Sunday, June 30, 2013

Swiss court halts data sent to U.S. authorities

English: The old logo of Credit Suisse.
English: The old logo of Credit Suisse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A Swiss court has ordered an injunction halting the transfer of a former Credit Suisse employee's data to U.S. authorities as part of the bank's attempt to settle a tax investigation, a lawyer involved in the case said on Tuesday.
Douglas Hornung, a Geneva-based lawyer acting for the former Credit Suisse employee, said the ruling was made on June 21, confirming a preliminary decision in January.
The judgment could render it more difficult for banks to reach individual settlements with U.S. authorities in a long-standing row over tax evasion.
Credit Suisse spokesman Marc Dosch declined to comment.
The court ruling comes only days after Swiss lawmakers threw out a draft law aimed at providing a legal basis for banks to hand over this kind of data to U.S. authorities in an attempt to avoid prosecution.
The government plans an executive order to allow banks to hand over data but its efforts could be stymied by more legal action by bank staff fearful of U.S. extradition if they leave the country.
"It will set a precedent and could be repeated for other employees who had access to U.S. clients," Hornung, who also represents other former bankers, told Reuters on Tuesday.
Credit Suisse, like other Swiss banks subject to U.S. investigations, has already made several transfers of data on employees linked to accounts of its U.S. customers in an attempt to avoid indictment and minimize fines.
The last transfer was in June.

Switzerland's biggest bank, UBS, was forced to pay a $780 million fine in 2009 and deliver the names of more than 4,000 clients to avoid indictment.
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Saturday, June 29, 2013

UBS to surrender Indian banking license

Three keys logo by Warja Honegger-Lavater.
Three keys logo by Warja Honegger-Lavater. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Swiss bank UBS AG (UBSN.VX) will surrender its Indian banking license and close its banking unit, covering fixed income, forex operations and credit services, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Saturday.
However, UBS will continue its corporate client service business, which includes mergers and acquisitions, equities and debt capital market services, said the source, who declined to be identified as the information was not yet public.
"That doesn't mean that we are closing down our India operations. We will be closing a very small business unit, to focus on our key strength," said the source. "It's part of our global strategy."
A UBS spokesman declined to comment.
UBS has a full-fledged banking license in India with a single branch in Mumbai and was focusing on the wealth management business, covering foreign exchange, fixed income and credit services.

Indian newspapers reported on Saturday that UBS would surrender its banking license.
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Friday, June 28, 2013

Microsoft disrupts botnets

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase
A team of industry and law enforcement partners—including Microsoft, the FBI and financial firms—have successfully disrupted a collection of botnets running on the Citadel Trojan, freeing more than 1.2 million computers from the control of cybercriminals, Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit said this week.
On June 6, Microsoft announced that it had executed its seventh operation against botnet operators, aiming to significantly disrupt a collection of nearly 1,500 botnets running on the Citadel Trojan. Normally, computers compromised with Citadel would attempt to connect to certain domains and receive orders, but Microsoft and computer emergency response teams around the world redirected many of those domains.
The domains that Microsoft gained control of through a court order were redirected, or "sinkholed," to company-controlled infrastructure, which Microsoft monitors to gauge the size of the botnets.
In the first week, more than 1.2 million unique IP addresses connected more than 178 million times to the sinkhole servers, Richard Boscovich, assistant general counsel of Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit, told eWEEK. While gauging how many infected computers are behind each Internet address is difficult, Microsoft estimates that 1.2 million is the minimum.
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Google on notice with privacy issues

France and five other European nations are putting Google on notice about privacy, telling the search giant that if it doesn't amend its policies about how it deals with users' data within 90 days, large fines will be assessed.

The deadline was issued by France's National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties (CNIL), which is France's data protection agency. In a statement, the CNIL told Google that it is taking the action because the company is not yet in compliance with French law.

An ongoing CNIL investigation "has confirmed Google's breaches of the French Data Protection Act of 6 January 1978, as amended (hereinafter 'French Data Protection Act') which, in practice, prevents individuals from knowing how their personal data may be used and from controlling such use," the CNIL statement said. "If Google Inc. does not comply with this formal notice at the end of the given time limit, CNIL's Select Committee, in charge of sanctioning breaches to the French Data Protection Act, may issue a sanction against the company."

