Category Archives: Technology

Motorola Invests $420 Million In School Security Technologies

Motorola Invests $420 Million In School Security Technologies

Motorola Invests In School Security

Every parent’s worst nightmare is the call that tells you there is a security situation at your child’s schools. Unfortunately, in this day and age, more and more parents know what that call feels like. A well-drilled and co-ordinated response from all players involved is the key to managing an unfolding situation and cloud computing has begun to play a huge role in getting that right.

Telecommunications giant Motorola recently announced a $420 million investment in the SchoolSafetyFund that is “designed to meet the needs of early adopter states such as Colorado and New Jersey that have formally established the viability of direct emergency radio communications between schools and first responders during school incidents.”


SchoolSAFE Communications is a web-enabled, two-way-radio-based product that allows for communications interoperability between school radio systems and public safety radio systems. The SchoolSAFE equipment is permanently installed and integrated into school and public safety data networks to allow remote activation and deactivation, and select personnel alerting.

The nation’s public safety communications networks were largely built by Motorola and the long-term goal is to include every school nationwide in this sophisticated safety network.

Modern Day Classrooms

The evolution of the modern-day classroom and the gradual integration of sophisticated technology tools for learning is a well-documented phenomenon. These same tools and the astonishing power of the cloud are a logical tool in the preparedness of schools for emergency scenarios such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

Within the Department of Homeland Security, there is a division called Resilient Systems Division (RSD) that is designed to “rapidly develop and deliver innovative solutions that enhance the resilience of individuals, communities and systems.” Laying out its mission, the RSD makes the point that “Our nation has become more reliant on cyber-physical systems where computer networks control physical systems, such as Global Positioning System (GPS)-based technologies. RSD is developing technologies to identify the extent GPS is used in critical infrastructure sectors as well as assessing weaknesses within the data transfer and cyber physical systems.

Prime Examples 

One of the most impressive examples of cloud technology being used in disaster relief is called Ushahidi, and was developed in Kenya in the wake of the violence that flared up after the disputed election of 2007 to pinpoint areas where violence was flaring up. Most recently, the technology was used to provide disaster relief following the Nepalese earthquake. Wikipedia explains that “The organisation uses the concept of crowdsourcing for social activism and public accountability, serving as an initial model for what has been coined as “activist mapping”—the combination of social activism, citizen journalism and geospatial information.

In the US, the Ushahidi software has been used extensively in Louisiana to record the effects of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the explosion on the DeepWater Horizon oil rig in 2010.

SchoolSAFE is a vital tool in the fight to make our schools safer and one of the most valuable examples of cloud computing being put to use for the greater good. With remote activation via a dedicated IP address, enhanced notifications in an instant via email and digital audio recordings which are invaluable in post-incident investigations, SchoolSAFE is a concrete step in the fight to turn the tide of despair and helplessness that currently exists in the fight for school safety.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Jeremy Daniel

2016 Outlook: Vulnerability Risk Management and Remediation Trends

2016 Outlook: Vulnerability Risk Management and Remediation Trends

Organizations Call for Major Security Vulnerability Remediation Changes

NopSec Unveils 2016 Vulnerability Risk Management and Remediation Outlook, Finds Significant Discrepancies Between Perception and Reality

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Nov 4, 2015)NopSec released its latest report today, “2016 Outlook: Vulnerability Risk Management and Remediation Trends.” Based on a recent survey of 200+ security and IT professionals, the report examines the current state of vulnerability risk management, top prioritization and remediation challenges, and 2016 priorities.

The 2015 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that 99.9 percent of vulnerabilities were exploited over a year after they were disclosed. Organizations are not able to secure the holes within their environment faster than cybercriminals can exploit them. This was confirmed in the survey; 82 percent of organizations indicated their current remediation process is broken, and 37 percent noted that current remediation processes need major improvement.

ketts_profileVulnerability scanners provide visibility into potential network, application and endpoint risks, but much of the value of that data is lost in a never-ending deluge of spreadsheets, ineffective business processes and lack of cross-team communication. Security teams are already drowning, and more data is not always the answer,” added NopSec’s Vice President of Strategy and Operations, Kevin Ketts. “Organizations need clear visibility on what to fix, as well as when and how to fix it.

