Channel operations overhaul for Microsoft

Partners have welcomed news that Microsoft is overhauling its partner business, in a move it claims will make it easier for its channel to do business with the firm.

The reorganisation will see Microsoft combine its Enterprise Product Group (EPG) with its SMS&P (Small and Mid-market Solutions and Partners) group. The announcement was first published on ZDNet, but in a statement afterwards, Microsoft said:

“These changes are designed to unify teams from across the Commercial Business, making it easier to do business with Microsoft and meet the needs of its thriving partner ecosystem and customer base.”

The new combined EPG and SMS&P business will be run by Chris Weber, corporate vice president of mid-market solutions and partners…

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Digital Skills: DIGITAL SME pledge to train 5.000 ICT professionals by 2019

The European DIGITAL SME Alliance launched #DigitalSME4skills, a new ambitious campaign for digital skills. The alliance pledged that digital small and medium sized enterprises will train 5.000 ICT professionals by 2019.

Oliver Grün, DIGITAL SME president and software entrepreneur, presented the pledge at the launch of the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition at the presence of Commissioner Oettinger, Vice President Ansip and the Belgian deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. The Coalition is a multi-stakeholder partnership promoted by the European Commission to tackle the lack of digital skills in Europe.

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Computing classes struggling to attract students

 A quarter of schools are offering new computing science GCSE and A-Level courses, research suggests

The changes to British computing education are failing to encourage more students into studying the subject – particularly those most in need of such encouragement.

British schools have shifted computing classes from ITC – such as learning how to use Microsoft Word – to more technical areas, including coding.

Research from Roehampton University revealed only 28% of schools had pupils taking the GCSE in computing in 2015, and only 24% had students taking the A-level, according to a BBC report.

The number of girls taking the course at GCSE climbed between 2015 and 2016 from 16% to 20%, and for A-levels from 8.5% to 10%, with female students gaining higher grades on average. Students on free meals made up 19% of GCSE computing students, versus 27% of the wider school population.

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BlackBerry awarded Cyber Essentials Plus certification from the UK Government

BlackBerry has now announced they have become the first major mobile vendor to receive the new Cyber Essentials Plus (CE+) certification from the UK Government. Additionally, BlackBerry has announced they are now an accredited certifying body for Cyber Essentials Plus, with the certification being offered through BlackBerry Cybersecurity Services.

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26% of British businesses ‘have no protection against cyber attacks’

Although businesses understand the importance of digital innovation, they aren’t prepared for the challenges

Almost a third of UK businesses are not sufficiently prepared against a cyber attack, research by software and services provider Advanced has revealed.

Additionally, 46% of companies don’t view data security as a priority when deciding which systems and software to adopt when furthering their digital presence.

“Digital innovation presents a huge opportunity for companies and our economy, but it also goes hand in hand with a need for greater emphasis on cyber security,” Tom Thackray, CBI Director for Innovation, said.

“Cyber resilience is a growing priority for all businesses, and the challenge now is to move from awareness to action. It’s important that businesses in all sectors – from manufacturing to retail – truly understand digital technology’s potential, from the boardroom to the shop or factory floor.”

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The 5 essential steps to keep your business safe online

BUSINESSES from across the West Midlands heard from cyber-security experts at a seminar held by TheBusinessDesk.com, in association with Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and IComm. The panel, chaired by TheBusinessDesk.com’s editor Alex Turner, included Emma Philpott, the chief executive of cyber-security certification body IASME, Steve Borwell-Fox, managing director of Borwell, cyber-crime protection officer Det Sgt Chris Greatorex, and Icomm Technologies’ Mark Lomas.

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UK organisations could face £122bn in fines under new EU data laws

SMEs on the hook for £52bn, while large organisations could be forced to pay up £70bn

UK companies and organisations could face huge fines when the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes law.

The PCI Security Standards Council (PCI-SSC) warned that fines as high as £122bn could have been levied against UK organisations in 2015 based on the number of cyber security incidents.

PCI-SSC bases its estimates on survey figures from the Office of National Statistics, which suggests that there were 2.46 million ‘cyber incidents’ in 2015. Around 90 per cent of large organisations and 74 per cent of SMEs supposedly suffered a security breach in 2015.

Large organisations would face fines totalling £533m and SMEs £908m under existing data protection laws, according to the PCI-SSC, if the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was notified of every breach and imposed the maximum penalty.

The same security lapses under the GDPR would bump these figures up to £70bn for major organisations and £52bn for SMEs, the PCI-SSC said.

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G-Cloud total sales hit £1.141bn after £87m surge in March

Total G-Cloud sales have reached £1.141bn, rising by a hefty £87m after a bumper month of sales in March.

The Cabinet Office has provided no indication on what fuelled this spike in sales, as normal G-Cloud spending is £40m to £50m a month.

However, it would be logical to assume that the recent launch of a new Digital Marketplace framework helped to boost the government’s and wider public sector’s appetite for cloud services.

Breaking no trends, however, is the spending split through the government’s cloud procurement framework. Some 52 per cent of the total sales by value and 62 per cent by volume were awarded to SMEs, much the same as February’s figures.

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New Information Security standards published through the Tech Partnership

A new set of National Occupational standards for Information Security was published this week by the Tech Partnership, defining in detail the capabilities required for trainees and professionals to work in the field.

The standards, built through consultation with employers from across the UK, also provide the building blocks for qualifications and training in Information security roles, helping to shape and benchmark relevant courses.

The information security skills shortage is among the most serious facing the tech sector. Recent Tech Partnership research showed that 95% of organisations identified gaps in their workforce’s cyber and information security skills, and with security breaches very much in the news, the situation remains serious.

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Three quarters of firms unable to deal with cyber threats

Less than a quarter of firms are ready to deal effectively with a cyber-attack, according to new figures.

The annual Global Threat Intelligence Report from NTT Group revealed that just 23 per cent of businesses have a strategy in place to respond to threats to data security, with the retail and hospitality sectors the hardest hit in 2015.

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