Tech Thursday (4/19): Brainshark Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Citibank Small Business Survey, HyperOffice Communication and Collaboration Tools for iPad & Android, 2011 Was Year of The ‘Hacktivist’

Brainshark Introduces Brainshark Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

 

Citibank Survey Finds Small Businesses Driving Growth through Online and Social Media Channels

 

HyperOffice Transforms Your iPad and Android Tablets Into a Business & Productivity Workhorse

 

2011 Was the Year of the ‘Hacktivist,’ According to the ‘Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report’

 

 

Brainshark Introduces Brainshark Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 

 

Through Its Integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Brainshark Enables Users to Improve the Quality, Effectiveness and Productivity of Sales Communications



WALTHAM, Mass., and HOUSTON — Brainshark, Inc., the leader in online and mobile video presentations, today introduced the Brainshark Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Through Brainshark’s integration and partnership with Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics CRM users can apply Brainshark to improve the quality, effectiveness and results of their sales communications. 

“We chose to align our offerings with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help joint users improve sales and marketing outreach, identify and prioritize more leads, and boost communications productivity,” said Kate Skelly, Brainshark’s vice president for corporate and business development. “With our new Connector, we’re happy to make the benefits of Brainshark just clicks away from Microsoft Dynamics CRM users.”

Brainshark’s cloud-based software makes it easy to add voice – along with video clips, survey and test questions, attachments and more – to PowerPoint decks and other static documents, to create online video presentations. This video content is automatically formatted for optimal viewing on desktop and laptop computers, smartphones and tablets. Now, when logged into Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft’s online customer relationship management (CRM) software, sales reps and marketers can easily:

 

  • Share Brainshark video presentations with leads and contacts in the system, and customize the content for various audiences. Recipients can view this content quickly and conveniently, on their computers and mobile devices.
  • Send emails with integrated presentation links. Use of Brainshark video presentations within their email communications ensures that salespeople are delivering consistent messaging.
  • Track viewing activity and content effectiveness. Users can see when their presentations were viewed, facilitating timely follow-up. Brainshark’s detailed analytics – including who viewed the presentation, when, how much was consumed, what type of device was used and how any questions were answered – are available as well.
  • Identify new leads and prioritize follow-up based on viewing activity.

The next release of the Connector, scheduled for the spring of 2012, will enable rapid and secure deployment of Brainshark-based just-in-time sales training courses and curriculums to internal reps and partners using Microsoft Dynamics CRM – improving sales effectiveness. Brainshark includes in-depth reporting on who consumed the training presentations and how much was viewed, along with scoring and completion status information. In addition, users will be able to leverage the Connector to send mass email marketing campaigns with Brainshark presentation links, while still enabling individual viewer tracking. 

“We’re pleased to be working with Brainshark and welcome the company to the Microsoft Dynamics community,” said John O’Donnell, senior ISV architect evangelist. “Now, by tapping into the power of our flexible and innovative Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution – combined with the ability to rapidly deploy Brainshark’s high-impact and trackable video content – users can improve the reach and results of their communications, and enhance productivity.”

 

Citibank Survey Finds Small Businesses Driving Growth through Online and Social Media Channels

 

New York, N.Y. –Small businesses are increasing their use of the Internet and social media platforms to connect with customers and grow their businesses, according to a recent Citibank survey. 

Sixty-five percent of the 749 small business owners surveyed across the United States cited increasing marketing activities as a key step in growing their business. While the overwhelming majority (70 percent) used their company website as a marketing channel, 41 percent said they have used social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, in the last year. Sixty-two percent haven’t used email for marketing purposes – a figure that remains the same from when Citibank first surveyed small business leaders about social media and online marketing in April, 2010.  

As small business owners are moving online, and relying more heavily on their company website, online channels represent an emerging opportunity to help grow their businesses. In fact, many small businesses plan to use digital and social media tools in the coming year. According to the survey:

  • 60% plan to increase activity on their website for marketing purposes.
  • 40% intend to use social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for marketing or expanding their business – up 10 points from 2010.
  • 38% plan to leverage email marketing tactics to drive awareness and sales of products and services. 

