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Next generation businesses require security-driven network

As Big Data, hyperscale architectures, SD-WAN, 5G, Edge networking, and smart systems (such as cars, cities, and infrastructures) become mainstream, these networks will be forced to change even further. The current generation of security solutions now in place simply can’t keep up.

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Photo by Steve Halama from Unsplash.com

Today’s networks are distributed across so many devices and environments, many of them temporary and all of them in a constant state of flux, that the notion of a perimeter has been almost completely abandoned. This transition has largely been the result of an application-based business model. Users—both employees and consumers—require immediate and reliable access to critical applications and streaming services at any time, from any location, on any device. 

To achieve this, most organizations have transformed their networks to a collection of edges. In addition to the LAN edge, there is the new WAN edge, the multi-cloud edge, the distributed datacenter edge, the mobile edge, and most recently due to the rapid shift to work-from-home, a huge surge in the home office edge. And multi-edge computing (MEC)—a distributed, open IT architecture that features decentralized processing power and a virtualized network platform—is right around the corner. Powered by 5G-enabled devices and infrastructure, MEC leverages mobile computing and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to process data locally rather than being transmitted to a datacenter. 

This level of innovation has transformed networks so thoroughly and so rapidly that traditional security tools are no longer able provide the consistent security that networks require. Traditional security solutions, often deployed after a network was in place, were designed to secure fixed perimeters and monitor predictable levels of traffic and workflows moving between static network servers and devices. 

Those days are gone. Today’s collection of edge environments are in a constant state of flux. They are not only continually adding and dropping physical and virtual devices, they also create temporary networks and are constantly fine-tuning connections. And as Big Data, hyperscale architectures, SD-WAN5G, Edge networking, and smart systems (such as cars, cities, and infrastructures) become mainstream, these networks will be forced to change even further. The current generation of security solutions now in place simply can’t keep up. 

Security-driven Networks are Designed for Today’s Digital Business 

Fortunately, there is a new generation of security designed for today’s complex, distributed, and dynamic environments. It starts with Security-driven Networking, an approach that tightly integrates an organization’s network infrastructure and security architecture into a single solution. Weaving security deep into the network in this way is essential for effectively defending today’s highly dynamic environments. And by deploying Security-driven Networking solutions across all of their edge environments, organizations can ensure consistent policy orchestration and enforcement across today’s highly flexible perimeters. This enables the network to reroute traffic, replace connections, move resources from one domain to another, and dynamically scale up and out without ever compromising the ability of security systems to track workflows, transactions, users, data, or devices. 

Achieving this requires implementing a security solution strategy designed to encompass the entire network development and deployment life cycle, allowing security to function as the central consideration for all business-driven infrastructure decisions. With security at the core, networks can evolve, expand, and adapt without concerns that an expanded attack surface or security gap could compromise the organization. 

Three Critical Steps for Implementing a Security-driven Network: 

Secure PDIO: A Security-driven Networking strategy must be part of the entire network Planning, Design, Implementation, and Optimization lifecycle. But it starts in the planning stages, before everyone agrees on what new infrastructures and applications and devices are needed. And that requires everyone to agree that all development must support a central security fabric strategy—an approach for ensuring consistent visibility, orchestration, response, and enforcement across the entire network. 

Want a new cloud infrastructure? It doesn’t just need to include security. It needs to use a security platform that can function as part of the central security fabric. Building and deploying a new application? The security fabric not only needs to be able to see and inspect the application and its traffic, but it should also be built using the exact same security tools used to protect the rest of the network. And when virtual devices need to spin up or out, or when connections between a branch office and business applications in the cloud need to roll over, the Security Fabric needs to literally be part of that process, ensuring that security is always watching, always sharing, and always ready to respond. 

Access Control and Segmentation: When new devices are added to the network, the integrated security system needs to automatically identify them and apply rules before granting access to network resources. That includes automatically assigning devices to secured network segments that have been enhanced with authentication for increased control and flexibility. These network segments are then monitored by the security fabric to prevent unauthorized behaviors, inspect applications, and secure workflows, driving access security deep into the distributed network. And because security and networking are tied together, any changes to the network infrastructure automatically include changes to security. 

Consistent Protection Everywhere: Data never stays in one place. It gets shared, cross-referenced, mined, and processed. Security-driven Networking protects data, applications, and workflows along their entire data path through the implementation of a single, integrated Security Fabric, ensuring that the secure handoff of data and workflows between network domains is seamless. Achieving this requires integrated security platforms deployed across the network to consistently secure that traffic even as it passes across and between different network segments, dynamic multi-cloud environments, data centers, and devices.  

This requires a solution designed to function natively in all public and private cloud environments and comes in form factors ranging from powerful datacenter edge devices, to small desktop footprints, to virtual solutions running in cloud environments, to cloud-based solutions designed to secure devices and data off-network, to software running on endpoint devices, to versions designed to run in a container or be added to an application to secure data and transactions. All of these must function as a powerful security solution within their own sphere, track and adapt as the environment changes, and work as a single, integrated system that spans all environments to add a level of visibility, control, and response previously unavailable. 

