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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 28th Jun 2011
British IT managers are increasingly worried about employees bringing their own iPads and other consumer devices into work, seeing it as a risk to networks and security, according to a survey.
 
In a Fortinet poll of IT managers released on Monday, 74 percent of UK-based respondents said the growth of user-led devices in their business — also known as the 'consumerisation' of IT — is a cause for concern. That contrasts with 57 percent in a survey of managers in Europe, which did not cover the UK.
 
In addition, 84 percent of British IT managers said their companies' security strategies need to be more comprehensive, to be able to cover the broad spread of devices being used by employees.
 
At Fortinet, just as in a rising number of offices, people are not carrying separate mobile devices for work and personal use, according to Luca Simonelli, an EMEA vice president at the security company.
"We all use one device. The problem is when we are in the company, we are relatively secure from the network point of view, but when we are in the streets, we are not at all," Simonelli told ZDNet UK. "My infections can be spread within the company."
 
In the UK, 47 percent of IT managers were worried about securing endpoints, such as desktops, terminals, mobile phones and tablets, according to Fortinet. For Europe, the figure was 25 percent.
To deal with this risk, some businesses open up their networks only to corporate mobile devices with security policies in place. Despite the difference in their levels of concern, 40 percent of IT managers in both the UK and Europe took this approach.
 
Bring your own device
Joe Baguley, the chief cloud technologist at VMware, believes that businesses should adapt to the wave of 'bring your own' devices rather than trying to resist it.
"Fighting the adoption of consumer devices by your users is a bit Canute-like," Baguley told ZDNet UK. "It's better to embrace it and see how you can make the most of it.
"We need to start the move towards not thinking about securing devices but instead securing data and the delivery of data — the ultimate goal is maybe to get to the point where you assume that every device is 'insecure' and manage to that," he added.
 
One such strategy is to add security into consumer smartphones via virtualisation, creating secure partitioned corporate and personal zones, Baguley argued. Both Open Kernel Labs and VMware are working on projects related to this.
 
"The 'street' is now accelerating technology and service delivery in orders of magnitude faster than IT departments in terms of what it can deliver to the consumer, and that is a challenge and an opportunity for our industry that is driving some fantastically exciting innovation," Baguley said.
For example, IBM believes employees now expect their company to deliver enterprise IT to them with the same convenience and accessibility as they consume services on personal devices. In addition, SAP and other companies are beginning to develop applications that take into account the consumerisation of IT.
 
Jack Clark 
 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 28th Jun 2011
Facebook has been ranked the UK's second-most popular website after Google, according to the latest UKOM/Nielsen statistics.
 
Facebook attracted a record 26.8 million visitors in Britain in May, up seven per cent year on year, beating the 26.2 million who visited Microsoft's MSN/WindowsLive/Bing sites combined, the organisation said on Monday. Google had 33.9 million.
 
Twitter's UK audience jumped by a third to 6.1 million, after thousands of users retweeted allegations of celebrity scandals in defiance of gagging orders, including an extra-marital affair by Manchester United soccer star Ryan Giggs.
 
UKOM/Nielsen said the number of women pensioners visiting the site doubled after "Giggsgate."
 
"The growth in audiences to these social networks is now primarily being driven by the 50-plus age group. Just a few years ago, this group may have found itself out of place on these sites," UKOM general manager James Smythe said.
 
He said over-50 year-olds accounted for more new adults visiting Facebook in the last two years than under-50s, resulting in an age profile far more closely reflecting that of the UK online population as a whole than previously.
 
Older age groups were also more likely to visit Twitter than in the past, but under-18s were less likely to visit the site than two years ago - which was not the case for Facebook.
 
Business network LinkedIn, whose market value has risen 58 per cent to $6.65 billion since its New York stock market debut last month, registered 3.6 million UK visitors in May, up 57 per cent from a year earlier.
 
Elsewhere, Facebook attracted 140 million visitors in the US, up 12 per cent. In Spain its numbers were up seven per cent, in France 18 per cent, in Italy 26 per cent and in Germany 72 per cent.
 
Twitter's visitor numbers rose 22 per cent in the United States, 48 per cent in France, 58 per cent in Italy and more than doubled in Spain. But in Germany they fell by 11 per cent.
 
