December 2021 NewsletterPosted By: Mark Friday 31st December 2021 Tags: cloud solutions, computer backups, Cyber Security, December, hybrid working, Newsletter, tech predictions, technology
Looking forward to 2022 with Hybrid Working and Hybrid Cloud systems, predicting the tech trends, a reminder to backup your data, getting fit with the help of smart tech, the growth of tech phobias, and taking a look at the government’s planned national cyber strategy.
Hybrid Working in 2022
Over the last couple of years, the global pandemic has significantly impacted living and working habits around the world. Businesses are having to learn and adapt to the changing needs of their workforce, their clients, and the environment at large.
Hybrid Workforce / Hybrid Cloud
Businesses are having to become more flexible, because the quickly changing worker model now combines home (remote) and office working. Companies of all sizes are looking at how to balance the needs of a workforce easily being able to work from remote locations, to the scale, speed, privacy, and security of data management.
Legacy data centres are becoming a thing of the past as cloud-based services and cloud storage offer greater flexibility, but companies also need to be in full control of their data, and so should be managing their own dedicated private cloud systems alongside making use of public cloud options.
Hybrid clouds should:
- Connect multiple computers through a network.
- Consolidate IT resources.
- Scale quickly to the required resources.
- Be adaptable to moving workloads between environments.
- Use a central management software tool.
- Automate processes.
Are Hybrid Clouds Secure?
As long as the hybrid cloud is well designed, integrated, and managed, it should be as secure as any traditional on-site IT infrastructure. IT Security teams need to take into account data migration, increased complexity, and a larger attack surface, but the utilisation of multiple environments can actually aid in strengthening defences against security risks.
The interconnected environments of the Hybrid Cloud setup let enterprises choose where to place sensitive data based on requirements, and allows IT security teams to use redundant cloud storage for disaster recovery.
Tech Trends & Predictions For 2022
Technology evolves quickly, and that acceleration enables ever greater progress. It also means there is a vast amount of constantly changing information to keep up with.
As mentioned in the previous article, the fallout from the global pandemic has moulded the office work landscape. Retail tech is also adapting to people’s living and working habits around the world.
Here are some of the emerging technology trends to be aware of in 2022 with comments from experts in the tech world.
Optimisation For Hybrid Working
We’ve briefly touched upon hybrid working in our previous article. Shaheen Yazdani from Intercept says: “2022 will see businesses continue to modernize the workplace and rethink workflows to optimize for hybrid working arrangements. As we plan to return to the office, it is clear remote work will continue in greater numbers than ever before. This will result in a split audience, with some employees in the office while others carry on from home. To level the playing field, new technology solutions and space redesigns will be adopted for hybrid collaboration”.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, may have been talked about a lot over the last 10-20 years, but it’s still in its relative technological infancy. It may be in the early stages of affecting how we live, work and play, but AI is already known for its use in image and speech recognition, navigation apps, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps and so much more. It’s only going to grow more powerful and so more useful in many more areas. On the downside, we’ll see a lot more use of AI by hackers and other threat agents.
Blockchain technology is mainly known by the general public in relation to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. However, blockchain offers security that is useful in many other ways because it is data you can only add to, not change or remove – you’re making a ‘chain’ of data. Not being able to change the previous blocks is what makes it so secure.
David Valverde Vargas of Pranos says: “The widespread use of blockchain technology in businesses and in consumer applications will positively affect the world. This will include new utilities ranging from smart contracts that allow for supply chains to be optimized to being able to eliminate ad fraud. Blockchain will usher in an era of true transparency in business transactions”.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Another infant technology with much promise. ‘Things’ are being built that can connect to the Internet and each other. The Internet of Things is enabling devices, home appliances, cars and much more to be connected to and exchange data over the Internet.
While consumers are already seeing the benefits with things such as locking doors remotely, or preheating ovens and boiling kettles when we’re on the way home, or measuring fitness levels on your smart watch, etc. Businesses will also see benefits as the IoT enables improved safety, efficiency and decision making for businesses through the collection and analysis of data. It could engage in predictive maintenance, speed up medical care, improve customer service for orders and delivery, and much more.
Joe Jensen of Intel says, “The Internet of Things, AI and automation will help businesses fill gaps created by the labor shortage while optimizing staff. In retail and hospitality, this will take the form of self-serve kiosks, autonomous order fulfillment and AI-enabled drive-thrus, all freeing people up for higher-skilled roles. Adoption will continue to accelerate as the positive business impact of improved efficiency and staff morale is recognized”.
Sustainable Technology Design
Sustainable Technology is about improving the social and environmental footprint at every stage of a products life, from raw material extraction to end of life. Technology can increase productivity, efficiency and bring cost savings; reduce waste, and the use of chemicals and resources; and it can be used to measure, analyse and track progress. All of these can reduce the impact on our environment. With environmental and sustainability concerns becoming ever more important we expect to see many businesses placing sustainable technology at the centre of their strategies.
