Stories by John Brandon

  • Standardizing the Desktop

    The IT department is often at the forefront of an organization's technology innovation -- but not always. When it comes to the concept of a standard desktop -- every employee's core install consisting of an operating system, applications, hardware drivers and a security suite -- IT has moved at a snail's pace.

  • In depth: The new help desk - agile, educational, efficient

    A help desk can be a real lifesaver for employees, not to mention a productivity boost. A keyboard stops working, or Outlook crashes repeatedly, and a technician is just a phone call away. Even complex issues can usually be resolved internally, and relatively quickly, without needing an outside vendor.

  • 13 Windows 8 features worth knowing about

    Upgrades, system migration, support headaches -- IT folks are probably dreading the next major Windows rollout. Yet Windows 8, which is scheduled to <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9222470/Microsoft_slates_Windows_8_beta_for_late_February_2012">move to the beta stage</a> in late February and will likely launch in the fall, does offer several compelling new features for both IT and end users.

  • Four rising threats from cybercriminals

    Criminal hackers never sleep, it seems. Just when you think you've battened down the hatches and fully safeguarded yourself or your business from electronic security risks, along comes a new exploit to keep you up at night. It might be an SMS text message with a malevolent payload or an errant signal designed to jam GPS receivers.

  • Standardizing the desktop: Strategies for success

    IT is often at the forefront of technology innovation -- but not always. When it comes to the concept of a standard desktop -- every employee's core install that consists of an operating system, applications, hardware drivers and a security suite -- IT has moved at a snail's pace.

  • Car tech: The connected car arrives

    Automobile technology has become so advanced that today's cars are essentially computers with wheels. So why aren't we using them to surf the Web, communicate with other cars or order food at nearby restaurants?

  • Storage tips from heavy-duty users

    If you think the storage systems in your data center are out of control, imagine having 450 billion objects in your database or having to add 40 terabytes of data each week.

  • Replacing legacy applications: Four problems solved

    Legacy applications are one of the most difficult issues to face within IT. A rip-and-replace approach is expensive, difficult to cost-justify and tends to interrupt business. Meanwhile, the legacy software lingers in accounting's ledgers, outlives its welcome in sales and causes poor network performance throughout the organization.

  • Must-have data center utilities: Picks by IT pros

    Not everything is handed to data center managers on a silver platter. Sure, a few administrative tools arrive on freshly produced discs right from the server vendor. But there are some indispensable tools you can get from third parties, open-source providers or even IT colleagues with some extra time to develop apps.

  • Six rising threats from cybercriminals

    Hackers never sleep, it seems. Just when you think you've battened down the hatches and fully protected yourself or your business from electronic security risks, along comes a new exploit to keep you up at night. It might be an SMS text message with a malevolent payload or a stalker who dogs your every step online. Or maybe it's an emerging technology like in-car Wi-Fi that suddenly creates a whole new attack vector.

  • Data centers experiment with new power sources

    Data center power usage is soaring -- the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that data center energy requirements will double in the next five years. To address that surge in energy use, some companies are turning to alternative sources of energy, including solar arrays, natural gas turbines, wind power, fuel cells and hydro power. But one big question is whether these power sources will deliver a return on investment in the near future.

  • Videoconferencing for every budget

    There's nothing like face-to-face meetings for really connecting with clients or team members, but with air travel becoming ever more expensive (and ever less pleasant), frequent in-person meetings are becoming less viable for many businesses. That means your best option is usually a videoconference.

  • How retailers are using location-based services

    What's happening -- Businesses are integrating location-based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt and Socialight into enterprise applications. For example, ice cream retailer Tasti D-Lite incorporated Foursquare into its loyalty program, providing extra reward points for customers who check in at a store using the application.