Additional report highlights include:

  • Even though organizations claim to be actively detecting threats across their environment — nearly 70 percent noted they scan on a daily or weekly basis — they are still lost when it comes to next steps.
  • More than half (51 percent) of organizations surveyed cited data overload as their biggest challenge to prioritizing data generated from vulnerability scanning, followed by lack of resources (46 percent) and too many false positives (34 percent).
  • Roadblocks to faster remediation include lack of resources (78 percent), competing priorities among internal teams (76 percent) and validity of vulnerability data/ false positives (70 percent).
  • However, the boardroom might not fully understand the importance of vulnerability remediation — 60 percent of those surveyed stated company executives are only “somewhat” to “not at all” informed about the risk posed to their business from today’s security threats.
  • Organizations recognize the value of additional context with the majority of respondents (85 percent) citing the use of open source, commercial threat intelligence feeds, or a combination of both, within their current vulnerability management programs.
  • Yet, security vulnerability prioritization is not as sophisticated — 45 percent of respondents are still using basic risk forecasting based on the CVSS score, asset classification and/or manual processes.
  • Surprisingly, only 40 percent of the organizations surveyed stated they have metrics in place to measure the success of their vulnerability management program.
  • Organizations know that improving prioritization and remediation is critical to drastically reducing the risk of a data breach. Respondents called out three vulnerability management priorities in 2016: implementing tools to improve vulnerability and threat prioritization (50 percent), scanning networks and applications more frequently (42 percent), and improving communication between remediation teams (40 percent).

Organizations are finally realizing that the compliance checklist mentality is not enough when it comes to vulnerability management, and that it is essentially worthless when it comes to actual remediation,” noted Arnold Felberbaum, strategic advisor to NopSec, former CISO, and adjunct professor in Information Security at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, who also contributed to the survey. “Properly prioritizing vulnerabilities and working across teams to rapidly remediate the top threats is the only way we can close the gap and keep up with the onslaught of cyber attacks.”



NopSec provides vulnerability risk management and remediation workflow solutions to help businesses protect their IT environments from security breaches. The company’s flagship product, Unified VRM, is based on a flexible SaaS architecture that provides intelligent context to vulnerability data, enabling security teams to visually forecast threat risk to dramatically reduce the turnaround time between identification and remediation of critical security vulnerabilities across infrastructure and applications. NopSec has been recognized as one of the 20 Most Promising Enterprise Security Companies of 2015 by CIO Review and named to CRN’s list of Emerging Security Vendors for four consecutive years. NopSec is based in New York, NY. For more information, please visit

All Enterprises Should Model Themselves After Today’s Startups

All Enterprises Should Model Themselves After Today’s Startups

Startups Leveraging Cloud Services

Never in history has it been easier to start a business and fast track growth to dominate a market. Conversely, it has never been possible to transform from market leader to market memory faster than now. New startups are disrupting the market, fast tracking growth and sucker punching the market leaders. How are they breaking down the barriers of entry and overachieving in today’s fierce marketplace?

During their initial phase, startups want to conserve capital and lower their burn rate to achieve faster profitability, they need to grow and scale fast and efficiently and they need access to talent. A Deloitte survey shows that 83% of startups leverage cloud services to gain access to technologies and skills they otherwise could not afford. The companies leveraging cloud tools grew 26% faster than those that did not while delivering 21% higher gross profit.

Building A Blueprint


(Infographic Source: Pinterest)

Cloud services enable startups the ability to implement advanced technologies and practices earlier in development cycle providing them benefits typically only experienced by older and more mature companies. Startups embracing cloud technology outperform those that are slow adopters. In fact, the fastest growing 30% of companies spend more than 10% of revenue on IT while their slower growing counterparts spend 4%-5%.

No longer is a 50-page business plan and credit history required to get a loan. Crowdsourcing and micro financing allows savvy start-ups easy access to funding while social media platforms and search engine optimization techniques enable cost effective outreach directly to customers and target markets. Expensive print ad and broadcast marketing campaigns are tools of the past replaced by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Startups, driven by their need for fast growth and scalability, have outgrown the legacy thinking of building their own IT computing platform. Leveraging cloud services for compute and storage, startups can quickly scale up or down in a cost effective manner while preserving precious capital. This limitless, on demand capacity enables speed to execution for these startups which allows them to outpace their larger competitors that do not leverage similar cloud services.

