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Killexams : Microsoft Applications mock - BingNews Search results Killexams : Microsoft Applications mock - BingNews Killexams : New app store code of practice aims to strengthen ecosystem cyber security

The UK Government has announced plans for a “world first” code of practice to strengthen security protections across the app market.

Unveiled today, the new voluntary code aims to better protect users from malicious apps available on app stores such as Google Play and the App Store.

The new measures include requiring app developers to introduce processes that enable security experts to report software vulnerabilities and ensure that privacy information is more readily available.

In addition, the code will see the creation of a more “robust and transparent” vetting process for apps, require developers to keep apps up-to-date, and allow users to use applications even if they choose to disable certain functionalities, such as microphone access or location tracking.

As part of the move, the government said it will work closely with developers and operators to implement the code over a nine-month period. This will include collaboration with organisations including Apple, Google, Amazon, Huawei, Microsoft, Sony and Samsung.

Cyber minister Julia Lopez said the new policy aims to enhance trust in app ecosystems and Improve safety.

“We’ve already strengthened our laws to boost security in consumers’ digital devices and the telecoms networks we rely on,” she said. “Today, we are taking steps to get app stores and developers to keep customers even safer in the online world.”

National Cyber Strategy

The new voluntary rules form part of the government’s National Cyber Strategy, which aims to protect and support the UK’s digital technology sector and strengthen national cyber resilience.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has backed the move as a positive step to creating a more transparent and secure app ecosystem for UK consumers and businesses.

“Our devices and the apps we rely on are increasingly essential to everyday life, and it’s important that developers and app store operators take steps to protect users,” said Paul Maddinson, director of national resilience and strategy at the NCSC.

“By signing up to this code of practice, developers and operators can demonstrate how they are delivering security as standard, as well as protect users from malicious actors and vulnerable apps,” he added.

Business Applications

The proliferation of malicious software on app stores has raised concerns for both consumers and business users in recent months. Research from Malwarebytes in November found that the Google Play store, for example, featured apps which infected devices with malware and malicious pop-up ads.

In total, the study found that just four malicious apps were downloaded over a million times by Android users.

This issue hasn’t gone unnoticed by operators either. Earlier this year, Android announced new policies for Play Store which aimed to mitigate security risks and force developers to update older apps.

For larger businesses, operating within a monitored and regulated applications environment provides a degree of security to mitigate threats and allow the use of safe, authorised apps.

However, small businesses and start-ups increasingly rely on a range of open source applications to support operations; from managing aspects of their business to boosting productivity and communications.

Michael White, technical director and principal architect at the Synopsys Software Integrity Group told IT Pro that the new code of practice could address lingering security concerns around the use of open source software by small businesses.

“This new code of practice promotes a sensible baseline and can be achieved using a variety of automated approaches and off-the-shelf tools to help developers achieve compliance in a non-intrusive way,” he explained.

“What should not be overlooked is the importance of transparency in the software supply chain. This includes exchange of Software Bill of Material (SBOM) information which may allow both app developers as well as app store operators to understand when an application component vulnerability exists, and alert app developers to the fact that a security review or upgrade may be needed.

“A good example of the need for SBOM transparency was highlighted by the widely-known Log4J vulnerability last year, however this was by no means an isolated occurrence: newly disclosed security vulnerabilities for open source software components are entered into public vulnerability databases every single day, many of which are of lower impact but some are occasionally quite severe.”

Mark Lamb, CEO of HighGround, welcomed the decision, adding that the new code of practice will help Improve transparency and place a stronger focus on robust security practices across the UK's app market. 

“This is definitely a good thing, particularly for the Google Play store, because Apple is already very strict around its own App store," he said.

“It will significantly increase the burden on developers to be more transparent on how apps are built, which in turn will allow consumers to make more informed decisions on app purchases, which they previously might not have questioned.”

Stuart Smith, partner and corporate and commercial lawyer at Simkins, echoed Lamb’s comments. However, he questioned how the new rules might be enforced given their status as a voluntary code. 

“If implemented thoroughly, the code should result in cleaner app stores, with greater visibility for apps that are transparent about their functionality, comply with baseline security requirements, and are regularly updated,” he said. 

“The DCMS say there will be a nine month period for adherence, and that they will initially focus on assessing adherence by app store operators, but this is still clearly described as a voluntary code, and so it remains very unclear what, if anything, DCMS can really do if app store operators choose not to adhere to the code,” Smith added.

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Thu, 08 Dec 2022 22:42:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Microsoft Teams aims to be a rather dull Discord

It’s not clear how many consumers actually prefer to use Microsoft Teams outside of work, but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft from trying: The free, consumer version of Teams now has a “Communities” feature to connect online.

