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Northern Colorado Internet Provider Makes Predictions About the Web

Northern Colorado internet provider predicts future of internetRecently we blogged about the history of the internet. The world wide web has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the 1960s. And at the rate that it’s evolving, you have to wonder what it will be like in 15 or 20 years. Nobody knows for sure, of course, but as a Northern Colorado internet provider that has been in the business for many years, we have some educated guesses.

Where the Web will be in 2037

Here are some developments that we think will likely occur in the next few decades:

  • Today’s blazing fast speeds will seem slow. The top internet speeds of today, like those we provide to our customers, will be eclipsed many times over. Downloading even the largest files will be essentially instantaneous.
  • You will no longer “connect” to the internet. Rather than taking any action to “access” the internet, your devices will be immersed in it at all times. And there will be no place on the planet where there is not full strength, fully reliable, blazing fast internet service.
  • The “internet of things” will include just about everything. Today there are many types of devices that “talk” to the web. But in 20 years, virtually everything that is powered will be an element of the IoT.
  • Privacy will be extremely valuable. It was once hard to get reliable internet access. In the future it may be challenging to get reliably unplugged for any amount of time.
  • We’ll need to replace the “world” in world wide web. As humans start spending more time on orbiting space stations or even on Mars, the world wide web will extend well beyond our world.
  • The internet will be self-healing and therefore more reliable. As a leading Northern Colorado internet provider, we’re proud of our record of providing extremely reliable service. But as the internet gets “smarter,” it will have the ability to immediately detect and correct problems, or even anticipate trouble before it occurs.
  • We’ll start to win the battle against cyber criminals. Companies do a fairly good job of staying ahead of the digital bad guys today. But as the internet becomes even more central to our lives, we’ll have to find ways to make it even safer.
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality will be everywhere. There are some great VR experiences to be had today in areas like online gaming. But in the future, the internet will be the gateway to an array of new uses of the technology, from business to healthcare and beyond.

Ready or Not…

The future is coming faster all the time. If you want to keep up, you should talk with us about our Northern Colorado internet services. We can keep you ahead of the technology curve. Get in touch using the Contact Us form. You can also stop by our facility or call us at 800-935-6527.

Leading Fort Collins Internet Provider Shares a Brief History of the Web

Vintage ComputerFor people under 40 years of age, it’s probably difficult to remember a time before the world wide web. And, for the younger people in that group it is, of course, impossible. Whatever your age, we are all so reliant on the internet, it’s hard to imagine life without it. As a leading Fort Collins internet provider, we think it’s fascinating to look back at how the web came to be.

Weaving the Web

While the earliest forms of what would become the “internet” were created in the 1960s, the world wide web really took off in the 1990s. And, the result is the amazingly powerful platform you have available to you today.

  • 1965 – Two computers at MIT communicate with one another using what is known as packet-switching technology.
  • 1972 – Computer programmer Ray Tomlinson debuts network email. The Internetworking Working Group (INWG) is created to help develop standard protocols.
  • 1973 – The term internet is coined.
  • 1982 – Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Internet Protocol (IP) (TCP/IP) becomes the standard communication “protocol.”
  • 1984 – Author William Gibson is the first to use the term “cyberspace.”
  • 1985 – The website for Symbolics Computer Corp., Symbolics.com, is the first registered domain.
  • 1990 – Scientist Tim Berners-Lee develops HyperText Markup Language. HTML is still used today.
  • 1992 – Audio and video files are sent over the internet for the first time. The phrase “surfing the internet” becomes popular.
  • 1993 – There are 600 websites on the internet.
  • 1994 – Stanford electrical engineering grad students Jerry Yang and David Filo create Yahoo!
  • 1995 – Companies like Prodigy, Compuserve, and America Online start providing internet access. In addition, Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist are among internet pioneers.
  • 1996 – “The Dancing Baby,” a 3D animation, is one of the first videos to “go viral.”
  • 1997 – The term “weblog” is coined and quickly shortened to “blog.”
  • 1998 – Google launches its revolutionary search engine.
  • 2003 – Facebook debuts. Also, WordPress, a platform for publishing blog posts, is launched.
  • 2005 – YouTube and Reddit both come online.
  • 2006 – Twitter is launched. The first tweet, from founder Jack Dorsey: “just setting up my twttr.”
  • 2010: Instagram and Pinterest are launched. Also, the number of active users on Facebook reaches 400 million.
  • 2013 – Pew Research Center reports that 51% of U.S. adults say they bank online.
  • 2015 – Instagram reaches 400 million users.
  • 2016 – Approximately 40% of the world population has an internet connection.
  • 2017 – Internet speeds skyrocket. In addition, user numbers continue to grow rapidly.

