Last month I talked about cybercrime as big business and how crime rings take advantage of point of sale (PoS) technology to collect and sell the data they gather. I’d like to build on that conversation, using a new study from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) that takes an in-depth look at the underlying economy driving cybercrime.
I had the opportunity to talk to HPE researchers involved with this report, and they told me that cybercriminals operate their business in much the same way that any other small business person does. They seek out people who are skilled in different areas – not just computer programmers, but also, say, those with good financial chops or a talent for marketing. They recruit and vet potential employees. The biggest differences between their business operation and yours are that theirs is involved in illegal activities and it is all done anonymously. That’s right – these folks operate under their online alias so you probably will never know anyone’s true identity. It’s a business model that is based primarily on trust and reputation within the Dark Web.
Why should you care about these cybercriminal business ventures? They are your competitors, according to Kerry Matre, senior manager, Security Portfolio Marketing with HPE. Maybe they aren’t going head-to-head with you in a specific industry, but they are looking at how you use technology and the type of data you collect in the course of everyday business, and they are coming up with ways on how to target attacks against that data.
This spring will mark the fifth anniversary of the devastating tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., on Sunday, May 22, 2011. The tornado killed 161 people and caused nearly $3 billion in damage. Keith Stammer was the Joplin/Jasper County director of Emergency Management and is today. He talked recently about the recovery and lessons learned in Joplin.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the 2011 tornado. How has the recovery gone?
Recovery is going pretty well; everything is cleaned up. We got that done in short order. The problem here is coming back with housing. Joplin has more rentals than it has homeownership, so we have a lot of low- and moderate-income people who need places to stay. If you’ve ever done that, particularly with state and federal tax credits, it takes a while.
We were warned that this would take some time, but I was hoping it wouldn’t take as long as they thought. That being said, we’ve gained back what little of the population we lost. We actually have a few more residents than we had prior to the tornado, and unemployment is running under 5 percent. The other big thing that helped Joplin was that we basically live off sales tax and not off property tax, and the sales tax did not go down in terms of revenue. In fact, it went up because everyone wanted to rebuild. So that helped us from a financial standpoint in terms of not losing anything.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining momentum across industries as organizations strive to compete using data. Gartner estimates by 2020, 25 billion connected "things" will be in use. Whether it's weather monitors out in the field or wearables, companies are getting insights that were previously not possible and achieving new levels of automation. The question is whether the devices are enterprise ready.
"Enterprises adopting IoT devices have to support enterprise standards with authentication, encryption, and protocols," said Andy Beier, director of engineering at BI software vendor Domo, in an interview. "The greatest barrier to IoT data flow is that these devices are not created with an enterprise standard, making it more difficult for companies to benefit."
Even when IoT devices are built for enterprise use, there's no guarantee they'll work together. In smart commercial buildings, for example, different manufacturers are working to get their devices to communicate via APIs or an orchestration platform, but the process isn't necessarily plug-and-play or any-to-any simple yet.
Global companies have been embracing socially responsible spending projects to build stronger relationships with local communities. The idea makes a lot of sense and real projects can result in real benefits.
As with any significant source of money, there are risks. Major global companies have been caught in some embarrassing situations, some of which can have real legal and reputational consequences.
Think of the irony of these situations – in an attempt to promote the goodwill of the company in emerging markets, companies spend large amounts of money, only to find out later that foreign leaders have lined their pockets with the funds to the detriment of the locally intended beneficiaries.
The value proposition of the public cloud is pretty clear. Indeed, there are few companies today that aren’t taking advantage of it in some way. The benefits of a private cloud can be a bit more challenging to define.
Jim Rapoza, editorial director and senior analyst at the Aberdeen Group, has seen the innovative ways in which many companies have effectively implemented a private cloud. Here, he shares some of its use cases, and recommends what companies should focus on when building one.
According to Rapoza, one of the main reasons to implement a private cloud is to gain better management over your virtualized infrastructure and be able to better provide services to end users and the business.
The enterprise has seen many a storage war over the decades, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say many battles of a single storage war. The latest of these pitted the rival cloud providers in a contest to see who could deliver more capacity at the lowest cost.
But even as this phase is winding down, a new one is emerging for the heart and soul of Big Data and IoT data preservation. And the field of battle is no longer on the drive level but in memory subsystems, which are proving to be a lot more versatile than their traditional roles as high-speed cache and random access devices would suggest.
