Archive for July 21, 2021

Salesforce Completes Acquisition of Slack

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2021 by itnerd

Salesforce today announced it has completed its acquisition of Slack Technologies, Inc.

Companies around the world have learned one thing over the past year—if you don’t have a digital way to connect with your employees, customers, and partners, you don’t have much of a chance of surviving. 

Headquarters are no longer on Madison Avenue or Main Street—they are in the cloud. Every business—in every industry—has to optimize for a digital-first customer, employee, and partner experience.

This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rethink and reshape everything about how and where we work. That’s exactly what the combination of Salesforce and Slack is all about—creating the business operating system for the new world of work.

With the world’s #1 CRM, companies can sell, service, market, conduct commerce, and more from anywhere. Slack has transformed the way we work with its trailblazing digital platform for business communication, which is used by millions of people around the world and enables entire organizations to work far more efficiently and effortlessly.

Together, Salesforce and Slack will deliver the Slack-first Customer 360 that gives companies a single source of truth for their business, and a single platform for connecting employees, customers, and partners with each other and the apps they use every day, all within their existing workflows.

The combination of Salesforce and Slack also brings together two of the software industry’s most dynamic communities, creating an open and extensive ecosystem that will deliver the next generation of digital-first apps and workflows for business.

Salesforce and Slack are already making a huge difference. IBM’s 380,000 employees are working together in Slack, with numerous workflows across Salesforce Sales Cloud and Service Cloud powering customer success across locations and time zones.

As part of Salesforce, Slack will be positioned to accelerate and extend its mission to make work life simpler, more pleasant, and more productive. Slack will continue to operate under the Slack brand, driving forward a continued focus on its mission, customers, and community. Slack will continue to be led by CEO and Co-Founder Stewart Butterfield.

On Tuesday, August 17, 10:00 a.m. PT/1:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. BST, Salesforce President and COO Bret Taylor and Slack CEO and Co-Founder Stewart Butterfield will host an event to share more about how the two companies are creating a powerful platform for the digital-first, work anywhere world. You can tune into the event here

US Goes After China For Hacking… China Hits Back

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on July 21, 2021 by itnerd

The US has taken the unusual step taking a shot at China over the hacking of Microsoft. This March, Microsoft reported that at least 30,000 customers were affected by a hack that allowed outsiders to access the firm’s email and calendar service through a software loophole previously unknown to the company. Volexity, the cybersecurity firm that first discovered the Exchange breach, and Microsoft concluded the attacks originated from China and appeared to be state-sponsored.

This has now led to the U.S. Justice Department charging four Chinese citizens from China’s secretive ministry of state security who are alleged to have hacked into the computer networks of dozens of companies, universities and government entities. China denies this:

“The U.S. ganged up with its allies and launched an unwarranted accusation against China on cybersecurity,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday at a regular press briefing in Beijing. “It is purely a smear and suppression out of political motives. China will never accept this.”

But this is likely the beginning according to Director of Enterprise Security at Darktrace, David Masson:

“We have entered a new era of cyber-threat – attacks are increasing in speed, sophistication, and scale with malicious software like ransomware being able to encrypt an organization’s entire digital infrastructure in seconds. Even more alarmingly, geopolitical tensions are being played out in cyber battles with organizations getting caught in the crossfire.

Although it is difficult to attribute these attacks to any single nation-state, our government should take every opportunity to pressure cyber-criminals and grow international condemnation in the hopes of resetting the current state of unchecked nation and non-nation state cyber-aggression targeting countries globally. This lack of a unified strong and significant international response only further emboldens nation-state driven or sponsored cyber-attacks against the private sector and government institutions.

Canada can lead the way in putting every nation state and cybercriminal group, whether state-sponsored, supported, or simply sheltered, on notice that cyber-attacks will not only be taken extremely seriously, but that there could be a high cost where those responsible are held accountable through all levers of national power.

The priority must be protecting Canadian businesses and institutions from cyber-attacks that pose a threat to both economic and national security.”

Hopefully Canadian businesses, if not all businesses take heed of this warning.

Nominate Your Service Desk Superhero

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2021 by itnerd

TOPdesk Canada launches a campaign encouraging you to nominate your service desk superhero to give them a chance to win a PlayStation 5 console and 2 Dualsense controllers. 

We’ve all needed technology support at work at one time or another – our printer or laptop has crashed; password login issues; or perhaps our important “how-to” question needs to be answered right away. These challenges are often solved by the IT service desk team. And how do we recognize these superheroes? Answer is, we usually don’t. 

For SysAdmin Day (July 30th) TOPdesk wants to do something about that. From now until July 30th, nominate your service desk superhero by sharing a brief story on why they deserve to win. In return, they are entered into a draw to win a new PS5. This initiative was inspired by our TOPdesk colleagues in Belgium, who ran a similar contest recognizing their service desk superheroes in March this year.

During the global pandemic, IT teams all over Canada have been scrambling trying to get everyone set up to continue working from home. Processes have changed, and IT continues to support organizations remotely. Digital transformation is moving faster than ever. 

