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DON’T BE SCARED OF CLOUD – IT CAN HELP BOOST YOUR FINANCIAL DATA SECURITY AND COMPLIANCE

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Padlock cloud

Travis Bickham, Content Director, Tradeshift

Back in 2009, worries around personal security cultivated a lack of consumer confidence that was said to be holding back online retailing from reaching its full potential. Fast-forward six years and now many of us receive parcels in the post from the likes of Amazon and ASOS on a weekly basis. And e-commerce events like Black Friday are now pencilled into diaries as the day to grab a quick bargain online.

The evolution of our thinking about the cloud is not much different. Some businesses remain wary of the cloud and continue to manage their data in-house. But in reality, the cloud can help you bolster the security of your financial data while also improving compliance.

Security and the cloud: By the numbers

To give you an idea of the ubiquitous force cloud computing has become, consider these statistics. According to IDC, global Software-as-a-Service revenues are forecasted to reach $106B in 2016, increasing 21% over projected 2015 spending levels. While global spend on cloud infrastructure (public and private) is set to reach $33.4 billion, up from 28.1% in 2014. Those are big leaps.

In light of a number of incidents over the last few years, such as Snowden’s revelations, the Sony leak and iCloud hack, unsurprisingly, there are rising levels of concern over cloud security and privacy. The Cloud Industry Forum found that 70% of execs they polled cited data security as their biggest concern, up 9% since last year. As such, it makes complete sense that Gartner reports spending on security technologies will reach $75.4 billion this year, a 4.7 percent increase over last year, driven by cloud, mobile computing and IoT.

Cloud can help improve data security

With numerous breaches making the headlines, cloud computing is naturally going to scare some companies. But cloud can and does improve data security. Paradoxically, the reason the cloud keeps your financial data more secure is the very reason people mistakenly believe it’s less secure. Cloud-averse businesses typically believe the cloud is more vulnerable to attack because it keeps your data off-site in applications and servers owned by a third party. In reality, off-site data storage is the safest way to go for these reasons:

  • Stricter access requirements. Off-site cloud applications require more beefed-up firewalls, security protocols, and access permissions than data stored on-site. On-site security protocols tend to erode over time, while off-site applications have to keep their protocols stringent to meet the expectations of their customers
  • Better physical security. The area where your data is physically stored by your cloud provider has security around the clock. On-site, your data is forever at the mercy of your least competent or most negligent employees
  • A robust threat-assessment model. Using cloud applications also means developing a threat-assessment model. The model will evaluate vulnerabilities within the application and constantly try to breach them to make them stronger. Few on-site IT teams would go to such lengths
  • If you want customers’ business, you have to be the best. Cloud solutions offer the level of data security customers have come to expect. They don’t want to lose business to a competitor because a customer doesn’t trust on-site security measures

Improving compliance with the cloud

Currently, UK businesses also have to ensure they’re compliant with data protection directives set out by government and currently governed by the Information Commissioner’s Office. But with the introduction of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, expected later this year, comes a wave of stricter rules for businesses based and operating in Europe. This includes the hefty increase of being fined up to 2% of an organisation’s annual global turnover for a breach, compared to the current maximum of £500,000.

Admittedly, just like online shopping, cloud-based data storage does present some security challenges. However, as with e-commerce, when you take the proper precautions, those challenges actually become opportunities. Rather than shying away from the cloud in fear of feeling the European Commission’s’ wrath and slapped with a fine, businesses should scrutinise providers so that they’re able to enjoy the flexibility and scalability that cloud brings. Most credible cloud providers have already earned various certifications, such as ISO and SOC , which safeguard data. And this, along with other preventative measures, such as educating staff around data security and having company wide data security protocols in place, means that companies have the right structures in place to comply with strict data protection regulations.

The bottom line is this: Comparing the financial data security of in-house solutions with cloud applications is like comparing a home security system to the Tower of London. By moving your data off-site, the cloud insulates and secures your data rather than exposing it.

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Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill – sources

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Boeing, hit with $6.6 million FAA fine, faces much bigger 787 repair bill - sources 1

By Eric M. Johnson and David Shepardson

SEATTLE/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Boeing Co will pay a $6.6 million to U.S. regulators as part of a settlement over quality and safety-oversight lapses going back years, a setback that comes as Boeing wrestles with repairs to flawed 787 Dreamliner jets that could dwarf the cost of the federal penalty.

Boeing is beginning painstaking repairs and forensic inspections to fix structural integrity flaws embedded deep inside at least 88 parked 787s built over the last year or so, a third industry source said.

The inspections and retrofits could take weeks or even up to a month per plane and are likely to cost hundreds of millions – if not billions – of dollars, depending to a large degree on the number of planes and defects involved, the person said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Boeing had agreed to pay $6.6 million in penalties after the aviation regulator said it failed to comply with a 2015 safety agreement.

The penalties include $5.4 million for not complying with the agreement in which Boeing pledged to change its internal processes to improve and prioritize regulatory compliance and $1.21 million to settle two pending FAA enforcement cases.

“Boeing failed to meet all of its obligations under the settlement agreement, and the FAA is holding Boeing accountable by imposing additional penalties,” FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a statement. Boeing, which paid $12 million in 2015 as part of the settlement, did not immediately comment.

Boeing engineers are working to determine the scope of inspections, including whether jets can be used as-is without a threat to safety, two people said. Boeing has not told airlines how many jets are impacted, another person said.

The FAA has been investigating instances of oversight lapses, debris left inside finished aircraft, and managers putting pressure on employees handling safety checks for the FAA, people familiar with the proceedings said.

For example, in August 2020, Boeing told to the FAA about the flaw involving structural wrinkling in the interior fuselage skin where carbon-composite barrels that form the plane’s lightweight body are melded together.

