5 Biggest Things In Tech You Missed This Week: 3/5/16

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(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five big things that happened in the world of technology this past week and why they’re important for your business (and mine). Did you miss them?

1 – Microsoft continues its hybrid push with a stretchable SQL Server.

From PC WorldThe new feature allows database administrators to set up certain tables to stretch from their on-premises infrastructure to Microsoft’s cloud, while still allowing applications to access all the data across both environments.

Why this is important for your business:

Another great “hybrid” idea. While the cloud is hugely popular, many of my clients still have on-premise applications due to security and performance reasons. On-premise has proved to be more expensive to maintain, so now Microsoft is giving its customers the ability to “stretch” (move) older, lesser-used data to its less expensive Azure platform while still being able to be viewed and shared.  This way, storage and maintenance costs would be lower.

2 – A new search engine is introduced.

From Business WirePlonked is designed for anyone who is searching for tech businesses, whether for lead generation, M&A or a potential employer. “The Plonked search engine is extremely impressive,” said Tanuja Shukla, investor and Spend Labs CEO. “It is truly a first-of-its kind search engine—not just another knowledge base or look-up engine. In a short time, it has proven to be extremely valuable in helping us identify new targets, without the hassle of a long-term contract or painful integrations.”

Why this is important for your business:

I frequently hear from my clients that Google searches aren’t as detailed as they need – and digging into the more advanced features takes time and knowledge. Other search engines – from Yahoo to Bing – are trying to meet those demands. Look for more search engines, like Plonked, that will carve out niches (such as tech company searches) and provide a better user experience. And look for these search engines to better integrate with vertical and specialized applications, too.

3 – Dwolla is fined $100,000 for misrepresenting its data-security practices.

From TechCrunchOnline payment processing startup Dwolla has been hit with a $100,000 penalty by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The CFPB, a government agency, said in a consent order that Dwolla misrepresented the safety of its data-security practices.

Why this is important for your business:

Watch out – the government watching. Bigger brands like Dwolla and Wyndham have been fined by the government for their data security practices. Wait, you say, isn’t this the same government gets hacked all the time? No matter. Just be aware that if the security over your data is inadequate you not only could be facing lawsuits not only from your customers, but also problems with Washington.

4 – Apple starts providing customer service on Twitter.

From The Verge: It’s already fielding questions about Apple Music, Apple IDs, and enabling smart quotes (the “curly” quotation marks, rather than the “straight” marks). It’ll also be tweeting out tips on how to use Apple products. By and large, it looks like a pretty standard customer service account.

Why this is important for your business:

As Jacob Kastrenakes writes on The Verge: But that by no means puts Apple in a unique position. Many major companies use Twitter to field customer service issues, and Twitter has even been building features specifically to encourage this type of use. Just the other week, it made it easier for businesses to initiate a direct message with a customer, which also follows Twitter dropping the 140-character limit from DMs and allowing links and photos to be sent.

Apple and other companies’ use of Twitter for its customer service should encourage more smaller companies to do the same.

5 – Gogo plans to upgrade their WiFi following a dropped lawsuit from American Airlines.

From FORBESEarlier this month American sued its inflight wifi service provider, Gogo Inc., in an effort to force it to improve and speed up its service on American’s planes. Delta, which also uses Gogo but did not join the suit, also stands to gain from Gogo’s decision to move to a new, faster generation of inflight wifi technology. Gogo officials took less than a week to take the necessary technology and contractual steps to get American to drop its suit.

Why this is important for your business:

Two ways. First, if you’re an American customer you know how terrible Gogo is, so hopefully your service will improve and so will productivity. Second, if you’re going to take $25 from a customer in return for providing a satisfactory service please try to make sure the service is actually satisfactory. No wonder American threatened to drop them.

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