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Friday, August 22, 2014

News roundup: This week's tech topics

There's always news in the tech universe. 

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Advancement in the IT world shows no sign of slowing down. Here are three top tech stories from this past week.

IoT hardware on the rise
The Internet of Things has long been the subject of hype in nearly every corner of the consumer and enterprise markets, but an article from PC Mag suggested that these innovations are beginning to take hold in a more legitimate way. The source pointed to a study from Accenture predicting that 69 percent of United States consumers will adopt some form of network-connected technology for their home environments by 2019. This is a good sign for companies engineering IoT hardware, as well as those developing software and security measures for these all-encompassing networks. 

"These digital devices present major opportunities for improving a brand's customer experience for a range of consumers. Our data reveals that it's not only tech enthusiasts who are interested in these kinds of products, but late adopters who also express interest in buying them," Acquity Group president Jay Dettling was quoted by the source.

Wearable devices represent a more uncertain domain for consumers and enterprise organizations, as Accenture's study found that less than half of survey respondents planned to sport a smart watch or fitness band within the next five years. Still, opportunities abound for innovators seeking to take advantage of the IoT and its consumer implications. 

Network outages wreak havoc
Business interruptions of any kind can be detrimental to a company's outlook, but data center outages are easily the most damaging to an organization's operations overall. According to tech site No Jitter, a recent study from the Ponemon Institute found that a typical outage in the digital age costs upward of $700,000 - and can result in millions lost from indirect repercussions. Nine categories comprise the expenses of companies that fall victim to an outage: detection, containment, recovery, post recovery, replacements, IT staff, productivity loss, and third party expenses. 

The source noted "significant variation across nine cost categories for FY 2010 and FY 2013. The cost associated with business disruption, which includes reputation damages and customer churn, represents the most expensive cost category."

In light of these findings, decision-makers across industries should ensure they have sound disaster recovery and business continuity strategies in place to mitigate the risks of outages. 

Data breaches keep stinging
Despite widespread enterprise efforts to bolster corporate networks and minimize vulnerabilities, the commonality of data breaches remains alarmingly high. Capital Gazette summarized the frustration and confusion of both consumers and enterprise leaders, highlighting the demand for fortified IT infrastructures capable of protecting sensitive personal and financial information. 

"Hopefully, at that point it will be harder for breaching data and that sort of thing," said Camille Curro, founder IT firm Curro Industries, as quoted by the source. "Then again, how long is it going to take bigger corporations to adopt that and at what rate?"

Companies that lock down their networks and ensure safe transactions will surely gain competitive advantages in the coming years, regardless of sector or specialty.