What are Meltdown and Spectre? Here’s what you need to know.


As you would no doubt of read over the past few days, a newly discovered form of security threat that involves attackers exploiting common features of modern microprocessors (aka chips) that power our computers, tablets, smartphones, and other gadgets. These attacks, known as “Meltdown” and “Spectre”, are getting a lot of attention. People are (rightly) concerned, and it’s of course very important to apply all of the necessary software updates that have been carefully produced and made available. Technology leaders, including Microsoft and Apple, are working together to address these exploits and minimize the risk of potential attacks.

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BYOD Increases Employee Engagement and Satisfaction


According to industry surveys, the enterprise trend towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which allows employees to use their own mobile device to perform their jobs, is increasing employee engagement and satisfaction.

Research indicates that around 57% of employees worldwide access company data using a personal smartphone or tablet, and around 38% of companies will no longer issue corporate mobile devices as from 2016. BYOD is clearly on the rise, and there are many benefits both for businesses and their staff members.

For an employee, the ability to use his or her own mobile device at work offers well documented advantages. Many people feel that their mobile device is an integral part of their make-up; it offers familiarity, convenience and satisfaction, all factors which can enhance their productivity. People “master” their own device and it eliminates the need to switch to corporate computing devices which often function differently, a factor that may well cause some frustration and inconvenience.

However, BYOD also carries with it some serious risks, particularly in regard to security. Personal data and company data, although it can be well separated, will exist on the same portable device. Smartphones can be lost or stolen. For this reason, organisations need to ensure that sensitive corporate data is not kept on employee mobile devices.

Benefits of BYOD

Employee benefits

More and more, workers believe they should not need to be present in the office in order to access project data, contact lists and other essential business information, and that being able to access this information outside of working hours enables them to perform better at their job.

BYOD provides the ability for employees to work from home or from outside the office, which facilitates flexible working arrangements, and improves employee satisfaction in that people can better manage the requirements of their personal and work life. They decide what, how and when work is done, gaining a huge autonomy over their work.

Choice is another factor which contributes to employee satisfaction. The more empowered an employee feels to shape their working environment, the more satisfied and engaged the employee will be with their job. With BYOD, employees can choose the device which suits their individual tastes and preferences. Tech-savvy, younger employees may want to acquire personal smartphones fitted with the latest technology and more intuitive user interfaces. Increasingly, employees want the consumer experience even when they are at work. The familiarity with their technology and ease of use enhances their sense of freedom.

Allowing employees to bring their own smartphones, tablets, and computers to the workplace might even help companies attract new talent, as the younger workforce does not want to feel constricted by the technology a business offers.

In part through this greater choice, freedom, and flexibility, BYOD enhances employee engagement – the emotional response that they have towards their employment. Along with flexible working hours, good communication and feedback on their work performance, BYOD can make people appreciate how their work efforts contribute to the goals of their organisation.

The benefits of employee convenience and satisfaction in turn translate into benefits for business – with greater productivity and improved employee retention in the long run.

Company benefits

From a company’s viewpoint, personal devices that people carry with them permanently provide mobility, agility and the ability to collaborate with other staff members and clients from any location at anytime. Fitting mobile devices with technologies such as push notifications, chat messaging and video all support team collaboration. This is an increasingly important issue for global companies that work in different locations and different time zones.

Another benefit to the company is derived from the fact that there is a considerable cost involved in fitting employees with portable devices such as a smartphone or tablet. By allowing employees to use their own preferred device, this cost can be substantially reduced. Coupled with this, employees will maintain their own device, reducing the need for IT staff and support services. “Device familiarity” will go a long way towards reducing support calls.

Security issues

The flexibility of staff members using their own mobile devices does, however, produce some security and infrastructure problems.

Mobile devices are easily lost or stolen. This could cause problems if sensitive company data is stored on the device. Access to personal mobile devices is also not commonly password protected, so anybody can access the data stored, and that data may not be backed up to a server. Further, staff may install and use unauthorised mobile apps on their device.

Ways to improve security and privacy on a network operated with private mobile devices include the following:

  1. Companies must ensure that the devices used to access their corporate network are free from malware, spam, or applications that can infiltrate and infect the network
  2. Corporate network management should take steps that enable them to to identify devices that access the network and only allow access if they are authorised
  3. Mobile devices should be fitted with Integrated Network Access Control (NAC) that enables action to be taken against unauthorised or non-compliant devices at any time
  4. Companies should have full visibility of users, the devices they use, and the applications they run on the corporate network
  5. Companies should have security measures in place to protect both business and employee generated data

You may wish to enlist help to ensure your BYOD strategy is effectively implemented, to the benefit of your employees and your business. Virtuelle Group has a strong focus on mobile workstyles and through our strategic partnership with leading vendors like Citrix, we can help set up working conditions which both enhance employee engagement, and protect your business from security risks. Find out more here.

