Planning your year in business : 2017

Planning your year in business

The New Year is a time for fresh starts, exciting new ventures and the spring cleaning of your business. IT can (and will) play an integral part in your business throughout the year, but to make sure you truly benefit from it, you’ll need to update your strategy.

It’s not always easy to know where to start, so to make your planning for 2017 easier, we’ve put together some key focus points.

1. Review 2016

Before you start looking to the New Year, it’s a good idea to review how the previous one has gone: what worked, what didn’t, what you would do again and what you certainly wouldn’t. All of this tangible data will help you to decide what you need to focus on. Did a particular service prove especially popular in 2016, for instance? It might be worth focusing on this to increase its profitability even further.

For some businesses, change is essential, while for others, it’s very much a case of ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’. Only you will know what works best for your business. That said, it’s worth getting a review from someone independent who has nothing invested in your company – they might offer a different perspective, one which sheds light on what should and shouldn’t become a goal for you in 2017.

2. Set realistic goals

Now you have a clear picture of how 2016 went, you will want to decide exactly what you want to achieve over the coming year. Perhaps you want to build your brand in 2017. Perhaps you want to increase profits. Perhaps you want to expand further afield. Or perhaps you want to become more efficient.

Whatever your focus for the coming year, IT should be a key concern, since it can impact significantly on each and every area; whether this is by implementing a more enticing site to draw potential customers in, or creating a more efficient and time effective booking system for your business.

In addition, think about your marketing channels for the year; are you reaching out to your customers and clients in the best way? There might be more effective ways to cut through. Perhaps your target audience is young professionals who can be best reached through social media, or perhaps they would respond better to direct mail or print advertising. Taking the time to review who exactly your core customer is, along with what they will respond to, will significantly boost your marketing strategy.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

A successful business relies on equally effective advertising, marketing, IT and coding – but we can’t all be whizzes at them all. If you want to achieve something and you don’t have the skills to do it all yourself, it’s a good idea to look for outside help. And this is exactly why businesses like ours exist – to free up time so you can focus on what you do best, while we do the same to help you to achieve your goals.

4. Gather feedback

As the old adage goes, communication is key, and it’s worth gathering feedback from your team at the start of each year. Whichever rung of the ladder they’re on, they will play a key role in helping you to achieve your business objectives – so it’s important they’re clear on the strategy for the year, and might be able to offer their own insight.

If you’re a one-person business, talk your objectives for the year through with a business acquaintance or partner, or just a friend or relative. While someone outside of your business may not understand the intricacies of the business, they will be able to stand back and take an objective view.

5. Document it

Once you’ve your finalised ideas, write them down so that you can review and update your plans at the end of every business month. You may feel by July that you’ve still got a way to go with your plan, but having it documented will allow you to track your progress and fine-tune your strategy.

Having an easily accessible, visible plan will act as a prompt and constant reminder of what your goals are – and you’re likely to have a better chance of achieving them as a result. Remember, though, that circumstances change, so be flexible in your approach throughout the year.

Good luck with your business plans in 2017.

By Sian Gardiner

Posted By Admin On Jan 11, 2017

The Oracle Java crackdown: what you need to know

Why is Oracle making headlines?

According to The Register and other news sources, Oracle has begun chasing up clients for payable elements of its Java software. The database giant is going after a host of companies that are using elements of the open source software that aren’t actually free – apparently unbeknownst to many of these users. Huge sums are at stake – with some clients reportedly accruing fees that amount to tens of thousands of dollars.

Why is Oracle chasing its partners for payment?

In 2010, Oracle bought Java – the programming language and development platform for apps – with Sun Microsystems. The point of monetary contention today is a popular version of Java called Java Standard Edition (Java SE) – one which anyone can download from the Oracle website. It’s only now that Oracle’s License Management Services (LMS) division is chasing people for payment – apparently searching out companies who have been using, but not paying for, the parts of that software that Oracle charges for. It’s always been free to use the programming language to write an app, but if you want to make use of the tools that allow you to distribute the app (along with a range of additional advanced options), Oracle will charge you. Fees for Java SE range from $40 per user to upwards of $15,000 per processor, according to reports.

Should I be worried?

It’s worth noting that Oracle has denied claims of a crackdown on its clients, telling Business Insider: “Oracle’s commitment to Java and its community remains stronger than ever, as shared recently at JavaOne. Oracle is not ramping Java SE compliance activity or hiring of compliance staff. The licensing model and policies for Java SE have remained unchanged since before the acquisition of Sun Microsystems. It is incorrect to imply that it’s easy for users to accidentally use Java SE Advanced features.” Yet while Oracle claims not to have radically altered its auditing process, there is much to indicate that a greater number of Java users have been reviewed of late than in previous years – so it’s worth doing a little self audit.