What Will Fort Collins Internet Be Like in the Future?

So, how will the world wide web have changed in five, 10, or 20 years? We’ll share our thoughts in a future blog post. But for now, if you want to know more about Fort Collins internet from FRII, please drop us a line using the Contact Us form. And, you can also stop by our facility or call us at 800-935-6527.

Northern Colorado Internet Provider Shares Ransomware Dos and Don’ts

Northern Colorado internet provider discusses ransomwareNot long ago “ransomware” was a term that few outside of IT security circles had ever heard. However, a number of recent ransomware attacks have brought this form of cybercrime to every computer user’s attention. As a leading Northern Colorado internet and email hosting provider, we encourage all of our clients to follow best practices that will help keep their data safe.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of software that accesses a computer’s files and locks them, preventing the owner from opening them. The cybercriminal then demands payment in exchange for freeing the files. In some cases, the attacker threatens to make the information in the files public if the ransom demand is not met.

Ransomware: Steps to Take to Stay Safe

In order to keep from falling victim to a ransomware attack, or to recover without paying the ransom, there are a number of proactive steps you can take. They include:

  • Use antivirus software. This goes without saying, but a surprising number of people and even some organizations take a “can’t happen to us” approach to cybersecurity.
  • Update your software regularly. Cybercriminals frequently exploit bugs in applications, web browsers, etc. Updating these things whenever a new release is available can help prevent unauthorized access to your files.
  • Only download software from trusted sources. If you don’t know who produced an application or file, don’t allow it access to your computer.
  • Back your files up frequently. Be sure you always have recent copies of your files.
  • Report a ransomware attack. Cybercrime is no different than any other. It should be reported to the police as soon as you discover it.
  • Talk with your antivirus software provider if your files become locked. Your provider or another cybersecurity expert may be able to help you unlock files affected by a ransomware attack.  

Ransomware: Actions to Avoid to Stay Safe

As a long-time Northern Colorado internet provider, we’ve seen many different scams. Here are some things you should not do if you want to avoid allowing cybercriminals access to your files:

  • Do not click on links, images, banners, etc. if the source is unknown. By clicking a link in any form — from “click here” text to a clickable image — you are triggering an action. When the link is sent by someone you trust, the action is helpful, such as taking you to a website. When the link is sent by a cybercriminal, clicking it may activate the software that will execute the attack.
  • Do not install apps from unknown sources on your mobile device. We live in a highly connected world. A virus enabled on your phone or tablet can quickly spread.
  • Do not take security for granted. Even if a link or file appears at a glance to be sent by a trusted source, it pays to take a closer look. Cybercriminals are skilled at mimicking trusted senders in order to gain the confidence of their victims.
  • Do not give in to ransom demands. While you may desperately need access to your files, paying ransom rarely works out for the best.

Stay Ahead of Cybercriminals

Ransomware attacks become more sophisticated every day. However, with a little bit of vigilance you can stay ahead of the bad guys and keep your data safe. If you’ve got questions about Northern Colorado internet, email hosting, colocation hosting, or disaster recovery, please drop us a line using the Contact Us form. You can also stop by our facility or call us at 800-935-6527.

Top 6 Factors to be Aware of with Colocation Server Hosting

Two technicians doing server diagnosticsYour server is likely the most important piece of equipment your company owns. It’s the nerve center for everything you do, from communicating with one another to creating, storing, and sharing work output. Consequently, it’s critical that you take care of it properly. Unfortunately, creating and maintaining the ideal conditions for your server can be very time- and capital-intensive work. Wouldn’t it make life easier if someone else did that for you? That’s the beauty of colocation server hosting.