The controversy over privacy and Google's user policies has been simmering for some time. In May 2012, French regulators accused Google of not being cooperative with investigators looking into privacy issues concerning the company and its practices there. The CNIL had sent Google a questionnaire about the new privacy policy in March 2012, but the agency complained that Google's answers were "often incomplete or approximate." A follow-up survey also left questions remaining.
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Deloitte gets banned for a year

Deloitte logo.
Deloitte logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A financial advisory unit of Deloitte LLP has agreed to pay $10 million and accept other New York state penalties to settle accusations of misconduct related to an investigation of money laundering at Standard Chartered Bank.
Deloitte Financial Advisory Services also agreed to a one-year ban on doing consulting work for financial institutions regulated by New York state, and to reforms designed to address conflicts of interest, the state Department of Financial Services said on Tuesday.
The head of the state regulator said the case was just the start of a crackdown "investigating and reforming the consulting industry."
The agreement only applies to Deloitte's financial services advisory group, which is separate from its auditing arm.
In August, Standard Chartered agreed to pay New York $340 million for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries. Last December, it agreed to another $327 million to resolve similar allegations by other U.S. agencies.
Deloitte, which was working as a consultant to Standard Chartered, omitted critical information in a report to regulators on its independent review of the bank, the Department of Financial Services said. The department oversees New York banks and New York branches of foreign banks.
The agency said Deloitte also violated New York banking law giving Standard Chartered confidential reports involving suspicious activity the firm had prepared for other client banks.
The settlement agreement said the regulator found no evidence the consultant intentionally helped or conspired with the bank to launder money. In August, it had said the unlawful conduct by Standard Chartered was "apparently aided" by Deloitte.
Deloitte said it was pleased the agency found no evidence it "knew of, or aided, abetted or concealed any alleged violation of law" by Standard Chartered.
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Crack down on New York banking consultants

English: The corner of Wall Street and Broadwa...
English: The corner of Wall Street and Broadway, showing the limestone facade of One Wall Street in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New York State’s top financial regulator is preparing to crack down on the consulting firms that banks hire to navigate legal problems like money laundering and wrongful foreclosures, according to people briefed on the plans.
In an attempt to force change upon a sector that operates with scant supervision and produces mixed results, Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York’s superintendent of financial services, plans to use an obscure state banking law to rein in banks’ use of consultants, these people said.
Among the aggressive moves under consideration, Mr. Lawsky is said to be weighing whether to ban temporarily at least one firm with a poor track record from advising banks chartered in New York. His office is also considering a new code of conduct for consultants, the people briefed on the plan said.

The state regulator’s plan is the latest threat to the multibillion-dollar consulting industry, which has already come under fire in Washington as it has evolved into something of a shadow regulator of Wall Street. In recent months, consulting firms have been faulted with inadequately handling several prominent bank regulatory problems. In a review of millions of home foreclosures nationwide, for example, consultants racked up more than $2 billion in fees while struggling to complete the assignment. In other cases, consulting firms have been accused of either underestimating the amount of tainted money routed through a bank or even enabling banks to escape regulatory scrutiny for wrongdoing.

The consulting industry, which includes some of the world’s largest accounting firms, has long defended the quality and independence of its work.
Yet the momentum for change stems from a fundamental concern about its business model: that it is fraught with conflicts of interest. While consultants are expected to take a critical look at banks, critics note, they are handpicked and paid by those same banks.

“It is worth considering the monitors’ lack of independence,” Mr. Lawsky said at a speech in Washington this year. “The monitors are hired by the banks, paid by the banks, and depend on the banks for future engagements.”
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Cyber criminals looking for Money Mules

EWeek
EWeek (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A group of criminals using the popular Zeus banking Trojan have started advertising for accomplices, displaying ads for job scams whenever the victim visits a popular job site, financial security firm Trusteer said on June 13.
Typically, victims whose computers are infected with Zeus have to worry about their banks accounts being drained. Yet if a victim visits the popular job site, CareerBuilder.com, some variants of Zeus will also display an ad for a job with a fraudulent company, Trusteer stated in a blog post. In reality, the job is to help criminals transfer stolen cash to another country or cash out goods bought with stolen funds—in other words, a "money mule."
Finding people to help—usually unwittingly—is an ongoing challenge for criminals, but a critical need. Without money mules, cybercriminals would have a very hard time moving stolen money, Etay Maor, fraud prevention solution manager with Trusteer, told eWEEK.
"Money mules are always a scarce resource and whenever criminals do recruit them, they keep a pretty good eye on them," he said. "At the end of the day, you really can't cash out unless you have a mule."
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Bell accused of breaking labour law with unpaid interns

