Archive for September, 2013

“mother of all security breaches”

September 28th, 2013

The hacks into the internal systems of Lexis Nexis and Dun & Bradstreet merely reinforce the notion that knowledge of personal information — on its own — should not be used for conclusive authentication of the user. A layered security approach, rather than relying on any single technology or approach.

SSNDOB.ms marketed itself on underground cybercrime forums as a reliable and affordable service that customers can use to look up Social Security numbers, birthdays and other personal data on any U.S. resident,

Analyses uncovered that credentials SSNDOB admins used were also responsible for operating a botnet that apparently tapped into the internal systems of large data brokers. LexisNexis confirmed that it was compromised as far back as April 10 designed to open an encrypted channel of communications from within LexisNexis’s internal systems to the botnet controller on the public Internet.

Two other compromised systems were located inside the networks of Dun & Bradstreet

The fifth server compromised as part of this botnet was located at Internet addresses assigned to Kroll Background America.Files left behind by intruders into the company’s internal network suggest the breach extends back to at least June 2013.

None of the 46 top anti-malware tools on the market today detected it as malicious (as of today, the malware is currently detected by six out of 46 anti-malware tools at Virustotal)

Cumulative Update for SQL Server -September 2013

September 28th, 2013

Microsoft has released :
SQL Server 2008 Service Pack 3 Cumulative Update #13
•Build # 10.00.5846
•KB Article: KB #2880350
•2 fixes
•Relevant for builds 10.00.5500 -> 10.00.5845
•NOT for SQL Server 2008 R2 (10.50.xxxx)

and

CU #6 for Service Pack 1.
•KB article: KB #2874879
•Build # is 11.0.3381
•This build has 23 fixes by my count. The most interesting (to me) are:
◦KB #2877100 : FIX: A memory leak occurs when you enable AlwaysOn Availability Groups or SQL Server failover cluster in Microsoft SQL Server 2012

◦KB #2878139 : FIX: “Using ‘dbghelp.dll’ version ’4.0.5′” error is logged in SQL Server 2012 when a statement or job executes the sys.fn_xe_file_target_read_file stored procedure

if you’re still on RTM, you should start thinking about migrating to SP1

Relevant for builds 11.0.3000 -> 11.0.3380. Do not attempt to install on SQL Server 2012 RTM (any build < 11.0.3000) or any previous version.

Banking – U.A.E – Why Dynamics CRM? Ask Synergy Software Systems

September 28th, 2013

Tools that provide complete and holistic views of their customers and enable them to reach out with intelligent and timely offers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is such a tool, said an ABN AMRO Bank exec at the Sibos 2013 event.

Microsoft is reporting big financial institution wins for its Dynamics CRM business. At the Sibos global financial services event in Dubai last week, Redmond announced several global financial institutions are modernizing business operations on the Dynamics CRM platform as they shift from transaction-based businesses to customer -centric businesses.

Prioritizing customer service is the key competitive differentiator for Metro Bank, Great Britain’s first new bank in more than a century. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, combined with Microsoft devices and services, is the foundation of Metro Bank’s customer-first strategy.

“As the first new high street bank in the U.K. for over 100 years, our unique, customer-focused model is reinventing the rules of retail banking,” said Paul Marriott-Clarke, Commercial Director at Metro Bank.Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps us enhance our customers’ experiences, combining traditional face-to-face service in our stores with amazing technology to ensure our customers receive the very best in service and convenience.”
Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers financial institutions a powerful solution to drive proactive interactions with end customers, provide deep client insight, and deliver intelligent offers and custom-built experiences. In the banking world, key results are typcilaly improved customer retention, adding new customers and improving advisor productivity.

MKB Bank, the second-largest bank by equity in Hungary, chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM to steer all customer-related processes in the bank and keep up with growth. The results: MKB improved customer service times by 25 percent, decreased customer churn by 5 percent and increased profit earned on the primary banking customer segment by 20 percent in the same period.