Microsoft is adding the feature to just the Android and iOS versions of the free Teams app that it launched last year. A desktop version will come soon, Microsoft says. Communities adds the ability to join your friends to a group, with shared messaging, calendaring, and group calls.

But the issue that Microsoft hasn’t really seemed to overcome is this: Microsoft seems to want consumers to organically sign on to Teams and plan their next night out, but it simply can’t avoid leaning on its legacy of business applications. The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) will use Teams to connect its 500,000-member community group, set practice schedules, and the like. USA Hockey plans to do something similar to build communities among grass-roots hockey teams.

The point is that AYSO and USA Hockey communities aren’t being built from the ground up; the organizations will simply tell their members that Teams will be the way the organization will communicate. That’s not much different than your employer dictating which web service will be used for communication, collaboration, and workflows.

Microsoft Teams Communities


And Teams new Communities looks like Teams: While you’ll be able to administer and moderate groups, sharing messages and documents and organizing events, the UI still looks very similar. “Personalization” appears to be limited to “branding elements” (Microsoft’s words) like a group picture. You’ll be able to access Communities via the Home tab on the mobile app, though you may need to switch out of your work account to do so.

It all feels very different than how freewheeling, organic communities form on Discord, Snapchat, or other messaging services. If you’re the type of person who already has all of your holiday shopping done, Teams Communities may be for you. If you prefer something a bit more chill, Teams Communities probably isn’t.

Wed, 07 Dec 2022 03:16:00 -0600 Author: Mark Hachman en text/html
Killexams : DCMS Code of Practice for apps developers Killexams : DCMS Code of Practice for apps developers Thu, 08 Dec 2022 16:30:00 -0600 David Manners en-GB text/html Killexams : How to tackle data protection in multicloud environments

Commercial clouds host and deliver agency applications just as services from an agency’s own data centers. The two sources often present identically to end users. But systems administrations must make adjustments to ensure data protections in place at agency data centers are also in place at their cloud service providers.

That requirement — to have equal levels of protection in hybrid, multicloud environments — extends to making sure an agency can recover from a cybersecurity...


Commercial clouds host and deliver agency applications just as services from an agency’s own data centers. The two sources often present identically to end users. But systems administrations must make adjustments to ensure data protections in place at agency data centers are also in place at their cloud service providers.

That requirement — to have equal levels of protection in hybrid, multicloud environments — extends to making sure an agency can recover from a cybersecurity breach or other interruption in service.

Nic Perez, chief technology officer for cloud practice at ThunderCat Technology, put it this way: “There’s cloud native backup. There is cross-region backup. But the recovery piece is the hard part.”

The reason is simple. Each cloud service provider constructs services in its own way, he said. The challenge arises because agencies “have invested in procedures and policies on premise that have evolved over many, many years,” Perez said during Federal News Network’s Industry Exchange Cloud.

When adding cloud computing, “they are now having to adapt those and ultimately identify gaps and augment those current solutions differently as they adopt each cloud provider and software as a service solution.”

Often organizations have mistaken perceptions about the security features of their cloud service providers, added Brad Montgomery, director of federal presales for data protection at Dell Technologies. “An assumption is made that once an organization ports an application to the cloud, the cloud platform itself is going to supply them everything they need from a resilience and a data protection standpoint. That’s not necessarily true,” he said.

Montgomery cited a common application, Microsoft Exchange, with its extensive settings for security and data protection in on-premise instances.

Agencies gain many advantages to moving to the cloud version of Exchange when switching to Microsoft Office 365, “but at the same time, it’s not going to provide the same level of data protection that you had on premise with backup and recovery,” Perez said. “Even if you are moving up to M365 for Exchange, you still need to make sure that you have that data protection to meet the service level agreement you agreed to for your on-premise solution.”

Otherwise, that need — to make sure each cloud provider is configured to the agency’s security requirements — can hold up authorities to operate when a given application is ported to more than one cloud provider.

Embracing security in the cloud

The answer, Perez and Montgomery said, is to adopt specific SaaS backup and recovery tools. Such tools are multitenant, multivendor and aimed at specific applications not only within M365 but also within other widely used platforms such as Salesforce.

An important benefit is how such applications let IT staffs manage multiple instances of application data protection from a single pane of glass, Perez said.  That’s been a Holy Grail since the inception of cloud computing, he said.

“I do have customers that are utilizing Amazon and backing things up into Azure for continuity,” Perez said.

Moreover, these applications, Montgomery added, enable a best practice in data protection. Namely, that backup and recovery instances do not exist on the same physical infrastructure as the production instance. After all, all commercial clouds experience occasional periods of downtime.

“When you’re talking about multicloud, what is the best practice for protecting data? You want to make sure that it is decoupled from the source,” he said. “You don’t want to have your backups on the same array as your production. You don’t want to have your data protection in the same cloud as your production.”

