Archive for the ‘VIP’ Category

Innovating on the Edge

August 13, 2019

EdgeComputing

FountainBlue’s August 9 VIP roundtable, on the topic of ‘Innovating on the Edge’. Please join me in  our gracious host at Intel and to each of you for your input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

There are many factors which lead to the emergence and growth of Edge computing, including: 

  • the volumes of raw data generated by the exploding number of devices, processes, and programs;
  • the complexity of data available makes it more difficult to process, filter, understand; 
  • the users are demanding powerful, personalized, complex solutions which are secure and private; 
  • the imminent arrival of 5G solutions will push executables down faster to the ‘edge’, the device itself; 
  • the tremendous need for energy and power (and the associated expense) if everything is processed on the cloud itself;
  • the urgent need for quick responses, especially when safety and lives are on the line; and
  • the immediate and ongoing need to protect the privacy of users, the security of systems and devices and networks.

But it’s no easy task to innovate on the Edge.

  • Each solution must be able to efficiently filter out data, focusing on the ‘real’ data, the ‘relevant’ data for the problem at hand.
  • There’s a challenge to make strategic decisions around technology and business, while also not getting stuck with the decision made, in case things don’t go as planned.
  • The current investment environment is pro-software and less bullish on hardware in general. 
  • Each solution must navigate the technical, business and regulatory objectives and constraints, while also solving the problem.
  • The speed of change is mind-boggling, and innovating in that environment is difficult at best. But things also keep evolving and changing, which makes things even more difficult.
  • Memory and storage bottle necks may arise with the rise in volume and complexity of data and processing.
  • It’s a sobering thought, but devices and solutions on the edge which might be turned into weapons (including cars) have additional security and operational requirements.
  • Companies must also protect itself from financial, legal and brand exposure should a solution on the Edge cause unintended damage to users.

Below are some thoughts on how to keep that innovative edge.

  • Be strategic. 
    • Know what your customers need in the short term and for the long term and plan accordingly.
    • Work with an ecosystem of partners to deliver tailored solutions efficiently.
  • Adopt a set of Open Source tools which would help rapidly develop, deploy and manage solutions on the edge.
  • Develop hardware-agnostic solutions which are more versatile and adaptable. 
  • Adopt self-maintenance systems to ensure validity of solution and ongoing maintenance. With that said, do not delegate on management to automation. Know when the scenarios when you need proactive leadership and management and respond accordingly.  
  • AI will take you far – understanding the relevant data. ML can take you farther – it could help you understand the trend and make predictions beyond the historical data. Both are necessary and essential. Progressively more of the AI will take place closer to the edge. 
  • The speed and accuracy for data processing is essential for Edge Computing, as it is for just about everything else involving data. The ability to process unstructured data and video and the ability to focus on the deltas rather than the raw data will help solutions better manage and filter data.
  • Collaboration is key as there are so many players involved.
    • Carriers need to invest in 5G.
    • Cities need to adopt the infrastructure for 5G.
    • Each solution is a combination of hardware, software, processes, etc., Partnering with others in non-core offerings is essential.
    • Privacy and security must be maintained. Having ecosystem partners focusing on these areas will help companies focus on delivering on their core value.

In conclusion, our leaders agreed that innovators in the Edge Computing space must create an ecosystem of players and connect with players across the ecosystem at many levels.

Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges

July 23, 2019

Industrial Revolution IT Integration Smart Manufacturing Innovat

FountainBlue’s July 19 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Industry 4.0 Opportunities and Challenges’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at ASML and our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The drive for better, faster, more customized, and higher quality results is fueling advancements in manufacturing. The problems around the next innovations in manufacturing are complex, and the stakes are high.

  • It’s a challenge to integrate a host of software and hardware solutions efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • It’s difficult to provide customized solutions to individual customers and to do so dynamically in volume, within budgets.
  • There are many regulations and policies within companies, across companies, within countries, within industries. What’s more, everything keeps changing, so it’s hard to stay on top of these requirements.
  • It’s of paramount importance to protect the security of the solution, the privacy of the customers. 

