BizTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Business en The Bank Branch of the Future Is Here Now <span>The Bank Branch of the Future Is Here Now</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/bobkeaveneyu64t" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bob.Keaveney_u64t</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/20/2019 - 14:30</span> <div><p>Imagine a typical bank branch, and what do you see? Most people see sterile design, tall counters with tellers behind them, branch managers sitting behind desks and ballpoint pens chained to tables. Not since the 1980s, when banks started widely installing ATMs, have U.S. bank and credit union branches updated much in tools or design.</p> <p>Not until now, that is. Today’s <strong>branches are undergoing a dramatic makeover</strong> as institutions try to appeal to modern consumers who increasingly demand a combination of personalized service and advanced technology.</p> <p>Nearly 85 percent of financial institutions renovating or building a new branch plan to install digital signage, 6<strong>5 percent are installing interactive experiences</strong> and 50 percent plan to use tablets in the branch, according to <a href=";c=4634047&amp;h=76b990158cb8b185d382&amp;_xt=.pdf" target="_blank">Codigo’s “Branch Transformation 2017” report</a>.</p> <p>The reasons are clear: As much as digital experience and mobile banking continues to grow in importance among consumers, most still demand access to branches. About two out of three respondents to <a href="" target="_blank">PwC’s 2018 Digital Banking Consumer Survey</a>, a massive survey of more than 4,000 financial services customers, said a local branch is important to them when considering where to bank. And one in four respondents said they won’t even consider a bank that doesn’t have a branch near them.</p> <p>McKinsey, meanwhile, found in 2016 that <strong><a href="" target="_blank">54 percent of American consumers prefer in-branch banking transactions</a> to mobile or digital banking</strong>. Branches “can still play a critical role in building trust and credibility, providing financial advisory services, offering convenience, and assisting in the transition to digital channels,” according to the consulting firm. However, “In an increasingly digital world, bank executives must rethink the branch and the services it offers.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Modern-Workforce_the-office.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <h2>Video, Digital Signage Enable Tomorrow’s Bank Today</h2> <p>Examples abound of <strong>banks and credit unions deploying advanced technology in revamped branches, especially video</strong> that allows customers live access to a wide variety of professionals and digital signage that displays dynamic information about everything from banking products to community events.</p> <p>Among the companies providing video and digital signage solutions specifically to banks are <a href="" target="_blank">Black Box</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">LG</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">NEC</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">ViewSonic</a>.</p> <p>In Chicago, the <a href="" target="_blank">BMO Harris Bank “smart branch”</a> features video screens that provide access to live tellers and advanced professionals who can help with mortgage applications, retirement planning and more; advanced ATMs that enable cash withdrawals without the use of a debit card; and tablet-equipped bank employees who engage customers directly.</p> <p>The downtown Portland, Ore., branch of <a href="" target="_blank">Umpqua Bank</a> includes an interactive touch-screen app wall, featuring bank products and services, in-house apps and even mobile apps recommended by the staff. And the <a href="" target="_blank">Regions Bank concept branch in Alabama</a> provides customers access to universal tellers, trained to offer a full range of services beyond just deposits and withdrawals, through live video feeds.</p> <p>“Customers are loving video bankers,” Brandon Greve, a consumer banking executive for Regions, told <a href="" target="_blank">Alabama NewsCenter</a>. “If we can get a customer to try the video banker and see that it’s a live person, they love them.”</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Discover how businesses are deploying cutting-edge video technology</a>.</em></p> <h2>Video Is Key to Modernizing Bank Branches</h2> <p>We hear many stories like these. One bank CDW worked with found that as it grew, it wasn’t feasible to hire loan officers to work at every branch, so we helped them deploy kiosks at each one, enabling customers to access officers via live video feed. The solution allows the bank to more efficiently deploy its human resources while better serving its customers.</p> <p>The key is the right mix of technology paired with a smart strategy that includes a role for modern branches. While it’s true that today’s banking consumers demand a seamless digital and mobile-banking experience, they also want access to live professionals to answer their questions and help manage their finances. Branches equipped with the latest video technology help banks of any size meet that demand.</p> <p><em>This article is part of <a href="">BizTech's EquITy blog</a> series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the <a href="" target="_blank">#FinanceTech</a> hashtag</em>.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href=""><img alt="Equity_logo_sized.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11301" hreflang="en">Scott Hiemstra </a></div> </div> Wed, 20 Feb 2019 19:30:46 +0000 Bob.Keaveney_u64t 43236 at Data Lakes Prove Key to Modern Data Platforms <span>Data Lakes Prove Key to Modern Data Platforms</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/julietvanwagenen22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/20/2019 - 09:49</span> <div><p>Big Data is quickly becoming a <a href="">business’s best resource</a>. Refined and analyzed data can help companies to improve operations and uncover insights. But as data begins to flow in from multiple sources, it’s important to prevent it from being siloed by pooling it in a central repository.</p> <p>Enter the data lake: an architecture that acts as a <strong>storage space for data</strong> so engineers and IT teams can easily access it for future use.</p> <p>Moreover, a data lake can form the firm foundation of a modern data platform. This was the case for telecom provider <a href="" target="_blank">TalkTalk</a>, which tapped <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft Azure</a>’s Data Lake, Data Lake Analytics and Data Factory cloud-based hybrid data integration tools to increase data maturity.</p> <p>Tapping Azure, the company quickly developed<strong> real-time and batch data pipelines </strong>while introducing <a href="" target="_blank">security best practices</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">DevOps</a> processes. This change brought data to the forefront of the company’s architectural decisions.</p> <p>With this architecture in place, TalkTalk is looking to “scale the modern data platform, introducing real-time and event-driven ingestion and processing, as well as <a href="">migrating on-premises systems to the cloud</a>,” says Ben Dyer, TalkTalk’s head of data technology and architecture.</p> <p>So, how do companies go about building and using a data lake? A good place to start is to understand the architecture and what it can deliver.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Does your business need a chief data officer?</a></em></p> <h2>What Is a Data Lake? </h2> <p>Data lakes<strong> store data of any type in its raw form</strong>, much as a real lake provides a habitat where all types of creatures can live together.