“Although small business owners have been slower to adopt online marketing channels, they are clearly warming up to using these tools to target customers,” said Maria Veltre, Managing Director, Small Business Marketing & Customer Experience.  “They are seeing that social media platforms can be an efficient and cost effective means to increase awareness of their business, engage with customers and, ultimately, to drive growth.”

The number of small businesses selling goods and services online or via email rose from 16 percent to 24 percent since 2010.   The use of social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is up six percentage points during that same time frame.  The survey also revealed that nearly three-quarters of small business owners who have a website find it very or somewhat effective in generating more business for their company.  

Small business owners under the age of 45 were more likely to use digital and social media to address their marketing needs.  In the past 12 months, 54 percent of small business executives under the age of 45 used social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, compared to only 36 percent of their peers aged 45 and over.  Younger small business owners are also more likely to use a company website (72 percent versus 68 percent of older respondents) and search engine optimization (44 percent versus 33 percent). 

The survey also found that Smartphones ranked as the best the technological solution for small businesses, with nearly half (48 percent) currently using Smartphones.  Over one-third (34 percent) said that they plan to use Smartphones in the future.  Tablet computers have penetrated one-quarter of small businesses, and another 23 percent planned to use them more or add one in 2012.

 

HyperOffice Transforms Your iPad and Android Tablets Into a Business & Productivity Workhorse

 

Rockville, MD (PRWEB) – HyperOffice today announced the launch of its communication and collaboration tools for iPad and Android tablets which allow business users to share documents, manage projects and sync with corporate email, calendars, contacts and tasks.

“The growing success of tablets is no surprise. They combine the portability of mobile phones with the richness of desktops making them ideal for business use. We are delighted to make robust collaboration and communication applications from HyperOffice available on tablets to make them the perfect productivity tools for the mobile workforce” said Farzin Arsanjani, President at HyperOffice.

Customers worldwide can now access their information and HyperOffice collaboration and communication applications through a modern browser interface designed specifically for tablets. Extending support for mobile devices, HyperOffice customers can use any smart phone, tablet, PC or Mac to access and share corporate documents, calendars, contacts, tasks, manage team projects, corporate email and other information. In addition customers can push their email, contacts, calendars and tasks to native apps on their smart phones and tablets. 

“The HyperOffice interface for tablets has been designed keeping with the excellence in design and user experience that iPad and Android users have come to expect,” Farzin adds. 

The tablet experience adds to HyperOffice’s complete suite of communication and collaboration tools accessible from any PC and Mac computer, and almost any major mobile device in the market including iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Mobile, Nokia and others. 

“There is no ideal device. What workers really want is flexibility. Some lean towards specific devices, while for others the choice is determined by their present context – whether at work, after hours at home, or on the road. It is our constant effort to allow knowledge workers to keep connected with work, and get the richest experience for the device at hand. We call this mobile collaboration,” added Farzin.

For more information, visit http://www.hyperoffice.com/tablet-collaboration/

 

2011 Was the Year of the ‘Hacktivist,’ According to the ‘Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report’


Attacks Are Increasingly Motivated by Political and Social Intent; Majority of Breaches Avoidable With Sound Security Measures


NEW YORK – The “Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report” reveals the dramatic rise of “hacktivism” — cyberhacking to advance political and social objectives.

In 2011, 58 percent of data stolen was attributed to hacktivism, according to the annual report released today from Verizon.  The new trend contrasts sharply with the data-breach pattern of past several years, during which the majority of attacks were carried out by cybercriminals, whose primary motivation was financial gain.

Seventy-nine percent of attacks represented in the report were opportunistic.  Of all attacks, 96 percent were not highly difficult, meaning they did not require advanced skills or extensive resources.  Additionally, 97 percent of the attacks were avoidable, without the need for organizations to resort to difficult or expensive countermeasures.  The report also contains recommendations that large and small organizations can implement to protect themselves.

