Information & Communication Technologies


Blog archive - September 2017

Use the blog to discuss and comment on the latest industry insights provided by our analyst experts.


Key takeaways from CyberConnect 360

by Charles Lim 29 Sep 2017 | Add Comment

Working on research reports covering the cybersecurity industry has a perk - to learn about new technologies that combat new attack vectors. With the proliferation of cybersecurity startups, my team attends to at least a new solution briefing every week, and in every session, we hear of innovative, new ways to combat cyberattacks. However, the recent ransomware attacks have proven that it does not need new attack vectors to fulfill its mission. The same EternalBlue exploit was used to cause a rampage, not once but twice within three months. As Rob Sloan, Director of Cybersecurity Research of WSJ Pro Cyber stated during his speech, "cyber threats don't change too much because it doesn't have to." They CyberConnect 360 event, organized by Axis Innovation, Jubilee Capital, and WSJ Pro Cyber Security was one special event in Singapore that goes beyond the security tradeshows, analyst briefings that I usually attend. The event highlights best practices and innovation in security shared by leading cybersecurity firms and practitioners, and uniquely brings regulators, international cybersecurity startups, and investors to the same room. It meets the theme on the event concept of i3: Innovation, International, and Investment. Innovating the way we look at threats can take on a human-based approach as shared by Sanjay Aurora, Managing Director of Darktrace Asia-Pacific. He introduced the enterprise immune system, in which the artificial intelligence-based security analytics solution replicates the concept that us humans are capable of doing - we learn what is normal for our bodies, and if there is an infection, we can detect it through the symptoms it brings. An interesting case was about a remote attack detected on a video conference system used in a meeting room, which highlights the importance of having the right visibility on our networks and nodes as we connect more devices and employ Internet of Things in the organization. During the panel discussion of "best practices and how to defend against a worldwide attack", Leonard Kleinman, Chief Cyber Security Advisor of RSA Asia-Pacific & Japan, shared his insights of the need to instill basic cyber hygiene such as ensuring patching and updates are done timely. It echoes the sentiments we observe in the latest breaches - the exploit kit is not unknown ("zero-day"), patches were issued, but several firms failed to do the task of patching. To ensure the efficacy of the cyber defenses that we build, Rob Van Der Ende, VP for FireEye Asia Pacific & Japan introduces the concept of red teaming exercises that can truly test the "cybersecurity guard" and ensure it can do its job to protect, detect and respond timely to all attack vectors. Ian Yip, CTO of McAfee Asia Pacific, highlighted the fact that we need to change the language of cybersecurity to a business language, and discuss it as a business risk that can resonate with the board. It is of paramount importance to drive the conversation at the highest level, for the right investments in having security as an enabler of business rather than a cost center. As shared in these examples, humans are needed to drive security processes and management of tools, and one of the areas we foresee will be the shortage of cybersecurity professionals to meet the demand in the oncoming years. Tung Meng Fai, Director Infocomms and Media at EDB Singapore shared about tertiary courses specifically for cybersecurity offered by our institutes of higher learning. This initiative is supported by Industry-led training programmes developed by organizations such as Deloitte, Quann, Singtel Cyber Security, ST Electronics Infosecurity, etc. to train/upskill mid-career professionals for cybersecurity roles. To promote research and development activities in cybersecurity, Singapore has also established a S$190M fund for the National Cybersecurity R&D Programme (NCRP) to commence a research infrastructure, grant national cybersecurity postgraduate scholarships, partner with the private sector to establish the Singapore Cybersecurity Consortium, and joint research activities with UK and Israel. Roy Teo, Director of the Fintech & Innovation Group at Monetary Authority of Singapore, concurs the initiative with plans, possibly as the first regulator in the world, to bring innovative startups in FinTech and investors together in an event to be held this year. Startups and technology vendors in FinTech are also encouraged to use its Fintech Innovation Hub experiment their innovative technologies and receive consultative advice from the regulators directly in areas such as legal and regulations. In the discussion panel for "Protecting Critical Infrastructure & Supply Chain", Fabricio Granja, CIO of X5 Retail Group shared interesting facts of the trend in Russia, where due to strict data compliance standards, it was a challenge for them to use public cloud services to store their consumers' personal data. Abhi Bisarya, Director of Global Consumer Products at Paypal, believes in the importance of a seamless experience, and building checks for fraud through background monitoring is essential to strike the right balance between security and business. As one of the largest payment service provider in the world, Paypal needs to sell a promise of trust, and for online retailers to believe in the brand, that it is safe. Demetris Booth, Cybersecurity Product & Solutions Marketing at Cisco Security highlighted the need to monitor the flow from the supply chain and mitigate across multiple levels with the right tools and processes. In the discussion topic on "Evolution of Cyber Insurance", Professor Shaun Wang, Director of NBS’s Insurance Risk and Finance Research Center (IRFRC), based on his research gave a forecast that cyber insurance will combine with security services in the future. He also highlighted the need to build a good framework for this insurance sector. A good mix of cybersecurity technology and service provider startups from various countries had a chance to present for ten minutes on stage: Horangi - the word literary translates from Korean to "tiger" in English, which represents the Singapore-based firm's mission to hunt for attackers tirelessly and pro-actively pursue solutions for defending against attacks. It offers a monthly-based subscription from startup to enterprise levels, with services ranging from web scanning to security report cards, ad-hoc security consulting hours and endpoint detection and response services. Sepio Systems - Ever heard of the "rubber ducky" - a popular USB keystroke injection tool, and similar ghost devices that are used to infiltrate organizations either by inserting into a USB port or tapping a network? The Israel-based startup provides solutions for detecting malicious hardware devices, blocks the illegal device or its activity and reports to the SIEM used in the organization. CypViser - the Germany-based startup intends to improve the handling of the traditional public key infrastructure with the use of blockchain technology. One of the applications demonstrated will be for mobile communications where the use of blockchain will ensure the messages and phone calls are tamper proof. Votrio - An Israel-based startup with solutions to neutralize exploit codes in malicious files using the technology known as content disarm and reconstruction. It also applies AV scanning, policies and content validation for the files used in the organization. Reaqta - Endpoint detection and response solution provider from Italy that provides an artificial intelligence-based endpoint detection engine, which resides outside the operating system that cannot be seen by attackers. The solution also provides forensic visibility and enables threat hunting for anomalies in the organization. Apvera - With growing concerns of insider threats on the rise, the Singapore-based startup seeks to help organizations deliver insights into behavior patterns that may have malicious intent through user behavior and entity analytics (UEBA). It also provides the visibility of possible rouge applications that may exist in the network, to help refine policies and reduce the risk of shadow IT. Digify - The Singapore-based startup focuses on ensuring security for files such as access control, watermarking, rights management, encryption and file tracking for confidential documents used in enterprises. It also offers virtual data rooms that provide a secure cloud platform to share files among trusted users, such as viewing classified documents related to mergers and acquisitions, audits and IP licensing. Anquan - Taking the cue from the Mandarin pronunciation of the Chinese words "安全" to make computing safe, the Singapore-based firm works on the belief that "software alone can't protect software," and provides security through a hardware rooted secure platform for its highly scalable distributed ledger technology. In closing up, during the final panel of the day which discusses funding of cyber solutions, Alex Doll, founder and managing member of Ten Eleven Ventures that invested in security firms such as CounterTack and Cylance, provides his view of what is the "next big thing" in cyber. While the panel discussed the topic of AI-based cybersecurity solutions, it was evident to him that it will be two key segments: industrial cybersecurity, and IoT security.


