BizTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Business en SD-WAN Helps Businesses Deliver Better Customer Experiences <span>SD-WAN Helps Businesses Deliver Better Customer Experiences</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/16/2018 - 09:00</span> <div><p>If a business is going to survive over the long haul, it needs to both respect tradition and keep up with the times. <a href="" target="_blank">Brooks Brothers</a>, which celebrated its 200th anniversary this year, knows this better than most. Two years ago, the iconic men’s ­clothier began looking for a faster, more reliable way to connect its nearly <strong>300 retail outlets</strong> across North America.</p> <p>For years, Brooks Brothers relied on a multiprotocol label-switching network for its point-of-sale and online ordering systems, says Phillip Miller, head of infrastructure and CISO for the New York–based chain. But that telecom network was <strong>costly, slow and increasingly unreliable</strong>. Every time the connection went down, Brooks Brothers was unable to process transactions until the backup network came online, which could take minutes.</p> <p>Even when the MPLS network was up, customers who wanted to browse additional inventory on Brooks Brothers’ website were ­frustrated by <strong>slow image downloads</strong>. Store employees’ rapid adoption of Software as a Service and web-based apps added to the retailer’s data throughput requirements.</p> <p>“We needed more bandwidth for these new business applications we’d developed, and to better manage the traffic leaving the stores for SaaS providers,” says Miller. “It wasn’t feasible to do it in an MPLS network.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">VMware</a>’s software-defined WAN was a perfect fit, says Miller. Using an SD-WAN with a broadband cable connection was significantly faster, cheaper and more flexible than MPLS, and far easier than having to configure separate ­VPNs for every store.</p> <p>Any organization that runs a WAN is likely to be interested in SD-WAN, says Brandon Butler, a senior research analyst for IDC. But the earliest adopters have been organizations with a lot of <strong>branch offices</strong> that need to connect to their headquarters and the cloud.</p> <p>“They’re a big disruption to the traditional point-to-point gateways companies have deployed in the past,” he says. “We see them enabling hybrid WANs you can augment with another connection type, like 3G or 4G. That way, you can ensure ­certain apps have a backup connection in case of performance issues, or that sensitive traffic, like PCI transactions, travels over a secured net connection while things like web surfing or social media are on a lower-grade network.” Butler adds that software-defined networks also offer additional benefits in terms of security.</p> <p>“An important piece for small to medium-sized businesses is a <strong>more dynamic security model</strong>,” he says. </p> <p>“You can <strong>manage who has access to the WAN </strong>and do a better job of tracking apps and users.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>VIDEO:</strong> Experts weigh in on the death of the data center!</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Companies Better Manage Edge Devices with SD-WAN</h2> <p>Around <strong>18 months</strong> ago, Miller’s team began installing <a href="" target="_blank">VMware NSX SD-WAN by VeloCloud</a> servers at its regional data centers in North America and NSX SD-WAN Edge devices inside each store. Now, if the primary broadband connection goes down, the system <strong>automatically fails over</strong> to a <a href="" target="_blank">Cradlepoint LTE</a> wireless modem in <strong>less than a second</strong>. </p> <p>Boosting bandwidth while cutting costs is a great win, says Miller, but the biggest benefit is the ease of provisioning and managing a software-defined environment. His team set up each Edge device in advance, shipped them to stores and manages them remotely.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/dan-tynan" hreflang="en">Dan Tynan</a></div> </div> Fri, 16 Nov 2018 14:00:15 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42716 at The Future of the Data Center Is Starting to Take Shape <span>The Future of the Data Center Is Starting to Take Shape</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 11/14/2018 - 15:46</span> <div><p>Ryan Metcalf, director of systems operations for <a href="" target="_blank">Boys Town</a>, a nonprofit based in Omaha, Neb., jokes that IT ages in “dog years,” meaning that equipment seems to grow <strong>7 years older</strong> every time the calendar turns over. When it came time for the organization to refresh its data center infrastructure, Metcalf was careful to consider the future.</p> <p>“We were very wary about putting in technology that was ‘same old, same old,’” says Metcalf. “You don’t want to be putting in yesterday’s technology.”</p> <p>Boys Town has been providing life-changing care for youth and families for more than <strong>100 years</strong>. In 2017, Boys Town impacted more than <strong>500,000 children across the United States</strong> through residential, nonresidential and healthcare programs, including Boys Town National Research Hospital, the Boys Town National Hotline and In-Home Family Services.</p> <p>Ultimately, it went with hyperconverged infrastructure, deploying <a href="" target="_blank">Dell EMC VxRack Flex</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">VMware vSAN</a>.</p> <p>“There were a number of different reasons we decided to go that route,” Metcalf says. “Number one is the diversity of having <strong>two different storage systems</strong>. Even though we previously had traditional storage area networks in our environment, we’ve always had at least a couple of them. That way, when we updated one with the latest software or patches, if we saw any problems, we didn’t have all our eggs in one basket.”</p> <p>The hyperconverged infrastructure gives Boys Town the ability to grow at its own pace, cuts operating costs and provides flexibility in case the nonprofit decides to push more workloads to the public cloud.