Category Archives: Telecom

The Best Phones You Can Buy Right Now


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Sam Rutherford, Senior Reporter at Gizmodo – March 11, 2019  5:10pm

 

Following the announcement of phones from Samsung, Sony, LG, Nokia, and others, the first batch of 2019’s flashiest new handsets are going to be available soon, if they aren’t already. So which one should you get? And to make things even more daunting, with several phones pushing the $1,000 mark, making a hasty purchase could quickly turn into an expensive mistake.

But don’t worry, we’ve got your back because we’ve tested and reviewed all the most important phones so you don’t have to. So here are our top picks for the best phone you should buy right now.

Buying forecast for March 2019: The spring phone release season has just started, and while the Galaxy S10 has recently joined our list as the best phone on the market, if you’re looking for something different, you may want to hold off on buying a new phone right now.

This is especially true for people considering a new mid-range phone, because with the Moto G7 and Xperia 10 due out soon (and rumors of a Pixel 3 Lite later this spring), there should be a lot more potential handsets priced between $300 and $500.

The best all-around phone


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Our Pick: Samsung Galaxy S10 ($900+)

After somewhat lackluster sales in 2018, there have been some big expectations hoisted upon the Galaxy S10. However, by adding a number of new features including a triple rear camera module for both the S10 and S10+, an in-screen fingerprint sensor, nifty punch-hole selfie camera, ridiculously good battery life, and Wireless PowerShare tech, Samsung has really delivered.

The Galaxy S10 is also one of the first phones sporting Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 chipset, and for 2019, Samsung even upped the S10’s base storage to 128GB across every model. With the new dynamic AMOLED screen on the new S10, Samsung has also once again proved its displays are without a doubt the best in the business.

That said, at $900 and $1,000, the new Galaxy S10 and S10+ aren’t cheap, but if you want one phone that has it all, Samsung’s latest flagship is the easy pick. And if you don’t mind having a smaller screen and one less rear camera, the $750 Galaxy S10e offers a great balance between high-end features and something with a more reasonable price tag.

Also consider

What Google’s Pixel 3 lacks in sheer specs, it more than makes up for in software thanks to incredible features like Night Sight, a built-in call screener, and all the other Pixel-specific tweaks that make Google’s homegrown phones the smartest and most considerate handsets on the market. And with things like Google’s AI-powered appointment booking service Duplex, the Pixel 3 is only going to get better.


The best mid-range phone


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Our pick: OnePlus 6T ($550+)

Thanks to an increasing number of $1,000 phones, mid-range handsets have never been more important. And year after year OnePlus keeps pumping out affordable devices that are far and away the best handsets you get for around $500. And with the 6T, OnePlus is actually pulling further ahead thanks to a partnership with T-Mobile that puts OnePlus phones in carrier stores for the first time ever. And unlike previous handsets, the OP6T is the company’s first device with support for Verizon’s network too. You also get specs that match the best flagships out right now, an in-screen fingerprint reader, and a gorgeous OLED display with a notch that isn’t offensively large.

Also consider

If the OnePlus 6T doesn’t suit your fancy, consider the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact instead. With a Snapdragon 845 chip, 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, the standard XZ2 has all the specs you want in a flagship phone for just $500. And featuring Sony’s super powerful haptic vibration engine, the XZ2 has the power to add a rumble to pretty much any content you watch or listen to on your phone. Meanwhile, the XZ2 Compact might be the last bastion for people who still like small phones but don’t want to compromise on specs or performance. And unlike it’s bigger sibling, the XZ2 Compact is certified to work on GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, and Verizon’s CDMA network as well.

Note: We considered putting the Pocophone F1 here as well due to its flagship specs and incredible value, we haven’t had a chance to spend as much time with it as we’d like. Also, due to its very limited support for 4G LTE here in the U.S., it’s difficult to recommend.


The best budget phone


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Our pick: Moto G6 ($200+)

For years, Motorola’s G-series phones have been the kings of the budget phone world, and the G6 is a latest and greatest example of Moto’s dominance. Critically, the G6 boasts compatibility with all the major carriers, is available both unlocked and from brick-and-mortar wireless stores, and still retains important features like microSD card expandability and a headphone jack. Whether it’s for a young teen getting their first phone, or someone who just wants something simple and reliable the won’t blow your finances, the Moto G6 has got you.

Also consider

Starting at $350, the Nokia 7.1 typically costs $100 more than the Moto G6, but it’s totally worth it. Because for the extra money, you get more base storage and RAM, better cameras, a bigger, brighter screen, and a much nicer design. And since the Nokia 7.1 is part of Google’s Android One program, that also means its software and security updates are managed by Google, and you won’t have to put up with any unwanted bloatware either. The major downsides to the Nokia 7.1 is that unlike the G6, it’s only available as an unlocked device from third-party retailers, and it doesn’t support CDMA networks like Verizon or Sprint.


