This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 31st May 2013

UK is simply the best
The UK has again been ranked the safest destination in Europe for businesses to locate their data centres according to the 2013 Data Centre Risk Index report. Scoring strongly on resilience and for ease of doing business, Britain continues to lead the way, strengthened by our status as a major economic global hub. Europe and especially the UK are also embracing BYOD strategies faster than the US, according to Citrix’s EMEA head. So whether your business interests are domestic or global, it is imperative to choose the right MSP with world regulatory understanding and creativity, so a UK based provider could lend you that leading edge.

Cloud best for SMEs
Microsoft backed research claims that investing in Cloud technologies provides greater business confidence. One third of SMEs polled said their prospects were more positive following migration. In the UK, 19% of companies surveyed using Cloud reported they were due to invest in staff, new technology or launch new products to gain growth. Illustrating a divide between those who have moved dynamically to the Cloud and those yet to change, the polarity could hold the old guard SMEs back and prevent them from maintaining commercial edge if they do not proceed to adopt a Cloud strategy.

ICO Compulsory Audits for NHS Organisations
Last week the Information Commissioner’s Office submitted a request to extend its powers to carry out compulsory assessments of NHS bodies and their compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Being proactive rather than reactive as in the past, this should ensure fewer data breaches and the ensuing bad press. Considering the NHS stores and transmits huge amounts of personal data, this should be protected and handled in compliance with the DPA. The ICO could be turning up at your doorstep. Are you going to be compliant when they do?

Tim Cook interview at the D11
Apple CEO Tim Cook took the hot seat at D11. With a tradition of keeping their cards close to their chest Apple did offer some interesting insights. On apps and services, Apple said they do not have issues bringing these from iOS to android, if it made sense to do so. On Google Glass, he acknowledged it might not have broad-range appeal, but spoke positively about a wrist device. This potentially hints at the rumoured iWatch. With WWDC 2013 just two weeks away we should not have long to wait for Apple to announce its new product line.

Three screens and a cloud
Microsoft has announced its next generation of gaming console with the Xbox ONE. At the announcement event the focus was not on games but multimedia. TV, sports, Skype and a multitasking Windows 8-like ‘snap view’ to run two apps side by side were included. Xbox ONE will complete their ‘three screens and a cloud’ philosophy that started with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. We believe the consistent interface between these three platforms will ultimately pay off in device sales, but more importantly, give customers the confidence needed to invest in the Microsoft services ecosystem.


This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 24th May 2013

MSP concerns as SolarWinds buyout N-able
This week SolarWinds acquired N-able Technologies. What does it mean for MSP’s relying on N-Able products? Will they be forcibly swapped for SolarWinds own cloud services?
N-Able’s CEO assured the press they would continue to offer their existing on-premises and cloud solution. But with Garbutt’s retirement scheduled once the acquisition is complete, the future is uncertain and N-able’s customers will be looking for a transparent roadmap to decrease disturbance on their own business.

Is the bird out of the cage?
When US President Barack Obama’s Twitter account was hi-jacked, the world raised its eyebrows in surprise. Twitter was ordered to come up with a 20 year information security policy in response. Some of the results of that policy in the form of automated security tools are being rolled out now. Twitter is now enabling 2-factor authentication which will prevent this scenario happening if used, but just how secure are companies’ policies? With the array of mobile devices in business, there is increased urgency for companies to review governance procedures.

World wireless speed record
A world record was set this week in wireless data transmission. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology were able to achieve 40Gbit/sec at 240GHz over 1 kilometer (essentially matching the capacity of optical fibre). In economic terms, it is a positive signal that rural communities across the globe currently without broadband, will in future enjoy the same benefits as we do, of this remarkable technology.

Welcome to the post-PC world
The day, predicted by Steve Jobs, has finally come: more tablets are now sold in the UK than laptops and desktops combined. Q1 of 2013 saw 2.8 million tablets sold, overtaking 2.3 from PCs in the same period. Looking forward we are only likely to see the market share of tablets grow further as traditional laptops powered by Windows 8 turn into tablet hybrid devices. As technology advances, so do users computing habits. Now the business world needs to start treating tablets as equals to PCs, instead of pushing them to the sidelines in strategy and security.

This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 17th May 2013

Delta Air Lines online and in the clear

A closely watched lawsuit by a Californian state court against Delta Air Lines has been thrown out.  Delta was alleged to have violated the California Online Privacy Protection Act by failing to disclose data collection and use policies to smartphone and iPhones users of its Fly Delta app.  The app enables check-in, booking changes and reservation info.  Delta lacks a privacy policy whilst holding key personal data of  users.  Whilst in the clear by a whisker, it is a warning shot to other companies to put in place policies about privacy data collection and distribution.

