BizTech - Technology Solutions That Drive Business en What Is a Smart Card? The Pros and Cons of EMV Technology <span>What Is a Smart Card? The Pros and Cons of EMV Technology</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/20/2018 - 11:56</span> <div><p>In most retailers today, customers don’t swipe a credit card’s magnetic stripe and sign a receipt to pay for goods and services. They now insert the card’s embedded chip into a point-of-sale terminal. In some cases, they also input a personal identification number. For credit card companies and banks, <strong>this is the world as it should be</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">As of Oct. 1, 2015</a>, U.S. merchants are now liable for any fraud that results from transactions on systems that are not EMV capable. <strong>EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> Visa,” </strong>the three companies that created the international standard to authenticate transactions. It’s been in place in the European Union since 2005.</p> <p>As of the end of 2017, there were <strong>7.1 billion</strong> EMV-enabled cards in circulation worldwide, 1 billion more than the previous 12 months, <a href="" target="_blank">according to an April report from EMVCo</a>, the global technical body that facilitates worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions by managing and evolving the EMV specifications and related testing processes. Further, <strong>63.7 percent </strong>of all card-present transactions conducted across the world in 2017 used EMV chip technology, up from 52.4 percent in 2016.</p> <p>While smart card adoption is growing, it is still lagging in the United States. The U.S. had<strong> 785 million</strong> EMV-enable cards in circulation at the end of 2017, up from 675 million in 2016, and nearly double the number at the end of 2015, <a href="" target="_blank">Digital Transactions notes</a>. EMV technology is incorporated into <strong>58.5 percent</strong> of all cards in the U.S.</p> <p>Smart card technology is intended to increase security for card issuers, banks, merchants and consumers by adding another layer of cybersecurity protection. <strong>Yet they still remain vulnerable to attack.</strong> That’s why credit card and authentication technology companies are developing more secure authentication methods than just the EMV chip, <strong>adding biometric authentication tools to the mix</strong>.</p> <p>Such tools may help retailers and financial institutions cut down on credit card fraud, which persists despite efforts to boost security. In February, Javelin Strategy &amp; Research revealed that <strong>the number of identity fraud victims increased by 8 percent in the last year (16.7 million U.S. consumers)</strong>, a record high since the research firm started tracking identity fraud in 2003. “The study found that despite industry efforts to prevent identity fraud, fraudsters successfully adapted to net 1.3 million more victims in 2017, with the amount stolen rising to $16.8 billion,” <a href="" target="_blank">the firm says in a statement.</a></p> <p>Here is a primer on what smart card technology is, how EMV card security has evolved, the threats that remain to smart cards and the new technologies being used to combat ongoing threats.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>SIGN UP:</strong> Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>What is a Smart Card?</h2> <p>Smart cards are<strong> any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits that serve as a security token</strong>. The cards are usually the size of a driver’s license.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">The Secure Technology Alliance (STA) notes</a> that the embedded circuit<strong> “can be either a secure microcontroller or equivalent intelligence with internal memory or a memory chip alone.”</strong> Many smart cards include metal contacts to electrically connect to the embedded chip, while others are contactless and some are both.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">As TechTarget notes</a>, smart cards “connect to a reader either by direct physical contact (also known as chip and dip) or through a short-range wireless connectivity standard such as Near Field Communication (NFC).”</p> <p>With an embedded microcontroller, STA notes, “smart cards have the unique ability to <strong>store large amounts of data, carry out their own on-card functions (e.g., encryption and mutual authentication) and interact intelligently </strong>with a smart card reader.”</p> <p>Smart cards can be used for personal identification, authentication, data storage and application processing. The technology sits at the heart of mobile phone SIM cards, public transit fare cards, ID cards for building security, and, of course, credit cards.</p> <p>Importantly, from a security perspective, TechTarget adds, smart cards “are <strong>designed to be tamper-resistant and use encryption</strong> to provide protection for in-memory information.”</p> <h2>What Is the State of Smart Card Authentication?</h2> <p>EMV cards use technology based on different technology standards: ISO/IEC 7816 for contact cards and ISO/IEC 14443 for contactless cards.</p> <p><strong>Contact EMV cards </strong>“support cryptographic functions to prevent counterfeiting of cards and additional functions that make them more secure than traditional magnetic-stripe cards,” <a href="" target="_blank">EMVCo notes</a>.</p> <p>In contrast,<strong> a contactless smart card </strong>“includes an embedded smart card secure microcontroller or equivalent intelligence, internal memory and a small antenna and communicates with a reader through a contactless radio frequency (RF) interface,” according to STA.</p> <p>Contactless smart card technology is used in cases where personal information needs to be protected and secure transactions need to be delivered quickly. <strong>These include not just credit cards, but personal identification cards and transit fare payment cards.</strong></p> <p>Contactless smart cards can implement a variety of industry-standard cryptographic protocols (e.g., AES, 3DES, RSA, ECC). STA notes that contactless smart card–based devices can verify that the card reader is authentic and can <strong>prove its own authenticity to the reader before starting a secure transaction</strong>. Further, contactless smart cards can be <strong>encrypted</strong>, as can communication between the card and the reader.</p> <p>Both contact and contactless smart cards have<strong> built-in security features</strong>. “Smart card chips include a variety of hardware and software capabilities that detect and react to tampering attempts and help counter possible attacks,” STA notes. “For example, the chips are manufactured with features such as extra metal layers, sensors to detect thermal and UV light attacks, and additional software and hardware circuitry to thwart differential power analysis.”</p> <p>Users can also counter unauthorized access by using a PIN, making the system akin to one of <strong>multifactor authentication</strong>.</p> <h2>What Are the Current Smart Card Security Vulnerabilities?</h2> <p>Despite the many security features built into smart cards, they are not foolproof.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">As notes</a>, fraudsters will steal identifying information, such as a user’s ZIP code, then when attempting to make a purchase <strong>using a dummy EMV smart card</strong>, they will provide information to validate the stolen identity and claim the chip is defective.</p> <p>Indeed, Javelin reports that EMV is “driving more fraudsters to seek online channels for fraud,” and that “Card Not Present Fraud” is now 81 percent more likely than fraud at POS terminals. This is the greatest gap Javelin has observed.