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Cloud: Are you confused, convinced or converted?

If you are in some way connected to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, you probably have an opinion on cloud-based services. The past couple of years have seen a frenzy of activity in the business to business cloud services with manufacturers, service providers, and users extolling the virtues of the virtual. Product and service models once confined to the realm of the consumer have started gaining mindshare within the business community. As someone who went through the stages of being confused, then convinced, and finally converted, some of my learnings from partnering with Cisco to launch a Unified Collaboration as a Service (UCaaS) in Canada may be of interest to some of you.Collaboration from the cloud -2

Interest in UCaaS typically stems from one of two areas of the market – providers and users. Irrespective of which side of the business you fall, you are likely to come across some, if not all, of the concerns listed below when considering the deployment of a UCaaS solution. Read More »

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#EngineersUnplugged S4|Ep6: Closing the Management Gap!

December 4, 2013 at 1:54 pm PST

Welcome back to Engineers Unplugged. In this week’s episode, we geek out with Cisco’s Roger Barlow and VMware’s Bhumik Patel (@bhumikp). The topic--how to close the management gap, featuring UCS and vSphere. They cover a variety of use cases and offer practical how-to:

**The next shoot is last week of January at Cisco Live in Milan! If you want to be internet-famous, contact me ASAP to talk about being on the show.**

This is Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

Join the behind the scenes by liking Engineers Unplugged on Facebook.

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The Internet of Everything, Including Malware

December 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm PST

We are witnessing the growth of the Internet of Everything (IoE), the network of embedded physical objects accessed through the Internet, and it’s connecting new devices to the Internet which may not traditionally have been there before. Unfortunately, some of these devices may be deployed with a security posture that may need improvement.

Naturally when we saw a few posts about multi-architecture malware focused on the “Internet of Things”, we decided to take a look. The issue being exploited in those posts is CVE-2012-1823, which has both an existing Cisco IPS signature as well as some for Snort. It turns out this vulnerability is actually quite heavily exploited by many different worms, and it took quite a bit of effort to exclude all of the alerts generated by other pieces of malware in Cisco IPS network participation. Due to the vulnerability-specific nature of the Cisco IPS signature, the same signature covers this issue as well as any others that use this technique; just one signature provides protection against all attempts to exploit this vulnerability.  As you can see in the graph below this is a heavily exploited vulnerability. Note that these events are any attack attempting to exploit this issue, not necessarily just the Zollard worm.

The graph below is derived from both Cisco IPS and Sourcefire IPS customers. The Cisco data is from customers who have ‘opted-in’ to network participation. This service is not on by default. The Sourcefire data below is derived from their SPARK network of test sensors. This graph is showing the percent increase of alert volume from the normal for each dataset at the specified time.

zollard_cisco_sf

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A Healthier You with Big Data

What if you had a “virtual doctor” who was available at any time—24x7—to give you a quick checkup, dispense friendly health advice, and even alert you to possible health problems before they become serious? What if your parents or grandparents got a gentle daily reminder to take their medication, so they would never have to worry about missing a dose? What if you could walk into any emergency room in the country and receive exactly the care you need because the hospital has instant access to all your medical records? While much of this may seem futuristic, it will become reality in a future not that far away.

Big Data and analytics are transforming healthcare as we know it. Let me share a few examples:

1. Patient care

Many healthcare providers are stretched to capacity, and can’t always follow up with patients to see how they’re doing and make sure they are following medical advice. Today, we are beginning to see pills with tiny ingestible sensors that send a message to your doctor or to a loved one to confirm that you have taken the pill—giving peace of mind to worried children of elderly parents, or anyone who needs to take medication at a specified time. In the future, these sensors will likely also be able to report whether the medicine results in the right impact, and to suggest a change of dose or even a different medication, if that is appropriate.

A high-risk pregnancy is a constant source of worry for many women. In the near future, small electronic “tattoos” will provide nonstop fetal monitoring through a sticker worn right on the skin. Wireless communications capabilities will send vital signs directly to the cloud, where Big Data and analytics capabilities can evaluate the information and send appropriate alerts to the mother and her doctor.

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How Web Conferencing Is Helping HIV/AIDS Patients in Kenya

December 4, 2013 at 9:09 am PST

profile_dr_ndwigaThis post was written by Dr. Stanley Ndwiga, Outreach/Project Doctor at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. It was originally published on the Huffington Post.

Ten years ago, an AIDS epidemic was ravaging Kenya and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. In one year alone, as many as 40,000 Kenyan infants were born HIV-positive, and only 30 percent of them could expect to see to their 5th birthday. Millions of Kenyan adults succumbed to AIDS, orphaning many millions more.

Today, thanks to better drugs, community outreach, and education, fewer Kenyans are acquiring HIV, and the number of those who have AIDS has fallen to 1.2 million, or 1 in 20 Kenyan adults. It is still a significant number, and we have a lot of work yet to do.

At Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi, clinicians have been given a big boost in that effort through web conferencing technology.

Photo courtesy Gertrude's Children's Hospital

Photo courtesy Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital

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