UKOM/Nielsen monitored the online behavior of about 50,000 people in Britain and similar numbers in the other countries. The panel was recruited both online and offline.
 
Georgina Prodham
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 22nd Jun 2011
Businesses in all sectors will have to tell customers when their data has been exposed in a security breach, EU justice and rights commissioner Viviane Reding has told a gathering of bankers in London.
 
On Monday, Reding said she will extend the breach notification obligations that already apply to telecoms and internet access companies. Such plans have been afoot for at least the last three years.
 
"I intend to introduce a mandatory requirement to notify data security breaches — the same as I did for telecoms and internet access when I was telecoms commissioner, but this time for all sectors, including banking and financial services," Reding said at the British Bankers' Association's Data Protection and Privacy Conference.
 
In support of the proposals, Reding noted recent data thefts that have hit people using PlayStation, Google and Facebook services, saying that such breaches hurt confidence in the internet and in online services.
 
"Only recently, we witnessed a massive security theft in online gaming services affecting millions of users around the world," Reding said. "This incident highlights why companies need to reinforce the security of the information they hold. Frequent incidents of data security breaches risk undermining consumers' trust in the online economy."
 
The EU vice president acknowledged concerns within the banking sector "that a mandatory notification requirement would be an additional administrative burden". However, she said the proposed measures suited the situation and would reassure consumers as to whether companies were taking care of their data.
 
"It would also create a stronger incentive for business to conduct serious risk assessments to protect personal data and to implement the appropriate security measures protecting the confidentiality, the integrity and the availability of personal data," Reding added.
 
ICO response
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which oversees data protection in the UK, broadly welcomed the move. However, it reiterated that the measure should apply to "serious" data breaches; in the past, it has warned against a "blanket system" that would see the ICO risk being swamped with notifications.
 
"Any new requirements must be proportionate, setting out clear criteria and thresholds for reporting a breach," the ICO said in a statement in response to Reding's speech.
 
Data breach notification requirements for the telecoms and internet provision sectors came through as part of the Telecoms Reform package, passed in 2009. According to Reding, who was responsible for much of the package's contents, the EU now needs a more coherent approach to data protection.
 
As the member states in the EU have their own approach to data loss, there are a variety of different approaches that companies and consumers have to grapple with in the event of a breach. The proposed reforms would introduce a "level playing field", which would benefit businesses, Reding said.
 
The reforms will "do away with all the notification obligations and requirements that are excessively bureaucratic, unnecessary and ineffective [and instead] focus on those requirements which really enhance legal certainty", Reding said.
 
David Meyer
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 22nd Jun 2011
UK businesses may have to follow rules that dictate they have to come clean about data breaches straight away.
 
European Union justice commissioner Viviane Reding outlined her plans for compulsory data breach notification for UK businesses in her speech this week at the British Bankers' Association (BBA) Data Protection and Privacy Conference.
 
“I intend to introduce a mandatory requirement to notify data security breaches – the same as I did for telecoms and internet access when I was Telecoms Commissioner, but this time for all sectors, including banking and financial services,” she said.
 
Reding outlined the extent of consultancy work which has gone into the move. Initial public and targeted stakeholder consultations were carried out last year, during which the BBA and the European Banking Federation (EBF) were involved. These activities were followed by talks with the UK Ministry of Justice, the Information Commissioner's Office and the Bar Council of England and Wales.
 
“The consultations have confirmed that the underlying principles of the current EU data protection legislation are still very much valid and have stood the test of time. However, it became equally clear that the EU needs a more comprehensive and more coherent approach in its policy for the fundamental right to personal data protection,” said Reding.
 
A key area the new legislation seeks to address is concerns over the complexities and resulting cost and efficiency of administration across EU states.
 
"The upcoming data protection reform is an opportunity to streamline those rules," Reding said.
 
She described the diversity of rules across the EU as a “huge cost to citizens and businesses alike” and said there was a need for a “level playing field” which she believes would be in the interest of businesses.
 
“Companies handling personal data in several EU countries currently have to meet different requirements in different Member States. This creates legal uncertainty and extra costs. The new legislation will clarify which law applies, across the EU,” she said.
 
Reding made it clear, however, that while she was prepared to relieve some of the administrative pressure on businesses operating in the EU she expected organisations to “do their share” in providing “safe and transparent” services.
 