</p> <p>A data lake is an architecture for storing high-volume, high-velocity, high-variety, as-is data in a centralized repository for Big Data and real-time analytics. And the technology is an attention-getter: The <a href="" target="_blank">global data lakes market</a> is expected to grow at a rate of <strong>28 percent</strong> between 2017 and 2023.</p> <p>Companies can pull in vast amounts of data — structured, semistructured and unstructured — in real time into a data lake, from anywhere. Data can be ingested from Internet of Things sensors, clickstream activity on a website, log files, social media feeds, videos and online transaction processing (OLTP) systems, for instance. There are <strong>no constraints on where the data hails from</strong>, but it’s a good idea to use metadata tagging to add some level of organization to what’s ingested, so that relevant data can be surfaced for queries and analysis.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="IT%20Infrastructure_IR_2.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <p>“To ensure that a lake doesn’t become a swamp, it’s very helpful to <strong>provide a catalog that makes data visible and accessible to the business</strong>, as well as to IT and data management professionals,” says Doug Henschen, vice president and principal analyst at <a href="" target="_blank">Constellation Research</a>.</p> <p><em><a href=""><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>See how utilities are making the most of data lakes and analytics.</a></em></p> <h2>Data Lakes vs. Data Warehouses</h2> <p>Data lakes should not be confused with data warehouses. Where data lakes store raw data, <strong>warehouses store current and historical data in an organized fashion</strong>.</p> <p>IT teams and data engineers should think of a data warehouse as a highly structured environment, where racks and containers are clearly labeled and similar items are stacked together for supply chain efficiency.</p> <p>The difference between a data lake and a data warehouse primarily pertains to analytics.</p> <p>Data warehouses are best for analyzing structured data quickly and with great accuracy and transparency for managerial or regulatory purposes. Meanwhile, <strong>data lakes are primed for experimentation</strong>, explains Kelle O'Neal, founder and CEO of management consulting firm <a href="" target="_blank">First San Francisco Partners.</a></p> <p>With a data lake, businesses can quickly<strong> load a variety of data types from multiple sources</strong> and engage in ad hoc analysis. Or, a data team could leverage machine learning in a data lake to find “a needle in a haystack,” O’Neal says.</p> <p>“The rapid inclusion of new data sets would never be possible in a traditional data warehouse, with its data model–specific structures and its constraints on adding new sources or targets,” O’Neal says.</p> <p>Data warehouses follow a “<strong>schema on write</strong>” approach, which entails defining a schema for data before being able to write it to the database. Online analytical processing (OLAP) technology can be used to analyze and evaluate data in a warehouse, enabling fast responses to complex analytical queries.</p> <p>Data lakes take a “<strong>schema on </strong><strong>read</strong>” approach, where the data is structured and transformed only when it is ready to be used. For this reason, it’s a snap to bring in new data sources, and users don’t have to know in advance the questions they want to answer. With lakes, “different types of analytics on your data — like SQL queries, Big Data analytics, full-text search, real-time analytics and machine learning — can be used to uncover insights,” according to <a href="">Amazon</a>. Moreover, data lakes are <a href="" target="_blank">capable of real-time actions</a> based on algorithm-driven analytics.</p> <p>Businesses may use both data lakes and data warehouses. The decision about which to use turns on “<strong>understanding and optimizing what the different solutions do best</strong>,” O’Neal says.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>What does it take to tackle data privacy in the Big Data era?</a></em></p> <h2>Installing a Data Lake Architecture</h2> <p>Modern Big Data infrastructures act as components of data lake architectures. These platforms offer various services, including:</p> <ul><li><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Hadoop</a></strong> — Delivers distributed storage and distributed processing of very large data sets on computer clusters</li> <li><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a></strong>’s Azure Data Lake — A scalable public cloud service that uses Azure Data Lake Store, a Hadoop-compatible repository for analytics on data of any size, type and ingestion speed</li> <li><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Azure</a> </strong>Databricks — An Apache Spark analytics platform that is optimized for Azure cloud services and integrates with Azure databases and stores, including Data Lake Store</li> </ul><p>“There are various software providers, and all leading cloud providers offer this type of infrastructure as a cloud service,” Henschen says.</p> <p>Hadoop services, for instance, exist not only on Microsoft Azure but also on <a href="" target="_blank">Google Cloud</a> and other leading cloud services. Other clouds, in addition to Azure, offer similar <strong>combinations of high-scale databases, object stores and analytical platforms</strong>.</p> <p>While many providers, such as <a href="" target="_blank">Oracle</a>, offer both on-premises and cloud data lake solutions, most businesses are turning to the cloud when seeking data lake architectures.</p> <p>“Cloud-based options — whether provided by cloud providers or software vendors with their own cloud services — are seeing the lion’s share of the growth these days,” says Henschen.</p> <p>O’Neal backs up this assertion, recommending that businesses consider implementing a data lake in the cloud. “Based on their sophistication and deep pockets, many of the cloud providers have better security capabilities than most companies can afford to build on their own.”</p> <p>She also points out that many of the data lake component providers and other data platform providers are releasing new types of metadata solutions to ensure data engineers and IT teams understand what data they have, where it goes and how it should be secured and managed.</p> <p>While there are many advantages to adopting data lake technology, businesses should keep in mind that building a solid data lake architecture that delivers the analytics value a company needs is no small task. In fact, McKinsey &amp; Company <a href="" target="_blank">estimates</a> that in many instances, the cost of a data lake investment can be millions of dollars. But for companies with growing volumes of data, the return on investment could be worth it.</p> <p>“When data volumes start creeping into the <strong>tens of terabytes</strong> it’s time to consider something in the lake vein,” says Henschen.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/jennifer-zaino" hreflang="en">Jennifer Zaino</a></div> </div> Wed, 20 Feb 2019 14:49:14 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 43231 at Are Augmented and Virtual Reality the Future of Corporate Training? <span>Are Augmented and Virtual Reality the Future of Corporate Training?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/julietvanwagenen22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/19/2019 - 13:56</span> <div><p>Augmented and virtual reality are <strong>revolutionizing corporate training</strong>. In industries such as high-tech manufacturing, businesses are deploying virtual worlds that simulate the real-life settings employees will work in.</p> <p>“There’s a growing pool of companies that already have deployments for AR and VR enterprise training,” says Lewis Ward, IDC’s research director of gaming and AR/VR.