Bogdan Nicoara from Bright Spaces says: “I think and hope we are going to see more and more technologies that integrate sustainability at their core. While there are numerous development verticals for technology and the potential is not fully tapped, I think it will become critical for companies to build products and services that serve environmental and sustainability goals”.
If you need advice on how technology can benefit your business contact us today for a chat.
Data Loss, Backups & Security
If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution, how about resolving to review your company’s data management and backup solutions?
Anyone who has ever experienced the horror of data loss will have never thought it would happen to them. However, business data loss is more common than you think, and in this Information Age, we’ve never had so much data to lose. The question is not whether your company will experience it, but when will it happen, how might it happen, and how much data you’ll lose.
We’re sure none of the examples below thought they were ever in any danger of data loss.
Marketing Agency’s “Data Cleanup” Goes Awry.
An employee at a global marketing agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, decided to clean up some of its shared company data by indiscriminately moving hundreds of files and folders into his recycle bin. When coworkers noticed key data missing from the network drives and sounded the alarm bells, the IT team was able to recover only some of the lost data.
As they had no organised recovery solution, they couldn’t restore the data to its original locations. Even with the data they could retrieve, much had no metadata attached, leading to the need to sift through raw data to figure out what the company still had. Very time-consuming.
The Programming Error That Almost Threw Out The Toys
Pixar’s popular movie Toy Story 2 was almost lost when one of the employees accidentally used a “remove all” command. Although they had a backup system in place, it turned out it hadn’t worked in months! Saving the day, the technical director had made personal data backups, the movie survived and the rest is history.
A Criminal Case of Data Loss
In 2009, the UK home office lost confidential information on every prisoner in the country, including the most serious offenders, when an employee transferred the data from a secure server onto an unencrypted USB stick that they subsequently lost.
Natural Disaster Exposes Samsung Backup Neglect
It’s not only human error that causes data loss. Be it fires, floods, weather, or creatures, ‘natural’ disasters can have catastrophic results.
Even the largest of global tech companies can fall foul of insufficient data backups. Years ago a data centre fire affected services on Samsung’s smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. But the real problems came in the aftermath of this recovery when they realised data for their services — Samsung Credit Card, Samsung Life Insurance, Samsung Asset Management, etc — was held at this facility and they had no remote backups. That data was gone for good.
Disaster Recovery and Backup Solutions
While some were able to recover from their data loss, others weren’t so lucky. It’s something you never want to have to go through, so it’s important to always have a tried, and tested, backup and data recovery plan (BDR) in place.
Getting Fit With Smart Tech In 2022
After a couple of years to pretty much write off, how about kickstarting 2022 with a bunch of smart tech to boost your new year resolutions to get fit and healthy.
Nicely designed and a great way to monitor your personal health and fitness, smart watches such as the FitBit, Samsung Galaxy Watch, Apple Watch ranges are feature rich and generally simple to use.
With the ability to continuously monitor your heart-rate, count your daily steps, monitor your sleep patterns, measure your blood oxygen levels, and much more, a smart watch is a useful piece of health tech to own.
If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to wristwatches, even the likes of Breitling, Hublot and TAG are getting in on the game.
Smart Home Gym
With the height of the lockdown affecting access to places like gyms, people need ways to get a good workout at home.
If you have the space, then the world of tech offers smart rowing machines, such as the Hydrow Rower or NordicTrack RW900 series, and smart bikes, such as Pelaton or Wattbike Atom. Peloton and NordicTrack also make an appearance in the world of smart treadmills.
For those looking for smaller workout items, there’s a nifty little set of free weights from Bowflex, where you can move through light to heavy weights with the simple turn of a dial. Jaxjox offer a range of Kettlebell weights in the form of single kettlebell is magnetically raised or lowered via a Bluetooth input. Tangram offer a range of smart skipping ropes.
Virtual Reality Headsets were once cumbersome, heavy and clunky. Now they are becoming a viable exercise option. Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Quest are commercially popular with a range of fitness themed games and the ability to partake in an immersive fitness routine within infinite environments.
Other Smart Accessories
If you prefer going out for a run, how about pulling on a pair of smart trainers. Last April, Under Armour launched three pairs of smart running shoes which gather biometric data and provide live advice on improving your technique while you run.
Keep hydrated on your jog with a smart bottle, such as HidrateSpark, which can monitor when you when need to drink, monitor how much you’ve drunk, monitor the temperature of the drink, and even hook you up to interact with your friends.
