Monthly Archives: May 2016

Microsoft Announces Windows 10

Microsoft announced the next version of its Operating System Windows 10. This first preview will be available for laptops and desktops. Microsoft says it is opening up this beta process to get more feedback from more users early on, but also noted that this will be a learning experience for the company and that some experiments users will get in new builds may not make it into the final version.

It has been more than 2 years since the starter of Windows 8. The touch focused Metro design and removal of certain iconic features from previous iterations (such as start button) proved too much of a change for many. This is apparent even now in adoption rates, which show Windows 8 is present on 13% of computers as compared to 51% for Windows 7.

Myerson said, “We believe that, together with the feedback you provide us, we can build a product that all of our customers will love. It will be our most open collaborative OS projects ever.”

Windows 10 goals to take the best of both Windows 7 and Windows 8 operating system and provide end-users with an experience. It will run on everything from servers, laptops and smartphones. Windows 10 combines elements of Windows 8’s forward-thinking design and the familiarity and functionality of Windows 7, still the most popular Microsoft OS.

‘We’re not talking about one user-interface (UI) to rule them all – we’re talking about one product family, with a tailored experience for each device.’ Phew.

In latest Windows 10 ‘Metro’ design isn’t gone but it is optional. Users will be able to customize Start menu which is back for Desktop mode along with incorporate Live Tiles, and users can perform a web search. When you change to a touch device, Windows 10 will give you the choice to use the full screen mode, which is familiar to Windows 8.

Additional modification is that everything, including apps, now run in a windowed mode so they can be maximized, minimized and resized just like a normal window in Windows 7.

Thanks to Microsoft news ‘Snap Assist UI’ feature which allows four apps to be displayed at the same time. A task view button that gives you a bird’s eye view of all open windows, files and desktops has also been added. You can also switch between multiple desktops just like OS X and Linux.

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Data: The One Ring to Rule Them All

“My Precious!” The famous statement from The Hobbit where Gollum repeatedly screams for his most precious item, the gold ring, the one ring to rule them all. This massive trilogy is all about protecting this sacred item from the evil onslaught of Sauron and his minions. It’s so important that those in control of the ring decide to destroy it rather than allow it to fall into evil hands. This story, and magical and mystical item, correlates exceedingly well to corporate data. Precious company information: finances, sales numbers, source code, legal documents, personnel files, etc. cannot fall into the wrong hands. Data is the life blood of companies and it’s the responsibility of leadership to protect it.

One of the most famous stories of technology intellectual property theft is that of Steve Jobs and the mouse from Xerox PARC. Steve Jobs toured the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and saw a prototype mouse and was in awe. After he saw what it could do, he went back to Apple and directed his developer to recreate what he saw in a much less expensive fashion with greater longevity. This breakthrough helped propel the launch of Apple Macintosh. The irony of this intellectual property “theft” is that the researchers at PARC did not agree to the tour, it was a business decision. In exchange for money or stock in Apple, Steve Jobs and others were allowed to look around at whatever was “cool.” What would have become of Xerox and their PC unit had they perfected the mouse and proceeded to target the PC market more aggressively. Steve Jobs believed Xerox could have been as big as IBM, Microsoft, and Xerox combined.

The NSA data breach by Edward Snowden is another famous example. While one can debate whether this act was heroism or treason, the fact remains that precious information was taken from the US Government and exposed to the world. When organizations lose data, there’s not only the potential for economic damage, there’s probability for political and reputation damage as well. Businesses are not immune to this impact as shown when experienced a hack and lost user passwords, emails and addresses. Pretty ironic that a business focused on protecting online reputation for customers experiences a data breach itself.

The ailment inflicted upon businesses through data breach and information loss cannot be overestimated. While researching this article I came across numerous statistics regarding outcomes when data loss or theft occur. While validating sources, I found they are not reliable hence I have not republished that information. Saying that the data published is not necessarily true also does not make it false. Common sense dictates that when a company loses data and/or experiences theft there is a financial impact. That damage most certainly can, and does, lead to major financial impact and even bankruptcy.

