Category Archives: HealthTech

TELUS Investing $2 Billion Through 2020 In IoT, Cloud Services and Infosec

TELUS Investing $2 Billion Through 2020 In IoT, Cloud Services and Infosec

Significant investment across the province will increase wireless speeds, extend TELUS’ fibre optic Internet network to even more homes and businesses, and help deliver better healthcare

MONTREAL, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – March 21, 2016) – (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) – TELUS intends to invest $2 billion in new communications infrastructure across Quebec through 2020. This year alone, TELUS will invest $340 million in the province to extend fibre optic infrastructure directly to thousands of homes and businesses in rural and urban communities, further strengthen wireless service, and support key services including healthcare with new technologies.

By the end of 2020 TELUS will have invested more than $27 billion in Quebec since 2000,” said François Gratton, Executive Vice-President and President, Business Solutions East and TELUS Quebec. “This sustained commitment attests to our confidence in Quebec’s future, and our determination to support that future and the competitiveness of our economy through investment that directly helps companies become more productive, supports better healthcare through technology, extends fibre optic infrastructure in communities across eastern Quebec, provides Quebecers with unmatched entertainment and Internet services, and connects us wirelessly faster and more securely than ever before.”

TELUS’ infrastructure and technology investments will advance services for the benefit of all Quebecers, in 2016 and beyond, including:

Services

  • Wireless network TELUS will continue building new wireless sites to add capacity and extend the reach of its wireless network in rural areas, while extending 4G LTE and LTE-advanced – the world’s fastest and most advanced wireless technology – across TELUS’ network, even into Montréal’s metro. This investment will dramatically increase data speeds to satisfy customer demand for downloads and video streaming.
  • Fibre optic network – This year alone, TELUS will connect thousands of homes in Chaudière-Appalaches, Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie to TELUS’ fibre optic network, the fastest and most reliable wireline technology available in the world today. Families and businesses alike will benefit from the next generation of Internet and TV services over this gigabit-enabled network in the coming years, as demand continues to increase. In addition, in collaboration with the Federal Government’s Connecting Canadians program, TELUS will connect close to 10,000 homes in rural Quebec communities such as Lac-au-Saumon, Saint-Léonard and Saint-Anaclet-de-Lessard directly to fibre optic communications infrastructure by 2017.
  • Optik TV – TELUS will continue to roll out Optik TV as well as invest in enhancing its service while adding new content through television apps like Netflix and Tou.tv.

Business

  • Fibre optics – TELUS will continue to connect businesses and industrial parks directly to its fibre optic network to further stimulate economic growth and help organizations improve the ways in which they deliver their services. In the last 10 years, TELUS has deployed countless kilometres of fibre optic cable across the province to connect thousands of businesses in Eastern Quebec, the North Shore, Saguenay, Québec City, Montréal, and Trois-Rivières, dramatically increasing their available Internet speeds and capacity.
  • Internet of Things – TELUS will continue its sustained investment in and research of Internet-connected devices to promote the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in Quebec, driving solutions that will enable all sectors to further their global competitive advantage, reduce their environmental impact and increase worker safety.
  • Security – TELUS will continue to invest in areas like advanced analytics, cloud-based security services and integrated security solutions to help Quebec businesses maintain strong security against a rapidly-growing number of online threats.
  • Data centre and Cloud services – TELUS will expand the capacity of its advanced Internet data centre in Rimouski to meet the growing needs of its current and future clients in Quebec and across Canada. Combined with TELUS’ expanded cloud portfolio, Quebec businesses now have access to a full suite of managed Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions that includes public and private cloud options, as well as Canada’s first hybrid cloud offering built on the Industry-leading Cisco Cloud Architecture for the Microsoft Cloud Platform.

Health

  • TELUS Health – TELUS will continue investing in TELUS Health, which currently provides electronic medical records to approximately 15,000 Canadian physicians as well as health benefits management solutions to more than 10,000 pharmacies, 11,000 dental clinics and 33,000 extended health care providers across the country. TELUS Health has invested more than $1.6 billion to bring patient-centred solutions to market which are improving the flow of information across the health care continuum and enabling better health outcomes for Quebecers and all Canadians.

