Category Archives: Technology

How Secure Is Your School Campus Network?

How Secure Is Your School Campus Network?

School Networks

School related networks are one of the most attacked sectors today, coming in third worldwide to healthcare and retail. Because of the ever growing threat of cybercrime, IT professionals everywhere aren’t thinking in terms of “what if our network gets attacked?” Now, they think in terms of “when will our network be attacked?” The standard firewall and anti-virus software isn’t enough to protect data from malicious hacking attempts.

A primary way to secure a school’s network actually has little to do with the network itself, which is why it often goes overlooked by IT professionals. The staff, faculty, and students in the school make for an excellent defense against on site computer access, but they do need training on how to do this. The training on how to keep the network secure, if it exists, is often lacking, leaving a loophole that a social engineer can easily slip through if he/she plays their manipulative role well with untrained people. Human error accounts for 52% of security breaches today as seen in this insightful infographic discovered via edtechmagazine.

Another important concept in securing a school campus is maintaining a risk management strategy, which 45% of scholarly institutions have been found to be lacking. No matter how much you secure your school’s network and train the people that go there every day, at some point you can be sure your security will be breached in an unanticipated manner. Because of this, it’s vital to have a clear grasp of the risks involved in such a breach, and to take action by developing a strategy that addresses each risk you find with a solution.

There’s many new technologies that can help with making a school’s network secure. Cloud computing reduces the risks of physical on site access, since the server is not stored at the location it’s used. Cloud vendors also offer networking monitoring tools and advanced threat detection that can alert you to a security breach. They also implement strong security policies and procedures that make use of endpoint security tools such as encryption and SSH keys.

Trending technologies have made school networking security as easy as it can be without negatively its ability to protect or monitor the network. The cloud even helps with physical security by removing the on site server from the picture. Most importantly though, in this modern age IT professionals need to accept that breaches are going to happen even if they believe their network is impenetrable. That’s why training those in the school to look out for security issues, and being prepared for security breaches with a risk management plan is so important.

By Jonquil McDaniel

Fully Autonomous Cars: How’s It REALLY Going To Work

Fully Autonomous Cars: How’s It REALLY Going To Work

Pros and Cons and What the Experts Think

Science fiction meets reality, and modern civilization is excitedly looking forward to the ubiquity of self-driving cars. However, an omnipresence of fully autonomous cars won’t happen as quickly as even some hopeful experts anticipate. While the autonomous car pros versus the cons race (See infographic discovered via RAC) of is theoretically neck and neck, until a way is found to lower the cost of implementation, the cons have it! The bottom line is, at the moment, it is just too darn expensive for mass liberation of the technology.


Safety is the main goal and will save millions of lives, not to mention the billions of dollars self-driving cars will eliminate in medical costs, and related accident spending. The fact is, until it’s affordable and more people elect to own them, it will be impossible for the actual potentials of the technology to be realized.

Even super-successful companies, like Uber, who are looking to launch a fleet of autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, isn’t in a position to jump for joy. They actually losing money despite being the most successful privately held company worldwide. Uber is hoping for success and a future profit from the self-driving convoy—that could be a pipe dream for now, however.

Most experts agree that the advantages fully autonomous cars present will change the world in many great ways, but it won’t work until these cars are in the majority of the vehicles hitting the highway.

By CJ Callen

Fintech Systems, Advancements and Investments

Fintech Systems, Advancements and Investments

Fintech Growth

According to a recent report, global investment in fintech companies including both venture-backed and non-venture-backed businesses reached $9.4 billion in the second quarter of 2016; investment in venture capital-backed fintech startups, however, fell by 49%. Nevertheless, the Pulse of Fintech, published jointly by KPMG International and CB Insights, suggests venture capital investment in fintech is still on track to exceed the results seen in 2015. Commenting on a 71% funding decline in which Asian venture capital-backed fintech companies raised $0.8 billion from April 2016 to June 2016, CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal says, “The decline in fintech financing and deals is in line with what we’re seeing in the broader venture environment for startups, as VCs as well as crossover investors are pushing back harder on profitability and business model concerns. Despite the funding drop, previously under-invested areas of fintech such as an insurance area are gaining strong momentum among venture investors across geographies.”


