Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Mass Technology Leadership Council Celebrates Innovation Community at 19th Annual Gala

Mass Technology Leadership Council Celebrates Innovation Community at 19th Annual Gala

Mass Technology Leadership

State’s Foremost Technology Trade Association Honors Trailblazers of Massachusetts’ Technology Economy, Champions in Diversity and Education With Coveted Leadership Awards

BOSTON, MA–(Marketwired – Sep 15, 2016) – Hundreds of the region’s most influential executives, community leaders, business luminaries and media celebrated the state’s world-renowned spirit of innovation last night at the 19th annual MassTLC Leadership Awards Gala. Applauding the people and companies shaping the Massachusetts technology economy, awards were given to the winners in 16 categories — including company of the year winner, Wayfair, and 2016 CEO of the year, Kronos’ Aron Ain. The Gala took place at Boston’s Seaport World Trade Center.

Several visionaries also earned special recognition for making tangible contributions to their communities. Distinguished Leadership awards were given to David Delmar, Founder, Resilient Coders; Nigel Jacob, Co-Founder, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics; and Vicky Wu Davis, Executive Director and Founder, Youth CITIES. In addition, Anthony Williams, Vice President of Global Talent Acquisition and Diversity at Akamai Technologies, received the Council’s inaugural Mosaic Award, given in conjunction with Black Tech Boston.

When it comes to vision and executable innovation that makes the world a better place, Massachusetts sets the pace for the rest of the world,” said Tom Hopcroft, CEO, MassTLC. “Our history is one of solving big problems, changing lives and making anything possible. It’s an honor to host a gala that once again brought together the most important players across the state’s tech, civic and business sectors to celebrate the accomplishments of so many, while looking ahead to what this community will accomplish in the days ahead.”

Selected from hundreds of nominations, and evaluated by panels comprising dozens of executives, investors, analysts, media and thought leaders, winners in the 16 categories are:

CEO of the Year: Aron Ain, Kronos

CTO of the Year: Greg Hinkle, Evergage

Emerging Executive of the Year: Mike Festa, Wayfair

Best Use of Technology – Big Data: Progress Software

Best Use of Technology – Cloud: Fuze

Best Use of Technology – Internet of Things: Powerhouse Dynamics

Innovative Tech of the Year – Ed Tech: Cognii

Innovative Tech of the Year – Consumer Tech: Mini Mole

Innovative Tech of the Year – Fin Tech: Mineral Tree

Innovative Tech of the Year – Healthcare Tech: Wellist

Innovative Tech of the Year – Mobile: Toast

Innovative Tech of the Year – Sales & Marketing: Allego

Innovative Tech of the Year – Security: Pwnie Express

Innovative Tech of the Year – Robotics: Symbotic

Company of the Year: Wayfair

Emerging Company of the Year: Fuze

View the full list of finalists online: http://www.masstlc.org/?page=2016winners

Awards Program Platinum Sponsors: Century Link, CHEN PR, Cisco, Marsh & McLennan Agency, Microsoft, PwC and Unosquare.

Gold Sponsors: Black Tech Boston, CoreSite, Hired, K Square Law, Matter Communications,Pretty Instant and Raytheon.

About The Mass Technology Leadership Council, Inc.

With 500+ member companies, the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) is the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy leaders. MassTLC’s purpose is to accelerate innovation by connecting people from across the technology landscape, providing access to industry-leading content and ideas and offering a platform for visibility for member companies and their interests. More at www.masstlc.org.

Infographic: Solar Power In California

Infographic: Solar Power In California

Solar POWER

The California Solar power boom is certainly well on its way. In April, San Francisco, the home of cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge, will be known as the first American city to require all new buildings (up to 10 stories) have solar panels installed to provide heat and/or electricity. This should come as no surprise, since San Francisco has long been known for its progressive stance on issues such as the conservation and the environment. Its municipalities passed similar mandates in 2013. City supervisor Scott Weiner shared on social media that “this legislation will help move us toward a clean energy future and toward our city’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.” He also specified that this new legislation is merely a continuation of the state of California’s legislation that all buildings up to 10 stories dedicate 15% of their rooftop space to solar panels.

solar

Based on the infographic discovered via SEIA, California is currently the #1 solar powered state in the U.S., generating a shocking 13,241 MW in solar energy from 3,319,000 homes. This makes other states pale in comparison, with the runner up being Arizona, which generates 2,087 MW in solar energy from 223,000 homes. California’s use of solar panel energy has caused the job market to explode with 75,598 solar power related jobs. Interestingly, Massachusetts is not far behind California in this with 15,095 solar power related jobs, begging the question if Massachusetts will soon rise above California in the ranks of states using the most solar energy. North Carolina also seems to be playing catch up in the solar power energy game, having installed 1,143 MW in solar capacity in 2015, though still not making the top 10.

