Return of the Mac?

Sinead Conboy
August 1, 2023

In this month’s Knowledge Exchange we examine why users are closing the once mighty Windows platform in favour of macOS and Chrome OS devices which continue to grow in popularity and market share! 

Despite remaining the most dominant Operating System (OS) with 68% of market share worldwide, Microsoft’s Windows continues to face growing competition within the OS market.  

Over the past decade Windows has lost more than 22% of its desktop OS market share worldwide, and more than 27% of market share in the USA alone. In the same time frame macOS has gained 13.5% and Chrome OS has grown by more than 4%.  

OS Systems
Real time graphic - OS Systems Computer

Window’s popularity is due in part to its widespread availability on PCs from manufacturing partners such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo, but why has it lost such a significant proportion of the market in recent years? 

Rise of macOS 

Apple’s macOS, which can be found in Apple’s Macbook and Mac Desktop product lines, which includes popular devices such as Macbook Air and Macbook Pro, has been steadily gaining ground in the OS space. It is particularly popular in the North American market where it holds 33% of market share, compared to just 15% in Europe and 21% worldwide.  

Apple introduced Apple silicon, a series of system on a chip (SoC) and system in a package (SiP) processors manufactured by Apple in 2020 and subsequently rolled out installation in every new product they produce.  

This move has undoubtedly accelerated Apple’s popularity across both consumer and enterprise markets as it allowed Apple to increase the performance and battery life of their devices compared to previous versions which were powered using Intel CPU processors. This heightened the competitiveness of Apple’s devices in terms of performance power compared to traditional PCs.   

Chrome OS gains ground  

The rise in popularity of Google’s Linux-based Chrome OS can be attributed in part to the fact that Chromebooks are often a less expensive option for consumers compared to traditional PCs or Macbooks. Their lower price point has made them a popular device within the education sector and amongst parents looking for an affordable starter device for their children. 

The popularity of Chromebooks surged in 2020 as the pandemic took hold and businesses and schools were forced to move to remote working and online learning environments. In the same year. PC shipments grew 13.1% hitting 300 million units, with Chromebooks accounting for 10.8% of devices sold, outselling Macbooks for the first time.  

Mobile and tablet operating systems 

Windows may still dominate the desktop OS market, but when it comes to mobile devices and tablets, Microsoft has yet to make a dent, and has even discontinued its mobile operating system.  

Despite Windows powered tablets such as the Microsoft Surface Pro being available, Android and Apple share 99% of this market. Android claims the lion’s share of the market with 70% of the combined phone and tablet market, whereas when considering tablets alone Apple’s iOS edges ahead with 53.5% due to the popularity of iPad devices.    

Differents OS systems
Differents OS systems

Knowledge Exchange Spotlight 

The resulting demand for PCs caused by the pandemic gave way for Google and Apple to expand their market share at Microsoft’s expense.  

There is no doubt that regardless of losing large market share Microsoft’s Windows remains as the most popular OS for desktops, however this popularity does not carry over to tablets and mobile devices as Apple and Android have saturated the market.  

Microsoft and Intel are already preparing for the launch of Windows 12 according to leaked documents, so it remains to be seen if this will enable Microsoft to claim back some market share. 

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Types of Cybersecurity Threats


In part one of our cybersecurity and digital transformation blog series, we set out the importance of keeping security needs at the forefront of any digital strategy. This installment will present the most common cybersecurity threats that businesses are faced with.

Cybersecurity threats come in various forms from different sources, and can be defined as either passive or active, attacking both operating systems and hardware.  

Passive Threat & Active Attacks

Passive cybersecurity threats are attacks which does not harm a company’s system directly, but information is obtained which may be sensitive data. A hacker will attempt to remain unnoticed while gathering information about the victim’s machine, network, or other systems.  

An active attack encompasses a wide range of different techniques that jeopardises a system’s integrity and availability. This type of attack poses a threat to both the organisation and individuals where a hacker attempts to directly modify resources. Unlike a passive attack, these breaches are more easily identified.  

Cybersecurity threats

Common passive attacks:  

  • Phishing – A common, but effective type of attack typically carried out via email. It is designed to steal users’ credentials and trick them into installing malicious software on their device. Over time, phishing attacks have evolved into more sophisticated and efficient tactics, with attackers frequently utilizing authentic-looking credentials to increase their success rate. 
  • Cyber espionage – Where a hacker accesses, steals, or exposes classified data or intellectual property with malicious intent which can lead to damaging consequences. Common methods include advanced persistent threats (APT), social engineering and spear phishing.  
  • Data packet sniffing – Similar to wiretapping, packet sniffing allows anyone to eavesdrop on computer conversations. An attacker will install hardware or software to monitor, collect and analyse data sent over a network.  

Common active attacks:  

  • Malware – any malicious software which aims to cause disruption or damage a computer, server, or network. Devices can be infected through simple means such as clicking on a suspicious link, but it can allow the hacker access to personal and sensitive information.  
  • Denial of Service (DoS) – An attack carried out by bots designed to flood an organisations system with fake requests, therefore blocking legitimate requests. This type of attack both seriously effects company resources and damages infrastructure.  
  • Domain spoofing – This is another form of phishing where an attacker impersonates a known business or person by using a fake web or email domain hoping to fool people into trusting them as at first glance they often look legitimate. However, users can be tricked into revealing sensitive information, sending money or clicking malicious links.  

