Security Starts With You

As an IT professional it’s always thought that it’s up to me to ensure the security of the network.  And that’s true–to a degree.  However, it’s also just as if not more important to ensure that the owners and users of the network are knowledgeable about security so as to prevent costly mistakes such as allowing a hacker access through a phishing email.  That’s why I always talk about how important it is for companies large and small to develop cultures that focus on smart computing practices.

Security always starts with the user.  A system could technically be airtight in terms of security and have all the latest encryption, but if the user allows a hacker access through a mistake in judgment then the most robust security systems can be broken into.

This is why we here at AMA Networks ( focus on ensuring that the owners of the IT systems that we work on are filled in on any pertinent security information and we make sure that we answer any questions they have thoroughly.  We don’t just set up a secure system and leave – we make sure that you know how to use it properly.

Backing up files is another important aspect that a lot of companies and businesses don’t do.  They put it off, and they leave it until “later”.  However, it always seems that a hardware failure, data breach, or natural disaster happens before “later”.  We always beg our clients to spend a little extra time and money and allow us to ensure that a backup system is in place.  We usually set up an unobtrusive system that takes the guesswork out of creating the backups.  The system runs automatically and creates redundancy protections both on site and in the cloud.  A secure backup system will make both physical backups as well as offsite backups in the cloud to protect against catastrophic damage such as a fire.

Ensure that all of your employees know basic security protocol.  We highly recommend some sort of training to get the ball rolling.  Perhaps one day dedicated to employee education about the latest threats in the IT world and how those threats take advantage of ignorant employees.  No employee wants to be “ground zero” for a data breach.  If employees know what to watch out for in terms of phishing and scam phone calls they will be better prepared for threats now as well as evolving threats that may arise in the future.

As a business owner it’s also important to stay on top of security trends.  We highly recommend bookmarking some good security blogs on your browser and reading them every once in a while, such as CNET’s security page, Krebs on Security, and Wired Magazine’s security blog.  This way you won’t be surprised by any new security updates that might have to be made to your IT network, and you can even head off attacks by knowing what to look for in your business operations.

Security starts with the company, and with a good IT team to help you out it won’t be too difficult.

Editing Software Then And Now

It’s incredible to see the changes that have come and gone in terms of editing videos and motions pictures.  What has gone from a literal cut and splice with tape has gone to non-linear editing on computers with a vast array of special effects.

The increasing power of computers for ever-more affordable prices has allowed independent filmmakers to play with the big dogs in terms of special effects and scope.  Movies look better than ever now, and you don’t need a hollywood level budget in order to make convincing sci-fi panoramas or WWII battles.

One great example that I like to point out is 2001’s Donnie Darko.  Not overdone, the special effects made this independent film stand out.

The media embrace of new artists is often a reaction to stagnation in the dominant world, which, in this case, is Hollywood. And certainly, the emerging independent filmmaker who has managed to create disturbing, bold and iconoclastic work, or simply work that is unusual and engaging, has provided a face for independent cinema over the past decade. Whether it is sex, lies, and videotape, To Sleep With Anger, Reservoir Dogs, El Mariachi, Swoon, Doom Generation, Picture Bride, Hoop Dreams, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Big Night, Ulee’s Gold, or In the Company of Men, the list of significant films is extensive and deservedly well-recognized and applauded. But the greater question remains as to whether we have yet seen the truly groundbreaking or revolutionary films that will be remembered in decades to come. A golden age is marked first and foremost by its masterworks and major artistic accomplishments. By this standard, has independent cinema reached its zenith? The independent community should remind itself that its power and influence came from the quality of its creativity. If it tries to sell itself simply as a product, independent cinema will lose those elements that made it effective and appealing. Artistic integrity, even when out of step with popular embrace, remains its true signature. Certainly there are memorable, even superlative independent films produced over the past decade. But if independent artists stay the course that has been their defining inspiration, one that explores all aspects of life and reality but reaches for the sublime, then the possibilities for a new era of filmic creativity are on the horizon.

Gilmore, Geoff. “The state of independent film.” National Forum 77.4 (1997): 10+.

What are our editing consoles of choice?

We are fans of Windows running Adobe Premiere and After Effects.  WINDOWS?  Well, after the shock subsides you will find that you can customize a PC for less than a Mac, and the software runs exactly the same.  Virus and slowdowns?  You can clear these with things such as Spyhunter 4 and RegCure Pro.

There are really quite a few things that you can do with After Effects that will put you over the top, but the challenge is of course learning the program.