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Empowering Your Workforce Through Mobile Collaboration

With mobility slated to top enterprise CIO priorities in 2015, clear internal communication strategies and robust collaboration platforms are crucial for continued success. As enterprise companies continue to heavily invest in IT infrastructure that enables their employees to untether from their desks and work remotely, collaboration software like Microsoft* Lync and Skype enable workers to remain productive and responsive — even out of the office.

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As companies have developed mobility strategies, many have invested in hardware such as tablets and smartphones in order to provide employees a modicum of flexibility. CIOs have discovered that due to their mobility strategies:

 

…employees in the field complete mission-critical tasks in real-time; they no longer gather information in one place, and then return to an office to transcribe what they learned on the road. Because workers are constantly connected, they’re always able to communicate, and are more likely to keep working even during off-hours.

 

Though it has proven to be an invaluable strategy across the increasingly complex enterprise landscape, the increase in productivity through mobility is still evolving.

 

Refining Mobility in 2015

                                                                                                           

 

Mobility is no longer a “nice to have” for employees — it’s expected. However, as the enterprise continues to adopt mobile technology, flaws are starting to appear. As BYOD and mobility have evolved, cross-platform collaboration has been somewhat limited by compatibility issues between operating systems.

 

Collaboration platforms like Microsoft* Lync* and Skype* have apps for most popular mobile operating systems, but functionality across some of these mobile platforms may be significantly limited compared to the desktop client.

 

For example, Microsoft* recently announced support for unified Lync & Skype communication (meaning Lync users can call and message Skype users, and vice versa). However, this functionality is limited to desktop clients for both devices. This feature, as well as many others, has been a major stumbling block for companies trying to promote robust collaboration efforts in conjunction with their mobility strategies.

 

Companies looking to refine their mobility strategy should consider the range of cross-platform compatibility issues and productivity limitations when looking to invest in any new device or strategy. A recent Principled Technologies test report compared Microsoft* Lync and Skype* performance on three popular mobile devices: an Apple* iPad* Air, Samsung* Galaxy* Note 10.1, and Microsoft* Surface* Pro 3.

 

The feature set and performance for the apps on the iPad* and Galaxy* Note was significantly limited compared to the Surface* Pro 3. Since the Surface* Pro 3 runs the full desktop version of Windows* 8.1 Pro, as opposed to a mobile operating system like the iPad* and Galaxy* Note.

 

Click here to read the full Principled Technologies test report.

 

*Other names and brands are property of others

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Identifying Your Mobile Device Management Strategy

Not all roads lead to BYOD.

 

Business paths diverge when it comes to mobile device management (MDM) strategy; as consumerization and mobility have become more prevalent within the enterprise, so has the variety in both corporate and customer requirements. According to Hyoun Park, “The proliferation of mobile devices has led to a similar proliferation of enterprise mobility support models. As your organization considers how to move forward to support mobile devices, applications, data, content, and unified communications, keep in mind how enterprise mobility is currently supported within your organization.”


Park states that the blanket term of BYOD can be broken down into eight specific categories that better represent specific strategies and objectives for the business.

 

Eight Ways to Structure Your MDM

 

COLD: Corporate Owned, Locked Down

Provides both a secure device and secure gateway, with rigorous policies surrounding lost or stolen devices. “In today’s world, this model has only become even more secure with the encryption of voice calls, multifactor authentication, content and application virtualization to prevent improper sharing, and sandboxes used to isolate applications and content.”

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COBRA: Corporate Owned, Business Ready Applications

New employees are given corporate devices pre-loaded with applications geared towards the mobile worker. “This might be as simple as including Dropbox, Box, or Evernote. This could also include mobile CRM and ERP applications, help desk applications, and productivity enablers.”


COPE: Corporate Owned, Personally Enabled

All devices are compartmentalized into corporate-owned and personally-owned. “This can be done by dedicating an enterprise-specific portion of the device to the applications and documents used in the workplace, while dedicating the rest of the device to Facebook, Angry Birds, personal e-mail accounts, and whatever else the employee wants to put on the device.”


CAPO: Corporate Approved, Personally Obtained

Devices are purchased by employees, but must meet corporate guidelines. “These standards can be as simple as supporting the company’s security or mobile device management standards or as complex as defining specific policies to shut off nearfield communications, camera, and other functions.”


EQUAL: EQuipment Under Approved List

EQUAL is a version of CAPO; all devices or operating systems are company ordained. “This allows companies to focus on the devices and operating systems they support without being overwhelmed by the evolution of mobility across every possible platform. However, the focus comes at the potential cost of creating a new version of shadow IT from unsupported devices.”


PEER: Personally Equipped, Enterprise Ready

PEER is a version of the COPE model; rather than the company funding the device, the employee makes the purchase instead. “The PEER model allows companies to put business applications, security, and governance onto a personally owned device. Employees agree to give businesses the control needed to transmit and support these applications.”


POOR: Personally Owned, Office Required

A somewhat controversial model that dictates employees must fund a device (sans employer compensation) in order to fulfill job requirements. “POOR is expected to become more troublesome as states increasingly see class action lawsuits that, like Cochran, are created based on a combination of state labor laws and BYOD requirements.”


CHAOS: Corporate Handles All Operating Systems

Often IT’s least favorite BYOD option, this means corporate supports all operating systems regardless of platform. “From an operational perspective, this approach often results in users falling through the cracks as IT is unable to provide employees with enterprise applications because vendors have never developed them for a specific platform. And from a support perspective, IT is constantly on the phone with additional support staff to troubleshoot unfamiliar devices.”

 

As the device market continues to evolve, remember to refresh your strategy and policies often to keep pace with our ever-changing world.

 

To continue this conversation, please follow us at @IntelITCenter or use #ITCenter.

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The New Free Cyber Warfare Range is Open to the Public

I am excited for the opening of the free Cyber Warfare Range. I had the pleasure of meeting the team at Arizona Cyber Warfare Range (ACWR) and getting an exclusive tour of their virtual warfare range. During this guide of their internal architecture, I was able to get some insights into controls which protect their cyber warfare environment.  It is vital the activities which occur inside the range do not get loose and directly impact the real world.


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So what is a virtual warfare range?


A virtual warfare range is an open-source, virtual location where security professionals can test their skills and programs in a simulated environment. You can conduct dangerous activities in a safe, isolated, and controlled space.  You can think of it like a cybersecurity gun range or paintball arena. For example, users are encouraged to hack the servers, compromise networks, break software, test the robustness of products, and even play with toxic malware (in specialized ranges).  Customized environments can be created to attack or defend.  All of which are important learning experiences for security professionals.

 

It’s no secret that security professionals need practical, real-world experience. However, it is never recommended to do dangerous activities on production, personal, or work networks as it is a recipe for harmful unintended consequences.  As a vitally important resource, the warfare range provides a free, internet accessible, and safe place where  novices and experts alike can learn and test their skills while conducting more specific activities – such as testing products, evaluating malware, etc…

 

The ACWR is simply a safe environment for learning by doing. Hacking, testing, war games, malware practice, product evaluations, and real opponent challenges help security professionals hone their skills in an isolated setting. Beginner and advanced ranges provide teaching challenges, customizable environments, analysis, and metrics. The site encourages users to go wild, ‘burn systems to the ground’, and do whatever it takes to learn and improve.

