Tag Archives: help

Blockchain identity management simplifies personal security

Identity management is a pain point for many companies and individuals, but blockchain could help solve some of the challenges.

When banking, traveling, providing proof of age or accessing corporate data, individuals must prove their identity. But it can be difficult for users to keep track of all the different pieces of identification they must present to do so. ShoCard, a software provider in Cupertino, Calif., aims to eliminate the need for multiple forms of identification, usernames and passwords, and give users more control through the use of its blockchain identity management tool.

“Since it is your data, really, you have the right to hold it, to operate it as you wish,” said Alexander Novoselov, the head of innovation at Creditinfo Group, a ShoCard customer headquartered in Iceland.

How blockchain identity management works

ShoCard offers an identity management tool that uses a blockchain-based digital verification and authentication process. Blockchain is a type of database that is secured using cryptography and encryption key techniques. A user’s identity information is stored on the blockchain to a hashed version of what’s called the public key. Each user also has a private key, which allows them to safeguard their personal data and prove to those with whom they share the data that it belongs only to the person sharing it.

The idea with blockchain identity management is to store and encrypt data on users’ mobile devices, rather than in a central database. Since credentials are stored on the device, an attacker would have to hack phone by phone and wouldn’t be able to compromise many identities at once.

Although the mass appeal of blockchain identity management remains to be seen, there is potential in very strict compliance-oriented fields, said Eric Klein, director of mobile software at VDC Research in Natick, Mass.

“They are definitely unique in the market for doing something that hadn’t occurred to me as a means of enhancing your security,” Klein said.

Customers can use ShoCard software development kits to integrate the technology into their mobile applications and servers. The client app then prompts users to take pictures of their valid government IDs, and ShoCard extracts the personal information. The user then sets up a passcode or fingerprint verification as an added security measure. When a user decides to share the data with a third party, the information is placed in an encrypted container on the blockchain, which no one — including ShoCard — can access, except the party with whom the user is sharing it.

Blockchain pays off

Creditinfo adopted ShoCard for a few of its customers. It needed to allow customers to not only have control over their own credit data, but also be able to securely transfer data between different countries, Novoselov said.

For example, if a person from India goes to a U.S. bank and tries to get a credit card, it brings complications. Creditinfo cannot share data from India in the U.S. because of a difference in privacy laws between the two countries. Creditinfo needed a tool to allow people to bring their credit histories with them anywhere.

This is a new way of bringing confidence that the data is in safe hands.
Alexander Novoselovhead of innovation at Creditinfo

Customers can now download the Creditinfo app, which incorporates ShoCard technology via the vendor’s software development kit, and securely access and share their credit score data on their mobile devices.

“This is a new way of bringing confidence that the data is in safe hands,” Novoselov said.

Based on this same blockchain identity management technology, ShoCard also offers ShoBadge, an app that allows employees to hold their encrypted ID information on their mobile devices. Unlike with ShoCard, customers don’t have to write any code; instead, they just use the app directly.

ShoBadge allows employees to access all of their corporate apps by authenticating through the app, rather than requiring different logins to different applications or devices. It also allows them to securely share their identities at the workplace — with human resources, for example. There is no longer a central database at the company where all the users’ sensitive personal information is stored. Thus, employees bring their own identity, and there is no username and password management in the hands of a third party.

The identity management market remains fragmented, with some existing vendors who have the benefit of being in the game for a long time, Klein said. But this does not mean that all customers have decided on which technology to adopt, which is why a new company like ShoCard has been attracting some pretty serious venture funding, he said.

“There are people betting on other technologies maybe surpassing what we have today,” he added. “Integrating sophisticated blockchain capabilities as a path certainly has potential.”

Discovering what DevOps means through help wanted ads

Help wanted: DevOps engineer.

Try finding a universal job description for that position on LinkedIn or Indeed.com, and you might go down the same rabbit hole I did recently. Based on what I saw, it’s not easy to define what a DevOps professional does.

Perhaps that dilemma owes to the vague boundaries of exactly what DevOps means. How about part technical, part cultural and part utopian? So, you can forgive job recruiters if they’re having a hard time describing DevOps positions that their companies want to fill.

