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  • More than half of the technology devices in use in organizations today are considered old and obsolete—a situation that has worsened significantly over the past five years, according to research from Dimension Data. The resulting "Network Barometer Report 2015" reveals that hardware failure—not surprisingly—is also on the rise. (What is surprising is that incidents attributed to human error are actually declining.) Throughout the seven-year history of the report, the average tolerance level among organizations for obsolete devices remained at about 10 percent. Once the level reached 11 percent or higher, leadership would start to refresh the devices. Apparently, that is no longer the case. "The conventional assumption was that an overall technology refresh was imminent," said Andre van Schalkwyk, consulting practice manager for Dimension Data's Networking Business Unit. "But our data shows that organizations are refreshing mostly obsolete devices and are clearly willing to sweat their aging devices for longer than expected." The report also includes insights about device troubleshooting and repair, security and IPv6 support, among other topics. The 2015 research was compiled from technology data gathered from more 350 technology life cycle management assessments, covering 70,000 discovered technology devices in 28 countries.

  • Innovations in technology that make autonomous cars possible also deliver advances in driving safety and comfort features that we can take advantage of today.

  • When it comes to Windows 10, anticipation abounds: Microsoft reports that this version of its operating system will directly align with today's cloud- and mobile-driven world. Plus, it will be Internet of things (IoT) friendly, while accommodating both large and small devices. That said, it may take some time before Windows 10 dominates the enterprise, as a considerable majority of IT professionals report that their company will wait at least six months before deploying this OS, according to a recent survey from Adaptiva. Barriers include app compatibility and time investment, time constraints and the need to retrain staff, findings reveal. When they're ready to make the transition, many organizations will depend primarily on tools such as System Center Configuration Manager and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) to do so, rather than using third-party systems management software, according to the survey. Until they make the switch, the companies will stick with systems such as Windows 7 and Windows 8. (Very few still run Windows XP, for which extended support ended in April.) More than 185 IT professionals and managers took part in the research, which was conducted at Microsoft Ignite 2015.

  • We need more people who are blazing a path to innovation and progress—and fewer who are serving up gadgets and gizmos that wind up in closets and landfills.

  • The popular toy manufacturer deployed an automated solution integrated with its CRM system to boost its marketing capabilities and build a better sales model.

  • The use of texting as a go-to business communications tool continues to grow, according to a recent survey from RingCentral. The majority of business professionals surveyed said they send at least 20 texts a day, and a notable share send 60 or more. Many employees can't stand to let an unanswered text linger for longer than 10 minutes, and most depend on multiple messaging apps to do their job, findings show. There are, of course, consequences as a result of this activity: Workers are feeling communications overload on at least an occasional basis—if not all the time. Meanwhile, a great many of the respondents admitted to texting while driving—a deadly practice to be avoided, as any highway safety expert will tell you. (If you need convincing, consider these stats: Texting increases the likelihood of a crash by 23 times, as drivers are distracted from looking at the road for at least five seconds per text. If traveling at 55 miles per hour, that's enough time to drive across the length of a football field.) Approximately 250 business professionals took part in the research.

  • Silicon Valley has realized that nothing beats the human touch. The industry is tired of waiting—or can't afford to wait—for algorithms to exceed human curation.

  • More than two out of five organizations plan to add new information security positions this year, according to industry research. Meanwhile, 28 percent of IT and information security employees think their companies have a "problematic" shortage of information security skills. The continuing demand is driving up salaries for cyber-security employees and managers, as the following list of top-paying IT security jobs from Dice demonstrates. With the latest "Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report" revealing that global organizations lost $400 million last year due to the compromise of 700 million records, companies are willing to pay well over six figures for staffers and managers who can protect their networks and data. Given that the cloud and mobility/bring-your-own-device (BYOD) practices further complicate the security environment, a wide range of well-paid engineers, officers and directors are needed to assemble an effective cyber-security team. "Both companies and professionals recognize that security plays a key role in a company's success, which is why we're seeing more demand for professionals with security skills," says Shravan Goli, president of Dice. "With that in mind, if companies and recruiters want to lure top security talent, they need to offer generous compensation packages and benefits." The list was based on research of more than 1,140 Dice job postings.