 

No more excuses, time to get learning.

 

- Matthew Rosenquist

 

To find out more visit the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range Website: http://www.azcwr.com/


Twitter: @Matt_Rosenquist

IT Peer Network: My Previous Posts

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/matthewrosenquist

My Blog: Information Security Strategy

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Intel Goes Platinum for OpenDaylight Project (ODL)

This blog is a summary of a conversation between Uri Elzur, Director of SDN architecture and OpenDaylight Board Member and Chris Buerger, Technologist within Intel’s Software-Defined Networking Division (SDND) marketing team. It outlines the motivation and plans driving Intel’s decision to increase its OpenDaylight Project membership to Platinum.

 

Chris: Intel has been a member of the OpenDaylight Project since its inception. We are now announcing a significant increase in our membership level to Platinum. Explain the reasoning behind the decision to raise Intel’s investment into ODL.

 

Uri: At Intel, we have been outlining our vision for Software Defined Infrastructure or SDI. This vision is taking a new approach to developing data center infrastructure to make it more agile so it works in a more automatic fashion to better meet the requirements that shape the data centers of tomorrow.  Some of us fondly call the force shaping it  ‘cloudification. ’

 

SDI is uniquely meeting customer needs at both the top and the bottom line. Top line refers to greater agility and speed to develop data center scale applications, which in turn allows accelerated revenue generation across a larger number of our customers as well as the introduction of new, cloud-centric business models. At the same time, SDI also uniquely allows for the reduction of total cost of ownership for both service providers and their end-user customers. Service Providers are under intense competitive pressure to reduce cost, be it the cost of a unit of compute or, at a higher level, cost for a unit of application where an application includes compute, network, and storage.

 

Mapping this back to SDN and OpenDaylight, it is important to Intel to help our customers to quickly and efficiently benefit from this new infrastructure. To do that, we need to support both open and closed source efforts. OpenDaylight represents an open source community that has been very successful in attracting a set of industry contributors and that has also started to attract large end-user customers.

 

At this point in time, we see our efforts across multiple SDI layers that also include OpenStack and OpenVSwitch in addition to OpenDaylight come together in a coordinated way. This allows us to expose platform capabilities all the way to the top of the SDI stack. For example, by allowing applications to ‘talk back’ to the infrastructure to express their needs and intents, we are leveraging the capabilities of the SDN controller to optimally enable Network Function Virtualization workloads on standard high volume servers. This gives cloud service operators, telecommunication providers and enterprise users’ superior support for these critical services, including SLA, latency and jitter control, and support for higher bandwidths like 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet. Among open source SDN controllers, OpenDaylight has shown healthy growth based on the successful application of open source principles such as meritocracy. We are excited about the opportunities to work with the OpenDaylight community as part of our wider SDI vision.

 

Chris: As Intel’s representative on the Board of the OpenDaylight Project, what do you envision as the key areas of technical engagement for Intel in 2015?

 

Uri: Keeping our customer needs and the wider SDI vision in mind, our first priority is to really exercise the pieces that the community has put together in OpenDaylight on standard high volume servers to deliver the benefits of SDN to end-users. We are also going to work with our community partners as well as end-user customers to identify, validate, and enhance workloads that are important to them – i.e. optimize the hardware and software on our platform to better support them. For example, take a look at the work being done in the recently announced OPNFV initiative. We are planning to take use cases from there and help the community optimize the low-level mechanisms that are needed in an SDN controller and further to the

 

Chris:  The enablement of a vibrant ecosystem of contributors and end-users is critical to the success of open source projects. What role do you see Intel playing in further accelerating the proliferation of ODL?

 

Uri: We think Intel has a lot to bring to the table in terms of making the ODL community even more successful. Intel has relationships with customers in all of the market segments where an SDN controller will be used. We have also demonstrated our ability to create environments where the industry can test drive cutting edge new technologies before they go to market. For SDI, for example we created the Intel® Cloud Builders and Intel® Network Builders ecosystem initiatives to not only test the SDN controller, but couple it with a more complete and realistic software stack (SDI stack) and a set of particular workloads as well as Intel platform enhancements to establish performance, scalability and interoperability best practices for complex data center systems. And bringing this experience to OpenDaylight accelerates the enablement of our SDI vision.

 

Chris:  Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualization capabilities are defined, enabled and commercialized on the basis of a multitude of standards and open source initiatives. How do you see Intel’s ODL engagement fitting within the wider efforts to contribute to SDN- and NFV-driven network transformation?

 

Uri: Our answer to this question has multiple parts. One change that we have seen over the last few months is a shift in organizations such as ETSI NFV that, while always considering SDN to be reasonably important, never placed much emphasis on the SDN controller. This has changed. The ETSI NFV community has come to terms with the idea that if you want scalability, a rich set of features, automation and service agility, then you need an SDN controller such as OpenDaylight as part of the solution stack. And we believe that ETSI represents a community that wants to use the combination of OpenDaylight, OpenStack and a scalable, high-performing virtual switch on low cost, high volume server platforms.

 

We have also observed some interesting dynamics between open source and standards developing organizations. What we are witnessing is that open source is becoming the lingua franca, a blueprint of how interested developers demonstrate their ideas to the rest of the industry as well as their customers. Open source promotes interoperability, promotes collaboration between people working together to get to working code and then it is presented to the standard bodies. What excites us about OpenDaylight is that as a project it has also been very successful in working with both OpenStack and OpenVswitch, incorporating standards such as Openflow and OVSDB. Moreover, interesting new work on service chaining and policies is happening in both OpenDaylight as well as OpenStack. And all of these initiatives align with network management modelling schemas coming out of the IETF and TOSCA.

 

All of these initiatives are creating a working software defined infrastructure that is automated and that helps to achieve the top and bottom line objectives, we mentioned. OpenDaylight is a central component to Intel’s SDI vision and we are excited about the possibilities that we can achieve together.

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Tablet PCs & Next-Gen Healthcare

Digital innovations in healthcare are streamlining daily tasks, enabling clinicians to provide faster, accurate care, as well as empowering patients to take a bigger role in monitoring their own health. From big data to tablets to apps and smart watches, this technological shift is giving the healthcare industry an overhaul. With clinicians adopting digital record keeping, remote monitoring and care for patients, and other software as a service (SaaS) platforms, there is enormous potential to not only dramatically reduce administrative costs by up to $250 billion a year, but to also deliver a new level of sophistication and accuracy with regards to patient care.

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According to a recent Forbes article, digitizing care is no longer something that healthcare providers can afford to ignore. Many industries already use technology and data to improve efficiency and quality, and healthcare providers who fail to use digital innovations to their advantage may find themselves losing patients to their competitors.

 

Mobile devices like tablets allow clinicians to optimize patient care through the use of advanced technology. A recent survey found that nearly 70% of clinicians in U.S. hospitals use tablets. According to the same study, 1 out of 3 healthcare providers report that using mobile devices increases their efficiency. These devices improve clinicians’ ability to communicate with patients and other healthcare providers, multitask, and access information such as test results that used to be tethered to desktop PCs and printouts stuffed in folders.