Large SaaS Investment Interest


(Infographic Source:Bloomberg)

Startups have capitalized on the scurry of software vendors delivering their enterprise applications via a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. As referred to earlier, this has enabled these newbie enterprises access to applications they could have never afforded in the past. Complex ERP, SAP or CRM application which were not only costly to buy required a complex and expensive computing platform of servers and storage, as well as, highly skilled IT professionals to configure and maintain. The SaaS delivery model allows these small companies to pay a monthly fee and the software is delivered via a browser to the users. No setup, no purchasing of expensive infrastructure and no high paid IT staff required. A perfect formula for the cash conscious startup.

Beating The Competition


When outsourcing non-core business functions to the cloud the startup’s IT staff is freed up to focus on strategic initiatives which add value to the business rather than being sidetracked by routine activity which merely “keep the lights on”. Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers sell compute, storage and backup services in a scalable on demand fashion. Often, these providers layer managed service on top of their hardware platform to provide additional value. By taking advantage of these services, 75% of startups feel the cloud enabled them to focus on strategic projects. This is one way in which cloud services enables two-thirds of startups to beat their competitors.

Cloud technology provides startups with a platform to quickly develop and test new ideas for viability. The outcome is the ability to quickly move on successful ideas while failing faster on bad ideas. The ability to fail fast enables the conservation of resources and energy two precious commodities of a startup.

Finally, being lucky enough to make it this far, a start-up will reach a phase of maturity. At this stage, the leaders consolidate their gains and look to optimize the company. The operating infrastructure and payroll are scrutinized for efficiency. This is the moment where internal systems are evaluated based on merit of moving to the cloud. Management creatively evaluates how cloud services can improve front and back office operations and thereby prevent stagnation. This exercise also enables the company to identify new methods available to startups which could disrupt their market and diminish their competitive advantage.

When optimizations are complete and the company is throwing cash to the bottom line the mature enterprise must now look for ways to innovate. Innovation is required to open new markets, products or services to increase the revenue stream. One method companies often employ to focus on innovation is to setup a fast-moving spinoff to explore a new business model, product or service and thus the process starts over again. WASH RINSE REPEAT

Now we know existing businesses cannot fiscally afford to overhaul their entire business and once to mimic the actions of a startup. The goal here is to open the mind and challenge the legacy thinking of how to build IT operations. The cloud has changed the way in which we do business and those unwilling to investigate and leverage cloud service where applicable will have a tough time competing with those that do. What builds a great startup builds a great company and there are lessons to be learned by us all.

By Marc Malizia

3D Printing Growing Traction In The Healthcare Field

3D Printing Growing Traction In The Healthcare Field

3D Printing In The Medical Arena

According to the BBC, Carnegie Mellon University researchers are exploring advanced uses of 3D printers: printing with biological materials. Having adapted a low-cost MakerBot 3D printer for their purposes, it’s hoped that their work might one day end the need for transplants for the repair of damaged organs. 3D printing, typically using plastics or metals, is particularly difficult to perform with soft materials because each layer needs to provide support for subsequent layers, but a new method enabling the printing of soft materials such as alginates, collagens, and fibrins, naturally appearing in the body, has been developed.


In the medical arena, 3D printing has primarily involved the creation of prosthetics. Earlier this week, students at Booker T. Washington High School presented a Waller County 6-year-old girl with a 3D printed prosthetic arm, complete with five functional fingers. A project which took almost a year to complete, five students were guided through the complicated process by their engineering teacher. Organizations like the e-NABLE Community are already changing the world with the combined efforts of volunteers, donations, and 3D-printing, and as the costs for these prosthetics decrease, increasingly responsive and dexterous robotic limbs become more commonplace.

Tissue & Organs

With recent developments around 3D printing of biocompatible cells, materials, and supported components into intricate 3D functional living tissue, 3D printing is being applied to regenerative medicine. Involving additional complexities such as material choice, cell types, growth and differentiation factors, as well as technical challenges relating to sensitivities of living cells and tissue construction, integration of engineering, cell biology, biomaterial science, physics, and medicine is necessary. Already the generation and transplantation of tissues including bone, multi-layered skin, vascular grafts, heart tissue, tracheal splints, and cartilaginous structures have been achieved with 3D printing, and further applications include research, drug discovery, and toxicology.