Cyberattacks can affect both operating systems and hardware, creating challenges for businesses who wish to fortify their infrastructure against cybersecurity threats. This can create even greater challenge for smaller businesses who are trying to manage this with limited resources. The third installment of this blog series will discuss the challenges caused by these security breaches.  


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Cybersecurity challenges faced by businesses

In part two of our cybersecurity and digital transformation series we detailed the most common forms of cyberattacks. In this blog, we will discuss the biggest cybersecurity challenges facing businesses.

As digital transformation introduces new, and ever evolving technology to small business IT infrastructure, it is inevitable that an organization’s potential attack surface grows, introducing more cybersecurity challenges.  

As they try to navigate a wide range of potential threats, small businesses can struggle to distribute the right resources to ensure they stay safe, meaning they are vulnerable to various cybersecurity challenges such as:   

  • Secure back-up and recovery of data
  • Detection and response to threats and vulnerabilities
  • Supply chain integrity
  • Manage security activities 24/7

Cybersecurity challenges

Secure back-up and recovery of data

One major cybersecurity challenge that small businesses face is the secure back-up and recovery of data. Companies must have adequate systems in place to ensure that their data is securely backed up and recoverable in the event of damage or corruption.  

Data-driven companies, in particular, must protect their information from sophisticated ransomware attacks. As small businesses increasingly include multi-cloud and on-premise storage of data in their IT infrastructures, cyber resilience is essential to ensure business continuity in the event of a data loss. 

Detection and response to threats and vulnerabilities

The vulnerability of cybersecurity breach above and below a company’s operating system will inevitably increase as the business grows. Threats can present themselves in various forms with the intention of accessing, changing, destroying, or deleting information without authorized access.  

The challenge arises for businesses to install the right systems that can promptly identify these threats and adequately defend their IT infrastructure. According to IBM, in 2022 it took an average of 277 days or 9 months to identify and contain a breach. The longer a breach lasts, the greater the strain on a business’ resources.  

Supply chain integrity

Supply chains are a multi-party ecosystem. Businesses rely on advanced technology to support connectivity and sophisticated logistics networks. However, this technology is also vulnerable to attacks, threatening the integrity of supply chain systems. It is vital to maintain the security of the supply chain eco-systems to avoid operational disruptions, lost revenue, jeopardized data, reduced productivity and potential brand and reputation damage. 

Technology supply chains can also be infiltrated with counterfeit devices that have been tampered with. IT teams work hard to secure their infrastructure, but this is a futile activity if a third party does not maintain their defence along the supply chain. Businesses must ensure devices and their components are safe to deploy using secure verification.   

Manage security activities 24/7

With cyber-attacks posing a threat at any time of day, businesses must remain vigilant around the clock. However, companies often face the challenge of not having the necessary resources in house to physically monitor their networks continuously.  

As threats continue to increase in frequency and complexity, efficient threat detection systems are essential in identifying and preventing attacks before any damage can occur. This can mean having to invest in outsourced services to ensure networks are monitored 24/7. 

Small businesses face numerous cybersecurity challenges in the ever-changing landscape of digital transformation. To ensure their safety, companies must prioritize cyber resilience and invest in efficient threat detection systems. By doing so, they can protect their data, maintain supply chain integrity, and prevent cyber-attacks from disrupting their operations. In the fourth and final blog in this series we will lay out the steps you can take to improve your security measures to keep your infrastructure safe.

Part four will conclude this blog series by detailing the steps needed to implement practices that best address your cybersecurity challenges.  


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Cyber Security Research Round Up

Research Round Up

THIS MONTH'S LATEST CYBER SECURITY RESEARCH From security vendors, bloggers, and analysts

Checkpoint Security: Cyber Security Report 2023

Author: Maya Horowitz, VP Research at Check Point Software Technologies

  • “In 2022, the proportion of email-delivered-attacks has increased, reaching a staggering record of 86% of all file-based attacks in-the-wild.”
  • “The Russia-Ukraine war demonstrated how traditional, kinetic war can be augmented by a cybernetic war. It has also influenced the broader threat landscape in the rapid changes of hacktivism and how independent threat actors choose to work for state-affiliated missions.
  • The war has also seen enhanced usage of wiper malware, malware that intends to erase or wipe data of the drive it infects, and this trend has been adopted by several actors, reaching a point where 2022 has seen more wiper attacks globally, than in the previous decade altogether.”

IBM Security Report: Cost of a Data Breach Hits Record High During Pandemic

  • In 2021 systems and software giant, IBM Security found that over half of SMBs had experienced a cyber-attack largely as the result of the pandemic where new hybrid working models were introduced or with the increased migrations to cloud infrastructure.
  • IBM notes that 40% of SMBs do not have comprehensive and updated cyber-security incident plan. Other findings of the IBM research found that or companies with less that 500 employees the cost of an average Cyber breach was around $3m per incident.