</p> <p>A purely virtual setting, or one where holographic information is superimposed on a trainee’s physical environment, allows new hires to ­perform procedural steps they’ve just viewed, or can serve as a refresher course that employees can access on a job site.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> Which industries are focused on building VR and AR experiences for customers and employees?</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Workers Reap the Benefits of Virtual Reality</h2> <p>That goal was one of the key drivers behind <a href="" target="_blank">Honeywell</a>’s Connected Plant Skills and Safety Immersive Competency offering, which was inspired by skills gap issues its customers faced due to the retirement of more experienced workers.</p> <p>“AR and VR give you the ability to train in areas you see only very occasionally but are<strong> critical for safety</strong>, as well as for the functionality of a process at hand,” says Vincent Higgins, director of technology and innovation at Honeywell Connected Plant. “When<strong> all your senses are engaged</strong> and you see the consequences of your actions, you typically get a much higher retention rate — and time to competency speeds up.”</p> <p>By donning a <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality headsets, workers access<strong> immersive VR training</strong> to help them learn how to handle scenarios such as a plant shutdown.</p> <p>The technology also generates data to confirm employees are learning.</p> <p>Construction equipment provider United Rentals plans to begin offering new VR-based simulators this year through its United Academy division to help customers teach their employees how to operate articulated boom and scissor lift machines. The headsets trainees wear contain sensors that gauge user motion and performance, says Jim Dorris, United Rentals’ vice president for environmental health and safety.</p> <p>“We’re able to capture a lot of information to come up with a quantitative assessment of how capable they are operating the equipment,” Dorris explains.</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 id="toc_1">AR, VR Training Could Boom</h2> <p>AR and VR technology can pose a few challenges, according to Ward. The hardware cost can be an issue, and if a company only has a certain number of available headsets, <strong>scheduling training</strong> time can also be a challenge.</p> <p>Still, given the comprehension and assessment capabilities the technology provides, Ward expects more employers will supplement training with AR and VR functionality in the future.</p> <p>“The <strong>software and hardware will both get better over time</strong>, and hardware prices will come down,” Ward explains. “Companies need to ask themselves how this fits into existing training processes. What is the software and hardware allowing us to add to what we’re already doing? At the end the day, you want people to retain information — and act properly when the scenario comes up at their actual job.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/erin-brereton" hreflang="en">Erin Brereton</a></div> </div> Tue, 19 Feb 2019 18:56:04 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 43226 at 3 Types of IT Projects that Deserve to Be Cut <span>3 Types of IT Projects that Deserve to Be Cut</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/julietvanwagenen22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Mon, 02/18/2019 - 10:42</span> <div><p>As IT budgets swell, CEOs and CFOs reasonably wonder whether they’re getting full value for their money. And while every IT department leader may think otherwise, the fact is that some projects do not justify the cost.</p> <p>When IT departments spend money on projects that don’t drive business value — or that simply never get done — that leaves fewer dollars for worthier ideas. CIOs must always be on the lookout for wasteful spending, and there are telltale signs that a project may be ready for the cutting-room floor.</p> <p>Here are three of the most common:</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> Learn how to get management buy-in for worthy IT projects.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">1. Trim Runaway IT Projects</h2> <p>Most organizations have a clear gatekeeper role designed to keep projects from starting without a project plan and a solid business case. But once the project launches, <strong>project teams are often free to engage in scope creep</strong>, wandering off course and causing ­budget overruns.</p> <p><strong>Software upgrades</strong> are a great ­example. Of course, it’s vital to keep business-critical tools updated, and the scope of a typical upgrade can be modest even for very important tools. However, once a new version is installed for testing, users and IT teams often discover ­interesting new features, and a basic software upgrade can turn into a business process re-engineering project, adding costs and risks.</p> <p>The difficulty with these types of projects is that, because each individual step makes sense, they can be hard to argue against. But the ad hoc nature of the change from version upgrade to revised business process means that the budget and timeline are unpredictable. In addition, other projects can be starved for resources, and project interlock — where a software version change suddenly depends on an unscheduled storage area network capacity upgrade — can cause substantial delays and block other activities.</p> <p>CIOs should look for projects where the scope, budget, resources and time requirements have shifted significantly from startup — and <strong>be unafraid to roll a project back to its original goals </strong>and most efficient use of resources.</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 id="toc_1">2. Don't Waste More Time on Black Hole Projects</h2> <p>An enormous part of IT budgets is spent <strong>supporting existing tools and systems</strong>. Businesses cut these checks each year without considering alternatives. When leaders justify a continuing investment with “of course we have to keep our X running,” they waste funds. This waste happens as often in hardware as it does in software.</p> <p>A good example of stale investment is building local area network technology. Many organizations write a check without question to their LAN vendor for hardware support; they never bother to analyze the actual failure rate for LAN technology, which has been generally stable since 1-gigabit-per-­second switches were installed.</p> <p>Alternative support structures, whether that means simply stocking used parts or using a third-party company, can keep things running efficiently — and may be faster than the vendor’s own support team.</p> <p>Vendors love to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt: “That core router is near end of life” or “We aren’t going to update that anymore.” But the reality is that, once something is <strong>5 or 10 years old</strong>, a business’s IT team should be able to maintain and manage it without hand-holding from the vendor. If it can’t, that’s another issue to be investigated.</p> <p>The same argument holds true for software: Paying a high price to maintain the status quo not only wastes resources, it keeps teams from thinking clearly about whether tools can be consolidated or even decommissioned.</p> <p>CIOs should<strong> require a justification for any support costs</strong>, not only in terms of incidents and hardware swapped each year. And to keep IT teams advocating for new solutions, CIOs should use the savings from support as a way to invest in innovation.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> How your IT department can help your company's bottom line.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_2">3. Beware of Reality-Challenged IT Projects</h2> <p>Many IT projects start with a fairly blue-sky idea: “Let’s go fully mobile” or “Let’s migrate our data center to the cloud.” It’s important to invest in these types of projects to keep innovation flowing through the organization. However, blue-sky ideas have to be brought down to earth fairly quickly, or they won’t deliver a return on investment.