News

2014 Internet Trends Report 150 150 Kerry Butters

2014 Internet Trends Report

As the majority of those in the technology industry will know, it’s that time of year again when influential analyst Mary Meeker sets out the most important trends across the web for the year.

This year’s Internet Trends Report was presented at the Code Conference on Wednesday and takes a look at such things as tablet devices, media consumption, security, technology in certain sectors and much more. One of the most notable things about this report was the look at mobile devices and the proliferation of data that such devices are now generating.

The death of big data

As mobile and tablet shipments have risen, so too has the data generated risen in line with that. However, despite this just 1% of this data is currently being analysed, which is unsurprising given that Gartner has recently spoken about the death of big data.

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Obituary: Big Data 150 150 Kerry Butters

Obituary: Big Data

Donald Feinberg, VP and analyst at Gartner’s Intelligence and Information Group, recently said that Big Data will die within the next couple of years, thanks largely to the confusion which surrounds the term.

Once upon a time, databases were relatively small; tiny by today’s standards. Businesses had records of their customers’ accounts, built up manually over time, originally with pen and paper and later with microprocessors. Bigger companies started to have whole floors dedicated to data processing departments, ensuring that purchase orders and invoices we all matched and accurate, and accountants knew who had paid and who owed money, what had been bought and what had been cancelled.

With cloud computing and processing technology getting so small that you could practically map out the life cycle of a grain of rice, data started to get recorded and collected at increasingly faster rates and much more of it. Processors in cars and other equipment meant that a whole boatload of parameters could be constantly measured.

More and more measurables

Social media sites, ecommerce sites and other communal online gatherings meant that individuals could be adding to the pile of data already stored about them as they filled in forms and registered for things online. Photos, likes, friends, birthdays, political leanings, sexual orientation, marriage status, hobbies and interests…the list of measurables became endless.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] The Future of Cloud 150 150 Kerry Butters

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Future of Cloud

Whilst cloud computing is nothing new, it is a technology that’s taken a little while to gain real traction in business environments. This was due to a lack of confidence in aspects of cloud models such as security and the assumption in many circles that it was yet another buzzword that the technology sector had dreamt up.

To some extent the issue has also been the huge job that is deployment to the cloud, when thinking about moving entire infrastructures, or even just applications from the traditional onsite network to data centres which power the cloud.

However, over the course of the past couple of years, cloud computing has really begun to take off and it’s safe to say that it’s now becoming a trusted technology. According to the infographic below, courtesy of NerdGraph, by 2016 it’s thought that a huge two-thirds of all workloads will be processed in the cloud.

The stats don’t stop there though, all of the major cloud ‘as a service’ offerings are set for steady growth, with infrastructure seeing the largest at 11% and it’s thought that the use of Hybrid cloud will start to see a bigger increase, with a growth rate of 27% expected to rise to 47%.

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Graduate IT Jobs: What’s the Best Fit for You? 150 150 Kerry Butters

Graduate IT Jobs: What’s the Best Fit for You?

If you’re graduating this summer and looking to land the perfect job in IT, then it can be difficult to know which sector might be the best fit. This is because there are a very wide and varied range of industries that demand IT workers, far beyond the usual suspects such as vendors and big-name tech companies.

It’s likely that you’ll be attending a good few graduate fairs, where many companies are likely to be looking for the most talented candidates. So what can you do to ensure that you stand out from the crowd? It might be a fact that IT is one of those sectors that has been and still is suffering from a lack of incoming talent, but in the UK, with the curriculum changing to accommodate better IT learning, this is something that could very well change in the next five years or so.

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Is Your Business Security Good Enough 150 150 Kerry Butters

Is Your Business Security Good Enough

Computer security is an important issue for any business and it seems that hardly a day goes by without us hearing about another botnet, hack or malware attack doing the rounds. The most notable of late was a vulnerability in SSL certificates, and whilst there’s little evidence to suggest that hackers have taken advantage of the Heartbleed bug, it still brings to the fore the ever-increasing problem that is network security.

