EXEC TECH : Inspector Gadget

As winter draws to close, the gadgets come out of hibernation – or so it seems. August and September are always big months for the launch of new products and this year is no different. Amongst the frenzy whipped up by Apple’s iPhone4 and iPad availability, number of other companies got look in. But is our reliance on new technology making us lax when it comes to security?

In the cloud
To celebrate “25 years of IT excellence”, Toshiba recently released range of 19 new consumer notebooks, including the Satellite A660 3D gaming machine. Of more interest to business users is the Libretto W100, concept notebook aimed to show “what’s possible in the next generation of ultra-mobile PCs”.
Mark Whittard, managing director of Toshiba (Australia), says: “Since the launch of the world’s first mass-market notebook computer, the Toshiba T1100 in April 1985, Toshiba has remained pioneer in the development of mobile computing [and is] on target to reach 100 million shipments of notebooks worldwide later this year – significant achievement for the past 25 years.”
The limited edition 25th Anniversary Libretto W100 goes beyond slates and netbooks to deliver something more: full Windows 7 experience that covers two multi-touch touch screens. It lets users easily share, stream and synchronise files and multimedia through their home network or cloud. It also comes with USB port and built-in memory reader to transfer data to and from external hard drives and other popular gear.
Busy execs continually having to synch their data will appreciate Toshiba’s AC100 Cloud Companion – an Android-based mobile internet device for all your cloud computing needs. The AC100 combines the functionality of smartphone and netbook. It is thin and light, making it the ultimate web companion.
According to Whittard, market success for Toshiba has been ongoing. “Toshiba (Australia) has for the past 25 years been ranked as the first or second most recognisable brand in the notebook market.”

Call face to face,to anyone, anywhere
“HD video calling is critical step toward our vision of world in which video communication is as mainstream and seamless as telephone call – for anyone, anywhere.” That’s Bryan Simpson’s view. He’s the general manager of Logitech New Zealand and as luck would have it, the company has just released its flagship Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910.
This webcam offers HD 720p video calling, full HD 1080p video recording, as well as Logitech Fluid Crystal technology to ensure clear images, smooth motion and rich, true-to-life colours. Included is Vid HD software that can transmit two-way live video in HD.
Stereo audio is also catered for with two microphones on either side of the webcam lens.
Whether you’re skyping into remote office workers or catching up with family while away on business, you’ll find most of the major video clients are supported, including Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and Gmail Voice and Video Chat.
The C910 has one-click video upload to Facebook and YouTube as well as the ability to take 10-megapixel photo. Quick and dirty editing can be done with the included Magix photo and video editing software.
Despite the aggressive profile seen here, the C910 is only 25 millimetres deep and as such, is relatively minimalist addition to your computer. It’s available now and retails at around $169.90.

Keeping data safe
More individuals and businesses are starting to appear on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, lured by ease of accessibility and the ability to multitask all-important relationship building. However it appears paranoia has given way to lack of security. Recent research from BitDefender showed more than 250,000 email addresses, user names and passwords were found circulating freely online. Of those social media accounts, 75 percent shared identical login credentials as the corresponding email account.
“Using simple freeware scripts, it’s possible for almost anyone to extract and collect personal login details online,” says Sabina Datcu, threat analyst, BitDefender. cross-check conducted over random sample revealed that 87 percent of the email addresses and passwords were still current and could be accessed with the leaked credentials. The security implications are numerous: ranging from data theft, email and social networking account hijacking for spamming and malware dissemination purposes, to financial losses through fake credit card accounts opened by using stolen identities.
Datcu advises: “Change your passwords regularly and do not keep any record of them online. If you find it difficult to keep track of all your login details, invest in secured USB key with hardware and software encryption to safely store your details in one place. Free, secured services such as KeePass are also another suitable alternative.”

Disaster recovery
There is no point in upping your security without having plan for disaster recovery. Symantec has reported an alarming trend for New Zealand businesses to neglect this, with 49 percent of New Zealand SME respondents lacking documented IT process of how to recover from an IT outage. This is despite the fact that more than 60 percent of respondents experienced an IT outage in the past 12 months and 32 percent expect they will experience computer systems failure in the next 12 months.
According to the survey, the greatest disruption to business information security is from accidental human error or natural disasters, which include incidents such as unintentionally deleting information; losing information stored on laptops, USB keys and smart-phones; emailing confidential information to an incorrect recipient; computer systems and power failures as well as flooding.

Safe techs
Symantec recommends the following tips to help businesses protect their information:
1. Develop an information protection plan that defines the procedures, guidelines and practices for securing and managing your information. This plan should include detailed backup and recovery plan.
2. Implement comprehensive and integrated security solution that is more than just antivirus technology.
3. Educate staff to avoid clicking on suspicious links in email, IM messages or on social networking sites. Part of the training should also focus on how to protect mobile devices and company information when on social networking sites.
4. Use strong passwords that have at least eight characters and combine alphanumeric and special characters.
5. Combine security and backup and recovery software technologies to deliver complete information protection and keep desktops, servers and applications running smoothly in case of disruption.

3D TVs, iPads – what’s next? October’s Exec Tech will be coming to you live from IFA in Berlin, currently the world’s biggest consumer electronics and appliances show.

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