The Next Normal What The World Could Look Like In 2021 And Beyond

the-next-normal-what-the-world-could-look-like-in-2021-and-beyond

COVID-19 is forcing companies to reevaluate their strategy. It’s an unfortunate reality that those companies that cannot adapt might well not survive.

Millions of people will have gained some experience of working from home, and many of them will have come to realize remote work’s benefits.

A common way to anticipate the future is to look to the past. Back in 2001, IP telephony, videoconferencing, and resources mostly didn’t exist—at best, they were rare and expensive, and they lacked scalability.

Today, all that has changed. Good-quality internet connectivity is close to ubiquitous in the developed world. Cloud services enable anywhere/anytime management—whether on a PC or on a smartphone—of all the applications people would typically have to be in an office to run.

Logitech Collaboration Program ensures you get an integrated video solution with easy setup and a great video experience. For partners, the LCP provides access to Logitech Software Reference Kit as well as marketing resources and product innovations to help grow your business.

Read more to discover the perfect videoconferencing solutions for your work space.

Embracing Industry 4.0: With holistic approach to Industrial Cybersecurity

embracing-industry-4.0:-with-holistic-approach-to-industrial-cybersecurity

As we’re living in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, driven by the rise of smart factories, big data and machine learning, these technologies are forming the foundational infrastructures of our industry today. By 2025, there will be over 75 billion internet-connected devices, embedded into objects ranging from smart home thermostats to control systems on factory floors.

Amid this hyper-connectivity, cyberattacks are set to explode. Around 70% of companies recently surveyed by Kaspersky consider an attack on their OT/ICS infrastructure likely. Despite this, many have yet to define their approach to implementing OT/ICS cybersecurity.

Samsung will host virtual livestream of Galaxy Unpacked 2020 in August

samsung-will-host-virtual-livestream-of-galaxy-unpacked-2020-in-august

Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020 will be be held online, in an all-digital version, on August 5.

Image: Samsung

Samsung will host its Galaxy Unpacked 2020 event in an all-digital version this year.

On Tuesday evening, Samsung announced that Galaxy Unpacked 2020 will be held online at www.samsung.com at 10 am ET on August 5.

Samsung traditionally holds two Unpacked events each year, with one event in February and one in August. The February event is typically when phones in its Galaxy S line are unveiled. 

This year, on February 11, Samsung announced the S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra phones, all with built-in 5G. As Lance Whitney reported in TechRepublic, all three Samsung models come with built-in 5G, an Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display, and a Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 processor, but each has different display sizes and different camera specs.

The Galaxy Z Flip, a foldable phone that folds into a square, was also announced at the February Unpacked event earlier this year, as were the Galaxy Buds+ earbuds. The Z Flip is a $1,380 phone with a hinge design that makes it possible to have an AMOLED screen made of seamless, foldable glass. The Galaxy Buds+ are designed to be a notch (or two) cooler than competitor Apple’s AirPods, coming in four different color options instead of basic white. 

SEE: Samsung Galaxy S20: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

Previous Samsung Galaxy Unpacked August events

There could be a range of items announced at next month’s event.

August Unpacked event has typically been when the Note line of Samsung phones have a new reveal. The Galaxy Note 10 was announced at the event on August 7, 2019. In 2018, it was the Galaxy Note 9. Both of those events were held to huge crowds at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. 

The Note 9, in its 512GB configuration, was the first phone to offer a terabyte of memory, which was achievable through an optional MicroSD card to tack on an additional 512GB. That made it ideal for business users who needed to store and access large files. It also offered an easy DeX connection, which is Samsung’s Android-based interface that allows mobile users to connect a Samsung phone or tablet to an external monitor for a PC-like experience.

Also revealed at the August 2019 Unpacked event was an ultra-thin laptop with cellular support, the Galaxy Book S, and the Galaxy Tab S4 2-in-1 tablet

Samsung Unpacked held in February before COVID cancellations

This year, the February 11 Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event was one of the last tech events to be held before the coronavirus pandemic resulted in the cancellation of conferences and similar events around the globe. The very next day, on February 12, Mobile World Congress stunned the tech community when it announced it was cancelling its conference in Barcelona set for later that month. Many other conferences were quick to follow suit and within a few weeks, it was commonplace to see a daily stream of cancellations due to COVID-19. 

Now, virtual conferences and events are the norm for the foreseeable future. 

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The most in-demand IT staff companies want to hire

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As remote work is expected to remain the predominant model at least through the end of 2020, here are the positions companies want and key technologies they should have in place.