The big breakthrough came earlier this week when IBM announced major improvements to its phase-change memory (PCM) technology that boosts performance way past Flash technologies on a number of key parameters while maintaining relative price parity. According to a paper presented to the IEEE International Memory Workshop in Paris, the company says it can now reliably store three bits per cell in a standard 64k-cell array that has been pre-cycled more than a million times and maintained at temperatures as high as 167°F. This provides a write endurance that is a thousand times better than Flash while at the same time maintaining random access and write-in-place capabilities that Flash does not have. The company plans to implement the technology as a cluster-level and data center solution, pairing it with low-latency networking for data-intensive applications. (Disclosure: I provide web content services for IBM.)
As mobility has enabled us to work anywhere, the spaces we occupy are now material to the productivity and outcomes we achieve. Quite simply, these spaces and their attributes have an effect on how we work.
Collaborative, activity-based work has become the new default workstyle. It not only embraces the concepts of increased consumerization and mobility, but also the human need to work closely with others.
There is a growing delta, however, between the experiences that we achieve when we collaborate remotely using tools, like GoToMeeting or Skype for Business, and the experiences we have when collaborating physically, in meeting or conference rooms.
SAN MATEO, Calif. – Searchmetrics today announced it has secured nearly $8 million in new financing to fuel new growth opportunities and initiatives for the company’s award-winning search optimization and content performance software suite.
Searchmetrics, a leading vendor of global SEO software and analytics tools, has raised more than $31 million in equity funding over five rounds since it was founded in late 2007. Major investors include Holtzbrinck Digital and Iris Capital. The new financing, a 7 million euro ($7.96 million US) debt facility, comes from Kreos Capital, Europe’s leading provider of growth debt financing to high-growth companies.
“In Kreos, we found an ideal partner to refine and expand our investments in the product and in customer service,” said Searchmetrics Chief Executive Officer Volker Smid. “We look forward to continuing the momentum seen in the first five months of the year.”
Companies large and small are moving from understanding and executing classical search optimization techniques into creating holistic online marketing strategies. The latest financing round will provide capital for Searchmetrics to implement a plan for new innovations in the field via unique and data-driven products features and services.
Headquartered in Berlin, with offices in London, New York and San Mateo, Searchmetrics delivers data analytics across 27 countries to help companies improve their positioning in search engine results. The Searchmetrics Suite™, now in its sixth generation, in early May was named “Best SEO Software Suite” by the European Search Awards.
In 2015, global sales rose 74 percent over a year earlier, while U.S. saw growth of almost 140 percent. In March, Searchmetrics introduced Mobile App Rankings, giving businesses a unique new tool to track a particular application’s performance against competitors.
Google and other search engines are increasingly displaying mobile apps as potential answers to user queries in mobile search results, making search an important channel for driving app installs and attracting traffic, engagement and app conversions.
The Enterprise software Searchmetrics Suite™ contains the world’s largest global and historical database, spanning search, content, PPC, social and mobile. The software includes rankings of more than 120 million domains and one billion URLs. Searchmetrics Suite™ monitors more than 600 million keywords.
Changing search technology has forced SEO platform providers to up their games. These changes have created an entirely new search paradigm - search and content optimization. And since search engines have put a fence around a lot of their data, SEO platforms need to bring their own rich data to the party - and powerful tools to analyze it.
There’s only one search platform that owns its data: Searchmetrics, the world’s #1 SEO and content performance platform. We don’t rely on data from third parties. Our historical database spans seven years and contains over 250 billion pieces of information, such as keyword rankings, search terms, social links and backlinks. It includes global, mobile and local data covering organic and paid search, as well as social media. We have the largest global reach of any SEO platform, crawling the Web every day in more than 130 countries.
Searchmetrics monitors and reveals the full business available to you online. We provide our customers with a competitive advantage and help them identify new business opportunities by exposing the content consumers are engaging with on industry and competitors’ sites. Our Visibility Score - trusted by reputable media sources such as The New York Times, Bloomberg and The Guardian - reliably indicates your online presence.
We provide the insights our customers need to deliver results. Searchmetrics guides SEOs and content marketers with suggestions for creating content that improves relevance and boosts conversions. It shows the connection between social media links and overall engagement. And its analytics make clear which content performs the best and how an organization’s content performs against its competitors.
With Marcus Tober, one of the top 10 SEO minds in the world, leading Searchmetrics’ product development, we have over 100,000 users worldwide, many of whom are respected brands such as T-Mobile, eBay, TripAdvisor, Siemens and Symantec. They depend on Searchmetrics and our 10 years of product innovation to maximize their online performance.
