“Data Data Everywhere” on Used Hard Disks
Every day on eBay, over 10,000 hard disks are auctioned off to the highest bidder. When O & O Software purchased 200 used hard disks on eBay and scanned them for existing data, it discovered some sort of personal or business data on 70 percent of them. Results of this test are contained in an O & O study entitled “Data Data Everywhere 2005.” Of the 3.3 million files found on the hard drives, analysts at the German firm were able to reconstruct more than 40,000 Word documents, about 15,000 Excel spreadsheets and around 50 e-mail mailboxes containing their entire message contents. From important documents and personal photos, to scanned credit cards and work performance evaluations, documents of every kind were found on hard disks from private users. Even large and well-staffed companies inadvertently released sensitive data. In one case, experts discovered files concerning credit ratings at a large bank. Authors of the report cited a lack of knowledge about how to delete computer data as the main reason for leaving accessible information on discarded hard disks. They concluded, “There is only one sure way to avoid the misuse of personal or private data from an old storage volume: Delete all data storage devices with specialized software before they leave your possession. The only other option is to physically destroy the storage volume. Whatever option you choose, it is necessary to realize that a simple deletion in Windows is never enough.”
Inside the Boomer Brain
Harris Interactive recently conducted a study on behalf of Pulte Homes and Del Webb focusing on the baby boomer generation – those born between 1946 and 1964. Data for the survey was analyzed by age subgroups to identify differences among younger boomers (those in their 40s), older boomers (in their 50s) and their predecessors.
Work Habits: Across all age groups, respondents are more interested in staying in their current job (36 percent) than in retiring when eligible (18 percent). Two compelling reasons motivated these age groups to continue working into traditional retirement age: financial need and enjoyment.
Technology: Among younger boomers, 97 percent of respondents use e-mail. Other popular online activities are research (89 percent), shopping (65 percent) and banking (64 percent). E-mail is also popular with older boomers (94 percent) and those in their 60s (95 percent).
Social Security: Just over half of baby boomers feel they have a solid understanding of the issues facing Social Security today. Ironically, those most affected by proposed changes to the Social Security system – those aged 41 to 54 – feel they are the least knowledgeable. More than half of those in this group (61 percent) don’t even know what benefits they will receive.
Personal Finances: Regardless of age, high healthcare costs top the list of financial concerns during retirement. All age groups rank pensions, non-retirement investments, full- or part-time employment, sale of their pre-retirement home and their inheritance as primary sources of retirement income – not Social Security and retirement savings.
Retirement Lifestyle: Travel tops the list of desired retirement activities. Other popular interests include spending time with friends/loved ones, exercising, volunteering, taking up a hobby, acquiring new skills, taking classes or going back to school.
Office of the Future: 2020
The office of the future will be increasingly mobile, with technology enabling employees to perform their jobs from virtually anywhere, according to Office of the Future: 2020, a research study recently released by OfficeTeam. But greater control over where and how people work won’t necessarily translate into more free time. Forty-two percent of executives polled said they believe employees will work more hours in the next 10 to 15 years. In addition to interviews with workplace and technology experts, futurists and trend-watchers, OfficeTeam surveyed workers and executives at the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. Among the findings:
Miniature wireless devices, WiFi, WiMax and mobile technology will continue to allow a company’s staff to work outside the office with greater ease. Additionally, virtual environments and Web-based conferencing services will provide off-site employees with real-time access to meetings, reducing the need to travel.
Eighty-seven percent of executives surveyed believe telecommuting will increase in the next 10 to 15 years. Telecommuting enables employees to work where it’s most convenient, but it also challenges their interpersonal skills. They must build relationships with coworkers while having fewer in-person interactions.
With the proliferation of wireless technology, staff will be expected to remain in close contact with the office while they’re away. Eighty-six percent of executives surveyed said workers will be more connected to the office while on vacation.
There will be an increasingly blurred line between work and other activities; people will need to multi-task to meet all of their obligations efficiently.