Image: Abscent84, Getty Images/iStockphoto

As the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed, IT has never played a more integral role than over the past few months helping companies transition their staff to working remotely. Now IT hiring is on the rise to support a work-from-home plan for the rest of 2020, said Paul Wallenberg, director of technology services at LaSalle Network, a national IT staffing, recruiting, and culture firm.

The greatest demand for tech staff right now is in cybersecurity and general IT support and systems administration, the latter being responsible for supporting and maintaining systems so remote users have full access to their companies’ networks, Wallenberg said.

SEE: Budget planning tool (TechRepublic Premium)

In terms of specific verticals, “the biggest uptick has been in essential businesses like logistics and companies that serve our food supply chains and consumer packaged goods,” he said. “Early on, there was a surge in financial services,” especially IT staff who provided access between systems that connect to market data feeds and trading exchanges, which Wallenberg said weren’t capable of being fully virtual.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) “had to be deployed very rapidly to enable financial professionals to continue their normal day-to-day operations,” he said. “So there was a big uptick in system administration and support professionals with remote connectivity and VDI implementation [experience] across VMware and Citrix and common virtualization technologies.”

An emphasis on hiring more diverse staff

At the beginning of the pandemic, all the hiring of IT staff was on the temporary and contract side, Wallenberg said. “I will say, over the last four weeks we’ve seen a significant uptick in permanent hiring” mainly for security and systems admin professionals.

As companies are interviewing candidates, there is also an emphasis on diversifying their tech hires, he said.



SEE:
Diversity and Inclusion policy (TechRepublic)

“Diversity and inclusion initiatives even before the pandemic were topical, and they’ve remained topical and become even more significant, and not just from the companies themselves, but there is also a demand by job seekers,” Wallenberg noted. “They want to know on the front end what diversity and inclusion initiatives are already in place–or as result of some of the cries for social justice–what will be pursued in the near term.”

While there is still an emphasis on hiring the best candidate available, companies want to do that “from a diverse talent pool,” and they are receptive to implementing new initiatives, he said.  

The necessary technologies and skills to stay remote

Zoom, WebEx, and Teams remain among the most predominant technologies companies need to ensure a successful work-from-home model for the rest of 2020, Wallenberg said. Companies are also interested in business software suites like Microsoft 365 and G Suite by Google.

“If you haven’t gone to either of those, you’re going to have to make some pretty significant strides over the next six months to make remote work seem as close to in-office work as possible,” he said. So demand is strong for IT people who have experience in three buckets: Teleconferencing apps, cloud-native apps, and networking software that allows for reliable VPN connectivity, Wallenberg said.

Additionally, “the emphasis on soft skills is more important than ever before: organizational skills, customer service; things are so different for people when they talk to IT,” he noted. “They need to feel comforted more than ever because of the challenges inherent in not working next to a coworker … so that ability to manage conflict rationally and the ability to calm people if there are high-stress situations is crucial.”

SEE: Video teleconferencing do’s and don’ts (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Companies want people who are good communicators and who will be proactive–for example, quickly addressing a support ticket that comes in in the morning, so users don’t have to wait, Wallenberg added.

In terms of security hiring trends, “there have always been really brilliant people who can sell the need for security to the business,” and that is needed now more than ever in IT, he said. “In a perfect world, it shouldn’t have taken high-profile breaches of personal and identifiable information for companies to wake up and say we need to invest more money in it. So security leadership and, further down the pole, they have to sell their vision on steps they need to take to more systematically ensure systems are safe and companies are protected from threats.”

Because of the current climate, it is also critical that companies are prepared to handle remote onboarding of new tech team members, Wallenberg said.

“Companies that adopted a cloud-first strategy years ago are in a much better position to onboard [new staff] than people who need an office network to connect,” he said. In the former scenario, hiring is just a matter of making sure all hires can be provisioned quickly and then deciding whether they are going to have a BYOD approach or if they’ll need to ship a laptop and phone, according to Wallenberg.

“Obviously, in that case you need to have the process scripted,” he said. “It’s a little more tricky with companies that don’t have all their apps and services in the cloud.” In that case, “hopefully, by now, most companies have expanded those capacities for people to access resources via a VPN.”

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Why people forget their email passwords the most often

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Many users save their email password and so don’t remember it if they have to enter or reset it, says NordPass.

Password management. Laptop with memo sticks on the screen.

Image: iStockPhoto/designer491

Juggling all your website and account passwords is one of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of using technology. You may use simple passwords, complex passwords, or a combination of both. However you set them up, if you don’t enter a certain password on a regular basis, it’s easy to forget it. A recent study and survey from password manager NordPass reveals which types of passwords people typically forget and need to reset.