Customer service is our top priority, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM gave us a comprehensive view of customers and integrated access to all channels,” said Laszlo Kiraly, head of CRM and E-Channels at MKB. “Our CRM-driven front-end system has become the core application for our business. It is now our primary platform for collaboration, better efficiency and a superior multichannel experience.”
To reall be customer-centric organizations, banks must look at their operations from their customers’ perspectives. They need tools, technologies and processes that allow them to address customer inquiries anywhere, anytime. Banks need tools that provide complete and holistic views of their customers and enable them to reach out with intelligent and timely offers.

Volkskreditbank AG (VKB) uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help it become one of the most customer-oriented banks in Austria. The bank reports a 32 percent boost in sales productivity, an 18 percent increase in customer service quality and a 95 percent decrease in the time needed to provide analyses and reports, to provide managers and executives with a near-real-time view into the health of the business.

“We needed a CRM solution to power our entire bank, not just a single division or set of products,” said Michael Reifetshamer, IT Manager at VKB. “Our experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM shows that we made the right choice.”

ABN AMRO Bank NV improved customer service by implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM and connecting it to its asset management system to provide a single view of each customer account.

“Dynamics CRM is a robust solution tool,” said Su Kia Tan, head of Process & Project Management for ABN AMRO Bank. “We use it to support our end users in managing business growth and productivity improvement with necessary controls built on customized and streamlined workflows.”

Use segmented customer knowledge:

• Flag behaviors, such as late payments, that put customers at risk so you can take proactive steps to
minimize exposure
• Ensure your pricing and policy decisions support your retention strategies by viewing their impact on
customers’ holistic relationships with your organization
• Understand the preferences and portfolios of your most profitable customers
• Identify products and services you can promote to other customer segments to grow their revenue and
profitability
Identify your most profitable customers so you can implement effective retention strategies
• Share customer service histories and provide convenient incident tracking and follow-up tools across
call centers to help improve the quality and consistency of your service delivery
• Uncover and proactively respond to unfilled customer needs, especially those hidden across branches,
channels, or other touch-points
• Determine service-oriented ways to up-sell and cross-sell
• Deploy more effective, targeted sales and marketing efforts to grow and retain your base of loyal, profitable clients

Improve efficciency woth cross department collaboration:

Easy-to-use tools that help you automate the often manual processes required when your employees need
to work across departments to follow-up on customer service requests
• Centralized customer knowledge that helps you to dentify new service offerings and marketing opportunities by analyzing customer behaviors and preferences across all channels
• Standardized and automated routine processes help you to minate unnecessary process steps and hidden
costs while improving your customers’ experiences
• Key performance indicators (KPIs) that help you identify rot causes of process issues. Cotinually
improve your problem resolution capabilities and gradually introduce deeper levels of collaborative
process improvements across departments
• Intuitive tools help your employees work more efficiently with access to their daily tasks in a personalized, “role-based” environment

Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s User Interface has been refreshed for the new release, coming later this year. The CRM 2013 interface is designed to be faster, cleaner and easier to use than previous versions. See the new interface in action in this CRM 2013 user experience overview video.

Better still visit us at Gitex where we will be presenting several solutions for the banking sector.

SharePoint 2013 and Dynamics Ax 2012

September 23rd, 2013

Enterprise Portal for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 now supports SharePoint 2013
For details on prerequisites required in order to deploy Enterprise Portal integrating with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 on Microsoft SharePoint Server/Foundation 2013 have TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn169057.aspx

Install Steps for SharePoint 2013
The linked article apply to SharePoint Foundation 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262243.aspx

Updates for SharePoint 2013
Follow this URL to get software updates for SharePoint Foundation 2013 & SharePoint Server 2013 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/jj891062.aspx

Dynamics Ax is certified with Lync

September 23rd, 2013

Dynamics AX is certified with the following products:

1. Lync 2013 with AX 2012 R2

2. Lync 2013 with AX 2012

3. BizTalk 2013 with AX 2009 SP1

Note these hotfix requirements

AX2012 R2
2863156

https://mbs2.microsoft.com/Knowledgebase/KBDisplay.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;2863156

