Archive for January, 2020

EU Decides To Standardize Connectors….. Why This Is Bad For You

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 31, 2020 by itnerd

Yesterday, EU lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor for new rules to establish a common charger for all mobile device makers across Europe. Reuters has the details on that:

Members of the European Parliament voted by 582-40 for a resolution urging the European Commission, which drafts EU laws, to ensure that EU consumers are no longer obliged to buy new chargers with each new device.

The resolution said voluntary agreements in the industry had significantly reduced the number of charger types, but had not resulted in one common standard.

Here’s why this is bad. Politicians have a horrible track record of coming up with standards when it comes to technology. While European politicians are better than most, they still get it wrong more often than they get it right. Why is this the case? They don’t understand the technology that they are regulating for starters. And if you don’t understand something, you’ll screw up trying to regulate the something in question. And technology is constantly evolving. So while the standard of the moment seems to be USB-C, that will only last so long before something better evolves and we’ll be back to having multiple chargers again. And in a few years we’ll be having this discussion again. Thus this is going to be never ending. Finally, there are things that are simply not going to fit into whatever bucket that these politicians are creating. For example, the Apple Watch uses a magnetic charging puck. Are EU politicians going to now say that it has to change to USB-C? If they do, then they’re really short sighted.

For those reasons, politicians in the EU should really not get involved in this. Now I like a lot of people would like to have less cables for the various devices that I own, but this is not how you accomplish that.

What The ‘Selfie Generation’ Actually Wants In The Workplace

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 30, 2020 by itnerd

The youngest generation, often perceived as self-centered, entitled and tech-obsessed, are entering the workforce and bringing more value than stereotypes suggest. A new survey commissioned by ServiceNow Canada, the company that makes work, work better for people, explored expectations Gen Zs have of the workforce and busted several myths we think we know about how this generation experiences life at work.

Results from the Gen Z and the Future of Work in Canada study—which polled over 1,500 Canadian employees—revealed that Gen Z attitudes about workplace technology, preferred forms of communication and the value these employees bring to the workforce are not what you expect them to be. Turns out Gen Zs are actually quite similar to older generations – valuing face-to-face interactions and job security.

As the workforce embraces digital technology, Gen Zs crave more traditional forms of communication

After growing up connected 24/7, Gen Zs value the importance of in-person interactions at work, far more than we might assume.

  • Three in five (58%) Gen Zs prefer to communicate with their manager in person, while only one in three (36%) prefer to communicate by text and one in four (26%) prefer instant message (IM).
  • Contrastingly, older generations assume Gen Zs prefer to communicate by text (62%) and by IM (47%). Only 17% assume Gen Z prefers in-person communication.

Gen Zs are more than self-absorbed social media experts

When it comes to the value Gen Zs bring to the workforce, older generations don’t see the opportunities—beyond learning how to use digital and social platforms.

  • Gen Z feels they can teach older colleagues open-mindedness (53%), creative problem solving (45%) and how to have fun at work (44%).
  • However, less than one third of respondents in older generations think they can learn these things from Gen Zs (32%, 29% and 29% respectively).
    • 46% believe they can learn how to use digital/social platforms—far more than any other skill.
  • Close to half of Gen Z survey respondents say the biggest misconceptions older generations have is that they’re self-absorbed (49%), have a short attention span (48%) and are entitled (44%).

Unlike their millennial counterparts, Gen Z does not want to job hop—84% would prefer to have a long and established career at one workplace. However, there’s willingness to leave quickly due to unhappiness (85%) or career advancement (83%).

Gen Zs want practical workplace technology

With a third of our lives spent at work, Gen Zs are eager for technology to help simplify their work lives and recognize that technology can play a more significant role in the workplace. In fact, 74% of Gen Z respondents say that technology at work should be as easy as it is at home.

Having grown up with smartphones in hand, Gen Z employees want to use mobile-optimized technology at work, far more than they are currently doing so.

  • 62% want to use mobile technology for communication and 55% for collaboration, but only 50% have used it for communication and only 44% have for collaboration.
  • Despite being digital natives, Gen Z isn’t looking for futuristic technology at work. Only one in five are looking to use artificial or virtual reality (AR and VR) (22%), hold holographic meetings (22%) or use drones at work (20%). 

Survey Methodology

The online survey was facilitated by The Logit Group. The study was in field between October 17-29, 2019, and surveyed n=1,851 Canadians. The term Gen Z refers to Canadians ages 18-24, Millennials refers to Canadians ages 25-34 years old, Gen X refers to Canadians ages 35-54 years old, and Boomers refers to Canadians ages 55+. To qualify at the time of the survey, participants must have been an intern, past intern, full-time, or part-time employee in an office setting where computers, laptops, phones, and/or tablets are regularly used. They also must have been working in companies with 500 or more employees.