What can I/my company do to avoid being hit with charges?

According to sources quoted in The Register, people should be careful when they download Java SE – and those who have already done so should consider reviewing their use. A basic misunderstanding appears to be at the root of the issue: Java SE is free for what Oracle defines as “general purpose computing” – devices that in the words of its license cover desktops, notebooks, smartphones and tablets. The term “general purpose” computing is too vague, however, allowing Oracle to claim customers’ applications are specialised and consequently slap them with huge fees. In addition, when you download Java, you automatically get everything – there’s no way to separate the paid-for Java SE component products from the free Java SE umbrella. So it’s worth checking which of the specific components you are actually using and how they are being used – and get rid of any that you aren’t.

By Sian Gardiner

Posted By Admin On Jan 08, 2017

The Dirty Cow Linux Bug: A childish name for a serious issue

Dirty Cow is a childish name, however it’s a genuine Linux kernel issue. As per the Red Hat bug report, “a race condition was found in the way the Linux kernel’s memory subsystem took care of the duplicate on-write (COW) breakage of private read-just memory mappings. An unprivileged local user could utilize this defect to have write access to generally read-only memory mappings and consequently increase their benefits on the framework.”

Race conditions themselves are basic. Scarcely a month passes by that Windows, for instance, doesn’t fix one. In any case, normal doesn’t mean harmless.

The issue itself, as Linus Torvalds clarified, “is an antiquated bug that was really endeavored to be altered once (severely) by me eleven years prior … in any case, that was then fixed because of issues on s390 by [another] commit.”

At that point, it was difficult to get this bug to show itself, yet Torvalds proceeded, “the VM [virtual machine] has turned out to be more adaptable, and what utilized a simply hypothetical race in those days has gotten to be simpler to trigger.”

“To settle it,” Torvalds proceeded “we present another interior FOLL_COW flag to check the “yes, we as of now did a COW” as opposed to play scandalous games.”

It’s not just get simpler to trigger, it’s being utilized as a part of assaults. As per Phil Oester, the Linux security researcher who revealed it, the exploit is anything “but difficult” to execute and will in all likelihood turn out to be all the more broadly used. Oester told V3 that “The endeavor in the wild is trival to execute, never falls flat and has likely been around for a considerable length of time.”

Once used, Dirty Cow can pry open Linux frameworks and give the give the attacker high-levels of access.

More awful still, the assault, all by itself, doesn’t leave traces in the system logs. Some unknown user all of a sudden doing things that require root privileges are, obviously, another matter. Be that as it may, by then, it’s past the point of no return.

Assaults in light of Dirty Cow don’t work on all Linux disseminations. For instance, Dirty Cow can’t make a wreck of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 or 6. It can, be that as it may, batter Fedora and RHEL 7. The best thing to do is to expect that you are powerless and fix your system as quickly as time permits.

Luckily, patches are presently accessible for most real Linux distribution.

Goodness, and one last note, the makers of the Dirty Cow name and logo are very much aware that it’s sort of a moronic name. They clarified, “It would have been phenomenal to shun this absurdity, since we as a whole ridicule branded vulnerabilities as well, however this was not the ideal time to make that stand.”

Along these lines, senseless name and all, in the wake of perusing this article, fix your Linux boxes. Now!

Posted By Admin On Dec 22, 2016

Give back to OpenSource

Open Source Initiative

It might have taken almost three decades of development but OpenSource software is firmly mainstream use for most companies now. The unique value which comes from software which has been developed through open communities has been recognised and people are welcoming its use.

Companies that adopt and use open source are in a prime position to contribute and give back to the open source communities that they depend on. Sadly though, many companies (especially small businesses) tend to lean towards consumption and not contribution. For example a recent survey of the Liferay community found that almost 75% of people and companies that responded did not reward or encourage contribution to open source networks. 2016 is the year to change this and give back to the communities which have helped your business.

The reason that businesses do not contribute back to open source is generally because companies believe that contributing takes a lot of time and will be time spent away from contributing and achieving their own company’s goals. Others fear that open source participation will give away competitive intellectual property. Why you should contribute to open source

It is free on-the-job training

It takes time to resolve issues, fix bugs, implement new features, prepare codes, test them and work with your development team to make changes to a codebase. But in doing these tasks employees are learning about sound software engineering practices alongside communication, teamwork, quality assurance and leadership skills which is a win-win situation for both the company and their staff. Development teams only have so much time to help with issues and by learning things yourself you can implement some tasks without having to bother anyone else. As staffs expertise develop through the participation in open source they will become more efficient in using the software which can reduce costs for future development and maintenance.