“People must know how their data is being used. Service providers have to increase transparency on how a service operates, what data is collected and further processed, for what purposes, and where and how it is stored,” she said.
 
“In light of recent data theft scandals, let me add that I expect companies to do more to keep their customers' personal data secure.”
 
“Without this confidence, business and the economy as a whole will suffer. We have to regain that trust,” she warned.
 
Paul Briden
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 21st Jun 2011

Discus Systems plc

 

 

The Discus Diviner

June 2011 

 

Welcome to the June edition of The Discus Diviner.

 

This month, we touch on the problem of what to do with those old PCs.  The IT Support Guy finds himself back in school and gets a shock, and Damien offers some tips on how to secure your Blackberry.

 

And we announce 'Fast Start', our service for newly incorporated companies and those moving offices.

Next month, there will be an opportunity for you to win a Kindle 3G! Don't miss the July edition!

 

 

 

The IT Support Guy

  

It's a long time since Victor last set foot in a school. Memories of sweaty feet, bleach, and long echoing corridors flooded back the instant he crossed the threshold of Crow Lane Primary.

 

His company recently signed a contract to support the school's servers - quite a coup as it was in competition with the Local Education Authority. Apparently the headmaster hadn't taken too kindly to the news that the LEA's IT support function was to be outsourced offshore.

 

The call came through first thing that morning, from the panicky school secretary. None of the computers could access the internet.

 

'What's that, mate?'

Victor turns round and looks into the face of a boy, blue eyes big as golf balls in the lenses of his black-framed spectacles. No higher than Victor's waist, the kid's gelled hair sticks out like Dennis the Menace.

'This?' Victor opens his hand, revealing the Blackberry.

'Yeah.'

'It's a phone.'

The kid's eyes narrow. 'No, it isn't. Phones don't look like that.'

'This one does.'

'Has it got a camera?'

'No.'

A smirk crosses the kid's face as he takes an iPhone 4 out of his pants pocket. 'Mine does. Five megapixels. Can yours do this?' He turns the phone in his hand and the image on it flips from portrait to landscape.

'No,' says Victor.

'That means it hasn't got a three-axis giro.' He leans closer to Victor. 'What are you doing?'

'Fixing your school's server - that's this big computer. There's a problem with the internet.'

'There's nothing wrong with the internet.'

'Excuse me?'

'It's Mister Fiddler. He changed the IP address of the gateway. I tried pinging it from my laptop but it wouldn't.'

Victor's jaw heads for his chest. 'You know about pinging?'

The kid's eyebrows knot like spaghetti. 'Who doesn't? Except maybe Mister Fiddler.''

'Look, who's  Mister Fiddler?'

'He's the Headmaster.'

 

NEXT MONTH: Victor goes to the Villa

 

 

 

Dains wins coveted award  

 

A key customer of Discus Systems, Dains Corporate Finance, was presented with the coveted 'Deal of the Year' award at this year's East Midlands Dealmakers awards dinner for acting as lead adviser on the investment in Nottingham-based  Trekmates, a manufacturer of outdoor clothing.

 

The dinner, promoted by Insider magazine, showcases and celebrates the outstanding achievements of the region's professional community.  The awards are voted on by accountants, lawyers, investors and bankers from across the Midlands region.

 

The winning deal, which was completed in early 2011, was led, structured and managed by Dains and saw Enterprise Ventures invest alongside debt facilities from Coop Bank as part of an £8.7m deal.  

 

The deal was declared by the judges to be 'the clear winner this year'.

 

 

 

 

Any old iron?

The original PC, the IBM 5150, was introduced to the world on August 12, 1981.

 

In June 1997, a mere 16 years later, a study titled Disposition and End-of-Life Options for Personal Computers predicted that nearly 150 million computers would be recycled by 2005, a goodly proportion ending their life in landfill.

 

Given the rate of change computer technology experiences, a huge number become obsolete each year. This growing number of end-of-life machines has become, and will continue to be, a disposal problem.

 

Thankfully, there is a solution.

 

Companies like Birmingham-based Environmental Computer Recycling and Removals Limited are dedicated to collecting  and recycling computers and other electronic devices.

 

Environmental's Glenn Wallin says, 'No longer can you simply throw an old PC or printer in a skip. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations mandate hazardous materials and components are removed from the equipment and separately treated, in accordance with prescribed standards and procedures. We ensure those standards and procedures are followed.'