2863199

https://mbs2.microsoft.com/Knowledgebase/KBDisplay.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;2863199

AX2012
2868424

https://mbs2.microsoft.com/Knowledgebase/KBDisplay.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;2868424

2872755

https://mbs2.microsoft.com/Knowledgebase/KBDisplay.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;2872755

AX 2009 SP1
2862096

https://mbs2.microsoft.com/Knowledgebase/KBDisplay.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;2862096

BRSANALYTICS for Dubai – automate regulatory reports, Basel lll, FATCA, CRD

September 23rd, 2013

Today’s challenging fiancial landscape requires institutions to be fully aware of their risks and to port complete and accurate data to supervisors. The BRSANALYTICS Capital Requirements Directive module automates risk weighted calculations, and gives a more accurate picture of the Credit Risk RWAs -broken down by individual components

CRD~Managers are able to regularly produce customisable reports both for internal and regulatory purposes. They can view the impact of “What-If” scenarios on their assets and capital requirements. The BRSANALYTICS CRD Module provides banks and other nancial institutions with the tools to efficiently manage their regulatory compliance reporting.

What do users say about BRSANALYTICS?

The BRS application has provided Izola Bank with help in the collation and submission of reports for the MFSA/Central Bank of Malta. By automating the process of data gathering, it has significantly reduced time spent on otherwise unnecessary internal regulatory computation maintenance.”

Alan Bartoli
ICT & Operations Officer (Izola Bank plc)

“In holding in-depth discussions regarding BRSANALYTICS, it was evident that the solution was well thought out and backed by a knowledgeable implementation team with the necessary expertise to cater for our regulatory needs. The simple fact that it condenses all the data to produce one single accurate report made it the obvious choice in treating this monthly burden with confidence and efficiency.”

Anthony Schembri
Managing Director (Raiffeisen Bank)

Ask for a copy of the Fimbank Case Study:
“…providing a wealth of functionality such as drill-downs”
“…enable business users to analyse and respond to regulators’ queries”
“…Drastic Reduction of Data Collation and Verification Time”
“…the Bank has been able to dramatically reduce the time it took to prepare regulatory reports by at least gaining 75% efficiency”
“…now, we are able to do the same process in a fraction of the time. This is remarkable”
“…This has given its members the time to focus on primarily ensuring a more qualitative output and submission to Regulators”
“…I’m very happy to say that because of BRSANALYTICS, we have achieved this goal”
“…Better Insight”
“…Easy Localisation”
“…deploying the solution has proven to be a game changer”
“…we are now able to focus on other important assignments”
“…gain better insight on our financial activities, be more productive and improve our decision making due to the use of business analytics”

See us at Gitex or rgister for our next seminar. To register your interest Call: Sharmili 04-3365589

FATCA what does it mean for the U.A.E.?

September 22nd, 2013

FATCA released shock waves among Americans overseas, because it compels foreign financial institutions to report on their accounts to the US Internal Revenue Service. The IRS will thus be able to check their private accounts against what they report on their tax returns. It gives the US government an eye into the personal affairs of these Americans, allowing it to see what sums have entered or left their accounts, to and from whom, and when this occurred.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) grants the IRS power to do with financial information what the NSA has done with communications data. Similar to how the NSA justifies their invasion of privacy on the need to prevent acts of terrorism, FATCA cites reducing tax evasion as reason to treat any American living, banking or investing overseas as guilty until proven innocent and undeserving of basic constitutional protections

Passed in 2010 as part of the HIRE (Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment) Act, FATCA conscripts foreign financial institutions as agents of the IRS, demanding that they monitor and report at their own expense on U.S. clients. Should they refuse or otherwise fail to convince the IRS that they are doing a sufficient job at spying on American citizens, they will fcce a 30 percent withholding tax on all U.S. source payments. Anyone considered a U.S. taxpayer is also required to reveal all of their foreign-held assets to the IRS, with stiff penalties for even the slightest oversight or delay.