Community

  • Support for grassroots organizations: In 2016, TELUS, its current and retired team members and its Community Boards in Quebec will donate $4.5 million to hundreds of local organizations.
  • TELUS Days of Giving: Each year, more than 2,500 TELUS Quebec team members take part in TELUS Days of Giving, rolling up their sleeves to help dozens of local organizations including Opération Enfant Soleil, The Lighthouse Children and Families, and the Association du cancer de l’Est du Quebec.

TELUS, which has approximately 6,000 team members in Quebec, has also contributed $2 billion in payroll, property taxes and other taxes in Quebec since 2000, supporting services for residents across the province. Combined with the salaries paid and goods and services purchased in the province, TELUS’ total operating investment in Quebec since 2000 has been $12 billion.

The investments announced in this media release were reflected in TELUS’ capital expenditure guidance for 2016, which was issued on February 12, 2016.

About TELUS

TELUS (TSX:T)(NYSE:TU) is Canada’s fastest-growing national telecommunications company, with $12.5 billion of annual revenue and 12.5 million customer connections, including 8.5 million wireless subscribers, 1.5 million residential network access lines, 1.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers and 1.0 million TELUS TV customers. TELUS provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada’s largest healthcare IT provider.

For more information about TELUS, please visit www.telus.com.

TELUS in Quebec:

TELUS is planning to invest $2 billion in new infrastructure and facilities across the province of Quebec over the next five years. By the end of 2020 TELUS expects to have invested more than $27 billion in the province since 2000 to extend the reach of advanced wireless and wireline telecommunications infrastructure throughout the province. As part of that commitment, TELUS has connected homes, businesses, schools and healthcare institutions in multiple urban and rural communities directly to TELUS’ fibre network in order to support sustained innovation and fuel the province’s economic growth.

In support of the company’s philosophy to give where we live, TELUS, team members and retirees have contributed more than $54 million and 540,000 volunteer hours to charitable and community organizations throughout Quebec since 2000. Created in 2005 by President and CEO Darren Entwistle, TELUS has 15 local community boards dedicated to supporting local projects. Since inception, the three Community Boards in QC have donated more than $12.4 million in support of thousands of local charitable projects with such organizations as L’Ancre des jeunes, Motivaction Jeunesse and Fondation du CRBM.

In September 2012, TELUS opened its state of the art Intelligent Data Centre located in Rimouski, Quebec. TELUS built the centre in Rimouski due to the community’s skilled workforce, cool climate and abundant green hydroelectricity. Considered as one of the most technologically advanced and energy efficient Internet data centres in the world, the TELUS Rimouski Data Centre received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for sustainable development in 2015.

The Evolution Of The Connected Cloud

The Evolution Of The Connected Cloud

The Connected Cloud

Cloud computing is interesting first, but not only, because of the prevalence of cloud projects. There are many of them launched every day. Some have lofty expectations for business benefits (cost saving of 20 percent or more) and others carry even more intriguing goals.

In 2005 “the cloud” was new. Shared computing services were a novel idea. People weren’t sure they would catch on. There were many concerns about the initial reality of cloud, but the big one was security. Many business owners felt that cloud computing wouldn’t be as secure as their on-site system was.  Yet, from a purely tactical perspective, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, knowing where something is makes it more vulnerable than something with an unknown location.

The Community Cloud

The cloud ended up catching on, and eventually became an accepted reality. What may be coming, however, changes the cloud forever. There are US Government Agencies that have put two to four—or even more—petabytes of information into dedicated cloud solutions. “Dedicated cloud,” in this case means the community cloud as defined by NIST. In this case, there are multiple organizations using the resources, but they are all from the same group or agency. This makes having their data shared in a cloud less risky. There are also agencies that have data that gets leveraged around the world—for instance, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) and the United States Geological Survey Agency (USGS). Data these organizations generate is concrete: we know when there is an earthquake (you feel the earth move under your feet) and we all know what the weather is outside. Of course, these agencies do produce and generate more data than that, all of which is shared with various groups around the world.

