This Week’s technology news – 29th November 2013

Are firms doing enough to secure their data?
Spearfishing, long-lining, phishing and waterholes add up to an idyllic image of a Caribbean beach. The reality however, as pointed out in this week’s Computing webinar is far darker, illustrating the lengths hackers will go to, to stalk their victims, sometimes over great lengths of time. With so much personal info freely available on social media websites, profiles enabling seemingly harmless, but highly informed communications will continue to penetrate systems – and are only a key stroke away. Whilst good CIOs will restrict website (and social media) access by staff, it requires an integrated approach with email. HR can help by integrating process, people and technology with regular staff awareness training to create a “neighbourhood watch” protection. If we think technology is changing fast, then the sophistication of attacks is progressing at an even faster pace.

Is it scarier to adopt something because it is virtual?
In a recent Cisco study, 77% of respondents confirmed they had some sort of virtualisation employed. However, security lay at the heart of 51% of business respondents’ concerns in SMBs. With the many types of solution (server virtualisation, virtual desktops infrastructure, storage virtualisation, network visualisation or remote desktop access), there is proven agility, efficiency and portability in the technology. This make it easier to back up data in the event of compromise – and thus as counter-argument for some, a more compelling reason for adoption. Change can create risk for larger businesses, however aversion (possibly through lack of understanding) might cause more damage down the line, if CIOs do not stay ahead of the game as virtualisation proliferates in industry.

US Army fined $50 million for running unlicenced Microsoft software
In January this year the U.S Defence Department signed a 3 year deal worth $617 million to fit out the U.S Army, Air Force and Defence Information Systems Agency with Microsoft Products, including Windows 8. This was the largest licencing agreement Microsoft had signed with the U.S Department of Defence. Despite this, the US Army has just been fined $50 million for copyright infringement after admitting the use of unlicenced Microsoft software on thousands of devices on both servers and devices. Whether this incident was highlighted because of the agreement is unknown. With corporate’s dependance on Microsoft software, making sure all your IT estate (irrespective of who is installing it), is fully compliant, is fundamental and will save you from similar prosecution and fines.

The HP turnaround
In 2011, former eBay chief Meg Whitman was named CEO of HP, with the difficult task of turning around the fortunes of the company, especially after the purchases of Autonomy ($11bn) and Palm ($1.2bn) – both since written off. Whitman vowed to turnaround the company by 2016 and has since cut 26,000 staff and changed the management structure. So how are things looking now? There are positive signs, beating Wall Street projections with the enterprise group growing for the first time in two years. PCs also fared better than expected, largely due to the upcoming XP expiry looming in April 2014. HP still has a long journey ahead, and Whitman seems to be headed in the right direction, whether she will be successful in turning around this computing behemoth is uncertain.