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Mountain Lion in 3m downloads

Just four days after its release, has Apple announced that Mac OS X Mountain Lion has been downloaded over three million times.

Apple today announced that downloads of OS X Mountain Lion have exceeded three million in four days, making it the most successful OS X release in Apple’s history. With more than 200 innovative new features, Mountain Lion is the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system and is available through the Mac App Store as an upgrade to Lion or Snow Leopard users for $19.99 (US). ‚”Just a year after the incredibly successful introduction of Lion, customers have downloaded Mountain Lion over three million times in just four days, making it our most successful release ever,‚” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Mountain Lion features include the all new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, Facebook integration*, Dictation, AirPlay Mirroring and Game Center. iCloud integration makes it easy to set up your Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes, and keep everything, including iWork documents, up to date across all your devices. For more information or to download Mountain Lion visit apple.com/osx/specs. In addition to Mountain Lion, the Mac App Store offers thousands of apps in Education, Games, Graphics & Design, Lifestyle, Productivity, Utilities and other categories, and is the largest, fastest growing PC software store in the world. Users can browse new and noteworthy apps, including apps that take advantage of new features in Mountain Lion, as well as check out staff favorites, top charts for free and paid apps, and user ratings and reviews. For more information visit apple.com/mac/app-store. *Facebook integration will be available in an upcoming software update to Mountain Lion.

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Time is running out for Microsoft SQL Server 2008

Companies are urged to update from the dated database management software as end-of-support looms, writes BRYAN TURNER.

The 11-year-old Microsoft SQL Server 2008 database management software is reaching the end of its support on 9 July. The applications that use databases running on this software will be at risk of security and stability issues.

On self-managed databases, upgrading to the latest database version comes with a lot of risks. Many IT departments within companies go by the motto: “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”.

Microsoft made it very clear that it would not be updating SQL Server 2005 after its extended support date and even left it vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown by not releasing patches for the dated version.

Updating SQL Server versions may seem daunting, but the benefits far outweigh the effort it takes for a migration. In the last major version update, SQL Server 2016 introduced simpler backup functionality, database stretching, and always-encrypted communications with the database, to name just three features.

While backing up the database may be the last thing on the typical database administrator’s mind, it’s become increasingly important to do so. In SQL Server 2008, it’s clunky and causes headaches for many admins. However, in SQL Server 2016, one can easily set up an automated backup to Azure storage and let it run on smart backup intervals. Backing up offsite also reduces the need for disaster recovery for onsite damage.

Database stretching allows admins to push less frequently accessed data to an Azure database, automatically decided by SQL Server 2016. This reduces the admin of manually looking through what must be kept and what must be shipped off or deleted. It also reduces the size of the database, which also increases the performance of the applications that access it. The best part of this functionality is it automatically retrieves the less accessed records from Azure when users request it, without the need for manual intervention.

Always-encrypted communications are becoming more and more relevant to many companies, especially those operating in European regions after the introduction of GDPR. Encryption keys were previously managed by the admin, but now encryption is always handled by the client. Furthermore, the keys to encrypt and decrypt data are stored outside of SQL Server altogether. This means data stored in the database is always encrypted, and no longer for the eyes of a curious database manager. 

The built-in reporting tools have also vastly improved with the addition of new reporting metrics and a modern look. It includes support for Excel reports for keeping documentation and Power BI for automated, drag-and-drop personalised reporting. Best of all, it removes the dreaded Active X controls, which made the reporting in a webpage feel very clumsy and bloated in previous versions.

A lot has changed in the past ten years in the world of SQL Server database management, and it’s not worth running into problems before Microsoft ends support for SQL Server 2008.

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Why a messy fridge means a messy digital life

Businesses across the world are struggling to secure their data due to employees not recognising their responsibility for digital clutter; the proliferation of digital documents and files without thought for managing the security consequences. The global report “Sorting out digital clutter in business” from Kaspersky Lab1 found a number of correlations between the creation of digital clutter at work and human habits behind it, such as… organising a fridge. It revealed that nine out of ten (95%) people who see their fridge as organised said the same about their working digital life. 

Digital clutter includes the files, documents and data created at work without the business’s full visibility or control over how they are stored and who has access to them. It becomes a security risk when we consider that 72% of employees store documents at work that contain personally identifiable or sensitive data, which if exposed could either reputationally or financially damage a business, its employees and potentially its customers.

Tackling digital clutter is a challenge for businesses and one of the most important steps is understanding who is responsible for it. Nearly three quarters (71%) of employees believe either business leaders, the IT or security team should be responsible for ensuring emails, files and documents have the appropriate access rights, rather than themselves. The problem is that while IT and security teams can control the access given to employees to access files and folders, there is room for human error. Whether accidentally or intentionally, for example, employees could give their colleagues or those outside the business access credentials or bypass IT administrators with new collaboration tools. With employees creating and collaborating on multiple documents simultaneously, they all must take responsibility for their actions causing digital clutter.

Source: ‘Sorting out digital clutter in business’, Figure 2

As the report showed, in employees’ everyday life there are habits that may correlate with the creation of digital clutter. As well as the majority of people who have similar habits with their fridge organisation as they do their digital life, 88% of those who re-organise their fridge before a holiday, also do so for their work files. 

Source: ‘Sorting out digital clutter in business’, Figure 4

“With data volumes increasing exponentially, business leaders should take notice of digital clutter and its potential security risk,” said Maxim Frolov, Vice President of Global Sales at Kaspersky Lab. “It is true that organising your fridge won’t guarantee your defense against security breaches, but implementing the same mindset towards digital clutter will make you more resilient against cyber threats. Employees need to be educated on how to best manage their digital assets, and there should be simple but effective protection in place; one that does not add complexity but reduces it.” 

To avoid becoming a victim of digital clutter, Kaspersky Lab urges businesses to consider:

  • Getting employees trained up – it is very important that training teaches practical skills applicable to employees’ daily work such as with Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform.
  • Regularly reminding staff how important it is to follow cybersecurity rules to not to let cyber skills fade away, for example by hanging posters with advice around the office
  • Making backups of essential data to ensure corporate information is safe and regularly updating IT equipment and applications to avoid unpatched vulnerabilities
  • Finding a dedicated solution for small and medium businesses with simple management and proven protection features; such as Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud.

To read the full report on digital clutter, please follow this link.

[1] Kaspersky Lab commissioned research specialist OnePoll to survey 7,000 employed adults from December 2018 to January 2019 across UK, USA, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Brazil, China, Mexico, Japan, Malaysia, South Africa, Russia, and Turkey who work in an office and use computers

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