Itron Acquires Silver Spring Networks for $830 Million

by Naren Pasupalati 25 Sep 2017 | Add Comment

On Monday, September 18, it was announced that Itron is set to acquire Silver Spring Networks for approximately $830million. The boards of both companies have unanimously approved to the deal for which Itron has agreed to pay $16.25 per share in cash to acquire all outstanding Silver Spring shares. The acquisition is expected to close at the end of the year, or in early 2018 subject to further federal and stockholder approvals. With combined revenues of over $2.3billion and 90million end-point devices between them, Itron, through this acquisition, has further strengthened its leadership position in the global smart grid communications market. Landis+Gyr, Siemens, ABB and Sensus, who all hold significant market shares, will be some of the key companies Itron will be going up against. As highlighted by Itron, the key driving factor behind the deal focuses around Industrial IoT. As far as IoT within the electric utility space is concerned, applications such as AMI, Distribution and Substation Automation present the top 3 growth opportunities in the industry. Itron, with its smart meters and the OpenWay Riva communication platform, has a significant foothold in the mature AMI market. But with a growing number of distribution and substation assets going smart and being connected, there clearly is a lucrative opportunity for Itron to leverage its own expertise in smart meter and sensor technology and Silver Spring’s expertise on cloud-computing, analytics and grid management using IoT technology. According to Frost & Sullivan, the overall distribution and substation automation markets in the US would reach about $2.3billion and $831million respectively by 2020. More specifically, the communication market for DA and SA applications together is projected to grow to over $120million by 2020 and to $150million by 20123 with an average CAGR of 5.4%. . The mature AMI market has the potential to further grow as nearly a fourth of all electric meters installed are still non-smart. With this deal nearing completion by 2018, Itron has positioned itself well to tap into this opportunity early on. As far as previous acquisitions go, Itron had spent a $100million to buy Comverge, the U.S. demand response provider and Silver Spring has built its street lighting networking business by acquiring Streetlight Vision. This acquisition marks a major milestone in the Internet of Things ecosystem, as both companies focus heavily on internet-connected devices and solutions to help create highly efficient markets and deliver outcome based products and services.