The law while aimed at curbing tax evasion, in practice it will do little to accomplish that goal. Rather than target individuals or institutions at risk for engaging in tax evasion or unlawful behavior, FATCA hits every financial institution in the world with unreasonably costly burdens that have caused many to simply refuse to accept American clients.

Gulf News earlier this year reported” Some banks in the UAE are even considering closing accounts or turning away American expats if they fail to provide certain information to comply with US tax laws or, in other cases, for no specific reason. In a letter sent in May to their customers who are US passport holders, US green card and account holders born in the United States, a local bank requested an updated passport copy and IRS Tax Account Number stating that “tis information is required for complying with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (‘Fatca’) 2010”. “If … you do not update your records with the bank by June 30, 2013, we may be constrained to close your account with the bank,”

Likewise fed up with excessive paperwork and invasive rules, record numbers of Americans are renouncing their citizenship. According to the IRS, “If you are a US citizen or a resident alien of the United States and you live abroad, you are taxed on your worldwide income

To make matters worse, institutions that seek to avoid FATCA’s high costs are also taking their investments out of the U.S. economy. With trillions invested in the U.S. from foreign sources each year, a loss of a mere fraction of this could spark another recession. It’s thus easy to see why the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the law would raise a paltry $800 million per year, which is less than 1 percent of the $100 billion the law’s backers dubiously claim is lost to tax evasion each year.

The US government originally set a deadline of January 1, 2014 for FFIs to register with the IRS. Though reporting was not due to start till 2015 data needed to be collected for 2014. In July this year , however, the US Department of the Treasury issued a notice announcing a six-month delay of the implementation of the FATCA.

In many countries its implementation could lead financial institutions to break domestic laws barring the reporting of bank information to third parties or foreign governments. In other words financial institutions are exepcted to contravene domestic legislation to comply with the diktat of a foreign entity, the IRS. This absurd situation has pushed the US Treasury Department to negotiate inter-governmental agreements, or IGAs, with foreign countries to override such legal barriers. THE U.A.E. banks are in consultation with the central bank’s about this.

As an example of the problems posed, tts been estimated for example that 20,000 Kuwaiti citizens hold the American passport and they are to be subjected to observe the new law and to pay taxes based on their income, property and salaries they receive in Kuwait.However, the Kuwaiti citizenship law bans citizens from holding the citizenship of other countries, yet nearly 2 percent of Kuwaitis hold the American passport besides the nationalities of other European countries, sources noted. This is liley to be issue that will embarrass the Kuwaiti government and the citizens in question.

The core of the IGAs is reciprocity: The United States promises to give foreign states information on their nationals with accounts in US financial institutions in exchange for their implementation of FATCA. While the US is virtually alone in taxing its citizens on their worldwide income, many countries are nevertheless interested in knowing what their citizens hold in accounts overseas, for the day when they decide to return home and re-enter the tax system. However, see this article which questions the practiclaity and legality of such reciprocity http://www.repealfatca.com/index.asp?idmenu=4&title=News&idsubmenu=130

FATCA thus emerged as a potent issue. American banks now realise that they too will be saddled with costly reporting requirements to IGA partners, and to numerous foreign governments. Both the Texas Bankers Association and the Florida Bankers Association filed a federal lawsuit against the Treasury Department and the IRS saying they would lose billions of dollars from the measure, and that the regulations imposed on them were improper.

The negative constitutional implications of imposed reciprocity were echoed by Rand Paul. “The Treasury Department, without the consent and authority of Congress, will force U.S. financial institutions to provide the bank account information of private customers to foreign nations,” his press release read. His hostility to FATCA is primarily grounded in his concern for privacy. That is, indeed, what is for many the most shocking aspect of the legislation, which asks foreign institutions to gather data on Americans without oversight or security guarantees, when most Americans at home would reject such monitoring.

The US banking sector, which doesn’t like FATCA’s implications, is influential in Congress. More generally, the United States will lose money if foreigners, who don’t want their finances revealed back home, start closing accounts and taking their money elsewhere.

The Credit Union National Association, which represents a majority of American credit unions, has also backed Paul’s bill. Like the banks, it fears that the IGAs will impose high costs on credit unions and undermine the privacy of their members.

