For the past few months, the terms "cybersecurity" and "advanced persistent threat" have filled headlines around the world. However, as with many media stories, it’s often easy to assume that targeted hacking is something that happens to somebody else. Targeted, hacktivist, and insider compromise can happen to any company or organization, for as many reasons as there are human beings. No organization is too “uninteresting” to be a target.
Unfortunately, organizations who assume they are not targets often aren’t aware of the magnitude of compromise and infection in their networks. McAfee reported a 1.5 million increase in unique samples of malware in one quarter of 2012 alone. We have entered an era where traditional blind reliance on antivirus and firewalls to protect our networks is no longer adequate. Administrators and IT management must be actively aware of what is occurring in their networks in order to defend them.
For the past seven years, the Motorola Security Operations Center has been providing managed network security services for more than 170 customers of all sizes, in a broad variety of industries. One of the most striking things we have seen is a shift in perspective from customers that have previously been performing only limited log monitoring once they see the results of proper, real-time security monitoring on their networks.
This doesn’t hinge on the purchase of new devices. There have been many cases in which customers have had devices generating security logs for years that they simply have never had the manpower or adequate training to configure and utilize. After we properly configure and monitor these log sources, years worth of infections and vulnerabilities can be found. Sometimes, the infections have existed – and have even been transmitting data – for years. In terms of targeted attacks, where antivirus tools may provide little to no detection, undetected data transmission is quite common. An attacker with even minor interest in an organization can gain a foothold in their network, when the intrusion remains undetected for a very long period of time. The recent Mandiant APT1 report provides a great example of this; companies involved were compromised by this actor for “an average of 356 days”, prior to detection. A year may seem extreme, but this is actually a common observation [RSA].
Consider for a moment if your organization is using the following logs to their full capacity:
Unfortunately, organizations who assume they are not targets often aren’t aware of the magnitude of compromise and infection in their networks. McAfee collected 1.5 million more unique samples of malware in one quarter of 2012 than the previous quarter. We have entered an era where traditional blind reliance on antivirus and firewalls to protect our networks is no longer adequate. Administrators and IT management must be actively aware of what is occurring in their networks in order to defend them.
Organizations need to consider and safeguard all these sources of information to protect themselves from advanced persistent threats. Are you doing all that you can? Learn more in this white paper on Understanding Cybersecurity.
Lesley Carhart is an Incident Responder at the Security Operations Center for Motorola Solutions.
Learn more about managed security services here.
Americans suffer about 1.5 million heart attacks every year; heart disease is the leading cause of death, with more than 400,000 heart attack victims dying before they reach the hospital. Emergency Department visits over the past decade have increased by 22 percent, with more than 44 percent of all hospital admittances starting in the emergency room. Many of these visits begin with a call to 9-1-1 and an Emergency Medical Team being dispatched.
A growing number of government agencies, especially those in rural areas with long transport times, treat the ambulance ride as the first point of care. Doctors and paramedics call the first hour following a trauma the “golden hour” and stress its importance for triage. During this time, it’s critical that patient assessment information be reviewed and the right information provided to the medical command at the ER as quickly as possible. Real-time communications can help improve patient care and accuracy of information.
Historically, ambulances have relied on voice communications to share critical information with dispatch and the local hospitals. But as communication systems evolve and wireless data access from networks such as the nationwide Public Safety LTE network become available, emergency response teams will be able to send and receive vital information from multiple sources to improve patient treatment and survival. For example:
With the aging of the American population, EMT and paramedics jobs are projected to grow 33 percent from 2010 to 2020. Putting new technology advancements in the hands of these critical first responders is going to be important to making a real difference in caring for patients en route to an emergency center. Motorola Solutions is working in partnership with medical providers and other industry leaders to leverage voice and data communication and bring new capabilities to Emergency Medical Services.
Heidi Hattendorf is a Motorola Solutions Director of Innovation Development.
Working in warehouse and distribution centers has you swimming in an alphabet soup of acronyms. From internal slang to industry-recognized terms, it’s easy to let a few acronyms slip through the gaps. Today we’ll cover two that need to be at the top of your list.
First, let’s start with FSMA: the Food Safety Modernization Act.
The last update to our food safety laws was in 1938. The new law was passed by Congress on Dec. 21, 2010, and is continually evolving to improve best practices. Its main purpose is to reduce the preventable instances of foodborne illness. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the organization managing the FSMA.
According to the FDA, “the new law requires processors to identify, implement and monitor preventive controls.” That means warehouse and distribution centers need more proactive tools to monitor and track food in their facilities. Imported food has additional, thorough checks prior to being shipped – FSMA provides a checklist that suppliers can use at the point of origin.
In addition, the FDA now has the authority to issue a mandatory recall and prevent contaminated food from shipping. So what does this mean for warehouses and distribution centers? It means you need to have a strong tracking process on your foods.
Food needs to be properly tracked from where it is produced through the distribution channel. In focusing on the prevention and detection of food safety issues, cold chain compliance is more critical than ever. Monitoring the condition of the product with new technologies allows for much better compliance with cold chain requirements.
For food that is recalled, importers, manufacturers, processors and transporters need proper tracking to ensure food is removed quickly and consumers properly notified. Mobile technology, such as bar code scanners, RFID scanners and tablets, can help workers keep better track of where food currently is and its current condition. By enabling workers in the warehouse and distribution center with mobile technology, they can better input information real-time.
