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SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Bridging the Generational Gap with Trend Micro XGen™ Security

We’ve entered a new era of cyber threats. It’s like no other that’s gone before, in that CISOs must battle not only the huge volume of “old threats” out there but also a growing array of stealthier new attacks designed to circumvent traditional tools.SMB Nation WhatsYourX Banners 220x150 These could include certain types of targeted attacks, ransomware, zero-day threats, and even business process compromise. And they have to deal with a much larger attack surface created by cloud, mobility, and riskier user behavior.

That’s why, in this new era, organizations need to bridge the gap between an old and new generation of threats, IT architectures, and yes, even user behaviors. That’s just what Trend Micro XGen™ security was designed to do.

Known and unknown

IT security teams have a problem. On the one hand the volume of known bad threats knocking at the door has reached epidemic proportions. Trend Micro blocked 80 billion such attacks in 2017 alone. But that’s just the start. Thanks to the growing availability of tools and knowledge on the dark web, we’re also seeing a surge in new and unique threats – something like 500,000 every day. These require more advanced techniques to spot and block.

Deploying advanced security to all parts of the organization can be challenging because it requires different operational skills and resources. Many organizations do so with point products, which multiply the IT workload, impair visibility and performance and can leave gaps for the threats to sneak through.

The XGen difference: cross-generational

Many security vendors claim to have a single silver bullet to tackle this new era of cyber threats. I wish that were true, but it simply isn’t that straightforward. Machine learning alone is not the answer. While it can be a powerful way to predict whether an unknown file is malicious, it is also more computationally intensive with a higher rate of false positives, so is not the most efficient or effective way tackle the massive volume of known bad threats. Instead, there needs to be a ‘cross-generational’ approach that knows how to use the right threat defense technique at the right time to ensure maximum protection with the utmost efficiency. XGen™ security does exactly that, including – but not limited to – the following:

Antimalware and Content Filtering to quickly detect and block the massive number of known bad files, URLs and spam.

Behavioral Analysis including memory inspection, suspicious action monitoring and browser exploit protection examines an unknown item and its behavior at runtime to determine if it’s suspicious.

High-Fidelity Machine Learning
uses mathematical algorithms to predict maliciousness, with the ability to analyze unknown files before execution and during runtime for greater accuracy,. It also features “noise cancellation” capabilities to reduce false positives.

Sandbox Analysis enables on-the-fly analysis of unknown threats – allowing them to run in a safe environment to examine their behaviors.

Intrusion Prevention shields known vulnerabilities against unknown, zero-day exploits.

Application Control allows only known good applications to install or run.

Integrity Monitoring flags any suspicious system changes.

Response and Containment enables investigative forensics, quarantine of suspicious items and automated security updates.

The Trend Micro Smart Protection Network – our cloud-based global threat intelligence which blocks 250 million threat each day – fuels these techniques to ensure customers are protected against the latest threat findings.

What’s more, the XGen™ approach to security also eases the burden on IT security. Threat defense techniques are designed to fit each layer of security—user environments, networks and hybrid clouds—making it faster and easier to deploy and manage. And, the solutions seamlessly share threat intelligence, enabling automated security updates. Everything is also nicely connected through a central console that offers visibility across security layers, speeding time to response.

As this generation quickly blurs into the next—with hackers continuing to add new types of threats to the volume of existing ones, and with the number of points to protect growing every day – IT security leaders must adopt a cross-generational approach to security.

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Microsoft PowerPoint vs. Google Slides: Which works better for business?

PowerPoint has long been the tool of choice for creating business presentations, but Google Slides is worth a second look. We compare their strengths and weaknesses.

By Preston Gralla

Contributing Editor, Computerworld | MAR 27, 2018 3:00 AM PT

If you’re going to give business presentations, odds are you’ll be choosing between Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides, the two best-known MS vs Googlepresentation applications. They’re both solid, useful tools — and both have changed a great deal over the years. Given all their changes, you may want to reconsider what you’re using today.If you’re going to give business presentations, odds are you’ll be choosing between Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides, the two best-known presentation applications. They’re both solid, useful tools — and both have changed a great deal over the years. Given all their changes, you may want to reconsider what you’re using today.

