Downtime: internet cures Britain's queuing obsession

The wacky world of IT

Internet cures Britain's queuing obsession

The British have always had an appetite for queuing.

Last month was a successful month for the art. There was the frenzy of early-morning queuing at Boots for an anti-wrinkle serum that someone suggested might actually work. And at the start of the month spectacular queuing accompanied the launch of Kate Moss's Top Shop clothing range.

Online, however, queuing is not so popular. A survey by Packet Exchange indicates that even if punters are still prepared to queue in ordinary shops, they have the attention-span of a mayfly on speed when they shop over the internet.

More than 70% of surfers will bog off if they have to wait more than 10 seconds for a web page to download, and more than 50% will leave in high dudgeon if they think the web page is poorly designed or buggy.

Slow speeds when actually buying also get people riled. More than 66% say they have cancelled an online transaction midway through because they are miffed at how long it is taking.

Queuing for half an hour to buy a pint on a Friday night is fine, though. Go figure.

Golden handshake for IT staff: lifetime access

Downtime knows only too well that household security is tricky. Keeping track of the copies of house keys you may have handed out to friends, family, neighbours, pets and people who just looked friendly can be nigh on impossible.

Over in corporate-land, companies are suffering from the same problem: just how do you keep tabs on your IT staff once they have left with password access to every e-nook and cranny?

A survey from Cyber-Ark, published last week, suggests that a third of IT staff still access corporate systems after they leave to sneak a peek at colleagues' information using passwords that have not been changed.

To stop this happening, says Cyber-Ark, once you have taken back the access card-key, company credit card, and settled the tab in the staff canteen, you also need to revoke all system permissions. Firms should also look for aliases, trapdoors and other entrance points that might once have given quick and dirty emergency access, but are now a gaping crack in the security wall.

Changing factory passwords is one quick step to saving you pain later on, though a speedier quick fix might be to bump off any soon-to-be erstwhile employees. On reflection, though, it is possible that this just might have an adverse effect on recruitment.

Security, unlike charity, does not begin at home

As if securing your office staff was not enough of a problem, it seems that those working from home demand even more attention.

Following the fanfare of last week's National Work from Home Day, it soon became clear that those with most cause for celebration were our nation's hackers.

According to research from Security firm Sonicwall, home and mobile workers are more vulnerable to viruses and other forms of malware than their office counterparts.

While enjoying the privilege of working from home, staff confessed to storing passwords in easily-discovered locations and only 56% said they relied on memory to keep track of their network passwords.

Plenty used the same password for all devices, stored the information on cell phones or stuck notes with the log-in information onto their computer.

It seems that the office commute is safe for at least another year.

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