For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error* (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.3%. The results have been statistically weighted according to region and age data to ensure a sample representative of the population of Canadians working in an office setting of companies with 500+ employees. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

 

US To UK: Think Again About Letting Huawei Have Access To Your 5G Network

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 30, 2020 by itnerd

US Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo paid a visit to London today. And according to The Guardian he had this message for the UK:

The depth of American opposition to the UK granting the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei access to its 5G network has been underlined as the US secretary of state said the Chinese Communist party represented the central threat of our times, and had front-door access to Huawei systems.

He said the US would try to work through its differences with the UK decision announced this week but stressed the US would never permit its national security information to go across networks in which it did not have confidence.

Clearly this decision by the UK to sort of let Huawei into their 5G network has rattled the US. But not enough to cut the UK off from intel just yet:

Asked if the US would reduce intelligence sharing with the UK due to the Huawei access to the UK network, Pompeo said: “We will never permit American international security information to go across a network that we don’t have trust and confidence in.

“That’s the standard, whether it is a Microsoft system, it is the same whether it is a Ericsson, a Nokia system, that’s the standard if it is a Chinese system.

“We will work with our UK counterparts, and I know the Australians, the New Zealanders, all others in the ‘five eyes’, will work together to ensure the systems are sufficiently secure and they are going to deliver the outcomes we need them to deliver, and that we have only a level of risk in the system that we find tolerable.

“I’m sure that we will protect American information to that standard.”

They way I read this, the US is going to try and talk the UK out of letting Huawei in. My question is, will the UK blow the US off or fold up like a cheap suit? This should be interesting to watch.

EU Joins The UK In Giving Huawei Access To 5G Networks

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 29, 2020 by itnerd

It seems that despite the spying claims from the Germans, Huawei is apparently going to get some access to EU 5G networks. From the CBC:

The European Union unveiled security guidelines for next generation high-speed wireless networks that stop short of banning Huawei, in the latest setback for the United States’ campaign against the Chinese tech company.

The EU’s executive Commission on Wednesday outlined a set of strategic and technical measures aimed at reducing cybersecurity risks from fifth-generation, or 5G, mobile networks. The recommendations include blocking high-risk equipment suppliers from “critical and sensitive” parts of the network, including the core, which keeps track of data and authenticates smartphones on the network.

No companies were mentioned by name but the term “high risk” supplier was an obvious reference to Huawei, the world’s top maker of networking gear such as switches and antennas.

This is similar to what the UK did with Huawei yesterday. And it is likely to put even more pressure on Canada to make a decision on Huawei. Let’s see how fast that decision comes. And what that decision looks like.

EnGenius Launches Multi-Gig Networking Switches

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 29, 2020 by itnerd

EnGenius today expands their Cloud solution with multi-gigabit PoE++ switching to meet the demands of Wi-Fi 6 access points that support over 1 gigabit speeds, power devices that exceed 30 watts and appeal to upmarket customers.

The EnGenius Cloud multi-gig switches, ECW5212FP & ECW5212, are the first of many switches that will be released in 2020 to serve the ever-increasing demand of new technology in mid to large environments like student housing, condominiums, assisted living facilities, hotels & resorts. The devices will not only future-proof but further expand the capabilities of the company’s cloud-managed networking platform EnGenius Cloud.

The EnGenius ECW2512FP & ECW2512 are multi-gigabit L2+ networking switches will provide enterprise-class features for IT professionals who are interested in using a solution that simplifies network configuration and monitoring. With advanced management, the new EnGenius switch enhances network performance and provides peace of mind so companies can spend fewer resources on network management.

The multi-gigabit switches come with eight 2.5 gigabit ports that automatically detect the speed needed by the end device. Both switches by EnGenius support 120 Gbps switching capacity with the ECW2512FP supporting one of the latest PoE standards, 802.3bt for the growing demand of higher powered devices like Wi-Fi 6 wireless access points, AV controllers, PTZ Cameras, digital signage, and lighting. The new multi-gig switches also come with four 10 Gbps SFP+ slots that extend connectivity via fiber for uplinks, redundancy, and failover. The latest switches by EnGenius utilize the capabilities of the subscription-free EnGenius Cloud which includes; real-time system metrics, deep-dive analytics, network troubleshooting, and advanced view to display network topology with the devices and relationships.

