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Tech and business news from around the region. Customers: Support is No. 1

As business executives debate the importance of customer service in board rooms around the nation, new research conducted by the nonprofit Information Technology Solution Providers Alliance (ITSPA) and Yankee Group validates those discussions by identifying technical support as the service area with the widest performance gap in customer satisfaction between leading computer hardware manufacturers.

HP ranked highest in support across all the product categories and was rated at or above all competitors across a variety of performance, reliability and service factors. Lenovo also did very well, in a statistical dead heat with HP, but Dell trailed significantly in several categories. Questions in the survey covered a range of topics dealing with hardware and software problems, initial set-up experience, reliability, technical support and likelihood to recommend.

Boas new System Fabric Works VP

Austin-based System Fabric Works, a fabric computing software and services company, said Bill Boas has joined the company as vice president of business development.

Boas has worked in the field of high performance computing and networking, including winning the DOE PathForward contract to help develop the Gigabyte System Networking technology for IBM, HP, and Sun.

Users main culprit in security breaches

Organizations are doing little to address the most serious threat to their information security and technology infrastructure, according to new research released by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).

Human error was responsible for nearly 60 percent of information security breaches experienced by organizations over the last year, according to the fourth annual CompTIA study on information security and the workforce. That figure is significantly higher than one year ago, when 47 percent of security breaches were blamed on human error alone.

Yet despite the prominent role that human behavior plays in information security breaches, just 29 percent of the 574 organizations that participated in the survey said that security training is a requirement at their company. Only 36 percent of organizations offer end-user security awareness training.

UT supercomputer increases capabilities

Lonestar, the Dell supercomputer housed at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin, is on its way to becoming one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. The Dell Linux cluster, which is being upgraded to Dell PowerEdge 1955 blade servers, will possess a peak performance of more than 55 teraflops once the system achieves full production status on October 1.

TACC will now be able to provide the university and national research communities with access to a commodity compute cluster of unprecedented performance, enabling computational researchers to expand current models and begin to think about simulations previously not possible without a system of this size, the school said.

IT worker confidence on the rise

Worker confidence among IT professionals increased in July, as the sector’s Hudson Employment Index rose 4.3 points to 112.5. The latest reading is higher than last July, when the sector’s index was 109.9. Based on responses from approximately 9,000 workers nationwide across all industries, the composite Index held steady, inching down .5 points to 101.9.

The Hudson Employment Index for IT workers also showed:

* The number of workers who expected their firms to hire rose six points to 40 percent in July. This is the most optimistic IT workers have been in this respect so far in 2006.

* The number of employees who rated their finances as excellent or good rose four points in July to 56 percent. There was also a seven-point increase to 49 percent in the number of workers who indicated their financial situation was improving.

* Three-quarters (74 percent) of the work force was happy with their job in July, up from 71 percent the previous month.

* Conversely, the number of workers concerned about losing their job rose from 19 percent in June to 25 percent in July.

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