The scariest data loss and/or theft to most individuals revolves around healthcare and financial services. Kim Kardashian led to the termination of six individuals when the temptation to view her medical records was too great to pass up. While this may seem harmless to the individuals improperly accessing her records, this breach exposed a well-respected medical facility to suffer reputation damage as well as a potential lawsuit, not to mention government punishment due to the HIPAA violation. TD Bank misplaced backup tapes and exposed nearly 270,000 individuals’ data. This data loss should cause great concern to most business as, like themselves, the information was backed up to tape and unencrypted. During my time in the healthcare industry I saw this happen to two of the largest medical entities in the United States. In one instance the tapes were stolen from the driver delivering the backups to storage. The other situation had unencrypted backup tapes lost in the mail. This type of data loss is all too common, impacts large swaths of patients and clients, and most companies have no policies or procedures in place to prevent it.

Organizations should know that they are not alone in the pursuit of data protection. A number of businesses and technologies cater to this need. Whether looking for inventory tracking systems, performing background checks on employees, or having an audit or assessment performed to understand the current state of affairs, numerous companies and products exist to help mitigate risks. Knowing is half the battle, and leadership owes it to themselves, their investors, and their employees to see the risk and take protective action.

A few suggestions:

1) Know who has access to what data and prohibit access to any resource that does not have a need for such access.

2) Encrypt data in transit.

3) Consider encrypting data at rest, especially intellectual property and other fundamental business information.

4) Do not let employees take backups home, no matter their position with the company.

5) Be aware of who comes into the business, what they see, and what they take away, physically and intellectually.

Just as Bilbo, and then later Frodo and the Fellowship protected their “precious,” leadership in organizations must do all they can to protect their data. Management needs to understand the risks are not solely from the nebulous hacker in the Cloud trying to steal information. Data theft and destruction comes from innocent curiosity to nefarious intent. No matter the reason, businesses are at extreme risk, financially, reputation wise, and potential legal liability, and management must mitigate as much risk as is reasonable.

Improving PC Gaming Performance Without Upgrading Hardware

How can you improve your PC graphics performance without upgrading your hardware? PC gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry which is steadily growing. It is not limited any longer to youngsters as people of all ages are now getting addicted to games. Newer games are released into the market every few months. The latest games that have been released in 2014 need lot more PC and graphics power than earlier ones. So, how do you make sure your PC is up to the task to install and run these games? If you tried to run a game and it was slow to load or did not run properly, there could be a problem with your PC. Either it may be a hardware fault or software issue.

To enjoy perfect gaming experience you need to have the required hardware components and also have the latest graphics and sound related software drivers installed on the PC. In this article, we shall discuss a few ways to optimize your PC or laptop for gaming without needing to upgrade your hardware. Please keep in mind that if your hardware is old or outdated, the below steps may not help much as optimizing and tweaking can only be beneficial to a certain extent.

1. Overclocking Graphics Card – Your graphics card plays a very important role in providing you a nice gaming experience. If the graphics card is not good, the gaming experience will suffer. The games will stutter and hang or they will not look as beautiful as they should. One of the easiest ways to improve performance is to overclock your graphics card. It is very simple to do, doesn’t cost you any money and can bring about noticeable improvements in gaming performance. Overclocking will not make an unplayable game playable, but it will make the games run a little smoother and look a little better.

A few years back, overclocking wouldn’t have been a good idea as it could have posed a threat to your computer hardware. But these days most systems automatically turn themselves off before they are damaged. However you have to keep in mind that overclocking increases the temperature and the stress on all of your PC hardware, not just the CPU or the graphics card, so you should exercise extreme care and caution while doing this. If you find the PC getting too hot, you should reduce the amount of overclocking.

2. Updating Drivers – Upgrading graphics drivers can provide immediate boost in performance. You need to keep checking the graphics vendor website to make sure you have the latest version of drivers installed on your PC. Do not rely on the CD that came with the graphics card. Try to get the latest version of drivers from the vendor website.

3. SuperFetch and Prefetch – Superfetch and prefetch are Windows features that are helpful in improving Windows and applications startup times. However, it is recommended to turn off these features while playing games. To do this, go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> Administrative Tools -> Services. Scroll down until you find ‘Superfetch’ entry, double-click and choose disable. Disable Prefetch option involves editing certain entries from Windows registry. These have to be done with caution as deleting or changing wrong entry can cause problems with your PC.