Fintech Systems

No matter the changing and developing fintech ecologies, financial technology is clearly a growth industry becoming integral in both personal and business lives. The disruption means businesses must implement strategies not merely to manage fintech innovations but take advantage of the many advantages becoming available. Experts suggest the success, or lack thereof, of fintech uptake will leave us with some unexpected victors and dismayed losers, and expect the main battle to play out between the heavy-duty traditional players trying to keep pace with innovations and agile startups rapidly advancing fintech possibilities.

We’re already seeing the early conflicts between the traditional retail banks that have stood as robust business foundations for decades and online banks that are chopping up the old models and recombining them into sleek, cost-efficient forms. Furthermore, our advisors are changing from human to human aided by technology to artificial intelligence imbued machines as the adoption of robo-advisors progresses. Some of the innovations we’re seeing result in cost savings for consumers, but others still simply broaden the market and provide businesses with more products to sell.

Evolving Financial Technology

Aside from streamlined financial service models, cost reductions, and startling fintech modernisms, the evolution of financial technology is making the financial sector safer and more user-friendly. Fintech makes it easier for organizations to better educate their consumers and help them make smart decisions. With advice more readily, and often freely, available, as well as assistance with ever-increasing financial regulations, it’s easier for both individuals and businesses to comply with and expertly function within financial arenas.

Fintech also provides a great benefit to the retail sector, both improving online shopping capabilities and broadening the range of payment options available. With the average internet shopper keenly aware of the risks associated with online fraud, data theft, and privacy breach, it’s imperative that online shopping sites are able to provide their customers with the necessary protection and peace of mind. And it’s as important that such sites also offer every convenience possible, including a good range of payment routes; never mind PayPal, some savvy startups are already making it possible to pay with Bitcoin. Serving not only the consumer, the latest fintech payment solutions also aid businesses through speedy fee collections and low fees for improved cashflow.

The lending and investing sectors are also benefiting from fintech; financial backing is no longer limited to traditional investors or bank loans, but instead we’re seeing the likes of angels and group investments, along with inventive loan providers breaking down the old norms and changing how we can borrow. The other side of the coin, investment, is receiving a similar shakeup as fintech firms provide vehicles for small investments with low fees and practical advice. Some startups are even making it possible to invest spare change, encouraging the layman to better his prospects no matter his current financial status.

Many of the changes we’re seeing are dramatic but just as many are happening beneath the surface and most of us won’t ever know they’re happening; nonetheless, fintech advances bode well for us and promise a better-educated consumer and a more flexible and accessible financial environment.

By Jennifer Klostermann

How Identity Governance Can Secure The Cloud

How Identity Governance Can Secure The Cloud

Securing The Cloud Enterprise

Cloud adoption is accelerating for most enterprises, and cloud computing is becoming an integral part of enterprise IT and security infrastructure. Based on current adoption trends, it’s clear that the vast majority of new applications purchased by organizations will be SaaS applications. The allure is evident, from cost savings to speed of deployment to flexibility and simplicity.

Industry experts predicted the cloud migration would stop short of mission-critical applications, though, because of the prevalent belief that on-premises systems are more secure than those in the cloud. Instead, cloud adoption has accelerated because of users yearning for simplicity, convenience and lower cost of ownership.

Now, it’s clear that cloud apps are the future for enterprises. However, the benefits of the cloud can be negated if it leaves a business exposed to security breaches and compliance issues.

The Cloud Enterprise Needs To Be Secure

An organization’s security profile changes with the cloud for a variety of reasons. First, enterprises must grapple with the explosion of cloud apps that can be procured outside of IT’s purview, as well as manage and enable a globally distributed workforce that blurs the lines between employees, contractors and partners. Complicating this new security dynamic is the fact that even as enterprises aggressively move to a cloud-first IT strategy, they will realistically need to manage legacy applications that reside on-premises for the foreseeable future.


This is further compounded by the evaporation of the network perimeter. Attacks are no longer made against an enterprise’s network defenses as much as phishing and social engineering attempts are made against its users. Network and endpoint security simply aren’t enough. More than ever before, organizations need to understand protecting identity is critical, and in many cases, it’s the only linkage IT and security have between the user and the applications and the data they can access.

Successfully managing the adoption of SaaS applications – and securely migrating to a cloud enterprise – requires identity governance.

Leverage Identity Governance

Securing the cloud enterprise can be done; the question is how? By taking a user-centric approach to cloud security to make sure you’re managing what applications and data your customers, partners and contractors – your identities – can access, as well as what can be done with that access.