SEE: Zero trust security: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In new research released on Tuesday, NordPass found that email passwords were the types of passwords most often forgotten. Looking at the kinds of password-related web searches conducted by people across three different countries, NordPass discovered that searches for “how to reset email passwords” were the top ones for 40% of those in the US, 49% of those in the UK, and 48% in Australia.

Looking at different email providers, searches on how to reset a Gmail password was the leading email password reset query in all three countries. But, people also wanted to know how to reset passwords for Outlook, Hotmail, and Microsoft Live (which now defaults to Outlook).

The second most popular search about password resets was on how to reset them for different operating systems, most notably for Windows, with a small percentage in the US for Apple and Android platforms. Password reset queries for Google accounts came in third, followed by more general searches for “forgot password” or “change password.” Less searched were queries for password resets for social media providers, entertainment sites, various devices, and productivity applications.

Searches for resetting an email password likely were the most common for a few different reasons, according to NordPass.

In a survey conducted earlier this year, NordPass found that people considered email accounts one of their most valued accounts. In just the US, 73% of respondents said it would be very or extremely harmful if their email account was hacked. However, less than half of those surveyed said they use a unique password to protect their email.

Further, most of the respondents have saved their email password on their computers and don’t need to enter it each time they log in, according to NordPass security expert Chad Hammond. For that reason, they have trouble remembering the password and have to learn how to reset it when required.

On the other end, people are better at remembering passwords for their productivity apps because those passwords tend to be simple.

“According to the same password habits survey from April 2020, users rarely use unique passwords to protect their productivity applications,” Hammond said. “Only 21% of respondents from the US use a unique password. Since the passwords are simple and memorable, users are less likely to forget them and don’t need to search how to reset them.”

Whatever systems and devices people use, why do they need to reset their password so often? NordPass offers a few explanations.

  • No need for a password to log in. Most people don’t log out of their accounts or their personal devices and only need their credentials when signing in to a new device. If the password hasn’t been used in a while and is suddenly required, the person isn’t likely to remember it.
  • Too many passwords. The average person has around 80 passwords. Unless you make your passwords rhyme or use the same one for every account, you’ll find it difficult to remember them all.
  • Passwords can be automatically saved. If we create a password knowing that it can be autosaved, we are more likely to forget it. A study conducted by Rutgers-New Brunswick and Aalto University in Finland suggests that the likelihood of remembering a password has less to do with its complexity than with how often we anticipate using it. You’re far more likely to remember a complicated password if you know you’ll be using it frequently and less likely to remember a simple password if you don’t expect to use it often.
  • Complexity of resetting a password. With data breaches and leaks happening every day, each reputable website makes resetting your password more and more complex. You might need to answer additional security questions or use two-factor authentication. While this is a great security practice, many users find it too complicated and often turn to Google for help.

How can people better handle their passwords? Well, since NordPass makes a password manager, the company naturally advises people to use such products to help juggle their passwords. No matter what the source, that advice is always sound and people can choose from a variety of products, including NordPass, LastPass, 1Password, Dashlane, and Roboform.

“These tools will not only remember your password for you and make it secure and convenient but will also help you generate unique credentials as well as check if they have been breached before,” Hammond said.

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Facial recognition market to surpass $12 billion by 2026

facial-recognition-market-to-surpass-$12-billion-by-2026

To enhance tracking and security in public spaces, the facial recognition technologies market is expected to surge in the years ahead.

facial-recognition

IMAGE: iStock/primipil

In the era of digital transformation, more organizations are utilizing facial recognition technologies for a host of applications in public spaces. These systems have also been implemented to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as the technologies can be plugged into larger surveillance networks to monitor mask compliance and more. Studies have shown that facial recognition systems are prone to false-positive identifications. In recent weeks, major players in the tech industry including IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon recently made waves by pulling their facial recognition systems from the market altogether or banning law enforcement agencies from using the technologies. Despite these moves by titans in tech, the future of facial recognition systems seems bright according to a new report from Global Market Insights.

By 2026, the organization estimates that the facial recognition market valuation will top $12 billion. For comparison, Market Research Future valued the global facial recognition market at $3 billion in 2016. Security concerns related to public safety in public spaces are expected to cause a surge in demand for these technologies in the years ahead. Across North America, the facial recognition market will be spurred by investments in retail, healthcare, defense, and homeland security.