Common Windows Problems and How to Fix Them

Working with Windows is very functional and convenient. However, because of its high functionality, the system tends to work with a lot of applications and programs all at once, which can be the source of unexpected computer issues.

There are a handful of Windows problems that you will encounter. The good thing is that they can now be repaired manually without being a tech-savvy. Here are some of the most common Windows problems and the methods on how they can be fixed.

1. Slow computer.

First thing you need to know is if your unit is the source of the problem. Problems with sluggish video buffering and webpage browsing are mistakenly blamed to the computer, when it is not its fault. It is primarily caused by a slow internet connection. If you are experiencing slow Windows shutdown, hanging or crashing applications, or slowly-executing or staggering basic computer functions, then this might be caused by an error in the system.

To fix this, you can check your hard drive for possible corruptions, or if it is running out of space enough to affect your PC’s performance. Update it by removing unnecessary files and programs to free up some space.

2. Computer keeps on restarting.

This is normal if you are running a Windows Update since it automatically restarts your computer when initiated. However, if it keeps on restarting for no particular reason, then action should be taken immediately to fix this issue. A computer restart can be caused by a software or hardware issue. This might be coming from problems with graphic cards and system drivers. It can also be caused by a malware attack.

To fix this, update your device drivers to ensure that they are working properly. Another one is to do a full computer scan to isolate viruses that are affecting your files.

3. Random sounds are heard, or no sound is heard, at all.

If you are hearing weird noises coming from your computer, then you don’t have to worry that much as cleaning is what you need to do. On the other hand, if you can’t hear sounds, you can do a Windows search to open the Sounds menu. You can change settings from the playback tab as it may have been accidentally changed.

If you are using external speakers, you must set your speakers as the default device. You could also test your external speakers by plugging the 3.5mm jack to a similar port, such as the earphone or headset ports of most modern phones. If sound problems still persist, then there must be a problem either with your device drivers or the 3.5mm port, which should be updated or checked immediately.

4. Cannot execute a basic function like printing.

If your printer driver is updated and there is enough paper and ink in your printer, you can try to turn the device on and off. Also, check your Windows settings if your printer is set as the default device. Make sure that the Use Printer Offline option is not checked.

5. Blue Screen of Death (“BSOD”)

Once this problem occurs, your Windows system functions are affected. To fix this, you must first locate the file that is causing the problem. You can try repairing or uninstalling the file, then reinstall it with an updated version. If the problem still exists, then you might consider changing your hardware as this may be causing the “BSoDs”.

6. Cursor does not move or show.

If you can’t see the mouse cursor or it does not move, it is advised to shut down your Windows operating system to ensure that the mouse is well-plugged into the port before restarting your computer. If this method does not work, you can flip your mouse over and clean it as the dust might be the reason why your mouse isn’t working well.

7. Windows suddenly locks down.

When your Windows operating system hangs or freezes, there might be a problem with the system process. You can try fixing it by checking your computer’s registry entries. Since this part is very technical, you can install a registry cleaner that will do the scanning and fixing for your system.

8. A certain program does not run in your computer.

This might be caused by a Windows operating system incompatibility. There are programs and applications that are not supported by older versions of Windows. You can fix this by updating your Windows system to a newer version.

These are just some of the common problems that you may encounter with your Windows. Repairing them with the troubleshooting ways mentioned can help you, but if they seem to be hard for you to do, then you might consider professional help to avoid serious problems occurring in the future.

A Guide to Freeing Up Your PC’s Disk Space

Today, hard drives are getting larger and larger when it comes to memory space. However, figuring out that your computer is running out of room can be stressful. Running with a full memory can slow down your computer’s speed.

The good news is that there are a lot of tips and tricks to help you save some room in your computer memory. Consider these options when freeing up disk space. Keep in mind that when doing these methods, you must perform a system backup for security purposes.

1. Clear application and browser caches.

To start your disk clean up, you must first clear out the application and browser caches that still exist. These caches contain a lot of information that take up a lot of memory. Clearing them regularly can help in saving up space.

