Forbes

The Dumb Reason Why Microsoft Teams Went Down This Week…And Other Small Business Tech News

By February 9, 2020 No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Microsoft Teams went down because of a really dumb reason.

This past week Microsoft Teams was down for several hours, causing multiple issues with the service for its users. The snafu that caused the major disruption ended up being a very basic oversight—Microsoft simply neglected to renew the SSL certificate.  That’s dumb. The SSL certificate is what permits a secure connection to form between a web server and a web browser. Instead of being able to start off their work week efficiently users were getting a notification about a failed HTTPS connection. (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

The outage disrupted hundreds of thousands of users and – like any outage – undermined the confidence in the company’s cloud based system. And for what reason? Not renewing an SSL certificate? It’s pretty dumb and yes we can feel sorry for the person at Microsoft who let this slip by. But there’s another lesson here: when did your web team last check to make sure your SSL certificates and domain registrations were completely up to date? If a giant tech company like Microsoft can make this mistake –and suffer an outage as a result – I’m thinking that many small business owners could also be at risk, and suffer even greater consequences.

2 — Teens have figured out how to mess with Instagram’s tracking algorithm.

This past week, it was revealed that teenagers came up with a way to derail how Instagram typically tracks user data. In order to confuse Instagram’s algorithm, the teenagers formed group Instagram accounts where multiple people received access to that account simultaneously. By creating this group access, multiple users were able to post photos, share, or like multiple things across a variety of topics, inundating Instagram’s tracking technique with unrelated, disconnected, and against-type data. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

Any parent will tell you that there’s no tech surveillance, privacy or supervision tool that can’t be foiled by a teenager somehow. Heck, a group of them even managed to confound Instagram’s tracking system so who knows what else they can do? The takeaway here is that no matter what your cloud provider or IT person tells you, no technology is completely foolproof. Have backup systems and a Plan B for if your systems are compromised. It could happen. Just ask any 16-year-old.

3 —Is G Suite or Office 365 better for business?

This past week, Computer World—a website focused on business technology—released a review detailing the pros and cons of both G Suite and Office 365, sharing elements of each to help users decide which is best for their business. Productivity-wise, the review detailed that essentially the core capabilities of each suite are the same and work across many devices. When it came to pricing, Office 365 offered a wider variation of pricing options and plans. Through the review of each application that both suites offered—as a whole—Microsoft proved to offer more robust features and capabilities overall, while G Suite won out in providing opportunities for live collaboration across its apps. (Source: Computer World)

Why this is important for your business:

A shoutout to Preston Gralla for the excellent work he did reviewing both of these platforms. If you’re a small business owner evaluating either or both, it’s a must read.

4 — Amazon invested $15 billion and launched 225 new tools and services in 2019 to help worldwide third-party sellers, mostly small and medium-sized businesses.

Amazon revealed this week in a press release that they investing $15 billion and launched 225 services and tools. The services and tools—geared mostly toward small and medium-sized businesses and worldwide third-party sellers—resulted in U.S. small businesses selling on Amazon to break records of their own, with over 15,000 of those businesses reaching more than $1 million in sales, and over $500,000 in sales for just about 25,000 businesses. Some of the services credited to the growth are Amazon Live, Growth Navigator, New Product Optimizer, and the company’s Brand Analytics and Brand Dashboard, to name a few. (Source: Amazon)

Why this is important for your business:

Amazon has certainly had a negative effect on some small businesses. But many others have prospered by selling on the online giant’s platform. And, as they like to remind us above, it continues to invest billions in tools to help these same small partners. If you’re selling products online, you can weigh the pros and cons of being an Amazon merchant. But to me, it’s a tough place to avoid, considering the tools they provide and the markets you can reach. And no, I’m not being paid to write this.

5— Miso Robotics unveils its next-gen robot kitchen assistant.

Startup Miso Robotics—which creates automation products for fast-paced kitchens within the food industry—introduced the Miso Robot on a Rail (or ROAR) which is designed to work side-by-side with human workers, rather than fully replace them. ROAR—which will go for about $30,000—is expected to start shipping by the end of this year. This newest product is attached to a rail that allows it to move rather than stay grounded in a base, uses multiple safety scanners and cameras to help its movement, and can work multiple stations at once in order to prepare hundreds of different orders within 60 minutes. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

There are a number of innovative companies like Startup Miso Robotics that are introducing robotic tools for kitchens and the small restauranteurs of the not-too-distant future will be leveraging these tools to increase productivity and keep overhead costs low.

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