There are four key requirements to securing the cloud enterprise:

•        Connect to everything. Your identity governance solution must be able to connect to all an enterprise’s systems, from the legacy applications that have been in use for years to the SaaS applications that are being adopted today.

•        See everything. You need visibility to all the information about an identity, across all the applications an enterprise uses, all the data they have, and across all users – no matter where they are located or what devices they may use.

•        Govern everything. You need to know who does have access, who should have access, and what users are doing with their access on all your applications for all your users and for all your data.

•        Empower everyone. Let your users work how they like to work, wherever they are and on whatever device they want to use.

The dynamic and complex nature of securing access while enabling cloud applications requires a new approach. Managing shadow IT accounts and securing these within established IT governance parameters is a particular challenge that IT teams must be on top of. Not securing these accounts to a high enough standard could have damaging effects in terms of asset loss, causing further internal disruption.

One approach is for IT to become a “cloud service provider” – an internal market and a central resource that provides identity and access services to departments, making it easy for users to gain access to cloud applications while simultaneously ensuring that security and compliance requirements are met.

Rather than have employees scouring the web for cloud applications, IT can instead deploy apps that have been tested and pre-approved. This, in turn, provides IT departments with a holistic view of employee activity across the cloud.

Another problem resulting from cloud update is the management and regulation of intellectual property and determining where the data actually resides. With company files, documents and potentially sensitive material making the move to a network of remote servers, organizations must better manage and curtail access to these important assets. Some applications may reside on-premise or in the cloud – known as a hybrid cloud solution. If an organization is struggling to gain control over cloud applications, using an Identity and Access Management technology that actually resides in the cloud will solve those problems.

Full cloud adoption may take several years, and for many organizations, a 100% cloud infrastructure may not be a reality anytime soon. But, the market is definitely heading toward more cloud computing than less, and regardless of where a company falls on the migration path, it’s important that organizations don’t sacrifice security along the way. Identity governance plays a critical role in securing the cloud enterprise and enabling that migration.

By Kevin Cunningham, Co-Founder and President of SailPoint

Kevin oversees product development, marketing, sales, operations and services. 

Kevin previously served as founder and vice president of marketing for Waveset, where he turned ground-breaking innovation into tangible market results. Following the acquisition of Waveset by Sun Microsystems, Kevin led strategic product initiatives for Sun’s software portfolio. Kevin has also brought innovative technologies to market for companies including IBM/Tivoli Systems and UniSQL.

Significant Emerging Technologies To Lookout For In 2017

Significant Emerging Technologies To Lookout For In 2017

Emerging Technologies

The entire world is being transformed right before our eyes. Emerging technologies are developing at break-neck speeds, and the global community needs to be prepared for what lies in the horizon. As with anything new or evolving there is benefit versus risk to consider. Most of the up-and-coming technologies that will soon affect the lives of millions have been developing over many years and are now reaching their apex to create a significant impact.

The Internet of Things: Nanothings & Biosensors

Internet of Things devices are already impacting our daily lives. Low-cost microsensors, microprocessors, wireless antennas and miniscule power sources has brought things we interact with in our everyday into the digital cosmos. Experts predict that energy harvesting device market will reach $26 billion by 2024 as seen in this infographic discovered via Jabil. Nanotechnology is taking us into the Internet of Nano Things (IoNT), and will advance medicine and numerous sectors like nothing we imagined.


Next-Generation Batteries

Keeping pace with supply and demand is one of the biggest barriers for renewable energy. The newest developments show that using sodium, zinc, and aluminum constructed batteries make the mini-grid a solid possibility. It could potentially provide 24-7, reliable and clean energy to entire small rural towns.

2-D Materials

New materials such as Graphene are emerging and are going to change the world forever. Think about the Bronze Age…the Iron Age—these newest materials each contain a single layer of atoms and are two-dimensional. The potential positive impacts of evolving materials are limitless and bound only to the reach of scientists and how far they choose to push.

Autonomous Transportation

Self-driving cars are already in the here-and-now, but just how soon will autonomous cars be ubiquitous? Sooner than you think. And the positive implications seem to be outweighing the negative. Helping to improve the lives of handicapped and elderly will change the quality of life for millions. This is but one example of the potential impact fully autonomous cars will have on society as a whole.