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">TechCrunch reports</a> that <strong>devices called shimmers</strong> can be placed inside ATM terminals to read card numbers, and in some cases, access the credit card’s embedded chipset. “Because Shimmers are so thin they can disappear inside of an ATM or card reader,” TechCrunch notes. “The data read when the chip is activated cannot be used to create a chip-based card but because some of the magnetic data is passed during the read process you can use Shimmers to easily recreate dumb magnetic cards.”</p> <p>Meanwhile,<strong> if the data on the smart card is not encrypted</strong>, malicious actors can more easily capture it. <a href="" target="_blank">According to TechTarget</a>, “The small size of the chips on the cards only allows a limited amount of memory, which also limits the size of the encryption keys the card can hold, which in turn weakens the strength of the encryption of the card.”</p> <h2>Can Biometric Authentication Alleviate Smart Card Security Issues?</h2> <p>Authentication technology companies and credit card issuers are turning to technology solutions, including biometric solutions, to bulk up security for smart cards.</p> <p>In April 2017, <a href="" target="_blank">Mastercard started testing a smart card</a> with <strong>biometric authentication technology</strong> in South Africa, <a href="" target="_blank"><em>Wired</em> reports</a>. The card has a small biometric scanner in the top right-hand corner, where users place a finger during transactions. The fingerprint is <strong>verified against a stored template</strong>. If the biometric authentication is successful and the transaction is authenticated, there is no need for the user to provide a signature or PIN.</p> <p>Mastercard says that the solution requires no changes to merchant hardware or software, because it is compatible with any type of EMV-enabled terminal that has satisfactorily completed the Mastercard Terminal Integration Process. The technology is now being tested in Bulgaria and will be trialed elsewhere in the world this year, according to <em>Wired</em>.</p> <p>In January, <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Gemalto</a> announced <a href="" target="_blank">that the Bank of Cyprus</a> had selected it to supply what it touted as the <strong>world’s first EMV biometric dual interface payment card for both chip and contactless payments</strong>.</p> <p>Users must enroll their fingerprints at a local branch. During the enrollment process, <a href="" target="_blank">ZDNet reports</a>, a fingerprint template is captured and securely stored on the card. “When a customer places their fingerprint on the credit card sensor in a store, a comparison is performed between the enrolled fingerprint and the reference data stored in the card,” the site notes.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Visa is involved in the pilot program</a> and notes that “a green or red light on the card indicates a successful or unsuccessful match.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, in February, <a href="" target="_blank">Ingenico</a> announced that it <a href="" target="_blank">developed a new payment solution</a> for micro-merchants based on a technology generally called PIN on Glass or PIN on Mobile. <strong>The technology enables customers to use both a chip and a PIN on the merchant’s personal mobile device.</strong> The solution is comprised of a compact secure card reader for both EMV and contactless bank cards, a mobile PIN entry application on the merchant’s device, and a back-end Trust Service to analyze and verify that the execution environment of the device is secure before the customer enters the PIN.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Fri, 20 Jul 2018 15:56:29 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41711 at How to Protect Businesses from Phishing, Spear-Phishing and Whaling <span>How to Protect Businesses from Phishing, Spear-Phishing and Whaling</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/19/2018 - 11:21</span> <div><p>Although phishing attacks have been around nearly as long as email, it would seem that most businesses — large and small — are still vulnerable to these bogus emails, which can <strong>entice employees to divulge sensitive information and bring organizations to their knees</strong>.</p> <p>In fact, according to a recent survey by <a href="" target="_blank">Keeper Security</a>, <strong>79 percent</strong> of respondents who suffered ransomware attacks said that phishing emails were to blame for allowing the threat to enter their systems. Indeed, phishing scams have found ways to look more enticing than ever, impersonating companies such as <a href="" target="_blank">Netflix or Citibank</a> and targeting fans of popular events, like <a href="" target="_blank">the World Cup</a>.</p> <p>Phishing scams are even <strong>spreading beyond typical corporate targets.</strong> Last year a phishing scam that sought to <a href="" target="_blank">elicit private information and money via false W-2 forms</a> was aimed at human resources departments of nonprofits, restaurants, hospitals and other nontraditional sectors.</p> <p>“This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time,’’ IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement. “It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns. We need everyone’s help to turn the tide against this scheme.’’</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Spear-Phishing and Whaling Make Scams More Targeted</h2> <p>Not only are these threats not going away, they are <strong>getting more sophisticated with the introduction of spear-phishing, which introduces social engineering</strong> to the mix to specifically target companies or even employees, making phishing attempts even more difficult to spot. In fact, <a href="" target="_blank">according to CDW’s recently released Cybersecurity Insights report</a>, spear-phishing has become “both real and pervasive in the last” two years.</p> <p>In 2016, spam made up <strong>more than 50 percen</strong>t of business emails to all businesses, despite size, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a recent report</a> from <a href="" target="_blank">Symantec</a>.</p> <p>“We used to see emails with grammar errors all over the place. Now you open an email and it looks and sounds professional,” John Lex Robinson, cybersecurity strategist at anti-threat firm <a href="" target="_blank">PhishMe</a>, says in the CDW report. “Social engineering is now being run like a business. They’re targeting individuals. They have moved beyond emails to build entire fraudulent ecosystems online.”</p> <p>A step up from spear-phishing is <a href="" target="_blank">whaling</a>, which <strong>targets specific, high-level employees in an organization</strong>, such as those in the C-suite.</p> <h2>3 Ways to Stay Ahead of Phishing Attacks</h2> <p>So how can businesses — particularly small businesses with slim IT teams and stretched resources — stay ahead of increasingly smarter phishing campaigns?</p> <ol><li> <p><strong>Adopt the Right Tools: </strong>The best defense is a good offense, so having an arsenal of technologies to prevent phishing emails from getting into a system are key. <strong>Strong encryption, modern anti-malware, data loss prevention tools and automated email client health checks</strong> are a <a href="">good place to start when it comes to enhancing email security</a>.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Stay on Top of Threats and Vulnerabilities: </strong>You can’t protect against the threats you don’t know are out there, so <a href="" target="_blank">be sure to stay on top of the latest cybersecurity threats and trends</a>. For small businesses without a dedicated IT team, <strong>advisors and third-party entities</strong> such as vendor partners can be an amazing resource to help fill in the gaps.