As Augmented Reality Grows, More Applications Appear

Posted August 18, 2018 by

Car engine with digital visual indicators overlayed.“Augmented reality” is likely one of those terms that you’ve heard before, but that’s more or less your experience with it. However, A.R. has likely been a bigger influence than you may have imagined – especially with the prevalence of smartphones being what it is. Let’s examine augmented reality and how it might be used later on.

Modern A.R.

As we have inferred already, the smartphone has been instrumental in bringing augmented reality to the masses. In A.R. applications, the camera is used to capture the likeness of the user’s surroundings, while a virtual overlay is added for the user to interact with. This overlay incorporates stimulus from the Internet, the captured surroundings, and the user’s activity all at once.

This technology has been leveraged by developers to try to develop apps, some for fun, and some that are more practical. There have been plenty of examples of each thus far. Augment, the furniture application, allows users to “test-drive” a model in the environment it will be used in, which is much easier than buying said furniture only to return it when it clashes with the base molding. As for entertainment, one only has to look at the success of the Pokémon Go app. There are even browsers, like Argon4, which incorporate A.R.

What May Be Coming Next

Admittedly, not much has been developed completely just yet, but that hasn’t made A.R. any less promising. For example, imagine how much easier tutorials could become for particular tasks if A.R. was leveraged. Any task that can be broken into steps could be developed into an A.R. walkthrough.

Take auto maintenance. Most people spend significant amounts of money keeping their engine tuned up and their vehicle road-worthy by bringing it to an auto shop. While some issues are certainly better resolved by the likes of a professional, some fixes are very doable for a novice – assuming they have a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to show them how to do it right. An augmented reality application could be that guide, teaching these novices how to change their oil or replace a spark plug. We may see these kinds of apps change the way that schools teach their students, allowing lessons to be learned conceptually and practically.

Of course, more is also being developed now:

  • E-Commerce: Using digital overlays, real-time and lifelike shopping experiences can be developed, boosting consumer satisfaction.
  • Gaming: Pokémon Go was just the beginning. A.R. has proved that video games and gamification can’t only get people out of the house, but they also can get them interacting with other people, forming stronger communities.
  • Marketing: By incorporating A.R. into the consumer’s experience, marketers can add additional impressions and make their efforts more impactful.

While A.R. may not be everywhere just yet, we wouldn’t be too shocked if it started to pop up in more places sooner than later – and if it doesn’t, we’ll focus on making sure you get the best use out of whatever does. If you’re interested in hearing more about any of the services or technologies that we at Excalibur Technology are familiar with, give us a call at (877) NET – KING.

Know Your Tech: Social Media

Posted August 17, 2018 by

You see the term “social media” thrown around all the time, but what does it mean for both individual users and whole businesses? Organizations that understand the importance of social media have a unique advantage over other businesses in the same industry, be it a way to attract more consumers or a way to protect against common security threats that find their home on these websites.

What is Social Media?

Social media can be considered any website or service that is used to interact socially with other people. Some common examples include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram. All of these services have common ground in regard to features that allow people to communicate or learn more about one another, whether it’s in the form of a terribly-worded Facebook post or a bite-sized glimpse into someone’s soul via Twitter. LinkedIn allows business professionals to learn more about each other by providing information about their work history or current situation, which can be quite helpful for learning more about a company or a prospective client.

Social media is generally used more for the former, though. It’s likely that your employees have at least one account on a social media platform, so it’s important that your organization understands what it means for the purposes of security.

Security Issues of Social Media

One of the biggest issues regarding social media is that it can provide hackers with a way to get into your organization’s network–or, rather, trick your employees into providing information that could aid them in their attack. Hackers can create fake accounts where they can impersonate people you may know. They then use this process to weasel information from your employees such as usernames or passwords. You need to make sure that your employees are aware of the telltale signs of social media attacks so you know they won’t be an issue for your organization.

Social Media as an Outreach Method

Many organizations have turned to social media as a way to directly interact with consumers. Take, for example, Verizon. If you tweet at their support account, there is a solid chance that they will address any problems you might be having with your mobile service. You can use social media in this regard to directly reach out to customers and get their feedback about your products or services.