The technology behind Bitcoin digital currency is called Blockchain. It is a sophisticated mathematical process based on cryptography and considered to be fool-proof. It is effectively changing the face of how people conduct transactions and trade international currencies. The blockchain has implications far reaching money exchanges. Like the internet, it is finding ways around barriers of traditional dealings and is all but eliminating transaction fees.

Organs Growing on Microchips

By growing tiny versions of human organs on microchips, scientists can study exactly how the organs operate. This is going to catapult medical research into the science fiction age—allowing researchers to witness the workings of human anatomy as never before seen.



This material will improve the efficiency of generating solar power. It has the advantage of affordability and capability to be used most anywhere. Scientists are calling perovskites the “wonder materials” of the future. Manufacturing it is fairly cheap and the liquid batches can be formed into almost any shape without the need for furnaces. The biggest asset is that it is light weight, opposed to its heavy-weight counterpart.

Personal AI

From your own personal robot assistant that can anticipate your every need and perform tasks at your whim, to entire AI environments—this could be affordable to everyone with the emerging availability of Open AI ecosystems. This will interconnect everything around you and collaborate with your personal data to be accessed by your spoken work…artificial intelligence to make your everyday more productive.


Neuroscientists will use recent developments of visible light to treat brain disorders like Parkinson’s. This emerging technology brings new hope where there once was none. Individual neurons can be controlled by turning the on or off as necessary to treat specific disorders. Revolutionary and amazing in its possibilities and prolonging meaningful quality of life.

By CJ Callen

In The Fast Lane: Connected Car Hacking A Big Risk

In The Fast Lane: Connected Car Hacking A Big Risk

Connected Car Hacking

Researchers and cybersecurity experts working hard to keep hackers out of the driver’s seat.

Modern transportation has come a million miles, and most all of today’s vehicles are controlled entirely by digital technology. Millions of drivers are not aware that of the many devices in their digital arsenal, the most complex of them all is the car they drive every day. Vehicles are globally connected, smart, intuitive, adaptive, and loaded with assistive technology and because of this—vulnerable to attack.

Over the last year researcher have been conducting numerous proof-of-concept demonstrations to test the vulnerability of connected cars. Results are staggering, and range from potential hackers gaining unwarranted entry to completely appropriating control over the car. This includes controlling the media console and radio to actually hi-jacking pilot controls—steering, accelerating and braking.

It is a scary concept for consumers to think that their car can be taken over by hackers, fully controlled and stolen without the thief ever physically touching it. New research suggests that the only way to avoid security breaches is by integrating cybersecurity, cyber forensics and social media with advanced mobile cloud processing.

With completely autonomous cars on the horizon for the average consumer, and connected smart cars already in the mainstream, upping the ante in advancing security for our cars is at the forefront of cybersecurity research and IT specialist’s testing. Because once a hacker is in—he can pretty much do whatever he wants with your vehicle.

If protecting the safety of your own car isn’t enough to worry about—people who use Uber are about to have something else to worry about thrown at them. The company is launching a small brigade of about 100 driverless taxis in Pittsburgh. The fully autonomous vehicles are specially designed Volvos that will be picking up unsuspecting Uber customers.


(Image Credit: The Newswheel)

Initially there will be a person who sits in the front seat to monitor safety and to satisfy the regulation that currently prohibits cars from driving around without a human in the driver’s seat. If all goes well in Pittsburgh, it is likely that Uber will roll out their cars all over metro cities. For the testing period, customers receive their ride for free.

It is a grand idea, but in the scale of things, some worry that driverless taxis only invite hackers into another realm of illegal possibilities. The question remains whether people will take their ride from a car with no driver, which is where it is heading once legislation allows cars to drive around without a human behind the wheel.

Researchers have their hand full and are making leaps and bounds in cybersecurity. But law enforcement is looking into counter-hacking technology also, and advancements are evolving which allow officers to stop a thief-less car-jacking with some cyber-tricks of their own—but that is something for an entirely different article.

By CJ Callen

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

Having Your Cybersecurity And Eating It Too

The Catch 22

The very same year Marc Andreessen famously said that software was eating the world, the Chief Information Officer of the United States was announcing a major Cloud First goal. That was 2011. Five years later, as both the private and public sectors continue to adopt cloud-based software services, we’re interested in this question: how in the world do you eat cloud software?

