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7 Data Trends That Are Changing the Internet

April 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm PST

Trying to stay entirely up-to-date on the ways the Internet and data in general are changing is like trying to spot the winner in a horse race where the horses are traveling faster than the speed of light. Everything looks impressive and things change so often and so quickly that it all just looks like one, big blur. With the proliferation of mobile technology and seismic cultural shifts in the way people find and consume media, some clear trends are starting to emerge from the fray. Here are some of the major data trends that will determine how the Internet looks, feels and evolves over the next several years.

Speed and Demand

The relationship between how fast our Internet connections are and how much data we transfer in a given day is a chicken and egg scenario. Is it the development of ever-faster connection speeds that make people want bigger data streams, or is the demand for increasingly huge chunks of data pushing engineers to go beyond current limits in transfer speeds? It’s probably a bit of both, and the infrastructure around Internet service is struggling to keep up. There’s some hope in the so-called “gigabit networks” that are becoming more common every day. While big-name pioneers like Google have been setting up test networks that deliver faster upload and download speeds than even the fastest standard services in cable and DSL, small, local and even government-supported gigabit networks are starting to pop up in major cities.

Cloud and Mobile

The average person looks more mobile every year, showing a greater preference for laptops, tablets and smartphones over desktop PCs in a consistent trend. This, in turn, has created a greater demand for software and data storage outside of the relative limitations of mobile hardware. The answer to the limited memory of a mobile device is cloud computing, which encompasses many methods of running and storing programs and data virtually. The design philosophy of Software as a Service (SaaS) is ever-more the go-to for the mobile cloud. Users are happy to rent an online-only, cloud-supported version of, say, the Adobe Creative Suite for a monthly fee instead of buying the software and storing it locally. This continues to change the very foundation of software-focused business models and switches the Internet into an application-driven space.

High-Def Becomes Low-Quality

Increasing connection speeds and the growing mobile cloud are making it possible for online content to achieve new heights in quality. Once the peak of online video, 1080p is quickly becoming the grainy, low-end version of definition qualities that double, triple and even quadruple the package. The latest in monitors and TVs is 4k, which is essentially 4000+p, with YouTube already offering video in that range and some new, online-only TV shows already shooting in 4k. If viewers no longer have to worry about overtaxing their Internet connections or downloading whole videos that take up massive amounts of hard drive space, the quality of large media like videos and games is functionally limitless. The onus of data management and security is then on increasingly in-demand data centers that will essentially act as the mainframes that physically host this ultra-high-definition content.

Longer Content

Traditional wisdom about Internet content is that viewers won’t have the patience for anything longer than five minutes, but that has proven false as people get more and more of their content online exclusively. A number of platforms, some Web-native and some multimedia, have already had success grabbing millions of viewers with long-form content. VICE has been hitting the long-form philosophy harder as of late, putting its stamp on ambitious journalism with “mini-documentaries” that are essentially long-form Web videos heavy on content. In just a few short years, video on the Internet has evolved from two-minute home movies to cinema-quality trips to never-before-filmed corners of North Korea with VICE CEO Shane Smith. The demand for content is only more voracious, but attention spans, it seems, are growing more robust.

Short-Form Ubiquity

That isn’t to say that there’s a dearth of short-form video content in this new atmosphere. Quite the opposite, actually. Video banner ads are more common than ever, but it goes beyond that into the realm of non-ad content from news and entertainment sources. Using short-form apps like Instagram and Vine to create content that’s just seconds long, respected platforms like USA Today are investing in everything from teasers for larger stories to 15-second stand-alone news segments. This kind of content is tailor made to be shared, embedded on other sites and viewed on mobile devices that many users don’t feel are ideal for long-form content like movies and TV shows.

Someone Else’s Eyes

Look back at some of the most innovative, widely shared videos of the past year and you’ll find a lot of first-person perspectives. GoPro videos are basically a category unto themselves today, but that field is about to get a lot more crowded. As Google’s Project Glass goes from its testing phase to full market release, expect first-person videos to become standard in everything from scripted content to games and news. Content will be designed both using wearable recorders and for wearable devices. We will literally be seeing what others see, shaping content into experiences first and foremost.

Connecting Everything

For future-minded thinkers, all of the above developments look like precursors to something bigger and truly life-changing. The idea that the Internet is even a separate thing from our everyday lives is becoming antiquated. When our phones communicate with our cars which will soon communicate with our road infrastructure, the gap between “online” and “in real life” will close almost completely.

In the end, everything on the Internet is just data. How we manage it, create it and receive it depends on our tastes and the capabilities of our technology. Today, the leading taste is mobile, the hunger for content insatiable and the quality of the content is only rising. We look forward to a very fast, very crisp and very cloudy Internet atmosphere over the next decade.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing a BYOD Policy

April 2, 2014 at 12:15 am PST

With about 90 percent of Americans owning a cellphone and 58 percent of them having a smartphone, it’s no wonder that BYOD — Bring Your Own Device — is growing in popularity in the workplace. Not only do businesses benefit by saving money, but employees are able to use their devices to connect to their office’s network from anywhere.

With responsibility comes risk, though. Here are five mistakes to avoid when implementing a BYOD policy.

Not Training Employees Properly

As with any other new program you put in place, you need to provide the proper training so that everyone involved — your employees — are aware of the risks they’ll face. It’s easy to overlook training when implementing a BYOD policy because people are using their own devices, but that’s exactly when mistakes happen, and then the company becomes vulnerable to external (or sometimes internal) threats. Make sure to educate your employees on what they can and can’t do on your wireless network, and make them sign paperwork so that they’re held accountable.

