Microsoft has kicked off the year with a new initiative to better protect email from prying eyes, particularly those belonging to government agencies.

In a blog post, Scott Charney, corporate VP of Trustworthy Computing at Microsoft, explained Microsoft will inform users if it believes their Microsoft email account has been compromised by someone associated with a government agency.

“We already notify users if we believe their accounts have been targeted or compromised by a third party, and we provide guidance on measures users can take to keep their accounts secure,” the post reads.

“We’re taking this additional step of specifically letting you know if we have evidence that the attacker may be state-sponsored because it is likely that the attack could be more sophisticated or more sustained than attacks from cybercriminals and others. These notifications do not mean that Microsoft’s own systems have in any way been compromised."

The announcement is the latest in an ongoing Microsoft campaign to keep its customer’s personal information and documents out of the hands of unauthorized third parties.

It also follows a 2014 ruling by US District Court Judge Loretta Preska in New York City that requires Microsoft to hand over email stored on its servers in Ireland to comply with a US warrant in a narcotics case. Microsoft is still fighting this case.

Microsoft is following the lead of Google, which has been warning users about attempted government hacks since 2012.

Can These 4 Vendors Help You Go Paperless?

Four vendors lead the competition in managed print and content services, Gartner claims.

In one of the last Magic Quadrant's of the year, Gartner examined a topic of considerable interest to anyone looking to go paperless.

Gartner defines Managed Print Services (MPS) as services offered by an external provider to optimize or manage a company's document output to meet certain objectives, like driving down costs, improving efficiency and productivity, or reducing the IT support workload.

Managed content services (MCS) are tightly related. They provide a comprehensive solution that rationalizes, streamlines and optimizes business communications by providing customers with consultative help, software and implementation.

This year, Gartner selected four leaders emerged from a field of nine: HP, Lexmark, Ricoh and Xerox.

According to Gartner, MPS is a growing service in all geographies, especially for small-and-midsize companies. All of the vendors mentioned in the MQ can arguably provide all the services that any company might need, the analysts noted. The result is that competition between providers is intense. They all offer competitive prices and good customer experiences.

Learning Opportunities

MCS — solutions for scanning and routing documents, replacing paper forms with digital ones and helping users digitally search paper documents — represents a smaller market. It is something providers are still learning to develop, market, sell and deliver to customers.

Kodak Alaris Joins Google IoT Game

Kodak Alaris is partnering with Google to make it easier for users to connect to document scanning devices from any type of computing environment — mobile, desktop or cloud.

To do this, it will use Brillo and Weave, part of Google’s new Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

Weave provides the building blocks to connect devices directly or through the cloud by providing a common language for apps or services to use across multiple devices.

Using Kodak Alaris for document capture through Google’s Weave platform, supported by TWAIN Direct, will enable users to integrate scanning into a web-connected world at the touch of a button. It also empowers app developers to seamlessly integrate with Kodak Alaris scanners.

Iron Mountain Moves

Information and records management specialist Iron Mountain hired Michael J. Lewis from CSRA — formerly Computer Sciences Corporation — to head its government services.

As vice president and general manager for Iron Mountain Government Services (IMGS) he will lead Iron Mountain’s portfolio of business for the Federal Government sector, currently providing products and services designed to meet the specific information management needs of agencies.

Before CSRA, Lewis spent 19 years with Siemens in a variety of strategic leadership roles, including senior vice president of sales and general manager for the public sector for Siemens Enterprise Communications Group. He has also held senior level roles with IBM and GE.

Iron Mountain has been busy in recent month expanding its records management facilities for the public sector though its network of National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) compliant storage facilities. This is on top of its substantial federal records storage centers in Virginia and Illinois.

Over the next year, one of Iron Mountain’s strategic focuses will be to help federal agencies optimize their information management by protecting information assets, improving access and converting documents into electronic information.