</p> <p>Cloud migration is a good example. A project can start with the goal to completely shift all applications to the cloud. But that’s not actually practical for many organizations. While cloud infrastructure and software deliver cost savings, agility, reliability and scalability, few organizations can migrate <strong>100 percent </strong>of their data center applications. That means someone has to figure out what can be moved, and what must stay — and those are hard questions to answer.</p> <p>Watch for projects where a vague scope and timeline suddenly branches into many subprojects. If a cloud project suddenly becomes five cloud projects, that’s a sign that people are ignoring the integration costs, risks and uncertainties attached. Any project where two diametrically opposed points of view suddenly reach an agreement where neither side has to compromise is another huge danger sign. That usually means both sides got their way, usually by spending more money.</p> <p>The way out of these ballooning projects is to be willing to <strong>cut scope to a clearly achievable set of goals</strong>. By tightening everyone’s attention on the most important aspect of each project, CIOs can move forward on vital objectives — and leave room for future projects.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/joel-snyder" hreflang="en">Joel Snyder</a></div> </div> Mon, 18 Feb 2019 15:42:44 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 43221 at Review: NetApp AFF A700s Is a Scalable Storage Solution for Growing Businesses <span>Review: NetApp AFF A700s Is a Scalable Storage Solution for Growing Businesses</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/julietvanwagenen22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 02/14/2019 - 10:19</span> <div><p>When it comes to storage, scalability is king. Every business wants to grow — usually, the faster the better — and that means an organization’s storage needs to grow too. Yet few vendors can deliver a storage system that can scale from a handful of users to thousands.</p> <p>Enter the <a href=" " target="_blank">NetApp AFF A700s</a>, which retains the simplicity of a small system while scaling to a multinode cluster that can support thousands of users.</p> <p>The four-unit rack-mount chassis accommodates dual controllers,<strong> 24 solid-state drives </strong>and eight PCIe expansion slots for additional network ports. It can support <strong>8-, 16- and 32-gigabit-per-second Fibre Channel</strong>, 40 Gigabit Ethernet, and both storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) functionality.</p> <p>The included ONTAP data management software makes it simple to start with one system and add as many as 24 in a cluster, then expand with cloud-based storage for cheaper replication targets and offsite fault tolerance or to support workloads that migrate from the data center to the cloud.</p> <p>NetApp specifies as many as 7 million input/output operations per second and an effective capacity of up to <strong>155 petabytes</strong>, with a maximum raw capacity of <strong>39PB</strong> in NAS configuration, or <strong>19.8PB raw and 77.8PB effective</strong> in SAN configuration. Of course, effective capacity depends on both compression and deduplication, which can boost results exponentially — up to five or six times raw capacity, depending on the type of data being stored. A single node can hit <strong>600,000 IOPS</strong>, with an effective capacity of up to <strong>13PB</strong>.</p> <p>The configuration of a single A700s is simple, and <strong>adding it to an existing cluster is straightforward</strong>, given the large number of options. The installation wizard makes the initial configuration easy for any administrator familiar with data storage concepts, even without NetApp training or support. Both are available online or over the phone.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM HEALTHTECH:</strong> Could your business use a chief data officer?</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Intuitive User Interface Simplifies Storage</h2> <p>Creating volumes and setting up replication was very intuitive, with a <strong>well-developed user interface</strong>. The same can be said about enabling compression and deduplication, and enabling SAN protocols over Fibre Channel or iSCSI, or NAS protocols using NFS or CIFS/SMB.</p> <p><img alt="NetApp AFF A700s" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></p> <p>A clustered system adds both <strong>resiliency and performance</strong>: The failure of any one node will not result in downtime, and performance increases with each node.</p> <h2 id="toc_1">The AFF A700s Offers Hybrid Storage that Scales</h2> <p>The AFF A700s easily scales to <strong>24 nodes</strong> to deliver fault-tolerant, high-performance and high-capacity storage that can be administered from a single dashboard.</p> <p>When demand calls for even more storage, the system adds cloud capacity from multiple vendors as well as legacy hard drive-based storage systems in the data center.</p> <p>ONTAP data management software can <strong>automatically move data between tiers to maximize performance</strong> for the most active data. (Data that hasn’t been used for a while can be moved to a less expensive storage tier.) The software also migrates data to keep it with the server instance that needs it.</p> <p>As workloads move from one virtual machine to another on a server in the data center or in the cloud, keeping the data with the app becomes more complex. NetApp’s software simplifies that process, allowing a new snapshot of the existing data to be created for a new version of the app, or for the existing data to migrate from one storage volume to another.</p> <p>Within a system where an app may need to shift from one data center to another, such<strong> flexibility becomes even more important</strong>.</p> <h3 id="toc_2">The NetApp AFF A700s</h3> <p>Max Drives: 24 SSDs<br /> Max Capacity: 39PB<br /> Max IP Routes: 20,000 IPv4; 6,000 IPv6<br /> Rack-Mount Size: 4U<br /> Ports: 8 Fibre Channel, 12 40GbE, 24 10GbE, 8 SAS<br /> Storage Networking: FC, iSCSI, NFS, CIFS/SMB</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="Modern-Workforce_the-office.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/logan-g-harbaugh" hreflang="en">Logan G. Harbaugh</a></div> </div> Thu, 14 Feb 2019 15:19:58 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 43216 at 3 Reasons Companies Turn to ‘as a Service’ Models to Achieve Sustainability <span>3 Reasons Companies Turn to ‘as a Service’ Models to Achieve Sustainability</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/julietvanwagenen22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/13/2019 - 11:07</span> <div><p>Sustainability is becoming important to both consumers and the companies that serve them. In fact, sustainability has begun driving revenue decisions for businesses, according to a new study from <a href="" target="_blank">ING</a>. The study found that 39 percent of the <strong>200 executives</strong> polled believe revenue growth was the No. 1 factor behind sustainability initiatives, and <strong>48 percent</strong> noted that sustainability is, at the very least, influencing growth decisions.</p> <p>In fact, in the past six months, the number of companies that had set or committed to set a <a href="" target="_blank">science-based target</a> — targets that are in line with the level of decarbonization required to keep the global temperature increase below <strong>2 degrees Celsius</strong> compared to preindustrial temperatures — nearly <strong>doubled from 250</strong> to <a href="" target="_blank">497 companies</a>. Further, regulatory pressures, such as the European Union’s <a href=";;sdata=gSVs8NN7OllmslHxaExwc6o%2FlJMTFe2veTk3R5tTU1I%3D&amp;reserved=0" target="_blank">Circular Economy Package</a>, which requires companies operating in the European Union to ensure their products can be recycled, are also furthering sustainability initiatives.