Americans in many countries have been unable to open bank accounts, because banks do not want the headache of reporting back to the IRS. This has created difficulties for American employees of American companies operating abroad. All this comes at a fluid time when there has been discussion of rewriting the US tax code and public unease with efforts to expand the government’s powers of surveillance.

The USA Treasury website tries to dispel fears by addressing what it termrs myths about FATCA http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Myth-vs-FATCA.aspx and for the counter aguments see http://www.repealfatca.com/index.asp?idmenu=4&title=News&idsubmenu=135

The UAE Central bank organised a seminar in March this year and Gulf News reported that Sultan Bin Nasser Al Suwaidi, Governor of the Central Bank, in his opening remarks underlined the need for the regulatory authorities in the UAE to formulate procedures to facilitate compliance with the US FATCA and set clear instructions for financial institutions under their supervision, in line with the requirements of the above law. He said that the competent authorities in the UAE are considering signing an agreement with the Government of the United States of America for FATCA Compliance.

Saudi Arabia has already signed agreements with accounting firms Ernst & Young, Pricewater-houseCoopers and KBMG to participate in the implementation.

The law requires that foreign financial institutions report the name, address, account number and financial activity of US taxpayers who have assets exceeding $50,000 to the IRS

Banks and other financial institutions are facing up to a new reality. The costs of meeting an expanding roster of regulatory requirements are rising at the same time as an increasingly competitive market is putting pressure on margins. At last week’s Sibos event Werner Steinmueller, head of global transaction banking at Deutsche Bank said “I expect much of the discussion to be focused on the growing cost of meeting regulatory requirements,”

This is not going to go away – if you need a regulatory reporting solution then ask us about BRSAnalytics- already proven for BASEL Accord reporting.

http://gulfbankers.com/news-5037-great-turnout-at-basel-iii-seminar-in-dubai-internet-city.html

http://www.ebankingcareers.com/news-4427-great-turnout-at-basel-iii-seminar-in-dubai-internet-city.html

BI4DYNAMICS- for Dynamics Ax, Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

September 19th, 2013

BI4Dynamics does not start with flashy dashboards that really do very litle for the operational areas of the businss, and which present the challenge of spending 6 months developing a data warehouse and another 6 months to create reports and dashboards.

It provides an out of the box data warehouse that goes way beyond the basic cubes that few clients can either use, or maintain in the real world. This data warehouse is built on the famliar SQL database with SSAS and providespreprocessed data, and numerous built-in measures based on many many years of experience in implementations of Dynamics erp systems.

A wizard makes it easy to fine tune the cube with extra measures, or to add your own customised fields.

For rapid implementation leveragefamiliar Excel functionality to analyse all of your data. All your fields are presented to you in Excel.all you need to do is to select the ones you want, by using the familar Excel pivot table logic and slicers. Drilldown through and across. Use all the in-built features e.g. condiitonal formatting and sparklines. No formulas to write, no processing in Excel ,so response is rapid.

Better still we provide around 100 prebuilt reports and business graphs to get you started which you can use as a starting point for more anaysis. You can be up and running in a day with valuable insights to your business. Typical implementation is 1-2 weeks to provide advanced Excel training, add your company specific measures and fields to the data warehouse, to help you get the most from the reports provided and to assist you to adapt the provided dashboards and reports to your business, and to help you to create some new ones.

This will slash your report writing costs, reduce implementation time, or just get more from your current implementaton, let your users see some real output from the system, and above all manage your business better. No extra Ax licenses needed. Unlimited user access.

It sounds to be good to be true- but it isn’t- there is typically one sale a day somewhere in the world, (this morning its was in the Domican Republic!) and for good reason – there is maximum benefit and minimal risk and it hugely increases the value of from your investment in Dynamics Ax or Dynamics NAV. We are an implementation and support company. we ahve seena lot of prety soltuions, but we prefer solutions that work and that can be implemented quickly, and that add some real value. Let us show, you or take a trial, or just see us at Gitex where we have a stand – and there is also a BI4Dynamics booth on the Microsoft stand.

