Monday, October 15, 2012

Bahkan orangtua pun butuh MDM (Mobile Device Management)

Parents Need Mobile Device Management, Too

Summary: Parental controls apps are to parents what mobile device management is to IT administrators. This is an area where Android, perhaps surprisingly, may have the lead over iOS.
September is coming to a close, and so will the spate of back-to-school/child-oriented blog postsfrom me (I promise). Just...after my coming review of the Fuhu Nabi tablet. And - D'oh! - this post: 
(Assumes whiny stand-up comedian voice) "Have you ever tried to get your kids to stop playing on your smartphone? What is UP with that? It's like their eyes...their pupils don't focus. They're always holding it super-close their face, because this is what Samsung commands them to do. And they always mumble sighed responses like "Yeeesss, Daaaaad" while they're Joyriding Jetpacks because that's wayyyyyy more interesting than anything you'll ever say to them."
hypnotized kid tablet
(Apologies for the Seinfeld ripoffhomage)
As a geek dad who loves his gadgets, I hate having to constantly nag my kids to get off the iPhone/iPad/Wii/PC/3DS etc.
In my dreams, I would have an app that would allow me to set a daily time limit for ALL their devices, automatically locking them out after they hit their limit, or during certain times of the day (like bed time).
Essentially a Mobile Device Management (MDM) app for parents, this would also let me create a whitelist of kid-safe apps, prevent or control any downloads and generally track their usage.
(Speaking of MDM, let's take a quick commercial break to plug SAP Afaria, which was just ranked the leader of the MDM market for the 11th year in a row, according to IDC. Afaria's 16.4% share (by revenue) was more than twice its next closest competitor.)
Alas, I knew that a Parental Control App To Rule Them All was impossible. That's why so many parents are turning to childrens' tablets with built-in parental controls features (see my image gallery here).
How about something just for iOS? There's no shortage of MDM software for Apple; what about a parental control app?
The closest thing I could find was a $0.99 iOS app called TimeLock which, despite its name, doesn't actually lock your kids out from your iPad. It just beeps and buzzes annoyingly. Though knowing my kids, they will unfazedly keep ninja-slicing fruit through the buzzing until I storm over, redfaced and forehead throbbing.  
That's what got me so interested when I heard about Kytephone. It's a newish, free app from three young Toronto developers. Kytephone already does many of the things I was looking for (albeit for Android):
- Manage what games and apps that kids are allowed to play, and set a daily time limit for them (see screenshot);
- Let you remotely track and manage your child's activity. For instance, if you see that your kid is playing Scribblenauts while he or she is at school, you can remotely turn off the device. You can also remotely track their location;
- Block pop-up screens that direct kids to download and buy apps and upgrades;
- Let parents create a whitelist of phone numbers from which their kids can receive texts or calls.
Little hackers won't be able to get around these restrictions, says Anooj Shah, one of the creators of Kytephone. For instance, holding down the on-off button or removing and replacing the battery typically causes an Android device to reboot and close all apps, including MDM. But a Kytephone-managed device will automatically resume the parentally-set 'Kid mode', he said.
"We have deep integration into Android," he said. "No one else has the full sandbox approach."
Coming features include:
- The ability to lock kids out during certain hours of the day;
- Let kids create an app wishlist while still blocking them from app stores;
- Enable parents to reward kids with more screen time if they finish chores or do well in school.
Most of the features will still be available in the free version, though Shah says they plan to release a premium (paid) version of Kytephone by the end of the year.
When I asked about creating a Kytephone for the iPhone, Shah confirmed what I feared: they had no plans today. Shah said iOS doesn't make it easy for developers to create separate parent and child modes, as Android allowed them to build.
I guess I'll have to keep dreaming of an Uber-App for Parental Controls. Or wait until my kids turn into 16. I think the latter may come first.
Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at UberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

Monday, October 8, 2012

10 things you can do to improve network and PC security

By Jack Wallen | October 8, 2012, 6:41 AM PDT

Security. It's that which drives some administrators to early retirement, gray hair, or a permanent room in a padded cell. Okay, that's an exaggeration… but you get the idea. Security is tops on most every administrator's list. And with good reason. Incomplete or poor security can bring down a company's network and/or computer resources. That equates to lost work, which affects bottom line.