Digital Innovation Demands Security-driven Networking 

Security-driven Networking is an essential next step for securing today’s dynamic and evolving digital infrastructures. Security platforms integrated into a unified security fabric and woven into the network infrastructure enable organizations to embrace digital innovation and expand their digital footprint without exposing critical resources to new risks compounded by the loss of visibility and control—often due to the complexity of trying to secure an evolving network using traditionally isolated products. Security-driven Networking is designed to expand and adapt in sync with the network, providing the flexible protections and controls that today’s digital businesses require. 

Tech & Innovation

Filipino-founded audio company finds growth globally amid a pandemic

H-Audio Technologies is an audio tech company founded in 2017 by a Filipino American whose primary purpose was to sell sports headsets to raise money for the troubled, underprivileged Filipino youth.

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The coronavirus pandemic has been a nightmare for millions of businesses in every sector; most especially with the audio industry. There has been nothing but losses for huge companies such as Danish brand Bang & Olufsen who saw over one year’s worth of losses every single quarter, and Bose closing over a hundred stores this past 2020. With millions of loyal customers jobless, manufacturing services and shipping costs at ridiculous prices, and cashflow drying up, many wonder how they will survive.

But amid all the unfortunate circumstances, some companies were lucky enough to strategically build their business model canvas to survive an economic crisis.

H-Audio Technologies is an audio tech company founded in 2017 by a Filipino American whose primary purpose was to sell sports headsets to raise money for the troubled, underprivileged Filipino youth.

“I was a troubled kid and a nutcase growing up, so I pretty much know what these kids are going through on a day-to-day basis, and why they make the bad choices that they choose,” says founder Marcelle Marcelino, a veteran radio broadcaster and music industry veteran in the Philippines.

“I tried the white labeling route where I would ask get an already made product and stamp my logo on it, but unfortunately being a DJ and studio sound engineer for over two decades, I was never satisfied with the outcome. So I did what most would not do, fly around various cities, meet with manufacturing plants, and source every part that I needed to create a pretty solid product in terms of sound and durability.”

Going on its fourth year this June, H-Audio has already collaborated with major brands and companies such as Coca-Cola, Huawei, Philippine Airlines, and even the likes of Kobe Bryant who needed their own audio components and products manufactured for them.

On the other side of the spectrum, H-Audio currently has their own products in major retail stores such as Urban Gadgets, Power Mac Center, The Listening Room, and many others nationwide, such as the PH3, a Filipino designed active noise cancelling headphone whose majority proceeds (60%) goes towards animal welfare & programs to help the troubled Filipino youth.

They also are not stopping there with growth and expansion as their primary driver, H-Audio has been very busy the past year forming a solid partnership with a US-based company, The Four Pillars Company; a service supplier for multi-family, hospitality, and healthcare buildings. Some of their biggest current projects together this 2021 is innovating student housing projects and hotels with their customized audio mirrors, multimedia tables, and other products specifically made for their current on-going projects in Florida, Utah, and Alabama.

“The Four Pillars Company is proud to partner with H- Audio. The most valuable part of our partnership with H-Audio is their vision of infusing technology and audiophile-quality sound into everyday products. H-Audio has an eye for detail and design that creates excellent user interfaces for our clients.  Lastly, their vision to produce products that aren’t available from other manufacturers keeps us several steps ahead of our competition,” says J. Ryan Barrett, President and CEO of The Four Pillars Company.

Taking more giant leaps, H-Audio has also been in negotiations with a certain Brazilian company to open H-Audio Brazil by the end of 2021, along with its current trajectory to expand operations in Australia; all for the goal of having more people worldwide experience high quality audio products at a very fair price.

Definitely something a lot of us who have to stick to budgeting our expenses during what seems to be a never ending pandemic, really need.

For more information on H-Audio Technologies, head to the company’s Facebook page; Instagram account; and YouTube channel.

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Tech & Innovation

4 Things that make people feel good about using chatbots

A recent study identified four factors that predict user satisfaction with customer service chatbots. The study also found that a positive chatbot experience was associated with customer loyalty, highlighting the potential importance of the findings to corporate brands.

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A recent study identified four factors that predict user satisfaction with customer service chatbots. The study also found that a positive chatbot experience was associated with customer loyalty, highlighting the potential importance of the findings to corporate brands.

“Chatbots that use artificial intelligence to address customer needs are already in widespread use, and are expected to become even more common over the next few years,” says Yang Cheng, corresponding author of the study and an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina State University. “We wanted to know how these chatbots are affecting the user experience and how they affect the way consumers feel about brands.”

For this study, researchers conducted a survey of 1,064 consumers in the US who had used a chatbot from at least one of the 30 US brands with the most highly regarded chatbot services. These brands represent industries ranging from fashion to food to software.

The researchers found there were four attributes that positively predicted user satisfaction with a chatbot.