</p> </li> <li> <p><strong>Educate Users: </strong>Employees who have been trained on how to spot and avoid suspicious emails are far less likely to fall victim to them. A single training is not a silver bullet, however. According to <a href="" target="_blank">a 2017 report from Glasswall Solutions</a>, <strong>82 percent </strong>of employees will open email attachments if they appear to be from a known contact, which could happen even if they’ve been trained to recognize sophisticated attacks. This is why constant training and a strong companywide security culture are key to ensuring threats stay at bay.</p> </li> </ol></div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 15:21:56 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41706 at Google Next 2018: Prepare for the Future of Work with Cloud, AI and Mobility Innovations <span>Google Next 2018: Prepare for the Future of Work with Cloud, AI and Mobility Innovations</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/3" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ricky.ribeiro</span></span> <span>Wed, 07/18/2018 - 10:22</span> <div><p>The race to the cloud is officially on. More companies are dipping their toes into hybrid cloud implementations and as they embark on their cloud journeys, IT professionals and business leaders are eager to understand how they can migrate workloads effectively and safely to cloud environments.</p> <p>In <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Next 2015">2015</a>, Google launched Google Next, its user and developer conference for Google Cloud. Now the tech giant is poised to become an even bigger player in cloud infrastructure and operations. The conference has exploded in size and influence, with more than <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Next attendees">10,000 people</a> attending the event last year. It’s an important conference to watch as innovative use cases will be on display as well as product enhancements and features.</p> <p>We’ll be covering the latest and greatest news and insights from the 2018 Google Next conference in San Francisco. Here are a few things to look forward to from the event.</p> <ul><li><strong>Machine Learning Gets Real:</strong> For many organizations, machine learning is bleeding-edge technology that’s years away from practical application or use, but Google’s suite of products are pushing the boundaries of machine learning and demonstrating real business value. Expect to hear from several companies, such as <a href="" target="_blank" title="Twilio">Twilio</a> and <a href="" target="_blank" title="Home Depot Google Next Conference">The Home Depot</a>.</li> <li><strong>Chrome Reaches Business Savvy:</strong> The popularity of Google’s Chrome browser and its notebook offerings, Chromebooks, has been pronounced in the education market. But now Chrome is poised to make its way to the enterprise. Google will offer several sessions highlighting how businesses can use the browser and OS to work in interesting and unique ways. <a href="" target="_blank" title="Google Next session Chrome for Work">This session</a> in particular promises to demonstrate how to use Chrome to empower workforces.</li> <li><strong>A Cloud for All:</strong> One of the key themes that Google will be pushing at its conference will be the utility and universality of cloud computing for organizations of all stripes and sizes. The big keynote at Next, “<a href="" target="_blank" title="Building a Cloud for Everyone Google Next keynote">Building a Cloud for Everyone</a>,” assembles the heavy hitters at Google Cloud, including its chief scientist, Fei-Fei Li, and its CEO, Diane Greene. Look for this keynote to bring home the company’s vision of cloud computing for the present, but more importantly, the very near future.</li> </ul></div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/ricky-ribeiro" hreflang="en">Ricky Ribeiro</a></div> </div> Wed, 18 Jul 2018 14:22:23 +0000 ricky.ribeiro 41701 at Microsoft and Walmart Team Up to Take on Amazon <span>Microsoft and Walmart Team Up to Take on Amazon</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/17/2018 - 12:37</span> <div><p> may be the 800-pound gorilla in retail, but Walmart and <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> aren't afraid of a fight.</p> <p>At Microsoft's Inspire partner conference, the companies announced a five-year strategic partnership in which <strong>the retailer will use Microsoft's cloud services across a wide range of its functions to drive innovation</strong>.</p> <p>Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says in <a href="" target="_blank">an interview with the <em>Wall Street Journal</em></a> that the companies' shred rivalry with Amazon “is absolutely core to this.”</p> <p>“How do we get more leverage as two organizations that <strong>have depth and breadth and investment to be able to outrun our respective competition</strong>,” Nadella says.</p> <p>Under the deal, Walmart will use Microsoft's cloud services "to power functions that could include<strong> algorithms for purchasing and sales-data sharing with vendors</strong>," the <em>Journal </em>reports.</p> <p>A <a href="" target="_blank">statement released by Microsoft and Walmart</a> provides further detail on the cloud efforts. Walmart will use the full range of Microsoft cloud solutions, including <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft Azure </a>and <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft 365</a> across its entire enterprise to help standardize across the company’s family of brands.</p> <p>Engineers from both companies "will collaborate on the <strong>assessment, development, and support phase of moving hundreds of existing applications</strong>" to cloud-native architectures, the statement says.</p> <p>"For example, to grow and enhance the online experience, the company will migrate a significant portion of and to Azure, including its cloud-powered check-out," which will enable Walmart to "grow with rising customer demand and reach more global markets than ever before."</p> <p>Azure will not only help Walmart boost site availability and speed online, as well as provide the ability to quickly and seamlessly launch new features. More than that, Walmart and Microsoft say the retailer will <strong>benefit from using Azure across its entire footprint</strong>, including "connected HVAC and refrigeration units to reduce energy usage in thousands of U.S. stores or applying machine learning when routing thousands of trucks in the supply chain."</p> <p>And through a phased rollout of Microsoft 365, Walmart hopes to give its workers "the <strong>productivity tools</strong> to foster a culture of collaboration, creativity and communication."</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Tue, 17 Jul 2018 16:37:19 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41691 at Modern Workforce Report <span>Modern Workforce Report</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/9486" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">chris.miltzow</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/17/2018 - 12:33</span> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-vertical" data-layout="vertical" data-url="" data-title="Modern Workforce Report" data-via="BizTechMagazine" data-button-background="none"> <span> <span>Jul</span> <span>17</span> <span>2018</span> </span> <a class="pw-button-twitter cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-facebook cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-googleplus cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-linkedin cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-reddit cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-flipboard cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a class="pw-button-email cdw-taboola-social"></a> <!