Indian firms fast embracing Microsoft 365 for modern workplaces

Nov 16, 2017 0

New Delhi– With the Indian enterprises, along with over 50 million small and medium businesses (SMB), aiming to embrace digital workplaces, the cloud-powered productivity solution Microsoft 365 is fast helping the CIOs and CTOs meet their IT goals in a secure way, a top company executive said here on Thursday.

Microsoft India on Thursday showcased Microsoft 365 — a complete, intelligent solution, which brings together Office 365, Windows 10 and enterprise mobility and security.

“With a rapid adoption of Cloud-enabled intelligent solutions at workplaces in India, Microsoft 365 is offering built-in, intelligent security and helps streamline IT by unifying management across users, devices, apps and services,” Alok Lall, Partner Technology Lead, Microsoft India, told IANS.

Owing to a diverse and increasingly mobile workforce, Indian organisations are faced with the challenge of safeguarding customer data, company data and intellectual property.

“With Office 365, sectors across the spectrum, especially the SMBs, in India can leverage their true potential and create a modern, secure workplace,” Lall added.

Microsoft 365 is available in India starting at Rs 661 per user per month. The company offers Microsoft 365 Enterprise, Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Firstline solutions.

“The adoption of Microsoft 365 has helped us become well-equipped to the rapidly evolving industry needs. The solution has helped us simplify processes, enable productivity, creativity and teamwork amongst the employees,” said Ramana SV, Senior Vice President and Head Global IT, HCL Technologies.

According to Subramanyam Putrevu, Chief Information Officer, Mindtree Consulting, using Microsoft 365, they are finding ways to empower everyone in the organisation to be more creative, to be more collaborative and to be more engaged to do their best work.

The State Bank of India (SBI) has chosen Office 365, the cloud-powered productivity solution, from Microsoft to improve communication and collaboration among its workforce.

This is one of the largest deployments of Office 365 in India, spanning SBI’s countrywide network of 23,423 branches, enabling 263,000 employees and servicing more than 500 million customer accounts.

According to Madu Ratnayake, Chief Information Officer and Head of Business Process Excellence at VirtusaPolaris, with Microsoft 365, they are fostering a new culture at work enabled by technology.

Microsoft 365 has also seen significant adoption with organisations around the world such as Aston Martin and Dentsu Aegis Network.

According to a latest “Workplace 2020 Study” by Microsoft, 45 per cent workers face key gaps at the workplace today, especially those at the firstline.

“Sixty-three per cent of respondents said they needed to be in office as special tools that they use are only available in office – signifying a lack of flexibility in the way they work, or innovate,” the findings showed.

While 41 per cent can only have full access to important information when they are in the office – restricting on-the-go productivity and innovation, 68 per cent workers are checking personal emails on company-issued devices – thus exposing their work devices to potential security risks, the study emphasised.

“For a mobile-first country like India which has second highest number of smartphones users, Office 365 can help organisations address these key challenges with modern tools and solutions that make employees more productive, creative and secure,” Lall noted.

Microsoft 365 Firstline is designed to maximize the impact of the Firstline worker. The product will help foster culture and community, train employees, digitize processes and deliver real-time expertise while minimizing risk and cost for enterprises.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise is built on the foundation of a secure productive enterprise, giving people flexibility and choice in how they connect, share and communicate.(IANS)

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Emami looks at inorganic opportunities in ayurvedic space

Nov 14, 2017 0

Guwahati–  FMCG major Emami Ltd, which is looking at inorganic opportunities in the ayurvedic segment in India as well as abroad, is hoping that its future growth would come from “core brands and brand extensions” in the space, a company official said on Tuesday.

“In the ayurvedic business, our growth will come from core brands, it could also come from brand extensions,” the company’s Chief Financial Officer N.H. Bhansali told reporters here on the sidelines of inauguration of firm’s third manufacturing plant at Pacharia in Assam’s Kamrup district.

“The company is also looking at inorganic opportunities in India and overseas.”

The new facility, spread over a total planned floor area of over 50,000 sqm for a total capacity of 90,000 mtpa, is built at an investment of Rs 300 crore.

The brand extensions can take place in haircare, personalcare and skin care, he said, adding that everywhere there is a lot of scope.

Asked whether the company is looking into brands or business acquisitions, he said: “It will depend whether we will be looking into brand acquisition or acquisition of production facilities… it will depend on the opportunities which will come.

“What makes sense for us, we will look into them. But generally, in our business, the brands are very important.”