</p> <p>“Anything that requires <strong>lower latency or higher IOs</strong>, we would hand-serve that with VxRack Flex,” says Metcalf. “And anything else, we put on vSAN. It’s a way to make sure we’re able to serve the needs of our different customers in a way that keeps us very wise with our money.”</p> <p><img alt="Q0418-BT_Feat-Hennick_quote.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p>A data center build-out requires IT and business leaders to <strong>strike a delicate balance</strong> — perhaps more now than ever before. On one hand, organizations can’t simply leave legacy infrastructure in place after equipment ages out of support contracts and becomes unreliable and expensive to maintain. On the other, it can be ­tempting to overspend during a refresh, as data center administrators may worry that funding won’t be available when they need additional resources. And the cloud throws another wild card into the mix: While most organizations purchasing on-premises resources have chosen not to place resources in the public cloud for good reasons, technology changes quickly, and companies need to maintain the freedom to pivot.</p> <p>Bruce A. Taylor, executive vice ­president at DatacenterDynamics, says that organizations making on-premises investments need to do so in a way that not only has the potential to integrate with the public cloud, but also in a way that mimics the cloud’s benefits. “Most people are going to figure out how to migrate from their legacy systems to something that gives them much greater performance and agility,” he says.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>VIDEO: </strong>Is the data center dying?</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Data Center Investments Let Businesses Do More with Less</h2> <p>To win approvals for data center investments, IT leaders often have to make a compelling business case. Metcalf says that Boys Town was able to reduce its storage costs by <strong>40 percent</strong> by moving from flash storage to hyperconverged infrastructure. The refresh also allowed Boys Town to consolidate its financial and human resources database on two physical nodes. That move alone, Metcalf says, is saving the organization about <strong>30 percent per year in licensing costs</strong>.</p> <p>“It’s allowing us to simplify our environment, which is helping me to do more with less,” Metcalf says. “From a manpower and an engineering perspective, we’re able to support more with it. We’re able to grow at the right pace with our business. And we’re able to provide the business with what they need at a very, very fast turnaround. I’m able to order and spin up resources in weeks, rather than months.”</p> <p>A reduced time to market was also a draw for Draper, a not-for-profit research and development laboratory based in Cambridge, Mass. Draper recently consolidated the infrastructure supporting its Embedded Systems Group, which handles highly sensitive data for government and military work. Regulations require each system to be isolated, and until recently, the group maintained separate physical infrastructure to support dozens of programs. “If you can think of 50 small businesses running within the Draper building, that gives you an idea of what the Embedded Systems Group is in charge of,” says Gurinder Saini, director of infrastructure and operations.</p> <p>Draper’s IT team now provides <strong>three options</strong> for the Embedded Systems Group: bronze (Dell EMC PowerEdge VRTX), silver (Dell EMC VxRail) and gold (Dell EMC VxRack Flex). The ­solutions allow Draper to consolidate infrastructure while helping it ensure compliance and security. Saini says the move was spurred by an organizational desire to transform the data ­center from an overhead expense into a business enabler.</p> <p>“It’s about making operations more efficient, and about what can give us a competitive edge on some of these proposals,” Saini says. “If we say, ‘<strong>We can onboard your system in 30 days</strong>,’ and our competitors are stuck with the old ways of doing things, that gives us an edge.”</p> <p>The modernization effort also reduced the physical footprint of Draper’s infrastructure, freeing up more space for employee offices — a huge win in the Boston real estate market. It also led to a dramatic reduction in maintenance needs. “We were spending <strong>10 hours a week on updates</strong>,” says Saini. “We have reduced that to an hour a week.”</p> <p>When Callaway Golf moved away from a colocation vendor and invested in on-premises infrastructure, the play was mostly about cost savings, says Sai Koorapati, vice president of IT.</p> <p>The company deployed four <a href="" target="_blank">Lenovo System x3950 X6</a> servers to run its <a href="" target="_blank">SAP HANA</a> database, as well as eight Lenovo System x3850 M5 servers for its <a href="" target="_blank">SAP</a> application servers (which run <strong>virtualized on VMware</strong>).</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/calvin-hennick" hreflang="en">Calvin Hennick</a></div> </div> Wed, 14 Nov 2018 20:46:51 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42711 at Retailers Build New Customer Experiences with AR <span>Retailers Build New Customer Experiences with AR</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/87276" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bob.Keaveney_u64t</span></span> <span>Wed, 11/14/2018 - 13:40</span> <div><p>Technology has often been seen as more of a threat than an opportunity by traditional retailers, as digital-native brands, from <a href="" target="_blank">Amazon</a> to <a href="" target="_blank">Zulily</a>, have eaten away at market share and challenged brick-and-mortar stores to innovate.</p> <p>But one emerging technology is being seen as an opportunity for retailers to deliver new customer experiences that will in some cases bring more shoppers to their stores; and in others, make the at-home purchase more personal.</p> <p>That technology is augmented reality. And thanks in part to <a href="" target="_blank">Apple’s</a> ARKit and <a href="" target="_blank">Google’s</a> ARCore — tools that launched about a year ago, that enable developers to build AR experiences on the most popular devices — <strong>thousands of retailers are now experimenting with innovative AR experiences, and millions of consumers are enjoying them.