BetaNews Staff

Avast releases 'Aspen', its most secure browser to date

People tell us they are becoming increasingly wary of using third-party browsers such as those from Opera, Chrome and Firefox. It might come as a surprise, but many average users will opt to stick with their default OS browser, Edge, and a powerful security suite to keep themselves secure.

The question is, is this the most secure way of surfing the web in 2019? Could the connection between your computer and the internet be made more rock solid? Well, Avast certainly thinks so.

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In praise of the autoencoder

AI

When you consider all the machine learning (ML) algorithms, you’ll find there is a subset of very pragmatic ones: neural networks. They usually require no statistical hypothesis and no specific data preparation except for normalization. The power of each network lies in its architecture, its activation functions, its regularization terms, plus a few other features.

When you consider architectures for neural networks, there is a very versatile one that can serve a variety of purposes -- two in particular: detection of unknown unexpected events and dimensionality reduction of the input space. This neural network is called autoencoder.

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Data center and server room considerations: What you need to know

In the rapidly-evolving data-hungry IT environment, data center management is becoming increasingly intensive and complex. Team that with the constant pressure to control costs while increasing efficiency and capacity, data center traffic is projected to more than triple by 2020, driven primarily by our dependence to do business, communicate, and entertain over the Internet.

The immense amount of data needed to support these activities requires not only a growing number of data centers, but new kinds of data center builds, which also necessitates new ways to manage them. In addition, green initiatives driven by power concerns and the implications of size and scale, coupled with the adoption of new technologies, are creating a confluence of often conflicting forces that require new and innovative data center management solutions.

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The biggest data security risk? Downloading data to a spreadsheet

These days, it seems like every time you turn around another company announces a data breach. At the same time, organizations spend millions on their data warehouses, security solutions, and compliance initiatives. But all of that spend can instantly be rendered useless by the everyday business workflow of downloading data to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Of course, business experts aren’t looking to circumvent enterprise governance practices. They’re just trying to get the answers they need to make better business decisions. And because they lack the SQL programming expertise or extensive training required to work with data directly in most business intelligence (BI) tools, they are often powerless to answer the questions raised in the last meeting or email. So they turn to what they know best: the spreadsheet.

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10 ways digital accessibility improves the user experience

As companies vie for customer attention and online business, they are discovering an important and largely untapped market: accessible content for those who have a disability. With more than a billion people around the world with some type of disability, businesses cannot afford to exclude this portion of the population.

Loyalty is critical when it comes to customer satisfaction and return business. How your users experience your website will help determine whether they become the kind of loyal customers that make up your consumer base. If they feel as though you care for their needs and provide a positive experience on your website, you will create customers that will both buy and come back again.

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The evolution of data and disparate systems

The weird thing about evolution is that it affects us even though we are deeply aware of its mechanisms and processes. There's something unavoidable and inexorable about it. While that's true of physical processes governed by natural selection, perhaps it's less true of human culture and technology. Or is it?

Over the long history of IT and its use in and by big business, we've seen constant innovation, sometimes incremental in progress but sometimes radically discontinuous. Consider the steady march of microprocessor performance in the former case and the sudden AI deep learning revolution for the latter. But in both cases what's happened before and what's happening now affect and influence what directions tech goes into tomorrow.

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PC-as-a-Service or managed device services? The difference matters

If you are among the many who are confused about PC-as-a-Service (PCaaS) or Device-as-a-Service (DaaS), you are not alone. A frequently asked question on the subject is, "Isn’t this just a lease?" The simple answer is, "No, it is not."

Financially, this model has more in common with a rental agreement with services attached, because you never actually hold the title to the hardware. Rather, at the end of the agreement, you discontinue the service or renew, generating an automatic refresh. Simply put, PCaaS is one more financial "vehicle" at your disposal, in addition to leasing and buying.

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The hidden costs of managing Windows: How to overcome the 'penalty of growth' with upgrade automation

A growing employee roster. Expanding office locations. The use of innovative tools and technology. These are all the hallmarks of a successful and growing business. Unfortunately, they can also be substantial obstacles when it comes to keeping Windows endpoints current with the latest OS updates, security patches and software upgrades. Because of the time, cost and often a lack of resources, these hidden costs of Windows management force many organizations to stall in making crucial system upgrades. This puts them at grave risk of a security breach the likes of WannaCry or NotPetya that could shut down the entire company -- definitely not a growth driver.