Venture Beat/ Forrester 2023 Cyber Security Predictions

  • More than 50% of chief risk officers (CROs) will report directly to the CEO.
  • A C-level executive will be fired for their firm’s use of employee monitoring.
  • A Global 500 firm will be exposed for burning out its cybersecurity employees 
Cyber security research

SecureList by Kaspersky: What your SOC will be facing in 2023

Authors: Sergey Solatov, Roman Nazarov

  • Ransomware will increasingly destroy data instead of encrypting it
  • Public-facing applications will continue to be exploited for initial access
  • More supply chain attacks via telecom
  • More reoccurring targeted attacks by state-sponsored actors
  • Rise in attacks on Media outlets

EMP Research

  • Future-proof: bunkered data centres and the selling of ultra-secure cloud storage
  • Challenges in Protecting Cyber Critical Infrastructure-GOA
  • North Korea’s Satellites Could Unleash Electromagnetic Pulse Attack
  • Critical Infrastructure Cyber Recommendations Go Largely Unaddressed-Nextgov
  • EMP/Solar flare-Grid Down Consulting
  • Infrastructure Security-CISA

Cyber Security Podcasts-Compiled by Fabian Weber

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Related News
The Business Impact of Generative AI: How It is Revolutionizing Industries

Source: Protech Insights

Generative AI is the coolest new thing on the block. It is like a magic machine that can create anything you can imagine, from text to code to images to music. And it is already starting to revolutionize the way we do business.

So, what is generative AI, and why should you care?

Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can create added content, such as text, code, images, and music. It is trained on massive datasets of existing data, which it uses to learn the patterns and relationships in that data. Once trained, generative AI can be used to create added content that is like the training data, but also unique and original.

Generative AI is still in its initial stages of development, but it has the potential to revolutionize many industries. Here are just a few use cases of Generative AI:

Marketing and advertising:

To create personalized marketing campaigns, generate new ad copies, and create realistic product images and videos.

Creative industries:

To create new works of art, music, and literature. It can also be used to generate innovative ideas and concepts for creative projects.


To develop new drugs and therapies, diagnose diseases, and personalize treatment plans.


To design new products, optimize production processes, and predict maintenance needs.

Financial services:

To develop new financial products and services, detect fraud, and manage risk.

In addition to these specific industries, generative AI is also having a broader impact on the way businesses operate. For example, generative AI is being used to automate tasks, improve customer service, and develop new business models.

So, how can you get started with generative AI?

The first step is to identify the tasks and processes in your business that can be automated with generative AI. Once you have identified these areas, you can start to experiment with different generative AI tools and platforms to find the ones that work best for your needs.

It is important to start small and scale up your use of generative AI as you gain more experience. It’s also important to monitor the results of your generative AI initiatives and adjust as needed.

Generative AI is a powerful technology that has the potential to transform many industries. By starting early and experimenting with different generative AI tools and platforms, businesses can position themselves to take advantage of this transformative technology.

Now, let us get funky!

Imagine a world where you can create anything you can imagine, with just the click of a button. That’s the world that generative AI is creating.

Generative AI can be used to create new products and services, improve existing ones, and even create new forms of art and entertainment. It is a technology that has the potential to change the world, and it is already starting to do so.

So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring the world of generative AI today!

For more information, please visit the original website: Protech Insights

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Microsoft AMPS its latest operating system up to 11. But ...

Microsoft AMPS its latest operating system up to 11. But is it one notch above the rest?


As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, organizations must adapt to stay ahead in a highly competitive landscape. With the release of Windows 11, Microsoft has introduced what it calls: ‘a new era of computing.’ In this blog post, BNZSA will explore the key reasons why organizations should consider migrating to Windows 11 and the benefits it offers as well as the challenges faced by organisations-such as incompatible legacy hardware.

Let us start with some facts & figures:

  • The original version of Windows 11 (also known as version 21H2) was released in October 2021. Windows 11 feature updates will release with a yearly cadence, in the second half of the calendar year. Currently the latest version of Windows 11 is version 22H2.
  • The latest major release of Windows 10 is version 21H1 which was released on May 18, 2021. Microsoft is ending support for Windows 10 on October 14th, 2025.
  • There are still millions of devices used, which don´t meet the bar for Windows 11. But, according to analyst Forrester, endpoint modernization with a PC refresh and Windows 11 migration increases the endpoint security, provides better manageability and user experience.


■ Security

Security is a top concern for organizations. In previous blogs we reported on the evolving threat landscape with a growing number of sophisticated malware and ransomware attacks. Due to the hybrid work environment, PCs are getting used in environments where they are much more vulnerable to cyber threats. Windows 11 addresses these concerns by integrating advanced security features. Windows 11 provides hardware-based security through Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 and Secure Boot, making it more resistant to cyber threats. With the introduction of Windows Hello for Business, organizations can utilize biometric authentication, such as facial recognition or fingerprint scanning, for enhanced login security. This can help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and applications.

■ Improved performance and efficiency

Windows 11 also offers improved performance and efficiency. The new operating system (OS) is optimized for modern hardware, utilizing the latest technologies to deliver faster boot times, improved battery life, and reduced resource consumption. Windows 11 takes advantage of the latest hardware technologies and accelerates performance through optimized hardware utilization. For example, Windows 11 is optimized to leverage the processing power of latest families of Intel CPUs with efficient and performant cores. The OS is designed to make the most efficient use of the available cores, ensuring that tasks and applications run smoothly and efficiently. This can result in better overall performance, faster application responsiveness, and smoother multitasking experiences, according to the manufacturer.