American start-up BioBots is working on making the printing of living tissue easier and cheaper by combining the ability of high-end tissue fabrication (often requiring large and expensive machinery in the $100,000 range) with inexpensive desktop 3D printing equipment. Beginning at the University of Pennsylvania last year, the project quickly moved to Dreamit Health Accelerator in Philadelphia, thereafter winning awards at South By Southwest and TechCrunch Disrupt. BioBots uses cartridge technology similar to inkjet printers able to build tissues at resolutions of 100 micrometers, rapidly cured using a special blue light which doesn’t damage the cells. The initial system sold for only $5,000, with second generation versions available for pre-order for $25,000. A notable feature of BioBots is the interchangeable cartridges which contain the necessary biomaterial, evidently to be sold for $700 each, with a month-long shelf life. Initially, the BioBots team is aiming for their machines to be used in medical and pharmaceutical testing, specifically in countries where animal testing is banned.

By Jennifer Klostermann

The Driverless Car Of The Future Is Speeding Towards Us

The Driverless Car Of The Future Is Speeding Towards Us

The Driverless Car

In the not too distant future, it’s quite conceivable that people will look back at the time when humans were left alone to drive their vehicles as they saw fit with a mix of amusement and horror. The rate of advancement in the arena of driverless cars is staggering and every day brings us a little closer to a reality that seemed like absolute science-fiction less than a decade ago.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

In a recent interview with Danish newspaper Borsen, Tesla founder Elon Musk informed readers that he expects the first fully autonomous Tesla’s to be available in 2018 and to be approved by regulators less than 3 years later. Toyota claims its first autonomous vehicles will be on the roads by 2020, while the United States Secretary of Transportation was quoted at the 2015 Frankfort Auto Show as saying that he expects driverless cars to be globally in use within the next ten years. It seems autonomous vehicles are now merely a question of ‘’when” rather than ‘’if”.

However, the technology is moving quicker than the regulations which govern the roads. The Wall Street Journal reports that “Car makers globally have been hesitant to commit to deploying such technology until governments approve it and set up guidelines. However, many governments are unsure how to regulate the technology, which is still in development and could be stifled by overly constrictive rules.”

andrew-mooreAndrew Moore, dean of computer science at Carnegie Mellon told The Atlantic that’ “I don’t think anyone is clear, at the moment, on how autonomous driving is actually going to get introduced.”

Yet almost every vehicle manufacturer is taking tentative steps towards this future. Germany’s big three (Mercedes, BMW and VW) are adding autonomous features to their cars and there is general consensus that hands-free systems for highway driving would be a logical first step. It’s the unpredictable urban environment where the bigger challenges and risks lie for all the major players in the field.

As the notion has taken hold that this future is inevitable, it’s not just manufacturers getting involved. There are questions of ethics and philosophy raising their head: What should a driver do if the car is heading towards pedestrians and the only option is to drive off a cliff? Who is responsible if someone deliberately steps in front of a car and causes it to swerve? The website Quartz has been unpacking these issues lately; writing that “Of course, cars will very rarely be in a situation where it there are only two courses of action, and the car can compute, with 100% certainty, whether either decision will lead to death. But with enough driverless cars on the road, it’s far from implausible that software will someday have to make such a choice between causing harm to a pedestrian or passenger. Any safe driverless car should be able to recognize and balance these risks.”

Google Driverless Car

The safety of the cars themselves seems to be beyond reproach and it’s likely that the number of fatalities around the world will plummet with the widespread adoption of these vehicles. The real threat comes from humans and the way they drive and make less than optimal decisions on the road.

A car that behaves ‘’too safely” also poses a risk when dealing with real risk-taking humans.

Nevertheless, the progress feels inevitable and it’s only a matter of time before we take for granted the sight of a car on the road with no sign of a driver. And all this, before Apple even formally admits that it has assembled a crack team of engineers who are working on an autonomous vehicle of their own.

The introduction of the “iCar” will likely be the ultimate game-changer, if history is anything to go by.

By Jeremy Daniel

Salesforce Gets Serious About Its Security Ecosystem

Salesforce Gets Serious About Its Security Ecosystem

Salesforce Gets Serious About Its Security Ecosystem With New Event Monitoring API

Salesforce is one of the fastest growing enterprise software companies in history and while security is a major roadblock for many cloud projects, the company’s extensive security investments appear to be paying off. Salesforce is one of just 9.4% of cloud providers that store data encrypted and they support a wide range of security controls including IP address whitelisting, device pinning, and multi-factor authentication. If there’s a concern about data going to Salesforce’s cloud, it’s a concern about how users treat that data, not the integrity of the platform.


