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by Matthew Bell 20.07.21
At nearly 18 months into the pandemic, numerous lockdowns, multiple vaccinees and a completely new way of working – it’s safe to say that...
At nearly 18 months into the pandemic, numerous lockdowns, multiple vaccinees and a completely new way of working – it’s safe to say that the world has changed quite drastically.
Technology has been a huge enabler of this change. Microsoft’s Brad Smith said two years of digital transformation took place in the first two months of the pandemic.
As England emerges from lockdown with a promise of a return to “normality”, which of these tech innovations will stick?
Perhaps the most notable “new tech” is the increased use of video calling, not only as a work tool, but also to stay connected to our loved ones. So much so that Zoom became a verb.
While Zoom-fatigue did hit hard and the thought of another virtual pub quiz is a little sickening, it’s clear that video calling is is a welcomed tool in the workplace, if not in our personal lives.
Unsurprisingly, in-person interactions with friends and family are preferred to virtual ones, but the use of Zoom, Teams and other video conferencing tools have facilitated the new era of flexible working. It’s safe to stay that Zoom is here to stay, whether we like it or not.
Cyber-criminals have had a field day since the pandemic started. Businesses globally were forced to adopt a remote working model where employees were often working from personal PCs, laptops and phones with limited antivirus software.
The ever-growing amount of data breaches means an ever-growing demand for cyber-security professionals. The unemployment rate in cybersecurity has been at 0% since 2011, so the responsibility lies with businesses, organisations and educational programmes to upskill people in the skills needed to fill the gap.
There will always be people looking to exploit a situation. As users of tech, we must remain diligent to phishing attacks, while keeping our devices updated and secure.
Fitness and wellness apps
As gyms remained closed for large parts of the pandemic, people looked for new ways to remain fit and healthy. Apps such as Strava and Nike Run Club were downloaded in mass.
Strava went from just over 2 million sessions each week pre-pandemic, to over 6 million sessions by May 2020. This figure remained even with the reopening of gyms.
While the gym isn’t going anywhere yet, it’s clear that people’s exercise habits have changed. Perhaps it was the efficiency of a home workout vs going to the gym that has kept the momentum going.
Awareness around mental health rose in 2020 as months in lockdown took their toll. Mindfulness and meditation apps such as Calm, which raised new funding at a $2 billion valuation in December 2020, were downloaded globally to combat the lockdown-lows.
The fact that these apps have held on to their users throughout the past 18 months points to a shift in the way we manage our fitness and wellbeing.
With so much uncertainty around what the immediate future will look like, it’s difficult to determine whether the tech we use today will be relevant tomorrow. Certain habits from the past 18 months were indeed welcomed and here to stay – many of which were enabled by technology.
written by Evangeline Hunt
by Jamie Fitzgerald 06.07.21
Many people have been working remotely for over a year now. While it was initially seen as a temporary solution to lockdown, it is becoming clear...
Many people have been working remotely for over a year now. While it was initially seen as a temporary solution to lockdown, it is becoming clear that flexible working is here to stay.
For some organisations, the logistics of remote work was already set up. For others who previously had no remote workers, it was more of a challenge.
In this heavily candidate-driven market, employers need to offer flexible working to attract the best talent. Utilising IT Infrastructure can help businesses implement a successful remote working strategy, while also minimising security and cost issues associated with remote work. Below, we share our top tips on how this can be executed.
Keep security tight
Security threats are amplified when employees are working remotely. Networks operate from beyond the firewall, making them difficult to secure. Some employees are working from their personal devices, which may not have any kind of antivirus software installed.
According to CIO.com, 20% of organisations have fallen victim to a security breach since the start of the pandemic that was directly linked to remote working. An unsurprising statistic, given the new open-door that hackers were gifted with when people started working from home.
To prevent potential security threats, businesses will need to secure the infrastructure and software used by employees when working remotely. One way to do this is to use a centralised desktop environment through the cloud. Working inside a secure cloud environment means that all data remains within the cloud, reducing the chance of potential cyberattacks.
Invest in collaboration tools
Keeping employees connected while working remotely is essential for a happy and engaged workforce. Remote work can sometimes feel lonely, so investing in a business-wide communication tool, such as Teams or Slack, makes collaboration easy and efficient.
Given that remote working is here to stay, scheduling time for virtual coffee breaks can help keep company culture thriving.
Offering a user-friendly way to work remotely is essential to ensure that employees can connect to IT resources when out of the office.
Using a cloud desktop rather than a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) means that a service provider will host your applications in the cloud, reducing any downtime from a weak network connection. A cloud desktop will make it easier for employees to access everything they need on any device, from any location.