Bell accused of breaking labour law with unpaid interns

Sunday, June 23, 2013

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Google launching antennas

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
Google is launching Internet-beaming antennas into the stratosphere aboard giant, jellyfish-shaped balloons with the lofty goal of getting the entire planet online.
Eighteen months in the works, the top-secret project was announced Saturday in New Zealand, where up to 50 volunteer households are already beginning to receive the Internet briefly on their home computers via translucent helium balloons that sail by on the wind 12 miles above Earth.
While the project is still in the very early testing stages, Google hopes eventually to launch thousands of the thin, polyethylene-film inflatables and bring the Internet to some of the more remote parts of the globe, narrowing the digital divide between the 2.2 billion people who are online and the 4.8 billion who aren't.
If successful, the technology might allow countries to leapfrog the expense of installing fiber-optic cable, dramatically increasing Internet usage in places such as Africa and Southeast Asia.
"It's a huge moonshot, a really big goal to go after," said project leader Mike Cassidy. "The power of the Internet is probably one of the most transformative technologies of our time."
The so-called Project Loon was developed in the clandestine Google X lab that also came up with a driverless car and Google's Web-surfing eyeglasses.
Google would not say how much it is investing in the project or how much customers will be charged when it is up and running.
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Supermoon


saguaromoon.jpg
This Supermoon this weekend isn’t gonna be like your regular, run-of-the mill Supermoon. This Supermoon will be takin’ it to the Extreme!
Supermoons are what it’s called when the moon is at its closest perigee to the Earth. When the moon is at its closest, it naturally appears to look like it’s bigger.
The full moon this coming weekend, the nights of June 22-23, won’t be just a Supermoon, but will be an Extreme Supermoon, takin’ the definition of “Supermooon” to a whole ‘nother level.
According to AccuWeather.com, this weekend’s full moon may look more impressive than any full moons seen so far this year. The moon will be closer to the Earth than at any other time in 2013, so it will make the moon appear larger than usual.
The term “Supermoon” is much less stuffy than how they’re known to astronomers: Perigee Full Moons. AccuWeather’s Marl Paquette, the term “Supermoon” was coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle. It is used to describe any full moon or new moon that is at 90 percent or greater of its closest perigee to Earth.
But, as I said, the full moon this weekend won’t be a regular Supermoon, oh, no. It will be an Extreme Supermoon. Those puppies only occur when a new or full moon is at 100 percent greater mean perigee. Instead of the moon’s usual “typical” distance of 384,400 kilometers, it will pass at only 356,991 kilometers away from the Earth,
Just think what would happen if one of the near-Earth humongous asteroids crashed into the moon when it was at its closest to the Earth, knocking it from its orbit, from where it would then plunge catastrophically deep into the Earth’s crust from which it probably originated in the first place and end all life as we know it on our Big Blue Marble.
Supermoons do have a somewhat stronger effect on tides than regular full moons. but they won’t make you go crazy, or cause more childbirths to occur, or have any adverse affects on behavior or the weather.
Probably not a whole lot will occur that’s any different between this weekend’s full moon and any others, according to scientists and meteorologists. However, according to vampires and werewolves, scientists and meteorologists are full of beans.
Oh, and you’ll also be able to take some awesome photographs of the moon this weekend, assuming you don’t live in an area which will experience lots of clouds and storms.
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Bank overdraft fees again