Under a shared responsibility model, Salesforce takes care of platform security, while customers are responsible for taking precautions to ensure their users don’t expose that data to risk. That means the end customer is responsible for ensuring their salespeople don’t download all the company’s sales contacts before quitting to join a competitor, or that users have appropriate application permissions that don’t give them access to data they shouldn’t be able to access based on their role at the company.

One of the primary concerns of companies with large Salesforce deployments is a rogue employee taking sales contacts when leaving the company for a competitor. One study found that half of employees took data with them when they left their job and 40% planned to use that data at their next job. Key indicators that something is amiss can include an employee downloading an unusual amount of data. Let’s say this employee typically views 50-100 opportunities each day, and then downloads a report with 1,500 opportunities. That could indicate there’s a problem.

Another threat faced today is the possibility that a user or administrator will sell sensitive data. A shocking survey recently found that 25% of employees would sell company data for less than $8,000. Many companies store a vast amount of sensitive data in Salesforce including customer credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, patient information, and other sensitive or regulated data. Even if a rogue employee is at fault, a company can still be fined and sued if this data is stolen.

Such “insider threats” are increasingly common. Skyhigh recently analyzed data across its customers and found that companies, on average, experience 9.3 insider threat incidents each month. Not all of these events are malicious, they also include users mistakenly sharing data when they shouldn’t. All told, 89.6% of companies experience at least one insider threat each month on average. Salesforce recognizes these concerns and is making investments to support the development of security solutions that help address these concerns.

To help support customers in identifying these types of negligent or malicious activities, Salesforce has made available new event monitoring APIs that provide a record of user and administrator activity within Salesforce. The volume of these events is enormous. In the most recent quarter, Salesforce’s core platform processed 234 billion transactions, including logins, edits, and downloads. That’s an average of 3.7 billion events each business day – quite the haystack to search for a few needles.

API Connect

For customers looking for unusual user or account activity, the sheer number of events in Salesforce would be impossible to manually review. In making these new APIs available, Salesforce is making a significant investment to support its security ecosystem to build solutions that help Salesforce customers understand and manage user activity. Also, these APIs provide a near real-time feed of events that can be captured by security solutions and archived, rather than forcing customers to go to their Salesforce account manager and request logs for a post-incident investigation.

Salesforce is already one of the most secure cloud services available. Owing to its investment in platform security, Salesforce is one of the 8.1% of cloud services that meet the security standards of enterprises today. With the introduction of new APIs to support third party security solutions that give greater visibility into usage and the ability to detect threats, the company is well positioned to continue its leadership position in the cloud market.

By Harold Byun

Alphabet’s Google Points To Mobile-Desktop Convergence

Alphabet’s Google Points To Mobile-Desktop Convergence

Mobile-Desktop Convergence

The announcement by Alphabet Inc.GOOGL -0.13%‘s Google that it plans to fold its Chrome PC operating system into Android is the latest sign of the growing dominance of mobile computing, the WSJ’s Alistair Barr writes. But for CIOs the news marks a step towards the day when they won’t have to develop or manage so many different versions of applications for desktops, tablets and phones.

The company plans to unveil its new, single operating system in 2017 and, to be sure, the decision should not come as a surprise. Google co-founder Sergey Brin hinted at such a convergence way back in 2009. What is a surprise, perhaps, is that it was Android’s app-based approach that won out over Chrome, a niche player, but one boasting a Web and browser-centric experience closer to Google’s original mission…

Read Full Article: WSJ

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

The Internet of Things – Redefining The Digital World As We Know It

Redefining The Digital World

According to Internet World Stats (June 30th, 2015), no fewer than 3.2 billion people across the world now use the internet in one way or another. This means an incredible amount of data sharing through the utilization of API’s, Cloud platforms and inevitably the world of connected Things.

The Internet of Things is a tremendously exciting area with IDG projecting the IoT solutions industry to hit $7.3 trillion by 2020. This is an extremely important time for startups to get involved as there is much business to be had.

Provided is an infographic produced by: which offers an interesting look at this exploding investment industry.


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The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

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Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

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Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

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Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

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Ending The Great Enterprise Disconnect

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Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

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Four Keys For Telecoms Competing In A Digital World

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5 Ways To Ensure Your Cloud Solution Is Always Operational

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