There are severe financial, relationship and brand consequences if any of the above is compromised or sub-par. Yet each company must adopt new principles, new ways of doing things to remain relevant.

  • Have a customer-centric mind set. Understand that the best solutions may not be the best science or even the best engineering solutions. It’s what the markets, the customers will adopt and embrace and ultimately pay for.
  • Understand what the problems of the customer and how best to solve their problems at scale, and how to measure results. For example, consider correlating individual sensor readings to downstream measured results.
  • Respect the need for security, the need for privacy for all stakeholders while also consistently delivering quality personalized solutions for customers.
  • Create an ecosystem of stakeholders and collaborate with them to deliver solutions at scale.
  • Take a system design approach and integrate the use of software, hardware, processes and tools in designing advanced manufacturing solutions.
  • Consider adopting simulations (and augmented reality) and modeling when designing advanced manufacturing solutions.
  • Be modular with your design so that you can correct and redirect as needed. 
  • Optimize your supply chain so it’s just in time, leveraging AI to predict what ‘just-in-time’ means.
  • Leverage ML and AI to understand and predict faults, to better anticipate and address problems in general.  

It’s clear from our thought-provoking, interactive conversation that Advanced Manufacturing is the future. And this future will be seized by leaders and companies who are proactive, strategic, collaborative, as represented by the executives in attendance at the roundtable.

The Future of Autonomous Driving

June 18, 2019

AutonomousDriving

FountainBlue’s June 14 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Autonomous Driving’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Vonzos Partners and our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

There was resounding agreement that autonomous driving is a certainty, and agreement also that there are many barriers toward mass adoption.

  • It’s tricky to navigate a world where some cars are autonomous and some aren’t, but if adoption is to take place, policy-makers, drivers, vendors, auto-makers, and all other stakeholders must collaborate on a transition plan. 
  • The stakes are high in dollars and in lives, so all edge cases, corner cases and other scenarios must be planned for. It takes money and time to do this piece well.
  • The sheer volume of data generated by vehicles is mind-boggling. It’s a challenge to figure out how to best leverage the data – the real-time analytics – to optimize for both efficiency and safety.

Below are some highlighted best practices to facilitate this adoption:

  • Plan for small successes which would serve foundational needs for autonomous driving. For example, simulations, artificial intelligence, data analytics will all be foundation solutions necessary for full adoption of autonomous driving. Invest in solutions which can provide these technologies today.
  • Collaboration between stakeholders across geographies, industries, functions, jurisdictions etc., must be formed for adoption to take place. Partnering with insurance companies might be an interesting option as well.
  • Having a neutral party to facilitate collaborations between stakeholders might help forge partnerships and might make it more inclusive.
  • Computer simulations leveraging data might help in the research and design of autonomous vehicles.

Plan for these opportunities also, as we approach adoption of autonomous vehicles:

  • The passengers will have more time on their hands. And they would be willing to pay for mobile internet access, streamed entertainment and work options.
  • Interactivity between riders may provide interesting opportunities.
  • Plan for additional security implications for fully autonomous vehicles.

Below are some predictions by our executives in attendance:

  • Autonomous drivers may leverage highways first as there are fewer challenges around pedestrians, parked cars, road hazards, etc.,
  • The trucking industry might be adopting autonomous driving first as it’s more easily automated and is more profitable than passenger vehicles.

We are at least a decade away from full autonomous driving, but there will be early adopters in several areas. Collaboration and coordination between leaders and innovators is key to exactly how many decades off we are from a future with autonomous driving.

Blockchain Use Cases

May 7, 2019

BlockChain

FountainBlue’s May 3 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Blockchain Use Cases’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Carta and our participating executives in attendance. Below are notes from the conversation. 

A blockchain is a growing list (or ledger) of records consider them ‘blocks’, which are linked together securely using cryptography, and include a timestamp, and transaction data. There’s been a LOT of BUZZ about how blockchain solutions will change the world, and HYPE around bitcoins in particular, hype which has not materialized into huge, sustainable fortunes for most people.