</strong></p> <p>“AR enhances physical spaces with digital tools, or transmits physical reality into the digital world,” notes <a href="" target="_blank">in a recent report on the state of AR in retail</a>. “As such, AR applications are uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar and online stores, allowing shoppers to engage with both at once.”</p> <p>Augmented reality is on the cusp of an explosion: In 2017, the global AR market was valued at just $1.43 billion, but in the <strong>next five years it could approach $13 billion</strong>, according to <a href="">Orbis Research</a>.</p> <p>Here are a few innovative examples of how retailers are deploying AR to build new customer experiences:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" title="PDF OPENS IN NEW WINDOW: The Connected Retailer IT Guide"><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> <em>Explore more mobility strategies by reading "The Connected Retailer IT Guide."</em></a></p> <h2>Retailers Use AR to Create New In-Store Experiences</h2> <p><strong>A number of store brands, especially apparel and cosmetic retailers, are using AR to reinvent the mirror. </strong>For example, in some stores, Timberland allows consumers to virtually try on different articles of clothing without heading into a changing room; shoppers view themselves on a screen, select different looks they’d like to try, and technology does the rest.</p> <p>Then there is <a href="">the “magic mirror” deployed by cosmetics retailer Charlotte Tilbury</a><strong>. </strong>This AR technology scans a customer’s face, then displays images of the customer wearing as many as 10 different makeup looks.</p> <p><strong>Other retailers are building mobile apps that consumers use in-store.</strong> Using the <a href="">Lacoste AR mobile app</a>, customers can simply point their phone at select products on display to try them on virtually.</p> <p>Aware that its customers often spend time searching in vain for the right products, home improvement superstore <a href=""><strong>Lowe’s developed an in-store navigation app </strong>that directs them to the right aisle</a>.</p> <p>“Our research shows that helping make it easier for customers to find products in stores not only makes for a better shopping experience, it allows our associates to spend more time advising on home improvement projects,” said Kyle Nel, founder and former executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. </p> <p>The technology leverages Google’s Tango AR technology to create a virtual version of select stores, guiding customers step by step to products they’ve added to a shopping list in the app.</p> <h2>How AR Brings In-Store Shopping to Customers' Homes</h2> <p>The Lowe’s Vision app does more than guide customers to products in stores. It also helps them select the right products at home, allowing customers to superimpose product images virtually on their own spaces so they can see what it will look like when it’s there in real life.</p> <p><strong>Lowe’s is not the only retailer of home goods that’s using AR and VR </strong>to help customers see how their products would look and fit in their homes. Furniture retailers in particular are taking full advantage of the technology, recognizing that customers often dawdle about making purchases because they’re not sure if what looks good in the store will look good in, say, their living room.</p> <p>Using <a href=""><strong>Ikea’s Place app</strong></a>, furniture shoppers can post a true-to-scale digital version of thousands of Ikea’s products in the rooms where they might place them.</p> <p>“You see the scene as if these objects were real and you can walk around them and interact with them, even leave the room and come back. It’s really magic to experience,” says Michael Valdsgaard, until recently Ikea’s head of digital transformation. “We found out through research that some customers weren’t confident about buying. So this is aimed at making that experience easier for them.”</p> <p>Pottery Barn and Wayfair have also deployed similar AR-powered try-before-you-buy apps for furniture shoppers.</p> <h2>Some Retailers Use AR in Branding Campaigns</h2> <p>While many are delivering new customer experiences using AR, some retailers are also experimenting with the technology to build brand awareness. Shoe company Airwalk, for example, used a combination of AR and geolocation to create what it called “the world’s first invisible pop-up stores.” Customers hoping to buy the new Airwalk Jim could do so only by locating the store using Airwalk’s app.</p> <p>Gimmicky? Sure, <strong>but </strong><a href=""><strong>it worked</strong></a><strong>, providing the company $5 million </strong>in earned media, and the busiest weekend so far for its e-commerce store,<strong> </strong>according to Shopify.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href=""><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/bob-keaveney" hreflang="en">Bob Keaveney</a></div> </div> Wed, 14 Nov 2018 18:40:07 +0000 Bob.Keaveney_u64t 42706 at Q&A: Citizens Bank Security Chief Holly Ridgeway on Keeping Hacking at Bay <span>Q&amp;A: Citizens Bank Security Chief Holly Ridgeway on Keeping Hacking at Bay</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/13/2018 - 22:21</span> <div><p>While hackers continue to get smarter and the threat landscape more challenging, a new wrinkle has emerged: the growing availability of tools that can make even <strong>low-skilled amateurs a serious threat</strong> to networks.</p> <p>In a recent conversation with <em>BizTech</em>, chief security officer for Providence, R.I.-based <a href="" target="_blank">Citizens Bank</a>, explains how small businesses can respond to these and other modern threats.</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">BIZTECH:</span> What do you see as the greatest cybersecurity threats right now for businesses? The things that really keep you up at night?</h2> <p><strong>RIDGEWAY:</strong> Over the past several years, we have seen lesser-skilled threat actors increasingly able to leverage more advanced tools and attack methodologies.</p> <p>These capabilities, such as Malware as a Service and advanced push-button exploitation tools, have increased the threat volume. Also, organizations’ attack surfaces continue to expand with mobile and cloud-based solutions, creating additional risk. We’ve also seen <strong>rapid</strong><strong> propagation of destructive malware</strong>. NotPetya and WannaCry are great examples of how crippling <a href="">self-propagating malware</a> can be.