2. Uninstall applications that are not in use.

Every Windows PC is installed with applications that are not really used that often, or not at all. You can uninstall them since they also take up space. Go to the Control Panel and remove applications that are unnecessary.

3. Look for any signs of disk corruption.

A corrupted hard disk can waste a lot of memory. If you suspect that this is what is happening to your disk, you should run Windows disk check (“CHKDSK”) to scan your disk for any problems and repair them immediately.

4. Execute Disk Cleanup.

Running this utility will free some memory and will help your system run in a better condition. Windows Disk Cleanup will scan your disk to identify programs and applications that are safe to be removed. To run this tool, just follow these steps:

* Right click one of your hard drives then select properties.

* A dialog box will appear. Click the Disk Cleanup button at the bottom right side of the prompt box.

* Select the files that you want to delete. These include temporary files, files in the recycle bin, and other unnecessary files. Then, click OK. You can also clean up system files. Just click the Clean up system files button to do this.

* After doing these steps, click the More Options tab and click the Clean up button under system restore to delete system restore data.

5. Have your disk space analyzed.

It is important that you are aware of what files and programs are using up your computer’s memory space. There are applications that let you see these files by scanning through them and show you how much space they are taking up. You can delete some of them that are space-hungry yet unimportant. Just make sure to not delete important system files.

6. Locate duplicate files and delete them from your computer.

There are times when there are duplicate files that are stored in your computer’s system. These are unnecessary and can be deleted. You can do this manually or you can install applications that will scan your hard drive for duplicate files and automatically remove them for your convenience.

7. Disable Hibernate mode.

Leaving your computer in hibernate mode still takes up memory space without using power supply. To save disk space, you can disable hibernate entirely.

8. Use external storage.

One way to save a lot of space from your RAM is to use external storage. Here are some of the possible options for a removable storage.

* “USB” and external drives – Most PCs are built in with two to three USB ports where you can connect flash drives and external hard drives to transfer data and files.

* Secure Digital or “SD” cards – There are SD ports in your computer that support SD cards. There are different types of cards: the standard SD card (32x24mm), the miniSD (21.5x20mm), and the microSD (15x11mm). Just make sure to use the right SD card that is suited for your unit.

* CDs and DVDs – If your computer has a disc drive (CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray) that can perform read-and-write to a blank disc, then you can use these to store data and files to save space from your computer memory.

* Use cloud storage – Windows supports applications that use online storage. You can use this to save files and programs.

It is essential to always keep your computer memory updated to avoid encountering problems. Always do a regular check-up with your disk to let you know its current state. These guidelines can save a bit of space from your RAM, but if you want to save a significant amount of memory, it is advised to consider hard drive defragmentation.

Ways to Improve Your PC’s Performance

As time passes, your computer’s performance slows down. This is because of all the add-ons and junk that have been installed and have accumulated in your system. These things may affect your PC performance regarding basic functions like saving files, installing applications, running programs, and a lot more. This should warrant an immediate action.

Just like any other gadget, your system should also be maintained to extend its lifespan. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your PC’s speed and performance to help you keep your PC running fresh out of the box. They are cheap, quick, and most of all, easy ways that you will surely get along with. Here are some of them:

1. Clean your computer. Before jumping into the more technical tricks, it is also important that you keep your unit from dust and other foreign objects since these also affect your computer’s speed. Dust can block filters, which will prevent the air from flowing, causing your computer to overheat. In addition, dust can also cause your circuit boards to short, which may lead to a system crash-or worse, may even cause your unit to overheat and catch fire. When cleaning, make sure to use compressed air to dust off your computer. A regular clean-up can help in restoring your PC’s speed.

2. Clean your computer’s memory. Computer memory is referred as RAM. It stores all the information from your system while it is turned on. Once you shut down your unit, the contents in the RAM are erased automatically. However, if you keep your unit turned on for a long time, this will cause the RAM to store more information, which, in turn, causes your system to slow down. To avoid this, it is recommended to shut down your unit for a while then reboot your computer to wipe the RAM clean. You can also do these steps to maintain your computer memory:

* Shut down if you will leave your PC for 10 hours or more.

* If it is just for an hour or two, you can put your unit in hibernate or sleep mode.