Administrators must do all they can to ensure the security of their networks. But for some (especially those without the financial resources), just knowing where to start and what to use is the biggest challenge. With that in mind, I thought I'd lay down 10 tools and methods to help you arrive at better network/PC security.

1: Use Linux

I can already hear the groans from the gallery, but the truth of the matter is, you will cut down on PC security issues if you begin migrating at least some of your desktops to Linux. The best way to do this is to migrate users who don't require the use of proprietary, Windows-only applications. If you use Exchange, just make sure you set up OWA so that the Linux users can access Web mail. Migrate a quarter of your desktops to Linux and that's a quarter fewer security risks you'll have to deal with.

2: Block users from installing software

I've had to deal with companies that do this. Yes, it can be a pain when users actually need a piece of software installed (you'll have to visit their offices just to enter the administrator credentials), but the dividends it pays off are significant. You'll have far fewer viruses and less malware to deal with than you would if the users were allowed to install at will. The give and take is certainly worth it here.

3: Upgrade your antivirus

I'm always shocked when I see antivirus tools that are out of date. This goes for applications and virus definitions. When dealing with the Windows platform, it's crucial to keep everything as current as you possibly can. Keeping antivirus up to date is the only way to help protect vulnerable machines from malicious software and files.

4: Switch your browser

Not to stir up the mud, but the truth of the matter is simple: Internet Explorer is still an incredibly insecure browser. One of the best things you can do is migrate your users from IE to Firefox. Yes, Firefox may be getting a bit bloated, but it's still far more secure than the Windows counterpart.

5: Disable add-ons

Browsers and email clients make use of add-ons. Some are necessary for work — some are not. Those that aren't needed should not be used. Although some add-ons offer some handy features, it's not always possible to ensure the validity or security of an add-on. And even when you can, it's not always a given that the add-on won't affect the performance of the machine. I've seen plenty of Outlook, IE, and Firefox add-ons drag a machine to a screeching halt.

6: Deploy a hardware-based firewall

Let's face it: The built-in Windows firewall is simply not sufficient. If you want real security, you need a dedicated firewall on your network. This firewall will be a single point of entry that will stop many more attempted breaches than the standard software-based firewall will. Besides, the hardware-based fire will be far more flexible and customizable. Look at a Cisco, Sonicwall, or Fortinet hardware firewall as your primary protection.

7: Enforce strict password policies

For the love of all things digital, don't let your end users control their password destiny. If you do this, you'll wind up with accounts and systems protected with "password", "1," or worse — nothing at all. Make sure all passwords require a combination of upper/lowercase, numbers and letters, and special characters. While you're working on password policies, be sure you enforce a rule that passwords must be changed every 30 days. It's an inconvenience, but it's worth the security it brings.

8: Do not share networked folders with "Everyone"

Although it's tempting (especially when you can't figure out why a user can't access a folder), do NOT give the Everyone group access to a folder. This just opens up that folder to possible security issues. If this becomes an absolute necessity, only do it temporarily. For security's sake, spend the extra time troubleshooting why that user can't access the folder, instead of just giving Everyone full access.

9: Use network access control, like PacketFence

PacketFence is one of the most powerful NAC tools you will find. With this tool, you can manage captive-portal for registration and remediation, and you have centralized wired and wireless management, powerful guest management options, 802.1X support, layer-2 isolation of problematic devices, and much more. With this system on your network, you can rest assured that rogue devices will have a much smaller chance of connecting.

10: Use content filtering to protect from malware

I'm not a big fan of posing as Big Brother, so I don't advocate too much content filtering. I do, however, believe it's valid to use content filtering to prevent malware. There are obviously certain phrases, keywords, and URLs that can and should be filtered, based on their history of causing malware. I won't post the best keywords to filter for malware, as those words might land me in trouble. Just do a simple search for keywords associated with malware.

Other tips?

Securing your network and PCs is a constant battle. But with the right tools and strategies, your network can be a much safer arena for productivity. Give a few of these options a look and see if they offer the missing pieces needed to further secure your environment.

