Smart Phone Helpful Tips

  • Use a good quality charger and cable to prevent any electrical damage to your battery.

  • Don’t let your phone drain to 0%. This accelerates the rate your battery capacity deteriorates.

  • Turning off WiFi, Bluetooth, Location and Vibration as well as reducing screen brightness will extend battery life.

  • Use “Low power mode” to extend battery life.

Are you prepared for today’s sophisticated cyber threats?

Are you prepared for today’s sophisticated cyber threats?

SPONSORED SEPTEMBER 29, 2015 3PM  CATHERINE KNOWLES

With the threat landscape fundamentally changing, it’s more important than ever for businesses to educate their employees, according to Craig Columbus, Russell McVeagh chief information officer.

Columbus will cover this topic and join a number of other presenters at the NZTech Advance Security Summit, taking place next month.

He says, “In terms of the quality and quantity of attacks, the threat landscape is the worst I’ve ever seen it.

“The attacks I’m seeing now are very sophisticated – it worries and concerns me. There’s a belief among Kiwis that they won’t be targeted, that it’s only happening to other people, but this isn’t the case.”

In order manage risk, businesses need to start recognising the value and necessity of cyber security and data protection.

When the most common password used is still ‘123456’, security starts with education, says Columbus.

“Education is paramount. People don’t know what they don’t know,” he says.

Today businesses are targeted by very real attacks that are much harder to spot than spam emails or suspicious looking offerings.

For instance, some targeted attacks use cold calling to uncover specific information and unleash an attack on a specific business.

A call may be made to the accounting team, from what appears to be an accounting software specialist, and ask what accounting system the business runs as part of their pitch.

However, once the cyber criminals know what code the business is running, they can exploit and attack the business.

Recognising that the number of targeted attacks such as this is increasing drastically, Russell McVeagh launched a cyber security education programme this year.

The programme teaches employees about a variety of threats, including email scams, spear phishing and malware distribution. It also includes a section on social media.

All of this combines to give people general knowledge and best practices around cyber security, says Columbus.

Now, the programme is the first thing a new employee completes when they begin at the firm.

Furthermore, as the threat landscape is changing every day, with new exploits being discovered and developing constantly, all employees also attend regular sessions to ensure they are still following best practices, he says.

On top of this, internal newsletters are sent out to remind employees about what to do and what not to do, as well as highlight some of the latest threats and how to nullify them.

Columbus says the response to the programme has been positive across the board. While employees may begin the programme saying, ‘Why do we need this?’ they leave with a greater understanding of the necessity of cyber security and how to stop threats before they can do real damage, he says.

In fact, the programme has had a welcome side effect. Due to employees’ increased awareness of malicious attacks, they have started sending threat information to Columbus and the IT team.

“As a result of educating users, we get earlier alerts, are able to formulate an action plan quicker, and are building a threat database,” says Columbus.

Businesses have a reluctance to invest in programmes such as these, thinking that their employees have enough common sense, that they don’t have the time or the money, and it isn’t of great value – but none of these reasons hold up, he says.

“Common sense isn’t enough anymore. It may seem expensive or time consuming, but it’s been a good use of our resources – and when you think about the potential cost of an attack, the time and expense is worth it.

“We have to change the way we approach security. Education is key and getting your people up to speed is half the battle,” says Columbus.

Taking place November 30 in Wellington, the NZTech Advance Security Summit focuses on securing our digital future in technology, and welcomes all those interested in learning more about business security.