If someone comes to mind immediately as you read this, sign them up to win a PS5! All you need to do is enter a small write up on your superhero, and you will be given some additional ways to enter. For more info, visit our TOPdesk social media pages, or https://page.topdesk.com/ca/sysadmin-giveaway-2021. Contest will end on SysAdmin Day, July 30th

Just another reminder that not all superheroes wear capes!

Nitro Launches Unlimited eSigning, Integration with Salesforce

Posted in Commentary on July 21, 2021 by itnerd

Nitro Software Limited is pleased to announce the launch of Nitro Sign™ as a standalone subscription product as part of a new comprehensive, flexible pricing and packaging model for the Nitro Productivity Platform.

Highlights:

  • Nitro Sign launched with full commercial availability as a standalone subscription solution, offering customers unlimited, enterprise-grade eSigning capability.
  • New Nitro Productivity Platform pricing and packaging model offers customers the flexibility to tailor document productivity solutions to meet any business need.
  • New Nitro Sign integration with Salesforce enables customers to accelerate closing of sales contracts and other critical agreements.
  • Completion of PDFpen acquisition adds native Mac, iPad™ and iPhone™ capability to the product platform.

With the launch of Nitro Sign as a standalone subscription product and the recent addition of native Mac, iPad and iPhone capabilities, the Nitro Productivity Platform is now more powerful than ever, offering customers a full suite of workflow productivity solutions to meet any business need on modular systems and devices.

The Nitro Productivity Platform now provides customers with the ability to tailor solutions based on their individual requirements, including upgrades to enterprise-grade capabilities, integrations with many major systems and the automation of key workflows.

The increased scale of the Nitro Productivity Platform comes at a critical time for organizations around the world as the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to accelerate the shift from slow moving, paper-based processes to more efficient digital document workflows.

Throughout the pandemic, usage of Nitro’s productivity tools has soared, with more than 2 billion documents opened in Nitro PDF Pro™ during 2020. More than 1 million Nitro Sign eSignature requests have been made in the first six months of this year alone, equaling the number of eSignature requests for the entirety of 2020.

To help customers navigate the challenges caused by the pandemic and the rapid shift to remote work, Nitro Sign was initially made available to customers free of charge after its release in June 2020.

The Company is today launching its premium Nitro Sign offerings, making Nitro Sign available as a standalone subscription product or as part of a tailored productivity solution, depending on the customer’s requirements. Nitro Sign Essentials offers unlimited simple eSigning to everyone in an organization, while Nitro Sign Advanced and Nitro Sign Enterprise add powerful features, such as custom branding, team collaboration and advanced systems integrations.

Nitro is today also announcing the integration of the Nitro Productivity Platform with Salesforce – the provider of the world’s leading customer relationship management (CRM) software – to help customers accelerate the closing of sales contracts and other critical agreements. Nitro Sign and Nitro PDF Pro already integrate with other key systems used by organizations every day, including Zapier, Power Automate, SharePoint and cloud providers Box, Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive.

On July 12, 2021, Nitro announced the completion of the acquisition of PDFpen, which adds native Mac, iPad and iPhone capabilities to the Nitro Productivity Platform.

A Work Anywhere Workplace Is What Canadians Want: Accenture

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2021 by itnerd

As organizations around the world make plans for their people to return to the workplace, the latest research report from Accenture finds that 61% of Canadians prefer a hybrid or remote work model.

The research report encompassing 9,326 workers in 11 countries titled, “The Future of Work: Productive Anywhere,” found that while 37% of workers in Canada feel they can be productive and healthy primarily while working remotely, another 41% feel they can be productive and healthy anywhere, either fully remote or onsite or a combination of the two ─ as the hybrid workplace emerges.

Globally, 85% of people who say they can be productive and healthy anywhere also say they plan to stay with their company for a long time. However, finding a hybrid model that works for all generations may be a challenge: three in four Gen Zers (74%) want more opportunities to collaborate with colleagues face-to-face, a higher percentage than Gen Xers (66%) and Baby Boomers (68%).

Surprisingly, while the global research found 42% of people thriving, only 26% Canadians identified as thriving, showcasing less optimism and more fatigue in their workforces compared with their peers globally.  About a quarter (28%) of Canadians feel their companies are meeting their emotional health needs (compared to 36% globally), and only 26% say their companies are meeting their physical health needs (compared to 34% globally).

The report uncovered that what separates those Canadian workers who are productive anywhere (41%) from those who are disconnected and frustrated (11%), is not stress, but whether they have the right resources on an individual and organizational level to help them be productive anywhere. These resources range from job autonomy and positive mental health to supportive leadership and a digitally mature organization.

Further, organizations that enable a resilient workforce to be more productive and healthier anywhere are also reaping financial benefits: 56% of high revenue growth companies in Canada have already enabled productivity anywhere workforce models.