To help you choose, I put them through their paces by building a presentation that many business professionals might create: announcing a new product or service line. In each program I started by looking for suitable templates, then created a new presentation; added slides; juiced them up with graphics, video and animations; collaborated with others on it; and finally, gave presentation itself.

It’s a multiplatform world, so I worked on it using a Windows PC, a Mac, an iPad, an Android tablet and an iPhone. I used the local clients and the online version of Microsoft PowerPoint, as well as the mobile versions. Google Slides is web-based but also has client versions for Android and iOS, so I tested those as well.

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How Big Data is Revolutionizing Employee Training

Companies of all types must handle problems on a constant basis, but these challenges are more difficult for a small business. Having limited resources makes it difficult to compete with larger enterprises. Companies of all types must handle problems on a constant basis, but these challenges are more difficult for a small business. Having limited resources makes it difficult to compete with larger enterprises. 

In the past, access to something as powerful as Big Data was limited due to the costs and skills required. In recent years, however, cloud vendors have begun providing data solutions that are simpler and more affordable. For SMBs, this usually requires no more than a subscription fee to begin leveraging the benefits of big data. One report forecasts that big data use by small businesses has increased by 42 percent over the past year.

Even if you run a small proprietorship, you can still utilize big data – for example, to discover patterns and trends in your internal operations or supply chain, identifying new prospects, developing new products, improvements to efficiency, and otherwise making informed decisions to drive faster growth. 

One area where big data is proving highly effective is in employee training. In this article you'll discover how data analysis will improve your workforce and your bottom line.














Photo Credit:

Meeting the Expectations of Your Employees

Big data will help you to pinpoint the skills your workers need to perform better, whether on an individual, team, or departmental basis. You can then prioritize and implement a training program that targets the skills and knowledge your employees need most. 

You can establish training courses in a variety of formats according to your needs and resources. These might involve mentor programs with veteran employees, online courses, demonstrations and lectures, or traditional classroom settings. You'll be able to determine which combination of training situations works best and how to schedule them around employee work hours.

You will need to identify which information and materials are required for your training sessions, such as instructors, video, printed handbooks, and smartphone or computer apps. If you can find the right materials and environments to suit your workforce, employees can actually become excited about attending training sessions.

Using big data to track your training programs, you can focus on the most effective training aids, developing better lesson plans, and designing new content and exercises. This way, you'll be able to provide the training that your employees will find the most engaging.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Training

Tracking the effectiveness of your training program will provide the data you need to keep making improvements for greater results. You can identify employee preferences in comparison to the rate of progress. This will help you establish more interesting and even personalized learning activities.

Big data can help you adapt your training to each employee's specific needs. Advanced e-learning technologies can improve the learning experience for everyone to provide optimal returns on your time and investment.
Immediate correlation of test results with demographic data can help you easily chart overall development as well as where individuals may be struggling. People learn at different rates and in different ways, so that some may need special attention or fresh approaches. You'll be able to determine which learning modules are most productive for which employees.

Big data analysis of training activity can also help you to spot employees who demonstrate special talents or capabilities. It would be in your company's best interests to develop these talents as much and as quickly as possible, or prepare gifted individuals for leadership roles. 

Learning through a cloud-based big data solution will provide real-time feedback for employees, instructors, and management. You can take corrective actions to improve the process as training continues. 

The cloud provides a highly responsive and flexible platform for a mobile, connected workforce. The easy accessibility of cloud computing technology has made the perk of working from home possible for an increasing number of people, so now it’s easy for remote employees to get all the benefits of education without having to leave the comfort of their home.

