Dashboard: January 2006
New research shows that salary budgets thawed last year. The number of companies reporting salary freezes dropped to 2 percent in 2005 from 16 percent in 2002, according to the 2005/2006 US Compensation Planning Survey from Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Information technology workers were at or near the top of the list for earning monetary rewards, with 65 percent of new IT employees receiving signing bonuses last year, compared with only 18 percent for customer service staff and 31 percent for human resource hires. More IT staffers also received project milestone awards (82 percent), compared with sales and marketing (27 percent) and human resources (21 percent). Technology staff didn't top the list for earning spot cash bonuses, but at 72 percent they were hot on the heels of the 76 percent of accounting and finance employees who received spot cash, and tied with human resources, which also earned spot cash 72 percent of the time.
Instead of using File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Charles Dostale, systems administrator at Silver Oaks Communications, a media design firm based in Moline, Ill., suggests the WebDAV. Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning protocol (WebDAV) uses standardized extensions to the HTTP 1.1 protocol. By ferrying specific request and response formats via HTTP, WebDAV allows users to collaboratively edit and manage files through firewalls on remote Web servers and standard Web proxy servers without special settings.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the most common mechanism used for large file transfers. However, a number of IT managers prefer WebDAV because it allows applications to edit files directly on the server, uses the same port as HTTP and permits only one user at a time to modify files. The FTP protocol requires the opening of additional ports on the firewall perimeter (which increases network security risks), allows users to upload different versions of the same file simultaneously and forces users to download files onto the client in order to edit them.
WebDAV is easier to configure than SecureFTP and WinSCP, the open source SFTP client for Windows, which secures file transfers between local and remote computers. WebDAV also does not require additional software on Windows or Macs, and the GNOME desktop environment for Linux and Solaris also supports WebDAV as a normal network volume.
|How do you transfer large files?|
|CD or DVD||23%|
Source: CDW survey of 228 BizTech readers
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A recent survey from the Small Business Administration shows that rural small businesses use broadband significantly less than their urban counterparts. Only 43 percent of the rural small businesses used broadband in 2005 compared to 54 percent of urban small businesses. Of the 410 businesses surveyed, no rural businesses reported using Voice over Internet Protocol, while 6 percent of their city counterparts had deployed the technology.
"Our main concern is that many benefits have been associated with the availability and adoption of broadband services, and rural small businesses are not obtaining them," Radwan Saade, an economist with the SBA, told BizTech. The reasons for the urban-rural divide are complex, he says, but generally broadband has not been treated like a vital utility, unlike telephone service, which was funded in rural areas by government-mandated universal service fees.
Imagine using your own computer at work, instead of one provided by the company. The trend of companies asking employees to use their own notebooks and computers for work is building, according to market research firm Gartner. Gartner predicts that up to 10 percent of companies will put such a policy in place over the next two years, offering subsidies similar to a car allowance for employees willing to use their "personal" computers for work.
Information itself has become as important as water, food, medicine or shelter in worldwide disaster response, according to the International Federation of Red Cross. In its World Disasters Report 2005, the agency recognized the importance of information technology during disaster response, citing, among other examples, the significant role of blogging in information dissemination after last year's Asian tsunami. The report concludes that the flow of information and communication between agencies and the disaster-stricken people they serve has to improve and strongly urges aid agencies to focus less on gathering information for their own needs and more on exchanging information with disaster victims.
A year-end 2005 Yankee Group survey reports that security and backup topped the list of most challenging IT issues for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The primary factors that made securing and backing up data a challenge, the report says, are high price tags for products, long implementation timeframes, lack of adequate IT staff and worries that one upgrade will force cascading upgrades to other systems. One trend that may be mitigating these and other business applications issues: software-as-a-service. In the same survey, more than 60 percent of SMBs credit software-as-a-service for lower costs and productivity gains.
What would you 'rip and replace' if money were no object? Here are the top 5 systems you'd love to ditch:
1 - Phone system
2 - All desktops and notebooks
3 - Security software and hardware
4 - Network infrastructure
5 - E-mail system
Write-in suggestions to "rip and replace" that didn't make the cut for obvious reasons: "end-users," "my boss" and "everything in the office."
Source: CDW survey of 228 BizTech readers