Monday, January 27, 2014

Iraq Banks Adopting Technology to Boost Business

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While Iraq wrestles with a pickup in brutal violence again, the country’s bankers continue to painstakingly modernize and build a banking sector that is crucial to the country’s economic resurgence.
Take National Bank of Iraq, for example: this Baghdad-listed lender with eight branches is introducing internet and mobile banking this year as well as installing 20 ATMs, a major step for a bank that operates in a predominantly cash-based economy with outdated technology.
“We’re coming from traditional, manual banking: this is a revolution,” said the bank’s vice-chairman Ayman Abu-Dhaim on the sidelines of a two-day business event promoting finance in Iraq.
National Bank of Iraq is one of nearly 40 lenders operating in the country that holds the fifth-largest known oil reserves in the world. It competes with other local, many family-owned, banks and a growing number of more savvy financial groups from abroad such as Standard Chartered and Citigroup.
Sami al-Araji, chairman of Iraq’s National Investment Commission, told the conference about the nationwide investment plan to the tune of $357 billion aimed at jumpstarting its economy. He also spoke of the country’s $1 trillion spending needs to rebuild and upgrade its infrastructure. The lion’s share of the funding for those investments will have to come from Iraq’s oil and gas revenues.
In addition, Iraq’s gross domestic product could grow at an average of 7% between now and 2024, effectively tripling the size of the economy, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimates.
So for banks that can stomach the security and the inherent volatility issues, Iraq indeed looks like the place to be.
But the challenges remain immense as the banking sector lags in terms of regulation and technology while also lacking sufficient human resources, bankers said.
“It is surprising that in this day and age some of the international companies we talk to are saying they need to carry with them hundreds of thousands of dollars…to make their basic transactions work. This is clearly not a sustainable model. A cash economy is an old economy, a cash economy doesn’t work efficiently and is insecure,” said Gavin Wishart, chief executive of Standard Chartered in Iraq.

Best Tips on How to Avoid Spyware and Viruses

As a company offering IT Services in Los Angeles, we deal with many cases in which viruses or spyware have taken a toll on a business.  This can cause extreme IT downtime, which in turn causes the loss of productivity and profit.  In order to avoid all of this, there are many things you can do.  The first tip we have is to stop clicking links directly from an email.  A direct link could be a direct link to a virus.  You should always manually navigate a site from scratch rather than clicking the link in your email.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wii U's failure to wow leads to Nintendo profit warning

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Nintendo's Wii U video games console, intended to capitalise on the roaring success of 2006's Wii, has so far flopped – and is causing problems for the Japanese games company behind Mario the plumber.
In an announcement on Friday announcement the company dramatically slashed the number of Wii Us it expects to sell in the 12 months to April from 9m to just 2.8m, and said that it will make an annual loss, with total sales expected to shrink for the second year in a row, rather than growing by one-third. That will mark its third year in a row of making an operating loss.
Potential buyers seem to be favouring instead games on smartphones and tablets, a category which has exploded since Nintendo launched its best-selling Wii with the innovative "motion controllers" in December 2006 – just before the smartphone market began to boom.
But now the company has been left adrift as its audience of "casual" gamers has found other outlets. The reduced forecast comes after many observers had said that the 9m sales predicted earlier this year by management for the Wii U was unfeasible following its comparatively small sales of 3.45m in its first year in 2012.
Sony and Microsoft have each already outsold that figure with the new PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles released in the autumn. They can rely on committed gamers who will wait for top-end games.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Report: NSA uses radio waves to hack OFFLINE computers

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The latest secret National Security Agency Surveillance program leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden reveal the agency has infected nearly 100,000 computers with software that allows them to hack and conduct cyber attacks via radio waves.
The New York Times reports the agency installs the majority of its software by infiltrating computer networks, but also makes use of a secret technology that gives the agency the ability to manipulate data on computers not connected to the Internet.
A hardware program called ANT uses small circuit boards and USB devices physically inserted into computers by manufacturers, spies or unwitting users to send and receive signals on a secret radio channel to and from briefcase-size transmitters from miles away.

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How to Choose the Right Technology for Your Business?