Three years after regulators tried to rein in the fees banks charge customers for overdrawing checking accounts, overdraft programs are still big business for many banks. That’s one of the key points in a new study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In 2010, the Federal Reserve said banks could no longer automatically enroll customers in overdraft programs; instead, consumers must opt in. More than a year ago, the CFPB said it would study overdrafts to see if the new rules sufficiently protect consumers. The newly released study largely confirms what we’ve reported before: Overdrafts still befuddle some consumers and continue to provide a big source of bank revenue. The study does, though, provide a few interesting nuggets about the business of overdrafts:
• Many banks—especially small ones—depend on overdraft fees. They make up 27.5 percent of community banksnet income after taxes.
Overdraft programs are profitable. The study doesn’t say how much profit banks make. But it does report that banks spend just 14.4 percent of the fees they collect on the most costly part of the program, which comes when a customer overdraws his account but doesn’t have money to later pay off the amount he owes. When banks can’t collect that unpaid balance, they write off the debt.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

BC Hydro workers allegedly aided pot grow-ops

BC Hydro workers allegedly aided pot grow-ops

Reef rampaged by Superyacht

Reef in the Turks and Caicos Islands Rampaged by Superyacht

Posted on June 12, 2013 by andrew

One of the Caribbean’s most pristine environments has been badly damaged by a rampaging superyacht. The superyacht Captain, when spoken to, told nearby divers, “I have a cruising licence and I can do what I want!” It was the volunteers – and then a passing group of scientists – who were the first to respond to the reports that the superyacht had badly damaged the coral reef in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Provo Turtle Divers, who first reported the damage, said the crew from the yacht was warned of possible damage to the reef, but they choose to ignore the warnings.
He said: “They were contacted and the response was, I have a cruising licence and I can do what I want to do.”
“He even stayed another day and damaged the reef even more; he knew what he was doing.”
“I can tell you that the anchor chain decimated a large part of the reef. Imagine a road grader just cleaning off an entire stretch of marine park…it is like a moonscape, it is flat, where it was beautiful before….it’s all gone, thousands of years of growth gone by one vessel.”
Volkert stated that it was heart breaking to see the level of destruction caused by one motor yacht.
His colleague, Art Pickering, who was the one that reported the damage to DEMA, also spoke of the incident.
He said: “What we saw was 220feet motor yacht sitting off the drop off and anchored….the wind was blowing very hard that day and the vessel was sailing back and forth with the wind and that caused the chain to damage the reef.”
“It will take years to re-grow. What we can do is preserve what is left and rebuild…it will take years to get this back.”
According to him, dive operators are, for the large part, the ones on the water regularly and there is need for more patrolling of the marine park.
“We pay a yearly premium to use these parks and protect them…we are the ones who are normally calling in the incidents,” Pickering said.
The matter was first heard in Providenciales Magistrate’s Court and a case has been brought against the yacht captain.
The Governor had this to say: “I sincerely thank the captains of the passing dive boats who reported this incident to the Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs DEMA.”
“Each and every one of us must play our part, as they did, in ensuring that we keep these islands beautiful by nature for future generations.”
“Dealing with this incident has been a real collective effort by a team of volunteers from the community, assisted by resident marine biologist Marsha Pardee, who secured the damaged soft and hard corals to prevent further damage and losses.”
“Assistance too has been provided by the reef’s neighbor, the Amanyara Resort, and the TCI Cabinet, who approved emergency funding to allow this work to be carried out promptly.”
The case against the yacht’s French captain, Benjamin Cameron, 39, is ongoing.
On the trial’s first day, nine witnesses with compelling testimonies took the stand, and reiterated three main points.
They said the Captain disregarded warnings that his vessel was wrongly anchored; his claim of engine problems may not be completely true; and most importantly, the vessel did not have an anchorage permit as previously claimed by Cameron.
Courtesy of  Sail-World Cruising Round-up
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Switzerland backing bill to avoid criminal charges

Switzerland's upper house of parliament has given its backing to a bill that would allow the country's banks to sidestep strict secrecy laws to end the threat of criminal charges for helping wealthy Americans to evade tax.
The protection of client information has helped to make Switzerland the world's biggest offshore financial center, with $2 trillion in assets. But that tradition has come under fire as other countries have sought to ease budget deficits by clamping down on tax evasion.
After U.S. action led to the closure of Switzerland's oldest private bank this year, and with some of its biggest institutions facing formal investigations, the Swiss government is seeking a swift compromise to limit the damage to such a vital industry.
"Even if this bill violates our understanding of constitutional law, it is vital for our country. Switzerland's reputation as a financial center is at stake," said Ivo Bischofberger, of the Christian People's Party, after voting in favor.
The bill, which goes to the lower chamber next week, would allow banks to hand over information and strike settlement deals with U.S. prosecutors. Though such deals would avert the threat of criminal prosecution, they are expected to include heavy fines that could cost the industry as much as $10 billion.
The upper house passed the draft law by 24 votes to 15, but opposition to the bill has been vocal from left to right as lawmakers chafe at what some describe as U.S. blackmail. It is likely to face far tougher debate in the lower house.
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

security technology and services market is forecast to reach $67.2 billion in 2013

