ABL-Tech Member News & Industry Trendletter * April 25, 2024
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Alvaka (Oli Thordarson) on: Multiple Aspects of Cybersecurity

In Reduce the Risk of Ransomware & Other Cyber Attacks, Alvaka provides a valuable list of mitigations to reduce your risk. AND, in How Important Is Email Security for Small and Medium Businesses?, Alvaka discusses implementing effective security measures, including employee training, awareness, robust email filtering, secure gateways, regular software updates, patch management, endpoint protection, and backup and recovery planning.
ALSO, in "Mother of All Breaches" and Its Security Implications, Alvaka discusses a recent massive data breach containing 26 billion entries from various platforms and organizations, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and government agencies, and shares several steps everyone should take.
Other recent Alvaka blogs include: Gaining Insights: A Cyber Insurer's Perspective on Ransomware and How Can Patch Management Navigate the Cybersecurity Minefield? (LA)

Dave Berkus on: Boards & Advisors - Paying Them & Other Considerations

Dave has recently published a variety of short (1-2 minutes) videos as part of his Startup Masterclass series, including Use of advertising to position a company; How to pay an early-stage board; About a board of advisors; How to pay an advisory board; and more. AND, Dave's recent blogs include:
> Your board should protect you!
> Should board members be elected "for life?"
> Fight for balance on your board!
> Your need for a board grows with complexity. (LA)

California Lightworks (George Mekhtarian) on: Revolutionizing Indoor Farming

In MegaDrive Lighting Technology Case Study: Mathias Fields, California Lightworks (CL) shares how Mathias Fields, of Santa Ana, CA, leverages CL's MegaDrive Vertical series for unparalleled growth, achieving remarkable yields and efficiency. Read this recent case study to see how tailored lighting solutions can revolutionize indoor farming. (LA)

Clovers (Adam Miller) on: Limitations of AI

In What AI can't do and why we still need people, Clovers talks about artificial intelligence's limitations, including its lack of empathy, it can't engage in critical thinking, and it won't monitor itself. (LA)

Envision Financial Systems (Satnam Gambhir) on: Leveraging ISO Frameworks, SOC 2 Exams & Robust Development Policies

In Strengthening Cybersecurity: Leveraging ISO Frameworks, SOC 2 Exams, and Robust Development Policies, Envision Financial Systems shares the proactive measures it takes to mitigate data security risks and enhance cybersecurity posture, which includes a multi-layered approach, leveraging industry best practices and frameworks such as ISO 27001/2, NIST 800 series, and FINRA guidance.
AND, in Navigating Cloud Migration: A Collaborative Approach for Financial Firms, Envision notes that effective cloud migration necessitates senior-level buy-in and the guidance of a bilingual partner - one fluent in both cloud service provider protocols and the unique security and compliance needs of financial services firms. (OC)

Get Visible (Jason Ciment) on: Top 5 Ways to Make PR More Searchable

Jason Ciment, CEO of Get Visible, recently contributed to Olmstead Williams Communications' blog post, Harnessing the Power of SEO: A Brand's Secret Digital Weapon, which reports that voice search, AI bots and personalized search are on the rise. The blog shares the top five ways to make PR more searchable, examining press releases, social media, blogs, editorial news, and AI content. (LA)

myKaarma (Ujj Nath) on: AI Chat & Voice Bots are the New APIs

In his recent article - AI Chat and Voice Bots are the new APIs, Ujj Nath, CEO of myKaarma, imagines some likely upcoming scenarios integrating AI bots into service APIs. He notes that while automation certainly enhances efficiency, there will always be a place for human touch, especially in industries where empathy and intuition are paramount. As we embrace the power of AI bots, Ujj writes, let's remember to wield this tool responsibly, he cautions, harnessing its potential to enhance, rather than diminish, the human experience.
ALSO, in this recently posted video, Ujj talks about his vision of the ideal payment. (OC)

The Joy Factory (Sampson Yang & Miranda Su) on: Enabling Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