On the possible geographies for any acquisitions that may take place, he said its focus countries would be Middle East, Russia, Africa, South East Asia.

The Rs 50,000 crore Emami group of companies has a portfolio of nearly 300 products based on ayurvedic formulations.

Asked whether the company would consider any price reduction of its products following tax rate cuts of some of FMCG items under Goods and Services Tax (GST), Bhansali said: “We need to evaluate the situation in totality.”

Further, he said, while there have been some relaxations, still there is no clarity on the refunds, which were earlier available for the exemptions for Northeast and other exempted zones.

“Those refunds have been restricted or halved in many of the cases. So a full clarity is required before we take a decision. And before that we need to make our calculations first.”

He also said the wholesale trade channel has been amongst the worst affected post demonetisation and roll out of GST. However, normalcy is coming in now, he added. (IANS)

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Phishing bigger threat than data breaches: Google

Nov 13, 2017 0

San Francisco– Phishing attacks via fake emails pose the greatest threat to people, followed by keyloggers and third-party breaches as account hacking increases globally, a new Google study has revealed.

Keystroke logging is a type of surveillance software that once installed on a system, has the capability to record every keystroke made on that system. The recording is saved in an encrypted log file.

According to Google, enterprising hijackers are constantly searching for, and are able to find, billions of different platforms’ usernames and passwords on black markets.

A Google team, along with the University of California, Berkeley, tracked several black markets that traded third-party password breaches as well as 25,000 blackhat tools used for phishing and keylogging.

“In total, these sources helped us identify 788,000 credentials stolen via keyloggers, 12 million credentials stolen via phishing, and 3.3 billion credentials exposed by third-party breaches,” Google said in a blog post late on Friday.

Account takeover, or ‘hijacking’, is a common problem for users across the web. More than 15 per cent of Internet users have reported experiencing the takeover of an email or social networking account.

“From March 2016 to March 2017, we analysed several black markets to see how hijackers steal passwords and other sensitive data,” said Kurt Thomas from Anti-Abuse Research and Angelika Moscicki from Account Security teams at Google.

The tech giant then applied the insights to its existing protections and secured 67 million Google accounts before they were abused.

“While our study focused on Google, these password stealing tactics pose a risk to all account-based online services. In the case of third-party data breaches, 12 per cent of the exposed records included a Gmail address serving as a username and a password,” the blog post read.

Of those passwords, 7 per cent were valid due to reuse. When it comes to phishing and keyloggers, attackers frequently target Google accounts to varying success: 12-25 per cent of attacks yield a valid password.

However, because a password alone is rarely sufficient for gaining access to a Google account, increasingly sophisticated attackers also try to collect sensitive data that we may request when verifying an account holder’s identity.

“We found 82 per cent of blackhat phishing tools and 74 per cent of keyloggers attempted to collect a user’s IP address and location, while another 18 per cent of tools collected phone numbers and device make and model,” Google noted.

“While we have already applied these insights to our existing protections, our findings are yet another reminder that we must continuously evolve our defenses in order to stay ahead of these bad actors and keep users safe,” it added.

There are some simple steps people can take that make these defenses even stronger.

“Visit Google’s Security Checkup to make sure you have recovery information associated with your account, like a phone number, and allow Chrome to automatically generate passwords for your accounts and save them via Smart Lock,” Google cautioned. (IANS)

 

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Tech Mahindra, Toshiba Digital Solutions to boost smart factory market

Nov 13, 2017 0

Tokyo–  Toshiba Digital Solutions and Tech Mahindra on Monday joined hands to help manufacturers adopt integrated smart factory solutions across production lines.

The two companies will synergise group manufacturing heritage, domain expertise and existing customer base to expand business in the smart factory market.

“Our integration capability in information technology and operational technology, and global experience in Manufacturing Execution System and allied systems, would make us an ideal partner for companies embarking on their journey of digital transformation,” said Karthikeyan Natarajan, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Integrated Engineering Solutions at Tech Mahindra.

Considered as one of the leaders in the IoT space, Tech Mahindra has been building capabilities through a mix of organic and inorganic means.

Toshiba Digital Solutions has developed “Meister” series, a suite of smart manufacturing solutions.

Based on “Toshiba IoT Architecture SPINEX, the series collects, accumulates and utilises IoT data generated on production lines to optimise manufacturing processes, improve quality and productivity and provide support throughout business lifecycles.