Key EnGenius benefits include;

  • 2.5G Ports to serve high-bandwidth devices like Wi-Fi 6 access points
  • 10G Fiber ports to connect floors and buildings at extreme distances & speeds
  • 240 Watts of total budget for maximum power supply to PoE++ devices
  • Cloud managed to decreases administration time through remote management
    Port-based client authentication with dynamic VLAN and security through RADIUS server
  • Prioritize compliant VoIP & video traffic ensuring its immediate delivery.

The EnGenius ECW2512FP & ECW2512 are expected to hit the shelves next month. To learn more about the EnGenius Cloud solution and the latest hardware offerings that it supports, please visit https://www.engeniustech.com/engenius-cloud/overview-cloud-networking.

 

The Germans Say That Huawei Worked With Chinese Intelligence…. Huawei Says Nein!

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 29, 2020 by itnerd

Just a day after getting a win, Huawei is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. The German government is in possession of evidence that Huawei, the leading maker of telecoms network equipment, has collaborated with Chinese intelligence, the Handelsblatt daily reported on Wednesday. Something that the teclo gear maker denies:

Huawei [HWT.UL], the leading maker of telecoms network equipment, denied a newspaper report on Wednesday that alleged the German government was in possession of evidence that it had cooperated with Chinese intelligence.

“Huawei Technologies has never, and will never, do anything to compromise the security of networks and data of its customers,” the Chinese company said in response to the report in the Handelsblatt business daily.

“The Handelsblatt article repeats old, unfounded allegations without providing any concrete evidence whatsoever.”

This is what Handelsblatt said:

The Handelsblatt report cited a confidential foreign ministry document that intelligence shared by U.S. officials represented a “smoking gun” that meant Chinese companies were unsafe partners for building next-generation 5G mobile networks.

“At the end of 2019, intelligence was passed to us by the U.S., according to which Huawei is proven to have been cooperating with China’s security authorities,” the newspaper cited the document as saying.

This is sure to muddy the waters further. Is Huawei an agent for Chinese intelligence? Are the issues with Huawei overblown? At this point it isn’t clear and the only thing that will make it clear are facts. Something that seems to be in short supply at the moment when it comes to Huawei.

iland Opens New Data Center Facility In Toronto

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 29, 2020 by itnerd

iland, an industry-leading provider of secure application and data protection cloud services built on proven VMware technology, today announced a new cloud region in Canada with the opening of its new data center facility in Toronto, Ontario, joining nine other cloud regions in Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, D.C., London, Manchester, Amsterdam, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.

The new iland cloud region provides access to the company’s full suite of secure cloud services built on iland’s Secure Cloud Platform, including Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Backup as a Service (BaaS), and backup services for Office 365, in addition to Cloud Object Storage available later in the year.  The Toronto facility is iland’s first cloud region in Canada with plans for an additional Canadian location later this year.

With this new cloud region, iland is offering additional opportunities to its existing North American channel partners and is actively engaging new partners in the region, especially those with customers using VMware and Veeam solutions.

Secure Inside and Out

Expansion into Canada provides unmatched cloud services to customers in North America, while meeting the stringent demands of Canadian data security and privacy regulations. The new 242,000 square-foot facility includes security officers working 24 hours a day, seven days a week; provides numerous physical security measures; and it meets the certification requirements of ISO 9001, ISO 27001, CSA STAR and BS 10012.

Designed Green

iland’s new cloud region is designed green to meet environmental demands of Canadian consumers and regulations, earning it a Gold level for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The building includes granular-temperature and optimized-lighting controls, a rainwater capture irrigation system, cold aisle containment and high-efficiency-Turbocor chillers.

The opening of iland’s 10th cloud region is the first major announcement of this year, coming off a highly successful 2019, which included the following accomplishments:

iland is a global cloud service provider of secure and compliant hosting for infrastructure (IaaS), disaster recovery (DRaaS) and backup as a service (BaaS). They are recognized by industry analysts as a leader in disaster recovery. The award-winning iland Secure Cloud Console natively combines deep layered security, predictive analytics and compliance to deliver unmatched visibility and ease of management for all of iland’s cloud services. Headquartered in Houston, Texas and London, UK, iland delivers cloud services from its cloud regions throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. Learn more at www.iland.com.

Fourth Annual NOVIPRO Survey Reveals Canadian Businesses Are Not Taking Cybersecurity Risks Seriously

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 28, 2020 by itnerd

Results from the fourth annual NOVIPRO/Leger IT Portrait of Canadian Business survey questions whether Canadian businesses are taking the responsibility for their data seriously. In 2019, cyber attacks affected more than one third of companies (37%), up from 28% the year prior. Yet, instead of taking a proactive stance against a possible breach, surprisingly, most companies are opting for a wait-and-see approach, potentially jeopardizing the safety of their data, clients and business altogether.

