Discus Systems PLC - IT Support Company in Birmingham West midlands
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 13th Jul 2011

 

 

 

The Discus Diviner

July 2011 

 

Welcome to the July edition of The Discus Diviner.

 

This month, we're giving you the chance to win a Kindle 3G. 

 

"Kindle is Amazon.com's No.1 bestselling item for two years running. It's the most-wished-for, most-gifted and has the most 5-star reviews of any product on Amazon.com."

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is to click here and complete a short survey.

 

The IT Support Guy finds himself at Villa Park (he's a Blues fan)  and David will answer a question we are often asked, 'Where are the Sage company files on Windows XP/2000/Vista/7?'   

 

 

 

The IT Support Guy

  

This is one call Victor doesn't fancy making, but he has no choice in the matter. Derek is off ill, his arm in plaster after armwrestling his twelve-year old daughter.

 

He looks up at the imposing brown brick facade of Villa Park and his sphincter twitches. This is it. The home of the enemy. He drags his feet up two flights of steps from Witton Road, turns right and climbs three more flights to where a security man waits, head like a block of granite on a body the size of Star City.  

'You the computer bloke?' growls The Hulk.

Victor nods.

'Follow me.' The Hulk turns and squeezes through the building's double doors.

This isn't the first time Victor has been here. The last time was four seasons ago, when Villa gave the Blues a right drubbing  (5-1). He won't ever forget that match. A minor disagreement with a Villa fan in a curry house ended with a rolled chapatti up Victor's nostril and a Lamb Tikka Shashlik Massalla inside his shirt.

'In 'ere.' The Hulk stops beside a door marked IT Department and scowls at him.

As Victor edges past him he feels the weight of a small boulder on his shoulder. 'You a Villa fan?'

Victor gulps, sweat bubbles on his forehead. 'Course.'

An overpowering smell of halitosis makes Victor's eyes water as the giant brings his face to within inches of his.

'Baggies man, meself.' He grins, teeth like  tombstones in a ghost town and then winks. 'Might meet you again sometime.'

 

It's the fastest migration to a Blackberry Enterprise server that Victor has ever done.

Head down, he scuttles down the steps and across Witton Road. Glancing up at Villa Park, he sees the security man watching him from the top of the steps.

The Hulk smiles, waggles his fingers in goodbye, and then blows him a kiss.

 

NEXT MONTH: Victor goes VOIP

 

 

 

 

Bigwood Merger 

  

Discus customer Bigwood, which has a 160-year Birmingham heritage, has merged with Curry & Partners, another Birmingham firm of chartered surveyors and property management consultants, to create what is believed to be the largest independent agency in the Midlands.

 

The new business will be known as CP Bigwood and the merger has created an £8 million fee income business with 125 staff.

 

 

 

 

Sage company files on Windows XP/2000/Vista/7

 

The default data paths have changed in Sage 2008 and 2009. They are now set depending on the OS.

In pre Sage 2008 versions, the Company file was in the Sage Program Folder. The actual data would be in a subfolder of the Program Folder i.e.

C:\Program Files\Sage 2007\Accounts

Post Sage 2008 locations;

Sage 2008 company file 

  • Windows XP Sage 2008 Company File Location > C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sage\Accounts\2008\ (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows Vista Sage 2008 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2008 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows 7 Sage 2008 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2008 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"  

Sage 2009 company file

  • Windows XP Sage 2009 Company File Location > C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sage\Accounts\2009\ (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows Vista Sage 2009 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2009 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows 7 Sage 2009 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2009 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders" 

Sage 2010 company file

  • Windows XP Sage 2010 Company File Location > C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sage\Accounts\2010\ (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows Vista Sage 2010 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2010 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows 7 Sage 2010 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2010 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders" 

Sage 2011 company file

  • Windows XP Sage 2011 Company File Location > C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Sage\Accounts\2011\ (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders" 
  • Windows Vista Sage 2011 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2011 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"
  • Windows 7 Sage 2011 Company File Location > C:\ProgramData\Sage\Accounts\2011 (Note this folder is hidden (application data) by default in Windows... Go to Tools>Folder Options> View > Hidden Files & Folders > "Show hidden files and folders"

Sage uses a COMPANY file with no file extensions to reference data paths for your sage folders e.g. G:\COMPANY.001

 

 

 

6th October 2011: An Historic Date for the Legal Profession? 