Minimize Employee Turnover

In the U.S., corporate spending on employee training amounted to $70 billion in 2014 and continues to grow. Your small company may not be able to commit a huge sum, but the benefits of developing a better workforce are clear. 

Employees who receive ongoing training are happier in their jobs and more committed to their employer. More capable workers are more confident, more comfortable, and more likely to remain with your company long-term. 

Zoe Weintraub of Guild Education maintains that employees who receive job training are up to 40 percent more likely to stay with their employer than those who don't receive extra training.

A business culture that involves employee skills training benefits both the company and the individual worker, which makes it well worth the investment. Your employees will understand that their efforts are important to the business and its mission. They'll have a greater sense of job satisfaction knowing that you are prepared to invest in their future.

One of the rewards of incorporating big data into your small business comes from its applications in employee training. Cloud-based systems allow you to improve and adapt training programs in real time to get the best from your workforce. At the same time, it creates a sense of involvement and loyalty in your employees. This double benefit of ongoing training makes it a shrewd investment for companies of all sizes. 

Author Bio:Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88

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SAP will shut down SAP Anywhere service for SMBs

Two years after its launch, the service had attracted around 30 active customers

By Peter Sayer

DG News Service - Paris bureau chief, IDG News Service | MARCH 28, 2018


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SAP has decided to “sunset” a front-office service with which it hoped to crack the small business market.

Launched in May 2016, SAP Anywhere was supposed to help small companies build online stores, create marketing campaigns, manage inventory and analyze business performance. To achieve this it offered integrations with web services from Google, PayPal and United Parcel Service.

Perhaps more surprising than SAP’s retreat from the small-business market is how little ground it won there.

Despite a worldwide footprint, with launches in the U.S., China and across Europe, SAP Anywhere has fewer than 60 customers -- and almost half of those are inactive, said an SAP representative.

Inactive customers have been given 30 days notice, while active customers will be supported to the end of their current contract, said the representative.

“The needs of each customer are unique, but we will offer alternatives wherever suitable and we will be interacting with each active customer,” he said via email.

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On Blockchain and the Internet of Things

Calvin Price

Strengths, Weaknesses, and the Likely Road Ahead

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most exciting paradigms in emerging technology. The principle of connecting billions of devices to automate networks is absolutely thrilling and has considerable applications in agriculture, manufacturing, consumer tech, and virtually all mechanically intensive industries. It also has a big problem: at its current stage, IoT is objectively infeasible and dangerous.

IoT connects a web of devices that typically operate with minimal computational power and are embedded with chips for the purpose of connectivity and little else. This is a major security flaw. Thus far, researchers have demonstrated horrifying capability and creativity in breaching IoT devices. Hackers have thus far managed to control implanted cardiac devices, entirely disable cars remotely, and launch the world’s largest DDoS attack.



The Case for Blockchain in IoT

IoT security flaws typically revolve around three areas: authentication, connection, and transaction. Devices improperly verifying, improperly connecting, or improperly spending with other devices are all major security concerns. (These are all software/protocol issues. Although is not the focus of this article, it is worth noting that IoT suffers from physical and hardware security flaws, too). A blockchain can alleviate all of these areas. Distributed ledgers seem like such a minor change to IoT networks considering how physically distributed the systems are, but the blockchain brings several killer apps with it.

Trustless: Fully operational IoT devices interact with known and (ideally) unknown devices. For example, autonomous machine repair is a big goal for the autonomous industry: when a mechanical failure or signs of deterioration is detected, the network responds by ordering new parts. In a trusted environment, such issues do not pose as a problem; in the real world, this is a major attack vector against the IoT network. But this otherwise thorny problem is solved by the trustless, consensus protocols of the blockchain, protecting from all but the most extreme malicious actors.

Auditable: Tracking the actions of network components and provably verifying that record is another big goal for IoT. Such auditability improves analytics, network performance, legal compliance, and safety. The blockchain’s immutable record is ideal for creating reliable networks histories.


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