How does your business use social media? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to subscribe to our blog.

The Best Way to Approach Data Backup

Posted August 16, 2018 by

concept art: backupAll businesses hope that they’ll never have to use their data backup and disaster recovery plan, but the point stands that each business should have one, just in case of a worst-case scenario. For a small business with a limited budget, the prospect of investing in a solution they might never need is daunting. To help you get started, we’ve put together a couple of basic backup practices that you should keep in mind for your business.

Back Up As Much Data as Possible

If you’re wondering what data your organization should prioritize, the correct answer is all of it. Data is invaluable in the business world, and even if you think you can make do without some of it, chances are that you can’t guarantee it won’t be useful somewhere down the road. You should never accept data loss of any kind. Tape backup systems tend to take complete backups, but they often can only be performed once a day, making it difficult to take and deploy them adequately without running the risk of either operational inefficiency or losing at least some data from the past 24 hours. We recommend a cloud-hosted backup system that takes snapshots of data that has been changed recently, guaranteeing that all files are kept as up-to-date as possible.

Take Backups as Frequently as Possible

In the event your organization suffers from a disaster, you want to make sure that your backups are as recent as possible. This is to make sure that you lose as little progress as possible when disasters do happen. Imagine finding out that the only data backup you’ve taken was last month. This is why we recommend that your organization take backups as often as every fifteen minutes, guaranteeing that you’ll lose minimal data.

Restore as Quickly as Possible

Let’s imagine that your organization is struck by a disaster. To get back in the game following such an incident, you have to restore your data. However, if you don’t have an infrastructure or device put in place to get this happening as soon as possible, you start to suffer from downtime. This is any time that your organization isn’t functioning as intended, so it should include situations where your technology is failing, your employees can’t work, and your organization can’t take care of customers, among anything else that your business is responsible for. It quickly becomes clear that one of the biggest causes for businesses failing following a disaster is the crippling costs of downtime.

Notice a trend here? Time is of the essence when disaster strikes your organization, and the faster you can get back in action following a disaster, the less money you’ll waste on downtime. The traditional data backup solution isn’t as helpful in this regard as a hosted BDR solution from Excalibur Technology. Our BDR device can rapidly restore data directly to itself so that your organization can keep chugging along in the face of adversity.

Don’t Be Fooled When Scammers Threaten to Spill a Dirty Little Secret

Posted August 13, 2018 by

Online ScamsWhat would you do if a stranger claimed to have compromising webcam footage of you and threatened to share it with your contacts? A new, very convincing email scam is making some users very nervous.

The Sextortion Scam

It’s as disturbing as it sounds. A scammer emails you saying that they got access to your passwords, and then started to run amok to see how much trouble they could get you into. They even show you one of your passwords to prove it (the password will likely come from lists found on the dark web from online businesses and services that have been hacked and stolen over the years). Then the scammer admits they’ve been watching what you do on your computer and recording your webcam, and they happened to catch you at a very inopportune time… Well, let’s let the email explain it for us.

“You don’t know me and you’re thinking why you received this email, right?

Well, I actually placed a malware on the porn website and guess what, you visited this web site to have fun (you know what I mean). While you were watching the video, your web browser acted as a RDP (Remote Desktop) and a keylogger which provided me access to your display screen and webcam. Right after that, my software gathered all your contacts from your Messenger, Facebook account, and email account.

What exactly did I do?

I made a split-screen video. First part recorded the video you were viewing (you’ve got a fine taste haha), and next part recorded your webcam (Yep! It’s you doing nasty things!).

What should you do?

Well, I believe, $1400 is a fair price for our little secret. You’ll make the payment via Bitcoin to the below address (if you don’t know this, search “how to buy bitcoin” in Google).”

The reader is then given the address to a Bitcoin wallet, where they are to send the ransom.