And there are certainly lots of those positions currently open. The upward trends for DevOps jobs are impressive, according to data amassed on Indeed. There were about three times as many job postings on Indeed seeking DevOps candidates in June 2017 compared to June 2014. These job postings increased by 50% alone in the six months from January to June 2017.

Technical-based position wants ‘CIA’

In such a competitive market for job candidates, it’s natural for hiring departments to put their best spin on a DevOps job. I looked at three DevOps cloud engineer positions on LinkedIn just to see what differences showed up.

There were about three times as many job postings on Indeed seeking DevOps candidates in June 2017 compared to June 2014.

To be fair, there were some similarities: Candidates needed experience working with public cloud environments, using software automation techniques and moving toward continuous integration and continuous delivery, among other high-tech responsibilities.

But I also noticed significant differences among the trio of descriptions.

A financial services company, for example, heavily focused its DevOps cloud engineer job description on the technical duties and qualifications. In fact, the sought-after prospect was an engineer in “cloud integration and automation,” or CIA, according to the description. “This CIA engineer will be responsible for … establishing an infrastructure pipeline for on-prem workloads.” Yes, having experience with DevOps principles and in a business-friendly approach was a plus, but that qualification wasn’t readily apparent, and I had to read further down to find it.

Culture-based approach seeks a steward

Meanwhile, a well-known business media company took a different tack in its search for a DevOps engineer. The organization played upon its centennial anniversary and how technology would take it into the future.

In that regard, DevOps professionals were pitched as stewards of new visions, experimentation and increased efficiency — themes that are associated a lot more with the cultural aspects of exactly what DevOps means.

At the media company, DevOps engineers “sleep, eat and breathe a culture that is continuously iterating to improve everything they touch,” the description read.  This call to arms gave an impression strikingly different from the mechanical phraseology of the financial services job description.

Cancer fighters among the DevOps corps

Then there’s the job description from a research university, whose view of a DevOps engineer hinted at Shangri-La: Candidates need to be problem-solvers who might help cure cancer. Really?

That description might seem utopian to some. Yet, anyone following medical breakthroughs knows that precision medicine is enabling both data and clinical know-how to team up in ways not possible just a decade ago. How cool it would be if a DevOps engineer can help improve patient care?

In fact, many IT professionals in healthcare play significant roles in boosting clinical results. Researching cancer at this university, for example, requires automation techniques to better handle 17 petabytes of data flowing through a public cloud. In other words, beating cancer involves technical and DevOps know-how, not just medical expertise.

Considering the three jobs described here, DevOps candidates would seem to have many and varied choices, depending on which role appeals to them most, an embarrassment of options that in itself may seem utopian. However, the bigger issue remains and revolves around what DevOps means and whether it really does know its true identity.

With that in mind, the idea of simply seeking a DevOps engineer to fill a DevOps position might well be flawed, as Fixate IO DevOps analyst Chris Tozzi noted in DevOpsAgenda: “Doing DevOps the right way means getting the entire organization to embrace DevOps, not having a few people on staff who know DevOps.”

From where I stand, the definition of DevOps hinges on what a hiring company says it is. Just check the help wanted ads for proof.

Join us for Skype-a-Thon: Microsoft’s global event on Nov. 28-29 aiming to unite nearly half a million students |

Our annual Skype-a-Thon is here again, connecting thousands of classrooms to help open hearts and open minds. In our increasingly complex world this could not be more important. The students of today represent our hope for a better tomorrow. They are building our future.

This annual event is a celebration of the power of connecting students to each other globally, and an opportunity to teach greater empathy and compassion for our planet and for each other. Through sharing stories and projects, playing games, and collaborating on similar subjects, students’ hearts and minds are opened, allowing them to become more engaged global citizens.

Skype-a-Thon is a 48-hour event in which we, as a global community, count the distance all students travel virtually during any Skype calls made from November 28th through November 29th.  Last year, thousands of classrooms participated across all seven continents. This year we’re setting a goal for our global community to travel over 10 million virtual miles, and aiming to connect nearly half a million students.

