Frequently berated for the poor security performance of its software, Microsoft is due to release a major overhaul of its Windows XP operating system adding significantly improved protection. Windows XP Service Pack 2 is a free add-on for the software but, unlike the patches released by the company on a regular basis, SP-2 is a major upgrade which fixes numerous flaws and adds additional features. Facing an increasingly hostile online environment Windows users have suffered a seemingly endless barrage of hackers, viruses and other security issues, many of which XP seemed ill-equipped to cope with, prompting Microsoft to make security its number one priority. Due for release in August, SP-2 will be available as a download from the Microsoft website[…]

Improving on the Business Card Business cards are useful for giving somebody your contact details but not much more, and brochures let you give people plenty of information about your organisation but are usually too bulky. The Bizcard Booster provides a happy medium between the two. Like all the best ideas it is remarkably simple, consisting of nothing more than a thin folded card wallet designed to hold a business card. When folded shut it is barely any thicker or larger than the business card itself but unfolds to roughly three times the size, providing plenty of space to print all sorts of information about you and your organisation. On top of this, the Boosters also happen to look nicely[…]

Trade and Industry Secretary, Patricia Hewitt this month announced plans for a radical shake up of consumer protection laws. In a speech to the Consumers’ Association Hewitt unveiled a consultation document which will form the basis of the government’s consumer policy over the next ten years. One of the documents key proposals is that complex existing consumer protection laws will be simplified and a single clear unfair trading law will be developed. The government also plans to provide a single point of contact for consumer information, the ‘Consumer Direct’ website ( and hotline. This service is already operational in Scotland and will be rolled out across the rest of the UK over the next few years. Hewitt said “Confident, well-informed[…]

In a recent survey of IT managers carried out by PC manufacturer Dell, over half of the respondents said that their company had been infected with spyware and 56 per cent said that the problem was placing an increasing burden on the company IT department. Although 65 per cent of managers said their company had suffered from an IT security failure, roughly the same number said that they were confident of their ability to recover from a major security breach. Rod Arnot, Dell UK’s services director said “It’s no surprise that most businesses are concerned about spyware and place security as their top priority. However, it’s worrying to see that the majority of the respondents surveyed said that their organisation[…]

A study carried out by Manchester Business School on behalf of Telewest Business has found that just one third of UK businesses provide their staff with instant messaging technology. Of the companies which used instant messaging, 58 per cent said that it provided a benefit to the business. Instant access, speed and easy of use were cited as the main benefits by 71 per cent of users. Instant messaging tools such as Yahoo! Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger have proven massively popular with consumers, but UK businesses have yet to fully exploit the technology’s advantages. Margaret Bruce, director of corporate business research at Manchester Business School said “Organisations should look to have a good mix of technology available, to avoid[…]

The western European mobile phone market is still seeing double digit growth and will be driven throughout 2005 by increasing take-up of 3G services and converged voice and data handsets. Analyst company IDC says the handset market saw 19 per cent growth in 2004 and predicts a further 12 per cent growth in 2005. While converged devices (or smartphones) only make up around 4 per cent of the total market, that segment grew by a massive 40 per cent last year. IDC expects shipments of these devices to grow by 70 per cent this year, accounting for over 6 per cent of the market. Despite dropping by over 9 per cent, Nokia still held the largest share of the market[…]

At Gartner’s Customer Relationship Management Summit in London this month the research company predicted that 80 per cent of organisations that outsource customer service and support contact centres with the main aim of cutting costs will fail by 2007. The company also pointed out that while the worldwide market for customer service outsourcing would increase from $8.4 billion to $12.2 billion by 2007, offshore call centres would still only account for less than 5 per cent of the total market. Presenting the findings, Gartner research director Alexa Bona said “Our research shows that there are significant risks associated with outsourcing customer service.” The widely perceived image of companies reaping massive savings by shifting their customers services to Indian call centres[…]