By Jonquil McDaniel

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

Security and the Potential of 2 Billion Device Failures

IoT Device Failures

I have, over the past three years, posted a number of Internet of Things (and the broader NIST-defined Cyber Physical Systems) conversations and topics. I have talked about drones, wearables and many other aspects of the Internet of Things.

One of the integration problems has been the number of protocols the various devices use to communicate with one another. The rise of protocol gateways in the cloud service provider market is an incredibly good thing. Basically, this allows an organization to map sensors and other IoT/CPOS device outputs to a cloud gateway that will connect, transfer and communicate with the device – regardless of the device’s protocol of choice.

Racing out of the Gate

horse-race-1507078_640

What the new gateways do is remove integration as a stumbling block for ongoing and future IoT solutions. Pick the wrong horse in the initial protocol race? With a gateway, it doesn’t matter. You can, over time, replace the devices deployed with the orphaned protocol and move forward with your system. The cloud service provider protocol gateway gives you the flexibility to also consider deploying multiple types of sensors and protocols, instead of limiting your organization to one.

The question going forward is this: does the integration provided by the gateway give rise to the broader concept of an IoT broker? This is where the services offered by IoT devices could be parsed out and shared within organizations and companies that are members of the broker. Think of it as being like a buyer’s club for sensors.

From my perspective, the issue that keeps me awake at night is IoT device security. For the most part, IoT devices are often ‘fire and forget’. Yes, occasionally, you may have to change a battery or replace a cellular connection. Sometimes you may have to update how the device is deployed. Others just aren’t going to be attacked because you won’t gain anything. I read an article that wrote about hacking the river monitoring system, causing a flood downstream. I thought about that for a long time, and I realized the reality of flooding is we know when it coming and everyone would be out there with manual measurements anyway. That would work. There are other ways to create an effective attack through the IoT.

It is the security of IoT devices that will become more and more troublesome. Firstly, because the number of them is growing rapidly. From 10 billion or so deployed in 2015 to more than 40 billion devices deployed by 2020. That’s 4 times the devices in the next 4 years.

If we consider the reality of devices, that means that many devices that are deployed today will still be deployed in 4 years. The cost of devices and often the capital expenses for hardware are spread over 3 to 5 years. That means a growing number of devices will be already deployed by 2020. It isn’t a run to the cliff and then leap into 40 billion deployed devices.

2 Billion Device Failures

IOT-DEVICES-BW

What scares me is that there are 10 billion or so devices deployed today. Logically, 2 billion of them will fail. 2 billion more will be replaced naturally. That leaves 6 billion devices deployed with the security solutions of today – that will rapidly become obsolete. That is a fairly expensive number to replace. The gateways mentioned earlier in this article will suddenly appear again. Today, they represent a way to bring multiple IoT protocols together. In the future, they will become the best line of defense for deployed devices.

Deploying secure solutions at the gateway level will be the best defense against attacks for IoT devices that do not have integrated security. The next-best thing would be the deployment of devices with easily removed security modules, but that is a consideration for upcoming devices – not ones deployed today.

A secure IoT future – enabled by a simple cloud gateway.

By Scott Andersen

Negotiating Wearable Device Security

Negotiating Wearable Device Security

Wearable Device Security

Recent studies have highlighted gaps in security and privacy created by wearable technology, with one report by the US Department of Health noting that many of the new devices available which “collect, share and use health information are not regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).” With personal information collected and shared more than ever, regulations managing the security and privacy of such data have a hard time keeping up with the potential risks and this particular report suggests, “To ensure privacy, security, and access by consumers to health data, and to create a predictable business environment for health data collectors, developers, and entrepreneurs to foster innovation, the gaps in oversight identified in this report should be filled.” Pertinent questions, however, remain. Who is responsible for ensuring adequate privacy and security concerns are addressed? And precisely where are all of these gaps?

Widespread Concerns

comic-cloutweaks-modern-times

Concerns aren’t only for the vulnerability of health data, though it should be understood that much of this information is highly sensitive and necessarily requires the provision of first class security measures. Research from Binghamton University and the Stevens Institute of Technology has pointed to the potential for wearable devices to leak passwords. Using data from wearable tech sensors including smartwatches and fitness trackers, researchers were able to crack pins on a first attempt 80% of the time. Of course, some might shrug and suggest they care very little if hackers have access to how many steps they’ve taken on any particular day, but let’s not forget the data available to anyone who cracks the code of a smartwatch, nor how many of us reuse pins across devices. Says Yan Wang, assistant professor of computer science within the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science at Binghamton University, “Wearable devices can be exploited. Attackers can reproduce the trajectories of the user’s hand then recover secret key entries to ATM cash machines, electronic door locks, and keypad-controlled enterprise servers. The threat is real, although the approach is sophisticated.”