On that date, the first alternative business structures (ABS) will be able to open for business in the legal services marketplace in England and Wales. For the first time, non-lawyers will be able to fully own and invest in law firms.

Consumers should benefit through increased competition, new services and the integration of the delivery of legal services with other related services.

But will solicitors?

In a profession where time has a direct relationship to income, consumers will look to scrutinize the costs they are being charged. Cost pressures will drive firms and, for the first time, many will need to market and promote themselves.

All very well. But what has this to do with Discus?

 

Discus has long had  relationships with solicitors in the Birmingham area and we thought about how we might assist our existing and potential legal customers to face their new challenges.

 Two things struck us:

1. How could solicitors easily prove time spent on the phone, if asked?

2. How could they dramatically reduce their annual telephony costs?

By utilising Discus System's hosted IP telephony that's how!

For further information email u2us@discus.co.uk  or for an informal discussion contact Terry or Martyn on 0800 880 3360

 

 

 

Discus Systems: 'Flying Start'  

  

Moving office? Newly incorporated? Expanding premises? Keen to minimise capital expenditure?

 

Why not take advantage of Flying  Start, another of Discus Systems' innovative service offerings?  Flying  Start can be delivered in a number of ways depending on customer requirements, ranging from an entirely hosted service to an entirely on-site installation.

 

Flying Start elements are:

 Communications:

Cabling

Cabinet

Ethernet switch

ADSL

Router

Firewall

 

Telephony:

VOIP phones

Mobiles

 

Hardware

Server

PCs

Printer

 

Software

MS Small Business Server

MS Office

Spam filter

Anti virus/malware

 

The customer only needs to select those elemets he requires and specify how he wants the service to be delivered. 

 

One stop shopping, one supplier to deal with.

 

For further information email u2us@discus.co.uk  or for an informal discussion contact Terry or Martyn on 0800 880 3360

  

 

 

 

 

Thank you for reading July'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

Bigwood merges with Curry & Partners

Sage company files on Windows XP/2000/Vista/7

6th October 2011: An Historic Date for the Legal Profession

Moving office? Newly incorporated? Expanding premises?

Damien's Tips 'n Tricks

The Hampton Joker

 

 

 

Quick Links

  

Back Issues:

  

  

  

 

 

Damien's Tips 'n Tricks 

Keyboard Tricks in MS Word:  

1. Remove all those hyperlinks

Instead of removing hyperlinks one by one, you can try this method, which only consist of two steps, but will remove all hyper links in one go.

Press Ctrl+A, which will highlight the entire text

Then Press Ctrl+Shift+F9 (or Ctrl+6), and you will see all links disappearing within seconds!

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2. Get back to where you were

 For the times when you don't remember exactly where you left off, the Shift+F5 combination will save you quite a bit of time. Hit both keys at the same time (as with all the combinations mentioned in these tips) and Word will automatically place your cursor where you last left off.

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3. Switch between text case: Highlight a portion of text and use the Shift+F3 combination to switch between text case. Word will toggle through sentence case, upper case, and lower case.

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4. Switch to small caps: Use Control+Shift+K to switch highlighted text to small caps.

*******************

 

The Hampton Joker 

The Joker: "I'm looking at the back of the system, and I don't know where to plug in the mouse. There are two holes that are the same size as the mouse."
Tech Support: "Ok, what color is the tip of the mouse plug?"
The Joker: "Orange."
Tech Support: "Do you see the orange 'hole' on the back of the computer?"

The Joker: "Yes."
Tech Support: "That is where the mouse plugs into."

The Joker: "Oh. How about the keyboard?"

Tech Support: "What color is the plug on the keyboard?" 

The Joker: "Purple."
Tech Support: "And do you see the purple 'hole' on the back of the computer?"

The Joker: "Yes."
Tech Support: "That is where the keyboard plugs in. The tips are color coded."
The Joker: "I see. How about the speakers?"