But the defect went unnoticed for months or longer because computerized safeguards that crunch data looking for quality flaws had not been programmed to look for the gaps, a third industry source said.

DELIVERY TARGET

The 787 production problems have halted deliveries of the jet since the end of October, locking up a source of desperately needed cash for Boeing.

The fuel-efficient 787 has been a huge success with airlines, which have ordered 1,882 of the advanced twin-aisle jet worth nearly $150 billion (74.7 billion pounds) at list prices.

But the advanced production process and sprawling global supply chain caused problems over the years.

As of February, Boeing had fixed the 787 production process causing the wrinkling defect, according to two people familiar with the matter.

However, planes rolled off the assembly line with the flaw for more than a year, at least, continuing even after the flaw was discovered in August 2020.

“It’s difficult to see a definitive fix that is agreeable by the aviation authorities and all going forward,” Boeing customer Air Lease Corp’s CEO John Plueger told analysts on an earnings call Feb 22. “I don’t think that we’re there yet.”

Boeing has been working on the fuselage problem, and two additional potentially hazardous defects that arose since 2019, as it charted plans to consolidate final assembly of the 787 in South Carolina starting next month, at a sharply reduced rate of 5 787s per month.

One senior supply chain source said they will have to cut rate again.

Boeing said last month it expects to resume handing over a small number of 787s to customers later this quarter.

It has an ambitious internal plan to deliver 100 of the jets this year, one person said. Analysts say deliveries are not expected to recover to 2019 levels until at least 2024.

‘OPEN-HEART SURGERY’

But before any jet is delivered, it must go through invasive inspections and costly repairs.

First, technicians must pull out the passenger seats, open up the floor paneling and use specialty tools to measure whether defects invisible to the naked eye are present, according to three people with direct knowledge of the process.

The repair work – already underway at Boeing factories in Everett, Washington and North Charleston, South Carolina – is even harder.

In the bowels of the jet, technicians have to remove multiple specialty fasteners on both sides of the inner fuselage skin, then install newly produced “shims” that fill out gaps and remove the structural dimpling. Workers then replace all the fasteners, re-paint, and re-install the interior, they said.

“It’s like open heart surgery,” one of the people said. “They’ll be retrofitting the fleet for potentially several years.”

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, David Shepardson in Washington, and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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On a retro style milk truck, London entrepreneur chases a ‘zero waste’ future

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On a retro style milk truck, London entrepreneur chases a 'zero waste' future 2

By Natalie Thomas

LONDON (Reuters) – Heralded by the whirr of its underpowered electric engine and the clink of bottles stacked in crates on the back, Ella Shone’s ‘Topup Truck’ started life ferrying morning milk to the doorsteps of bleary-eyed Londoners.

Twenty years on, and the light vehicle known as a ‘milk float’ – once a ubiquitous sight on British streets – is enjoying a second career selling a range of goods and serving the 32-year-old’s quest to rid the city of single-use plastic.

“The fact that I’m driving around in a milk float does a lot for raising awareness in the local area,” said Shone, wearing a black beanie during her rounds in the borough of Hackney last week. “So now I’m operating at almost full capacity.”

Furloughed from her sales job during the coronavirus pandemic last spring, Shone used savings to start her new business, aiming to meet growing demand for household goods free of the plastic packaging used in supermarkets.

Customers book a visit from the ‘Topup Truck’ online and then purchase goods such as lentils, pasta, olive oil, shampoo or washing up liquid using their own containers.

From a low base a decade ago, the market for such unpackaged bulk goods could hit at least 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) by 2030 in the European Union, according to a report https://zerowasteeurope.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/2020_06_30_zwe_pfs_executive_study.pdf by Zero Waste Europe, an anti-waste network.

While handling the logistics can be a challenge, Shone calculates that her service has eliminated the need for at least 12,700 pieces of plastic since it launched in August.

Planning a crowdfunder to retrofit her milk float to enable her to serve a greater range of products to more communities, Shone hopes her novel approach will inspire others to find creative ways to tackle waste.

“If we want to have real change, it has to be a collective effort,” she said.

($1 = 0.8218 euros)

(Writing by Matthew Green, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

 

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Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery

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Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery 3

BERLIN (Reuters) – Lufthansa is adding more holiday destinations to its summer flight schedule from Germany in anticipation of a strong rebound in bookings, it said on Thursday, betting COVID-19 vaccines and testing will soon make vacation travel possible.

Germany’s largest airline said it was planning to add around 20 new destinations from Frankfurt and 13 from Munich to locations such as the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and Greece.

COVID-19 vaccines and testing, along with strict hygiene rules at airports and on planes, will be prerequisites for travel this summer, it said.

“We expect many countries to relax travel restrictions towards the summer as more and more people have been vaccinated,” Lufthansa board member Harry Hohmeister said in a statement.

Hohmeister said the airline, which secured a 9 billion euro ($11 billion) state bailout last year, expects a sharp increase in demand once restrictions are lifted.

Concerned about more transmissible coronavirus mutations, many European Union countries have reinstated border controls in what is normally a passport-free travel zone.

“There is a great yearning for travel and we believe that the summer months will reflect this,” Hohmeister added.

In Britain, holiday bookings soared this week after the government laid out plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving battered airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue.

Plans for relaxing coronavirus travel restrictions have not been announced yet in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to discuss lockdown options with the head of the regional governments next Wednesday.

Lufthansa, which said in January it was losing a million euros every two hours, is due to publish its fourth quarter results on March 4.

($1 = 0.8187 euros)

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Ilona Wissenbach. Editing by Mark Potter)

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