The Joy Factory has made its White Paper available - Enabling Digital Transformation in Manufacturing: Unlock Your Potential, which explores how the company's protective enclosures and custom mounting systems can revolutionize your workflow, optimizing productivity and extending device longevity, leading to a 15% increase in production efficiency and a 17% reduction in operating costs. (OC & LA)

Marshall Toplansky on: How AI Helps Tech Giants; 2024 Elections; & More

The Spectator has published an article written by Marshall and Joel Kotkin - How AI helps the tech giants, which begins: Artificial intelligence (AI) and its related technologies - machine learning and the metaverse - represent a watershed in the evolution of the global economy. Like other such shifts, its emergence is likely to favor certain interests, notably a handful of technology giants, the media and a small cadre of highly skilled programmers. Everyone else faces economic danger.
MEANWHILE, recent episodes of their podcast, "The Feudal Future," include The Impact of Third-Party Candidates in Tipping the Election Scale and Navigating the Tides of Change: How Global Politics May Shape America's 2024 Elections.
AND, Marshall contributed to a new study on creating prosperity for Latinos - El Futuro Es Latino.
PLUS, Marshall announced his new position as Clinical Associate Professor of Management Science at Chapman University Argyros College of Business & Economics. (OC)

CuraeSoft (Mark Parinas) Spotlighted in Investing.com Article

Investing.com has published an article - CuraeSoft's Performance Appraisal Functionality for coAmplifi vHQ Platform Enables More Objective Management - coAmplifi's appraisal module gives businesses a more structured and more objective way to evaluate their employee's performance, especially in a remote or hybrid work environment. According to CuraeSoft CEO Mark Parinas, the appraisal module enables businesses to be in a better position when coaching employees, deciding for promotions, raises, and other employee development actions. It also provides a quantitative metric for performance improvement plans and other similar initiatives, promoting accountability across the organization and mitigating risk of wrongful dismissal suits.
ALSO, read Mark's recent online polls and results: > Do you delegate tasks to your team?    > How do you encourage collaboration?    > Which area of your business do you feel would benefit most from using KPIs? (LA)

Eckert & Ziegler (Frank Yeager) Gets MDR Certification for Prostate Seeds, Paving Way for Long-term Supply

Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG GmbH, which focuses on brachytherapy solutions for the treatment of prostate cancer as well as eye and brain tumors, has obtained the MDR certificate for its proprietary prostate seeds from DEKRA Certification B.V. as one of the first companies in its market. This milestone guarantees a high level of patient safety and the long-term availability of the seeds within the EU. The Medical Device Regulation is a European Union directive with the aim of improving the quality of medical devices and increasing patient safety. (LA)

GIDEON Informatics (Uri Blackman) Utilized in Recent Publications

Information and resources from GIDEON Informatics was used in the report Understanding the global water crisis - Reasons behind the Water Crisis and its Potential Health Outcomes, published by the European Journal of Development Studies, and in a book called Polyvagal Power in the Playroom. In the book, GIDEON data was utilized in a chapter entitled "Plagues, Pandemics, and the Polyvagal Theory in the Playroom," which discusses how play therapy helps us understand children's responses to stressful situations and restricted social interactions, such as during plagues and pandemics. (LA)

Groundswell (Adam Miller) Wins G2 Spring Badges

G2, a large and trusted software marketplace, has awarded its Spring badges and Groundswell received 11 of them in the Corporate Social Responsibility and Corporate Volunteering Platform categories. They include: Leader; Easiest to Use; Easiest to Do Business With; Best Relationship; Most Implementable; and more. (LA)

Optimum Info CEO Arvind Verma Featured in Siliconindia Article

Siliconindia has published an interview with Arvind Verma, CEO of Optimum Info (OI), in its article, Optimum Info: Optimizing Franchise Network Performance. Arvind highlights the history, growth and vision of OI and how it supports customers in a rapidly changing environment.
ALSO, OI's blog - Buying Versus Building a Business Software Solution - delves into the decision-making process of whether to build or buy, outlining five key questions to ask to help evaluate.
AND, read an OI success story - East Manufacturing Reduces Costs and Improves Claim Processing Time. (OC)