 

 ***************** 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discus Systems -  solving computer problems throughout the West Midlands,

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

Wolverhampton, Dudley, Bromsgrove and Redditch.

 

 

This email was sent to pchiswick@discus.co.uk by terry@discus.co.uk |  

Discus Systems plc | Patrick Farm Barns | Solihull | B92 0LT | United Kingdom



Discus Systems plc

Check out our new website! - http://www.discus.co.uk

Tel +44 (0)845 4 300 366 Fax +44 (0)845 4 300 368

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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 13th Jul 2011
This is one call Victor doesn't fancy making, but he has no choice in the matter. Derek is off ill, his arm in plaster after armwrestling his twelve-year old daughter.
 
He looks up at the imposing brown brick facade of Villa Park and his sphincter twitches. This is it. The home of the enemy. He drags his feet up two flights of steps from Witton Road, turns right and climbs three more flights to where a security man waits, head like a block of granite on a body the size of Star City.
'You the computer bloke?' growls The Hulk.
Victor nods.
'Follow me.' The Hulk turns and squeezes through the building's double doors.
This isn't the first time Victor has been here. The last time was four seasons ago, when Villa gave the Blues a right drubbing (5-1). He won't ever forget that match. A minor disagreement with a Villa fan in a curry house ended with a rolled chapatti up Victor's nostril and a Lamb Tikka Shashlik Massalla inside his shirt.
'In 'ere.' The Hulk stops beside a door marked IT Department and scowls at him.
As Victor edges past him he feels the weight of a small boulder on his shoulder. 'You a Villa fan?'
Victor gulps, sweat bubbles on his forehead. 'Course.'
An overpowering smell of halitosis makes Victor's eyes water as the giant brings his face to within inches of his.
'Baggies man, meself.' He grins, teeth like tombstones in a ghost town and then winks. 'Might meet you again sometime.'
 
It's the fastest migration to a Blackberry Enterprise server that Victor has ever done.
Head down, he scuttles down the steps and across Witton Road. Glancing up at Villa Park, he sees the security man watching him from the top of the steps.
The Hulk smiles, waggles his fingers in goodbye, and then blows him a kiss.
 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 12th Jul 2011
Three men have been jailed for luring British and Irish bank customers into a phishing scam that police believe netted more than £3m for a criminal gang.
 
Vincent Alonge, Babatunde Fafore and Ayodeji John Kareem received sentences at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday for masterminding and carrying out the phishing operation, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and other charges.
 
"It's the first prosecution in the UK of a very detailed, organised phishing operation," Charlie McMurdie, the head of the Metropolitan Police's Central eCrime Unit (PCeU), told ZDNet UK. "It was an end-to-end job."
 
Normally in the black internet economy, criminals specialise in a certain part of an operation. For example, they may focus on the harvesting of sensitive details, which they then sell on to other criminals, rather than using the data to directly commit fraud. However, Kareem, Fafore and Alonge were involved in an operation that included all stages of a fraud.
 
They were part of a criminal network that systematically harvested online bank account details, credit and debit card numbers, and other data. The gang sent out email spam to lure bank customers to fake bank websites, where the victims were tricked into handing over their personal information.
 
The gang then used this information to carry out financial fraud, such as unauthorised bank transfers and credit card transactions. Around 10,000 credit cards and 900 bank accounts were compromised, according to McMurdie.
 
"This was a sophisticated, concerted attack on UK and international banking systems," she said.
The three men successfully used over 1,400 compromised credit cards to steal money, and the police have traced over £570,000 in provable losses, the PCeU said in a statement on Monday. However, the PCeU estimates that total losses from the stolen credit cards add up to more than £3.1m.
 
The trial followed the arrest in August of six people in the UK and Ireland, as part of raids arising from Operation Dynamophone. The PCeU worked with the Irish Garda Síochána Fraud Investigation Bureau on the investigation. The other three people detained were released.
 
Police traced the three scammers through their bogus emails and websites, according to Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer David Levy.
 
"These men profited enormously by taking advantage of the trust that many of us would place in an internet service that appeared genuine, but their enjoyment of their ill-gotten gains was short-lived," Levy said in the PCeU statement. "The bogus emails and websites that led victims into the scam also led the authorities to the scammers."
 