As responsible leaders consider the various options available to their workforces, they must move beyond a focus on physical location to shape a future of work that provides their people with the resources they need to be productive anywhere. Accenture recommends that organizations consider these specific actions:

  • Accelerate Modern HR – The world around us has changed, and HR policies and practices must evolve. Develop a strategy that ensures workers are Net Better Off ─ across six workplace dimensions including relational, physical, emotional and mental —as they transition to new workspaces, teams and roles.
  • Design work around people – Organizations must acknowledge and respond to the needs of all types of workers. Organizations that support psychological and physical safety will foster trust.
  • Build digital fluency – Digitally fluent organizations have higher revenue growth and are more likely to be considered great places to work. Focus on designing tailored skilling and learning paths that serve the needs of all workforce segments.
  • Lead with humanity – Responsible leaders create environments in which the Modern Board, CEO and entire C-suite work together — no matter where they are.

To find out more about the report, visit https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insights/consulting/future-work.

About the Research
Accenture Research fielded a survey during the month of March 2021 to 9,326 global workers across the following countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, UK & US and the following industries: Banking/Insurance/Capital Markets, High Tech, Retail, Customer Goods & Services, Public Sector, Healthcare, Communications and Media, Utilities, Energy and Life Sciences.

The research analysis was conducted as follows:

  1. Workforce clusters: Workers were classified into four distinct clusters based on their responses to items on productivity and health scales. “On-site productivity only” workers were those who achieved a mean score of 3.5 or higher on the on-site productivity scale and lower than a 3.49 mean score on the remote productivity scale. “Remote productivity only workers” were classified as those who achieved a 3.5 mean score or higher on the remote productivity scale and lower than 3.49 on the on-site productivity scale. The “productive anywhere (hybrid) workers” were classified based on mean scores of 3.5 or higher on both remote and on-site productivity scales. Lastly, the “non-productive group” were those who scored below a 3.49 mean on both productivity scales.
  2. Workforce mindsets were derived after assessing workforce sentiments on over 140 questions and grouped into 4 primary mindsets using factor analysis and reliability testing.
  3. To better understand what was driving the productivity and health of workers in on-site and remote locations we ran a hierarchical regression analysis of 18 organizational variables, controlling for individual differences such as age, tenure, industry, geography, gender. The results reported are those that were statically significant where productivity regressed on the organizational resources.
  4. An ANOVA test was conducted to determine the differences in organizational level resources experienced between our workforce clusters, focusing closely on the differences in our productive anywhere group and those who felt they could not be productive on-site or remotely. Statistically significant differences across the 18 variables tested are reported.
  5. Finally, we assessed perceptions of company performance and correlated Net Better Off scores (see Care to Do Better report) and workforce clusters with 3-year revenue growth.

Guest Post: 51% Of Exploits Sold On Underground Forums Are For Microsoft Products Says Atlas VPN

Posted in Commentary with tags on July 21, 2021 by itnerd

Cybercriminals sell found software vulnerabilities to each other, increasing their profits and causing more damage along the way.

According to the recent Atlas VPN team findings, 51% of exploits sold on underground cybercriminal forums are for Microsoft products. The constantly growing number of published vulnerabilities could mean that the impact of cyberattacks will increase as well.

Microsoft Office exploits made up 23% of all vulnerabilities sold on underground forums. Malicious Excel or Word files are sent out via phishing emails. Once the victim opens it, the file triggers malware which can steal login credentials, drop ransomware, or cryptocurrency miners.

Microsoft Windows exploits accounted for 12% of vulnerabilities sold on hacker forums. By purchasing Windows exploits, attackers can gain access to admin rights of your network or computer.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) exploits counted for 10% of all sales. Unauthorized attackers who take control of this vulnerability can use your computer as though they would be sitting in front of it.

Internet Explorer (IE) and Microsoft SharePoint each made up 3% of the vulnerabilities sold.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN William Sword shares his advice on how to protect against vulnerabilities:

“Once the flaw becomes public, companies patch it up and neutralize the risk. However, for vulnerabilities to become inefficient, it is essential to update your devices’ operating systems and software regularly. By adding an antivirus and a firewall to your devices and network, you would stop most vulnerabilities even if they were overlooked before.”

A growing number of vulnerabilities

As cyberattack volume has been increasing, many hackers started to search for new undetected vulnerabilities they could exploit.

The number of published software vulnerabilities in 2015 and 2016 were close to 6,500.

In 2017, published vulnerabilities doubled in numbers reaching new heights of 14,644. One of the most dangerous exploits this year was CVE-2017-0144, which affected the Windows operating system. Hackers used the vulnerability to deliver WannaCry, Petya/NotPetya ransomware, resulting in one of the most damaging ransomware outbreaks to date.

Last year, in 2020, a record-breaking 18,395 exploits were reported. Vulnerabilities increased by 26% from 2017.

In March 2020, another concerning vulnerability was published — CVE-2020-0796. This exploit could be abused in several ways, such as hackers launching a network-based attack, sending malware, or gaining privileges to the target’s system.

To read the full article, head over to:https://atlasvpn.com/blog/51-of-exploits-sold-on-underground-forums-are-for-microsoft-products