Google: Pixel C Tablet

Managerial roles snapped up by men while women fall by the wayside

Managerial roles snapped up by men while women fall by the wayside

SEPTEMBER 28, 2015 11AM CATHERINE KNOWLES

In New Zealand and abroad there are far more men in managerial positions than women, and this number is growing.
This is the result of many factors but the mindset of women is a crucial one, according to Anna Stove, GSK New Zealand general manager.
A recent CEO Pay Survey shows there are currently no women in charge of New Zealand’s top listed-companies.
Furthermore, a Human Rights Commission’s Tracking Equality at Work report found women in senior management positions in the private sector has declined from 31% in 2014 to 19% in 2015.
On top of this, women’s representation on private sector boards sits at just 14%.
Furthermore, international research shows the trend towards women reaching the most senior corporate levels is only growing at 1% per annum.
Another study of gender disparity in senior positions found that a man starting a career with a blue chip corporation is 4.5 times more likely to reach the executive committee than a woman.
Stove says this is simply not good enough, and the responsibility to change the situation lies with Kiwi women and their employers.
Both need to change some long-held perceptions in order to foster higher levels of achievement for females in the corporate world, she says.
However, there are key changes women can make now to ensure they reach their goals and secure top-level jobs.
“While some women will already be doing these things, others may not realise that a subtle shift in their thought processes could help them achieve their career goals far more easily.
“It’s not a case of having to behave like their male counterparts or change their personality, but rather learn how best to use their skills in the business world for a positive end result,” Stove says.
While women are very good at creating social networks outside of work, often they don’t apply those same skills in the workplace, according to Stove.
“One of the keys to success in the corporate world is to form strong relationships and networks to ensure you are top of mind for a new role, promotion or training opportunity,” she says.
Networking in a business environment may not come naturally to all women, but taking any opportunity for it that arises and ensuring they follow up connections with people via email, phone or social media following an event or meeting, is an easy way to expand their professional circle, she says.
Employers also have a role to play here and it’s essential they make sure networking opportunities are not limited to times or places that could exclude women, says Stove.
“A day on the golf course or an evening cocktail party may suit some women, but it may not work for others. It’s the manager’s job to ensure their functions work for all their employees, regardless of their gender or commitments outside of the office,” she says.
According to Stove, Kiwi business-women also tend to follow an international trend of only applying for promotions if they feel they meet 100% of the qualifications listed for the positiom.
In comparison, men are happy to apply if they meet just 60% of the job requirements.
“Many women fail to apply for promotions or jobs at a higher level in another organisation because of this lack of confidence in their own ability to use the skills they have and learn the rest on the job,” says Stove.
Employers should also be aware of this potential obstacle and encourage high-performing women to apply if they see their confidence may be lacking.
This benefits the employer as well, as it’s always better to have more applicants to choose from, and even if a woman doesn’t get the position the push may give her more confidence to apply for the next one, she says.
For many women, juggling the various requirements of everyday life at home and the office can be overwhelming, but a shift in mindset could be as simple as eliminating one word, according to Stove.
“Women need to banish the word ‘busy’ from their life and instead concentrate on being ‘remarkable’,” says Stove.
Stove says taking the emphasis off how much women need to do in a day and instead find ways to do their best while balancing all facets of their life makes them feel more efficient and portrays a confidence that will be respected by senior managers.
“Rather than trying to do everything women also need to empower their teams to do their jobs, and to stop feeling guilty about what they can’t fit into their day.
“Their life and career may look different to those of their male counterparts, but that doesn’t mean it is less successful or that they aren’t getting the job done. It just may be at different times or in a different way,” says Stove.
Employers have a large part to play in this, Stove believes.
“There is subtle sexism and an unconscious advancement bias in many organisations, which is why managers need to be open-minded when it comes to finding alternative pathways that work for the company and star female employees,” she says.
On top of this, one of the biggest challenges facing Kiwi women is finding strong mentors and role models.
“With the lack of women in senior positions in this country, it can be tough to find someone who can help them plan their career.
“But it’s essential for women to find those who can share their knowledge and experience in order to reap the benefits of lessons learned along the way,” she says.
Managers needed to be aware of this also, and encourage senior female staff to support and challenge other women in the organisation.
“Having a role model in your organisation is a huge benefit, and can really help women succeed,” says Stove.
If women and employers both take on the challenge of ensuring there is more diversity among senior staff and executives, the decline in women at the top of business can be turned around for the positive benefit of everyone, she says.
“Countless studies have shown that diversity helps not just develop a better culture, but also improves the bottom line, making it an increasingly essential part of corporate strategy for all Kiwi businesses,” Stove says.

iOS 9… Should you upgrade?

iOS 9 on the iPhone 4S

by www.arstechnica.com

Our recommendation for iPhone 4S users is pretty much the same one we gave to iPad 2 users earlier today: if you’re running iOS 8, go ahead and upgrade. The small screen is frustrating, but performance is about the same, and for all the stuff you’re missing you’re still getting a whole bunch of the new features we highlighted in our iOS 9 review. It’s got the better, more legible software keyboard, the upgraded first-party apps, and more.

If you’re still running iOS 7, at this point we’d say you should probably upgrade, not because you won’t take a small performance hit, but because developers will increasingly abandon that older OS version if they haven’t already. Apple’s iOS updates roll out quickly, but the downside of that is that there’s not a ton of incentive for developers to support older releases forever and ever. It’s common for developers to support the current release and the immediately previous release, but starting today that doesn’t cover iOS 7 anymore. And though it’s not going to make your old device feel new again, iOS 9 is probably Apple’s best, most stable x.0 iOS release in years.

Apple might surprise us again next year, but this is probably the end of the line for the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 6S is brand new, and if you want a smaller phone that’s still a lot faster, the iPhone 5S is cheaper than it’s ever been. iOS 9 on the 4S is still perfectly good for a backup phone or a hand-me-down to a less demanding member of the family, but if you use your smartphone heavily you’d be served well by an upgrade at this point.

Google’s look, evolved

Google has changed a lot over the past 17 years—from the range of our products to the evolution of their look and feel. And today we’re changing things up once again…

Fast track productivity with the right broadband solution

Businesses these days use a myriad of cloud based applications like accounting, banking and design software, plus video conferencing and of course phone systems.

What they deliver might differ but its clear they all have one common requirement – a quick and reliable internet connection so your business runs fast and efficiently.

“We’re finding we’re getting a lot of enquiries from customers asking –how can we get more out of our internet?” says Garrick Unverricht, Manager – Business Markets, Compass.