Reduce unnecessary hardware using the cloud
Maintaining the hardware of remote employees can be a big challenge. If laptops need maintenance when employees are working from home, it can be difficult to facilitate this.
This goes hand in hand with IT issues in general – any form of hardware/software issue is more time consuming to solve remotely.
Employers can combat this by minimising the amount of physical equipment that their employees need to work from home. As previously mentioned, using a cloud desktop is an easy way for workers to access files and applications from their own devices, while still ensuring everything remains secure. The only resource needed to log onto a cloud desktop is a web browser, making it an accessible option for most.
Reducing the amount of hardware needed can also work to keep costs down. Trying to recreate the whole IT infrastructure of the office in each employee’s home can be costly. The cloud desktop will enable employees to access their workstations without the need for expensive equipment.
The future of the office remaining relatively uncertain, but one thing that we can be sure about is that most employees are keen to keep some aspect of remote working in their schedule.
With the help of IT Infrastructure, businesses can successfully implement a productive remote working strategy to meet these needs, while remaining secure and cost-effective.
We partner with businesses globally to deliver top IT Infrastructure talent that is essential for enabling a post-covid workplace. Are you looking to grow your IT Infrastructure team? Get in touch today to find out how we can assist you!
by Alison Moss 06.05.21
A new Oxford University study reveals “little evidence” of a link between technology use and mental health problems in teenagers. This...
A new Oxford University study reveals “little evidence” of a link between technology use and mental health problems in teenagers. This comes in the run-up Mental Health Awareness Week, which has the theme of ‘nature’ for 2021.
Over 430,000 10 to 15 year-olds from the UK and USA took part in the study, which found a small drop in the association between depression and social media use from 1991 to 2019.
"We couldn't tell the difference between social-media impact and mental health in 2010 and 2019”, said co-author Prof Andrew Przybylski. “We're not saying that fewer happy people use more social media, we’re saying that the connection is not getting stronger.”
Despite this, Przybylski said it was still too early to make any firm conclusions, and “certainly way too soon to be making policy or regulation.”
While this study is good news for the tech industry, it goes against several reports that suggest a more harmful relationship. Mental health problems amongst young people are rising, and technology and social media are often blamed.
Regulators often point to risks of addiction, depression and anxiety among young users. In teenagers, multiple reports link social media use with feelings of suicide and depression, particularly among teenage girls.
The World Health Organisation recommends that children under five should spend no more than one hour a day in front of screens.
Moving forward, more research needs to be done to confirm or deny this link. Taking time away from social media and screens certainty won’t do any harm in the run-up to Mental Health Awareness Week.
by Lewis Andrews 16.03.21
Since the pandemic began, tech has become an essential tool for us to stay in touch with our loved ones, exercise, work, and study. Yet not...
Since the pandemic began, tech has become an essential tool for us to stay in touch with our loved ones, exercise, work, and study. Yet not everyone has access to the same tech – known as the digital divide, which appears to be widening.
Some young people might be able to complete all of their school work, while others only some if they have to share a device amongst the whole family or don’t have a strong enough bandwidth. Some homes don’t have any internet at all, making it impossible for children to engage in remote learning.
Research from Ofcom UK revealed that 1.8 million children in the UK have no access to a laptop, computer or tablet. Speaking on this issue, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said ‘if a child doesn’t have access to broadband, data, or the devices, then they’re not going to be able to lean, and that’s just unacceptable.'
This week, the creator of the world wide web has spoken out about concerns over the widening digital divide. In his annual letter to mark the anniversary of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee said A shocking number of kids in the UK don't have meaningful connectivity’.
Sir Tim is calling on businesses and governments globally to make fibre broadband available for all a priority, with a push to connect young people to the internet. He quotes $428 billion (£306bn) which needs to be invested by governments and the private sector to achieve this aim by 2030. Although this sounds like a huge investment, the economic benefit would be equally huge.
One way in which private businesses are tackling this problem is through satellites. Elon Musk’s SpaceX programme is already working on this. Their Starlink satellite internet constellation consists of thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), which work with ground transceivers to deliver high-speed internet access to consumers globally.
SpaceX has currently launched 1,035 Starlink satellites into space. The current consumer setup cost for Starlink’s internet is $499 plus a $99 monthly service fee. So while such programmes are doing great work to implement the internet in more remote regions, it does nothing to tackle the socio-economic problem of those who cannot afford the internet. Potential solutions to this problem including driving down the cost of accessing the internet, which requires the development of low-cost technologies – not a simple fix.
