Will Smartphones and Tablets Kill the PC?

With Windows XP support ending soon for millions of PCs, many companies are considering a variety of replacement strategies.  The adoption of smartphones and tablets is clearly on the rise.  According to IDC, PC shipments are expected to decline by 6% in 2014, and that trend is expected to continue.  Meanwhile, shipments of tablets surpassed shipments of PCs in 2013 and are expected to outpace shipments of PCs by 2015.  Does this mean death to the PC?  Likely not, here is why… The Case for Smartphones and Tablets The portable form factor of smartphones and tablets allows users to access corporate applications and their data at home, while traveling, and out in the field.  Because of the touch-screen interface, they are operated easily without the need for a keyboard or mouse.  This makes smartphones and tablets ideal applications for employees who are standing or travelling without access to a desk.  Because these devices typically connect via WiFi cellular network and run on battery power, they don’t have the wires, cables, and plugs associated with a PC.  Tablets and smartphones find their way on retail counters that may have limited workspace. They may also be easier to clean when they may be exposed to biohazardous materials, dust, or dirt. Smartphones and Tablets vs. the PC If you require a large monitor to view spreadsheets, create powerpoints, or edit documents, a PC may be right for you.  While many touchscreen smartphones, tablets, and convertible PCs connect with a keyboard by using a variety of interfaces, such as bluetooth, there are clear design tradeoffs for office productivity and mobile productivity.  PCs and...

Mobile Security: Why Should I Care?

Mobile security is top of mind when it comes to concerns for IT Managers.  According to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) risk of loss is the number one concern related to Mobile security. For the first time last year, more smart phones and tablets shipped than PC desktops.   It is no surprise that mobile devices are the target of mobile security threats. Chances are most people in your company have a smartphone, tablet or both.  In some cases these devices connect to your company network using WiFi.  It is equally likely that these devices access company information via email, mobile applications or file synch to company data.  Now that these devices are universal, it is important to have a plan if they are lost or stolen. Keep in mind, your four digit password may be the only thing between an intruder and your data.  Here are some additional considerations for mobile security. Mobile Security Policy While you can remotely wipe a Mobile devices when it is lost or stolen, this may not be enough.  That four digit passcode can be easily hacked in minutes.  It is important that employees know how to report a lost or stolen device immediately.  Also consider, there may be personal information on the device that is property of your employee.  This data may not be backed up and could be impossible to recover. There may be local laws that prevent you from wiping this type of data from personal devices.  If your employees access your corporate systems, be sure they sign and acknowledge your company policy for acceptable use, including policy for reporting...

Why Small Businesses Need Technology

Technology has become an integral part of most small businesses.  Email has replaced the fax machine.  An onslaught of mobile devices have replaced cash registers, binders and note pads.  Pencil and paper no longer keep up with the velocity of business today.  In order to attract new customers and deliver products and services at competitive prices, small business technology is the cornerstone to automation and profitability. Cloud computing, mobility and consumerization of IT make it affordable for small businesses to deploy systems that were once reserved for large scale enterprise.  With ready access to small businesses technology, there is also more reliance on these core systems.  Small businesses are also targets of cyber attack because they may be perceived as more vulnerable and less vigilant.  Also, small businesses may be less resilient to business disruption related to systems failure.  Accordingly, Small Businesses should take every precaution to protect applications and their data.  They should also properly assess their risks and exposure to ensure they get the most from their small business IT Budgets. What can small businesses do to make sure these systems support the ongoing operations with minimal interruption? Small Business Technology Inventory A good place to start is to take inventory of your systems and data.  It is good policy to document all of your IT assets including hardware, networking devices, application software and data so you can have a complete view of your IT Systems.  Make sure you include mobile devices, cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS) systems, as well as, custom applications and legacy systems. Small Business Technology Risk Assessment Once you have...

Cyber Security Awareness

Did you know October is Cyber Security Awareness month?  This tradition was established ten years ago in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center.  This is a great opportunity for the public and private sectors to establish  secure and vigilant infrastructure and to protect IT Assets from Cyber Security Threats. This initiative places emphasis on the following areas of Cyber Security throughout the month: Mobile Security The importance of cyber security in a mobile setting is highly important, no matter where you are or what device you are using.  Business owners should take time to evaluate Mobile Security Policies including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Acceptable Use Policies for access to corporate systems and their data from a mobile device.  Mobile data protection including Antivirus, Anti Malware and Mobile Device Management to track, monitor, protect and enforce IT security policy on a Mobile Device. Cyber Security Workforce Cyber Security in the workforce highlights the importance of fostering the next generation of workers through education and training.  Cyber attack can come from anywhere in the world, at any time.  As a result, the Cybersecurity workforce is on the defense against elusive Cyber Criminals.  Having a well staffed, well trained Cybersecurity workforce is critical to the fight against Cyber Crime. Cyber Crime Cyber Crime prevention focuses on national and local efforts to prevent traditional crimes like theft, fraud, and abuse that can also take place online.  Many of these attacks go unnoticed and unreported.  Malicious software or Malware may be downloaded and undetected.  Phishing schemes...

Apple Enhances Mobile Security with iPhone 5s

Earlier this week Apple announced their new line up of iPhones.  The iPhone 5c is a new model catering to smartphone users on a budget, while the iPhone 5s is their newest flagship product.  The iPhone 5s features a new fingerprint sensor known as “Touch ID”  designed to provide access to your new iPhone 5s with the touch of a finger versus a four digit passcode. Mobile Security  Concerns According to research by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) mobile device theft or loss is a top concern among IT professionals and small business owners.  CompTIA research also indicates that requiring a pass code to unlock a mobile device passcode is the most utilized defense according to 76% of those surveyed.  But is a four digit passcode enough? Apple “Touch ID” improves  Mobile Security Biometrics are far from perfect however, Apple Touch ID is expected to increase mobile security over a four digit pass code.  Apple’s four digit passcode is limited to 10,000 combinations and can be cracked by an expert in under six minutes.  Because some are concerned that Apple Touch ID stores fingerprints on its’ new A7 processor Apple will continue to provide the four digit pass code option for those who choose not use use Apple Touch ID. Other Mobile Security Concerns Through cloud sharing applications, Social Media, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) adoption and other mobility trends, mobile devices can create a hole in your company’s IT security architecture.  Access to corporate applications and their data, privacy information and commingling of personal and company assets add to the mobile security challenge.  Mobile devices are the...
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