For growing businesses, the modern work environment has made migrations, like the roll-up from Windows 7 to Windows 10 (and even everyday patching), extremely difficult with hidden costs that add up quickly in the race to merely stay current. Here are just a few obstacles in Windows management that inadvertently penalize businesses for growth. 

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The next industry to be drastically changed by AI: Oil and gas

Back in 2015, Shell launched an artificial intelligence-powered assistant for their lubricant service customers. Represented by digital avatars Emma and Ethan, the assistant assists customers with lubricant-related questions and concerns. It’s available around the clock, which means people can reach out at any time of the day or night and receive answers in seconds.

Shell claims that the assistant can handle over 100,000 data sheets for 3,000 products, and understands 16,500 physical characteristics of lubricants. The technology can also provide detailed information to customers about more than 18,500 pack sizes.

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How I quit social media, but it didn't quit me

Facebook censorship

My name is Jason Kingdon, social media addict and Founder and CEO of BOLDFISH. I've been Facebook free for three years now, but I can't seem to separate it from my life. Wherever I go, there it is. Sign in with Facebook or follow us for more. At networking events, new contacts are incredulous and offended when I state my lack of social media. He lies, their eyes read

Some of my friends have acclimated to just texting me, but others have fallen out of touch. I've become accustomed to the "OMG! How are you!? I haven't seen you in forever! Are you still in China?" It’s as though time had frozen since the last time we made contact. There are amazing memories from pictures and status updates, yet they assume that what they consume is all that there ever was or will be.

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Office 365 phishing attacks: How hackers get access to your business

With 155 million corporate users, the highly popular Microsoft Office 365 has become a target-rich environment for sophisticated phishing attacks. On top of all the standard phishing and spear phishing threats, Office 365 presents a number of unique attack techniques for hackers looking to compromise the platform.

Microsoft is the number one phished brand for the third straight quarter -- thanks to Office 365. A multisystem platform, Office 365 combines email, file storage, collaboration, and productivity applications, including OneDrive and SharePoint. Together, they represent a honeypot of sensitive data and files that phishers are looking to exploit.

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How carriers can set themselves apart in today's competitive landscape

In an ongoing effort to keep up with their closest competition, the Big Four -- T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon -- have continually innovated and directed wireless industry trends over the years.

As such, the challenge of an ever-evolving carrier landscape has made it increasingly difficult for regional carriers to keep pace. But, with a little creativity and perseverance, regional carriers still have opportunities to stand out.

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The art of workplace motivation: How to keep IT staff engaged under high-growth pressure

IT teams, particularly in the tech and health tech worlds, face a high level of pressure in today’s environment -- whether it is supporting first-to-market launches or ensuring the highest level of security to prevent data breaches. But how do you keep an IT team engaged, motivated while ensuring they are "always on?"

According to a recent Gallup poll, only 2 in 10 employees strongly agree their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work. That frustration can lead to serious retention issues. In fact, LinkedIn’s most recent talent turnover report indicated the tech software sector saw a 13.2 percent turnover rate, the highest in comparison to the other major categories (media and professional services). Here are 5 tips to keep IT staff focused and driven.

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Is GDPR the new hacker scare tactic?

GDPR in Europe

No one questions the good intent behind the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation, or the need for companies to be more careful with the proprietary information they have about clients, patients, and other individuals they interact with regularly. While the provisions within the GDPR do help, they have also created new opportunities for hackers and identity thieves to exploit that data.

There’s no doubt that seeking to be fully GDPR compliant is more than just a good idea. Along the way, just make sure your organization doesn’t fall victim to one of the various scams that are surfacing. Let’s take a quick review of GDPR and then dive into the dirty tricks hackers have been playing.

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Cloud-based risk management: Transforming business safety processes

Industries employing commercial and non-commercial drivers experience immense pressure to meet safety regulations and ensure employee and brand protection. A report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that approximately 40 percent of motor vehicle accidents are work-related and cost employers over $56 billion annually, with 53 percent of vehicle accidents causing employees to miss work. Whether a company employs sales professionals, commercial drivers or service technicians, the importance of tracking driver performance is paramount.

In the 21st century, businesses can no longer ignore the modern data solutions revolutionizing company risk management. The cloud-based fleet management market is projected to be worth over $17 billion by 2025, and this surge in market growth has unearthed inefficiencies in mobility risk management. Consistent feedback on driving behavior is key to mitigating a fleet company’s risk, which is why employers and fleet managers are increasingly embracing cloud-based technology and its real-time reporting benefits.

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