How the Surface Pro 3 exceeded my expectations for design work on a tablet

When approached to try design work on a Surface Pro 3, my feelings were mixed. I was excited to test this Microsoft tablet, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary, but my glass-half-empty mindset made me wonder if it might be inconvenient to set aside a powerful laptop workstation and work on a smaller device.

After years of learning to use a mouse and keyboard — instead of my hands — for creative expression, I admittedly started slow with the Surface Pro 3’s pen and touch screen. I connected the Surface into the dock, and hooked up my keyboard and mouse to replicate the setup I was used to. When I finally braved tablet mode and got more comfortable working with the device, I started to recognize its benefits.

Here’s what I was working with, and my impressions after a few weeks with the Surface Pro 3. (more…)

Don’t fall behind on implementing the Third Platform

mainframe computerThe Third Platform, the next phase of the IT revolution, has arrived. While the First platform was the mainframe computer and the Second was built on servers and PCs, the Third Platform is a puzzle of new technologies — social networking, cloud services, and big data analytics — run on mobile devices.

Industry analysts and researchers have noted the impact of these technologies on business. This “Nexus of Forces” is the new platform for digital business, and is transforming how businesses interact with their customers.

Business requires innovation to survive. Simply maintaining “business as usual” threatens even the largest, most established brands. The Third Platform offers the innovation organizations need in four main components – mobile, social media, the cloud, and big data — all of which are spurring growth, strengthening relationships, and improving competitiveness. IT departments, whose role typically involves overseeing the legacy IT resources, and executives planning for the future will need to fully embrace these ideas in order to stay relevant. (more…)

4 things you need to know before using Apple DEP

apple tablet phoneBig business likes Apple — most smartphones and tablets used in the corporate world bear the Apple logo (72 percent and 90 percent respectively). But deploying hundreds or thousands of those mobile devices can be a logistical headache for any IT department.

Throughout the last few months, I’ve helped numerous organizations solve this problem by tapping Apple’s Device Enrollment Program (DEP), a specific method of gatekeeping Apple’s mobile and tablet devices. Each DEP rollout reinforces four thoughts in my mind, lessons I’ve learned along the way that can benefit every company considering a DEP deployment. Take a look. (more…)

5 ways to deploy tablets in your retail store

In Store Catalog -- Glacier at Argos RetailFrom national chains to neighborhood shops, retailers understand that tablets can greatly enhance shopper experiences and they continue adopting this technology in store. Tablets and their applications possess such potential for changing the way people shop and spend that eventually all stores will be connected.

Today’s shoppers are more knowledgeable than ever before, and they’re demanding in-store, experience-altering technology – digital price tags that reflect price changes, kiosks that provide assistance and deals, and mobile checkouts, for example. Retailers are appealing to these shoppers with tablets, and are using these devices to interact with shoppers and to drive sales.

Here are five ways retail stores are creatively using tablets to reach today’s shoppers: (more…)

Adobe bolsters mobile workforce capabilities with Acrobat DC

too-much-paperA recent study by IDC found that more than 80 percent of document work is still not digital, with documents being printed often, especially when signatures are required. For today’s increasingly mobile workforce, the need to print documents can hamper business productivity.

In a move that aims to eliminate the hardships of working with digital documents and the need for paper, Adobe is introducing new software that makes it easier to handle important documents in the office, at home, or on the road. Working with PDFs has never been easier.

Adobe Document Cloud (DC) is a new cloud-based management hub that organizations can employ to create, review, approve, store, sign, and track documents. Acrobat DC offers dozens of new features for managing and working in PDFs that allow workers to create and manage documents from anywhere — a new touch-screen interface, digital editing functionality, e-signature capabilities, and more. (more…)

A new option for organizations considering Apple’s Device Enrollment Program

Apple Device Enrollment ProgramIt’s the beginning of a new year, and organizations are rolling out new IT initiatives and goals for the next 12 months. If that means a migration to iPads or iPhones or a refresh of your current Apple devices, you have a new option on the table to quickly and efficiently deploy them under an MDM solution.

Apple now allows select third-party resellers to offer Device Enrollment Program (DEP) to their business customers, giving organizations new options for device deployment and management. Organizations can now receive the benefits of DEP, including full hardware set up and configuration, software installation, and support, without going through Apple.

