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10 Tips To Create A Flexible, Mobile Workforce

Last week, major strikes on the London Underground left tens of thousands of workers stranded. Many employees were late or couldn’t even make it to work which severely cost London based businesses both financially, and in terms of lost productivity. Although many towns and cities don’t rely on underground trains, they do depend on the accuracy and reliability of a transport system in some form, making the workforce vulnerable to disruption of normal service. If you’re responsible for IT it’s critical that you are prepared for the worst-case scenario. While on-premise systems might be all you’re familiar with they rarely match cloud offerings for worker mobility. One of the key benefits of the cloud is that it offers an office without boundaries. Employees just need an internet connection a......

Enterprises Must Prepare To Embrace Wearable Tech

There’s no question that wearable devices will be the next widely adopted form of consumer technology. ‘Wearable tech’ was the talk of CES 2014, the global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow in Las Vegas in January, and Gartner has predicted that the market will be worth $10 billion by 2016. Samsung has already released two ‘smart watches’, while Google Glass went on general sale for a short time earlier this month. Despite some fears that George Orwell’s predictions might finally be coming true (albeit 30 years late), there are a multitude of practical applications for wearable devices for consumers – from fitness trackers you wear on your wrist to automatic cameras that you clip to your breast pocket. But can the same be said for wearables in the work environment? The......

Consumer Complacency And Mistrust Could Undermine EU’s ‘Right To Be Forgotten’

New research suggests that consumers doubt whether the widely-publicised ‘right to be forgotten’ will work in practice. The European study found that the overwhelming majority (92 per cent) of consumers in the UK say they now deal with so many organisations, both online and offline, that they no longer know who holds what information about them. At the heart of the EU’s proposed data and privacy protection reforms is a belief that the protection of personal information is a fundamental right for all Europeans. Any organisation that fails to do its utmost to respect this right could face a fine of up to 2 per cent of its global turnover. Under the proposed changes to European law, consumers will be able to ask companies that hold information about them to remove it. However, close to three ......

10 Key Questions To Ask A Cloud Provider

UK organisations now face a vast number of cloud options – private, public and hybrid, which is great if you know what to look for, but can spell disaster if you don’t. Here is some expert advice on questions to ask a cloud provider to make the best choice – and avoid the pitfalls. 1. Data Location Where is my data stored, do I have access to it when a system is down and what application will be affected? It’s essential that your provider can prove it offers full UK data protection. 2. Backups Will I have a local copy of all data and insight into where it’s stored? This knowledge will help avoid issues such as the Western Digital outage in April where users had no access to its personal cloud services for nearly a week. 3. Cloud Anti-Spam Will I have full transparency, with alerts, o......

Heartbleed Has Put Security Centre Stage

There has already been a lot of information written about the Heartbleed bug with advice to both consumers and enterprises. What it has highlighted, however, is that once perimeter defences are defeated, the internal systems where data can reside are left vulnerable and defenceless. Whilst this bug has been identified, the fact that user information and passwords were available in clear text shows that protecting information from the inside through a layered security approach would be the sensible way forward. Renowned security expert Bruce Schneier of Co3 Systems rates the severity of the bug 11 out of 10 and goes on to say that due to the incredible length of exposure, even if patched we must assume that all private keys have been compromised, all passwords have been stolen, and anything......

The ERP Of Things To Come

Technology shifts periodically occur that change the rules of the game. In the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) market we are experiencing a revolution as four major technology trends – social collaboration, mobile computing, analytics and cloud technologies – converge to transform business applications. ERP is moving from being purely transaction processing engine to becoming a people-centric application for organisation-wide collaboration – what we call ‘Systems of Engagement’. ERP has earned itself a bad reputation over the years as representing systems that are designed for the enterprise rather than for the users. What I want to address in this article is the potential of the ‘ERP of Things’ – a phrase we have coined to describe the next generation of ERP. Already advanced in ......

When Is It Worth Moving To The Cloud?

Cloud computing is one of the most significant changes to take place in the computing, data communications and data centre worlds over the last few years. In essence, cloud computing is remote hosting, with a user application running on someone else’s virtualised servers in a remote location within a data centre rather than the user’s own machine on his own premises. While the concept of cloud computing is not new, it is still in its infancy, with many providers offering different and incompatible services in different ways. Moving To The Cloud In general, applications which work well in cloud today are ones where data communications traffic is light and not particularly time critical, where security is important (and it always is) but not critical, where a new application can be written e......

Achieving Real-Time Personalisation: Go For The Details

Changes in consumer behaviour and the reality of the omnichannel customer are driving brands to gain ever deeper market and customer understanding. With multiple and diverse data sources and innovative analytics, organisations now have an unprecedented opportunity to transform every customer interaction. However, for marketing, the new customer dynamic is creating huge pressure to deliver not only personalisation, but real-time one-to-one personalisation. According to the results of a recent research survey, almost half of all respondents (44%) are already doing some degree of real-time personalisation – a figure that is set to rise to 75% in the next two years. However, to achieve truly effective, cross-channel, real-time personalisation there is one key requirement: detailed data. To rea......

5 Top Tips For Creating A Truly Secure Password

The Heartbleed bug, a major internet security flaw, had businesses scrambling to change their passwords. But now the dust is starting to settle, it’s time for organisations to create strong passwords which will have the best chance of protecting their information. In the era of Big Data, erecting a strong security wall has become more important than ever, and a password is a business’ first line of defence. Here are five top tips for creating a strong password. 1. Go Beyond The ‘8 Character Wall’ Passwords with 8 or fewer characters are worthless. Even though there are zillions of password combinations, a determined hacker with a botnet (or even a legal cloud computing platform) at his or her disposal can crack it in seconds. Make it 12 characters, and it suddenly takes far mor......

Thinking Digital: The Potential For Digital Transformation

For CIOs, the role of digital services has come to the fore. Driven by the use of mobile, social and cloud, there are now more channels available for customers to use. For companies, this leads to new potential revenue, product and service opportunities. The emphasis on digital has moved beyond the specific realm of IT – to deliver these kinds of services, CIOs will have to collaborate with marketing, sales and customer support so that the customer experience is a coherent one. This overall change in strategy comes under the term “digital transformation”. To handle this change, the introduction of ‘front-office’ digital services – usually driven by digital marketing or mobile projects – is already underway in pockets of activity within enterprises. This ......

MOOCs Are Changing Corporate Learning And Development

The student population is in the middle of a massive mindset shift. Take your typical Gen Y student today. He/she is non-traditional and needs the most flexibility due to family and work demands. As one can imagine, they form a complete contrast with what education has stood for over the years. So while there have been innovations and offerings of a million different choices in almost every industry, why can’t the same happen with learning? Why should you be limited to learn what someone offers as a curriculum inside the boundaries of a classroom? To beat this impediment, all you have to do is get to MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). MOOCs are online courses aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings......

Connecting The Cloud: Zero Assessment

In my previous blog I outlined the four fundamentals every business needs to consider when addressing cloud connectivity – bandwidth, latency, availability and cost control – as well as the three maturity phases for data centres. To recap, these are: Phase 1 – construction and management of internally owned facilities Phase 2 – connection to co-located / outsourced data centres Phase 3 – connection to cloud providers with their own data centres Regardless of where the business is at on the spectrum, every organisation needs a specific level of connectivity, especially at the application level. Every application has its own requirements and while this can overwhelm some due to the complexity involved, it is always a more effective strategy than considering connectivity from a br......