Cybersecurity and Technology

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How To Budget Properly For Your Business Cybersecurity System Chika Wonah

How to Budget Properly for Your Business Cybersecurity System

Today, cybersecurity is critical for any business; even though most are not doing well due to the covid-19 outbreak, they should be cyber safe. According to security experts, it’s vital to ensure that more funds are allocated to cybersecurity systems and more staff hired. It’s critical to get value for cybersecurity investment since each new software invention is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Budgeting for cyberattacks can be tricky as the process is marred with various factors that make it hard.


Eliminate Lack of Confidence in the Budgeting Process

A higher percentage of business executives are afraid that cyber spending is not in line with significant risk; hence it’s hard to measure its value. The process monitors cyber effectiveness concerning the budget expenditure. There is a lack of confidence that the current budget will link the overall budget in a strategic, risk-aligned, and data-driven way. The executives are not sure whether the budgets are enough to provide solutions for future emerging technology issues. There is a lack of confidence in the process used to fund cybersecurity, hence creating a revamp. Although some are using new budgeting processes, most agree that they can contain the situation while managing the budget.


Budgeting for Cyber Risk is a Must


To protect a business from cyber-attacks and ensure its security, privacy, and cash flow, cyber managers need to quantify cyber risk and use the information to make the right decisions. Executives who have quantified cyber risk have tangible benefits from the process; however, it comes with numerous obstacles such as lack of individuals who understand cyber risk from a business view, lack of scalability, and widely accepted models. 60% have either started to quantify cyber risk or are implementing at scale.


Instill Confidence in Budgeting Decisions


Cyber economics has long been focusing on the cost side without realizing its benefits to a business. Cybersecurity should be highly regarded in every business decision-making to ensure they achieve a strategic, risk-aligned, and data-driven solution. Investing in cyber projects allows a business to compare the cost and value of risk reduction and cost compliance. Quantification is a sure way of valuing cyber investments against business objectives. CEOs must ensure this happens since they are held accountable for cybersecurity.


Resetting Your Cybersecurity Strategies In 2021 Chika Wonah

Resetting Your Cybersecurity Strategies in 2021

2020 was the year of the unexpected, biologically and digitally. This is true in terms of many changes and served as an eye-opener for better preparedness. It is an era that shows preparation, caution, and due diligence matters in all aspects or one would face similar consequences.


One of the significant shifts was the switch from physical interactions to compulsory digital ones, leading to an expansion in digitization. People started working from home, and many businesses joined the digital movement; this led to a more substantial focus on cybersecurity with the rise of many cyber attacks.


The Need for Cybersecurity in A Distributed Working Environment


Hackers capitalized on the ‘work from home’ trend, and there was a surge in global cyber attacks. Phishing and the use of fake accounts to access individual personal information were in vogue. Ransomware was on a rampage as many firms, companies, organizations, and even networks in their entirety were held as hostages.


Accelerated machine learning significantly impacted widespread digitization, and artificial intelligence technologies are on the rise as well. Like every other digital creation, digitization has its vulnerabilities; this leads to hackers exploiting the vulnerabilities in these creations, including networks and devices.


The Rise of Cybersecurity Must Follow


The cyber breaches of 2020 were recorded to almost double that of 2019 due to the digital expansion. An estimate of 59% of the world’s population, amounting to 4.6 billion, was the rate of active internet users as of July 2020.


As the usage went up, so did the attacks.


Statistics for online crimes reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) in 2020 were nearly quadruple that of 2019 due to the pandemic.


Everyone is susceptible to breaches, but with actions, one can limit the damages. Indeed, individuals and organizations can attribute risks to new business models, innovations and technologies. Hence, a need to reset cybersecurity strategies so that 2021 can be better.


Simple Actions To Take


Cybersecurity organizations project that in every 11 seconds, a business may fall victim to a ransomware attack in 2021. The prediction for global ransomware damage costs is about $20 billion by 2021. However, with the right actions, one can flatten the cybersecurity attack curve.


Reviewing cyber budgets, planning for resilience, investing in security solutions, and enhancing security in organizations are part of the focus on resetting cybersecurity strategies.


Amidst rapid global digitization in businesses and every other aspect of life, a holistic cyber strategy is required. One that encompasses adequate prevention and protection and will lead to a foreseeable decline in cyber attacks.