He added, “Cloud is still very much a part of agencies’ modernization efforts, but we’re much more precise on how we’re leveraging it. Data protection is a great use case for it.”

Both Montgomery and Perez emphasized how the cloud SaaS market is continually adapting. For example, backup systems are increasingly the target of ransomware attacks, Perez said. He advised looking into least-privilege access tools that feature temporary keys to minimize anyone’s access. Such tools support the zero trust posture that all agencies are pursuing.

Perez also said cloud data protection technologies are migrating to on-premise data centers. Customers with secret, enclosed environments without internet access cannot access cloud-hosted SaaS.

“But the providers are now providing edge boxes,” he said. “You can wheel in racks. They supply you your own region. They supply you those cloud technologies … in that locked-in environment.”

To listen and watch other Industry Exchange Cloud sessions, visit our event page.

Fri, 09 Dec 2022 03:40:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Consumers to get new protections against dodgy apps

The government is today setting out plans for a voluntary code of practice governing operators of app stores, and the developers of the applications they make available, that will strengthen consumer protections against malicious software.

In what Westminster claims is a world’s first, the measures will include better reporting standards for software vulnerabilities, and more transparency for users on the privacy and security of the apps they download.

The UK app market is worth billions of pounds, and millions of people across the country use apps daily on smartphones, gaming consoles and smart TVs for a wide range of activities, such as work, communication, entertainment and banking.

However, as things stand, a lack of rules governing the security of apps and the app stores where they are accessed is putting at risk privacy and security by enabling cyber criminals to use malware to steal data and money, and mislead users. The government has been trying to get the industry to act on this for some time.

It said that too often, consumers were unable to make informed choices when downloading an app because important information, such as who would have access to their data, or where said data might end up being stored or processed, was not easily and clearly available to them.

“More people are using apps to pay bills, play games and stay in touch with loved ones, with so much of our day-to-day activities now online,” said cyber minister Julia Lopez.

“Consumers should be able to trust that their money and data is in safe hands when using apps and these measures will not only boost our digital economy, but also protect people from fraud.

“We have already strengthened our laws to boost security in consumers’ digital devices and the telecoms networks we rely on. Today we are taking steps to get app stores and developers to keep customers even safer in the online world.”

Having made a call for views on the issue earlier this year, Westminster is now asking the app industry to sign up to the code, which contains three core commitments:

  • To have a clear vulnerability disclosure reporting process for researchers and ethical hackers to report vulnerabilities to their developers.
  • To ensure security updates and patches are properly and quickly highlighted to consumers.
  • To provide security and privacy information to users in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

Developers will also have to undertake to ensure their apps continue to work even if consumers disable optional functionality of permissions, such as access to the device camera or microphone, or geolocation data; and to keep their apps up to date to minimise the possibility of compromise.

Meanwhile, app store operators will have to put in place a “robust and transparent” vetting process to ensure only apps that meet the code’s minimum level of compliance are made available in the UK; and to provide clear feedback to developers if their apps are not published for privacy or security reasons.

The government acknowledged that many developers and app store operators already follow some of these requirements. Those that sign up will further be able to demonstrate their compliance by declaring this on their websites or app stores.

It will now begin work with developers and operators – in scope are companies including Amazon, Apple, Google, Epic Games, Huawei, LG, Microsoft, Nintendo, Samsung, Sony and Valve – to  implement the code, which could take up to nine months. At the same time the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will be working on the question of what current laws might be extended in future to cover apps and app stores, and if it may be necessary to make the code legally binding.

Paul Maddinson, National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) director of national resilience and strategy, commented: “Our devices and the apps we rely on are increasingly essential to everyday life, and it’s important that developers and store operators take steps to protect users.

“By signing up to this code of practice, developers and operators can demonstrate how they are delivering security as standard, as well as protect users from malicious actors and vulnerable apps.”

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, added: “Apps bring a lot of convenience to our everyday lives, but rogue apps making their way onto the biggest app stores are a security and privacy minefield – putting consumers at huge risk from data theft and scams.

“The government’s announcement of a new voluntary code is a positive step towards making apps more secure. The app market must now be monitored closely for improvements and to check whether tech firms are falling short in protecting consumers.”

Thu, 08 Dec 2022 05:01:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Apple's App store has become an ad-infested imitation of its former self, which is not good for iPhone users or developers

"No ads. We build products that we want for ourselves, too, and we just don't want ads," Steve Jobs said back in 2011.David Paul Morris/Stringer/Getty Images

  • Apple used to carefully curate its App store, helping developers gain visibility and customers find what they needed.

  • These days, ads have become intrusive and knock-off apps are cluttering up the user experience.

  • In prioritizing revenue over serving its customers, Apple is becoming the very thing it used to mock.