For businesses, securing the company network isn’t a particularly difficult task, nor is staff training, but many still don’t have adequate enough protection to ensure that the company, or even customer, data is safe.

According to a recent survey carried out by the Poneman Institute, this is due to many enterprises lacking the tools to protect their information and “a disconnect in executives’ perceived value of data”. The study saw a huge 80% of IT professionals state that their company execs don’t seem to see the correlation between a cyber-attack and loss of revenue when it comes to stolen data.

Security is lacking all round

This is a worrying statistic, as security has to be a priority in this technological age that we live in. If customer data is stolen, firms stand to lose not only a loss in business due to the spectre of a system audit, but also possible fines and even the loss of customer confidence. Even if it’s not customer data that’s stolen, the loss of sensitive data from within a company can have serious ramifications for the future.

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Implementing Cloud-Based BYOD Policies Safely 150 150 Kerry Butters

Implementing Cloud-Based BYOD Policies Safely

BYOD adoption is on the rise in SMEs. Cloud based services have opened up businesses to the world of bring-your-own-device, allowing SME business managers to save internal spending by encouraging employees to use their own laptops, phones and tablets.

However, these devices are often only intended for personal use, not commercial. This means that they can be ill-suited to the security needs of your company and you may end up spending the money you thought you were saving on implementing new security for these phones. There are still plenty of benefits to a BYOD environment however, so the best thing we can suggest is that you familiarise yourself with the potential downfalls of a BYOD office and plan for it appropriately.

Increased Threats

Some SMEs have been struggling with the new threats presented by a BYOD environment, so it’s important to ensure that if you do adopt BYOD you have the security infrastructure to cope with it.

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Improve your Business with Videoconferencing 150 150 Kerry Butters

Improve your Business with Videoconferencing

Whilst the economy is now on the up for many companies, money’s still tight, and businesses are looking for ways to cut costs without negatively influencing their productivity. This is particularly true amongst SMEs who find they’re struggling to stay connected to remote workers and clients. Working from home is on the rise, and companies are having to go further afield for clients. This means that, above all, good communications are needed to hit deadlines and make sales.

Cost Effective

A lot of companies, when the concept of videoconferencing is raised, will dismiss it because they consider it too expensive. In reality, videoconferencing can save businesses huge amounts of money. Whilst the upfront costs do mean an initial outlay for business grade products, the rising price of travel means that you will swiftly recoup that spending after a few months of centralised communication.

Reducing the amount your employees travel will also have a positive impact on your business’s carbon footprint, making your business more environmentally responsible AND saving you money. These alone are good enough reasons alone to consider videoconferencing, but there’s more.

The Personal Touch

It’s been suggested that centralising many of your business communications through videoconferencing means that you can save that money for the big, important face-to-face meetings that a business manager needs to have once or twice a year. This is certainly true, but it does videoconferencing a disservice in that it suggests you cannot have a personal experience without being in the same room.

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Future Gazing: Where Will The Internet of Things Take Us 150 150 Kerry Butters

Future Gazing: Where Will The Internet of Things Take Us

Buzzwords are synonymous with the technology world and it seems that the list is ever growing. From growth hacking to responsive design, technology and its applications are constantly adapting. In this transient online world it can be hard to keep abreast of all the emerging technologies.

One such buzzword (or perhaps buzz-phrase) is the Internet of Things (IoT). This is something that vendors are arguing has arrived and is important to the future of internet networking. However, other industry thought leaders and analysts suggest that the IoT may not be quite so prevalent or influential as some thought.

So, then, lets consider the Internet of Things and look at its applications. Perhaps a point of warning here: there are difficult to remedy complications that come along with the Internet of Things.

What is the Internet of Things

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Cloud Computing Models Explained 150 150 Kerry Butters

Cloud Computing Models Explained

Cloud computing is becoming much more well known and many businesses and even homes are starting to utilise its services. Cloud computing uses the web and provides users with online storage options and services such as web-based email and video services. Businesses have either implemented cloud computing practices or are considering doing so.

Although cloud-computing practices have been around for some time now they have yet to receive full-blown recognition. Many services utilise cloud-computing practices and perhaps the best example is in free, web-based email services such as Gmail (how long it’s been around will give you more of a sense that cloud is nothing new).