Look for any of the people in the photo who are just leaving another successful demo.

Great Dubai seminar turn out – BRSANALYTICS, BASEL lll and FATCA

September 18th, 2013

The challenges posed by new regulations and the impact on local banks are significant and growing.
Seminar attendees appreciated the balance of conceptual overview ‘top of the triangle’ to help see the woods for the trees provided by Synergy Software Systems, Director: Stephen Jones. The real meat then came from the selective presentation of the key details for Basel lll and FATCA reporting requirements presented by banking systems analyst Andrew Bonnici from Computime (authors of BRSANALYTICS).
The evidence of a significant number of incidents of late reporting and regulatory fines is sobering.

http://www.brsanalytics.com/news-events/20-great-turnout-at-basel-iii-seminar-in-dubai-internet-city.html

Attendees welcomed the low risk, rapid implementation approach of a purpose built ‘out of the box’ solution for regulatory compliance reporting. They also appreciated that:
- it is supported by Synergy Software Systems established local company that specialises in Financial solutions, with financially qualified consutltants.
- it is developed adn maintained by Computime an established solutions provider since 1994, with a clear future road map
- there is proven succesessful adoption evidenced by a several case studies presented by Computime International Channel manager Daniel Buttigieg.
- Synergy Software Systems is a Microsoft Information worker partner for many years, and has experienced certified consultants in the underlying Microsoft technology stack (SQL, SSRS, SSAS, Excel etc) to ensure high quality delivery and support.

Synergy Software Systems and Computime have been associated companies for many years both implementing Sunsystems. If you could not make today’s seminar – then we plan to repeat it next month, and you can also meet us at Gitex, in Hall 7. For the next seminar we will build and show some example FATCA reports because we expect Dubai authorities to complete their consultation exercises and to put this into effect by year end. Although FATCA reporting does not come into effect till 2015 the reports will need to cover 2014 which is is not so far away. FATCA affects pretty much any financial services company with any clients anywhere in the world that are USA citizens or companies and its a pretty broad net. The implications and costs of compliance are huge and little understood. Andrew cited this quote from the U.K.: HMRC estimates the cost for UK business over the first 5 years to be £1.1bn-£2bn, running thereafter at an annual cost of £50m-£90m Non-compliance potentially leads to a 30% witholding tax on your USA operations.

If you have challenges with regulatory reporting and need expert guidance and a proven solution then please contact us. 00971 43365589

Basel 1, 11 and 111 – free seminar in Dubai on Wednesday

September 16th, 2013

Basel I (1988), set minimum capital requirements for banks and focused mainly on credit risk. It is enforced by law in the G-10 countries. international banks were required to hold capital equal to 8% of the risk-weighted assets. When the Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Alaska, the “Credit Default Swap” (CDS) was the financial instrument created to assist banks in hedging lending risk while staying in compliance the Basel I requirements.

Basel II (2004) expanded capital requirements to include tenets to maintain consistency of banking regulations globally in respect to risk and capital management procedures. A “three pillars” concept:
(1) minimum capital requirements, (2) supervisory review, and (3) market discipline.
Basel II was heavily criticized for exacerbating the effects of the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
Basel II left the minimum capital requirements at 8% of risk-weighted assets.

Basel III was created in response to the financial crisis, the as a global regulatory standard on: bank minimum capital requirements, bank liquidity, and bank leverage.

Basel III requires banks to hold 4.5% of common equity, Basel II requires 6% of Tier I capital of risk-weighted assets. Basel III’s additional capital buffers are a mandatory capital conservation buffer of 2.5% and a discretionary counter-cyclical buffer. This allows national regulators to require up to another 2.5% of capital during periods of high credit growth.

Basel III introduced a minimum 3% leverage ratio and two required liquidity ratios:
(1) the Liquidity Coverage Ratio, which requires a bank to hold high-quality liquid assets to cover its total net cash outflows over 30 days,
(2) the Net Stable Funding Ratio, which requires the available amount of stable funding to exceed the required amount of stable funding over a one-year period of extended stress.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that implementation of Basel III will decrease annual GDP growth by 0.05-0.15%.