Kareem pleaded guilty on 12 May at Southwark Crown Court to one count of conspiracy to defraud, and one count of conspiracy to acquire and use criminal property. He was given one prison sentence of five years, five months, and another of three-and-a-half years, to run concurrently.
 
Farfore received concurrent prison terms of five years, seven months and four years, after pleading guilty to the same crimes as Kareem on 20 April at Southwark Crown Court.
 
Alonge pleaded guilty to having "articles for use in fraud", and was sentenced to two years in prison. Alonge received a concurrent sentence of six months for having false identity papers.
 
Tom Espiner
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 12th Jul 2011
Cisco Systems is expected to cut as many as 5,000 jobs in August, at least according to market research firm Gleacher & Co.
 
In a research note 11 July, Gleacher analyst Brian Marshall said the job cuts could rival the 8,000 layoffs that Cisco initiated in 2001, soon after the Internet market crash. In this case, the 5,000 job cuts to the company’s 73,000-strong workforce would be painful but necessary, Marshall said, saving Cisco about $1 billion (£626m) annually.
 
They also would mark only one of several steps the analyst said Cisco has to make to ease Wall Street concerns.
 
Necessary Action
“While this is a difficult decision to make, in our view, it is required in order to maintain the ‘competitiveness’ of [Cisco] going forward,” Marshall wrote in his research note.
 
His message comes after Cisco, which has been hampered by several quarters of disappointing financial numbers, looks for ways to improve the company’s operations. The company restructured its consumer business in April, including closing its profitable Flip personal video camera business.
 
In May, Cisco streamlined its management, sales and services units, a move to help it more easily focus on five IT areas – routing and switching, collaboration, data centre virtualisation and cloud, video, and what officials are calling architectures for business transformation. Cisco also reduced the number of management councils from nine to three.
A week later, during a conference call to announce quarterly financial earnings, Chairman and CEO John Chambers warned of layoffs as the company looked to cut $1 billion in operating expenses this year.
Days after Chambers’ talk, analysts were predicting significant cuts of 4,000 or more.
 
Marshall’s research note also was released as Cisco Live, the company’s major customer and partner event, gets underway in Las Vegas. The Gleacher analyst said he expects “significant news flow this week,” adding that he was focusing on Chambers’ keynote 12 July and other keynotes.
 
Plus Points
Despite Cisco’s recent disappointing financial numbers, the vendor has some significant factors working in its favour, according to Marshall. The company has a strong valuation, and it still holds about 70 percent of the core routing and switching market, a maturing sector that doesn’t offer Cisco much room for growth. However, some other business areas that Cisco is looking to grow – from video communications to data centre infrastructure – represent strong growth areas.
 
He also noted Cisco’s Vblock data-center-in-a-box offering, which includes not only Cisco’s infrastructure products, but also EMC’s storage and security technologies and VMware’s vSphere virtualisation management and services offerings. Marshall called it Cisco’s “ace in the hole,” adding that it seems to be gaining traction in the market.
 
“Although early in its lifecycle (e.g., Vblocks started shipping at the start of 2010), the ramp has been impressive thus far with partner management (e.g., EMC) recently commenting that Vblock has a $1.0+ billion pipeline with over 120 partners,” Marshall wrote.
 
However, there are ongoing concerns, he said. Marshall said that Cisco is seeing increasing competition in its core routing and switching business, not only from large competitors such as Hewlett-Packard, but also from the likes of Juniper Networks, Riverbed Technology, Brocade and Force Five, a scenario that he described as “chimpanzees … attacking the gorilla.”
 
Jeffrey Burt
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 12th Jul 2011
All retail banking customers ringing Santander will have their queries dealt with by UK workers after the bank decided to stop using two Indian call centres.
  
Santander is to stop using Indian call centres in a bid to improve customer services
According to Santander, the decision was taken to use UK rather than Indian call centres after customers experienced "frustration leading to dissatisfaction".
 
Retail banking calls will now be handled by 500 staff based in Glasgow, Leicester and Liverpool, bringing the number of UK-based call centre staff used by the financial services group to 2,500.
 