After enrolling in DEP with assistance from a third party, commercial organizations can more easily set up and deploy devices and guarantee the proper safety protocols are in place, without the legwork that often complicates mass deployments. At this time, education institutions can enroll in DEP, but must enroll through Apple. (more…)

5 last-minute gifts for the business traveler

Man with giftThe needs of working professionals that are frequent flyers are unique, so what’s the perfect gift for them this holiday season? Probably not more snack baskets of cookies, cheeses, jams, and chocolates.

Instead, get a gift that every business traveler can use. What does a professional really need when they’re on the road? They need power and performance, but without sacrificing space in the overhead compartment, and while looking the part too. But hurry, time is running out, so splurge on the business professional on your Christmas list and upgrade the mundane essentials they already use with these practical and powerful last-minute gift ideas. (more…)

The top 5 features all companies should look for in a mobile security solution

Cloud security has been a top concern ever since organizations first began to shift data into the cloud and away from on-premises solutions.

While many cloud providers offer robust enterprise capabilities, including encrypted content, passcodes, and mobile device management, many can still fall victim to a serious security risk: data leakage.

Blake Brannon Airwatch

Blake Brannon is a senior solutions engineer at AirWatch by VMware.

In an age where organizations and employees muddle the boundary between personal and private devices, employees can often access or transfer data to their unmanaged and unprotected devices. Providing employees with the ability to transfer and share sensitive data significantly increases the risk of data leakage.

The cloud leakage problem is one of the greatest threats to enterprise content security. While many cloud solutions secure enterprise content within the cloud infrastructure, they often lack the controls necessary to keep mobile users from downloading and walking away with critical information on personal, unsecured devices. However, there are powerful mobile security solutions that provide extra security for content in and out of the cloud. Here are the top five features companies must look for when choosing a mobile security solution that ensures content is secure.

Email protection — One of the easiest ways for employees to compromise content is by emailing secured cloud data to themselves on unprotected, personal email accounts. This not only leaks corporate content outside of an organization, but places it at greater risk of external hacks. Find a mobile security solution that can rein in rogue emailing and button up this source of content leakage by allowing only managed devices to synchronize with and download content from the cloud. These solutions also enable IT teams to monitor downloaded content, further securing your data.

Download prevention — The advent of the cloud means IT can no longer contain sensitive content behind four walls, and managing what devices can access company data has its limits with some cloud solutions. The easiest way to prevent employees from downloading sensitive data to personal devices is by forbidding external downloads onto unsecured devices altogether. But with some services, users can access content with phones that aren’t managed, creating a major backdoor into your data. Fixing this problem will take some integration between the technology and the particular ecosystem, but this issue will likely be addressed sooner rather than later. For now, find a solution that can limit what devices have access to content in the cloud. (more…)

3 steps to secure your network for the Internet of Things

everything connectedThe number of devices that rely on network connectivity to do their jobs is skyrocketing — mobile-connected devices will outnumber people in the world by the end of the year, according to Cisco. All those smartphones and tablets are improving productivity and access to data, but they can also become security risks that open your network to attacks. The vulnerability of network connections has always been a problem, but the more devices are linked, the more risks you’ll have to manage, and the more stringent your security will have to be.

No potential threat is greater than the Internet of Things (IoT). As the IoT takes hold in organizations, it will exponentially multiply the number of devices on your network, connecting everything from thermostats and HVAC systems to vehicles and manufacturing equipment. Experts expect 26 billion connected units by 2020.

Every organization is facing the inevitability of the IoT and must take a stand against future security risks now. Here are three things you should do to take control of your connectivity and head off any risks as we brace for an explosion of devices as part of the IoT. (more…)

Tablets in education: Why one Texas school district turned to the Surface RT

The tablet landscape is crowded with iPads, Galaxy Notes, Kindles, and Surfaces, each including a different blend of features, that IT managers must carefully evaluate to select the tablet that best the needs of thousands of users. Unfortunately, there is no “best” tablet for any industry or organization — it all depends on what systems you’re currently using and what functions you need to achieve defined goals. That’s exactly what a Texas school district recently discovered as it navigated this exact situation, vetting the many tablet options to find the one that best fit its teachers’ needs and its existing IT infrastructure. Here’s how the school district narrowed down the tablet field and what option they ultimately settled on.

The Challenge

The district sought to equip its 2,200 district teachers with tablets to aid in classroom activities and increase mobility and productivity throughout the school year. But many tablets could achieve those objectives. The district was unsure which tablet would offer the greatest benefits, and needed to narrow down the choices. It turned to longtime partner SHI to dig into its true needs and match the district with the right device.

SHI defined the district’s six key device needs as follows: (more…)