The email continues:


You have 24 hours in order to make the payment. (I have an unique pixel within this email message, and right now I know that you have read this email). If I don’t get the payment, I will send your video to all of your contacts including relatives, coworkers, and so forth. Nonetheless, if I do get paid, I will erase the video immidiately [sic]. If you want evidence, reply with “Yes!” and I will send your video recording to your 5 friends. This is a non-negotiable offer, so don’t waste my time and yours by replying to this email.”

This email comes in a few different versions in the wild, but all of them follow the same pattern and end with the same threat… fork over the cash, or everyone will see you in your most private moments.

Is This a Serious Threat?

This is a very real concern for many people, who will be relieved to hear that, no, there is no indication that these threats are for real. The first clue is the fact that the passwords that the email provides are usually a decade old, indicating that they came from some (relatively) ancient database from some long-forgotten hack.

However, in some ways, this is even worse news, because this threat has made a tidy sum of money: as of the 31st of July, the scam had brought in $250,000, as compared to just over $50,000 by the 19th. Clearly, this scam has been plenty effective for the perpetrators, and this won’t deter others from following its example.

Keeping Yourself Safe from an Actual Attack

Granted, this attack is just an unfair wager, but scams like this are more than possible for a criminal who actually means what they say/threaten. As a result, the security lessons we can take away from this particular attack still apply.

The first thing to remember is also the first rule of passwords – change them frequently. Again, this scam has made quite a bit of money based on a total bluff… a bluff that, paid in increments of $1,400, was worth $250,000 and counting. From this, we can infer that quite a few people who received this message had online activities that they wanted to hide, and more critically, that their passwords had remained the same for all those years.

This is an excellent example of why it is so crucial to regularly update your passwords, without repeating them – if an old database is hacked, as happened here, you won’t have to worry if your password is revealed – it won’t be any good anymore.

The second thing to remember? If you aren’t actively using your webcam, keep its lense covered up.

For more best practices to follow, including those that will improve your business’ security, make sure you keep checking back to this blog – and if you want to take more action, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Reduce Your Costs By Outsourcing Your IT Management

Posted August 07, 2018 by

Person working on computerYour business deals with all types of troubles, but one trouble that can be extraordinarily costly is when your organization’s technology doesn’t work properly. That’s why many businesses hire an IT staff who work to mitigate technology-related problems. One issue you should be cognizant of is cost. Typically, IT professionals have training, certifications, and experience and demand an above average salary. If you have a small or medium-sized business that is working with tight margins as it is, it can be extremely difficult to take on new personnel costs; especially ones that don’t directly result in bringing revenue through the door.

A popular solution to this quandary is to outsource your organization’s IT management to a managed IT services provider (MSP), like Excalibur Technology. Our certified technicians will first assess your business’ information systems to get a good idea where your inefficiencies lie, then they’ll go to work devising a customized technology and management plan to fit your business’ needs. Starting a relationship with a baseline of knowledge we can deliver value through our cost-saving managed services that include:

  • Hardware & software support: We are the IT guys after all. We have relationships with some of the most notable vendors in the industry so our clients can get the hardware and software solutions they need to be the best version of their business. We’ll also ensure that any software you use will be up to date with the latest threat definitions.
  • Around the clock monitoring: In order to provide the ROI we intend to, our services have to reduce or eliminate your organization’s downtime. That’s why we monitor and proactively maintain your network and infrastructure with our state-of-the-art monitoring software. In doing so, if there is a threat to your network, or your hardware, we’ll know about it immediately, and we can take steps to remediate the issue. This allows you to get more from your hardware and avoid the operational problems that comes when you have to stop to deal with network and infrastructure issues.
  • Backup and disaster recovery: Your business’ data is an extremely valuable asset, and as such, it has to be protected against situations that arise where you may lose it. Anything as benign as a storm could wipe out a lot of hard work. Our backup and disaster recovery platform not only backs up your data periodically, it creates copies that are sent off-site into the cloud, so that no matter what is thrown at your business, your data will be safe.
  • Network security: Along with our monitoring and management program, we also ensure that your network is secured from the literally thousands of threats that face it every day. From malware to corruption to infiltration, our network security platform keeps your data available and your network working properly.
  • Vendor management: Along with having access to a myriad of top industry vendors, we also can help you manage your vendors, whether we use them or not.
  • Around the clock IT support: We offer a comprehensive help desk where technicians who have remote access to your end-points can solve situational computing problems for your staff 24/7.
  • Options: We also offer a whole cache of powerful IT solutions including cloud computing, communications, printing, conferencing, and physical security solutions that work for any-sized business.