-- Pinterest button is in EdTechk12 theme's vertical template --> </div> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-horizontal" data-counter="true" data-url="" data-title="Modern Workforce Report" data-via="BizTechMagazine" data-button-background="none"> <div> <a class="pw-button-twitter cdw-taboola-social"></a> <a href=";" target="_blank"><span class="pw-box-counter cdw-taboola" data-channel="twitter"></span></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-facebook cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-googleplus cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-linkedin cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-reddit cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-flipboard cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-email cdw-taboola-social"></a> </div> <!-- Pinterest button is in EdTechk12 theme's horizontal template --> </div> <div class="pw-widget pw-size-medium pw-layout-horizontal" data-url="" data-title="Modern Workforce Report" data-via="BizTechMagazine" data-button-background="none"> <div> <a class="pw-button-twitter"></a> <span class="pw-box-counter" pw:channel="twitter"></span> </div> <div> <a class="pw-button-facebook"></a> <span class="pw-box-counter" pw:channel="facebook"></span> </div> </div> Tue, 17 Jul 2018 16:33:09 +0000 chris.miltzow 41686 at Managed IT Services Can Deliver Clear Business Value <span>Managed IT Services Can Deliver Clear Business Value </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Mon, 07/16/2018 - 12:57</span> <div><p>Keeping the lights on: What IT team hasn’t been in that position at some point — sometimes, even day in, day out?</p> <p>The demands of managing and supporting standing technology workloads <strong>can make it hard to use IT to gain strategic advantage, particularly in today’s 24/7 world</strong>, says Norm Mackensen, IT director for <a href="" target="_blank">Briggs &amp; Stratton</a>, the world’s largest maker of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment.</p> <p>Until the Milwaukee company moved to managed services, its IT team easily spent <strong>only 20 percent </strong>of its time, “if we were lucky, on what the business needed to move ahead and building out capabilities to do it,” Mackensen says.</p> <p>Before working with CDW a half-dozen years ago to offload its more routine needs, the IT staff<strong> scrambled to keep systems up and running across the sprawling company</strong>, which is a leading designer and manufacturer of lawn, garden and job site equipment in addition to its engine work.</p> <p>The IT team’s days were largely devoted to maintaining applications, leaving little time for optimizing the infrastructure or devising ways that technology could further Briggs &amp; Stratton’s business goals, Mackensen says.</p> <p>The company reached a critical juncture seven years ago, when upper management made the decision that it wanted to <strong>derive more business value from IT</strong>. At the same time, 30 percent of the technology team’s employees were approaching retirement. An outside evaluation recommended that Briggs &amp; Stratton outsource any IT functions — infrastructure management, application enhancement, daily troubleshooting and maintenance — that were not core competencies, Mackensen recalls.</p> <p>Briggs &amp; Stratton responded by turning to <a href="" target="_blank">CDW Managed Services</a> <strong>for management and support of an array of infrastructure resources:</strong> its wired and wireless networks, the <a href="" target="_blank">IBM</a> <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1&amp;ln=0&amp;b=IBM" target="_blank">AIX</a> platform that hosts essential <a href="" target="_blank">SAP</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Oracle</a> business applications, hundreds of physical <a href="" target="_blank">Windows servers</a>, <a href=";cm_ven=acquirgy&amp;cm_cat=google&amp;cm_pla=Microsoft&amp;cm_ite=Microsoft+Azure+B&amp;s_kwcid=AL!4223!3!145716974760!b!!g!!+azure&amp;ef_id=WzVqmQAAAIfjIgNC:20180716172100:s" target="_blank">Microsoft Azure</a>, storage platforms and more.</p> <p>The result? Mission-critical systems run more smoothly, and the <strong>internal IT staff plays a more strategic role</strong>, Mackensen says.</p> <p>“Before we made the big move into managed services, our internal IT people were about 80 percent focused on just keeping the lights on,” he says. “Now, the split is more like 50-50, and we provide much more value to the company.”</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Managed Services Help an IT Team that Was Stretched Thin </h2> <p>Briggs &amp; Stratton chose CDW as a managed services provider because of <strong>a long history of successful engagements between the two companies</strong>, Mackensen says.</p> <p>For two decades, CDW has been a hardware and software provider for Briggs &amp; Stratton’s IBM and <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco Systems </a>infrastructure. It also helped build and then manage a voice and contact system for Briggs &amp; Stratton in 2003, and took over management of the company’s web environment and customer-facing portals in 2008, <strong>focusing specifically on security and Payment Card Industry compliance</strong>.</p> <p>“We were really new to outsourcing on a large scale when we decided to make this massive change, so we needed trusted partners,” he says. “CDW had been heavily involved in building our internal data center with Cisco, IBM and <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a>, and they also have expertise in the cloud.”</p> <p>Before the move to managed infrastructure services, the internal Briggs &amp; Stratton IT staff was <strong>stretched thin, relying on single specialists for many of its functions</strong>, Mackensen says. “We had people who were good at what they did, but we were single-threaded in a lot of areas of infrastructure technology,” he says.</p> <p>“I remember a time when the one person who was responsible for our storage environment had gone deer hunting for a week. I had storage problems, and he was out in the woods somewhere. There I was, no backup, no cross-training and no third party like CDW to go to for the services I needed. It was miserable.”</p> <p><strong>Since the shift to managed services, such resourcing concerns have disappeared</strong>, he says. “We don’t have to think about the breadth or depth of the skills that CDW brings or the level of competence. They’re always there to maintain services and solve problems.”</p> <h2>Briggs &amp; Stratton Shifts to SDN, Virtualization  </h2> <p>The magnitude of the Briggs &amp; Stratton transition from reliance on in-house IT to outside managed services made it especially imperative that the move go smoothly, says Joan Hughes, an engineering manager for CDW Managed Services.</p> <p>“When you’re going into what has been an in-house environment, there’s always hesitation on both sides,” she says. “This was a huge implementation across their entire computing environment. We had to <strong>live up to the consistency and reliability that we had shown in the past and do even more to justify their confidence in us</strong>. The stakes were high because we became responsible for their whole infrastructure.”</p> <p>Before the shift, the Briggs &amp; Stratton infrastructure reflected the challenges internal IT had faced in maintaining the company’s <strong>47 sites</strong> across the United States and around the globe, says CDW Advanced Technology Executive Bruce Kurkiewicz.