As someone fortunate enough to visit classrooms around the world, I’m always heartened to see today’s students learning about global citizenship. One of the best ways they are gaining this knowledge is by using video communications technologies, like Skype. Classrooms are opening their walls to connect with different cultures and environments that can offer different perspectives, and model compassion for each other, the environment, and the health and welfare of students and their neighbors, near and far.

The impact of these experiences is best realized through the voices of the students participating.

“The world seems really large, and it would take a long time to go all way around it. But with things like Skype it seems so small.” Quentin, 8th Grade

Classrooms also use Skype to connect virtually with guest speakers, in fields of study where local experts are not available. They also take virtual field trips to visit landmarks and places of interest.

We created the Microsoft Global Skype-a-Thon to shine a light on the value of these virtual experiences.  It’s been exciting to see thousands of teachers and students participate to celebrate this kind of teaching, and to learn about empathy and appreciation of others and our world.

How do you join and have your students Skype with other classrooms and professionals?

There are many ways to get started and engage with this year’s Skype-a-Thon.  You can Skype with a classroom in another country, play Mystery Skype or share traditions and stories, take a virtual field trip to a place of interest, or get great advice from an expert during a Skype call with a guest speaker.

Visit skypeathon.com to plan your experiences and decide how many virtual miles your classroom can travel over the 48-hour celebration of global learning!

[embedded content]

New to Skype in the Classroom? That’s ok! Here’s how to get started:

  1. Sign-up on the Skype-a-Thon page: skypeathon.com
  2. Once you are signed up on the Microsoft Educator community, you can schedule a Skype call for November 28-29. Here you’ll be able to find a Skype activity in which to participate with your class. It could be any of the following Skype Classroom activities:
  • Skype with another class
  • Skype with a Microsoftie
  • Skype with a guest speaker
  1. Once you have scheduled your Skype calls for your students, share your plans and goals and virtual destinations. During the event, please share your experience and miles traveled with us on social networks using #skypeathon and #MicrosoftEDU.

For even more ideas, check out this Sway with even more information on all the ways you can participate in this year’s Skype-a-Thon:

 

Plus: Don’t miss the TweetMeet on Nov. 21, 10:00AM PST, in which you can talk to other educators about how they’re prepping for Skype-a-Thon.

Please join us on Nov. 28 to make this Skype-a-Thon another exciting journey through open hearts and open minds. To learn more, visit skypeathon.com today.

Join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using:

#skypeathon

#MicrosoftEDU

This month on Bing: holiday shopping, photo contest, new sports and weather experiences

This month at Bing we shipped several new experiences that help you quickly find what you’re looking for.
 

Holiday Shopping

With the holidays upon us, we have new tools to make it easy for you to search and discover the best deals on gifts.

blackfridaycountdown

Bing Shopping helps you save time by bringing together products from multiple sellers across the Web in to one search experience. Be it televisions, clothing and shoes, toys for your little ones, or gift baskets for your loved ones, you can compare across a wide range of products, filter your choices, compare prices, and visit the seller’s website where you can complete the purchase.

The Black Friday flyers page is a one stop shop to help you find Black Friday ads from across major stores in the US, saving you time mapping out your Black Friday strategy. So whether you are deal hunting or browsing specific stores, bookmark this page and visit it often to discover the latest deals as they are available.

Also in time for the holidays, we’ve increased the number of delivery services we support for package tracking, expanding our coverage from USPS, UPS, and Fedex in the US to coverage of several markets outside the US including myHermes in Great Britain and Purolator in Canada. Simply put your tracking ID in the search box, and Bing will present the latest tracking status right in the search result.

purolator
 

#AmplifyIngenuity Photo Contest

We also launched a #AmplifyIngenuity photo contest on 11/10 to help our users find inspiration in the ways humanity has used its intelligence to make a better future.

Users can

 

Historical weather and sports information

Bing has already got current weather and football information, but now you can check historical statistics for these topics. 

For example, if you’re hoping to travel these holidays or even just plan what to do at home, you can find historical weather patterns to know what to better expect.

historicalweather

Similarly, you can now go beyond searching current NFL results, and can brush up on your pro football knowledge by checking results of historical games.

historicalfootball

We hope you’re as excited by these releases as we are; we’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback at User Voice!