Cybersecurity today seems to have an unfortunate Catch-22. You want to test (and re-test) your live cloud services to see if they are really secure, but testing too aggressively or frequently will disrupt, degrade, or even leave those services more vulnerable. Keeping your live services up and running is difficult: your aggressive scanning and testing is essentially eating those services — to see if they are good or bad — at the same time you are trying to keep them all in one piece.

Splitting In Half

As the title of this blog hints, running a live system and fully testing that same live system is exactly like trying to have your cybersecurity cake and eat it too — pick one, not both, or more realistically pick half of each. We’ve even heard penetration testing on a live network described as “running fast while shooting at your own feet to see if your boots are really tough enough for the journey.” (Please do not try this at home!)


It’s no secret that classical vulnerability and penetration testing is filled with wise caution, legal landmines and detailed guidance to mitigate the impact on real operations and businesses. At least one way to try to maneuver around this Catch-22 requires a separate non-production environment of equivalent hardware and software. It’s not easy to keep that non-production environment up-to-date and it demands a lot of constant investment of time and money. The unfortunate reality is that such environments quickly diverge from real operational systems, making them less meaningful. It’s often double the cost for just a fraction of real cyber security benefit.

As businesses rapidly accelerate their dependence on cloud services and the federal government puts sensitive data into the cloud, achieving more secure cloud-based services is critically important. We’re all interdependent and have a shared stake in the outcome.

With a lot on the line there is no shortage of expectations – from financial sector penetration testing requirements to a new military effort calling for more proactive testing of critical operational systems. And we can’t help but mention the groundbreaking Cyber Grand Challenge using artificial intelligence based techniques.

Government Embracing The Cloud

Likewise, as security concerns cause the federal government to step more firmly into the cloud — there’s even a these days after all — the government’s own penetration testing penetration has also anticipated this seeming Catch-22 in cybersecurity. The government expressly allows “testing in a non-production environment” to “limit the impact on business operations.” Then, in the same breath, they wisely require that the non-production environment be “identical to the production environment.” And to reinforce the point they even use italics, noting that the “environments must be exactly same” and not just “almost” the same. We couldn’t agree more!

The Clone

Our answer, then, to the original question — how in the world do you eat cloud software? Leverage the inherent ability of any cloud environment to generate and operate exact (cloned) image of the live systems. Then test those exact images. It’s a bit like interacting with a hologram, except in the cyber world the hologram behaves and reacts exactly like the real thing — because it is as real as the original due to the inherent design of the cloud’s serviced-based architecture. Once you’ve set up the parameters for the cloud service, it makes little sense to ask Amazon, for example, which particular servers in which racks you are running on, because it doesn’t make one bit of difference operationally.

As the cloned versions are setup, the live cloud services keep going while the cloned version is taking the heat. Even if during testing the cloned version goes down in flames, so to speak, that’s ok for two reasons. First, the live operational system is still running fine — keeping your customers and users happy — and, second, you have proactively uncovered an issue before it could have grown into an even larger, real one.

Meanwhile, you can just restart another cloned image and get right back to testing — no need to clean up or try to rewind time. And this approach works across multiple cloud platforms, whether hosted or on premises or a mix, so you can choose your cloud provider — or more likely choose a few of them. Furthermore, your existing investment in scanning, testing, and security tools can also be applied to the exact images.

We agree there’s really no silver bullet in cybersecurity, as it clearly takes a diverse range of tools and techniques to keep a system secure, but a service-based cloud infrastructure really does have one particular silver lining: by scanning and testing fully cloned images, you can have your cybersecurity and really eat it too.

By Ernesto DiGiambattista, Co-Founder and CEO, Cybric


Prior to founding Cybric, Ernesto DiGiambattista was the Chief Technology & Security Officer for Sentinel Benefits & Financial Group, where he was responsible for transforming a legacy technology team into a technology innovation service group.

In addition, Ernesto was a senior member of Bank of America’s Information Security & Resiliency Group and Corporate Audit organizations. Further, Ernesto has been a trusted advisor on private and public cybersecurity policy to members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.

In June 2015, Ernesto was recognized by the Boston Business Journal as a 2015 Finalist for Boston CIO of the Year.

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Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

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Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

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Multi-Cloud Integration Has Arrived

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Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

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