This week’s technology news from Amicus ITS – Friday 19th July 2013

NHS penalty for loose disposal of data
NHS Surrey has been issued with a £200,000 fine by the ICO for failing to clear patient records off decommissioned computers sold on through an auction site. The hospital used a 3rd party trust to handle the data destruction, which promised to wipe sensitive data from hard drives before selling on. One PC had 3,000 patient records on it and records for equipment passed for destruction in a 12 month period had been lost. No formal contract, guidelines or monitoring were in place to explain the provider’s legal requirements under the Data Protection Act. The data destruction company was unable to trace computers or confirm how many might still contain personal data. Effective management and regulated control mechanisms extending during and beyond the lifecycle of a company device is critical in order to maintain confidence and commercial credibility.

HP vs Lenovo
Last week for the first time Lenovo de-throned HP in global PC sales. Although all PC vendors saw shrinking sales, HP’s drop of 4.8% was enough to bring them below Lenovo by 200,000 units. An HP spokesman has commented “We don’t like being number two and we don’t plan to stay there”. HP has been caught off guard while restructuring it business, recently losing some large government contracts to Lenovo. Gartner predicts HP will be back at the top after Q4 thanks to the consumer holiday season, an area in which Lenovo currently struggles. With declining PC sales across the board and mobile devices fiercely on the rise, it will be the company who can successfully create the next mass market consumer tablet that will secure dominance going forwards.

Microsoft risky re-organisation
Steve Ballmer has announced plans for a massive restructuring of Microsoft. The product groups are being dissolved, with devices and services divisions in their place. Everything is now aligned around engineering rather than products with four key areas: operation systems, applications, cloud and devices. One division will handle all of Microsoft’s operation systems instead of different teams depending on the product. The objective is to create a cohesive experience for users across the full portfolio from Windows Server to Windows Phone. The danger here is throwing away a corporate model that has made Microsoft the world’s largest software company and a money making power house. Will Ballmer’s risky bet will pay off? We will have to wait a few years to find out.

Broadband in space
Nature report that NASA and the ESA are bringing broadband to space using lasers by creating a much needed data link speed increase between satellites, spacecraft and Earth using laser beams. ESA launches Alphasat on 25th July communicating at 300 Mbps. Separately, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer will launch on 5th September. Using an atmosphere penetrating AM-style infrared laser beam and eight ground telescopes, the lasers will avoid radio interference and bring 6 times faster data link speed from the moon. How long it will take for these benefits to impact on consumers has yet to be determined.