WOOF! Newsletter

December 17, 2015

9 Technology Changes We’re Thankful For

2015 saw tremendous technology changes, both for good (new software, cloud services, cybersecurity) and bad (malware, data breaches). In our December WOOF! we're highlighting 9 of those technology changes for which we're thankful - like the new Skype for Business, iOS 9, ransomware defenses and more.

Like many of you, we’re looking back on everything that’s happened this year. For us, 2015’s advances in Information Technology come to mind.  IT continues to change at incredible speeds:  advances in cybersecurity, cloud services, new software and more.

Microsoft alone released 8 new products, all of which increased productivity and ease of communications in organizations.  We saw Motorola Wireless gobble up Zebra Systems; in our opinion, their Access Points are the best in the sector.

Unfortunately, we also saw advances in malware, data breaches and cybercrime. Dangers to productivity and privacy (not to mention the bottom line).  The battle to protect IT continues raging into 2016, too.

In light of all these advances – helpful and dangerous – we thought we’d close out 2015 with 9 changes in IT for which we’re thankful.

1. Ransomware Defenses.

Ransomware has become a "service" – it's activated and sent out to hundreds of computers on demand from black-market servers.  The IT industry’s ransomware defenses continue to grow in response.

So far, it’s about even.  Neither side has a definitive advantage over the other.  But if we all keep our IT patched and protected, we’ll continue keeping ransomware at bay.

We’re thankful for these anti-ransomware resources available to everyone:

  1. How to Remove the FBI Ransomware Infection – BitDefender Support Center
  2. CryptoLocker Ransomware Details and Prevention – BitDefender Support Center
  3. Microsoft Malware Protection Center
  4. Defend Your Computer Against Ransomware – PCTechGuide.com
  5. Ransomware – Trend Micro Security News
  6. And many more.

2. iOS 9's Improvements.

iOS 8 came with several bugs and performance issues.  We fielded support requests for customers when phones issues were disrupting their workday.

Apple listened and made some solid improvements with iOS 9.  Battery life improvements, ad blocking, side-by-side multitasking (also popular in Windows 10) and more: The Best New Features of iOS 9.

We’re thankful because iOS 9 helps our customers focus on their work, instead of dealing with a non-performing phone/tablet.

3. Clean Energy efforts like the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

A number of tech titans have committed funding to this new coalition, aiming to drive energy innovation "from the lab to the marketplace."

Can Bill Gates' 'Breakthrough Energy Coalition' Become Truly Useful? – ThinkProgress.org

We're thankful because more funding is badly needed for not only R&D, but deployment of clean energy systems.

4. Skype for Business.

Microsoft made a big splash as it combined two worlds (Skype and Lync Server) into the new Skype for Business Server 2015.  The system replaces the old corporate PBX, giving workers extensive unified communication capabilities at a lower cost.

Response has been very positive so far.  We're working with new customers, and seeing increased activity on our Skype 4 Business Insider Blog.  We're thankful for both!

5. Office 2016.

Everyone knows Office.  It’s a powerhouse for productivity, and has been for over a decade now.  Its latest update, Office 2016, gives you updates, new features and a new app to work with.

The new app is called Sway.  It acts as a cloud-friendly canvas for building visual displays.  There's also a co-authoring feature, which lets several people work on a document at once.

We’re thankful because a new Office means better tools, better security and more cloud-friendly software for businesses to use.

6. Windows 10.

Brand new Windows OS, with a whole new upgrade method.  Had some bumps in the adoption road, but more & more people are switching all the time.  Still free to upgrade!

7. IP Camera Systems.

IP Cameras are video cameras which broadcast & record their data online.  When using them, you can stream the video feed to your phone or tablet.

IP Cameras were listed among Security Sales & Integration's Top 30 Security Innovations for 2015.

(One IP camera vendor is Axis Cameras, of which PlanetMagpie is a Partner.)

We’re thankful because Web-accessible video feeds heighten security and shorten investigation times, both making our customers’ offices more secure.

8. The Net Neutrality Debate.

We discussed both sides of the issue back in 2014.  The debate continues, both in the media and the legal system.

The FCC put new Net Neutrality regulations in place this past June.  Broadband providers sued at once.  They're still fighting in court.

The Battle for Internet Freedom Isn't Over Yet - CNET

We’re thankful that the debate continues.  It must—we have to find a workable solution. Not just for the U.S., but for the entire world.

9. Flash Dying.

At one point, Flash was the darling technology of the Web.  Now it’s a buggy, performance-eating security risk.

Here’s a report indicating Flash is a "favorite hacking target": Surprise: Adobe's Flash is a favorite hacking target by far – PC World.  Adobe even recognized the problem by abandoning the name "Flash" this month.

Google took a big step toward Flash's demise in September, when it started blocking some Flash content to improve browser performance.  That effectively spells the end for Flash; we expect to see it completely phased out of everyday websites in the coming months.

With all its security and performance troubles, we’re happy to see Flash go, in favor of better technologies like HTML5.

Where's IT Going in 2016? We'll Keep You Posted!

From all of us at PlanetMagpie, Happy Holidays!