What security measures do you take to safeguard your organization? Share your ideas with fellow TechRepublic members.
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Structuring your mobile strategy

By Dean Vella | October 8, 2012, 1:02 AM PDT

According to Google's CEO, Eric Schmidt, the upcoming year will be all about going mobile. Google intends to improve the speed of wireless networks, develop mobile payments and increase the number of inexpensive smartphones used globally. In addition, Google has taken an even more competitive stance by announcing that advertisers who have mobile optimized sites will rank higher in ad quality.

Google is not alone. According to MobileSquared, a research firm based in the UK, Facebook could generate $1.2 billion through its mobile advertising strategy in one year alone.

With smartphones and tablets gaining prominence, business owners are realizing the need to develop a mobile strategy. The question is: how to do it? Creating apps can be expensive, and, obviously, the mobile advertising method needs to more than compensate for the effort required to create it. Here are some suggestions on the various options available and their potential cost ratios as well news on the latest mobile trends from Google and Facebook. If 2012 does not prove to be the year when all businesses, large and small, go mobile, it will at least be the year when most businesses prepare.

Elements of a mobile strategy

The main questions to ask yourself in developing your strategy are these:

Does my business need an app or a mobile-optimized website?

Will my mobile strategy aim for marketing or directly creating income?

In deciding between an app or a mobile-optimized site, you want to consider the cost and your competition. Generally an app creates a much better user experience, but the downside is that you have to create different apps for the major devices, the iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Developing an app can easily cost $30,000 or more per device, and as companies compete, the ratio of users can change.

There are also great differences in the market when you compare the U.S. to the global scene. While Blackberry has fallen behind in the U.S., the phone has retained popularity on the global level. These numbers may aid you in deciding on the second question. If your mobile strategy is not about directly generating income, the high price of creating apps may not be worth your while. On the other hand, however, if your major competition has already gone the app-route, you may need to research which device is most likely used by your clientele and get started designing your effective app.

Mobile trends and how businesses benefit

Clearly, mobile advertising is on the rise and businesses will need to develop marketing strategies accordingly. If your business has an online clientele with a majority owning smartphones or tablets, now could be the time to get ahead of your competition and make your mobile strategy a reality. With the big guns like Facebook and Google demonstrating the reality of mobile trends, the time of guesses and uncertain predictions has passed. It is best to reassess the customer base, do the cost ratio analysis and create or improve your mobile presence. There is a great opportunity here to seize some new clients before everyone has made the leap to mobile.

Dean Vella writes about mobile media and topics pertaining to social media training for University Alliance.
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Social media: From monitoring staff to fake pages - five tips to protect brands

By Damian Herrington | October 8, 2012, 2:28 AM PDT

The use or misuse of social media by staff creates a series of challenges for employers in monitoring their activities. Photo: Shutterstock

Social media is now ubiquitous and has fundamentally changed how businesses engage with customers.

A recent study by global law firm DLA Piper, for which I work, revealed that 76 per cent of large employers have some form of social-media presence with 86 per cent on Facebook, 78 per cent on Linkedln and 62 per cent on Twitter.

The potential benefits of social media for businesses are clear: an ability to market and advertise in a direct, interactive and usually free way to a potentially massive global audience. But as social-media use increases, businesses are becoming aware of the risks.

The ability of users to post comments and opinions on social media networks provides a platform for criticism, whether or not justified, and the misuse of a business's brand and content.

Further, the use or misuse of social media by employees brings a series of challenges for employers in monitoring staff activities. Key risks include loss of confidential information, harassment and reputational damage.

Companies need to consider how to minimise these risks before they arise and plan how to deal with them if they do. Here are five steps for businesses to take in connection with their use of social media.

1. Develop a social-media policy and train staff

Most employers should be considering implementing a policy to set guidelines on acceptable use of social media. The policy should cover employee use of social media - for example, employees' own Facebook or Twitter accounts - and use by the business.

Clearly, risks and priorities will vary from business to business, so it is important to tailor policies. Also, policies need to be able to adapt to the broad and fast-changing nature of social media, which is not just Facebook and Twitter, and can include blogs and sites such as YouTube.

Once finalised, the social-media policy should be communicated to staff. There is certainly a case for training all staff in the use of social media, but brand managers and social-media page administrators in particular need skills in dealing with users on social networks.

2. Monitor user-generated content

A recent landmark ruling by Australia's advertising watchdog has confirmed that companies could be liable for comments made on their Facebook pages by users.