BlackBerry Messenger comes to iPhone and Android

Arguably Blackberry’s biggest feature has always been its BBM service allowing users to chat in real time avoiding SMS charges. With iMessage, Google Talk and Skype this is no longer a bragging right. CEO Thorsten Heins announced BBM is coming soon to iPhone and Android in a move to make the service more open. This is a risky move, the plan assumingly is to use the service to convert some of the existing iPhone and Android community over, but this may just backfire and give users yet another reason not to choose BlackBerry.

Google I/O 2013

This year’s Google developer event on Tuesday in San Francisco bucked the trend on new device announcements and focused on extensive tools for developers. However Google did have some impressive stats showing the huge momentum behind the Android platform (such as over 900 million Android devices have been activated to date and 48 billion Android Apps have been downloaded). The message here is simple, Google is so big that anyone creating mobile Apps needs to be supporting Android.

Who has your rights in the cloud?

Companies can be asked to provide access to their data for legal reasons.  With cloud, your data is no longer held in house, so the cloud vendor could potentially be targeted by 3rd parties including Government agencies without your knowledge or permission.  Would they protect you, or themselves? In the States, the FBI doesn’t need court approval to make enquiries as it can invoke the Patriots Act to gain access.  Knowing where your data is held geographically will affect your governance rights and reinforces the need to choose your cloud provider carefully.

This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 10th May 2013

What is Big Data?
Small data – is single-source, often batch-processed, and locally managed. So what is big data? It is multi-source, requires connecting between data sources, multi-structured, real time, and uses information in aggregate. This is a huge difference from traditional business intelligence (BI). So what are some of the interesting things found in healthcare from big data analysis? People with higher pain scores tend to crash more. Credit scores, of all things, tell you whether patients will take their medicine.

Windows 8 hits 100 million sales
Microsoft report passing the 100 million mark in licence sales for Windows 8 since its launch in October 2012. Despite doubters casting aspersions in the early days of release, Windows 8 seems to have greater staying power, given the sheer weight of sales now. This may be spurred on by news of the expiry of earlier versions of XP in April 2014. Businesses who have not reviewed their OS platforms should discuss the various options sooner rather than later, or find themselves in deep water.

It’s official – we’re up in the clouds!
In an effort to expedite government cloud (G-Cloud) progress, the U.K. government plans to formally adopt a “cloud-first” procurement policy. And it would like to see the entire British public sector follow suit. US federal agencies adopted cloud last December and two thirds of SMBs in the UK already use and invest in cloud storage solutions. This is a clear indicator of widespread confidence in cloud as the future storage solution.

Smart Phones for Emerging Markets, the key to phone supremacy?
Nokia have unveiled their latest Asha phones designed for emerging markets (low on price, high on feature), ideal to those unable to purchase high end brands such as iPhones, Galaxys and Lumias. With a brand new OS, Asha phones make the big and all-important jump from feature phone to smart phones. This could see them leap over Samsung’s current No1 position in shipment numbers, but crucially smartphone market share.


This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 3rd May 2013

Is your business and IT in alignment?
Despite years of trying to fix the relationship between the IT organisation and the rest of business, communication and understanding between the two remains patchy. IT doesn’t share the same priorities. IT alignment doesn’t just happen – you have to do something. Conversations we have with IT are very technical and business doesn’t understand server uptime, so the alignment is around communication too. Have you heard that “Our IT department has a reputation for saying no?”. People, process and technology are the three elements to any successful business and we believe that these all need to be aligned.

COPE-ing mechanisms
A recent report raised an interesting security issue in the MDM arena recently. The report analysed differences in consumer habits between BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and COPE (Corporate Owned Personally Enabled) devices. 51% of tablet owners shared their device with at least one other person, but this was not necessarily the key issue where in the corporate world MDM solutions are more prevalent. More alarmingly, it was the revelation that 46% of tablet owners allow their children to use their company devices at home. The potential for accidental loss or modification of company sensitive data by those you DO know, is all too real. It is perhaps this more domestic perspective that needs review in the wider aspects of security and governance, as MDM rattles along at an ever increasing pace.

Microsoft working on Remote Desktop service?
Microsoft is working on a service called Mohoro, powered by its Azure platform which could provide Remote Desktop as a service. Mohoro should technically enable you to have a cheap thin-client, modest laptop or tablet – whilst still enjoying the huge processing and graphical power of a hi-grade desktop PC. Both consumer and business applications of Remote Desktop as a service from a giant like Microsoft, would shake up the market and affect market trends. However we will probably only know how, later in 2014.

Google Glass – future or fad?
Google has been flaunting its new wearable computer, Google Glass. Glass is praised for its simple and clear design, though battery life remains an issue. Like a smart phone, it can make phone calls, join video conferences, read and reply to SMS and E-mail, provide GPS navigation, web searching and more. Will wearable computers become the next big thing in technology (like the iPad did for tablets), or will Google Glass fade away as interesting but ultimately a fad?