</p> <p>Among CDW’s first tasks was updating systems by <strong>making sure all software patches were current, security was tightened and existing maintenance issues were resolved</strong>, he says.</p> <p>That first step is necessary when moving to managed services so that the customer has a baseline, Kurkiewicz says. All work hinges on service-level agreements, certifications and clear processes, he says.</p> <p>“When we took over management of the infrastructure, <strong>we took over their challenges</strong>,” he explains. “As the service provider, you’re responsible to make the environment better, not just maintain services at the previous level. In the years CDW has provided infrastructure services to Briggs &amp; Stratton, their IT has moved up on the Microsoft IT Maturity Scale, toward stability and predictability.”</p> <p>Another benefit of the relationship comes from CDW’s extensive knowledge of emerging technologies and how it helps make Briggs &amp; Stratton better, Mackensen says. “New technologies arrive every day, and we don’t know about all of them or their capabilities because we’re focused on our business,” he says. “<strong>CDW helps us be more forward-thinking and energizes our resources.</strong>”</p> <p>In 2017, CDW completed <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">a Cisco Intelligent WAN </a>installation across the company, a project that began when Kurkiewicz and CDW engineers suggested that Briggs &amp; Stratton should consider <strong>software-defined networking</strong>.</p> <p>The IT team recognized SDN’s potential value to the company and planned out the investment in its budget. CDW then developed the scope of work, which was executed by the CDW Field Services team. That team then <strong>turned the IWAN over to the Managed Services team as part of the infrastructure portfolio</strong>.</p> <p>The IWAN deployment supports end-to-end encryption, as well as increased visibility and <strong>real-time control over network traffic</strong>, which has improved reliability, streamlined network auditing processes, reduced provisioning time and lowered integration costs for new applications.</p> <p>“The IWAN has redesigned the way the company communicates across its networks,” Hughes says. “It’s the kind of project CDW can do because of the variety of services we can offer.”</p> <p>CDW has also invested resources up front to explore possible improvements to the Briggs &amp; Stratton infrastructure, Kurkiewicz says. For example, CDW initiated <strong>a virtualization evaluation and created a roadmap for adopting the technology</strong> to decide whether there would be value to Briggs &amp; Stratton. Ultimately, the virtualization project <strong>reduced the company’s server footprint by 80 percent</strong>.</p> <p>Technical knowledge and innovation are key benefits offered by CDW Managed Services, but they shouldn’t overshadow the value of relieving the daily build-fix grind for Briggs &amp; Stratton’s internal IT staff, Hughes adds.</p> <p>“We try to stay close to the cutting edge of technology in ways that are relevant to their business,” she says. “Managed Services is obviously a 24/7 shop, with all our resources available to solve problems. For some internal IT operations, there might be one person watching the infrastructure.”</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank">Learn how</a> CDW Managed Services can become an extension of your in-house IT staff.</em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:57:10 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41681 at Mobility Solutions Reshape the Modern Workforce <span>Mobility Solutions Reshape the Modern Workforce </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/13/2018 - 10:31</span> <div><p>Only a few years ago, Craig J. Mathias, principal at <a href="" target="_blank">Farpoint Group</a>, would have laughed at the idea of carrying <a href=";enkwrd=smartphone&amp;ln=0&amp;p=100010.100012.100013.100014" target="_blank">a $1,000 device</a> around in his pocket. Today, he says, it would be almost absurd not to carry one.</p> <p>“I’ve changed my wardrobe to accommodate my device,” says Mathias, noting that he used to prefer jeans. “I wear cargo pants now, and I keep my handset in one particular pocket of those.”</p> <p>While the past few years haven’t seen a radical change in mobility on par with the introduction of <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">the iPhone</a> in 2007 or <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">the iPad</a> in 2010,<strong> organizations are still adapting to the rapid rise of mobile devices and applications</strong>. This means making diligent efforts to <strong>outfit users with the mobility tools they need to be as productive and collaborative as possible</strong> — and recognizing that an effective mobility strategy is no longer optional; it’s mandatory.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>Ensure Employees Have the Right Devices to Be Productive </h2> <p>Even today, organizations still deploy mobile devices via a mix of different models, with some opting for <strong>BYOD</strong> programs and others choosing <strong>corporate owned, privately enabled (COPE), Device as a Service (DaaS) </strong>or other rollout strategies. No matter what delivery model organizations choose, they need to facilitate access to devices that meet both users’ needs and wants.</p> <p>“Millennials just expect [access to state-of-the-art devices],” says Andy Rhodes, vice president of commercial mobility computing solutions at <a href="" target="_blank">Dell</a>. “They don’t want to take a job with a company that’s not going to give them the right technology. It’s not an arrogance thing.<strong> It’s people coming to the workforce knowing they can’t get their work done if they don’t have the right technology.</strong>”</p> <p>Performance continues to be an important factor in device selection. But for many knowledge professionals, <strong>portability and battery life are often just as important since these are the features</strong> that allow users to be productive all day, from anywhere. Finally, flexible design features — such as touch-screens, connectivity ports and convertibility into other form factors — can be especially important for certain job roles, such as users who work in unconventional or extreme environments, or users who need to add peripherals to their devices (such as credit card readers for retail stores).</p> <p>“We see a lot of people using Surface as their primary device,” says Ryan Day, senior communications manager for <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> Surface. “But it really <strong>depends on the business, the individual </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> </strong><strong>the space</strong>. Some professionals may be using one device for work at the office, another to brainstorm with their colleagues and something different during their commute.”</p> <p>Rhodes stresses the importance of <strong>identifying different user personas throughout the </strong><strong>organization,</strong><strong> and rolling out solutions based on their varied needs</strong>. “If you’re a remote worker and spending your whole day at your desk, having two monitors might allow you to be more productive,” he notes. “Or, if you’re what I call an ‘on-the-go pro,’ what you need is battery life. Our customers are starting to see that it’s not one size fits all. They’re really starting to tell their users, ‘Tell me what you need, and I’ll give you the right tool,’ rather than basing it on what level someone is in the company.”