If you are looking for a way to get the technology that can help you grow your business, you are just looking to reduce your IT management costs, or you are thinking of attempting to get your footing on a new IT initiative, call the IT professionals at Excalibur Technology today at (877) NET – KING.

Some Businesses Don’t Need Every Bell and Whistle

Posted August 05, 2018 by

When you decided to start your business, you had to be overwhelmed with everything that you had to do just to get it off the ground. If you are like many entrepreneurs, getting a product to market was the aim then, but as business continues and your organization grows, it’s likely that you’ve looked to technology as a benefit. So, when does the amount of technology you have become a hindrance to your bottom line? We will take a look at what happens when an organization takes their love of technology too far.

Some technology is a must, and as a technology provider we often see how organizations can look to technology to solve a lot of their operational problems. Technology can protect and disseminate data. Technology can fuel company-wide collaboration. Technology can ensure that deadlines are met, and work is assigned to the right people. But what happens when there is too much technology that has to be used in order for people to effectively do their jobs?

Unnecessary Technology

Small businesses don’t always need the latest and greatest solutions in order to maximize their ability to generate revenue. More often than not, the more technology an employee has to deal with, the more stress it will create for that worker, especially if the work that they are tasked with has nothing to do with technology. For example, a CRM is a great way to manage both your customers and interdepartmental communications, leaving expectations well-established, but if you have five employees, it may just be overkill (even if they each operate as their own department). You simply don’t need to track how long things take, how your customers relate with your company, and all the other things that a dedicated CRM can do for a company, because with five people on staff, you can get a pretty good idea how they are doing by just observing their work-related behaviors. That’s not to say that a CRM program isn’t useful–of course it is–but, until you have a large customer base filled with a multitude of relationships, and a staff that needs centralized software to be their most productive, it probably isn’t software you need if you are trying to get the most productivity out of a limited number of employees.

That’s just one example. Any technology that isn’t absolutely necessary can be a waste of both money and time for your business, so you need to be diligent about implementing the technology you need, and tabling implementations that may be too costly to run at this juncture. The best way to ascertain if a technology is right for your small business is to look at its potential ROI. We’ll use a CRM again. If you run a business with five employees, the time spent utilizing the CRM may actually cost your company sales, the direct opposite intention of the software. However, if you run a business with 40 people in four different departments, chances are that there is simply too much data, and too many relationships to manage without a solution dedicated to helping your staff oversee it all.

Old Technology

On the other hand, if you are an established business who has had their shingle out for several years, has a dedicated customer base, and is still growing, technology can be a major benefit, except when it’s really old. Old tech not only doesn’t have the operational effectiveness that it once did, it also opens your organization up to increased management and support costs, and risk of security breaches.

Some organizations hold on to their technology too long because they need legacy programs to effectively deliver their products and services, while others hit a financial wall and have to table their IT improvements for a time. Whichever the case, it can leave your organization’s IT a mess and can have unfortunate effects on your business that include:

  • Loss of productivity: Older technology is slower and often isn’t compatible with newer operating systems or productivity and management software, effectively slowing down your business.
  • Problems with security: Despite the numerous software patches that developers put out, there is a definite correlation between the use of older technology and the security issues that happen due to antiquated software.
  • Redundancy: Many times technology is the solution to the redundancy issue, but when an organization has a mix of new and old technology, it often requires work to be made compatible for older and newer software. This could take precious man-hours to navigate.
  • Loss of opportunity: Most consumers utilize the Internet to find the products and services they purchase. If your online presence is a single page with neon text, today’s consumer will likely judge that negatively. Having an active web and online presence goes a long way toward keeping your business top of mind for consumers. Moreover, by not using new online technology, you may be limiting your ability to connect with the audience your organization desperately needs to compete.