Ana Botín, CEO of Santander UK, said the decision was taken to improve customer services.
 
"Our customers tell us they prefer our call centres to be in the UK and not offshore. We have listened to the feedback and have acted by re-establishing our call centres back here," she said in a statement.
 
The offshore call centres were used by the bank Abbey from 2003, and transferred over to Santander following the Spanish financial services group's acquisition of Abbey in 2004.
 
According to John O'Brien, research director at analyst house TechMarketView, there are three reasons why the move would have appealed to Santander.
 
"Firstly, the average wage for a call centre worker in a lower cost region in the UK is now 'almost parity' with those seen in India. Secondly, offshoring call centres has often resulted in reduced customer service quality, and latterly increased customer attrition as other providers now offer UK-only call centres. This has become a real differentiator in the UK retail banking and mobile telecoms sector.
 
"Thirdly, and as important in the current economic climate, it is very good PR to be investing in the UK economy at a time of real economic hardship and high unemployment. To be seen to be putting something back in, rather than to be taking something out is likely to be a strong selling point for a brand," he said in a research note.
 
Business process outsourcing grew 14 per cent year on year in the last financial year according to Indian IT trade body Nasscom, with banking, financial services and insurance among the largest users of Indian BPO services.
 
Jo Best
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Tue 5th Jul 2011
The Korean government plans to digitise all school textbooks by 2015, and have students of all ages access "education content" via smartphones, tablet PCs and smart televisions.
 
The Korean Education Ministry has set the bold timetable to accelerate "smart learning", it announced last week.
 
The ministry plans to digitise all subjects for elementary school students by 2014, and all subjects for middle and high school students by 2015.
 
In addition to the content of paper textbooks, supplementary materials and two-way study methods will be included in the digital textbooks.
 
The government will increase online classes in 2013 for three years to allow for distance learning for students in remote areas and those who are ill, unwell, or otherwise unable to travel.
 
Using IPTV, the ministry is also encouraging students to also take a "University-Level Program", where high school students can take college-level courses that include foreign language study.
 
Around 25 per cent of teachers are set to receive dedicated "digital" training in how handle devices for the "smart education" programme.
 
The ministry also said it plans to hold nationwide academic tests online
 
Natalie Apostolou
 
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Posted by Damien Biddulph on Mon 4th Jul 2011
With only hours left before his flight home to the US from Germany, businessman John Mueller suddenly realised something was wrong - very wrong.
 
 
 
He couldn't find his phone.
 
And for a global sales manager of a big biotechnology company, Life-Tech, losing his Blackberry was more than just getting disconnected from a few friends.
 
"I use the same phone for both business and for personal calls," says Mr Mueller, remembering that day.
 
"It stores my most valuable contact information, ranging from my wife and children to my boss and top customers, to keep up-to-date and in touch.
 
"In the world of airline travel today, we find ourselves running to and from airport gates often with little time to pull out our laptops, so the phone is becoming increasingly important."
 
"The fear of having no phone while travelling home, no communication tool for work, and having to report the phone to my manager and IT department as missing was too great to just accept that it was lost."
 
With little time left, he remembered he had downloaded an application called Lookout mobile security that promised to retrieve the phone if it went missing.
 
Developed by a California-based mobile security company, the software also guaranteed protection from viruses and hackers, and remote wiping of all data in case of theft or loss.
 
"I was not hopeful it would work but was willing to try anything, so I logged on with my laptop and pressed the 'find phone' button.
 
"It started with a map of the US, and within a minute I had an icon of my phone on a map of some German street names, in an area around my hotel."
 
Mr Mueller jumped into a cab, reached the place shown on the map and even convinced the German-speaking driver to help him explain why he was suddenly knocking on people's doors.
 
The second person to open their door was a manager of a taxi company - and everything cabbies found, they brought to him.
 
He gave Mr Mueller his phone back.
 
 
Increased productivity
 
 
Mr Mueller and his company were lucky - but a huge number of companies around the globe are just starting to learn how to deal with the multitude of mobile devices permeating today's corporate walls.
 
Lookout is just one of a growing number of third-party services that try to solve the security risks posed by mobiles.
 