This month’s participating executives shared their thoughts on current and future use cases of the blockchain, and talked about the blockchain challenges and opportunities ahead. Below is a summary of their comments.

Why do you need to use blockchain?

  • Blockchain solutions are most useful when you’re working with two entities who don’t trust each other, but need to engage with each other on a transaction, and also need to trust that the transaction will be executed as agreed by both parties.
  • Blockchain solutions are useful when the buyer or the seller knows more than the other party, AND both parties want to ensure that data and information is fully shared about the negotiated commodity. An example of this is selling used cars. 

Elements of a successful blockchain solution:

  • Core to any successful blockchain solution is the flexible and efficiency management,  ledgering and tracking of assets and their ownership. Defining the smallest units of ‘assets’, the smallest incremental units of these ‘assets’, the number of available ‘units’, the interim and ultimate value of these assets, the definition and conditions for changing ownership, the process for recording ownership shifts, etc., are all of essential importance.
  • Blockchain solutions must include sophisticated cryptographic technology and integration processes so that they are ‘un-hackable’. Both parties must trust that neither can cheat, and that no outside party can interfere. 
  • Blockchain solutions must shore up the weakest elements of a solution as hackers are most likely to focus on breaking in there.
  • Even if a blockchain solution is un-hackable and completely secure, others might be able to triangulate available data and extrapolate implications of that data. 
  • Blockchain solutions must respect the privacy of users.

Thoughts on how to get blockchain solutions adopted:

  • Policy standards must be flexible enough to accept quality blockchain solutions, yet firm enough to discourage corruption and malfeasance. 
  • Technology platforms must be integrated/standardized enough to support vetted blockchain solutions.
  • Banks, corporations, government, church, and other entities must be open enough to consider blockchain use cases. When there are clear and beneficial use cases across sectors, mass adoption will follow.

The Challenges and Opportunities for blockchain use cases:

  • Connect blockchain assets into physical assets (like energy, physical coins, etc.,) to get more stable value columns.
  • Hire people who are technically astute, but also flexible, collaborative, open-minded, creative and willing to learn. They are the ones who will design the blockchain use cases of the future.
  • Change needs to happen at all levels within an organization for fully embrace the benefits of blockchain. 
  • Sometimes it makes sense to build a consortium of parties to ensure the quality of goods exchanged. An example of this is to have tech companies collaborate to ensure that the supply chain for manufacturing is of the highest quality.

The bottom line is that blockchain use cases will be created, and will be adopted and useful, but only: 1) when we need to Trust in the integrity of the data/information; 2) when we want to respect the privacy of the parties; 3) when we want to ensure security of the transaction; 4) when two parties need to exchange assets fairly; and 5) when we need real-time, validated information about the assets we possess.

Resources and Links:

The Future of Work

April 5, 2019

FutureOfWork

FountainBlue’s April 5 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Work’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Citrix and to our executives in attendance for their input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The Future of Work will address the emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual needs of the whole, integrated human. It will focus on creating connections between people, and also on providing platforms, processes and opportunities so that people can get things done in the way that’s convenient for them.

All these opportunities arise because, for the most part, we have the foundational technologies and infrastructure necessary to create more scalable, more sustainable, more versatile, and more powerful solutions which make us more productive at work and more fulfilled and satisfied outside work.

Predictions for the the future of work include:

  • The work scenarios will be impacted by whether the workforce is from Gen X and Gen Y and Gen Z. Each generation thrives under different parameters. 
  • The future of work will include many people working from home. 
    • Provide them with the hardware, software, network and tools so that they can efficiently, securely and productivity do so.
  • There is and will continue to be an abundance of software and device options brought into enterprises. 
    • IT professionals and executives must be proactive about communicating and restricting what is allowed on-site and how it is integrated with other solutions. 
    • Develop and manage standards for interoperability, security, scalability. These standards and protocols will help advance opportunities for all.
    • There will always be a balance between a need for security and a need for privacy, and a need to conform to relevant policies and standards.
  • There will continue to be a trend toward working with shared physical space and shared equipment at work. 
    • Manage that scenario so it’s clear how everything can be equitably and securely shared efficiently.

