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Hardware, B2B Messaging+

Vendor Newsletters | December 2013

TelePacific Talks | Nov/Dec 2013
Nov/Dec 2013

Less Hardware, Less Stress

IT pros are finding that cloud-based IT apps can make their jobs a lot easier and less stressful, according to a survey by Spiceworks, and they are getting on the cloud bandwagon right along with their users, say Spiceworks researchers. Despite initial concerns that IT departments would view the cloud as a threat to their job security, the cloud is being embraced by IT for several reasons, but particularly because cloud-based tools free IT from the burden of babysitting hardware and software night and day, show Spiceworks' findings.

Up to this point, IT professionals' use of the cloud centers on three primary services:

Online backup is used by more than 30 percent of Spiceworks members, with another 13 percent planning to move to the cloud backup in the next six months. Among those, a third is backing up 1 TB or more of data to the cloud. Close to three-fourths of them are backing up 100 GB or more.

Cloud security is currently being used by 60 percent of IT pros with 5 percent planning to adopt in the next six months. Within cloud-based security, more specifically, the most-used solution is anti-spam, currently employed by 41 percent of IT departments, followed by content filtering (27%), anti-virus (22%) and firewall (11%).

Web hosting is among the most mature applications in the relatively youthful cloud market. Some 70 percent currently employ it instead of web hosting themselves.

The reasons behind this rather aggressive uptake of cloud-based IT apps vary slightly depending on the service. When it comes to online backup, the top reason IT pros use it is for the protection it provides against local disasters. When it comes to both Web hosting and security, however, IT pros overwhelming cite how these services free them from the burden of maintaining hardware and software and simplify management of the services. Even among online backup, the second and third most popular benefits are "no offsite tape hassles" and "ease of use."

Privilege Gone Wild

According to a CompTIA survey, while most respondents still consider viruses and malware the top security threat, 53 percent attributed their data breaches to human error, offering another dimension to the rising concern about insider threats. It should serve as a wake-up call to many organizations that inadvertent or malicious insider activity can create a security risk.

Still, recent data from BeyondTrust suggest that in many companies, data access controls are lacking and easily circumvented. Some figures based on the responses of 265 IT decision makers across a variety of industries:

• 80% of respondents believe that it's at least somewhat likely that
  employees access sensitive or confidential data out of curiosity

• 28% admitted to retrieving information not relevant to their job
  like financial reports, salary information, HR and personnel docs

• 65% of organizations have controls to monitor privileged access,
  yet 54% say they have the ability to circumvent these controls

• 44% of employees have access rights that are not necessary to
  their current role

• 45% allow sensitive data to be stored on employee workstations
  and laptops

• Over 75% say the risk to their organization caused by the insecurity
  of privileged users will increase over the next few years.

If you are interested in learning more about protecting data from the inside out, this review of best practices is a good place to start.

Although the digital-marketing revolution's clearest ramifications and earliest impact may have come in the consumer arena, it's also stirring the world of business-to-business (B2B) brand building. Business customers, like consumers, engage with companies through search, online communities, and Web-based video, so these are potentially powerful tools for delivering B2B brand messages and amplifying their impact. But new research from McKinsey suggests a potential stumbling block: a marked apparent divergence between the core messages companies communicate about their brands and the characteristics their customers value most.

Themes such as social responsibility, sustainability, and global reach are common in much business-to-business messaging, but they appear to have minimal influence on buyers' perceptions of brand strength. Two of the most important themes for customers — effective supply chain management and specialist market knowledge — were among those least mentioned by B2B suppliers, McKinsey reports. In other words, what customers deem highly relevant in their evaluation of brands is not what suppliers are saying. Read more

The Future of Digital

Business Insider recently released its report called "The Future of Digital 2013," which illustrates how trends in commerce, media, entertainment and communication are dramatically changing business. Among the more interesting points:

• The most important trend is multiple devices and screens, and
  how screen fragmentation is impacting consumer action

• Retailers are seeing huge mobile audience gains

• Mobile is now 20% of e-commerce traffic and 11% of sales

• The next big thing is wearable computing (smartwatches and
  fitness bands)

• The Internet of Things or connected devices will grow 31% CAGR
  through 2020

If you're interested in the digital future and how it will present big challenges and opportunities, Business Insider CEO Harry Blodget's slide deck presentation provides a comprehensive picture.

Businesses Should Take Note of Facebook Trends

Facebook is seeing a decrease in daily teenaged users. Seemingly incongruous (since teens cherish mobility), the company's mobile initiatives are growing fast. Some 48 percent of users on any given day are mobile only, and 49 percent of Facebook's ad revenue is from mobile advertising.

Though it's unclear whether each trend — kids taking a step back and the growth of mobility — is Facebook-specific or extends to social networking in general, Carl Weinschenk with IT Business Edge recommends that businesses think about what these two facts suggest for their ongoing social networking platforms. Read more


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