2021 Cyber Security Predictions

 2021 Cyber Security Predictions

Many corporations have prioritized cyber-security amid the COVID-19 pandemic. PwC’s recent report shows that 96% of managers have changed their cyber-security techniques, and 40% of them claim that their digitization efforts have increased. Correspondingly, IDC anticipates that global security expenditure will increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1% during the 2020-2024 prediction period, reaching $174.7 billion in 2024. Similarly, Forrester’s 2021 cyber-security forecasts indicate that funding for cyber-security companies whose headquarters are outside the United States will rise by 20% in 2021. Analysis Mason also predicts that between 2019 and 2025, mobile device security will be the fastest-growing cyber-security category and will reach $13 billion with a CAGR of 17%.


In 2020, breaches became a challenging problem that was difficult to stop. For example, the U.S Depart of Health and Human Services (HHS) Breach Portal shows that in 2020, 436 breaches attacked healthcare organizations, affecting 17.3 million.


Here is a list of predictions that apprehend how cyber-security will advance in 2021:


1. In 2021, 55% of businesses will increase their cyber-security budget allocations, and 51% will hire more full-time cyber staff.

2. In The Next Three Years, the most dominant cyber-security technologies will be the Cloud Workload Protection Platform, Passwordless Authentication, and Posture Management. As Gartner’s Impact Radar for Security framework indicates, the Zero Trust Networking will have a significant impact within a period of one to three years.

3. Security services will be the fastest and largest growing security market sector, occupying half of the security budget meant for the 2020-2024 prediction period. The segment will also attain a CAGR of 10.5% in five years.

By 2021, cyber-security IT spending will reach a CAGR of 12% due to the drastic increase in cybercrimes, such as breaches, endpoint security attacks, phishing, and privilege access credential abuse.

  1. Intellectual Property will be cyber criminals’ target in 2021.
  2. The global cyber-security expenditure for small and medium-sized businesses will increase by 10% CAGR between 2019 and 2024, making this segment an $80 billion industry in four years.

4. Business cybersecurity spending will grow at a higher rate in four major industries- healthcare services and systems, financial and banking, technology and media, and social and public segments.

5. Improvements in AI and machine learning will contribute to 80% of devices’ capability to self-secure-and-heal, enabling IT to implement policies and remain confident that their data and devices are safe.

  • Many companies will struggle to reduce their vulnerability to cyber-attacks in 2021 and beyond.
  • Over the next five years, cyber-crime costs will increase at an annual rate of 15%, reaching $10.5 trillion per year by 2025.
  • Security vendors will continue to consolidate endpoint security in 2021.

In 2021, cybercriminals will devise new and innovative ways to attack personal devices to access corporate networks. While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced workers to work remotely, many organizations have not fully protected their employees. As a result, cyber attackers will exploit these gaps, leading to increased cybercrimes. 


The Internet of Things Can’t Fail

You’ve probably used a connected device before- in fact, you may have used one while reading this. All of the connected devices you use in your daily life comprise something known as the “Internet of Things”. The Internet of Things, or IoT, is an interconnected web of all of the technological gadgets you use in order to make your life more efficient. One unfortunate reality of these devices is that they will fail sometime during their lifespan. Their failure may come unexpected, undesired, and may even cause you a bit of trouble. These failures, however, have the potential to come with far greater consequences.

Industries around the world have begun to adopt and integrate the usage of technologies within the Internet of Things into their everyday business operations. The potential for increases in efficiency and productivity provides great intrigue for corporations that are looking to take their enterprise to the next level. The pros do not come without potential cons, however. Depending on the nature of the industry adopting these technologies, the consequences of a software failure can be catastrophic. Forbes states that “industrial giants” such as GE, Siemens, and Bosch have begun to invest billions into the integration of technology within their daily operations. It is easy to imagine the repercussions that could occur as a result of a technological hiccup within a company as crucial to sensitive operations as Siemens or Bosch. Envision a scenario where a software-operated, industrial grade Bosch power tool blue screens, posing a serious danger to other machines and potentially other people as a result of an intermittent failure.

