Research in Motion, known for maintaining control over its software and hardware, might license its upcoming operating system to third-party hardware makers. The move would signify a risky reversal in strategy, but it may be the best option for the struggling vendor, given steady competition from the likes of Apple and Google, writes Austin Carr at Fast Company.
Noting that his company isn't big enough to "crank out 60 handsets a year," RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) CEO Thorsten Heins said last week that the new operating system, BB10, may have to be licensed to manufacturers with greater economies of scale.
The possibility of RIM handing over hardware responsibility to third parties comes across as somewhat ironic given recent steps by big software companies to edge their way into the hardware business. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced in June that it plans to make a tablet of its own and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) recently bought Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI). "Both moves signal the tech giants are moving into Apple territory," Carr writes. "Cupertino has always been committed to controlling the stack--that is, designing software and hardware together. The result has been an unprecedented streak of innovation and market dominance: iPods, iPhones, iPads."
For RIM to go the other direction means that it is "possibly sacrificing its one Apple-like advantage," Carr notes. On the other hand, third-party manufacturers may appreciate a new "agnostic" software maker in the market, given the growing competition they face from many of the same companies they license software from. Microsoft's OEMs, for example, are not necessarily thrilled about the vendor's decision to make its own tablets.
- see Austin Carr's article at Fast Company
New BlackBerry Mobile Voice System supports Wi-Fi calling, broader PBX integration
BlackBerry 10 delayed until 2013
Spotlight: The ugly side of mobile security
Read more about: Research in Motion, BB10
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Identity theft could cost the U.S. Treasury up to $21 billion in the next five years alone, and that's accounting for estimated savings from newly purchased fraud control filters, reports Jeremy Kirk of IDG News Service. Despite the Internal Revenue Service's efforts to combat ID theft, it is still sending out refunds on bogus tax returns filed on behalf of deceased individuals, according to an audit by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.
The audit found that the IRS isn't doing enough to detect fraud trends. The tax agency failed to identify 1.5 million fraudulent tax returns, at a cost of $5.2 billion, the auditors maintain. More than $8 million in potential fraud stemmed from returns sent from just five addresses. What's more, some policies and procedures are undercutting anti-fraud efforts. One example is allowing individuals to file returns in the middle of January while third parties with information connected to those returns have until March 31 to file.
The IRS, which disputes the inspector general's estimate of a $21 billion loss in five years, said it detected $6.5 billion worth of potential fraud in 938,664 fraudulent returns for 2011.
- see Jeremy Kirk's article at Computerworld
Millions of Americans risk ID theft via social networks
Scammers target Georgia's business registration data
Read more about: identity theft
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Everyone's talking about Big Data these days, but a lot of companies aren't actually doing much about it. While the benefits of Big Data analytics sound enticing, IT leaders seem more interested in investing in ways to support new and existing business applications, improve disaster recovery and consolidate servers, reports Kevin Fogarty at InformationWeek.
There has been a barrage of surveys recently on Big Data (from McKinsey and Company, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, and TheInfoPro, to name a few), and Fogarty presents a nice roundup of them. Some studies suggest that IT and business managers have more concerns than enthusiasm about Big Data implementation. Many are not prepared to invest in what they perceive to be large, expensive modifications to their systems for collecting, storing, managing and analyzing information.
Another concern is that employees who can really benefit from Big Data, like marketing and pricing managers, are accustomed to using spreadsheets and other programs that aren't suited to the volume of information in Big Data sets. Without enthusiasm on the part of end users, it is hard to justify the expense of a Big Data deployment.
What's more, fears about data vulnerability are dampening the zeal for Big Data projects, Fogarty notes. A survey from Quantum, a Big Data management company, found that 90 percent of IT decision makers fear losing data during disaster recovery.
- see Kevin Fogarty's article at InformationWeek
Fujitsu rolls out cloud-based Big Data platform for farmers
Who's who in big data
Big data identifies the best bull in America
Read more about: TheInfoPro, surveys
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If the effort to secure your company's mobile devices resembles a kitten's effort to catch the light of a laser pointer, you may be getting distracted by too many moving parts without taking in the big picture. It can make good sense to step back and get a solid look at the entire IT infrastructure before trying to pinpoint mobile device problems, reports Ericka Chickowski at Dark Reading.
Much of the cutting-edge work on mobile security may be interesting, but not necessarily relevant to the typical organization trying to defend against the most pressing threats to the network. Cyber crooks aren't likely to turn their might against mobile devices right now because they are still finding plenty of success exploiting traditional IT systems, advises Marcus Carey, security researcher at Rapid7.
"Attackers are robbing people blind right now. Why would they change their attack vector?" Carey asks. "Right now it is really hard to get payloads that work (on mobile devices). So why jump to mobile, when it is harder to the nth degree, when you already have this other stuff working?"
Before spending too much time on mobile security, it may behoove the average organization to make sure it is taking care of mundane patching first. Effective antivirus programs and other means of securing desktops and laptops should still be a top priority, experts advise. Once the overall IT security framework is in order, it will be easier to add mobile security into the mix.
- see Ericka Chickowski's article at Dark Reading
Keys to a successful MDM project
Banks fortify IT infrastructure for competitive edge
Read more about: Mobile Security, antivirus software
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It can look pretty cheap to sign up for cloud services, but the return on investment has to factor into a number of costs that aren't necessarily apparent at first glance. To get a full estimate of the cost of a cloud service, you have to consider what it will take to migrate systems, adopt to regulatory changes down the road and get locked into a specific vendor, reports Mikael Ricknas of IDG News Service.
Moving applications to a cloud provider can require a lot of redesign and reformatting. If a cloud service has to be brought back in-house, because of new regulatory requirements for example, it can take considerable resources to extract data from the provider, according to a white paper from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association.
The security requirements of a public cloud system can prove costly, while a private or hybrid cloud option may be less so. What's more, the risk of being locked in to a proprietary cloud system must also be factored into any move, notes the ISACA paper, "Calculating cloud ROI: From the customer perspective." Some of the lock-in risks could be reduced by opting for infrastructure-as-a-service rather than software-as-a-service.
- see Mikael Ricknas's article at InfoWorld
Megaupload case spotlights data ownership issues in the cloud
IaaS requires heavy work by in-house IT teams
Washington Post CTO: Cloud providers should offer an easier way out
Read more about: white paper
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