BT Ireland https://www.btireland.com Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:11:21 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6.7 Hybrid networks: multinationals get to grips with the cost/performance trade-off https://www.btireland.com/hybrid-networks-multinationals-get-grips-costperformance-trade-off/ Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:23:53 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6706 I had the pleasure of meeting BT’s Richard Wade at a recent event in London. Richard is very approachable for someone so busy and was keen to hear about conversations that I was having with people like you

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I had the pleasure of meeting BT’s Richard Wade at a recent event in London. Richard is very approachable for someone so busy and was keen to hear about conversations that I was having with people like you (people with responsibility for global corporate networks). Richard and I share a common third-level schooling background of Physics and Electronics. Given that, we might have geeked-out. Instead we discussed the explosion in demand for business-grade internet services. I enjoyed our chat so much that I suggested a follow-up chat, but this time interview-style. Here it is…

Steve: Hi Richard. What’s your role and how long have you worked for BT?

Richard: I’ve been with BT for more years than I care to remember. But my career here has let me pursue a range of roles; starting with engineering and solution design in the labs, through to spells in marketing and product development and ending up doing more general product management. I love the variety of my role – owning a profit and loss, investment planning, product feature development and sales support for our global internet portfolio. And in the last year I took on responsibility for our global MPLS product. These are exciting times for internet products as we see an increasing demand from our business customers.

Steve: What do you think are the most significant challenges facing CIOs and network managers in global organisations today?

Richard: We’re going through a time of change. More people are using internet networks and there’s a new generation of versatile CPE at the edge. SD-WAN solutions now offer more flexibility in the solutions available to organisations and how they build their global networks. Plus there’s a continued shift of applications to the cloud which is changing traffic and usage patterns. The challenge is seeing how this will all settle down. And working out the right time to invest in these new technologies, all at a time when most organisations are facing cost and investment pressure.

Steve: What is BT’s strategy to support customers facing these challenges? How does network connectivity play into that?

Richard: MPLS very much remains an important VPN solution with quality of service for application prioritisation. With cloud service integrators like BT pre-building direct MPLS connectivity to cloud providers, its importance is actually increasing. At the same time we’re facilitating the move to hybrid networks through breakout to internet (via cloud gateways) and we’re increasingly offering mixed MPLS and internet solutions. How critical a customer site is, the acceptable trade-off of cost, performance, service-level agreements, geographic availability, etc.; all play a part in the hybrid solutions we recommend to our customers.

Steve: A question I get asked regularly is ‘why would I consider a single global provider for my internet connectivity’?

Richard: My view is ease of contracting, management, having multiple sites on single network for best performance…BT does the peering to all major cloud providers at over 30 locations around the world. So, we can offer a range of cloud-service connections from MPLS connectivity, secure internet gateways or direct internet access.

So, from my conversation with Richard it seems the internet has become a viable global connectivity solution for businesses of all sizes. Its use being fuelled by exploding bandwidth use, the move to cloud and the promise of next-generation technologies, such as SD-WAN.

When I asked Richard for a final comment, this is what he said:

Richard: I’d like everyone to take away the message that at BT, we’re uniquely positioned to serve multinationals as they strive to balance cost with productivity. And meet their dynamic business needs in challenging global markets with our portfolio of connectivity services.

Richard looks after our flagship global MPLS and internet products globally as General Manager for BT IP Connect & BT Internet Connect.

Adding internet into your corporate network mix is the first step on your four-step journey to a future network – read more here.

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A digital transformation needs a future network https://www.btireland.com/digital-transformation-needs-future-network/ Fri, 29 Sep 2017 08:49:57 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6525 What does the statement: digital transformation needs a ‘future network’ mean to you? You know that the network is fundamental to the success of your business.

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What does the statement: digital transformation needs a ‘future network’ mean to you? You know that the network is fundamental to the success of your business. That it will underpin all your digital initiatives. But you also know that a future network isn’t built in a day, and neither is it the same for every organisation.

The CIOs and network managers I’ve had the pleasure of meeting are at different stages on their journeys. I’m sure you’ll recognise yourself in this spectrum. Some of you will be looking for pragmatic innovation as you make the most of recent investments and also chart a course to a more optimal future network. Others envision a ‘cloud-first revolution’ where you look to move more rapidly to a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model for network services.

These are exciting times and I feel privileged to be part of discussions which link network strategy and your organisation’s digital transformation.