– The Bing Team
 

Druva Cloud Platform expands with Apollo

Druva moved to help manage data protection in the cloud with its latest Apollo software as a service, which helps protect workloads in Amazon Web Services through the Druva Cloud Platform.

The company’s new service provides a single control plane to manage infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service cloud workloads.

Druva, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., sells two cloud backup products, Druva InSync and Druva Phoenix, for its Druva Cloud Platform. The enterprise-level Druva InSync backs up endpoint data across physical and public cloud storage. The Druva Phoenix agent backs up and restores data sets in the cloud for distributed physical and virtual servers. Phoenix applies global deduplication at the source and points archived server backups to the cloud target.

There is a big change going on throughout the industry in how data is being managed. The growth is shifting toward secondary data.
Steven Hillsenior storage analyst, 451 Research

Apollo enables data management of Druva Cloud Platform workloads under a single control plane so administrators can do snapshot management for backup, recovery and replication of Amazon Web Services instances. It automates service-level agreements with global orchestration that includes file-level recovery. It also protects Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instances.

Druva Apollo is part of an industrywide trend among data protection vendors to bring all secondary data under global management across on-premises and cloud storage.

“There is a big change going on throughout the industry in how data is being managed,” said Steven Hill, senior storage analyst for 451 Research. “The growth is shifting toward secondary data. Now, secondary data is growing faster than structured data, and that is where companies are running into a challenge.”

“Apollo will apply snapshot policies,” said Dave Packer, Druva’s vice president of product and alliance marketing. “It will automate many of the lifecycles of the snapshots. That is the first feature of Apollo.”

Automation for discovery, analysis and information governance is on the Druva cloud roadmap, Packer said.

Druva last August pulled in $80 million in funding, bringing total investments into the range of $200 million for the fast-growing vendor. Druva claims to have more than 4,000 worldwide customers that include NASA, Pfizer, NBCUniversal, Marriott Hotels, Stanford University and Lockheed Martin.

Druva has positioned its data management software to go up against traditional backup vendors Commvault and Veritas Technologies, which also are transitioning into broad-based data management players. It’s also competing with startups Rubrik, which has raised a total of $292 million in funding since 2015 for cloud data management, and Cohesity, which has raised $160 million.

Versa SD-WAN gets features focused on voice, video calling

Versa Networks has added to its SD-WAN product capabilities the vendor claims will help organizations maintain the quality of video and voice calling in the branch office.

The company introduced this week Versa SD-WAN technology that formulates a mean opinion score (MOS) for communication traffic and lets network engineers set policies that trigger specific actions if the score falls below a baseline. MOS is a number from one to five that indicates the voice or video quality at the destination end of the circuit. Satisfactory voice calls, for example, are typically in the 3.5 to 4.2 range.

Versa has developed algorithms that determine the MOS of each call based on metrics extrapolated from Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) and Real-Time Transport Control Protocol (RTCP) traffic flows. RTP combines its data transport with the RTCP. The latter lets monitoring applications detect packet loss and compensate for delays that lead to jitter.

Other factors used to reach a mean opinion score are the codecs used in a company’s voice over IP and video conferencing application. In general, codecs compress digital data to move it faster over the network and then decompress it at the destination point. In doing its work, however, a codec causes some degradation in quality.

Network engineers can set policies that tell the Versa SD-WAN to take specific actions when the MOS is too low. Those steps could include changing the transport of the data flow, moving other traffic off the route to increase available bandwidth and cloning the communication traffic so it can be sent across multiple circuits.

Analysts split on value of MOS in Versa SD-WAN

Other SD-WAN vendors, such as VeloCloud, which was recently acquired by VMware, also provide mechanisms for monitoring and taking corrective actions to help maintain voice and video quality. In general, most products take into account common network problems, such as the loss of packets or delay in their delivery.

“The added support [within Versa ] for real-time voice and video will help ensure good-quality communications are maintained,” said Mike Fratto, an analyst at Current Analysis, which is owned by London-based GlobalData.

Not all analysts, however, agreed that MOS scoring would improve voice and video calling.

“My guess is that this won’t improve calling all that much, because SD-WAN solutions are already looking at things like jitter, latency, etc., for voice traffic,” said Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill. “They also can’t deal with factors inside the LAN, such as poor Wi-Fi performance that can adversely impact call quality.”

