One of the effects of the growth of international trade has been increased numbers of executives travelling the globe to attend meetings and exhibitions, buyers travelling to investigate potential suppliers and salespeople journeying to present their offerings to prospective clients. These travellers themselves are often blissfully unaware of the potential threats they face, both to their physical wellbeing, but increasingly also to their personal and private business information.Theft of trade secrets was traditionally the work of company insiders, disgruntled former employees or criminals who had infiltrated a company to steal its intellectual property, however in the Digital Age it has become easier to steal information remotely, especially given many these international business travellers tend to carry their personal smartphone and laptop on every trip.Hackers policy is to break in to employees portable devices and leapfrog into employers networks to access critical private business information. It is difficult to assess just how widespread the problem is, given the reluctance of victims to come forward and the fact that some victims are simply not aware they have been hacked until sometime in the future, however a recent Interpol report stated that cyber crime is a growing problem and cyber criminals have stolen intellectual property from businesses worldwide worth up to one trillion US dollars.The level of the threat varies dependent on the destination country, with travel to China and Russia generally considered by the security industry to present the greatest risk, but realistically the problem is truly worldwide, as security steps are ramped up in the high threat destinations the hackers move to other safer countries, where security is more lax in their quest to gain access to private corporate intellectual property.International business travellers can take steps to increase their information security, starting with planning for the trip and choosing what to take, and more importantly what to leave behind.If at all possible leave your cellphone and laptop at home and take a clean device with you. Sanitize the devices of all information before you travel, and wipe them clean when you return. If you really must take your regular devices with you, although if travelling to a high risk destination you should not even consider it, back up as much information on to a separate hard drive and clean it from your device before you travel. If travelling to a high risk destination you need to take extra precautions with your communications, such as only connecting to the internet through an encrypted, password protected channel, copying and pasting your password rather than typing it directly.Disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi at your departure airport to discourage tracking when you arrive at your destination and turn off your cellphone and remove the battery when conducting private business meetings to prevent the device being turned on remotely and being used to eavesdrop.Of course you should never use any shared devices, such as computers in a cyber cafe or hotel business centres, even devices belonging to colleagues or friends may have been compromised.Do not advertise your travel plans via social media.Western Governments are beginning to address the problems of cyber crime and the US State Department for example briefs employees annually on security with specific advice on how to secure their devices in Russia and China and most major international corporations are aware of the importance of international business travel information security. It is the smaller and medium-sized corporations that lack internal security departments that are at most risk, with business travel security being something they may not have budgeted for. For employees of these organisations the responsibility for information security will increasingly fall on the traveller themselves.
Material testing is a crucial aspect in many industrial sectors. It is particularly important to both, the building and construction sector and the automobile manufacturing industry. If proper materials testing are not conducted across the mentioned commercial sectors, life of the public could be in jeopardy. As far as the construction industry is concerned this kind of testing is even more important. It may happen that unscrupulous builders use inferior grade of materials, without proper testing, to construct buildings and bridges. Such possibility could result in collapsing of the structure any moment and fatally injuring hundreds of people in the process. To avoid such calamities, construction firms invariably require seeking help of dependable testing laboratories to ensure the materials they are using in the construction process are of superior grade.Proper materials testing should be underway as soon as the construction work commences. Ideally, the testing should be conducted at various phases of a project. This helps ensuring the ingredients being used are of superior quality and the final structure that is coming up is hardy and durable. It is because of this reason that the aspects of construction materials testing and structural analysis are usually clubbed together in the building and construction sector. Testing of the construction materials requires specialized knowledge. As such, imparting this knowledge is one of the crucial objectives of civil engineering education. Gauging the strength, elasticity and flexibility of specimens is common in this field of work.The specialized service of construction materials testing requires hi-end technological expertise. The laboratories that provide the range of service have to deal with an extensive range of smart tools and equipments based on cutting-edge technology. The workforce across the commercial sector mostly comprises of scientists, engineers and well-trained professionals. Without an expert and technically sound workforce, it is indeed difficult for laboratories to provide impeccable service. In order to provide greater convenience to the customers, the materials testing laboratories work closely with the construction management teams. This helps the experts to anticipate as well as minimize problems that could withhold the work progress.Teaming up with adept materials testing laboratories not only helps builders to complete their projects within stipulated deadlines. It also helps them to complete the work according to various technical and environmental norms. The specialized service providing sector caters to a wide range of customers which include contractors, developers, consultants, government corporations, municipalities and others. Apart from testing, the category of laboratories usually provides certification and consultancy services as well. Professionals working in the vocation require keeping themselves constantly upgraded on the latest breakthroughs occurring in the industry.In fact, quality assurance is one of the prominent factors because of which the clients approach these testing laboratories. Usually, the challenge of these laboratories lies in developing extensive and customized quality assurance techniques that will meet specific requirements of the clients. Business is flowing in from all directions into the sector. Immense commercial prospect has made this line of service unbelievably competitive in the recent times. In order survive into this turbulent situation, businesses require to quote competitive pricing to enjoy an edge over the competitors.
We’ve heard all the doom and gloom in the construction industry, as everything just completely crashed as the real estate disaster occurred and triggered the global economic meltdown and crisis. After the crash, there was literally a front page article every day in all the newspapers for 18-months straight, needless to say, no one was interested in building, buying, or even pulling permits on new projects. Well, it looks like we have finally turned a corner.Meaning that many of the articles we are reading concerning the Construction Industry, about contractors, construction management, or construction trends is somewhat positive. Manufacturing of construction equipment is up, and there are many recent large scale developments, other than the known stimulus (so-called shovel ready projects) moving forward.The government statistics show us moving forward at the end of Q2 in 2010, as construction spending was up sharply in April of 2010 over the previous month of March, and get this it was up 2.7% over all. Home Construction projects put forth spending exceeding 4.5% over the same time period. Obviously, the national US trends are different than the most battered states, but all regions showed improvement, meaning the trend stands, and momentum is building, literally, we are building again.The construction was really across the board this time, new factories, facilities, roads, infrastructure, homes, shopping malls, commercial properties, retail, etc. This recent uptick is by far the biggest gains in a single month I’ve seen in over 10-years, it’s truly amazing, almost to the point of questioning the numbers, but we see things are very good in quite a few industries. We’ve been down month to month one to 4 percent nearly all of 2008, 2009 and the first quarter of 2010 for the most part.It is interesting that with all this excess capacity of space; retail and commercial office space that we have such an uptick in construction right now. This means jobs, and growth, it’s a good thing. Most are not expecting any type of full recovery until 2011, and yet, we sure see some positive signs in construction right now. The Construction Industry is also having mixed views on confidence levels whereas before it was all doom and gloom.The trick now is managed growth, which seems to be expected due to the difficulty in getting construction loans now. And by 2011 we will see the interest rates move up again, perhaps keeping things in check. Today, we can smile, and consider these positive signs and by Q4 we will know if this is a trend or just a blip on the radar. Please consider all this.