■ User experience and productivity

Microsoft also claims that Windows 11 represents a significant leap forward in terms of user experience & productivity. It strengthens collaboration within organizations by integrating with Microsoft 365 services. It also provides contextual recommendations for more efficient workflows across Windows with suggestions for files, contacts, and actions. And in an era of increased working from home (WFH) and working from anywhere, Windows 11 is designed to support hybrid work enhancing the Microsoft Teams experience, enabling users to connect with colleagues, join meetings, and share content. The integration of Microsoft Teams directly into the taskbar has been designed to streamline communication and collaboration workflows, to promote efficient teamwork and productivity. In this latest release, videoconferencing becomes smarter and easier including intelligent noise canceling, and background blur. Windows 11 includes several other features that can offer improved productivity for your organization. For example, it includes a new feature called “Snap Layouts” which allows users to quickly arrange multiple windows on their desktop for better multitasking. It also includes a new feature called “Snap Groups” which allows users to save groups of apps together for easy access.

■ System Management

Windows 11 offers enterprise-grade management and deployment tools to facilitate the migration process and ongoing system management. Current management tools provide centralized control, and it offers a streamlined approach to the management of devices, updates, and security policies. These tools simplify the migration process and enable efficient management of the Windows 11 ecosystem within the enterprise.

■ Testing

Finally, in terms of testing, Microsoft Windows 11 Version 23H2, due for release this autumn, this one shares the same servicing branch and code base as last year’s release (22H2), which could mean less time for IT managers in testing according to Techfinitive.


■ Hardware requirements

Perhaps the biggest reason Windows 11 has received some negative comments, but not as bad as for some of its past releases, is the new hardware requirements and especially the requirement for the TPM chip, but for some commentators the incompatibility was not with the TPM module but with the CPU itself, especially 32bit processors, as Windows 11 will only run on 64-bit Intel or AMD chips. Depending on a company’s refresh cycle, some organisations have already refreshed their fleet of PCs and Laptops and have been unaware that the CPU not the TPM chip would be responsible for incompatibility.

■ Two Year timeframe to decide

Although it would be fair to say that the longer companies take to migrate, the more complex the process is, some firms are adopting a wait and see approach especially when the support for Windows 10 doesn’t end till October 2025, So although Microsoft has stated it will not be releasing anymore features to Windows 10, save for security patches, some companies are asking if they really need to refresh fleets now — especially if they have just recently done it to support more Windows 11. And although as we have discussed above, the new OS has been designed to support and sustain hybrid work, sometimes he first iterations of a major release are not always bulletproof out of the box and require revisions and patches further down the line. Although Microsoft has said new features will be released with a yearly cadence, some firms are asking if it would be best to wait for the next hardware refresh to ensure compatible TPM and CPUS and an OS that has been out in the field with enough time to be stable.

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Sides of AI

This month’s Knowledge Exchange will examine both the benefits and the potential dangers of unregulated Artificial Intelligence on Enterprise resourcing, business IT platforms, sales and marketing strategies and also on customer experience. It will also ask if it is possible to pause AI development to roll out ethical and regulated AI that protects and enhances jobs rather than potentially replace them; protects personal data, privacy, and preferences rather than manipulate it for nefarious reasons and that doesn’t spiral us into a “Terminator” or “Matrix” like future where the machines are in control!

The Good Side of AI

As we discussed in last month’s Knowledge Exchange on Hybrid Cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has some compelling usages for ITDMs especially when it can help tame IT complexity by automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks. It can also be used to learn and write code from past data and be used to autogenerate content and images from multiple sources by mimicking human intelligence and human labour. As the technology develops, there seems to be a whole raft of plug-ins and algorithms that people such as Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella believes will: “Create a new era of computing.”

Copilot (sic) works alongside you, embedded in the apps millions of people use every day: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more…it (sic) is a whole new way of working.

Microsoft 365 head I Jared Spataro

And as corporations and investors are constantly looking at growth, efficiencies and ultimately profit, the lure of AI to support this new paradigm must be insatiable proposition right now, especially as we are seeing a lot of economic pressure from various financial, energy and geopolitical crises.

This is perhaps why, as news service Reuters notes, since the March 2023 launch of Microsoft’s AI “Co-pilot” developer tool, over 10,000 companies have signed up to its suite that can help with the generative creation and optimisation of its Office 365 Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook email software that some commentators are calling “Clippy on Steroids

Speaking to Senior editor of the Verge, Tom Warren, Microsoft 365 head Jared Spataro said: “Copilot (sic) works alongside you, embedded in the apps millions of people use every day: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and more…it (sic) is a whole new way of working.”

Microsoft has also invested $1bn into former non-profit, OpenAI a company co-founded by billionaire inventor and investor, Elon Musk who has since left the company to concentrate on his Tesla automotive and SpaceX Aeronautical business. Now a for-profit business, OpenAI, is working on an Artificial Generative Intelligence (AGI) to perform like a human brain.

Microsoft and OpenAI will jointly build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies. OpenAI will port its services to run on Microsoft Azure, which it will use to create new AI technologies and deliver on the promise of artificial general intelligence. Microsoft will become OpenAI’s preferred partner for commercialising new AI technologies,

Microsoft 365 head I Jared Spataro

The partnership will offer Microsoft the chance to not only catch up with Google’s AI developments of late, but also give it more muscle for AI development due to its combination of resources and hardware combined with the researchers and developers at OpenAI, according to industry watcher, TechGig it noted:

“Microsoft and OpenAI will jointly build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies. OpenAI will port its services to run on Microsoft Azure, which it will use to create new AI technologies and deliver on the promise of artificial general intelligence. Microsoft will become OpenAI’s preferred partner for commercialising new AI technologies,” according to an official Microsoft statement.