The App store is, sadly, no longer the jewel of Apple's ecosystem. These days, it seems to be more about maximizing Apple's revenue than serving customers or helping developers flourish.

It hasn't always been this way. Ask just about any Apple executive what makes Apple special and the answer will almost always be Apple's ecosystem — the company's (formerly) unique position of creating both the hardware and the software with tight integration. One of the lessons Apple learned from the Mac in the 90s is that the best hardware and software doesn't matter all that much without apps.

That used to mean that developers — the people who make those apps — were the most important part of any platform. (Remember former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's famously sweaty chant: "Developers! Developers! Developers!" )

Applications are what led users to a particular hardware platform and kept them there.

Thus, the App store was born to supply iPhone's beautiful hardware and elegant operating system thousands of apps, created by programmers running their own app businesses. Apple carefully curated the apps it gave prominent display, helping the best developers gain visibility and helping users find the best choice for their needs — with Apple taking a modest 30% of all sales for their efforts maintaining the store.

Now, after 15 years of iPhones, I find the App store to be an imitation of its former self.

The first issue I have is with ads that are becoming more and more intrusive. I don't mind ads in general, but the way Apple is using them in the App store has become really annoying. For example, when I'm searching for an app, I'm bombarded with ads for other apps, and sometimes even for products that are not related to what I am looking for.

The second issue I have is with apps just taking up space. The App store hosts all manner of apps that, in my opinion, push junk. I think an egregious recent example was when gambling apps appeared in the "you might also like" section when some people searched for gambling addiction recovery apps.  Apple paused those ads last month after a developer outcry went went viral, the Verge reported. 

But I remember when Apple founder Steve Jobs boasted that the lack of ads was part of Apple's ethos. "No ads. We build products that we want for ourselves, too, and we just don't want ads," Jobs said back in 2011.

While Apple does have App store guidelines that say it will reject copycat apps, developers also often complain about knock-offs of their well-known, original apps that bubble to the surface via ads, such as those that mimic popular games.

In October, a game developer tweeted about their experiences with lookalike apps, and after that tweet went viral Apple suspended the app the developer pointed out. Apple also settled a lawsuit in September from a keyboard app developer, as AppleInsider reported. The developer had gone to great lengths to try to show how copycat apps slipped through Apple's app review system.

This is an ongoing frustration for legit developers who now have to pay in order to make sure their stuff isn't buried beneath other stuff — including copycat apps — that Apple ads expose to users.

Look, as a holder of Apple stock, I appreciate that Apple, driven by the ever-hungry demands of Wall Street, is using ads to increase revenue. Apple is a for-profit enterprise, after all. But as a longtime Apple customer, what I mourn are the days where the need for revenue didn't trump the need to serve customers.

Remember back in 2010 when Apple founder Steve Jobs barred all fart apps because they offered no value to users and demeaned the ecosystem? "If it sounds like we're control freaks, well, maybe it's because we're so committed to our users and making sure they have a quality experience with our products," Jobs said.

Look at any of Apple's new devices: For the most part, they're kind of boring. An iPhone 14 looks a lot like an iPhone 13, which in turn looks a lot like iPhone 12. Whatever new features that exist are pushed only to the "Pro" classes of devices, which also carry the highest price tags and the highest profit margins.

In October, as the world braced for a recession, Apple hiked prices on some of its most popular services such as Apple TV+ and Apple Music. There's an Apple tax on everything coming from Cupertino, whether it's price increases, only the most expensive devices getting the latest features, or the App store, which looks for revenue anywhere it can find it.

The real problem for Apple is that Apple is no longer the only game in town for users. Want to see hardware innovation? Look no further than a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 that folds from tablet to smartphone. Want to see tight integration of hardware/software/services? Look at the Pixel 7, Pixel Watch, and Pixel Buds Pro. You'll also see the latest innovations not just on a Pixel 7 Pro but on a modestly priced Pixel 7. You'll also find apps that were exclusive to Apple now available to Android users as well.

The biggest challenge that these alternate platforms face isn't facing off against Apple's technology. It's facing off against Apple's juggernaut marketing machine.

But the irony is that Apple is becoming the very thing it used to mock going back to the Apple vs. IBM days. Or as Mel Brooks so elegantly stated "We mock the things we are to be."

Michael Gartenberg is a former senior marketing executive at Apple and has covered the company for more than two decades at Gartner, Jupiter Research, and Altimeter Group. He can be reached on Twitter at @Gartenberg.

The thoughts expressed are those of the author.

Disclosure: The author owns Apple stock.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 05:48:00 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Microsoft Working on Machine Learning Algorithms for Tracking and Influencing Player Emotions © Provided by GameRant

Tech giant Microsoft is investing in machine learning technologies to track and influence a gamer's emotions. Microsoft is one of the biggest tech companies globally, alongside Alphabet, Apple, Meta, and Amazon, with a market capitalization of nearly 1.8 trillion dollars. The corporation is looking to increase its footprint in the gaming industry as it is trying to acquire Activision Blizzard, a leading game developer.

