Catch up on this week’s round-up of the latest hosting and tech news. Here’s what we’ve uncovered since our last edition.
Code-free app development
A new service from Amazon Web Services enables companies to build apps without having to undertake coding. Called Honeycode, it is a visual application manager that can be used to develop ‘track and manage’ apps for tasks such as event scheduling, CRM, process approvals and inventory tracking.
Aimed at companies that lack in-house IT expertise or the budget for third-party developers, it enables businesses to build both web and mobile apps of varying complexities, including large scale project management systems.
The service was launched because there are currently not enough developers available to meet demand. However, it is likely to be just as popular with developers as it can help them complete projects quicker and cater for more customers.
Encrypted malware using HTTPS
According to WatchGuard, encrypted HTTPS connections are the main route through which computers are now becoming infected. In Q1 of 2020, 66% of all computer infections occurred in this way. And with over 70% of the encrypted malware being zero-day, most antivirus tools are unable to defend against them.
To protect themselves, organisations are being urged to conduct HTTPS inspections of encrypted traffic and deploy advanced behaviour-based threat detection and response. While this involves additional work, it’s the most effective method to prevent these forms of malware causing infections.
New cloud-based services for remote working
With remote working becoming a fixture of the new normal, it was only a matter of time before solutions were going to be developed for businesses. One of the latest is Salesforce Anywhere, which uses cloud, AI, social and mobile technologies to let employees work and collaborate from anywhere and access all their data.
Useful for those working in sales, marketing and customer service, it provides commercial and customer-related data, real-time alerts and Zoom integration, while data insights are available via MuleSoft and Tableau. It also enables a company to have control of all devices and services on its network so it can remotely deliver IT services. To get employees up to speed, Salesforce also has an online learning platform.
Facebook launches crystal ball app
While many organisations are using AI to help predict the future, Facebook is hoping its new app, Forecast, can do a similarly helpful task. The app, which is currently only available for North American invitees on iOS, allows users to ask questions and then crowdsources the answers and follow up discussions.
While it cannot predict the future, what it can do is establish what other people believe the future will be. The insights this provides can be highly beneficial for businesses and organisations. Questions like, ‘What will be next year’s statement colour?’ for example, could help clothing designers and retail outlets, while asking ‘Will people start travelling abroad again this year? could offer helpful information for the travel and tourism sector.
Of course, if you ask a question, you can be pretty sure that by the time you get the prediction, Facebook will have already analysed the data, blended it with other datasets, applied AI and ML and will be using the insights for its own advantage.
Square playing havoc with cashflow
If you use Square to accept customer payments, you could find that it takes up to three months to receive all the money your customers have paid. According to a recent blog post by the company, it has begun to withhold up to 30% of the money collected from consumers, paying it in a rolling reserve programme over 120 days.
This doesn’t apply to all Square customers, only new and sporadic sellers and those it considers being risky businesses, particularly those selling goods or services which are prone to dispute or where advanced payments are made for goods or services delivered in the future.
Square says it uses feedback analysis tools to identify which companies need to go on the rolling reserve programme and that it uses this methodology sparingly and in a transparent way. However, an investigation by the New York Times found that the programme was disproportionately affecting smaller businesses, citing one construction company where the impact has held back recruitment and resulted in the owner having to sell personal property to maintain a healthy cashflow. Meanwhile, almost 2000 business owners have signed a change.org petition demanding Square put an end to the programme.
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