DataStorm-comic-cloudtweaks

Soon, however, there is a change coming to cloud computing. The concept of cloud service providers is going to change, with the advent and inclusion of data from Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), sometimes called the Internet of Things (IoT). Today, IoT devices produce more data that virtually every other producing system. Most of the data they produce isn’t used or even noticed. For example a remote thermite monitoring a specific location (say a volcano) publishes the temperature 4 times a minute or more than 5760 times in a day. We can discard the majority of those data points because they are not significant. If it is 82 degrees 10 miles from the volcano and 81 degrees on the volcano, that data is not useful or unique. Estimates place the volume of CPS/IoT generated data at around 110 zB today. Experts project that in less than 5 years there will be roughly 5 times as many CPS/IoT devices deployed.

As we get smarter, though, the sensors we deploy will produce more intelligent data. For example, that volcano thermometer may stop sending 5700 pieces of information and only send information when there is a significant change. The group that placed that sensor will be able to determine what “significant” means. For instance, with a volcano, you don’t care if it is suddenly 20 degrees colder at night. You do care if the temperature rises above the air temperature, even if that rise isn’t sudden. The concept of CPS/IoT device intelligence will reduce a lot of the overall data produced. That 5700 messages a day/35000 messages in a week may drop to 1.

The Cloud Future

Connected

(Infographic Image Source: Intel)

The future of cloud is in the transportation, manufacturing, analysis and consumption of CPS/IoT produced information.

Yes, cloud will continue to provide computing services and storage, as more and more of its overall capacity will be consumed by CPS/IoT data. The rise of intelligent sensors will keep the amount of data flow at a lower level than the increase in the number of CPS/IoT devices would suggest. But even intelligent sensors will have to check-in from time to time, sometimes simply to validate that the connection is still viable and working. The more critical the sensor the more frequently it will need to check-in. This won’t result in 35000 data points a week, but it will still produce some.

The Next Big Thing

data-big

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The next big thing in cloud computing will be the hosting of billions of little things—or, actually, the data from billions of little things. Analyzing and compiling all that information will also change how the cloud is consumed by companies, governments, and individuals. There will need to be a throttle that pays attention to the data you are requesting, and a pipeline for getting you that data. Intelligent sensors will produce smart controlled data. Intelligent cloud solutions will allow the device connecting to receive the amount of data it can process effectively, so as not to drown the messenger in data.

The new cloud will be just like the old cloud, just doing new things a little differently.

By Scott Andersen

Medical Professionals Face Unique Challenges Using The Cloud

Medical Professionals Face Unique Challenges Using The Cloud

Medical Professionals Using The Cloud

The presence and value of Cloud tools have seeped into virtually every industry, and the medical profession is certainly no exception. However, because of the special rules regarding patient privacy, specifically those found in HIPAA, people handling patient information must follow specific guidelines that in many cases, are violated by standard cloud services. Of course many services claim HIPAA compliance in order to attract healthcare clients, however, an approved “HIPAA certification” doesn’t exist for cloud services. Therefore, it is important for people working in the medical industry to be aware of the rules and options when utilizing the Cloud for their business.

All medical professionals (and most people who’ve been to the doctor) are familiar with HIPAA, but to lay a foundation for this article, here is a little background. Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act back in 1996. You have HIPAA to thank for the enforcement of privacy standards (Infographic below by Cardigm)   that protect your personal health records (as well as health insurance portability, though the focus of this article will be the former). HIPAA makes provisions against industry fraud, imposes nationwide standards for the electronic management of records, and consequently ensures that confidential information will be handled in the appropriate manner.

Caradigm-UnhealthyDataPractices

However, technology has come a long way since the act’s initial passage 20 years ago. As a result, it’s now far easier to commit a HIPAA violation than you might think. Businesses working in or with the medical industry must take particular care when it comes to the cloud to avoid the hefty fines that come with such violations. When planning processes and acquiring tools to adhere to HIPAA rules, additional steps often need to be taken to ensure that security is not sacrificed for the sake of the cloud’s convenience.

