Workers in small and medium-sized businesses can expect more than twice as many junk e-mails each month as employees in large corporations, according to the MessageLabs Intelligence study in March 2007. The study reports e-mail threat trends for the first quarter of the year. In companies with 150 to 249 workers, each employee received a monthly average of 312 pieces of spam while employees at companies with 15,000 to 19,999 workers received an average of 104 junk messages per month. Employees of companies with fewer than 50 workers were hit hardest; each employee received 550 pieces of spam per month.
According to MessageLabs, smaller businesses receive the same proportion of spam as enterprises but are less likely than large companies to have network defenses in place to stave off the onslaught. MessageLabs also asked 629 information technology decision-makers from U.S. companies if they thought the volume of spam would ever stop being a problem. Only 13 percent of respondents from SMBs were optimistic, while 18 percent of those surveyed from enterprises said spam would eventually be squelched.
According to readers, most businesses are seeing increases in spam.
Don’t know/not applicable
Source: CDW Poll of 324 BizTech readers
Kiss Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Goodbye
Earlier this year, researchers at Stanford University announced a project that may make the mouse obsolete. The patent-pending EyePoint software allows users to click links, highlight text and scroll without using the mouse. Manu Kumar, the doctoral student who helped invent the software, says that EyePoint tracks eye movements.
During the 1960s, many researchers were trying to develop a pointing device that would make it easier to control work on a computer screen. Some prototypes were designed to be manipulated with the chin or attached to the forehead. In 1964, Douglas Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute built the first prototype of a computer with a mouse, which was composed of a wooden housing containing two metal wheels at right angles. Engelbart received a patent for the “X-Y Position Indicator For A Display System” in 1970.
The device’s popularity took off when Apple Macintosh computers included it as standard equipment in the 1980s, and the rise of graphical computer interfaces on PCs firmly established the mouse’s place beside the keyboard. A rolling ball soon replaced the perpendicular metal wheels. Now mice point with optical systems, while the wireless ones have lost their tails. But the basic operation of the handheld pointer has changed little, and most users would be lost without one. Sources: Ideafinder.com, Inventors.about.com
IT Job Outlook Rosy for Right Skills
As rumblings of recession begin to emanate from Alan Greenspan and others, IT is a good place to be working now and for the foreseeable future, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The BLS’s jobs report on the first quarter of 2007 indicates that employment in professional and technical services, which includes most IT jobs, jumped 8.5 percent while jobs in computer system design and related services grew 7.1 percent. Meanwhile, employment in professional and general business services fell 7 percent.
The BLS included five IT jobs in its projection of the top 20 fastest growing occupations in the decade ending in 2014: network systems and data communications analysts (projected 54.6 percent growth); software engineers who develop applications (48.4 percent); systems software developers (43 percent); network and system administrators (38.4 percent); and database administrators (38.2 percent).
International Workers Lead U.S. Counterparts in Use of Online Tools
SEVENTY-EIGHT PERCENT of respondents to a recent international workplace survey say they use e-mail and the Internet to do their jobs, according to a Kelly Services survey of 70,000 people from 28 countries. The poll on usage of online tools in the workplace included 4,000 respondents from the United States.
Of the U.S. group, 76 percent said they use e-mail, the Internet, or both on the job. Sixty-six percent of the workers surveyed in the United States said e-mail enhances productivity at work, while 63 percent said that using the Internet helped them do their jobs.
Despite U.S. workers’ widespread use of online tools, the country lags behind much of the rest of the world. Ninety-eight percent of respondents from Hong Kong said that e-mail and the Internet were integral to their work. Mexico (94 percent), India (93 percent), Thailand (93 percent) and Indonesia (91 percent) also ranked near the top of percentage of workers who claim to use online tools. The United States ranked 17th among all countries in the survey, trailing Italy, Russia, Malaysia, the U.K. and others.
Squeeze More Gain From Compliance Pain
Too many small businesses take on compliance efforts as one-time, isolated projects, and that’s “a recipe for disaster,” according to Khalid Kark, a Forrester Research analyst who focuses on data protection and compliance. Kark offered advice to companies contemplating compliance initiatives:
For best results, closely integrate compliance into the mix of security, IT controls and governance;
Map regulatory requirements to your technology framework;
Most regulatory requirements are actually codified best practices that good companies would follow without the push from the law;
Because of legal pressures, funding for compliance initiatives is usually easier for IT to pry out of management, so spend the money for more wide-ranging benefits.
Mobile VoIP Could Boost Productivity and Cut Costs
As Wi-Fi becomes a crucial component of many companies’ networking infrastructures, 69 percent of organizations are considering mobile Voice over IP systems as a way to enhance worker productivity, according to an Aberdeen Group survey of about 300 IT professionals. Sixty percent of respondents said a desire to cut cellular costs was also driving them to consider mobile VoIP. To obtain maximum benefits from mobile VoIP, companies need mature Wi-Fi networks that provide for coverage and bandwidth needs on their campuses, the Aberdeen Group study said. Companies with 90 percent Wi-Fi coverage realize annual savings of $154 per user and realize a 49 percent return on their investment, according to Aberdeen. Source: Aberdeen Group, “Mobile Voice over IP” (February 2007)