</p> <p>In addition to the social and environmental impact, the business benefits of embracing the circular economy are driving companies to seek new ways to implement sustainable practices, and one key way to do this is by tapping managed services. From Device as a Service to Infrastructure as a Service, systems-based thinking can help to deliver immediate and significant benefits to companies while decreasing environmental impact.</p> <p>Here are three ways that “as a service” practices deliver on this sustainability for businesses.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Check out how the XaaS movement could help businesses strategize, cut costs and improve security.</em></a></p> <h2>1. Services Shrink Equipment Needs for Companies</h2> <p>By reducing the amount of equipment a company has on-premises, managed services help <strong>facilitate the move to a smaller, greener footprint</strong>.</p> <p>Instead of buying, storing, maintaining, disposing of and replacing expensive equipment, businesses can <strong>purchase services as they need them from third parties</strong>. This means that for companies that embrace models such as Infrastructure as a Service, energy-intensive tasks, like cooling server rooms, are a thing of the past. Moreover, since less physical space is necessary to house and manage the equipment, associated energy usage and costs can drop as well.</p> <h2>2. Managed Services Reduce Businesses’ Energy Use</h2> <p>Think about old and unused office equipment that is still plugged in: Just like home appliances, these devices are still consuming energy. But some services can help <strong>cut unnecessary energy costs</strong> for devices that businesses have on-premises by enabling the ability to <strong>automatically manage fleets of devices</strong>, such as laptops and tablets. For instance, businesses can deploy energy-saving protocols, such as automatic shut-off and scheduling sleep and wake-up modes across the entire fleet to reduce energy consumption. The Device as a Service model also allows companies to use the most up-to-date and energy-efficient devices.</p> <p>But not all advantages are on-premises. Managed service models also help to cut back or consolidate the number of individual shipments, reducing aggregate supply chain emissions.</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>3. Services Help to Eliminate Waste</h2> <p>With the economy moving toward a “<strong>recover, recycle, reuse</strong>” circular strategy, managed services can play a role by allowing companies to track wasteful employee behaviors. These behaviors can include single-sided versus two-sided printing, color volume, or even the employee-per-device ratio. With this information at hand, companies can then deploy and scale a cloud-based solution to help curtail such behaviors across the entire fleet.</p> <p>Some services can enable proactive maintenance for devices, which can help to increase product longevity and reduce waste. For instance, ensuring toner is completely used up before it is changed can result in significant cost savings for a company with thousands of printers.</p> <p>With the world’s population close to <strong>8 billion</strong>, there is not a moment to lose when it comes to being more effective stewards of our resources. Today, sustainability in business is becoming mandatory. One of the best ways to <strong>enable and accelerate an effective sustainability agenda</strong> is to jettison the old ownership model and reinvent IT with “as a service.” Your customers, employees and kids will thank you.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11926" hreflang="en">Grad Rosenbaum</a></div> </div> Wed, 13 Feb 2019 16:07:28 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 43211 at What Is a Chief Data Officer? <span>What Is a Chief Data Officer?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/julietvanwagenen22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/12/2019 - 16:24</span> <div><p>These days, enterprise data is a company’s most crucial resource. Effectively gathering, analyzing and applying that data will be<strong> vital in helping businesses improve operations and deliver on customer expectations</strong>. But as data becomes ever more ingrained in how companies forge a path forward, businesses have begun to set up leadership roles specific to managing data effectively and keeping data use in compliance with constantly evolving regulations.</p> <p>Enter the chief data officer, also known as the chief analytics officer, a role that heads up a company’s data analytics operations, transforming data into business value and driving data-related business change. </p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>VIDEO:</strong> See how retailers are capturing data to make customer personalization a reality.</a></em></p> <h2>What Does a Chief Data Officer Do?</h2> <p>Traditionally, the responsibility to oversee data collection, organization and use has fallen to the CIO. But as data use grows in volume and importance, the chief data officer position has emerged. </p> <p>The CDO is responsible for <strong>governing data across the enterprise</strong> and overseeing data-related functions, which can include managing data, building a data strategy and ensuring robustness and quality of data. The CDO also manages analytics and champions the use of data across an enterprise to bring about cultural and operational change.</p> <p>In practice, the CDO must possess both technical know-how and effective communication skills. Project Open Data<a href="" target="_blank"> describes the CDO as</a> “part data strategist and adviser, part steward for improving data quality, part evangelist for data sharing, part technologist, and part developer of new data products.”</p> <p>The duties of a CDO should not overlap with those of the CIO or chief privacy officer, despite some similarities in how the positions appear to function. Instead, a CDO should <strong>work in concert with others in the C-suite</strong> to ensure the effective and compliant use of data.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>DOWNLOAD: </strong>What do finance firms need to know about GDPR? </a></em></p> <h2>The Main Responsibilities of a Chief Data Officer</h2> <p>The <strong>duties that fall to the CDO will differ depending on the organization</strong>, but in general, they include:</p> <ul><li>Ensuring compliance with data security and privacy regulations</li> <li>Overseeing the data lifecycle</li> <li>Managing data quality</li> <li>Developing an overall data and analytics strategy</li> <li>Coordinating and leading data initiatives</li> <li>Creating business value from data assets</li> </ul><p>The CDO should also work closely with the CIO and IT team to ensure that enterprise data is readily available and actionable for the organization.</p> <p>It should be noted, however, that as initiatives such as customer personalization and real-time engagement begin to take hold, the role of the CDO is changing.</p> <p>According to a<a href="" target="_blank"> recent report from Deloitte</a>, <strong>CDO roles are expanding as businesses move to digital</strong>. Now more than ever, CDOs are asked to serve as data champions and drive change, improve the value of data as a strategic asset and explore the uses of artificial intelligence, all with the aim of improving operational efficiencies and controlling costs.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>What does it take to tackle data privacy in the Big Data era?</a></em></p> <h2>What Education and Skills Do Chief Data Officers Need?