Not Including a Device Wipe Policy

When you allow employees to connect to your network and hold sensitive information on their devices, it’s important that you have safeguards in place just in case they lose their phones or it gets stolen. One of these safeguards includes being able to erase all the company data on the phone in an instant. Remember to make sure your employees are aware that you’re able to perform this operation so they can back up the data they want to save. Be sure to have them sign a waiver so they don’t have legal recourse in the event their phone is lost or stolen.

Not Taking Into Account That Some Apps Aren’t Safe

When training your employees, it’s important to highlight the importance of carefully considering which apps they can download and which ones they should stay away from. It’s best to simply think that most apps available for download online will steal your sensitive data if you download them. Make sure your company restricts access to any apps that are known to cause problems. Although you want to trust your employees with BYOD, you must monitor their activity so you can institute safeguards to protect them and, more importantly, your company.

Not Creating a Set of Standards for Employees to Abide By

The point of implementing a BYOD policy is to save the company money while providing flexibility to employees. With that said, BYOD can easily offer too much freedom and liberties that employees simply can’t handle without a bit of control. When introducing a new BYOD policy, make sure that you create a set of standards for employees to abide by. These standards should be followed by the person who owns the data, the person who owns the device, and the person who owns the software. Make sure to strictly enforce these standards and have employees sign a document acknowledging them.

Not Reviewing the Company’s Network Issues

No matter whether employees are using smartphones or Samsung tablets, it’s likely they’ll run into an issue when using the company’s wireless network. These issues can range from malware and viruses to loss of security and support issues. It’s important for companies to invest in a support system — no matter the cost or the inconvenience — that’ll help employees overcome these common obstacles. By investing in this support system, reviewing network issues, and taking care of them, you’ll ensure that your company’s applications and sensitive data stay protected at all times.

It’s predicted that 70 percent of mobile professionals will be conducting their business on their own smartphones by 2018. Fifty-one percent of those people will be connected to unsecured networks on their smartphones. With so much risk and reward of BYOD, it’s important companies take every measure possible to safeguard themselves.

Are you working at a company that has a BYOD policy? How effective has it been thus far?

You’d be amazed at what you can get for $10K

As an SMB, you thought there are solutions/options completely out of your range – 10 Gigabit, Virtualization, Stacking, 16TB Storage, POE+, Layer 3, etc.

If I told you you can get all of the following (an entire future-proofed feature-rich SMB network with Storage) for under $10K, what would you say?

Network Infrastructure:

  • 20x 10-Gigabit Ethernet switch ports (Click here to see the product capabilities)
  • 24x 1-Gigabit Ethernet POE switch ports
  • High-power POE+ 
  • 802.11n WIFI Access Point
  • WAN Router with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Cisco peace-of-mind with Cisco quality and advanced Support
  • Stackable Switching
  • Layer 3 wirespeed forwarding on Switches
  • Infrastructure costs -- $6290 (pricing for part numbers below at CDW.com on 3/12/2014)

PLUS:

Storage (NAS):

  • Virtualization
  • 16 TB Storage
  • File Sharing and Backup
  • Video Editing
  • Storage costs -- $3793 (pricing for part numbers below at CDW.com on 3/12/2014)

Amazing, isn’t it? Here’s the list of equipment that will get you there:

1x SG500X-24P – 24p Gigabit POE Stackable Switch

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Tech Trends That Will Change How People Conduct Business in 2014

March 13, 2014 at 12:58 pm PST

As technology evolves, people who conduct business continue trying to keep up, implementing it in all facets of their industry to improve and increase efficiency. Whether these technologies have been around for some time and developed, or they were recently introduced and applied, there’s no doubt they’re revolutionizing commerce.

With that said, here are six tech trends that’ll change how people conduct business in 2014.  Read More »

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Introducing FindIT, Cisco Small Business Automated Software Delivery Service

March 11, 2014 at 8:43 am PST

Hello again, Marc Nagao and the Cisco Small Business Team.

Over the weekend, my family and I were in Indian Wells to watch the world’s best tennis players play at the BNP Paribas Open. I have to say, watching them play live, at competition speed, is something to behold. It’s difficult to comprehend the speed, power and consistency out of these players.

Speaking of Speed and Power, recently, my brethren Product Manager, David Harper, finished up development of a new release of the Cisco FindIT Network Discovery Utility that uses the Cisco Automated Software Delivery Service to provide easy speedy access to Small Business firmware. This new service tool is simple to use, intuitive and a snap to get started. It will let you know when there’s a new firmware update and in seconds that firmware can be loaded up on your Cisco Small Business device. I even conned Dave into doing a demo for you all! But the best part, it is FREE.

Take it away Dave:

Hello Everyone, Today I want to talk about Cisco FindIT. FindIT is a web browser plugin that you can use to discover all Cisco Small Business branded devices on your network, and then you can easily view device information, click to open the administration GUI, or click to access support resources. We have just released version 1.1 of FindIT, and this version automatically notifies you about firmware updates for the devices on the network and then lets you click to download them to your PC. I’ve attached a short, five minute video below that show how FindIT works and how you can use it when you are installing a new network.

For more information or to download FindIT, go to www.cisco.com/go/findit.

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