The additional capital requirements in combination with enhanced risk management standards, is meant to reduce risk of bank failures, and to decrease the interdependence between financial institutions, thus reducing the risk of future banking crises.

However, there are potential negative side effects, including:
(a) smaller, weaker banks getting crowded out of the market by larger banks, who can raise the required capital easier than their smaller rivals;
(b) increased pressure on bank profit margins and operating capacity, with the follow on effect that there will generally be less investor appetite for bank debt and equity as they become more utility like;
(c) due to the enhanced capital and liquidity requirements, a reduction in lending capacity due to the adherence to the accords.

Critics think that these side effects will lead to reduced credit availability or increased cost of credit overall.

However implementing regualtions has not proved easy. The 2,300 page Dodd-Frank reforms, 2 were adopted in July 2010 by Congress as the devastation wrought on the US economy by the out-of-control financial sector was just being understood. Its entry into force still awaits a broad range of rulemaking and interpretation, and faces resistance from banks reticent to admit their faults. At the beginning of September, just 40 percent of the Dodd-Frank provisions had been finalized and integrated into law in the USA, according to a report by the law firm Davis Polk.

Dodd-Frank also created a new group, the Financial Stability Oversight Council headed by the USA Treasury secretary, charged with identifying risks to the US financial system and responding to those.

One key provision of Dodd-Frank remains unfinished, and toughly resisted by banks. The “Volcker Rule” to force banks to stop financial and other trading activities aimed at generating profits internally, activities that were at the heart of the crisis. Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman for whom the rule is named, told The Wall Street Journal this week that not having completed the rule after three years is “ridiculous”.

The 10 largest US banks had $10.97 trillion in assets in June 2012, compared with $7.81 trillion at the end of 2006. (ie more not less centralisation and ‘too big too fail’ worries) Critics want to reinstate the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act – itself a product of a deep crisis – that separated commercial banking from investment banking

In late August the international Financial Stability Board, which comprises central bankers and regulators from 24 countries, pointed to the complexity and fragmentation of the US system.

So as Berlin mulls its ways to bank union without Treaty changes the prospect is of more regulation, more bank centralisation and harmonisation, more demands for monitoring and reports from Central banks who will thus demand data and reports from indvidual banks

For an update on some of the imminent legislative changesand the challenges presented and how to address those with BRSANALYTICS for regulatory compliance reporting come to our free seminar to learn more.

Call Sharmili or Maria – 0097143365589 to register.
Venue Palm room, Microsoft Gulf offices, DIC, Dubai
0900-1300
Light networking lunch
Registration 8.30

If you cannot make it, then also see us at Gitex, or register for a future seminar or ask for a one on one meeting.

New Microsoft Surface preview September 2013

September 14th, 2013

Microsoft will launching its next-generation Surface devices and peripherals on September 23 in New York City, according to an invitations Microsoft is sending out to press today.

Expect to see the Haswell-based Surface 2 Pro and the Tegra-based Surface 2 –Microsoft’s rumored 7- to 8-inch Surface device I doub we will see as part of the September 23 unveiling.

Expect sales release to coincide with Windows 8.1 mid October.

Vodaphone hack raises security questions

September 14th, 2013

Personal details of about 2 million Vodafone Germany customers were exposed in a hack making international headlines. Hackers tapped into an information pool of: addresses, bank account numbers and dates of birth.
“…This attack was highly complex and conducted with inside knowledge of our most secure internal systems,” the company said in a statement.

Many criminals might try to use this information offline as well as online, so be extra cautious of any suspicious activity, like incoming phone calls or emails e.g claiming to be your bank.

In these days of spcial media interaction it begs the quesiton whether servers that contain critical data, such as personally identifiable information that was stolen in the Vodafone hack, should be accessible on the public Internet.

Can organizations really expect to keep up with the ever-changing set of vulnerabilities, patches, and zero-day exploits that leave this kind of information at risk? Vodpahone is hardly IT llliterate, and if they can be hit then the rest of us need to take notice and think again about our data protection strategies.