Despite this obvious potential for failure, the allure for more efficient means of production have thus far outweighed the fear of technological slip-ups, resulting in more and more companies investing resources into the Internet of Things. New platforms for jumping into the world of the IoT have begun to spring up within the industrial environment, making it easier than ever for companies to partner up and begin to utilize what this new technology has to offer. Some companies have even kick-started their own platforms, providing the opportunity to expand from within their own operations. However companies elect to delve into the IoT, it has become apparent that this is more than just a temporary trend- it has become equally as apparent, however, that the capacity for consequence means that these industrial technologies can not afford to fail.

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Chika Wonah Therapy Bots

Therapy Bots

Mental Health Care and all adjacent topics like access, protocol, and awareness continue to dominate public discourse as shows like Thirteen Reasons Why grow in popularity and teen suicide rates continue to swell. Naturally, technology does not exist in a vacuum but rather responds to the market demands and social needs. As such, many socially conscious programmers and inventors have looked into ways to harness algorithms, bots, and pre-existing social media to diagnose and treat mental health conditions before victims resort to extreme and harmful coping mechanisms.

The diagnosis side has called into collaboration predictive analytics, human behavior, and believe it or not, Instagram users. A March 2017 study out of Cambridge analyzed the Instagram behaviors of users with and without clinical depression to determine whether there were any tell-tale signs of developing depressive episodes. Ind determining the predictors of depression, the researchers hoped to publicize these and call into action users’ followers to check in on them.

After scrutinizing the posts of 166 users, 70 of whom were diagnosed with depression, the researchers found that depressed people tend to post more photos using the black and white filter, post fewer faces, and spend more time on the app. The researchers set their algorithm loose on fresh accounts and were able to correctly identify Instagram users with depression about 70% of the time. Mental health professionals and counselors can usually make a correct ID a little over 40% of the time, so this tool could help people get they need before they succumb to a treatable illness.

In addition to tools to diagnose mental health problems, programmers have ventured into providing better care to people who need additional support by means of hotlines and bots. Facebook Messenger has been a  testing ground for lots of interactive bots, including webby-nominated Poncho, a humorous weather-predicting cat.

Programmers at Stanford University launched Dr. Woebot, a chatbot available on Facebook Messenger to help users document and track their moods and anxiety levels without having to consult (or pay for) a therapist. Their little project lives on Facebook and tracks moods, triggers, and solutions for its users/patients. Harnessing the year and years of research in the field of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, the bot guides users through exercises that bring harmony to thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Users are asked to work through hypotheticals and think through difficult scenarios so that they can reclaim agency over their reactions and emotions in certain real-life settings.

Mental and cognitive health are nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s high time that our technological advances come to the aid of those who need our help the most.

Best Smart Devices for your Home

Whether your home is already hooked into the Internet of Things, or whether you’re shopping for your first smart device, there are lots of great products on the market for you to try. Here are some places to start:

Amazon Echo: This smart speaker can access Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, and has great 360 degree sound quality. Its voice-activated AI, Alexa, can make phone calls, check the weather, report traffic, and more. If you’ve never owned a smart device before, the Echo is a fun and accessible place to start. And it connects to many other smart devices, including Hue lights and Nest systems, so you can really start building your smart home.

Logitech Harmony Elite: Great if you like the idea of Alexa but feel silly barking orders at your radio, or if you’ve fantasized about the idea of a truly universal remote. This looks like a regular TV remote, but can access all sorts of smart devices, including your TV, your speakers, and even smart lights. Users also get access to the Harmony App, which allows you to use your phone like a remote as well.

Nest Protect Smoke Detector: The Internet of Things can be fun and convenient, but it can also be used to make your home safer. The Nest Protect senses smoke and carbon monoxide, and can be controlled from your phone.

Kuna Toucan: This outdoor security camera works with Alexa or a smartphone app. It alerts you when a car pulls into your driveway or a visitor arrives at your door, and takes both video and audio, which it stores online for easy access. You can even have it make a siren sound to scare away unwanted visitors.

Nest Learning Thermostat: Not only is this thermostat easy to control through a phone, tablet, laptop, or Alexa, it quickly learns your temperature preferences, and is capable of turning itself down when the house is empty. Plus, by monitoring outdoor temperatures and your preferences, it can help guide you to the most energy efficient temperature settings, and save you lots of money on your heating bill.