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> Get CDW's latest insights report on cybersecurity trends impacting your business!</a></em></p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">BIZTECH:</span> When it comes to the threat landscape, what’s changed in the last four to five years that’s notable?</h2> <p><strong>RIDGEWAY:</strong> Hacktivist threats have diminished, with threat actors concentrating on attacks with potential for financial gain and intellectual property theft. Threat actors continue to evolve and devise new ways to monetize cyberattacks, whether it’s via<strong> </strong><strong>cryptomining</strong><strong>, ransomware, point-of-sale malware, or attacks against ­payment networks</strong> and ATM infrastructure. We’ve also seen an increase in “as a service” platforms sold on the dark web in a multitude of flavors, including phishing, distributed denial of service, etc. Threat actors are looking for the quickest and easiest ways to make money.</p> <h2><span style="color: #c74037;">BIZTECH:</span> What are the best tools that security professionals have at their disposal right now?</h2> <p><strong>RIDGEWAY:</strong> The tools chosen by any organization must be tailored to handle the threats that they face, to align with their overall security ­philosophy and to address fundamental concerns of protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of critical data and assets.</p> <p>One of the best assets businesses have is a properly educated workforce that can identify threats such as social engineering, phishing or malicious emails. These are common tactics threat actors use, and a vigilant workforce that reports threats effectively can significantly increase the efficiency of a cyberdefense team.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/bob-keaveney" hreflang="en">Bob Keaveney</a></div> </div> Wed, 14 Nov 2018 03:21:20 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42691 at Fact or Fallacy: What Do Small Businesses Really Need to Get Started on Data Analytics? <span>Fact or Fallacy: What Do Small Businesses Really Need to Get Started on Data Analytics? </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/13/2018 - 15:59</span> <div><p>Data analytics have been around for a long time, hiding under a term most of us hated in our science courses: “statistics.” Today, data analytics combine statistics and other techniques, such as <a href="">artificial intelligence</a> and <a href="">neural networks</a>, with a specific goal of making <strong>informed business decisions based on real data</strong>.</p> <p>Yet many small businesses remain skittish. They think meaningful analytics demand massive data sets pored over by Ph.D.s, while in reality, just about every business is already generating all the data it needs to gain real insights from analytics. And businesses can’t compete in a modern world making decisions by instinct alone. <strong>It’s time to break down a few of the myths</strong> surrounding this crucial business tool.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>VIDEO:</strong> See which platforms allow businesses to collect data efficiently!</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Fallacy: Only Big ­Businesses Can Use Data Analytics</h2> <p>Data analytics require data, which means that during the past century, only the largest businesses could use these tools and techniques. Why? Because only large businesses had collected enough data in computing systems to make meaningful conclusions.</p> <p>Today, even the smallest business can use software that gathers reams of data: In 2018, for example, Intuit reported that it has <strong>4.5 million paying customers</strong> for its <a href="" target="_blank">QuickBooks</a> accounting software. That’s a lot of data readily available for analysis and decision-making.</p> <p>Likewise, businesses that deploy online marketing solutions have many metrics and reports available, delivering detailed information on who saw their message. The same is true of HR automation platforms, ­customer relationship management systems, <a href="" target="_blank">Google</a> Analytics for websites and much more. There’s <strong>no shortage of data for businesses of every size</strong>.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">Fact: Data Analytics Can Lead Small Businesses Astray</h2> <p>Every IT professional has heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out.” It goes for analytics too. Getting meaningful insights depends on having real data on what is happening in the business, no matter how large or small. If the data going into the analytics tools are <strong>unreliable, poorly understood or inconsistent,</strong> then the results that come out will be equally unreliable.</p> <p>Before making decisions based on the results of any data analytics exercise, businesses should make sure they understand where the data came from and whether those sources can be trusted. At the same time, step back for a sanity check: Does this result make sense?</p> <p>If something looks obviously wrong or skewed, <strong>double-check the data</strong> and the actual analysis before diving headfirst into what could be a bad decision.</p> <h2 id="toc_2">Fact: Data Analytics Beat Business Hunches</h2> <p>Intuition, which for most successful business ­leaders is informed by experience, certainly has its place. And it’s important for entrepreneurs to include their own informed intuition along with quality data in the decision-making mix. Yet <strong>data can support or contradict that intuition</strong> and provide meaningful metrics along the way.</p> <p>Analytics are also useful at many levels: It’s not just the big decisions that take executive insight.</p> <p>You can use data analytics to <strong>explore small changes</strong> with “what-if” analysis. What if we extended our warranty? What if we increased the price of an accessory? What if we changed how we charge for certain services? Analytics often use correlations among different data sets to help draw operational conclusions: Which warehouses need what stocking level on which products during Christmas season to reduce time to delivery? Which advertising ­strategies deliver the best sales results?