Participation in open source will impress potential employees and customers

It isn’t just a company’s bottom line which will sway a business from working with you. By participating and forming a relationship with open source communities it sends a strong positive signal to both current and new potential customers that you are willing to invest your time and effort into the mutual benefits surrounding open source. If you’re willing to invest in open source then you’re likely to invest time and effort into working with them. How to start contributing to open source

As a company you don’t need to go all in straight away with open source contributions, although you can if you wish. Traditional things such as features, documentation, bug reports, forum contribution, patches and translations are a great place to start. There are lots of ways to begin contributing to open source including:

  • Speak at a technical conference
  • Partner with an open source project for a case study
  • Blog about the adoption and contribution to open source
  • Offer to host meet-ups for the project
  • Participate in or donate to foundations which are associated with some projects including Eclipse Foundation and OSI

It doesn’t take a lot but participating in open source is a great way to build your business and should be a goal for 2016. Your participation will have long lasting positive effects on your company, staff, the open source communities and future business collaborations.

Posted By Admin On Oct 18, 2016

Oracle – Delivering Agility, Security and Scalability At A Lower Price With Cloud Strategy

Oracle Cloud

Compared to its competitors Microsoft and Adobe, Oracle was a little late in acknowledging cloud as the main business driver in this present digital age. Today, the firm has spent billions to revolutionize its infrastructure by bringing its infrastructure and apps onto a secure cloudy footing.

Oracle Cloud is considered as the industry’s most integrated and broadest public cloud. It provides professional services across a range of platforms today, platform as a service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). With Oracle’s cloud strategy, consumers can now even use Oracle Cloud in their own data center.

Cloud infrastructure laid down by Oracle includes 30,000 computers and 400 petabytes of data that support 62 million users every day. With its Cloud Strategy, Oracle is helping thousands of organizations to drive innovation and business transformation into their business by increasing business agility, reducing IT complexity and lowering costs of operations.

What is different about Oracle’s cloud strategy is that it tries to give its customers the best-in-class services. It offers scalability and metered pricing, enabling quick scale-up and -down of capacity as required, while but keeping the entire record behind a customer’s firewall, making it reasonably safe.

Oracle aims to offer a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications, engineered systems and platform services, through its cloud strategy. In the 2015 alone,the firm has generated more than $12 billion in cloud software sales, proving its Cloud Strategy is winning the market.

Posted By Admin On Oct 18, 2016

Shared Security Responsibility In Microsoft Azure

Businesses, small and large, are switching their workloads to cloud due to its flexibility and agility. Cloud lets businesses streamline their business process, improves collaboration, lowers operational costs, secures data backup and helps in managing the business.

When you plan to move your business to Cloud and leverage shared cloud offerings from Microsoft Azure, it is imperative to understand how shared security responsibility model works. You as a user of cloud service have a responsibility of securing everything in cloud, such as, data, applications, operation platform, etc, while Microsoft Azure is responsible for providing the hypervisor security layer to your cloud infrastructure, which includes; network infrastructure, physical infrastructure and virtualisation layer.

Microsoft released it’s latest paper on Shared Responsibilities for Cloud Computing. It is an an excellent resource for users of Azure who have either moved or planning to move their business to the cloud. Microsoft has clearly defined the role and responsibilities of the user as well as the cloud service provider in great detail, and for different scenarios as well. It clearly outlines the responsibilities of both parties in SaaS, IaaS and PaaS environments.

Cloud offers flexibility, scalability, on-demand availability and cost effectiveness to businesses. When you are considering to switch to cloud security strategy, you must ensure that these features are functioning effectively. Shared responsibility is between Cloud Service Providers and their clients. When using cloud, the user must use tools that secure his data centre with virtual network gateway configuration, virtual private networks and guest operating system firewalls. Shared responsibility is two thronged, and it works best when the user works together with the cloud service provider. This is the only way to ensure that your data and applications are fully protected and business security is at its optimal level.

It is extremely important to choose a service provider that is reliable with Cloud infrastructure as well as dynamic security strategy. The user should be able to create, design and manage their own applications and additional data infrastructure in Cloud safely, knowing that it is well protected from malware attacks, data breaches and vulnerabilities. Users are strongly recommended to choose only those service providers that undergo third party audits on a regular basis, such as Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure uses a unique and effectively distributed virtual firewall for proper security and logical isolation of customer infrastructure on public cloud.The security of Azure’s internet communication security is pretty high, which disallows inbound traffic, but allows communication for client administrators in three different techniques.

Microsoft Azure is considered by many businesses as the best cloud service provider for it’s integrated tools, proven solutions and unified services that help users build web, mobile, enterprise apps faster than ever. The best thing about Microsoft Azure is that it supports a variety of devices, databases, operating systems, frameworks, languages and tools.

Posted By Admin On Oct 11, 2016