Computer users, likely unknowingly, use the cloud when they contact friends through instant-messaging, video-messaging mediums, and voice-over-IP. Data-backup services also use the cloud and let users store data and files on a public or private online cloud account.

Cloud is increasingly popular

With cloud computing becoming so saturated it seems increasingly prevalent for businesses to utilise its services. However before that happens it’s a good idea to understand as thoroughly as possible the service that your business wishes to adopt. So, to help you get to grips with cloud-based principles, here’s an explanation of the three main categories of cloud computing.

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[VIDEO] What is Cloud Computing? 150 150 Kerry Butters

[VIDEO] What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing has been around for some time but it’s only really in the past couple of years that the technology has really taken off. We’re now seeing more and more businesses adopting cloud services and many are now even moving beyond the most popular Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model into Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). However, with technology comes jargon that many people find difficult to understand or define and this is as true of cloud as anything else.

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How to Prepare for SDN 150 150 Kerry Butters

How to Prepare for SDN

Software defined networking is a new buzzword-related practice that requires a lot of work to implement successfully. So if you are planning to make the jump to SDN, let’s firstly consider its benefits to your business.

For a business implementing SDN practices it’s wise to understand how it all works. There are a number of different services offered by a wide variety of providers and those options alone require a lot of hard work and time. There’s the potential to opt for open source and bare metal switching but the point is that there’s loads of routes that a business could exploit. The final and most important consideration is factoring in time to truly learn your own network and discover if it’ll support SDN as is or if there’s also the task of upgrading it for SDN support.

A guide to help you prepare for SDN implementation.

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5 Signs it’s Time to Move to the Cloud 150 150 Kerry Butters

5 Signs it’s Time to Move to the Cloud

For many businesses, in-house servers have traditionally borne the brunt of its networking capabilities. However, there have been lots of innovations in this sector meaning that sticking with older methods is becoming increasingly counterproductive. It’s likely that most of you have heard of cloud computing, but it’s perhaps more likely that many of you have yet to apply those principles to your business infrastructures.

Cloud computing becomes more viable with each passing day and for a business an important first step is one backwards. It’s necessary to step back and analyse your in-house server options and consider why you’ve yet to upgrade to a cloud based alternative.

There are of course numerous reasons why the move towards the cloud should happen soon but we’ll limit ourselves slightly.

Here are five compelling reasons why it’s time you moved to the cloud.

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[INFOGRAPHIC] Technology Sector Jobs 150 150 Kerry Butters

[INFOGRAPHIC] Technology Sector Jobs

This excellent infographics from The Telegraph not only illustrates the growth witnessed by the technology sector over the last couple of years, but looks too at the effects of tech on other job sectors

The good news is for those working actually in tech is that between 2012 and 2013 alone the sector saw a 4.6% increase in IT jobs. According to the news site, 600,000 people work in tech and digital in London alone and in the city, there has been a 16.6% growth. This is for the most part due to the increased investment and funding that the sector has seen, with names such as Facebook, Google and Samsung all having a presence in the UK capital now.

The top five cities for tech jobs in the UK are:

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Fibre Optic Internet– why haven’t you upgraded yet? 150 150 Kerry Butters

Fibre Optic Internet– why haven’t you upgraded yet?

Businesses thrive on communication and bad connections that impede that communication need addressing. The internet has come a long way since the dial-up days and it’s advisable to start looking into upgrade options even from your current broadband connection. If you don’t have fibre optic internet connectivity at your business, it’s probably time you considered it. It’s not that new a technology and the price of an upgrade is likely to be nominal.

Now, it’s understandable to be cautious with money and upgrades aren’t always necessary. However in some cases early adoption can be the thing that sets you apart from your competitors. Every business hopes for speedy communications and it seeks good technology that facilitates an easy transfer of information; now there’s a simple solution, one that provides both of those advantages: fibre optic cabling.

What is Fibre Optic?