Below are some thoughts on how to further facilitate advancements in technologies and solutions to fit into our new work requirements.

  • Collaborate across roles, across companies, across industries to meet the complex and complicated needs of a very demanding customer base.
  • Focus on and deliver on what the target customer is looking for.
  • Get data on how customers are using current solutions, for this will provide insights on what other services and products you could provide.
  • Accept that professionals in industries such as healthcare and financial services may be more reluctant to embrace new hardware and software offerings. Find a way to make the transition easier for them, for it’s necessary for that adoption to take place.
  • No matter how advanced we are in video and audio communications, there will never be a substitute for face-to-face communications. Factoring in this truth will help plan for a more realistic future.
  • Measure how productive the workforce is under differing circumstances. Use the metrics to optimize performance.

Below are some thoughts on some growth opportunities.

  • Although we have made great strides in providing efficient internet access, particularly in metropolitan areas, there is still room for more reliable, more efficient access.
  • Voice and video innovations will help support the future of work.
  • The data around customer usage will help us proactively understand and serve customers. 

To conclude, no matter where you’re sitting, embrace the inevitable technology, process and business shifts around the future of work. Think from the outside in and from the inside out about what the future of work will entail and plan accordingly.

Open Source in the Enterprise and Open Source Business Models

March 8, 2019

OpenSource

FountainBlue’s March 8 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Open Source in the Enterprise and Open Source Business Models’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Comcast and each of you for your input and advice. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The Open Source story is unfolding in front of us. The 80s brought us companies like HP, SUN and Silicon Graphics innovating on the Linux Operating System kernel as the first wave of commercialization. 

The 90s brought us companies such as Google and Netscape and Amazon who built sophisticated solutions on top of open source foundations to generate revenues and deliver services. 

Building on that wave of innovation, today, companies continue to leverage open source, but not just to design offerings, but also to fuel innovation. Examples include how media companies such as Comcast and Netflix are designing customized infotainment options and financial services companies such as Capital One are designed customized financial management services.

Our executives in attendance were clear that Open Source is here to stay, so the larger community needs to accept and embrace this fact, and understand how to adopt short-term and long-term strategies to integrate Open Source into business models and product and service offerings. Some of the challenges for making this happen include:

  • Definitions and terminologies around ‘Open Source’ cause confusion, especially for business leaders who misinterpret the meaning of ‘free’ and avoid open source altogether.
  • Legal and policy challenges around the use of open source code make it challenging for some companies to adopt it.
  • The requirement to ‘contribute and give back’ sometimes causes conflicts between developers who want to contribute work and code back to the network and the management who don’t want to developers to dedicate time and resource to do so because of their concerns for timelines and for IP/business reasons.

But again, accept these challenges we must, for Open Source is here to stay, and more people need to contribute to it to make it easier for more people and companies to benefit from it.

The passionate open source developers and community truly understand this dynamic. The trick is to get business people to understand it and embrace open source software while also achieving business objectives. Below is advice from the executives in attendance on how this can be accomplished.

  • Align the ‘why’ for adopting the open source strategy with the what and the how. 
  • Embrace the ‘consume, collaborate and create’ mind-set around open source. Don’t be tagged as someone who just consumes what’s there. Collaborate and connect with others, and create for the Greater Good.
  • Deliver the value-added software and services beyond the open source foundation of code. 
  • Connect with people within and outside your company and create a community of collaborators around open source. 
  • Proactively control the message your company has around open source. Make it a proactively positive and consistent message that would positively impact your brand. This means active ongoing participation with that community of Open Source activists.

Below is advice for how to grow a company beyond the non-revenue open source model to a revenue-generating company based on open source technology:

  • Package a value-add of software and services around the core technology.
  • Offer a free and a paid version with a clear value-add for the paid version.
  • Offer and monetize add-ons.
  • Ensure that everything is repeatable and scalable.
  • Go for the tall head rather than the long tail!
  • Leverage partnerships and channels where appropriate.