Pioneering the Healthcare of Tomorrow

 

With recent digital innovations in healthcare, doctors, nurses and other health professionals are looking to new mobile devices like tablets to enhance their capabilities and offer them versatility in and out of the exam room. However, with an excess of tablets and mobile devices to choose from, finding the right one can be difficult. Thankfully, with the help of a recent Principled Technologies report, choosing a tablet isn’t brain surgery.

 

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The report compared the performance of the following popular tablets based on tasks healthcare professionals encounter each day: Microsoft Surface Pro 3*, HP ElitePad 1000 G2*, Dell Venue 8 Pro*, Apple iPad Air* and mini*. The Intel-powered Dell Venue 8 Pro*, HP ElitePad 1000 G2*, and Surface Pro 3* outperformed both the iPad Air* and iPad Mini* in a number of categories.

 

The Intel-powered devices in the study offer features like the ability to work in multiple apps simultaneously, create tasks with speech-to-text, load files from USB peripherals, and wirelessly print documents from the popular Allscripts Wand software.

 

For detailed comparisons of each device, check out the following case studies:

 

Microsoft Surface Pro 3* vs. Apple iPad Air*; HP ElitePad 1000 G2* vs. Apple iPad Air: Dell Venue 8 Pro* vs. Apple iPad mini*.

 

*Other names and brands are property of others

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5 Most Interesting Security Metrics in the Q3 2014 McAfee Threat Report

The McAfee Labs Threat Report for Q3 2014 is out.  (McAfee is part of Intel Security)  As one of my longstanding benchmarks to track malware growth and velocity, this issue does not disappoint. 

Here are my Top 5 most interesting metrics, every security professional should be thinking about.

  1. Signing Malware continues to skyrocket as a practice by attackers, more than doubling to 40 million samples, a growth of over 1000% in two years!
    McAfee Q3 2014 - Signed Binaries.jpgSigning malware with legitimate and trusted certificates is a great tactic for attackers to get their harmful files past network filters and security controls to be installed by unaware users.  We will see this trend continue, because it works.  In fact, I predict a more mature market to emerge for selling and using stolen credentials by hacking communities and darknet enterprises.  Be careful who you trust. 
    “Trust is the currency of security, without it we are bankrupt.”
  2. New Malware is created at a rate of over 5 per second, 307 per minute
    McAfee Q3 2014 - New Malware.jpgThe relentless onslaught of malware production continues to grow at a tremendous pace.  Can attackers sustain this insane growth rate?  Yes.  Malware is easy to create, customize, and deploy.  More advanced and well-funded attackers have the ability to produce more complex malicious software to compromise systems and environments.  Take all necessary precautions and expect this trend to persist.  Rely on security products, services, architectures, vendors ,and employees who can keep pace with the attackers.
  3. Total Malware in existence exceeds 300 million, growing 76% over the past year
    McAfee Q3 2014 - Total Malware.jpgThe malware zoo grows every year and now exceeds 300 million distinct samples.  It is mind boggling that we must be protected against each of these critters.  The electronic world is truly a hazardous place.  For organizations, establishing a comprehensive layered set of defenses, starting at the perimeter, supported within the network, reinforced with specialized communication protections (web, email, IM, etc.), embedded on client devices, and with good judgment of users, is the only way to survive the onslaught over time. 
  4. Mobile malware jumps 112% from last year
    McAfee Q3 2014 - Mobile Malware.jpgRisks of malware on our mobile devices continue on a steady rise.  Not a sexy news grabbing story, but how long can we ignore these growing threats to our most used computing device? 
  5. Denial of Service still the king of network attacks
    McAfee Q3 2014 - Top Network Attacks.jpgDenial of Service attacks are still most prevalent but aren’t necessarily the most impactful.  As attackers leverage other tools and methods to achieve their objectives, the mix will shift and DOS attacks will wane.  Will you and your organization be ready as attacks change to more effective ways to cause harm?  Security is an ongoing endeavor and planning for the future is a requirement for sustaining a strong posture.  Past successes won’t stop attackers in the future.  As Sun Tsu said over 2 thousand years ago, persistence is not important in combat, only victory.  Think ahead and prepare for how the threats will evolve.  It is your move.

 

Twitter: @Matt_Rosenquist

IT Peer Network: My Previous Posts

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/matthewrosenquist

My Blog: Information Security Strategy

 

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Keeping Patient Data Safe from Evolving Threats

The healthcare industry’s digital transformation calls for shifting the burden of care from the system to the patient. Technology is helping to lead this charge, as evidenced by the growing number of patients who are now able to track their own health information as well as generate data that previously was unavailable to physicians and other care providers. With the 2nd Annual Healthcare Cyber Security Summit this month – and the attack vectors targeting the industry having changed over the past couple years – it’s a good time to revisit the topic.

 

Mobile devices, EMRs, HIEs, cloud computing, telemedicine and other technologies are now common to healthcare settings, incrementally delivering on their promise to stretch resources and lower costs. But along with these new capabilities come new threats to patient data and the organizations responsible for managing it. Such threats are reflected through the rise of HIPAA data breaches from 2012-2013, as well as in the increase of state- and corporate-sponsored cyber attacks targeting medical device makers in 2014. As a recent webinar presented by NaviSite pointed out: the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) also raises the stakes for healthcare organizations, as reflected by Europol’s recent warning about IoT and the FDA’s determination that some 300 medical devices are vulnerable to attack.

 

In April, the FBI issued a sobering notification to healthcare organizations stating that the industry is “…not technically prepared to combat against cyber criminals, basic cyber intrusion tactics, techniques and procedures…” Nor is it ready for some of the more advanced persistent threats facing the industry.

 

It doesn’t help that medical records are considered up to 50 times more valuable on the black market than credit card records.

 

Whether through HIPAA data breaches, malware, phishing emails, sponsored cyber-attacks, or threats surrounding the evolving Internet of Things, the emerging threats in healthcare cannot go unaddressed. Security experts say cyber criminals increasingly are targeting the industry because many healthcare organizations still rely on outdated computer systems lacking the latest security features.

 

With so many mobile and internet-connected devices located in healthcare settings, determining how to secure them should be a top priority. That means developing and implementing strategies that make anti-virus, encryption, file integrity and data management a top priority.

 

Security experts report that, ultimately, data correlation is the key. What is important for healthcare organizations is having a system in place that empowers threat identification, classification, system analysis, and a manual review process that offsets human error, enabling 100 percent certainty regarding potential incidents.

 

With this in mind, how is your organization safeguarding against cyber threats? Do you rely on an in-house cybersecurity team, or has your organization partnered with a managed security service provider for this type of service?

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5 Questions for Dr. David J. Cook, Professor of Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic

Patient data and analytics are vital to the healthcare experience today. To learn more, we recently caught up with Dr. David J. Cook, professor of anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic, who also has an appointment in the engineering section for the Center of the Science of Healthcare Delivery.

Dr. Cook built MC Health Connection, a cloud-based architecture designed to alter care models and improve the patient experience. Using a tablet, patients, family members and physicians can track their progress with recovery following surgery. In the video below, Dr. Cook shares his thoughts on the three elements for changing care models.