Business Adoption of Wearable Tech

A range of benefits exists for the adoption of wearable tech within companies, including improved productivity, better employee safety, and enhanced customer engagement. However, the security concerns of wearable tech are as, if not more, pronounced as those which exist in personal environments. Network security, in particular, is put under strain with the appropriate configuration of an organization’s network being a key fortification. Because many of the wearable devices we’re using today have poor or no encryption, data interception is easier and company networks which were otherwise well secured become vulnerable. Moreover, most wearables arrive with software that is unique and difficult to update resulting in an ecosystem of dissimilar devices each with their own distinctive weaknesses, requiring tailored security adjustments.

The Fix?

There is, unfortunately, no one-fits-all solution to the security and privacy issues of our wearables, and besides, any solution today will be in need of updates and amendments tomorrow. But the future of wearables is by no mean a bleak one. Responsible designers and developers are accounting for today’s concerns with more robust security processes for the next generations of devices, and networks are already being restructured to guard against wearable vulnerabilities.

Wang points to two attacking scenarios, internal and sniffing attacks, the first typically perpetrated through malware and the second via wireless sniffers that eavesdrop on sensor data sent via Bluetooth. Solutions to such assaults include improved encryption between host operating systems and wearable devices, and the injection of “a certain type of noise to data so it cannot be used to derive fine-grained hand movements.” And for businesses keen to adopt BYOD policies, the implementation of channels outside of the company network specifically for wearable devices can ensure limited access to sensitive data.

Finding the middle ground between the benefits of wearable device usage and the vulnerabilities they introduce is likely to be a painstaking negotiation at first but the more policies defined and effected, the better networks are delineated, and the stronger wearable encryption and protection becomes, the easier the process will be and the greater our rewards.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Robotics, AI, FinTech, and IoT – Most Significant Emerging Technological Trends

Robotics, AI, FinTech, and IoT – Most Significant Emerging Technological Trends

NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Global X Funds, the New York-based provider of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), today launched the Global X FinTech Thematic ETF (Nasdaq: FINX), the Global X Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Thematic ETF (Nasdaq: BOTZ), and the Global X Internet of Things Thematic ETF (Nasdaq: SNSR). The three new ETFs join Global X’s Thematic suite, which now has fifteen funds and approximately $1 billion in assets under management as of September 6, 2016. Global X’s Thematic suite includes funds that have been available to investors since 2010.

The Global X Internet of Things Thematic ETF aims to offer exposure to companies that stand to potentially benefit from the broader adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). This includes the development and manufacturing of semiconductors and sensors, integrated products and solutions, and applications serving smart grids, smart homes, connected cars, and the industrial Internet. The ecosystem of devices and objects that are wireless connected is expected to total over 50 billion by 2020, with an estimated economic impact of $3.9-$11.1 trillion by 2025, according to McKinsey.

miln-infographic-compressor

Robotics & AI, FinTech, and the Internet of Things are among the most significant emerging technological trends in the world as they are set to disrupt a broad range of industries and change how we interact with ordinary things like banks, cars, and even refrigerators.” said Jay Jacobs, director of research of Global X. “Our aim with launching these funds is to provide investors with tools to efficiently gain exposure to the companies that are well-positioned to grow from these technological revolutions…

Read Full Release: PR Newswire

New Bromium Labs Threat Report

New Bromium Labs Threat Report

2016 Threat Report

The semi-annual Bromium Labs Threat Report has just been released providing an analysis of cyber-attacks and threats which have struck enterprise security in the last six months. It’s found an eruption of ransomware usage as well as an increase in app, browser, and plug-in vulnerabilities and notes that while Microsoft strengthens security, nefarious forces are changing tack and concentrating on ‘drive-by download attacks.’

Significant Conclusions

bromium-evp-and-chief-security-architect-rahul-kashyapThough it’s clear that criminals are working harder than ever to get their hands on protected data, it’s not all bad news. Bromium Labs Threat Report also notes that although the amount of vulnerabilities is constantly rising, they aren’t all being exploited. Unfortunately, there have been several high-profile data breaches and ransomware attacks of late, leaving enterprise security in a somewhat precarious position. Commenting exclusively to CloudTweaks, Bromium EVP and Chief Security Architect, Rahul Kashyap, states, “We’re only halfway through 2016, and our analysis shows numbers of vulnerabilities surpassing 2015 rates. But at the same time, there are less exploits across the board with the exception of Flash, which continues to have high ROI for hackers. Security is improving, but old attack techniques like phishing and watering hole attacks are still plaguing enterprises. It goes without question that we can expect attackers to evolve in response to heightened security. We need isolation and instant protection to secure our networks and data.”