September 12th, 2013

ERP Project Recovery

Unfortunately, not all ERP projects go as planned. Indeed the majority still fail as a recent survey comfirms that not much has improved since the same survey last year. The relaity is that the situation may be worse, some users don’t even realise they have a bad system, or have learned to live with it rather than tell mangement it is not quite what they promised.

Synergy is regularly invited to help turn around problem implementations.

Sometimes project scope creeps, the ERP project team decides to customize too much, or the enterprise software vendor or system integrator simply isn’t able to get the job done.

Further, ERP failure can take many forms: from complete operational disruption to a lack of alignment or user buy-in that negatively affects the organization’s return on its ERP investment.

A frequent problem in this expatriate market is labour turnover of both customer and consultant staff, excerbated by short term expediency to offshore work which in the long run proves more expensive when it either has to be redone or no-one is around to support it. There is usually little evidence of documentation, or best practise checking in such cases.

Synergy Software Systems is one of the longest established enterprise solution practises in the region, and bases all its staff in Dubai. We have a low staff turnover relative to the industry and in most cases more senior and better certified consultants. Experienced senior consultants cost more, but they do better quality work in less time, add value and don’t cut corners.

Typical errors we find;

Incorrect set up of server, raid, windows and sql
Code not compiled and not to best practise.
Systems unpatched
Inappropriate configuraiton settings
Inappropriate data structures
Opening balances unreconciled
Duplicate data
Inventory not closed
Month ends not closed
Year ends not closed
Users unaware of basic navigation features, inquiries and reports
Unnecessary customisation
Unused modules
Many unresolved issues
Poor response time
Little use of workflows, alerts, BI
No management of database, table sizes, log files, data retention, etc.

If you need to reboot your projects and to get a firm foundation then give us a call – better still ask our customers about the value such an exercise brings.

Dynamics CRM 2013-early preview

September 11th, 2013

Reimagined User Experience
With an entirely new user experience, Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows you to view everything you
need in one spot – fast and fluid, and relevant to the work at hand. No pop-ups. No flipping from
one application to the next. What you need, where you need it. Get in, get going and get done.
So you can focus on what is most important – your customers.

Patch Tuesday- 11 Sep 2013

September 11th, 2013

Microsoft had projected 14 security bulletins for today, but only 13 were released.

For SharePoint, an attacker could abuse the ViewState mechanism on two specific web pages and gain control over the server. By default, the pages require authentication, which limits the attack vector. If you have reconfigured authentication, this bulletin should be high on your list. Note that the bulletin contains work-around steps that you can configure immediately even if you cannot apply the patch right away.

These 3 are the ones that demanded my immediate attention:

MS13-067 addresses ten vulnerabilities in SharePoint server, and affects SharePoint 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013, along with Office Web Apps 2010. The patch addresses multiple elevations of privilege vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to execute code in the context of another SharePoint user. In certain situations where the default authentication mechanism has been changed, an attacker may be able to take control of the server. Safeguarding sensitive data is critical, so get this patch rolled out as soon as possible.
***

MS13-068 / KB2756473 – Vulnerability in Microsoft Outlook Could Allow Remote Code Execution

MS13-068 fixes a critical privately reported vulnerability in Outlook, which an attacker could use to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user. It affects both Outlook 2007 and 2010. Attackers can exploit this without specific user interaction by crafting malicious S/MIME messages and sending those to target users. When the malicious message is opened, the exploit is triggered, and the vulnerable system is compromised – enabling the attacker to run code in the context of the user. The attack vector makes it urgent to apply this patch as soon as possible
***

MS13-069 / KB2870699 – Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer

MS13-069 is the latest cumulative security update for the Internet Explorer Web browser. The update applies to all supported versions of Internet Explorer, but none of the underlying flaws affects all versions of the browser. This patch should be deployed as quickly as possible, though, because any of these vulnerabilities can be used in drive-by exploits allowing the attacker to execute code in the context of the current user.