Fresh off the IT Block, 11th September 2020
Hey all, welcome back to today's edition of fresh off the block! For today's stories, we'll be discussing; How long does a cloud migration take for a company? SMIC get an unwelcome shock from US regulators, and how Facebook plans to monitor political adverts leading up to the US presidential election.
How long does a cloud migration take for a company?
Cloud migrations are the new big thing for companies across the globe. You might have even seen the company you work for make some kind of transition. Cloud migrations occur when businesses want to move their locally stored files, data, applications and users into the cloud, where they can access this data from any device they log into.
Cloud migrations don't have to be a complete process, and companies can always migrate small portions of their data instead of everything, because let's face it, doing it all at once does take time!
For example, take a company's emails, communications and document library over to the cloud, and it wouldn't be hard to get the process completed within a month. Dependent on how large a company's emails and files are, a cloud migration of that type generally isn't a grinding process, and can take very little time at all. It just depends on the amount of emails, files and contacts you wish to migrate.
The process of migrating to the cloud can be dramatically sped up if you use a third-party cloud IT service provider, as they can tailor your operations in a way that gets you onto the right cloud applications for your company.
Especially now that remote working has become more of a normal procedure rather than a privilege for people, the use of cloud is more important now than ever before. Cloud based applications are needed for remote file access - Tools like Microsoft 365 and Slack make for great ways to get companies started out with the cloud. Setting up a Teams network is relatively straightforward, and it'll give you an easy way to keep collaborations internal to just your organisation. These internal collaborations can be easily accessed from multiple devices, and can be kept secure with things like 2FA (2 factor authentication).
The only roadblock with shifting all of your operations to the cloud is that it can't really be done single-handedly, and unless you have an IT department, the process is going to leave you at many dead ends. The last thing a cloud migration should cause is downtime, and that's why the process can take so long. Trying to shift data all at once will bring a company's servers down due to too much activity.
Cloud migrations that are just for emails, storage and communications, like we said earlier, are very popular nowadays. Companies that migrate this part of their operations often see a big reduction in spending, as well as having more certainty in what they spend. Cloud computing is a pay-as-you-go service, so companies generally find that bills are consistently cheaper.
The easiest way to migrate your operations quickly is to use a third-party vendor - They will set you up with the right applications and storage tools to get you shifted in no time. The most popular cloud computing tools include AWS (Amazon Web Services), Azure and Google Cloud.
SMIC get an unwelcome shock from US chip regulators
China's largest chip manufacturer, SMIC, just received some rather shocking threats from US regulators. The Pentagon has stated SMIC was on their group of companies that might be presented with a trade ban from the US.
We already know Huawei has faced a similar reality, and as a Chinese chip maker, it can't be ruled out that the US will want to domestically produce as many components for their smartphones as possible. America's largest phone manufacturer, and funnily enough the largest company in the world right now, Apple, have been introducing their own chips into their newest devices in recent months.
Huawei isn't the only Chinese company in the Pentagon's bad books - We know that TikTok has received heavy criticism surrounding their data policies. The social media company has since had to sell off its American operations to Microsoft.
SMIC's production line isn't as up to scratch as some of its western competitors, so it already faces a known disadvantage of not being able to make small enough chips. The newest smartphone models use chips that are more compressed and hence allow more room for other components to be fitted, enhancing their performance.
SMIC already serve Huawei for their chips, as well as US tech giant Qualcomm - Qualcomm are one of Samsung's partners for their components, and a huge customer of SMIC.
The main problem SMIC faces from a US ban is the prospect of not being able to manufacture new chip models. A ban would mean none of their US equipment could be upgraded or modified, and so a prolonged period without new chips being made could result in SMIC closing down. It would mean a big blow to China's own 2025 "made in China" strategy - China could effectively fail to become one of the world's leaders in global chip manufacturing, especially if US sanctions, bans and tariffs come through the door more heavily.
The resulting threats hurt SMIC pretty hard, especially on their trading front. Investors saw the SMIC stock price drop by a whopping 23 per cent - This has reportedly wiped off around $6 billion USD from the chip maker's market value. China will be hurt by this news, but from another point of view it does fall in line with their own plans to begin being less dependent on Western technology.
US and China tensions surrounding big tech are definitely growing, and there seems to be no real end in sight. We'll keep you posted if any other big tech stories surrounding China and US relations are released.
Political adverts during an election - How Facebook plans to stand completely neutral leading up to November 3rd
Social media sites have long been a talking point for their power during election periods. They can promote news stories more prominently than others, which gives plenty of people a reason to believe they are biased.
Facebook indirectly gave away their election hopes, as their news pages have been considered as leaning towards the Trump party.
The measures Facebook aims to bring in will ensure that no new political advertisements or posts with political bias are posted. The measures are reported to come in up to 1 week before the polls open - This could be seen as quite a short time frame, but we have seen in the past how quickly polls can change. Take the UK for example, in the few weeks leading up to their own general election last year, a hung parliament looked likely, until the day of the election, where the conservatives took their largest majority since 1987.
Social media campaigns have a huge influence on voting decisions as almost everyone you know probably has either a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn account.
Facebook intends to remove any posts that claim going to visit a polling station will give you COVID-19 - Despite this, Facebook will still keep posts active that discourage people from voting without reasoning, but as a precaution, these kinds of posts will have a link to more information about the pandemic and the risks associated with coronavirus.
Earlier announcements this year also came as a welcome to those who will not want the politics all over their social media. Users can currently opt to see fewer political ads in their settings, this move came due to increasing reports earlier this year that Facebook's political influence was too large, and could dramatically impact the end result.
That's not all, Facebook is actually paying some users on Facebook and Instagram to deactivate their accounts throughout the election period. There aren't many (It only runs into the tens of thousands lo!) But it is part of Facebook's research experiment to monitor social media activities during an election.
Facebook was one of the last to impose posting restrictions - The likes of Twitter and Pinterest set their aims to stop the spread of bias and misinformation much earlier in the year, over fears that the voting could be heavily swayed towards Trump's party.
For all of you Americans out there, it is probably best not to use Facebook as your source for politics... Instead use a trusted source that doesn't lean either way, such as Reuters and The New York Times.