The survey showed that less than half of all Canadian companies surveyed (48%) took steps to review their data protection plans last year. The financial industry has been the hardest hit with security issues, however just 58 percent of those businesses have undertaken a review. Results also found that only 38 percent of companies surveyed would alert clients to a cyber-attack event, down from nearly half (49%) in the year prior.

Respondents Recognize a Need for Improvement

While three out of four companies (76%) believe they have a solid knowledge of new North American and European data management regulations, less than half of all companies feel they are well protected against data loss (46%), intrusions (44%), and viruses (45%).

An encouraging sign from the survey is that respondents pegged security solutions as their top tech investment priority (42%), up from the second spot last year and ahead of infrastructure (40%) and business (37%) solutions. “We must see the protection of informational assets as a strategic investment contributing to the achievement of the strategic objectives of the company,” says Alina Dulipovici, associate professor in the Department of Information Technologies of HEC Montréal. “More action is also needed to enable employees and even business partners to become strong links in the information asset protection chain by raising awareness of security risks.”

Friendly Fire

When asked about the sources of IT threats, the survey revealed businesses need to focus internally more than externally. Thirty-six percent of respondents pointed to partners, suppliers, and clients as threats; 32 percent cited internal resources (employees); and only 30 percent blame external threats that have no connection to the company.

Greater Importance on IT, AI and the Cloud

Increased investment in security is essential as Canadian companies are placing more importance on IT services than ever before. Today, IT is seen less as an investment (47%/28%, 2016/2019) and more as a strategic partner (21%/41%, 2016/2019) in success*.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been gradually gaining traction to where, today, 92% of businesses feel they have a solid grasp of AI solutions. Companies investing in AI are leveraging it to boost productivity (51%), cut operating costs (38%), replace manual tasks (36%), decipher market trends (32%) and improve the customer experience (31%), which fell from number two in 2018 to last.

With regards to Cloud computing, close to 50 percent of companies feel the technology has enabled them to be more efficient than ever, and one in three (33%) agree the future is in the Cloud, but say they are not yet ready to take the plunge. As in 2019, one in three companies (33%) say that Cloud computing is not a viable solution due to the costs involved. The other reasons given are the lack of support (31%), unproven reliability (29%), lack of security (27%), and inadequate performance (25%). That said, business confidence in Cloud computing has increased significantly. Among companies where Cloud computing is not a solution, only one in four (27%) deem the technology unsecure compared to 43% in 2018.

About the 2019 NOVIPRO/Léger Survey

This fourth portrait was conducted from September 23 to October 23, 2019 among 496 respondents (300 IT decision-makers and 196 from other sectors) from Canadian companies. Most respondents are men (70%) working full time (96%) in a medium-sized business (100 to 499 employees – 43%) or a large company (500 or more employees – 55%).

TekSavvy Brings Cable Internet Service to Consumers in New Brunswick and Newfoundland

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 28, 2020 by itnerd

TekSavvy today announced the launch of its cable internet services in select regions of New Brunswick and Newfoundland.

This expansion of services into New Brunswick and Newfoundland includes the communities of Fredericton, Moncton, Corner Brook, Gander St. John’s NF, Saint John NB and many others. Consumers can go to www.teksavvy.com, enter their address and see what internet packages they can order.

With the launch of cable internet service, TekSavvy allows consumers to connect to higher download speeds at fair prices without long-term commitments. TekSavvy cable internet service starts at $53.95 per month with speeds of 75 Mbps and 150 Mbps with unlimited monthly usage.

New Brunswick availability: Bathurst, Campbellton, Chamcook, Edmundston, Fredericton, Miramichi, Moncton, Pokemouche, Saint John and Woodstock.

Newfoundland availability: Corner Brook, Gander, Grand Falls-Windsor, Notre Dame and St. John’s.

To learn more about TekSavvy and to see what internet packages consumers qualify for, please visit www.teksavvy.com.

 

Cisco Announces Major Upgrades To Webex & More

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 28, 2020 by itnerd

Cisco Live 2020 Barcelona opens today, and runs through January 31, at Fira de Barcelona in Spain, bringing together nearly 20,000 customers, partners, IT professionals and visionaries. The event is designed to help customers realize the full realm of opportunities open to them, and give them the cutting-edge knowledge, skills, and technologies to make it happen.