Moreover, Microsoft is known for making substantial investments in research and development of new video games related technologies. The tech conglomerate recently filed a patent that can potentially verify physical games for Xbox Digital Library. Microsoft is about to file a patent for a system that will monitor a gamer's emotions and feelings in real-time to deliver a more positive playing experience.

RELATED: Xbox Series X Was Reportedly One of the Best-Selling Products of Black Friday

The said patent will utilize complex machine-learning algorithms and heuristics to modify the playing experience of gamers by influencing their emotions. Microsoft will build on the current practice used by many developers, using background music, loot, threats, and NPC behavior to induce specific feelings in players. The proposal discusses engine-agnostic and game-agnostic techniques to enhance the player experience using machine learning algorithms for Natural Language Processing (NLP) based on previous game events. These game events can be directly caused by the player, like pressing a particular button, a combination of controls, or their in-game choices. By employing an application programming interface (API) to link specific numbers, letters, words, or phrases to particular game events, game developers can translate game events into text strings.

In some systems, the mapping is kept in a table or text log consisting of a series of text strings that correspond to game events that happened during the course of the game's part (or the whole). According to the Microsoft patent, the text strings are added to the text log when the corresponding game event occurs. One or more curves depict target player experiences relating to game progress. Curves can describe various player experiences, such as calm/intensity, bad/good luck, and conceptual ideas like "victorious." The figure above shows a block diagram of a system for processing video games that allows coordinating game choices using a semantic natural language processing (NLP) machine learning (ML) algorithm.

Gaming experts believe if this Microsoft patent is finalized, it could pave the way for a new kind of reward system in video games. The new system will be influenced by the gamer's reactions and feelings during play and design rewards based on the following information collected.

MORE: Xbox Series S/X: How To Clear Cache

Mon, 28 Nov 2022 13:37:07 -0600 en-US text/html
Killexams : Tools, tech and etiquette: best practice of hybrid working for small businesses

Stu Hennigan, a senior librarian at Leeds Libraries, had just started the work video-call meeting he’d convened from home when he glanced out of his window. The clouds looked threatening and the laundry hanging on the washing line was almost dry. But it was already too late. “I’m way too professional to go see to a load of wet towels,” he explains. “It’s great to be able to fit in stuff like washing in the daytime, but work has to take priority.”

Domestic laundry has become an unlikely workplace dilemma as millions of employees are now able to work remotely thanks to a combination of pandemic-related lockdowns, evolving technologies and a fresh desire to use them. As well as juggling washing cycles with work tasks, there are a host of new etiquette questions – for example when it comes to attending work-related video calls with laundry visible in the background. And it isn’t just employees who have to navigate this new etiquette. Bosses of small and medium-sized businesses are also having to balance the demands of running a company with the realities of home life. Afterall, business owners also have laundry.

But now that remote working is no longer an emergency measure in response to a global health crisis, the etiquette around it has arguably become more professional and more refined. Owners of SMBs can therefore properly consider evolving best practice and put in place systems and tools to support hybrid teams that consist of both remote and on-premise workers. For instance, videoconferencing technology allows users to blur out laundry-strewn backgrounds – a vital tool for any business owner who wants to appear professional when taking an urgent client or employee call.

“It’s a fine balance,” says Nick Hedderman, senior director of the Modern Work Business Group at Microsoft UK. “Asynchronous hybrid work can supply your employees the flexibility to do the school run or make personal appointments and finish up their work later on that day, but there are still clear downsides and risks as the boundaries of work and life continue to blur.”

Technological innovation

New etiquette, behaviours and policies have evolved hand-in-hand with technology. “Previously there had been a human behaviour adoption problem, but now people are indicating a willingness to change how they behave,” says David Shrier, professor of practice, AI and innovation at Imperial College Business School. “Workforces are prepared to take on technology, some of which has been around for [some time].”

Hedderman notes: “At the start of the pandemic, much of the popular focus was on basic video-calling. But businesses are now finding out how technology can play a much wider role in creating connections wherever, whenever, and however people work – helping to keep everyone engaged and informed.”

That technology has both evolved in response to emerging best practice and also helped to shape it. However, given that the seismic shift to more flexible working arrangements prompted by the pandemic was something of a mass social experiment, many of the improvements to technology and best practice have evolved incrementally and iteratively as companies have learned as they went along. As a result, some incredibly useful innovations might have gone unnoticed by business owners.

Nick Hedderman, senior director of the Modern Work Business Group at Microsoft UK

Tools and systems have emerged to help team members to become more collaborative, flexible and efficient. For example, a recent innovation from Microsoft Teams allows in-person participants to use a companion app on their mobile phone to take part in the meeting’s virtual chat, and react as if they were also working remotely.