As well as apps that keep an eye on where the phone is, there are programs that try to spot malicious applications and ones that encrypt conversations to thwart eavesdropping.
 
If before it used to be only Blackberries given to a select few, now anyone may show up with a handset running iOS, Android, or any other advanced operating system.
 
And it is up to the IT department to deal with them - and to figure out a solution in case they are lost, stolen or hacked.
 
Consumer handsets, ranging from all types of smartphones to tablets and e-readers, have become essential work tools, successfully bridging our personal and business lives.
 
According to Forrester Research more than 33% of enterprises now support multiple mobile operating systems.
 
Such consumerisation of IT can be highly beneficial to businesses, which may find it cheaper to let employees use their own devices for work purposes instead of having to supply them with corporate laptops.
 
It can also increase productivity, with overzealous workers finishing reports on their iPhones while on a train home, or frantically putting a PowerPoint presentation together on a tablet while waiting to board a flight to the next conference.
 
But there are risks.
 
In these early days of our digital and increasingly mobile world, smart hand-held devices may inadvertently open corporate gates and invite criminals in.
 
Many executives still struggle to properly control or even acknowledge the threats this myriad of new devices poses.
 
 
Dangers
 
 
A recent conference on mobile security in London held by Sophos, a UK-based global security software developer, was an example of this.
 
The room was full of corporate bosses and IT people, eager to learn more about securing their workers' sleek electronic companions.
 
"Many don't apply the same scrutiny to their mobile devices as to their PC," said Sophos security expert James Lyne.
 
"I suspect mainly because they've learned through experience that they can get in trouble on the PC, while the mobile device seems eminently safe."
 
But in reality, it is far from safe - and cyber-criminals are starting to pay more and more attention to handsets.
 
Just like your desktop PC, smartphone operating systems are prone to hacks - and neither Apple's iOS nor Google's Android can guarantee you absolute protection.
 
According to information technology research company Gartner, if one were to rank a Blackberry, an iPhone and an Android in terms of enterprise security worthiness, Blackberry would be in the lead, followed by iOS, and Android lagging behind.
 
Downloading a malicious application is always a risk - and while Apple's Appstore has all its software carefully reviewed, in the case of Android, anybody can submit an application.
 
Security software company Symantec wrote in its recent report that criminals can target your handset both through the web - by getting you to click on a malicious link or download an app containing a virus, for instance, - or through a network the mobile is using.
 
They can even set up a malicious wi-fi hotspot, lure you in and get access to your data.
 
Also, whenever you synchronise your phone with your home desktop computer or cloud services like forwarding your corporate e-mail to your Gmail account, you expose sensitive work information to systems your company's IT department has no control over.
 
Finally, criminals can just steal your smartphone - and since mobiles and tablets are so frequently on the move and are much smaller and lighter than laptops, they are also much easier to steal and conceal.
 
 
Hope dies last
 
 
While there are companies that take steps towards securing mobile devices entering and exiting their premises, some businesses simply hope for the best.
 
An executive from a Moscow-based firm who did not want to be named, told BBC News that at his company, it all comes down to a personal sense of responsibility.
 
"Only senior officials are allowed to access corporate data with their hand-held devices, and we just hope that they will be vigilant enough not to forget them anywhere and not to download any suspicious applications," he said.
 
But sometimes, hope is just not enough.
 
At a Belarusian company Pixel Electronics, which helps the development of small businesses, all 50 employees have a smartphone - from truck drivers to management.
 
"Data security is a big issue for us - and still, our company's lawyer loses her iPhone every month - I don't know how she does it, but she does it," said boss Andrei Simonovich.
 
"So every time, our system administrator just blocks all access from her phone to any corporate applications and documents."
 
Mr Simonovich said last summer, his company had decided to embrace the mobile technology, as it was cheaper than giving out corporate laptops.
 
But everyone who brings in his or her personal device has to get it registered with the company's IT department first, get a pass code and have anti-virus software installed.
 
This way, Mr Simonovich said, they try to keep "the bad guys" at bay - and their data safe and secure, even if some workers recklessly and constantly misplace their sleek shiny gadgets.
 
 
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 29th Jun 2011
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is stepping away from his day-to-day duties at Twitter .
 