The top five network strategy-related questions that I get asked:

  1. How to mix private and public connectivity to manage costs and achieve scale
  2. How to reliably and securely connect to cloud services when compliance and data-integrity are essential
  3. How to increase business agility and faster time-to-market through centralised control
  4. How to improve user-experience through visibility and control of business application performance
  5. How to enhance security and risk mitigation to avoid lost productivity

The top three ways you tell me that Digital Transformation will impact your network strategy:

  1. More of your people need to be connected on the move
    Business now gets done when and where it needs to be done. So your network needs to facilitate that in real-time, all of the time. Embracing and integrating a range of connectivity options is certainly a consideration.
  2. Your attack perimeters have expanded
    More connections and more public internet in your network mix means has cyber-criminals eager to take advantage. Centralised control, advanced security and network-embedded compliance capabilities were never more important to you. We’ve virtualised firewalls in our core, expanded our partnerships with other cloud security leaders & continued to evolve our threat monitoring solutions. A larger attack surface means that your security team must have a broader field of view.
  3. Your shift to cloud services
    Not all connections to cloud were created equal. You’re acutely aware that service reliability can’t be forgotten and that it’s not acceptable to have less control over user-experience. The co-existence of private and public bandwidth will serve a blend of performance guarantees and more capacity.

With digital transformation a priority for today’s businesses, and your corporate network at the heart of that, develop your thinking by reading our whitepaper: Dispelling the myth: future networks

Want to make sure you always hear the latest news? Just drop your email into the ‘Let’s stay in touch’ box above.

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Employees simply ‘Don’t Know’ when it comes to security, and it’s a concern for them and their employers https://www.btireland.com/employees-simply-dont-know-comes-security-concern-employers/ Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:30:20 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6400 Do you know what security measures have been put in place by your employer for when you work on mobile devices?

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Do you know what security measures have been put in place by your employer for when you work on mobile devices? Now, don’t get offended, but my guess is that you don’t, and if you do, well done – you are in the minority (and you probably work in IT!).

At BT, we’ve recently surveyed over 1500 employees about mobile working and we explored their knowledge of security initiatives implemented at their organisation. When we asked them what security was in place for work on mobile devices, the most common answer was ‘Don’t Know’. Even some IT decision makers were unsure of the measures that had been put in place.

Data security is one of the biggest obstacles to mobile working. Thousands of office workers have lost their mobile devices (or had them stolen) putting at risk the abundance of customer and commercial data that is now stored. Staff turnover is another issue, many office workers think employees who store commercially sensitive data on their mobile devices and then leave, are a risk to employers.

Uncertainty extends though, beyond devices being lost, stolen or taken away from an organisation. When carrying out their day to day work, employees are unsure of the security in place. Over half of those surveyed did not know if they could connect securely to the company intranet, 65% couldn’t say for sure whether or not the information they sent from mobile devices was encrypted and 72% were at a loss to explain if their employer could track how and where the mobile device was used.

One of the greatest challenges with security, is understanding the scale of the task at hand. What needs to be secured? How do we secure it? And what processes are in place to limit damage should our security be breached? In order to implement robust security measures for mobile working, the starting point is to understand the risks that exist. Only once the full extent of the challenge is known, can attention then turn to variety of solutions that are available.

Today’s business leaders need to ask the questions, how many of your employees have lost mobile devices that contained organisational data? Do your employees know what security measures you have in place for mobile devices used at work? What new applications and security devices would support your mobile working strategy and operations? If you don’t know the answers, you might need to take a closer look at your security set up.

For more from our survey on mobile working, download your complimentary copy here.

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The ‘Transitional’ CIO https://www.btireland.com/the-transitional-cio/ Tue, 29 Aug 2017 13:56:27 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6336 Hardly a day passes without the CIO role featuring as the main topic in some article, journal, blog or insight paper. The impact of technology on business spans the entire spectrum from disruption to enablement.

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News flash! The role of the CIO is changing.

Hardly a day passes without the CIO role featuring as the main topic in some article, journal, blog or insight paper. The impact of technology on business spans the entire spectrum from disruption to enablement. In many cases the CIO is expected to provide guidance on how an organisation should behave in the face of all this technological change, while simultaneously being fully aware of all the good (and bad) elements it can bring to a business.

For the CIO, moving from the traditional IT gatekeeper role to the transformational business enabler role is a massive change – it’s like changing career path. Much of what they’ve learnt needs to be unlearnt. Or at the very least viewed from a totally different perspective.

These are the three key areas I believe the CIO will need to address to make that move from traditional to transformational.

1.  Core responsibility

For the traditional CIO, the core responsibility pivots on technology. Generally the biggest influence on any decision will be how to integrate into the existing environment. This approach results in the technology limiting what the business can achieve. Those limits are then magnified because of the constraints of the existing IT environment – which is a dangerous cycle. This is a bottoms up approach with the objective of improving the existing environment, ofter without any consideration for applications or services that may be needed in the near future.