Fibre optic is an all-purpose solution that can positively affect all communication and information sharing practices that occur within your business. It provides faster and more reliable internet conditions that allows businesses to work remotely, to connect with their customers and to send information in a secure manner. It’s currently one of the most advanced systems on the market and your business will notice its great benefits right out of the box.

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What’s your Data Governance Plan? 150 150 Kerry Butters

What’s your Data Governance Plan?

Big data is something that businesses are embracing in increased numbers, but not every business is prepared for the changes that accompany big data adoption. Information from a recent survey suggests that as many as 44% of businesses aren’t ready to implement data governance plans. 22% of these firms that don’t have a data policy have suggested that they have no plans to implement one.

These findings were released in a data governance survey from Rand Secure Data, which is a division of Rand Worldwide. The findings suggest that businesses simply aren’t prepared for the legacy of big data and it’s becoming apparent that many businesses are happy with the benefits of big data gathering, but are equally happy to ignore the dangers.

Businesses are aware of what needs to be done to safeguard its data but many seem loath to act or even address the problem. It seems that until there are consequences, many businesses simply won’t acknowledge or do the things that need to be done.

Here’s a quick list of things that businesses should be doing:

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Is Big Data Essential For Business? 150 150 Kerry Butters

Is Big Data Essential For Business?

Data is more a part of our lives now than it has ever been. It’s woven into every sector of the global economy and the harnessing of that data by businesses and individual alike is becoming the norm.

Big Data is what we get when the data sets collected become too large and complex to analyse using standard methods. This data comes from all sorts of sources, including web browsers, social media and consumer information. By sifting through all of this information business managers are able to make much more informed decisions and therefore move their company forward with confidence.

The Benefits of Big Data

Future ready – The internet of things is a hot topic in 2014. As products begin to broadcast data to one another to improve their efficiency. The amount of data available to manufacturers and suppliers is going to grow even greater as a result. Investing in an infrastructure that can handle and analyse Big Data now will put your business in an excellent position for the future, even if you’re not concerned with the internet of things, Big Data is listed by Gartner as one of the technology trends you can’t afford to ignore.

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pCell: The Mobile Internet of the Future? 150 150 Kerry Butters

pCell: The Mobile Internet of the Future?

Internet connection speeds have shot up in the past decade and many people now take for granted the almost instantaneous page loads that they enjoy. Add to this 3G and now 4G and we’re rapidly becoming a truly connected world.

However, not all of us in the UK can yet get 4G and the government’s plans to bring superfast broadband to every corner of the country has been beleaguered with one issue after another. As of last September, around 800,000 people still used dial up in the more remote areas of Britain and whilst BT removed its dial up service at that time, it’s thought that those without access to broadband could still connect through PlusNet, a subsidiary owned by BT.

All is not lost though, as a new technology has emerged in the States which promises to outdo 4G and superfast broadband speeds. Before you get too excited, it’s worth pointing out that it’s unlikely we’re going to see the technology on this side of the pond anytime soon.

That doesn’t make the technology any less exciting though, especially since in tests, it has reached speeds that allowed instantaneous streaming to 8 devices at once using a fraction of the spectrum that it intends to – the 2,000-2,020MHz and 2180-2,200MHz blocks. That essentially means that the technology could produce wireless internet speeds of up to 1000 times faster than 4G.

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How to Boost Your Wireless Signal 150 150 Kerry Butters

How to Boost Your Wireless Signal

Wi-Fi strength is important to ensure that your business is always connected to the internet. Cumbersome Ethernet wires snaking around your office merely get in the way and with wireless speeds becoming much quicker the advantages to a wired connection are dwindling.

It can however be infuriating to have a Wi-Fi network set up but be unable to connect at the speeds that you expect and require. If your wireless network is struggling to meet the demands of your network then there are some options to boost your wireless connectivity, without changing routers and providers.

Wireless networking technology is pushing more and more users away from wired options due to its convenience. Users however are also aware that a Wi-Fi connection can be frustrating and fickle. If you’re unfortunate enough to be a victim of a poorly functioning network, there’s no need to suffer in silence. Here are a number of tips to boost your wireless range, connectivity, and browsing speed.