The worldwide security technology and services market is forecast to reach $67.2 billion in 2013, up 8.7 percent from $61.8 billion in 2012, as companies continue to expand the technologies they use to improve their overall security, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
Gartner analysts outlined three main trends shaping the security market moving forward—mobile security, big data and advanced targeted attacks—and the firm projected the market would grow to more than $86 billion in 2016. In addition, the report noted the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend is expected to have a far-reaching influence on the entire security industry.
"With security being one of the top IT concern areas, the prospect of strong continued growth is assured," Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "The consistent increases in the complexity and volume of targeted attacks, coupled with the necessity of companies to address regulatory or compliance-related issues, continue to support healthy security market growth."
When examining the advanced targeted attack (ATA), and the new methods being used to breach today's security controls, Gartner found attackers, especially those who have significant financial motivation, have devised effective attack strategies centered on penetrating some of the most commonly deployed security controls, notably signature-based antivirus and signature-based intrusion prevention.
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Monday, June 17, 2013

Dole receives buyout offer

Dole Food Company
Dole Food Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dole Food Co Inc (DOLE.N), one of the world's largest producers and marketers of fruit and fresh vegetables, received an unsolicited buyout offer from 90-year-old Chief Executive David Murdock, valuing the company at just over $1 billion.
Dole shares jumped more than 21 percent to $12.40, well over the offer price of $12 per share, suggesting that some investors expect a higher bid for the company that has posted losses for the last three quarters.
The proposed deal is the latest in a string of management-led acquisition bids, topped by Michael Dell's $24 billion offer to take over the computer giant he founded.
"We see this proposed offer as an attractive transaction that is likely to proceed at or relatively close to this price level, especially given Murdock's strong ownership position, CEO role, and apparently strong personal liquidity position," Jonathan Feeney of Janney Capital markets said.
Murdock, who is also Dole's chairman as well as its biggest shareholder with a 40 percent stake, returned as CEO in February after David DeLorenzo left to run two businesses sold by Dole to Japan's Itochu Corp (8001.T).
Murdock is a high school dropout who ran the company as CEO from 1985 until 2007. As chairman he took Dole Foods public in 2009.
The nonagenarian has said he wants to live to be 125, pinning his hopes on a strict diet, daily exercise and a lifestyle free of pills or supplements, according to his Forbes profile. (link.reuters.com/deq78t)
The bid comes after Dole sold its packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses to Itochu last year for $1.7 billion, paring its size by a third.
The company is now left with its fruit and fresh vegetables business in North America and its fruit businesses in Latin America, Europe and Africa.
Dole, like rival Chiquita Brands Inc (CQB.N), has been struggling with volatile demand and low prices for bananas, its biggest-selling product.

The company, which traces its roots to pineapple plantations set up in Hawaii in mid-1800s, said it would establish a special committee of independent directors to consider the proposal.
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Sunday, June 16, 2013

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S (Photo credit: cdorobek)
Tesla Motors, makers of fine electric performance vehicles, recently surprised the mainstream with news its Model S performance sedan had surpassed Mercedes S-Class, Audi A8 and BMW 7-series in sales for the first quarter in the US. For a company that only released the Model S last June, news of this exponential interest was not only surprising but worked to further validate consumer interest in a fully electric vehicle. On top of the surprising sales figures, media sources like Consumer Reports proclaimed Tesla’s Model S to be one of the “best cars they'd ever tested”. With positive feedback and increasing sales of the Model S, Tesla has identified an expansion of its Supercharger networks as a critical next step. 
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Friday, June 14, 2013