Back in November 2022, OpenAI launched its much lauded and controversial text generator ChatGPT, ahead of rivals Google that launched its rival Bard text generator product later in February 2023. Until then, Google had been largely considered at being ahead of its rivals by integrating AI tools into products such as its search engine, something Microsoft also started to implement into its Bing search engine in February. But unlike ChatGPT, Bard is still not available or supported in most European countries.

As the AI ‘arms’ race heated up in April this year, Google launched a raft of tools for its email, collaboration and cloud products, according to Reuters, that reported Google had combined “Its AI research units Google Brain and DeepMind and work on “multimodal” AI, like OpenAI’s latest model GPT-4, which can respond not only to text prompts but to image inputs as well to generate new content.”

And there certainly seems a tsunami of AI development projects that are either in development or planned to be rolled out from seemingly all collaboration, content, cloud, data and security vendors that can see the potential that AI could do to enhance current offerings and workflows. As we examined in March’s Knowledge Exchange whitepaper, adding AI to Cybersecurity applications to prevent increasing vulnerability and sophistication of attacks, including AI generated malware, was one of the main hopes and priorities of ITDMs for 2023 and beyond.

In other applications of AI, from a customer user experience point of view, having the ability to generate not just content but localised or personalised content is also very attractive for companies to generate Website content, emails and sales and marketing communications, because they don’t require hundreds of content and digital specialists to create it. For example, in the UK, Press Association (PA), has recently launched its Reporters And Data and Robots (RADAR) service to supply local news media with a mixture of journalist generated content and AI generated content to supplement their local coverage.

This venture is beneficial for local areas that have seen local news coverage drop in favour of centralised national news coverage and shines a light on how AI and Human intelligence can be combined to create quality content. And from a marketing point of view, the ability to generate personalised emails by AI using data from multiple sources would seem like discovering the Holy Grail. Imagine a scenario where AI looks at intent data from a customer Ideal Customer Profile list to see who is currently in market for a product or service by analysing what content a company or individual might be consuming. Using some predictive analysis, autogenerated content could be used to nurture those companies or individuals to a point where more predictive analysis could be deployed to analyse where they are in the purchasing process and create content accordingly. Or it could be used send invitations to follow up with a sales person or drive people to a website where there are AI enhanced chatbots that can gather yet more information about a product or service requirement in more of a conversational style, as Cloud giant AWS is developing:

Businesses in the retail industry have an opportunity to improve customer service by using artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots. These solutions on AWS offer solutions for chatbots that are capable of natural language processing, which helps them better analyse human speech.

By implementing these AI chatbots on their websites, businesses can decrease response times and create a better customer experience while improving operational efficiency.

Lastly, from a sales and business development point of view, having AI enhanced tools to generate less cold call intros and help with following up with more personalised and less generic emails is also a compelling application of AI in the lead and pipeline generation space.

With increasingly leaner SDR and BDR teams, it is often difficult for companies, especially start-ups, to get sales staff up to speed on complex IT solutions. But having a product matter expert involved in the modelling of AI algorithms that can enhance conversational email and follow up allows the BDR/SDR not only achieve the right messaging but also allows them to manage and communicate with more potential leads.

computopia or man-made dystopia

The bad side of Artificial Intelligence

As a species, humans have always seemingly developed tools, products, medicines, industries, and societal frameworks that have the potential either help or harm society. But more recently we’ve really accelerated the ability for our tools to impact our world for better or worse.

But often, we are too distracted by the “wow isn’t that cool” part of technology before we think: Should we be doing this? What are the down sides? Who is regulating this? What are the long-term impacts. Can we stop it if we have to?

AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity, as shown by extensive research and acknowledged by top AI labs. As stated in the widely-endorsed Asilomar AI Principles, Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources.

Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter

And while we marvel at dancing robotic dogs from Boston Dynamics or AI infused technology into computer generated imagery and text there are many leading tech and industrial figures that are worried of the implications of rapidly evolving, unregulated AI upon businesses and society at large. They are very worried.

Before his death, eminent physicist, Stephen Hawking, forewarned that AI could help to end the human race. And in March this year, Elon Musk, who has started his own AI company and a whole host of tech leaders put their signatures to an open letter to the Tech industry to “pause giant AI experiments” for at least 6 months and not surpass any technology that exceeds frameworks like ChatGPT 4. The letter at the time of writing had nearly 30K signatures.

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Harnessing the power of AI: Revolutionising Cybersecurity

In today’s hyperconnected world, AI has revolutionized the way we work. But as more and more information and data flows seamlessly, cyberthreats are becoming ever-more sophisticated and traditional cybersecurity measures are no longer sufficient.

Cyberattacks are on the rise, and although on one hand, threats have become more sophisticated due to advancements in AI and Machine Learning (ML), AI has also become an indispensable tool in cybersecurity. This is due to its ability to analyse vast amounts of data, detect anomalies, and adapt to evolving threats in real-time.

AI revolutionising cybersecurity

Benefits of using AI in Cybersecurity:

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and Deep Learning (DL) have multiple applications in cybersecurity to make threat detection and prevention strategies more robust and effective. Some benefits of their use include:

Phishing detection and prevention

AI powered algorithms can detect email phishing by analysing vast amount of data to thwart phishing attacks. ML models can be trained to flag suspicious details of the mail such as the sender’s address, links and attachments and the language used in the message to determine if it is from a trustworthy source or not.