 

 

 

 

Discus Systems announces 'Flying Start' 

Newly incorporated companies and those making an office move can take advantage of 'Flying Start', another of Discus Systems' innovative service offerings.

"Computerisation of a new office can present a challenge even to an established business," says Dayle Biddulph. "There are so many suppliers involved that it needs an experienced hand to project manage the installation. The last thing a company wants is to be a progress chaser. Having moved ourselves only last year, we know from experience how to handle a project in the most effective manner."

For further information please email us at u2us@discus.co.uk 

 

 

 

Discus Systems: About Us  

 

Discus Systems was founded in 1997 to meet the demand from small and medium-sized businesses in our local area for IT support and service. Originally based in Coleshill to the south-east of Birmingham, in 2010 we expanded beyond the capability of our offices and moved to prestigious new premises in Hampton in Arden, Solihull. From here, we are ideally located to solve computer problems for both new and existing customers in  Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth, Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bromsgrove and Redditch. 

 

The ethos of our company is based on the philosophy of Terry Biddulph, founder and Managing Director:  

"Many of our customers have been doing business with us for as long as I care to remember. They value our commercial flexibility, high quality day-to-day support, expert project delivery and well-considered strategic advice. What matters to them is the same as what matter to us; the provision of a responsive service for solving their computer problems that represents excellent value for money.

For small businesses that rely on the internet and information technology, the challenge is one of balancing competing interests. In a tough economy, 'a penny saved is a penny earned'. At Discus, we constantly look for ways to save our customers' money without compromising quality. A recent example is our hosted telephony service. By employing this we can guarantee a saving of 15% on their call charges, with an annual 30% saving on their telephone bill a possibility.

In order to do this we have to keep abreast of a rapidly changing technology, and use our experience and judgement of what is good and what is not. That is why people are happy to deal with us. They trust in the advice and guidance they receive. We are happy to do this as it brings benefits to both parties."  

Discus Systems provides a wide range of supporting services for IT, from installation, communications, networking, security, telephony, to onsite and remote support.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading June's issue of The Discus Diviner.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any comments or criticisms.

 

Sincerely,

 

Terry Biddulph

Managing Director

Discus Systems plc 

In This Issue

The IT Support Guy

Dains wins coveted award

Any old iron?

Discus Systems announces 'Flying Start'

Discus Systems: About Us

Damien's Tips 'n Tricks

The Hampton Joker

 

 

 

Quick Links

  

Back Issues:

  

  

  

 

Join Our Mailing List

 

Damien's Tips 'n Tricks 

Damian

How to secure your Blackberry

A) Press the "Blackberry Button"

B) Next go in to Options

C) Scroll down to Password

D) Select "disabled" and then click "enable"

E) Enter a password and then enter again to confirm it

F) Save... and it will be enabled

 

You're now a little more secure than you were yesterday!

 

The Hampton Joker 

 

 

The Joker:  My keyboard's not working anymore.

Tech support:  Are you sure it's plugged into the computer?

The Joker:  No. I can't get behind the computer.

Tech support:  Pick up your keyboard

and walk 10 paces back. 

The Joker:  OK.

Tech support:  Did the keyboard come with you?

 The Joker.:  Yes

Tech support:  That means the keyboard isn't plugged in.  Is there another keyboard?

The Joker:  Yes, there's another one here.  Ah . . . that one works . . .

   

******************  

 

The Joker: I'm having a problem with my printer.

Tech support: Are you running it under Windows?  

The Joker: No, my desk's next to the door, but that 's a good point. The chap  sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his printer is working fine.

   

 

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Discus Systems -  solving computer problems throughout the West Midlands,

covering Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth,

Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bromsgrove and Redditch.

 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 21st Jun 2011
It's a long time since Victor last set foot in a school. Memories of sweaty feet, bleach, and long echoing corridors flooded back the instant he crossed the threshold of Crow Lane Primary.
 