The Third-Party Service Problem

The primary difficulty of integrating private information with the cloud is that most major cloud services (e.g. Dropbox) are not managed by medical professionals and they reserve the right to access files on hosted on their servers. Therefore, any instance in which these third parties have access to confidential client information would constitute a violation of HIPAA.

cloud-services

There are a few potential solutions to this issue, the first being a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). In this case, the third-party service enters an agreement allowing them to act as the business associate of a medical professional, thus protecting client info and meeting HIPAA standards. Unfortunately, this can potentially increase the provider’s liability and mean penalties for them should a breach occur, which means they’re less likely to submit to such an agreement. (Apple, for example, refuses to sign the BAA that would make iCloud HIPAA-compliant.)

Here are some cloud services that will sign Business Associate Agreements:

  • Document Sharing Services:
    • Dropbox for Business
    • Box Enterprise & Elite
  • Cloud Based Business VoIP
    • RingCentral Office
    • Jive
  • Online Fax Services
    • SRFax
    • SFax
    • FaxAge
  • Online Backup Services
    • Carbonite
    • iDrive Business and Enterprise

If a BAA isn’t available, another option is utilization of a third-party encryption app. These services encrypt files before they are uploaded to the cloud, rendering them unreadable by the cloud service provider. A little research can quickly turn up alternative encryption solutions to products you may already be using, such as CloudLock for Google Apps for Work. Another option is to invest in an entirely separate service, such as Tresorit, which provides encryption as well as additional features, such as the option to “unsend” or revoke access to mistakenly sent data. Encryption also protects against instances of hacking and lost devices (i.e. laptop, phone), which can be potential threats to client security.

Another option is to use a service that offers a HIPAA setting, which essentially encrypts the files in the way a third party application might and will typically remove other features that violate HIPAA like sending files through email. However, without a signed BAA from the vendor, any mishandling of the information would still be a HIPAA violation.

A Note on Email and Fax

Transmitting consumer information via email is a violation of HIPPA, which is why faxing is still very common in the medical industry. While online fax services (e.g. eFax) utilize cloud portals where faxes can be retrieved, they typically also email a copy to the recipient. This constitutes a violation of HIPAA. However, medical professionals can use online fax services that offer special features (often referred to as a HIPAA conduit) like file encryption and fax notification via email only. As mentioned above, a HIPAA conduit setting alone is not as strong of a liability protection as a signed BAA.

In Conclusion

In the conversation surrounding HIPAA compliance, it’s crucial to retain as much information as you can about the status and location of confidential information. As putting any data into the cloud means losing a degree of control, those interested in avoiding violations should know the identity of every person that has access to the information, where the service provider is located, and the exact nature and content of the data itself. The responsibility to ensure patient privacy is ultimately borne by the medical professional. If this includes using the cloud—and in this day and age, it probably does—be sure to plan accordingly.

By Leo Welder

The Cloud & Big Data Fighting Disease

The Cloud & Big Data Fighting Disease

Disease Fighting With The Cloud

Google has just announced that it’s giving UNICEF a $1 million grant to raise awareness about Zika transmission, a virus spreading across South America and beyond that leaves 80% of those infected without any symptoms. First detected last year in Brazil, the virus has been linked to 4,863 suspected and confirmed cases of microcephaly, a disorder which causes birth defects typically presented by unusually small heads, and that can result in development problems. Because the disease is spread primarily by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, it’s proving a challenge to eliminate. Says Jacquelline Fuller, director of Google’s nonprofit branch, Google.org, “Fighting Zika requires raising awareness on how people can protect themselves, as well as supporting organizations who can help drive the development of rapid diagnostics and vaccines.” But Google doesn’t believe that raising awareness alone is enough, and so has also dedicated software engineering and data science resources to help analyze information regarding the virus’ outbreak.

google-health

Transmission Platform

Further supporting UNICEF’s efforts, Google’s contribution will include the development of a platform to process data from various sources, such as travel and weather patterns. The hope is that this will make it possible to map and visualize outbreaks and predict potential new outbreaks. Google’s volunteer team of engineers, designers, and data scientists are currently working at UNICEF, helping the organization with this current disease threat, but it’s anticipated that the initiative could be useful for future outbreaks of both Zika and other diseases.