June Intelligent Oven: Tell this oven what you’re baking and how you want it, and it does all the work to make that happen. The June Intelligent Oven works great for everything from casseroles to Eggo waffles, but it’s at its most impressive cooking hard-to-perfect meats. At just under $1500, it’s the priciest item on this list by far, but it’s also a great demonstration of how smart smart tech can be.

QardioBase Smart Scale: If you’re watching your health, this scale can give you all the relevant information–not just your weight. This scale can check your BMI, muscle mass, and bone mass, help you set and track fitness goals, and even tell if you’re pregnant. And it’s compatable with iOS, Android, and Kindle.

Binky: The App about Nothing

Every app is, at least on its face, “about” something. Twitter is for microblogging. Instagram is for sharing pictures. Snapchat is for silly filters. WhatsApp is for texting. But what about an app that does absolutely nothing?

Enter Binky, the nihilistic app that allows users to go through the motions of a social media app, but offers no real interaction, purpose, or end goal. There are no other users with whom to interact. There’s no accumulation of followers or likes. It’s all utterly meaningless.

Founder Dan Kurtz talked with NPR about why he created the app. One day, he was scrolling through a feed and realized that he couldn’t remember any part of the most recent article he’d read. Being on his phone and flicking his thumb upwards on the screen in a scrolling motion had become “his default state.” The futility of it all hit him like a ton of bricks, and he set about creating Binky, the app that does nothing.

Those who have the app can “swipe” left or right on generic stock photos in a tinder-like motion, but that information is stored nowhere and impacts the user experience in no capacity whatsoever. Users can “comment” by touching a keyboard, but only pregenerated words appear in the comment box.

Many have suggested using the app as a way for social media users to wean themselves off the endless drivel of “real” social media. For many, the simple act of going through the motions will help abate the addiction they’ve developed to scrolling and reacting. Kurtz described it as “the fidget cube of social media,” for people to feel like they’re participating without actually logging onto anything.

Binky provides all the action with none of the cognitive costs of having to plough through a New York Times article or argue in the comments with a political adversary. It’s pure, unfettered nothingness, and it’s making a splash on the App store.

For now, it’s only available on IOS, but it promises to be live on other platforms shortly.

Chika Wonah Google Cloud IoT Core

Google Cloud IoT Core

As the 2rst century has expanded in tremendous ways, technology has been a big driving factor. The world consists of a myriad of devices from cellphones, tablets, and laptops to wearable devices and more. Through data and the world wide web, better known as the internet, comes the possibility of connecting any and all devices.

In recent news, Google announced the release of Cloud IoT Core, the secure device connection and management system. This system allows consumers to securely connect their devices, along with analyzing data on each device as well. This service allows data to be collected, analyzed and turned into a visualization in real time throughout the globe. When it comes to user experience, Google has an exceptional understanding of what consumers want and will support.

Google is striving to make device data easier among a bundle of technologies. This also provides a rising opportunity to take advantage of this with their own products. The growth of productivity is expected to spike rapidly through the use of these various electronics.

A major trick Google has up its sleeve is the service’s ability to use a tool called natural language processing (NLP). Both consumers and industrial domains will be able to take advantage of the various tools Cloud IoT Core has to offer. This tool means that computers will have the capability to understand both written word and speech, or spoken word. With this advancement in technology, different computers will be able to communicate with each other, thus offering the ability to connect multiple devices through Cloud IoT.

Users of Cloud IoT can expect to improve operational efficiency through this management service. Any device used through the cloud will be connected via data for tracking, analyzing and more. Cloud IoT Core takes a level of complexity and simplifies it for all users. Whether you’re a large or small company, using large or small devices, Cloud IoT is an easy to use tool that takes the data and makes it easily manageable.

Google is also allowing it’s users to bring in third parties, meaning they don’t necessarily have to collect this data and analyze it through Google alone throughout their process.

Although this software is generally most beneficial to companies or even small businesses, Google has opened Cloud IoT Core to anyone who wants a more efficient way to manage their devices and data.

The Internet of Things and the Environment

The Internet of Things holds wild implications for how we interact with our environment and urban centers. Because IoT lets us track where we go, what we buy, and how much we waste, we could feasibly use it to help us live greener lives…or it could make us waste even more.