ProProfs (Sameer Bhatia) Announces New Product Features

ProProfs has announced several new features within its products:
> AI-powered ProProfs Chat, which provides a language translation feature to facilitate communication between operators and visitors who speak different languages.
> Instant Surveys with ProProfs AI - creates a highly engaging survey ready within seconds.
> Auto-Populate Quiz Results to Google Sheets - quiz results and data auto-populate your spreadsheet every time someone takes your quiz.
> Automated Assignment Feature within ProProfs Training Maker - automate course assignments, track learner progress and performance effortlessly, speed up online training delivery. (LA)

John Tanner's NuSci to Present Movie "Code Blue" & Dinner on May 16

On the evening of May 16, NuSci Nutrition Science Foundation will present a Movie - "Code Blue" - and Dinner Night. The movie, Code Blue, follows a passionate physician, Dr. Saray Stancic, as she reflects upon her journey from a multiple sclerosis diagnosis to wellness through her own adoption of lifestyle medicine. Dr. Stancic introduces viewers to expert physicians and scientists who are paving the way to make meaningful and necessary change in our healthcare environment, and empowers audiences to stand up and reclaim control of their health. The evening, to be held at Tanner Research in Duarte, includes a buffet dinner and dessert. (LA)

Toast (Ken Neeld) Launches Restaurant Management Suite

Powered by insights from 100,000+ restaurant locations, including hundreds of multi-unit brands, Toast (NYSE: TOST) has announced the launch of its new Restaurant Management Suite, which provides enterprise brands with the data and insights, control and support, and integrations they need to better manage their businesses. (OC)

Eitan Medical (Roger Massengale) Wins Innovation Award & Implemented by Home Care Provider in Israel

Eitan Medical's Eitan Insights was awarded the Innovation Award at the National Home Infusion Association. The award recognizes groundbreaking products or services that advance the home and alternate site infusion industry. Eitan Insights is a cloud-based digital health software suite that has been uniquely designed to help solve the challenges of infusion in a home infusion or alternative care environment.
ALSO, Eitan announced that it has launched Eitan Insights and Sapphire Connect with Remedix Care LTD, Israel's premier home care provider. (OC)

MedWand Solutions (Bob Rose) Launches Subscription Service for MedWand Device

MedWand Solutions has announced the launch of its new subscription service for the MedWand multi-sensor vitals capture device. With this offering, customers can enjoy the benefits of a monthly subscription, granting access to the device's features without the need for an upfront purchase. The plan comes with flexible terms of 12, 24 and 36 months. (OC)

Patient Care America (Bob Funari) Acquires Lyfebulb - Online Digital Platform

Patient Care America (PCA) recently completed the acquisition of Lyfebulb Holdings Inc., an online digital platform that empowers people living with chronic illnesses to thrive through education, innovation, and connectivity. Lyfebulb will continue to operate its digital platforms, TransplantLyfe.com and CancerLyfe.com, as a PCA company. (OC)

WestFax (Barry Clark) Explains the Role of Faxing-in IRS Submissions

In Streamline Your Tax Process: The Role of Faxing-in IRS Submissions, WestFax notes that within a world where cybersecurity threats loom large, the security of sensitive information is paramount, particularly during tax season. Faxing, often perceived as "old technology," holds a unique advantage in this regard. Fax transmissions are inherently more secure due to their direct point-to-point connection over telephone lines, making it significantly harder for unauthorized individuals to intercept sensitive tax documents. Furthermore, secure faxing incorporates advanced encryption protocols, ensuring that your confidential tax information remains protected from the moment it's faxed until it reaches the IRS. (OC)

Wipfli (JJ Johnson) Partnering with dbt Labs

Wipfli announced it's partnering with dbt Labs, a company that empowers data practitioners to create and disseminate organizational knowledge. Its practice of analytics engineering will support Wipfli in delivering cutting-edge, efficient and reliable data solutions for clients.
MEANWHILE, read Wipfli's article, 20 of the worst leadership mistakes you can make. (BA)

UnitedHealth says Change Hackers Stole Health Data on 'Substantial Proportion of People in America' - the health tech giant handles health data for about half of all Americans