Key Considerations for Evaluating Colocation Server Hosting Providers

There are many colocation server hosting providers in Colorado. However, you don’t want to simply put your company’s fate in the hands of the first one you discover. Instead, you need to consider how your provider rates in six key areas:

Contractually agreed upon uptime

Service level agreements (SLAs) are a provider’s commitment to you about the service they will provide. The first, and most important, question you should ask a provider is what level of server uptime they can provide. If it’s not 100 percent, you need to consider how any downtime would affect your staff and your customers. A provider should have technology and processes in place to keep you online without any issues.

Skilled and Experienced IT Staff

While the systems a colocation server hosting provider uses are important, the people behind those systems are equally so. It’s safe to say a data center is only as good as its staff. It’s not easy for a provider to hire, train, and retain quality people. However, it’s critically important that they do so, since these are the technicians who will be tending to your server around the clock.

Consistent power supply

Like any business, colocation server hosting providers are at the mercy of the power companies. If something should cause the power to a colocation facility to be reduced or cut, this can be a huge problem. So, a provider should have a system of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and backup generators in place to ensure ongoing operations at all times.

Advanced and always-current data security

Your data is the lifeblood of your company. Your colocation provider must have industry-leading network intrusion and malware prevention in place today, and a commitment to keeping those tools current as threats and the defenses to counter them continue to evolve.

Natural disaster protection

Fire, flooding, and other natural disasters can wipe out your data in an instant if proper detection and mitigation systems aren’t in place. For example, fire fighting systems like the sprinklers used in many office environments won’t cut it in an environment with sensitive devices like computer servers. A good provider will have a chemical fire suppression system.

Environmentally friendly practices

How a colocation facility is designed and operated can have a big impact on how energy efficient it is. If a provider has clearly just retrofitted an old space with some added cooling, chances are it is using far more energy than it should. And, it’s possible or even likely that equipment will not always be kept at the optimal operating temperature and humidity.

The Right Choice for Your “Colo” Needs

From temperature regulation, to redundant power supplies, to high-end security, FRII colocation server hosting provides everything you need to ensure safe, uninterrupted operations for you and your team, and a positive user experience for your customers. If you’ve got questions about colocation server hosting in Northern Colorado, please drop us a line using the Contact Us form on our website. You can also stop by our facility or call us at 800-935-6527.

Fort Collins Email Hosting Provider Shares 9 Tips for Email Management

Finger Touching the Email NotificationsIt’s hard to imagine that there was a time when there was no such thing as email. Today, it’s the lifeblood of virtually every organization. However, while it is a powerful productivity tool when used properly, it can also be a productivity killer if you’re not careful. As a leading Fort Collins email hosting provider, we’ve learned a number of tricks over the years to help you get the most out of your system.

Strategies for Staying On Top of Your Email

How you send, receive, and manage your email can make a big difference in how productive you are each day. Keep these nine time-tested tips in mind:

  1. Be concise. We all probably spend too much time and effort trying to craft eloquent emails. And while some messages require lengthy descriptions or explanations, most thoughts can be communicated in a small number of words. To keep people from thinking you are being rude, you can add a note to your “signature” block indicating you are being brief to save the reader (and yourself) some precious time!
  2. Recycle. If there are subject lines or body text that you use frequently, keep an old email handy so you can quickly copy and paste from it to save yourself some typing.
  3. Create and use distribution lists. Are there groups of people that you email often? If so, create a list that includes them. Not only does this make sending an email faster, it also ensures you won’t accidentally leave someone off the distribution.
  4. Check email at regular intervals. Rather than jumping into email randomly throughout your day, get into the habit of checking it at designated times — hourly, every two hours, whatever works for you.
  5. Start every email session by deleting unimportant items. Without even opening them, delete emails you know you don’t need to read. Clearing out the unnecessary items makes it easier and more efficient to deal with the important ones.
  6. Turn off notifications. Unless you have a job where it’s critical that you know the second an email arrives, turn off your alerts. They are highly distracting. Even if you don’t react to them, there’s a part of your brain that wants to!
  7. Close down email when you really need to concentrate. As an email hosting provider, we understand that email is such an important mode of communication that it almost feels wrong to shut it down. But when you have to focus, it’s best to remove the temptation.
  8. Use folders. We all know someone whose Inbox is also their To Do list — and it contains hundreds of items. Setting up folders for things like Urgent Follow-Up, Non-Urgent, Reference, etc. can help you eliminate the clutter.
  9. Empty your trash bin regularly. Nobody wants to delete an email and find out later that they need it. But, that scenario is very rare for most people. Unless your job requires you to hang on to all emails, empty your trash at the end of a reasonable time period (daily, weekly, etc.). This will save room on your email server, and it just feels good!