Consider some opportunities which leverage open source:

  • Infotainment 
  • Open Data
  • Telematics
  • Sensors
  • Open Cities
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Block Chain and Open Source

One last time – Open Source is Here to Stay! Find others who get that and know how to work with that. 

Evolution of Hardware

February 18, 2019

hardware

FountainBlue’s February 8 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘Evolution of Hardware’. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance and our gracious hosts at Maxim. Below are notes from the conversation. 

The executives in this month’s roundtable represented decades of experience across many industry sectors – from semiconductor to healthcare, from telecommunications to networking, from automotive to manufacturing. They also represented the technical, product, management, research and marketing side of the business.

There was general agreement that hardware innovations have taken place across decades and across industries, creating an infrastructure and a foundation upon which software and integrated solutions can be built. But hardware innovations are continuing to happen, ensuring that we have the Power to make things work, that we can Communicate with others, that we have Sensors to detect what’s happening in our environment, and that we build Connections between people and things.

The Digital Age rests on the premise that this hardware foundation is solid, pervasive, reliable, expandable, and inclusive.  

Our executives in attendance were all clearly bullish on the hardware innovation opportunities ahead and agreed on the following:

  • We went from a world dependent on the right materials, and more materials. Then the emphasis became focused on control of the hardware. Then the integration of hardware and software. And now the integration of software and hardware with the cloud.
  • Hardware and software are generally integrated, and will become more so.
  • Technologies and solutions have applications across teams, across companies, across industries. Therefore, leveraging past successes might help address current challenges.
  • Complex systems will become even more so, and these systems will be integrated into other complex systems.
  • Customers are tending to stay within specific niches, yet they need partners to tackle specific elements of project challenges. When they secure that partner, they expect end-to-end, reliable, integrated hardware/software solutions.
  • Forward-thinking companies are still investing in hardware innovations. The current mindset which touts the digital and dismisses the foundational hardware and integration will soon evolve a more balanced, more considered viewpoint… once small, unexpected hardware failures cause unexpected impact.
  • In order to foster larger adoption of hardware, we need to collaborate on building our local infrastructure. Cities and counties don’t generally have the budget or talent to create that foundational infrastructure which would lead to better telecommunications, better digital access – enabling everyone living within cities to be more connected, more informed, more empowered.

Below is their advice on how to develop innovative hardware:

  • Find ways to deliver the personalized solutions customers want in a way that’s extensible and scalable and cost-productive to deliver.
  • Define technologies and processes which would make it easier to integrate hardware and software as part of the customer deliverables.
  • Balance having a versatile and elegant design addressing practical questions (can it be done, is there a demand for it) and efficient delivery and customized service.

Below are thoughts on the hardware opportunities ahead.

  • There will always be a need for more power – smaller, more reliable, less heat-emitting, more cost-effective, etc. But the power must also not give off too much heat or noise. Perhaps materials beyond copper would make the power source more sustainable.
  • It’s harder to innovate hardware for the healthcare and automotive industries because lives are at stake and policies need to be obeyed. But when these hardware innovations work, the need is great, the market is large.
  • Hearables, wearables, IoT devices will be prominent both at work and at work.  
  • Software will be integrated with hardware for customized solutions deliver real-time results, leveraging AI, ML and IoT. 
  • There are huge material science opportunities – around power generation, storage and distribution, around temperature and voltage management.
  • Packaging hardware elements will see many advances and many opportunities.
  • Customers will continue to demand personalized solutions which require customized hardware solutions, with embedded software. Forward-thinking companies will elegantly design solutions which are both versatile and practical, both personalized and scalable.

The bottom line is that hardware goes well beyond a ‘necessary evil’. It is an essential technology which is the foundation of the explosive technology advancements we’re all witnessing and benefitting from.

Working together, we can collaboratively improve the infrastructure so that we can get more done faster and more effectively.

DevOps Opportunities and Challenges

January 21, 2019

devops

FountainBlue’s January 18 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘DevOps Trends and Opportunities’. Please join me in thanking our executives in attendance and our gracious hosts at Techlab, and our investment partners at Vonzos. Below are notes from the conversation. 

