Archive for July, 2015

Windows 10 Under the Hood

Aside from the shiny new bells and whistles that every user sees in Windows 10, there are significant changes and differences “under the hood” too.

Windows 10 will incorporate multi-factor authentication technology based upon standards developed by the FIDO Alliance. (The Fast IDentity Online Alliance is an industry consortium that was launched in February 2013 to address the lack of interoperability among authentication devices.) Windows 10 includes improved support for biometric authentication through the Windows Hello and Passport platforms. This means that devices with supported cameras (those with infrared illumination) will allow users to login with face- or iris-recognition, and devices with supported readers will enable fingerprint-recognition login. Credentials will be stored locally and protected using asymmetric encryption.

Microsoft 10 is designed for identity protection as well as access control. This two-pronged approach protects users in case their devices are compromised, and makes phishing attacks ineffective. Windows 10 employs two-factor authentication mechanisms which rely on both the user’s device, which is the first factor, and a PIN or biometric (e.g. fingerprint), which is the second factor. Any attacker would need both the targeted user’s PIN or biometric information as well as physical access to the device.

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The enterprise version of Windows 10 offers additional security features such as the ability of administrators to set up policies for the automatic encryption of sensitive data and selectively block applications from accessing encrypted data. Device Guard is a Windows 10 system which allows administrators to enforce a high security environment by blocking the execution of software that is not digitally signed by selected trusted vendors or by Microsoft itself.

Windows 10 is designed to protect sensitive corporate data going both ways. When it’s stored on the device and when it leaves it. Microsoft has introduced a data loss prevention solution that separates corporate data from personal data. Corporate apps, emails, website content and other data are automatically encrypted when they arrive on a device from other locations within an organization, and users are able to define which of the original content they create is corporate information and which are personal files. Administrators can implement policies to enforce specific protocol.

Windows 10 also addresses risks associated with VPN connectivity. (A virtual private network “VPN” extends a private network across a public network, such as the Internet.) The new operating system enables administrators to specify which apps are allowed and which apps are not allowed to access the organization’s VPN. Access can be restricted based on ports and IP addresses. Another security feature being discussed will allow organizations to lock down specific computers to protect them against malware infections.

To reduce storage requirements, Windows 10 will automatically compress system files. This feature can reduce the storage footprint of Windows by approximately 1.5 GB for 32-bit systems and 2.6 GB for 64-bit systems. The level of compression used will be dependent on a performance assessment performed during installations.

LinkedIn – A Success Story

Think about this: according to Daniel Roth, the Executive Editor at LinkedIn, one million professionals have now written a post on LinkedIn. Wow. One million unique writers publish more than 130,000 posts a week on LinkedIn. Pretty cool considering that there are more than 300 million registered LinkedIn members worldwide from over 200 countries, and two new members are added every second! Even more special about that number is who their audience is. About 45% of LinkedIn readers are in the upper ranks of their industries: managers, VPs, CEOs, etc. The average post now reaches professionals in 21 industries and 9 countries. Not bad for an enterprise that started just over a decade ago. Amazing stats but what does it all mean?

The real take away here is that LinkedIn is a great example of a perfect venue for starting conversations. It is a structured space for professionals and like-minded people to share knowledge and experiences with their peers. This is truly interactive social media, and it works. Long-used as a medium to network and make professional contacts, LinkedIn has evolved and expanded to meet the needs of its constituents.

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Relationships matter and LinkedIn has become a perfect conduit for creating, building and maintaining relationships in a business environment. The Pew Research Center states that LinkedIn usage is very high among educated people (bachelor’s degree holders and up), people who earn high incomes (those making $75,000 a year or more), and used by an older age range (50-64 year olds). This demographic is the most desirable for professional connections. Taken as a whole, this demographic typically have more professional experience, spending power and influence that the general social media user.

The vast majority of recruiters and hiring managers use LinkedIn to find candidates, and professionals in every industry and at all levels used LinkedIn for networking, keeping informed about industry trends and to promote their businesses. According to Wikipedia, “LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner set a goal in 2012 to create an “economic graph” within a decade. The goal is to create a comprehensive digital map of the world economy and the connections within it. The economic graph will be built on the company’s current platform with data nodes including companies, jobs, skills, volunteer opportunities, educational institutions, and content They hope to include all the job listings in the world, all the skills required to get those jobs, all the professionals who could fill them, and all the companies (nonprofit and for-profit) at which they work. The ultimate goal is to make the world economy and job market more efficient through increased transparency.” When fully realized, this information will be invaluable for every industry in the world. It will truly be a game-changer.

Far from remaining static and resting on its laurels, LinkedIn continues to add different services to its platform to expand the ways that people use it.

Which Mobile Apps are Used the Most?

The statistic that the typical smartphone user spends about 37 hours in apps every single month has been circulating for a while now, but exactly which apps are used most often is a more interesting topic. Forrester tracked the app use of almost 2000 adult smartphone users in the U.S. during the three-month period ending in December 2014 and found that 12% of their time was spent in Google and 13% in Facebook, making the two of them far and away more popular than any other company out there.

The mass acceptance and usage of these apps have huge implications for business and their marketing plans and programs. Advertisements placed in just these two mobile apps are very big business. Some industry forecasts predict that advertisers are now spending over $20 billion a year in mobile app ads, compared to an estimate of almost $8 billion for mobile Web browser ads. Facebook and Google combined take up one of every four minutes U.S. users spend on mobile devices. Incredible!

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It appears that Google is still the leader in the space because its Android platform is so pervasive, and it has a diverse assortment of apps, such as Gmail, Chrome and YouTube, which accounts for more than 10 percent of total time the survey respondents spent on their smartphones, but some of the things Facebook has in the works makes them a growing competitor. Facebook knows their audience very well, and they are well placed to be able to cater to their users’ needs and desires.

Google is very good at monetizing their apps, so the more they can get people to use their smartphone apps, the more revenue and usage they will generate. As both companies improve the content and delivery of their mobile ads, the two companies continue to become a segment of mobile commerce that advertisers ignore at their peril. Regardless of which company ultimately comes out ahead in mobile app usage, it appears that both of them are successfully getting the attention of smartphone users and effectively serving up mobile ads.

In comparison to the two biggest players the remaining major mobile providers, including Apple, Amazon, Yahoo, Microsoft and eBay, only get between 1 percent and 3 percent of U.S. smartphone users’ time. Niche social apps such as Twitter, Snapchat and LinkedIn have a devoted cadre of users and command large audiences in key categories but they have not as yet been able to branch out beyond their core users, according to Forrester.

Forrester posits that the total time users spend on each service and the revenue they generate are important, but that Facebook and Google measure their power by how many minutes a user spends inside an app on their smartphone, which provides them with priceless data that they collect during those minutes. The name of the game is to understand the audience, understand the data, and monetize those assets.