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How to detect malware or suspicious software on your computer

The software we install on our computers is one of the biggest potential security risks. Even known software can be altered to transmit our data in the background. There are reports of hackers inserting malware into legitimate software downloads available online. Often, even the vendor does not realize that the legitimate download is spreading malware. Here are a few ways to detect any suspicious activity:

Almost every application on a modern computer will make outbound connections to the internet. Most of these connections are for updates, licensing etc. However, using applications like NetLimiter on Windows and Little Snitch on OS X, you can keep an eye on what connections are made from which apps.

Another common activity of suspicious software is to set itself to run on startup after the installation is complete. Malware does the same thing, except hidden in some obscure corner of the hard drive. Applications like BlockBlock on OS X will block and alert you when an application attempts to set itself to run on startup.

Do not plug in any unknown devices to your USB port. If a file transfer is required from an unknown USB key, ask them to email it instead. Do not allow anyone to charge devices on a laptop, even e-cigarettes have been known to carry Malware that installs when charging on a computer. Any charging should be done directly off a wall charger. The easiest way is to tell people that there is something wrong with the USB ports.

The benefits of using VANS for EDI

Written by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA

EDI is electronically communicating with business or trading partners. The most important component of that is the actual communication between the two parties. There were times when this was done by exchanging physical discs. Unsurprisingly this was found to be inefficient and communicating via data links was adopted.

There are two ways to use communication links to transfer the EDI data. The first is to use in-house links. The other is to use an EDI provider of a VAN, also known as a Value Added Network. There are some major benefits of using VANS over in-house links:

Connectivity

When using VANS, the only concern is the link between the organization and the VAN. Any compatibility issues with other partners is not a concern. It is also much easier to manage than individual links to multiple partners. The links between the VAN and the partner is their concern. The organization need only be concerned about the EDI services.

Security

Most of the information that occurs between business partners is confidential. VANS provide a high level of security. Not only is the communication password protected, but the actual arrangements to send and receive packets has to be set up in advance on both ends.

Audit

There are complete audit trails available for all transactions. Due to the electronic nature of the system, everything is just a click away. However, not all service providers have audit trails enabled. It should be one of the requirements when selecting VANS.

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Act Data is an internet EDI service bureau that provides EDI solutions and logistics standards implementation.

How to choose a third party EDI vendor

Written by Act Data Services, Inc. 1-800-ACT-DATA

There are two paths you can take when it comes to EDI services. You can go with the in-house implementation. This tends to be more costly, a lot more work, but gives a lot of additional control, security, and privacy. Alternatively, you can go with a third party EDI provider. This is faster, has less capital expenditure. Here we will look at some of the considerations when it comes to choosing one:

The first consideration would be the number of partners present on the vendor’s system. This is the most important because the more of your existing vendors and partners on the system, the easier this transition will be. In addition, the cost benefits will also be visible sooner.

The second would be support for overseas partners. This means being able to get your Chinese and European suppliers and customers on board.

Another is training and support for your staff. Training, later on, can be done in-house, but at the start, it is good to be able to get staff trained by the vendor. Electronic data interchange will be a big shift and this will need to be introduced to them well.

Getting your partners on board EDI is also another important consideration. Not all of your partners will be using EDI. Getting them on board will be to your benefit and theirs. Vendors can provide support and guidance on how to best go about this.

Finally, there are the financials. The providers tend to charge on volume of transactions while offering differing payment models.

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Act Data is an EDI service bureau for retail and supplier environments.