Specific discoveries by Bromium Labs include:

  • A rise in vulnerabilities, with 516 reported to the National Vulnerability Database in the first half of 2016, as compared to 403 vulnerabilities reported over all of 2015.
  • Fewer exploitable vulnerabilities in popular software systems than in previous years, potentially due to the additional attention software vendors’ are giving to security.
  • Adobe Flash had 31 exploits in the first half of 2016, up from eight in 2016, resulting in some security vendors blocking or ending support for Flash. Regrettably from a security standpoint, Flash remains popular with end users and so continues to be a top target for criminals.
  • The most used exploit kits include Neutrino and Rig, though Angler and Nuclear kits also featured but disappeared in early June possibly due to crackdowns on cybercrime groups.
  • Since the beginning of 2016, many new ransomware families have been circulated, the current leader being Locky with 755 tracked instances infecting RAM disks and removable drives.

locky-report

Tackling the Threats

Though the dangers are becoming more sophisticated and insidious, Kashyap believes real efforts are being made to secure networks and IT infrastructure. “As an industry, we’ve always said there’s no one silver bullet to address the complexities of attacks that are affecting our business. However, our latest research shows that enterprises and vendors alike are stepping up to do a better at securing their networks and data. But there’s still work to be done.” It’s expected that over the next 12 months social engineering tactics will continually be exploited by attackers, and “instant protection, detection, and remediation is more critical than ever.”

Bromium Labs finds most AV vendors are executing multiple updates per day in an attempt to keep up with machine timescale attacks but with new malware observable for less than 60 seconds before it transforms into a victim-specific variant current malicious detection capabilities are found to be lacking. It’s suggested the best strategy is a dramatic reduction of the attack surface, isolating attacks and limiting possible danger and spread. Taking a new approach, Bromium’s unique micro-visualization technology is advancing endpoint security and their solution automatically isolates each user-task in a lightweight, CPU-enforced micro-VM. For all of Bromium Labs security insights and judgements, download the full Bromium Lab Threats Report.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin 

How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future.

In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global recall of 2.5 millions of their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, after finding that the batteries of some of their phones exploded while charging. This recall would cost the company close to $1 Billion.

This is not a one-off incident.

Product recalls have plagued the manufacturing world for decades, right from food and drug to automotive industries, causing huge losses and risk to human life. In 1982, Johnson & Johnson recalled 31 million bottles of Tylenol which retailed at $100 million after 7 people died in Chicago-area. In 2000, Ford recalled 20 million Firestone tires losing around $3 billion, after 174 people died in road accidents due to faulty tires. In 2009, Toyota issued a recall of 10 million vehicles due to numerous issues including gas pedals and faulty airbags that resulted in $2 billion loss consisting of repair expenses and lost sales in addition to the stock prices dropping more than 20% or $35 billion.

Most manufacturers have very stringent quality control processes for their products before they are shipped. Then how and why do these faulty products make it to the market which poses serious life risks and business risks?

Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s mobile business, said that the cause of the battery issue in Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device was “a tiny problem in the manufacturing process and so it was very difficult to find out“. This is true for most of the recalls that happens. It is not possible to manually detect these seemingly “tiny” problems early enough before they result in catastrophic outcomes.

But this won’t be the case in the future.

The manufacturing world has seen 4 transformative revolutions:

  • 1st Industrial Revolution brought in mechanization powered by water and stream.
  • 2nd Industrial Revolution saw the advent of the assembly line powered by gas and electricity
  • 3rd Industrial Revolution introduced robotic automation powered by computing networks
  • The 4th Industrial Revolution has taken it to a completely different level with smart and connected assets powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence.

It is this 4th Industrial Revolution that we are just embarking on that has the potential to transform the face of the manufacturing world and create new economic value to the tune of tens of trillions of dollars, globally, from costs savings and new revenue generation. But why is this the most transformative of all revolutions? Because it is this revolution that has transformed mechanical lifeless machines into digital life-forms with the birth of the Digital Twin.

digital-theft

Digital Twin refers to the computerized companions (or models) of the physical assets that use multiple internet-connected sensors on these assets to represent their near real-time status, working condition, position, and other key metrics that help understand the health and functioning of these assets at granular levels. This helps us understand asset and asset health like we understand humans and human health, with the ability to do diagnosis and prognosis like never before.