The best hyper phone


Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Our Pick: Galaxy Note 9 ($800+)

Like hypercars, hyper phones are handsets that are big, fast, and defined by excess. But if you want a phone that can handle everything home and work can throw at you, the Note 9 is it. It’s got a big, gorgeous 6.4-inch display, ridiculous battery life that lasts upwards of upwards of 14 hours on a charge, built-in iris scanners and a secure folder to hide sensitive documents, and of course Samsung’s S-Pen. The phone even comes with 128GB of base storage (and a microSD card slot), which is twice what you get from a similarly priced iPhone XS. And just in case that’s not enough, you can even turn the Note 9 into a mini desktop by hooking up a USB-C to HDMI cable to a nearby monitor.

Also Consider

While this phone isn’t really an option for folks in the states since Huawei isn’t making a U.S. specific variant, the sheer technical superiority of the Mate 20 Pro can’t be denied. That’s because even though it lacks a stylus, it has pretty much every other feature you’d ever need, and maybe even a few tricks you didn’t even know you wanted. We’re talking about full-on 3D face scanning tech, a fingerprint sensor that’s built into the screen, a new 7-nanometer chipset with dual NPUs, and even wireless charging that can be reversed in order to power up other devices.


The iPhone most people should buy

Our Pick: iPhone XR ($750+)


Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

With three new iPhones for 2018 along with two older models still on sale, choosing the right phone from Apple is actually a bit trickier than normal. However, with a somewhat reasonable (for Apple) price of $750, the same A12 processor, FaceID tech, and 64GB of storage you get from its more expensive siblings, the iPhone XR is our top recommendation for people who want a new Apple handset. As an added bonus, the iPhone XR also boasts battery life that’s about an hour longer than the $1,000 iPhone XS, and it comes it a bunch of fun colors.

Also consider

For people who want a little more, the iPhone XS or XS Max are the clear upgrades to the XR, just know that you’ll need to shell out at least an extra $250 to get one. The main benefits when moving up to the iPhone XS and XS Max is a significantly more vibrant and higher resolution OLED screen that’ll make all sorts of content look better, and a second rear camera with a 2x zoom to help bolster your mobile photo toolkit. Also, thanks to new stronger glass backs and an IP68 rating for water-resistance (versus the XR’s IP67 rating), Apple’s high-end iPhones should also be slightly more durable than the iPhone XR.

Digital Transformation, Dynamic Threats and Growing Accountability

March 1, 2019

By Mark Sangster, Chief Security Strategist at eSentire, Inc., contributor to SecurityMagazine.com

 

Businesses today accept the presence of cyber risks. In fact, 70 percent assume a business-altering event will occur in the next few years (FutureWatch Report), but often have a more difficult time identifying specific risks, key factors and mitigation strategies. Worse, the board or senior leadership often makes assumptions about the safety of the firms that is overly optimistic when compared to confidence ratings of security practitioners.

The difference between awareness and understanding is driven by the communication gap between the board and executives steering the business, and the security experts close to the problem. Both parties struggle to comprehend the other’s needs and responsibilities.

A firm’s risks stem from a handful of business aspects, including the firm’s participation in high-risk industries, its appetite for emerging technologies, and willingness to properly invest in targeted security practices. While this sounds obvious at first, it’s lost when the line of sight from the security practitioners to the board is over the horizon.

This article will explore board-level concerns, key drivers to invest in security, and how emerging technologies outpace the evolution of security technologies and services. The data presented in this article was collected in late 2018, through third-party research that surveyed 1,250 security executives, managers and practitioners. Data was collected from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Participants were equally represented across various industries and company sizes, ranging from less than 100 employees to 5,000 employee or more. Read the full FutureWatch Report.

Major Attacks Are an Assumption

Unanimously, business leaders such as the CEO, board members and technical executives (CIO) alike predict a major cyber-attack in the next two to five years. Over 60 percent of respondents assume a major event will occur. Interestingly, 77 percent of CEO and board respondents consider their organization prepared for such an event. As expected, technical leaders are approximately 20 percent more likely to predict an attack and are 10 percent less optimistic than their business peers in their organization’s preparedness.

Senior leadership fears operational disruption, reputational damage and significant financial losses over regulatory penalties as top consequences of a major security event.