</p> <h2>Make Collaboration Tools and Capabilities Mobile-Friendly </h2> <p>One thing IT leaders should keep in mind is that establishing a productive, collaborative work style requires more than just a useful mobile device.</p> <p>“There’s a tendency, because we’re all consumers, and many of us are serious gadget freaks, to get wound up over the device itself,” says Mathias. “But it’s not about the device. <strong>It’s about the information we get via the device. It’s how you work. </strong>And it’s really about maximizing your productivity, both individually and as part of a team. Those are the issues you want to address.”</p> <p>The way users employ mobile devices has changed significantly in recent years, and organizations should <strong>adopt collaboration and productivity tools that reflect the current reality.</strong> Many organizations are deploying application suites and mobility platforms such as <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Microsoft 365,</a> <a href="" target="_blank">VMware</a> <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Workspace One</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Citrix</a> <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Workspace</a> to keep users connected and productive from anywhere.</p> <p>Alan Ni, director of solutions marketing for <a href="" target="_blank">Aruba Networks</a>, notes that <strong>the use of mobile group collaboration tools is growing in many organizations</strong>. “Several years back, I observed younger folks who came into the office that wouldn’t even want to talk on the phone,” Ni says. “You would have thought everything would go toward instant messaging or group chat. Nowadays, more and more collaboration events include <strong>remote participants utilizing voice, video </strong><strong>and</strong><strong> screen-sharing</strong>. The ability for a participant to take that virtual meeting on their laptop or smartphone to any number of comfortable spots in the office really promotes this idea of an open office or activity-based working.”</p> <p>“The workforce has become increasingly more diverse and mobile,” Day says. “There’s been a shift away from routine tasks to those with an emphasis on the ability to communicate, collaborate and think critically and creatively. Teamwork is essential to the way work gets done.”</p> <h2>Networks Must Support Bandwidth-Heavy Apps </h2> <p>Mobility isn’t just for remote workers and road warriors. Employees should also be given the flexibility to work from anywhere when they’re at the office, and organizations must ensure that their wireless networks can<strong> support the increasing use of bandwidth-intensive mobile applications</strong>, such as video collaboration.</p> <p>“Five or 10 years ago, when Wi-Fi was first installed for many organizations, it was installed viewed and designed as an amenity,” says Ni. “The enterprise put in Wi-Fi maybe for guest access and for some casual employee mobility, and to potentially enable you to work. It was a ‘nice-to-have.’”</p> <p>But Ni says such an attitude is no longer acceptable. Because of how central mobility is to workflows, organizations must <strong>invest in backbone infrastructure that not only meets existing needs but also accommodates future growth</strong>. Often, this will mean replacing existing access points with ones that meet 802.11ac Wave 2 connectivity standards and investing in new elements such as software-defined policy controls.</p> <p>Mathias notes that users today don’t merely expect to be connected wherever they go; they need to be connected to do their jobs. “The whole idea of working offline is ridiculous now,” he says. “If you don’t have connectivity, you’re not going to get anything done. It’s as simple as that.”</p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank">Learn more </a>about how CDW can help you transform your workplace with mobility and collaboration solutions.</em></p> <div class="sidebar_wide"> <h3>The State of Enterprise Mobility</h3> <p>In June 2018, <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung</a> issued <a href="" target="_blank">the results of an in-depth study</a> on the state of enterprise mobility. Among the findings:</p> <ul><li><strong>Nearly 80 percent</strong> of respondents said that employees can’t do their jobs effectively without a mobile phone. And roughly two-thirds of executives say that management expects workers to be available after working hours.</li> <li>Fifty-two percent of organizations have <strong>a hybrid device deployment plan</strong>, in which some employees receive corporate-issued phones. Thirty-one percent don’t provide phones to employees at all, and <strong>just 17 percent provide them to all employees</strong>.</li> <li>Eighty-two percent of executives say that mobility boosts employee productivity.</li> <li><strong>Sevent</strong><strong>y percent</strong> say that mobility is important for growing revenue.</li> </ul></div> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Fri, 13 Jul 2018 14:31:29 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41671 at How One Nonprofit Uses Tech to Help the Victims of Human Trafficking <span>How One Nonprofit Uses Tech to Help the Victims of Human Trafficking</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/22746" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" content="juliet.vanwagenen_22746">juliet.vanwage…</span></span> <span>Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:44</span> <div><p>Human trafficking reaps hundreds of billions of dollars annually from the forced labor of exploited people, <a href="" target="_blank">80 percent of whom are women and girls</a>. Without other means to support themselves and their families, millions of women become more vulnerable to trafficking every year. After realizing that many women would be less susceptible if they had valuable skills that could lead to well-paying employment, two women started a nonprofit that seeks to <strong>break the cycle of trafficking through the power of technology training</strong>.</p> <p>The nonprofit organization, <a href="" target="_blank">AnnieCannons</a>, seeks to offer survivors of trafficking technology training that can provide them much-needed economic stability and, in turn, help to <strong>diversify the tech industry at large</strong>.</p> <p>“We thought if survivors had the benefit of a coding boot camp, like we have in San Francisco — a <strong>short, focused vocational training</strong>, they could obtain the economic power necessary to avoid exploitation,” AnnieCannons CEO Jessica Hubley tells the <a href="" target="_blank">HuffPost</a>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Tech Training Jump-Starts Economic Opportunity</h2> <p>According to its website, the AnnieCannons program “starts with data literacy and advances through <strong>HTML, CSS, and JavaScript</strong> as students demonstrate mastery. Later phases include full stack development, cybersecurity, visual design, and more.” The last phase of the program is “product driven” and seeks to offer students the opportunity to work on software products and development.</p> <p>The Oakland, Calif.-based nonprofit serves as an incubator for many of the projects that the students begin in the program.</p> <p>“This is one of our core goals at AnnieCannons, to have students who want to address things like gender-based violence or trafficking in their projects, and <strong>build them out into their own companies or nonprofits</strong>,” Executive Director Laura Hackney tells <a href="" target="_blank">The Chronicle of Social Change</a>.