For the transformational CIO the core responsibility is always to the business. Business decisions are made based on growth plans and market demands. This new breed of CIO needs to understand the business more than the technology. Or put another way, they should have experience in IT but have the ambition of a business leader.

2. Core purpose

In the world of the traditional CIO the core purpose is to make sure that everything is operationally sound. Making sure processes, procedures, kit life cycles, software releases, service tasks, migrations and more are planned, executed and completed with the minimum impact on the business. If the CIO line of businesses is invisible to the wider organisation then they’re doing an excellent job.  But in doing this excellent job, they’re totally oblivious to what the wider business needs and now shadow IT is a problem that they don’t even know exists. Going around this CIO has never been easier.

The transformation CIO is strategically aware and is planning accordingly. While keeping the lights on is important, it’s soon taken for granted. This CIO is less concerned about where the existing IT environment has evolved from and is more concerned about what the business needs to support its ambitions. Serving up more of the same will not cut it so this CIO must aligning with the business demands of the future and translate them into what is needed to enable the business for success. There is no point in going around this CIO as they will already be aware of what is happening and, ideally, be a few steps ahead.

3. Top table presence

While the traditional CIO may believe that they should have a place at the top table, the hard truth is that they wouldn’t understand the language. Rare presence to C-level for investment requests or updates on business impacting outages is usually the extent of the exposure. This is an environment where the strategic course is set for business success and execution plans implemented.

The transformational CIO will be ever-present with C-Level peers. Broadly modelled on the CEO, this CIO will be the change leader of the group and will be front and centre providing the tools to drive the business forward. This is a vital position the importance of which the peers are only too aware. Operating horizontally capturing all requirements, all the while being aware of what the market can offer to support the business ambitions.

There’s a stark difference between the two roles and where they’re positioned. The traditional CIO shouldn’t be written off. Their appreciation, understanding and respect of what IT can bring to a business is extremely valuable, not forgetting that they know how the business is built, literally. The organisation needs to reset the expectation that they require from the CIO and let them grow into the transformational role that the business will need in the future.

If you’re that transitional CIO, and you need to think differently, talk to us. We have the solutions that will help your business transform and grow.

To find out more on BT’s products and services please take a look here

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Are your employees concerned about costs, and is it reducing productivity? https://www.btireland.com/are-your-employees-concerned-about-costs-and-is-it-reducing-productivity/ Tue, 22 Aug 2017 15:20:52 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6282 People are increasingly using smartphones, laptops, tablets and wearables to work flexibly.

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Smart businesses actively manage the day-to-day costs of smartphones and other mobile devices used within their organisation. The majority of employees will confirm this, and it makes complete sense. But how your organisation goes about this cost management, could be creating a false economy. Is this happening in your company?

Our recent study into mobile working revealed that employees can be frustrated by cost control measures. Despite their best intentions, these measures can hamper employees work efforts and reduce their productivity. 20% of office workers say they often run out of mobile data, while 37% don’t use their mobile devices too much when overseas because of concerns about roaming charges.

Organisational leaders need understand if restrictive measures surrounding mobile usage is limiting their employees’ efforts while away from the office. An inability to receive an email or download a presentation can result in failure to capitalise on a sales opportunity. Loss of access to customer records might delay responses to customer queries, losing business in the process. The value of these missed opportunities could be far greater than the money saved on mobile access.

As the workforce becomes increasingly mobile (nearly one in two now claim to make the majority of their work calls through a mobile or smartphone), the negative impact of some cost control measures will become even more significant. Business leaders need to ask if their priority is to reduce IT and networking expenditure, or is it to establish an IT environment that best serves the needs of its employees, and one that is delivered through the most cost efficient manner available?

This cost conundrum experienced by organisations is just one of five key trends revealed in our research into mobile working. Download your complimentary copy here to read the four other trends and discover the steps you can take to fast track the effectiveness of your employees.

Download our mobile multiplier research here

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5 ways to improve employee productivity when working away from the office https://www.btireland.com/5-ways-improve-employee-productivity-working-away-office/ Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:12:16 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6277 When a colleague says they’re “working from home”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Am I being unfair in assuming that many of us are guilty – at some stage in the past at least – of reaching the conclusion that this colleague may not actually be working?

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When a colleague says they’re “working from home”, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Am I being unfair in assuming that many of us are guilty – at some stage in the past at least – of reaching the conclusion that this colleague may not actually be working? Or at least not working as hard as they would be if they were in the office?