How can this solve the recall problem?

Sensor enabling the assembly line and creating Digital Twin of all the individual assets and workflows provides timely insights into tiniest of the issues that can otherwise be easily missed in the manual inspection process. This can detect causes and predict potential product quality issues right in the assembly line as early as possible so that the manufacturers can take proactive action to resolve them before they start snowballing.  This can not only prevent recalls but also reduce scraps in the assembly line taking operational efficiency to unprecedented heights.

What is so deterrent? Why is this problem not solved most organizations that have smart-enabled their factories?

The traditional approach of doing data science and machine learning to analyze data doesn’t scale for this problem. Traditionally, predictive models are created by taking a sample of data from a sample of assets and then these models are generalized for predicting issues on all assets. While this can detect common known issues, which otherwise get caught in the quality control process itself, but it fails to detect the rare events that cause the massive recalls. Rare events have failure patterns that don’t commonly occur in the assets or the assembly line. Although, highly sensitive generalized models can be created to detect any and all deviations but that would generate a lot of false positive alerts which cause a different series of problems altogether. The only way to ensure that we get accurate models that detect only the true issues is to model each asset and the workflow channels individually, understand their respective normal operating conditions and detect their respective deviations. But this is what makes this challenge beyond human-scale. When there are hundreds, thousands or millions of assets and components it is impossible to keep generating and updating models for each one of them manually. It requires automation of the predictive modeling and the machine learning process itself, as putting human data scientists in the loop doesn’t scale.

But aren’t there standard approaches or scripts to automate predictive modeling?

Yes, there are. However, these plain vanilla automation of modeling process which just runs all permutations of algorithms and hyper-parameters again doesn’t work. The number of assets and as such the number of individual models, the frequency at which models need to be updated to capture newer real-world events, the volume of the data and the wide variety of sensor attributes all create prohibitive computational complexity (think millions or billions of permutations), even if someone has infinite infrastructure to process them. The only solution is Cognitive Automation, which is an intelligent process that mimics how a human data scientists leverage prior experience to run fewer experiments to get to an optimal ensemble of models in the fastest possible way. In short, this is about teaching machines to do machine learning and data science like an A.I. Data Scientist.

This is the technology that is required to give Digital Twin a true life-form that delivers the end business value – in this case to prevent recalls.

Does it sound like sci-fi?

It isn’t and it is already happening with the advancement in the world of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Companies like Google are using algorithms to create self-driving cars or beat world champions in complex games. At the same time, we at DataRPM are using algorithms to teach machines to do data analysis and detect asset failures and quality issues on the assembly line. This dramatically improves operational efficiency and prevents the product recalls.

The future, where the dreaded product recalls will be a thing of the past, is almost here!

By Ruban Phukan, Co-Founder and Chief Product & Analytics Officer, DataRPM 

www.datarpm.com

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Selected By HP To Transform Sales And Partner Engagement

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Selected By HP To Transform Sales And Partner Engagement

REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 12, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. has entered a six-year agreement with HP Inc. to deploy Microsoft Dynamics to thousands of employees across HP, dramatically enhancing collaboration across marketing, sales and service operations. With Dynamics, as well as Azure, Office 365 and other Microsoft Cloud solutions, HP has invested in the sales and service collaboration platform it needs to deliver a seamless sales experience for customers and partners while increasing the company’s performance and economies.

We have chosen Microsoft Dynamics as our CRM solution for our direct selling, partners and services,” said Jon Flaxman, chief operating officer, HP. “This brings us a cloud-based solution that delivers a more effective and efficient collaboration engine across our business.”

HP is undergoing a journey to transform its sales and partner environment, driving increased productivity and collaboration in a virtually all-digital world. As part of this transformation, the company is moving to a more integrated sales experience for both HP sales reps and the channel partner community.

Complementing Dynamics CRM, Office 365 provides worldwide sales, service and marketing professionals at HP with an immersive, connected productivity experience for teamwork and collaboration. In addition, Power BI will empower HP marketers to uncover powerful business insights and predictions. Azure will provide the IT organization with a global, open, hybrid cloud for all of the solutions, while also giving HP a platform for new capabilities and services at a low total cost of ownership.

HP continues to innovate in its customer engagement, with the tools and business processes it provides to its employees and partner community and, of course, the products and services it delivers,” said Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Worldwide Commercial Business at Microsoft. “We share this dedication to digital transformation with HP and are incredibly proud to work with it as it delivers amazing technology experiences to people around the globe.”

Read more at: Microsoft News

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