While the ruling is applicable to Australia only, it has alerted regulators and brandowners around the world to the importance of monitoring user-generated content on social-media sites, and whether they need to be doing more on this front.

Under the ruling, no differentiation was made between comments posted by the company and those made by users, leaving the company liable under advertising laws for all comments made on its page.

In the UK, the current indication is that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which has had an online advertising remit since March 2011, will not be making changes to its current position. Essentially, it will only intervene on user-generated content if an advertiser takes a user post and highlights it as a testimonial.

However, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is presently conducting a two-year review of the ASA's online remit, so it remains to be seen whether this position will ultimately change.

In the meantime, brandowners are taking a risk in having completely unmonitored social-media pages - for brand-reputation reasons, if not because of advertising law.

3. Deal with customer complaints carefully

Administrators of company's social-media pages should be vigilant about content posted by users, but they should also be careful when interacting with them.

A number of brands use social media to interact direct with fans and users - for example, dealing with commonly-asked questions and customer complaints.

However, some companies have made situations worse by simply deleting negative posts or tweets. This practice raises potential advertising-law concerns. Others have engaged in online arguments with users on social networks, unwittingly creating bad publicity.

An aggressive reaction, however justified, to a complaint is usually best avoided. Instead, it's better to have a measured response, informing the user what is being done to address his or her concerns.

If the issue is complex, your social-media presence may not be the best place to conduct a conversation with a disgruntled customer.

4. Review social-media sites' terms of use

Before using Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, you should carefully check their terms and conditions. This measure is particularly important in the context of running promotions and competitions. Not complying with their rules risks your page being removed.

For example, you cannot use Facebook's Like button functionality as a voting mechanism for a promotion, nor can you notify winners through Facebook, such as through messages, chat or posts on profiles.

You must acknowledge that the promotion is in no way associated with Facebook. With Twitter promotions, a key rule is that you must discourage users from creating multiple accounts - to dissuade them from entering a contest more than once.

5. Monitor use of your brand and fake user names and pages

Brandowners should also be vigilant about the generic use of their brands by social-media users and should look to prevent their trademarks losing distinctiveness and therefore legal protection.

Brandowners should also keep a careful eye on infringers on social networks, in particular the use of fake pages and usernames. On the one hand, fan pages may not necessarily cause harm to a brand: Coca-Cola's Facebook page was originally started by two fans.

But the potential for, in particular, infringement of intellectual- property rights and defamation is clear. Facebook and Twitter will take down infringing content, but at the moment, there is no equivalent process for social-media usernames to the uniform dispute- resolution policy used for domain-name disputes.

So a brandowner may need to consider court action if a social network refused to take down a fake page or username.
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Coming clean on ITSM

October 8, 2012 | By BarefootITSM

 | In ServiceDesk Plus

12 steps to…5 principles of…7 methods of…

Most of us prefer life to be placed in neatly categorised boxes. It gives us a sense of control over things we don't necessarily have control over. The same rings true for IT Service Management. We want a process or a tool for everything. We generally don't like grey areas (well, most of us anyway). We prefer to live with a false sense of security instead of facing the reality of a situation. If it's not neatly packed by the end of the show we grapple around for that elusive piece of the puzzle, which will complete the picture so we can sit back and marvel at our handiwork.

Playing rugby as a little boy, I never wanted to come from the field with clean clothes – I wanted mud or grass stains all over me – it made me feel like I played well, got tackled, got up and tried again.

Well, IT Service Management is messy – you have to get your hands dirty. In fact, if you play at all, you will get dirty. Incident Management by its very nature is messy – especially for the customer – but that is why it exists. The aim of Incident Management is just that – to make the customer's outage or issue less of a mess so they can continue their business operations.

Sometimes we get it wrong – do we stop to consider that getting it wrong is not necessarily a sign of failure? It's Problem Management! It creates an opportunity for growth – we try, we fail, we get up, we improve, we gain new insights and grow in experience – as long as our focus is always the customer.

In the end ITIL will never 'solve' ITSM – nor does it claim to – but it can help us improve. But, isn't that sometimes what we want it to do, or do we accept that it is a framework – and yes, sometimes it is ok when a piece of the frame is skew – maybe for a reason: to adapt to that part of your business that doesn't fit in a neat little box

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