Trust plays an important role in mobile working and this is evident in our recent study into employee behaviour. The better the experience of working on the go, the more benefits a company will see. But what makes for a better experience? Why is it easy for some employees to work from home and not others?

1) Trust your employees to work away from the office.

72% of workers who find it easy to work away from the office say they have the trust of their leadership team to do so. The quality of their work is what tops the list of importance, not the location where it’s been carried out.

2) Ensure your employees have adequate data allowances on their mobile devices.

Employees are concerned by the cost of using data. Around 3 out of 4 office workers say their employers try to limit the costs of using smartphones and tablets with 20% regularly running out of data. Make sure each employee has sufficient allowances to complete their work (and are aware of it).

3) Connect to the best mobile networks available at your workers locations.

Mobile networks can vary across coverage, quality of coverage (specifically for data), and price. It’s important to find the right network for your business. Workers who find it easy to work away from the office are more likely to rate their mobile network highly.

4) Provide simple access to work documents and files.

How do your employees access what they need when away from the office? Workers who find it easier to work from home are twice as likely to access all their work documents and files through one single application. This ease of access allows them to get to what they need faster and complete tasks quicker.

5) Set up Instant Messaging on your employee’s smartphones.

Instant Messaging makes communicating easy and speedy. Mobilising this capability has two clear benefits A) It is easier for people who work away from the office to communicate with colleagues and B) It is easier for people in the office to reach their colleagues out in the field.

Read more from our recent research into mobile working. It has identified some clear trends in employee behaviour and attitudes and it also raises significant questions for business leaders.

Download your copy of our Mobile Multiplier Research here

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Time to rethink the risk of cyber threats https://www.btireland.com/time-rethink-risk-cyber-threats/ Thu, 10 Aug 2017 10:31:02 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6263 We all know that cyber security is a serious issue, but do you truly know the full scale of the threats you face?

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Cyber security is a serious issue, but do you truly know the full scale of the threats you face?

Build the battlements of the future.

There are various types of cyber-attacks and they are constantly evolving in our world, so it’s vital we learn how to deal with these.  It might sound strange, but medieval warfare can teach you a lot about the threats you face in the current digital world.

The first castles were made of wood, but quickly evolved to stone as they offered little protection against fire.  However, invading armies overcame this by bringing siege towers to break their way in. The next step was for castles to have moats to protect access their boundary walls.  And so on…

In this way, castle defences evolved to protect against new threats created by the attackers — that’s exactly what your cyber security needs to do too.

Never underestimate the threat to your organisation.

Building your own cyber castle is not easy. Cyber-crime currently costs the world roughly $400 billion every year.  In 2015, criminal entrepreneurs breached defences to reach roughly 169 million personal records.

This demonstrates that businesses still struggle to keep criminal entrepreneurs off their networks, which comes as no surprise to us. To prevent a security breach, your business needs to succeed in repelling 100 per cent of the attacks made against you. Unfortunately, cyber criminals only need one chance to get their big payday.

You’re not as safe as you think you are.

Your battle against cyber criminals becomes even harder when you add the evolving nature of attacks to the equation. As soon as you protect against the latest threat, malware authors upgrade their software and as a result, this demands another response from your IT team.

Take Gameover Zeus, as an example.  This was a trojan that cyber criminals created to steal usernames and passwords.  Since it was discovered in 2011, it has been upgraded to include denial-of-service, which now makes it harder to detect.

Stay one step ahead.

Ultimately, as cyber-crime evolves, your business is only as safe as your last upgrade.  The way to make sure you are one step ahead of the criminal entrepreneurs is to know what threats are out there.

You’ll never overcome a siege if you can’t match your enemy. To truly tackle cyber-crime, it’s time to rethink the risk and stay up-to-date with what you’re up against.

Turn your digital castle into an impregnable fortress — read BT’s report  ‘Taking the Offensive — Disrupting Cyber Crime’, produced in partnership with KPMG, to discover how to stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss the steps your business can take to rethink the risk and prevent a security breach in your organisation.

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The digital crime gap https://www.btireland.com/digital-crime-gap/ Wed, 09 Aug 2017 07:11:58 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6250 Cyber crime is a growing industry and organisations know they’re at risk. But why are so few prepared to actually fight against it?

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Cyber crime is a growing industry and organisations know they’re at risk. But why are so few prepared to actually fight against it?

Even though 97 per cent of businesses have experienced a digital crime, most still aren’t prepared to deal with future attacks. The vast majority of organisations face a huge gap between the likelihood of digital attack, and their ability to prevent it.