Now in its fifth year of publication, the report spans 855 data breaches across 174 million stolen records – the second-highest data loss that the Verizon RISK (Research Investigations Solutions Knowledge) team has seen since it began collecting data in 2004.  Verizon was joined by five partners that contributed data to this year’s report: the United States Secret Service, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit, the Australian Federal Police, the Irish Reporting & Information Security Service and the Police Central e-Crime Unit of the London Metropolitan Police.

“With the participation of our law enforcement partners around the globe, the ‘2012 Data Breach Investigations Report’ offers what we believe is the most comprehensive look ever into the state of cybersecurity,” said Wade Baker, Verizon’s director of risk intelligence.  “Our goal is to increase the awareness of global cybercrime in an effort to improve the security industry’s ability to fight it while helping government agencies and private sector organizations develop their own tailored security plans.”

In terms of attack methods, hacking and malware have continued to increase. In fact, hacking was a factor in 81 percent of data breaches and in 99 percent of data lost.  Malware also played a large part in data breaches; it appeared in 69 percent of breaches and 95 percent of compromised records.  Hacking and malware are favored by external attackers, as these attack methods allow them to attack multiple victims at the same time from remote locations.  Many hacking and malware tools are designed to be easy and simple for criminals to use.

Additionally, the compromise-to-discovery timeline continues to be measured in months and even years, as opposed to hours and days.  Finally, third parties continue to detect the majority of breaches (92 percent).

(NOTE:  Additional resources supporting the “2012 Data Breach Investigations Report” are available, including high-resolution charts,  B-roll available upon request.)

Key Findings of the 2012 Report

Data from the 2012 report also demonstrates that:

  • Industrial espionage revealed criminal interest in stealing trade secrets and gaining access to intellectual property.  This trend, while less frequent, has serious implications for the security of corporate data, especially if it accelerates.
  • External attacks increased. Since hacktivism is a factor in more than half of the breaches, attacks are predominantly led by outsiders.  Only 4 percent of attacks implicate internal employees.
  • Hacking and malware dominate. The use of hacking and malware increased in conjunction with the rise in external attacks in 2011.  Hacking appeared in 81 percent of breaches (compared with 50 percent in 2010), and malware appeared in 69 percent (compared with 49 percent in 2010). Hacking and malware offer outsiders an easy way to exploit security flaws and gain access to confidential data.
  • Personally identifiable information (PII) has become a jackpot for criminals. PII, which can include a person’s name, contact information and social security number, is increasingly becoming a choice target. In 2011, 95 percent of records lost included personal information, compared with only 1 percent in 2010.
  • Compliance does not equal security.  While compliance programs, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, provide sound steps to increasing security, being PCI compliant does not make an organization immune from attacks.

Recommendations for Small Organizations

  1. Use a firewall. Install and maintain a firewall on Internet-facing services to protect data. Hackers cannot steal what they cannot reach.
  2. Change default credentials. Point-of-sale (POS) and other systems come with pre-set credentials. Change the credentials to prevent unauthorized access.
  3. Monitor third parties. Third parties often manage firewalls and POS systems.  Organizations should monitor these vendors to ensure they have implemented the above security recommendations, where applicable.

The DBIR can be downloaded in full at: www.verizon.com/enterprise/2012dbir/us.

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About Carolyn Crummey

Carolyn Crummey is a business and technology strategist and the owner of VirTasktic (www.virtasktic.com), an agency dedicated to providing high-level virtual services to small businesses and entrepreneurs. A lover of technology and small business, Carolyn has built a career on the intelligent use of technology to increase business efficiency and productivity, which ultimately leads to greater profitability. Carolyn works closely with her clients to understand their challenges and helps them integrate the best technology solutions into their businesses so they too can enjoy great successes. You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at @CarolynCrummey or @VirTasktic.