Blogs list

Doug Snow - Titus - Doug Snow

When Did You Last Upgrade Your Data? - Sponsored Article What kind of month would it be if there was not another news story about a data breach? This time it is the “Panama Papers” – the leaked documents from the law firm Mossack Fonseca. In an article posted to TechRepublic, James Sanders reviews how the outdated Fonseca IT infrastructure likely contributed significantly to the hack. With a 2009 version of Microsoft Exchange, a client portal (Dupral) from 2013 running on Apache from 2010, and finally a homepage built using a 2014 version of WordPress, the Fonseca infrastructure was enormously vulnerable to attack. Clearly, the Mossack Fonseca perimeter defenses were vulnerable.  But was it just the perimeter defenses that were behind the times? What about their data? Was their data up to date? The defense of data ultimately has to start with the data itself. Without knowing what the data is and how damaging it would be to your organization if lost, it is not possible to organize a strategic defense. Limited IT resources may mean it is not possible to ensure that all of your systems are immediately updated with the latest security patches. But even with limitless IT resources (oh, to dream!), it makes sense to focus data protection efforts on the most important information you own. So how do you upgrade your data? With identifying metadata. By adding additional details about the information to the file’s metadata, such as the classification, information lifecycle details, and applicable regulatory codes, it becomes possible to focus data protection efforts where they are needed…

Photo : Doug  Snow May 02, 2016

Jeff Harrison - MNP LLP - Jeff Harrison

Real Property – Too Good to be True? - Sponsored Article First - What is Real Property? Real property is any property attached directly to land, as well as the land itself. This can include not only buildings and other structures, but also rights and interests. Remember the old adage “if something appears too good to be true it probably is”? We see time and again, people and businesses find themselves in a difficult spot having bought or sold real property. It usually followed by the comment of ‘they were told’ GST did not apply. More often than not, these large transactions tend to move quickly. Reading the fine print or getting proper advice isn’t always top of mind. Being under pressure to make the deal leads to short cuts, only to find out they simply took the tax obligation away from the seller or the seller having to come back and ask for tax they forgot to collect. This can create difficult circumstances at the best of times, let alone receiving a large assessment from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). Two general rules to always be aware of: First – real property is always taxable when sold until an exemption can be supported. Second – the seller has the obligation to collect the GST / HST unless the legislation puts the obligation in the hands of the purchaser in a taxable sale. It may also be the purchaser bought it exempt but, through a change in use, has triggered a self-assessment. Exemptions for real property tend to be tied to sales of used…

Photo : Jeff Harrison April 26, 2016

Janet Weichel McKenzie - The Hillbrooke Group - Janet Weichel McKenzie

Snapchat Blackface - Sticking to your Message - Sponsored Article Last week’s uproar over the launch of Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter called ‘blackface’ on April 20, a day associated with a counterculture celebration of marijuana, proved to be good example of how important it is for organizations to stay on message even when the subject matter is controversial.  Snapchat, a privately owned, venture-backed start-up is popular among young social media users. It specializes in visual images that can be manipulated and expire rapidly. It offers many filters to add to selfies, like rainbow tongues, top hats and skeleton bones.  The app has 100 million daily users who are sending 2 billion photos and videos per day.  Snapchat stories content is being viewed 500 million times per day. Recent statistics claim Snapchat hit 7 billion daily video views. Critics claim Snapchat’s Bob Marley filter is playing into a stereotype of the reggae legend. Perhaps. But according to Snapchat that was not their intent. Multiple media outlets including major players such as USA Today, Fox News, CNN and popular emerging technology, science, art, and culture outlets such as The Verge and Wired, published their stories with the same message from Snapchat. “The lens we launched today was created in partnership with the Bob Marley Estate, and gives people a new way to share their appreciation for Bob Marley and his music, said the statement. Millions of Snapchatters have enjoyed Bob Marley's music, and we respect his life and achievements. Not one media outlet printed a different quote. This means Snapchat was prepared and understood the…

Photo : Janet  Weichel McKenzie April 25, 2016

Gavin Miranda - MNP LLP - Gavin Miranda

How to keep taxes from eating into your crowd-funding - Sponsored Article “Gavin, how do I avoid paying tax on capital raised through a crowd-funding campaign?” When crowd-funding is obtained through a loan or in exchange for equity there is no related tax liability. However, if crowdfunding is used to support the development of a new product, tax can’t be avoided, but you can defer it and possibly reduce it, until you are in a stronger revenue-producing position. In January, Ontario joined four other Canadian provinces with a program that allows startups and SMEs to raise capital through crowd-funding. Companies should learn about the regulations that need to be met to use this method of raising funds. For pre-revenue startups or even more established companies unable to fund new product development from existing cash flow, the advantages of being able to raise capital from the general public on a tax-deferred basis are obvious. Careful planning, however, is required to avoid negative tax consequences. Funds raised through a crowd-funding campaign are potentially taxable as income at the 15 per cent small business rate for qualifying corporations Businesses can avoid this tax burden if they structure their crowd-funding appropriately. The key is to ensure that the crowd-funding proceeds are tied directly to the delivery of a market-ready product or service at some point in the future. If properly structured, the crowd-funding proceeds can be considered a pre-payment for the future delivery of that product or service. This defers the tax burden until the company actually delivers a market-ready version of that product or service to that investor.…

Photo : Gavin Miranda April 11, 2016

Colin Moden - Titus-ColinModen

Corporate Security and the 2-in-1 Device - Sponsored Article Many office workers have a Windows laptop as well as an iPad. I began experimenting with leaving the laptop at my desk and only taking the iPad with me when going to meetings or was otherwise away from my desk. After all, it seemed silly to carry two devices when I could present from the iPad, takes note on the iPad, and answer email on the iPad, right? Well in practice, not so much. There always seems to be a last minute change that needs to be made to the slides and, while I can present from the iPad, I can’t easily edit the presentation. I can reply to an email from the iPad but I don’t have access to the network folders and SharePoint sites that contain all the background information I need to formulate the right answer. Plus the files I have on my iPad aren’t the same ones I have on my laptop – they are copies. Are these copies up to date? Are they in the same format? Can I sync one or both ways easily? So, I ended up taking both devices with me to conferences, using the laptop for work, and the tablet for movies, personal email & web surfing. Windows 8 was an attempt to solve that problem. Microsoft built a device (Microsoft Surface) that could be used as a tablet (with a touch screen and an on-screen keyboard), but really it was running Windows and it could be plugged into a monitor, keyboard and mouse to do…

Photo : Colin Moden April 05, 2016