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FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS NEED TO PREPARE FOR WEARABLES WAVE

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By Ennio Carboni, executive vice president, customer solutions, Ipswitch

The wearable revolution has begun, with the likes of smart glasses and watches, and it will dramatically impact the financial sector, which needs to be prepared for the onslaught.

The financial industry is obviously one of the most highly regulated. Many financial institutions are still getting their heads around the internal processes and services that have mushroomed as a result of smartphone and tablet use. However, wearables are gathering momentum and will play a key role in the banking sector so it is a case of prepare now as opposed to when the horse has bolted!

Ennio Carboni

Ennio Carboni

Market research company Research and Markets, predicts that worldwide spending on wearable technology will reach $19 billion by 2018. It forecasts that by 2020, over 150 million wearable devices will have been shipped across the globe.
Consumers will undoubtedly use wearable devices for banking transactions so we may well see key data systems and electronic signatures built into wearables in the future. Wearables will also have a big impact on the internal infrastructure of the financial sector.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has been seen by many financial institutions as a way of reducing costs. However, institutions have had to plan implementations carefully as security is a central concern, both in terms of employee trust and legal liability.
BYOD put new policies in place for employee-owned devices versus company owned devices in regards to privacy and security. Wearables will do the same and financial institutions need to be prepared for the next frontier.

Financial institutions risk losing control of their networks and leave themselves wide open to security breaches if they don’t act now. As wearables become more prevalent, institutions need to make sure that their networks can function, and that they have the bandwidth for additional devices logging on. Remember wearables don’t replace smartphones and tablets; they are additional devices. If your network can’t cope it could have disastrous effects where mission critical applications are compromised.

Security, however, is the glaring issue. Smart watches contain cameras and smart glasses can record everything the user sees. In addition, they have plenty of storage and powerful operating systems. Suddenly transferring sensitive data outside the confines of a secure network becomes simple and can be completed in seconds.

If you haven’t considered a WYOD (Wear Your Own Device) policy, then you should start discussing it fast or you could find your sensitive data hung out to dry in the public domain.

Getting ready for WYOD

  •  Carry out a deep dive risk assessment to review the overall use of wearables and identify the potential risks that they may bring in the unauthorised disclosure of non-public or customer data.
  •  Set different security, privacy, log on and application distribution for personal wearables.
  •  Prepare for a dramatic increase of complex data through your network and ensure that it can cope. Clearly define who can bring wearables into the organisation and where and what parts of the network they can log on to.
  •  Get your legal department to look carefully at the legal implications of wearables and outline it clearly in your WYOD policy. Make sure your WYOD policy addresses emerging privacy laws.
  •  Have a secure plan in place for lost or stolen devices.
  •  IT staff need to be trained in the security issues surrounding different wearables and their operating systems. At the same time the IT department must make sure that the network supports the wearables that financial institutions take on board.
  •  Educate employees about wearables. Having a draconian approach will simply send devices underground and the IT department will inevitably lose control of what is attached to the network, when and where.

In the past, employees used company devices and the data was securely locked down. But the world is changing fast. The arrival of BYOD and wearables means that an organisation can no longer do this as a matter of course. Financial institutions will have to learn to integrate, regulate, secure and monitor employee devices to retain control and glean the benefits that wearables will bring in terms of improving productivity and reducing costs. This means carefully balancing employee satisfaction with industry regulation.

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 1

By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.

Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.

Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.

Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.

Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.

As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.

“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.

The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.

While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.

A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.

Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.

Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 2

By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.

The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.

In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.

Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.

Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.

GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.

The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.

Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.

To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.

Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)

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Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

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Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.

Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.

“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”

Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.

Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.

“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.

Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.

The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.

Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.

There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.

“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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