Our infographic below outlines just how big this problem is. And you can read our report, ‘Taking the Offensive – Disrupting Cyber Crime’, for helpful information on how to ramp up your cyber security and protect yourself from criminal entrepreneurs.

KPMG infographic one_Digital-crime-gap

Download

 

 

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Oracle brings more choice to the Cloud of Clouds ecosystem https://www.btireland.com/oracle-brings-choice-cloud-clouds-ecosystem/ Wed, 02 Aug 2017 10:05:16 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6240 Moving to the cloud will transform your organisation. Making it more agile and more productive with a world of choice

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Moving to the cloud will transform your organisation. Making it more agile and more productive with a world of choice.

The cloud effect.

Digital transformation is a buzzword at the moment — and for good reason. As organisations around the world pivot to embrace digital ways of working, others see the benefits, and want a piece of the action.

This transformation can come in various shapes and sizes, but the biggest, most revolutionary change is often found in the cloud. Agile apps, powerful processing, secure servers — all can be achieved using Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Explore your cloud ecosystem.

The possibilities of operating in a cloud ecosystem are exciting and boundless — the more cloud services you take on, the more benefits you get. But you’ll also have to deal with more complexity in your IT infrastructure, so it’s smart to make your organisation’s move to the cloud as straightforward as possible by observing three key considerations:

  • Make sure your cloud services match the needs of your business.
  • Find a provider that enables flexibility when it comes to controlling access and performance.
  • Select a partner that provides secure anytime, anywhere access to apps and information.

All of these can be addressed from the outset by working with a partner who can take all of your cloud services and manage them securely as a single package.

Oracle and BT: Secure, Reliable, Anywhere Access.

Our relationship with BT means that the Oracle Cloud makes the most of a direct connection to BT’s network, allowing customers to leverage the high performance, reliability, and security features of the Cloud Connect environment.

While organisations understand the promise and benefits of the cloud, many are concerned about security and performance issues, especially when dealing with business-critical enterprise workloads that demand high levels of availability, security and performance. Our partnership makes the most of BT’s global network to provide a private connection to our cloud services, no matter where you’re located, alleviating these fears and allowing businesses to innovate and embrace digital with confidence.

So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t started your journey to cloud transformation yet, then now’s the time.

Take a look at our Cloud Connect page to find out more.

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How to stop the hackers in their tracks https://www.btireland.com/how-to-stop-the-hackers-in-their-tracks/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:13:39 +0000 https://www.btireland.com/?p=6229 Awareness of cyber crime is at an all-time high, but organisations still need to do more to prevent serious security breaches.

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In working with KPMG, we have produced a report which highlights that, although awareness of cyber-crime is at an all-time high, many organisations still have much to do in order to prevent various levels of security breaches.

There is no doubt that cyber security has become an important part of running any organisation.  It’s high on the agenda at most board meetings.  However, less than a quarter of companies feel prepared for an attack.  Organisations feel vulnerable and most feel there is still a lot to do to counter-act these threats.

BT have compiled five key steps that your organisation need to take to improve your cyber security:

1. Evolve your Knowledge.

Cyber criminals are proactive, resourceful and ruthless.  They are developing new attack tools at an increasing rate.  This introduces more and more unfamiliarity so it’s important that you re-think the cyber threat and evolve your knowledge to stay on top of potential cyber threats.

2. Learn about your adversary.

Cyber criminals make money by exploiting vulnerabilities in their targets.  To understand their strategy, their business models, you have to think like a cyber-criminal.  In addition you also need to understand your key data so you can protect it.

3. Go on the offensive.

The most effective way of protecting your information is to disrupt the business model of the criminal entrepreneur. Introducing barriers to your network is not enough.  You need to make it difficult for the thief to access, distribute or use your information.

4. Remove the obstacles.

It’s vital that you act quickly.  You need to be as agile as the attackers.  It starts by reviewing your ability to defend a cyber-attack in a quick, efficient manner.  Are all services within your control or do you rely on third-parties?

5. Get the balance right.

We are in an age of digital transformation that is moving at a rapid pace.  Security is a key pillar in enabling the new digital channels of this transformation.  Your organisation wants to be more efficient, more profitable – these new channels will contribute to helping your business sell more and serve your customers’ needs better.
Security plays a pivotal role in the strategic direction of digital enablement but you have to make sure it’s balanced correctly, being the barrier as well as being the enabler.

Find out more.

In working with KPMG, we’ve provided a detailed view of the security landscape and the practical steps your business needs to take to stay secure in the ever evolving face of criminal entrepreneurs.  Download the report here.

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