* If you are currently using it for more than 10 hours, shut it down for a while if you observe it is starting to slow down.

3. Update your hard drive. There might be unused or unnecessary files that are saved in your disk drivers. You can make use of the Disk Cleanup that is installed with your Windows. This utility is designed to clean up the files in your hard drive. It scans through the drive to identify which files are no longer used. Then, it removes all those unnecessary files to free up your disk space. An updated hard drive is important in keeping your PC’s good performance.

4. Scan your computer for a possible virus infection. Your Windows PC is no exception from a malware attack. These viruses can be a minor or major problem for your unit. A regular scan of your PC from viruses is one quick way to remove them from your system. You can install an anti-spyware program to automatically scan your unit to help you boost your unit’s speed.

5. Scan your system for errors. A Windows operating system is made up of files that execute a specific task. Over time, these files may get damaged or corrupted, which may cause errors to occur that can affect your computer’s performance. Windows utility, System File Checker, can do the scanning for you. It runs over the files and fixes those that are damaged.

6. Uninstall unused programs. Once a program is installed, it automatically makes a connection with the operating system. Even if you don’t use it, it is still taking up space in your memory. A full memory can slow down your unit’s speed. It is advised that you uninstall programs that are not in use to free up memory space to speed up your system.

7. Clean your system registry. Once a system task or program is modified, Windows changes it registry entry to mark that change. However, frequent modifications can make these registry entries cluttered, causing drastic changes in your PC’s performance. In order to avoid this, it is recommended to install a registry cleaner to scan your system for any corrupted entries. Once fixed, you will be able to improve your computer’s speed.

These are just some of the common and easy methods in improving your PC’s performance. Just remember that in speeding up your system, you should not do any harm to your computer. If these methods are way too technical for you, then you can ask someone who is more knowledgeable with these things.

An Article on the Latest Trends in the Field of Computer Science

Computer science is an expanding research field driven by emerging application domains and improving hardware and software that eliminate old bottlenecks even as they create new challenges and opportunities for Computer Science research.

Trend analysis has long been researched and applied to many types of datasets, from medical to weather to stock markets.

With the advent of semiconductor technology in the 21st century & the development of transistor by William Shockley, John Bardeen & Walter Brattain in the year 1947,semiconductor technology has resulted a phenomenal growth in the field of integrated chips segregating its deep impact on the various diversified fields of engineering, prominent among which is Computer Science which is the science of web & the art of interfacing the hardware & software of any system or machine which somewhere resembles the system of human body.

Over the years, computer chips have gotten smaller, the credit goes to advances in materials science and manufacturing technologies. Researchers of DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have propounded this march of progress by intending to double the no. of transistors on a microprocessor chip roughly every two years, which is called Moore’s Law. But there’s one component of the chip-making process in need of an overhaul if Moore’s law is to continue: the chemical mixture called photoresist. In a bid to continue decreasing transistor size while increasing computation and energy efficiency, chip-maker Intel has partnered with researchers to design an entirely new kind of resist.

In a similar research as mentioned above, researchers of Georgia Institute of Technology have proposed that with the help of a smart tablet and Angry Birds, children can now do something typically reserved for engineers and computer scientists: program a robot to learn new skills. The project is designed to serve as a rehabilitation tool to help kids with disabilities

In a different innovation at DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Scientists have found a way to estimate uncertainties in computer calculations that are widely used to speed the search for new materials for industry, electronics, energy, drug design and a host of other applications. The technique should quickly be adopted in studies that produce some 30,000 scientific papers per year.

Elaborating this context further, scientists of Eindhoven University of Technology have proposed a technology to Speed up data storage by a thousand times with ‘spin current’ phenomena where an ultra-fast laser pulse is used to generate a flow of electrons in a material with all having the same spin. The resulting ‘spin current’ changes the magnetic properties of the material thus enhancing the storage capacity of hard disks to 1-4TB.

Latest technological advancements have taken place in the past & would continue to take place which at par are out of access unless such innovations keep publicizing in different journals, papers, citations, manuscripts & articles for their ease of human access for the benevolence of mankind.