Take Control of Your Email So it Doesn’t Control You

Email can be a huge help or a major hassle — it’s all in how you use it. Take steps to ensure it’s working for you not against you. And, if you are looking for an email hosting provider in Fort Collins, please drop us a line using the Contact Us form on our website. You can also stop by our facility or call us at 800-935-6527.

Q&A with a Leading Provider of Custom Wireless Internet

Wifi Symbol in the Palm of a HandAs experts in internet services of all kinds including 10 gigabit fiber, custom wireless internet, and more we get a wide variety of questions about internet, WiFi, and related topics. Below are some of the more common queries along with answers to help you understand your technology.

Q&A

Question: I’ve got broadband internet speed of 50Mbps when I connect using a network cable. But, when I connect through WiFi, the best I get is around 20Mbps. Why would that be the case?

Answer: This is not uncommon. The top speed and sustained real-world speed of a WiFi connection tend to be different. In addition, WiFi speed varies depending on how far you are from the router. In addition, you might be using a legacy WiFi router or your device relies on a legacy WiFi adapter. That said, 20Mbps tends to be plenty of speed for most web-based applications.

 

Question: It appears that my WiFi connection is at full strength, but websites often take a long time to load and streaming video has annoying delays. What is the problem?

Answer: The issue here is that WiFi signal strength and internet speed are two different things. Your internet speed determines how quickly data can be downloaded, so it may be that you have a slow broadband connection. It could also be that your WiFi network isn’t optimized for carrying internet signal — for example, you may be using too many WiFi extenders. You should check your internet connection and also the setup of your WiFi network, or have us do it for you.

 

Question: When I plug my computer directly into the cable modem, I get a download speed of 150Mbps. However, when I connect through my router, my download speed is only 40Mbps, even though I’m still using a network cable. What’s the problem here?

Answer: It may be that your router has a Fast Ethernet (10/100) WAN port. A Gigabit router will give you much better performance.

 

Question: I have great internet download speed both through wired and custom wireless internet connections. However, it still sometimes takes me a long time to download a fairly small file. What’s going on here?

Answer: The source of the problem may be the computer where the file is originating. If you download a file from someone (or some company) that has a slow internet connection, it will take longer. And that is true no matter how fast your setup is. You’ll have to grin and bear it, or find another source for the file.

 

Question: Sometimes when I upload a large file to the internet, my download speed gets slower. Does that make sense?

Answer: Yes… uploading and downloading are processes that work together. Information is transferred around the internet in what are called “packets.” When a packet of information is received, the receiving computer sends a confirmation, which must be received before another packet is sent. In some cases, a large amount of data moving in one direction slows the receipt of the confirmation, which then slows the whole process.

Here to Help You Make Sense of Technology

From WiFi to custom wireless internet, if you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Contact us at your convenience through the Contact Us form. You can also stop by our facility or call us at 800-935-6527.

How to Test Your IT Disaster Recovery Plan

Employees Looking at Their Disaster Recovery ServersImagine yourself enjoying an ocean cruise. Suddenly there is a problem and you are told to “Abandon ship!” So, you race to a lifeboat and pull back the cover. To your shock you see that the bottom of this vessel that is intended to save you is completely rotted out. As a result, your lifeboat is now effectively an anchor. While that’s a dramatic example of the need for testing your disaster recovery plan, the reality is you could encounter the business equivalent of this scenario if you aren’t prepared.