“Much of our innovation has been driven by our desire to build a seamless, blended in-person and remote experience for workers,” explains Hedderman. As an example, for those joining a physical meeting remotely, smart cameras can break the display video into individual windows for each person in the room to see their expressions and reactions up close. “And our cameo feature in PowerPoint enables remote presenters to insert their live camera directly on to a slide, embedding themselves in the content and maximising non-verbal communication as if they were in the room.”

The effort to aid non-verbal communication is one of the key areas that technology has evolved in. Likewise, there have been efforts to replicate all those unscheduled workplace interactions that are often referred to as “water-cooler moments”.

A lot of how companies achieve operational excellence is through “little, tiny interactions between people, not long, scheduled meetings”, says Shrier. “You can replicate that in a digital environment as long as you change the behaviour of your employees so they actually use the tools.”

For those fretting that not being in a physical office makes it harder to grab someone’s attention for a quick chat, Shrier thinks digital alternatives can work equally well. “If I use the messaging app in Teams, and we use video not audio to respond, then you can replicate most of the benefits of an in-person office setting,” he says.

Employee wellbeing

Another key area of focus for emerging best practice and technology is employee wellbeing. Hedderman cites insights from Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, which has tracked the development of hybrid working since the onset of the pandemic. “As employees feel the pressure to ‘prove’ they’re working, digital overwhelm is soaring – 48% of employees and 53% of managers report that they’re already burned out at work.”

He highlights a tool added last year that gives organisers of virtual meetings an option to automatically start meetings five minutes late or end them five minutes early: “This gives remote employees a chance for a comfort break or to grab a cuppa between back-to-back meetings, and help mitigate the effects of digital overload.”

Tech can also help employees understand how they spend their time. For instance, Microsoft Viva Insights enables employees to keep track of after-hours work, book time with their team, block out focus time, set up reminders over email and wind down with mindfulness exercises in a virtual commute. These kinds of actions can be invaluable for safeguarding employee wellbeing.

“This year, we discussed the rise of the ‘triple peak day’ – as data found that the average Teams user sends 42% more out-of-hours messages than they did before the pandemic, culminating in a third productivity peak at around 10pm in the evening, where previous peaks were seen before and after lunch,” notes Hedderman. “Leaders of small and medium-sized businesses have to take a deliberate, thoughtful approach to managing ‘asynchronous’ working.”

Improving the way video communications are used is one way businesses can be more agile and Microsoft has made this easier through new and improved digital tools. Photograph: Tyler Ashlock


Finally, another key area in which technology, etiquette, policies and best practice have evolved is in the area of cybersecurity.

“If a small or medium-sized business is offering hybrid working flexibility to its staff, this will naturally be accompanied by increased cybersecurity risk, as employees access information from multiple devices over multiple internet connections, from their homes, work premises, coffee shops, trains, buses and everything in between,” explains Sarah Armstrong-Smith, chief security adviser at Microsoft UK.

Armstrong-Smith notes that many small businesses had to move quickly to set up remote and hybrid working through the pandemic, without the luxury of large IT budgets or in-house expertise: “Owner-managers often had to wear the hat of chief information officer, while working around the clock to keep the business operational.” In those circumstances, some companies might well have chosen technology that didn’t offer the best protection for the security and privacy of their customers and staff. Likewise, they might have chosen multiple tech vendors for different tools and functions – such as for protecting user identities, data, applications and devices. Having multiple platforms can make it harder to view and manage their overall exposure to cyber threats. And it can also mean businesses spend more than they needed to in the process.

“[However], building a strong online security posture for a small business does not need to come at the cost of enabling a flexible, hybrid workplace,” she says.

And it doesn’t need to cost smaller businesses more in either money or time. Sometimes a business can effectively do more with less. For instance, Microsoft 365 Business Premium protects across all layers (user identity, apps, data, devices) and as part of it, Microsoft Defender for Business provides enterprise grade protection, detection and remediation for PCs, Macs, tablets and mobile phones and is especially designed for SMBs.

“For all the talk about hybrid, the reality is that we are all still learning and experimenting,” says Hedderman. “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Leaders will need to embed experimentation – continuous testing, observing and adjusting – to build the hybrid workplace that best fits them.”

For more on getting the right technology and systems for your SMB, check out the Small Business Resource Centre and other articles in this series on how to reduce the stress of being a small business owner

Wed, 30 Nov 2022 18:48:00 -0600 Susie Mesure en text/html
Killexams : A Game Plan For Cyber Resilience

By Satta Sarmah Hightower

For many enterprises, potential cyber vulnerabilities are growing by nearly every measure as workforces become increasingly distributed and IT environments integrate more cloud applications.

