GUTS https://www.g-uts.com Your vision our passion Wed, 11 Dec 2019 18:49:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://www.g-uts.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/cropped-Favicon-01-01-32x32.png GUTS https://www.g-uts.com 32 32 What Is Ransomware? https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/11/what-is-ransomware/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/11/what-is-ransomware/#respond Wed, 11 Dec 2019 18:44:49 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1573 Ransomware is a form of malware that an attacker uses to encrypt a victim’s files – they typically demand a ‘ransom’ from the victim before restoring access to the data.

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Ransomware is a form of malware that an attacker uses to encrypt a victim’s files – they typically demand a ‘ransom’ from the victim before restoring access to the data.

Simply put, hackers and cybercriminals send malicious software to the victims PC and once opened, they are locked out the system. Then the victims are served with the option of either paying a ransom to regain full control or have all their operations partially or completely shut down.

Once a system or network is infected with malware, a notification informs the victim that the decryption key will only be accessible once the payment has been made. If this message is ignored, then the decryption key is destroyed and the data can never be restored.

How It Works

You will be happy to know that that you won’t face such a threat unless you open a dubious link or attachment within an email.

Here are five steps of a ransomware’s life cycle – from infestation all the way to recovery.

ransomware

The System Is Compromised

Users are sent intriguing content or promotional offers with a CTA or attachment; once opened, their systems end up being compromised.

The Malware Takes Control

If the malware has been activated, it will instantly start populating certain file types with an encryption key. Furthermore, the user will be denied access to all such files.

The Victim Is Notified

When a system has been completely taken over, a notification pops up that informs the victim about the severity of the situation; it also includes details about the amount of ransom and the way it should be transferred.

The Ransom Is Paid

When cybercriminals gain access to a victim’s system, they either halt all operations or encrypt certain file types – and access is only granted once the ransom is paid in full and as per the instructions.

Full Access Is Returned

Attackers and cybercriminals typically send the decryption key to access all locked files after the payment has been made.

Types of Ransomware

Though you may have heard about ransomware in recent times, the interesting fact is that it dates back to the late 90s.

In 1998, the PC Cyborg strain denied access to files through asymmetric encryption, but 2012 was the year when the Reveton worm surfaced. This was the first occurrence of malware that held data hostage until an agreed-upon payment was made.

Currently, there are two types of ransomware causing havoc for many users; Locker Ransomware and Crypto-Ransomware. Both of these deny access to important files until money is successfully extorted from the victim.

 

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Top 10 Advantages Of Cloud Computing https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/11/top-10-advantages-of-cloud-computing/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/11/top-10-advantages-of-cloud-computing/#respond Wed, 11 Dec 2019 17:02:19 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1555 With no need for a physical hard drive, data accessibility becomes quite easy – you can gain access to all files on the cloud from any device and at any time. For instance, posting digital media files on social media portals, using a dedicated banking application to transfer funds or view your current balance, etc. can all be done through cloud computing.

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With technological innovations happening as we speak – the world as we know it has changed significantly.

One such change is the reliance and use of cloud computing; simply put, this shift from on-premise facilities to the cloud gives us the ability to remotely access our files and documents without dependency on physical storage.

With no need for a physical hard drive, data accessibility becomes quite easy – you can gain access to all files on the cloud from any device and at any time. For instance, posting digital media files on social media portals, using a dedicated banking application to transfer funds or view your current balance, etc. can all be done through cloud computing.

Globally renowned cloud computing services, such as Amazon’s AWS Cloud Services, provides a safe and comprehensive platform to store and handle all your data.

But why is everyone jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon? It’s simply because of its convenience over conventional systems, as they increase efficiency, improve cash flows, etc.

Here are some benefits you receive by running your digital operations over the cloud:

1  Cost-Efficient

The amount of resources you utilize depends on the subscription you have opted for; the more expensive the package, the more storage and accessibility you receive.

At the start, you can subscribe for a basic package and as your load increases, you can move towards a higher package. Additionally, there is no need to establish server rooms or good-sized hard drives – all your data is stored on the digital grid.

2  Around The Clock Accessibility

Almost all service providers maintain an uptime of 99.9% and all applications can be accessed from everywhere.

3  Set And Adjust Limits To Resource Utilization

You can dictate the required resources as per your needs; for instance, if you expect more traffic during a sale, you can increase the server capacity and even downsize whenever required.

4  Remote Accessibility

All cloud platforms can be accessed from anywhere and at any time – this means that you can access your software and database from the field or halfway around the world.Cloud.

5  Real-Time Updates

Constant OTA updates are sent to enhance the software’s capabilities and security policies.

6  Secure Storage And Data Restoration Options

Data is stored in the cloud, so it is protected against any malware attacks or virus infestations on your personal computer. Even if your files and applications get corrupted, you can restore them from the backup you created in the cloud.