Additionally, Google is featuring information about the Zika virus in attempts to make information more accessible through search functions in 16 different languages. Though their sidebar already provides a large amount of health data, Google’s latest update will now feature run-downs of Zika symptoms and causes, and public health alerts will frequently be updated with new information. Says Fuller, “As a company whose mission is helping people find information, with a lot of experience in analyzing large sets of data, we’re in a good position to help—at scale and at speed.”

Mapping Disease

Mapping tools could prove essential to the global fight against disease, and various organizations are taking advantage of cloud computing tools and big data analytics to support humanitarian efforts. The Google Earth Engine provides the map of the world whereon global prediction platforms can be built, and the rapid spread of mobile allows access to valuable data in remote and difficult-to-reach locations. By studying the relationships between disease occurrence and influencers such as vegetation, rainfall, and other relevant environmental conditions, health workers, and scientists are able to study what drives transmission and determine how best to contain and eliminate diseases. Online mapping tools already exist to help fight diseases such as malaria and Ebola, as well as inform the general public of spread, but as more and more of the tech giants get involved in these efforts, the apparatus are becoming more sophisticated and valuable.

By Jennifer Klostermann

5 Medical Tech Advancements That Are Revolutionizing The Industry

5 Medical Tech Advancements That Are Revolutionizing The Industry

Medical Tech Advancements

Medical professions are regarded as the noblest ones out there, and for a good reason. Numerous lives are being saved every day, and judging by the latest technological developments in the medical field, those numbers will only go up in the near future.

This year looks quite promising, and we can honestly say that the future is here. So far, experts in this area have amazed us with a big discovery here and there, but there are a lot of great things to look forward to in 2016 and beyond. Let’s take a look at some of the most important recent developments that are slowly, but surely revolutionizing the medical field.

1. Gene Tuning

DNA

Certain genes and things like DNA replication errors are responsible for many of the serious diseases a person can develop during their lifetime. Thanks to the latest technology used to study DNA and ways to enhance it, we can now welcome even more powerful tools that will enable us to edit and correct it. In a very recent case, a patient with leukemia was treated with gene-edited immune cells that target infected ones, which is a huge step forward in fighting against various diseases and correcting mutated genes that are inherited. This technology has a lot of potential, but we have to wait and see how it will develop further.

2. Tooth Regeneration

Some interesting new research has shown that re-growing teeth may not be impossible after all. There is a species of fish found in Lake Malawi, Africa, that gets rid of all its old teeth before growing new ones, and scientist were able to identify the genes necessary for this process to occur. There is a good chance that this discovery will help scientist determine what starts this process and how it develops, so that dentists will eventually be able to repeat it on patients.

Simultaneously, another team from Harvard has succeeded in stimulating tooth growth by using lasers that activate stem cells, and they did so on rats and human dental tissue in a lab. Both methods look promising so far, and can have an incredible impact on dentistry if fully realized.

3. Robotic Assistants

Fintech-comic-cloud

Nurses are always in need a of an extra pair of hands – they have so many different obligations and responsibilities that they hardly get any breaks during their working hours. The problem is not so much in handling the workload, as it is in dealing with situation that require a lot of physical strength – injured patients who can’t walk or who fall down need immediate lifting, and this often requires the combined efforts of two or more nurses.

Scientists are aware of that issue, which is why they are putting their best effort into building a robotic assistant that would carry and transfer patients who are severely injured. One such smart robot assistant, called RIBA (Robot for Interactive Body Assistance), is being perfected by the RIKEN institute in collaboration with TRI (Tokai Rubber Industries). Featuring a friendly appearance, with cute teddy bear head, the robot will be capable of gently moving patients from their bed to a wheelchair and vice versa. Think of it as a friendly assistant who is always on call and never tires.

4. Prosthetics

A big percentage of people working in dangerous environments, war veterans and those who have been in car accidents lose one or more of their limbs. Healthcare professionals have spent years and years developing appropriate prosthetics that would allow these people to live their lives to the fullest, but it is just now that we are seeing incredible breakthroughs in this field.

Scientists are perfecting an interface capable of transmitting nervous impulses, which would allow an amputee to send information from their mind to a piece of prosthetics and move it, just like they were move their own limb. The two major players are a Reykjavik-based company called Osso, and a group of Melbourne University researchers, who are developing a bionic spinal cord that would allow paraplegics to move artificial limbs and even robotic exoskeletons.