Regular Testing Breeds Confidence

Developing a disaster recovery plan and then establishing a relationship with a company like FRII that operates state-of-the-art disaster recovery servers are two great steps toward being confident that your company can recover quickly if disaster strikes. The final step in the process is to test your plan. That way you’ll be certain it will work. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Get a firm time commitment from participants. In today’s hectic business world, it’s difficult to get members of your disaster recovery team to set aside time for testing. However, it’s critical that they do if you want to be sure the process will unfold as intended in an emergency. Conducting the test over a long lunch hour or in a few hours reserved at the end of a workday can help ensure you get the participation you need. And, of course, adding the test to everyone’s calendar well in advance is helpful.
  2. Ensure everyone is clear about their role in advance. Spending your valuable testing time introducing people to the disaster recovery plan is not effective and not the point. They should know coming into the drill what their role is. Give them a clear, concise description of their responsibilities to review well before test day.
  3. Simulate the failure in as much detail as possible. No, we’re not encouraging you to flood your data center or set fire to it! But the more realistic you can make your drill, the more you will drive home the importance of your disaster recovery procedures. Take the network down if you can. Turn the lights off in the room you use as your emergency operations center to mimic a power outage. Paint a vivid picture of an emergency situation. 
  4. Execute the plan as fully as possible. First of all, simulate calls to first responders, thinking about exactly what you’d say. Restore your files. Perform data checks. Complete the actions on your disaster recovery plan as completely as you can. And be sure to make note of the time and effort involved.
  5. Do an honest assessment of the results. Now is the time to address any issues you uncover in your recovery process. Don’t let pride get in the way. What drives you should be developing the confidence that everything will go smoothly when it really counts.
  6. Repeat regularly. A successful test today does not ensure that your plan will execute flawlessly in 18 months. Because your IT environment is continually evolving, it’s important that you test your plan on a regular basis. This will ensure that it accounts for changes in everything from hardware and software to personnel.

A Technology Provider You Can Trust

In preparing for an emergency that you hope never comes, you’ve got a lot on your plate. One aspect that you can entrust to others is the operation of a disaster recovery server and other business continuity services. As a leader in this area for more than 20 years, FRII can help. Get in touch using our Contact Us form, stopping by our facility, or calling us at 800-935-6527 to learn more.

6 Tips for a Seamless Transition to Your New Colocation Server Hosting Facility

Colocation Server HostingYou’ve decided it’s time to capitalize on the many advantages of using a colocation server hosting facility. As you prepare to act on that decision, the reality of the challenges you’ll face in making the move hits you. Now you begin to think about how to ensure that your migration takes place without incident. While it’s true that there are risks associated with making the switchover, there are steps you can take to help guarantee a seamless transition.

Preparing for Your Colocation Server Hosting Move

You’re eager to move your processing to your new colocation server hosting facility. But, it’s critical that you do so without interrupting business operations. Here are six things you can do to help ensure success:

  1. Create a detailed migration plan. Put every step of your transition process in writing. This is critical to achieving your goals. Create a plan that has a step-by-step description of the process with specific times (i.e. “Saturday 8:00 a.m.” versus “Saturday morning”) and assignments. This will provide clarity and instill confidence in everyone involved. Develop this plan based on available bandwidth and be sure that someone is assigned the task of ensuring that all necessary software licenses have been obtained.
  2. Choose a migration manager. Your transition will be a group effort. However, be sure to name one person to ride herd over the entire process. Without someone in that role, it’s too easy to assume that someone else is going to take care of a task that was left unassigned or handle an issue that has come up.
  3. Practice to the extent possible. While not every aspect of the move can be tested in advance, many things can be. Do whatever “dry runs” you can, and repeat them if necessary to ensure that on move day, everyone is comfortable with their assigned tasks. This can prevent a situation where you discover in the middle of a move that some task wasn’t accounted for or someone is unclear about what they should be doing.
  4. Back everything up. While your preparation and testing will almost certainly guarantee a smooth transition, those are, of course, famous last words! Better safe than sorry. Be sure to create all necessary data backups, restore points, and image archives just in case. And by this, we mean every last byte of data should be backed up.
  5. Be well-staffed. Having just enough personnel available to handle all the transition tasks is really not enough. If problems arise and people are pulled away to handle them, you can easily find yourself short-staffed. Hope for the best, and plan for… something short of that!
  6. Run in tandem if possible. If the early indicators are that the transition was successful, it probably was. However, running in tandem for a period of days or weeks can be very reassuring to your organization. It can also be a lifesaver if a significant issue is encountered.