Positioned at the intersection between R&D, QA and Operations, DevOps teams manage IT, engineering, product and business objectives, coordinate between multiple leaders and objectives and keep projects on track. This is no easy task as technology changes so quickly, solutions get increasingly more complex, and much more data is generated from a wider range of sources.

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives around the table, with executives representing a wide range of companies and roles and company stages. We agreed that although medical and transportation and manufacturing companies might have little tolerance for errors, there may be more latitude for failures and breaches which might annoy customers, but not endanger them. Although of course, this is to be avoided. 

With the complexities for all DevOps teams across industries, it’s becoming more challenging to:

  • ensure compliance to security standards
  • document specification and other changes
  • proactively ensure security standards

Hence, it becomes much more important to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate on developer operations needs, and also fold in infrastructure and security elements. Below are some trends and best practices:

  • Move SW development from on-premises and into the cloud, where appropriate
  • Adopt Open source solutions 
  • Embrace Agile and fail-fast approaches to stay nimble – it’s more about sprints than marathons
  • Investigate using microservices  
  • Create dynamically generated reports help proactively manage mission-critical projects
  • Focus on the important data and information
  • Proactively lead and manage through change
  • Be disciplined and methodical about creating and following processes, about coordinating and communicating with other parties
  • Automate white-collar resources, but do regular sanity checks to ensure that the automations continue to make sense
  • Architect solutions well, make plans to scale
Below are examples of some DevOps opportunities ahead.
  • Over-the-Air (OTA) updating
  • Hardware and Software integration
  • Solutions which can respond more rapidly, more accurately to larger volumes of input from a larger range of sources
  • DevSecOps solutions (developer, security and operations)
  • Container security
  • Deep tech solutions – integrating AI, ML, IoT
  • Integrating digitalization trends into DevOps

With the successful running of DevOps teams, communication, coordination and collaboration converge, and technology becomes an enabler, allowing people, teams and companies to build tools and methodologies more quickly, more collaboratively, and more sustainably throughout a product life cycle in order to better to understand and deliver on (internal and external) customer needs. 

The Future of Networking

December 11, 2018

Networking

FountainBlue’s December 7 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘The Future of Networking’. Thank you also to our gracious hosts at Vonzos Partners. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives around the table, with executives representing different industries – from aerospace to manufacturing, from semiconductors to utilities, from healthcare to telecommunications. Yet they shared a common perspectives on the future of networking.

The foundational infrastructure has been set up which makes it easier for people across companies, industries and locations to connect with each other. From this foundation, we are all collectively building increasingly more impactful solutions for larger customer bases, while also providing more customized solutions for individual people. This leads to many inter-related factors including:

  • huge volumes of data which just keep growing
  • a broader range of applications to support a broader range of problems
  • a re-purpose of technologies from one solution to another, from one market or industry into another
  • the burdens and risks to the networks with the increasingly rapid evolution and adoption of hardware and software
  • the empowerment of the consumers, who are applying immense pressure to companies and their networks

Below is cumulative advice for proactively managing networks:

  • Budget time and resources to proactively integrate solutions across users and platforms. Solutions in the future will not be running on silos.
  • Assume that there will be a huge and ongoing need to dynamically balance privacy, security and access.
  • Analyze and triage individual devices and solutions which may impact others within the network. Isolate contaminants and manage the spread into the internal network.
  • Proactively collect, store, manage, communicate the data and its implications to the network, users, customers. 
  • Embrace a safety mindset, managing and minimizing disruption, while also being open to opportunities.

  • Connect your silos of people and teams and help them help each other manage the network.

  • Whether you’re representing yourself or your organization, remember that your data is important and valuable. Selling your personal data, especially your personal health data or even your social media data, may tell the buyer much more about yourself than you know…

This also leads to many opportunities as well:

  • Data is everywhere and growing rapidly. There are tremendous opportunities for companies who can leverage and filter the data real-time for constructive benefits.
  • Design solutions which manage and contain security breaches across complex and integrated systems to minimize impact.
  • Optimize the capacity of networks so they can proactively manage upgrades (no run-to-failure decisions).
  • Providing AI/ML/predictive analytics on IT and networks to quickly detect anomalies and take measured actions based on patterns
  • Adopt solutions which may be able to optimize and report on its own health and do self-diagnosis.
  • Consider integrating open source solutions into your networking hardware and software adoption plans.
  • There are immense opportunities around IoT, IIot (Industrial IoT), 5G, Cloud/Fog/Edge computing, Video capture/manage/sharing, Autonomous driving.