How IT Services Drive Growth For Businesses

A business can grow in different ways. Business owners come up with their own strategies and gimmicks in order to gain more customers. They have their own promotions and advertisements that could increase their sales and their target market. Most businesses use the technology to do so. Technological advancements have really helped a lot of businesses today, which is why IT services are becoming more in demand today. Most established businesses would agree that their success and growth were driven through the latest and up-to-date information technology services. The IT industry can really help any business achieve its goals easier and faster.

The IT industry continues to provide innovative solutions and tools that could help a business become more productive and achieve better results. These tools can help any business retain its best employees and attract new ones as well. It promotes reorganization as well as efficiency in the business. It also promotes better employee performance as well as recognition. Also, it enables the business to provide better customer service, quality products and services. What makes it better for these tools? There are upgrades and developments released regularly, to ensure that a business can take advantage of all its features and use these solutions to find what their customers are looking for.

IT services are great investments today, top business owners would agree. And here’s how it can help your business too:

• Learn how to work smarter. IT tools can teach you that you have to work effectively to get the results you want. It teaches you how to be more flexible in the workplace. Automation is one tool and solution that you can use for your business. It helps you to set up processes, at the same time, reduce your expenses. It also helps you accomplish your tasks faster. Having this kind of solution can help your team focus on the more important tasks.

• Learn how to be agile and adapt to changes. The business industry can bring a lot of changes to your business. In order to keep up with these changes, you need to have the most up-to-date IT solutions. These solutions will help you react promptly on whatever change or challenge your business will face.

• Improve information sharing in your business. Technology tools can help you get the information that you need for your business. You can use IT tools to increase the level of collective knowledge of your team. You can use this to improve their work quality, and also, increase your profitability.

5 Cyber Security Mistakes Most Companies Make

Cyber security falls under the responsibility of everyone, not just information technology professionals. As with personal security, individuals must pay attention to their surroundings and their actions.

There are a number of areas that businesses and employees fail to pay attention to regarding cyber security. These are in no order of importance as all are critical.

Lack of training for staff

When we raise our children we make sure they know to look both ways before crossing the street, not to take candy from strangers, and never to get in a car with someone they don’t know. To all of us, this is common sense as we received this same education ourselves.

With cyber security, the same principles apply. Don’t open attachments from unknown sources. Don’t go to websites that appear suspicious. Don’t tell anyone your password(s).

Businesses must make sure they have education for all employees regarding these, and other, basic cyber security concepts. The training should occur at new hire orientation and it makes sense to have annual or semi-annual reviews.

Failure to limit/log access

Who has access to what data? What IT Administrator modified the directory structure? Who changed permissions? Do all employees have access to HR files? Does any unnecessary person have access to financial records? Are there logs showing who accessed what data?

Most of the answers to these questions will be “we don’t know” and that’s a problem to acknowledge and address. Companies need to utilize built in tools to log access, and, when necessary, purchase third party software for greater control and granularity. Not only can tracking access prevent a data breach, it enables organizations to find out what happened when data loss does occur.

Caring about corporate data

Most employees simply focus on their day to day job, they are not necessarily concerned with intellectual property at their company. Vast numbers of employees don’t even know what data is critical to the success of their business.

With a myopic focus on what’s in front of us, it’s extremely difficult to protect that which truly matters to an organization. Employees understand financial and human resource records deserve protection, that’s not enough.

Staff must also know about core data critical to the company so they can make sure and take proper action when dealing with that information and when dealing with others who have responsibility for protecting that data.

Understanding cyber threats

Phishing. Spoof. Worm. Trojan horse. Pharming. Hijack attack. All key terms in the cyber security world and, with few exceptions, most people do not know what these expressions mean.

Along with basic education, it makes sense for organizations to make sure staff knows what these attacks are and how to protect against them. There are a number of terms and threats that individuals are familiar with, it’s the responsibility of businesses to help employees understand additional dangers. Common sense goes a long way, and with adding simple communication, businesses can ensure employees know what to look for and how to act when issues arise.

Spending money in the wrong areas, or not at all

Too often businesses focus on revenue generation opportunities and ROI when spending money. Companies must take a defensive posture as well. This doesn’t mean only spending money on networking equipment and edge devices to protect their information assets, they must understand the extent of the threats and spend in numerous areas.

