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Bad Software and Bad Tech Training Is Costing Companies $1.8 Trillion

Cary, N.C.-based IT firm Samanage has just released its State of Work Survey Results. The study asserts that U.S. business are losing as much as 1.8 trillion annually due to software issues.

Samanage surveyed 3,000 workers in January 2016, and found a number of software-related issues, among which was respondents’ calculations that they waste about 520 hours a year on repetitive tasks that could be automated, provided they had the software to do it. (This is the source of the 1.8 trillion figure.)

Employees also complained about slow networks, and collaboration software proved to be specially problematic. For one, thing, 17.4% didn’t even know what collaboration software their company uses, while a surprising 63% said they collaborated via email, an antiquatedly slow method that doesn’t facilitate team discussion that way that chat programs like Slack or Yammer do. Only 7.2% of respondents use chat software at work.

Another issue is that one in five employees have downloaded apps that haven’t been vetted by their IT departments — this is a dangerous problem to have, both for company security and for prevention of viruses and malware. It may have something to do with the fact that 36.8% think that their company’s software — that is, IT-sanctioned apps — are outdated. 12.2% want more mobile-friendly tools and 9.5% think greater cloud access to their document would be useful.

Clearly there’s often a troubling disconnect between IT departments and employees, and insufficient training in how to leverage what their apps can actually do for them. This may lie at the heart of problems the survey uncovers. When employees aren’t properly taught how to master their software, IT is overwhelmed with support requests. As IT struggles to get through the workload, they wind up further infantilizing employees by implementing a quick fix without educating the employee on what’s happened before racing on to the next support request.

Software — on the desktop, in mobile devices, and in the cloud — offers companies and their employees amazing new capabilities. Maybe we just need to slow down a bit to make sure we all know how to use it.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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How to Avoid Frauds — And Being Hacked — on LinkedIn

Many of us are receiving more LinkedIn connection requests these days from people who seem to be strangers. When you receive a request like this, it’s hard to be sure how to respond. After all, it might be someone to whom you’re indirectly connected, and you don’t want to be rude. On the other hand, it may be part of some kind of fraudulent scheme, or worse, a hacker attempting some “human engineering” on you.

So what could a stranger be after, anyway? According to Ondrej Krehel of CSO, it’s likely to be phishing of some sort. Hackers use phishing to collect bits of seemingly innocent information that can be combined and built upon. One group of reportedly Iranian hackers posed as corporate headhunters on LinkedIn in order to acquire emails from within their targets’ companies. A hacker can glean information from business emails — such as job titles and a company’s organizational structure — that gives him leverage to phish higher and higher up the food chain. Some hackers make it to the top, posing as management capable of order subordinates to transfer funds to an account controlled by the hacker.

And of course, there’s the potential for planting malware on targets’ computers. The Carbanak cyber gang is believed to have made off with $1 billion from more than 100 financial institutions world-wide. Krehel says that fraudulent LinkedIn requests have some traits in common to keep an eye out for:

  • Hackers often use stock images of attractive women as profile pictures. Unfortunately, they may also use pictures of actual professionals to appear more credible.
  • Hackers may misrepresent themselves as recruiters for firms that may or may not actually exist, or list themselves as “self-employed.”
  • Hackers have lately been copying real profiles, which is especially tricky since an external search will lead you down the same rabbit hole.
  • A hacker’s fake profile will be littered with an abundance keywords to ensure the profile pops up in as many searches as possible.

So who can you trust among the LinkedIn requests that pop out of nowhere? See if LinkedIn shows you as being indirectly connected to the person already. You can also try a Google search to learn more about the person, bearing in mind that it won’t protect you if someone stole and identity outright. You can also try directly calling the company they claim to work for. Before you click the Accept button, whatever you do, think twice.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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An Intriguing App for Finding Gigs in the Gig Economy

Forbes columnist Brian Rashid makes a great point. When someone is looking for a job, they’re caught in a time wasting, reactive form of professional growth since their skill set gets stuck on hold as they wait for a job. The emerging gig economy offers a way out of this numbing stasis by elevating freelancing to a legitimate career choice as a fluid — maybe even enjoyable — environment in which you can develop a diverse array of work skills. According to Rashid, there are currently about 53 million freelancers in America these days, and by 2020, it’s estimated that 50% of the workforce will be on-demand workers.

And how will these temporary gigs be found? One interesting idea comes from a company called Tispr, which is developing what they call a “sustainable, reliable, and safe ecosystem to instantly connect, collaborate, and work.” Their job marketplace is built around the company’s mobile iOS Tispr app that will soon also be available for Android devices.

Within the app, freelancers list whatever it is they can do as “offers.” An offer includes whether you’ll be providing a service remotely or locally (based on the app’s knowledge of your location). Tispr is currently set up for over 40 different loosely defined service categories. People who need jobs done use those categories to make requests in which they describe what they need and where they’d like it done. Tispr automatically matches requests with offers and sends freelancers notifications about opportunities, after which a bidding process between freelancer and client can begin. Tispr doesn’t take a cut or guarantee anyone’s legitimacy.

As the gig economy takes over, innovative network systems like Tispr’s are likely to become central to people careers, creating responsive frameworks within which work can get done and money can be made.

Robby Berman

Robby Berman is a reporter, father, and musician who creates and discovers good stuff for the Internet world.

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Companies Reach Beyond Technophobia

The second-most popular, in fact, over-booked, event at the recent Davos World Economic Forum — second only to actor Kevin Spacey’s appearance — was the panel on digital transformation. The topic discussed was companies’ frantic struggles to do more than just keep up with new technologies. With the recognition that new tools enable new opportunities and ways to conduct business, companies feel like they’re under tremendous pressure to achieve mastery of them quickly and constantly. Many on the panel felt that company cultures actually presented the biggest roadblocks to fully embracing technology’s potential, not the tech itself.

The value of office cultures evolving is echoed in a new report from Accenture’s People First: The Primacy of People in the Digital Age. Its overriding conclusion is that a company needs to incorporate emerging technologies in more than just their customer-facing activities — these tools need to become part of the everyday work experience to become such a part of the way employees think that they lead to creative imagining of new products, methods, and even markets. Companies have to resist the trap of thinking business is now all about tech; it’s really all about how people utilize it.

The report cites examples of how some companies have dived in and found ways to use technology to improve their businesses. Virgin Airlines, for example, has experimented with in-flight social networks, an intriguing way to create a sense of a community and a sense of ownership, among passengers. The company also picked up two new gates at Dallas Love Field by getting 30,000 frequent flyers to sign a Change.org petition requesting the gates. Zappos’ intense focus on their customers has led them to clever data mining that lets them identify the customers they care most about and target them with ads more effectively.

The Accenture report also identifies some major trends and suggests some people-centric strategies to help companies go beyond just coping with them.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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Mac Vs Windows 10: Which Works Best for Your Team

Optimized-iStock_000040385406_Small.jpgOpposites attract … usually. But when it comes to the PC versus Mac debate, we’ve not seen enough common ground between these two warring factions to warrant hand-holding, let alone marriage. The division between the two sets of computer advocates has been so pronounced, we’re pretty sure Match.com could use the “are you a Mac or are you a PC person” as one of their qualifying relationship profile questions.

Sabrina Son

Sabrina is the editor in chief for TINYpulse news. She's dipped her toes into various works of writing — from retail copywriter to magazine editor. Her work's been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg BNA, and Tech.co.

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