Password protection

AI and ML can detect trends in compromised passwords to create rigid password policies and suggest stronger passwords that are harder for hackers to crack. AI-powered systems can also use behavioural biometrics to verify user identities, analysing typing patterns, mouse movements and other cues to detect potential imposters.

Network security

By analysing data and patterns, Artificial Intelligence algorithms can learn normal network behaviour and flag any changes that may signal sinister activity. AI can also be used in identifying and moderating Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks by analysing traffic pattern and blocking untrustworthy IP addresses.

Vulnerability Management

With more than 20,000 known vulnerabilities, AI and Machine Learning can be vital tools for detecting anomalies in user accounts, endpoint and servers that can signal a zero-day unknown attack, which can protect companies from vulnerabilities before they have even been reported or patched.

Final Thoughts

While AI has a welcome place in technology, its development should be kept under an ethical watchful eye because as cybersecurity professionals use it to strengthen their defences, cybercriminals also have access to the same technology to create more sophisticated attacks.

However, it cannot be denied that by implementing AI in your cybersecurity strategy, you can significantly improve your defence against and detection of potential threats.

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AI & The Age of Disinformation

The power and threat of AI powered Large Language Models.

Disinformation is defined as “false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth”.

While most commonly used in politics and public health discourse, disinformation campaigns can be used to target businesses of all sizes and can have damaging effects on reputation and revenue. And in an age where disinformation can be easily spread via the internet, it is feared that tools such as ChatGPT will make it easier to create and circulate false narratives on a larger scale than ever before. But what threat does AI engineered disinformation pose to businesses’ integrity, reputation and most importantly security?

Concerns over AI:

AI has revolutionized many aspects of human life, both in personal and professional aspects, and as of late, Large Language Models (LLMs) have been one of the main focal points of AI development. With the popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, there has been an arms race between tech companies to develop and launch similar tools. OpenAI, Microsoft and Google are leading the way, but IBM, Amazon and other key players are close on their tails.

Although these advancements in AI are a testament to how technology has evolved since the inauguration of the internet just 50-odd years ago, the question arises – just because you can, does that mean you should?

The power of ChatGPT:

OpenAI’s ChatGPT3, which launched in November 2022, is the most powerful LLM chatbot launched to date, harnessing the power of 570 GB of data. With ChatGPT4’s capabilities being more creative and nuanced than its predecessor, with the ability to process both audio and video as well as text, its potential to generate information is at a level that has been previously unknown.

There has been growing concern amongst high-profile players withing the technology sector , with many calling for legislation on the development of AI. Key figures warning of AI’s power are Elon Musk (Tesla), Steve Wozniak (Apple Co-founder), and Dr. Geoffrey Hinton (Formerly Google).

How AI can be used in Disinformation attacks:

Disinformation attacks differ from typical cyber threats as there is no need to physically, or virtually infiltrate a business or its network. Bad actors can produce and circulate disinformation with relative ease, generating it en masse using chat bots such as ChatGPT and spreading the resulting inauthentic content via social media, blogs, or emails.

Manipulated audio and video

A deepfake refers to an AI generated video used to spread a fake narrative. They are often hyper-realistic in appearance. A falsified video of illegal activity, or business leaders making incendiary comments can erode public trust and can be used for extortion. They can also increase the effectiveness of phishing attacks, make identity theft easier and manipulate and severely damage a company’s reputation.
AI systems can also be trained to impersonate a real person, to generate speech that mimics a particular style, and language patterns, lending more credibility to scam attempts.


Fraud is often motivated by a desire to obtain financial gain. AI can be used to create forged documents with fake letterheads, copied and pasted signatures, or even business contracts and invoices that can be used to deceive and mislead people.

Proxy websites

Proxy websites are used as fronts by malicious actors to host their fraudulent content. They are disguised as a legitimate site in order to launder fake news and divisive content and drive page views. Often times the only way they can be detected is by spotting a slight misspelling in the URL or cross referencing the site’s information with verifiable sources.


Disinformation-as-a-Service is nightmare fuel for information warfare where anyone can buy fake news and misinformation campaigns powered by a network of professional trolls, bots, and other manipulation tools. Be it a competitor, a disgruntled client or ex-employee, anyone with bad intentions can engage an incendiary service to damage a business or individuals’ reputation with falsified information.

How Disinformation attacks threaten businesses:

Fake news is more than a catchy phrase, disinformation poses serious harm to individuals and businesses alike and can result in:

Reputational damage:

False information can be spread quickly and easily on the internet, and despite best efforts and rebuttals with the truth, once trust is lost it can be greatly difficult to build this back with the public. This can result in a loss of sales and being unable to attract new customers.

Financial loss:

Disinformation can be used to inflate and manipulate stock market prices or to deceive investors, which can lead to significant financial losses for both the company and investors when the truth comes to light.  

Cybersecurity breach

AI can be used to generate more sophisticated phishing attacks that appear to be from legitimate sources which can then be used to install malware on business systems, giving hackers access to confidential company information or customer data.

Business disruption

Disinformation can be used to spread false rumours about business operations or product availability which may cause customers to cancel their orders or avoid doing business with the company in the first place.

Final Thoughts

As Artificial Intelligence continues to develop, its power needs to be looked at through an ethical lens. With every benefit it brings, those with bad intentions also have access to use its power for evil rather than good. It will be interesting to see how global governments decide to handle it and how legislation will be put in place to regulate its advancement.