According to the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Cybersecurity Outlook, the average cost to a company from a cyber attack is about $3.6 million per incident—and it takes 280 days, or about 9 months on average, to identify and respond to a compromise. So, it’s not surprising that 81% of business leaders surveyed in the WEF’s report contend that “staying ahead of attackers is a constant battle and the cost is unsustainable.”

With such high stakes and ever-evolving security threats, a protection-based approach is no longer enough, says Kris Lovejoy, global practice leader for security and resiliency at Kyndryl, the world’s largest IT infrastructure services firm.

“You have a massive attack landscape, and that landscape is exposed to the internet,” she explains. “There’s no such thing as the castle and moat principle anymore. You can’t put your arms around a perimeter, everything has the potential to be exposed.”

To not only insulate from risk, but to become truly cyber resilient—Lovejoy says businesses must abandon a siloed approach to security and instead use an integrated strategy to most effectively anticipate, protect, withstand and recover from adverse cyber events. Below are three steps to develop a successful cyber resilience game plan.

Step One: Understand Key Capabilities Of Effective Risk Management

Cyber resilience necessitates robust risk management to enhance security, business continuity and disaster recovery. Lovejoy says organizations need four critical capabilities to do this effectively.

  1. Measurability of cyber readiness: Cyber resilience begins with prevention. To proactively manage risk, organizations must have visibility into their vulnerabilities and biggest threats. This requires the ability to assess and benchmark cyber resilience maturity across the enterprise.
  2. Protective IT infrastructure: Lovejoy says resilience requires a “security-rich infrastructure,” which she describes as an IT environment with multiple layers of data protection encompassing identity access, endpoint, network and application lifecycle management.
  3. Coordinated response system: The most resilient organizations have organized and integrated mechanisms to respond to cyber threats. These include advanced threat detection, incident response and forensic capabilities that proactively reduce exposure.
  4. Streamlined incident recovery: A hallmark of cyber resilience is the ability to minimize disruptions to critical business processes with a methodical and collaborative recovery system. Lovejoy says robust data backup services, platform recovery, sustainable data centers and data vaulting services can help organizations build their incident recovery capabilities.

All these capabilities are critical in an environment where businesses are constantly introducing new technologies. Lovejoy says the last two and half years have seen a lot of “exuberant innovation,” but many organizations have failed to adequately protect themselves as they’ve modernized.

A unified technology infrastructure is key to advancing transformation while insulating from risk. Using services like Kyndryl Bridge allows businesses to create automated resiliency in a way that aligns with local data sovereignty and privacy requirements. Kyndryl also co-innovates with clients to build commercial, globally scalable offerings, democratizing best practices it learns across its engagements for the benefit of all the firm’s clients.

In one case, the firm worked with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and its client, a British multinational investment bank and financial services company, to co-create a novel cyber recovery solution. It provides automated cyber recovery capabilities that allow the bank to better protect critical data, streamline compliance activities and reduce recovery time after a cyber attack to mere hours instead of days.

The co-developed solution has not only strengthened the bank’s operational resilience, it can now facilitate recovery automation and stronger enterprise security for Kyndryl’s other financial services clients that integrate it into their environments.

Step Two: Leverage Partnership To Find And Solve Pain Points

Organizations must build cyber resilience into their broader IT strategy to better navigate today’s dynamic threat landscape. To accomplish this, they can leverage partners with deep expertise to radically streamline their security and resiliency approach.

The most effective partners can help businesses understand the risk landscape and provide holistic solutions—as opposed to fragmented “band-aid” remedies that can ultimately compound security gaps.

Lovejoy says Kyndryl uses a framework that enables clients across the globe to integrate cyber resilience into their operational fabric. To do this, Kyndryl brings together an array of services with leading-edge solutions, offered by the firm’s alliance partners including AWS, Microsoft, Okta, Radiant Logic, Splunk and others. Kyndryl’s core security and resiliency services combines the people, processes and technologies that allow companies to build four key capabilities necessary to strengthen their cyber resilience:

  1. Security assurance services: Through these managed services, Kyndryl works with clients to develop a security and risk management strategy. Organizations then execute against it and consistently apply policies and controls to maintain compliance.
  2. Zero trust services: The firm uses digital identity services, data, application and cloud security controls to stand up a zero-trust architecture for clients.
  3. Security operations and response (SOC) services: The implementation of advanced threat detection, incident response and forensic solutions help organizations more effectively discover, prevent and respond to advanced security incidents.
  4. Incident recovery services: Cyber incident recovery, managed backup services, recovery automation, hybrid platform recovery and site facilities and data center protection services help clients Improve reliability and availability—regardless of whether their assets are stored in the cloud, on-prem or in a hybrid environment.