7  Environmental Friendly

Energy is conserved, as no over-utilization of physical resources takes place. With things running over the digital grid, many users can reduce their carbon footprint by turning off their PCs, etc.

8  Enhanced Collaboration

With shared storage, teams can easily collaborate in real-time.

9  Centralized Control Of Documents

There is no need to send documents and files as email attachments; with a good cloud platform, all documents are stored in an organized manner and can be accessed by those allowed to view them.

10  Easily Manageable

Backed by a central resource administration – SLA and managed infrastructure – users are assured of on-time maintenance, proper management and prompt delivery of IT services.

 

All in all, these are some of the top benefits that businesses can gain by shifting towards cloud computing.

 

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2020 ICAA Winter Conference https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/04/2020-icaa-winter-conference/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/04/2020-icaa-winter-conference/#respond Wed, 04 Dec 2019 14:04:07 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1545 2020 ICAA Winter Conference Hyatt Regency  One South Capitol Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46204 1/21/2020 – 1/24/2020 http://www.inassessors.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020_Winter_Conference_Agenda.pdf http://www.inassessors.com/conference/  GUTS Vendor Booth on Tuesday, January 21, 2020- Studio Lounge Foyer – 12 pm -4 pm GUTS User Group Meeting on Wednesday, January 22, 2020- Regency C- 8:30 am- 11:30 am

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2020 ICAA Winter Conference

Hyatt Regency 
One South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204

1/21/2020 – 1/24/2020

http://www.inassessors.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/2020_Winter_Conference_Agenda.pdf

http://www.inassessors.com/conference/ 

GUTS Vendor Booth on Tuesday, January 21, 2020- Studio Lounge Foyer – 12 pm -4 pm

GUTS User Group Meeting on Wednesday, January 22, 2020- Regency C- 8:30 am- 11:30 am

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Benefits Of An Automated Electronic Field Data Collection Workflow https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/01/benefits-of-an-automated-electronic-field-data-collection-workflow/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/12/01/benefits-of-an-automated-electronic-field-data-collection-workflow/#respond Sun, 01 Dec 2019 17:26:01 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1560 Gone are the days when governmental agencies, Industries, and consultants, etc. had to collect field data manually on paper-based forms. These entities are now moving towards digital transformation through tech-infused innovations to navigate through their workflows.

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Gone are the days when governmental agencies, Industries, and consultants, etc. had to collect field data manually on paper-based forms. These entities are now moving towards digital transformation through tech-infused innovations to navigate through their workflows.

The advantages are vast and numerous but simply put, this new technology helps the user collect more field data and process it in a more accurate and efficient manner – here are some benefits of implementing automated electronic field data collection:

Data Is Made Instantly Available For Analysis

In the past, the procedure of field data collection and processing was conducted essentially by hand, using paper forms. The collected information had to then be analyzed, logged and processed (data entry) into various digital formats and software applications.

This was an extremely time-consuming and inefficient process, especially due to the large amount of data. But with electronic data collection tools, the data is collected electronically, usually on a specialized laptop or wireless device/tablet, and then directly transferred and processed from a centralized database.

This saves a considerable amount of time as manual data entry is no longer needed and analysis can be carried out swiftly; this, in turn, allows for quicker decision making and more accurate data.

Data Quality Is Enhanced

With the help of real-time analysis and reporting, data collection teams can ensure that all the data is at par with the required benchmarks and standards directly from the site location (“field”).

Here are some examples of how data is analyzed and collected in the field:

  • Completeness Checks: All required fields are properly populated, and nothing is overlooked
  • Range Checks: Cross-checking is done to ensure that all the results fall within a logical range
  • Reference Values: Verification procedures are conducted ensuring that all reference values are properly included in the acquired data

When using an electronic data collection method, the authentication of the data is measured while still in the field. Then, if discrepancies are found after comparison with historical data or trends, the team can get to the bottom of it and make adjustments while still onsite.

data quality

 

Another positive aspect is that currently, there are many tools available to upload data with the right media files (photos, voice memos, etc.). So, when the entry is revisited, all the available information such as attachments are also displayed for a complete picture.

Supporting Tools for Field Crews

Depending on the product, many tools allow the collection of data via cell phones, tablets, and laptops. Again, all of the information is collected directly from the device and populated into a centralized database electronically, perhaps wirelessly.

Mapping and GPS

Most products feature a GPS function in mobile devices (mobiles, laptops, and tablets). New locations can be entered directly and tracked using their coordinates.

Instrument Interfaces

Tools and devices such as piezometers, weather stations, drones, multimeters, etc. can collect data and directly add it to a database. This gives the option of gaining quick access to detailed reports.