 

Intel: How can wearables and big data work together to improve healthcare?

 

Cook: The first element in the evolution of care is in acquiring data from patients in non-intrusive ways that integrate with their daily lifestyles. We need to give patients the opportunity to share insights into their daily health cycles, which would lead to early detection of disease and ultimately improve the quality of their lives.

 

The second element is connecting patient-generated data to a gateway so that it can inform decisions. Data alone is not enough and the clinical care model is not sufficient unless it has useful and actionable patient health data.

 

The third element is connecting that gateway to a healthcare infrastructure that is accessible to both patients and their healthcare providers. These elements are just beginning to work together to create an intelligent healthcare model.

 

Intel: What can you imagine for the future of healthcare?

 

Cook: We need to shift our thinking and be ready to participate in healthcare models that empower patients to contribute and engage in their own healthcare. The future is shifting away from a passive delivery model to one that focuses on real-time patient engagement. This is probably the fundamental philosophical and social transition that’s going to occur in healthcare.

 

The way we engage with the world is shifting how we live our daily lives—whether that’s in how we bank, plan our travel or decide where to eat or what to buy. It’s reasonable for patients to expect that we deliver healthcare models that connect to modern technologies that can greatly improve their health and longevity.

 

 

Intel: How have patient needs changed in the past 100 years?

 

Cook: In the past, there was a belief that illnesses were just something that happened to patients. Therefore, the responsibility for patient wellness fell entirely on someone who typically didn’t give much thought to preventative care. Now, that model is certainly suitable for acute appendicitis, or typhoid fever, or getting run over by a wagon, but that psychosocial model doesn’t work for diabetes. It doesn’t work for hypertension. It doesn’t work for obesity, which is among the ailments affecting the majority of the patients that we see today. That transition is incredibly important.

 

Intel: How is big data changing your approach to patient care?

 

Cook: Technology has changed what I do tremendously. Technology is radically changing the work experience of physicians; its impact on my own work is extraordinary. I’m an anesthesiologist and I work in cardiac surgery—we get data on multiple physiologic parameters every second. When you have that much data it begins to add amazing amounts of value.

 

The amount of data that we have now provides a remarkable patient safety net. We can now pull data and identify certain patterns that require immediate physician attention. We didn’t have that in the past. This is a completely transformative way of delivering healthcare.

 

Intel: What keeps you up at night?

 

Cook: What keeps me up at night, more than anything else, is frustration at the slow pace forward. What is needed is so absolutely and clearly evident. Yet there seems to be an effort to reach a large comprehensive platform solution, as opposed to creating a variety of smaller solutions that you can test on a relatively small scale. It feels like every week and every month that goes by there’s this pressing need in the United States and elsewhere for cost-effective healthcare that’s of high quality. The way to that is relatively straightforward, I think.

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Stealing Certificates to Sign Malware will be the Next Big Market for Hackers

Danger 2.jpgHackers are always on the lookout for new ways to monetize their activities.  We know cyber attackers have the first-move advantage and are currently outpacing security capabilities and implementations.  Even now, they run undetected and unabated through the networks of many large and respected companies and government sites.  When they are detected or choose to show their position, what makes news is the breach, data loss, and potential financial liabilities.  What is rarely spoken of is how such incidents on trusted organizations can be used to greatly amplify broader cyber-attacks across the systems of other entities and their respective customer base.

 

As attackers are rummaging and shopping around compromised networks, one of the highly valued targets are the certificates of the host.  These are used when communication, updates, and applications are sent to customers and partners to validate content is coming from a legitimate and trustworthy source.  Certainly not as sexy as credit card numbers, but in the wrong hands it can be a much more powerful tool to professional attackers.  These stolen credentials are being used to ‘sign’ malware which will get past typical defenses and then infect and compromise the computers of the host’s customer base.

 

Say for example you have a media or game company that requires end-users to install an application to access news, movies, songs, games, entertainment, or anything really.  The content pushes, program updates, and even security patches are electronically signed by the host, to ensure they are legitimate.  This is good security practice that is often used by app stores, anti-malware software, network filters, etc.  If this host company is compromised and their certificates are then used to ‘sign’ a malicious update, one which will compromise the target system and open it to the attackers, the entire community is at a heightened risk of these slipping past the security controls.  Chances are very good that recipients will receive and install code designed to hack their systems.  Now imagine that such users have this app on their phone, home system, and most worrisome their work computer.  All could be quickly compromised, at the speed of updates.  Most security defenses will not stop such an attack until it becomes known the certificates have been stolen.  Even then, it is not such a simple process to revoke usage across an entire community.  It can take years to close the vulnerability on all the potential targets.

 

Welcome to the 3rd Level of future cybersecurity attacks.  Here is my prediction: the broader community of attackers will soon realize the value of these certificates and begin to regularly harvest them as a resource for resale to discrete buyers, much like how vulnerabilities are being sold today.  Additionally, we will see more darknet services emerge where a malware writer can pay to have their software ‘signed’ with a stolen certificate for propagation to targeted communities.  This will be the next big market for hackers and will become a standard practice for cyber warfare teams worldwide.

 

Hold on, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

 

Twitter: @Matt_Rosenquist

IT Peer Network: My Previous Posts

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/matthewrosenquist

My Blog: Information Security Strategy

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HP Discover 2014 – A Recap from Barcelona

HP Discover 2014 has officially come to an end, but we’re still basking in the glow of the exciting three days when IT leaders from across the globe gather to discuss the future of technology. Join us as we examine the highlights and takeaways from HP Discover’s second annual event in Barcelona.

Day 1 – Disruptive Innovation

 

“This is a time of relentless disruptive change for businesses and for governments. Think about it — ceaseless information flows, threats and uncertainty, constant connectivity, instant gratification, new channels, new markets, and new business models. No company survives without adapting. Without the ability to question, to rethink, to change, and to renew. Not your companies and not us.”

 

HP president, chairman, and CEO Meg Whitman kicked off the event with an impactful keynote on the shift from traditional IT to a new style of IT. She emphasized the need for an infrastructure designed to support the needs of the business, as well as the necessity for agile, scalable technology solutions. With the converging forces of big data, cloud, and mobility, consumerization is poised to revolutionize operations and permanently change the way IT supports the business.

 

Day 2 – Intelligent Business Transformation

 

HP had several key product unveilings that reiterated the current focus on a new IT. New servers, storage, converged systems, and services were evidence of HP’s focus on re-imaging old technology while embracing emerging technology and future disruptors. Discussions ranged from HP Haven (currently the sole big data platform on the market) to The Machine, a computing model that will bear tremendous weight in the evolution of data processing and analysis. “Computers have basically been built the same way for the past 60 years. At HP Labs we want to rethink computing,” said Martin Fink, CTO and director of HP Labs. “This Machine, our goal — in effect — is to allow us to run Haven on steroids.”

 

Day 3 – A New Style of IT

 

The Intel booth remained a mainstay for event participants for the duration of the event; luckily Ivana Jordanova, HP sales business development manager for Intel EMEA, was there to give those not in attendance a tour.