That also includes identifying problems with machinery in the warehouse, such as refrigerators. Workers can be quickly dispatched to repair a malfunctioning machine and get it up and running to maintain capacity. In addition, a worker can scan the food and a supervisor can dispatch a team to discard any damaged food in real-time.
A tool that can help this process and utilizes mobile technology is our other acronym: GS1.
GS1 standards were chosen by the Produce Traceability Initiative (PTI) to enable “farm to fork” traceability for produce in the North American market. GS1 bar codes, by encoding extended product data like lot and date codes at the case level, enable very efficient capture of critical data at each stage of the process of food production, processing and distribution.
GS1 is a nonprofit organization that provides a global set of standards for data tracking. This is extremely helpful when dealing with global products that need a universal data set to track and inform businesses and consumers. Their oldest and most prevalent method is through bar codes that store data.
A newer method is the GS1 DataBar. This is a smaller version of a bar code that actually houses more information than a bar code. For example, a piece of fruit can have a DataBar placed on it that contains its “best-before” date, price, weight and any discount and price information. Simply scanning the DataBar with any scanner will instantly provide that information, and a warehouse worker can assure its accuracy.
Another method is through RFID tags and scanners. RFID tags can be placed onto pallets or even individual items. Imagine a shipment of produce is being offloaded from a truck and passes through a fixed RFID reader. Warehouse workers can instantly learn what produce is on the pallet, where it came from and when. Moving into the warehouse, the tag informs a picker of all that information to ensure the proper item is selected and sent to the store.
As you might imagine, GS1 standards can play a vital role in FSMA compliance and in recalls. The global adoption of these standards allows for immediate accesses to accurate product information across the entire supply chain, which enables swift, comprehensive recalls. In addition, GS1 standards can play an important role in preventing the need for recalls through improved quality assurance and inventory control.
In short, technology can play a key role in your warehouse or distribution center’s compliance with FSMA. GS1 is an important tool you can use to take your food safety to the next level and help reduce the instances of foodborne illnesses. Now you not only know your alphabet soup, but you can be sure it’s safe to eat, too!
Mark Wheeler is the Director of Supply Chain Solutions - North America for Motorola Solutions.
Let's face it - some decisions are harder than others.
When it comes to technology, the decision on what to buy can take days, weeks, months or even years to make – a long way from such daily, mundane decisions as paper or plastic at the grocery store - or my personal favorite, hash browns or home fries at your favorite diner.
As an example, do you agonize over an upcoming cell phone purchase?
With all the features, benefits and payment plans, it’s enough to test anyone’s peace of mind.
Whether you’re the type of person who needs latest gadget or someone who just needs a cell phone to make and receive calls, chances are you’ve upgraded or purchased a new cell phone a number of times over the past few years – maybe in order to surf the Web or text friends and family.
But what if you haven’t upgraded your phone in seven years – or longer? Remember what cell phones looked like way back in 2005? To say today’s technology changes rapidly is perhaps the understatement of the 21st century.
Now let’s take this technology discussion conundrum to business, and talk about bar codes and bar code scanners.
For instance, does your business use bar code scanners? If it does, which is the right scanner to choose? It really depends on which bar codes your business is using and if you want to future-proof your investment. If your business uses mostly 1D barcodes, the traditional laser scanner is a sound, economical choice if you are looking at the short term since the marketplace is changing quickly. If your business uses 1D and / or some 2D barcodes or requires the ability to read bar codes on cell phones (including those 2D barcodes used for your customer loyalty programs or online coupons) an imaging scanner is required.
The traditional one dimensional or 1D bar code most people are familiar with has been around for nearly forty years. The 1D bar code is perhaps the most recognizable and most familiar around. These codes can be found on almost anything and everything.
But lately there has been an increasing amount of 2D bar codes – perhaps the most familiar is the QR, or Quick Response code, found today in many consumer and retail areas. 2D bar codes contain more information than their 1D ancestors, and as a result are making their way into businesses that need to know as much information as possible about where their products are and who buys them.
Many modern day industries and retailers track their products using a barcode scanner – both 1D and 2D bar codes contain product information. The scanner helps keeps track of those assets through the use of bar codes.
Different scanners are needed for different bar codes – a typical scanner that reads 1D paper barcodes uses a laser beam of light that is projected at the bar code and information on the bar code is reflected back to the scanner.
A scanner that reads 2D bar codes (called an imager) acts like a digital camera – it takes an image or a picture of the 2D bar code, and relays the information on the 2D bar code back to the scanner in that fashion. Bear in mind all imagers can also read 1D bar codes and read them omni-directionally as well.
Experience tells us that most customers often keep their scanner up to 7 or more years - and with the fast pace of technology changes and the need to read bar codes on cell phones customers would be remiss in not purchasing an imaging scanner.
It comes down to this – the same way we have seen cell phones improve in their function and capabilities so quickly and in such a short period of time, it stands to reason that bar codes, and bar code scanners, as a technology, are already changing. Is your business ready for those changes?
Think about the future of your business – you know your business best. Are you looking to grow your business? Do you want to track all aspects of your products from inception to delivery and beyond? Do you want to take advantage of lowering your costs by sending out coupons via bar codes instead of print or make it easy for your customers to use your loyalty programs? Will you need to include more information about your products in your bar codes than you do now? Answers to these questions will help you make the right decision about which bar codes and bar code scanners will work best for your business. It’s certainly an important business decision, and surely not one to be taken as lightly as paper or plastic, or hash browns or home fries!
Joel Kahn is a Senior Marketing Manager, DCS Business Development, Motorola Solutions, Inc.
For more information about bar code scanners from Motorola Solutions, please click here