Integration Of Barcode Devices

By using a barcode reader, errors can be significantly reduced, and data entry becomes more seamless.  Field inspectors can concentrate on what is important, rather than taking time out for manual entries. By simply connecting different barcodes to record data, the user can start populating their database with valuable data and information.

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Implications Of The ‘Dark-Store’ Strategy For Local Governments https://www.g-uts.com/2019/11/21/implications-of-the-dark-store-strategy-for-local-governments/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/11/21/implications-of-the-dark-store-strategy-for-local-governments/#respond Thu, 21 Nov 2019 17:49:30 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1566 For the past few years, a majority of American states have comes across the Dark Store Strategy – a method that is used to weigh a commercial property’s value. 

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For the past few years, a majority of American states have comes across the Dark Store Strategy – a method that is used to weigh a commercial property’s value.

Many retailers have challenged the way their properties are valued by inspectors and the interesting part is that many have been successful in lowering the value of their properties. This, in turn, means that they pay lower property taxes as these are based on the property valuation.

Simply put, big-box retailers argue that all commercial properties, regardless of whether they are vacant or operational, should be evaluated in the same manner, i.e. as per their sale price. And they justify this claim by pointing out that even if they vacate their current property, it will not be easily sold out.

As a number of retail businesses in Michigan have managed to successfully use this argument in court, it is predicted that other states will be facing similar issues in the future. And since many local governments rely on property tax as a major source of funds – e.g. Carroll County earned 36% of its revenue from property taxes – this trend is of major concern.

Determining Property Tax RevenueProperty Taxes money

Two variables are used to determine property tax revenue:

  • Taxable property base
  • Property tax levy rate

Then there are three methods used to set the value of a particular property:

  1. Comparable sales approach
  2. Income approach
  3. Summation or cost approach

Once a valuation rate has been finalized, it is used alongside the tax levy rate to narrow down to the taxable amount owed by the owner.

What is concerning for many is the fact that the commercial sector includes many retail businesses that make a significant contribution towards the overall collected tax. Hence, if the dark store strategy becomes a permissible plea, it will benefit the retail store owner but at the same time, the state will end up with less money.

The fact is that the issue is extremely complex in nature and there are different laws from state to state; this is why lawmakers to date have not been able to come forth with a concrete law to put the dark store theory to rest.

Many states are now considering laws to protect local governments from the dark store strategy – their options include shifting the tax burden on citizens or equally unpopular choices such as downsizing city employees, reducing services, capital investment, etc.

All in all, if implemented in full swing, this strategy will reduce tax revenues that will in turn reduce the overall pace of community and economic development in the country.

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Could your business benefit from Cloud Computing https://www.g-uts.com/2019/10/09/could-your-business-benefit-from-cloud-computing/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/10/09/could-your-business-benefit-from-cloud-computing/#respond Wed, 09 Oct 2019 18:45:07 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1577 Cloud computing is an innovation that leads to enhanced efficiency and productivity. And this is exactly why 33% of companies are moving towards cloud computing, whereas 86% dedicate some part of their budget towards cloud services.

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Cloud computing is an innovation that leads to enhanced efficiency and productivity. And this is exactly why 33% of companies are moving towards cloud computing, whereas 86% dedicate some part of their budget towards cloud services.

Here are nine advantages of cloud computing and how your business can benefit from them:

1 –  Upgrades and Enhancements Are Made Available When Released

Conventional software usually gets updates and new releases after a significant amount of time. On the other hand, if you have software as a service (SaaS), all the updates, upgrades and enhancements are carried out automatically.

And due to the added features and capabilities of cloud-based software, the overall efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness of your workflows and processes can be improved.

cloud

2 –  Do More With Less

With reliance on physical storage and data centers being reduced, companies can considerably save on their expenses.

For instance, they can reduce in-house servers, cost of software and the number of required staff to handle the overall infrastructure.

3 – Pocket-Friendly

Pay as you require – you can opt for lesser capacity at the beginning, but as work and data load increases, you can subscribe for a better package with added features and functionalities.

4 – 24/7 Accessibility

All major cloud service providers maintain 99.9% uptime and employees can have round the clock access as long as they have internet connectivity.

5 –  Improved Mobility

Apart from 24/7 access, another benefit of cloud computing is remote accessibility; no matter what device you are using (phone, tablet or PC), you can access the cloud drive from anywhere and at any time.

6 –  Better collaboration

Team members can easily share and view information on the cloud platform’s shared storage. All changes are made in real-time and each team member is kept in the loop.

The best thing is that you can save a considerable amount of time – and significantly improve your operational efficiency.

7 –  A Cost-Effective Solution

You can put a considerable amount of your budget to better use, as cloud computing does not require any additional equipment, data centers, server rooms, hardware, etc.