This year’s HP Discover was an enthralling look into the progress of IT in business. The overall focus on big data, cloud innovation, cybersecurity, and mobility in the enterprise was very much a reflection of the SMAC stack — social, mobile, analytics, cloud — we’ve been prioritizing at Intel. Great things lie on the horizon for IT, and we’re happy to be a part of that.

 

Until next year, adiós de Barcelona!

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From Entry Point to Exit Point: A New Security Strategy

lockitdown.jpgThe concept of user-centered IT isn’t exclusive to the CIO; the CISO should be focusing on it too. As security has evolved with technology, threats have shifted and grown at an even greater rate. Initially, it was us vs. them. Safeguard everything inside the castle and fend off all the invaders trying to scale the walls. But times have changed.

 

Today some of the greatest threats lie inside the castle walls. Any CISO will tell you that the greatest vulnerabilities often revolve around users. And as the barrier to entry has fallen, the potential for disaster has skyrocketed.

 

The key is empowerment — enable your users to be smart and secure.

 

User Knowledge is Power for Your Enterprise

 

Brett Hansen, executive director marketing end user computing software and mobility solutions at Dell, recently wrote:

 

Clearly, the business must focus on using encryption to secure devices, particularly at the file level. Malware protection is also essential so that experimentation does not result in a widespread infection or serious hack. Beyond that, changing paradigms mean that businesses must refocus on user security. This requires a joined up approach, where users are aware and educated in the potential complications of using Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), or Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC), and aware of the need to manage devices correctly, in line with business policy.

 

The convergence of social, mobile, analytics, and cloud has significant implications for end users, and promoting internal awareness can build a proactive security culture where it means the most.

 

Intel IT’s Security Approach: Protect to Enable

 

When Intel IT began focusing on the “three C’s” — cloud, collaboration, and choice — they had to confront the security concerns inherent to each initiative. So they developed a three-pronged strategy called “Protect to Enable.”

  1. Identity and Access Management (IdAM): “We are currently building a new foundational infrastructure that will support a more holistic identity and access strategy. Instead of multiple tools and policies, we will have a single IdAM hub through which all of our applications flow.”
  2. Cyber Security Center: “[T]he command post for threat prevention, detection, and response. The Cyber Security Center is responsible for analyzing events in our environment, identifying security issues, and initiating a response.”
  3. Security and Privacy by Design (PbD): “We are driving our risk mitigation philosophy and privacy principles upstream into our application and service development. By working with our design teams to build greater security and risk awareness into our applications, we can move the needle from reactive to proactive, develop stronger products, and deliver a better user experience. To integrate privacy into our applications and services, we are focused on applying the principles of PbD. These principles help guide our development teams on privacy considerations at each phase of a product’s or service’s lifecycle. In essence, we want the latest security intelligence, criterion, and privacy principles built into our applications and services, not bolted on.”

 

We’re closing in on 2015; what will your security strategy entail in the new year?

 

To continue the conversation, please follow us at @IntelITCenter or use #ITCenter.

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Mobility — Taking BI Beyond the Boardroom

Business Intelligence (BI) has long empowered enterprise decision makers by providing a data-driven framework for making fast, informed decisions. With the development of advanced analytics, BI is now better and more essential to the enterprise than ever before. Revolutionary new cloud services handle computations of large data sets with ease and fast, portable devices allow easy remote access to just about anything; business intelligence has fully evolved into the mobile realm.

 

According to Kaan Turnali, Global Sr. Director, BI, SAP, “mobile BI is more prevalent and more relevant today because the gap between the experience of traditional BI content consumed on a desktop PC and that accessed on a mobile device is disappearing rapidly.”

 

With new studies showing that 55 percent of business intelligence users engage in self-service business intelligence tasks, it’s clear that BI has transcended its executives-only shackles and transformed into a much more utilitarian tool to be leveraged by contributors throughout the enterprise.

 

Seamless BI Access

 

Reliance on visual representations of data have become commonplace throughout the enterprise. Every business unit from supply chain to marketing has a dashboard for their analytics and increasingly need unfettered access to this information. This means undisrupted mobile access to BI information is critical. As strong as your BI strategy might be, it all comes down to how easily your team can access crucial dashboards.

SSg---Intel-and-IBM-Image-5 (1).png

 

A recent Prowess Consulting study examined how popular mobile devices stacked up when accessing features of IBM’s market-leading Cognos BI platform. The study compared the performance of a Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga, Lenovo Miix 2, Apple iPad Air, and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 when running IBM Cognos reports.

 

Advanced Features

 

While the iPad and Galaxy Note were able to access the limited mobile app version of Cognos, the Lenovo devices offered full-featured access to Cognos Workspace Advanced, which allows users to create custom reports rather than accessing existing reporting tools. Not only did the Lenovo devices with an Intel architecture offer a deeper feature set, the devices featuring an Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family coupled with IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration offered 148x better performance than previous generations.

 

The Right Devices For Decision Makers

 

BI is only as valuable as the people using it to advance the business and the devices they use to access this information. Organizations that take their BI seriously should take device speed and compatibility seriously because devices don’t make business decisions — the people who use them people do.

 

Read the full study to learn about IBM Cognos and mobile Intel-powered devices optimized for business intelligence.

Read more >

Mobility — Taking BI Beyond The Boardroom

Business Intelligence (BI) has long empowered enterprise decision makers by providing a data-driven framework for making fast, informed decisions. With the development of advanced analytics, BI is now better and more essential to the enterprise than ever before. Revolutionary new cloud services handle computations of large data sets with ease and fast, portable devices allow easy remote access to just about anything; business intelligence has fully evolved into the mobile realm.

 

According to Kaan Turnali, Global Sr. Director, BI, SAP, “mobile BI is more prevalent and more relevant today because the gap between the experience of traditional BI content consumed on a desktop PC and that accessed on a mobile device is disappearing rapidly.”

 

With new studies showing that 55 percent of business intelligence users engage in self-service business intelligence tasks, it’s clear that BI has transcended its executives-only shackles and transformed into a much more utilitarian tool to be leveraged by contributors throughout the enterprise.

 

Seamless BI Access

 

Reliance on visual representations of data have become commonplace throughout the enterprise. Every business unit from supply chain to marketing has a dashboard for their analytics and increasingly need unfettered access to this information. This means undisrupted mobile access to BI information is critical. As strong as your BI strategy might be, it all comes down to how easily your team can access crucial dashboards.

SSg---Intel-and-IBM-Image-5 (1).png

 

A recent Prowess Consulting study examined how popular mobile devices stacked up when accessing features of IBM’s market-leading Cognos BI platform. The study compared the performance of a Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga, Lenovo Miix 2, Apple iPad Air, and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 when running IBM Cognos reports.

 

Advanced Features

 

While the iPad and Galaxy Note were able to access the limited mobile app version of Cognos, the Lenovo devices offered full-featured access to Cognos Workspace Advanced, which allows users to create custom reports rather than accessing existing reporting tools. Not only did the Lenovo devices with an Intel architecture offer a deeper feature set, the devices featuring an Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family coupled with IBM DB2 with BLU Acceleration offered 148x better performance than previous generations.

