of-date ERP software (49%)
  • To replace homegrown systems (16%)
  • To replace accounting software (15%)
  • To replace other non-ERP systems / had no system (20%)

ERP Software Modules Explained
ERP software typically consists of multiple enterprise software modules that are individually purchased, based on what best meets the specific needs and technical capabilities of the organization. Each ERP module is focused on one area of business processes, such as product development or marketing.

Some of the most common ERP modules include those for product planning, material purchasing, inventory control, distribution, accounting, marketing, finance and HR. A business will typically use a combination of different modules to manage back-office activities and tasks including the following:

  • Distribution process management
  • Supply chain management
  • Services knowledge base
  • Configure prices
  • Improve accuracy of financial data
  • Facilitate better project planning
  • Automate the employee life-cycle
  • Standardize critical business procedures
  • Reduce redundant tasks
  • Assess business needs
  • Accounting and financial applications
  • Lower purchasing costs
  • Manage human resources and payroll

As the ERP methodology has become more popular, software applications have emerged to help business managers implement ERP in to other business activities and may incorporate modules for CRM and business intelligence, presenting it as a single unified package.

The basic goal of using an enterprise resource planning system is to provide one central repository for all information that is shared by all the various ERP facets to improve the flow of data across the organization.

Enterprise ERP Trends
The ERP field can be slow to change, but the last couple of years have unleashed new technology trends which are fundamentally shifting the entire area. The following new and continuing computing trends have an impact on the growth of enterprise ERP software:

  • Mobile ERP: Executives and employees want real-time access to information, regardless of where they are. It is expected that businesses will embrace mobile ERP for the reports, dashboards and to conduct key business processes.
  • Cloud ERP: The cloud has been advancing steadily into the enterprise for some time, but many ERP users have been reluctant to place data cloud. Those reservations have gradually been evaporating, however, as the advantages of the cloud become apparent.
  • Social ERP: There has been much hype around social media and how important —or not — it is to add to ERP systems. Certainly, vendors have been quick to seize the initiative, adding social media packages to their ERP systems with much fanfare. But some wonder if there is really much gain to be had by integrating social media with ERP.
  • Two-tier ERP: Enterprises once attempted to build an all-encompassing ERP system to take care of every aspect of organizational systems. But some expensive failures have gradually brought about a change in strategy – adopting two tiers of ERP.

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Tech Terms: cloud CRM – Customer Relationship Management cloud

Cloud CRM (or CRM cloud) means any customer relationship management (CRM) technology where the CRM software, CRM tools and the organization’s customer data resides in the cloud and is delivered to end-users via the Internet (see “cloud computing”).

Cloud CRM typically offers access to the application via Web-based tools (or Web browser) logins where the CRM system administrator has previously defined access levels across the organization. Employees can log in to the CRM system, simultaneously, from any Internet-enabled computer or device. Often, cloud CRM provide users with mobile apps to make it easier to use the CRM on smartphones and tablets.

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Tech Terms: Customer Relationship Management

Customer relationship management (CRM) describes all aspects of sales, marketing and service-related interactions that a company has with its customers or potential customers. Both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies often use CRM systems to track and manage communications through the Web, email telephone, mobile apps, chat, social media and marketing materials.

Information tracked in a CRM system might include contacts, sales leads, clients, demographic or firmographic data, sales history, technical support and service requests, and more. CRM systems can also automate many marketing, sales and support processes, helping companies provide a consistent experience to customers and prospects, while also lowering their costs.
Some CRM solutions also offer advanced analytics that offer suggested next steps for staff when dealing with a particular customer or contact. Business leaders can also use these analytics to measure the effectiveness of their current marketing, sales and support efforts and to optimize their various business processes.

The Customer Relationship Management Strategy
Customer relationship management is a business strategy that enables companies to improve in the following areas:

  • Understanding existing customers’ needs
  • Obtaining a 360-degree view of customers and prospects
  • Retaining customers through better customer experience and loyalty programs
  • Attracting new customers
  • Winning new clients and contracts
  • Increasing profitably
  • Decreasing customer management costs

Today’s CRM Solutions
Many of today’s most popular CRM solutions are delivered as cloud-based solutions. Because they have Web-based interfaces, these tools allow sales teams to access customer and lead information from any device in any location at any time of day. These software as a service (SaaS) solutions tend to be more user-friendly than older CRM applications, and some include artificial intelligence or machine learning features that can help organizations make better business decisions and provide enhanced support and service to their customers.

The data captured by CRM solutions helps companies target the right prospects with the right products, offer better customer service, cross-sell and up-sell more effectively, close deals, retain current customers and better understand exactly who their customers are.

The Business Benefits of CRM Systems
The biggest benefit most businesses realize when moving to a CRM system comes directly from having all their business data stored and accessed from a single location. Before CRM systems became commonplace in the 1990s and 2000s, customer data was spread out over office productivity suite documents, email systems, mobile phone data and even paper note cards and Rolodex entries.

Storing all the data from all departments (e.g., sales, marketing, customer service and HR) in a central location gives management and employees immediate access to the most recent data when they need it. Departments can collaborate with ease, and CRM systems help organization to develop efficient automated processes to improve business processes.
Other benefits include a 360-degree view of all customer information, knowledge of what customers and the general market want, and integration with your existing applications to consolidate all business information.

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