The development of AI legislation is already underway within the European Union. The European Parliament is looking to introduce the AI Act to ensure a human-centric and ethical development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Europe, MEPs endorsed new transparency and risk-management rules for Artificial Intelligence systems.

Although AI can be used to improve work processes, it can also be used to optimise output of defamatory and dangerous mistruths. We are in an age where fake news and disinformation is no longer limited to the political sphere, and companies are also at risk of disinformation attacks. There is no doubt that AI powered Large Language Models (LLMs) such as Chat GPT have the power to increase the frequency, intensity, and consequences of disinformation attacks against businesses.

Companies need to put precautions in place to detect and defend themselves from AI powered attacks, but only time will tell the true power of AI for better or worse.

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5 Key Trends for ITDMs for 2023 and beyond

Hope for the best by preparing for the worst: Knowledge Exchange examines the five key trends for ITDMs for 2023 and beyond.

As we enter the last few days of 2022 it is a customary tradition to do a bit of navel gazing about what the next year will hold for the IT Market and what hot topics will keep ITDMs awake at night next year.

As we end what has been for many, a rollercoaster of a year, there seems to be plenty of things that will cause a few sleepless nights in the months ahead!

Therefore, it is important to identify and adapt to these trends in a world that has had a perpetual round of shocks in the last decade that in more recent times has seen: a global pandemic, inflation, global supply chain issues, energy and food crises and latterly geopolitical instability through war. There are also many concerns over increasingly sophisticated criminal and state sponsored cyber-attacks. 

With another global recession on the horizon, it is more essential than ever to have the best and most actionable data, combined with continued investment in employee and customer value propositions, in order to ride the wave of these uncertain times.

In the first of this two-part piece, BNZSA will identify the key trends and challenges in the market for 2023 and beyond.

1. Hybrid Infrastructure

Many commentators have been tracking the long-lasting implications of Covid on the workplace and what knock-on effects it has had on the provision of IT services and employee working practices. While the race to look for more collaborative technologies during lockdowns and social distancing measures was a necessary first response to a natural disaster, most industry watchers believe that hybrid and remote working will continue after the pandemic.

In November 2022, a YouGov study on behalf of IT service and consultants NSC noted “… organisations should expect this to be a permanent and persistent pattern in their workplace and to prepare for this long-term shift.”

It also believes that this paradigm shift is the ‘new norm’ and that increasingly companies will move to a ‘distributed enterprise.’ The report also noted that the global market for IT and business services grew 29% to $84.2 billion in 2021 as businesses reviewed and implemented new technology to improve “overall long-term business resilience.”

In order to fully utilise hybrid-infrastructure, ITDMs must factor in the following trends. With opportunity, comes potential challenges and risks, which if not fully planned for may bring some nasty surprises along the way.

2. Modern Workplace

The knock-on effect of the long period of remote working is that many employees now associated office-based jobs with an unnecessary and expensive commute on backed up highways and overburdened public transport networks.

Whereas hybrid and remote ways of working offer more flexibility, productivity and time to be with family. Many workers have decided that going forward they want to work for companies that will offer remote or hybrid working, according to analyst Gartner.

It found that nearly half of employees surveyed wanted to work for companies that offered more hybrid work and latterly shorter working weeks. It also stated that the “employee value proposition must change for hybrid work and respond to shifts in employee expectations”

In its report, Gartner has identified these key future work trends:

  • Hybrid work has become mainstream.
  • Talent is not in short supply, but recruitment, retention and management of resources will change.
  • Employee well-being is a key metric.
  • DEI considerations will have to be carefully monitored in a hybrid environment.
  • Turnover will increase unless companies can extend and include culture for both remote, hybrid and office-based employees.
  • Managers roles will change as in person, office based becomes extending traditional management and company culture to hybrid and remote management.
  • Next generation of workforce wants ‘in person’ work experiences but also to remain having a flexible work of remote and hybrid working.
  • 4-day weeks or shorter weeks are becoming more commonplace.
  • Employee data collection is expanding.

In conclusion, Gartner believes because the ongoing transformation in the way knowledge workers work, the move to hybrid working will prove great opportunities for companies. However, it will also provide potential risks such as increased exposure to cyberattacks, which we will examine below.

Other factors such as the way companies have traditionally  procured and managed hardware look likely to change as demands for more bring (or use) your own devices (BYOD) grows and the demand of  purchasing more mobile devices rather than traditional desktop devices grows.

Break fix services will also be a consideration for the future in terms of maintaining, services and replacing devices. And with a growing need for employees to monitor activity and productivity of remote staff, there looks likely to be some concerns about how much data companies are holding on employees, how it is processed and other concerns that ITDMs will have to manage as part of ongoing privacy policies.

3. Digital Transformation

While YouGov/NSC found, in a survey of 263 business executives, that 79% of respondents had a digital transformation plan in place, almost half cited that legacy technology as a key constraint. Many are now looking to cloud migration or companies that offer as-a-service solutions, to not only help with their digital transformation plans, but to also maintain solid customer value propositions and customer experience.

To this end, YouGov predicts that demand for as-as-service offerings will rise. And this can also mean how companies hire staff. According to Gartner, in looming recessionary times functional leaders must get “recession ready.” And this means being agile in securing talent.

For BNZSA’s clients, the demand for BDRs-as-a-service and SDRs-as-a-service also looks set to rise in 2023 and beyond as companies look to backfill existing shortages or look to grow pipelines and closed won revenue by adding instant ‘virtual’ resources at a fraction of the cost of traditional FTEs.