 

The Right Devices For Decision Makers

 

BI is only as valuable as the people using it to advance the business and the devices they use to access this information. Organizations that take their BI seriously should take device speed and compatibility seriously because devices don’t make business decisions — the people who use them people do.

 

Read the full study to learn about IBM Cognos and mobile Intel-powered devices optimized for business intelligence.

Read more >

mHealth: Better Patient Care Starts with Better Technology

Home healthcare practitioners need efficient, reliable access to patient information no matter where they go, so they need hardware solutions that meet their unique needs. Accessing critical patient information, patient file management, seamless multitasking and locating a patient’s residence, are daily tasks for mobile healthcare professionals. Mobile practitioners don’t have access to the same resources they would if they were working in a hospital, so the tools they use are that much more critical to accomplishing their workload. Fortunately, advances in mobile computing have created opportunities to bridge that gap.

 

An Evolved Tablet For Healthcare Providers

 

As tablets have evolved, they’ve become viable replacements for clunky laptops. Innovation in the mobile device industry has transformed these devices from media consumption platforms and calendar assistants into robust workhorses that run full-fledged operating systems. However, when it comes to meeting the needs of home healthcare providers, not all tablets are created equal.

                 

A recent Prowess Consulting comparison looked at two popular devices with regards to tasks commonly performed by home healthcare workers. The study compared an Apple® iPad Air™ and a Microsoft® Surface™ Pro 3 to determine which device offers a better experience for home healthcare providers, and ultimately, their patients.

 

Multitasking, Done Right

 

One of the biggest advantages to the Surface™ Pro 3 is its ability to let users multitask. For example, a healthcare worker can simultaneously load and display test results, charts, and prescription history via the device’s split-screen capabilities. A user trying to perform the same tasks on the iPad would find themselves running into the device’s limitations; there are no split-screen multitasking options on the iPad Air™.

 

The Surface™ Pro 3’s powerful multitasking abilities combined with the ability to natively run Microsoft Office gives home healthcare providers the ability to focus more time on patient care and less time on administrative tasks. Better user experience, workflow efficiency, file access speed, and split-screen multitasking all point to the Microsoft® Surface™ Pro 3 as the better platform for home healthcare providers.

 

For a full rundown of the Surface™ Pro 3’s benefits to home healthcare workers, click here.

 

What questions about mobile tablets in healthcare do you have?

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Software Defined Storage (SDS): Just a funny way to spell SSD!

 

A converged infrastructure, meaning converging compute, storage, and networking onto the same hardware, is the direction IT thought leaders are headed for today’s enterprise data centers.  This type of Software Defined Storage solution would not be possible without SSDs.  That’s why I like to say SDS is just a funny way to spell SSD!  Let me explain.

 

A converged solution provides a flexible, scalable, and cost effective enterprise IT infrastructure.  The big Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), such as Amazon*, Google*, Microsoft*, and Facebook* have been perfecting scalability and flexibility within their data centers using converged solutions for a few years now.  Rather than using a traditional and expensive SAN or NAS appliances, a key difference in making this type of infrastructure work is attaching storage directly to each general purpose compute node, and virtualizing that storage to be shared across the environment. 

 

For Compute and Storage to converge in a practical and affordable way, you need extremely high storage performance density.  You also need high storage capacity density to meet the ever growing storage needs of an Enterprise.  Finally, you need a reliable, available, and scalable solution which keeps your data safe, and as you left it. 

 

Performance Density

With HDDs, it takes 1000s of drives to hit the random IO performance level which could be consumed by a single server.   The 2.5” drive form factor enables up to 24 front panel serviceable drives in a typical 2U server.  Given that, obviously, you cannot fit 1000s of HDDs into a single server… As shown in the picture, it takes nearly two football fields in length of standard server racks for faceplate serviceable HDDs to match the performance you can pack into one server full of Intel ® SSDs.

 

Capacity Density

Using industry standard PCIe SSDs with the SFF-8639 connector, the latest 2.5” PCIe NVMe SSDs from Intel supports as much as 2TB in a single 2.5” drive.  With 24 drives in a 2U server, you can pack in as much as 48TB of super-fast, serviceable storage into a single compute node. Several web resources claim 50TB is the size of “A Large Mass Storage System” (How big is a Petabyte, Exabyte, Zettabyte, or a Yottabyte? – High Scalability -
Coincidence?  I think not!

 

Reliable, Available, and Scalable Solutions

Of course, SSD is not the only ingredient to have a successful converged infrastructure deployment…  You need to have a balanced platform to take advantage of higher speed storage, and software solutions to virtualize the storage.  Networking improvements from 1GBE to 10GBE and the Intel® 40G Ethernet solutions are needed to provide the system fabric speed and latency capable of enabling storage to be shared over the same network used for computing and client connectivity.  Additionally, the Intel® Xeon® E5 Family of processors enable the computing power necessary to meet the challenges of today’s most demanding applications, with room to spare for servicing the additional storage and networking traffic from a converged platform.  You also need software to manage the reliability and availability of the storage devices across a cluster of converged server nodes.  SDS solutions and converged infrastructure appliance solutions can provide all the reliability and availability equivalent to a SAN or NAS device, at a fraction of the cost.  There are many examples to site in this space, such as offerings from VMWare*(VSAN* or EVO: Rail*), HP*(StoreVirtual VSA*, and HP Converged Systems*), Symantec* (Storage Foundations*), open source solutions (Openstack* Ceph*, and Swift*), managed open source like inktank by RedHat* (inktank Enterprise Ceph*), appliance solutions from Nutanix* or Simplivity*, other software solutions from Atlantis Computing*, Datacore*, Maxta*, PernixData*, etc, etc, etc.  This broad ecosystem speaks for itself. 

 

Converged infrastructures are a significant source of investment within the IT industry, and they are ready to deploy today.  There is massive momentum!  With the continued price declines of SSDs, it is no surprise that the industry is headed down this path.   Already today, these solutions are far more scalable, flexible, and cost effective than traditional Enterprise architectures using SAN or NAS for storage. 

 

Now is the time for you to revolutionize your data center, and reap the same benefits the major CSPs have been reaping for quite some time…  Now is the time to move your data centers to converged solutions.  Intel ingredients, such as Intel® Xeon® processors, Intel® 40 Gigabit Ethernet adaptors, and Intel® SSDs are the foundational ingredients to get you off the ground quickly with a converged infrastructure.  For more information on the Intel SSD products, or any of the Intel or other ingredients mentioned here, feel free to shoot me a question, or check out Intel.com/SSD. 

 

Now go be an IT thought leader.