</h2> <p>Because the CDO’s role varies from company to company, so do the expectations companies have for them. Companies seeking to hire a CDO might list the following <a href="" target="_blank">requirements:</a></p> <p><strong>Education: </strong>A Ph.D. in a data-related field, such as data science, computer science, management information systems, statistics or analytics</p> <p><strong>Experience: </strong>Ten or more years of experience in a senior data analytics or data science position within an organization, as well as experience in building and leading data science initiatives and advocating for analytics</p> <p><strong>Skills:</strong> Solid interpersonal and leadership skills, commensurate with a C-suite position, plus the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with other departments in order to drive the most value from data</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SEE MORE: </strong>Can Analytics as a Service help your small business turn data </a></em><a href=""><em>into action</em></a><em><a href="">?</a></em></p> <h2>What Chief Data Officers Can Offer Businesses</h2> <p>The CDO role has grown in popularity among businesses in recent years, with nearly two-thirds of firms reporting that they have a CDO, according to a<a href="" target="_blank"> 2018 survey from New Vantage Points</a>. This number represents a huge upswing from six years earlier, when just <strong>12 percent</strong> of companies reported having a CDO.</p> <p>No doubt, the number of CDOs is growing as the amount of data available to businesses expands. By 2020, the number of connected devices will reach <strong>20.4 billion</strong>,<a href="" target="_blank"> according to Gartner</a>. Without effective oversight, much of the data these devices create will sit in silos and never produce meaningful insights.  </p> <p>This is where the CDO steps in: He or she can work with teams and tools to get a full view of an organization’s data and then put it to work to solve customer and operational challenges and improve business operations.</p> <p>The CDO’s expertise is <strong>especially important when determining how data should be </strong><strong>handled</strong>, because not all data should be handled the same way: “Some data, we just need to bring it in and store it. Other data, we need to know where it lives and how it’s changing. Other data, we just need to keep it for a short time,” Anthony Scriffignano, chief data scientist at Dun &amp; Bradstreet,<a href="" target="_blank"> tells CIO</a>.</p> <p>Moreover, with the advent of<a href=""> data privacy</a> legislation, such as Europe’s <a href="" target="_blank">General Data Protection Regulation</a> (GDPR), appointing a leader to<a href=""> understand and control how data is managed within an organization</a> could be more crucial than ever.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Surveillance data could be the key to optimizing in-store retail operations.</a></em></p> <h2>Challenges Facing Chief Data Officers</h2> <p>It’s important for businesses to <strong>understand exactly what they want from a CDO</strong> and to provide the person in that role with the tools and access they need to reach realistic goals. In fact, one of the greatest issues in hiring and keeping CDOs is that companies have very different ideas of what the role can deliver.</p> <p>“One of the biggest mistakes is not understanding what it will take to succeed, in terms of expectations,” Guy Gomis, partner at the recruiting company BrainWorks, tells CIO. “If you look at a lot of the people who have had the title of chief data officer and chief analytics officer over the last three years, there’s a<a href=""> tremendous amount of turnover</a> … It turns out that the expectation of the company and the candidates were not aligned.”</p> <p>Other challenges for the CDO persist; among them, a <strong>cultural</strong><strong> resistance to change </strong>that holds back progress for data-driven initiatives, according to the New Vantage Points report. To overcome this, companies should work to support the CDO in furthering a culture across the business that seeks to gather and use data efficiently.</p> <div class="sidebar_wide"> <h3>Recommended Data Science Tools</h3> <p>The CDO and the CDO’s team work with technologies and tools that gather, synthesize and analyze data in hand, including:</p> <ul><li><strong>Data visualization tools </strong>— Just having data isn’t enough; to effect meaningful change in operations, all members of an organization need to be able to access and understand the data. Data visualization tools, such as <a href="" target="_blank">Tableau</a>, have helped organizations like <a href="">Home Depot and Chick-fil-A better understand in-store operations</a>.</li> <li><strong>Data lakes </strong>— With so much data being created, it can easily get lost or siloed. This is where data lakes — <a href="" target="_blank">vast repositories of raw data</a> — can come in handy. Once the data has been filtered and structured for its specific purpose, it’s crucial not to let it float off to the wayside, but to store it in a data warehouse.</li> <li><strong>Automation</strong> — One of the advantages of data collection is that it can inform artificial intelligence-backed technologies that are used to improve workflow. This can prove especially helpful for businesses with limited manpower. Technologies such as <a href="">robotic process automation</a> can tap this data to <a href="">perform many of the routine, tedious tasks humans don’t enjoy</a> — freeing up staff to take on more innovative and business-critical work.</li> </ul></div> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Tue, 12 Feb 2019 21:24:27 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 43206 at How Small Businesses Can Shorten Breach Detection Time <span>How Small Businesses Can Shorten Breach Detection Time</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/julietvanwagenen22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Mon, 02/11/2019 - 11:32</span> <div><p>We’ve all heard stories of how one click can lead to a lockdown of hundreds of company computers, but recognizing a cybersecurity attack isn’t always that easy.</p> <p>In fact, one of the most pernicious aspects of a cybersecurity breach is the length of time threat actors often lurk on a network before the victim discovers the breach. According to <a href="" target="_blank">FireEye</a>’s <a href="">Mandiant 2018 M-Trends report</a>, this so-called<strong> dwell time averaged 101 days</strong> — more than three months — in 2017. That’s more than enough time for hackers to do almost any damage they wish.</p> <p>Often, breaches can take even longer to detect. Lord &amp; Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, for instance, <a href="" target="_blank">detected a breach in March 2018</a> that was likely initiated in May 2017, giving the bad actors almost a year to siphon data. But the consequences of undetected breaches can go even further for businesses, <a href="" target="_blank">shaking consumer and investor confidence</a> as well.</p> <p>With this in mind, what can businesses do to help prevent these attacks? Enter the latest generation of <strong>endpoint detection and response</strong> (EDR) technology. Paired with <a href="" target="_blank">security best practices</a>, these tools can help detect a breach early and limit damage from attacks lurking inside your system.</p> <p><em><a href=""><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH:</strong> Can a security assessment benefit your small business?</a></em></p> <h2>Endpoint Detection and Response Beefs Up Security</h2> <p>As the threat landscape expands and companies are hit with more types of malicious threats every day — in particular, those directed at users via printers, laptops, phones and other endpoints — EDR has proved to be a key part of a business’s defense toolbox.