Category Archives: Cloud Computing

Around The Cloud – Top Tech News For The Week

Around The Cloud – Top Tech News For The Week

Top Tech News

Apple’s iPhone 7 and Samsung’s Note 7 got off to a rocky start this week upon their launches. Both companies addressed some serious flaws in their flagship smartphone models and operating systems.

According to this BBC article, some iPhone users were shocked to find that when they attempted to upgrade to iOS 10, they could not reboot their phones. An Apple spokeswoman commented on this in a widely publicized email, “We experienced a brief issue with the software update process, affecting a small number of users during the first hour of availability. The problem was quickly resolved and we apologize to those customers. Anyone who was affected should connect to iTunes to complete the update or contact AppleCare for help.” However, some Apple iPhone 6 Plus users are still complaining that Apple has failed to fix a design flaw in the iPhone that renders it incapacitated after a period of time under normal usage, according to this Motherboard article. Apple has yet to recognize this as an official flaw.

Note 7 Recall

Samsung also had to officially recall its Note 7 smartphone this past week in the U.S., after regulators found that the smartphone came with a faulty battery that presents a high risk of catching on fire, according to this article by BBC. Samsung had already issued a voluntary recall of the Note 7 after they started receiving complaints from consumers about their phones “exploding.” It is estimated that this recall has affected 2.5 million devices globally, with 1 million of those devices being in the U.S. alone. Slash Gear reports that replacement handsets will be available in the U.S. no later than Wednesday, September 21.

Searching For Uber

Uber also has been making headlines this past week with their new driverless cars and map making efforts in the U.K. In this official blog post, Uber describes the need for their new map initiative: “Existing maps are a good starting point, but some information isn’t that relevant to Uber, like ocean topography. There are other things we need to know a lot more about, like traffic patterns and precise pickup and dropoff locations. Moreover, we need to be able to provide a seamless experience in parts of the world where there aren’t detailed maps – or street signs.”

uber

The New York Times sent several journalists to Pittsburgh to explore what riding in one of Uber’s driverless cars was like. These driverless cars are described as being modified Ford Fusions that have been outfitted with 20 cameras, seven lasers, a spinning 360-degree laser-based detection system, and “1,400 other after-market parts.” Uber is currently testing these vehicles in Pittsburgh, with “safety engineers” riding along with passengers to help address any bugs in the car’s system and take over driving if need be. The NYT reporter Mike Isaac sums up the experience: “...for most of the ride, I felt safe. In self-driving mode, turns and stops were near seamless, and I often had to check in with my driver to see whether he or the computer was steering the car. I did grow a bit nervous a few times when watching how close the computer drove us to cars parked on the right side of a street. Though, admittedly, that could have been my mind playing tricks on me by being more vigilant than usual about my surroundings.”

By Jonquil McDaniel

Data Privacy In The IoT Age

Data Privacy In The IoT Age

Data Privacy Age

Data breaches are becoming a bigger threat than ever in today’s IoT connected world, according to this CEB blog’s infographic. A data breach is costing companies an average 4 million U.S. dollars, and that statistic is on the rise. The average cost of data breaches has already gone up 13% since 2014 alone.

infographic-importance-of-data-privacy

There are four major factors that have been identified as the cause in this epic rise. 64% of employees access personal technologies such as social networks and email from work, creating a major hole in a company’s ability to ensure the flow of data is through trusted sites only. 65% of IT executives have been found to claim responsibility for technology use and information security, but they manage the company’s information technology very poorly. And while 79% of senior executives admit that finding new uses of data is key to encouraging growth, 69% agree that they can’t keep up with the increasing speed and finesse of cyber attacks.

Another problem that has been found in the protection of data involves employee usage of company networks. While 75% of employees have access to customer contact information, 37% do not receive any form of information security training. Because of this lack of training, 58% of these employees violated a privacy policy in 2015 without even knowing they had done so. It should come at no surprise then that 60% of data breaches have been found to be caused by employee behavior.

By Jonquil McDaniel

Data Driven Social Selling Strategies

Data Driven Social Selling Strategies

Social Selling Strategies

Social selling, the use of social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Linkedin for salespeople to interact with current and potential customers, is a valuable instrument in the martech bag that’s made the role of marketers both easier in some ways but often more complicated overall. The consumers being targeted today are more savvy than in years past, demand far better customer engagement and satisfaction, and can easily keep themselves informed about the products and their competitors which hold their interest. In fact, many marketing researchers and experts believe that the majority of consumers use online platforms to research products before committing to a purchase, and social media plays a prominent role in both the investigation and recommendation of purchases.

Making the Most of Social Selling

Social selling helps sales teams engage customers in an informal and continuing manner, without making these customers feel harassed or inundated by advertising. It is a way for marketing teams to nurture relationships with customers and foster personal connections that not only keep products top of mind in a non-intrusive way but also bolster feelings of brand belonging. Customers who feel a personal affinity to and pride in a particular brand are far less likely to stray to competitors in the future and also tend to promote the brand through word of mouth. (Social selling statistics and infographic discovered via Hubspot

social-selling-statistics-1

According to LinkedIn research, social selling leaders create nearly twice as many opportunities as peers with lower SSI, are 51% more likely to reach quotas, and 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media. Thanks to the real-time characteristic of social media communication, social selling keeps marketers intimately entwined with their target audiences, and better indicates suitable moments for follow-up messaging and product reinforcement. It also offers a very informal and friendly method for answering customer questions and complaints and reinforcing compliments; it tends to come across as caring customer relations instead of impersonal sales management.

Motivating Social Selling Figures

According to various research accumulated by Sales for Life, the number of companies adopting social selling tactics is growing rapidly and benefiting organizations both large and small. Six key data-driven reasons are highlighted driving the adoption of social selling:

  • Typically, buyer are more than half way through the purchase process before salespeople even have a chance to speak to them.
  • The majority of B2B buyers conduct most of their research online before committing to a purchase.
  • It’s expected that by 2020 85% of enterprise interaction by customers will be managed without any human interaction.
  • 5.4 decision-makers participate in an average enterprise purchase.
  • Social sellers have a 66% greater quota attainment than others using only traditional techniques.
  • Buyers using social media typically have budgets 84% larger than those not using social media.

Overall, top performers are more often implementing social media guidelines for customer-facing people, their salespeople know how to create effective campaigns and new opportunities through these channels, and they report that social selling better helps them identify new decision makers and business opportunities. It’s clear that social media helps sales and marketing teams involved in content development spark sales conversations and educate buyers through more relevant information, and in one study a revenue growth of 63.4% for social sellers was reported over the growth of only 41.2% attained by non-social sellers.

Clearly social selling is an essential tool for marketers and salespeople and fortunately today’s martech platforms recognize this value and help integrate social selling strategies into overall marketing plans. But the beauty of social selling is that it fits neatly into just about any strategy and all of the top social platforms are already striving to make social selling via their platforms fruitful and straightforward. For those willing to adopt the latest technologies, adjust their thoughts on traditional marketing, and train up to best take advantage of these tools, social selling promises great rewards.

By Jennifer Klostermann

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

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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

CloudTweaks Comics
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