How far ahead can you see? Connecting the dots of present events enables one to project trends which may tell accurately what’s coming up. Knowing which way things seem to be turning is the benefit of watching trends and can produce strength in decision making.
The three trends highlighted below will continue to hold your attention throughout the coming year, whether you are simply a user or hold general business responsibility, because it is where technology is going.
Are You a Part of the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) Trend?
The trend to use personal media tablets, notebook computers and smartphones quietly brought into the workplace, will accelerate in 2014. Management may do well to consider this more of a threat than a trend. Why? Because of employee negligence. The employee device can open a crack in security significantly harmful to all in the business. Technology intended for the consumer finds its way into the regular business process, expediting work but causing breaches of security.
The most common personal devices are smartphones, followed by tablets. “… we definitely are starting to see more widespread adoption of BYOD,” said Dave Casey, CEO of Westron Communications Inc., a network integrator in Frisco, Texas. “It’s been slower than expected, but it’s coming.” 43% of small and medium businesses (SMB) are now open to allowing employees to use their own devices.
Cyber criminals are aware of the trends and always target the most popular devices. Google’s Android has 400 million devices with only 20% of these with any kind of security app installed. Trend Micro reports 5000 malware apps for the Android operating system alone. This puts the SMB especially at risk for these users. Business data on an employee’s mobile is at risk whether the phone is lost, stolen or not sufficiently secured from data-stealing malware. Smaller businesses have a slightly higher rate of data loss due to employee negligence.
Smart phones and cell phones make up 30-40% of all robberies in major cities, accounting for 27,000 thefts. Note this report from the chairman of the FCC looking for practical solutions to this growing problem.
Recommendations from Managed Service Providers like Alliant would include implementing security measures. Such measures would include providing wireless access for guests and other wireless devices that don’t need access to the company’s internal network. Wireless devices that do require internal network access would require enforcing security measures on those devices before allowing access. Security measures include requiring that all wireless devices accessing the internal network first be registered before allowing access.
For business owners, a helpful online presentation from Trend Micro will be helpful in answering further questions. Or give Alliant a call. We’d be glad to be of service.
This is one set of dots that when connected define a trend well worth keeping an eye on. In tandem with a robust BYOD solution is the Cloud.
What Is the Cloud Trend?
Another 2013 technology trend that seems to be accelerating is interest in the Cloud. This word “cloud” has been used to picture not only the storage of data on the Internet, but the use of software like Microsoft Office (Microsoft 365) as a service from the Internet rather than a software installed locally. So both the infrastructure (servers) and the use of applications is in view when we talk about the Cloud.
More than 62% of SMBs surveyed by Spiceworks are using some cloud-based service, a significant increase over the first half of 2012. Another 11% of respondents indicate that they plan to start using cloud based services..
Disaster events like Hurricane Sandy provide a somber encouragement to move data off-site and into the cloud. The ever present threat of Los Angeles’ “Big One” should be reason enough to at least consider moving data to the Cloud for a certain and speedy recovery compared to mopping up after such a disaster.
The real issue is trust. “Trusting the cloud to handle sensitive transactions and security services isn’t for every enterprise, but organizations from banks to app developers are starting to give it a try,” wrote Ellen Messmer at Network World, last June. Gartner predicts that the worldwide market for cloud computing will grow 18.5 percent by the end of 2013 to $131 billion.
There are many who believe that former resistance is fading and that it is just good business practice to follow the example of the majority of Global 2000 companies. Cloud adoption has reached the tipping point.
What is Disaster Recovery as a Trend?
There is a clear link between the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy and a shift in how businesses are thinking about their disaster recovery options, no matter what region they call home.
Following the hurricane, many businesses across the Northeast were offline for days, because their contingency plans were far too regional in nature. Many New York-based companies, for example, were using back-up and recovery sites in places also hammered by the hurricane — leaving them offline for days.
What’s different now is that companies are more willing to update their strategies frequently and to consider cloud infrastructure far away from their headquarters locations to be a viable option. Because no one knows when or where the next disaster will strike, it is a responsible business practice to have a Business Continuity Plan in place that includes a strong Disaster Recovery element as part of the overall business strategy for getting back on track as quickly as possible.
Owners of businesses will want to establish a strategy to safeguard their business and their data network. The Cloud might be a solution worth considering. Other solutions are available. Please contact Alliant with questions.