1. The most powerful predictor was convenience.

Cheng says: “If people thought chatbots were fast and efficient, they were more likely to be satisfied. I can sympathize with those people – I hate talking to customer service and being transferred from one person to another.”

2. Focus on iInformation.

It matters if the chatbot provided information that was useful and relevant to the user.

3. Entertainment counts.

It also matters if interacting with the chatbot was pleasant or fun.

4. Social presence.

Lastly, if the chatbot made users feel like they were interacting with an intelligent being, they are more prone to using chatbots.

But one factor was associated with reduced customer satisfaction: perceived privacy risk.

Specifically, if users felt that the information they were sharing with the chatbot could be misused, they were more likely to report being dissatisfied with the chatbot service.

“Companies need to pay attention to these results as they invest in AI-driven chatbot services,” Cheng says. “Because we also found that a customer’s satisfaction with their chatbot experience was associated with the customer’s loyalty toward the relevant brand. This really highlights the importance of taking steps to protect consumer data – and ensuring that chatbot services are convenient, fun and helpful.”

The paper, “How Do AI-driven Chatbots Impact User Experience? Examining Gratifications, Perceived Privacy Risk, Satisfaction, Loyalty, and Continued Use,” appears in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. The paper was co-authored by Hua Jiang of Syracuse University.

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Tech & Innovation

Dell Hybrid Client delivers increased flexibility to employees and IT

As the world’s first client computing software with hybrid cloud management, enabling easy access to applications and data regardless of where they live – in the public cloud, private cloud or on the user’s device.

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Dell Technologies unveiled Dell Hybrid Client to meet the changing needs of businesses, end users and IT. Dell Hybrid Client is a centrally managed client software solution that is ready to deploy with select Dell mobile and desktop devices, helping employees get to work quickly with a consistent experience. As the world’s first client computing software with hybrid cloud management, enabling easy access to applications and data regardless of where they live – in the public cloud, private cloud or on the user’s device. 

In an increasingly cloud connected world, organizations need to easily deploy and maintain data and applications from a variety of locations without burdening IT teams or hindering employee productivity. Dell Hybrid Client simplifies and personalizes the user and IT experience while still providing security and flexibility across devices and work environments. Features like built-in everyday productivity applications, browser security, and others are available out-of-the-box and managed through the cloud empowering employees to work how and where is best for them. 

“At the core of Dell Hybrid Client sits an elevated experience for both employees and IT teams,” said Brooke Huling, vice president, Modern Computing Solutions Group, Dell Technologies. “For employees, Dell Hybrid Client delivers the same, personalized experience regardless of the device you chose to work on. Everything you need is at your fingertips. For IT, we’ve opened access to multiple clouds enabling experiences to be scaled and customized for workforces at rapid pace.” 

“Our recent study on remote work readiness revealed that employees across APJ had difficulties accessing internal company resources while working from home,” said Jean-Guillaume Pons, vice president, Client Solutions Group, Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China, Dell Technologies. “Today, as APJ organizations continue scaling their technologies to help employees remain engaged and productive, it is important to ensure employees can easily access the applications and data they need, without compromising security. Dell Hybrid Client can help both organizations and employees, regardless of working locations and the devices they use.“

“Dell Hybrid Client has the potential to be a game-changing offering,” said Rob Enderle, President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group. “The new work from anywhere environment coupled with the need to support virtual, local and cloud apps means we’re approaching a window of opportunity for a new client computing solution. Dell has the breadth and reach to drive such a shift in the industry.” 

How it works

Dell Hybrid Client begins with single sign-on where users will find their personalized desktop interface and all their applications, whether in the cloud or virtual. This first-of-its-kind solution provides: 

  • Security at every touchpoint: Securely scale to thousands of users while still protecting employee and company data through built-in features including system lockdown, secure boot, user file encryption and more. 
  • Simplified Workflow: Your workday doesn’t need to be interrupted as users have secure access to web and virtual applications from Citrix, VMware and Microsoft and various storage locations.
  • Optimized Productivity: Zoom or Microsoft Teams clients run locally, enabling faster collaboration while helping reduce strain on IT infrastructures. 
  • Consistent Experience: With an enhanced “Follow-me” feature, users will find their applications and data on any supported desktop interface – even after changing devices. 
  • Flexibility in Cloud Providers: Organizations can embrace a more flexible mindset by supporting and seamlessly integrating from Wyse Management Suite’s multiple cloud vendors including, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure.
  • Comprehensive Software Support: With ProSupport, Dell Hybrid Client users receive proactive resolution. With automatic alerts and case creation, remote diagnosis and access to ProSupport engineers, employees can experience little to no downtime and IT can proactively support business needs. 

Dell Hybrid Client is currently available across a variety of desktop, VDI and mobile form factors – including the OptiPlex 7090 Ultra, OptiPlex 3090 Ultra, Wyse 5070 and the new Latitude 3320.  

The latest Dell Hybrid Client is available on 3/26. 

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