At its core, SD-WAN lets engineers steer traffic across multiple links, such as MPLS, Long Term Evolution and broadband. The connections they choose depends on the needs of the applications generating the traffic. Companies can select MPLS for data that needs a high-level of reliability, while using cheaper broadband for less sensitive data flows.

Vendors have added WAN optimization, firewalls, routing and quality-of-service features for communications as differentiators and to demand higher prices for their SD-WAN platforms.

Microsoft announces Azure Databricks powered by Apache® Spark, new AI, IoT and machine learning tools for developers | News Center

New tools to help increase developer productivity and simplify app development for intelligent cloud and edge, across devices, platforms or data sources

NEW YORK — Nov. 15, 2017 — Wednesday at Connect(); 2017, Microsoft Corp.’s annual event for professional developers, Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie announced new Microsoft data platform technologies and cross-platform developer tools. Guthrie outlined the company’s vision and shared what’s next for developers across a broad range of Microsoft and open source technologies, and how Microsoft is helping them get more done across apps or platforms. He also touched on key application scenarios and ways developers can use built-in artificial intelligence (AI) to support continuous innovation and continuous deployment of today’s intelligent applications.

“With today’s intelligent cloud, emerging technologies like AI have the potential to change every facet of how we interact with the world,” Guthrie said. “Developers are in the forefront of shaping that potential. Today at Connect(); we’re announcing new tools and services that help developers build applications and services for the AI-driven future, using the platforms, languages and collaboration tools they already know and love.”

Across devs, apps, data, platforms

Microsoft is continuing its commitment to delivering open technologies and contributing to and partnering with the open source community. New tools and partnerships are designed to help developers build intelligent, enterprise-ready and cloud-scale apps — regardless of their platform, and to give them the peace of mind with the built-in security, performance, compliance features, support and SLAs available in Azure.

Azure Databricks

  • Designed in collaboration with the founders of Apache Spark, the preview of Azure Databricks is a fast, easy and collaborative Apache Spark-based analytics platform that delivers one-click setup, streamlined workflows and an interactive workspace. Native integration with Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Storage, Azure Cosmos DB, Azure Active Directory and Power BI simplifies the creation of modern data warehouses that enable organizations to provide self-service analytics and machine learning over all data with enterprise-grade performance and governance.

Microsoft Joins MariaDB Foundation

  • Microsoft joins MariaDB Foundation as a platinum member and announces the upcoming preview of Azure Database for MariaDB for a fully managed MariaDB service in the cloud.

Azure Cosmos DB with Apache Cassandra API

  • The preview expands on the multimodel capabilities of Azure Cosmos DB to offer Cassandra as a service over turnkey global distribution, multiple consistency levels and industry-leading SLAs.

GitHub Roadmap for Git Virtual File Systems (GVFS)

  • Microsoft and GitHub will further their open source partnership to extend GVFS support to GitHub. GVFS is an open source extension to the Git version control system developed by Microsoft to support the world’s largest repositories.

Helping developers get more done

Microsoft is releasing tools designed to help developers, development teams and data scientists collaborate and work together more efficiently for application development, deployment and management. New tools and feature improvements help streamline essential tasks, so developers can focus more on getting apps to market across multiple platforms, and for any scenario — whether cloud, mobile or AI.

Visual Studio App Center General Availability

  • New cloud service for developers to ship higher-quality applications more frequently. Objective-C, Swift, Android Java, Xamarin and React Native developers can use App Center to increase productivity and accelerate application lifecycle, freeing them to spend more time on new features and better user experiences.

Visual Studio Live Share

  • Unique new capability for developers to collaborate in a seamless and secure way with full project context. With this preview, developers can share projects with teammates, or other developers, to edit and debug the same code in their personalized editor or IDE.

Azure DevOps Projects

  • The preview lets developers configure a full DevOps pipeline and connect to Azure Services within five minutes for faster app development and deployment. With just a few clicks in the Azure portal, developers can set up Git repositories, wire up completely automated builds and release pipelines without any prior knowledge of how to do so.