</p> <p>Sometimes the best ­decision can start with a hunch. But the best ­decision-making process includes data analysis.</p> <h2 id="toc_3">Fallacy: Data Analytics Are Expensive</h2> <p>Data analytics simply involve using the data a business already has to help it make better business decisions. Sure, it can be expensive to hire a specialist with a background in programming, data ­science and business ­processes. But small ­businesses in particular can start with basic analytics <strong>without spending much money at all</strong>.</p> <p>For most small businesses, the place to start is with the software already in place. If the business has been delaying an upgrade to its accounting or customer relationship management tools, this might be a good reason to go ahead; the most recent versions of every tool have more reports and analysis tools built in.</p> <p>Next, check out <strong>cloud-based add-ons</strong>. Rather than deliver a specialized tool for on-premises use, many data analytics and business intelligence tools are offered in the cloud. Why? Because it’s rarely necessary to install new servers, databases and software just to ask a few questions and run a few reports. With cloud-based tools, the business can cost-effectively and quickly get into the world of analytics and focus on what the data is saying, freeing up IT resources for more strategic tasks.</p> <p>Data analytics isn’t some new magic bullet. It’s a way of leveraging the data that most every business has been quietly accumulating for years to deliver insights that lead to better decisions.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/joel-snyder" hreflang="en">Joel Snyder</a></div> </div> Tue, 13 Nov 2018 20:59:22 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42686 at BPM and RPA: Two Emerging Tech Tools to Boost Small Business Success <span>BPM and RPA: Two Emerging Tech Tools to Boost Small Business Success</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Tue, 11/13/2018 - 13:19</span> <div><p>The larger the company, the more stubborn it is. If old business models and processes are still generating sufficient profits, then the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” syndrome reigns. So for big companies,<strong> </strong><strong>transformation</strong><strong> is often a long-term strategy</strong> — or, truth be told, an aspiration.</p> <p>Small businesses are in a unique position. While they face daunting challenges on funding, customer acquisition, fulfillment, scale and more, they are also free from overwhelming transformation killers, such as the constraining culture of large bureaucracies and the need to avoid the cannibalization of profitable business models. Small businesses are also <strong>agile by design, size </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> attitude</strong>, especially when they’re young.</p> <p>Examples abound of small businesses successfully ­targeting incumbents’ processes and transforming whole ­business models. Uber changed transportation processes. Airbnb changed lodging. They all started out as <strong>small businesses taking on entrenched incumbents</strong> in old industries.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Learn how robotic process automation is already changing the financial services industry, and what it means for others.</em></a></p> <h2>Disruptive Tech Speeds Small Business Transformation</h2> <p>Just as the companies above did, <strong>any small business can deploy two sets of tools to ­disrupt entire industries</strong>: ­business ­process modeling and robotic process automation. <a href="" target="_blank">As explained by TechTarget</a>, BPM is “the discipline of improving a business process from end to end by analyzing it, modeling how it works in different scenarios, executing improvements, monitoring the improved process and continually optimizing it.”</p> <p><a href=" " target="_blank">Many cloud-based BPM software tools</a> exist to enable modeling and simulation, from the likes of <a href="" target="_blank">Oracle</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">SAP</a> and others, and small businesses focused on disruption, growth and profitability can deploy these tools to map the processes of incumbent competitors, entering competitive marketplaces with a deep understanding of the vulnerability of the incumbents they want to attack.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11941" hreflang="en">Stephen J. Andriole</a></div> </div> Tue, 13 Nov 2018 18:19:55 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42681 at How to Accelerate Digital Transformation <span>How to Accelerate Digital Transformation</span> <div><p>Most organizational leaders acknowledge the importance of digital transformation to their future effectiveness and competitiveness. But many organizations are still in the earliest stages of their digital transformation efforts, and some leaders struggle to even define the term itself.</p> <p>In practice, it’s typically most helpful for decision-makers to define digital transformation in terms of their own organization’s business goals. By identifying opportunities to create value for customers and employees through investments in new technologies and processes, organizations can demystify the concept and achieve concrete benefits.</p> <p>Often, it makes sense to pursue low-risk, high-reward successes to demonstrate the value of digital transformation to skeptical stakeholders before attempting to implement an organizationwide strategy. While business goals should be at the center of any digital transformation effort, these initiatives will inevitably require new IT investments, potentially including solutions such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and gateways, data analytics, automation and increased mobility. A third-party partner can help organizations to deploy, integrate and manage these new technologies — and provide an objective, external eye to make sure they don’t slide back into business as usual.</p> <p>To learn more download our white paper "How to Accelerate Digital Transformation."