SEE: Guide to Becoming a Digital Transformation Champion (TechRepublic Premium)

Major investments in security and surveillance are driving this particular market, according to the report. Currently, many organizations ranging from airports to large sporting venues are investing in surveillance systems leveraging these facial recognition systems alongside artificial intelligence, IoT sensors, thermal imaging cameras, and more. Companies are creating new software capable of fastidious integration with an organization’s existing technology suite to assist with identification and “attendance monitoring,” per the report.

Global Market Insights also predicts that facial recognition systems will revolutionize advertising and retail in coming years. The use of interactive “intelligent signage” will allow advertisers to better understand the demographics of their customers to more aptly deliver personalized advertisements to these individuals. The overall success rate of these advertising and targeted campaigns can also be measured using facial recognition systems.

SEE: Inside UPS: The logistics company’s never-ending digital transformation (free PDF)

The report notes that facial recognition market growth will mainly be driven by 3D systems rather than more limited 2D systems. Comparatively, 3D systems offer more accurate information in lower light environments “as they use facial parameters, such as the depth of the eyes or the shape of the nose & chin of the captured image, for comparison with the available database of images,” per the report. More advanced 3D systems can also identify variables such as minute changes in the texture of skin and aging.

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How tech helps with the spike of online retail

how-tech-helps-with-the-spike-of-online-retail

Between supply issues and surge pricing, many pitfalls have surfaced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but Popcart can assist.

Image: Popcart

The coronavirus pandemic sent shock waves through the enterprise and economy, affecting all industries, but especially retail. With brick and mortar stores forced to close their doors or reduce accessibility, shoppers opted for online orders and curbside pickups to get necessary items. 

SEE: The new normal: What work will look like post-pandemic (TechRepublic Premium)

“The impact of COVID-19 on the retail industry has been profound. Even as essential retail businesses such as food/grocery/consumables that remained open through the crisis saw a topline boost in demand, the sector incurred huge escalations in operating costs that dented their profitability,” said Sandeep Unni, senior research director at Gartner. 

“For other discretionary segments, the impact has been pretty devastating due to continued closures of physical stores and decrease in consumer spending,” Unni said. “For many of the first casualties of the crisis such as Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, J Crew or Lord & Taylor, the pandemic proved to be the last straw for businesses that were already struggling pre-crisis.” 

As a result, online shopping took off, especially in the US, said Omri Traub, founder and CEO of Popcart, an e-commerce browser extension. 

“[Coronavirus] has transformed the way we shop,” Traub said. “Some people believe that the whole e-commerce adoption in the US has been accelerated by five to 10 years.”

The major items consumers turned to online were associated with essential goods, such as household cleaners or toilet paper. 

“One of the main changes we have seen in consumer shopping behavior is the shift of spending towards more essential categories,” Unni said. “There has been a spike in digital activity even in historically underpenetrated segments like grocery.” 

“For example, pre-crisis online penetration in grocery was only 2-4% of total sales in the US market, and has lagged behind other markets such as China or even the UK. The sudden rise in demand driven by the crisis has further amplified pain points in last mile execution and delivery,” Unni noted. “Anyone that has ordered grocery online would have likely experienced logistical challenges such as availability of/delays in delivery windows, item availability and substitutions. We’ve also seen price inflation particularly in online channels.”

However, developing technology, like Popcart, is stepping up to the plate to help with these issues. 

Tech and online retail issues 

Traub echoed the same problems with retail that Unni mentioned, particularly the supply issues and surge pricing. 

These problems were what inspired his creation of Popcart, an online internet extension that compares prices of items across online retailers and locates the lowest one. 

Popcart is similar to the other popular browser extension, Honey, however, Popcart doesn’t only search for coupon codes, but rather the overall lowest price, Traub said. 

Surge pricing often happens on Amazon, Traub said, and people looking for an item for the first time may not realize that the offered price is really high. 

“If you’re just shopping on Amazon, $29, $89, $87, or whatever it is, could look like a good price,” Traub said. It’s only through comparing prices that you’re really benchmarking what is a fair price for this? And it turns out that at Walmart [the item] is available for less than half the price.” 

Popcart does all the work, tracking price fluctuations at different stores, comparing them, and then presenting the options to the user. 

Prices also fluctuate when third-party sellers swoop in. Many large online retailers offer sales by third party sellers, and these sellers sometimes ratchet up the price of items to make a bigger profit. Popcart helps avoid users falling into that pitfall by also comparing those third-party sellers with other stores, Traub said.

The online extension tool can even help users when e-commerce platforms run out of supply. 