While business leaders show a confidence in their firm’s ability to manage a security breach, the devil is in the details. Only 29 percent of respondents indicated that their high-value or high-profile information is not adequately protected. And two-thirds of respondents are not confident that their cybersecurity programs match their peers, nor that their programs are appropriately resourced.

The Cybersecurity Rosetta Stone

Boards and security practitioners still struggle to translate their concerns and objectives. Only one-third of business leaders are confident in their security executive’s ability to monitor and report on cybersecurity programs and 66 percent worry that these programs are not aligned to business objectives.

IT and security leadership sentiments echo this concern. Most organizations struggle to show the value of IT security spend to senior management, including status reporting difficulties. Aligning to enterprise risk management confounds over half of businesses, along with the ability to managed external risks with third-party vendors and the growing complexity of regulatory compliance.

On the positive side, progress has been made over the last few years. The CISO is no longer the least interesting person to the board, until they are the most important person.  Over half of respondents indicate their board is very familiar with the security budget (51 percent), overall strategy (57 percent), policies (58 percent), technologies (53 percent), and currently review current security and privacy risks (51 percent).  Moreover, line of sight from the CISO to the board is more direct. Forty-five percent of security officers report to the board or CEO, 33 percent continue to report to the CIO and a small handful (10 percent) report to a privacy or data officer.

Moreover, nearly two-thirds of security budgets are set to rise in 2019. Spend on the security side is still reactionary. While regulatory requirements is in the basement of the board’s concerns, it tops the list for security practitioners. A security teams spend is generally reactive to client demands, major technology purchases, a major security event or near miss, and the adoption of emerging technology.

Emerging Technology: A Double-edged Sword

IT and security teams find themselves in a difficult position between meeting the demands of the business to adopt emerging technologies that offer competitive advantage, while also carrying the burden of mitigating the risks that come along with new deployments.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents are currently using cloud services or plan to deploy cloud services in the next six months, with financial services, manufacturing and healthcare leading the adoption rate. Only law firms lag in their cloud adoption. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Industrial IoT (IIoT) top the list behind cloud.

Cloud security adoption is the priority, followed closely by identity and access management, threat detection and response, and endpoint detection and response. Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) moves beyond a compliance tool and now plays a role in the greater detection and response portfolio.

More than half of telecom, information technology, financial services and manufacturers invested in securing their cloud services. Similarly, financial services, healthcare and manufacturing also emphasize threat detection and response investments. These industries are equally investing in identity and access management as a response to a more distributed workplace. Again, law firms are significantly less likely to adopt these technologies.

Digital transformation is here to stay and brings with it a drive to always evolve and constantly change. Economics demand that vendors constantly improve and offer new features and technologies which outpaces our understanding of the associated risks. We focus on the benefits while assuming vendors have resolved the security issues. For example, cloud technology tops the list of security priorities today, but AI and IoT/IIoT are on track to surpass cloud as the primary risk concern in less than two years.

This challenge will only increase over the coming years as 5G facilitates a ubiquitous mosaic of always connected devices. Risk associated with emerging technologies becomes more concerning as adoption rates accelerate, compressing the time in which organizations and vendors can adapt and develop appropriate security controls and deploy protective solutions.

Most Susceptible to Risk: Law Firms, Transportation and IT

Law firms lead when it comes to risks associated with external actors and attacks and their ability to report status, show value and meet internal risk standards and regulatory requirements. Transportation and IT firms report higher than average levels of risk. Financial services tend to run just below industry averages across external attacks and internal or industry requirements.

Digital Transformation Outpaces Current Security Approaches

Digital transformation touches every facet of business operation and redefines how businesses engage with their customers. The emerging technologies underpinning this tectonic shift must constantly expand capabilities and adapt to survive in a competitive environment. Current security approaches are not fluid enough to keep pace with adoption of emerging technology and platforms.

Today, most firms identify their primary security posture as leveraging prevention technologies and device management. Firms that leverage a predictive security model such as threat hunting, machine learning, and device analytics reduce their risk by thirty percent. Less than one-fifth of firms identify as predictive. The trend is consistent across all industry segments with financial and healthcare services leading the charge and law firms lagging.

Firms adopting predictive security models are better able to identify never-before-seen threats and have engaged rapid response capabilities to reduce the risk of a business-altering event. Over the next two years, older preventative models drop to less than one-third, while predictive threat hunting will more than double to 40 percent. This trend correlates with the shift in business drivers away from regulatory dominance toward business-centric considerations such as operational disruption, reputational damage, and, of course, financial losses.

Interestingly, advanced firms are more apt to adopt emerging security technologies such as endpoint, threat detection and response, identity access management, and cloud security. Moreover, mature firms aggressively leverage SaaS and are more likely to adopt 100 percent cloud-based security services than firms using a device-management model. Outsourcing is a palatable alternative to recruiting and retaining threat hunting talent from a pool that cannot support the growing demand.

