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To Hackers, Small Businesses Weakest Links in Supply Chain

by APICS Staff | N/A 2012 | 12 | 22
To Hackers, Small Businesses Weakest Links in Supply Chain

Who has to worry the most about online security? Surprisingly, small businesses are the easiest targets for cyber-criminals, writes Alan Woodward, a professor in the department of computing at the University of Surrey for BBC News.

One big issue is that small businesses often don’t devote many resources to security even though surveys indicate more than 60 percent of small businesses have been hit by a successful malware attack. Further, surveys indicate as many as 20 percent of small-business owners only pay attention to security after they have been attacked. And up to 10 percent of businesses couldn’t even tell if they had been hacked.

The problem is greater than just the small businesses, however. When a small business becomes compromised, it jeopardizes the intellectual property of potentially many larger organizations with which it works. Ultimately, small businesses must pay greater attention to security; if they do not, they will either face direct losses from an attack or risk ending relationships with partners who view them as liabilities.

India the Next Big Thing in Big Data 

Big data is a big deal. A lot of information is now being collected, more than many companies know how to use effectively. Businesses need help to extract meaning from these data to comprehend market trends, customer wants and needs, and their own operations, and India is ready to tackle this challenge, Quartz reports.

More so than any other country, India has the resources and technical experience to become the next big-data hotspot, according to the article. The country already has proven itself as capable and credible in its delivery of information technology services. It also has the population and the demographics to add 136 million people to the global workforce, while China and Eastern Europe face aging populations.

However, India must first conquer the issues in its education system that limit Indians’ employability, author Venkat Viswanathan writes. In particular, education there lacks soft skills and focuses too much on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Dole Accused of Environmental Damage and Greenwashing

How damaging is greenwashing to your business’s image? Dole Food may be about to find out. According to a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court, Dole knowingly bought bananas from a Guatemalan plantation that has devastated its local environment, Environmental Leader reports. This in spite of Dole promises that it is a safe and sustainable company in local communities.

Dole’s accusers allege that one of the company’s biggest suppliers built a dam in Guatemala to protect its bananas and oil palms. However, according to the lawsuit, the dam created severe floods downstream, destroying crops and causing significant economic damage for locals. Further, 1,200 acres of wetlands were drained.

Governmental and environmental groups within Guatemala have agreed that the plantation directly resulted in flooding and water contamination. Meanwhile, Dole claims its farms in Central America all are certified by the Rainforest Alliance.

Easing Cold-Chain Rules to Save Lives in Africa

Vital medicines that have to stay refrigerated in order to be effective create many logistics challenges. These challenges, as well as the techniques, technologies, and people who work with these materials, make up what is known as the “cold chain.” Now, new research has eased regulations to allow a meningitis vaccine to be transported for up to four days without refrigeration, a potentially life-saving development for many across Africa, Voice of America reports. Previously, the vaccine was required to be kept in the cold chain.

A thorough reevaluation of stability data by Indian and Canadian regulators led to the policy change. The drug, known as MenAfriVac, is relatively inexpensive, but faced the obstacle of spoilage, limiting its coverage. This was particularly damaging during a meningitis outbreak in Chad last year, when tens of thousands of children in the country went unprotected.

Researchers now are focusing on other cold-chain drugs to see if any also can be shipped at warmer temperatures. A bacterial pneumonia vaccine is getting particular attention, as the disease kills an estimated 500,000 children each year.

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