Furthermore, individuals might be able to assess the internet, but there are additional barriers such as the ability to process the information that the internet is giving. This is more of a barrier in developing countries, where access to education in general is a challenge.
As IT Infrastructure specialists, we know how important this infrastructure is to keep the world connected. IT Infrastructure exists to provide secure connectivity, efficiency, and growth, so we developed our recruitment service to do the same.
IT infrastructure has been our sole focus since we were founded in 2011. We're proud to have placed thousands of IT professionals into meaningful roles that work to implement connectivity across the globe.
We pride ourselves on trusted partnerships, whether you're looking for a new role in IT Infrastructure, talent for your team or considering joining Franklin Fitch. Why not start that partnership today?
by Richard Shayler 16.12.20
While December might feel like a strange time to be making new hires, it’s actually the ideal month to...
While December might feel like a strange time to be making new hires, it’s actually the ideal month to be hiring new talent into your business before the chaos of January commences. Most businesses tend to be fairly quiet during December, which makes it the perfect time to focus on hiring. Here are a few reasons why….
Get ahead of the busy season in January.
January is typically one of the busiest times of the year for hiring. This also makes it the most competitive time to find new talent. If you start your hiring in December, you’ll have the first pick of the bunch when it comes to candidates. There are fewer job postings at this time of year, so yours will have more chance of getting noticed.
The festive spirit in December makes it a great time to welcome new team members.
The office spirit in December tends to be high, which makes it a nice time to welcome new additions to your team. Despite most teams working remotely this year, the festive spirit remains and can be a nice ice-breaker for the virtual introductions. Workload is often reduced over the festive period, giving you ample opportunity to spend some time reviewing applications.
Candidates can easily get time off in December to interview.
It’s common for people to have time off in December, making it easier for candidates to attend interviews (virtual or not). In addition, Covid-19 has left most people with a lot of annual leave to use up before the year ends.
December is a great time to headhunt passive candidates.
The best kind of talent is often not looking for new opportunities, and these will be the first to get snapped up in the new year. If you want the best chance of sourcing these kind of candidates, December is the time to start looking for them.
December is an expensive month for everyone – use this to your advantage.
Are you offering a competitive salary? The expenses of December might encourage people to look for a better salary. If you’re offering one then this can act as an incentive for candidates to move.
Are you looking to hire new IT talent into your business this December? Get in touch to find out how we can help!
by Gareth Streefland 15.12.20
Yesterday saw Google applications such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Docs experience a service outage which meant users were unable to access...
Yesterday saw Google applications such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Docs experience a service outage which meant users were unable to access Google’s services. The outage occurred before midday UK time and lasted less than an hour.
Initially there was uncertainty as to whether the system had been hacked or not and if user’s data was at risk. It soon became apparent that the fault was with the authentication system, rather than a security breach.
A Google spokesperson issued the following statement:
"Today, at 3.47 a.m. PT Google experienced an authentication system outage for approximately 45 minutes due to an internal storage quota issue. Services requiring users to log in experienced high error rates during this period. The authentication system issue was resolved at 4:32 a.m. PT. All services are now restored. We apologise to everyone affected, and we will conduct a thorough follow up review to ensure this problem cannot recur in the future."
The outage had a significant impact on the millions of users who rely on apps such as Gmail and Google Calendar to work.
Although the outage was only brief, it served as a stark reminder of how dependent many people and businesses are on cloud-based services.
The pandemic has proved how valuable cloud services such as GCP can be to keep businesses running remotely, yet those who use Google Cloud will be frustrated after yesterday.
Can Google guarantee that it won’t happen again?
by Leonie Schaefer 20.06.19
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those...
Diversity and inclusion are very important topics for businesses across all industries. We want to shine a light on the topic specifically for those working within IT Infrastructure.
We’ve seen a lot of women in tech initiatives over the years yet still only 10% of participants in this market and skills report were female. Although we were hoping that this is not a representative number, day to day conversations with industry specialist show a similar result.
We are supporting events like CYBERWOMEN 2019 in Germany and hope that initiatives like these will give women and girls the confidence to take on a career in IT Infrastructure.
Although we are huge fans of initiatives encouraging women and girls in tech, we think that this is not enough. Diversity & Inclusion is not only about the female-male divide. It is about tackling biases based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual preference and age (just to name a few) and ending discrimination completely.
We would like to provide a platform for those working within or interested in IT Infrastructure to share their experiences with us and to come up with possible solutions together.
We are conducting interviews with industry experts who are willing to give us their opinions and insights on diversity and inclusion within IT Infrastructure.
Interested? Contact Leonie Schaefer for more information +44 203 696 7950, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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