“Teaming up with Tech Mahindra will expand the availability of Toshiba’s smart factory solutions to serve customers in different regions of the world more efficiently,” added Shunsuke Okada, Vice President, Industrial Solutions Division, Toshiba Digital Solutions.

In the first half of its financial year, Japan’s Toshiba Corporation incurred a net loss of 49.8 billion yen ($438 million) — compared to a profit of 115.3 billion yen during the same period last year.

The operating income in this period rose to 231.8 billion yen, which is a record figure for the company and more than double the income during the same period in 2016.

The net sales also rose to 2.4 trillion yen, which has been attributed to the higher sales of its storage and electronic devices, although the company registered lower sales in the energy and infrastructure sectors. (IANS)

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Coal India app for smooth fuel delivery by road launched

Nov 7, 2017 0

New Delhi– The Union Coal Ministry launched a mobile application to facilitate smooth despatch of coal by road transport to customers of state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL), an official statement said on Tuesday.

The “Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran” app was unveiled recently in Kolkata by Coal and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, a Ministry statement said here.

“This app is a step towards transparency in the system of loading programme and despatch. It also helps in logistics planning for lifting of coal in tune with the loading programmes,” it said.

“It helps achieve transparency in despatch operations, as a tool to monitor whether the despatches are made on the fair principle of ‘First in First Out’ and keeps track of all the activities from issuance of sale order to physical delivery of coal by road,” it added.

The app also provides details of coal allotment and lifting status for the convenience of customers from different sources.

In a move to provide more coal to power stations, CIL had earlier directed supplies via road to plants located at shorter distances.

The Ministry said that of Coal India’s total despatch of 542 million tonnes (MT) in the last fiscal, 140 MT, or around 26 per cent was despatched by road.

“The impetus given in the current fiscal has improved movement of coal through road considerably. At the end of October 2017, the movement of coal through road at a little over 93 MT accounted for 29 per cent of the total coal despatch of 317 MT,” the statement said.

“The despatch of coal through roads in the current fiscal so far has gone up by 12 MT, as compared to the same period last fiscal,” it added. (IANS)

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New EY Cloud-based platform now in India

Nov 6, 2017 0

New Delhi– Leading global professional services firm EY on Monday announced “EY Catalyst” — a new Cloud-based platform that can help businesses in India enhance their performance in supply chain and manufacturing.

“EY Catalyst” allows round-the-clock access to businesses to an extensive IP database that contains tens of thousands of supply chain and manufacturing operational capabilities in multiple languages.

The platform has been in use for more than 20 years in major companies across Europe, the US, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Australia.

“The ‘EY Catalyst’ platform is yet another way we are working in India to help businesses transform their end to end supply chains into strategic assets and valuable sources for competitive advantage, with advanced capabilities to help increase sales, reduce risk and raise cost competitiveness,” explained Ashish Nanda, Partner and India Leader-Supply Chain Advisory Services, EY.

With this, businesses will be able to tap into a database that includes self-assessments, custom-built operational excellence journey maps, leading practices, training tools and analytics capabilities to help manage and monitor their operational improvements.(IANS)

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Vivo opens first ‘Experience Center’ in Bengaluru

Nov 3, 2017 0

Bengaluru– As competition among top smartphone manufacturers gets stiffer, Chinese handset maker Vivo on Friday opened its maiden offline “Experience Center” in Bengaluru in the presence of Kannada actress Sruthi Hariharan.

Spread across 3,600 square feet, the “Experience Center” features retail community zones where prospective buyers can access the entire range of “Y” and “V” series of smartphones.

“The launch of our first ‘Experience Center’ in India is for customers to experience our products before making a purchase decision. We will be launching additional ‘Experience Centers’ across key markets in the country in the coming months,” said Kenny Zeng, Chief Marketing Officer, Vivo India, in a statement.

The company currently has 80,000 retail stores across the country, including Vivo exclusive stores. (IANS)

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Fake version of WhatsApp found on Google Play Store

Nov 3, 2017 0

London– A fake and possibly malicious version of Facebook-owned WhatsApp was found lurking on Google Play Store as “Update WhatsApp Messenger” with developer name as ‘WhatsApp Inc*’.

When IANS checked it on the Play Store, we found the app has been downloaded up to 5,000 times. There is another version under the same name which has a million downloads.

The original WhatsApp has 1 billion downloads.

The existence of the shady software was first highlighted by the popular WhatsApp change tracking website WABetaInfo, via Twitter user @MujtabaMHaq, IB Times reported late on Thursday.