</p> <p>But even for those that don’t jump-start their own companies via the program, their window of economic opportunity widens immensely. Those that complete the first phase of the program, which centers on digital basics, have an earning potential of up to <strong>$45,000 per year</strong>, while those that complete the web development phase of the program can achieve an annual earning potential of <strong>$80,000</strong>.</p> <h2>IT Training Offers Both Students and the Nonprofit Self-Sufficiency</h2> <p>Most graduates of the program, however, choose to remain within the AnnieCannons ecosystem as contractors, working for and with the nonprofit on projects even before they graduate. This helps to fuel the group’s <strong>long-term plan to be funded completely by business revenue</strong>. The nonprofit serves a number of clients, from small businesses in need of web development to large organizations seeking complex software platforms, which allows students to build skills faster while providing clients with high-quality work, Hubley tells HuffPost.</p> <p>Hubley credits the enthusiasm of students to stay within AnnieCannons with the supportive environment the nonprofit builds for its students, offering everything from mentoring to child care in an attempt to help them overcome many of the hurdles that women face in the tech industry.</p> <p>“People said, ‘Just focus on training people and then find them jobs,’ but we couldn’t just do that,” Hackney tells The Chronicle of Social Change. “For one thing, <strong>people need access to income throughout the training</strong> but also there are so many <strong>barriers</strong> for women, women of color, survivors of trafficking to make it in the tech industry.”</p> <p>Looking ahead, the program aims to expand beyond its initial focus on the Bay Area into cities like Washington, D.C., Atlanta and New York. The nonprofit may be extending its reach into new areas of technology training as well. In March, it announced a partnership with the Indiana University in which the university extends scholarships for several women to participate in its new <strong>10-week online cybersecurity program</strong>.</p> <p>"Having a framework in mind of how to identify and mitigate risks in the cyberspace are pretty critical skills of the modern workforce overall, and that includes anyone at the entry level or at the management level,” Hubley says in a<a href="" target="_blank"> statement</a>.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/juliet-van-wagenen" hreflang="en">Juliet Van Wagenen</a></div> </div> Thu, 12 Jul 2018 15:44:02 +0000 juliet.vanwagenen_22746 41666 at The Tech Behind the 2018 FIFA World Cup <span>The Tech Behind the 2018 FIFA World Cup</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/10/2018 - 12:17</span> <div><p>There have been several surprising turns at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, including defending champion Germany’s failure to make it out of the group stage, England’s run to the semifinals, and relatively early exits from soccer powerhouses like Brazil, Portugal and Spain. What’s not surprising is that <strong>technology has been a key component of the world’s most-watched sporting event</strong>.</p> <p>For the first time ever at a World Cup, FIFA has instituted <a href="" target="_blank">a video assistant referee (VAR) system</a> to help <strong>support the match referee on key decisions and ensure that calls are made correctly</strong>. The introduction of <strong>VAR</strong> attracted a great deal of controversy before the tournament started in June but <a href="" target="_blank">has been generally seen</a> as <a href="" target="_blank">a positive move</a> for the World Cup (though there <a href="" target="_blank">has been some dissent</a>).</p> <p>Meanwhile, Fox Sports, the U.S. broadcaster for the World Cup, partnered with <a href="" target="_blank">IBM</a> to use the tech giant’s <strong>Watson artificial intelligence platform to quickly classify, edit and access match highlights in near real time</strong>.</p> <p>The developments suggest that, for a tournament that began in 1930, the fast-paced technology world is weaving its way into the beautiful game in ways unlike ever before.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>VAR Helps Refs Make the Right Calls</h2> <p>Although the VAR system is brand new at the World Cup, other sports have used video review for years. How does it work for FIFA?</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">As the <em>Independent </em>reports</a>, there are 13 officials who can be chosen as the VAR and all of them <strong>sit in a video control room in Moscow</strong>, with one chosen for each game (along with three assistants).</p> <p>A lot of tech goes into the VAR system. <a href="" target="_blank">As Digital Trends reports</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>The VAR reviews footage from the numerous cameras stationed around the field; according to FIFA, the video assistant referee team has access to 33 broadcast cameras, eight of which are super slow-motion and four of which are ultra slow-motion cameras. There are ultra high-definition (UHD) cameras as well.</p> </blockquote> <p>The VAR team watches the entire match, and if they see something amiss they can <strong>alert the referee</strong>. Likewise, if the on-field ref thinks something is wrong he can <strong>contact the VAR operation room</strong>. Ultimately though, the VAR team only serves an advisory role and the final decision rests with the match referee.</p> <p>What does VAR help review? There are four main categories, according to FIFA:</p> <ul><li><strong>Goals: </strong>The system can be used to check if the ball crossed the goal line, but also if an infringement before the ball went in would have stopped a goal from being awarded.</li> <li><strong>Penalties:</strong> VAR can determine if a penalty should have been awarded when it wasn’t, and also the reverse: if the referee mistakenly awarded a penalty for a foul inside the penalty box.</li> <li><strong>Red cards: </strong>VAR can help determine if a red card should be awarded to a player after a foul (players who receive red cards are forced to leave the field and the team must continue one player short).</li> <li><strong>Mistaken identity: </strong>This part of the VAR system helps refs determine if the wrong player has been disciplined for a foul.</li> </ul><p><a href="" target="_blank">As the <em>Telegraph</em> notes</a>, VAR has had an impact on this year’s tournament: “The system has already been used in the World Cup group stages and Round of 16 to <strong>correct and clarify decisions</strong>, including Diego Costa’s first goal against Portugal, France’s penalty against Australia as well as Sweden’s penalty against South Korea.”</p> <h2>Fox Teams with IBM’s AI for World Cup Highlights</h2> <p>In June, IBM announced <a href="" target="_blank">a partnership</a> with Fox Sports for the broadcaster to use <a href="" target="_blank">IBM Watson Media</a>’s AI video technology and <a href="" target="_blank">IBM iX</a>’s user experience technology. The goal is to allow Fox to streamline production workflows so that it can quickly identify, edit and deliver match highlights essentially as they are happening. That enables Fox to <strong>create more engaging highlight reels for World Cup fans</strong>.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">2014 World Cup</a> attracted 3.2 billion viewers on TV and an estimated 280 million online viewers. Overall, 98,087 hours of video footage was broadcasted. To sift through a similar amount of footage for the 2018 World Cup <strong>requires a significant amount of processing power</strong>.</p> <p>“We are delighted to be working with IBM, a leader in the technology space, to help enhance fan experiences and engagement,” Sarah Tourville, senior vice president of sports brand activations at Fox Sports, says in the statement. “Our collaboration affords us an opportunity to utilize their technology across multiple properties, helping to drive engagement for our tentpole events in non-traditional ways.”