 

Helping You Make a Risk-Mitigated Data Center Move

When you’re ready to transition to colocation server hosting, we’ve got the cutting-edge facility you need. And we can share our insights on how to make a stress-free transition. Complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527 and let’s talk about your objectives.

Understanding Colocation vs. Cloud Computing Platforms

FRII | Colocation vs. Cloud Computing PlatformsIf your company is looking to move some or all of its computer processing off site, there are a few primary options. Often the decision comes down to colocation vs. cloud. If you’re faced with making that choice — and especially if you don’t have an IT staff — the question then becomes, “What’s the difference? What is colocation vs. cloud?” Or, in some cases, people assume the two terms mean the same thing. Consequently, they don’t bother to ask about the difference.

Colocation and Cloud Explained

While colocation and cloud platforms can help you achieve the same goals to a degree, they definitely go about it differently.

Colocation — In a colocation scenario, you own and use your own equipment but rent space from the colocation provider. You share the cost of power, communications, cooling, etc. with other facility users. Colocation is a great option for companies that want to maintain full control of their equipment. Organizations that have HIPAA or PCI requirements may prefer (or be required to use) colocation rather than a public cloud platform.

Colocation also works well for companies that need to increase their processing capability cost-effectively. With colocation, they don’t have to invest a large amount of capital into building an additional data center. Organizations looking for a disaster recovery “failover” site often utilize colocation as well.

Cloud computing — Cloud platforms are similar to colocation in that the company’s data processing, storage, etc. moves off site. However, in this scenario the cloud service provider owns and manages the hardware including servers, storage devices, and network. The provider’s staff takes care of day-to-day operational tasks, troubleshooting, etc.

Colocation vs. Cloud: Assessing the Costs

Colocation and cloud offerings and their prices vary by provider, of course. However, colocation often comes out ahead when the focus is on cost. Colocation may require a higher initial investment if you need to purchase hardware, but once you own the server(s) and software you will use, the ongoing monthly cost of having your machines in a colocation facility is frequently lower than the monthly fee for a cloud platform.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Business

If you’re debating colocation vs. cloud and you have questions, we’re happy to help. Although we’re a colocation provider, we’ll certainly let you know if the cloud seems like a better option for you. Complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527 and let’s talk about your needs.

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5 Tips for Choosing a Web Hosting Provider

FRII web hosting | building a websiteIf your company is like most, your website is one of the most valuable assets you own. Not only is it a key marketing tool, it may also be used for communication, education, resource storage, and other purposes. When your website goes offline, your business goes offline. Consequently, it’s critical that you do your research before selecting a web hosting provider.

Finding the Right Web Hosting Partner

Your web hosting company is more than just a service provider. They actually function almost as a business partner. That said, you want to be sure and find the right fit. Here are some aspects of their service that you want to look very closely at:

  1. Reliability and uptime. Like we said above, if your website goes down, your business is in a world of hurt. So, getting the details on a potential web hosting provider’s reliability should be the first thing you do. While no provider can guarantee 100 percent uptime, you want one whose number is very close to that. Also, what plans do they have in place for keeping servers powered up in an emergency?
  2. Monitoring and support. Does the provider monitor the server where your website resides 24/7/365, including holidays? And how do they handle support inquiries? These two issues are critical when it comes to ensuring uninterrupted operation for your website.
  3. File backup. Does the web hosting provider back up your files? You should, of course, have your own archive of your website files, but the provider should be backing things up regularly as well.
  4. Expansion potential. Be sure that a provider can not only handle your needs now, but can accommodate you if your company and website start growing exponentially. The last thing you want is to have to move your website to another provider a year from now.
  5. Server features. Does the provider offer Linux servers, Windows servers, or both? Be sure that whatever type of processes your website will need to perform can be handled properly.

The More You Know…

These are, of course, just some of the questions you should ask a potential web hosting provider. However, the answers you receive will be a good indicator of whether you want to learn more about them.

If you have questions about our web hosting services, we’re happy to answer them. Complete our website Contact Us form, stop by our facility, or call us at 800-935-6527.

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