 

-James 

@DoeboizMyers

 

 

 

 

With Intel® SSD’s consistently amazing, scalable performance, hyperconverged and SDS implementations come to life.  The consistent IO performance of Intel SSDs provide the best performance scaling as you add devices to each node, and keep producing the predictable results needed for your enterprise customers.  Scalable, predictable performance enables more virtual machines per server, and better service level agreements for your applications at the same time.  The industry leading reliability of Intel SSD products, coupled with leading SDS software solutions, provide your converged infrastructure SAN and NAS level reliability and availability at a fraction of the cost of SAN or NAS.  Hyperconverged solutions save tremendous amounts of space, power and cooling in your data center, where one Intel SSD at 25 watts can replace up to 1300 HDDs totaling 11.7kW!  It is almost unimaginable how happy your COO will be when he sees the significantly lower OpEx bill for this new hyperconverged data center.  Data Integrity is top of mind for an IT administrator, as the company’s reputation, and their career both depend on it.  This is not a concern when using Intel’s SSD products, as we are the only SSD manufacturer in the business who tests and proves our silent error rates by using high energy radiation to test our devices for bit flips. With Intel SSDs unmatched data integrity, you can be confident that the data your customer wrote is the data you will store and return to them.  Intel’s platform connected solutions enable you to jump into hyperconvergence quickly, as we validate our ingredients separately, and as a total solution in conjunction with the industry’s leading software providers.  This will enable you to deploy hyperconverged solutions in record time, and be the IT hero your CEO would like you to be.

 

*Other names and brands are property of others

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mHealth Summit Sure to Show Mobile Health’s Continued Growth

The growth of mobile healthcare is sometimes staggering to think about. In just a few short years we’ve seen advancements in everything from devices to EHRs to connectivity. While topics such as security, bring-your-own device, and cloud are ever-present, the technology that enables these activities are changing all the time.

 

Mobility is a given as today’s healthcare expands beyond institutions into more home-based and community care settings.  Mobile technology can also help busy clinicians improve quality of care and efficient of care delivery. 

 

Next week’s mHealth Summit 2014 in Washington, D.C., promises to be an engaging event that will address the next wave of mobile healthcare. I’ve seen the growth of this event and am excited to hear the sessions and see the latest devices at the exhibition.

 

Intel will be on hand in booth #303 showing off a number of mhealth tools, including Dell mobile devices and Microsoft mobile apps. In addition, our experts will be participating in a variety of informative conference sessions, including:

 

Sunday, 12/7


mHealth Summit Privacy & Security Symposium, 1:45 – 2:30 pm

Risky Business: Mitigating mHealth Workarounds with “Usable” Security

Healthcare security incidents and breaches have reached alarming frequencies and impacts. Better quality and lower cost healthcare depends on minimizing privacy and security risks and incidents. We need patient care *with* security. Intel Privacy & Security Lead David Houlding will participate as a presenter.

 

Monday, 12/8


Luncheon Panel, 12:30 – 2:00 pm

Going mobile is no longer an option.  Clinicians realize that to drive improvements in clinical efficiency and patient outcomes mobility is required to enable care to be delivered anywhere at any time. It takes the right mobile devices, software, security and improved workflows to successfully deploy a mobile health strategy.  Windows 8 features the state of the art user experience for touch tablets that clinicians demand, and the manageability and security that IT departments require.  Ben Wilson, Director of Mobile Health at Intel Corporation, will lead a panel of the industry’s leading healthcare providers in discussing mobile health success stories and why these customers have chosen Windows* 8 as their mobile platform of choice. Speakers: Will Morris, MD, Cleveland Clinic, Bradley Dick, CIO, Resurgens Orthopaedic and Shiv Rao, MD, Cardiologist, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

 

Partnerships for the Future of Population Health, 2:30 – 3:30 pm, National Harbor 10-11

This session will address innovative partnerships or projects that are attempting to develop new standards of care or provide insight into diseases/conditions in specific patient populations through novel collaborations for data sharing or analytics. Matt Quinn from Intel and Lona Vincent, Senior Associate Director of Research Partnerships at the Michael J. Fox Foundation will participate.

 

Public mHealth – Insights on Program Development and Implementation, 3:45– 4:45 pm, Room Maryland A

Intel’s Matthew Taylor participates in a session that will examine case studies tackling major public health problems, from childhood obesity, sexually transmitted infections, and child feeding habits to determining the training and technology costs for preparing frontline health workers in mHealth programs.

 

Tuesday, 12/9


Future of Global mHealth, Potomac Ballroom, 9:50 am – 10:15 am

What are the challenges and opportunities for leveraging mobile to deliver healthcare in low-resource environments around the world? Can mobile level the playing field for a more equitable healthcare access and distribution of healthcare resources in the future? In this fireside chat, Lester Russell, senior director for health and life sciences for Intel in EMEA, will discuss key issues shaping the future of global mHealth, such as scalability, market opportunities, policy, key technologies, infrastructure, and the role of public-private partnerships.

 

Wednesday, 12/10


Pharma Roundtable, 11:45 am – 4:00 pm, Potomac 1-2

Intel’s Matt Quinn participates in the Second Annual mHealth Summit Pharmaceutical, Pharmacy and Life Sciences Roundtable, which is dedicated to an open exchange of cross-sector insights for advancing outcomes-driven mobile and connected health strategies and reducing barriers to adoption. The Roundtable seeks to identify opportunities for collaboration and commitment to the development of high-impact mobile and connected health initiatives, which foster patient and caregiver involvement, facilitate informed and shared decision making, and demonstrate improvements in treatment, care and outcomes.

 

We look forward to seeing you at mHealth 2014. What questions about mobile healthcare technology do you have?

Read more >

Better Patient Care Starts With Better Technology

Home healthcare practitioners need efficient, reliable access to patient information no matter where they go, so they need hardware solutions that meet their unique needs. Accessing critical patient information, patient file management, seamless multitasking and locating a patient’s residence, are daily tasks for mobile healthcare professionals. Mobile practitioners don’t have access to the same resources they would if they were working in a hospital, so the tools they use are that much more critical to accomplishing their workload. Fortunately, advances in mobile computing have created opportunities to bridge that gap.

 

Healthcare image.png

An Evolved Tablet For Healthcare Providers

 

As tablets have evolved, they’ve become viable replacements for clunky laptops. Innovation in the mobile device industry has transformed these devices from media consumption platforms and calendar assistants into robust workhorses that run full-fledged operating systems. However, when it comes to meeting the needs of home healthcare providers, not all tablets are created equal.

                   

A recent Prowess Consulting comparison looked at two popular devices with regards to tasks commonly performed by home healthcare workers. The study compared an Apple® iPad Air™ and a Microsoft® Surface™ Pro 3 to determine which device offers a better experience for home healthcare providers, and ultimately, their patients.

 

Multitasking, Done Right

 

One of the biggest advantages to the Surface™ Pro 3 is its ability to let users multitask. For example, a healthcare worker can simultaneously load and display test results, charts, and prescription history via the device’s split-screen capabilities. A user trying to perform the same tasks on the iPad would find themselves running into the device’s limitations; there are no split-screen multitasking options on the iPad Air™.

 

The Surface™ Pro 3’s powerful multitasking abilities combined with the ability to natively run Microsoft Office gives home healthcare providers the ability to focus more time on patient care and less time on administrative tasks. Better user experience, workflow efficiency, file access speed, and split-screen multitasking all point to the Microsoft® Surface™ Pro 3 as the better platform for home healthcare providers.

 

For a full rundown of the Surface™ Pro 3’s benefits to home healthcare workers, check out the white paper, Focus on Patient Care with Pain-Free Tablet Technology

Read more >

Bio IT Data: What to Keep?

 

Based on what we heard at Supercomputing last month, it’s clear that bio IT research is on the fast track and in search of more robust compute power.