These technologies require further development, but it won’t be long before we start seeing more and more prototypes like these and, hopefully, the first commercially available versions.

5. Anti-Aging Treatment

People have always dreamt of immortality and there are many different myths, stories and legends that speak of a magical source or an object that will grant immortal life. Well, everyone who wants more time on Earth can look forward a potential new anti-aging drug that is being officially released for human trials in 2016. Preliminary research suggest that the drug enable those who use the drug to live over one hundred and twenty years, and remain in fairly good health even in this extremely old age.

Scientist on this project claim that drugs will enable a person who’s seventy to feel, look and move like they were twenty years younger. More tests are being prepared, as scientists also hope to prove that this drug can help prevent diseases like cancer and dementia, on top of prolonging the natural lifespan.

The technologies listed above existed solely in the realm of science-fiction even a mere decade ago, but they are now incredibly close to becoming reality. The initial research and the prototypes are already making an impact on the medical field, and as more and more institutions and companies get involved we are going to see a massive leap forward within the next several years.

By Pavle Dinic

Lessons Learned From Recent Cloud Security Debacles

Lessons Learned From Recent Cloud Security Debacles

Recent Cloud Security Debacles

Just as cloud computing is on the rise, so are cloud security threats, and they should be on the top priority list of every organization that has embraced cloud-based services. Incidents of cybercrime are being reported quite frequently, but the majority of them are not being reported at all.

Many organizations choose to deal with cyber-attacks on their own, without notifying proper authorities, let alone their customers, about their private information being encrypted or stolen. Such a terrible mistake could cost them their business, but the main reason for those kinds of incidents happening in the first place is that those businesses fail to address the issue of security flaws and fix them immediately.

There were incidents concerning cloud security quite recently, so let’s take a look at what happened and what you can do to prevent the same thing from happening to you and your organization.

The Asus Debacle

security-breach

Asus put hundreds of thousands of its customers at risk by offering them cloud computing services that had very serious security flaws in their routers, which they failed to fix in a timely manner. They failed to take certain steps towards securing the software in the routers, resulting in thousands of storage devices of their customers being compromised and their personal information being exposed.

Their routers supposedly had security features that could “protect computers from any unauthorized access, hacking, and virus attacks”, but that evidently wasn’t the case. Those routers had major security flaws that Asus didn’t fix and that put all of their customers at risk, especially by failing to notify them about it.

Asus settled an FTC complaint about failing to take security measures to fix the problem and protect its customers’ personal information. The settlement requires Asus to establish and maintain a security program subject to independent audits for the next 20 years.

The Los Angeles Hospital Ransomware Debacle

Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles was yet another victim of cybercrime recently. Their computer systems were locked due to Ransomware, a malicious software often in the form of an e-mail that seems legitimate, that hackers use to literally lock computers and encrypt the data.

Naturally, they request a considerable amount of money to be paid in order for the victims of the attack to retrieve their data. Ransomware is becoming one of the most serious cybersecurity threats nowadays and the worst part about it is that, when you fall prey to such an attack, you have no other choice but to pay the hackers. There is often a limited time for doing so, before you permanently lose access to your data or the data becomes public.

That is what the aforementioned hospital did, paying a $17000 ransom to unlock their computers and get back the encrypted medical records of its patients.

What Can Be Learned from These Cyber-Attacks?

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These incidents often happen because not much, if any, attention is being paid to cybersecurity training and the IT staff is underfunded, resulting in many organizations being quite easy targets to cyber-attacks. Every business must address any potential security flaw and fix it quickly in order to prevent data breaches and loss of any sensitive data.

The best way of effectively accomplishing that have always been, and will remain, regular data backups. The encryption of data is also of crucial importance, as well as not allowing the account credentials to be shared between users and services, which is done by implementing two-factor authentication techniques.

In order to prevent cybersecurity crimes, organizations should also implement advanced security tactics, such as micro-segmentation. Micro-segmentation technologies provide security inside data centers, focusing on the security of the workload. They should be top priority for every organization looking to lower the risk of data breaches and any form of cyber-attack that could put their business and their customers at risk.