The idea of such innovation and connectivity often leads to an increase in conversation, both positive and negative, and debate. Of course, the introduction of IoT technologies is no exception. The focus of this debate is whether or not IoT will be harmful to our already decaying environment.

In the eyes of IBM Watson, the answer to that question is a resounding no. Thanks to the company’s contributions to IoT technologies, as well as their collaborations with companies like Siemen’s and KONE, the future looks bright for environmentally conscious companies around the globe.

For example, IBM-powered IoT technologies aid businesses in diminishing their carbon footprint by reducing pollution and enhancing building sustainability. In recent years, buildings using these IoT technologies have been able to analyze real-time data from sensors and use this gathered information to generate insights on how people use the office building.

By tracking these trends, building managers may be able to install certain devices to reduce energy waste, including: smart lights that brighten and dim in relation to the amount of natural lighting available; smart window shades that lower and rise to improve the efficiency of both the heating and cooling system; and buildings that create their own energy via solar panels and return the energy they do not use.

Additionally, IoT technologies have given way to pocket-sized sensors that can be used to track environmental changes such as air quality, radiation, water quality, and airborne chemicals. Such devices not only improve our ability to seek out effective solutions to environmental crises, but improve the lives and health of those inhabiting affected regions.

While these IoT technologies offer us the opportunity to change our world for the better, it is important to note that they are not inherently good. Such technologies can be used to the detriment of our environment, like in the growing epidemic of electronic waste (e-waste). Therefore, it is important to do our due diligence and promote awareness of such injustices, thus ensuring the continued development and improvement of these life-changing IoT technologies.

Chika Wonah - The Return of the Basic Phone

The Return of the Basic Phone

All of our devices are getting smarter and more connected. Our refrigerators, our lamps, our cars, and more are all connected to each other and to our phones. Our phones also increasingly connect us to huge audiences of people, from social networks to chatting apps and more productivity apps than we know what to do with. All this connectedness can become easily overwhelming and deprive us of sleep, relaxation, and mental respite from work and the hustle of keeping up appearances.

Whereas many of us have chosen, whether actively or passively, to keep up with the fast pace of smart technology, some have halted it all and returned to something way more simple: A basic phone.

In this day and age, how could someone survive without being totally connected, you may ask. It’s a different lifestyle than the one we’ve all found ourselves living, but for the sake of their sanity and solitude, they have chosen to purposefully disconnect from the Internet of Things. And if you can believe this, there are some tech companies who are creating phones explicitly designed to reduce the amount of time spent on them.

Businesses have a stake in the game when it comes to making sure you spend lots of time on your mobile devices. Cell phone carriers can charge you more for data. Social apps can display more advertising to you. E-commerce apps and platforms want you to linger so that they can convince you to make a purchase. Big data aggregators want to collect as much information about your travels, whereabouts, habits, and decision-making processes as they can to learn about humanity, society, and how to best market to certain groups.

To that end, it’s been in the best interest of most businesses to make sure you spend lots of time on your phone, and many features work to ensure this. Most apps, for example, have a blue interface, which is known to hold your attention for longer and make it more difficult to sleep. Frequent updates fix bugs and adapt to changing desires in the user experience. Apps will often work together to keep you hooked in a loop of toggling among them.

However, there are two particular disruptors who are designing phones designed to help people use their phones less. The first is Nokia, which has long been hailed as an extremely utilitarian and unbreakable device. Their new basic phone, the Nokia 3310, offers a more modern design but with little more than the basic calling and texting functions. Between the multi-day battery life, low cost of minutes, and the relief from the constant binging of app notifications, the new Nokia stands to provide welcome respite from the social network fatigue.

The other device is still in development. Siempo is a smartphone that allows users to simplify their notifications and encourages users to spend less time on it. For example, the phone has options that lock it for a certain amount of time after you wake up so that your first moments up involve exercise, meditation, or reading, not mindless scrolling. The phone also lacks a front-facing camera to cut down on the selfie urge and includes a lot of controls for how often you receive notifications.

Many are rethinking their phone usage and looking for ways to return to a more balanced lifestyle. Perhaps the kinds of phones they chose to use, be it a very simple “dumb” phone, a smartphone with a different purpose, or a total 180 to a house phone, will help users find an equilibrium between constant internet connection and real-world connections.

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