8 – Expenses Can Be Quickly Reduced

When a company is trying to reduce costs, they can easily do so with cloud platforms. This is because a majority of cloud service providers allow you to subscribe to a lower capacity package as and when needed.

9 –  Facilitates in Mergers and Acquisitions

When two companies combine their digital resources, it can be quite time consuming, costly and difficult on conventional systems.

But with both companies running their data centers on the cloud – the required data can be transferred more easily.

 

The bottom line is that even though the benefits outweigh the cons, many people are still comfortable with in-house data centers as they feel:

  • Data becomes more vulnerable to breaches in the cloud
  • There might be compliance issues
  • They might lose control

No doubt that these are valid concerns; but with proper training and awareness along with concrete corporate policies, they can reap a lot of benefits by moving towards cloud-based software.

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PVA Conference https://www.g-uts.com/2019/10/04/pva-conference/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/10/04/pva-conference/#respond Fri, 04 Oct 2019 13:34:36 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1497 GUTS Attends annual Office of Property Valuation 2019 Conference on Assessment Administration. December 3-6, 2019 Embassy Suites Covington, KY    

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GUTS Attends annual Office of Property Valuation 2019 Conference on Assessment Administration.

December 3-6, 2019

Embassy Suites Covington, KY

 

 

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What Is The Dark Store Theory? https://www.g-uts.com/2019/09/15/what-is-the-dark-store-theory/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/09/15/what-is-the-dark-store-theory/#respond Sun, 15 Sep 2019 18:38:50 +0000 https://www.g-uts.com/?p=1571 The dark store theory is a strategy used by many big retailers as a way to lower their property taxes. As per the strategy, retailers argue that regardless of how well they are doing, their tax amount should be similar to those of dark stores, i.e. vacant buildings.

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The dark store theory is a strategy used by many big retailers as a way to lower their property taxes. As per the strategy, retailers argue that regardless of how well they are doing, their tax amount should be similar to those of dark stores, i.e. vacant buildings.

In fact, this argument is also used by many big retailers such as Wal-Mart, Menards, Target, etc. in court – and they justify this claim by stressing on the fact that it is lawful and at par with the market rules and regulations.

The problem is that if the court favors big retailers, there is a considerable loss in taxes that can be put to good use. This is why local governments do their very best to avoid the strategy because if big stores pay less taxes, then the shortfall will be adjusted by levying more taxes on citizens or by reducing spending on local services.

The Debate Over How Properties Should Be Valued

A just and valid estimate can be made when the property is being used efficiently at its optimal capacity, and this can be done via three different approaches:

  • The Income Approach
  • The Sales Comparison Approach
  • The Cost Approach

Many at times, retailers favor the sales comparison approach as they can use dark stores as comparable properties. But the true problem arises when all the above mentioned methods are rejected while conducting property valuation.

So, the only course of action is to use the dark store theory tax strategy, but this theory is not widely accepted by municipalities.

So, Who’s right?

Over time, courts have issued different decisions based on valid arguments coming from both sides. In some states, judges agree with the retailers that valuation should be done based on the sales comparison approach. On the other hand, some verdicts favor the city and the cost approach.

For instance, In Menard Inc. vs. The City of Escanaba, the Michigan court ruled in favor of Escanaba and based its verdict on the cost approach.

But in Indiana, Kohl’s used the sales comparison approach to compares sales data of nine Midwestern dark stores and the court ruled in their favor – in fact, the judgement stated that retailers are overtaxed in the US.

 

All in all, despite this theory making waves in the legal world, many people are divided over the question; should well-to-do thriving retailers be paying the same property taxes as those who have closed down?

 

 

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AIC Annual Conference  https://www.g-uts.com/2019/08/08/aic-annual-conference/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/08/08/aic-annual-conference/#respond Thu, 08 Aug 2019 13:51:13 +0000 https://webdev.g-uts.com/?p=1236 AIC Annual Conference  French Lick Resorts September 30th through October 3rd 2019 https://www.indianacounties.org/egov/apps/events/calendar.egov?view=detail;id=705

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AIC Annual Conference 

French Lick Resorts

September 30th through October 3rd 2019

https://www.indianacounties.org/egov/apps/events/calendar.egov?view=detail;id=705

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ICTA Annual Conference https://www.g-uts.com/2019/08/08/icta-annual-conference/ https://www.g-uts.com/2019/08/08/icta-annual-conference/#respond Thu, 08 Aug 2019 13:49:33 +0000 https://webdev.g-uts.com/?p=1233 The post ICTA Annual Conference appeared first on GUTS.

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Sheraton, 8787 Keystone Crossing, Indianapolis IN
August 7th 8th and 9th 2019

 

https://www.indianatreasurers.org/

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