Step Three: Accelerate The Journey To Stronger Cyber Resilience

The current threat environment compels businesses to make different—and often difficult—choices about how they protect their IT estate. With limited time and resources, organizations must build their cyber resilience to address the entire threat lifecycle more effectively.

“What resilience is really about is organizations being able to identify what is the minimum set of business processes that we need to enable our continuity,” Lovejoy says.

“What organizations are doing is saying ‘let me figure out what technology assets, data, networks and people all interact and interweave to make these business processes,’” she adds. “‘Let me implement the security controls around the business process. I’m not saying that I’m going to forget about everything else. However, where I have to spend money, I’m going to spend money on the things that matter most first.’”

Fri, 09 Dec 2022 03:12:00 -0600 Kyndryl Contributor en text/html
Killexams : Microsoft Announces Future Ready Champions Of Code Program To Empower India's Developer Community
(MENAFN- ForPressRelease)

New Delhi December 6, 2022: Microsoft today announced the launch of Future Ready Champions of Code, a pan India program for developers, focused on skilling, certification and building solutions. The program aims to engage over 100K+ developers across industry and academia with the right set of skills, tools, and resources to drive and innovate for India's growth.

As a part of the program, developers will be provided resources to learn, practice, earn net new or renew Microsoft cloud certifications. These certifications supply a professional advantage to developers by providing globally recognized and industry-endorsed competencies and skills in digital and cloud businesses.

The program also offers developers an opportunity to participate in a nationwide hackathon to innovate for India's growth with themes focused on Industry innovation, Smart city and Green or sustainable software. Additionally, developers can participate in a blogathon contest and share their experiences around how Azure services such as Data, AI/ML, CloudNative, Cognitive, IOT, DevOps and other services are helping them build secured and scalable apps in a fast and agile manner.

The month-long program will be supported by Microsoft's customers and partners such as Accenture, HCLTech, Icertis, Infosys, InMobi, OYO, PayU, TCS, Tech Mahindra, udaan, VerSe Innovation, Wibmo – (A PayU company) and Wipro among others with a focus to fast-track competency development among their developer teams. To further scale the engagement, Microsoft will collaborate with government and industry partners such as AICTE, NASSCOM, ICT Academy and Foundtit.

Through the program, developers not only get the opportunity to build on their Microsoft cloud skills, but also win a pass to attend a mega developer-focused event in Bangalore in January 2023 on successfully completing or renewing their certification. The top three hackathon winners will get a chance to showcase their solutions to Microsoft leaders.

Speaking about the initiative, Aparna Gupta, Executive Director, Customer Success, Microsoft India, said,“India has become an innovation powerhouse with one of the fastest growing developer communities and at Microsoft we recognize the creativity, innovation, and passion of developers to build technology that is driving the nation's growth. The Future Ready Champions of Code presents a unique opportunity to be a stronger driver of this community. With this program we are helping developers and academia be future-ready by upskilling and empowering them with platforms and tools. We are delighted to associate with a strong set of partners who are equally motivated and committed to building a thriving developer community in India to achieve more.”

Sailaja Bhagavatula, Managing Director, Lead - Accenture Microsoft Business Group, Advanced Technology Centers, said“Microsoft's 'Future Ready Champions of Code Program' is essential to empower our developer community, drive talent transformation and total enterprise reinvention for our clients. Helping developers build their skills in digital technologies will accelerate sustainable growth, drive greater productivity and businesses resiliency. Our strategic partnership & collaboration with Microsoft over the years has uniquely positioned us as the leading talent creator in the industry.

Monish Darda, CTO and Co-Founder Icertis said“As India continues to blend digital and physical experiences across a fast-developing product ecosystem and the younger population raised in the digital age grows, it is critical we invest in making this new generation future ready. Microsoft's Future Ready Champions of Code program will empower young coders to lead India forward, helping to fuel the country's burgeoning role in the world's SaaS landscape. As a global leader in contract intelligence, Icertis is honored to partner with Microsoft and fellow leading organizations for this initiative.”

Milind Lakkad, CHRO TCS, said“We at TCS strongly believe in organic talent development, investing in our people and equipping them with the skills and capabilities they need to realize their potential. We are delighted to partner with Microsoft on programs like 'TCS Get...Set...Azure' designed to build next-gen skills, 'TCS Sirius' focused on MS Cloud skilling for university students, and now 'Future Ready Champions of Code'. Our collective, collaborative efforts will further develop local talent, build stronger developer communities and fuel the passion for technology leadership needed to solve some of the toughest business and societal challenges facing the country today.”

Aspiring developers can apply at Future Ready Champions of Code (

About Microsoft India

Microsoft (Nasdaq“MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 18,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Noida, and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian startups, businesses, and government organizations.

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Tue, 06 Dec 2022 13:39:00 -0600 Date text/html
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