Throughout the week, innovations across Cisco’s cybersecurity, networking and collaboration portfolios, as well as within its DevNet program will be unveiled – all designed to help businesses scale, stay secure, and drive digitization. Keynote presentations from Cisco’s President of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia (EMEAR) region, Wendy Mars, and the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Cisco’s Networking and Security Business, David Goeckeler, as well as other Cisco business leaders, will showcase the company’s strategy to help partners and customers seize new business opportunities in the era of digital transformation.

News highlights include:

  • Accelerating Applications in a Hybrid Multicloud World : Cisco’s new multi-domain architecture offering brings together AppDynamics and Cisco Intersight Workload Optimizer to deliver full visibility within the application, network and data center, both on-prem and in the cloud. Cisco HyperFlex Application Platform delivers an integrated container-as-a-service platform that simplifies provisioning and ongoing operations for Kubernetes across cloud, data center, and edge.
  • Comprehensive Security Architecture for Industrial IoT : Organizations need complete visibility into the most disparate of network environments in order to secure their industrial edge, lower the risk of cyber threats, and optimize industrial processes. Cisco’s new IoT security architecture provides enhanced visibility across both IT and OT environments, protecting industrial processes and enabling the collection and extraction of data from the IoT edge so organizations can increase efficiencies to make better business decisions and accelerate digitization projects.
  • Revolutionizing Customer and Agent Experiences with New Contact Center Enhancements : The world’s best brands earn customer loyalty over years, even decades – only to lose it in a few seconds if the customer experience is not stellar. While customer needs and expectations have changed, the ways in which companies respond have not kept pace. Today, Cisco announced three developments that fundamentally transform the customer experience with contact centers, for the better: an AI infusion, a new customer experience solution, and a new cloud contact center product.
  • Better and More Engaged Meetings Through AI Innovations New AI-powered voice intelligence capabilities to Webex Meetings turns talk into action, turning Webex meetings into a digital treasure trove. Additionally, Cisco continues its commitment to security and data privacy by enabling customers with the ability to choose whether their Webex Teams data will be stored in Europe or the United States. The company also announced the new Cisco Webex Room USB, an entry-level video device offering smaller organizations collaboration without compromise.

Conference highlights include:

  • Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility: Cisco will outline its social impact agenda, supporting the company’s commitment to accelerate global problem solving through technology and expertise. Cisco is proud to partner with o3e to improve access to education, medical and other essential services for refugees and the homeless. At “Build a Bike” located in The Park area, volunteers can help build 50 bikes which will be donated to homeless and refugee programs in Barcelona. The initiative aligns with Cisco Corporate Social Responsibility priorities and the goal to positively impact 1 billion people by 2025.
  • DevNet Zone : Attendees will get hands-on experience with APIs, develop coding skills in the coding lab, and learn more about Cisco’s new DevNet certifications (launching February 2020). DevNet is Cisco’s software developer resource community aimed at helping developers and network engineers innovate using Cisco technologies and platforms.
  • World of Solutions and Cisco Showcase : Attendees are invited to explore the latest innovations from Cisco and its ecosystem partners in this experiential space where over 130 exhibitors will be demonstrating their products and solutions.
  • Innovation Talks : Cisco executives will discuss the latest innovations in solutions and services and great best practices.
  • Walk-in Labs : Designed to provide a one-of-a-kind, hands-on experience on a variety of Cisco products and solutions, attendees can work on pre-designed scenarios, explore features, and access training.
  • Cisco Customer Experience (CX) : Attendees can experience the “Digital Heartbeat” of Cisco Live, Cisco CX, to learn about Cisco’s lifecycle approach to performing and transforming toward better business outcomes.
  • Technical Solutions Clinics : Experts from the Cisco CX Global Center will be on-hand to troubleshoot any implementation, application, and integration issues.
  • Network Operations Center (NOC) : Visit the NOC, in partnership with NetApp, to speak with engineers and solutions experts to discuss how Cisco rapidly builds and centrally manages a secure Cisco Enterprise Network.
  • Capture the Flag: Learn new technologies and get hands-on experience by playing the “Capture the Flag” game, designed to solve demanding challenges. Try your hand at ethical hacking of networks and systems, design and investigate the Software Defined Campus and WAN networks and enhance cloud skills learning and exploring Cisco’s Meraki platform.
  • Cisco Investments Village : Meet eight of the most prominent start-ups in the industry and learn about their unique technology solutions and how they are changing the realm of what’s possible.

There is a Live stream that is available for a front row seat at Cisco Live 2020, Barcelona