Transforming business through analytics and AI

Advances in AI and machine learning are placing the seemingly impossible within reach. The combination of cloud services, infrastructure and tools from Microsoft are designed to help any developer embrace AI and create apps across the cloud and the edge, harnessing the power of data and AI.

Azure IoT Edge

  • Azure IoT Edge preview availability, enabling AI, advanced analytics and machine learning at the Internet of Things (IoT) edge.

Azure Machine Learning updates

  • Integration with Azure IoT Edge and AI deployment on iOS devices with Core ML, bringing AI everywhere from the cloud to the IoT edge of devices.

 Visual Studio Tools for AI

  • Developers and data scientists can develop AI models with all the productivity of Visual Studio, on frameworks and languages. Updates to .NET make it easier for .NET developers to consume AI models from their applications.

Azure SQL Database Machine Learning services preview

  • Support for R models inside SQL Database makes it seamless for data scientists to develop and train models in Azure Machine Learning and deploy those models directly to Azure SQL Database to create predictions at blazing-fast speeds.

For the next three days, Microsoft is streaming more than 36 live, engineering-led training sessions that are designed to give developers hands-on experience with the tools and technologies featured throughout the keynote presentations.

More about Connect(); 2017 announcements can be found here.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications, (425) 638-7777, rrt@we-worldwide.com

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

The Rock Surprises Make-A-Wish Kids with Custom Xbox One X Consoles

16 years ago, Dwayne Johnson was on-stage with Bill Gates to help announce the original Xbox. We’re excited to be working with Dwayne again to show there is no power greater than X.

Yesterday, three Make-A-Wish children received the gift of a lifetime when The Rock surprised the group with a private gaming event on the set of his current movie project, “Skyscraper.” With the help of Xbox, the kids were the first to receive the world’s most powerful console, a custom Xbox One X, a full week before its November 7 global release. The custom consoles feature Dwayne’s logo, a brahma bull, and a personal holiday message.

Throughout the day, Dwayne gave children the VIP treatment which included personalized director chairs, a private tour of the set, exotic car rides and challenging them in video game matchups on popular Xbox titles such as Super Lucky’s Tale, Forza Motorsport 7, Killer Instinct as well as other games featured in Xbox Game Pass.

Thanks again to Dwayne, Make-A-Wish and the crew on the “Skyscraper” set for allowing us to join in on all the fun!

Four in 10 US teens seek help from friends about online woes, new Microsoft study shows – Microsoft on the Issues

Four in 10 American teens say a friend sought help from them because of a negative experience they had online, results of a new Microsoft-sponsored study show. Most situations involved harassment or bullying, according to the teens, while a quarter of survey respondents said their friends had been threatened online.

Forty-one percent of teens say a friend sought guidance from them following a negative online interaction, down from 43 percent who said they were asked for advice in similar situations last year. Moreover, when looking for help with a negative online experience, teens say their friends are the most valuable resource. Nearly six in 10 (57 percent) say friends were the most helpful in such situations, while 42 percent say their parents were the most supportive resource.

Findings are from “Keeping Up with Generation App,” the latest in a series of research studies conducted or sponsored by Microsoft over the past two years and focused on “digital civility” – encouraging safer and healthier online interactions among people of all ages. The study was fielded last month by the Washington, D.C.-based National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and polled 813 teens in the U.S. and 809 parents of American teens.

“It’s not surprising that teens turn to friends for help. During adolescence, peer-to-peer relationships are critical,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, which sponsors National Cyber Security Awareness Month each October. “We need to build the capacity of teens to help each other and equip them with the knowledge and tools so they can give meaningful and accurate help to their friends. When we teach them to help others, we are also empowering them to be more resistant to and resilient from any issues they may encounter online.”

Here are some other highlights from this year’s research:

·        In general, teens say they spend more time online than they would like. Nearly three in 10 (28 percent) say they spend “too much” time online, while almost half (46 percent) say they spend “a little more time” online than they’d prefer.

·        Both teens and parents say disagreements about the amount of permitted screen time are the most frequent points of technology-related tension in their households; 22 percent of teens report frequent disagreements with parents about screen time, and 26 percent of parents say they regularly argue with their kids about the issue.