Top of the list for fast connection speeds is ultrafast broadband.

“If a business is located in an area where ultrafast broadband is available, we’re able to install it quickly. Once in place, its very reliable with few ongoing issues – it just works. Its also a competitively priced option, rates are often similar to what a business is already spending.

“If its not yet available, we’ve got a range of alternate solutions to suit all sorts of requirements, from ADSL, VDSL and even rural wireless for businesses located in hard to reach areas.

“When ultrafast broadband becomes available we can easily switch a business onto the best access method to suit their operation,” explains Unverricht.

Getting more out of the internet

Quicker upload and download times means businesses can action tasks faster than ever before.

“We all know how frustrating it is when your computer is running slow, many software applications used in business operations are data heavy so its a real benefit to be able to speed up this process saving time and money,” Unverricht continues.

Another key advantage of having a fast and reliable connection is making use of the growing trend for video conferencing.

“Staff often travel for work these days or work from all over the place and video conferencing is a great communication option but it can be frustrating if your feed or sound keeps dropping out because you don’t have the right broadband connection to run it,” he says.

“These are just a couple of examples we come across where ultrafast broadband is helping transform business operations, increasing revenue and saving costs.

“The best is to get in touch with us here at Compass. We’ll find out how your business operates and suggest the ideal connection to handle the way your business works – so you can run as efficiently and cost effectively as possible,” says Unverricht.

Win a special prize!

Don’t lose your data when upgrading to Windows 10

Don’t lose your data when upgrading to Windows 10

Following its release on July 29, Windows 10 has been installed on more 14 million devices within 24 hours.

Data protection firm Acronis is telling organisations to keep several things in mind before upgrading to the new software in order to have the best update experience.

“For the millions of people out there who have yet to update their PCs with Windows 10, it is important to keep in mind that data can sometimes be lost if something goes wrong when a machine is being updated with a new operating system,” Lincoln Goldsmith, general manager A/NZ, Acronis, explains.

Acronis recommends these seven tips to reduce the chances of data being lost when updating devices to Windows 10:

1. Plan the upgrade 
“For those who have multiple PCs, don’t rush into installing Windows 10 on all of those machines right away,” Goldsmith suggests. “Choose one computer and upgrade to Windows 10.”

Goldsmith says this will help users learn what to do and what not to do, and make the upgrade process easier for other PCs.

2. Make sure the PC can handle the upgrade
A recently-purchased PC that runs an older version of Windows can probably be upgraded to Windows 10 and remain in use, Goldsmith says.

“However, if the PC is over three years old, it is best to consider replacing it with a newer machine that can more easily run Windows 10,” he says.

3. Back up the old PC 
“Before upgrading to Windows 10, it is important to back up all the information and applications on the original PC,” Goldsmith says. “Upgrading without first backing up all the files on an older system can lead to data loss.”

He explains, “Windows 10 is not a simple Windows update, but rather a clean rollout of a new system and the install process will wipe out many folders containing important files or data.”

4. Use disk-imaging technology for backup, not just file copy 
“Windows, even XP, is a complex operating system and some data lives outside of easily identifiable files, such passwords and preferences,” says Goldsmith. “For this reason, use a backup solution with disk imaging technology that simultaneously backs up your entire system while also backing up individual files.”

5. Back up everything 
Goldsmith says that over time, documents may have been filed into desktop folders, temporary files, or even a recycle bin. “Even these forgotten folders must be backed up,” he says. “Additionally, remember to back up hidden partitions.

“These partitions, found on Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and IBM machines, let you restore your computer back to its original state,” he explains. “You must back up this extremely important partition too.”

6. Follow the 3-2-1 backup rule 
“The 3-2-1 backup rule is a valuable rule of thumb that helps to dramatically lower the risk of data loss,” Goldsmith says. ‘Create three copies of data, store those copies in at least two types of storage media, and store one of these copies offsite.”

7. Save older backups after you upgrade 
Once a device is switched over to Windows 10, make sure to keep older backups of data, says Goldsmith. He says they may be needed again later if the device is updated to a newer Windows version further down the track.

“Before you make the move to Windows 10, don’t risk everything by not being backed up,” he says. “If you follow the seven simple tips above, you can make your Windows 10 upgrade experience smoother, and keep your vital data.”

Tired at work? You may be sitting too close to your screen

Being too close to a computer screen at work can be tiring for a user, especially for their eyes.

Most people find computers that are only 50 centimetres away from them too close, says the German Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in its latest brochure.

A good, average distance is 75 centimetres between the eyes and computer screen.

A distance of nearly 100 centimetres is advisable for big, high-resolution screens.

The comfortable inclination of a person’s head and their gaze is highly individual. But basically, most people are best off looking slightly downwards at a computer screen. The user should test a few positions to find the most comfortable one.

If the desired distance, height and slope cannot be achieved with an ordinary monitor base, BVA recommends consider using a pivot arm to put the computer screen in a better position.

– DPA