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Good news for citrus farmers with first effective treatment for Citrus Greening Disease

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Citrus farmers celebrate as UC Riverside scientists have found the first substance capable of controlling Citrus Greening Disease, which has devastated citrus farms all over the world.

The new treatment effectively kills the bacterium causing the disease with a naturally occurring molecule found in wild citrus relatives. This molecule, an antimicrobial peptide, offers numerous advantages over the antibiotics currently used to treat the disease.

UCR geneticist Hailing Jin, who discovered the cure after a five-year search, explained that unlike antibiotic sprays, the peptide is stable even when used outdoors in high heat, easy to manufacture, and safe for humans.

“This peptide is found in the fruit of Australian finger limes, which can naturally tolerate Citrus Greening bacteria and has been consumed for hundreds of years,” Jin said. “It is much safer to use this natural plant product on agricultural crops than other synthetic chemicals.”

Currently, some growers spray citrus plants with antibiotics and pesticides in an attempt to save trees from the CLas bacterium that causes citrus greening, also known as Huanglongbing or HLB.

“Most antibiotics are temperature sensitive, so their effects are largely reduced when applied in the hot weather,” Jin said. “By contrast, this peptide is stable even when used in 130-degree heat.”

Jin found the peptide by examining plants such as the Australian finger lime known to possess natural tolerance for the bacteria that causes Citrus Greening Disease, and she isolated the genes that contribute to this innate immunity. One of these genes produces the peptide, which she then tested over the course of two years. Improvement was soon visible.

“You can see the bacteria drastically reduced, and the leaves appear healthy again only a few months after treatment,” Jin said.

Because the peptide only needs to be reapplied a few times per year, it is highly cost effective for growers. This peptide can also be developed into a vaccine to protect young healthy plants from infection, as it is able to induce the plant’s innate immunity to the bacteria.

Jin’s peptide can be applied by injection or foliage spray, and it moves systemically through plants and remains stable, which makes the effect of the treatment stronger.

The treatment will be further enhanced with proprietary injection technology made by Invaio Sciences. UC Riverside entered into a worldwide license agreement with Invaio, ensuring this treatment goes exactly where it’s needed in plants.

All citrus farmers have to do now is wait for this to be widely available in the market.

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APAC SMEs adapting well to new realities of remote-first business environment – SAP

APAC SMEs are well positioned to adapt to a remote working environment by taking swift actions to implement and adjust remote work arrangements for employees in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 77% reported that they adjusted remote work arrangements for employees in response to COVID-19, as compared to respondents in Europe (75%) and the Americas (71%).

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SAP SE unveiled findings for the study Digital Resilient, and Experience-driven: How Small and Midsize Organisations Can Prepare for the New Economy. The study highlights how small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) in Asia-Pacific (APAC) are uniquely positioned to adapt and thrive in the dynamic and distributed post-COVID-19 business environment.

Conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, the study also delved into the priorities, challenges, and digital maturity of SMEs in the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Of the total 2,000 respondents, 832 respondents were from the following APAC markets: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea. A section detailing answers from 240 respondents on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was also added to the survey mid-fieldwork.

Adapting To The New World Of Work

According to the 240 that responded to the series of COVID-19 questions, APAC SMEs are well positioned to adapt to a remote working environment by taking swift actions to implement and adjust remote work arrangements for employees in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 77% reported that they adjusted remote work arrangements for employees in response to COVID-19, as compared to respondents in Europe (75%) and the Americas (71%).

Additionally, 61% of APAC SMEs surveyed created remote work set-ups for employees during this period, while 69% invested in IT and collaboration solutions to support remote access and/or online learning. Interestingly, 10% of APAC SMEs reported that the pandemic has no impact on their ability to accommodate remote work and maintain employee productivity.

On top of supporting business continuity during this period, many APAC SMEs are also actively exploring new channels to get their products and services to customers (66%, vs. 64% in the Americas and 59% in Europe) and developing new products and service offerings (46%, vs. 40% in the Americas and 49% in Europe). 

“SMEs across the region—like their counterparts around the world—have certain advantages over larger competitors in terms of agility and closeness to the customer,” said Edward Cone, Editorial Director of Thought Leadership and Technology Practice Lead at Oxford Economics. “Yet even before the pandemic, SMEs in APAC also faced meaningful challenges in keeping up the pace of digital transformation.”