Upgrade your network

Wireless-G (802.11g) is currently the most common Wi-Fi network but it’s not the fastest or even the most up to date. Wireless-N is the next step and for users that are able and willing, upgrading to this option is recommended.

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A Rough Guide to Choosing Antivirus Software 150 150 Kerry Butters

A Rough Guide to Choosing Antivirus Software

If you’re a business working with any kind of private information – be it of your customers or your employees – then it’s essential that you have antivirus software installed on your business network. Digital crime is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and the very nature of the crime means that antivirus providers have to be reactive. Because of this, often the most important feature of antivirus software is that it updates regularly, ideally in real time.

There are plenty of antivirus options available to businesses, and it can be frustrating sorting through the pros and cons of each, so here’s a quick breakdown of some of our favourite antivirus software to make your decision easier.

What’s your budget?

The first decision that you have to make is whether you’re going to be able to pay for your antivirus or whether to go with a free package. Just because a product is free doesn’t mean it’s not secure – many of the free antivirus offers the same defence as paid alternatives – but it often means they only offer you defence. Paid options will often include other features such as password protection and file clean-up. So if you’re a small business or want to save money, quite often free antivirus may be enough for you. If you’re handling very sensitive information though, or have the money to splash out on more features, it’s worth considering the paid options as well.

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Social Media and Cyber Security 150 150 Kerry Butters

Social Media and Cyber Security

Everyone who has any sort of online presence uses social media sites. This can be a useful way to promote content, increase exposure, and network with your peers. However, the increasing usage of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, come with its own set of problems, namely: online security.

Many new employees in the global workforce feel that personal and private lives are increasing the security challenge for businesses. This is most evident in social media and this is often accompanied by a low regard, or even a total disregard for privacy concerns.

Nearly 91% of Generation Y students and workers believe that the age of privacy is gone and a third of that percentage are unconcerned about the data that is captured about them. This is according to the latest Cisco Connected World Technology Report.

“More Generation Y workers globally said they feel more comfortable sharing personal information with retail sites than with their own employers IT departments.”

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Reluctance to Hire Staff Holding Back Big Data 150 150 Kerry Butters

Reluctance to Hire Staff Holding Back Big Data

Big Data is big news and many companies are embracing it whole-heartedly. It can provide an organisation with a good idea of whom its customers are and what they want from the services provided. It has promoted the idea of ‘value exchange’ and allowed companies a better means of communicating and understanding its customers.

So how can Big Data be utilised within marketing campaigns?

Infogroup Targeting Solutions recently published a study that revealed that the investment from business into Big Data marketing would increase hugely in 2014. This is due to new initiatives that allow a business to fully embrace the massive amount of data that its customers are relaying. However, the study also found that although the benefits of Big Data are clear, there are many companies that are not making the correct plans for data-related job positions.

According to David McRae, president of Infogroup Targeting Solutions:

“The survey findings also indicate that marketers are moving from the information-gathering stage to the analytics phase of Big Data adoption. But a downturn in hiring could stall Big Data implementation, as the need for human capital is greatest during the analysis and action stages.”

It seems that marketers already have the information they need and are now looking for the best application of that data through analytics tools. The problem facing most businesses is the implementation of Big Data policies as many are failing to hire the correct staff within this burgeoning sector.

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Making Office 365 work for you 150 150 Kerry Butters

Making Office 365 work for you

Microsoft’s latest move to the cloud has seen all of its Office programs make their way online. The software giants are also offering a not inconsiderable discount for students attending and going into university. This means that it will soon be in your interest to upgrade to Office 365, if you haven’t already, as your workforce begins to expect it.

This shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing however. This new offering comes with some very useful features and benefits that you can harness to your company’s advantage. First and foremost, the fact that Office is now running in the cloud means that Microsoft is now taking a lot of the burden for maintaining that software and, more importantly, security. This frees up your IT staff to do other, more essential, work and gives your administrators a deeper understanding of exactly what is going on with the software.

A quick warning, if you’re running Windows XP (and if you are, you need to think about updating), then you won’t be able to install the local files for Office 365 (Office 2013) and will have to rely on the web-based service.