·        The privacy and security of their personal data remains paramount for teens when it comes to their top online safety concerns, but they share larger worries about the veracity of the information they encounter and share online. Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) say they are “very concerned” that they could accidentally spread fake news or other misinformation, and another 25 percent say they are “somewhat concerned” about that possibility.

Microsoft sponsored this same study in 2016 where results indicated that nearly 40 percent of American teens said someone was mean or cruel to them online in the previous year. Negative comments most often stemmed from something the teens said or did, or were about their appearance, according to last year’s results.

On a positive note, those percentages fell this year. About a third (34 percent) of teens reported that someone had been mean or cruel to them when they were online or using cell phones over the past 12 months. But, once again, the content of those messages was most often about something the teen said or did (52 percent) or something about their appearance (35 percent). Race or ethnicity (27 percent), gender (21 percent) and political views (20 percent) were among the other sources of mean or cruel treatment.

To help guard against a range of these issues, Microsoft makes available a collection of resources at our website, www.microsoft.com/saferonline. For instance, we encourage parents and teachers to emphasize critical thinking among young people and to help them to identify misinformation and hate speech online. We also make available materials about responding to online bullying and harassment, as well as the risk of online grooming. Young people and teens themselves can benefit from these resources as well, especially since they’re being asked to assist friends in need.

As for more research, we will continue to release targeted results from our digital civility-based studies in the months leading up to international Safer Internet Day 2018. Early findings show the newer concept of digital civility is resonating across the world, with a number of age demographics and geographies embracing the concept. Full results of our latest 23-country study will be released on Safer Internet Day 2018 on February 6.

Learn more about online safety at our YouthSpark website and check out even more resources here. You can also “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and take our Digital Civility Challenge using #challenge4civility or #Im4digitalcivility.

Tags: digital civility, National Cyber Security Awareness Month

End-user security requires a shift in corporate culture

SAN FRANCISCO — An internal culture change can help organizations put end-user security on the front burner.

If an organization only addresses security once a problem arises, it’s already too late. But it’s common for companies, especially startups, to overlook security because it can get in the way of productivity. That’s why it’s important for IT departments to create a company culture where employees and decision-makers take security seriously when it comes to end-user data and devices.

“Security was definitely an afterthought,” said Keane Grivich, IT infrastructure manager at Shorenstein Realty Services in San Francisco, at last week’s BoxWorks conference. “Then we saw some of the high-profile [breaches] and our senior management fully got on board with making sure that our names didn’t appear in the newspaper.”

How to create a security-centric culture

Improving end-user security starts with extensive training on topics such as what data is safe to share and what a malicious website looks like. That forces users to take responsibility for their actions and understand the risks of certain behaviors.

Plus, if security is a priority, the IT security team will feel like a part of the company, not just an inconvenience standing in users’ way.

“Companies get the security teams they deserve,” said Cory Scott, chief information security officer at LinkedIn. “Are you the security troll in the back room or are you actually part of the business decisions and respected as a business-aligned person?”

Finger-pointing is a complete impediment to learning.
Brian Roddyengineering executive, Cisco

When IT security professionals feel that the company values them, they are more likely to stick around as well. With the shortage of qualified security pros, retaining talent is key.

Keeping users involved in the security process helps, too. Instead of locking down a user’s PC when a user accesses a suspicious file, for example, IT can send him a message checking if he performed a certain action. If the user says he accessed the file, then IT knows someone is not impersonating the user. If he did not, then IT knows there is an intruder and it must act.

To keep end-user security top of mind, it’s important to make things such as changing passwords easy for users. IT can make security easier for developers as well by setting up security frameworks that they can apply to applications they’re building.

It’s also advisable to take a blameless approach when possible.

“Finger-pointing is a complete impediment to learning,” said Brian Roddy, an engineering executive who oversees the cloud security business at Cisco, in a session. “The faster we can be learning, the better we can respond and the more competitive we can be.”

Don’t make it easy for attackers

Once the end-user security culture is in place, IT should take steps to shore up the simple things.

Unpatched software is one of the easiest ways for attackers to enter a company’s network, said Colin Black, COO at CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity technology company based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

IT can also make it harder for hackers by adding extra security layers such as two-factor authentication.