Telecom and IT News

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A security breach is defined as an incident that results in unauthorized access of data, applications, services, networks, and/or devices by bypassing their underlying security mechanisms (Techopedia). These breaches can be large or small scale, and some can be more serious than others, but they are becoming more common and more malicious.

As more and more companies are coming under the spotlight for cybersecurity breaches that are putting private consumer data at risk, it’s important to look at what role telecommunications plays in such breaches and what can be done to prevent them in the future.

While the average citizen is indeed at risk of cyber threats, the top target of most cyber criminals are nations. Interestingly, they are also the most capable of enacting a breach of their own (MWRInfosecurity). This stems from the increased presence of intelligence agencies in national security and will likely only continue to grow in the near future.

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So how do government intelligence agencies and cyber criminals go about their security breaches? They do it through various media, but one of the most popular is through telecom companies. Telecoms are an important target for attacks because they carry and transport vital and sensitive data. Governments usually establish this type of covert surveillance by utilizing sophisticated programs that can go undetected for long periods of time, making them all the more dangerous. Such programs can breach everything from phone lines, to online chats, to mobile phone data. Basic cyber criminals, on the other hand, target customer data stored by telecoms. This data can include names, addresses, and financial information. Identity theft and bank theft occur from this type of breach (Deloitte).

If technology is only becoming more prominent, how can we minimize the cybersecurity threats in telecom companies? It is difficult, but not impossible. One important step is making sure the source of all data is known and verified and that each subsequent movement of the data can be traced back to one employee, thus implementing accountability and discouraging employees from going rogue.

Another way to minimize security breaches is to perform frequent and systematic checks of all systems to identify and eliminate any cyber threat that may have made its way into the system. Vigilance is key.

As telecoms continue to grow, cybersecurity issues likely will as well. But as the problem grows, more resolutions will come about. Stay up to date with the latest risks and solutions and you will be minimizing the risk of both your company and customers.

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Technology has been an up-and-coming field worldwide for decades now, but as the tech field progresses, it seems to not want to bring women with it. What does this mean? That women don’t want to work in the technology field? That the technology field doesn’t want women? Or both?

The answer is hard to find. Statistics show that 74% of young girls express an enthusiasm for the STEM and computer science fields. This seems promising, so why do the stats show that only 28% of women go on to earn computer science degrees? And that only 25% hold computing jobs? Not even going into the issues with the differences in pay, a gender gap in the technology field is painfully obvious.

Not only are there fewer women in computing occupations but the numbers have been steadily decreasing since the early 1990s (when it peaked at a meager 36%). Women now hold less than a quarter of the jobs in computing roles.

Cronos-women-36These bleak statistics don’t reflect the success of women in the technology roles they do hold. Women hold only 5% of startups, but they are so successful that if the women business owners in the U.S. alone formed their own country, the GDP would rank 5th in the world. What makes women-led startups so profitable? The stats show that women-led startups have a 35% higher ROI when venture backed and generate 12% higher revenue than male startups. Furthermore, women entrepreneurs bring in 20% more revenue with 50% less money invested (Women Who Tech).

So why aren’t more women going into the tech field? Data from the Information Systems Audit and Control association found that, as of March 2017, the number one barrier experienced by women when entering the tech field is that there is a lack of mentors and role models (ISACA). With the majority of the people on the executive boards of tech firms being male, women can’t help but feel ostracized and that they have no mentors, nor anyone to look up to.

It’s obvious that women want to work in tech but that they feel inhibited by the circumstances surrounding tech jobs. This could be remedied by increasing the number of women in executive positions who could be mentors and role-models to women lower down in the company. This would encourage the women who are just starting out in the tech field to stick around and contribute to the tech world they way they want to.

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The numbers show 2017 was another monumental year for the telecom sector. With the continuance of trends such as shortening product life cycles, competition from cable operators, and dominance of wireless penetration in several markets, last year was certainly a mixed basket of changes in the industry (McKinsey). The industry trends and projections for 2018 so far are showing that this year will again be a full of both good and bad developments for the telecom sector.

One aspect of the industry telecom workers should be particularly focused on in the new year is how to reduce churn. With the decline of the tendency of consumers to differentiate telecom services by handset device options and network quality that we saw in 2017, churn is becoming a serious threat to businesses. Minimizing churn will become essential. McKinsey recommends using cutting edge analytics to better get to know the customer. It might also be worthwhile to try using a CRM (customer relationship management) software to develop a more targeted marketing strategy for customers that will keep them around longer.

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Although the year has only just begun, the telecom sector in India has already faced a volatile 2018 that has shaken the industry globally. Revenue from telecommunications in India has dropped nearly 50% in the past year, which doesn’t bode well for the market. The workforce of the sector has also taken a hit. However, it’s not all bad news as both revenue and operating income in the Indian sector are predicted to rise by 10% starting April 1 (Economic Times).

As far as what to expect to grow in popularity this year, Deloitte has released their annual report on industry trends and predicts that smartphone penetration will continue to soar to nearly 85% of adults in developed countries and that live broadcasting will be a huge source of revenue, bringing in around $545 billion (Deloitte).

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Big data has rapidly become one of the hottest topics in the technology world. We know what it is- immensely large sets of data that computers use to discover trends and behaviours of people- but what does it mean? Basically, big data is big knowledge, and knowledge is power.

There are many positive aspects of big data: it helps companies to provide more personalized products and services to customers and it assists with research on such vital issues as global warming and treatments for cancer. But big data has a dark side that can’t be ignored. As big data use increases, so do consumer privacy concerns.

Today, many apps and websites require that users share their location and give their basic information. With this, more and more companies are facing scandals about the use of customer information and whether customers are given fair warning about how much of their personal data they are agreeing to share. Just this month German courts ruled that Facebook’s privacy policy doesn’t provide users with enough information about what data they will be collecting- or what they will be doing with that data.

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It makes sense that big data and privacy would be an issue with such devices such as phones and computers, but the same risks are spreading to technology that previously wasn’t a concern. For example, cars are increasingly being designed with connecting capabilities, meaning they record and transfer information to an outside computer. This information can include anything from frequent routes of the driver to biometric analysis of who is driving the vehicle.

But what are companies using personal information for? A vast array of things. Like many others, the telecommunications industry, often uses big data for good: improving customer experiences, more efficiently forecasting demand, and reducing customer churn among other things. These uses are, for the most part, beneficial to all parties. But there is always the danger of manipulation. These companies already have private consumer data stored in their computers, and that means that it is at risk of any rogue employee or hacker with bad intentions. These rogues can use the data to make money, track someone down, or even steal identities.

All of this being said, risks around big data can be minimized by instilling ethical values into employees that have access to it and to encourage consumers to be aware of exactly what information they are agreeing to share and whom they agreeing to share it with.

With those ideas in mind, big data can be hugely beneficial to a company.

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