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[Infographic] The State of Cloud Adoption 150 150 Kerry Butters

[Infographic] The State of Cloud Adoption

A 2013 infographic by Aryaka, containing results based on a survey carried out by Rightscale, shows that cloud adoption is no longer in question. For many companies, moving business processes to the cloud has become one of the best moves that they have made and the survey reflected this, showing that those who were early…

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Increase your Productivity using Windows 8.1 150 150 Kerry Butters

Increase your Productivity using Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1 hasn’t exactly been met with acclaim, instead it has become one of the most maligned version of Windows and an OS that many are loathe to adopt. However, there are a number of new additions to the interface that, if used correctly, could make the jump to Windows 8.1 more appealing.

So for those of you who have the OS or for those who are interested in getting it, here are some tips to help increase productivity on Windows 8.1.

Search everything

The Windows 8.1 search tool doesn’t just scan your system, but instead it’s now integrated with Bing. This means that it delivers internet results and sometimes even Wikipedia inspired summaries of whatever you’re searching for straight to your desktop.

If you want to give it a go, launch the Charms bar and type in your keywords – this will bring up the search box on the right of the screen. Hit enter and you’ll see any matches in your own documents, media library links, and you’ll get online links to explore as well.

There’s more increased functionality and if you swipe left (or spin the mouse wheel) you’ll find even more pictures and links. Clicking any of these links will take you to the webpage. You can effectively use the charms bar as a Bing search bar.

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How to Choose the Right Cloud Vendor Kerry Butters

How to Choose the Right Cloud Vendor

More and more now we are seeing businesses turn to the cloud to get an edge over their competitors. There are many advantages to moving your business into the cloud, including reduced hardware costs from bring your own device initiatives; more readily available talent through remote working and devices that pick up where you left off on another computer. These can all have positive impacts on your business and workflow.

Moving to the cloud also frees up your IT workers, as your chosen cloud vendor will take care of things like security, tech support, data backups and server maintenance. There is still a hesitation amongst some towards taking the leap to cloud however, as they don’t know what questions to ask when shopping around. So here’s a handy hotlist of questions to ask that’ll put your head firmly in the cloud.

What services do you require from your cloud vendor?

Vendors can offer you all sorts of services, including:

·         Storage (Video, audio, simple data etc) Dropbox, ZipCloud and JustCloud are all popular examples

·         Remote desktops – Extrasys and Bomgar

·         Accounting – Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Kashflow

·         CRM (Customer Relations Management)Salesforce, Goldmine

A Brief Definition of Cloud Computing

There are three basic types of cloud offering that you’re likely to come across when shopping for your service:

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Does BYOD Present Security Issues? Kerry Butters

Does BYOD Present Security Issues?

The BYOD model is becoming increasingly prevalent, as employers and employees alike embrace the smartphone boom. Now productivity can be increased as employees can have constant access to their company’s online services.

However, with this ease of access come security risks that are worth considering. If you have, or are intending, to adopt BYOD solutions in your business it’s important to be aware of the effect, both positive and negative, that it could have on your business.

One of the major problems in the BYOD market is the lack of enhanced mobile security in communications between devices. At the moment, many BYOD enabled networks use the built-in security measures that employee’s smartphones come with. This could be a potential security vulnerability that could be exploited.

Another challenge for the BYOD market is the difficulty for businesses in tracking deployed assets. This is because once a mobile device is deployed in an organisation, tracking it becomes increasingly difficult, even with the implementation of BYOD security solutions. Both of the above areas have been considered in more depth in a market report by Infinity Research that found several security vulnerabilities in the BYOD model.

Security vulnerabilities

The report stated that one of the major drivers in the BYOD market is the need for enhanced mobile communication security. Most businesses are not properly safeguarding online networks and proper mobile device management (MDM) is paramount. Using MDM enterprise software allows an organisation to better protect and control data and configuration amongst mobile devices within an organisational network.