Yorktel Introduces Univago HE™

by Victor Camlek 05 Sep 2017 | Add Comment

Yorktel Introduces Univago HE™ Yorktel today introduced Univago HE described as the first and only all-inclusive telemedicine video services platform that delivers the versatility, reliability and security vital to affecting widespread telemedicine adoption. Yorktel indicated that it designed the product from the ground up explicitly for telemedicine applications. Univago HE™ has patent-pending technologies that ensure reliability and quality in every critical connection between patient and clinician, all with “touch-of-a-button” simplicity. Analyst View: Univago HE represents an important breakthrough in the challenge to make Telemedicine a routine component of the provider workflow. It creates the foundation to build out a growing array of Telemedicine services that will serve the needs of providers to improve the outcomes for patients regardless of the current staffing levels and in-house capabilities. Yorktel has presented important highlights about the produce. Univago HE is a fully managed subscription-based service comprised of everything needed to connect patients by video with remote clinicians, healthcare experts and family members. For each workflow/use-case, deployments include any hardware, software, licensing, analytics, reporting, support and on-site spares required to execute service. The initial release of Univago HE offers subscription-based workflows specific to ICU and Acute care, but future iterations will include compatibility for emergency, stroke assessment, behavioral health, patient surveillance, and general patient assessments – and care that extends beyond the walls of the hospital (e.g. home healthcare). With this rollout, Yorktel is now the only independently verified, HIPAA-certified service provider offering cloud-based telemedicine-as-a-service workflow subscriptions that are fully inclusive, featuring purpose built, healthcare specific video units. Over the past few years, Yorktel’s healthcare practice has grown exponentially. The company, which works with more than 30 health systems and 250 hospitals, has deployed more than 4,000 telehealth wall units and 400 cart systems. Security and Privacy Every aspect of Univago HE is private, secure and adheres to the highest standards. Univago HE™ is HIPAA-compliant (independently verified by Pivot Point Security), ISO 27001-certified, and hosted in hardened, SOC2-certified data centers to provide total patient privacy and security critical to any telemedicine application. Wall systems blend with the hospital environment to provide a non-intrusive window into patients’ wellbeing. When patients are being observed remotely, a notification and an audible bell alerts patients that a session has been initiated. Interoperability & Integration Univago HE includes a library of APIs and SDKs that allow for broad interoperability between Skype for Business clients, WebRTC browsers and traditional video conferencing systems, as well as integration into many different EHR/EMR platforms and clinical applications. Support for open standards and the inclusion of APIs and SDKs extend the value of the platform. Unlike the many closed, single-use systems in the marketplace, Univago HE can support multiple inpatient workflows such as patient monitoring in intensive care units (ICU), virtual rounding in acute units, stroke assessment, behavioral health, virtual sitter, interpreter services, and more. User (doctor/nurse) experience/ ease-of-use User experience at every touchpoint is paramount, and Univago HE empowers clinicians, administrators, patients and technicians with resources that are intuitive, devoid of complexity, reliable, and always available. Doctors must be able to respond to a request for a call from any device, at any time and at a moment’s notice; quality and timeliness of care depends on their ability to asses and communicate without technology being intrusive. The process of acknowledging, joining and consulting with a patient has been streamlined to match specific workflows. Included in Univago HE’s clinician-specific toolset are a number of additional assets that support ongoing activities and enhance the ability to provide care. The ICU Patient System boasts a precision camera with HD-quality picture and 20x optical zoom, fast and quiet PTZ operation, and a 24” touch-display with hardened Linux OS and embedded video client. Adjustable settings and controls, such as night vision, enable patient assessment in low light conditions, and camera bookmarks quickly recall saved camera positions. Physicians are provided full control over the patients far end audio and video, and with ‘Snapshot’ functionality, they can easily capture room and patient information. A clinician icon bar, with up-to-date notifications and alerts, ensures that the patient’s status is accurately monitored in a timely manner. Performance, Serviceability, Uptime and Reliability Software, services and equipment, which are delivered across highly resilient Yorktel data centers, are proactively monitored by the company’s 24/7/365 Video Network Operations Centers to ensure operational readiness and reliability. The focus on improving the serviceability of patient room enclosures is among the major considerations reflected in Univago HE’s design. The ICU patient wall system is modular, and QR code provisioning simplifies troubleshooting, reconfiguration and installation which, in most cases, can be completed by a single technician within one hour. Using the foundation of streamlined design, Yorktel Univago HE allows for quick response and resolution to any service issue, minimizing the impact on patients while maintaining higher levels of reliability. Any software or hardware faults that arise are managed remotely, resolving issues quickly. Spares of each module are held on site to enable swap out and return to operational readiness within a targeted time of 15 minutes. For healthcare providers, this alleviates concerns of unexpected expenses relating to labor costs to manage failure rates, maintenance for hardware and infrastructure, as well as mitigates risk of productivity and revenue loss from “down rooms” and “work arounds.”


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