We are the future of search. Today.
About Kreos Capital
Kreos Capital is the leading provider of growth debt financing to high-growth companies in Europe and Israel with revenues up to EUR 200 million. Since 1998, as the pioneer growth debt provider across Europe and Israel, Kreos has completed over 400 transactions and committed more than EUR 1.4 billion in 15 different countries. Kreos is dedicated to supporting management teams and their equity investors with flexible loan structures for all stages of a growth company’s development and to address the needs for growth capital, working capital, acquisition financings, lower mid-market buy-outs, roll-up strategies, banks re-financings as well as pre- and post-IPO financings. Kreos’s most recent fund, Kreos V, was launched in January 2016 and has EUR 400 million of equity commitments from top-tier institutional investors. The Kreos global team has extensive debt financing, management and equity investing experience, covering the pan-European market from its locations in London, Tel Aviv and Stockholm.
Increased Unpredictability Means Now Is the Time for Your Clients to Protect What Matters
At best, hurricane season predictions are uncertain. This year El Niño and La Niña are set to make the season’s forecast even more volatile. No matter the forecast, it is important to ensure that your clients are covered for every possibility. Even with an uncertain season, Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science predicts a 97 percent chance of a named storm making landfall in the United States. Now is the time to take action and talk to your clients about being financially protected before the next flooding event.
Hurricanes have caused eight of the 10 costliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Although hurricane-force winds cause damage, so do storm surge, heavy rains, and flash floods—even in areas far from the coast. With the increased unpredictability of this hurricane season, it is urgent that you talk with your clients now about flood insurance, especially given the 30-day waiting period required for a flood insurance policy to take effect. Don’t wait until a storm is on the way to have the flood talk—it will be too late to secure the proper financial protection for your clients.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is calling for a 50 percent chance of La Niña. According to NOAA, La Niña creates hurricane-friendly conditions in the Atlantic Basin, which leads to a more active season. Yet if El Niño lingers, it could lead to heavy rainfall across the South; it has already caused devastating flooding in eastern Texas and Louisiana.
Financial Peace of Mind
Without flood insurance, your clients will have to pay for flood damage out of pocket, which can be costly. From 2011 to 2015, the average flood claim was more than $46,000. Yet in 2015, the average National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) premium was about $700 a year—tens of thousands of dollars less than the average claim. Use FloodSmart’s interactive Cost of Flooding Tool to illustrate how much it could cost to repair damage to a home with even a small amount of water.
Flood insurance ensures that your clients are protected financially against the devastating effects of flooding without having to rely on post-disaster loans, which usually must be paid back with interest. Have the flood talk with your clients before the storms so they can financially protect their home with flood insurance.
The unpredictable hurricane season presents the perfect opportunity to talk with your clients about flood insurance. Agents.FloodSmart.gov has valuable tools and resources to help you effectively communicate flood risk and flood insurance information with your clients.
You can also sign up for the FloodSmart Agent Referral Program, which provides you with free qualified leads. Prospective clients who visit FloodSmart.gov can enter their address into the Agent Locator or One-Step Flood Risk Profile and be connected with an agent in their area registered with FloodSmart’s Agent Referral Program. Your name will also appear on FloodSmart direct mailings and be used by the NFIP Referral Call Center to transfer leads directly to you.
Hurricane season will be here before you know it. Take advantage of FloodSmart’s resources to help your clients protect what matters. Because it’s more than your client’s house—it’s their home.
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Today, theHarris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management released a free mobile app, ReadyHarris, just in time for hurricane season. The app helps Harris County residents build a personal preparedness plan and get real-time updates during emergencies.
“Every minute counts when severe weather, or any emergency, threatens our community,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “This app empowers residents to make a personal plan and receive life-saving information at their fingertips.”
The ReadyHarris app delivers real time weather alerts, hosts a step-by-step guide to building a personalized family disaster plan, offers survival tip sheets, maps evacuation routes and locates local emergency services. The app is available in both English and Spanish.
The release comes at a time when recent surveys find that people depend on their smartphones more than ever for breaking news, important government information and what is happening in their community.
“People depend on information to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters,” added Emmett. “We want to make sure our community has the best available emergency information at all times, as easily as possible.”
A “Need to Know” section offers quick tips on:
· Winter Storms
· Functional Needs
· Pet Preparedness
· And More
The free app is available for download on iTunes and Google Play as ReadyHarris. For more information on how to prepare for severe weather and other disasters download the app or visit www.readyharris.org.