During the pandemic, a lot of the traditional face-to-face (F2F) ways to educate potential customers on IT products and solutions and generate sales pipeline such as conferences and events were put on hold. In turn, this has accelerated many companies to look to digital solutions and social platforms to educate and also for lead generation provision.

While it is universally accepted that ‘content is the backbone of any buyer journey or customer experience. Analyst company Forrester notes that currently marketeers must catch up on critical skills to ensure content will deliver its ‘intended impact’. It also notes that having a pre-pandemic approach to content provision and content syndication in an increasingly sophisticated digital landscape will not yield the results or ROI that marketeers and sales people expect. While we may have to wait for the Metaverse or some similar virtual reality platform to interact with brands, there are plenty of smarter ways for companies to use content on current digital platforms.

To this end Forrester advises five important focus areas for content provision, effective digital campaigns and providing the right content to the right people at the right time:

  • Prioritise content for existing customers not just net-new buyers with a focus on retention and engagement.
  • Abandon outdated content production and promotion methods.
  • Look to delivering content at right place at right time
  • Improve content intelligence
  • Align content roles and clarify responsibilities.

As we approach 2023, it seems that while most companies may claim they have a digital transformation in place, it may be hindered by a number of factors that need to be addressed and fixed.

If for example, legacy hardware is the reason why cloud migrations and as-a-service provision is faltering, looking to companies that provide managed services and have the necessary infrastructure in place could be a short-term solution to allow ITDMs and marketeers to focus on other areas of the business that need to be fixed such as content.

Like managed service providers, there are a number of agencies like BNZSA that can not only create the content for your campaigns but also manage both the awareness and the generation of marketing qualified and sales ready opportunities.

4. Cloud Computing

While the migration from on premise infrastructure to cloud computing has been happening the enterprise for some time, it is quickly becoming a top priority for the mid-size market. According to YouGov/NSC, it found that: “in 2021, cloud spending by small and midsized businesses shot up significantly, with as many as 53% spending more than $1.2 million annually on the cloud – up from 38% in 2020”.

It also states that companies are increasingly looking for cloud-based solutions “to keep up with digital transformation and ensure remote workers have what they need to stay productive”.

Considering the above trends and challenges of modern workplace, hybrid computing and digital transformation, it is small wonder that YoGov/NSC found that execs from all sizes of companies ranked cloud services between 80-93% as the most important technology for their business post Covid.

In terms of best practice around cloud migration, there is a whole range of advice around whether to ‘lift and shift’-migrating existing architecture to cloud-based services, ‘refactor’ or fully refactor, according to AWS cloud migration partner Cloud Bridge that notes

“In our experience, there is no ‘right’ way. The key decision is whether to modernise as you move, or afterwards.”

5. Cyber Security

With the move to more hybrid and remote working combined with the growth of using more “as-a-service” offerings by cloud migration and outsourced human resources is creating more security threats for both enterprise and mid-size companies.

The holiday period is also a prime time for cyberattacks according to managed services provider, Transputec that warns:

“The main issue with cybersecurity over Christmas is that many organisations are severely understaffed during this time. Employees are often underprepared when the cyberattack takes place, and even struggle to deal with recovering from the damages done after the cyberattack. Detection and response times are much higher in Christmas than any other time of year as a result.”

“Cyberattacks are more prevalent since organisations just don’t have the defences in place to deal with the numerous forms of cyberattacks. In particular, ransomware attacks increased by 70% during the holiday period of 2021.”

According to Transputec, as well as raising awareness of cyberattacks over the holidays with staff and running compliance courses, it is also important to add things like multi-factor authentication to accounts and devices:

“This will provide an additional layer of security that makes it more difficult for cyber-attackers to bypass. Cyber-attackers have often been able to guess or steal passwords. Having multi-factor authentication helps your organisation become less susceptible to social engineering.”

Going forward into 2023, YouGov/NSC notes that “67% of the C-suite see the single biggest “headache”, with technology today, as Cybersecurity.”

While Analyst Gartner also notes that for audit departments, executives see Cyber threats as a growing risk in 2023.

“Fewer than half (42%) of audit executives are highly confident they can provide assurance over cybersecurity risk — although 81% plan to cover cybersecurity in audit activities. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting geopolitical hostility could lead to increased cyberthreats. Even before war broke out, organizations believed that actors sponsored by the Russian government targeted them.”

However, there are certainly solutions. Having a strategy and backup in place to deal with cyberattacks is crucial concludes Transputec that observes:

“Since cyberattacks are more common during the Christmas season, it’s also important to have backups of your data in the case of a successful cyberattack. With cloud computing being commonly used, having a physical backup of your data could be a life-saver”.

Stay tuned for part two where we will offer some tips and advice from our internal experts, clients and ITDMs, using real world examples on how to adapt for these challenges.

BNZSA Spotlight

With a likely recession, companies have to become recession proof in order to ride the wave.

Becoming recession proof does not necessarily mean cuts but smarter ways of working and by better use of collaboration technologies, hybrid, cloud and ‘as-a-service’ offerings

Employee and customer value propositions look likely to be maintained with the shift to the above two points.

Security in the new distributed enterprise is key to ensuring the successful transition from traditional workplaces and on-premise infrastructure to hybrid and remote working facilitated by cloud computing.

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