</p> </div> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Mon, 11/12/2018 - 11:28</span> <div> <div>Document File</div> <div><span class="file file--mime-application-pdf file--application-pdf"><a href="" type="application/pdf; length=214693">accelerate-digital-transformation.pdf</a></span> </div> </div> Mon, 12 Nov 2018 16:28:42 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 42671 at 7 Ways to Ensure Safety and Privacy for Nonprofit Donors <span>7 Ways to Ensure Safety and Privacy for Nonprofit Donors </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 14:08</span> <div><p>For years, important nonprofit donors would make decisions on where to put their money based on how much money went to programs. If one nonprofit spent 15 percent on overhead and a competing agency spent 12 percent, then the prevailing by-the-numbers mentality dictated that the donors would go with the nonprofit that spent <strong>12 percent</strong>.</p> <p>In the nonprofit world, they call this the “<a href="" target="_blank">overhead myth</a>.” </p> <p>Karl Hedstrom, IT director for <a href="" target="_blank">NTEN</a>, a Portland, Ore., organization that works with nonprofits to improve their technology, says times are changing, as more large donors recognize that spending money on technology to make the nonprofit more efficient and secure makes good business sense.</p> <p>“I think people are beginning to recognize that small overhead will make the nonprofit less efficient than if they <strong>spent some money on technology to help with the organization’s marketing and communications</strong>, as well as to improve security,” Hedstrom says.</p> <p>Rick Cohen, COO at the <a href="" target="_blank">National Council of Nonprofits</a> in Washington, D.C., adds that the process can be so bottom-line driven that nonprofits don’t always have an opportunity to tell donors about their recent technology improvements. He recommends that nonprofits spell out these investments in their annual reports.</p> <p>While Hedstrom and Cohen point out that there’s a lot of attention paid to the bottom-line approach, the <a href="" target="_blank">2018 Global Trends in Giving Report</a> found that <strong>donors are becoming more concerned about security and privacy</strong>.</p> <p>According to the report, <strong>83 percent </strong>of North American donors do not want the nonprofit to share their contact information with other organizations. And, <strong>93 percent</strong> say they want nonprofits to make a concerted effort to protect their contact and financial information from data breaches.</p> <p>So, it’s time for nonprofits to focus and get more serious about privacy and security. Here are some tips based on interviews with Hedstrom and Cohen:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>These steps can help keep nonprofit online donations safer!</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">1. Restrict Access to Data</h2> <p>Cohen says <strong>not everyone in the organization needs access to important donor information</strong>. He says that quite often, only the executive director or person in charge of fund-raising will have access to donor information. </p> <p>Hedstrom adds that NTEN’s customer service staff are not allowed to share donor information with the public, and nobody on the staff can access donor credit card information.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">2. Use Password Managers and Multifactor Authentication</h2> <p>Hedstrom believes that only password managers can consistently update unique passwords efficiently. Cohen says while many nonprofits cannot afford multifactor authentication, <strong>if it’s at all possible they should consider it.</strong></p> <h2 id="toc_2">3. Make Sure Third-Party Processors Conform to Best Practices</h2> <p>Cohen says whether the organization uses PayPal or Network for Good for its payment processing, ask them about compliance with the <a href="" target="_blank">Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard</a> and what they’ve done to meet best practices. Hedstrom says as part of NTEN going through its PCI checklist, the organization decided to make PCI DSS compliance easier by no longer taking credit card payments over the phone. </p> <h2 id="toc_3">4. Practice a Defense-in-Depth Strategy</h2> <p>Hedstrom says NTEN adheres to all security best practices, such as <strong>deploying anti-virus, anti-malware, firewalls and intrusion prevention systems</strong>. And when NTEN employees travel, they use a VPN to connect to the corporate network instead of using Starbuck’s or the airport’s Wi-Fi network. </p> <h2 id="toc_4">5. Deploy SSL Certificates</h2> <p>Cohen says nonprofits must be sure that their website has SSL certificates, and when users log on to the site they are logging in to a secure (https://) connection. He says sites should offer a secure connection for every page on the website, not just the home page, but certainly any page where information is collected, whether it’s for a newsletter sign-up or for donations. </p> <h2 id="toc_5">6. Adjust to GDPR Regulations</h2> <p>As part of <a href="" target="_blank">General Data Protection Regulation</a><a href=""> compliance</a>, NTEN has made its opt-in process more transparent. In addition, NTEN’s database vendor now <strong>makes data available to donors upon request</strong>. And when website visitors accept the organization’s cookie policy, NTEN clearly spells out which cookies they use.</p> <h2 id="toc_6">7. Check Out New GDPR Tools</h2> <p>There are a number of software tools nonprofits can choose from today to comply with GDPR. For example, <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1&amp;ln=0&amp;b=SF2" target="_blank">Salesforce</a> has a product geared toward nonprofits and universities that gives organizations 360-degree visibility into their constituents. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Varonis GDPR Patterns</a> lets organizations run classification patterns that look for European Union citizen data. Organizations can<strong> detect and respond to security events </strong>based on the Varonis GDPR Risk Assessment. </p> <p><a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Snow Software</a> also has a GDPR Risk Assessment tool that offers complete visibility into all devices, users and applications across on-premises, cloud and mobile platforms. It helps organizations <strong>build a GDPR plan and offers visibility into how many devices are in use across the enterprise</strong>, where the devices are and who has access to them, what applications are installed on each device and if those applications contain personal data. </p> <p>The <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Symantec Control Compliance Suite</a> includes a GDPR Readiness Assessment as well as compliance automation. This helps nonprofits<strong> implement a cost-effective, holistic approach to GDPR compliance</strong> that includes compliance automation, monitoring and data tracking.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"></a><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 19:08:42 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42651 at Review: HP EliteDesk Mini PC Is a Big Force in a Small Package <span>Review: HP EliteDesk Mini PC Is a Big Force in a Small Package</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/9856" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">eli.zimmerman_9856</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/09/2018 - 10:42</span> <div><p>The <a href="" target="_blank">HP</a> <a href="" target="_blank">EliteDesk 800 G4 Desktop Mini Business PC</a> carries a lot of power in a small package. The version I tested measures about 7 inches by 7 inches and is 1.35 inches thick, but has as much expandability as many larger systems, with seven USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet and two DisplayPort 1.2 monitor ports.</p> <p>The Mini also includes a slot to add a USB Type-C display, a Thunderbolt cable, fiber network card and more. There are also two internal NVMe M.2 slots for storage and one for WLAN, as well as room for a 2.5-inch SATA solid-state drive. The PC can be mounted on the back of a monitor or in a vertical stand.</p> <p>The system I tested came with an Intel Core<strong> i5/8500 processor, 8 gigabytes of RAM and a 256GB NVMe SSD</strong>, but it can be equipped with a Core i7 CPU, up to 32GB of RAM and two NVMe M.2 SSDs (or a SATA SSD at lower cost), as well as a discrete video card, which means it can handle content creation for high-resolution graphics, virtual reality or other high-performance tasks. Configuration was very straightforward, with HP-specific update apps and enhanced security capabilities, as well.</p> <p>The system was responsive and snappy, with the pre­installed <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Microsoft Office</a> apps and other test applications working well at the 4k resolution of the DisplayPort monitor. The NVMe SSD provided very <strong>quick data transfers and low latency</strong>, with updates and reboots happening very quickly. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> Find out whether your business would benefit most from thick, thin or zero clients!</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">EliteDesk 800 Offers Plenty of Security</h2> <p>Along with the EliteDesk 800 and <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Windows</a>, HP offers a set of security tools that go well beyond the basics, including HP Sure Click, HP Sure Start Gen4, HP Sure Run, HP Sure Recover, HP BIOSphere Gen4, Intel Identity Protection Technology, and multifactor authentication features. These include an optional fingerprint reader or webcam, both Windows Hello certified.</p> <p>Taken together, the apps provide <strong>an excellent suite of security tools to update</strong>, protect and recover the operating system, preinstalled apps and user data in the event of hardware failure, user error or malware. </p> <p><img alt="Q0418-BT_PR-Harbaugh-HP-EliteDesk-Mini-PC_product.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p>The suite protects applications from malware and other types of security problems, offers <strong>several options for multifactor security and biometrics</strong>, and can manage passwords across all the sites a user might visit — ensuring that, even if an external service provider or other type of website is compromised, only that site’s credentials will be exposed, since the system helps the user ensure that no two sites have the same password.</p> <p>The system provides a lot of performance, and in a quiet office environment, the nearly noiseless operation will be appreciated. It can handle all the usual office tasks and then some.</p> <h3 id="toc_0">HP EliteDesk 800 G4 Specifications</h3> <p><strong>Models</strong>: Mini, SFF, Tower, All-in-one<br /><strong>Dimensions</strong>: 6.97x1.35x6.88 inches<br /><strong>Processor</strong>: Intel Core i5 8500<br /><strong>Memory</strong>: 8GB as tested<br /><strong>Hard Drive</strong>: 250GB NVMe SSD<br /><strong>Weight</strong>: 2.13 pounds<br /><strong>Graphics</strong>: UHD Graphics 630</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/logan-g-harbaugh" hreflang="en">Logan G. Harbaugh</a></div> </div> Fri, 09 Nov 2018 15:42:43 +0000 eli.zimmerman_9856 42646 at How Will 5G Impact Traditional Data Centers? <span>How Will 5G Impact Traditional Data Centers?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/87276" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bob.Keaveney_u64t</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/08/2018 - 17:15</span> <div><p>The hype about 5G, the next generation of wireless networking, continues to accelerate, with an endless flow of announcements from carriers, communication service providers, equipment manufacturers and standards bodies. There’s no question 5G holds tremendous promise, delivering major advances in data transfer speeds, latency, connectivity, capacity, reliability and mobility.</p> <p>Beyond that, questions abound.</p> <p><strong>For instance, when will carriers be able to offer organizations 5G capabilities, coverage and services that 4G LTE can’t deliver?</strong> To prepare for 5G, they’ve been furiously working to shift to software-defined infrastructure, and they consider B2B markets critical to recouping these investments and creating new revenue streams. On the buy side, when will use cases be sufficiently compelling to convince businesses to upgrade to 5G, particularly when they’re still getting good traction with 4G LTE?