According to the report, a version of popular mobile game Temple Run 2 can also be found which was uploaded in October.

The software posing as WhatsApp Business already have several users complaining about it in comments section.

“DON’T DOWNLOAD THIS APP! IT’S FAKE! WhatsApp Business is not officially available yet for all,” the WABetaInfo social media account tweeted to its 30,000 followers.

It added: “Check only official channels to download WhatsApp Business in future.” (IANS)

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Retailers anxiously await iPhone X supplies amid high demand in India

Oct 30, 2017 0

By Krishna SinhaChaudhury 

New Delhi,– Amid soaring demand for the “super premium” iPhone X in India, Apple premium resellers in the Dehli-NCR region kept their fingers crossed as the initial supply of handsets were yet to reach them.

The authorised Apple resellers told IANS that they have received a frenzied response for iPhone X that is being advertised as arriving in India on November 3.

Pre-booking for the device at a premium reseller in Gurugram exceeded all expectations.

“First booking slot for iPhone X is full and we are now asking users to pre-book the device for the second slot. But we still do not know when the iPhone X will arrive in our stock,” Jeevan from Imagine Store, an Apple premium reseller in Gurugram, told IANS.

“Users can pre-order the device by paying Rs 3,000 in cash which will be refunded if the devices are not handed over to them on time or something goes wrong,” he added.

An iNvent Apple premium reseller in North Delhi said they were yet to receive iPhone X stocks.

“We have not received a single unit of iPhone X so far. We do not know if they have been already shipped or not. The devices are expected to reach us the day it goes on sale or maybe a day before. For iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, we had received the stock earlier,” a sales representative from iNvent told IANS.

“Since it is a global launch, we feel that even those who booked the device in the first slot may not get their desired variants within the given time-frame,” he added.

The flagship device was sold out within minutes on Amazon.in.

“Apple iPhone X went on pre-order on Amazon.in on October 27. Within few minutes of the pre-orders, Apple iPhone X went out of stock,” an Amazon spokesperson told IANS.

Meanwhile, disappointed by the reports of slow supply, Apple fans in the Delhi-NCR region said their decision to buy iPhone X has been hit.

“I am using iPhone 6s and was waiting desperately for a new iPhone. I waited for iPhone 8 but the user feedback was not good so I thought I would wait and pre-book iPhone X,” Yatharth Sinha, an advocate with Delhi High Court, told IANS.

“Now that I have read reports of delay in iPhone X delivery, I might have to settle for iPhone 8 Plus. If iPhone X reviews are great then I will buy it later,” noted Sinha, adding that he might also opt for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S9.

Gaurav Sharma, a heavy smartphone user, said: “No, I haven’t booked the device yet. I am waiting for reviews and then will take a call”.

“If reviews come out good then I might buy iPhone X in January,” added Shobhit Dev, a professional photographer.

iPhone X — which also marks the 10th anniversary of the device — will cost the users Rs 89,000 (for 64GB model) and Rs 1.02 lakh (for 256GB variant). (IANS)

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Cisco, Google tie up for new open hybrid cloud solution

Oct 26, 2017 0

San Francisco– Google has announced a new partnership with Cisco to deliver an open hybrid cloud solution that will help customers better develop and manage applications on-premises and on Google Cloud.

“Together, the companies will work on a complete solution to develop, run, secure and monitor workloads, enabling customers to optimise their existing investments, plan their cloud migration at their own pace and avoid lock-in,” Nan Boden, Head of Global Technology Partners at Google Cloud, said in a blogpost on Wednesday.

“Developers will be able to create new applications in the cloud or on-premises consistently using the same tools, runtime and production environment.”

The joint Cisco and Google Cloud hybrid solution will help developers to make the use of open source platforms, such as Kubernetes and Istio, GCP Service Catalog and service mesh monitoring.

Using these services, developers can discover available Google Cloud services, auto-authenticate from on-premises to Google Cloud services, future-proof existing on-premises applications to be cloud ready.

The Cisco-Google Cloud solution will also include a number of components (hardware, software and cloud services) that can be tailored to the needs of each customer, purchased together or separately, Boden said.

While Cisco software components will be licensed on an annual subscription basis including one-, three- and five-year terms, for Google Cloud services, developers will have to purchase them directly through Google or via authorised resellers.

The solution will be available to a limited number of customers during the first part of 2018, with planned general availability later in the year. (IANS)

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