</p> <p>“<strong>EDR monitors endpoints to detect suspicious activities</strong> and capture data for forensic and security investigations, focusing on each stage of an attack — often referred to as the ‘kill chain,’” <a href="">explains</a> Sherry De La Torres, a CDW security solution architect.</p> <p>In their arsenal, hackers have a variety of tools to help them avoid detection. EDR can offer more visibility into the attack itself, which can offer an IT team the information it needs to more quickly understand and remediate an attack.</p> <p>“Until the advent of EDR, the traditional approach of collecting forensic data from endpoints has been on a reactive basis, where a forensics tool would be deployed to <strong>target post-event endpoints</strong> and the data collected would depend on what the operating system logged,” <a href=";ct=190110&amp;st=sb">explains a recent report by Gartner</a>. Now, with EDR, IT teams have access to “deep granular endpoint data” that’s traditionally been provided by network and perimeter security solutions.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>LEARN MORE:</strong> See how AI-backed EDR can improve breach detection time.</a></em></p> <p>This means that, with EDR, organizations have the means to search out endpoint-related activity, whether it be malicious software or simply information that can help inform operations, like patching or application use.</p> <p>But EDR solutions aren’t just set-it-and-forget-it technologies. Understanding what an alert or activity means requires expertise, and so companies should take care to <strong>invest in security talent and training for EDR solutions</strong>.</p> <p>“EDR provides very rich and very complex data that requires advanced knowledge, understanding and experience to analyze and understand,” the Gartner report notes.</p> <p>For this reason, it’s often prudent for small businesses to seek out <a href="" target="_blank">managed security services</a> for help in managing and using EDR effectively.</p> <p>As the threat landscape expands, what was once just a printer could now be a hacker’s point of entry into a company’s systems. Those IT teams that can clearly see every device on the network will likely be the best positioned to take on attacks.</p> <p><em>This article is part of </em>BizTech<em>'s <a href="">AgilITy blog series</a>. Please join the discussion on Twitter <em>by</em></em><em> using the <a href=";src=typd">#SmallBizIT </a>hashtag</em>.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href=""><img alt="Agility_Logo_sized.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <p> </p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/11721" hreflang="en">Michael Sorokin </a></div> </div> Mon, 11 Feb 2019 16:32:38 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 43201 at 3 Best Practices to Boost Endpoint Security <span>3 Best Practices to Boost Endpoint Security</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/julietvanwagenen22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Wed, 02/06/2019 - 12:13</span> <div><p>Conventional wisdom tells us that a penny saved is as good as a penny earned. While that might be true when buying paper towels at a warehouse store, blind adherence to that rule in other areas can create unanticipated risk — especially when it comes to purchasing technology.</p> <p>For a procurement team, that might be considering a bulk purchase of printers or laptops for the lowest per-unit price possible. Achieving <strong>20 percent savings </strong>on the deal is a great win for the company — until it isn’t. Those savings might become costly if one of those printers or laptops is used as a gateway for hackers to launch malware, steal customer data or intellectual property or create denial of service. </p> <p>Cybercrime is rampant and is on track to cost businesses more than <strong>$6 trillion annually by 2021</strong>, according to the “<a href="" target="_blank">2017 Official Annual Cybercrime Report,” by global information security advisory firm Herjavec Group</a>. That cost doesn’t even consider the impact on brand reputation. <a href="" target="_blank">A 2017 Centrify study</a> revealed that when a company’s data breach is disclosed, there is an average of a seven percent loss of customers and an average drop in stock price of five percent. Further, the company must also reckon with investigative, legal and public relations expenses and costs associated with rehabilitating its image.</p> <p>To make matters worse, the possibility of being hacked is increasing dramatically: A <a href=";;sdata=CQSA0SW1%2BRQlTcT5ZUixWm8bzp22Hy3AJCe%2Bppth50s%3D&amp;reserved=0">recent report</a> finds that during the first half of 2018, there were <strong>668 data breaches</strong> in the U.S., representing more than <strong>22 million records exposed</strong>. While all companies are at risk, some industries are at higher risk than others, including healthcare, manufacturing, retail and banking. In fact, the latest “<a href="" target="_blank">Thales Data Threat Report,” retail edition</a>, shows that U.S. retail data breaches more than doubled, from <strong>19 percent in 2017 to 50 percent in 2018</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM BIZTECH: </strong>Beware of these three cybersecurity threats in the new year.</em></a></p> <h2>Endpoints Prove Security Vulnerabilities for Companies</h2> <p>Endpoint devices — PCs, printers, scanners, Voice over Internet Protocol phones and smart meters, among others — are increasingly preyed upon by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive and private</p> <p>information. <strong>Embedded endpoint security</strong> helps businesses restore data during cyberattacks and enables organizations to take control of their information. It also reduces exposure to legal and financial risk with early case threat assessment. </p> <p>Organizations need endpoint protection for assurance when the endpoint devices are lost, stolen, or experience irrecoverable hardware or software failure. Yet, in many cases, endpoint security is not seen as a primary requirement for IT procurement contracts.</p> <p>Businesses need to move quickly to secure their endpoints, but also do so thoroughly. Here are <strong>three best practices to properly secure a business’s endpoints</strong>, and ultimately a brand’s reputation.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank" title="CDW Cybersecurity Insight Report"><img alt="Cybersecurity-report_EasyTarget.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2>1. Enlist IT Professionals in the Process, Not Just the Procurement Team </h2> <p>When every device purchase comes with potential vulnerability, no decision is too small.</p> <p>IT procurement must include conversations beyond just the price of the technology. Security should be a deliberate and well-considered criterion. That means that professionals from the IT team and security team (if there is one) must be active participants in the evaluation and selection criteria for new technology that aligns with the company’s security policies.</p> <p>These employees are also able to identify how to best leverage existing IT investments and plan for future growth needs with service or application integration points.</p> <p>Finally, IT professionals can <strong>assess security features to enhance organizational productivity</strong> with end-user benefits without compromising business assurance requirements. They will be in a position to understand employees’ behaviors and which security features are best suited to their users. </p> <p><em><a href=""><strong>DOWNLOAD:</strong> How can retailers </a></em><a href=""><em>can</em></a><em><a href=""> deal with the new reality of GDPR?