</p> <p>Fox and IBM are partnering to create what they call <a href="" target="_blank">The Highlight Machine</a>, an interactive experience that allows fans to browse FIFA’s archive and create custom highlights from both the historic and 2018 tournament footage.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">According to Engadget</a>, Fox says there are <strong>300 archived matches that Watson is capable of analyzing</strong>, which viewers filter by <strong>World Cup year, team, player, game, play type or any combination</strong> of these.</p> <p>Fans are also able to view and filter highlights by team, player, time frame and type of gameplay, such as penalty kicks and goals. “To extend the post-match conversation on social media, viewers can save, favorite and share highlight reels as well as catch up on games by speedwatching critical, automatically generated clips,” Fox and IBM say in the statement.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en">Phil Goldstein</a></div> </div> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 16:17:23 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41661 at The 5 Features to Consider in a 2-in-1 Device <span>The 5 Features to Consider in a 2-in-1 Device</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/10/2018 - 10:49</span> <div><p>Global shipments of <a href=";cx=0" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|Search Results: Convertible Tablet PCs 1|');" target="_blank" title="Shop Convertible Tablet PCs">2-in-1 laptops (also known as convertible notebooks</a>) are expected to grow<strong> 11.6 percent </strong>through 2021, <a href="" target="_blank">according to IDC</a>, the only device category looking so healthy.</p> <p>For small and medium-sized businesses thinking of refreshing their device portfolio with 2-in-1s, their are numerous factors to consider. A major one is the design of the device. </p> <p>One clear option is the <strong>convertible-hybrid laptop</strong>. This is a folding or clamshell design that involves swiveling the keyboard out of the way to use the device in tablet mode. The other main style is <strong><a href=";cx=0&amp;ln=2&amp;key=detachable&amp;gsw=1" target="_blank">the detachable-hybrid tablet</a>: </strong>This is a slate tablet that you can connect to a <a href="" target="_blank">keyboard dock</a>. When attached to the dock, it is <strong>indistinguishable from the convertible-hybrid laptop</strong>. </p> <p>However, beyond the overall design of the 2-in-1 laptop, there are several features IT decision makers should scrutinize when determining the best fit. </p> <p><a href=""><strong>SIGN UP: </strong>Get more news from the <em>BizTech</em> newsletter in your inbox every two weeks!</a></p> <h2>1. Find an Operating System that Fits Your Computing Needs</h2> <p>The choice of <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">operating systems</span></a> is a big consideration. “If all your <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">apps</span></a> are in the cloud, why do you need anything else beyond Chrome? But it can only do so much,” <strong> </strong>says Justin Kring, <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|HP INC PSG SHOWCASE|');" title="Shop HP Brand Products">HP</a> Sr. Brand Manager at CDW. “If you need to run <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Office</span></a> or <b>some high-end, memory-intensive software, you need something else.</b>”</p> <h2>2. Make Sure Your 2-in-1 Won't Weigh You Down</h2> <p>Weight is another important consideration — <b>especially for the business traveler</b>. “Detachables allow you to ditch some of the weight, which is valuable in certain situations,” explains Damien D’Amore, a <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|DELL Showcase|');" target="_blank" title="Shop Dell Brand Products">Dell</a> CSG Solution Specialist at CDW. “But with the clamshell, you’re stuck at two or three pounds for the device. They’re a little bit heavier. And screen size is still an important factor — again, touching on the question of weight.”</p> <h2>3. Get Enough Battery Life to Stay Productive</h2> <p>This is high on the list of features important to users. Improvements to <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Intel</span></a>’s Core i-series CPUs along with industry-wide improvements to power and heat management design on devices have extended the battery life of 2-in-1 notebooks ever further.<b> Top devices are now averaging nine to 13 hours of battery life</b>. Once viewed as a hinderance to wider adoption of 2-in-1’s, these devices are now very competitive with standard laptops when it comes to battery life.</p> <h2>4. Touchscreens Help Bring Content to Life</h2> <p>This capability is growing in importance as a standout feature on these devices. If there is one feature that sets the 2-in-1 notebook apart from other devices, <b>the ability to shift between manual keyboard and mouse interaction and touchscreen is it</b>. As consumers have grown more comfortable with touchscreens, manufacturers have been working to design it into more and more devices, especially <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Microsoft</span></a>. “Touchscreen is a big consideration, especially with Windows 10,” says Kelly Etter, <a href="" onclick="javascript:CdwTagMan.createElementPageTag(window.cdwTagManagementData.page_name, 'Rich Text|INTEL CLIENT SHOWCASE|');" title="Shop Intel Brand Products">Intel</a> Brand Manager at CDW. “And several of the <a href=";pCurrent=1&amp;key=chromebooks&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1&amp;ln=0&amp;enkwrd=chromebook" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Chromebooks</span></a> are utilizing touch as well.”</p> <p>“Everything is going touchscreen,” agrees Andre Sinclair, partner specialist at CDW. “This feature is very popular and is now the norm in this space. Some of this popularity is tied to the release of <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Windows 10</span></a>. Touch works very well with this OS, especially when compared to the <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Windows 8</span></a> experience, which was not as good.”</p> <h2>5. Look for Layers of Defense in Security Features</h2> <p>This is another big consideration with 2-in-1s. There are many security features being implemented by different manufacturers that focus on securing access to the device: <b>biometrics, smartcard readers and fingerprint scanners</b>. Others are baking in security at the firmware and hardware level, securing the BIOS from tampering. <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="color:blue">Security features</span></a> are often tiered by manufacturers, including more add-ons the higher up the product line you go.</p> <p>With 2-in-1 notebooks being the target area for growth among laptop devices in the coming years, you can expect manufacturers to be focusing their development efforts in this market. And with refresh cycles coming around shortly, this is a market primed for innovation — and good deals for consumers. Knowing a little bit about how to assess these devices, you can now find the right fit for you.</p> <p><em>CDW offers 2-in-1 devices from several partners. <a href=";cx=0&amp;wcmmode=edit&amp;cq_ck=1529438206882" target="_blank">See which one has the best fit for your needs</a>.</em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"><a href="/author/biztech-staff" hreflang="en">BizTech Staff</a></div> </div> Tue, 10 Jul 2018 14:49:28 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 41656 at