“We call it the Supply Finder by Popcart, which looked specifically at the hard to find items, like masks and disinfecting wipes and toilet paper, during the period where there was the most severe shortage. And there’s still a significant shortage of many of these,” Traub said.

“We tailored the way our system worked to offer you a real-time feed of when these products come back into stock,” he added.

While the pandemic has made getting important, and desired, items difficult, technology is helping to mitigate those problems. 

For more, check out COVID-19: Five business continuity challenges coming to the retail industry on TechRepublic. 

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Insider’s guide to defending against ransomware

insider’s-guide-to-defending-against-ransomware

According to CyberSecurity Ventures, global damage costs from ransomware are estimated to be more than $20 billion in 2021, up from $11.5 billion in 2019.1 By the end of 2021, they expect there to be a ransomware attack every 11 seconds, up from every 14 seconds in 2019.

No industry is immune to ransomware attacks. For instance, Cyber Risk Management (CyRiM), a Lloyds of London partner, projected potential healthcare industry losses of $25B2 in the event of a major attack such as NotPetya. NotPetya affected a number of companies worldwide, with Merck estimating over $670M and FedEx over $400M in losses.3 Yet these weren’t even “criminal” attacks — according to the U.S. White House, the attack was launched by the Russian military against the Ukraine.4 Merck and FedEx losses were simply collateral damage, and many corporate insurance policies exclude losses caused by acts of war.

CompTIA joins the battle to recruit high school and college students into cybersecurity

comptia-joins-the-battle-to-recruit-high-school-and-college-students-into-cybersecurity

The certification company will host prep sessions for the National Cyber League’s cybersecurity competitions for individuals and teams.

CompTIA is partnering with the National Cyber League to train high school and college students to compete in a cybersecurity challenge.

Image: National Cyber League

The National Cyber League (NCL) has a new partner in its work to promote careers in cybersecurity: CompTIA. The certification company is helping the NCL with the twice-a-year cybersecurity competitions designed for students interested in the field. 

CompTIA will host educational sessions on the CompTIA Cybersecurity Career Pathway and offer prep sessions to help NCL players get ready for the 2020-21 competition schedule.

SEE: Zero trust security: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

NCL’s chief Player Ambassador Kaitlyn Bestenheider (aka “CryptoKait”) will work with CompTIA to ensure that all industry domains are incorporated into the NCL competition.

More than 10,000 students from 300 colleges and universities across the US compete in these games. Here are the dates for the NCL 2020 Fall Season:

  • Registration opens Aug. 23
  • Practice sessions go from Sept. 14 – Dec. 8
  • Preseason to get bracketed for the individual games is Oct. 12 – Oct. 19 
  • Individual games are Oct. 23 – Oct. 25
  • Team games are Nov. 8 – Nov. 8 

The competitions are open to US high school and college students and will test competitors on the ability to identify hackers from forensic data, pentest and audit websites, and recover from ransomware attacks. It costs $35 to participate.

Players who place at the top of each bracket during the NCL’s Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 individual competitions will receive a free CompTIA student membership.

Students on the championship teams will receive a free CompTIA certification exam voucher,  self-study test preparation materials, and full CompTIA membership.

CompTIA has three security tracks: Cybersecurity Analyst (CySA+),  CASP+, and PenTest+. The CySA+ applies behavioral analytics to the IT security field. The CASP+ validates critical thinking and judgment across multiple security disciplines in complex environments. PenTest+ is for midcareer professionals who use penetration testing to manage vulnerabilities on a network. 

The NCL is a nonprofit founded by public agencies dedicated to developing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. The training company Cyber Skyline sponsors the NCL.

There are free resources available for students and people new to the cybersecurity field, including:

  • Trail of Bits CTF Guide: This resource explains how capture the flag competitions work and includes a list of competitions and ideas on how to prepare.
  • Awesome CTF: Github put together this list of tutorials, software, resources, frameworks and libraries to help people new to CTF competitions as well as veterans.
  • Reddit’s SecurityCTF: This forum hosts real-time questions and answers to questions about competitions and strategies.
  • Vulnhub: This practice zone includes labs built for beginners to test cybersecurity skills.

There are several collegiate-level competitions as well, including the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, National Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition, and the Global Cyberlympics. Cyber Quests are online challenges that also test participants’ security skills.

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How to become a cybersecurity pro: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Social engineering: A cheat sheet for business professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic download)

Comparison chart: VPN service providers (TechRepublic Premium)

Online security 101: Tips for protecting your privacy from hackers and spies (ZDNet)

All the VPN terms you need to know (CNET)

Cybersecurity and cyberwar: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)