 

In the above video, Michael J. Riener, Jr., president of RCH Solutions, talks about dynamic changes coming to the bio IT world in the next 24 months. He says that shrinking budgets in research and development means that more cloud applications and service models will be implemented. When it comes to big data, next generation sequencing will heighten the need to analyze data, determine what data to keep and what to discard, and how to process it.

 

Watch the clip and let us know what questions you have. What changes do you want to see in bio IT research?

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Faster than a Speeding Bullet – The Incredible Pace of Change

iStock_000034700658LargePost.jpgIs it me, or this the pace of change accelerating as we speak? I can remember as a kid, the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas just seemed to drag on and on. Christmas would NEVER arrive! Today, as my wife and I follow our time honored tradition of tearing apart the house so we can decorate for the holidays, it seems like yesterday I packed all the tinsel, garland and ornaments away in the closet. It seems like yesterday, the trees were blooming and the grass was greening, now I look across Whitetail Meadow at flurries of snow, the meadow and the forest now shades of brown and grey. Maybe its me and the fact that I have reached the point in life that there is more behind me than ahead, maybe, just maybe, its the world changing at an incredible pace.


Think about how fast technology and communication are changing. In my career, we’ve gone from mainframes that fill rooms, programmed by punch cards, that produce reams of greenbar reports; to client-server, programmed in an alphabet soup of languages, that put the power into the hands of the end user; to the world we live in today with apps, cloud storage, communications so fast our data can be stored anywhere in the world and be instantaneously accessed, with more power in the palm of our hand than the computers just two decades ago.


Even as I sit here writing this blog (ok who knew what a blog was 10 years ago?), I am completely untethered from an cables, in fact I am hurtling down the highway at 70 mph (while my wife drives), fully connected with my Chromebook to Google Drive, my email flowing in and out, my social media streams of Hootsuite, Addvocate, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter all current with the up to the second happenings around the world (anybody remember 300 baud, acoustic coupler modems?).  By the way, my cell phone that I am using for my internet connection at the moment is less than six months old and it has already been replaced by a newer, faster, more powerful model.


Over the course of the last twelve months, we have explored many confluences of change impacting technology leaders today. In my series “The CIO is Dead! Long Live the CIO”, we have looked at SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud), along with marketing technology, appification, gamification and other changes. It is mindboggling! How is a CIO, who is responsible for delivering value to the their business, at the same time protecting its informational assets, all the while “keeping the lights on” for millions of dollars of legacy, equipment supposed to keep up?


There are no easy answers (sorry, if you were looking for one, you will have to look elsewhere, but in the mean time…read on), however focusing on three key areas can make the job a bit easier: People, Partners, Platform.


People

It has always been important to surround yourself with talented people, however, the faster things change around you, it is paramount to have “the right people in the right seat on the bus” (thanks Jim Collins). You have to build a team that has complementary skills to your own, one that wholeheartedly embraces change, and one that is focused on business from top to bottom.


Obtaining and retaining the right people can be incredibly difficult. Bringing people in who have complementary skills to yours can be frightening, they will be better at some things than you are. Perhaps when you are considering technical skills, this is easier to swallow. After all, the last time I wrote code, I used COBOL on a 3270 Terminal. But what if you brought someone in who was better at building relationships than you, or better at communicating than you, or better at visioning the future than you? It could be very intimidating.


Finding people that embrace change can be very challenging, even in technology. There are many who like to hold on to what they know. Case in point: several years ago we changed our email platform. We moved from a traditional on-premise model to a cloud-based model and a non-traditional provider. Two weeks after our conversion, our senior systems engineer resigned. He had always seen himself as an administrator and expert on our prior platform and could not see himself in an environment without that platform. Contrast that with the senior engineer in my current shop who has embraced Recovery-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service and who in a sense has eliminated a significant portion of his job and his comfort zone. He has re-invented himself into one of the city’s top cloud architects.


Creating a business-first focus instead of a technology focus in a team of career technologists begins with you. You must be focused on the business: its issues and challenges; its strengths and weaknesses; its industry trends. You have to get out from behind your desk and be “in the business”, but more importantly, you have to have an environment in which your team is encouraged to get out and be “in the business”. There is no better way to understand the challenges of being a cashier than to be a cashier. Allowing your team the time to immerse themselves in the business will be critical to your team’s success.


Partners

I have written a lot over the last few years about partnership. It is a word that is bandied about in our industry quite a bit. Vendors say they want to be your partner. You say you want partners not vendors. What does it really mean? In my post “Three Keys to a Lasting Relationship”, I talk about Partnership, Transparency and Trust. I won’t go into detail here (hey, you could click the link and read all about it), but I want to add, that it starts with you Mr. or Ms. CIO. If you want a partner relationship with your vendors, you have to be the one to start to be transparent and to exhibit trust.


Partners can be an excellent resource to dealing with the pace of change. They are out in the trenches where change is happening, where the new is being implemented, on the cutting edge. They have the scars to prove it. Leverage your partners for the skills you don’t have in-house. Since you already have all the right people on the bus, they are probably skills you don’t want to own, such as legacy systems support; or they are new skills your team has not yet acquired and you need a jump start.


Platform

OK, I could have used the term “cloud”, but I would have lost the alliteration of People, Partners, Platform. The lowering cost and the blazing speeds of communication have provided the ability to put your data and applications virtually anywhere in the world. The cloud model has provided the ability to “pay for what you use” to an extent never before possible.


Moving to a cloud-based delivery model (in this instance, I am referring to “true cloud”: someone else’s hardware, someone else’s data center) unlocks two parts of the holy grail of IT: agility and elasticity.


Agility means your team can respond to the pace of change in business and the pace of change in technology. The underlying hardware and OS layer become almost irrelevant, or at the very least, someone else’s headache. Your team can be focused on spending time in the business to learn and understand the challenges. They can be focused on the A-C projects, not the C-F projects (thanks Andrew McAfee).


Elasticity means you can expand as your business expands. It can be done smoothly on a growth curve as opposed to the traditional stairstep approach where you always have too much or too little capacity. However it also provides the ability to contract when needed. I know, no one likes to think about their business contracting, but…it happens…it happens a lot! Having the ability to pay for what you use provides the ability to scale down when needed so you are ready to leverage the next growth cycle when it comes.


While the pace of change is not likely to slow down anytime soon, leveraging People, Partners, and Platform can help you with the peace of mind that you CAN keep up, maybe even stay a step ahead.


This is a continuation of a series of posts titled “The CIO is Dead! Long Live the CIO!” looking at the confluence of changes impacting the CIO and IT leadership. #CIOisDead. Next up “It’s a Small World After All – Globalization and the Impact on the CIO”.

Jeffrey Ton is the SVP of Corporate Connectivity and Chief Information Officer for Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, providing vision and leadership in the continued development and implementation of the enterprise-wide information technology and marketing portfolios, including applications, information & data management, infrastructure, security and telecommunications.


Find him on LinkedIn.

Follow him on Twitter (@jtongici)

Add him to your circles on Google+

Check out more of his posts on Intel’s IT Peer Network

Read more from Jeff on Rivers of Thought

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