What’s your business’ tablet strategy?

Tablets are hot. And the odds are that the workers at your company would love to use theirs in the office. But does this make sense? Will Kelly, writing for the Tech Republic website, says that tablets in the office can pay off. But, he warns, CIOs must first craft a tablet strategy for 2014.

Justify

As Kelly writes, the most important benefit of a sound tablet strategy is that CIOs can use it to justify the expenses of allowing employees to work on tablets during work. There are plenty of costs involved in allowing tablets in the workplace, even if employees will be using devices they already own. IT departments will have to increase mobile security for both bring-your-own-device tablets and corporate-owned ones. Your company will also have to invest in mobile apps that boost the productivity of your employees.

Security is key

Of course, as Kelly writes, a good security plan is the most important part of any tablet program. Simply put, you’ll need to put measures in place that protect your company from the viruses that employees might bring to work along with their tablets. A virus could shut down your company. If that happens, how much money will it lose? Don’t skimp on mobile security.

The right apps

With the right apps — the Tech Republic site suggests such business apps as Roambi Analytics, Roambi Flow and GoodData for iPad — tablets can transform into powerful reporting tools that can your company’s leaders make sound business decisions. They can also free up your IT staffers, taking the responsibility of running reports out of their already busy days. Of course, you’ll have to plan which apps make the most sense for your company, something that must be part of your business’ 2014 tablet strategy.

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Would you let a computer pick your stocks?

Are you ready to let technology handle your stock trades for you? Are you comfortable enough with the high-tech world to let software programs build your investment portfolio? USA Today recently ran a feature story looking at websites that promise to build your portfolio for you. The question is, can these sites be trusted?

Autopilot

The USA Today story points to sites such as SigFig, Betterment and Wealthfront. These sites promise individual investors that they can automatically create ideal portfolios for them. The goal of the sites? To leave their clients with balanced portfolios that minimize financial risk.

Fees

Of course, the sites aren’t free. As USA Today reports, investors must pay fees to use them. Once consumers pay, though, the websites act as both financial advisors and brokers, using computer technology to arrange the portfolios of investors. The sites will also buy and sell stocks and reinvest dividends, according to the USA Today story.

Human judgment

Of course, not everyone is sold on this type of investing. Many clients will still want the advice of human advisors who have they have grown to trust. Others wonder if a pre-programmed system, no matter how high-tech, can be trusted to make the right investing options. But, as the USA Today story says, the conditions are right for automated investing programs. How big these programs will come to be? That’s to be determined.

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Top predictions for how small businesses will use technology in 2014

As 2014 begins, the business press has been awash in predictions. This has held true, too, for publications focusing on technology. Just look at Business News Daily, which recently ran its top tech trends for small businesses to watch out for in 2014. If you run a small business, it makes sense to take a look at the business trends that this publication predicts.

Integrating IT

Business News Daily predicts that a growing number of companies will stop treating the IT department as a separate entity in 2014. Instead, they’ll view this critical department as an integrated, strategic business driver, according to the story. Business executives will ask why they are running their IT departments in a certain way and whether that way makes the most sense for their companies.

Cloud education

Business News Daily predicts, too, that in 2014 business owners will become smarter about using the cloud. Instead of just relying on cloud services from Google and Microsoft, more businesses will search out smaller, but more efficient, cloud vendors. And that will only enhance the productivity of small businesses across the country.

The end of Windows 8

The story also says that consumers will reject Windows 8, making the operating system disappear. According to Business News Daily, consumers, fed up with Windows 8 complicated navigation, will either revert to Windows 7 or quickly update to the next operating system that Microsoft will develop.

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Surface 2 shortage begs the question: Is the device right for your business?

Turns out, Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablet/laptops are more popular than we all thought. Website TechCrunch recently wrote a feature story about the struggles consumers are facing in trying to find the devices. According to the story, in early January of this year you couldn’t even buy a Surface 2 on Microsoft’s own online store.

The popularity

Why is it so hard to find a Surface 2? TechCrunch cites a report by the Huffington Post suggesting that Microsoft cut down on production of the devices, underestimating the demand for them. Then, when that demand actually rose, the company didn’t have enough of the hybrid devices for the holiday season or the selling period immediately following.

A solid device

The Surface line got off to a shaky start, with many critics saying that the product wanted to be too many things to too many consumers. But slowly the device has been catching on with both consumers and the tech press. That’s partly because the device combines the best features of both a laptop and tablet. For instance, it’s easy to type on a Surface 2 because of its keyboard. But the device is still portable like a tablet.

Your business?

When the Surface 2 devices are once again available to buy, should you invest in one for your business? Tech critics have pointed to the Surface 2 as being particularly well-suited to the office. After all, there’s that comfortable keyboard that allows employees to get work done. And with the portable nature, your workers can comfortably tote a Surface 2 to hotels and airports while traveling for business.

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Watch out for those counterfeit apps

You want the latest apps to get the most out of your tablet or smartphone. And today’s apps are truly incredible, allowing you to download documents, view reports and watch TV or movies right on your mobile device. But be careful when shopping in the App Store or on Google Play. You might not be buying the app you think you’re getting.

Counterfeits

PCWorld recently took a look at the growing number of counterfeit apps cluttering the App Store and Google Play marketplace. PCWorld pointed to a study by software firm Arxan to back this up. According to the study, 100 percent of the top paid apps on Android and 56 percent on iOS were being impersonated in a counterfeit form.

Free apps

The news was bad when it came to free apps, too. Arxan found that 73 percent of Android apps in the top-15 ranked free apps had a counterfeit version on third-party stores. This figure stood at 53 percent for the top-15 ranked free apps for iOS, according to the story. And this is a trend that isn’t reversing. According to the PCWorld story, Arxan found much the same situation when the explored counterfeit apps last year.

A real danger

This is dangerous, of course, for smartphone and tablet users. It’s especially dangerous for companies that employ a bring-your-own-device policy. After all, these counterfeit apps often come with built-in viruses. Employees who bring them into the office can quickly spread viruses throughout the workplace. The PCWorld story highlights just how important it is for companies to spend time educating their workers about how to recognize counterfeit apps.

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