You need to carefully plan your cloud security approach, and one way to do that is to provide security as a set of on-demand, scalable services.

Cybersecurity threats are the most talked-about security issues nowadays and every business must be aware of the risks that cyber-attacks carry and the dire consequences they could face if they fall victims to hackers’ actions. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the time for drastic security measures is now.

By Pavle Dinic

L.A. Hospital Pays $17,000 In Bitcoin Ransom To Hackers

L.A. Hospital Pays $17,000 In Bitcoin Ransom To Hackers

Not too long ago, taking the nation’s wild, messy, unreliable system of medical records online seemed like a worthy goal.

To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its cost, we will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that, within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized,” President Obama said. “This will cut waste, eliminate red tape and reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests.”

While the shift Obama and many others pushed may have improved care, electronic medical records led to quite the unique hostage situation in Los Angeles this week. There, a hospital fell prey to a cyberattack — and the hospital has escaped its plight by paying hackers a $17,000 ransom.

Allen Stefanek, president and chief executive of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, explained the situation in a statement on Wednesday.

On the evening of February 5th, our staff noticed issues accessing the hospital’s computer network,” he wrote. “Our IT department began an immediate investigation and determined we had been subject to a malware attack. The malware locked access to certain computer systems and prevented us from sharing communications electronically.”

Full Article Source: Washington Post

Destroying Cloud Data In The Age Of Data Multiplication

Destroying Cloud Data In The Age Of Data Multiplication

The Age of Data Multiplication

We are surrounded by data, whether in our personal or professional lives with digital elements that are constantly being captured about us. This leads to exponentially increasing volumes of data whether from Internet-connected devices, video, cell records, customer transactions, healthcare and government records.

Today, there is a growing awareness and sensitivity from end users, government agencies and lawmakers of how all of this data might be used and in the coming years this concern is only set to heighten.

data

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Organizations leveraging cloud services to store this data may need to take a closer look at the lifespan of the data they collect and how it is expired and destroyed. Today’s organizations need to understand that cloud as a model causes data to multiply further. The dynamic nature of resource allocation and maximizing availability in a hybrid or public cloud means resources are replicated and backed up across multiple data centers. When an organization contacts the cloud provider to expire or expunge data they may only be severing their client connection to the data. Organizations often don’t allow for the fact that backup instances or traces of data may still linger and could be a source for unauthorized access.

So, how do today’s organizations ensure their data is destroyed?

1. Tag all sources of mission-critical data: It starts with strong preventative measures: If data is classified digitally to a scheme that is intuitive to your cloud provider and your organization it will be easier to track through its lifecycle and then expire and destroy.

2. Take time to assign entitlements and access rights: Ensure that access rights or entitlements for sensitive or mission-critical data are limited to only those who have a legitimate need for access.

3. Apply encryption based on context: When data is encrypted, it is only readable to those with access to the encryption keys. It is the most certain way to limit unauthorized access to data in the cloud. By encrypting organizations can be better assured of the confidentiality of their data and potentially be less concerned with their cloud providers’ data destruction methods.

4. Perform data wipes: Many government and industry standards require data storage wipes to ensure that hardware is safe for reuse. There are different types of software and hardware that even allow for remote erasure. The benefit is to enable a provider or enterprise to repurpose the media for reuse.

5. Physically destroy data and media: In the cases of highly classified information organizations can use strong magnets to destroy data or even shred physical media. This ensures that the data on the destroyed media can never be recovered. Physical destruction methods are the last resort and only feasible in a private cloud environment.

By Evelyn de Souza

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Cloud Computing – The Game Changer

Global Cloud Index In October, Cisco released its Global Cloud Index (GCI) report for 2014-2019, projecting a near 3-fold growth of global data center traffic, with predictions that this traffic will reach 8.6 zettabytes (cloud data center traffic) and 10.4 zettabytes (total data center traffic) per year in 2019 and 80% of it will come…

Fintech Investments Are Seeing Consistent Growth

Fintech Investments Are Seeing Consistent Growth

The Financial Services Cloud Fintech investment has been seeing consistent growth in 2015, with some large moves being made this year. The infographic (Courtesy of Venturescanner) below shows the top Fintech investors and the amount of companies they’re currently funding: Just this week, a financial data startup known as Orchard Platform raised $30 million in…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…