Lastly, it was revealed that COVID-19 has significantly impacted APAC SMEs’ ability to compete with larger companies within the same industry, with 45% of APAC SMEs reporting that the pandemic has had a significant effect on their operations and strategies in this area. COVID-19 has also affected the ability to operate at full capacity (45%), the ability of the supply chains to keep up with demands (40%), and the ability to keep existing customers (40%). Some respondents reported that they had to completely restructure business strategy and operations in these areas to mitigate the impact of the pandemic

Anticipating The Road Ahead

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, SMEs in the region reported being optimistic about their long-term prospects. Many APAC SMEs expect that over the next three years, their market share (62%), budget/revenue (76%), number of full-time employees (59%), and profitability (78%) will increase somewhat or substantially.

61% of APAC SMEs surveyed created remote work set-ups for employees during this period, while 69% invested in IT and collaboration solutions to support remote access and/or online learning. Interestingly, 10% of APAC SMEs reported that the pandemic has no impact on their ability to accommodate remote work and maintain employee productivity.

Looking ahead to the next three years, APAC SMEs are prioritising improving the customer experience (40%), growth (38%) and attracting new customers (28%). APAC SMEs believe that the key to providing high-quality customer experience lies in high-quality products and/or services (70%), fast and convenient delivery (64%) and competitive pricing (62%), with the customer-service business function bearing the most responsibility for delivering those experiences (cited by 70% of APAC respondents). Upgrading analytics on customer data is viewed as a go-to strategy to improving customer experience:  28% already have done this across the organisation, and 52% have started to. 

Staying The Course On Digital Transformation

With technology set to play an increasingly critical role in helping APAC SMEs achieve business success in the new digital environment, the study also took a closer look at digital maturity levels of these businesses across the region. Many APAC SMEs say they have made moderate progress toward digital transformation (39%), and 21% have made substantial progress or completely transformed; within three years, 19% expect to have completely transformed. In terms of technological adoption, HR/Talent management software is furthest along (66%), followed by Governance and Cybersecurity software (63%) and Finance and Risk management software (59%). Respondents reported that these technologies are either in use in some applications/projects or are already in use at scale.

Mobile devices and mobile business process enablement, and business management solutions (ERP software) share the top spot in terms of pilot implementation, and APAC SMEs are actively considering emerging technologies, AI/ML and Internet of Things (IoT) as their main investment priority.

Obstacles To Overcome

The road to success does, however, bring challenges. Today, APAC SMEs consider the upskilling/reskilling of the current workforce (30%), lack of coordination between different departments (29%), and inability to gain insights from data (28%) as key internal challenges. In terms of external challenges, APAC SMEs cite changing customer wants and needs (40%), competition from larger organisations (39%), and adapting to a rapidly changing marketplace (27%) as obstacles to their business success.

“Today’s new normal requires businesses to pivot and adapt with speed. SMEs in the region seem to understand that the sense of urgency to digitally transform their businesses will give them an advantage through the pandemic and beyond,” said Claus Andresen, SVP & Head of General Business (SME) and Emerging Markets Growth, Asia Pacific & Japan. “With the adoption of an intelligent enterprise strategy, SMEs can establish a digital core that will power the entire organisation, embedding data-driven insights and decision-making processes across the business. This is crucial in enabling business agility, further strengthening the ability of SMEs to adapt to dynamic market conditions.”

“I am confident SMEs in the region will be able to emerge stronger, having forged closer bonds with customers and employees while developing innovative services and products that will put them on a strong growth trajectory as the world economy recovers,” concluded Andresen.

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Globe partners with Secureworks to help businesses secure their digital transformation

Globe Business will support customers with Secureworks’ integrated portfolio of automated and intelligent solutions, featuring built-in flexibility that scales to a customer’s changing needs. Secureworks Red Cloak Threat Detection and Response (TDR) is a Software-as-a-Service application available with or without a managed services wrapper (MDR), providing rapid threat detection and response along with threat hunting.

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Photo by Damian Zaleski from Unsplash.com

Globe Business, the enterprise arm of Globe, has partnered with Secureworks to help customers strengthen their security posture against cyber threats in a digitally-connected world.

When organizations embrace digital technologies, they expand their attack surfaces and create new gateways for both opportunistic and targeted cyber threats. To help customers secure their progress, Globe Business will offer software and solutions that leverage the Secureworks Red Cloak Analytics Platform to prevent, detect and respond to threats, wherever data moves into, out of, and through customer environments.