Firewalls, extranets, and intrusion detection systems are all well and good; however, they only protect companies from specific types of attacks. Businesses must take a holistic view of cyber security and invest as necessary. Cyber security is an investment and should be viewed as such through the budgeting process.

Everyone must take ownership for cyber security. In today’s world with major data breaches occurring seemingly weekly, impacting millions of people, it’s imperative to pay attention and share in the responsibility for data protection.

Through education, logging, understanding corporate data, knowledge of threats, and proper cyber security investments, companies will find greater security. When companies have data protection, investors, employees, and consumers receive peace of mind and clarity that they are as secure as possible.

BYOD: Betray Your Own Data

Bring your own device (BYOD) is the newest cyber security challenge for both IT professionals and businesses as a whole. While the idea of individuals using their own technology devices: mobile phones, tablets, and laptops, to perform work, is a boon for the individual and the business, there are a number of security concerns that arise with the introduction of this productivity increase. Both the individual and the organization must come to terms with these challenges.

Numerous statistics show that employees do not take the necessary security measures on their personal devices to justify storing or accessing corporate data from these items. As shown by Zixcorp in their infographic, 81% of employees use personal devices in the workplace, 91% of tablet users and 75% of mobile phone users disable auto-lock security. How can a company trust individuals with corporate data with such a wide spread lack of basic security concern?

Corporate leadership have fiduciary and financial responsibilities to their employees, investors, and customers to protect their data. With 113 phones lost every minute the math quickly resonates that we have a serious problem on our hands. Companies not only need to have policies in place, they must have education around the policies to make sure their employees follow the rules and understand why the rules exist.

Certain businesses have greater concern than others. Healthcare organizations for example must contend with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This key regulation states that a breach may occur if unencrypted data is lost. Simple example: a nurse sends an email to a colleague discussing patient John Doe in Room 4 who just received his latest shot of morphine. The nurse needs her co-worker to update the medical record as she forgot before leaving her shift. This message, including electronic protected health information (e-PHI), now resides on her mobile device. In and of itself, this is a HIPAA breach. In addition, not only is it most likely unencrypted, there’s a 75%-91% chance that her device won’t even auto-lock leaving this e-PHI available to anyone that picks up her mobile device.

In the finance industry there are strict regulations as well, primarily surrounding Sarbanes-Oxley. Businesses have the responsibility to follow specific rules on corporate governance, internal control assessment and enhanced financial disclosures. With employees storing corporate data, and transmitting business related information via email, text, and image transmission (SMS), it grows much more difficult for organizations to track who has access to what, and where the information has gone. This creates substantial challenges to validate compliance when auditors arrive.

Companies must secure their data, not only for legal reasons, they must do so to maintain control over their intellectual property. Laptops are lost every 53 seconds, the chance that these devices land in the hands of competitors is too great to risk poor security. Take the recent situation where the U.S. Government “retrieved” the laptop of an ISIS fighter from Tunisia. This device stored large amounts of proprietary data that the leaders would not want their opponent to find. While this is a military/foreign policy example, it goes to the heart of the situation in corporate America.

While working with a global storage company we had a situation where a senior executive lost his personal laptop, a device he coincidentally used for all of his company business, a laptop where the employee never changed the default password. The information technology team had no policy in place to require this executive to secure his laptop, let alone encrypt the data. When the device was lost there was no way to know what he had on it, what security he had, if any, and no idea where it was last seen. Lack of company policy greatly exacerbates the risks of how mobile devices threaten corporate data.

There are substantial challenges presented herein. The good news, technology and service providers exist to assist businesses overcome these issues. Whether utilizing consultants for policy review/creation or implementing mobile device management (MDM) software, companies have means to acquire assistance. Organizations should ensure they have policies, process, procedure, and education in place; all of these actions will substantially reduce the risk of data loss through mobile devices.

Corporate leadership must take ownership for the growing security risk inherent with mobile devices. It makes sense to permit employees to use their own equipment as there are substantial productivity and efficiency enhancements with this model, not to mention cost savings as employees no longer need multiple devices to accomplish the same feat. As with all security concerns we have a tradeoff between security and efficiency, business leaders must acknowledge this fact and take action to protect their corporate data when mobile devices are involved.