  • Business and IT executives are increasingly aware that there's more to shadow IT than hardware and devices. There's also shadow data. Spotting, tracking and controlling data is a growing challenge, and the failure to keep data in tow can have dire consequences. A recently released report, "Shadow Data," from cloud data security firm Elastica, indicates that the stakes are growing. It found that the average cost of a data breach in 2014 reached $5.9 million, and 45 percent of Americans have been affected by a data breach within the last year. At the center of the issue: risky data exposures resulting from sanctioned cloud services and apps. In many cases, these problems result from a lack of knowledge about the type of data that's uploaded and how it is used and shared. Services such as Box, Dropbox and Google Drive introduce new and different risks, while also raising new questions about data ownership. But not all software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps are created equal. "Even with enterprise-grade cloud apps, there remains a challenge in understanding the sensitive content users are storing within them, and how that content is being exposed—intentionally or unintentionally," points out Elastica CEO Rehan Jalil. The report offers a number of insights about shadow data and what impact it has on the enterprise.

  • One of the world's leading mapping services for businesses and consumers takes a direct route to better API management of a vast array of third-party services.

  • While defense-in-depth is a good concept for thinking about security, companies should focus on building a more resilient network to better protect their assets.

  • There's nothing like having a good book to read on a sunny (or rainy) summer day—especially if it helps you advance in your career. So, as is Baseline's tradition, we're presenting the following list of recommended summer book titles. They represent an eclectic selection of significant technology and business topics. One comes from the CEO of a top open-source company, who is promoting the value of organizational transparency. Another illustrates how "the Oracle Way" can help you manage virtually any work-based challenge and emerge as a respected leader. There's a guide about building a winning business case for your ideas, and a book about companies turning "green" practices (i.e., environmental initiatives) into "green" (as in revenue). We've even included a title that reveals how you can adapt Navy SEAL techniques to tackle business-world challenges, as authored by a legendary SEAL trainer. As always, publishing information about these titles is subject to change, so please contact the publishing company for release dates and other details.

  • A significant share of business professionals are frustrated by poor collaborative experiences, according to a recent survey from Projectplace. Duplicated efforts present a constant problem for workers, and the global nature of project teams often leads to a lack of access to some members. Such counterproductive dynamics result in a considerable amount of wasted time during the week, as well as projects being delivered past deadline and over budget, findings reveal. IT can help business professionals by acquiring all-in-one collaboration and project management tools that can provide all the functions of the many cloud-based products used today, enabling enterprises to centralize team efforts. "Everyone is a project manager these days," says Jason Morio, segment marketing manager for Projectplace, by Planview. "They are working on teams that are increasingly virtual and dispersed—both inside and outside organizations. This extended team dynamic makes it even more critical to know who's working on what, keep everyone on the same page, track progress and tasks, share documents, etc., but current tool sets are letting them down." More than 200 business professionals took part in the research.

  • Many companies don't benefit from big data because of the gap between those who manage the data and those who apply it. The solution is information governance.

  • Over the last decade, enterprise social media has evolved from an appealing concept to an absolute necessity. Businesses are investing in new tools, systems and frameworks for connecting employees, customers and business partners. According to social media security provider NexGate (a division of security firm Proofpoint), the average Fortune 100 company it studied in a social media analysis has more than 320 branded social accounts, with more than 200,000 followers and 1,500 employee participants. Yet, all this opportunity also introduces significant compliance risks. In the United States alone, the FTC, SEC, FCA, FFIEC, FINRA, FDA, ABA and others have updated existing regulations to include specific social media provisions. A new report from the company, "State of Social Media infrastructure, Part III," examines this topic in detail. Among the issues it addresses: the number and frequency of compliance incidents, where and how incidents originate, and what is required to build a framework that minimizes the risk of violations and problems. Following are some of the key findings from the report.