Manslaughter conviction overturned due to lack of First Nation jurors

Manslaughter conviction overturned due to lack of First Nation jurors

The top U.S. derivatives regulator won a legal victory

The top U.S. derivatives regulator won a legal victory over Bloomberg LP late on Friday when a court dismissed a case the data vendor had filed that claimed a new rule on trading swaps would hurt its business.
Bloomberg is one of a dozen or so providers launching a platform on which to trade swaps, as regulators across the world crack down on the $630 trillion market to prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
But that effort would be hurt by a new rule from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which will force buyers and sellers of swaps to set aside enough money - or margin - to cope with the impact of a deal falling apart, Bloomberg had argued.
That is because the margin on a swap should be enough to cover five days of unwinding the position, but only one day for futures, a similar type of product traded on rival exchanges, making them cheaper to use.
The court said, however, that Bloomberg had provided no evidence that this requirement would hurt its business.
"Bloomberg ... simply assume the worst-case scenario ... without grounding their assumption in the actual behavior," it said in its ruling.
On another point, it said that the "plaintiff's contentions in this regard are remarkably perfunctory and devoid of factual support."
Bloomberg could not be reached for comment.
Commissioner Bart Chilton said in a statement that the CFTC could focus on the task ahead of tightening regulations of swaps now that "another attempt to second-guess regulators on financial reform measures sought by Congress and President (Barack) Obama" was behind it.

Underlying the lawsuit is a looming battle between exchanges and investment banks over who rules the lucrative derivatives market, a vast playground for speculators, parts of which were long unregulated.
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Thursday, June 13, 2013

SMBs and data protection

Many small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) are experiencing significant issues with the cost, complexity and lack of capabilities of their data protection for virtual environments, according to backup, replication and virtualization management solutions specialist Veeam Software’s inaugural SMB Virtualization Data Protection Report, which surveyed 500 SMBs in the United States and Europe.

In particular, 85 percent of SMBs are experiencing cost-related challenges with backup and recovery, including high ongoing management costs (51 percent), expensive licensing models (48 percent) and backups either requiring or using too much storage (44 percent).

In addition, 83 percent reported capability-based challenges, including backups taking too long (40 percent), recovery taking too long (34 percent, suggesting that the majority are happy with 4 hours’ recovery time), difficulty recovering virtual servers (25 percent) and file- and application-level recovery being too difficult (22 percent).

"More and more, SMBs are being subjected to the same IT challenges and business pressures as large enterprises," Ratmir Timashev, president and CEO of Veeam, said in a statement. "As such, any disruption to their IT infrastructure can have severe consequences. This is why it’s particularly worrying that the vast majority of SMBs reported cost, complexity and capability challenges with backup and recovery. When you also consider that 1 in 6 recoveries simply don’t work, it’s clear that the issue of data protection is a ticking time bomb in the SMB community."
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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Alberta pipeline leaks 9.5 million litres of waste water

Alberta pipeline leaks 9.5 million litres of waste water

Mobile Payments increased 44%

The number of mobile payment users worldwide will reach 245.2 million in 2013, up from 200.8 million in 2012, while worldwide mobile payment transaction values will reach $235.4 billion in 2013, a 44 percent increase from 2012 values of $163.1 billion, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.

Money transfers and merchandise purchases are expected to account for about 71 percent and 21 percent of total transaction value in 2013, making them the largest contributors by far. However, on a worldwide scale, the report noted people are not purchasing as much because the buying experience on mobile devices has yet to be optimized. Currently, people are spending less money through mobile devices than through online e-commerce services and at retail outlets. Merchandise purchases account for about 23 percent of the total value forecast for 2017, Gartner analysts projected.

"We expect global mobile transaction volume and value to average 35 percent annual growth between 2012 and 2017, and we are forecasting a market worth $721 billion with more than 450 million users by 2017," Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "Nevertheless, we have lowered the forecast of total transaction value for the forecast period due to lower-than-expected growth in 2012, especially in North America and Africa."

North America's transaction value is forecast to grow 53 percent in 2013, reaching $37 billion, up from $24 billion in 2012. The region has been impacted by low adoption of near field communication (NFC) payment services and many merchants launching mobile apps in a copycat fashion, but lack a clear strategy to make implementation successful.
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Ontario won't stop double-ending

Ontario moves to tighten rules around real estate agents 'double-ending,' but won't ban the practice If legislation is pa...