These are only a few examples of how old technology can be a detriment to your business. At Excalibur Technology, we are well positioned to help the burgeoning small business find, implement, and manage the technology that will be most effective for their particular circumstances. Our technicians have years of experience with getting the right tech into the hands of the people who can best use it, so if your company is looking to see if the technology you’re using is right for your business, contact us today at (877) NET – KING.

Access to Data Often Creates Opportunities for Workers

Posted August 04, 2018 by

Every business relies on some sort of productivity, whether it’s sales, manufacturing, distribution, management, or support. If you are looking for a way to get more from your staff, giving them direct access to all the data they need to do their job properly can go a long way toward putting them in a position to succeed.

One way that many organizations have helped their employees become more productive is by embracing cloud computing. With cloud applications and file sharing, people can get the access they need from anywhere that has an Internet connection, on any device that supports a web browser. Today, we’ll introduce you to the modern cloud-hosted productivity suite, and how it may just be what the doctor ordered for your business.

Cloud-Based Productivity Suites

The productivity suite has been around for decades. It typically offers users a note taking application, a word processor, a spreadsheet program, and a presentation software. Today these suites are available in the cloud, which provides users the newest version of the software, integration with the other software in the suite, and associated cloud storage for an affordable monthly fee billed per user. This eliminates the headaches attached to older productivity suites that demanded that IT administrators upgrade to new versions of the software when they are released, and also the need to manage the licensing of the software. By giving your employees access to productivity applications from anywhere, many organizations see increases in collaboration, cooperation, and productivity.

Pitfalls for Seamless Access

Access to applications, storage and more through the cloud can provide a big boost for a business, but there are some qualifications that need to be addressed. First of all, we all know that security is extremely important for any organization. The more devices allowed to access your business’ data, the more potential security issues can pop up. To mitigate the risk of providing your employees with this kind of seamless access, the IT professionals at Excalibur Technology suggest that you integrate a virtual private network (VPN) solution for your employees. This solution provides the necessary security by presenting workers an encrypted tunnel in which to send and receive data, mitigating the chances that data can be intercepted when sent or received through the VPN.

If you are looking to give your staff the tools they need to be productive in the office and on the go, reach out to our consultants today and they can present you with the right technology for your needs. Call us today at (877) NET – KING to learn more.

Why It’s Great that Managed Services are Managed

Posted August 03, 2018 by

Concept Art: managed servicesOne of the key benefits of managed IT services is right in the title. It’s managed, meaning that you don’t have to worry about maintaining or configuring your systems. Many small businesses see these kinds of advertisements out in the world but don’t necessarily understand what services are being marketed to them. We’ll take a deep dive into what you can expect from “managed” services for your organization.

Defining Managed Services

Managed services are any services your organization takes advantage of that aren’t managed directly by your company. Perhaps the best example is comparing it to the way the average consumer uses their email. Let’s say you use Gmail as your preferred email service for personal use. Do you manage the mail server running Gmail? Probably not, making the average Gmail user a patron of managed services. If you think about it in this sense, any service that your organization doesn’t manage on its own could be considered a managed service.

In the case of managed IT services, the term “managed” means anything that’s not hosted on your infrastructure or maintained by your on-site employees. This can be anything from cloud-based data storage and web applications to entirely hosted hardware infrastructures that are accessed virtually through the cloud. If you can think it, you can build it–the technology infrastructure of your dreams, without all of the frustration of managing and maintaining it on your own.

The rise of managed IT services has its roots in break-fix IT, where businesses would take their technology to a specialist in order to get issues resolved. This approach meant that they didn’t need employees to maintain the technology on-site, but it also came at a steep cost. Break-fix IT companies would take advantage of businesses that came to them in this fashion, taking care of immediate problems without taking measures for the long term. This meant that businesses would often experience even more issues without addressing the overarching problem, leading to wasted dollars and wasted time.

