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Lack of space contributing to UK techno-stress

The UK doesn’t just have the least energy- efficient homes in Western Europe, it also has the smallest amount of space for homeworking, according to a new report by telecommunications service provider NFON.

Its Wellbeing Report Working from Home 22 reveals that UK citizens have just 15.35 m2 of homeworking space, compared to a European average of 20.32 m2. Moreover, just 19.6% of UK homeworkers have a dedicated home office, compared to 31.8% of
EU respondents.

UK home/hybrid workers also have higher levels of techno-stress, with 24.4% complaining of unreliable and inadequate equipment and poor internet connectivity. More than one third felt stressed by the lack of communication with colleagues (37.2%) and lack of separation between their professional and private lives (33.6%).


SaaS price hike
SaaS prices are rising 3.5 times faster than inflation in the US and as much as five times faster in the UK, claims SaaS purchasing and spend management platform Vertice based on an analysis of 10,000 SaaS contracts. Overall, spending on SaaS products grew more than tenfold between 2010 and 2020, from $13 billion annually to $157 billion or an average of $3,112 per employee (rising to $4,552in technology companies). SaaS software now accounts for 12.7% of all business expenditure.


Andrew Wilson

Wayleaves made easy

Full fibre network provider CityFibre is taking the hassle out of wayleaves through a new Permission to Work (PtW) process that has cut the average cycle time for on-net (CityFibre-based) Ethernet orders by 60%.

Instead of putting orders into a wayleave process by default and involving external solicitors and legal representatives, the PfW process gains approval from the end user customer at the point of order, prior to provisioning or at the point of survey.

Andrew Wilson, Sales Director – Wholesale Channel at CityFibre, said: “The new PtW process is game-changing. I really can’t stress enough how significant this is for our partners. By adopting this process, partners can reduce the time between an order being placed and an invoice being raised. We encourage every partner to adopt it and see the benefits first-hand.”

CityFibre’s £4bn 100% fibre network rollout programme is on track to serve up to 8 million homes, 800,000 businesses, 400,000 local authority sites and 250,000 5G access points in 285
cities, towns and villages by 2025. CityFibre’s rollout has already passed 2 million homes.


Alexa for care homes

The UK launch of Alexa Smart Properties for Senior Living continues Amazon’s integration of Alexa into different business applications. Following last year’s launch of Alexa Smart Properties for Hospitality, the new solution makes it easy for managers of care homes and assisted living facilities to manage and service a fleet of Echo devices remotely and at scale. With features such as Alexa-to-Alexa voice and video calls and announcements and the ability of residents to control lighting, blinds and thermostats by voice and property managers to display menus, activities and reminders using Echo Show, Alexa Smart Properties for Senior Living helps elderly residents to stay connected, informed and entertained. Its first UK locations include Majesticare’s Cavendish Park Care Home, Morris Care Isle Court, The Royal Airforce Association’s Rothbury House and Blind Veterans UK’s respite care centre in North Wales.


The difference one letter makes

Steven Allan

Cyber security specialist Linten Technologies is advising UK businesses to strengthen their defences by adding an extra letter, digit or symbol to company passwords.

CEO and Founder Steven Allan said: “Typically, a 10-character password can take hackers just 26 minutes to break whereas a password with 11 characters can take about three days. The world of cyber is rapidly evolving. Previously, eight to 12 characters was a typical password length, but now between 10 and 18 and sometimes 16 and 24 are becoming the standard.”

He added: “We advise clients to stay well away from common password types, such as password123 or the names of loved ones, and to incorporate a password with three random words that is hard to figure out.”


Data backup needs blamed for cloud budget overspend
Veritas Technologies, a leader in multi- cloud data management, is warning of significant over-spending on public cloud service providers (CSPs) like AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

According to new research by the company, 83% of enterprises are paying more than they originally planned on public cloud. On average, UK businesses are exceeding their original cloud budget by 33% largely due to unplanned data backup and recovery costs, cited by 42% as their leading area of overspend.

An international survey of 1,500 technology and IT decision-makers for The Veritas Securing Your Enterprise in a Multi-Cloud Environment Research report shows that while enterprises with 1,000+ employees value the flexibility and scalability provided by public CSPs, many don’t fully understand what they will need to pay for.

For example, 98% believe that the CSP is responsible for protecting some of their assets in the cloud, even though most CSPs make it clear that while it is up to them to ensure the resiliency ‘of’ the cloud, customers are responsible for data and applications ‘in’ the cloud.

This misunderstanding, suggests Veritas, stops companies from factoring in the requirement for third-party data protection, leaving critical data vulnerable to ransomware and other attacks. Two thirds (68%) agree that current offerings from CSPs fall short of their organisation’s security needs, with 24% saying they have lost data as a result of relying on backup tools built into solutions by their CSPs.

Ian Wood, UK Head of Technology at Veritas, said: “Our research highlights the need for a better understanding of what purchasers are actually responsible for and the paramount importance of including comprehensive cloud data protection and management in their budgets. Without it, organisations are taking a huge risk and are likely to experience vast overspend when subjected to the extensive damage to brand and operations caused by a cyber attack.”


Spitfire enhances hosted PBXs

Spitfire Network Services Ltd has added mobile and desktop softphones and optional full system call recording to its new hosted PBX for SMEs. Hosted PBX 2.2, branded FireSwitch, is currently available with no connection or set up charges for £10 per telephone extension per month.


76 thousand and counting

The UK’s largest organisations each have an average of 76,600 internet-facing assets to identify and protect, according to analysis of 22 FTSE 50 companies by Tenable. One organisation has more than 500,000 assets.

Assets include domain names, subdomains or IP addresses of internet- or network-connected devices, such as web servers, name servers, IoT devices, network printers etc., spread across 51 countries.

Just 11% of assets are located in or delivered from the UK, compared to 61% in/from the US. On average, 25% of companies’ infrastructure is public cloud- based, mainly with Amazon Web Services.

Jeremiah Grossman

Worryingly, every company looked at by Tenable had thousands of web-based assets that still support TLS 1.0, a security protocol for establishing encrypted channels over computer networks defined in 1999 and disabled by Microsoft in September 2022. Twelve of the 22 companies analysed still have a few instances of SSL 2.0, the precursor to TLS.

Jeremiah Grossman, Security Strategist at Tenable, said: “Internet- facing assets are essential for organisations in the modern business world. The flipside is that any one of these assets is a potential entry point for an adversary. Threat actors are probing these openings, looking for one to climb through. Security professionals need to know what assets they’re protecting in order to secure themselves.”

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