“Now, more than ever, businesses need partners who can provide modern security solutions that enable digital transformation while also protecting their data, reputation, and revenue,” said Maureen Perrelli, Secureworks Chief Channel Officer. “We’re pleased to welcome Globe into the Secureworks Global Partner Program so together we can help organizations close their cybersecurity gap with industry-leading software and solutions.”

Globe Business will support customers with Secureworks’ integrated portfolio of automated and intelligent solutions, featuring built-in flexibility that scales to a customer’s changing needs. Secureworks Red Cloak Threat Detection and Response (TDR) is a Software-as-a-Service application available with or without a managed services wrapper (MDR), providing rapid threat detection and response along with threat hunting.

Secureworks, a software company with security at its core, continues to enrich its analytics and solutions with market-leading visibility and threat intelligence gleaned from protecting more than 4,000 customers worldwide. The company processes more than 310 billion cyber events per day and conducts more than 1,000 incident response engagements per year. Its cloud-native platform is complemented by a deep bench of security analysts, researchers, and incident responders.

Globe Business will support customers with Secureworks’ integrated portfolio of automated and intelligent solutions, featuring built-in flexibility that scales to a customer’s changing needs. Secureworks Red Cloak Threat Detection and Response (TDR) is a Software-as-a-Service application available with or without a managed services wrapper (MDR), providing rapid threat detection and response along with threat hunting. Adversarial Security Testing and Security Consulting help customers test security defenses, while Incident Response services help organizations prepare and respond to cyber incidents to help manage the risk of a breach.

“Teaming up with Secureworks allows us to come up with a defense-in-concert strategy, which recommends solutions with fewer security layers but more efficient systems that communicate, act more intelligently, and detect and respond to threats faster,” shared Peter Maquera, Senior Vice President for Globe Business. “We believe that cybersecurity should also be supported by a community. It’s never a battle won by one team alone. Our experience using Secureworks’ services enables us to not only bridge businesses to cybersecurity experts and cyber threat intelligence but also provide predictive, continuous, and responsive protection.”

With Secureworks, Globe Business alleviates the challenges of handling cybersecurity by empowering teams to focus their resources on effective strategies, enabling them to safely promote initiatives that cement their digital presence.

You don’t have to drain your resources to have proactive cybersecurity in place. Backed by expertise and round-the-clock solutions, we can help you secure any outcome. Talk to your dedicated Globe Business Account Manager or visit our website to find out more about Secureworks and the rest of our Cybersecurity Solutions.

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HP enhances print experiences with cloud‐based services and solutions

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Image from Pixabay.com

HP Inc. announced print services and solutions that enable companies to accelerate their shift to flexible, cloud-based environments. By harnessing the power of the cloud, HP is delivering personalized services and intelligent, purpose-built solutions that help streamline and automate processes so IT departments can focus on their most strategic priorities.  

“Our customers are looking for simple, secure and intuitive solutions that enhance performance and deliver business outcomes,” said David Prezzano, General Manager and Global Head, Print Services and Solutions, HP Inc. “We’re laser focused on delivering services and solutions that know how you work, anticipate your needs and offer a compelling cost structure.”  

HP today announced a new global managed service that delivers a cloud-based, always-on print environment optimized for each client. HP Managed Print Cloud Services allows customers to leverage HP’s security innovation while maintaining the utmost control and flexibility around how the service is shaped. The offering addresses both trusted and zero-trust cloud environments and is delivered through a well-defined, modular approach with flexible services and software stacks.

“Meeting customers where they are in their journey to the cloud is a smart strategy and especially important now given the current environment,” said Patrick Moorhead, Moor Insights & Strategy. “I believe HP Managed Print Cloud Services shifts the responsibility of managing the client’s print-related technology to HP, allowing clients to redirect their critical IT investments to more strategic or urgent priorities.”

In addition, HP today announced its support for Universal Print, a Microsoft 365 cloud print solution that organizations can use to manage their print infrastructure. As part of this collaboration, HP will work with Microsoft to build a cloud-to-cloud integration with the Managed Print Cloud Services platform, allowing organizations to increase security, manage devices and release print jobs only to authorized users. This integration will enable Universal Print users to print virtually anywhere, simply and securely.

HP has also introduced a newly enhanced Flexworker Solutions program, allowing remote workers to acquire company-approved printers bundled with an extended service contract and order supplies seamlessly through an online portal, while enabling IT departments to manage supplies through central billing and consolidated reporting, saving costs and delivering a better experience. 

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