How Your Startup Can Benefit From Cloud Computing And Growth Hacking

How Your Startup Can Benefit From Cloud Computing And Growth Hacking

Ambitious Startups An oft-quoted statistic, 50% of new businesses fail within five years. And the culling of startups is even more dramatic, with an estimated nine out of ten folding. But to quote Steve Jobs, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” So while…

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

Botnets and DDoS Attacks There’s just so much that seems as though it could go wrong with closed-circuit television cameras, a.k.a. video surveillance. With an ever-increasing number of digital eyes on the average person at all times, people can hardly be blamed for feeling like they’re one misfortune away from joining the ranks of Don’t…

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

CIOs Must Transform IT The emergence of the Cloud and its three delivery models of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) has dramatically impacted and forever changed the delivery of IT services. Cloud services have pierced the veil of IT by challenging traditional method’s dominance…

Cloud Infographic – Guide To Small Business Cloud Computing

Cloud Infographic – Guide To Small Business Cloud Computing

Small Business Cloud Computing Trepidation is inherently attached to anything that involves change and especially if it involves new technologies. SMBs are incredibly vulnerable to this fear and rightfully so. The wrong security breach can incapacitate a small startup for good whereas larger enterprises can reboot their operations due to the financial stability of shareholders. Gordon Tan contributed an…

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

15 Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies

Cloud Data Performance Monitoring Companies (Updated: Originally Published Feb 9th, 2015) We have decided to put together a small list of some of our favorite cloud performance monitoring services. In this day and age it is extremely important to stay on top of critical issues as they arise. These services will accompany you in monitoring…

Why Small Businesses Need A Business Intelligence Dashboard

Why Small Businesses Need A Business Intelligence Dashboard

The Business Intelligence Dashboard As a small business owner you would certainly know the importance of collecting and analyzing data pertaining to your business and transactions. Business Intelligence dashboards allow not only experts but you also to access information generated by analysis of data through a convenient display. Anyone in the company can have access…

Big Data – Top Critical Technology Trend For The Next Five Years

Big Data – Top Critical Technology Trend For The Next Five Years

Big Data Future Today’s organizations should become more collaborative, virtual, adaptive, and agile in order to be successful in complex business world. They should be able to respond to changes and market needs. Many organizations found that the valuable data they possess and how they use it can make them different than others. In fact,…

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…

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…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Cloud Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything…

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

Why Security Practitioners Need To Apply The 80-20 Rules To Data Security

The 80-20 Rule For Security Practitioners  Everyday we learn about yet another egregious data security breach, exposure of customer data or misuse of data. It begs the question why in this 21st century, as a security industry we cannot seem to secure our most valuable data assets when technology has surpassed our expectations in other regards.…

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And The Extension/Expansion Of Virtual Reality

Virtual Immersion And Virtual Reality This is a term I created (Virtual Immersion). Ah…the sweet smell of Virtual Immersion Success! Virtual Immersion© (VI) an extension/expansion of Virtual Reality to include the senses beyond visual and auditory. Years ago there was a television commercial for a bathing product called Calgon. The tagline of the commercial was Calgon…

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data (And Why You Need To)

How To Humanize Your Data The modern enterprise is digital. It relies on accurate and timely data to support the information and process needs of its workforce and its customers. However, data suffers from a likability crisis. It’s as essential to us as oxygen, but because we don’t see it, we take it for granted.…

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Cloud Beacons Flying High When Apple debuted cloud beacons in 2013, analysts predicted 250 million devices capable of serving as iBeacons would be found in the wild within weeks. A few months later, estimates put the figure at just 64,000, with 15 percent confined to Apple stores. Beacons didn’t proliferate as expected, but a few…

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

Five Requirements for Supporting a Connected Workforce It used to be that enterprises dictated how workers spent their day: stuck in a cubicle, tied to an enterprise-mandated computer, an enterprise-mandated desk phone with mysterious buttons, and perhaps an enterprise-mandated mobile phone if they traveled. All that is history. Today, a modern workforce is dictating how…