</a></em></p> <h2>2. Invest in First-Rate Endpoint Security </h2> <p>Laptops, desktops, smartphones, printers, copiers, VoIP phones and Internet of Things devices: Companies have thousands of endpoints, and <strong>protecting the perimeter is not enough</strong> when each device represents a potential weak link. In fact, <a href="" target="_blank">71 percent of data breaches</a> target endpoints. Still, most companies don’t spend enough on security. </p> <p>“Security has been an under-spend area for decades. You’re spending about <strong>3 percent</strong> of your capex (capital expenditures) that’s focused on IT on security. That’s relatively low,” Rob Owens, senior research analyst for security and infrastructure software at Pacific Crest Securities, <a href="">said in a press</a> release. </p> <p>But security value isn’t just about investing dollars, it’s about ensuring that those dollars are well-spent. IT leaders should look for best-in-class features such as behavior-based malware detection, multifactor authentication and automatic runtime intrusion detection.</p> <p>Further, security fleet management solutions check for and fix device security settings in a reboot, which is another important consideration in protecting endpoints. Remember to <strong>incorporate physical security measures too</strong>, such as privacy screens, in order to thwart visual hackers.</p> <h2>3. Call in Security Experts to Help Shore Up Defenses</h2> <p>Endpoint security is critical to the health of any business, so outsourcing the responsibility is the prudent path for many companies. A <a href="" target="_blank">recent survey</a> reveals that only <strong>16 percent of enterprise IT decision-makers</strong> consider printers a high-risk target for a security breach — creating a huge vulnerability that cybercriminals are eager to exploit. </p> <p>Partnering with a security expert can give organizations peace of mind by <strong>providing specialized security tools</strong> as well as the resources needed to do the job right. In fact, a recent <a href="" target="_blank">CIO, CSO and Computerworld survey</a> found that <strong>56 percent</strong> of respondents said their organizations are engaging consultants to develop an information security strategy, and <strong>40 percent </strong>are moving to a managed security service provider.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/taxonomy/term/12036" hreflang="en">Christoph Ruef</a></div> </div> Wed, 06 Feb 2019 17:13:16 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 43196 at Small Businesses Get Larger Tax Breaks for Tech Purchases <span>Small Businesses Get Larger Tax Breaks for Tech Purchases</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/bobkeaveneyu64t" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bob.Keaveney_u64t</span></span> <span>Tue, 02/05/2019 - 10:27</span> <div><p>Companies that are preparing to file their 2018 taxes and planning for 2019 will see some big changes in the new tax law, including much larger tax deductions for technology purchases.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Tax Cuts and Jobs Act</a>, which took effect in the 2018 tax year, was <strong>the first major tax reform in 31 years.</strong> For businesses, other favorable changes include lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and a potential 20 percent deduction in qualified business income for small businesses that are S corporations, LLCs, partnerships and sole proprietorships.   </p> <p>But the new tax law also <strong>eliminated some popular business deductions</strong>, such as entertainment expenses and transportation fringe benefits, which allowed employers to deduct the costs of providing employees funds for parking and transit passes.</p> <p>“There’s good news and bad news,” says Paul Herman, a CPA and owner of <a href="" target="_blank">Herman and Company,</a> an accounting firm in White Plains, N.Y.</p> <p>From an IT standpoint, <strong>one major change is to the Section 179 deduction and bonus depreciation</strong>, which allows companies the option to write off all their technology and equipment spending in one year, rather than use the normal depreciation schedule, which for hardware is typically five years.</p> <p>The amount of the Section 179 <strong>deduction doubles from $500,000 to $1 million</strong> for 2018 and beyond. Limits will be indexed for inflation after 2018.</p> <p>“I don’t know if there are many small businesses that will spend that much, but whatever they spend, they can expense it with Section 179, and that’s a good thing,” Herman says.</p> <p>The new tax overhaul also<strong> increases bonus depreciation to 100 percent</strong>, which increases the amount of technology and other equipment that companies can deduct each year. Before the new law, bonus depreciation was scheduled to drop from 50 percent in 2017 to 40 percent in 2018.</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>How Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation Works</h2> <p>Technology that qualifies for Section 179 or bonus depreciation includes servers, computers, networking equipment and off-the-shelf software. Office equipment, furniture and some vehicles also qualify.</p> <p>The new tax law also <a href="" target="_blank">expands</a> what is eligible and now includes alarms and security systems, roofing, HVAC systems and fire protection systems.</p> <p>To use Section 179, <strong>companies are allowed to spend up to $2.5 million on technology</strong> and other equipment. Every dollar spent above the limit reduces the deduction by a dollar, says Troy Banker, senior tax manager at <a href="" target="_blank">Geffen Mesher</a>, an accounting firm in Portland, Ore. The deduction is completely phased out once total qualifying additions reach $3.5 million, he says.</p> <p>In contrast, <strong>bonus depreciation has no spending limits. </strong>Under the new law, bonus depreciation is increased to 100 percent for equipment purchased and placed into service between Sept. 27, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2022.</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>LEARN MORE:</strong> Discover solutions for stretching IT budgets further</a>.</em></p> <p>Historically, Section 179 could be used for new and used equipment, while bonus depreciation could only be used for new equipment. But the new tax overhaul allows companies to use bonus depreciation for used equipment as well.</p> <p>The upshot: For most small businesses,<strong> Section 179 and bonus depreciation gives companies two ways to deduct their technology and equipment purchases all in one year.</strong></p> <p>“For example, if your company has $100,000 in net income, and you purchase $30,000 in qualifying equipment, you can deduct the $30,000 rather than capitalizing it, allowing you to pay less in taxes,” says John W. Reddall, a <a href="" target="_blank">CPA</a> in Las Vegas.</p> <p>There are some differences between Section 179 and bonus depreciation. <strong>Companies can’t use Section 179 to create a loss or if the company is operating at a loss. </strong>But if a business operates at a taxable loss, it can still qualify for bonus depreciation, Banker says.  </p> <p>Business owners may find it advantageous to take bonus depreciation to increase a loss to offset income from other sources, thus lowering taxes in the current year. Also, net operating losses created can be forwarded into the next year, Banker says.</p> <p>“If you carry the loss forward, and if you have a taxable income the next year, the taxpayer may be able to offset the net operating loss carryforward against next year's income, subject to net operating loss rules," he says.</p> <p>Businesses should <strong>consult their accountants on whether to take advantage of Section 179 or bonus depreciation</strong>, Reddall says. It might make more sense to use the normal depreciation schedule. “If you are losing money, you may want to spread the deduction over several years, to when you are potentially more profitable,” he says.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/wylie-wong" hreflang="en">Wylie Wong</a></div> </div> Tue, 05 Feb 2019 15:27:36 +0000 Bob.Keaveney_u64t 43191 at