Now, back to the “managed” part. When a business isn’t managing its own IT, they don’t have to worry about these issues because they are being addressed by a company that A.) Knows how to take care of technology, B.) Takes proactive measures to ensure issues don’t reoccur, and most important of all, C.) Can save your business precious time and resources that can be better spent on other tasks. Imagine having enough time to invest in new outreach initiatives for potential clients, or finally having enough in your budget to not only invest in new technology solutions but implement great ways to increase your bottom line.

Excalibur Technology specializes in providing small businesses with the managed services they need to stay competitive with larger organizations. Managed services often come at a better price point than hiring an entire internal IT department, making it an attractive option for both businesses that don’t have resources to maintain an on-site infrastructure and those that have enough of a staff to manage one, but not enough to maintain it properly. We can either supplement your current help or function entirely as an outsourced IT provider. All you have to do is reach out and ask what we can do for your business.

To learn more about the managed IT business model, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Is Blockchain the Future of Cybersecurity?

Posted August 02, 2018 by

A lot has been made of blockchain recently. Not just because it is the technology used to fuel the thousands of cryptocurrencies there are now, but because the distributed nature of the technology has become the model for many new technological strategies. There are plans to use blockchain technology to do a great many things, but one element where blockchain can help immediately is for cybersecurity. Today we’ll take a look at blockchain and why it may be the key to the future of network and cybersecurity.

The Genesis Block

When the Internet was finally taking off in the early 1990s, there were many detractors who said that it was a fad. There was an article written for Newsweek by astronomer Clifford Stoll that was titled, “Why the Web Won’t Be Nirvana“. You see, in 1995, the Internet wasn’t the tool you think of today. It was a brand-new technology without the breadth of website and application development that has made it into the virtual world that it is now. In the first paragraph he wrote:

Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries, and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electric town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.


Twenty-three years later, except for making government more democratic, it all happened, leaving a once-cynical Stoll to say, “Of my many mistakes, flubs, and howlers, few have been as public as my 1995 howler… Now, whenever I think I know what’s happening, I temper my thoughts: Might be wrong, Cliff…”

So when looking at the potential uses for blockchain, it should be understood that the technology is still very much nascent; and, has its detractors.

A contributing writer for Forbes, Frances Coppola, took down the technology in a 2016 article, starting the article with, “I’m fed up with the hype around blockchain. It’s not rocket science, it’s not revolutionary and it’s not even that smart. And it’s not going to change the world.” She goes on to talk about how it’s just a stripped-down payments system and that since it does not fundamentally change the way payments work, that it’s just slightly more convenient, but doesn’t eliminate the need to trust the vendor and/or customer.

There are hundreds of potential applications for blockchain, and if Coppola is right, the $1.3 billion in venture capital blockchain-related technologies have garnered so far in 2018 alone suggests that some of the most risk-averse investors in the world are investing money in a burgeoning technology that will produce faulty applications. More likely, however, as with Stoll, the one part of the equation she hasn’t taken into account is the human ingenuity necessary to make technology like this into viable applications.

Another Block In the Chain

With data increasingly becoming a premium asset, and cyberattacks more prevalent and targeted than ever, organizations of all types are attempting to find a solution that could stave off bad actors and create a secure environment for data. Blockchain is increasingly being considered as the technology that will produce the type of security tools needed by every organization.

Blockchain has the potential to do just that, and that’s why we are seeing the kind of VC investment that we are. Since the technology can already provide consensus, and is by nature immutable, cybersecurity developers are trying to ascertain how to use these properties to improve cyber defense. Industry leaders have identified how blockchain can provide users and systems with confidentiality, integrity, and availability, but haven’t completely figured out the particulars yet. Let’s take a look at what these cybersecurity professionals are doing.