</p> <p>In its 2017 “<a href="">Industry Impact of 5G</a>” survey, Ericsson asked C-suite executives to list key barriers to 5G adoption. <strong>Sixty-two percent said it was too soon to know 5G’s real benefits. Other noteworthy hurdles included the lack of standards (cited by 76 percent) and use cases (47 percent).</strong></p> <p>At this point, there are a lot of “ifs” with 5G, says Mike Fratto, senior analyst at 451 Research. “Carriers are just now starting to run trials, while providers have deployed some 5G radio frequency equipment, based on cell locations,” he says. <strong>“</strong><strong>But carriers are still trying figure out how to run a 5G wireless network.” </strong></p> <p>In June 2018, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, or 3GPP, approved the first standard specs for standalone 5G NR, on the heels of 2017’s nonstandalone standard release. Initially, 5G will lean on 4G LTE, which IT staff has used effectively to gain some of the functionality that 5G is designed to deliver.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2>5G Use Cases on the Horizon</h2> <p>“There’s no doubt that much of the 5G activity has been focused on investments from service providers and equipment manufacturers,” says Nick Lippis, co-founder and co-chairman of the Open Networking User Group. <strong>“</strong><strong>However, more IT leaders are starting to make plans for 5G, which include determining its impact on their data center architecture,</strong> procurement strategies and the solutions they’ll roll out.”</p> <p>Industry observers expect 5G’s speed, capacity and latency attributes, and services such as network slicing — which allots users a virtual piece of the network with personalized properties — to eventually play big in Internet of Things communications, artificial intelligence services and advanced analytics.</p> <p>“The first thing IT sees is the ability to accelerate the elimination of a lot of server, storage and network hardware from their data centers,” says Lippis.</p> <p>The combination provides a flexible path to Infrastructure as a Service, while freeing IT departments from the resource-intensive job of managing hardware-centric infrastructure. Instead, Lippis says, IT ops teams can focus on work that impacts business outcomes, from integrating solutions, strengthening security and creating new business models to automation and orchestration projects.</p> <p>Already substantial, the number of organizations using cloud-native services and cloud-enabling technologies continues to grow. Public, private and hybrid cloud models and the wealth of cloud services give IT teams the flexibility to run applications and workloads where they make the most sense<strong>. 5G’s contribution, meanwhile, is to eliminate the latency issues that plague WANs, speeding wireless connectivity to cloud-based assets,</strong> as well as data transfer and download rates.</p> <h2>IT Spending Is Shifting to the Cloud</h2> <p>According to a 2018 Gartner report, <a href="">28 percent of investments in four key enterprise IT segments</a> — system infrastructure, infrastructure software, applications software and business process outsourcing — will shift to the cloud by the end of 2022.</p> <p>Not surprisingly, application software will continue to make up the biggest chunk of cloud shift through 2022, but system infrastructure will be the most rapid cloud-shift segment over the forecast period, jumping from 11 percent in 2018 to 22 percent in 2022.</p> <p>Earlier investments in data center hardware, server operating system software and virtualization can impede more immediate moves, but as contracts come up for renewal, more IT ops teams will make the leap to the cloud. Gartner estimates that, <a href=""><strong>by the end of 2020, IaaS investments will account for 39 percent of total data center system spending</strong></a><strong>. </strong></p> <h2>5G Will Compel Data Management Strategies</h2> <p>Given 5G’s potential role in fueling IoT, AI and advanced analytics initiatives, organizations that upgrade will also need an upgraded data management strategy. Businesses will need to be able to pull actionable, on-the-fly insights from the voluminous data they’ll generate, not only to justify investments, but to advance business objectives.</p> <p><strong>As early as the end of 2019, the IoT will be cranking out upwards of 500 zettabytes of data annually. </strong>To conduct real-time analysis, organizations need to reverse the analytics workflow and take compute and analysis to the data rather than waiting for it to come home. </p> <p>Enter edge computing, a key element of a distributed data center architecture that exploits 5G bandwidth and new service stations located between on-premises and cloud computing resources. In this model, endpoints or nodes sit at the very edge of the network, collecting data transmitted from local IoT devices and sensors. They then process or analyze it on the spot, save it and push it up to the data center.</p> <p>Organizations can also purchase edge computing as a cloud service. Consider, says Fratto, an oil and gas company that has IoT sensors on all its rigs. They’ll typically send their data to the cloud for processing rather than to their own data centers.</p> <p><strong>Edge endpoints range from highly intelligent devices to nodes that wake up only when called upon to perform simple tasks.</strong> Taking a page from branch models, which today typically rely on a whitebox server or similar device for computing needs, providers are working to consolidate functions for edge computing. For example, says Fratto, they might consolidate software-defined WAN, firewall services, Active Directory and Private Branch Exchange functions on a single appliance, or run two appliances in high-availability mode.</p> <p>By 2022, according to a 2018 IDC report, <a href=""><strong>more than 40 percent of cloud deployments will leverage edge computing</strong></a>. Analysts say AI services will be among the earliest functions distributed across cloud and edge platforms, with 25 percent of endpoints that go live by the end of 2022 running AI algorithms.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/kym-gilhooly" hreflang="en">Kym Gilhooly</a></div> </div> Thu, 08 Nov 2018 22:15:23 +0000 Bob.Keaveney_u64t 42636 at