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  • Organizations are eager to increase their use of unified communications tools, even though most corporate executives confess that they're unclear about what "unified communications" actually means. While this may sound paradoxical, it represents one of the interesting findings in a recent survey from Evolve IP, which gives this definition of UC: "The concept of consolidating phone, email, fax, chat, video and collaboration into a single unified channel, either on a device or on a computer." Despite the lack of familiarity with the techno-lingo, survey participants reported that their companies are embracing UC tools, such as streaming video conferencing. The majority, in fact, said there's no real difference between talking to someone via video tools and having an in-person conversation. Findings also show that UC is having a notable impact on workplace culture, as organizations using UC solutions are far more accepting of telecommuting and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives than enterprises that aren't using these tools. As for what's stopping businesses from expanding their UC resources? The top barrier appears to be the inability to find the right systems for their employees. Nearly 975 IT professionals and executives took part in the research.

  • The Secure Domain Foundation, which has buy-in from prominent Internet firms, takes a multipronged approach to fighting criminal abuse in the domain industry.

  • It's encouraging that corporate leadership finally recognizes how much the IT organization can contribute to strategic objectives, but this increased visibility is putting pressure on the tech team, according to a recent McKinsey Global Survey report. Titled "IT Under Pressure," the report notes that corporate and business executives think IT needs to "up its game" by improving organizational business processes, cost efficiencies and decision making. Unfortunately, technology's ability to support these and other business goals is declining, according to survey participants. So, what's the solution? Among other initiatives, the IT budget must be reprioritized to better benefit business strategies. "More and more executives are acknowledging the strategic value of IT to their businesses beyond merely cutting costs," according to the report. However, they "are also homing in on the shortcomings many IT organizations suffer. Among the most substantial challenges are demonstrating effective leadership, and finding, developing and retaining IT talent." More than 800 global executives took part in the research, including professionals from both inside and outside the IT organization.

  • Cloud storage is always on since there’s no delay waiting for a robot or disks to spin back up. And data is automatically encrypted, replicated and protected.

  • Seventy-five percent of Americans do not take all of their allotted days off, and 15 percent of them didn't take any vacation time in the last 12 months.

  • Mobile device management enables the staff at the Australian National Audit Office to run BlackBerry apps and tools on any mobile device they bring to work.

  • A new wave of ransomware presents serious security risks to business and demonstrates growing sophistication among organized crime syndicates on the Internet.

  • When it comes to balancing their professional and personal duties, Millennial parents are more satisfied than those in other generations, according to a new survey from the Working Mother Research Institute. The research, which includes responses from both male and female professionals, examines a range of topics covering work and non-work issues, including job stability, stay-at-home parenting, earning power and employee engagement. It covers Baby Boomers (born 1946–1964), Generation X (1965–1980) and Millennials (1981–2000). Overall, Millennials express greater contentment on many of these factors. However, these young parents are having a more difficult time juggling today's flexible work culture—with non-traditional office hours and constant connectivity—in terms of meeting job expectations while also setting aside enough time for their children. There are "fascinating differences among the generations, with parents in each group having their own ideas about the best ways to manage career and family obligations," says Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media. "These are important differences that employers should note as they tailor work-life policies to benefit the widest range of working parents." More than 2,160 employed parents took part in the research.

  • The adoption of hosted private clouds is expanding worldwide, according to a recent survey conducted by 451 Research and sponsored by Microsoft. The accompanying report, "Hosting and Cloud Study 2014: Hosting and Cloud Go Mainstream," reveals that cloud migration is well under way, and a large percentage of overall IT applications and other resources will be maintained in the cloud within two years. Whether for Website operations, storage needs or business continuity, the "hosted private cloud is a gateway to hybrid cloud environments for many customers," says Marco Limena, Microsoft's vice president, worldwide hosting and cloud service providers business. "With this momentum continuing to build, it's clear that we've reached a tipping point in which most companies have moved beyond the discovery phase and are now moving forward with cloud deployments to deliver improved business results and capabilities." The majority of organizations are also willing to pay a premium for both security and superior customer support services, according to the report. More than 2,000 global IT professionals—primarily tech decision-makers—took part in the research.   

  • Considering the attention the NSA surveillance scandal has received, it's not surprising that many companies are reluctant to store sensitive data in the cloud.

  • What does it take for the IT organization to get its due from the business side of the company? As reported in a variety of survey-based content on Baseline, the tech department must emerge as an impact-making contributor to business objectives designed to help the company compete successfully. But a majority of business-side managers apparently "haven't gotten the memo," judging by results of a recent survey from Softchoice and VMware. Though IT leaders would like to spend more time on strategy and security, a majority of them think their line-of-business colleagues view them merely as gatekeepers and help desk support. As a result, IT managers can't spend as much time as they'd like working on strategic projects. The research also sheds light on the lack of progress enterprises have made when it comes to automation, virtualization and hybrid-cloud adoption. To address these and other issues that the survey addresses, IT departments could use more budgetary support, as well as a centralized approach to IT management. A total of 250 IT managers and 750 line-of-business managers took part in the research.

  • In 1991, industry experts called for the “inevitable” death of mainframe computers. Well, to paraphrase the famous Mark Twain quote, reports of the mainframe’s death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, on April 8th, IBM celebrated the 50th birthday of the System/360 with a celebration in New York. As part of the festivities, IBM introduced its first “Master the Mainframe World Championship” competition, an expansion of its nation-by-nation "Master the Mainframe" contests. It involved 44 students from 22 nations who created and presented their app inventions on mainframes, based on a challenge that focused on mobile banking. The current IBM System z mainframe continues to add new functions and products. Among them are the IBM Enterprise Cloud Server, which enables companies to build secure, reliable public and private clouds as part of a preconfigured, factory-built system using open standards. Given the historic significance of the System/360's 50-year milestone, we’re presenting the following 10 facts about the IBM mainframe and how it has changed the world.

  • IT is focusing on three areas in 2014: redefining IT's value to the enterprise, developing architecture and data analytics capabilities, and realigning talent.

  • These days, it's nearly impossible to open a newspaper or peruse a business or technology Website without reading about a serious security breach at a company, university or government agency. According to a new survey report from Turnkey Consulting, "A Risk Perspective on 2014" (see slides below), fraud and data loss are growing more prevalent. Unfortunately, a significant number of IT executives aren't responding to these threats with a focused and cohesive strategy. What's more, in many cases, there's a lack of automation and integration across infrastructure and databases. According to Turnkey, organizations must re-examine the way they view and approach digital security. They must revamp business processes and technology in order to minimize the risk of a serious breach, along with the fines, financial loss and reputational damage that comes with it. "Despite the increase in risk, the role of IT security in reducing it does not appear to be well-understood," says Richard Hunt, managing director of Turnkey Consulting. "Making IT security a priority on a day-to-day basis should be regarded as good business practice. … This enables organizations to move away from the traditional method of operating several disparate systems to manage risk … and instead adopt an end-to-end approach."

  • I'm about as techy as you can get, but I'm about ready to unplug everything and disconnect from the grid, thanks to the recent news about the Heartbleed bug.