Preventing Cyber Attacks

Hackers have long been a thorn in the side of IT administrators because once they are in, they can shut down networks, tamper and steal data, trick people into handing over sensitive data, assume other people’s identities, and become an overall nuisance to any organization unfortunate enough to be targeted by them. Blockchain presents some pretty stark benefits that cybersecurity professionals have stated could be leveraged to keep bad actors from infiltrating networks and stealing data. Here are a few of them:

  • Identity protection: A blockchain enhanced with the integrated Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) can allow IT administrators to remove the central management of the technology by using the inherent properties of blockchain (i.e. its distributed nature) to manage security certificates. By performing key and signature verification of users, it also improves secure network access.
  • Infrastructure protection: Remember that attack on the Dyn DNS that left Internet giants like Twitter, Netflix, and PayPal battling hours of downtime? That was caused by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that took down servers that provide Domain Name Services (DNS) for many major websites. With a blockchain-integrated strategy, DNS information would be distributed in their own nodes, eliminating the threat of a DDoS attack, as it would be impossible to target an entire chain of nodes.
  • Data protection: Nowadays, people are utilizing private key encryption to sign sensitive documents, allowing for party-to-party verification. With blockchain, the process goes the other way. By distributing data across blocks, data integrity is maintained. The technology, called Keyless Signature Structure (KSI), replaces key-based data authentication by distributing information making it general knowledge rather than a secret.

While blockchain may only turn out to be a flash-in-the-pan technology that allowed for cryptocurrency to exist, it may just be one of the most important technologies that has ever been invented. Only time will tell how human ingenuity will be able to innovate from the blockchain we have today. If you are looking for more information about blockchain and how it may just be the technology that will bring security to computing networks all over the world, visit our blog today!

Know Your Tech: Encryption Key

Posted August 02, 2018 by

Security is a necessity. Every technology professional will tell you this, but in an age where employees are taking information on the go, it’s trickier than it’s ever been before. Encryption is one of the ways that businesses are attempting to shore up their security, but this also requires having an encryption key. This week’s technology term is all about encryption, as well as how encryption keys protect your business’ data.

Defining Encryption and Encryption Keys

Encryption is the act of scrambling your organization’s data so that it can’t be seen by prying eyes. Anyone who doesn’t have the encryption key will see nothing but a bunch of nonsense. Through the use of algorithms, these keys are guaranteed to be unique, meaning that there are no two patterns that are alike. Of course, depending on the type of encryption being used, there could be one or two keys needed to decrypt information.

Symmetric algorithm: Symmetric algorithms are often called secret key encryption. This uses one key to encrypt and decrypt data. Since this makes for an efficient encryption method, it can be used to encrypt large amounts of data. The bad side of this encryption is that it only uses one single encryption key, so you need to make sure that it remains in your possession at all times.

Asymmetric algorithm: Asymmetric algorithms are commonly used in public/private encryption, in which there are two keys involved. The public key–the one used to encrypt data–can be shared, whereas the other–the private key–is private, and used to decrypt the data later. Asymmetric is considered the more secure of the two options, since the private key that decrypts the data isn’t actually shared.

What Are These Keys Used For?

Encryption keys are used for a variety of objectives, but the ultimate goal is still the same: security of both the data and the encryption keys themselves. The strength of the encryption key depends on several variables, including the length of the symmetric keys and the algorithm used to create it. These keys usually have short shelf lives called a crypto-period, meaning that you should understand details about how the encryption key will be used before committing to it and expecting it to work for you indefinitely.

  • Data encryption keys: These keys prevent data from being read by anyone who isn’t authorized to view it. These keys are also held onto for a bit past their crypto-period.
  • Authentication keys: An authentication key is used to determine that the data encrypted has not been altered at all while it’s in transit. This is ideal for sending and receiving data so that authenticity is guaranteed.
  • Digital signature keys: Digital signature keys are similar to authentication keys, but they take it a step further by applying a digital signature to the user. This means that someone who digitally signs a document can’t actually deny that they’ve done so.
  • Root keys: The public key infrastructure is used for authentication and digital signatures, and the root key is the highest level of key in this infrastructure. Due to the importance of this key, it’s generally protected by a hardware security module.
  • Master keys: A master key can be used to encrypt multiple other keys. This means that they need to be extremely secure with a hardware security module, and they should last for a long time, if not forever.
  • Key encryption keys: These keys can transport other encryption keys. They should be long-lasting and unchanging.

Does your organization want to take full advantage of encryption? To get started, reach out to us at (877) NET – KING.

Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology
Excalibur Technology