Is Dropbox a Security Risk for Businesses?


Dropbox is used by an estimated 70% of businesses, according to Osterman Research. These companies presumably access, sychronise, and share information stored on the Dropbox cloud servers. And thanks to the rise of mobile communication such as smartphones, this information can now be accessed anytime and anywhere.

However, industry experts have pointed out that Dropbox has security limitations and risk factors that make it an unsuitable application, especially for enterprise organisations.

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What To Expect From Enterprise Tech in 2015

2014 was a big year for enterprise technology and 2015 is shaping up to be even bigger. From the cloud computing revolution to the open source movement, here are our tech trends to watch over the coming year.

Bring your own device

The BYOD movement has been picking up pace on the enterprise scene. Many businesses have already implemented it as standard fare, and attention this year will no doubt turn to managing all of these devices. The hard thing about allowing users to use their own devices of preference is that controlling data and protecting it can be more complicated. Enterprise tech will now look to solve this and focus on enterprise mobility management.

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How Technology is Helping Businesses Save Office Space

Space is becoming scarce, whether it be empty land for buildings or empty buildings for office spaces. As a result of this growing scarcity, rent is rising and more businesses are moving towards downsizing to a smaller office space. However, saving space doesn’t necessarily demand a move into a smaller physical space.

Technological developments are actually leading to a phenomenon that’s seeing small businesses all over the globe save space. Technology is evolving in such a way that it is demanding less physical space while simultaneously offering more in its functionality. Businesses are therefore being able to free up existing space within their own offices simply by upgrading to newer technology.

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15 IT Bloggers You Should be Following in 2015

Blogging has become so accessible and easy that there are millions of blogs available on the Internet today. Within the fast moving world of technology, there’s always something to be blogging about, which means that many of these blogs are perfect for keeping up to date with the technological sphere. To help you separate the best from the rest, here’s a list of our top 15 IT bloggers you should be following this year.

Thomas Ricker | The Verge

1Thomas wrote for the hugely popular Engadget blog, until June of 2011. Having written his 1,362,258th word for Engadget, he left to help launch The Verge. With his humorous style and love of all ‘things’, Thomas makes reading about technology fun and informative.

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How the Internet of Things is Changing Our Lives

The Internet was initially conceived as a way to transfer information from person to person. via computers. However, in recent times, there has been an emergence of a sector known as the Internet of Things, or IoT.

This refers to the process whereby information is transferred from appliance to appliance. The practical implications for this are vast as more and more physical objects become connected to our digital world. It means that we will have an unprecedented connection with our appliances and they will have an unprecedented connection with other appliances, which will ultimately make our lives easier.

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Top Tools For Cloud Management

Cloud-based computing is one of the hottest areas in personal and enterprise technology at the moment. With the exponential growth of this sector, there have been a multitude of tools developed to help enterprises ‘manage the cloud’, and 2015 is likely to see many more of these tools pop up.

These tools do anything from monitoring to provisioning and it can be hard to decipher the best from the rest.

The fundamentals behind cloud management require the ability to provide information about the system, monitor performance and provide the necessary alerts so that action can be taken if necessary. Here are some applications that can effectively help you to manage your cloud software, through monitoring, analysis, troubleshooting, and security tools.

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How to Fix Your Hacked Email Account (and Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again)

Email is such a prominent form of communication nowadays and it’s even fair to say that it has become a key component of our online identities. We manage much of our personal and business communications through our email and we also use our email addresses to sign up for the many online services available to us, from banking to memberships. It’s therefore safe to say that email is a big deal. If your email account gets hacked, you could potentially lose money (through your online banking) and even ruin your personal and professional reputations (through excessive spam of the untoward variety and even unauthorised posts on your social media accounts). Continue reading

What IT Managers Can Learn From Google’s CIO

Google’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), Ben Fried, is surely one of the most important IT Managers in the world. As CIO of one of the biggest technology companies, he and his team have a lot of technology to manage and a lot of very busy people to enable through that technology.

Google works so well because of the service that Fried and his team provide to the company, and yet as a manager, Fried has a very simple philosophy to his management style.

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