1. Employers use robots to catch fraud in expenses
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners reports that only a small percentage of companies’ expense reports are closely examined, resulting in over $7 billion in annual losses from fraud. The ACFE’s director of research says that, by using robots rather than random spot checks, companies can catch fraud more than twice as fast and cut their fraud losses in half. Business owners can now get a 100 percent overview of incoming employee expense reports using artificial intelligence tools such as SAP Concur’s Concur Detect by AppZen, which only sends a charge for examination by a human auditor if it has a red flag. (Source: Insurance Journal)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: Concur and its competitors, like Expensify, are also using AI to better monitor spend and detect potential fraud. Talk with your accounting application vendor and ask if they’ll be providing similar functionality that can be used in invoicing, bill payment and payroll.
2. Sacked IT guy annihilates 23 AWS servers
An IT worker in the U.K. who was fired after just a month on the job at a digital marketing and software company in 2016 was sent to jail for two years after he stole a former colleague’s login, ripped through Voova’s Amazon Web Services accounts, and destroyed 23 servers. He was found guilty of unauthorized access to computer material and unauthorized modification of computer material when convicted this past January. His former employer lost big contracts worth about $700,000, and reportedly was never able to retrieve the data that was deleted. (Source: Naked Security)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: The lesson: regardless of the size of your business, implement two-factor authentication for all of your systems. This will help minimize the risk of a similar breach happening.
3. Phishing alert: One in 61 emails in your inbox contains a malicious link
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Security provider Mimecast reported last month that the number of phishing attacks on corporate inboxes has more than doubled recently, with one in 61 emails found to contain a malicious URL. These harmful links are one of the key methods hackers use to conduct criminal campaigns, and the emails containing them are often designed to look like they come from legitimate senders, such as a colleague or a company. Their purpose is to deploy malware onto the victim’s PC or to encourage that person to enter sensitive information into a fake version of a real service in order to trick them into revealing passwords and other data. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: The best way to fight this problem is through training. The vast majority of security issues happen due to user error — people clicking or downloading the wrong thing.
4. Microsoft adds compliance and meeting features to Teams
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Last month was the second anniversary of Microsoft’s Teams collaboration tool, and the company announced a major update of the tool, including customized backgrounds for video calls, live text captions, and integration with its Whiteboard “digital canvas” tool. Teams, which effectively replaces Skype for Business, is also adding compliance and meeting features and security features such as private channels and information barriers. (Source: Computer World)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: Microsoft Teams, which is part of Office 365, continues to grow and rival the leader Slack in the communications/collaboration workspace. This news is evidence that Microsoft is turning up the gas with this application, making more investments and adding more features. (Full disclosure: My company, The Marks Group PC, is a Microsoft partner.)
5. Microsoft: Windows 10 can now automatically uninstall buggy updates
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If you have automatically downloaded Windows 10 updates that aren’t compatible with your device, there’s no need to worry. The company says Windows 10 can now remove “problematic updates” without requiring user interaction — a feature that aims to address updates with more severe incompatibility issues, specifically ones that prevent a Windows 10 PC from starting up. The OS will try to address the failure by uninstalling recently installed updates, but this “last resort” will only be taken when all other automatic recovery attempts have failed. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: Sometimes we put off upgrading to the most recent version of Windows because … hey, if it isn’t broke, why fix it, right? And let’s face it — sometimes those upgrades break more things than they fix. The fact is that upgrading whenever a new version is available is an important thing we need to do in order to protect against malware and data breaches. With this new feature I believe we can take more comfort in keeping current with our Windows upgrades. But … you try first, OK? Then let me know.
6. Apple dropped the price on several expensive Mac upgrades
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Last month, Apple lowered the cost of SSD (Solid State Drive) upgrades for the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini — as well as the 2013 Mac Pro RAM. Users can now upgrade the base model MacBook Air to the 1.5TB SSD for $1,100, which is $100 less than before. For the MacBook Air with 256GB, upgrading to the 1.5TB SSD will also cost $100 less, or $900 total. Upgrading the base Mac Mini to 2TB will cost $1,400, which is $200 less than previously listed. (Source: engadget)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: These aren’t the state-of-the-art Mac models, but they’re pretty darn good. If your firm or your clients are invested in Mac products, then this is an opportunity save some money. You’re welcome.
7. Verizon launches 5G in Chicago, Minneapolis
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Verizon has beat AT&T and Sprint in the race to launch the first 5G mobile services in two U.S. cities at an additional cost of $10 for customers with existing unlimited plans. The company announced that users in Chicago and Minneapolis will be able to use the 5G wireless network from April 11 by using a Motorola Z3 mobile and a 5G “Moto Mod” — a physical magnet-like attachment for the phone. AT&T and Sprint are currently building their 5G networks and plan to release 5G smartphones with Samsung Electronics later this year. (Source: Reuters)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: So, should you pay the extra ten bucks a month? What, are you crazy? Of course you should. Anything that increases speed will increase productivity in your business and an extra $120 a year sounds like a small price to pay for the performance benefits of 5G.
8. Facebook’s Workplace reaches 2 million, targets SMBs
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Used by some of the world’s largest organizations, Workplace by Facebook has now amassed 2 million paid users, according to data just released by the company. When launching Workplace in late 2016, Facebook envisioned it as a corporate version of its consumer social network — a way to drive employee engagement, communication and collaboration. Since then, 150 companies have deployed Workplace to more than 10,000 users, and organizations such as Nestlé, Starbucks and Walmart have rolled it out to more 100,000 workers. (Source: Computer World)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: Now that the application has matured, Facebook is turning toward the giant small-business market, which is mostly dominated by collaboration apps Slack and Microsoft Teams. But there’s certainly room to grow. The company plans to add reseller and other consulting partners (if you’re interested, you can sign up here), develop a more robust mobile version, and potentially change its marketing approach to appeal to this broader audience.
9. Google Cloud launches a fixed monthly fee plan for storage
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Google Cloud will soon launch a storage plan called Storage Growth Plan which covers cost bursts by featuring fixed monthly pricing for a year. It gives enterprise CFOs more budgeting predictability related to cloud infrastructure costs, which can be volatile as data shifts locations and resides on different tiers. The Storage Growth Plan rhymes with data plans from wireless providers that roll over minutes, as well as with the way enterprises are used to buying IT infrastructure — based on a fixed dollar amount. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: If your firm or your clients’ businesses are data intensive, then take a hard look at Google’s Storage Growth Plan. It’ll help you and them better budget and control cloud storage costs.
10. Asus patched the ShadowHammer malware
It was recently revealed that “critical” software updates for Asus computers may have actually been malware, planted by hackers in a targeted attack known as “ShadowHammer.” The company is offering a fix in the form of a security update that users can download using the Asus Live Update software tool. And it says it has a second “security diagnostic” tool that scans a computer to determine if it was affected. Asus did not apologize for the hack and, in fact, downplayed it, saying, “Only a very small number of specific user groups were found to have been targeted.” (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your firm and your clients: If your company — or any employees — are using an Asus device, make sure they’re aware of this problem and the patch to help diagnose and fix it.
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