The data review Is "likely to take several months" before the company begins notifying individuals that their information was stolen in the cyberattack. The admission that hackers stole Americans' health data came a week after a new hacking group began publishing portions of the stolen data in an effort to extort a second ransom demand from the company. A gang, which calls itself RansomHub, published several files on its dark web leak site containing personal information about patients across an array of documents, some of which included internal files related to Change Healthcare. RansomHub said it would sell the stolen data unless Change Healthcare paid a ransom.
        In a statement provided to TechCrunch, UnitedHealth spokesperson Tyler Mason confirmed the company paid the cybercriminals. The health tech giant reportedly paid $22 million to a Russia-based criminal gang called ALPHV in March, which then disappeared, stiffing the affiliate that carried out the data theft out of their portion of the ransom. RansomHub claimed in its post alongside the published stolen data that "we have the data and not ALPHV."
        The hackers were in Change Healthcare's network for more than a week before deploying ransomware, allowing the hackers to steal significant amounts of data from the company's systems. The cyberattack at Change began on February 21 and resulted in ongoing widespread outages at pharmacies and hospitals across the U.S. For weeks, physicians, pharmacies and hospitals could not verify patient benefits for dispensing medications, organizing inpatient care, or processing prior authorizations necessary for surgeries. Among the pharmacies impacted was COSTCO, nationally. (https://techcrunch.com/2024/04/22/unitedhealth-change-healthcare-hackers-substantial-proportion-americans/)

U.S. Bans Noncompete Agreements for Nearly All Jobs

The Federal Trade Commission narrowly voted recently to ban nearly all noncompetes, employment agreements that typically prevent workers from joining competing businesses or launching ones of their own. The FTC received more than 26,000 public comments in the months leading up to the vote. These comments "pointed to the basic reality of how robbing people of their economic liberty also robs them of all sorts of other freedoms," FTC Chair Lina Khan said. The FTC estimates about 30 million people, or one in five American workers, from minimum wage earners to CEOs, are bound by noncompetes. It says the policy change could lead to increased wages totaling nearly $300 billion per year by encouraging people to swap jobs freely. The ban, which will take effect later this year, carves out an exception for existing noncompetes that companies have given their senior executives, on the grounds that these agreements are more likely to have been negotiated. The FTC says employers should not enforce other existing noncompete agreements.
        Shortly after the vote, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it would sue the FTC to block the rule, calling it unnecessary, unlawful and a blatant power grab. For more than a year, the group has vigorously opposed the ban, saying that noncompetes are vital to companies, by allowing them to better guard trade secrets, and employees, by giving employers greater incentive to invest in workforce training and development. (https://www.npr.org/2024/04/23/1246655366/ftc-bans-noncompete-agreements-lina-khan)

States Tighten Data Privacy Laws in Response to Evolving Digital Challenges

California's landmark privacy legislation, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which grants consumers the legal authority to instruct businesses not to sell their data, has entered a new phase of enforcement. Spearheaded by the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA), the nation's first dedicated privacy regulator, this recent development underscores the stringent nature of the law in safeguarding consumer privacy rights and holding businesses accountable for their data practices. The CPPA recently issued its inaugural enforcement advisory, reaffirming the principle of data minimization at the heart of the CCPA. Specifically, it emphasizes the application of this principle to businesses' handling of CCPA data subject requests, including the rights to deletion and opt-out.
        Following California's lead, other states are also moving to enact and enforce their own data privacy laws. Notably, the Maryland Online Data Privacy Act has passed both the Senate and House of Delegates and is awaiting the governor's approval. In a broader national context, efforts are underway to establish comprehensive data privacy protections through the American Privacy Rights Act (APRA). Announced on April 7, APRA aims to institute "clear, national data privacy rights and protections for Americans," including curbing excessive data collection by companies, empowering consumers with greater control over their data, and imposing stricter measures against unauthorized data transfers. (https://www.pymnts.com/data/2024/states-tighten-data-privacy-laws-in-response-to-evolving-digital-challenges/)