Stone announced on his blog Tuesday afternoon that he is "getting out of the way" at Twitter and making better use of his time by teaming up again with another Twitter co-founder, Evan Williams, along with former Twitter product chief Jason Goldman to restart the Obvious Corp., which helped to kick start Twitter.
 
Obvious Corp. will focus on developing new projects.
 
Stone added that he will continue on part-time at Twitter, but will also focus a good part of his time helping schools, non-profits, and company advisory boards, as well as working on The Biz and Livia Stone Foundation.
 
"My work on Twitter has spanned more than half a decade and I will continue to work with the company for many years to come," Stone wrote. "During this time, especially lately, it has come to my attention that the Twitter crew and its leadership team have grown incredibly productive. I've decided that the most effective use of my time is to get out of the way until I'm called upon to be of some specific use."
 
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo will remain at Twitter's helm.
 
This isn't the first management switch at Twitter. Just last October, Williams stepped down as the company's CEO, making room for Costolo, who had been Twitter's COO, to take over as the company's top executive. Williams was reported to be focusing his efforts on "product strategy."
 
With Costolo -- known as a tech entrepreneur and overall business type -- in charge, the company recently swooped in and acquired TweetDeck . The move successfully undermined a deal that Twitter-rival UberMedia was trying to work out to acquire TweetDeck itself.
 
This past May, Twitter's Chief Technology Officer, Greg Pass, stepped down from his executive position and left the company, as well.
 
Twitter spokeswoman Carolyn Penner did not give any reason for Pass' departure at the time, but said they were not looking to fill the now empty position.
 
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .
 
Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.
 
Sharon Gaudin
 
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Posted by Graham Keen on Wed 29th Jun 2011
Microsoft today announced the general availability of Office 365, the cloud version of its Office productivity suite and its most significant software-as-a-service push to date.
 
Office 365, which has been available in beta form since October 2010, combines Office Web Apps – Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word – with web-based versions of email platform Exchange, SharePoint and Lync, which were previously part of the Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).
 
As well as bringing BPOS and Office Web Apps together, Office 365 replaces Office Communications Online and Office Live Meeting with Lync.
 
More than 200,000 organisations have downloaded the beta version of Office 365, according to Microsoft.
 
For businesses wanting to give Office 365 a try, the cloud suite is available on a 30-day free trial period, after which users will need to pay a subscription.
 
Microsoft today unveiled several versions of Office 365 variously tailored to small businesses, enterprises and 'kiosk' workers.
 
The small business version (P1) is aimed at businesses with up to 50 users and is priced at £4 per user per month.
 
The SME version includes Exchange, SharePoint and Lync as well as Office Web Apps but lacks some functionality such as the ability to publish certain documents (Visio, spreadsheets and forms) in SharePoint.
 
Microsoft has also released four flavours of the enterprise version, from E1 to E4. E1 includes Exchange, SharePoint and Lync while E2 adds the online Office apps. E3 adds licences for client-based versions of the Office applications while E4 adds PBX functionality to Lync to allow users to call people on mobile and landline phone connections as well as their contacts on the IP-based Lync.
 
The most basic E1 is priced at £6.50 per user per month. E2 costs £10.50 per user per month, E3 is £15.75 and E4 £17.75.
 
The kiosk version of Office 365 is intended for employees who only need access to basic email (Exchange), SharePoint and Office applications. There are two versions: K1 offers the basic Exchange and SharePoint for £2.60 per user per month while K2 adds the Office applications for £6.50. Despite not including the Office applications, K1 allows users to open Office documents hosted within SharePoint.
 
Microsoft intends to sell the kiosk version in conjunction with enterprise implementations of Office 365 so IT departments can manage the different applications using the same policies.
 
With cloud-based technology often causing concern around regulations on where data is held, Microsoft UK MD Gordon Frazer said that Microsoft will comply with regional regulations although it can't guarantee data won't be moved between regions.
 
"One of the things we're trying to do is be very transparent about where data is held. Customers will be able to see where their data is being stored. If data is going to be moved offshore we'll make sure we let our customers know about it," he told the Office 365 launch event in London on Tuesday.
 
Tim Ferguson
 
 
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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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