Multiple functionality is important when shopping for technology solutions for your business. Many companies want to hire employees that can multi task.  This means that they can do many different tasks at the ssame time.  The same goes for technoloyg.  The best technology will help a business and its employees multi task.  Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms have intuitive user interfaces that spans across a spectrum of devices based on the parameters of consistency, simplicity and intelligence.  For more information please visit this computer support company in Los Angeles's website.
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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Target customers affected by data breach to get new cards from banks, credit unions

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Southern Nevadans who shopped at Target during a credit and debit card data breach should be receiving new cards from their banks or credit unions.
One Nevada Credit Union, Nevada State Bank, Wells Fargo &Co. and other major financial institutions were affected by the 19-day breach, which some industry analysts say is among the largest recorded data security breaches.
One Nevada Credit Union says about 7,000 debit cards and about 500 credit cards will have to be replaced. The Las Vegas-based credit union has 75,190 members statewide.
“We are being proactive,” said Greg Barnes, senior vice president of marketing with One Nevada. “We have reached out to our members and told them that their debit or credit cards would be replaced.”
Barnes said the cost of the Target breach has been “very minimal,” about $2,000.
Banks and credit unions will bear the expense of reissuing cards. Barnes stressed that One Nevada members are not liable for any losses.
Nevada State Bank and Wells Fargo didn’t release card replacement or cost figures.
Target operates 19 stores in Nevada, with 16 in Clark County.
“Nevada State Bank determined from the beginning that a reduction of risk was the best possible option for our credit and debit card clients impacted by the Target card data breach,” said Greg Kirkland, executive vice president and director of retail banking.
Kirkland said Nevada State Bank is urging its clients to monitor their accounts. He said the Las Vegas-based bank is issuing new cards to all affected customers.
“We reached out via phone and email to advise impacted clients of the actions we were taking,” Kirkland said.
“It is always important to monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity and notify your institution if you see anything inaccurate.”
Natalie Brown, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, said that to prevent fraud, the bank continually monitors cardholder accounts for unusual patterns and card activity.
She said that if the bank believes security is at risk, “we’ll take action to safeguard customers’ accounts, which may include replacing the card entirely.”
Brown recommended that customers monitor their accounts for any suspicious transactions and call the number on the back of the card if they see anything they do not recognize.
The breach exposed the credit and debit card information of 40 million people who paid with plastic at Target stores nationwide between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Top Business Intelligence Trends For 2014

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From cloud pilots to embedded business intelligence to a greater emphasis on user education, here is what experts say we can expect from BI in 2014.
Ask people about business intelligence (BI), these days, and they almost invariably talk about Big Data. While closely related, they are certainly not the same thing. Having already published Big Data trends for this year, we follow up here with the top business intelligence trends.

BI Balancing Act

Elizabeth Hedstrom Henlin, an analyst at Technology Business Research(TBR), forecasts that vendors set to grow in a maturing BI software market are aligning portfolios and go-to-market strategies with customers’ evolving business intelligence needs. They face a BI landscape where growth dictates being able to equally serve advanced customers who got on board early and know exactly which niche tools they need to expand current deployments, as well as lagging adopters who know they need to have fundamental BI implementations and don’t know where to start.  
"Vendors that can balance customers’ BI software needs around performance and cost, as well as interoperability and integration, will drive adoption of BI products and ensure revenue growth in 2014," said Henlin.

Cracking the Data Code

Eric Kimberling, managing partner, Panorama Consulting Solutions, continues this theme. He notes that while companies have had roughly 20 years of experience gathering transactional and operational data in their enterprise systems, they have yet to figure out how to make sense of it all. He believes the real battle in the coming year will be over who can simplify the process of providing fast answers from the chaotic mountain of data they are accumulating.

"Vendors that crack the code on how to translate this data into meaningful information that can support decision-making within organizations will have a clear advantage over other vendors," he said.

Educate the Masses

TBR sees a critical need for vendors to sustain investment around user education. The self-service aspects of BI tools and applications place tools into the hands of business users who do not possess fundamental knowledge bases in how to use them in support of the business. Education is the key.   

"Those who can teach users how to ask questions and how to interpret outputs create a critical bridge of trust which will sustain not only user loyalty but purchasing engagement over time," said Henlin. "Adding business process change consulting to the conversation further enables customers to change how they do business in response to more and better insights into business data – extending engagements outside of business intelligence and into business transformation."

Business Technology Predictions for 2014

2013 was a great year for business technology.  So many new innovations because prevalent, while others are now obsolete.  TVG Consulting, an IT consulting firm in Los Angeles, recently blogged about their predictions for 2014.  They talk about where technology is going and how it can be used to any business owners benefit.  For more information or to read the full version of this blog post please visit the link below.