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[Video] Changing Role of the CIO 150 150 Kerry Butters

[Video] Changing Role of the CIO

There’s been much debate recently concerning the changing role of the CIO within business. Much of this is due to how much technology itself has changed in recent years, with mobile, social and business intelligence becoming increasingly important.

This means that the CIO has been living in uncertain times for a while, when it comes to how their job is defined. It’s no longer all about the IT for the CIO, but about innovation and maintaining an agile environment.

IDC predict Redefinition

This, IDC predict, means that the “adoption of 3rd Platform IT technologies will redefine 90% of IT roles.” The technologies referred to by the analysts are those mentioned above, as well as innovation and customer relationships.

It also means that CIOs will have to alter skill sets to incorporate a strategy that encompasses increasing a business’s digital presence. Public social networks can be difficult to manage, but are increasingly important to the online presence of a company, especially one that’s consumer facing.

In the video below, NetApp’s senior vice president and CIO, Cynthia Stoddard discusses the changing role and what CIOs can do to help address it.

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Windows 9: Is your Business Ready for Another Migration? 150 150 Kerry Butters

Windows 9: Is your Business Ready for Another Migration?

The Windows OS hasn’t been doing so well of late. Windows 8 and 8.1 were both prone to errors and now it seems that Microsoft will be releasing a newer version of its famous OS. Windows 9, codenamed Threshold, which is scheduled for release in April 2015.

That’s if you believe the rumours of course, but if it’s true the OS will arrive just 18 months after the launch of Windows 8.1. Many businesses are still struggling with the news that Microsoft intends to drop support for XP in April and those organisations are scrambling to transition to Windows 7. Some businesses will have only just migrated its systems to Windows 8/8.1.

With the possibility that Windows 9 will be released next year, it seems that the current trend for migration and upgrades for users of the Microsoft OS will continue. This is bad news for IT departments as OS migrations are one of the most costly, stressful, time-intensive and manpower heavy projects possible. It appears that software has a shorter lifespan these days, but what does that mean for businesses?

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5 Reasons to Use Hosted Exchange 150 150 Simon Randall

5 Reasons to Use Hosted Exchange

Microsoft Exchange has become the main business class email and collaboration solution available to businesses. Without a doubt email is the most collaborative and communicative tool for businesses regardless of size. Microsoft Exchange is the most widely adopted hosted service; however, it’s also the most complicated and costly to manage.

That said it’s a powerful tool that can reduce costs from in-house servers and increase the saturation of newer business practices like BYOD. Hosted Exchange solutions provide a business with a flexible, secure, scalable, and mobile business email solution. This service is backed up, replicated, and available 24 hours a day.

Using a hosted Exchange solution can provide and allow a business real-time integration of business email, calendar, and contacts between different mediums including Blackberry, iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile. This means that Hosted Exchange mailboxes are available from any device and there is no need for a business to physically synchronise accounts.

Reduce costs

Hosted Exchange allows a business to enjoy the services provided by Exchange without the costs and headaches of managing an in-house server. The Microsoft Exchange hosting company manages all of the software and hardware installation, management, and upgrades. Using an Exchange hosting service also allows the host company to “load balance” services across their own hardware. This means that businesses can more effectively monitor and control server hardware and power usage across its services.

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Which Big Data Analytics Tools Should I Use? 150 150 Simon Randall

Which Big Data Analytics Tools Should I Use?

For some decades now companies have been gathering large amounts of data. Over the last few years more light has been shed on how the information obtained from customers is being used. While we all know that knowledge equates to power, it takes accurate interpretation of the information gathered to transform it into a powerful tool for businesses. The use of big data analytics comes in handy once you know what to look for within the information collated.

For it to be considered big data, it needs to be not only large in its volume of results, but also varied in its format. An IBM report highlighted to businesses just how effective interpretation of the hundreds of thousands of tweets sent in a single minute are. This could reveal how customers are viewing any given business products. The information also highlighted how that information could be used to better understand consumers, ultimately increasing revenue.

The four main areas where big data analytics is of benefit:

  • Develop and promote an existing product or service being offered
  • Improve internal processing
  • Develop a new product or service to offer
  • Transform the current business model 
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