FCC Won't Block California Net Neutrality Law, Says States Can "Experiment"

California can keep enforcing its state net neutrality law after the Federal Communications Commission implements its own rules. The FCC could preempt future state laws if they go far beyond the national standard but said that states can "experiment" with different regulations for interconnection payments and zero-rating. The FCC scheduled an April 25 vote on Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel's proposal to restore net neutrality rules similar to the ones introduced during the Obama era and repealed under former President Trump. The FCC recently released the text of the pending order, which could still be changed but isn't likely to get any major overhaul. The California law mostly mirrored the FCC's repealed rules by prohibiting paid prioritization and blocking or throttling of lawful traffic, on both fixed and mobile networks. California went further than the FCC in regulating zero-rating by imposing a ban on paid data cap exemptions. That means ISPs operating in California can't exempt Internet traffic from customers' data usage allowances in exchange for payment from a third party. (https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2024/04/fcc-wont-block-california-net-neutrality-law-says-states-can-experiment/)

Best Free AI Courses + Are AI "Micro-Degrees" & Certificates Worth It

ZDNet has recently published a guide on where to get the best free AI training and certifications. The article author says he has taken at least one class from each of the providers listed, and "they've all been pretty good. So, I recommend you take a quick spin through my short reviews, possibly dig deeper into the linked-to articles, and bookmark all of these, because they're valuable resources." In summary, the article covers LinkedIn Learning; Amazon AWS Skill Builder; IBM SkillsBuild Learning; DeepLearning (with OpenAI); Udemy; Google Generative AI for Educators; and discusses how some companies are promoting micro-degrees - are they any good? And do certificates have any value? (https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-best-free-ai-courses/)

Companies Have Unbalanced 'Buy vs. Build' Approach to AI, Report Says

More than half of companies in countries with leading economies plan to recruit new talent to handle AI adoption at work rather than upskill their existing workers, according to a new report by The Adecco Group, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics - and that could deeply trouble employers in the future, Adecco said. In a survey of 2,000 C-suite executives across nine countries, 66% said they plan to "buy" AI-skilled talent externally, while 34% said they plan to "build" talent internally by training their existing workers. "Companies must do more to reskill and redeploy teams to make the most of this technological leap and avoid unnecessary upheaval. Buying your way out of disruption should not be the only approach companies take," Adecco Group CEO Denis Machuel said.
        The "buy vs. build" gap also exists for other digital skills, according to the survey. About 62% of leaders said they'll hire data literacy experts externally, as compared with 36% who said they plan to reskill or upskill their current teams. Beyond that, 60% plan to hire to fill digital literacy gaps, as compared with 37% who plan to build among current employees. (https://www.hrdive.com/news/buy-vs-build-approach-to-ai/713322/)

"Why Engineers Should Study Philosophy"

A recent Harvard Business Review article, written by the Goldman Sachs CIO, declares that the ability to develop crisp mental models around the problems you want to solve and understanding the why before you start working on the how is an increasingly critical skill, especially in the age of AI. Coding is one of the things AI does best and its capabilities are quickly improving. However, there's a catch: Code created by an AI can be syntactically and semantically correct but not functionally correct. In other words, it can work well, but not do what you want it to do. Having a crisp mental model around a problem, being able to break it down into steps that are tractable, perfect first-principle thinking, sometimes being prepared (and able to) debate a stubborn AI - these are the skills that will make a great engineer in the future, and likely the same consideration applies to many job categories. (https://hbr.org/2024/04/why-engineers-should-study-philosophy)

U.S. Now Has a Fast EV-Charging Station for Every 15 Gas Stations

Almost 600 public fast-charging stations were switched on for US drivers in the first three months of the year, a 7.6% increase over the end of 2023, according to a Bloomberg Green analysis of federal data. There are now almost 8,200 quick-turn EV stations across the country, or one for every 15 gas stations. Tesla is responsible for slightly more than one quarter of them. The first-quarter infrastructure blitz was fueled in part by the Biden administration's National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, a $5 billion plan to fill in the remaining gaps in the charging map. (https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/)

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