Digital Transformation, Dynamic Threats and Growing Accountability

Digital transformation continues to expand a larger and more fluid attack surface from the advanced methodologies used by well-resourced adversaries like organized criminals and nation-state actors. Regardless of industry, businesses operate in a world with ever-increasing accountability to protect their clients’ confidential information, adhere to state legislation, comply with privacy laws and meet the growing complexity of overlapping regulatory obligations.

This triad of risk demands that IT, security practitioners, and leaders align with business governance objectives, while senior leadership acknowledge their role in establishing expectations and providing resources to adequately protect the business, its investors, employees and customers.

We’ve left the world of prescriptive regulations as a measure of security end state. Many organizations recognize that the financial loss associated with operational disruption and reputational damage outweigh the penalties set out by regulators. In the future, organizations will likely move to a perspective driven by their clients. In this state, brand and reputation will form the barometer by which a company’s security performance is ultimately measured. Protecting the client will mean by extension, protecting their data and services, avoiding operational disruption and resulting financial losses.


Author: Mark Sangster, Chief Security Strategist at eSentire

Mark Sangster is an industry security strategist and cybersecurity evangelist who researches, speaks and writes about cybersecurity as it relates to regulations, ethical obligations, data breach incident response and cyber risk management.

How 5G Will Transform Business + Survey: Professionals eager and ready to deploy 5G

ZDNet Special Feature: How 5G Will Transform Business

5G will be popularized via telecom carriers and the marketing of wire-cutting services, but the biggest impact and returns will come from connecting the Internet of things, edge computing and analytics infrastructure with minimal latency.

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Part 2 of a ZDNet Special Feature: How 5G Will Transform Business

Survey: Professionals eager and ready to deploy 5G

In a recent Tech Pro Research survey, 85 percent of respondents either already use 5G technology or plan to adopt it in the future.

By Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman | February 1, 2019 = 17:15 GMT (01:15 GMT +08:00) | Topic: How 5G Will Transform Business

 

5G technology holds promises of enabling never-used-before technology, improving worker productivity and customer service, cutting costs, and more. Does 5G remain a pipe dream for businesses or an actual reality? Throughout December 2018 and January 2019, ZDNet’s sister site, Tech Pro Research surveyed 164 professionals to find out.

The results demonstrate the enterprise’s enthusiasm for this new technology. The majority of respondents (85%) are, in fact, already using 5G technology or have plans to adopt it sometime in the future. Survey respondents list introducing new technology such as analytics and IoT (54%), faster mobile transfers for more productivity (50%), and the potential for reduced data spending (27%) as reasons why their companies will use 5G.

Additional reasons for introducing 5G run the gamut from faster mobile transfers to the enjoyment of being on the ‘cutting edge’ of technology. Thanks to 5G, more than 56 percent of survey respondents will enable new technology that they could not use before. Better connections for IoT applications, improving content delivery and controlling remote devices top the list of upcoming plans for 5G. Nearly half of respondents (47%) expect to deliver better customer service, while 37 percent of respondents believe 5G will increase employee productivity on the road. A smaller number of respondents (18%) expect 5G to reduce data plan spending or other costs related to communications.

Roadblocks: What may hinder 5G adoption?

Enthusiasm for 5G does not necessarily translate to 5G deployment for all respondents. A slim margin of survey takers (10%) are not preparing or planning to adopt this new technology. According to those respondents, 36 percent are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach regarding 5G implementation, and 28 percent remain satisfied with 4G and see no reason to upgrade.

Further, many respondents share concerns about 5G availability. More than half (61%) said that the simple lack of 5G service to their area may hinder adoption. Another apprehension about 5G is that 67 percent of respondents don’t believe their existing infrastructure can handle the technology. This makes sense since many organizations still rely on on-premises legacy applications.

The above-mentioned roadblocks will not slow down the inevitability of 5G. Most organizations recognize the need to upgrade their infrastructure. More than 57% are looking at ways 5G can improve upon their existing technology. One-third (36%) are setting aside integration concerns and re-platforming legacy applications and cloud-based access. Only, 21 percent of respondents are not preparing for this new technology at all.

No matter what state of deployment your company is in regarding 5G, it’s here, and it’s ready to transform the enterprise.

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Special report: How 5G will transform business [free PDF]

This infographic contains more details from the research. For all the findings, download the full report: 5G Research Report 2019: The enterprise is eager to adopt, despite cost concerns and availability (available for Tech Pro Research subscribers)

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