Learning About Technology

Technology ETF or Tech ETF refers to the exchange-traded funds, which invests in the growing technologies across the globe. In the 1990s, the world has seen the power of the Internet in full force. Both the IT and BPO industries have emerged as major sectors for technological developments. Thus, these industries have led to technology ETFs.

Technology ETFs can be classified into 3 categories, which are based on their holdings. These include Sub Sectors, Broad Tech Sectors, and Actively Managed Technology ETFs. The Sub Sectors have specific holdings include semi-conductors and software. One of the most prominent Sub Sector Tech ETF is the Goldman Sachs Networking Fund, which is considered a high concentration and liquidity on a sector.

Broad Tech Sectors have an extensive range of technological holdings. More so, these sectors have a substantial portfolio. Two of the most prominent Broad Tech Sectors include S&P Select Sector SPDR Fund and Shares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Fund. S&P Select Sector SPDR Fund holds large tech stocks in the S&P 500 while Shares Dow Jones U.S. Technology Fund is the largest tech ETF as it has the most number of stocks.

From the name itself, Actively Managed Tech ETFs are funds that are managed actively and their performance is updated daily online or through other means of communication. Some of the most prominent Actively Managed Tech ETFs include Software (PSJ), PowerShares Dynamic ETFs, Networking (PXQ), and Semiconductors (PSI).

Just like any other exchange traded funds, tech ETF has advantages and disadvantages. One of its greatest advantages is that is produces large profits with lower investments as compared to other ETFS. Thus, this results to higher return on investment (ROI). On the other hand, the profits gained on tech ETFs may be lower than other types of investment.

Cyber Schools Are All About Technology

Some people are intimidated or unimpressed by cyber schools because they think they are more focused on technology than curriculum. These individuals may not understand how online learning and offline learning can connect for a complete educational experience, or they might just think there is no substance beyond the virtual classrooms and real-time interaction.

No matter what their reasoning, those who doubt the online learning model can benefit from an explanation about the many opportunities and resources offered by cyber schools. This article aims to debunk the common myth that online learning is all about technology and explain the wealth of possibilities these Internet-based schools offer.

In addition to virtual classrooms, real-time student interaction, online tools, and education management systems, today’s online schools offer students:

    • Instruction from certified teachers. These teachers are specially trained in how to work effectively in an online classroom, and they have all kinds of resources at their disposal. They work one-on-one with their students to develop personalized educational plans that meet their unique learning needs.

    • Access to certified curricula. Today’s cyber schools are held accountable by state standards that govern other public schools. They follow the same standardized testing requirements, and they are structured around state-approved curricula.

    • Lots of opportunity to collaborate with teachers and parents. Teacher support and parental involvement are both critical to a student’s success. That’s why these schools create an environment where parents, students and teachers are brought together to collaborate and develop learning approaches that work.

    • The chance to join clubs and activities. Many cyber schools offer extracurricular opportunities that can bring kids together outside of the online classroom. Whether those are academic/art/literary clubs, volunteer opportunities, or community-based activities, students have plenty of opportunities to interact with their peers and form meaningful relationships.

  • An education that exists outside of the computer. Contrary to what some think, cyber school students do not spend all their time in front of a computer. Many lessons require practical application of the material, and students are able to spend plenty of time doing hands-on activities, reading textbooks, using workbooks and utilizing traditional school supplies.

As you can see, cyber schools offer students so much more than an education that is administered over the Internet. These students have access to dynamic, innovative and personalized learning experiences that can help them develop the knowledge and skills needed to pursue success in higher education, jobs and life in the 21st century.

What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Technology

In part 1 of this series, “What small business owners need to know about technology”, we talked about internet connectivity for your business.

In part 2, we are going to talk about Firewalls and why you need a great one. Don’t worry if you don’t know what a Firewall is or what it does because I am going to explain everything in very non-technical terms.

Let’s pretend for a minute that the Internet pipe that we talked about in part 1 is a road into a subdivision and all of the houses in that subdivision represent all of the computers in your business. Then let’s pretend that cars on that road represent internet traffic and how it moves in and out of your business. Since our subdivision is not gated, our employees can drive their cars anywhere they want to go AND people that don’t live in your subdivision (ie. Don’t work for your business) can drive into the subdivision. OK, let’s break from the analogy for a minute. Can you imagine how dangerous that could be your business?

OK, back the analogy. Think of a Firewall as putting a security gate. Now, this security gate is going to stop every car and make sure they are a welcome guest. If they aren’t welcome, they can’t get into the subdivision. This is how most firewalls function today, and it’s just not enough to fully protect your business.

The Firewall that I recommend you use not only has a security gate, but a security guard with a dog. The firewall that I want you to use includes features like intrusion detection and prevention, traffic inspection, website content filtering, and VPN capabilities. To use our analogy, the gate would stop the car, the security guard would check the driver’s license, check the trunk, use mirrors to look under the car, and the dog with sniff every inch of the car to make sure it was clean. You see, most viruses and malware that affect your business productivity today are gotten from legitimate websites that have been hacked. Your employees do not even have to click on anything to get these viruses; just going to the site can infect the PC. How many viruses has your company gotten this year?

Our security guard and dog have another job as well. Not only are they going to check cars trying to get into our subdivision, but they are going to check cars leaving it as well. If your company does not want your employees driving down to Amazon, Facebook, or Career Builder, then we can tell our security guard to not let them go there. I am not joking about this one, a couple of weeks ago we had to block Netflix at a company because someone was watching movies at work.

Another great feature that I recommend that you look for is a firewall device that can provide load balancing of internet connections. If you remember from part 1, we talked about the speed of a cable modem and the reliability of a T1. What we do for our clients is install a T1 and cable and plug them both into our firewall device. We then configure all of the internet traffic to run over the cable and when the cable goes down, it automatically fails over and routes all of the traffic out the T1. So we have speed and reliability.

Actions Steps:

  1. Find out what type of Firewall you have.
  2. Ask if it provides intrusion detection and prevention. Remember the security guard. If not, I highly recommend replacing it.
  3. Ask if it provides website traffic inspection. If not, please replace it before some virus infects your network.
  4. Find out if it provides Website Content Filtering.