His company recently signed a contract to support the school's servers - quite a coup as it was in competition with the Local Education Authority. Apparently the headmaster didn't taken too kindly to the news that the LEA's IT support function was to be outsourced offshore.
The call came through first thing that morning, from the panicky school secretary. None of the computers could access the internet.
'What's that, mate?'
Victor turns round and looks into the face of a boy, blue eyes big as golf balls in the lenses of his black-framed spectacles. No higher than Victor's waist, the kid's gelled hair sticks out like Dennis the Menace.
'This?' Victor opens his hand, revealing the Blackberry.
'Yeah.'
'It's a phone.'
The kid's eyes narrow. 'No, it isn't. Phones don't look like that.'
'This one does.'
'Has it got a camera?'
'No.'
A smirk crosses the kid's face as he takes an iPhone 4 out of his pants pocket. 'Mine does. Five megapixels. Can yours do this?' He turns the phone in his hand and the image on it flips from portrait to landscape.
'No,' says Victor.
'That means it hasn't got a three-axis giro.' He leans closer to Victor. 'What are you doing?'
'Fixing your school's server - that's this big computer. There's a problem with the internet.'
'There's nothing wrong with the internet.'
'Excuse me?'
'It's Mister Fiddler. He changed the IP address of the gateway. I tried pinging it from my laptop but it wouldn't.'
Victor's jaw heads for his chest. 'You know about pinging?'
The kid's eyebrows knot like spaghetti. 'Who doesn't? Except maybe Mister Fiddler.''
'Look, who's Mister Fiddler?'
'He's the Headmaster.'
 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 21st Jun 2011
The internet's primary governing body today approved the expansion of new top-level domains - one of the most dramatic changes in the internet's history.
 
During a special meeting in Singapore, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) voted to dramatically increase the number of domain endings from the current 22, which includes the well-established .com, .net and .org. The move will allow domains to end in almost any word, allowing companies to turn their brands into internet extensions.
 
"Icann has opened the internet's naming system to unleash the global human imagination," Rod Beckstrom, president and chief executive officer of Icann, said in a statement. "Today's decision respects the rights of groups to create new top-level domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind."
 
Steven Musil
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 21st Jun 2011
Phishers posing as computer security experts are targeting individuals and businesses to steal money and install malicious software on their computers.
 
In a survey of 7,000 people, 15 per cent across the UK, US, Ireland and Canada reported receiving a call from scammers, Microsoft said on Thursday. Of these, 22 per cent had been deceived by the phishers and so lost money.
 
"The scam works by criminals posing as computer security engineers and calling people at home to tell them they are at risk of a computer security threat," Microsoft said. "The scammers tell their victims they are providing free security checks and add authenticity by claiming to represent legitimate companies and using telephone directories to refer to their victims by name."
 
Jack Clark
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Wed 15th Jun 2011

Tuesday 14 June 2011

We’re not sure this is worth 20 years of IT frustration, world tells Bill Gates

Bill Gates foundation

As the Bill Gates Foundation continued towards its stated aim of providing vaccinations for every child on the planet, computer users everywhere have admitted that even that might not be worth twenty years of tear-inducing computer frustration.

The Gates foundation has pledged $1 billion towards vaccinating the world’s children, raising the eyebrows of every Microsoft user on the planet.

Analysts have said that the billions extracted from computer users across the world could perhaps have been spent making products that didn’t fall over every ten bloody minutes.

Long time Microsoft user Dave Michaels told us, “I get it, I really do. He’s doing a really nice thing with all the money he’s made from people like me.”

“But then I think back to that time in 1998 when I missed my cousin’s wedding because Word crashed on a Friday afternoon, losing all my work, and I had to come in at the weekend to do it all again – and to be honest I’m not sure helping a few million kids stay alive is worth that.”

“There was a free bar.”

Gates Foundation

Another life-long Microsoft user told us, “I like kids as much as the next man, but remember that these are kids on the other side of the world, and Excel has been a pain in my arse for well over ten years – so I’m kinda torn on the subject.”

“It’s not even like he thanked us. He could have said ‘your computer died so this child could live’ – at least we might have understood that.”

“But I wouldn’t ask the opinion of anyone who paid cash money for Windows Vista, I think they’d happily see an entire continent full of corpses for the promise of never seeing the blue screen of death ever again.”

“I think the choice between a cheap product which works, but which leaves a few dead babies in its wake, and an expensive product that doesn’t work but saves a few kids along the way, would give the modern IT department several minutes of tough deliberation.”

“Well, at least until the latest budget cuts came along, anyway.”

 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Tue 14th Jun 2011
 
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