The bottom line is that the future of networking involves people. 

  • Factor in how a network strategy will impact people and cultures so plan your strategy for the audience you’re serving – your customers, your employees, your industry.
  • Educate your people on how the network impacts them, and how their decisions may impact the network. 

IT Security Trends and Opportunities

November 20, 2018

it security

FountainBlue’s November 2 VIP roundtable, on the topic of ‘IT Security Trends and Opportunities’. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Lam Research and our executives in attendance. Below are notes from the conversation.

Our conversation around IT security trends ran the gamut across technologies, industries, and companies. Our executives in attendance had broad and deep experience across IT security, and agreed that: 

  • It’s amazing how increasingly important IT security is for a company, with serious repercussions on brand and finances when there are breaches, and also for consumers and individuals as well. 
  • Development and engineering is growing at an astronomical pace, which means that there are more devices, more software, more hardware, more data to manage and handle, and more opportunities for compromised security.
  • It’s hard to predict security trends because privacy is a ‘whisper industry’, and leaders aren’t necessarily openly sharing breaches or incidents…
  • There’s a war between the good guys who are in charge of keeping everything compliant, secure, and running, and the ‘bad guys’ who are trying to get access to the network for financial gain, for brand sabotage, and for political and other reasons. 
  • It’s important to create a culture that respects the need for security, while also making sure that everyone can be productive.
  • There’s a push-pull between regulators and innovators in this space, which adds complexity and challenges. But there’s a huge opportunity for companies and leaders willing to navigate the additional hurdles.  
  • Security is not the responsibility of the IT professional. It is everyone’s responsibility – at work and at home.
  • Security issues will impact our day-to-day lives, not just our work life. Our cars and roads, our healthcare organizations, our leisure activities, our shopping experiences may be the target of cyber attack. Be vigilant and informed, and make proactive decisions to protect your identity and your data.

Below is a list of some upcoming opportunities for IT security innovation:

  • Solve the paradox between encryption and searchability.
  • Create a solution which allows analytics and also respects privacy.
  • Automate multi-step validations of addresses and domain names.
  • Identify, monitor, and send alert on anomalies which occur within the network.
  • Design software so devices can send alerts when compromising scenarios occur, or even quarantine itself. 
  • Manage security at the hardware level.
  • Design a solution which would weave together IP, hardware, software, operations security functionality.

Below are some thoughts on how best to stay on top of IT security trends:

  • Accept that people will have multiple devices and want autonomy on when and how to use them. But provide reasonable restrictions and policies to ensure that the network and the data are also safe.
  • Collaborate across leaders, organizations and industries to share best practices.
  • Train and educate the workforce about the choices they are making which could unwittingly compromise people, infrastructure, operations, finances, brand, etc., Phishing attacks on your own staff may help you identify people who need more training around security, while keeping them and the network safe.
  • There’s so much information out there around security, and so many ideas on technology solutions in this space. Make sure that there’s a business case for the security solution – a technology which someone would pay for and use, not just a cool technology which sits on a shelf.
  • Adopt and consistently use a two-step authentication solution across the company.
  • Don’t just have a backup, make sure that you can restore from a backup if a worse case scenario should occur.
  • Try implementing ‘bug bounty’ programs, which challenge people to hack into networks. This will help your IT and security team keep on top of weak points across the network, and may even help with the cyber-security recruitment efforts! 

The bottom line is that no matter what technologies or processes you use to manage security for the company or for the home, it’s the people who will make the choices and decisions which could keep you safe and secure, OR compromised and vulnerable. So keep the people informed and educated, and help them make choices that will keep people, data, and infrastructure safe.