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Three tech presents you might find in the office

From pocket desktops to virtual reality devices to tablets and more, expect tech presents galore stuffed in stockings and nestled neatly under trees everywhere this holiday season.

While Santa is making his list and checking it twice up at the North Pole you might want to do the same thing to find out what new devices might enter your network after the new year.

Take a look at a few of the top items tech enthusiasts are asking for this holiday season and find out what security lessons you can learn from a Barbie doll.

Have yourself a merry little mobile desktop

The Kangaroo Mobile Desktop delivers a desktop that fits in a user’s pocket. At only 14 millimeters thick, the Kangaroo works on any monitor and can easily make like a joey and hop into users’ pockets when they’re on the move. It was built for Windows 10 and runs the full 64-bit version of Microsoft’s newest OS. It even runs Windows 10 on Apple iOS devices with its OS Linx feature. In addition users can access documents, photos and OneDrive through the Kangaroo Mobile Desktop.

The big drawback, particularly in the enterprise, is the Kangaroo’s limited storage capacity. With just 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, it simply can’t replace a full desktop and should really only be used for a limited number of apps and Web browsing.

What tablet is this?

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 was the standard by which other tablets and notebooks were judged. Now the Surface Pro 4 is out, and although it doesn’t feature any revolutionary changes, it tweaks the formula slightly to make improvements over the Surface Pro 3. Among the changes are the addition of the Surface Pen and its magnetic dock, Windows 10 integration, and the Type Cover with its Chiclet keys, glass trackpad and fingerprint sensor.

Simply put, the Surface Pro 4 is the best Windows tablet or notebook hardware available. However, if users already have the Surface Pro 3 they don’t really need the Pro 4. Both devices have the exact same ports and users can buy the Surface Pen and Type Cover for the Surface Pro 3.

Virtual reality is comin’ to town

Smartphones make the virtual reality of today far more practical than the absurd contraptions of the past. Nowadays users just place goggle-like devices such as Samsung’s Gear VR on their heads and slide their phones into the viewers to enter the virtual world.

The Gear VR improves upon previous models by charging users’ phones while they use the virtual reality tool and rectifying the overheating issues of the past. It also includes a Super AMOLED display, wide field of view and head tracking.

Although virtual reality devices are mostly for playing games and watching videos, they could easily make their way in to the enterprise as ways for workers to look at 3D models or simulations for example.

Barbie its cold outside

As great as these tech presents are, it’s important to remember that while you’re putting up the tree, stringing the lights and in the words of Paul McCartney, simply having a wonderful Christmastime, hackers are still trying to access your corporate data. Even when you sit down for a well-deserved glass of eggnog you have to keep security at the top of your mind, especially as more and more devices enter your network.

Even Barbie isn’t safe these days. One of the hottest toys for kids this Christmas is Hello Barbie, a Barbie doll that connects to the Internet to answer children’s questions and interact with them much in the same way that Siri or Cortana work on a smartphone. It sounds innocent enough, but a security expert was able to hack into the Barbie doll and access user information, audio files and photos. He also believes hackers could access the microphone and make the doll say anything the hacker wants.

Obviously this is scary for parents, and while most workers (probably) don’t bring Barbie dolls to work, it should also be scary for you. As Internet of Things devices — which Hello Barbie is — become more popular and employees bring them to work, hackers can access your network through one of these potentially less-protected devices. They could also unearth valuable information the device picked up through video, photo or audio files. The lesson is that the more internet-connected devices you have in your organization, the more gateways there are into your corporate data.

So as your employees make merry this December and try to simplify their lives with nifty gadgets, remember the Grinch is always lurking around the corner and those gadgets could be an entry way for disaster. Happy Holidays!

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