Other smart wearables include jewellery, like smart rings, smart bracelets, and clothing such as smart jackets, smart pants and smart socks. Although very much in its infancy, many of these items are able to monitor the usual fitness metrics as well as performing their own specific tasks. They could be diagnosing and monitoring injuries or warning to cover yourself up from the sun.
Whatever your preferred exercise regime, there’s smart tech to aid you.
Most people would recognise the more general term, Technophobia (fear of technology), which appeared with the Luddites at the time of the Industrial Revolution. Some, will recognise the much more recent onset of FOMO (fear of missing out), as the growth of social media has gripped society.
These aren’t the only officially recognised tech phobias in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Here are some lesser known, but real, tech-related phobias.
Nomophobia — The fear of being unable to use your mobile phone. “Nomo” is short for “no mobile”. This can be forgetting to take it out with you, but also includes the fear of losing reception, running out of battery, or actually losing your phone.
Drosmartoiphobia — The fear of dropping your phone down the toilet. Most people take their phones with them to the bathroom, and it’s a very pricey device to have that butter-fingers accident with.
Foransequephobia — The fear of forgetting the answer to your secret question. We have so many extra bits of information to remember for accessing many different sites, there’s a lot to forget for what you’ve set where. If you decide to manage your logins through a password manager then there’s even a phobia for forgetting your master password — Formaspassphobia.
Nointernetophobia — The fear of not being able to access the internet. Ever ended up somewhere with no data and no wifi and felt a bit anxious?
We’re sure to see further additions in the coming years.
National Cyber Strategy 2022
The government has set out its strategy towards protecting and promoting the UK’s interests in cyberspace. The goal to ensure UK remains a capable, resilient and responsible leading cyber power. It will also adapt, innovate and invest in order to protect and promote UK interests in cyberspace
Cyber Strategy Priorities
The five pillars of the UK’s strategic framework are:
- Pillar 1: Strengthening the UK cyber ecosystem, investing in our people and skills and deepening the partnership between government, academia and industry
- Strengthen the structures, partnerships and networks necessary to support a whole-of-society approach to cyber.
- Enhance and expand the nation’s cyber skills at every level, including through a world class and diverse cyber profession that inspires and equips future talent.
- Foster the growth of a sustainable, innovative and internationally competitive cyber and information security sector, delivering quality products and services, which meet the needs of government and the wider economy.
- Pillar 2: Building a resilient and prosperous digital UK, reducing cyber risks so businesses can maximise the economic benefits of digital technology and citizens are more secure online and confident that their data is protected
- Improve the understanding of cyber risk to drive more effective action on cyber security and resilience.
- Prevent and resist cyber attacks more effectively by improving management of cyber risk within UK organisations, and providing greater protection to citizens.
- Strengthen resilience at national and organisational level to prepare for, respond to and recover from cyber attacks.
- Pillar 3: Taking the lead in the technologies vital to cyber power, building our industrial capability and developing frameworks to secure future technologies
- Improve our ability to anticipate, assess and act on the science and technology developments most vital to our cyber power.
- Foster and sustain sovereign and allied advantage in the security of technologies critical to cyberspace.
- Preserve a robust and resilient national Crypt-Key enterprise which meets the needs of HMG customers, our partners and allies, and has appropriately mitigated our most significant risks including the threat from our most capable of adversaries.
- Secure the next generation of connected technologies and infrastructure, mitigating the cyber security risks of dependence on global markets and ensuring UK users have access to trustworthy and diverse supply.
- Work with the multistakeholder community to shape the development of of global digital technical standards in the priority areas that matter most for upholding our democratic values, ensuring our cyber security, and advancing UK strategic advantage through science and technology.
- Pillar 4: Advancing UK global leadership and influence for a more secure, prosperous and open international order, working with government and industry partners and sharing the expertise that underpins UK cyber power
- Strengthen the cyber security and resilience of international partners and increase collective action to disrupt and deter adversaries.
- Shape global governance to promote a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace.
- Leverage and export UK cyber capabilities and expertise to boost our strategic advantage and promote our broader foreign policy and prosperity interests.
- Pillar 5: Detecting, disrupting and deterring our adversaries to enhance UK security in and through cyberspace, making more integrated, creative and routine use of the UK’s full spectrum of levers
- Detect, investigate and share information on state, criminal and other malicious cyber actors and activities in order to protect the UK, its interests and its citizens.
- Deter and disrupt state, criminal and other malicious cyber actors and activities against the UK, its interests, and its citizens.
- Take action in and through cyberspace to support our national security and the prevention and detection of serious crime.
With the continued growth of cyber crime, UK businesses need to be vigilant and well-prepared for cyber attacks. The government can do so much to help protect infrastructure, but companies need to invest in their own robust solutions to protect IT systems and customer data from cyber threats.
All the best for a happy and successful 2022!